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Yajna

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                The sacrificial fire is central to all vedic ritual. It is usually lit inside a fire altar made of bricks and/or mud to exacting specifications. The construction of fire altars involved a high level of geometrical and mathematical knowledge.Yajnas of increasing levels of complexity have an increasing number of fire altars.


            The word "yajna" is a noun derived from the sanskrit verb root "yaj", which is usually translated as "to sacrifice". The basis of yajna is the pouring of food offerings or oblations into Agni, the sacrificial fire. The mythological explanation set forth by the post-vedic literature is that Agni receives the oblations poured into him, and carries them to the celestials for whom the oblations are intended.

 

               Yajnas may be broadly classified into domestic [grhya] and public [shrauta ie "of the shruti (veda)"]. The shrauta sacrifices may themselves be classified into Soma sacrifices [soma yajna] and non-Soma sacrifices [haviryajna]. The Soma sacrifices are special in that they involve the purchase, extraction and consumption of the ancient hallucinogen, Soma. The different yajnas and their classification is given below: There are numerous sacrifices other than those listed. However this list is quite representative of all yajnas because the others are either variations of the above, or are highly specialized (and therefore, rare) sacrifices (eg. Rajasuya; Ashvamedha).

 

DOMESTIC SACRIFICES (Graha yagna)

 

    Ashtaka
Parvana
Shraddha
SravaNi
Agrahayani
Chaitre
Ashvayaji

 

PUBLIC SACRIFICES  [Shrauta Yajna]

 

    1.  HAVIR YAJNA

 

    Agnyadheya
Agnihotra
Darshapaurnamasya
Chaturmasya
Agrayaneshti
Niruudha pashubandha
Sautramani

 

   2. SOMA YAJNA

 

    Agnishtoma
Atyagnishtoma
Ukthya
Shodashi
Atirathra
Aptoryama
Agnichayana
Vajapeya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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