Beast or being, everyone is running after happiness and satisfaction in this material creation. The beast finds happiness on the lush green grass in the lawn and the human being finds happiness in a few morsels of gourmet food. Since the search for happiness is eternal and intrinsic, people are resorting to everything that promises to make them happy. Such unguided trials and errors have resulted in useless labour and the fatigue has brought upheaval in their lives.
The Vedanta sutra (1.1.12) says, “änandmayo ‘äbhyäsät,” which means, the living entities are jolly by their intrinsic nature, being a small atomic portion of the Supreme Lord, who is an embodiment of eternity, knowledge and bliss. And since, we are joyful by nature; the shastras have set regulations to remain happy forever.
The followers of Vedic religion are advised by the Supreme Lord to perform yagya or sacrifices in order to be happy and merry.
Etymology of the word yagya
There are various meanings associated with the word yagya. Few of them are below:
* “Something performed for the pleasure of the supreme lord Vishnu, the way he desires.”
* The word yagya is comprised of two alphabets, ‘ya’ and ‘gya’. ‘Ya’ means “For whose” and ‘gya’ means “acknowledgement”. Therefore, yagya means: “Performance of something to get acknowledged by the Supreme Personality of God.”
* The word yagya is comprised of two words, ‘yaj’ and ‘ya’. ‘Yaj’ means “worshipping or rendering service” and ‘ya’ means “whom”. Therefore, yagya means: “Worshipping the Supreme lord” or “Rendering service to the Supreme Lord.”
Categories of yagya
The process of performing yagyas has been primarily divided into two categories on the basis of origin.
1. Vedic Yagyas
These are the yagyas which are enunciated by the Vedas to be performed by the individuals.
2. Pauranic Yagya
These are the yagyas which are enunciated by the Puranas to be performed by the individuals.
Also, they have been categorised further into two categories,
1. Daily performance: The ones which should be performed daily. Eg. Agnihotra.
2. Seldom performance: The ones which can be performed seldom or once in a lifetime. Eg. Ashwamedha.
Components of yagya
The Yagya Purush: The presiding deity of all yagyas i.e. Lord Vishnu
The Shastra of Yagya: The scripture in which the procedure is laid down
Mantras to be spoken: The mantras mentioned in the scripture and the ways in which they are to be spoken
The Yagya Agni and Swaha: The demigod of fire and his wife Swaha who gives the offering to the deity of the mantra
The Chief or Presiding Brahmana of the Yagya: The main purohit, who shall perform the yagya
The Associated Brahmanas: The brahmanas who shall help him complete the yagya
The Hawan Samidha: The wood used for burning, such as mango, dhaak, shami, sandalwood, agar, bael and pipal
The Hawan Samagri: The herbs and powders to be burnt like giloy, shankhpushpi, jatamansi, jayphal, javitri, baheda, haritaki, etc
Offerings to be made to the Lord: The items of food for the lord to be offered like sweets, grains, fruits, etc
The Muhurtam and Sthana of the Yagya: The time and place of the yagya