Homa and Yajna (Re: viShNu sahasranAma - nAma 3,4)

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 2 12:34:03 CST 1999

|| yajno vai viShNuH ||

  We hear about various homas such as Rudrahoma, chaNDI homa, etc.,
  and also terms such as rAjasUya yAga, ashvamedha yAga or yajna, and
  so on. yAga and yajna are synonyms but not homa and yajna. A homa
 is technically different from a yajna. This is explained in the
 Apastamba shrauta sUtra:

  juhotichodanaH svAhAkArapradAnaH darvIhomaH |
  yajatichodanaH, vashhaTkArapradAnaH yAgaH   |

  When something is enjoined by the word "juhoti" or "juhuyAt.h"
  (meaning "offers oblations") and oblations are offered with the
  word "svAhA", then it is a Homa, performed using the ladle or wooden
  spoon. When something is enjoined by the word "yajati" (yajate)
  (meaning "sacrifices") and oblations  are offered with the word
  "vashhaT.h", then it is a "yajna" or "yAga."

  Humans are pleased by praise, the pitR^i's (manes) by obeisances,
  and the Gods (devas) are pleased  by yajnas. So says the Veda:
  manushhyA vA IDenyAH pitaro namasyA devA yajniyAH |
    (taittirIya saMhitA 2.5.9)

 Since the yajnas of yore are rarely performed these days, we see the
 homas as taking the place of yajnas in much the same way as the pUjA
 has gained prominence over the vaishvadeva ritual.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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