“The moment you light a lamp, around the flame, a certain etheric sphere naturally occurs. Where there is an etheric sphere, communication is better,” writes mystic Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev in his blog. He says this is the reason why stories are narrated around campfires. By increasing the listener’s receptivity, fire increases the effectiveness of our communication. Fire also increases sensitivity and makes us more receptive to cosmic grace. That is why, traditionally, lamps are lit prior to prayers.
“Before you talk to God, you want to create the right kind of ambience, a certain amount of etheric sphere. Without that, it is as if you are talking to a wall,” Sadhguru writes in the blog. Fire creates an atmosphere that makes the communication with the divine all the more powerful. According to Vedic texts, Agni, the god of fire, is the God’s own messenger. He is believed to convey a devotee’s prayers and oblations directly to the gods themselves. No wonder fire has always been an integral part of ancient vedic rituals like yagna, havan or homa. “Agni is the first of all gods. Therefore, every Veda (except the Samaveda) begins with the Agni Sutra. While performing a yagna or a homa, Agni has two roles to play. Firstly, he helps invoke the main God. That is, Agni helps bring the gods right to worshippers’ homes. Secondly, he takes a devotees’ oblations to the gods themselves. Therefore, Agni makes it possible for the devotee to receive God’s blessings,” says retired Sanskrit professor J Srinivasa Murthy.
It is believed that these fire-based rituals are known to appease a particular deity and thereby bless the devotees with specific benefits. There are about 400 homas and yagnas, each with a different purpose. For instance, Parjanya yagna is performed to bring rain and Indra yagna for prosperity and wealth, Sanskrit professor Dr Vinay Acharya says.