Associated with its existence, Hindu Dharma has many rituals and vidhis and most of the rituals start with Puja in which Havan is the prime part. Also known as Homa or Homam, Havan is a Sanskrit word referring to the ritual whereby offerings are made into the holy fire. The word has a Sanskrit root “hu” meaning “to offer” or “to present”.
Fire is considered an element of Panchatatwa, “the five elements of existence”, the sacred fire is said to drive away all the negative energies around. Fire is believed to be the main link between cosmic consciousness and human consciousness.
During the Vedic period, Havan was a part of daily life but with time its existence has faded. However, the fire ceremony is still conducted during religious and spiritual events. There are many yoga centers in India, Nepal, and various parts of the world, where Havan is performed frequently.
During Havan, an altar is built, fire is kindled using woods and ghee or butter is poured along with food grains, and sesame seeds while chanting mantras specifically to invoke Gods and seek their blessings and favors. The altar built is demolished immediately after the completion of the ritual. The ritual is always centered in the middle of the appointed space, providing a place for priests and other principal devotees with the offerings to sit around the altar to perform the ceremony; other devotees usually form a larger ring around the fire.
Purpose of Havan
Many Hindu occasions especially Pujas are incomplete without Havan; in most of the Samskaras, Havan is mandatory. The naming ceremony, Upananayanam, Marriage, Havan for wealth and prosperity, and for purification ritual, Havan is conducted as part of a formal ceremony. With Havan, the devotees take the vows for renunciation.
- As reported by scientific theory, matter can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be transmuted to another form. Therefore, anything offered to the fire in a Havan is transformed from material to non-material form and is believed to directly reach the divine spirits.
- The sacred mantras chanted during Havan creates a particular vibration that averts evil and negative energies and guides the positive energies. It is directed towards awakening the auspicious energies.
- Different types of Homam are carried out for different occasions and for different gods. Laxmi Ganapati Havan, Rudra Havan pooja, Navagraha Havan, Nakshatra Havan, Chandi Havan, etc. are some types of Havan conducted to propitiate respective Gods.
Types of Havan Kund
The most amazing part of Havan Kund is its different shapes and properties in different situations. Havan Kund is primarily energy generating and dissipating field and thus according to the scriptures the unique shape of a Havan Kund is responsible for controlled energy generation and its multi-directional dissipation. Below are some types of Havan Kunds and their properties:
- Rectangular or Square: It is also called Chaturastra Kund up taken for the accomplishment of all work and gaining Siddhis.
- Triangular – Also called Trikon Kund looking like a bow & arrow, Triangular Kund is perfectly designed to win over enemies.
- Circular – Known as Vrut Yajna Kund it is designed for public welfare and peace.
- Semi-Circle – It is also called Ardha Chandra Kund which is made to gain harmony, happiness, peace, and resolve conflicts. It is also for conferring peace in the family, both wife and husband have to offer oblation together.
- Yoni Kunda – designed for desire manifestation like getting a child and attracting love
- Lotus-shaped – Padma Kund denoting the lotus, the altar is made up in a Lotus Flower shape that is primarily made to gain wealth.
- Star-shaped Yajna Kund – It is also called Pushtrkon Kund which is made for a win over the unseen and seen enemies.
- The Yajna Kund with 6 angles is constructed for stopping death.
Time for performing Havan
In ancient times Havan was the only way to get connected to God, Pooja vidhis were not discovered yet then so Havan was conducted every single day. Thus, Havan practice should be carried out daily but it should be carried out in the presence of every house member at least once per week or once per two weeks in Purnima and Amawasa. Morning is the ideal time for Havan as mornings are considered to be the most conducive for all the religious activities and the air is charged with energy or prana at this time.
Benefits of Havan
Havan is believed to have many benefits to our body, mind, soul, and to the environment. Havan is not just carried out for people but also for everything residing on this planet. Some of the benefits of Havan are:
- Havan acts as a cleanser. It not only purifies our body and mind but also the environment.
- Havan is the source of bonding, helping to maintain unity and harmony in the family and community.
- Havan can help destroy the negative energies and disturbing thoughts resulting in concentration and equanimity.
- The poisonous gases liberating free oxygen radicle are decomposed by gases produced during Havan therefore, it acts as a disinfectant. A scientist named Trelle of France had conducted experiments on Havan and found out that the mango wood used for fire produces “formic aldehyde” which destroys harmful bacteria and purifies the atmosphere. The jaggery used as Havan samagri also produces “formic aldehyde” gas. A scientist named Tautilk claimed that if we stay in a Havan and its smoke for half an hour then the germs of typhoid are destroyed.
- The offerings into the fire and mantras chanted help in boosting and rejuvenating chakras affecting both the body and mind.
- Havan strengthens mental abilities as it induces peace, good health, prosperity, and clarity of thoughts with the increased power of discrimination and improved usage of mental abilities.
Difference between Havan and Yajna
While seeing the procedures we can think the same of Havan or Homa and Yagya but they are different from each other in their aims and meanings.
Havan or Homa is performed for internal growth, purity, health, long life, and purifying the surrounding. Havan is conducted to express and ignite love and respect towards all-natural assets, to be in nature’s surrender, to understand one’s thoughts and feelings, and above all to achieve and evolve a psychic state, which only thinks of the welfare of others, to expand ones thought to make it universal. Thus, Havan is meant for one’s internal realization and growth.
Only when a person becomes wise with pure and universal thought he/she can perform Yajna (Yagya).
While Yagna is considered to be the naval point that connects and binds the entire universe. It is a channel that establishes communication between energies present in the entire universe and its beings. Yagya is conducted with larger motives, for the growth of the world, peace, happiness, and abundance for the entire universe. Yagya can also be performed for deities, to enhance their capabilities called ‘Devyajna’ and for the welfare of all beings in the universe, ‘Bhuta Yajna’ is performed. ‘Nriyajya’ is performed for the satisfaction of the hunger of others while ‘Brahma Yajna for the fulfillment of the soul of Rishis and Mahayajna for the welfare of the world.
Havan is a gift to us from our ancestors and from our Dharma which we are not giving much importance to but realizing its significance, the life of humans would be much easier and fulfilled if the rituals are followed properly.