Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Havan Mean?

Havan, also known as homa or homam, is a Sanskrit word that refers to any ritual wherein offerings are made into a consecrated fire. The word comes from the Sanskrit root word hu, meaning “to offer” or “to present.” Generally, the word is used in northern India, while homa is used in southern India. Regardless, the meaning is identical.

This is an important ritual in Hinduism as well as modern Buddhism and Jainism. The procedure and the offerings may vary, depending on the occasion or intention. However, the ritual process always involves kindling and consecrating the fire, invoking of one or more deities and the making of real or visualized offerings. Prayers and mantras are chanted during the ritual as well.

It is believed that the regular practice of havan brings purification and transformation to the individual and the environment. In this way, havans are also part of yoga ecology as they adhere to the yogic principles of purity and caring for the natural world.


Yogapedia Explains Havan

This fire ceremony dates back to the Vedic period when havans were very much part of daily life. Havans are still conducted quite frequently in yoga centers in India, especially during spiritual events.

During a havan, the fire altar is usually square shaped, almost always built specifically for the occasion and dismantled immediately after the ritual is completed. The ritual is always centered in the middle of the appointed space, whether conducted outdoors or indoors. Priests and other principal people performing the ceremony sit around the altar while the other devotees form a larger ring around the fire.

There are many different types of havans for different occasions. There is a havan for naming a child, a havan for wealth and material prosperity, and one that is a purification ritual performed as part of the formal ceremonies by which a person takes the vows of renunciation.

It is believed that havan has a purifying effect on both the devotee who makes the offerings and the environment. Through the chanting of mantras and making offerings to the fire, one’s chakras are re-energized, creating a revitalizing and rejuvenating effect for both the body and mind.

In one’s personal spiritual practice, havans can be conducted as a prop for an internal process of meditation.

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