BY DR PURUSHOTTAM RAJIMWALE
Som Yag Yadnya is a yadnya performed by offering (havan) juice of a medicinal herb called Somvalli. Somras is not a drink or liquor but a juice extract of a herb called Som.
The Vedas say that the combustion of Somrasa nourishes all the elements of nature by releasing its medicinal properties into the atmosphere.
It is said that since the Vedas have given godship to nature, it is said that god in the form of nature is pleased with Somayaga.
It is believed that Somayaga helps in the smooth running of nature’s cycles of creation (talachakra), and through that human beings get the boon of abundant resources that are useful to all living beings.
Somayag is an activity for the welfare of the entire society. In this, there is no personal selfishness, but the concept that all living beings should enjoy happiness, prosperity, peace and health.
Lord Krishna has also termed Somayaga as a process that creates purity and energy. All communities are expected to work together to organise Somayaga.
Somayaga is also called Agnishomiya Yag. A balance is maintained between agni and som that is both hot and cold energy in the environment.
In this balanced environment, the combustion of herbs creates a nutrient state. Due to such a balanced and affirming environment, all the elements are nourished.
In Somyaga, seven Soma institutions, or seven types of Somayaga are performed. These are: Agnistoma, Atya Agnistoma, Uktya, Shodashi, Aptoryam, Atiratra and Vajapeya. Agnistoma is the first sacrifice in the Somayaga.
The host for this yajna has to be a couple conducting the Tretagni Agnihotra. The fire of their regular Agnihotra worship has to be installed in the Somayaga kunda.
For the yadnya, fire is produced by using friction and this process is called Agnimanthan.
Other members or ritivijas in planning the yadnya are as follows:
For Rigveda: Hota and other three (four)
For Yajurveda: Adhvaryu and other three (four)
For Samveda: Udgata and other three (four)
For Atharvaveda: Bramha and other three (four)
The seventeenth ritvija is called a sadasya (member). Apart from this, there are ten to eleven Chamsadhvaryuches.
Various rituals are performed for the first four days, namely Dakshiniya Ishti, Prainiya Ishti, Atithya Ishti, Pravargya etc.
Vargya Vidhi is a fascinating ritual. In this, ghee is heated to boiling point in a small earthen vessel (mahavir).
At this time, the recitation of mantras related to Vargya is on. Then milk of cow and goat is poured on the ghee in the mahavir pot. At this time, the flames shoot up to a height of about 40 feet.
On the fifth day, the main Somayag begins. On this day, Somvalli is pounded and its juice is extracted and offered as a special mantra of this Somarasa.
On the sixth day, the host, wife, ritvija etc take a ritual bath to conclude the yadnya. All go near the water and bathe and immerse the vessels used in yadnya and othe objects coated with Soma.
(The author has an MD in Ayurveda and is the president of Vishwa Foundation. He is also the grandson of Paramasadguru Shri Gajanan Maharaj, Shivpuri, Akkalkot.)