[Advaita-l] Nityagnihotris and their position in our scriptures

Sriram Krishnamurthy asksriramjobs at gmail.com
Wed Feb 3 03:08:42 CST 2010

       The Rig, Sama and the Yajur Vedas have prayers directed to Deva Agni,

the God of fire.The worshipping of Agni as per the injunctions of
Shruti is called Shrauta Karma i.e. Karmas ordained in the Shruti.
       A person who is knowledgeable in performing this ritual as per
Vedic injuctions is called Shrautin. Shrauta Karmas are largely the Agni
Hotra, The Ishtis and the Soma yagnas,  Agni Hotra in general is worshipping

three fires namely in the form of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in specific
Agni Kundas. twice daily with the Brahma fire being kept burning for the
time of the worshipper. Such a person is called as an Agni Hotra
      The next higher level of Shrauta Karmas are the Ishtis. These are
miniature yagnas that are performed on the Prathama day(i.e da after
Amavasya-(new moon)
and the day after Poornima-full moon) by the Agnihotri. These are called as
Darsha and
Paurnamasa Ishtis and and are called as Havir Yagnas. A Person performing
is called a Havir Yajee. There are about 270 Ishtis that are specified to be
to reap specific benefits.
     The third and the most complex Shrauta Karmas are the Soma Yagnas.
is the first among the seven Soma Yagnas. A person who does a Somayaga is
called a
Somayajee. Vajapeya is one of the seven Soma Yagnas too and the performer of
this gets the
title as Vajapayee as this is one of the most complex and elaorate
Somayagas. There
are certain Somayas that are performed with the larger Yagnasala having an
formation. All the prescribed procedures are carried out within this
formation. A
person who has performed these gets the title Maha Agni Chit.
       All the Shrauta Karmas are meant for the benefit of the society at
large. Though
the individual who is involved in performing these gets a title as detailed
the benefits of these are actually reaped by the society.
 It is required of a person who performs these Shrauta Karma to be having
three things i.e. "Artho Samarthee Vidwan i.e., wealth, health and deep
in Vedas". These Karmas involve the "Manas-mind, Vacha-speech ad Kaya-body"
of the
performer simultaneously while performing the worship.
      The procedural complexities require the person who performs this to be
thorough Veda Vidwan. Right from speficiying the name of the Yagna or Ishti,
the Devatas
worshipped in these, the kinds of materials to be used as offerings into the
fire, the quantity
of the materials to be used, the Dakshina to be paid to the performers, the
fruits of the Yagnas
 etc., are directly detailed in the Vedas and hence the need for the
performer to be
knowledgeable in the Vedas. It is neither possible nor admissible to
entertain any deviation
from the specifications while performing these rituals.
 It all starts with the Agni Hotra and goes on to higher and more complex
Yagnas. It is stated that the moon and sun will retain their glow in the
skies as long as there
are Shrauta Karmas performed on the earth. It is believed that there are 128
Aahitagnis in
India right now.
Source - R. Balakrishnan - Nityagnihotri Sadas

Thanks and Regards,

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