True meaning of Panchagni Yajna

Panchagni Yajna described in the ancient Indian scripture the Chandogya Upanishad, is practiced to reach Brahma Lok or Salvation. This is a much sought after ritual in India. The literal meaning of Panchagni is “five fires” and Yagna is “Sacrifice”. So Panchagni Yagna literally translated means “Sacrifice to the five fires”.

This is the superficial meaning, the deeper spiritual meaning has not been truly understood by many; hence there are numerous misconceptions about the Panchagni Yagna. The major misconception is that, one has to do Tapa or Meditation sitting in between four fires, with the Sun as the fifth fire.

This misconception was denounced by none other than Bhishma as seen in the Shantiparva of the Mahabharata.Bhishma says that the purification of the one who sits in between the five senses; symbolized as the ever burning fires, by meditation is the end objective of this Yagna.

Through Meditation when the fire of the ever burning senses is extinguished, then the mind looses its subjective nature and the real knowledge of the object alone shines[burns].This real knowledge of the object, where the one Meditating and the object of his Meditation become one; is illumination or the Non-Dual state.

The Svetasvataropanishad says that just as there is oil in the sesame seed, butter in curd, water in streams and fire in logs of wood; so is the Ever Existent seen in the self through truth and restraint.

Thus the devote will do well to understand that the deeper and true meaning of the Panchagni Yagna is transcending the senses, to reach the Ever-Existent.

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