Yajna comes from the Sanksrit root “Yaj” (to sacrifice), is any action that is done with complete selflessness and self-sacrifice, without any desire for the consequence. According to the Taittriya Aranyaka of the Yajur Veda, There are five great Yagnas.
The following are the Five rituals that should be performed regularly.
- Brahma Yajna
- Deva Yajna
- Pitri Yajna
- Atithi Yajna
- Balivaishwa Dev Yajna
The Vedangas, or auxiliary sciences attached to the Vedic literature, define Yajna as follows,
Yajña, sacrifice, is an act by which we surrender something for the sake of the gods. Such an act must rest on a sacred authority (āgama), and serve for man’s salvation (śreyortha). The nature of the gift is of less importance. It may be cake (puroḍāśa), pulse (karu), mixed milk (sāṃnāyya), the juice of soma-plant (soma), etc; nay, the smallest offerings of butter, flour, and milk may serve for the purpose of sacrifice.
— Apastamba Yajna Paribhasa-sutras 1.1