Starting a Shop the Right Way
In north India it's commonly called havan. In the south people refer to it as homa. In the English speaking ISKCON world we call it a fire sacrifice. From the Sanskrit language (the mother tongue of many) a fire sacrifice takes on the term agni-hotra.
We conducted one today, a very modified version from grandiose renditions of India's ancient past when brahmin priests were in abundance and pious maharajas (kings) sponsored such events. Our venue for such a ritual was at the Blugod Tattoo Shop which has been open now for some time. But owner Jovani Cannibas considers the real opening to be at the time of blessings.
I received a request today for conducting a marriage. The couple are legally betrothed but they have yet to receive the Vedic ceremony, the one that brings on the blessings.
You know, some people have got it right. You can't just move on in life on the power of documents, paper signing and legal bindings. These things may ensure some security but they don't necessarily give life.
I explained to Julie, an employee at the tattoo shop, and who attended the richly conducted fire ceremony, that this rite is the real start, the real ignition. The fire and the mantras to accompany it are there to purify the atmosphere and to extinguish negative energy.
As I and two brahmacaris (monks) took the trek back to the temple ashram I contemplated on how awesome it would be if all shops sharing the street with the Bluegod Tattoo Shop could start business with a light and mantras. Then actual life could be infused and some karma even go up in flames.