The word Yagya has its origin in the Sanskrit word ‘Yajna’ meaning prayer, sacrifice, surrender. It is also called as Homam and indicates action without expectation. It’s a specific ritual for the gain of a happy and peaceful life on earth and it is meant for all kinds of humans. It is a science and a method of self-realization- it’s a way of living. There are various kinds of sacrifices and one of the biggest Yagya is Ashwamedha Yagya. The kings and the rishis have been performing them since time immemorial.
Looking at the ancient Hindu tradition, we find many rituals that have a spiritual and deep meaning context. Ashwamedha Yajna or horse sacrifice is one of the popular observances in the Hindu society. Since this ritual is mainly a procedure observed by the princely classes and elites, it may be known as an elite ritual. There is a great deal of interesting information on the origin of Ashwamedha Yajna.
History of Ashwamedha Yajna
These yajnas were intended for three main purposes. In some cases, the kings or rulers who wished to atone for their sins use to perform this Yagya. In the case of Lord Rama, it was performed to atone for killing a woman (ogress Tataka) and a Brahmin (Ravana). Some kings wanted to assert their supremacy over the other kingdoms and hence they performed it. It is said those who perform 100 Ashwamedha sacrifices can become the king of gods (Indra) and so some kings performed the same.
The true meaning of Ashwamedha Yagya
The Shatpath Brahmana (13.1.6) gives a wonderful definition to the term Ashwamedha Yagya by stating “Rashtram va asvamedhah”, implying that the true meaning of the term Ashwamedha is to administer and manage the state in an efficient manner. Thus, Ashwamedha sacrifice was performed as a sign of good governance where the needs of the subjects were kept high and addressed with due responsibility and care.
The spiritual meaning of Ashwamedha Yajna
Horse symbolically represents the senses of human beings that are restless and wavering in their nature. In this context, Ashwamedha means exercising proper control over the senses through which a man can conquer his lower passions and rise up to the level of a spiritual being. Thus, Ashwamedha Yagya mainly sacrificed it and doesn’t refer to the horse sacrifice. But, symbolically this Yagya marks the process of elevating and purifying oneself.
How this Yagya is performed?
The process of sacrifice involves the setting up of a Vedee (alter), lighting it with fire and offering Aahuti (oblations) to it. It is done in two parts- Mantra (sound energy) and Havishya (food of gods). Mantras are chants that invoke the gods and Havishya is the food that is offered to the gods for their satisfaction. Food is offered to all gods through Agni which is the symbol of the mouth of all gods. This term is also associated with Indian astrology horoscope and is cognate with the English word ‘ignite’ and so is connected with fire. The process involves various offering to gods which are consumed by the fire.
Benefits of performing Ashwamedha Yagya
Generally if one is going through a bad phase in life due to the negative influence of the planets, he can perform a particular sacrifice and sort out the problem. But it’s important to consult an astrologer before performing any type. A wrong choice can increase the malefic effect of the planets which in its turn can further aggravate the bad or negative situation.
Astrological views on performing this Yagya
The astrologers will advise which sacrifice to perform depending on the nature of the trouble. Besides, it’s also important to think a lot and doing a little bit of research before deciding on the priest who will perform the rituals. It can be done in the presence or absence of the person. Whatever be the decision, one should first find out if the priest selected is reputed and has experience. There are many unscrupulous people in this business too. If not chosen properly it can be an utter misuse of money, as any wrong ritual performed is always unprofitable-emotionally or otherwise. Best is to have faith in the right priests who know how to perform them effectively.
Astrologers and Purohits at Askganesha are highly skilled and can guide you rightly with this Yagya.Ashwamedha Yagya: An Act of True Prayer by AskGanesha Astrologer