767 – Puja and Yagna


What is the difference between Puja and Yagna? The word puja means prayer and it is 2500 years old. It was found in Griha Sutra, which talks about rituals. It describes the ceremonies (samskaras) that mark each stage of an individual’s life, from the moment of conception to the final death rites; the five daily sacrifices (mahayajna); seasonal ceremonies; and those observed on special occasions, such as house building or cattle breeding. The Griha sutra mentions the word pujaniya, worthy of reverence. It is assumed that the word puja comes from it or from south India. In Tamil, pujai means flowers or offering of flowers.

The Yagnas are mentioned in the Vedas and the date is 4000 years. The word yajna is derived from Yaj which means to worship, adore, revere and honour. In yagna, there are no images of the deities. It is performed in open air, whereas pujas have a deity, and one needs a temple for the major pujas. In Yagnas, Agni (fire) is important while in Pujas flowers and water are important. Water is poured over the deity and this known as Abhishek in the Puja.

Five senses and five tattvas

Puja involves all five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing and the five tattvas. The tattvas are earth, water, fire, air and ether. Puja is performed with a pure mind and hand washing is important. A lamp and incense are lit to dispel darkness and illuminate one’s surroundings. Fruits, flowers and water are offered.

Yajnas are conducted to offer gratitude and seek blessings from the divine. They also bring material, environmental, psychological and spiritual benefits. The mantras which are recited in the Yajna end with words “Idam Na Mama” i.e. It is not for me or belongs to me (alone) but is dedicated to God (for the benefit of all).

A daily puja is a wonderful way to start one’s day. It can be performed very simply by lighting an incense stick or lamp. Chanting with one’s mala and visualizing the flame or one’s Ishta devata (personal deity).

Conducting of Yajnas will purify our world and save mother earth.

Aim Hrim Klim


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