Balaji Temple - Homam
Vaishnava Dharma - Homams
YAJNA in the broadest sense has been defined as a sacrificial rite or spiritual offering made generally in fire. Homam, Havis, Yajana and Yaga are closely related terms dealing with a Sacrificial /sacred act with offering to Gods through the medium of Fire (Agni).
DEVA YAJNA: Sacrifice to Sudarsana , Lakshmi Narasimha, and others through oblations offered in fire with Veda Mantras or Bijaksharams. This is commonly called HOMA.
YAGA is generally associated with elaborate performance of fire sacrifices on a large scale (Vaajabheyam, Poundarikam, Aswamedham et al).
HOMAM is generally a small scale "Yaga" and is performed at home as opposed to Yagas, which take place in a public place with attendance of a large group of people. Sometimes the scriptural passages are recited in the format of a Homam. Examples of such Homams are the Purusha Sukta Homam and Bhagavat Gita Homam. Agni is involved and sacrificial offerings are made to propitiate Gods or the Sacred passages associated with the Vedas or Bhagavan.
HAVIS is the term used for the oblations offered to the God, which are tossed with reverence into the Fire. Havis generally is an oblation of burnt offering. It can be clarified butter also. Agni is the medium, which carries the Havis to the different Gods. Havyapaaka: is the oblation coked with butter and milk.