What is Homam?

Homam is a major ritual in Hinduism. This fire ritual is also called Havan, Yajna (Yagya) or Yajana. We invoke a deity into the fire during a Homam using certain procedures. The priest offers materials into the fire, accompanied by the chanting of sacred Mantras. The fire or Agni is the messenger that conveys the offerings and our wishes to the deity in heaven. Fire rituals have been common to many religions since ancient times.

Why Perform Homam?

Very spiritual people may not need an external fire to invoke deities. They can accomplish this through meditation itself. Their internal fire, called Bhootagni, is very strong and has the power to invoke deities. But in ordinary human beings, the Bhootagni is weak and dim. Hence, it is incapable of invoking deities. Hence, they perform Homam, which uses an external fire for this purpose.

This practice supposedly strengthens the internal fire as well. Human beings have a Sthoola sharira, or gross body, which comprises gross matter, and a Sookshma sharira, or subtle body, which comprises subtle matter.

The Sookshma sharira cannot be perceived by our senses (eyes, ears, nose, etc). It has thousands of Naadis, which are subtle channels through which energy flows. The Bhootaagni (existential fire) burns in our subtle body and is the subtle basis of our existence. In the gross body, Bhootagni manifests in the form of various fires. For example, it can manifest as the digestive fire or the “fire” in the stomach, which helps us digest the food we eat. Then, there is the “fire” in the brain that helps us understand different sensory experiences.

Homa Helps Boost Bhootagni

Thus, Bhootaagni is important for our existence. But it is very weak in most people. As there are many impurities and obstructions in the Naadis of the subtle body, the Bhootagni cannot burn strongly to energize our entire existence. When it burns weakly, the divine presence cannot enter us fully.

To clear the impurities and obstructions in our Naadis, we need to overcome internal weaknesses like anger, greed, desire, false prestige, ego, hatred, and jealousy. We also need to acquire compassion, devotion, and detachment and shed all layers of ego and delusion. Once this is accomplished, the Bhootaagni will burn strongly. However, this can be an arduous and time-consuming process.

Instead, we can use an external fire or Homam. As the deity invoked by the Homam enters the external fire regularly, the divine presence burns the impurities present in our Naadis by burning various karmas (actions from our past that have consequences in the present and the future) in the Kaarana sharira (causal body). This strengthens the Bhootaagni. After performing Homam many times, our Naadis will eventually be cleared of impurities and obstructions, and our Bhootagni will begin to burn brightly. All the sadhanas we perform, including regular meditation, will become more effective when this happens. The more our Bhootaagni can accommodate the divine presence, the more effective our meditation will be.

Homa Burns Past Karmas

The aim of spiritual sadhana is to remove all internal impurities. Various karmas from our past lives are attached to the Kaarana sharira, making it heavy. These will manifest in the Sookshma sharira (subtle body) as impurities in the Naadis that hinder the free flow of energy. These impurities will manifest in the Sthoola sharira (gross body) as physical and mental problems. They can make our consciousness sink into delusion or Maya. When this happens, we succumb to six enemies – kaama/desire, krodha/anger, lobha/greed, moha/delusion, mada/wantonness, and maatsarya/jealousy.

As we progress spiritually, our karmas drop off the Kaarana sharira, the impurities in the Naadis are cleansed, our mental conditioning weakens, and we will be able to subdue the enemies within us. All these developments are interrelated and happen at the same time. When all our major karmas are burnt, we become very light.

The Naadis become clear, energy flows freely, and internal enemies cannot harm us. We cannot become angry, jealous, or deluded when we see God in everything. When our mental conditioning drops, nothing excites or saddens us. We will always be in a state of bliss. The goal of all sadhana is to reach this blissful state through Jnana (knowledge and wisdom) or through Bhakti (devotion and surrender), or both. Only when we relinquish our ego completely can we become one with divinity. A vacuum must be created within us so that the divine presence can enter and fill it. The ego and various kinds of conditioning (vasanas) of the mind prevent this vacuum from forming within us. When all these vanish, and the mental conditioning becomes weakened, the mind becomes very calm, and a vacuum is created within. Then, the divine presence fills us, making us experience indescribable bliss.

The ritual of Homam facilitates this process by burning the karmas that create various layers of conditioning and pose obstacles to spiritual progress.

Mahaganapati Homam

Lord Ganapati, or Ganesha, is the remover of all obstacles. People worship him before starting a new venture to ensure that there will be no obstacles to success. Ganapati Homam invokes Ganapati’s blessings for this purpose.

By performing this Homam, one gains the confidence and courage to carry out the task successfully. One should perform Ganapati Homam if one is experiencing hurdles and obstructions in life.

Mahaganapati Homam is usually performed early in the morning. The Chaturthi days of every month and Vinayaka Chaturthi/Ganesh Chaturthi days are very auspicious for this Homa. Tritiya of Navaratri is also an ideal time to perform it. Four dravyas (offerings) are used in the Homam – Modak, Durva grass dipped in ghee, popped paddy, and samith dipped in ghee. Prasadam, vastra, and tamboolam are given after the Homa concludes.

Ganesha is believed to sit in the Mooladhara Chakra. This Chakra represents the physical/material realm. Hence, Ganesha bestows material prosperity and well-being. He is also in charge of the opening of the Sushumna Naadi, the location of which is the Mooladhara Chakra. Sushumna Naadi contains various lokas or worlds and all the beings that live in them in a microcosmic form. To experience various gods, our self-consciousness must ascend through Sushumna Naadi and reach the higher realms of existence. As the gatekeeper of this Naadi, Ganesha controls our spiritual experience of various gods and lokas. For this reason, Hindus worship Ganesha before praying to other gods. Ganesha controls the material realm and the gate to the higher spiritual realms, so this Homam is important for all spiritual seekers. It facilitates spiritual progress even as it protects the material aspects of our life. Thus, Mahaganapthi Homam is ideal for all.

Who Should Perform Mahaganapati Homam?

Those seeking success in a new venture/business, those who are beginning their work life, student life, marriage, and those performing Housewarming (Griha-Pravesh) and Naming ceremonies (Naamkaran) etc. can perform this Homam.

Also, people who suffer from Ketu Dosha can perform the Homam. Ganesha is Ketu’s planetary overlord. Ganapati Homam can remove the malefic effects of the Dosha.

Benefits of Perfoming Mahaganapati Homam

· Ganapati Homam brings victory and success.

· It bestows harmony in the family and removes obstacles and negative energies.

· It bestows positive energy and peace of mind.

· Performing the Homam can bring wealth and abundance in the devotee’s life. Ganesha, being the governor of the Mooladhara Chakra, can bestow material prosperity.

· One can gain prosperity, health, and a happy family life by performing the Homam once a year.

· The Homam is an effective remedy for people undergoing the Ketu Maha Dasha or Bhukti. It can reduce the malefic effects of Ketu.

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