Introduction:

This series covers simple homa procedure that can be done individually at home. This is the normal procedure adopted while performing homa as per Vaidika method. There is another procedure called Tantric method. Vaidika method means relating to the Veda, derived from or conformable to the Veda or prescribed in the Veda. There may be variations from what is described here.

1. Requirements:

1. Very small quantity of rice flour

2. Homa kuṇḍa

4. Small quantity of sand to spread on homa kuṇḍa

3. Bunches of dharba grasses (normal requirement is 108)

4. Two wooden darvi-s (darvi means wooden ladle); out of which one should be bigger than the other

5. A cup to hold homa dravya (this cup is called ājyapātra), the materials used for oblations. Main ingredient will always be ghee (clarified butter). Sometimes, according to the deity concerned, there will be additions to ghee.

6. Pañcapātra and uttaraṇi. This should be always two in numbers. One is meant for the deity for whom oblations are offered and another for the self to do ācamana. Each of these pañcapātra-s should have a small cup by their sides to pour water from pañcapātra using uttaraṇi.

7. Small broken wooden pieces according to the size of the homa kuṇḍa. This is required in order to maintain the fire in the homa kuṇḍa till the entire homa procedure is completed.

8. Samidh (समिध्). Samidh is firewood, fuel, a log of wood, faggot, etc. Generally palāśa tree wood is used.

9. Sandal paste, kumkum and turmeric powder.

10. Akṣata in a cup. Take plain rice in a cup, add a little turmeric powder and add half uttaraṇi water. Mix them and this is akṣata.

11. Flowers both threaded and lose.

12. Two cups known as prokṣaṇīpātraṁ and praṇītāpātraṁ (प्रोक्षणीपात्रं, प्रणीतापात्रं)

13. One more cup to put one drop of homa dravya after offering oblations. (This is to be strictly followed in the case of prāṇapratiṣṭhā and puraścaraṇa homas).

14. Enough water and towels to dry hands.

15. A hand fan (this is to kindle the fire; one should not blow directly into the homa fire.)

16. Powdered condiments such as cardamom, clove, edible camphor, saffron, etc.

17. Naivedya items, fruits, jaggery (small piece for offering to Varuṇa; he is fond of jaggery)

2. Ācamanam:

Water should be taken from small pañcapātra.

अच्युताय नमः। acyutāya namaḥ |

अनन्तात नमः। anantāta namaḥ |

गोविन्दाय नमः॥ govindāya namaḥ ||

Ācamana is a procedure where water is taken in the right palm, which is sipped after reciting mantras. This is also known as mahāvyādhi praśamanī nāma trayī vidyā (महाव्याधि प्रशमनी नाम त्रयी विध्या). This means by swallowing water with mantras, it cures all types of illness, both physical and mental. While taking water in the palm, little finger and thumb should not be folded and other fingers should be slightly folded inwards.

3. Gaṇapati dhyānam:

Wear pavitra now. Pavitra is made out of two dharba grasses cut to the size measuring from tip of thumb to tip of little finger. This is worn on the right hand ring finger after washing it with water from bigger pañcapātra. When this is worn, ācamana should not be done. When ācamana is prescribed, this should be removed and placed on the right ear (ocean is said to be there) and after ācamana is over, right palm is to be washed and dried with a towel and thereafter pavitra is to worn back.

शुक्लांबरधरं विष्णुं शसिवर्णं चतुर्भुजम्।

प्रसन्नवदनं ध्यायेत् सर्वविग्नोप शान्तये॥

śuklāṁbaradharaṁ viṣṇuṁ śasivarṇaṁ caturbhujam |

prasannavadanaṁ dhyāyet sarvavignopa śāntaye ||

(Meaning: Eternally present, wearing white garments, shining like the moon, having four hands, whose face is full of Bliss, I worship you to remove all the obstacles (while performing this pūjā.)
While reciting this mantra, one should close all the fingers in both the palms (knuckles) and cuff the sides of the forehead.  This increases the blood flow to the brain. There are certain nāḍi-s on both sides of the forehead and while slightly cuffing these places with fists.

4. Prāṇāyāmaḥ प्राणायामः

Fold index and middle fingers of the right palm. Use the little finger and the ring finger to close the left nostrils and the thumb to close the right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril, hold for a few seconds and exhale through the right nostril. This is one round of prāṇāyāma. Thus one should perform three rounds of the following Brahmagāyatrī mantra.

ॐ भूः। ॐ भुवः। ॐ सुवः। ॐ महः। ॐ जनः। ॐ तपः। ॐ सत्यम्॥

ॐ तत् सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि ।

धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्॥

ओमापो-ज्योती-रसोऽमृतं-ब्रह्म भूर्भुवस्सुवरोम्॥

om bhūḥ| om bhuvaḥ| om suvaḥ| om mahaḥ| om janaḥ| om tapaḥ| om satyam ||

om tat saviturvareṇyaṁ bhargo devasya dhīmahi  |

dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt ||

omāpo-jyotī-raso'mṛtaṁ-brahma bhūrbhuvassuvarom ||

(Meaning: All the seven worlds are ॐ. We meditate on Brahman in the form of Light, who makes us to perform different actions. ॐ is water, light and essence. Essence of food that is given by the Earth, prāṇa, which is important for our existence, the vastness of the sky and three vyāhṛti-s bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ and suvaḥ which represent mind, intellect and ego are also ॐ.)

5. Vigneśvara (Ganeśa) pūjā:

i) saṁkalapam

ममोपात्त समस्त दुरितक्षयद्वारा श्रीपरमेश्वर प्रीत्यर्थं करिश्यमानसय कर्मणः निर्विग्नेन परिसमाप्त्यर्थं आदौ विघ्नेश्वर पूजां करिष्ये॥

mamopātta samasta duritakṣayadvārā śrīparameśvara prītyarthaṁ kariśyamānasaya karmaṇaḥ nirvignena parisamāptyarthaṁ ādau vighneśvara pūjāṁ kariṣye ||

ii) Gaṇeśa āvahana:

अस्मिन् हरिद्राबिम्भे श्री महागणपति ध्यायामि। आवाहयामि ॥

आसनं ।पाद्यं। अर्घ्यं।स्नपयामि।आचमनीयं।वस्त्रं।गन्धान् धारयामि। पुष्पैः पूजयामि॥

asmin haridrābimbhe śrī mahāgaṇapati dhyāyāmi | āvāhayāmi ॥

āsanaṁ | pādyaṁ | arghyaṁ | snapayāmi | ācamanīyaṁ | gandhān dhārayāmi | puṣpaiḥ pūjayāmi ||

iii) Arcana: (only flowers to be offered)

ॐ सुमुखाय नमः। एकदन्ताय नमः। कपिलाय नमः।  गजकर्णकाय  नमः। लम्बोदराय नमः। विकटाय नमः। विग्नराजाय नमः। विनायकाय नमः। धूमकेतवे नमः। गणाध्यक्षाय नमः। फालचन्द्राय नमः गजाननाय नमः। वक्रतुण्डाय नमः।  शूर्पकर्णाय नमः। हेरम्बाय नमः। स्कन्दपूर्वजाय नमः॥

om sumukhāya namaḥ | ekadantāya namaḥ | kapilāya namaḥ |  gajakarṇakāya  namaḥ | lambodarāya namaḥ | vikaṭāya namaḥ | vignarājāya namaḥ | vināyakāya namaḥ dhūmaketave namaḥ | gaṇādhyakṣāya namaḥ | phālacandrāya namaḥ | gajānanāya namaḥ | vakratuṇḍāya namaḥ |  śūrpakarṇāya namaḥ | herambāya namaḥ | skandapūrvajāya namaḥ ||

iv) Upacāra-s:

dhūpa, dipārādhana, naivedya and nīrājana.

v) Gaṇeśa gāyatrī:

तत्पुरुषाय विद्महे वक्रतुण्डाय धीमहि।

तन्नो दन्तिः प्रचोदयात्॥

tatpuruṣāya vidmahe vakratuṇḍāya dhīmahi |

tanno dantiḥ pracodayāt ||

vi) Prayer:

वक्रदुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटि समप्रभ। निर्विग्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा॥

vakraduṇḍa mahākāya sūryakoṭi samaprabha | nirvignaṁ kuru me deva sarvakāryeṣu sarvadā ||

(Meaning: O Ganeśa, the one with a twisted trunk and a mighty body, one who has brilliance of infinite number of suns, my Lord, always make all my endeavours free of obstacles.)

6. Main saṁkalapam or homa saṁkalapam:

(This saṁkalapam is based on navāvaraṇa pūjā. This saṁkalapa is taken for the sake of convenience, and to avoid any confusions).

Take some flowers in the left palm and place right palm over this and recite the following mantra

शुभे शोभ्ने मुहूर्ते आद्यब्रह्मणः द्वीतीय-परार्धे श्वेतेवराहकल्पे वैवस्वतमन्वन्तरे अष्टाविंशतितमे कलियुगे प्रथमेपादे जम्बूत्द्वीपे** ललितानाम वर्षे, ललितानाम खण्डे, अस्मिन् वर्तमाने व्यवहारिके ललितानाम संवत्सरे, ललितानाम अयेने, ललितानाम ऋतौ, ललितानाम मासे, ललितानाम पक्षे, ललितानाम तिथौ, ललितानाम वासरयुक्तायां, ललितानाम नक्षत्रयुक्तायाम्, शुभयोग शुभकरण सकलविशेषण विशिष्टायां अस्यां ललितानाम शुभतिथौ ममोपात्त समस्त दुरितक्षयद्वार श्री परमेश्वरप्रीत्यर्थं अस्माकं क्षेमस्थैर्य वीर्यविजय आयुरारोग्य ऐश्वर्य अबिवृद्ध्यर्थं समस्त मङ्गल अवाप्त्यर्थं सम्स्त दुरितोपशान्त्यर्थं …….. अनुग्रह प्रसाद सिद्ध्यर्थे …….होमं करिष्ये॥

śubhe śobhne muhūrte ādyabrahmaṇaḥ dvītīya-parārdhe śvetevarāhakalpe vaivasvatamanvantare aṣṭāviṁśatitame kaliyuge prathamepāde lalitānāma dvīpe lalitānāma varṣe, lalitānāma khaṇḍe, asmin vartamāne vyavahārike lalitānāma saṁvatsare, lalitānāma ayene, lalitānāma ṛtau, lalitānāma māse, lalitānāma pakṣe, lalitānāma tithau, lalitānāma vāsarayuktāyāṁ, lalitānāma nakṣatrayuktāyām, śubhayoga śubhakaraṇa sakalaviśeṣaṇa viśiṣṭāyāṁ asyāṁ lalitānāma śubhatithau mamopātta samasta duritakṣayadvāra śrī parameśvaraprītyarthaṁ asmākaṁ kṣemasthairya vīryavijaya āyurārogya aiśvarya abivṛddhyarthaṁ samasta maṅgala avāptyarthaṁ samsta duritopaśāntyarthaṁ ……. anugraha prasāda siddhyarthe ……….homaṁ kariṣye ||

(In the dotted lines name of the god for whom oblations are made and the name of the homa are to be filled. For example, if it is Gaṇapati homa, Mahāgaṇapati and Gaṇapati homā are to used.)

Now put the flowers down.

अप उपस्पृश्य॥ apa upaspṛśya ||  (wash both the palms with water from small pañcapātra and dry both the palms)

Now move turmeric Gaṇapati slightly towards north.

7. Varuṇa Pūjā:

Take bigger pañcapātra and pour water and mix powdered condiments. Apply sandal paste and kumkum on all the four sides of the vessel. Vessel should always be based on a plate. By closing the top of the pañcapātra, recite the following mantra. This is for purification of water in the pañcapātra. This is for invoking Varuṇa

कलशस्य मुखे विष्णुः कण्ठे रुद्रः समाश्रितः।

मूले तत्र स्थितो ब्रह्मा मध्ये मातृगणाः स्मृताः॥

कुक्षौ तु सागराः सर्वे सप्तद्वीपा वसुन्धरा।

ऋग्वेदोऽथ यजुर्वेदः सामवेदोऽप्यथर्वणः॥

अङ्गैश्च सहिताः सर्वे कलशांबुसमाश्रिताः।

आयङ्तु देवी-पूजार्थं दुरितक्षय-कारकाः॥

गङ्गे च यमुने चैव गोदावरि सरस्वति।

नर्मदे  सिन्धु कावेरि जलेस्मिन् सन्निधिं कुरु॥

kalaśasya mukhe viṣṇuḥ kaṇṭhe rudraḥ samāśritaḥ |

mūle tatra sthito brahmā madhye mātṛgaṇāḥ smṛtāḥ ||

kukṣau tu sāgarāḥ sarve saptadvīpā vasundharā |

ṛgvedo'tha yajurvedaḥ sāmavedo'pyatharvaṇaḥ ||

aṅgaiśca sahitāḥ sarve kalaśāṁbusamāśritāḥ |

āyaṅtu devī-pūjārthaṁ duritakṣaya-kārakāḥ ||

gaṅge ca yamune caiva godāvari sarasvati |

narmade  sindhu kāveri jalesmin sannidhiṁ kuru ||

(Meaning: Mouth of this vessel is Viṣṇu, its neck is Rudra and its base is Brahmā. In the centre all the akṣara-s reside.  All the oceans are within, along with the seven continents. Four Vedas     together with all their branches dwell within this water. Holy rivers Gaṅga, Yamunā, Godāvarī, Sarasvatī, Narmadā, Sindhu and Kāveri are present in these waters.)

Now take away the right palm from pañcapātra and do the following upacāra-s:

वरुणाय नमः॥ आसनं ।पाद्यं। अर्घ्यं । स्नपयामि । आचमनीयं । वस्त्रं । गन्धान् धारयामि । पुष्पैः पूजयामि॥

Take flowers and do the following arcane by offering flowers at the base of the pañcapātra.

varuṇāya namaḥ || āsanaṁ | pādyaṁ | arghyaṁ | snapayāmi | ācamanīyaṁ | gandhān dhārayāmi | puṣpaiḥ pūjayāmi ||

वरुणाय नमः। प्रचेतसे नमः। सुरूपिणे नमः। अपाम्पतये नमः। मगरवाहनाय नमः। जलाधिपतये नमः। पाशहस्ताय नमः। वरुणाय नमः।

नानाविध पत्रपुष्पाणि समर्पयामि ॥

varuṇāya namaḥ | pracetase namaḥ | surūpiṇe namaḥ | apāmpataye namaḥ | magaravāhanāya namaḥ | jalādhipataye namaḥ | pāśahastāya namaḥ | varuṇāya namaḥ |

nānāvidha patrapuṣpāṇi samarpayāmi ||

dhūpa, dipārādhana, naivedya* and nīrājana.

*Jaggery can be offered as naivedya, if possible. In Sanskrit jaggery is known as guḍa.

Now take some water from this pañcapātra and pour a few drops into the small pañcapātra used for self. Then sprinkle this water all over the place and on all the materials that are kept for homa.

Now take some water and sprinkle on the homa kuṇḍa by reciting the following mantra

आपोहिष्टा मयो भुवः। तान ऊर्जे दधातन। महे रणाय चक्षसे। यो वः शिवतमो रसः। तस्य भाजयतेह नः। उशतीरिव मातरः।तस्मा अरं गमाम वः। यस्य क्षयाय जिन्वत। आपो जनयया च नः। ॐ भूर्बुवस्सुवः॥

āpohiṣṭā mayo bhuvaḥ | tāna ūrje dadhātana | mahe raṇāya cakṣase | yo vaḥ śivatamo rasaḥ | tasya bhājayateha naḥ | uśatīriva mātaraḥ |tasmā araṁ gamāma vaḥ | yasya kṣayāya jinvata | āpo janayayā ca naḥ | om bhūrbuvassuvaḥ ||

(Meaning: You the deities of water are the cause of our happiness. Please nourish us with the divine vision which brings glory and loveliness. Please make us worthy of imbibing the auspicious bliss like a mother showering her love on her children. We approach you to grace us with perpetual bliss, as you are the embodiment of bliss. . Bestow on us the boon of a next life endowed with supreme knowledge.)

8. Homa procedure – preparatory:

1. In the place where homa is to be performed, draw a square, preferably using rice flour.

2. Now place the homa kuṇḍa on this.

3. It would be ideal to spread some sand on the surface of homa kuṇḍa.

4. Take two dharba grasses (kuśa grass) and draw three parallel lines beginning from west and ending in the east and again another three parallel lines starting from south and ending in north. This is shown in the image below. Touch right fingers in water (ātma pañcapātra), touch the dharba grasses used above and then put away these grasses in the direction of south west and again touch the water.

5. Keep wooden sticks and light the sticks using camphor piece by reciting “भूर्बुवस्सुवरोम्

Bhūrbuvassuvarom” This is known as agni pratiṣṭha (अग्नि प्रतिष्ठ). Now add more wooden sticks and make the fire burn well. Samidh as mentioned in 8 above need not be used here.

6. Now paristīrṇa (परिस्तीर्ण) is to be done around the homa kuṇḍa with dharba grass. For this we need four sets of 16 dharba grasses. We have to place these four sets as shown below. First start from east which is marked as 1 in the image and the directions in which the tips are to be placed are shown as arrow marks. The tips should be facing only east and north. Paristīrṇa in the south should be on the top of paristīrṇa in the west and paristīrṇa in the north should be below the paristīrṇa in the west. Nothing should be kept within paristīrṇa, except homa kuṇḍa and paridhi (paridhi consists of three samidh-s and forms part of idmam, discussed later. 

7. Pātrasādanam: Outside the paristīrṇa on the northern side (to our left), spread 12 dharba grass and place the following beginning from the western side small dharvi and ājyapātra (vessel for ghee); these two should be in touch with each other. Then place prokṣaṇīpātraṁ and praṇītāpātraṁ and they should be touching each other. After this bigger dharvi and idhmam and these both should touch each other. Idhmam is a bundle of 21 samidh-s. All these 21 samidh-s should be tied together. Out of this 21, three are meant for paridhi, two are meant for food for fire, 15 for homa and one for upasthāna (presence, proximity, nearness) and this will be discussed later. Pātrasādanam will be like this.

(to be continued)