Most of our students at yoga teacher training in Rishikesh end up asking us why we perform Yagya every day with the first ray. The straightforward answer to this query one could find in the Sanskrit phrase “Ayam Yagyoh Vishvasya Bhuvanasya Naabhih” of Yajurveda. It means just like nabhi has an essential place in the human body, so is the role of yagya in this world. Fire is one of the important forces on the earth. It is considered to be the main element of a Havan or Yagya.
Discovery of Controlled Fire
In early life, the fire was useful not only for light and warmth at night but to frighten off predatory animals. Only humans have learnt to control it and to make it at will. It changed the whole route of early life. While humans secluded themselves in warm places, the discovery of controlled fire made them step out to explore the rest of the world. It was regarded by Darwin as the greatest discovery made by humanity. The really interesting fact related to the discovery of controlled fire is that it served as a community-building tool. The scene was as such, there were two types of humans skilled and non-skilled. One who knew how to make fire and another who did not. These two sets formed small communities. A mixed bag of fire makers and non-fire makers. The non-fire makers depended on fire makers and that is how the framework of early cultures was laid. People started to stay together and the need for a spoken language increased.
Isn’t it fascinating how the power of fire changed the world? An element so pure that protected and got us close together to what we are today. It is undoubtedly sacred and so it did become a significant life force for our ancestors. They started associating fire with wisdom and divinity. Evidence of fire worship has also been found at the Indus Valley sites of Kalibangan and Lothal.
Fire Worship in Ancient India
‘यज्ञो वै श्रेष्ठतमं कर्म ।,’ it means that yajna is the best of all deeds. In ancient India, the discovery of fire, the sole protector of humans made our ancestors believe that the holy fire is the mediator between Gods and us. When the offerings are made to holy fire while chanting mantras, it directly reaches the Gods. According to the Rig Veda, Agni is the supreme deity. Without Agni, a priest cannot perform a sacrifice. The fire god carries the sacrifices to the other deities. Agni is the purohita of gods. He is the one who receives the offering first. Who bless the people with rain, food, health, safety and good luck. Here is a verse from Yajur Veda:
Punar urja ni vasttasva pura agna
Isha yusha punaraha dahman hasaha
This verse invokes the Agni Bhagwan. It says, “O Agni! I invoke you along with your energy. Give us food, bless us with long life and protect us from sin.”
The Symbolism of Yagya at Adhiroha
The word ‘yagya’ at Adhiroha yoga teacher training in Rishikesh has ‘Three To’s’: to unite, to worship and to give. These three principles combine for the manifestation of a conscious being.
● Light: The brightness of fire has the power to illuminate the darkest corners. It inspires every yoga student to keep their mind open to wisdom. It teaches us to embrace knowledge incoming classes with great enthusiasm.
● Warmth: The warmth of holy fire could be sensed from a distance. It is an energy that gets vaporised and scattered around to make everything universal. It cleanses the energy of our surroundings to remind us that we all are one.
● Offerings: Special mixture of medicinal herbs, roots, dry fruits, wood and ghee is offered to Agni. At the end of all offerings, these words are chanted ‘idam na mama.’ It means nothing in this world belongs to us. As whatever is offered to the fire becomes fire itself. Such selfless offerings mark the end of all negative energy as purity in form of aroma and warmth is infused in the surroundings. Scientifically, it is a natural disinfectant. It repels insects and omits foul smells from the environment.
● Flames: Did you ever notice that flames of fire always ascend in an upward direction? It reminds the students of yoga teacher training in Rishikesh that no matter what hurdles we face, we shall always accept them and keep moving forward.
● Ash: Once the fire fuse, the only thing which remains are ashes. It seeps inside the earth and over it, new life takes birth. To end the ceremony, we apply these ashes or vibhuti on the forehead of our students to remind them that they shall live their lives to the fullest.
● Hawan Kunda Shape: The pyramid structure is the strongest in this world. The centre of the pyramid is the source of energy. When we do Yagya the centre of Kunda is lighted as the source of energy.
Yagya wards off all the doubts from the yoga students. It rejuvenates the mind to go inwards and meet the Antar Atma. It is a ladder to attain purification for the day ahead.