A Yagya is a sacred fire ceremony and, as such, demands a certain amount of respect. However, sometimes we can get too serious rigid in the ways in which we approach our spiritual practices.

Some years ago, I was asked to prepare a document for westerners attending Yagyas in the West, which I did. However, I also decide to write a more light hearted version, which I am sharing here. After all, Enlightenment means to lighten up!

Please arrive on time. Even though this is an Indian ceremony, you are not in India.

Even if it’s not your usual day, please bathe before coming.

Do not eat or drink before coming to ensure you are light-headed enough to have a mysti-cal experience and your growling tummy reminds you of the eternal OM.

Please wash your feet before entering the yagya area but don’t dry them by pointing them at the fire.

Don’t point your feet at any holy person. Remember they are enlightened and can see your souls without you showing them.

All clothes should be ironed at least 3 times by a team of women dressed in white. This is known as SAFA (seva), meaning it’s safer to do this than to arrive looking as if you slept in your clothes.

Ladies will wear SORRYS (saris) to indicate that they have finally forgiven their moth-ers.

Men will wear DOUBTYS (dhotis) indicating that their wives made them come and they really don’t know why they are here.

Knees and shoulders should be covered, preferably with clothing rather than tattoos.

To avoid making offerings with the wrong hand, all left hands will be tied behind the back with a red and gold string, which must remain in place until it falls off naturally. This is known as WREKI (raki) as it wrecks any chance of normal physical relationships.

Everyone will have three white stripes and a red dot painted on their forehead. This is to frighten the gas-station attendant or grocery store clerk, when you stop on the way home.

The ceremony will be conducted by a PUNGENT (pundit), so called because of his strong smell of curry.

Please open your mouth fully during chanting but vegetarians should take care not to swallow flying insects. Do not chant loudly if the neighbors are listening.

Children are not allowed to attend unless they are fluent in Sanskrit and are having clear cognitions of the Vedas.

If you wish to pranam (bow down) during darshan, please wipe the sweat off your fore-head. Bald people should wipe their whole head. Do not pranam if the neighbors are looking.

Everyone should smile and look as if they understand what is going on and are having a good time