By Swami Harshananda
Devayajña literally means ‘sacrifice unto the gods’.
An awareness of one’s social responsibilities and the earnest attempts to repay one’s debts to the concerned persons, gradually evolved into the principle of ṛṇatraya (three debts) right from the birth. The same theory was conceptualized as an allied principle of pañcayajñas. They apply to all human beings and especially to the grhasthas or house-holders.
Devaṛṇa or the debt towards the gods like Indra and Varuṇa has to be paid back by devayajña or offering of oblations ceremonially into the duly consecrated fire. Being sustained and pleased by such sacrificial offerings, these gods who have control over the elemental forces like rain or the growth of crops or granting worthy progeny, fulfill our desires. By thus mutually co-operating with each other both these gods and the human beings can live and prosper happily.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore