What are the different types of Yagya(यज्ञ)? It is also spelled as Yajna. What are the purposes and benefits of Yagya?
Lord Krishna describes eleven types of Yajna (sacrifice) in Bhagvad Geeta. (source is in pdf format).
दैवमेवापरे यज्ञं योगिनः पर्युपासते।
ब्रह्माग्नावपरे यज्ञं यज्ञेनैवोपजुह्वति।।4.25।।
Some yogis perfectly worship the demigods by offering different sacrifices to them, and some of them offer sacrifices in the fire of the Supreme Brahman.
1) Deva Yagna - Some Yogis perform sacrifice to Devas alone.
2) Brahma Yagna - Offering the Self as a sacrifice by the Self in the fire of Brahman.
श्रोत्रादीनीन्द्रियाण्यन्ये संयमाग्निषु जुह्वति।
शब्दादीन्विषयानन्य इन्द्रियाग्निषु जुह्वति।।4.26।।
Some again offer hearing and other senses as sacrifice in the fire of restraint; others offer sound and other objects of the senses as sacrifice in the fire of the senses.
3)Offering hearing and other senses in the fire of restraint.
4) offering sound and other objects of sense in the fire of the senses.
सर्वाणीन्द्रियकर्माणि प्राणकर्माणि चापरे।
आत्मसंयमयोगाग्नौ जुह्वति ज्ञानदीपिते।।4.27।।
Others again sacrifice all the functions of the senses and the functions of the breath (vital energy) in the fire of the Yoga of self-restraint kindled by knowledge.
5) Control of the ego by better understanding of the Divine behind it is called atmasamyama-yoga i.e., the Yoga of self-restraint.
द्रव्ययज्ञास्तपोयज्ञा योगयज्ञा स्तथापरे।
स्वाध्यायज्ञानयज्ञाश्च यतयः संशितव्रताः।।4.28।।
Others again offer wealth, austerity and Yoga as sacrifice, while the ascetics of self-restraint and rigid vows offer study of scriptures and knowledge as sacrifice.
Split the words द्रव्ययज्ञास्तपोयज्ञा योगयज्ञा - द्रव्ययज्ञाः , तपोयज्ञ, योगयज्ञ and स्वाध्यायज्ञानयज्ञाश्च - स्वाध्याय ज्ञानयज्ञाश्च.
6)Dravya Yagna: Charity and distribution of honestly acquired wealth in a spirit of devotion.
7)Tapo Yagna: Offering of a life of austerity.
8)Yoga Yagna: Yoga is an attempt to grow from the lower in us to the higher standard of divine living
9)Swadhyaya Yagna: This means study and understanding of the scriptures without which no progress in spiritual practices is possible.
10)Jnana Yagna: It is that activity in man by which he renounces all his ignorance.
अपाने जुह्वति प्राण प्राणेऽपानं तथाऽपरे।
प्राणापानगती रुद्ध्वा प्राणायामपरायणाः।।4.29।।
Others offer as sacrifice the out-going breath in the in-coming and the in-coming in the out-going, restraining the courses of the out-going and in-coming breaths, solely absorbed in the restraint of breath.
Here जुह्वति means sacrifice.
11) Pranayama is referred to here as a Yagna where the practitioner offers all the five subsidiary Pranas into the main Prana.
Result of these Yajnas/sacrifices:
एवं बहुविधा यज्ञा वितता ब्रह्मणो मुखे।
कर्मजान्विद्धि तान्सर्वानेवं ज्ञात्वा विमोक्ष्यसे।।4.32।।
All these different types of sacrifice are approved by the Vedas, and all of them are born of different types of work. Knowing them as such, you will become liberated.
From the above verse (4.32), it is clear that the result of all the Yajnas is same i.e., Liberation.