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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Jammalamadaka Srinivas

Sometimes transliterated as: Haviryagna

There are seven Haviryajnas which are a part of 48 saṃskāras. The seven haviryajnas are:

  1. Agnyādheya
  2. Agnihotra
  3. Darśapūrṇamāsas
  4. Āgrayaṇa
  5. Chāturmāsyas
  6. Nirūḍhapaśubandha
  7. Sautrāmaṇī

The detailed and accurate description of Haviryajnas are available in the Śrautasūtras. Śrautasūtras are the manuals compiled to give directions while performing the rites. These compilations are based on Brāhmaṇa texts.


Agnyādheya also called as iṣṭi is the first havijanya of the seven haviryajnas. Iṣṭi is a sacrifice that is performed along with one's wife and with the help of four ṛtviks. The four ṛtviks are adhvaryu, udgāta, hotā and brahmā. The person who performs the sacrifice is called as yajamāna. Agnyādheya is performed in a span of two days. The first day is called upavastha. On the first day preliminary matters are dealt with. The main sacrifice is performed on the second day. Specific nakṣatras are prescribed for this ritual viz. Kṛttikā, Rohiṇī, Mṛgaśirā, Pūrva phalgunī, Uttara phalgunī, Viśākhā, Uttarābhādrā. Agnyadheya is to be done on a parva day on the specified nakṣatra in spring[1], summer[2], Autumn[3] by brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya and vaiśya respectively. Through this haviryajna the yajamāna has to maintain three agnis gārhapatya, āhavanīya and dakṣiṇagni for the sacrificial purpose.


Agnihotra is the second haviryajna among the seven. Agnihotra is to be performed form the evening of the day of agnyādheya. It has to be carried out twice daily in the morning and evening till the end of his life or till he becomes a sanyāsī.

yāvajjīvamagnihotram juhuyāt

This haviryajna comes under nitya karma which means that this sacrifice shall not have any phalam[4] in return. The homa is performed with cows's milk. One is suggested to performs agnihotra as a duty[5] and not for any particular phalaṃ in view. But one who wishes for particular desire such as grāma[6], bahvannaṃ[7] and other particular havirdravyam such as yavāgū, cooked rice etc. are instructed.


Darśapūrṇmāsa falls in the prakṛti category of sacrifice of all other iṣṭis. All other iṣṭis are vikṛti type of sacrifices of darśapūrṇamāsa. Prakṛti means archetype and vikṛti means a sacrifice which follows prakṛti type sacrifice with small modifications. As darśapūrṇamāsa is prakṛti for all other iṣṭis even though it comes third in the haviryajnas, in the śrauta sūtras darśapūrṇamāsa is described in the first place.

A person, after setting up three sacred fires, has to perform Darśapūrṇamāsas throughout his life till the old age or till he becomes a sanyāsī. According to Āpastamba there is an exception given i.e. one can perform darśapūrṇamāsas all his life or has to perform for thirty years or till he becomes very old due to which he is unable to perform this ritual.

Darśapūrṇamāsābhyāṃ yajeta| triṃśataṃ vā varṣāni> jīrṇo vā viramet|[8]

The word darśa means amāvāsya or new moon day and pūrṇamāsa means full moon day. The iṣṭi which is performed on the new moon and the next day to it is called as darśeṣṭi. Subsequently iṣṭi which is performed on the full moon day and it's next day is called as pūrṇamāseṣṭi.


Āgrāyaṇa is an iṣṭi in which the harvested rice, barley and millet are used. Without performing the ritual of iṣṭi āhitāgni, one cannot consume the food grains. The iṣṭi is so called because the first harvest should be first eaten.

Agre ayanaṃ bhakṣaṇaṃ yena karmaṇā tadāgrayaṇaṃ|[9]

This iṣṭi is performed on the full moon or new moon day. The havirdarvyam that is to be employed in the iṣṭi, differs from season to season. For example, as barley is harvested in the vasanta season, in the āgrāyaṇa that is performed in vasanta season, barley should be used as havirdravyam.


The Cāturmāsyas are the four seasonal sacrifices, viz:

  1. Vaiśvadeva
  2. Varuṇapraghāsa
  3. Sākamedha
  4. Sunāsīrīya

Each of these is called as parva of cāturmāsyas. They are called cāturmāsyas because each parva is performed every four months.

Caturṣu caturṣu māseṣu bhavatīti vyutpattyā|[10]

They are respectively performed on the full moon days of phālguna or caitra, āṣadha, kārtika and on the fifth full moon from the day on which sākamedha parva is performed. They indicate the arrival of three seasons, viz. vasanta[11], varṣa[12] and hemanta[13].

Vasante vaiśvadevena yajeta varṣāsu varuṇapraghāsaiaryajeta hemante sākamedhairyajeta[14]


Nirūḍhapaśubandha is an independent animal sacrifice and also an aṇga[15] of soma sacrifice. The nirūḍhapaśubandha is the prakṛti[16] to all other animal sacrifices, except sāvanīyapaśubandha and anūbandhyapaśubandha.

This sacrifice is to be performed once in every six months or once in a year by āhitāgni all his life. If it is performed once a year then it is to be performed on the new moon or full moon day in the rainy season i.e. in the months of Śrāvaṇa and Bhādrapada. If it is performed once in six months then it should be performed at the beginning of Uttarāyaṇa and Dakṣiṇāyana. In this context it is not necessary to be performed on new moon or full moon day, it can be performed on any auspicious day.


Sautrāmaṇī is a combination of an iṣṭi and animal sacrifice. The uniqueness of this sacrifice is that soma[17] is used for offering. In modern times, due to the unavailability of soma rasa, milk is used as its substitute. The word sautrāmaṇī is derived from the word sutrāman which means protector or one who was well saved. The first one indicates Indra and the later one indicates Aświnī devatās.


  1. It is called as vasanta.
  2. It is called as grīṣma
  3. It is called as śarad.
  4. It means reward.
  5. It refers to nitya karma.
  6. It means village.
  7. It means abundance of food.
  8. Āpastambha Śrauta Sūtra - 3-14-11 to 13
  9. commentary on Aśvalāyana śrauta sutras - 2-9-1
  10. Commentary on kātyāyana śrauta sūtra - 5-1-1
  11. It means spring.
  12. It means rain.
  13. It means autumn.
  14. Śābara bhāṣyam, Jaimini sūtras - 10-2-13
  15. It means constituent part.
  16. It refers to archtype.
  17. It means wine.