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Sometimes, especially in foreign countries maybe, due to fire alarms or similar state laws governing the infrastructure, which might forbid fire lighting inside home, it might not be possible at all, to perform a Yajna ( यज्ञ ) or homam at home, which involve lighting up havan agni (हवन अग्नि ) or ritualistic fire.

I have heard or read somewhere, that if circumstances doesn't permit, one may use water as an alternative to fire. Does, this kind of practice have any scriptural validity?

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    There is no replacement of fire because it is the physical manifestation of Agnideva, who acts as the mouth of the Devas. However there are replacements of the Vaidik yajna. Mar 19 at 12:28

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