The World Hindu Foundation held its first virtual global mass Maha Yajna prayer. People from around the world participated in the “unity prayer”, which this year takes place amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The event was also observed in Durban and Johannesburg.

‘Maha Yajna’ is a prayer for unity and healing. A Hawan, in modern times, is a private ritual around a symbolic fire, meant to bring prosperity and good health. It is steeped in the philosophy that this brings purification and transformation to the individual and the environment.

During the ceremony, sacred verses, or mantras, are chanted.

The President of the World Hindu Foundation of South Africa, Pravesh Hurdeen, says this year the virtual ceremony was about bringing nations together and uniting people, especially at the time of COVID-19.

“This prayer is meant to be a spiritual connection for many,” Hurdeen adds.

The Hawan is a fire sacrifice. Grains, ghee or clarified butter and other items are offered.

Fire is a precious life element in Hinduism, and the symbolism of the mass Hawan is meant to unite people with a common purpose.