The Purpose of Havan

A Havan is a sacred fire-pit used to create a fire into which offerings to God are placed, so that they can be converted to energy and dissipated into the surrounding ether to the Lord.

The Havan plays an important part at all Hindu religious ceremonies. Ghee and havan samagree are offered as oblations when a haven is performed. The samagree is made up of sandalwood, other vegetable matter, medicinal herbs and roots, and food (prasadh). The act of putting the ghee and samagree into the fire is called ahuti (oblation), and every ahuti is made with the chanting of the word swaha.

Agni is another name for God and, therefore, the Havan is not a worship to the visible fire. Agni means all-pervading, adorable, light-producing, illuminating and it produces radiance and heat. The ghee lamp that is lit at the Havan is a symbolic representation of the victory of light over darkness, of knowledge over ignorance and pros-perity over poverty. While performing the Havan we pray to God and sing praises of Him. The Mantras urge us to perform good deeds and become noble. Parents pray to have all the beneficial things in life including good and righteous children, while their children wish to acquire beneficial knowledge for the improvement of their quality of life.

The Havan also gives us benefits in that it purifies the air and the germ-destroying, health-promoting and sweet-smelling ingredients in the ahuti also purify the surrounding atmosphere. The Havan takes a spiritual form when it disciplines the mind and kindles the inner spiritual light. It burns up evil desires such as anger, jealousy, greed and pride, and removes sorrow and pain with the fire of knowledge. When the Havan is performed its radiation is felt by all the devotees. When chanting the man-thras, we say together, idamagnaye idanna mama. This means that all the wealth, material belongings and power with possessions are not ours. We have acquired them with grace of the Almighty God. They are considered to belong to God and we use them for the benefit of everybody. The spirit of the Havan is worship, benevolence, renunciation, sacrifice and unity.