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Yag and Homa

Dear Hindu brother in your religion Yag[1] (Yajna) and Hom(a) have great importance and it is accepted that through Yajna every mission is successful.

Yajna accords all fruits, gods live only through Yajna. The animal that is slaughtered in a Yajna along with the killer goes to heaven. (Vishnu Simarti, Ch. 51)

 

Brahma created animals for Yajna only. The whole world benefits from the killing of animals in a Yajna. Therefore, violence must not be condemned. In a Yajna animals, trees, rice, birds, tortoise etc. that are destroyed (killed) enter better births. Anyone who does not eat meat offered in a Yajna spends twenty one births as a pig. (Mannu Ch. 5, Sh. 35-40)

The Yajna of the Hindus were not with a view of benefit for others but there was a great self-interest.

Do not perform a Yajna where Brahmin gets fewer offerings. (Mannu Ch. 11, Sh. 39)

A Yajna where offerings are meager could destroy eyes and other organs, fame, descendents of the dead and good name and animals. Therefore do not perform such a Yajna.[2] (Mannu Ch. 11, Sh. 40)

 

Here is described the importance of Homa: The material that is put to fire reaches sun, essence of that fall from the sun as rain thereby more grain is produced.[3] (Mannu Ch. 3, Sh. 76)

The following is teachings of the Gurus about Yajna and Homa.

ਹੋਮ ਜਗ ਤੀਰਥ ਕੀਏ ਬਿਚਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਬਧੇ ਬਿਕਾਰ ॥ ਨਰਕੁ ਸੁਰਗੁ ਦੁਇ ਭੁੰਚਨਾ ਹੋਇ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਬਹੁਰਿ ਅਵਤਾਰ ॥੨॥……

ਜੈਸੋ ਗੁਰਿ ਉਪਦੇਸਿਆ ਮੈ ਤੈਸੋ ਕਹਿਆ ਪੁਕਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਕਹੈ ਸੁਨਿ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਕਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਹੋਇ ਉਧਾਰੁ ॥੪॥੧॥੧੫੮॥

You may make burnt offerings, sacrificial feasts and pilgrimages to sacred shrines in egotism, but your corruption only increases. You are subject to both heaven and hell, and you are reincarnated over and over again. ||2||… As the Guru has taught me, so have I spoken. Says Nanak, listen, people: sing the Kirtan of the Lord's Praises, and you shall be saved. ||4||1||158|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Panna 218)

 

ਹੋਮ ਜਗ ਜਪ ਤਪ ਸਭਿ ਸੰਜਮ ਤਟਿ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਹੀ ਪਾਇਆ ॥

ਮਿਟਿਆ ਆਪੁ ਪਏ ਸਰਣਾਈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਗਤੁ ਤਰਾਇਆ ॥੪॥੧॥੧੪॥

Through burnt offerings, charitable feasts, ritualistic chants, penance, all sorts of austere self-discipline and pilgrimages to sacred shrines and rivers, they do not find God. Self-conceit is only erased when one seeks the Lord's Sanctuary and becomes Gurmukh; O Nanak, he crosses over the world-ocean. ||4||1||14|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Panna 1139)

 

ਹੋਮ ਜਗ ਸਭਿ ਤੀਰਥਾ ਪੜਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਥਕੇ ਪੁਰਾਣ ॥

ਬਿਖੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਨ ਮਿਟਈ ਵਿਚਿ ਹਉਮੈ ਆਵਣੁ ਜਾਣੁ ॥

ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਿਲਿਐ ਮਲੁ ਉਤਰੀ ਹਰਿ ਜਪਿਆ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਸੁਜਾਣੁ ॥

ਜਿਨਾ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੇਵਿਆ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਸਦ ਕੁਰਬਾਣੁ ॥੩੭॥

The Pandits, the religious scholars, have grown weary of making fire-offerings and sacrifices, making pilgrimages to all the sacred shrines, and reading the Puraanas. But they cannot get rid of the poison of emotional attachment to Maya; they continue to come and go in egotism. Meeting with the True Guru, one's filth is washed off, meditating on the Lord, the Primal Being, the All-knowing One. Servant Nanak is forever a sacrifice to those who serve their Lord God. ||37|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Panna 1417)

 

ਜਗ ਭੋਗ ਨਈ ਵੇਦ ਲੱਖ ਗੁਰਮੁਖ ਮੁਖ ਇਕ ਦਾਣਾ ਪਾਯਾ॥

Even one grain of gurmukhs is equal to millions of yajnas, offerings and edibles. (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar 7)

 

ਜੋਮ ਜਗ ਜਪ ਤਪ ਘਣੇ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਦੁਖ ਰੋਈ॥

ਵਸਿ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਧਾਂਵਦਾ ਅਠੁ ਖੰਡਿ ਪਾਖੰਡ ਵਿਗੋਈ॥

People perform many rites, rituals, Yajnas, Homa in ego and waste their time but mind is not in control and they lose in pretensions. (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar 29)

Consider the following historic event on this subject.

ਪੈੜਾ ਚੰਡਾਲੀਆ ਤੇ ਜੇਠਾ ਸੇਠੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਅਰਜਨ ਦੇਵ ਜੀ ਦੀ ਸਰਣ ਗਏ । ਜੋ ਤੁਸਾਡੇ ਬਚਨ ਕਰਕੇ ਅਸੀਂ ਕਿਰਤ ਕਰਕੇ ਪਰਸਾਦੁ ਸਿਖਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਵਰਤਾਇ ਛਕਦੇ ਹਾਂ ਪਰ ਅਸਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣ ਕਹਿੰਦੇ ਹੈਨ ਜੋ ਪਹਿਲੇ ਚੱਕੀ ਪੀਸਣ ਵਿਚ ਜੀ ਹਿੰਸਾ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ ਤੇ ਬਹੁੜੋ ਵਿਚ ਉੱਖਲੀ ਦੇ ਕੁੱਟਣ ਕਰਕੇ, ਚੁੱਲੇ ਦੇ ਤਪਾਣ ਕਰਕੇ, ਝਾੜੂ ਫੇਰਨ ਕਰਕੇ, ਔਰ ਆਟੇ ਦੇ ਛਾਨਣ ਕਰਕੇ ਜੀਉ ਹਿੰਸਾ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ । ਅੱਗੋਂ ਦੇ ਅਸੀਂ ਦੇਵਤਿਆਂ ਨਮਿੱਤ ਹੋਮ ਆਹੂਤੀਆਂ ਅਗਨਿ ਵਿਚ ਡਾਲਦੇ ਹਾਂ ਪਿਛੋਂ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦ ਖਾਂਦੇ ਹਾਂ, ਤੇ ਤੁਸੀਂ ਆਹੂਤੀਆਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰਦੇ, ਤੁਸਾਡਾ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦ ਕਯੋਂ ਕਰ ਪਵਿਤ੍ਰ ਹੁੰਦਾ ਹੈ । ਗੁਰੂ ਅਰਜਨ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਦਾ ਬਚਨ ਹੋਇਆ, "ਤੁਸੀਂ ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮੇ ਗਰੀਬਾਂ, ਸਿਖਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦ ਛਕਾਵੋਗੇ ਤੇ ਆਪ ਭੀ ਅਰਦਾਸ ਕਰ ਕੇ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਕਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਲੈ ਕੇ ਮੁਖ ਪਾਵੁਹਗੇ ਤਾਂ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਤੁਸਾਡੇ ਪਰ ਪ੍ਰਸੰਨ ਹੋਵੇਗਾ ਤੇ ਸਭ ਵਿਘਨ ਨਾਸ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹੈਨ ।" (ਭਾਈ ਮਨੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੀ, ਭਗਤ ਰਤਨਾਵਲੀ)

Paira and Jaitha sought refuge with Guru Arjan Dev Ji. They said to Guru Ji, “On your advice we do honest labor and partake with saints but the Brahmins say to us; in grinding of corn, sweeping of the floor, burning the fire in the hearth, there is violence done to living creatures. Brahmins in the name of gods make Homa offerings in the fire and then eat their food. We do not make offerings so how could our food be pure?” Guru Ji said, “First you feed the poor, the saints, say prayer, and then take your food, God is happy with you and all imperfections are removed.” (Bhai Mani Singh Ji, Bhagat Ratnavali)

Notes

[1] Yajur Veda is full of the importance and techniques of Yajna. In Vedic period, Yajna was considered the most meritorious act and the Yajna was performed through animal sacrifice. People believed so much in these that they got titles of Indar etc. by performing Yajna. Hindus believe that the importance and rule of Rakshas ended when Vishnu came in his incarnation as Budha and condemned Yajna and advanced Ahinsa (non-violence). There are stories in the Puranas that narrate how Indra tried to disrupt Yajna lest those people by accomplishing a perfect Yajna may not take his position. In support of this one should read about Vedic sacrifices.

[2] O Mannu, sea of benevolence, even after performing Yajnas where considerable offerings are made, Hindustanis (Indians) have lost everything, they have become poor. We are unable to understand your secret advice. (Translator’s note - This is rather a satirical comment of the author on Mannu).

[3] Main education of the Vedas is about Homa. To suit the time Swami Daya Nand would have liked to change the meaning but even he could not solve the problem. After all this explanation was given by Daya Nand that Homa cleans the air. True, the air is cleaned by burning Gugal, Kafur, Chandan but not by burning those materials that are required in Homa. Burning of gugal etc. Is correct so far that it is burnt in all the rooms of the house but burning of wood on the bank of a river produces lot of smoke and damages the eyes.

 

Views of Daya Nand on Homa:

 

In the jungle, on the bank of a river, morning and evening, take a pot that is 12” deep and of the same width, perform Havan by burning wood. Read mantras and make offerings by pouring butter in the fire. The havan purifies the air. By not performing Homa there is sin because bad smell originates from humans and that makes the air unclean and becomes the cause of disease. If Homa were performed like old days all the maladies of India will disappear. There should be more butter used in Homa than for eating. Every person should make, at least 16 offerings of butter, each of about 5 grams. (Satyarath Parkash, Ch. 3)

 

We should carefully analyze the above statements. If we need to purify air then why not perform Homa in the house? Air in the jungle is already pure and fresh. What is the significance of special size of the pot for havan? If it is more efficacious to purify air through mantras then why not compare the health of those who perform Homa with those countries where there is no Homa? You can see the real insignificance of the Havan. If every one of the family, morning and evening, burns only 8 measures then a family of ten will need 2240 grams ghee (butter) every day. What is required for food will be extra. The benefits that Daya Nand forsees through Homa for the country is beyond foolishness.