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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

About homa kundams

Dear Members:

One of our members had raised this query to me, and I am publishing the query and my response to that as this could be a guidance for many persons with similar doubts....

Query: Namaste Pandit ji - On this Vinayaka Chathurthi, there was Ganapati modaka homam done in our apts. The priests used a loha kundam (looked like iron made) for the homam and when I asked if it is better to use copper kundam or loha kundam for homam, they mentioned that copper vessels for ghee, etc have to be used and a loha kundam has to be used. They are from one of the Shankara mutts.
Can you please give your take on the homa kundam that has to be used ?

My response:

Homam kundams are preferably of Copper and not loha (Iron). Iron is "varjita" - prohibited in Deva kaaryas and pitru kaaryas.

But, maybe, the homam kundam was not loha - but just copper that has become dark with frequent usage (homam fire is of a very high temperature and can darken the homa kundam; the insides of my homa kundam also look dark - though the kunadam is a pyramid shaped one made of copper.

If they really insisted that loha kundam is the one to be used (as you claim they said so openly), I pity their ignorance and it is a sad state of affairs when people from Sankara mutts themselves are like this after learning vedas from reputed patasalas. People of Sankara mutt (priests of that tradition) are known for their excellent diction in veda mantras, and generally, I am not sure why they were confused in this matter. But, in all probability, it was probably YOU who mistook the metal that the homa kundam was made might well have been a copper homa kundam only that was dark due to frequent homam smokes and ghee soot darkening the metal making it appear as Iron.

It is best to use homa kundams made of fresh clay, or bricks, or copper - and definitely Loha - Iron is prohibited in use for most normal homams; it is used only in certain ugra rituals. That is the shastraic position of this.

For some homams on Lord Ganesha, it is permissible to use even the coconut kernels as homa kundam - and kernels do get reduced to ash at the end of the homam. There are certain other natural articles also used as homa kundams in mantraic usages - but those are exceptions. Iron as homa kundam is not permissible for most vedic homams/ saatwik Fire worships.



Krishna said...

Dear Panditji,
Namaskarams, recently I had participated in a homam in fremont, california, were the homam was performed with 2 wooden planks kept on carpet, then, enough mud was spread on the plank and then mango wood was used to make a triangle shape and then camphor was used to start an initial fire and mango wood and ghee combination was used to raise the homam fire with mantras. In this homam, can we call it, that there was no homa kundam at all ?

Is this method of performing homam ok and acceptable by God ?

Also, the priest asked me to recite 54 counts of the mantra in parallel with him, so, we can quickly finish the 108 chants. I did not quite like that, but, later, I told myself that, a priest is a guruji, whatever they tell we should simply adhere to, that discipline and faith itself will bring good results.

So, please let me know your advise on this way of homam doing.

Best regards,

Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear Shri. Krishna:

There are precise measurements with which the homa kundams should be made - depending on the purpose. If the priest spread the mud on the plank and then made a small pit in the mud with raised sides - either triangular or square or circular - as per the homam performed, it can still be called homa kundam - otherwise if the mud was just spread evenly in a flat form to avoid the plank getting bunrnt, it is not considered a homa kunda.

Only samidhaadhaanam or such other daily simple homams can be done on flat surfaces.

So, if there is no homa kundam, you people can just use bricks to form a kunda shape and then do homam in that; that is ideal.

And regarding the priest requesting you to recite the mantra parallel with him, if you already had deeksha of the mantra it is good that you participated in that recital.

You are right about your attitude where you felt "you would simply adhere to whatever they say as the priest is in protocol of Guruji there."

Such implicit Faith and Discipline would have covered for defects in performance, if any.

God accepts things done with Faith and Discipline, and if people who have guided you had erred, the dosha is on the person who officiated and not on the austerity you performed or on you.

Ideally try to have such homams done whenever you come to India - because Place (kshetra) of the homam performance also has its own value, and Bharatavarsha is the best place to have vedic rituals done - that is why even gods descended here to do tapasya:)

Blessed be.

Shailendra said...

Please continue to share such responses whenever you deem fit. It is delight to read for those who love the Vedic culture.

with pranams.

Saurabh said...

very nice question and very nice answer. thank you! :)

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