Brahma Yajna or Rishi Yajna is considered one of the most important of the five great sacrifices called Maha Yajnas performed by every householder in a Hindu family. The other four Yajnas are Deva Yajna, Pitru Yajna, Manushya Yajna and Bhuta Yajna. It is to be remembered that all these great sacrifices are performed as part of daily obligatory work by the householder. Brahma Yajna too should be performed on a daily basis to atone for the sins caused by the householder unknowingly during the performance of daily activities like sweeping, washing, cleaning, walking and the like.
Rishi Yajna or Brahma Yajna consists in the adoration of the enlightened or the emancipated. It is believed that the rishis or the sages have not allowed their knowledge to go waste. They had seen to it that their knowledge was passed to posterity by means of sacred books or scriptures. Thus householders engage in Brahma Yajna as a mark of showing respect to the great sages that have contributed their wisdom to posterity. Householders firmly believe that they owe all their knowledge to the sages that have written sacred books. In a bid to thank them the householders perform what is called Brahma Yajna on a daily basis.
The rishis or the great sages of the past out of compassion for the ignorant have passed their sacred knowledge to posterity. Thus it can be said that Brahma Yajna consists in studying, memorizing and practicing the principles that are enjoined in the scriptures by the great sages of the past. Studying the sacred texts with rapt attention paves the way for the worshipping of the sages who have accumulated the principles and sacred ideas in the text. Since the names of the sages that have contributed the sacred knowledge to their sons and their disciples are mentioned in the sacred books, the very chanting of these names brings about prosperity and peace of mind to the householder. For example the sage Bhrigu is said to have been acquainted with an adequate knowledge of the Supreme Self though the teachings of his father Varuna in the Taittiriya Upanishad that belongs to the Yajurveda. Bhrigu is called Vaaruni in the Taittiriya Upanishad. It is said in the Upanishad “Bhrigurvai Vaarunih. Varunam Pitaram Upasasaara” (Bhrigu approached his father Varuna to get acquainted with the knowledge of the Supreme Self).
Brahma Yajna consists also in the explanation of the principles and the philosophy of the scriptures to the devotees and the disciples. The thorough understanding and the expounding of the scriptures are the underlying factors of Brahma Yajna or Rishi Yajna. The duty of the householder in a Hindu family is to remember all the sages that have contributed to the glorious past of the philosophical findings though their sacred books. This is the reason why the names of the rishis are pronounced in the chanting of the mantras and also in the conduct of the various ceremonies performed by the duty-bound householder on a daily basis.