The above guide lines apart, following are the essential duties of a Brahmana as in Paraashara Smriti:
Shantkarmaabhirou nityam Devaatithi pujakah, Huta sheshaantu bhungagno Brahmano naavaseedati/ Sandhyaa snaanam japo homo Devataanamcha pujanam, Vishwa Devaatithi yaamcha shatkarmaani diney diney/(Regular observance of six essential duties every day, besides Deva Puja and Atithi Seva and eating Yagna Sesha or the left overs of Yagnas would pull down a Brahmana to descend to lower worlds. The six duties are specified as Sandhya Vandana, atleast twice a day, Snaana that precedes ‘Bahyaantara Shuchi’ or Cleanliness of the body and mind, Japa, Homa, Devaarchana or Deva Puja, Atithi Seva or paying respects and attention to the guests who are already familiar or unknown especially the unknown. On waking up at Brahma Muhurta or four ghadias before Sun Rise, Devata Smrarana; prathama darshana of Shrotrias, cows, Agni, and avoidance of sinners, digambaras, and beggars; Ablutions with yagnopa -veeta worn around the left ear; praatah snaana as bathing in the morning absolves the evil effects of bad thoughts, deeds and dreams in the bed; recitals of Jala devata/ Aaruna mantras in the course of the bathing; pratah snaanantara Deva Rishi Pitru Tarpana; Vastra dharana; and Vibhudi-Gandha-Kumkuma dharana on the forehead. Now, a digression is made on ‘Snaanas’ before detailing Sandhya Vadana karya.
Snaana Prakarana: Snaanaani pancha punyaa vikeerintaani manishibhihi, Agneyam vaarunam Braahmam Vaayavyam divyamevacha/ Agneyam bhasmanaa snaanamavagaahamtu vaarunam, Apohishtheticha Braahmam Vaayavyamgorajsmrutam/ (Maharshis classified punya snaanas in five catogries viz. Agneya, Vaaruna, Braahma, Vayavya and Divya). While performing aachamana before commencing snaana, both head and neck should not be covered nor koupeena is removed, nor also the hair on head kept unpleated and certainly not without yagnopaveeta. After performing snaana or drinking water, or after waking up from sleep or while concluding bhojana or while walking on roads or even while dressing up, one should refrain from sneezing; but if inevitable, the person concerned must perform two achamanas. It is stated that as an alternative to aachamana, one could touch the right ear; the same could be done after spitting, yawning or mouth watering. As the water flows tend to touch Sun rays early inn the mornings, snaanas at that time are stated to purify best but snaanas in the nights, especially around late night are prohibited, excepting if there were a Lunar elcipse. This exception for snaanas at Chandra grahana timings as prescribed is considered as a duty since Vasu-Rudra-Aditya-Devatas would be yearning for ‘Soma Paana’ and hence snaanas are essential after the eclipse. It is further stated that night bathings are approved at Khala Yagna while taking Dhanya home from the agicultural fields, at the Vivaha timings, Sankraanti as sankramana of Chandra takes place, but not otherwise.
Nityam naimittikam kaamyamiti karma tridhaa matam, Tividham taccha vakshyaami grihastyaa–vadharyataam/ ( There are three kinds of Snanas as explained by Veda Vyasa viz. Nitya Naimittika and Kaamya for Grihasthas). Nitya Snaana is the prerequisite of Nitya Karmaacharana viz. Sandhya Vandana, Homa kriya and so on as prescribed. Similarly, the Madhyaahnika and Saayam kaala snanaas are a must to qualify the daily duties. Madhyaahnika snaana especially in running waters is done with kusha-tila-phalas while reciting appropriate mantras is beneficial. Ratri snanas are purpose-less. Brahmana-Kshatriya-Vaishyas need to recite mantras while women need not do so. Veda Vyasa explains in his Smriti: Snaanamabdaivataih kuryaat paavanaishchaapi maarjanam, Mantraih praamstriraayamya Souraishchaarkam vilokayet/ ( Snaanas are better performed with appropriate marjana Mantras like : Apohishthamayo bhuvah ta na oorje dadhatana, Maheranaaya chashase yo vah shivatamorasah, Tasya bhajayateha nah, Usateeriva Matarah, Tasmaa arangama vah yasya bhajayateha nah usateeriva Matarah,Tasmaa arangamaamavah yasya kshayaya jinvatah, Apo janyatah nah/ Om Bhurbhuva -ssuvah/). Vyasa further explains: Tikshthan sthitwaa tu Gayatreem tatgah swadhyaayaaarambhet, Ruchaanyacha Yajushaam Saamnaayaamatharvanangirasaamapi/ Itahasapuraanaam vedopanishidaam Dwijah, Saktyaa samyak pattenithamalpa mantra madhyamalpamapamapyasamaanaat/ (While standing and reciting Gayatri, the dwija at the bath might commence Swadhyaya albeit in parts of the three Vedas!).
There are also standard instructions like Grahana snaana, Pitru Karya snaana, Tirtha Snaana, Snaanas by the touch of Rajaswala, Shava yatra and Smashana visits and so on. Now, Agneya Purana classified Kaamya Snaana, Malaapakarshana Snaana and Kriyaanga Snaana too among the Naimittika Snaanas. Kaamya Snaana in Holy River on Pushya Janma Nakshatra, besides Vyatipaata Vaidhruti Amavasya timings yields the benefit of satisfying seven generations of Pitru Devatas. Chaitra Bahula Chaturdashi Ganga Snana or near in any Sacred river where a Shiva Temple is situated would yield Kailasa Nivasa. Pushkarini Snaana on Kartika Pournami or Prayaga Snaana on Maagha Pournami would wash off all the Sins of the past. Hasta nakshatra yukta Jyeshtha Shuddha Dwadasi Ganga snaana too has similar phala of total sin destruction. Surya grahana on Maagha Shuddha Saptami snaana in the early morning yields Maha Phala. On Chaitra Shukla Ashtami snaana in running flow of any river if coincides with a Wednesday and Punarvasu would bestow Ashwamedha phala. Kartika snaanaas during the entire month to be followed by Japa- homa karyas with purity of heart and faith would destroy the long standing fund of sins for sure. Similarly snaanas during the months coinciding Tula-Makara-Mesha Rashis, daily pratah kala snanaas would yield similar results, especially observing Brahmacharya Vrata. Pratah snaanas during the four month period of Ashadha till Kartika coupled with Anna daana concluding Vishnu Vrata there- after should certainly bestow Vishnu Sayujya. Tila Snaana on any day yields offers fruitful results. Maagha snaanas in Punya Tirthas are highly fulfilling with desires as emphasized in Dharma Shastras and Puranas. Some do’s and don’ts of Malaapakarsha Snaanas are as follows: Abhyanga snaanas or oil baths are prohibited on Sundays as also meat eating on Tuesdays and Fridays, Stree sambhoga on wednesdays are prohibited; Jyotisha Shastra emphasizes that Sundays, Pournami-Amavasya-Chaturdashi-Ashtamis and on Solar Eclipse days, Taila Sparsha and oil baths be avoided unless such baths are tempered with scents or of cooked oils. Tila oil should be always avoided for oil baths.
Sandhyaa Vandana: Sandhya is the intermission of ‘Ahoraatras’or day and night as signified by Sun Rise and Sun Set. Poorvaa Sandhyaa tu Gayatri Savitri madhyaa smritaa, Yaa bhavet paschimaa sandhyaa saa Vigjneyaa Saraswati/ The pre-noon is dominated by Devi Gayatri, noon time by Devi Savitri and the Sun set by Devi Saraswati and hence the respective Goddesses need worship at these times. Gayatri is of blood red complexion, Savitri of pure white Varna and Saraswati of black colour and they represent Brahma-Rudra-Vishnu Swarupas of Paramatma. Meditation of these forms of Almighty is basically through the representation of Aditya: Udyantamastam yantamaadityam/ (Taittiriya Brahmana Upanishad). Broadly speaking the format of Trikaala Sandhya Vandana as as follows: Aachamana, Anga Nyasa- Karanyasa, Dhyaana, Praanayaama, Sankalpa, Prokshana, Aapah Praashanam, Punarmaarjanam, Arghya Pradaanam, Prayaschitta Arghya, Atmaanusandhaanam, Tarpana, Prarthana, Gayatri Sankalpa, Pranaayama, Gayatri Aaavahana: Aayatu varadaa Devi Aksharam, Brahmasammitam Gayatriim chhandasaam Maatedam Brahma Jushaswanah/ Gayatrim avaahayaami Savitrim avahayami Saraswatimavahayami/ Nyasa, Dhyana viz. Muktaa vidruma hema neela dhavalah chhaayair mukhaistryakshanaaih yuktaam Indrakulaa nibaddha ratna makutaam tatwaartha varnaatmikaam, Gaayatreem varadaabhaya ankusha kashaah shubhram kapaalam gadaamchakramathaara vinda yugalam hastairvahanteem bhajey/ Gayatri Mantra: Om bhurbhuvah suvaha saviturvarenyam bhargo devasya dheemahi dhiyo yonah prachodayaat/ The Japa is performed preferably 108 times in the morning, 32 times in the afternoon and 64 times in the evening [ the count of Gayatri Mantra each time to commence from the right ring finger middle (1) to the lower finger portion (2), to continue to the bottom of the little finger (3), to the middle little finger (4), to the top of the little finger (5), to the top portion of the ring finger again (6), then to the top of the middle finger (7), to the top portion of the pointing finger (8), the middle portion of pointing finger (9) and finally to the lower portion of the pointing finger (10)]
[Taittiriya Upanishad offers fourfold explanation of the Mystic Utterances as follows: (I.5.1-4): Bhur bhuvah suvah iti vaa etaas tisro vyaahritayah, taasaam u ha smaitaam chaturthim, Mahaa cha masyah, pravdayate,Maha iti, tad Brahma, sa Aatmaa, anaagaani anya Devataah, Bhur iti vaa ayam lokah, bhuva iti antariksham, suvar iti antariksham, suvar iti asau lokah, maha iti aadityah, aditenna vaa vasarve lokaa maheyante/ ( These are the three utterances viz. Bhuh or this Earth, Bhuvah or the Atmosphere, Suvah or the yonder world, Mahah or the Sun by whom Brahman is known and the latter’s limbs are the various manifestations of Devas). Bhur iti vaa Agnih, bhuva iti vaayuh, suvar iti Adityah, Maha iti chandramasaa vaa va sarvaani jyotishmi maheeyantey/ (Bhuh is Agni, Bhuva is Vaayu, Suvah is Aditya, Mahah is Chandra, and by Chandra indeed all the Luminaries shine magnificently); Bhur iti vaa Ruchaah, Bhuva iti Vaayuh, Suvar iti Adityah, Maha iti Brahma, Brahmanaa vaa va Sarve Veda mahiyante/ (Bhu is Rig Veda verses, Bhuvah is Saama chants, Suvah are the Yajus formulas and Mahah is Brahman by whom all Vedas become outstanding); Bhur iti vai praanah, Bhuva iti apaanah, Suvar iti vyaanah, Maha iti annam, Annena vaava sarve praana maheeyantey/( Bhuh is inbreath, Bhuvah is outbreath, Suvah is diffused breath, Maha is food, and by Food indeed all the vital breaths become grand)]
Pranaayama again, followed by Gayatri upasthaana sankalpa as applicable to the morning viz. Mitrasya charshani dhrutah shravo Devasya saanasim Satyam chitra shravastamam Mitro janaan yaatayati Prajaananj Mitro daadhaara prithiveemutadyaam Mitrah kushtheera nimishaa abhichastey satyaaya havyam ghrutavaddhvidhema/ PrasaMitra marto astu prayaswaan yasta Aditya shikshati vratena, na hanyate na jeeyate twoto nainamah ho ashnotyantito na duuraat/ In the afternoon the Gayati upaasthaana mantra states: Om aasatyena rajasaa vartamaano niveshayan amritam martyamcha, Hiranyena Savitaa rathenaa Devo yaati devo yaati bhuvanaa vipashyan/ Udvayam tamasaspari pashyanto jyotiruktam Devam Devatraa Suryamagnam jyotiruktamam/ Udyuktyam jaatavedasam Devam vahanti ketavah, Drusho Vishwaaya Suryam/Chitram Deaanaamudagaadaneekam chakshurmitrasya Varunasagneaah, Aapraadyaavaa Prithivee Antariksham Surya Atmaa Jagatasyatsyushashcha, Tacchakshurdevahitam purastaacchukra mucchyarat/ Pashyma sharadasshatam jeevema sharadasshatam modaama sharadasshhatam bhavaama sharadasshatam shrunvaama sharadasshatam prabravaama sharadasshatam ajeetaasshyaama sharadasshatam jyokacha Suryam drusho, ya udagaamna hato arnaavaad vibhraajamaanasah sarirasya madhyaat sa maa vrishabho lohitaakshah Suryo vipaschin manasaa punaatu/ In the evening the Upasthaana Mantra states: Imam me Varuna shrudhi havamadyaa cha mridaya/ Twaamasyu raachake/ Tatwaayaami Brahmanaa vandamaanasta-dwaashaaste Yajamaano havirbhih, ahedamaano Varuneha bodhyurushangumsa maa na yaayuh pramosheeh/ Yacchidhvite Visho yathaa pradeva aruna vratam, Minimasi dyuvi dhvavi/ Jane a bhidroham manushyaashcharaamasi, achitteyatwa dharma upopim maa nastasmaadenaso Devareerishah/ Kitavaaso yadripurpurna diviyadvaaghaa satyamuta yanna vidhma, Sarvaa taa vishya hithireva Devataa te syaam Varuna prayaasah/ Gayatri Upasthaana as above in respect of Tri Sandhyaas would follow Dig Devataa vandana as relevant to Morning and Afternoon to East-South-West-North- East again and in the evening to West-North-East-South and West again saying Sandhyaayai-Savitrai- Gayatrai-Sarasvatai-Sarvaabhyo Devataabhyo namah and finally say: Kaamo (A) kaarsheen manyurakaarsheet namo namah/ This would be followed by Pravaraabhivandana ; Dik Vandana (Praachai-Dakshinaayai-Pradeechai [Evening as appropriate] and Udeechyai-Urdhvaayai-Adharaayai-Antarikshaayai-Bhumyai-Brahmaney- Vishnavey-Shivayai namah. Yama Vandana to Yama, Chintakaaya-Kaalaaya-Aoudumbaraaya-Dadhnaaya-Paremeshti- Vrikodara-Chitraya- Chitra Guptaaya vain namah. Finally Kshamaa Prarthana of Kayenavaachaa manasendriyarvaa budhyaatmanaa aa prakruteh swabhaavaat, karomi yadyat sakalam parasmaiNarayanaayeti samarpayaami/ Om tat Sat/ Brahmarpanamastu/ [Note: More details given vide Essence of Dharma Sindhu by the same author especially Taittiriya / Katyaayana versions vide the website of Kamakoti.org/news]
Homa Prakarana: As a part of the Shat Karmas to be observed, homa vidhi is the other significant duty of Brahmanas. Just as there are time restrictions to perform Sandhya Vandana, timings for nitya homa are suggested as possibly in continuation of Pratah Sandhya as also after Saayam Sandhya. However, the tradition of Nitya homa is kept flexible as per family traditions. There could be dispensations of combining Saayam-Praatah kaala homas done together too. If not possible at all, proxies could be appointed like sons or Sishyas or Brahmanas on one’s behalf. However proxy homas are effective in yielding far less phala than by one self! As regards Homa Dravyas, the dictum states kritam akritam kritaakritam/ that is the Homa material is of three kinds: Annam or cooked rice or wheat flour are Kritam; akritas are ‘dhaanya’ or non husked cerials and ‘kritaaakritas’ include tilas, yavas, milk, curd, ghee etc. Samidhas include unkinned twigs of Arka, Palaasha, Apamarga, Peepul, Gular, Shami, Durva, Bel, Vata and such other trees of normally ten to twelve inches long. Infringements or interruptions of Nitya Homa karyas need to be revived with appropriate ‘prayaschittas’ or self imposed punishments by way of purifications. In any case, dictates of one’s own conscience are the best judges, especially depending on the Desha-Kaala exigencies. In any case, the suggested outline of the procedure of homa is as follows:
Agni Mukham: The Homa Kunda or the Fire Pit is to be a cubic meter square size and before use the raised platform of sand is dressed with white rice flour. All acts inside the platform are to be performed from left to right in respect of devas and from right to left in respect of Pitru Devatas. Kunda rekhas or lines on the surface of the platform are drawn from west to east with a spoon handle bisecting the lines from south to north. The platform is sprinkled with water, twigs are arranged at the center of it and fire is kindled with camphor in a copper plate circling thrice on the twigs by way of Agni Sthapana reciting the mantra: Chandramaa manaso jaatah, Chakshus Suryo ajaayata, Mukhad Indraschaagnischa praanaad Vayur ajaayata/ (Chandra is created from Almighty’s mind, Surya from His eye; Indra is born from His mouth and so is Agni while Vayu is created by His breath). Om bhur bhuvassuvah—Agnim sthaapayaami/ (Thus Fire is installed). Then ‘Agnim Prajvalanam’ is done by adding twigs. Darbha paristarana: Darbha grass is laid and spread in 3 or 5 layers around fire as the grass ends are kept in east with points to north, in the south with points to east, iin the west pointing to north and north with points to east. Paatra saadhanam: To the north of Agni on a layer of darbha grass, pairs of vessels to be used in the homa are to be arranged: spoons, ajya patra or ghee vessel and prokshani patra or the vessel with which water is sprinkled. Brahma varanam or the priest is to be seated to the south of Agni. In his absence, a kurga or the bundle of darbhas or a flower is plaed on his seat. Prokshani paatra saadhanam or the vessel to sprinkling water is filled in again and again. ‘Parishinchana’ is taken up with Om Aditenumanyaswa/ ( to South),Anumatenu manyaswa ( to west), Saraswatenu manyaswa ( to north) and finally to all sides: Then Deva savitah prasuva to all sides. After ‘parishechanam’ meaning ‘May earth be pleased to bestow me the kingdom, may the wives of Devas bestow me what all I desire, may the Goddess of speech, intellect and knowledge grant me what I ask for, may Devi Saraswati fulfill all my wishes for excellent speech and knowledge and may Devi Savita impel us to fructify our sacrifices and oblations’. With these parishachanas, Agya samskaras follows as in respect of Nityagni by Brahmacharis or Grihastas as also various other Agni Karyas. Incidentally, besides the Brahamachari homas or Grihasta homas performed ondaily basis, these Karyas are also preceded by various other Samkaras: These Samskara Agnis are called: Yojaka for Vivahas, sikhi for chaturthis, marutah for garbha daana, Chandra/ pavamana for pumsavana, paarthiva for naama karana, Shuchi for anna praashana, sabhya for chala samskara, Surya for godaana and Kshaya for samvarthana.
Brahmachaari Dwija homa vidhana: After purifying Homa Kunda with cow dung and waters of Sacred rivers like Ganga, be seated near the Kunda as ‘purvaabhimukha’ or facing the east, sprinkle water and molten cow’s ghee for the purpose of the homa, perform tri-achamana and Anga nyasa, Ganapati Dhyana, ‘Praanaayaama’ with Pranava Mantra and Sankalpa assuming the ordain of Maha Vishnu by reciting the Shubha Muhurta of Dwiteeya Paraatha, Kali Yuga Prathama Paada, Jambu Dwipa, Bharata Varsha, Bharata Khanda, Meroh dakshina dik bhaaga, specified Pradesha, specified disha, in the august presence of the Sacred feet of Samasta devataas, Brahmanas, Gurus and others at specified Samvatsara-Maasa-Paksha-Tithi-Vaara-Nakshatra and so on and declare the Praatah/ Sayam Homa. After the Sankalpa, initiate the Homa by repeat tri-achamana: Om Amritopastarana masi swaha (the first)-Om Amritaapadhaanamasi swaha (the second)- Om satyam yashah Shrirmayi shrih shrayataam swaha (the third); this shall be followed by the sprinkling of water and touch the body parts with: Om Gangmayaschaasyestu( face), Om nasome praanestu (both openings of the nose), Om akshorme chakshurastu ( both the eyes), Om karnayorme shrotarastu (both the ears), Om baahyonge balamastu (both the hands), Om uruvomme ojostu ( both the thighs) and Arishtaani mekaangaani tanustanvaa me saha santu/ Thereafter perform Agnyaadhana brought on a plate, use camphor to sustain the fire kindled with wooden figs with the following mantra: Om bhurbhuvah swadyorivam bhumnaa Prithiveeyam vyarinmaa, Tasyaamste Prithivi Deva Yagjaani pushtegni mantradaa maatraadya dadhe/ While inflaming the following mantra is rendered: Om udbhavam budhyasyaagne pratim jaagruhi twaamishtaa- purti swayam srujetaa mayam cha, Asmin samidhasye addhyuttaarasmin Vaishwa deva yajamaanascha seedata/ ( Yajur Veda). Agni praarthana: Paritwaa Agne parimrujaami aayushaa cha dhanena cha, Suprajaahaa prajayaa bhuyaasagum suveero veeraihi suvarchaa varchasaa suposhah poshaih sugruho gruhais supatihi patyaa sumedhaaya su brahmabrahmacharibhih/ Then ‘parishachana’or sprinkling water around the homa kunda in clock wise direction stating the Mantras: Aditenu manyaswaa, anumateny manyaswaa, Saraswatenu manyaswaa, Deva savitah prasuva/ where after ‘Samidadhana’or offereing Samidhas to Agni reciting ‘Swaha’ each time as follows twelve times after each Mantra:
1) Agnaye samidha-maahaarshim brihatae jatavedase, yathaa twagrame samidha samidhayasa evam mamaayushaa varchasaa sanyaa medhaayaa prajayaa pashubhih brahmavarchasena annaadyena samedhaya swaahaa/ 2) Yaedho asi yaedhisheemahi swahaa/ 3) Samidasi samedhishhemahi swaahaa/ 4)Tejo asitejo mayi dhehi swaaha/5) Apo adyaanvachaarisghagum resena samasrukshamahi payasswaagumagna aagamam tammaa sagusruja varchasaa swaahaa/6) Sam maa agnae vaarchass sruja prajayaa cha dhanaena cha swaahaa/ 7) Vidyunae asya devaa Indro vidtat sahasrshibhih swaahaa/ 8) Agnayae bruhatae naakaaya swaahaa/8) Agnayae bruhatae naakaaya swaahaa/ 9) Dyaa Prithivi bhyaam swaahaa/ 10) Yeshaa te agnae samit tayaa vardhaswa cha aapyaayasvaa cha tayaa aham vardhamaano bhuyaasam aapyaa maanascha swaahaa/ 11) Yo maagne bhaaginagum santamathaa bhaagam chikeerushati, Abhaagamagnaetam kuru maamasnae bhaaginam kuru swaahaa/ 12) Samidhaamadhaayaagnae sarva vrato bhuyaasagum swahaa/
The ‘samidhaana homa’ concludes with ‘parishachana’ or circling water sprinkling around the homa kunda in clockwise direction with the Mantras: Aditenu manyaswaa, Deva savitenu manyuswaa, Saraswatenu manyswaa, Deva savitah praasaaveeh/ This would be followed by the mantra: Agnerupasthaanaam karishye/ Following the ‘Upasthaana’, supplication mantra to Agni Deva to be recited in standing position as follows: Yatte agnae tejastenaaham tejasvi bhuyaasam, yatte agnae varchastenaaham varchasvee bhuyaaam/ Yatte agnae harastenaaham haraswi bhuyaasam, Mayi medhaam mayi prajaam mayagnih tejo dadhaatu/ Mayi medhaam mayi prajaam maeendrah indriyam dadhatu, mayi medhaam mayiprajaam mayi Suryo bhraajo dadhaatu/ Agnayae namah/ Finally the Kshamaa Prarthana would be as follows: Mantra heenam kriyaan heenam bhakti heenam hutaashana, Yaddhutam tu mayaa Deva paripurnam tadastute/ Praayaschittaani asheshaani tapah karmatmikaani vai, Yaani teshaam asheshenaam Parameshwara manusmaranam/ Maha Deva Maheshwaram/
Grihasti Brahmana homa vidhaana: Connected with Agni Mukham detailed after the Section of Brahmachari Dwija homa above including the Sankalpa therin, the rest of the following be continued as Grihasti Brahmana homa vidhi. (This is as per Apastamba Prayoga)
Sankalpa: Om poorvokta guna visheshena visishthaam asyaam shubha tithou bhagavad aagjnayaa bhagavad preetaartham rupena praatar/ saayam aoupaasaa homam karishye/ This is followed by parisechanam:Agni Dhyaana: Om ram Agnaye namah/ Meshaaroodham cha vakraangam Jaataveda samanvayam, Dwi seersham sapta hastam tri paadam sapta jihvikam, Varadam shakti paani cha bibhraanaam sru sruvau tathaa/ Abheetidam charma dharma vaame-chaajya-dharam kare/ ( I contemplate Agni Deva who rides a ram whose limbs are twisted, who has two heads, and seven arms, three feet and seven tongues. He displays the gesture of munificence, bears a Shakti weapon, two ladles, shows the signal of protection and carries a vessel full of ghee). Chatvari shringa trayosya paada dwe sirshe sapta hastaasosya, Tridhaa baddho vrishabho roraaveeti maho devo martyaagum aaviveshaa/ Eeshaa hi devaah praadishonu sarvaah purvo hi jaatassa u garbhe antaah, sa vijaayaamanassaa janishyamaanaaha prattyan mukhaa stishthati vishvato mukhaaha/ Hey Agne praan mukho Deva maamaabhimukho bhava/ (The illustrious Agni has come down to men and is attended by sacrifices; He has four Vedas as his horns, three swaraas as his feet, Brahmodana and Pravargya are his two heads and seven Vedic meters as his hands. Heis regulated by Mantra, Kalpa and Brahmana; he is the bestowere of fortune. He is sung with and without music by the hymns of Rig, Yajur and Saama Vedas by the sacrificial priests such as the Hota. The Unique Paramatma realized by the Wise having been present in all quarters was born as Hiranyagarbha at the beginning of Creation. Indeed He is the same Hiranyagarbha who will be born as such in fuure too.He is the indweller of thehearts of all the beings, the witness to all and the inciter of action. Agni Deva of divine magnificence! Do kindly be seated in the eastern direction and be well disposed to us).
Now, akshatas and flowers are to be offered to ‘Ashta dishas’ or in eight directions as follows: East: Om Agnaye namah; South East: Om jaatavedhase namah; South: Om sahojase namah; South West: Om Ajiraa -prabhave namah; West: Om Vaishwaanaraaya namah; North West: Om naryaapase namah; North: Om Panktiraadhase; North West: Om Visarpine; Centre: Om Yagjna Purushaaya namah/ This follows Alankaara or worship to Dishaadhipatis or Heads of Directions situated around Agni by placing flowers in the respective directions: East: Indraaya namah; South East: Agnaye namah; South: Yamaaya namah; South West: Nirrutaaya namah; West: Varunaaya namah; North West: Vaayave namah;North: Somaaya namah; North East: Ishaanaaya namah/
This would be followed by Samidhaa daanam: Karta stands and faces the Brahmana saying the following and tendering the bundle of Samidhas in his hands for further placing on Agni: Asmin homa karmaani Brahman idhmam aadhaasye/ Aadhatswaa!/
Then ‘Aaghaara’ is followed as the Karta meditates Agni Deva silently and offers Ajya/ ghee in streams from North East to South East and recites: Om Prajaapataye swaahaa, Prajaapataye idam na mama/ Then offers Ajya again to Indra from South West to North East reciting: Om Indraayaa Swaahaa, Indraaya idam na mama/
Aajya bhaagam: Karta then makes two oblations, one to Agni and another to Soma: Om Agnaye swaahaa, Agnaye idam na mama, Om Somaaya swaahaa, Somaaya idam na mama/ Vyahriti homa is continued: Towards South: Om bhuvasswaahaa, Agnaye idam na mama/ Towards Northa: Om Bhuvaswaahaa, Vaayave idam na mama/ At the center: Om Suvaswaaaa, Suryaya idam na mama/ Prayaschitta homa sankalpa: Asmin—-homa karmani sankalpa prabhriti etat kshana paryantam madhye sambhaavita samasta dosha prayaschitthartham sarva prayaschittam hoshyami/ Om bhur bhuvas swaahaa—Prajaapaaye idam na mama/
Pradhana homa: Now proceed with main oblations: [Refer to the next section of Aoupaasana homa]Uttaraangam or conclusion: Prajaapate na twad etaanyanyo vishvaa jaataani pari taababhuva, yat kaamas te juhumas tanno astu vaayagum syaama patayo rayeenaagum swaahaa/ Prajaapataya idam na mama/ (Prajapati the Lord of Beings, you alone comprehend all these created forms and nobody else. Do grant us our heart felt desires as we invoke you; may we become the chiefs of rich possessions) Om bhussuvaahaa Agnaye idam na mama/ Om Bhuvassvahaa, Vaayave idamna mama/ Om Suvaassvaahaa, Suryaaya idam na mama/ Yad asyaa karmaano tyareericham yad vaa nyunam ihaakaram, Angishtaat svishtaakrad vidwaan sarvagum svistagum suhutam karotu swaahaa, Agnaye swishtakrutedam na mama/ (Whatever that has been done that is superficial or deficient in this sacrifice be please accepted as complete, Agni swistakrita!)
Paridhi pariharam: Paridhis or boundaries of the homa kunda are offered to Agni the ghee dipped samidhas commencing from the middle one first to the rest. Samsraava homa: Sruva or the sacrificial ladles are filled up with ghee flow offering to Agni covering the ladles reciting Swaahaa, Vasubhyo Rudrebhya aaditebhyah samsraava bhaagebhyah idam na mama/ (May there be glory to Ashtaavaus, Ekaadasha Rudras and Dwadasha Aditya Devas as these oblations are offered to them through Agni Deva); Om bhur-bhuvas-suvas-swaahaa, Prajaapataye na mama/ (May this offering be made in the glory of Prajapati the Lord of Creation as a testimony of physical-mental-spiritual realms) Praayaschitta or atonement: Sankalpa-Om poorvokta guna visheshena visishthaayaam asyaam shubha tithou bhagavadaajnaayaa bhagavad kainkarya rupena asmin—homa karmaani avijnaata praayaschitta aadeeni karishye/ (May I make the atonement offerings in this —rite as to be specified- on this day of auspiciousness signified with astrological qualifications, with the approval by and in service to Almighty). Anaagjnaatam yad agjnaasya kritaye mithu, Agne tadasya kalpayaa twagum hi vetta yathaa tathagass swaaaa/ Agnayedam na mama/ (Agni Deva! What all imperfections that have been committed by me either knowingly or unknowingly be pardoned in the course of this Sacrifice). Purusha sammito yagjno yagjnah Purusha sammitah, Agne tadasya kalpaya twagum hi vetta yathaa tathagas swaaha/ Agnayedam na mama/ (Almighty too is coequal with this Sacrifice as with Agni Deva and may all my indiscretions and lapses in the procedure of this Sacrifice be too ignored keeping in view the best that we indended to perform with sincerity)- Om Bhussuvaah, Agnaye idam na mama/ Om bhuvassvaaha, Vaayave idam na mama/ Om suvassvaahaa, Suryaaya idam na mama/ Om bhurbhuvassuvas swaahaa. Prajaapataye na mama/ Om Shri Vishnavey swahaa, Vishnave Paramatmane idam na mama/ Om Rudraaya Pashupataye swahaa, Rudraaya Pashupataye idam na mama/
Purnaahuti or the Final Offering: Sankalpa: Om Purvokta guna vishesena visishthyaam asyaam Shubha tithou bhagavad aagjnayaa bhagavad kainkaryaa rupena asmin— homa karmanaah sampurna phala praapyartham—naamagnou purnaahutim hoshyaami/ tadantaram saangata siddhyartham vaasordharam hoshyaami/ (May this final offering called Vasordhara be concluded successfully!) Om purnaahutim utaamaam juhoti, Sarvam vai purnaahutih, Sarvam evaapnoti, atho iyam vai purnaahutih, asyaam eva prati tishthati swaahaa/ Agnaye vausath/ (Our final oblations conclude herewith; Totality is the Final Oblation; through that everything is obtained. Hence may this final obation and worship now be firmly established).
Vasordhaara homa: Om sapta te agne samisdhaassapata jihvaas sapta rishayah saptadhaama priyaani, Sapta hotraa sapta dha twaa yajanti saopta yonir aapranasva ghritena swaaha/ (Do protects us with this oblation of ghee Agni Deva along with these seven samidhas, your Seven Tongues, Seven Rishis, Seven Sacred Dhaamas, Seven Priests who assist our oblations, and Seven Origins from where Creation is effected). Praanaayama and parishechana: Aditenvamgasthaah, Anumatenvamgassthaah, Sarasvatenvamgaasthaah, Deva Savitah praasaavih/ (Aditi Devi granted us permission, Anumati Devi granted too and so has Devi Saraswati while Devi Savita impelled us to take up this Sacred Homa.
Now to farewell to Varuna Deva: Varunaaya namah sakala araahanai swarchitam, Yathaa sthaanam/ (Varuna Deva! My reverence to you; do return later as you are invited as required again). Then while pouring water recite the following: Prachyaam dishi devaa ritwijo maarjyantaam/ Dakshinasya dishi maasah pitaro marjyantaam/ Pratichyaam dishi griha pashavo marjyayantaam/ Udeechyaam dishyaapa oshadhayo maarjyantaam/ Urthvaayaam dishi yagjna samvatsaro yagjna patir marjyayantaam/ Om Vaishwaanaraaya vidmahe Lalitaaya dhimahi, tanno agnih prachodayaat/ ( May Devas and Brahmanas be blessed in the Purva /Eastern Disha; may the months and Pitru Devas make us famed in the Southern side; may our homes and cattle be safeguared in the western front; may waters, plants and trees be made illustrious on the northern side; may the Sacrifices and years be fructified from the antariksha or the higher lokas; indeed we do take cognizance of Vaishwanara or the mystic fire within the Innner Soul which enlightens all of us).
Reverence and Prayers to Agni Deva: Agne naya supathaa raaye asman Deva vayunaani vidwan, Yuyodhasmaj-juhaaraanaam eno bhuyissthaante nama uktim vidhema/ Om Agnaye namah agnim Aatmanyudvaasayaami/ (Agni Deva! You are a repository of knowledge and thus the resultant wisdom; do lead us to the richness of bliss and take us away from the easy paths of sins and evil. These are our salutations to you and pleadings to return to us whenever solicited).Namaste Garhapatyaaya Namaste Dakshinaagnaye, Nama Aahavaniyaaya Maha Devai Namo namah/ (Our prayers to Garhapatyaaya Agni, Dakshina Agni, Aahavaniyaaya at the high altar and our repeated obeisances!)
Aoupaasana homa: The homa prakriya commences with clean feet and palms, Aachamana wearing pavitra of darbhas twisted and tied to the right ring finger followed by Sankalpa: Om purvokta guna visheshena visishthaayaam asyaam shubha tithou bhagavadaagjnayaa bhagavad preeyataartham rupena praatah Aoupaasana homam karishye/ The Sankalpa would be followed by parisechana, Agin Dhyana, Agni Alankaara, Punah parisechana and then to the oblations. The Grihasta asks his wife hoshyaami as the wife replies juhudhi/ He takes a handful rice in the left hand, sprinkles water on it with the right hand, and takes half the quantity with the following Mantras allowing the rice to trickle through the fingers; the first mantra for the morning : Om Suryaaya swaahaa, Suryaya idam na mama/ Om Agnaye idam na mama/ The first mantra for the evening is: Om Agnaye swaahaa, Agnaye idam na mama/ The second mantra which is common to both morning and evening is: To the South: Om bhusswaahaa Agnaye idam na mama/ To the North: Om bhuvasswaaha Vaayave idam na mama/ To the Centre: Om suvaassvaahaa Suryaya idam na mama/ The final offering of rice states: Om bhur-bhuva-suvas- swahaa—Prajaapataye idam bna mama/ ( Note: The rice offerings should not be allowerd to mix with Agni). The rice oblations would be followed by parishechanam and Purna huti comprising a samita and two blades of darbha grass while reciting: Om Shri Vishnave swaahaa, Vishnave Paramaatmaane idam na mama/
Now salutation to Agni with folded hands: Agne naya supathaa raye asmaan Vishvaani Devaani vidwan, Yuyodhyasmaj- juhuraanam eno bhuyishthaante nama uktim vidhema/ Mantra heenam kriyaa heenam bhakti heenam Hutaashana, Yad hutam tu mayaa paripurnam tad astu te/ Praayaschitta anya sheshaani tapah karmaatmaka kaani vai, Yaani tehaam asheshenaam Krishna anusmaranam param/ Vicchhinna –aoupaasana Agni sandhaanam: After cleaning feet and hands, aachamana, pavitra dharana, akshata grahana, offer akshatas and dakshina to brahmanas, and after their approval, repeat sankalpa on behalf of wife also to revive the vicchinna Agnihotra reciting: Aavaaho auopaasanaagnim aadhaaye vicchinna sandhaanaartham/ Kritancha—Now Agni mukha/
Pradhaana homa: Agnih siddhyartham vyahruti homam karishye/ Pick up the main dharvi or the bowl like ghee container and offer the Vyahritis: Om bhussuvah, Agnaye idam na mama –to the South; Om bhuvassvaaha Vaayave ida na mama —to the North; Om Suvassvaahaa, Suraya idam na mama—to the centre; Om bhur- bhuvas-suvas swaahaa—Prajaapataye idam na mama/ This would be followed by Sankalpa for opening oblations to Agni Deva: Harihi om tat sat/ …Anekakaala saayam Praatar aoupaasana akaarana praayaschittaartham sarva praayaschittam hoshyaami/ Three oblations be offered with each of the following mantras: Anaagjnaatam yad agjnaatam yagjnaasya kriyate mithu, Agne tadasya kalpaaya twagum hi vettha tathaagass swaahaa/ Agnayedam idam na mama/(Agni Deva, I may have committed mistakes on this Sacrifice either knowingly or unknowingly; do kindly ignore these and keeping in view my sincerity, and consider my flaws as rectified); Purusha sammito yagjno yagjnaah Purusha sammitah, Agney tadasya kaalpaaya twagum hi vettha yathaa tathaagass swaahaa/Agnayedam na mama/( Indeed Almighty is as much involved in this Homa Prakriya as you are and as such do kindly amend my shortcomings and have the act of homa be got perfected). Yat paakatra manasaa deena dakshaa na, Yagnasya manvate martaasah, Agnistaad hotaa kratu-vid vijaanan yajistho devaagum kratuso yajaati swaahaa/ (Agni Deva! We humans are indeed fallible and of immature minds not quite acquainted with the perfect procedures of Sacrifices; may the mystic fire itself which is well versed with the methodology of Sacrifices offer the ideal means of the acts and grant necessary adjustments to bless!)
Sankalpa regarding the oblations to Agni by Aditya-Rudra-Vasu-Brahnanas: Upavaasa vikalpena choditaaayaascha homam karishye/ Aayaashaagne syan abhishastischa satyam iva mayaa asi, ayasaa manasaadhrutoyasaa havyam uuhiseyaano dhehi bheshajagass swahaa, Agne ayase idam na mama/ (Agni Deva! You are our refuge to us and the devotees like all of us; you are the unique medium and bearer of all oblations and the sure conveyor of all remedies to humanity.) Punastwaadityaa Rudraa Vasavaas samindhitaam, Punar Braahmano vasunita yagjnaih/ Ghritena twaam tanvam vardhayasva, Satyaah santu yajamaanasya kaamaah swaahaa Agnaye vasunithaayedam/ (May Adityaas, Rudraas, Vasus, Brahmanas kindle you with their rites ad fulfill their wishes). Mano jyotir jusataam aajyam vicchhinnam yagjnaagum-samimam dadhaatu/ Yaa ishta ushaso nimruchascha taah sandadhaami havisha ghritena swaahaa/ manase jyotishe idam na mama/ Yanma aatmano mindaabhud agnih tat unar aahaar jaatavedaavicharshinih swahaa/ Agnaye jaatavedasaa idam na mama/ Punaragnih chakshuradaat punar Indro Brihaspatih, punar me Ashvinaa yuvam chakshur aadhattam akshyoh swaahaa/ Agni ndra Brihaspatyah vibhyaam idam a mama/ Tantum tanvan rajaso bhaanum anvihi jotishmatah patho rakshadiyaa kritan/ Anulbanam vayata joguvaamapo manur bghava janayaa Daivyam janaggah swaahaa, Agnaye tantumata idam na mama/
Kshamaapana Sankapa: Asmin Agni sandhaana homa karmaani madhye sambhavita mantra tantra devataa viprayaaah nunaatireka swarakshara pada bhresha samasta dosha praayasthittaartham sarva praayaschittam hoshyaami/(I now seek final atonement for all shortcomings); Om bhussvaahaa, Agnaye idam na mama, Om Bhuvaasswaahaa, Vayave idam na mama/ Om suvassvaahaa, Suryaaya idam na mama/ Dosha prayaschitta Sankalpa: Asmin agni sandhaana homa madhyae sambhavita samasta dosha praayaschittaartham sarva praayaschittam hoshyaami/ ( May I tender atonement to all the blemishes that would have occurred during the course of the homa karma) Anagjnaatam yad ajnaatam, Yaagjnaasya kriyate mithu, Agne tadasya Kalpayaa twagum hi vettaa yattaagasah swahaa/ Agnaye idam na mama/ (Agni Deva! Do kindly pardon my shortcomings executed knowingly or unknowingly and treat my wrong doings as ratified). Purusha sammito yagjno yagjnah Purusha sammitah, Agne tadasya kalpayaa twagum hi vetta yathaa tathaagasah swaahaa/ Agneya idam na mama/ (Agni Deva! You do indeed assume great significance in the context of homas and yagjnas, yet Paramatma the Supreme has the greatest role and as such may your prowess and strength be fortified by each act of yagjna homas executed in the Universe and may Almighty grant you that magnificence for ever!)
Imam me Varuna shrudhi havam adyaacha mridaya, Twaam avasyuraachake swaahaa/ Varunaayedam na mama/ (Varuna Deva! Do kindly receive my invocation and be gracious enough to attend out entreaties as we seek your protection) Tat tvaa yaami brahmanaa vandamaanas tadaa shaaste yajamano havirbhih, Ahedamaano varuneha bodhyurushaagum sa maa na aayuh pramoshih swaahaa/ Varunaayedam na mama/ (Varuna Deva! You are extolled by Vedas always; may we too reach you by our sincere oblations as we do very sincerely offer our salutations to appease your characteristic fury and sound and reveal your inner Self of tranquility and repose to those you hold you in great esteem!) TwannoAgne Varunasya vidwaan devasya hedo vayaasi sishtaah, yajishtho Vahni tamah shoshuchaano Vishwa dwesaagumsi pramum ugdhyasmat swaahaa, Agni-Varunaabhaama idam na mama/ (Agni Deva, do mollify the fury of Devas especially of Varuna deva. You are indeed the most worshipful and the best conveyor of all and the most resplendent too of Devas. With these oblations do be pleased with our earnest entreaties and protect us from all those evil forces who are jealous of us due to our dictect approaches to you and the like minded Varuna deva too)/ Sa twanno Agne vamo bhavoti nedishtho asya Usaaso vyustau, Avakswaano Varunagum raraano veehi mridikagum suvavo na edhi swaahaa/ Agni varunaabhyaam idam na mama/ (Agni Deva! You are indeed the foremost of Devatas; do protect us in the morning, day and night. It is so easy for all of us to approach you and hence one feels comfortable to offer our invocations to you always; do also provide shelter and daily succor along with Varuna Deva too; our sincere oblations to you both herewith). Twam Agne ayaasya yaasan manasaa hitah, ayaasan havyam uuhishe yaano dhehi bheshajaggah swaahaa, Agni-ayase idam na mama/ (Agni Deva! You are ou fal refuge and shelter to keep us peaceful and contented; Indeeed you are the unique carrier of our oblations to any destination and concerned Devatas without hesitation and meticulousness so that the remedies sought from them are granted to us instantly. We are ever grateful for your grace Agni Deva! This is our special oblation to you Deva!)
Final oblations: Om bhussvaahaa, Agnaye idam na mama/ Om Bhuvassvaahaa, Vaayave idam na mama/ Om suvassvaahaa, Suryaaya idam na mama/ Om Bhur-Bhuvas-Suvas-Swaahaa, Prajaapataye idam na mama/ Om Shri Vishnave-swaahaa, Vishnave Paramatmane idam na mama/Om Rudraaya Pashupataye swaahaa, Rudraaya Pashupataye idam na mama/ Praanaayaama and Parishechana: Aditenvamagasa sthaah, Anumatenvamagas sthaah, Sarasvatenvamagas sthaah, Deva Savitah praasaavih/
Vasordhaara homa: Om Sapta te Agnesamidhaah Sapta jihvaah Sapta Rishayah Sapta Dhaama priyaani, Sapta Hotraa Sapta dhaa twaa yajanti yonir aapranaswaa ghritena swaahaa/ Hiranya daana: Harih om tat sat—aneka kaala saayam praatar aoupaasana akarana prayascchittraatham homa dravya daanam yat kinchit hiranya daanam cha naaaa gotrebhyo Braahmanaabhyah tebhyah sampradade, nama, na mama/
II. Alternative Grihasta Homa : Note: The procedure is as per Maharshi Dayananda and Shatapata Brahmana:
Agni Deva Samidhana is performed with Samidhas dipped on ghee with the Mantra : Om ayam ta idhma Atmaa Jatavedastenedhyaswa vardhasya chendra vardhaya, chaasmaan prajayaa pashubhi Brahma varchasenaanyadyana samedhaya swaaha/ Idamagnaye Jatavedase-Idanna mama/ This first oblation is made with the above Mantra in the north side of the homa kunda starting from west to east. The second oblation is made with the following Mantra: Om samidhaagnim durvasyat ghriteh bodhayutaantitham, Asmin havyaa juhotan swaahaa/ Idamagnaye idanna mama/ ( This ahuti is done in the South side from west to east)The third oblation’s Mantra is: Su sammidhaaya shochipem ghritam teevram juhotana, Agnaye Jaatavedase swaahaa/ Idaagnaye Jatavedase-idanna mama/ (This ahuti is performed in the middle of the homa kunda) The fourth oblation is made with the following mantra: Tatwaam samidhabharanghiro ghrutena vardhayaamasi, Bruhatccunchaam yathishtadya swaahaa/ Idamagnayengirasy idanna mama/ (This ahuti too is to be done in the middle of the homa kunda)
Jala prokshana/ Jala sinchana: Water is taken in an anjali or cupped palm and sprinkled in all the directions of the Havana kunda: the first sprinkle in the Purva Disha or the east direction from south to north; the second sprinkle is in the Paschima disha or the west direction commencing from south to north again; the third sprinkle is in the Uttara Disha from west to east and finally then fourth should be a complete circle from starting from South East corner of the Homa Kunda with the following mantras: 1) Om Aditenumanyaswaa/ 2) Om Anumatenumanyaswaa/ 3) Om Saraswatenumanyaswaa/ 4)Deva savitah prasuvah/ Then the Mantra continues: Prasuva yagjnam pra suvam Yagjnapatim/ Bhagaaya/ Divyo Gandharvah, Ketapuh Ketou nah punaatu Vaachaspativaamcha nah Vidwat/
Now further oblations to continue: Om Agnaye swaha, Agnaye idanna mama– (Sprinkle gandha in the north side of the homa kunda); Om Somaaya swsaha, idam Somaya, idanna mama (ghee now onward) – at this stage Agni to be re- kindled; Praja pataye swaha, Prajapataye idanna mama; Om Indraaya swaaha, idamindraa ya, idanna mama/ (The oblations to Prajapati and Indra to be performed at the center of the Homa kunda).
Note: So far the Homa Vidhi is common: Praatah kaala ( Morning): Om Surye jyotirjyotih Surtyah swaaha/ Om Surye varche Jyotirvarchah swahaa/ Om Jyotih Suryah Surye Suryo jyotih swahaa/Om Sajurdevena Savitraa sajurupasendravatyaa/ Jushaanah Suryo vetu swaaha/ Saayamk kaala (Evening): Om Agnirjyoti jyoti jyotiragnih swaaha/ Om Agni varcho jyotiragnih swaaha/ Om Agnirjyotiragnih swahaa/ Om sajurdevena Savitraa sajurendratvaya/ Jashano Agnirvetu swaah/
Note: Keeping the above in view, the execution of homa is continued further: Om Bhuragnaye Praanaya swah, idamagnaye Pranaya-idanna mama/ Om Bhuvar Vaavepaanaaya swaha/ Om swaraadityaaya vyaanaaya swaha vyanaya swahaa, idamadityaya vyanaaya-idanna mama/ Om bhurbhuvah swaragni Vayavyaadityebhyah, idanna mama/ Om aapo jyoti rasomritam Brahma Bhurbhuvah swarom swahaa/Om yaam medhaam Devaganaah pitaraschopaasate,Tayaa maamah medhaagne medhaavina kuru swahaa/ Om Vishwaani Deva savitur duritaani paraa suva, yadbhadram tanna aa suvgam swaha/ Om bhurbhuvaswaha tat saviturvarenyam bhargo devasya dheemahi swaha/ Om Vishwaani Deva/ Upasthaanam/ Agnerupasthaanam karishye/ Purnamadah Purnamidam Purnaat puranamudachyate, Purnasya Purnamaadaaya Purnamevaa vashishyte/ Om Shantih Shantih Shantih/ Om tat sat Brahmaarpanamastu/ Homa Prakriya regarding Brahmachari Homa and Grihasti Homa is thus concluded.
After observing homa as above, the Shat Karma Vidhi is continued with the instruction that a Brahmana should perform daily Sandhya and Homa as prescribed, followed by Brahma Yagna: Brahma Yagjna Vidhana: Swa shaakhaadhyanam Vipra Brahma yagjna iti Smrutah/ As per one’s own branch of Veda, Adhyana/ reading or recitation of Ruk-Yajur-Saama Veda Stanzas is called Brahma Yagjna. This Vidhana is mentioned in Taittiriya Swaadhyaya Brahmana and as clarified by Brihaspati that it can precede or follow the Tarpana karya or after Praatah homa or Vaishwa Deva. A person who executes this Yagjna is expected to be seated in ‘Padmaasana’ facing east, preberably on the banks of a water flow, perform tri-achamana, initiate Savitri Mantra of ‘Pacchordhancchraashra’ along with Vyahritis, keep the Yagjnopaveeta in the normal position of Savya, and recite withis the self. The method of Brahma Yagjna is detailed in Swadhyaaya Brahmana. Apart from reading the Ruk-Yajur-Saama- Adharvana Vedas, one can read excerpts of Itihasa-Purana -Kalpas as per one’s own convenience. Even on the days of Anadhyaya or on those days like Amavasya etc. the restriction of Anadhyaya is not applicable for Brahma yagjna, expepting that only one Ruk might be read out on such days, but otherwise the Anadhyaya restriction is nor applicable otherwise. As regards the ‘phala’ or the fruit of observing Brahma Yagjna on each day, the resultant outcome is stated to be that of the positive account of performing that specific Kratu: Yam yam kratumaddheyata tasya tasyaatpnuyaat phalam/ iti/ Vitta-Purna-Prithivi-Daanascha phalamashrute iti/ Vedas approvingly praise the excellent result of Brahma Yagjna everyday as follows: Uttamam Naakamadhirohati Uttamah samaanaam bhavati yaavantam ha vaangmaam vitasya purnaam dadat Swaga lokam jayati taavantam Lokam Jayati bhuyaayaamsam chaakshavya chaapapamrityum jayati Braahmanah saayujyam gacchati/( He who practises Brahma yagjna daily would eventually turn out to be superior to others,would be blessed with land property and prosperity, would certainly avoid Apamrityu or untimely death and would surely reserve abode in Swarga).
Tarpana Vidhana: Ruk Saamaadrthvaa Vedoktaan Japya mantraan yajushim cha, Japitwaivam tatah kuryaaddevarshi pitru tarpanam/ Tava Vashishtah/ (Vashishtha Maharshi affirmed that even after studying Ruk-Saamaadharvana Vedas, it is essential to recite Pranava and perform tarpana to fructify the knowledge of Vedas. Vishnu Purana emphasized: Shuchi Vastradharah snaato Devarshi Pitru tarpanam, Teshaameva hi tirthena kurveet susamaahitah/ (Only on wearing clean clothes after bathing and poised with unpertubed conscience, Tarpana is to be undertaken thereafter). To Devas only one tarpana/ Jalaanjali each be executed, while to Rishis twice and to Pitru Devas thrice respectively for their satisfaction. Praaggeshu Suranstarpenmanushyaanchaiva madhyatah, Pitramstu dakshinaareshu chaika dwi trijalaanjaleen/ (As prescribed for example in Agni Purana: Tarpana Karya needs to be performed facing East in the Savya Yagjnopaveeta position to Devas; to Rishis facing the East again with yagjnppaveeta as a garland but to Pitru Devatas the tarpana should be performed facing south with the yagjnopaveeta worn as ‘apa savya’ or ‘Praacheenaa veeti’ or in the reverse position reciting ‘Swadhaanamah tarpayami’. While performing nitya tarpana, both the hands can be used while Shradhaadi tarpana needs to be performed with one hand only. Pitru Devas would not be contented of tarpan is performed from a higher plane position into water flows nor with wet clothes. In fact, Pitru tarpana needs to be performed with dry clothes only preferably seated on spread over darbhas. Also tarpana be done with water drawn from one vessel and transferred to a smaller vessel into a lower plane but due to the apprehension that a lower plane on the ground might be sullied with hair, ash, coal particles, thorns, and even bones on the ground and hence the tarpana is preferably done on a clean place with darbhas are spread over. Alternatively, tarpana may be done in a large flat plate or container. For performing tarpana only vessels of gold, silver, copper, brass, bronze or any metal vessels may be used but not earthen pots; however neither metal vessels nor hands without darbhas be used for the tarpana. Deva tarpana and Rishi apana needs to be performed along with water mixed with plain rice grains or white tilas. Pitru tarpana needs to be necessarily done with water mixed with black tilas. One theory is that tila tarpana should be avoided in house holds on Saptami Sundays keeping in view the welfare of wife and sons. Also for one year after weddings and half a year after Upanayanas, tila tarpana be avoided in the house holds but on water banks. Now, tarpana needs to be dne in favour of one and all: Maharshi Yagjnavalkya confirms: Brahmaanam tarpayet purvam Vishnum Rudram Prajapatim, Vedaan Chhandaamsi Devaamscha Rishem chaiva tapodhanaan/Tathaa Devaan Gandharva Naagaan Saagaraani Parvataanapi, Saritotha Manushyaamcha Yakshaan Rakshaamsi chaivahi/ Pishaachaamscha Suparmaascha bhutaananyatha pashumstathaa, Vanaspatinoshadheemscha bhutagraamaamscha turvidhaan—-sarvaan pitruganaamsthaa Maataamahaamscha satatam shraddhayaa tarpate Dwija/(One needs to perform Tarpana to one and all right fromVishnu Rudra Prajapati, Vedas, Chhandaas, Devataas , Rishis, Gandharvas, Nagas, Saagaras, Parvatas, Saritas or water flows, Manushyas, Yakshas, Raakshasaas, Piscaachas, Suparnas, Bhutaas, Pashus, Vanaspatis, Ouashadhis,and so on).
Deva Tarpana: This tarpana is to satiate Devas and the Devatva or the Divinity that is microcosmically present in all Beings in the Universe. Seated facing the east direction with the right knee kept in contact with the ground, placing the left leg over the right leg so that the knee is above the ground, keeping Akshatas in the water pot, holding the water pot on the right hand palm, covering it with left left hand palm reciting Brahmaadaya Suraah Sarvey Rishayah Kashyapaadayah, Aagacchantu Mahaa Bhaagaa Brahmaandodaravartinah/ Now pour water with the left hand into the opne right palm releasing water from the tips of four fingers; three darbhas need to be placed on the rigt palm with the tips of darbhas aligned with finger tips while reciting the following in favour of each Devata: Om Brahmaa tripyataam,Om Vishnum tripyataam, Om Rudrah tripyataam, Om Prajapatih tripyataam, Om Devaah tripyantaam, Om Devyah tripyantaam, Om Vasavah Tripyantaam, Om Rudraah tripyantaam, Om Adityaag tripyantaam, Om Chhandaamsi tripyantaam, Om Vedaah tripyantaam, Om Rishayah tripyantaam, Om Gandharvaah tripyantaam, Om Apsaraah tripyantaam, Om Devaanugah tripyantaam, Om Naagaah tripyantaam, Om Saagaraah tripyantaam, Om Parvataah tripyantaam, Om Saritah tripyantaam, Om Manushyaah tripyantaam, Om Yakshaah tripyantaam, Om Rakshaamsi tripyantaam,Om Pishcaachaah tripyantaam, Om Suparnaah tripyantaam, Om Bhutaani tripyantaam, Om Pashavah tripyantaam, Om Vanaspatayah tripyantaam, Om Oshadhayah tripyantaam/
[Details of Vasu Rudra Adityaas : Dhruvo Dharmascha Somascha Aapaschaivaanilonalah, Pratyushascha Prabhaatascha Vasavoshtoa prakeertitaah/ Ajaikapaada-ahirbudhnaghyo Virupaakshoya Raivatah/ Harascha Bahurupascha Trayambikascha Sureshwarah, Saavitrascha Jayantascha Pinaaki chaaparaajitah, Yeto Rudraah samaakyaataa Ekaadasha Surottamaah/ Indro Dhaataa Bhagah Pushaa Mitroya Varunoryamaa/AhirVishwaan Twashtaa cha Savitaa Vishnurevacha, Yeto Divyaah Pitarah Pujyaa sarvey prayatratah/ (Paitheena Darshana) ( Ashta Vasus are Dhruva, Dharma, Soma, Apa, Anila, Anila, Pratyusha, and Prabhasa; Ekaadasha Rudraas are Ajaikapaada, Ahibudhna, Virupaaksha, Raivata, Hara, Bahu Rupa, Trayambaka, Sureshwara, Saavitra, Jayanta, and Pinaki. Dwadashaadityas are Indra, Daata, Bhaga, Pusha, Mitra, Varuna, Aryama, Archi, Vivaswaan, Twashta, and Vishnu)].
Rishi tarpana: The same procedure as in Deva Tarpana above to be followed. Om Kashyapah tripyataam, Om Atrih tripyataam, Om Vasishthah tripyataam, Om Vishwaamitra tipyataam, Om Gautamah tripyataam, Om Bharadwaajah tripyataam, Om Jamagagnih tripyataam, Om Angeeraah tripyataam, Om Kutsah tripyataam, Om Bhriguh tripyataam/
Divya Manusha tarpana: The revised procedure requires change of sitting postion to face the northern direction and wearing the Yagjnopaveeta like a garland and with raised knees and making two oblations in respect of each : Om Sanakah tripyataam Om Sanakah tripyataam, Om Sanandah tripyataam Om Sanandah tripyataam, Om Sanaatanah tripyataam om Sanaatanah tripyataam, Om Sanatkumarah tripyataam om Sanatkumaraha tripyataam, Om Kapilah tripyataam om Kapilah tripyataam, Om Aasurih tripyataam om Aasurih tripyataam, Om Odhuh tripyataam om Odhuh tripyataam, Om Pancha Sikhah tripyataam om Pancha Sikhah tripyataam/
Divya Pitri Tarpana: The revised procedure for tarpana to the Divine Devas and Manes requires change of sitting position to face the Southern direction and wearing the yagjnolpaveeta in reverse position as ‘praacheenaa veeti’, with left knee to be in contact with the ground while the right knee to be above the ground yet not touching it with left leg on the ground and the right leg on top of left leg; pour some black tilas (sesame seeds) in the water pot; now the offerings would be made thrice each time to Agni-Soma-Yama and Aryama ie. Agni the Divine Fire God who carries the soul of the burnt body, Soma the Water God who carries the soul of the drowned body, Yama the Maintainer of Dharma and the Judge of Karmas of the deceased and Aryama the Ruler of the Domain of Souls :Om Agnih tripyataam idam salilam jalam tasmai swadhaa namah, tasmai swdhaa namah, tasmai swadhaa namah/ Om Somah tripyataam idam salilam jalam tasmai swadhaa namah, tasmai swadhaa namah, tasmai swadhaa namah/ Om Yamah tripyataam idam salilam jalam tasmai swadhaa namah, tasmai swadhaa namah, tasmai swadhaa namah/ Om Aryamaah tripyataam idam salilam jalam, tasmai swadhaa namah, tasmai swadhaa namah/ The next three mantras are for the three Divine Manes-as were associated with the souls who were burnt or drowned and carried to the Skies till the latter are tendered to their destinations: Om Agnishu aatthaah Pitarah idam salilam jalam tebhyah swadhaa namah,tebhyah swadhaa namah, tebhyah swadhha namah/ Om Somapaah Pitarah tripyantaam idam salilam jalam tebhyah swadhaa namah,tebhyah swadhaa namah, tebhyah swadhaa namah/ Om Barhishadah Pitarah tripyantaam idam salilam jalam tebhyah swadhaa namah, tebhyah swadhaa namah tebhyah swadhaa namah/
Pitri Tarpana: Om aagacchantu me piratah imam gruhnantu jalaanjalim/ (May my ancestors present themselves here and receive my oblations) Mama Sarva janmeshu Pitarah/ Pitaamahaah/Prapitaamahaah/trupyantaam idam tilodakam swadhaayibhyah tebhyah swadhaa namah, tebhyah swadhaa namah/ tebhyah swadhaa namah/ Mama Sarva janmeshu Maatarah/ Pitaamahyah/ Prapitaamahya/ trupyantaam idam tilodakam swadhaaibhyah taabhyah swadhaa nanah, taabhyah swadhaa namah/ taabhyah swadhaa namah/ On this pattern, replacing ‘tebhyah’ for males and ‘taabhyah’ for females, following tarpanas be performed alternatively. In respect of Male Pitras: Patayah/ Putraah/ Mataamhah/ Pra mataamahaah/ Vriddha pramaataamahah/ Bhraatarah or brothers/ Pitruvyaah or father’s brother(s)/ Swasurah or fathers in law, Maatula or mother’s brother; guravah or teacher, sishyaah or disciples, sakhaah or friend/ Aptajanaah or dear ones. In respect of Female Pitris: Wives/ Kanyas/ Mataamahyah or Mother’s father/ Pramaataa mahyah or mother’s grand father/ Vriddha Pramaataamaha or mother’s great grand father/ bhaginya or sisters/ pitru bhaginya or father’s sister/ Matru bhaginya or mother’s sister/ Swasura patni or mother in law/ and so on. All the above are in reference of Mama sarva janmeshu—/
Now in reference to the Karta’s own Pitru ganas: Aadou Pitaa tathaa aataa saapatni janani tathaa, Maataa mahi ssapatnikaa Atma Patnyastwanantaram / Sutabhraatru Pitruvyaascha Maatulaascha Sabharyakaah, Duhitaa Bhagini chaiva Douhitro bhaagineyakah/ Pirushvasaa Maatrushvasaa Jaamaataa Bhaukah Snushaa, Shwashurah Syalakaschiva Shwashrushascha Guru rikthinah/ (Following is the line in which Pitru Tarpana is to be performed: Foremost to father, grand father, Great grand father, mother, father’s mother, father’s grand mother, Co mother if any, datta / adopted putra’s parents if any, mother’s father, mother’s grandfather, mother’s mother and the latter’s mother in law, wife, sons, self’s brothers, father’s brothers, mother’s brothers and their wives, daughters, sisters, grand sons, father’s sisters, mother’s sisters, son-in-law, brother’s-in-law, and their wives, daughter-in-law, mother’s brothers, wife’s brothers, mother-in-law, Guru and the Trader, the Supplier of household goods)
Tarpana prayoga: Achamya; Mamopaattha durita kshaya dwaaraa Parameshwara preetyartham evam guna Pituh Pitrunaam akshayya punyaloka phalaavaapyartham darsha prayukta maha punya kale tila tarpanam karishye/ –Iti sankalpya, praacheenaaveeti dakshinaabhimukhah savyam jaanvaachya/ ( After achamana and sankalpa, assume praacheenaaveeti, face Southern direction and bend the left knee being seated and commence the tila tarpana). Brahmanas should address the Pitru Devatas as sharmaanam, Kshatriyas as Varmaanam and Vaishyas as Guptam/ Following is the order in which the tarpana is made: Pitaram-gotram-sharmanam-Swadhaanamah tarpayaami-Swadhaanamah tarpayami Swadhaanamah tarpayaami/ Pitaamaham—–Prapitaamaham—- /Maataram-gotraam-daam-Swadhaanamah tarpayami (three times)/ Pitaamaheem-gotraamdaam-Swadhaanamahtarpayami (three times); Prapitaamahim-gotramdaam-Swadhaanamah tarpayaami(3 times)
Likewise, Sa-patni maataram or step mother-gotraaamdaam-swadhaa-(3); as also Janaka pitaram/ Janaka Mataram. Maataamaham or mother’s father-gotram-swadhaanamah tarpayami (3); Maatuh pitaamaham—Maatuh Prapitaamaham—; Maataamahim or mother’s mother- gotramdaam-Swadhaanamah tarpayaami (3); Maatuh Pitaaahim- gotram daam-Swadhaanamah tarpayaami (3); Maatuh Praptamahim-gotramdaam-Swadhaanah tarpayaami (3);Atma patnim or karta’s wife- gotramdaam swadhaanah tarpayaami (3); Sutam or sons/ bhraataram or brothers; Pitruvyam or father’s brother; Matulam or mother’s brother; duhitaram or daughter; bhagini or sister; Douhitrah / douhitri or daughter’s son/ daughter; bhaagineyam or sister’s son; Pitru bhagini father’s sister; Maatru bhagini or mother’s sister; Jaamaataram or son-in-law; bhaavukam or brother-in-law; Snushaam or wife of brother in law; Swasura or father in law; Swashrum or mother in-law; Syalakam or wife’s brother; Gurum; Rikthinam or House hold trader. After duly performing tarpana to all the relatives, the rest of the tilodaka on the vessel be released reciting: Narakeshu samasteshu yaatanaasu cha ye sthitaah, teshaam aapyaayanaayaitat eayate salilam mayaa, Ye bandhavaa baandhavaascha yenya janmani baandhavaa, te triptimakhisaayaantu yaschaasmattobhi vaanchati/ Ye mey kuley lupta pindaah putra daara vivarjitaah, teshaam hi datthamakshayyam idamastu tilodakam, Aabrahmastamba paryantam Devarshi Pitru maanavaah, Trupyantu Pitarah sarve Maatru Maataa mahaadayah, Ateeta kula koteenam Sapta dwipa nivaasinaam, Aabrahma bhuvanaat lokaat idamastu tilodakam/ There after recite the following: Yekechaasmat kule jaataa Aputra agotrinomritaah, Te gruhnantu mayaa dattam sutra nishpeeda -nodakam/ (In our Vamsha among our gotra dharis, those who died without sons and thus could not perform obsequies, may I offer due homage by way of ‘sutra nishpeedanam’ or pressing water out of my yagnopaveeta which is being worn as a garland now before wearing normally!)
At the end of the Tarpana Kriya as described above, the remaining water meant for tila tarpana be thrown away, fill up the vessel with fresh water, sit in eastward and perform Deva Tarpana by looking at Surya Deva and recite: Om Suryaya namah,Om Agnaye namah, Om Prithivya namah, Om Varunaaya namah, Om Shivaaya namah, Om Vishnave namah/ Anena yathaa shakti kritena Devarshi Pitru tarpanaakhyena karmanaa Bhagavan Pitru swarupi Janaardana Vaasu deva Parameshwara preeataam na mama/ Om tat sat/ Om Shri Krishnaarpanamastu/Om Lokaah samastaa sukhino bhavantu/ Om Sarve Janaah sukhino bhavantu/ Om Shaantih Shantih Shantih/
Amaavasya Tarpana Phala Shruti: Amaavaasyastu ye Martyaah prayacchanti tilodakam, Paatramoudumbaram graahyam Madhu mishram tapodhanam/ Kritam bhagvati taih Shraaddham sarahasyam yathaa vidhi, Hrishta pushtamanaasteshaam prajayante prajaa dhruvam/ Kula Vamshasya Vriddhistu pindadasya phalam labhet, Shraddhaayutastu yah kuryaatritrunaa manrunaa manruno bhavet/ (Maha Bharata Anushaasanika Parva-125 Adhyaaya) (Pitru Devas asserted: Amavasya tila tarpana from a madhu mishra Aoudumbara Paatra is as fruitful as a formal Shraddha Kriya; this would bestow the fruits of excellent progeny and Vamsha Vriddhi besides fulfillment and happy life ahead!) Yama Tarpana: This tarpana is to be performed on Aswiyaja Krishna Chaturdashi or on Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi coinciding with Tuesdays: Pretotsava Chaturdashyaam kaaryantu Yama tarpanam, Krishnangaara Chaturdashyaamapi kaaryam sadaiva vaa/ Yamaaya Dharma Raajaaya Mrityave chaanta kaayacha, Vaivaswataaya Kaalaaya Sarva Bhuta Kshayaaya cha/ Ouodumbaraaya Dadhnaaya Neelaaya Parameshtiney, Vrikodaraaya Chitraaya Chitraguptaaya tey namah/ (Yama tarpana is to be performed on Aswiyuja Krishna Chaturdashi or on Krishna Paksha coinciding withTuesday. This has to be addressed to: Yamaaya namah, Dharmaraa Rajaaya namah, Mrityave namah, Antakaaya namah, Vaivaswataaya namah, Kaalaaya namah, Sarva BhutaKshayaaya namah, Oudumbaraaya namah, Dadhnaaya namah, Neelaaya namah, Parameshthiney namah, Vrikodaraaya namah, Chitraaya namah, Chitra guptaaya namah); Dakshinaabhi mukho bhutwaa tilaih savyam samaahitah, Daiva tirthena Devataattilaih Pretaadhipaaya cha/ (the tarpana is to be executed facing South in Savya Yagjnopaveeta position with ghee and tilas and each oblation needs to be done thrice against each name) .
Parashara Smrtiti’s Shat Karma Vidhana quoted in the earlier pages is recalled: Shatkarmaabhi nirato nityam Devataathithi pujakaha, Hutasheshentu bhunjaano Brahmano naavaseedati/ Sandhyaa staanam japo homo Devataanaamcha Pujanam, Vaishvadevaatitheyancha shatkarmaani diney diney/ In fact, the day time if divided into eight parts, Deva Puja- Tarpana, Brahma Yagjna or Veda Pathana, Vaishwa Deva, are all integral parts excluding the Bhojana Kaala.
Devataarchana is an integral part of the Shat Karmas. Agneya Purana emphasizes that daily worship of Sarva Devas with appropriate Mantras is a daily duty: Mantrai Vaishnava Roudrestu Saavitraih Shaktivaistathaa, Vishnum Prajapatim vaapi Shivam vaa Bhaskarantathaa/ Tasmingairarchaye mantraih Sarva Devan samahitah/ ( Purusha Suktaadi mantras to commend Vishnu-Rudra-Surya related hymns, Shakti Mantras and Sarva Devata Stutis must be a daily duty. Kurma Purana states: Brahmaanam Shankaram Surye tathaiva Madhusudanam, Anyaanschaabhimataan Devan bhaktya cha akrodhanotwarah, Sarvai mantrairarchayennityam patraih pushpaistathaambubhih/ (Being fully rid of Kama-Krodhaadi durgunas and with undiluted devotion and faith, one must perform worship to Brahma-Shankara-Surya and Vishnu as also to any Deity of one’s chioce since are indeed are one and the same with Patra-Pushpa-Jalas regularly). Shaivascha Vaishnavam Shaaktam Souram Vainaayakantathaa, Skandascha Bhakti margasya Darshanaani shadeva hi/Siddhanta Purana suggests daily worship of Six Devas viz. Shiva Vishnu Shakti Surya Vivayaka Skanda.
Vishnu Puja: Lord Krishna taught the method of Vishnu worship to Yudhishtara in the context of Ashwamedha Yagjna as per Vaishnava Darshana: The Puja Sthala or the Place of worship be improvised an ‘Ashtaadasha Padmaakaara’or a Lotus with eighteen petals with rice flour and having placed eighteen Deva Pratimas reciting Ashtaakshari, Dwaadashaakshari Mantras, Purusha Sukta, Vishnu Panjara Stotra and so on and execute the worship: Saha Pushpodakena Maha Purusha maavaayayaami, Om Bhuh Purushamaavaahayaami, Om Bhuvah Purushamaavaahayaami, Om Suvah Purushamaavaahayaami, Om Bhurbhuvassuvah Maha Purushamaavaahayaami/Bhagavan Maha Purusha ityenaabhinandati, swaagatam snaanaani kalpayatadaasana snaanaani kalpayatyad Shankhaayakalpayaami Paratschakraaya kalpayaami , dakshinato gadaayai kalpayaami, Vaamato Vanamaalaayai kalpayaami, Paschimatah Shrivatsaaya kalpayaami, Garudmate kalpayaami, Uttartah Shriya kalpayaami,Sarasvatyai kalpayaami, Pushtai kalpayaami, Tushtai kalpayaami—-snaanaantaram sthaapaitwaa pujaam kuryat: Keshavam Naraayanam Maadhavam Govindam Vishnum Madhusudanam Trivikramam Vaamanam Shridharam Hrishikesham Padmanaabham Damodaram tarpaitwaayaitaani Vastrayagjnopaveetaa- chamaniyaanyudakena vyaahrutibhi pradakshinamudakam parishichedam Vishnurvikrama iti gandham dadyaat, tadvishnoh paramam padamiti pushpam-akshataan- dhupam- deepam-Naivedyam-Keshavaadi naamabhir dwaadasha pushpaan dataat: Shankhaaya namah,Chakraaya namah, Gadaayai namah, Vana- maalyai namah, Shri Vatsaayai namah, Garutmate namah, Shriyenamah, Sarswathyai namah, Pushtou namah, Tushtao namah,ityaadi/ Nirmalya-Pratimaa visarjana-Punaraagamana praarthana/
Shiva Puja: As in the case of Vishnu Puja, Bodhaayana Maharshi also prescribed Shiva Puja as detailed in Paraashara Madhava. After snaana and physical-mental cleanliness, create a platform, wash it around with ‘Gomaya’ jala, recite Shiva Panchakshari and Rudra Stuti and invoke Maha Deva: Saha pushpodakena Maha Devamaavaahayet/ Om Bhurmahaadevamaavaahayaami Om Bhuvo Mahaa Devamaavaahayaami Om Suvah Mahaa Dvamaavaahayaami Om Bhurbhuvasuvah Maha Devamaavaahayaameetyaavaaham aayaatu Bhagavanmahaadeva ityatha swaagatenaabhinandati; Swagatamadhunaa bhagavate Maha devaaya, Suvarna sthaanaani kalpayatyagrato Vishnave kalpayaami, Brahmane kalpayaami, Dakshinatah Skandaaya kalpayaami Vinaayakaaya kalpayaami, Paschimatah Shulaaya kalpayaami Mahaa Kaalaaya kalppayaami, Uttaratah Umaayai kalpayaami Nandikeshwaraaya kalpayaamiti/ Then by reciting Maha Rudra, perform snaana-paadya, proceed with tarpana:Tarpayaami Sharvam Devam tarpayaami Ishaanam Devam tarpayaami Pashupatim Devam tarpayaami Rudram Devam tarpayaami Ugram Devam tarpayaami Bheemam Devam tarpayaami Mahaantam Devam/ After tarpana, Maha Deva be provided vastram-yagnopaveetam-achamaneeyam- Namaste Rudra manyava iti gandham dadaat, Sahasraani sahasraaksha iti pushpam dadaat, Ishaanantwaa Bhuvanaamadhishriyamityakshataan dadaat, dhupamuddeepyasweti deepam/ Bhagavate Maha Devaaya jushtam charum nivedayaameeti naivedyam/ Athaashtabhirnaamadheyairashthou pushpaani dadaat: Bhavaaya Devaaya namah, Sharvaaya Devaaya namah Ishaanaaya Devaayanamah Pashupataye Devaaya namah Rudraaya Devaaya namah Ugraaya Devaaya namah Bheemaaya Devaaya namah Mahate Devaaya namah Vishnave namah Brahmane namah Skandaaya namah Vinaayakaaya namah Shulaaya namah Mahaa kaalaaya namah Umaayai namah Nandikeshwaraaya namah iti/ On completion of the ‘Shodasho -pachaara’ or the formal sixteen service worship to Maha Deva on reciting Shiva Gayatri and Shiva-related mantras, udvaasana, nirmalya gandha dharana and ‘punaraagamana prarthana’ or welcome back again prayers, the devotee is indeed blessed even with one such complete performance and is bestowed with the returns of a lakh of charities of cows to a veda pandita Brahmana!
Devataarchana viz. worship of Divinity (of one’s own Ishta Devata-be it Vishnu or his forms or Shiva or his extensions or Shakti / Devi in her innumerable forms of Lakshmi-Gauri-Saraswati basically representing Prosperity-Power-Knowledge) constitutes a significant part of the Shad Vidhis of Dwijas, especially of Brahmanas.
Vaishwa Deva Prakarana:
Panchame cha tathaa bhaage samvibhaago yathaarhatah, Pitru Deva Manushuyaanaam keetakaanaam chopa dishyate/—Deva Yagnah Pitru Yagno Bhuta Yagno Manushyayagno Brahma yagnah/ Devaarchanaanantara Karya or the Duty mentioned among the Six Daily Duties of Brahamana following Deva Puja is called Vaishwa Deva comprising Deva-Pitru-Bhuta-Manushya-Brahma Yagnas.Vaishwa Deva needs to be performed as per one’s own family tradition in Shaalaagni or Loukikagni; Angira said: Shaalaagnou vaa pachedannam Loukike vaapi nityashah, Yasminnagnou pachedannam tasmin homo vidhheyate/ The ‘pachaanna’ or the cooked rice is offered to the fully enflamed Agni either in Loukikagni or of on-going nature while shalaagni is improvised. Also, Vaishwa deva karya needs to be performed to appease Pancha Suna: Pancha soona Grihastasya vartanteyharah sadaa, Khandani peshani chulli jala kumbha upaskarah/ (Normally house holders commit five sources of ‘Jeeva himsa’, viz. khandani or cutting vegetables by the kichen appliances, peshani or pounding and pasting implements, chulli or water containers and cleaners and maarjani or washing utensils, floors etc).
Whatever shortcomings and sins are committed daily in one’s house holds are rooted out by the end of the day with the Vaishwaanara Vidhi. Anaahitaagni Vaishwa Deva vidhi includes Deva Yagna, Bali haarana, Bhuta yagna, Pitru yagna, Manushya yagna or Atithi Bhojana. Hence is the significance of Vaishwa deva vidhana as a part of the Shat Karma Vidhi. Incidentally, those who have not fulfilled the daily Vaishwaanara including Athithi Puja are stated to end up on termination of one’s life as a crow! Fuller details are given in the Essence of Dharma Sindhu by the same Author vide www.kamakoti.org/news and Vipra Yuva.org/ books.