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What is yajna?

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Yajna is the ritual of sacrifice which gives the meaning to a prayer, praise or worship. Derived from the practice of Vedic times, it is done to make the divine deities and the God happy. Vedic yajna is usually performed by a priest or an expert astrologer by reciting or singing Vedic verses. The essential element in the Yajna is the sacrificial fire (also called Agni) into which oblations are poured along with mantra recital, as everything that is offered into the divine fire is believed to reach God instantly.

Generally, there is one or three fires in the 'kund' which is kept in the centre of ground and different items are offered into the fire as oblations in the yajna which may include ghee, milk, grains or soma. The duration of a typical yajna depends on the type. While some last only a few minutes, others may take hours, days and even years to complete with Vedic priests regularly reciting mantras and sholkas. Some yajnas are performed publically, others are done privately with only a few number of people in attendance. Yajna is also considered auspicious from the social point of view as well as it helps to clean the environment.