The hota answers

Questions would be asked by a scholar during yagas and
answers would be given by the hota, the purpose being to
keep the performer of the yaga from feeling tired. The
answers have symbolic interpretations, said V.S.
Karunakarachariar in a discourse.

One of the questions asked is, “Which is the biggest box?”
The answer given is: “The Earth.” That is because Bhu Devi
bears everything and everyone patiently. He who knows this
will live long on this Earth and will also attain moksha.
Another question is about the limit of this world. The
answer is: “The place where we worship the Supreme One.”
So when we worship Him at home, that becomes the limit of the world.

What is the navel of the Earth is yet another question.
What this question really asks is about the hub of the Earth.
The hub of the Earth is the performance of yagas and if you
hear this reply, you will reach Lord Narayana’s feet.
What is it that gives rain, and where does its strength lie?
The mercy of Lord Narayana is immense and the soma rasa
of yagas is indicative of His strength. In Kali Yuga not many
perform yagas, and so in this yuga the equivalent of the soma rasa is the holy water given to devotees in Vishnu temples.

“Who is indicated by all words?” All words indicate and reach Lord Narayana, the Supreme One, is the answer. Knowing this is in itself a blessing. These questions are asked during Aswamedha yaga, which is no longer performed. But performing the annual death anniversary rites of one’s parents confers the same benefits, because these questions are asked and replies given by the purohits during the performance of the annual rites.