" यज्ञो वै श्रेष्ठतमं कर्म " (Yagno Vai Shreshthatamam Karma)- Gita
The holy Gita defines Yajna as the best action by human being. Yajna is part of worship (Puja) in ancient Vedic traditions, being followed from time immemorial. Various kinds of Yajna have been named after deities to whom these are offered as well as on basis of purpose of the offerings. Age-old actions and directions are not without reason. There are three main purposes to perform Yajna. These are i) to offer to the deities, ii) to come together to act for the best and iii) to donate for the best cause. It says, “Yagn Devpuja Sangatikaran Daneshu” (यज्ञ देवपूजा संगतिकरण दानेषु).
RIG-VEDA starts with mention of Yajna in its very first verse, which reads:
ॐ अग्निमीदले पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य देवमृत्विजम I होतारं रत्नधातमम I I (Om Agnimeedale Purohitam Yajnasya Devmritvijam. Hotaram Ratndhatamam)
So, the Veda starts with prayer of the God citing the relevance of the Yajna. With this Mantra we pray almighty to have all kind of prosperity in life through Yajna. Further, every verse (Mantra) of Vedas is written by a Rishi (Sage) whose presence is invoked through chanting of those verses. Thus blessings of sages shower upon us when we chant Mantra during Yajna. When we utter “Swaha” (स्वाहा) it means we offer ourselves in action of human welfare after accepting the God at every aspect of our beings. And it is with sense of “It is not mine” (इदं न मम) but “It is all Yours”, signifying the renunciation and sacrifice of what belongs to us.
Yajna in Ramayana
King Dashrath performed Putrakameshthi Yajna under the holy guidance of Rishi Shringi. He got blessed with four sons Lord Ram, Bharat, Lakshman and Satrughna.
Lord Rama conducted this Yajna for prosperity and happiness in his kingdom. Rishi Valmiki wrote that, lord Rama had been performed Yajna for ten thousand long years.
Yajna in Mahabharat
In Mahabharata time, different types of Yajna were in practice. Important Yajna were, Ashwamegh Yajna, Rajsuya Yajna, Pundarik Yajna, Gavamayan Yajna, Atiratri Yajna, Vajpey Yajna Agnijit Yajn and Brihaspati Yajna. Pandavas conducted huge Yajna under the guidance of Maharshi Vyash after winning the history battle of Mahabharata for atonement for sin.
One verse of Gita summarises the significance of Yajna, saying:
अन्नादभवन्ति भूतानि पर्जन्यादन्नसम्भवः I यज्ञाद्भवति पर्जन्यो यज्ञः कर्मसमुद्भवः I I
All beings originate from food; food originates from rains; rains originate from Yajna; Yajna originates from actions.
SO, ACT FOR THE BEST: PERFORM YAJNA
What you can achieve from Yajna?
Vedas says that Almighty has given the tool to human being in the form of Yajna to conduct the prosperous and happy life. Without harming to any living being and nature, human being can fulfil their pious desires through Yajna.
- It fulfils our true wishes and desires It keeps our body healthy and fit
- It brings prosperity and happiness in the life
- It purifies the environment and protects it
- It unifies families, relatives and societies
- It destroys ill-will within us and pushes towards spiritualism
- It develops sense of giving, renouncing and submitting
- It provides courage to face challenges and peaceful mind in hard times