Homam- A Fire ritual
Since my childhood, I have seen my parents performing homams (fire rituals) every morning. Every weekend and on some religious festivals, I also take part and perform the poojas with them. Every day, my family lights a diya (candle) in the evening and prays before we eat dinner. Lighting diyas is considered a sacred ritual, meant to dispel the darkness created by human flaws and enlighten the world with optimism and happiness. Fire has had a special role in many cultures across the world and can be traced back to ancient practices that taught the importance of worshipping gods by invoking their presence in fire.
In Indian traditions, we perform fire rituals in the form of homams. In the homam, we offer material ingredients like clarified butter, grains, water, milk and herbs to the gods into the fire as a meaning of extending our human offerings to divine deities. The belief behind this ritual is that the gods will reciprocate our offerings with their blessings and will foster improvement of human conditions. This tradition has scientific support as the devotees who conduct this prayer feel cleansed and rejuvenated from the smoke that comes out of the homam-kunda, functioning as a purifier of the polluted surroundings by revitalizing the atmosphere chemically from a mixture of many herbs and ghee.
The homam also empowers one’s free will, gives calmness and clarity, speeds up spiritual progress, and relays the gods’ blessings. The Vedas prescribe that we should conduct homams time to time to purify the nadis and chakras. Conducting homams paves the way to spiritual enlightenment and self-realization.
My take on this: Whereas some practices like tarpan and kshama yachana foster a greater understanding of human values, I view the homam ritual as a way of connecting with the supernatural presence of gods. Practicing it on a daily basis truly allows for humans to understand the importance of sacrifice and promotes the path of finding inner peace as the ritual is perfor