Sunday, April 3, 2011

Vedas- Answers From The Past For The Present

AGNIHOTRA—Vedic Solution to Present Day Problems

The word ‘Agnihotra’ [also called as Homa, Yagjna] is a Sanskrit word formed by the combination of two words namely ‘Agni’ meaning ‘fire’ and ‘Hotra’ meaning ‘sacrificing or offering of oblation’. Agnihotra is therefore a ritual as a set form of religious rite. It is one of the most important ancient rituals, since in the very first chapter of the Rig-Veda, Agnihotra has been prescribed as an obligatory ritual to secure universal peace and prosperity. Though on the face of it Agnihotra ritual appears to be a religious mandate, it possesses both the spiritual and the scientific base.

There is a wrong belief that the most ancient scriptures of the world, the Vedas, were the property of a certain group of people belonging to a certain geographical area. It is true that the Vedic scriptures were possessed and preserved by people staying in India but the latest findings show human culture all over the globe was influenced by the Vedas. Agnihotra, therefore, belongs to humanity as a whole. It involves the whole being who is engaged in Agnihotra and transforms his material constitution into a vehicle of divinity. In short, Agnihotra is an easy and simple process by which man can build up a fundamental attitude towards his life from body, mind and soul. Innumerable persons, by performing Agnihotra regularly have, in recent years, have experienced basic change in the way of thinking towards the problem of life and finding an effective solution.

Apart from the spiritual and esoteric significance attached to Agnihotra, there are quite a few other substantial benefits which accrue to the society by regular performance of Agnihotra. One of the most pressing problems of the day which is receiving global attention is the ever deteriorating environment. In fact, this problem also caught the attention of our ancients who have proved that regular performance of Agnihotra makes the surrounding atmosphere pollution-free. During the ritual of Agnihotra, the materials used for the performance which are used as an offering in the Agni produce such products like fumes, heat, energy, ash, sound , gases etc which have a beneficial effect in making the surroundings absolutely free and clean. The following are some of the specific benefits which accrue from the performance of Agnihotra regularly:

Effect of Fumes: Only specific ingredients have been chosen as oblations to Agni while performing Agnihotra. These include materials like milk, curds, clarified butter, cakes made of rice or wheat flour, boiled rice, faggots from selected trees [called as Samit in Sanskrit]. The fire is created by using cow dung cakes [called Berani in Kannada]. The gases released by burning these oblations contain considerable amount of sulphur-di-oxide which gets dissipated easily, reaches higher altitudes and get spread over a large area and kills pathogenic germs in the atmosphere. In effect, the fumes act as an effective fumigant. It has been further proved by experiments that the plants grown under the Agnihotra atmosphere are generally free from disease and are much healthier. Thus, Agnihotra, besides being economically inexpensive, has a positive effect on the life of the plant.
At the Aurobindo Ashram at Pondichery, an experiment was conducted sometime back on a 10-acre cultivation by conducting Agnihotra frequently to study its effect on plants and the produce .It was found that the crops grew healthier, the yield was much better and the plant required no use of any other pesticide.

Agnihotra Ash : The ash produced during Agnihotra has considerable insecticidal effect and is a good material for proper plant nutrition. In this context it may be recalled that in the traditional method of storing food grains in villages, ash is added to storage bins. A few years back, the University of Agriculture and Technology at Kanpur, conducted a series of experiments to study the effect of Agnihotra ash on the plants. While sowing a variety of rai seeds known as ‘Varuna’, the agricultural scientists mixed Agnihotra ash while sowing seeds in some selected areas and found that yield in these selected areas was higher by 30 percent. According to another experiment, Agnihotra ash has helped a kitchen garden to grow the ladies finger plant to a height of nearly 10 feet.

There is an institution called ‘The Institute of Vedic Sciences’ based at Shivapuri, Akkalkot in Sholapur district, Maharashtra, who have been doing considerable experimentation and research on the other possible uses of the Agnihotra ash. Some Ayurvedic doctors have now found out that by using Agnihotra ash it is possible to produce Ayurvedic medicine for ailments like body sores, wounds, stomach ailments, and eye and throat problems. It is learnt that the Agnihotra ash, when mixed with honey acts as medicine

Effect on the Human Body: The Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Delhi, undertook a study on the effect of Agnihotra on 8 men sometime in 1989. Dr. Selva Murthy, who has written a paper on the subject, said that in an experiment, one set of men were subjected to proper Agnihotra while another was made to perform just a mock ritual without the usual conventional ingredients. It was found that those in the first set had a ‘beneficial effect in the form of mental calmness, tranquility and equanimity of mind’. In the men in the mock drill ritual, no change was perceived in their mental attitude. The ritual has also been found beneficial for drug addicts and alcoholics. One Lt.Col. G.R.Golecha, Senior Adviser in Psychiatry in the Indian Army, has found that Agnihotra has helped drug addicts to get over their craving for drugs.
According to a report from the Vedic Institute, Akkalkot, when the Bhopal Gas Tragedy took place in 1984, those victims who used to perform Agnihotra regularly were saved appreciably from the toxic effects of the gas.

Conquest of the Fear of Death: According to a publication of the Vaidika Samshodhana Mandala, Pune, Maharashtra, the recitation of the famous Mrityunajaya Mantra [Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushti Vardhanam etc] while offering the oblations during the Mrutyunjaya Homa counteracts the fear of death. The publication clearly states “The psychological change caused by the vibrations created by the recitation of the Vedic Mantras during the Agnihotra ritual strike at the very root of the stress cycle and supplies the emotions situated in the brain with positive signals. Happiness thus becomes a base line experience. It can therefore, be said that in the offering of oblations into fire after reciting the Tryambaka Mantra, not only a stress of the fear of death is eliminated by a para-psychological process but a seed of medical energy is also sown along with it”

Effect on Human Relations: The above publication further says that an Industrial organization in Maharashtra conducted a few years back Agnihotra continuously for some time. It was a joint venture in which both the management and the workers participated. This brought about a cordial relationship in the Labour-Management relationship which was strained till then.

It is therefore no wonder that when Lord Krishna says the following Shloka in the Karma yoga of the Bhagavadgitha:

“Sahayajnah Prajah Srushtva Purovacha Prajapatihi

Anena Prasavishaydhvam Esha Vosthvishta Kamadhuk”— 3-10

Meaning “In the beginning the Almighty Father created Man along with Yagjna and asked them to gain prosperity with the help of it, for Yagjna like the mystical cow Kamadhenu is the bestower of all desires”,
He means all the benefits of the Agnihotra.


ARTICLE NO. 489--AGNIHOTRA--Vedic Solutiuon to the Present Day Problems
Created: Friday, February 13, 2009 8:12 PM


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