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Significance of Yagna and Havan

Humans have used fire for thousands of years since the stone age. Fire was what transformed jungles into fields, clay into pottery and ore into swords. This shows, they had complete mastery over controlling the fire element. They could use it freely for their needs.

For most of us, the closest we would have come with a big fire is during a campfire. Have you noticed that the memories around a campfire are something you cherish? Whether you were singing, telling stories, or sitting quietly, the experience stays with you. Maybe that's why our historic texts, Ramayana and Mahabharata, were also told around a fire. Both epics were narrated around yagnas. Although Ramayana was composed by Valmiki, and Mahabharata by Vyasa, we never heard it from the composers themselves. It was told to us by their students.

Ram conducts Ashwamedh yagna. Two youngsters who had come from Valmiki’s ashram to conduct the yagna, start narrating the life of Ram. The two youngsters were Lav and Kush, who did not know the king Ram as their father. They narrate Ramayan as was told to them by Valimiki. Ram and others listened, not knowing they are his sons.



Similarly for Mahabharata. Janamejaya, the great grandson of Arjun is conducting a yagna. Vyasa’s student Vaisampayana narrates the whole mahabharat to Janamejaya at the yagna. Thus Mahabharata was born as the version we know.


Ritualistic fires or campfires have been the source of many stories and folktales. During ancient times, the presence of storyteller was indispensable along with the person conducting yagna. These fires have been seen as a source of bonding, cleansing and considered as a destroyer of evil.


I happened to read an interesting article. It mentioned the impact of havan in nullifying radioactivity in Chernobyl area. In an


other place, it mentioned how during the Bhopal gas tragedy, a family survived by doing havan. Can Havans be a solution in deailng with man-made modern day issues like air pollution and ill health?


Yagna or havan involves lighting up a fire in a pit in the ground or a copper vessels or brick enclosure. Different substances are offered into the fire. They are called as Samagri. Samagri includes substances like medicinal leaves, roots, seeds, cereals, pulses and fruits, milk and ghee.


Havans are conducted at homes and offices, temples and open areas for specific purposes. The marriage rituals are always centered around a havan. Lakshmi Ganapathy havan, Sudarshan havan, Mrytyunjay havan are a few common ones.


I have attended a few of these havans. Each step in the procedure is meticiulousy followed with such attention to detail. This metho


d has withstood the test of time for many millenia. But will this stand the test of a scientific analysis. Does modern science has enough parameters to evaluate such an ancient method?


I did a little bit of searching about the experiments that were conducted on havans. I was suprised to find lots of work done in that field.


In 2007, there was an experiment conducted by the Institute of Botanical Research in Lucknow. They burnt samagri materials in a room for one hour and measured the bacterial content in the air. They found that the ba


cterial count in the room was 94% less. They observed the same even after 30 days. Here is the list of pathogenic bacteria for which they had done the microplate test. Burning the samagri was not only killing the human pathogens even plant pathogens. This proves the bactericidal property of the yagna. Remember: this was a scientific experiment of justnburning the samagri. No one was chanting mantras or actually performing the yagna.


In 2011, Athirathram, a 4000-year old mega scale yagna, happened in Thrissur district of Kerala after 35 years. A team of scientists recorded many parameters of the 12 day ritual. They found that the microbial count in the soil, water and air was lower upto 0.5 radius from the yagna site. They tested 3 varieties of crop seeds and the germination was 2000 times faster.


The most amazing thing was this. According to local legend, rains were supposed to arrive towards the end of the yagna. It indeed rained. The scientists who took samples of the aerosol emissions said futher study is needed to analyse if the emissions had seed material for the cloud to start raining.


In 2017, in New York another experiment was conducted. This was to study the impact of yagna on lessening anxiety and stress symptoms. As per modern science and ancient texts on medicine, the best way to address diseases related to brain and head is through medicine delivered through the nasal passage. In yagnas, the high temperature of fire causes the vapors of these oils from herbs toenter into the central nervous system through nasal route. In separate studies it has been found that the volatile oils from clove, nutmeg, saffron, sesame seeds release antioxidants which act as anti - anxiety and anti stress agents. Overall the analysis concluded that yagnas have proven therapeutic effects on the central nervous system.


The effect of the yagna ashes in agriculture is also an extensive field of interest.


In early days, conducting a havan in temples and homes used to be a part of our life. Since we moved into cities and high-rise buildings, that part of our culture got left behind. Very few keep the havans and pooja as a routine.

Agnihotra is a process that can be done by anyone anywhere at home. It requiers a small copper vessel, dried cow dung cake, ghee and samagri. You can do it once a week or even daily if its possible for you. And it can be done by both men and women. Just ensure that your fire alarm is turned off when you do this at home! (More details can be found on agnihotra.org.)

Make sure that when you go to live in a new space: rented or your own, you conduct the havan to purify the space. Traditionally it is called Grahapravesh. Once a year, it would be beneficial to have a havan done at your home or office, by those who are traditionally trained. This assists in your health, overall wellbeing, and removing negative energies.

Punya Pooja is one such powerful process that has varied benefits. You can get it done by reaching out via lingabhairavi.org.




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