Foundation of Vedic Culture :
Gayatri and Yagna constitute the foundation of the Vedic Culture. While Gayatri imparts wisdom and pure intelligence, Yagna inspires corresponding creativity and actions.
Culture is a set of rules or standards that, when acted upon by the members of a society, produce behaviour that falls within a range of variance the members consider proper and acceptable. It imparts collective expression of the thoughts, speeches and deeds of the learned, talented or creative members of a society or a nation.
a) The Philosophy of Gayatri
Gayatri (the protector of prana and the Goddess of wisdom and pure intelligence) and Yajna (noble deeds). Prana means the source of liveliness, consciousness and vitality. The element within us that grants us the ability to move, work, think and possess wisdom and life is called prana. It is the presence of prana that keeps us alive. Prana is the soul residing in our body.
Due to the presence of prana, living organisms are called prani. Symptoms that result from the insufficiency of prana include nervousness, fear, nightmares, tension, impatience, an atheistic attitude, etc. A person who is full of prana lives in a different world. He is fearless, enthusiastic, determined, courageous, patient, hopeful and active. Human strength is derived from prana, not from bones and muscles.
b) Key Role of Yajna
Yagnas played an essential role in the all-round progress, prosperity and happiness in the Vedic age. Different modes of performing agni-yagna were discovered and developed by the rishis based on their deep understanding and in-depth research of the human psyche, the intricacies of the social fabric and the mysteries of Nature. Agni (fire) appears to be a universal symbol for worship.
The first mantra of Rigaveda - the most ancient scripture of knowledge on Earth, quotes "agnimaye purohitam", signifying agni as a sacred symbol of God. This is what is referred to in different religious and spiritual scriptures as Brahmateja, Divine Flame, Sacred Glow, Divine Light, Latent Light, etc.
Yagna is a spiritual experiment of sacrificing and sublimating the havana samagri (herbal preparations) in the fire accompanied by the chanting of Vedic mantras. when performed on a small scale is also known as havan, homam or agnihotra. The word yagna is derived from the Sanskrit verb yaj, which has a three-fold meaning: worship of deities (devapujana), unity (sangatikarana) and charity (dana). The philosophy of yagna teaches a way of living in the society in harmony and a lifestyle which promotes and protects higher human values in the society, which is indeed the basis of an ideal human culture.