Pancha Maha Yajnas are the five important and compulsory Yajnas in the life of a Hindu householder. The five yajnas are like duties and it should be performed during the Grihastha Ashrama Dharma or during the life of a householder.
The Pancha Maha Yajnas are:
- Brahma Yajna
- Pitr Yajna
- Deva Yajna
- Bhuta Yajna
- Atithi Yajna
This involves learning the scriptures especially Vedas. Sharing, discussing and teaching the scripture are part of Brahma Yajna. Learning important mantras, studying Upanishads and satisfying one who has thirst of knowledge is important.
This involves offering of libations to ancestral spirits. The ritual is a simple procedure of offering a palm full of water while recalling the names of the departed ancestors. Some people also offered daily rice balls and water to the departed souls daily.
In some rare instance, the rice balls are thrown into havan fire and the performer utters the word ‘Swaha.’ This is based on the belief that Agni or fire god directly carries the offering to the pitr.
This involves offering uncooked rice and twigs of palasha tree to agni. The mantra uttered is Somaya swaha, agnaye swaha… This ritual is also known as huta and is offering respects to the Devas.
This is offering food to all living beings including ants, dogs, ants etc. It extols the important teaching of Sanatana Dharma – sharing what one has taken from nature with other living beings in nature.
This is showing hospitality to tired travelers, students and saints. If someone hungry is found in the vicinity of the house, it is the duty of the householder to feed them.