The fundamental concept of the Veda is to serve the food to the Divine Preacher, who is the incarnation of God (Agnou karana), to the devoted human beings (Brahmana Bhojana) and finally, to other livings beings like birds and animals (Pinda pradana). The food is prepared by God from the five inert elements for the sake of living beings. If you throw such food into inert elements like fire, earth etc., you are insulting God. Pouring milk into pores of the earth is also foolish. In such case, all the effort of God to synthesize food from the inert materials becomes waste. Food is essential for life since it generates energy in the living being with the help of which only one preaches the knowledge and the other hears the knowledge to practice it. The total essence of the sacrifice is serving food to the Divine Preacher followed by serving food to devotees, elder people like parents and other invited guests and finally serving food to birds and animals. Serving food to the Divine Preacher is called ‘Brahma Yajna’. Serving food to Scholars is called ‘Rushi Yajna’. Serving food to devotees is called ‘Deva Yajna’. Serving food to old people is called ‘Pitru Yajna’. Serving food to other invited guests is called ‘Manushya Yajna’. Serving food to birds and animals is called ‘Bhoota Yajna’. Finally, eating to maintain the self is called ‘Atma Yajna’.
The first is ‘Brahma Yajna’ in which the Divine Preacher or the human incarnation is served. He is the Director of your practice in the entire life by which you are benefited here and there. This is the reason why the post of Director is the top most position in any institution. Once the correct direction is given, the employees work in correct lines and the institution succeeds. Such greatest Divine Preacher should be served with the best food in the beginning itself. Since He is to be served first He is called ‘Agni’. The word ‘Agni’ comes from the word ‘Agri’, which means the first to be served. Therefore, such Divine Preacher is the meaning of the word ‘Agni’ and not the physical fire. Brahma means God and service to Him is service to God and therefore, such service is called as ‘Brahma Yajna’. The best food is the food prepared using excess of ghee. Ghee does not mean pure ghee and it means only the food prepared with excess of ghee. People have slipped in taking the meaning of these two words ‘Agni’ and ‘Ghrutam’. Ignorant people have taken the ‘Agni’ for physical fire and ‘Ghrutam’ for pure ghee and they have started pouring the ghee in the Fire.
Serve Bhokta by food liked by him in ceremonies
Even in the ceremonies of departed souls, you must satisfy the person eating the food (Bhokta) and serve him with the items liked by him. If he is satisfied, the effect of such satisfaction called as ‘Apoorvam’ or ‘Punyam’ saves the departed souls. You need not force the eater to eat the items liked by the departed soul. It is foolish ignorance since there is no connection between the eater and the departed soul. In the sacrifice performed by the followers of Rigveda, there is no physical fire. The food is placed in the palm of the eater (Pani Homa) and burning the food in the fire is only developed later on due to ignorance of the Scripture.
If you understand the meaning of the first hymn of the first Veda (Rigveda), you have understood the meaning of all the four Vedas. The first Veda introduced the main concept in the first hymn itself, attacking the fundamental ignorance. The first hymn is ‘Agni Meele Purohitam, Yajnasya Devamrutvijam, Hotaaram Ratna Dhaatamam’. The translation of this hymn is: I praise the Agni, who is ‘Purohita’, the deity to be worshipped in the sacrifice, the priest, the performer of the sacrifice and the possessor of the greatest gem. If you analyze this verse, you can easily understand that the meaning of the word Agni is only a living human being and not the inert fire. All the adjectives of the Agni stress again and again that Agni means only a specific special human being. One important adjective is that Agni is said to be the performer of pouring the ghee in the fire. The inert fire cannot pour the ghee in it by itself. The ghee is poured only by a living being. You may argue that by this explanation, the pouring of ghee in inert fire is not contradicted. This argument is rejected because the human being can pour the ghee (eat the food prepared by ghee) in the hunger fire called ‘Vaisvanara’ existing in his own stomach. Burning the ghee in fire is objected by another Vedic statement that food should not be wasted or destroyed (Annam Naparichekshita). The Divine Preacher Himself can be compared to the fire, Who burns the ignorance and in the comparison through metaphor, you can say that the Preacher is Fire. This is stated in the Veda also (Aagneyovai Brahmanah).
From all angles, the Preacher eating the ghee-food in the beginning is the most correct interpretation. He is called as Purohita, since He helps you here itself before your death. After the death, you will go to the upper world called as Bhoga Loka where you cannot practice anything. Only here, in this Karma Loka, you can do any practice. For practice, right direction is essential, which comes only from the true knowledge of the Divine Preacher. He is the God of your sacrifice or service, since He is the human form of God. He is the Priest since He directs you in the right path. He is the possessor of the true knowledge, which is the most valuable gem helping you here and there. The essence of this first hymn is only to say that ‘Agni’ means the present alive Human Incarnation and not the inert fire. The inert fire is lit in the beginning only to cook the food. Fire is only the helping instrument (Saadhanam) but not the goal of worship (Upaasya) in the sacrifice. This fire ignited in the beginning for cooking is misunderstood as the deity of the worship since there was no separate kitchen in the ancient hut (Aashrama). The fire is lit in the east-south corner of the single room and hot cooked food was served then and there itself. The fire was continuously burning to avoid the entry of cruel animals from the forest and the continuous smoke always repelled the mosquitoes.
In the Bhagavatam, Kapila, the incarnation of God, says that only fool pours ghee in the physical fire. Lord Krishna also disturbed the blind practice of burning the food in the fire by asking it to satisfy the hunger. As per the Veda (Yaavateervai…) all the deities dwell in the body of the Divine Preacher, who are satisfied by the food eaten by the Divine Preacher and give rains in the proper time to the world. In this way the sacrifice is really the reason for the rain (Yajnaath bhavati… Gita). In the misunderstood sense, the ghee burnt in the fire producing smoke pollutes the environment and stops the rain!