By Dr Manish Pandit
Homa as stand alone sadhana: Part 1.
Why is homa (Agni karya) so perfect even as a stand alone sadhana?
Let’s go first into the verses of the Rg Veda which detail what exactly Agni is.
Agnim = Devata designated as Agni or Fire personified.
Eellee (eedee) = I glorify
Purohitam = The first appointed or high priest
Yagnasya = of sacrifice
Devam = The divine / the Devatas
Rtvijam = ministrant (but some opine summoner)
Hotaram = Invoker
Ratnadhatamam = holder/bestower of the greatest wealth (including here inner wealth)
Thus the verse refers to Agni being the Purohita who invokes and summons the Devatas… (and the Rg Veda starts with this mantra)
Please note that Vedas are highest Shastra Pramana and the entire Rg Veda starts with a mantra nay a Sukta for Fire. Just how much of an emphasis is placed on the worship through Fire can be understood from this alone. Now, look at the verse itself and ask the basic questions:
Can anyone else invoke the Devatas?
How can the Devatas be invoked?
How can the Devatas be summoned?
Thus the Vedic first verse gives us the answer that it’s not the sadhaka but Agni Himself as the first high priest who clearly is the invoker of the Devatas.
Now we must ask the next question: Why are the Devatas being invoked and who is Agni in this regard?
Ans: Agni is the one who is Vanhi or the one who carries the offerings given in it to the Devatas. (Vahana)
Is anyone else given this sort of appellation or honour in the Vedas? No.. of course not.
This makes it clear that Agni alone can INDEED be used as a stand alone procedure like homam, because it takes the offerings to the Devatas.
Nowhere in the Vedas does it say that the offerings will not reach if Japa is not performed first (although of course we love Japa as well, but just making a basic point here)
What is the Pramana for this Anumana of mine?
Ans: Well, In context of Vivaha (marriage) homam, does any priest chant the Vivaha mantra 10,000 or even 1000 times prior to offering in the Fire?
In any marriage has it ever happened?
Will anyone stop doing Vivaha homa because they don’t have Adhikara because they didn’t recite the homa mantras 1000 times or 10,000 times? Of course not! The mere suggestion is ludicrous and so indeed is also the proposal. The homa is performed to give the offerings to the Devatas and ensure that they reach them.
Now we come to the next point:
Does homa have good results on the consciousness as an environment?
Yes, of course. Here is a paper on the same.
Let’s move on and focus on verse 3 of Sukta 1 of Rg Veda:
This verse says:
अ॒ग्निना॑ र॒यिम॑श्नव॒त्पोष॑मे॒व दि॒वेदि॑वे। य॒शसं॑ वी॒रव॑त्तमम्॥३॥
Through Agni one obtains affluence which is ever increasing day by day, the source of fame (multiplier of good deeds/karma/phala)
Now, let’s see what it means:
Agnina = by Agni or through Agni
Rayim = property, treasure (but here external wealth)
Asnavat = obtains, gets
Posham = growth, increase
Aeva = very
Divey Divey = day by day
Yashasam = fame
Veeravattamam = abounding in men/horses and children
You see it’s highly important to see what the Shastra says: does it say Agni itself brings? We will see later on that elsewhere it does say something through Anumana.
But here, the verse says: “Agnina”
अ॒ग्निना॑ ie. the inference is clear: through the auspices of Agni only is this wealth obtained abd the focus in this verse is external wealth rather than internal which was already expanded on in the first verse.
What sort of affluence does the Rg Veda say is promised to those who worship through Agni who was described as दे॒वमृत्विज॑म् होता॑रं ie. that Agni who is the INVOKER of the Devatas….
Let’s check the verse in depth:
Note that it says
ie. the verse says that it is that affluence brought by Agni which increases daily!
The Anumana is clear: the wealth is not stagnant …
Now let’s see further:
The verse says वी॒रव॑त्तमम्…. the Anumana is that this is external wealth in the form of courageous men (sons?) horses and of course children.
By extension Agni also brings the factors into one’s life that promote this sort of wealth.
In the next part we will look at why Agni is so important in the way it brings abundance into life.