What is the significance of fire ritual/ Homams pujas and Sankalapams?

What is the significance of fire ritual/ Homams pujas and Sankalapams?

Astrology and Yagna: 

The term Yagna is Important in Astrology as well, as it is a synonym and comes very close to the English word ‘ignite or burn’. It is a process that involves various offerings through fire, if one is going through a bad phase in their life they can perform a particular homam or yagna to appease the lord of the weaken planet, here it becomes mandatory to consult an astrologer. The Astrologer studies the horoscope and the natal chart and advises accordingly the sacrifice to be performed, the astrologer also helps in Muhurat calculations and offers yantra and other instruments that one can keep and wear either during a Yagna or afterwards to influence the positive effect of the planet. 

Vedic astrology defines two types of Yagnas, basic or regular and specific yagnas. The regular yagna is the practice which is mainly done on a daily basis or to accomplish something on daily basis, while the specific yagna is the one that is done mainly to get some specific desire fulfilled. 

Importance of Fire in Yagnas or Homams

The literal translation of yagna or homam is the “sacrificial devotion and worship that is done through offerings”.  It mainly refers that any ritual that is performed in front of fire which includes rhythmic chanting of syllables in Sanskrit language (mantras). Since times immemorial the practice of yagna or the fire ritual is performed to creation a connection between the Supreme Being and his/ her devotees. It is believed the divine female and the divine male are at balance when the yagna is performed. The tradition is made in such a manner that it enables us to attain harmony and get rid of all our hurdles and obstacles. Fire is important as it is a catalyst that permits transformation rapidly. Fire and its importance and the raw energy that is expels was first recognized by ancient gurus and saints, who associated this power of fire with the ritual of prayer. The fire has the ability to enhance spiritual practice; it helps to purify the environment and is a positive technique to improve the mortal connection with the divine. Fire is not only destructive it is creative and divine mainly has the power to purify and help in leading to one direction.

The unifying technique:

Fire ritual is a technique that helps or enables in unifying the mind body and soul. Since we chant and hear mantra it involves the body parts like ear and mouth, while the fire in the atmosphere is inhaled through our nose and it goes inside the body, kills toxins and our mind is also involved in this process as it is the consciousness that helps us in remembering traditions during fire rituals and at the same time it helps our soul to reach to the supreme being or divine. The Yagna ignites the spiritual and knowledge aspect of a human, it raises consciousness and the thought of who we are and existentialism in us.

Benefits of Homam and Yagnas. 
The Yagna is the method to purify the atmosphere
The Yagna unifies the mortal being with God
It takes us one step closer to attain Moksha. 

The procedure to perform yagna: 
The procedure that is followed for the ritual involves step like setting up of the alter, then comes the lightening of fire, offering Ahutis and that is done in 2 forms- with mantras and chants and by offering food for satisfaction of Gods. Since fire is symbolically considered as the mouth of all the Supreme beings, so the food that is offered at the time of Homam and yagna are not only satisfying to God but at the same time they meant to invoke the blessings of the divine. 

Puja:
The act of worship and reverence to god is called puja. Puja does not mean that one has to pray to lord at every waking moment but taking the name of the Supreme Being in the entire day is important. Puja is the method to fulfil the innate desires of a person that are otherwise not fulfilled by them. Burning a lap in front of the idol of God , to just joining of hands for fraction of seconds in the presence of God all are forms of reverence. The best time for puja is believed to be in the morning. The morning puja known as the Nitya puja, since sun is the source of the universe it is believed that praying to Lord Sun in the morning brings in positive energy and vibes to carry on the rest of the day at the same time the chanting of surya mantra along with offering water to Lord Surya is said to bring prosperity. What gives puja the uniqueness is that it ties everyone in one thread of spirituality and any one from any age to any gender can perform the puja.  

Benefits of Puja: 

Performing the puja brings peace of mind and prosperity in terms of wealth and family. 
Puja helps to increase the longitivity of life and brings happiness. 
It is the best method to attain salvation or Moksha

Sankalaps:
Sankalp is like a promise or declaration that we take before a yagna, to the self and the God that resides within every human. In other words Sankalp means a proposal to do something good.  It is said that Sankalp is not something that is done at the spur of the moment; it is the strong desires that are formed in the subconscious mind. All the yagnas and acts of worship are incomplete without tasking the wow of its completion. It is an expression or felling that the doer has accomplish the task that he or she had taken the oath for. By Sankalapams, a person takes pledge to accomplish the goal and being committed towards its completion. The Sankalapams usually has the elements such as linage, Panchang, time purpose, wish / desire the target which is usually deity and the way the karma is going to take place.

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