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What is Agnihotra?

Agnihotra is a Yagya to be performed throughout your life, everyday regularly at sunrise and sunset. All other Yagyas are time bound and are performed for achieving a certain purpose. Not so with Agnihotra which is to be performed every morning and evening without a break all through your life. It becomes part of your life or rather life becomes purposeful and meaningful because of it.

Pollution and Agnihotra

Agnihotra is a very simple and easy method to conquer the evils of pollution. Agnihotra purifies the atmosphere. The purification of the atmosphere purifies the Prana, the life energy, and thus Prana purifies the mind. For a happy living, purified mind is a necessity. Anybody who has the will and desire to lead life successfully and in a disciplined way, can adopt this practice of Agnihotra immediately.

Who can perform Agnihotra

Anybody can perform Agnihotra irrespective of age or status. If the head of the family performs Agnihotra the ensuing benefits shall extend to all members of the family automatically. It would be better if during the performance all other members of the family are present and they should chant the ‘mantras’ along with the head of the family. If the head of the family is away or unwell, then the wife should perform Agnihotra. In the absence of both, any other member of the family or even the domestic servant can do it. However, nothing goes a miss even if Agnihotra is not performed on a certain day due to circumstantial pressure. Regular practice of Agnihotra always renders benefits for all.

Requisites for Agnihotra

A receptacle (pot) in correct step-pyramid shape in prescribed dimensions made of copper or clay. This copper or clay ‘kund’ (pot) is available at Madhavashram. It can not be had in market shops. Daily sunrise – sunset time table for the whole year applicable to the place of performance. Such a time table applicable to the place can be obtained by a request email to Madhavashram. Two drops of pure cow-ghee and few grains of whole, unbroken rice are sufficient for one time performance. 250 grams of unbroken rice grains and fifty grams of cow-ghee would be sufficient for a month’s performance (daily at sunrise and sunset). It would be easy to make this little quantity of cow-ghee at home every month if cows-milk is available. Only cow-ghee is to be used for oblations in Agnihotra, no other kind of ghee is allowed. Dried cow-dung cakes prepared hygienically. Two small, thin, cow-dung cakes are sufficient for the one time Agnihotra. Camphor crystals (deshi kapoor) and a matchbox for lighting the cow-dung cakes to prepare the fire for offering oblations in the copper or clay ‘kund’.

How to Perform

Suppose the date today is 1st of July. Look into the time table to find out exact time of sunset. The time table tells you that the sun would set at 6 minutes past 7. So about 10 minutes before the sun-set time you should properly arrange the dry cow-dung cake pieces inside the pot leaving a little empty space in the center to place the camphor bits. Light the camphor bits with a matchstick, cow-dung pieces would burn and in about 8-9 minutes the fire in the pot would be ready for offering oblations. A minute before the exact time of sunset, pick up a few grains of rice, smear them with two drops of cow-ghee, place them on your palm, divide them into two equal parts, and as the clock shows 6 minutes past 7, pick up one part of ghee-smeared rice grains with the fingers of your other hand, and chant the following mantra in clear, loud voice : Agnaya Idam Na Mama This would complete the first mantra and the oblation. Next pick up the rest of the rice-grains placed on your palm, hold them in the fingers of your other hand, and make the second offering into the fire by chanting in the above manner the following mantra : Agnaya Swaha Just as “swaha” is being uttered, drop the rice offering into fire in the pot (kund) with a neat smooth motion of your fingers. The offering would instantly burn emitting flame/smoke. Follow it up immediately with the chanting of second part of the mantra : Prajapataye Swaha After offering, you must loudly chant. Prajapataye Idam Na Mama This would complete the proceedings, the two offerings take around two minutes. The rice-grain burns with a clear flame or could emit some smoke. You have to sit straight backed while performing Agnihotra, and look into the oblation flame in the fire pot as you make the offerings and chant mantras. Get up after the oblations are consumed by the fire, or you can do meditation, yoga, prayer, or your daily rituals after Agnihotra.
Sunrise Agnihotra: The Sun-rise Agnihotra is performed similarly at the exact time of sun-rise everyday. There is a little change in the first mantra chanted; the sunrise offering is made to Surya (Sun), hence the mantra at sun-rise Agnihotra is Surya Swaha (Release the first offering.) Surya Idam Na Mama “Prajapataye Swaha” “Prajapataye Idam Na Mama” Everybody present at Agnihotra must join in chanting the mantra. Bathing is not a necessary condition for one to perform Agnihotra. However , it is advisable to take bath before performing the sunrise Agnihotra. Sunset Agnihotra can be performed after washing of hands and feet. The stress is on ensuring bodily cleanliness while performing Agnihotra. Agnihotra is a healing fire from the ancient science of Ayurveda. It is a process of purifying the atmosphere through a specially prepared fire performed at sunrise and sunset daily.Anyone in any walk of life can do Agnihotra and heal the atmosphere in his/her own home. Thousands of people all over the world have experienced that Agnihotra reduces stress, leads to greater clarity of thought, improves overall health, gives one increased energy, and makes the mind more full of love. It is a great aid to drug and alcohol deaddiction. Agnihotra also nourishes plant life and neutralizes harmful radiation and pathogenic bacteria. It harmonizes the functioning of Prana (life energy) and can be used to purify water resources. Agnihotra is an ancient science given in Sanskrit language at the time of creation. Sanskrit was never anyone’s mother tongue; it is a language of vibration. We can make changes in the atmosphere with Sanskrit mantras and fire prepared with specific organic substances, timed to the sunrise/sunset biorhythm. The fire is prepared in a small copper pyramid of specific size and shape. Brown rice, dried cowdung (manure) and ghee (clarified unsalted butter) are the substances burned. Exactly at sunrise or sunset the mantras are spoken and a small amount of rice and ghee is given to the fire. There is not just energy from the fire; subtle energies are created by the rhythms and mantras. These energies are generated or thrust into the atmosphere by fire. This, in addition to the qualities of the materials burned, produces the full effect of this healing HOMA (healing fire). Much healing energy emanates from the Agnihotra pyramid. Tremendous amounts of energy are gathered around the Agnihotra copper pyramid just at Agnihotra time. A magnetic-type field is created, which neutralizes negative energies and reinforces positive.energies. Therefore, a positive pattern is created by one who does Agnihotra merely by his/her performance. Agnihotra purifies the atmosphere of pollutants and neutralizes harmful radiation.The resultant atmosphere gives nourishment to plant life.