What Is the purpose of a yagya and offering ahuti?
Ahuti is an oblation or offering. It can also refer to a sacrifice. However, when conducting a yagya it is customary to have a havan or fire sacrifice. The fire is ceremoniously lit, symbolic of inviting Agni, the fire God. Thereafter as mantras are chanted an offering in the form of ghee or havan samagri (a mixture of herbs and ghee) is offered to the fire at the end of the mantra. While making the offering, the word Swaha is uttered loudly.
In the Matsyapuran, it is said that when the five essential constituents - gods, havan fluid or offering, Veda mantra, the divine law and a gift to the Brahmin - are there, it is a yagya. Any good activity done for universal welfare is a yagya.
Sages and saints have identified three purposes of a yagya - prayer to gods, developing harmonious company and charity. Prayers to gods are used as models to shape our lives. Harmonious company is having relatives and friends who share similar thoughts and are motivated towards togetherness and mutual support. Charity is to share one's blessings, extend support to society and create a feeling of universal brotherhood.'
Through a yagya one attains physical, mental and internal peace, purification of the self, spiritual progress and protection from sickness. The yagya fire has five qualities - it is always hot or active; it is exemplary; it is attractive to all that come to it; it is generous because it gives rather than store its benefits; the flame is always high, symbolizing concern, character and self-respect.