I asked Bittu, “We have told you everything till export. Are you satisfied now?”
He replied, “I have one doubt, now. Close to our home, there is an Arya Samaj Hall. Every Thursday, ladies perform Havana over there. In other temples, I have seen men performing these Havanas. What exactly is this Homa or Havana?”
I told him, “Arya Samaj members do not believe in idol worship. Havana or Homa means giving an offering to Fire God. They place Banyan, mango, Pipal and neem twigs; coconut shells and dried cow dung inside the Havana kunda. They do not light the ingredients of the kunda directly with the matchbox. Instead, they either place the lighted diya’s thread or burning camphor into it. This is a tradition they continue because previously there were no matchboxes. They would strike 2 stones together to make fire.
I added, “There are several types of Homas – offered to different Gods. The ladies, performing Homa at the Arya Samaj, offer oblations to Goddess Gayatri. The stuff offered into the fire are – rice, wheat, ajwain, turmeric, Havan Samagri, Guggal, clarified butter (ghee), etc. All the Gods are invoked in the fire and all the stuff is offered into it. Entire coconut, sari, blouse piece, dhoti and dhotra are also offered as poornahuti. The mantras chanted are based on the specific Gods, who are especially invoked. The poornahuti is also offered to the specific God. At the end of the Havana; some milk is poured into the fire to cool it.
I continued, “My grandma told me that Havana should be regularly performed because this activity reduces the occurrence of fire-accidents. Now, I don’t know if this is a myth or truth. But; because different auspicious stuff is offered into the fire, it rains at the right time, optimally. The air is purified. Harmful insects are exterminated. Ascetics keep performing these Havanas for global good.”
To be continued…