AhaWan is a sacred purifying ritual in Hinduism that involves a fire ceremony. It is a ritual of sacrifice made to the fire God (Agni) consisting of prayer, chanting and offerings. It is believed that this sacrifice brings health, happiness, luck and prosperity. Such hawans are held at weddings and many other ceremonial occassions. Hawans may be held to bless and purify a new house when people move in. The ceremony will be followed by a large family meal and celebrations. Such hawan ceremonies for Hindus are normally conducted by a priest in a person’s home or in a temple. After lighting a fire, objects such as fruit, honey or wooden goods are put into a sacred fire and prayers are recited. Incense and rice may be offered into the fire as well. If there are any negative energies around, they are supposed to get burnt in the sacred fire.
Hawans are performed for several purposes, to dispel negative energies in a home, to destroy negative life patterns and to annihilate negativity. During the hawan, the divine energies from the deities flow into the body of the performer and thereby cleanse them of all negative energies and destroy negative samskaras (tendencies). Hawansbring in high energies into a home thereby paving the way for positive thoughts, actions, etc. to enter into our lives. They help in re-vitalising the three energies in our body (Vata, Pitha and Kapha) and help in maintaining the energy balance. Hawans also help in propitiating the deities responsible for the attainment of various virtues, prosperity and fulfillment of spiritual, materialistic and physical needs. We do hawans for both the needs of the physical world and the spiritual practices couldbe attained doing certain esoteric hawans. While making offerings into the fire, it is the death of the offerings that bears the fruit of the hawan, which is life. Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed but it can be changed from one form to another. The divine energy produced by chanting the mantras during the hawan is transformed to other forms of energy, which manifests miracles in the physical, psychological and spiritual realms.
The date and time of hawans are carefully chosen after studying astrology, the star and purpose of these hawans. Generally these hawans commence between 06:00 and 08:00. However some hawans can be performed during the evenings also. The duration and the method of the hawan also varies depending on the purpose. Each kind of hawan requires different kinds of construction as specificied by the Scriptures. The appropriate date and time for each kind of hawan is important for the best results. In the traditional Hindu system of worship and prayer, hawans have played a very significant role.
Hawans are a sacrificial medium in which various aspects of the “Self” are sacrificed at the altar of a Supreme Consciousness. A communion with this Supreme Consciousness is achieved through the medium of Fire and various chanting and invocations. Traditionally, to light the hawan, two pieces of dry wood are brought into friction. The two pieces of wood symbolises the body and the soul (the true spirit in man) and the lighting of the fire symbolises that the physical body should start a quest for spiritual life. Just as the fire devours the wood, so when you are spiritual and enlightened, you should be beyond the identification of yourself with the body. Hawan is a sacred fire ritual that has been in prominence in Hinduism and prevalent in a few other ancient cultures and religious groups in one way or the other. It is a ritual of sacrifice- sacrifice made to the Fire God, Agni (one of the five elements). In most of the ancient ceremonies like weddings, births, deaths, festivals, etc. the hawan is performed. The fire is an element that is believed to symbolize God or the power of the universe.
Hawans symbolize the three D’s of discipline, devotion and dedication. It teaches to give without expecting anything in return, because this is what fire does. Agni or fire holds inspirational value for the soul through its features of light, it inspires our souls to become bright and radiant. It inspires us to burn away our intellectual impefections. Fire always tend to rise upwards. When we light a fire and pray in front of it, we are actually seeking the Lord’s blessings to help us forever in life and stop not until the goal is achieved.