Most of us may be aware of the significance of the Ganahoma as we also do know yoga and its benefits. But when we link to the spiritual side of the meditation, we can understand how advanced our ancestors and India is. The current situation is that the west has aggressively adopted yoga into their daily life routine just like going to a gym. You walk into any gym in neighbourhood, there are group programmes on yoga, pilates, etc. Yes in India too we have many yoga studios, classes, organizations and other things, they have cropped up in India after yoga was popularized by the west. But even today in India majority of people have not yet instilled yoga in their daily life despite the many attempts of Shri Shri Ravi Shankar and Baba Ramdev and the latest fad Mickey Mehta's 360° Wellness Temple and Shivganeshyoga bringing out good yoga teachers. I hope the central government and state governments eventually include one period as Yoga period in the school curriculum. As a Hindu major country include shlokas, yoga sutras, meditation etc. in that yoga period and make it compulsory and bring out a uniform curriculum throughout the country. This vision may be a near reality with our Prime Minister Modi himself practices yoga and supports yoga.
After the physical yoga and spiritual meditation, the west is now following the Indian yagnas and homas. They even have given a name for it and call it Fire Yoga. http://vedicastrologer.org/ has explained the Fire Yoga here
As we all know Ganahoma is a pooja to Lord Ganapathi to bless us with health, wealth and happiness, and to remove any obstacles on our way to success be it in academics, sports, business, family, new ventures, inauguration of a home or shop etc. Asking Lord Ganesha to be present and help in any human related efforts.
T.A. Balasubramaniam in his website on homas has explained about Ganapathi homam beautifully.
There are many types of Ganapathi homam according to Ganesha Purana like Mahaganapathi Homam, Ashta Dravya Ganapathi Homam, Sahasra Modaka Ganapathi Homam. I could understand the spiritual connection between mind, body, soul and the dimming of the five kleshas (Avidya - ignorance, egoism - asmita, raga - attachment, aversion - dvesa and abhinivesa - fear of death as per the Samadhi Pada of the Yoga Sutras.
It is explained very well in Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple website about how to diminish the kleshas and obtain better spiritual connection by performing Ganahoma here
I have linked many websites and articles from the internet to share the knowledge for educational purpose only. I thank them for helping me put together this article on Ganahoma.
Konchady Vasant Pai has shared his experience of Ganahoma - He says " In our family, it is more than a hundred years since Ganesh Chaturthi and ganahoma are performed without fail. The holy smoke acts as a fumigant, disinfecting the dwelling, and it purifies the lungs of the inhaler. As the priest chants the mantras and feeds Agni with ghee, panchakajjaYa and naivedya we experience a spiritual exhilaration."
Other than performing Ganahoma for specific purpose like housewarming, shop opening, specific health/education reasons; mostly GSB and konkan people perform Ganahoma annually. During Ganesh Chaturthi they bring in Ganesh idol to their homes and offer various poojas along with their family and extended families, relatives, neighbours etc. Thereafter the family and extended families disperse, after performing pooja and partaking prasad, food etc. as the Ganesha Idol is taken to Visarjan. Usually family of four plus their extended family come together on Ganesh Chaturdashi day and take part in pooja, prasad and other celebrations. My dad's side Nagar Nayak Trust performs one day Ganesha chaturthi on behalf of 300 plus family members (my grandfather is one of the seven brothers). The family members are strewn all across India/world due to their profession (banking,IT,Insurance etc.). Most of the family members make it a point to reserve Ganesh Chaturthi day to visit Gangolli and partake in the poojas and celebrations of Ganesh Utsav wherever they are :) Some of them perform in their office or trust they support. People also visit Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav
When people cannot cannot visit their family Ganapathi due to some reasons, they perform Ganahoma at the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav (community Ganapathi celebrations) venues. One can also perform Ganahoma at a community event or temple Check with your local temple if they offer Ganahoma Seva. If you live abroad then check your respective area hindu temple online for sevas.
We performed Ganahoma on Tuesday the second day of Ganeshotsava celebration at Wadala Ram Mandir. It has 10 day celebrations. Other seva details are here
Another GSB venue that performs community Ganahoma is GSB Seva Mandal at which has a 24 hours various pooja service for 5 days starting from Ganesh Chaturthi day annually. The details of seva are here.
Please write in comments your experiences on Ganahoma, incidents relating to Ganahoma, more knowledge on Ganahoma pooja and traditions. This article on Ganahoma is open for corrections/additions/deletions (in comments below) You may also share your recipes of Panchakajjaya and other naivedya items. Please add your blog address for me to share articles related to Ganahoma. Here is one from Pratibha Rao, in her blog The Indian Food Court has given detailed pictorial recipes of four Panchakajjaya according to the related festivals.