[Advaita-l] Yajna and Homa

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Aug 3 02:04:16 CDT 2009

On Sun, 2 Aug 2009, Krishna Subrahmanian wrote:

> Dear members,   I have a question.    What is the difference between a 
> yajna and a homa?  Is it the scale?  Or is it the type of offering 
> (ghee versus others) or the mantras or purpose (kaamya karma versus loka 
> kalyana)?

According to katyAyanashrautasUtra (1.2.5-7) yajna is marked by the verb 
yaj (yajati) and the oblation is given standing up with the exclamation 
vaShaT.  Homa or havan is marked by the verb hu (juhoti) and the oblation 
is given sitting down with the exclamation svAhA.

But this is actually a rather academic distinction.

>  Yajna seems to have a broader meaning than fire ritual, but 
> homa is strictly a fire ritual.

For all practial purposes the two terms are synonyms.  Even in the veda 
they are sometimes mixed.  (I'm thinking of the rk tasmAdyaGYat... in the 
purushasukta for instance.)  I guess you could say yajna is used more 
often for non-agni related "sacrifices" but this is not a technical 

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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