9. Āyāmatham: Now take two long dharba grasses and make a knot above the tips of the grasses. This is called ayāmatham. Take water from bigger pañcapātra and purify ayāmatham. By holding ayāmatham with thumb and ring fingers of the right palm, touch all the six articles placed in the pātrasādanam beginning from western side (from our side) to the eastern side. Untie the knot and place ayāmatham in the south west side.

10. Now take 12 dharba grasses and place on the western side (opposite to us), their tips facing north; they should be placed outside the paristīrṇa. Now take prokṣaṇīpātraṁ and place it on the top of these 12 dharba grasses. Now put some akṣata and pour some water from the bigger pañcapātra into prokṣaṇīpātraṁ.

Care should be taken to kindle the fire in the homa kuṇḍa during these processes. Once agni is lighted, it is not advisable to light it again.

11. Now take praṇītāpātraṁ and keep it in front of our seat. Add akṣata and pour some water from the bigger pañcapātra. Take two dharba grasses and make a knot in the middle. Now place this knot inside praṇītāpātraṁ and move dharba grasses inside east to west three times. Now take this dharba and place it down. Take the praṇītāpātraṁ till the tip of the nose and place it on the north above the pātrasādanam (12 dharbas in the northern side) and recite the following mantra.

ॐ वरुणाय नमः॥ सकलाराधनैः स्वर्चितम्॥

om varuṇāya namaḥ || sakalārādhanaiḥ svarcitam ||

After reciting the mantra cover praṇītāpātraṁ with 8 dharbas and tops these dharbas should be facing east.

12. Brahmā āvahanam: If the homa is done by the self, one can mentally invoke Brahmā by reciting this mantra. Alternatively a kūrca (a bundle of dharba grass) can be done and a knot be made a few inches above the tips and place this on the southern side. This kūrca can be considered as Brahmā. Take some akṣata and flowers and recite the following mantra.

अस्मिन् होम कर्मणि ब्रह्माणम् त्वां वृणे।

ब्रह्मणे नमः। सकलाराधनैः स्वर्चितम्॥

asmin homa karmaṇi brahmāṇam tvāṁ vṛṇe |

brahmaṇe namaḥ | sakalārādhanaiḥ svarcitam ||

(Meaning: I submit to you that you should remain as Brahmā for this homa. I pay my obeisance to you. Please conduct this homa auspiciously in all respects.)

After reciting the above mantra, place akṣata and flowers on the kūrca representing Brahmā.

13. Take ājyapātra and keep this in front.  Ghee should be in melted form and should not be melted on homa fire. Move ājyapātra towards north. Now take two dharba grasses as mentioned in 10 above and place the knotted portion inside ājyapātra*. Now pour ghee through the knot. Now take two tips (may be half an inch height) of dharba grasses and put them into the ājyapātra. Take the remaining portions of these two dharba grasses, do prokṣaṇa using water from bigger pañcapātra and keep it on the flame in the homa kuṇḍa and rotate it three times clock wise over ājyapātra. Aftr doing this, place these dharba grasses on the northern side. Now move the knotted dharba grasses* inside ājyapātra towards east and west three times and unknot these dhrbas and put them into homa fire gradually. While doing so, tips should be facing east.

14. Now take two dharvi-s, show them on the fire in the homa kuṇḍa. Take two dharba-s@ and touch the two dharvi-s with the tips of the dharbas beginning from the handle side to the tip. Repeat this process three times. Place the dharvi-s in front us (bigger one on our left and smaller one on the right). Now do prokṣaṇa on the dharvi-s using water from bigger pañcapātra. Again take some water from bigger pañcapātra and touch the two dharba-s@ and place these dharba-s into the fire.

15. Pariṣecana: Take water from bigger pañcapātra in the right palm and pour water around the homa kuṇḍa (outside the homa kuṇḍa). While doing so, recite the following mantras

Begin from west and end in east on the southern side - अदिते अनुमन्यस्व। adite anumanyasva |

From south to north on the western side - अनुमते अनुमन्यस्व। anumate anumanyasva |

From west to east on the northern side - सरस्वते अनुमन्यस्व। sarasvate anumanyasva |

Begin from north west and end at north west thereby making a full circle - देवसवितः प्रसूव॥devasavitaḥ prasūva ||

(The above is a prayer is addressed seeking permission to Aditi, Anumati and Sarasvati Devi-s. The last one is seeking grace from Savitṛ (stimulator; or this could refer to Tvaṣṭṛ, the heavenly builder).

16. Invoking Agni in the middle of the homa kuṇḍa:

Take some flowers and akṣata in both the hands and recite the following mantra.

चत्वारि शृंगा त्रयो अस्य पादा द्वे शीर्षे सप्त हस्तासो अस्य। त्रिधा बद्धो वृषभो रोरवीति महो देवो मर्त्यागुं आ विवेश॥ एष हि देवः प्रदिशोऽनु सर्वाः पूर्वो हि जातः स उ गर्भे अन्तः। स विजायमानः  स जनिष्यमाणः प्रत्यङमुखास्तिष्ठति विश्वतोमुखः॥

प्राङमुखो देव हे अग्ने अभिमुखो भव॥

catvāri śṛṁgā trayo asya pādā dve śīrṣe sapta hastāso asya | tridhā baddho vṛṣabho roravīti maho devo martyāguṁ ā viveśa || eṣa hi devaḥ pradiśo'nu sarvāḥ pūrvo hi jātaḥ sa u garbhe antaḥ | sa vijāyamānaḥ  sa janiṣyamāṇaḥ pratyaṅamukhāstiṣṭhati viśvatomukhaḥ ||

prāṅamukho deva he agne abhimukho bhava ||

Place the flowers in the middle of the homa kuṇḍa and hold the palms together and pray to Agni.

17. Agni alaṁkarana:

This is preparing and decorating the agni for homa. Mainly this is about worshiping eight cardinal deities. On the sides of the homa kuṇḍa apply sandal paste and kumkum. Then take akṣata and flowers and after reciting the mantra place the flowers on the respective cardinal directions. We have to begin from east.

East - इन्द्राय नमः। indrāya namaḥ |

South East - अग्नये नमः। agnaye namaḥ |

South - यमाय नमः। yamāya namaḥ |

South West - निरृतये नमः। nirṛtaye namaḥ |

West - वरुणाय नमः। varuṇāya namaḥ |

North West - वायवे नमः। vāyave namaḥ |

North - सोमाय नमः। somāya namaḥ |

North East - ईशानाय नमः। īśānāya namaḥ |

In the middle of homa kuṇḍa - अग्नये नमः। agnaye namaḥ |

Take akṣata and put them on the self

On the self - आत्मने नमः। ātmane namaḥ |

Take akṣata put them on those who are present during homa ritual.

सर्वेभ्यो ब्राह्मणेभ्यो नमः॥ sarvebhyo brāhmaṇebhyo namaḥ ||

18. What to do with idhmam:

Now take the bundle of samidh-s containing 21 numbers. Place two bigger ones inside the homa kuṇḍa on the western side. They should be placed in vertical position, inside the homa kuṇḍa. These two are known āhāra samidh. Take another three samidh-s and place them in horizontal positions on all three sides except east. They are called paridhi (an enclosure, fence, wall, protection) and are known as madhyama, dakṣiṇa, uttara. Now we have 16. Take one away and keep this on the northern side. This will be used at the end (upasthāna – reaching the deity). Now we have 15.

19. First āhuti – (आहुति) to Brahmā:

Take 15 samidh-s and dip one end into the ājyapātra (with ghee) and by reciting this mantra put them into the middle of homa fire. Take ghee in the small dharvi and offer this oblation from north east to south west. While offering this oblation, ghee should be pouring continuously without break (but practically this may not be possible; as far as possible, care should be taken to follow this).

अस्मिन् होमकर्मणि ब्रह्मन् इद्म-मादास्ये।

स्वाहा॥ प्रजापतये इदं न मम॥

asmin homakarmaṇi brahman idma-mādāsye |

svāhā || prajāpataye idaṁ na mama ||

After doing this, touch all the three idhmam-s

20. Oblation to Indra:

Now put down the small dharvi and take the bigger one. Take ghee in this dharvi. Begin the oblation from north west point to the south east point inside the homa kuṇḍa. This oblation should also be poured continuously as explained above.

इन्द्राये इदं न मम॥  indrāye idaṁ na mama ||

21. Ājyabhāga: Two oblations, one meant for Agni and another for Soma (soma represents essence of soma plant, purified with water and added with ghee and some flour for fermentation. This is offered to gods as oblations; instead of this, oblation with ghee is done now.)

Place the bigger dharvi down and take the smaller dharvi and take ghee for oblations.

Oblation to Agni: This oblation is to be done at a point little away from the north east (in the mid point between the central point and the north east point).

अग्नये स्वाहा। अग्नये इदं न मम॥ agnaye svāhā | agnaye idaṁ na mama ||

Oblation to Soma: This oblation is to be done at a point little away from the south east (in the mid point between the central point and the south east point).

सोमाय स्वाहा। सोमाये इदं न मम॥ somāya svāhā | somāye idaṁ na mama ||

22. Prāyaścitta प्रायश्चित्त  āhuti:

This is done to seek pardon for any mistakes that happened unknowingly from the point of saṁkalpa till this point. Prāyaścitta means atonement. Here oblation is again offered to Brahmā. This oblation also is to be done with smaller dharvi.

संकल्पप्रभृति एतत्क्षण्पर्यन्तं मध्ये संभावित समस्तदोष प्रायश्चित्तार्थं सर्वप्रायश्चित्तं होष्यामि॥

ॐ भूर्भुवस्सुवः स्वाहा॥ प्राजापतये इदं न मम॥

saṁkalpaprabhṛti etatkṣaṇparyantaṁ madhye saṁbhāvita samastadoṣa prāyaścittārthaṁ sarvaprāyaścittaṁ hoṣyāmi ||

om bhūrbhuvassuvaḥ svāhā || prājāpataye idaṁ na mama ||

With this, preliminary homa procedure is concluded. This is called pūrvāṅga or preparatory part. Next comes individual homa for different gods such as Gaṇapati, navagraha, etc. After completing homa for a particular god, for example Gaṇapati homa, uttarāṅga oblations are done, which includes jayādihoma (जयादिहोम) which consists of about 60 oblations to different gods. After jayādihoma is concluded, further procedures are there to conclude the homa ritual.

(to be continued)