The important features of the practice of Hinduism in our daily life are called “ Pancha Maha Yajnas”. This includes the social service one is expected to do everyday. These are compulsorily to be practised by everyone. 1 – Deva Yajna: This is regular worship of God in any way a person likes. This can be done in an elaborate manner like Vedic Yajnas, homams, agnihotra, aupasana etc. The simple form can be chanting a few prayers, offering flowers to the deities and doing namaskaras. This practice makes one God-conscious in daily activities. 2 – Pithru-Yajna: It consists of Tarpana or oblations to departed souls and Srardha or annual religious rites performed for departed souls. In Hindu culture the impact of the sentences Matru devo bhava (Be one to whom the mother is a deity ) Pitru devo bhava ( Be one to whom the father is a deity ) is considered very significant. All are duty-bound to pay their debt to them. We must treat our parents with respect and do all that we can, to keep them in comfort. We cannot make sufficient recompense for all the sacrifices they make on our behalf. Worship of parents, not only those who are alive, but also of our forefathers is an important injunction, irrespective of the nature of the parents. Respecting and taking care of living parents and unconditional reverence while they are alive, come under this yajna. Hence the concept of old age homes, does not fit in our culture at all ! One must contemplate on the teachings of the sages, holy men and our forefathers. This practice is intended to serve as a reminder to preserve, enrich and continue our rich cultural heritage and family values. 3 – Rishi-Yajna or Brahma Yajna: This includes the worship and study of vedas and scriptures. The best form is chanting and propogating them. So, merely keeping them in th puja room and showing deeparadhana on Saraswathi Puja day is not sufficient. We must learn them and give to the next generation. This practice refreshes our mind with sacred knowledge and helps to preserve and enrich such knowledge. Promotion of scriptural study falls under this yajna. 4 – Manushya- Yajna: This is service to fellow human beings. All kinds of social services come under this. Adhithi devo Bhava - guests should always be welcome. They must be served with love, respect and reverence. This is the backbone of traditional Hindu hospitality. Service to humanity is service to God. This is conveyed by Sathya Sai Baba in His words “ Nara seva is Narayan seva”. 5 – Bhutha-Yajna: This is service to all living beings like animals, birds, insects, trees, forests etc. We must remember they are also serving us. The kolam drawn with rice flour is meant for feeding ants. The rice offered everyday after naivedyam helps the crow to feed on it. Offering bali to various creatures also comes under bhuthayajna. Bali means that which is offered directly – and not in the fire. This is common in Kerala temples and is done in some homams. The flour offered in the ant hill for the snakes is sarpabali. In many pujas, offerings are thrown outside the house with the chanting of the mantras. The latter are meant for various creatures of the earth and are termed bali. Environmental protection and ecological protection come under this yajna. This practice is intended to create the awareness, to share with all other living beings on earth. All the above yajnas are necessary for one’s inner growth and one yajna cannot replace the other. Each is important in its own way. All the above must be practised everyday in one’s affordable manner. Thiruvalluvar has said more or less the same thing as the Vedas say: " Thenpulattar, deivam, virundu, okkal, tan endru angu Aimbulattaru ombal thalai." Five are the duties of the householder, namely, the offering of oblations to the ‘ pitrus’, the performance of sacrifice to the Gods, the doing of hosptality,the rendering of help unto others and looking after one’s own self. Love & regards, Chithra.