Hinduism

Havan or Homam: The Hindu Ritual of Fire Sacrifice

A

havan

or

homam

is a ritual where offerings are made into a sacred fire. The root word of the havan or homam is

‘ha’

which means

‘offering’

or

‘sacrifice’

in Sanskrit. In northern regions of India it is called havan and in southern India it is called homam, but the meaning and the procedure is same everywhere. In this article we shall know how a homam is performed and what its significance is.

Homam procedure

Homam is performed in almost every significant event or ceremony of a Hindu household life. It is an important religious and spiritual practice among Hindus. There are different kinds of homam depending on the purpose and the presiding deity of the homam. Procedures may vary but the common steps are:

  • Kindling the sacrificial fire after the purification of the place
  • Invocation of divinities with mantras
  • Makings of offerings to the fire via a medium of prescribed prayers and mantras
  • Circumambulating the fire and offering proper respects

The consecrated fire is made of different types that include wood, cow dung, dried coconut and other combustibles. The altar is make of bricks or copper vessel which is dismantled immediately after the sacrifice. Once the fire is visible, he is called

Agnidev

or fire god. Then herbs, twigs, fruits, grains and ghee are offered into fire chanting the appropriate mantras. The smoke that comes out of the fire is spread far and wide. This purifies the atmosphere. At the end everyone circumambulate the fire and offer obeisance. The dust of burnt ashes is applied on the forehead.

Significance of Homam

Now-a-days homam is not seen just as some ritual. It is seen in scientific perspective. In science of consciousness homam are seen as powerful tools to tune the consciousness of the performer to Supreme consciousness. In the presence of fire the energy fields of one’s body called

kundalini

are enlightened and nourished.

When the aspirant offers something in the fire, the burning ashes signify his false ego turning into ashes. When he prays sincerely with dedication it brings immediate relief from mental and spiritual imbalances in his life. Thus homam should be performed for any issues or problems but on the whole it should be for the

highest good

for all the people.

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