Everyone can perform yajnas. Doing yajna as per the guidelines of scriptures, does not cause any sin or violence at any place, time or situation.
Yajnas are both sakama (those which are performed to fulfill a particular desire) and niskama (those which are performed without any desire).
The activities such as marana, mohana, uccatana and vasikarana, defeating and victorifying others, etc. cannot be achieved through yajna. Carrying out such types of activities are acts of a cunningness and craftiness of wicked people.
Without a match-stick, the fire cannot be lighted only by reciting mantras.
Our Rsis have made a system for discipline by directing people to wear the yajnopavita (janeu, sacred thread), but, it not a sin to perform yajna without wearing yajnopavita.
Yajna must not be performed by the reciting slokas (verses) from great scriptures like- Srimadbhagvadgita, Ramayana, etc., in place of vedic mantras; because the slokas of gita and other scripture do not produce the same meaning as is produced by the recitation of vaidika mantras and also because the vedas are considered apouruseya (composed by the Paramatma).
If there is sufficient fire to burn the remaining ghee and havana material, then they can be poured in it; otherwise the remains can be utilised the next day.
Yajna-karma (the various actions performed in yajna) can be performed mechanically (by the use audio, video casettes, etc.) but, these equipments cannot generate the effect produced the way when the yajna is done
Though materialistic benefits are gained even by reciting incorrect mantras, but, it paves way for a wrong tradition.
Those who neither pay ahuti (offering of ghee and other materials in yajna), nor recite mantra while sitting in the yajnasala, even they gain the benefits of the yajna. They inhale the bhesaja (disease-killing) air, receive motivation from the mantras and are able to remember the mantras as well.
During yajna it is better to concentrate the mind on the meaning of the mantras; otherwise one can concentrate on God or the flames of fire.
One can conduct yajna through the pandits, purohits or brahmanas by paying them necessary money for it. He will definitely receive the benefits for the amount spent in the purchase of ghee or havana materials, used in
If someone has the capacity, required material, time, devotion and interest, then he can perform yajna twice (once in the morning and once in the evening).
The five mandatory actions to be performed by every householder are called panca-mahayajna. Brahmayajna, Devayajna, Pitruyajna, Balivaisvadevayajna and Atithiyajna – these are the five panca-mahayajna.
Regular contemplation on God and svadhyaya (self-study) of vedic and other great texts is called brahmayajna. Aghihotra (performing havana) is considered as devayajna. Respecting and serving parents, teachers, elders and in-laws is called pitruyajna. Donating anna (cereals) and other items to birds, animals, orphans, differently-abled and diseased persons is called as balivaisvadevayajna. Serving and accepting advice from samnyasis, erudite scholars, advisors, masters, practitioners, yogis and great personalities is called atithiyajna.
That by which the physical body, mind, intellect and soul is most elevated, is called samskara. Garbhadhana, Pumsavana, Simantonnayana, Jatakarma, Namakarana, Annaprasana, Niskramana, Cudakarma, Karnavedha, Upanayana, Vedarambha, Samavartana, Vivaha, Vanaprastha, Samnyasa and Antyesti — these are the sixteen samskaras (rituals).
Just as the brain is always necessary for the body, well-cultured, spiritually knowledgeable and austere samnyasis are required, who are devoid of any desire for wealth, fame, children and disciple, are essential for the smooth management of the society.
Pumsavana and Simantonnayana rituals are given for the physical and mental development of the unborn baby still in the womb.
Certain signals and symbols are concealed in the various karmakandas (ceremonial and sacrificial rites) performed during different rituals. The answer to the questions like how to progress in life are understood from them. A few vratas and pratijnas (holy resolutions) are to be followed. Virtuous conduct, etiquette and good behaviou are taught by these karmakandas.
Political power can protect our rights, but our discernment and cultural values are not awakened by it.
Only sanatana samskrti (the perennial culture of our Rsis) has the power to elevate a human-being into a true human being. It teach us to love every human being and to avoid quarrels with them.
Life become yajhamaya (accompanied with the spirits of yajna) by following these rules and regulations — having good thoughts for all, living a restrained life with values of a sound character, ready to work in the interest of others, speaking only for noble cause, surviving on money earned by rightful means, remembering God, always ready to perform duties, remaining unaffected by favourable and unfavourable situations. True vision and intelligence lies in making the human life successful. Our tradition and culture are our identification, we must adhere to the ideal tradition of ours. A well-cultured person always leaves his impression everywhere, we should strive to take our culture and tradition to the pinnacle.
We must breathe only for performing works of our ancient Rsis and great personalities, not for any particular person i.e not for those who live in continuous fear and greed, those who live for worldly praise, wealth and fame, those who consider and try to make other consider themselves as great personalities. We should perform actions that give pride to our Rsis and great personalities and which take our wisdom to the higher level.
If our vision is like that of our Rsis, then our relation to life and world and our explanation of various things will definitely resemble their opinion. It is completely true. We can experience these overselves. If our explanation is not the same as that of the Rsis, then we must understand that it is time to correct our priorities. These priorities will then design our vision and according to that vision the world will unfold in front of us.
(Excerpted from the book Divine Transformation: Building Blocks for Englightened Life, Ideal Nation & Peaceful World by Acharya Balakrishna)