When doing a puja, homa (havan) or other ritual, the doers often become conceited. “Oh look I just performed a huge yagna and see how many people attended, and see what amazing catering I arranged” etc. Even if the havan was done on a small scale, ego can creep in. But it’s helpful to really think what aspects of the homa or puja were done by “the doer”.
How about these?
- The deity we are praying to has to make him/herself available
- Agni, the fire God, has to function as the medium and carry one’s prayers to the deity
- The various ingredients – coconuts, walnuts, other inflammable items, flowers, ghee, water and everything else – does the yagna doer create these items?
- The priest who conducts the ceremony – is the organizer the priest? Soes s/he know every single mantra, shloka, chant – not just to recite, but to understand and to feel? Did s/he create those incantations?
- Or maybe if it’s a self-chanted self-conducted ritual, then gratitude to our own memory, vocal chords, the guru who taught us the mantras…
- How about the free time we were allowed by our family members to devote to the puja
- Also the attendees who showed up, and the cooks who prepared all the dishes
- A few other things I would have missed here for sure
Without any of these, how would the havan have been a success? Really is there much for us to be proud of then?