Havan is the prime part of any major Pooja. The sacredness and purity which a Havan can create are much more than any other process.
What is Havan
Havan is one of the many sacred Hindu ritual in which offerings are made to the fire (fire being one of the five major elements of existence). The Sanskrit word is Agnihotra or yagna which is commonly known as Havan in hindu vedic religion.
It is not a simple ritual but an act of sacrifice and selfless contribution to the universe by the performers through this act and as such regular practice of performing a havan brings purification and transformation to the individual and the environment. This fire is supposedly the main link between cosmic consciousness and human consciousness.
It is performed at different stages of life; starting from the birth of a person to the rituals carried out on death of that person. The name ceremony of a child on 11th or 12th day after birth is carried out with performing a havan. Some other examples are mundan (first haircut) ceremony, marriage ceremony, moving into a new house and ritual after funeral. Apart from these, havan is performed by some people to celebrate their birthday’s or anniversaries etc.
How do we perform Havan
Havan kund is set up and the performers sit around it. The materials required to perform the havan are ghee, campher, wood, samagri (consisting of a mixture of various dried herbal medicines, roots, leaves, dried fruits, nuts and ghee) and water.
The fire is started using the campher, wood and ghee. Once the woods start to burn, the offerings are made to this sacred fire (fire god -Agni) using samagri and ghee and reciting the various mantras, which can be according to the purpose of the havan or the deity preferred by the performer.
Havan is normally completed by reciting the shanti path. The performers then go around the havan whilst reciting god’s name. The tikka is then taken as a blessing from the havan kund.
Importance and benefits of Havan
Havan, is said to purify the environment as well as the people around as it kills germs and prevents infection and illness, when we inhale the smoke generated from the sacred fire of ‘havan’. Due to the sacrifice that a human being makes in front of God to attain spiritual bliss and the reciting of the mantra’s it spreads the positive vibrations to the doer and keep negativity at bay, hence giving health and spiritual benefits.
For this reason, some people perform it on a regular basis, which can be daily, weekly or monthly. They perform it themselves in their homes or their business place as the benefits also include prosperity, taking away hardship, healthy and successful life. For special events, the havan is normally performed by the priest.
The most important element or objective of havan is to understand the spirit of sacrifice and contribution for the benefit of all, rather than for one ownself.
When the offerings are given to the fire, you lose control over them. The offerings then turn into blessings for everyone sat around. The blessings are for all without any difference as God sees everyone the same. That is Yagna- Spirit of doing service to others.
Keeping all the above in mind, we have been performing havan (with the verses from the Bhagwat Gita, given to us by Lord Krishna himself) at our mandir on a monthly basis for the last three years, which I have thoroughly enjoyed and felt blessed.
Jai Shree Krishna
Indu Seth (President)
01 August 2020