By Dr. Devakinanda Pasupuleti
Even today, Yajna and Yāga are used simultaneously and very loosely, but both signify different Vedic rituals. Yajna is the way of Vedic ‘offering’ as the underlying principle of life and involved animal sacrifices. On the other hand Yāgās are the common fire rituals and āhutis (offerings) include various kinds of grains, ghee, sticks and so on…
8) OṀ YĀGABHŨMYAI NAMAH:
OṀ (AUM) –YAA-GA-BHOO-MYAI– NA-MA-HA
ॐ यागभूम्यै नमः
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(Yāga: “Vedic fire ritual; offering”)
You don’t see much difference between yajṇās and yāgās in the Vedas and Upanishads. In the Vedic and Upanishadic times there are detailed descriptions and procedural manuals related to animal sacrifices and yūpasṭhambas (sacrificial posts) stayed as the main part of yajṇās. Later, the philosophy of non-violence became central and animal sacrifices were mostly abolished in Vedic rituals and thus yāgās (fire rituals) the main act of elaborate worships. Yāgās in small scale typically performed at home are called homams.
The many types of Yagās mentioned in our scriptures include Aswamedhayāgam, Chatusṭ-oma, Ukdhyama, Jyothisṭ-oma, Atirātram, Abhigidyāgam, Viswagidyāgam, Aptoryāmam, Rajasooyayāgam, Maheswarayāgam, Vaishnavayāgam, Agnisṭ-omayāgam, Bahu suvarṇakayāgam; and Gomedhayāgam.
The Rāmāyaṇam mentions that only a qualified king should perform the Aswamedhayāgam. The whole procedure of this yāgam is clearly described in the Krishna Yajurvedam. The Śhukla Yajurveda and Bhāgavatam clearly describe what yāgas are to be performed and which gods are to be worshipped to fulfill particular desires.
Most famously, King Daśaradha performed Putrakāmeṣhṭi Yāgam to fulfill his intense desire desire to have sons and was blessed with four children: Rāma, Laxmaṇa, Bharata and Śatrughna. The Vedas say that when we perform sacrifices, homams, yajnās, yāgas and other rituals with utmost purity of minds, the gods will fulfill our desires. There are different kinds of verses in the Vedas to praise, to invite and to worship various deities, gods and goddesses. We believe that by offering oblations and āhutis (sacrifices) to deities, we will be blessed with health and wealth.
Even in this Kaliyuga, our priests still perform these Vedic rituals to please the gods and goddesses and to prevent misfortunes and disasters.
Hence, this is our “Yāga Bhūmi”