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Havan - hōm

In response to the Havan posts being shared.

Recently historical practices of Havan are being shared amongst Sikhs, which I feel odd about. As Jodh Singh rightly says, seeing Sikhs perform hōm is not a common sight nowadays, and, personally, I am happy about this. Hōm is the practice of placing things such as Ghee into fire. The technique is outlined in the Shāstars. The history is briefly touched by JungNihang, and Manglacharan also shares historical texts stating the practice of hōm taking place amongst Khalsa Sikh.

However, the first and foremost Sikh historical text, as well as the Guide for Sikhs, Gurū Granth Sahib Jī, is ignored. With Maharajs Kirpa, I hope to be able to share what Gurū Granth Sahib Jī, Maharaj tells us about hōm, and provide the ‘opposing’ view.

Firstly, Bhai Gurdās Jī 2, in their Vāran explain

ਫਿਰ ਜਗ ਹੋਮ ਠਹਿਰਾਇ ਕੈ ਨਿਜ ਧਰਮ ਸਵਾਰਾ ।

Desisting from the (rituals of) Yajana and Havana, righteousness was promoted.

This Vār is regards to creation of the Khalsa.

Then in Dasam Granth, Gurū Gobind Singh Jī Maharaj, teaches us

ਕਈ ਅਗਨਿਹੋਤ੍ਰ ਕਈ ਪਉਨ ਅਹਾਰ ॥

Many perform havan (fire-worship) and many subsist on air

ਨਹੀ ਤਦਪਿ ਦੇਵ ਹੋਵਤ ਪੂਤਛ ॥੧੧ ॥ ੧੩੧ ॥

Still the Lord does not manifest Himself to them! 11. 131

Gurū Granth Sahib Jī Maharaj teaches us what the real hōm is.

ਜਪ ਤਪ ਸੰਜਮ ਪੁੰਨ ਸਭਿ ਹੋਮਉ ਤਿਸੁ ਅਰਪਉ ਸਭਿ ਸੁਖ ਜਾਂਈ ॥

Chanting, penance, self control, good deeds and charity - I sacrifice all these in fire; I dedicate all peace and places to Him.

The real hōm is the giving of, the sacrifice of, your ਮਨ - your mind. Burn the 5 Chor in the fire.

Gurū Sahib also tells us that hōm is futile.

ਪੁੰਨ ਦਾਨ ਹੋਮੇ ਬਹੁ ਰਤਨਾ ॥

donations to charities and offerings of jewels to fire;

ਸਰੀਰੁ ਕਟਾਇ ਹੋਮੈ ਕਰਿ ਰਾਤੀ ॥

cutting the body apart and making the pieces into ceremonial fire offerings;

ਵਰਤ ਨੇਮ ਕਰੈ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤੀ ॥

keeping fasts and making vows of all sorts

ਨਹੀ ਤੁਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥

- none of these are equal to the contemplation of the Name of the Lord,

ਨਾਨਕ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪੀਐ ਇਕ ਬਾਰ ॥ ੧ ॥

O Nanak, if, as Gurmukh, one chants the Naam, even once. ॥ 1 ॥


ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਨਾਮ ਸਮਸਰਿ ਕਛੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥

There is nothing equal to the Name of the Lord.

Sacrificing all is the true hōm.

ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਅਰਪਉ ਸਭ ਹੋਮਾ ॥

I offer all to Him - good actions, righteous conduct and incense burning.

ਗਰਬੁ ਮੋਹੁ ਤਜਿ ਹੋਵਉ ਰੇਨ ॥

Renouncing pride and attachment, I become the dust of the feet of the Saints.

Ultimately, Gurū Jī wants our ਮਨ. Which we will not give.

ਕਰਿ ਪੂਜਾ ਹੋਮਿ ਇਹੁ ਮਨੂਆ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਗੁਰਦੇਵਾ ॥ ੩ ॥

Worship Him, and dedicate this mind unto Him, the Image of the Undying Lord, the Divine Guru. ||3||

Simran is the way our Gurū Sahib has taught us, but if hōm works for you then that's Kirpa. Because as Gurū Jī says

ਮੰਨੇ ਕੀ ਗਤਿ ਕਹੀ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥

It's up to us to decide what we want, and how we want it. To me, personally, Gurū Jī has made it pretty clear that Wahegurū Simran is the only thing that'll get you out of the cycle of life and death.


ਹੋਮ ਜਗ ਜਪ ਤਪ ਸਭਿ ਸੰਜਮ ਤਟਿ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਹੀ ਪਾਇਆ ॥

Through burnt offerings, charitable feasts, ritualistic chants, penance, all sorts of austere self-discipline and pilgrimages to sacred shrines and rivers, they do not find God.

ਮਿਟਿਆ ਆਪੁ ਪਏ ਸਰਣਾਈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਗਤੁ ਤਰਾਇਆ ॥ ੪ ॥ ੧ ॥ ੧੪ ॥

Self-conceit is only erased when one seeks the Lord's Sanctuary and becomes Gurmukh; O Nanak, he crosses over the world-ocean. ॥ 4 ॥ 1 ॥ 14 ॥

I apologise for the brevity - Akaal Sahai

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