According to the dharmasUtras, hOma to Gods is called dEvayagya. It involves offering materials like fuel sticks and food (ghee, etc.) in fire with mantras and the word “swAha” in the name of the deities. The dEvatAs to whom the dEvayagya is offered include Soorya, Agni, Soma, Prajapati, Indra, etc. The gRuhya sootras contain the procedure in detail. This way deities are worshipped in the form of abstract powers when one performs dEvayagya.
There is one more karmA called “vaishvadEva” which according to the smRutis, is an offering of cooked food with mantras to all the deities. (vishva means “all” and dEvA means “Gods”. According to Manu 3.84-86, the deities of vaishvadEvam are Agni, Soma, agnisOma, the vishvEdEvas, dhanvantari, kuhu, anumati, prajapati, dyAvApRuthivi, shvishtakrit. The deity list however differs with different Rushis. As the vaishvadEva karmA is talked about in panchamahAyagya section of the manusmRuti , it is considered to be dEva yagyam.
From medieval time onwards, homa started fading and “dEvapoojA”, the worship of images of Gods began to substitute the dEvayagya in many places. But smRutis hold that even if dEvapoojA is performed, vaishvadEvam has to be perfomed by an householder maintaing agni, as it is the only yagya out of the panchamahAyagya that is performed in agni.
The images or moortis can be made of precious stones, gold, silver, copper, brass, iron, stone, bronze, lead, wood, sandalwood, draw as a picture, sand or mental images.
Among the stones, the shAlagrAma stone (a black stone containing fossil ammonite in the kandaki river near a village called shAlagrAma) is considered best in the forms of Vishnu. Of equal importance is the stone from dwArkA marked with a chakra called the dwArka shilA or the dwArarvati stone. The worship of the shAlagrAma along with a dwArkA shilA is very auspicious.
The panchAyatana PoojA consists of prayers to 5 deities in the form of stones, namely Vishnu (as shAlagrAma), Shiva (as bAna lingas from Narmada), Durga/Devi (as metallic stone), Sun (as crystal) and Ganesha (as red stone). The 5 deities are arranged in rows of two and the main deity of the puja in the centre. According to the worshipper, it is decided which main deity should be placed in the centre.
The procedure for worship is stipulated in the Agama texts of the shaivas, shAktAs and the vaishNavAs.
प्रजापति स्मृति prajApati smRuti says:
वैश्वदॆवं बलिहरतिं प्रत्यहं गृहमॆधिन:।
सायं प्रातश्च कुर्वीरन् सूनादॊषापनुत्तये ॥
vaishvadEvaM baliharatiM pratyahaM gRuhamEdhina:|
saayaM prAtashcha kurveeran soonAdOShaapanuttaye ||
A gRuhasta (householder) should everyday in the morning and in the evening, perform vaishvadEvam and baliharaNam for the removal of sins accumulated out of violence to living beings.
vaishvadEvam should be performed after dEvapoojA.
nRusimha purAnam says:
पौरुषॆण च सूक्तॆन ततॊ विष्णुं समर्चयॆत् ।
वैश्वदॆवं तत: कुर्याद् बलिकर्म तथैव च ॥
pauruShENa cha sooktEna tatO viShNuM samarchayEt |
vaishvadEvaM tata: kuryAd balikarma tathaiva cha ||
Lord vishNu should be worshipped with the puruSha sooktam and after that the vaishvadEvam should be performed. Then the baliharaNam should be performed.
laghu vyAsa smRuti 2.54 says:
यदि स्याल्लौकीकॆ पक्वं ततॊन्नं भूयते ।
शालाग्नौ तत्र चेदन्नं विधिरॆष सनातन: ॥
दॆवॆभ्यस्तु हुतादन्नाच्छेद्भूतबलिं हरेत्।
भूतयज्ञ : स विज्ञॆयॊ भूतिद: सर्वदॆहिनाम् इति।
तच्च कालद्वयॆऽपि कर्तव्यमित्याह ॥
yadi syAllaukeekE pakvaM tatOnnaM bhooyate |
shAlAgnau tatra chedannaM vidhirESha sanAtana: ||
dEvEbhyastu hutAdannAchChedbhootabaliM haret |
bhootayagya : sa vigyEyO bhootida: sarvadEhinAm iti
tachcha kAladvayE&pi kartavyamityAha ||
If the food is cooked in laukeeka agni, then the vaishvadEva hOma has to be performed in laukeeka agni only. If the food is cooked in AupAsana agni, the vaishvadEva hOma has to be performed in AupAsana agni only. This is the ancient traditional sampradAya. Food cooked should be used for vaishvadEva hOma first and then from the left out, annam has to be offered to bhoothAs for bali haraNa. This would give happiness to all the bhootAs.(beings). This bhoota yagya should be performed both in the morning and in the evening.
The deities list may vary according to different smRutis.
The procedure according to Apastamba SmRuti is given below:
औपासने पचने चा षड्भिराध्यै: प्रतिमन्त्रं हस्तेन जुहुया दुभयत: परिषेचनं यथापुरस्तात्।
षड्भिराध्यै: – अग्नयॆ स्वाहा, सॊमाय स्वाहा, विश्वॆभ्यॊ दॆवॆभ्य: स्वाहा, ध्रुवाय भूमाय स्वाहा, ध्रुवक्षितयॆ स्वाहा,
अच्युतक्षितयॆ स्वाहॆत्य्तै:॥ केचित् सौविष्टकृतमपि सप्तम्ं जुह्वति, अग्नयॆ स्विष्टकृते स्वाह इति।
aupaasane pachane cA ShaDbhirAdhyai: pratimantraM hastena juhuyA dubhayata: pariShechanaM yathApurastaat|
ShaDbhirAdhyai: – agnayE svAhA, sOmAya svAhA, vishvEbhyO dEvEbhya: svAhA, dhruvAya bhoomAya svAhA, dhruvakShitayE svAhA, achyutakShitayE svAhEtyetai:|| kechit sauviShTakRutamapi saptamaM juhvati, agnayE sviShTakRute svAha iti|
The cooked rice is taken and 6 Ahutis of the rice are given with the hand either into the AupAsana agni or bAga agni/laukeeka agni. parisEchanam (atite anu manyasva…)should be done before starting the Ahutis and also after finishing the Ahutis. The 6 Ahutis are as follows:
औम् अग्नयॆ स्वाहा । अग्नयॆ इदं न मम ।
औम् सॊमाय स्वाहा । सॊमाय इदं न मम ।
औम् विश्वॆभ्यॊ दॆवॆभ्य: स्वाहा । विश्वॆभ्यॊ दॆवॆभ्य: इदं न मम ।
औम् ध्रुवाय भूमाय स्वाहा । ध्रुवाय भूमाय इदम् न मम।
औम् ध्रुवक्षितयॆ स्वाहा । ध्रुवक्षितय इदं न मम ।
औम् अच्युतक्षितयॆ स्वाहा ।अच्युतक्षितय इदं न मम।
औम् अग्नयॆ स्विष्टकृते स्वाह । अग्नयॆ स्विष्टकृत इदं न मम ॥
aum agnayE svAhA | agnayE idaM na mama |
aum sOmAya svAhA | sOmAya idaM na mama |
aum vishvEbhyO dEvEbhya: svAhA | vishvEbhyO dEvEbhya: idaM na mama |
aum dhruvAya bhoomAya svAhA | dhruvAya bhoomAya idam na mama|
aum dhruvakShitayE svAhA | dhruvakShitaya idaM na mama |
aum achyutakShitayE svAhA |achyutakShitaya idaM na mama|
aum agnayE sviShTakRute svAha | agnayE sviShTakRuta idaM na mama ||