Homa also known as homam or havan is a Sanskrit word which refers to a ritual in which making offerings into a consecrated fire is the primary action. Its practice by Rishis in ancient time refers close to the Vedic era. Homa is the most ancient and sacred ceremony in the Vedic tradition. In the presence of the fire element, Agni, the forms of the divine are invoked by the power of mantras and profound spiritual intention (sankalpa).
Special offerings are cast into the fire while Sanskrit mantras are chanted. The element of fire is associated with the upward motion of the divine energy and is considered to be the most powerfully purifying element. The vibrations created by the Homa have a profound effect on the atmosphere and surroundings. Homas are performed to create a direct communion with the devas and the offerings offered satisfies the devas and in return the devas bless us with prosperity, health, vigour and peace of mind.
All homas are performed with an intention of universal happiness and peace: ‘lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu’, which means ‘may everyone be happy, may there be peace everywhere’. Apart from this, every specific homa will have a specific effect or benefits, depending on the type of energy the homa invokes and enhances (the ‘devata’ or divinity invoked). An overview of the various homas offered is given below.