Most of us have either heard about Yajna or have participated in it. Do you want to know the gist of it?
A Yajna is performed with a specific purpose, and it involves three main aspects: Mantra, Tantra and Yantra. Let’s take any regular task. The task has a purpose and it requires three things: tools, process and intelligence. The intelligence puts the tools and process that achieves the goal of the task.
The purpose of a Yajna is to ‘serve God out of gratitude and respect’ or ‘put in a request with God or one of his administrative forces (the devathas) to satiate a specific desire’. The three aspects of the Yajna are defined as:
Yantra – the set of tools required to perform the Yajna
Tantra – the process defined in the vedas, that one must follow to perform a Yajna
Mantra – enables yantra to work in accordance with the purpose (sankalpam) of the Yajna.
For a Yajna performed with the purpose of consecrating Deities in a temple (pra:na prathishta), the purpose is to invite God to accept a form that is accessible to us for daily worship and service. Here, the process (Tantra) involves inviting five elements of nature and devathas (the administrative forces of God) to the place where Yajna is being performed.
Kundam hosts Fire (agni)
Mandalam hosts Space (akaash)
Kumbham hosts Water (jal)
Bimbam hosts Earth (pruthvi)
Mantra hosts Air (vaayu)
One may wonder why we can’t see the invited devathas in the Yajna?
They are not visible to the sensory organ, eye. Krushna said, ‘divyam dadaati ey chakshuhu…’ It requires a heart that accepts reality, which is not always perceivable through senses but is perceivable through heart simply by trusting in sastra (vedas).
It involves chanting of Vedic hymns and prayers sung by devotees as a mark of respect and love for God.
The tools (Yantra) involve the mantap, the logs of wood, ghee, wooden long spoons etc.
The Yajna performed during such Pra:na prathishta event involves chanting of specific mantras. The mantras seek the divine union of the invited life force hosted in kundam with that in mandalam, and then with that in kumbham and finally with that in bimbam. The bimbam, in the mean time goes through a process of sanctification where they are placed in several sorts of material over a span of three to five nights. The scholars finally chant mantras that invite God to accept the bimbam as His form. The Kumbha prokshana event on the final day involves the sprinkling of this sanctified energy (in the form of water) hosted in kumbham onto the bimbam. The same sanctified water is later sprinkled on sudarsana chakra on the vimana of the temple and all the devotees assembled.
This entire process is aimed at inviting God to accept the sanctified bimbam as His form, so we can all access and connect with the Supreme power and serve Him. This sanctified bimbam is what we see as archa: vigraha in a temple.
One may wonder why doesn’t God (as archa: vigraha) respond the way we want?
When you are faithful, sincere, and committed to God, you will understand His response. The most accessible and recommended form of God is the Archa: Vigraha form. That is why temples are to be seen as the centres of society. Unable to connect to that Supreme power who is so accessible to us in the form of Archa: Vigraha (the Deity) is our inability resulting from arrogance, and not His fault.
Yajna is a beautiful way of establishing connection with the Supreme power and the devathas with the help of Vedic mantras, chanted by the revered priests and scholars.
One may wonder, I don’t know any Vedic mantras, how do I connect with God?
God who is in the temple is also accessible to each one of us at our own home too as a smaller vigraha. We don’t need to use any complex mantras at our home. We can speak in our own simple language with the vigraha. Your heart will understand God’s response, just trust in Him. The purpose of God’s presence in a temple is for the benefit of the society, and the purpose of God’s presence in our home is exclusively for us!
– From the discourse of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami – Pra:na Prathishta event at Biratnagar Lakshmi Narayana Temple – 31st March 2019
Sriman Krishnamacharya Swami is an honourable and erudite Vedic scholar of both sanskrit and Dravidian literature. His benevolence, his deep understanding of sampradayam, his utmost love and devotion towards God, and his lifestyle are all exemplary. He was the key person in creating the beautiful atmosphere where devotees joined in inviting God’s presence as Lakshmi Narayana at Biratnagar temple.