The Five disciplines of Agnihotra

 

For the practice of Agnihotra a few disciplines are to be observed. If Agnihotra is performed sincerely, without changing its basic rules, it will certainly bring beneficial results. Let us know more about its various aspects.

 

Timings-

 

O Healing Fire, we come to you daily at Sunrise and Sunset. – Rig-Veda

 

Agnihotra is performed daily at sunrise and sunset timings.

 

Sunrise and Sunset are two most significant circadian bio-rhythms.

 

The term “circadian” comes from the Latin terms “circa” – meaning around, and “diem” – meaning day.

 

The circadian rhythm refers to the natural, 24-hour body cycle that humans and animals naturally follow. With a circadian rhythm, people naturally tend to sleep when it’s nighttime and wake up when morning comes up.

 

It is closely linked with the Sunrise – Sunset cycle and is associated with the waking and sleeping patterns of animals and the metabolism of the plants like opening of flowers, etc.

The circadian rhythm, present in humans and most other animals, is generated by an internal clock that is synchronized to light-dark cycles and other cues in an organism’s environment. It also causes nocturnal animals to function at night when diurnal creatures are at rest.

 

This is in colloquial language referred to as the biological clock of the body.

 

Normal functioning of everything in this world is linked with the rhythmic alignment of the circadian rhythm. Any disturbance in this routine leads to a chaos. The normal schedule becomes adversely affected and even routine things start falling apart. Many disorders like insomnia, etc appear in humans.

 

Circadian rhythms can be disrupted by changes in daily schedule.

 

Agnihotra time is referred to as ‘Sandhya’ i.e. transitional moment. It is neither day nor night, neither light nor darkness. Veda describe this particular period as the Passage to Enlightenment ‘(Tirtha).

 

The science of Yoga attaches importance to this transitional moment. As per Yoga a man makes the use of either the left or the right nostril for breathing during the period from sunrise to sunset and there is a shift in the order beginning with sunset to sunrise. During this period ‘Ida’ and ‘Pingala’, Nadis or channels of flow of energy, located in the breathing apparatus of the body, remain active in succession.

 

Agnihotra is ordained to be performed exactly on these vitally important transitional moments.

During these moments changes take place in the atmosphere which causes vital impact on all life forms and on the environment.

 

Exactly at the time of sunrise and sunset they are in the process of transition. The mind and body are in balance during this time band. Performance of Agnihotra synchronizing with this time strengthens the beneficial effects on the mind and the body.

 

The counting of the exact times of Sunrise or Sunset is done by using Vedic methodology. The Vedas consider a moment as sunset when half of the sun appears to have set below the horizon and sunrise is considered as the moment when half of the sun is visible over the horizon.

 

Semi- pyramid shaped copper vessel-

 

The vessel or Patra prescribed for Agnihotra is made of pure copper which is known for its Oligodynamic (i.e. antibacterial) properties. Copper, which is known to be an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, plays an important role in the process of Agnihotra. Agnihotra has close connection with fire, heat, electromagnetic forces and cosmic energy fields. The shape of Agnihotra vessel is precisely similar to pyramid.

 

The word pyramid (Pyr + mid) means ‘a geometrically perfect shape which has healing energies in the center’. The pyramid shaped copper vessel receives, intensifies and emanates healing and purifying energy in the surrounding area where Agnihotra is being performed. Its effectiveness reaches peak levels at sunrise and sunset. The shape and the metal copper enhance the potency of the healing energies emanating during the practice of Agnihotra.

 

Cow dung cakes-

 

Fire for Agnihotra is to be prepared out of dried cow dung cakes. Ayurveda says that Cow dung has anti bacterial properties.

 

The Offerings-

 

Cow’s pure ghee-

Only Ghee made from Cow’s is used for Agnihotra

 

Rice grains-

The offerings consist of two pinches full of uncooked unbroken rice grains. The concept of unbroken is emphasized as it is said that the healing Veerya or potency of the rice gets lowered if the grain is broken. For optimum benefits one must use unbroken rice grains.

 

Mantra-

 
The offerings of Agnihotra are to be offered to the fire along with the chanting of following Sanskrit mantras.

At sunrise:                 

 

 

SOORYAYA SWAHA,

                                    SOORYAYA IDAM NA MAMA {First Mantra}

 

Purport- O Sun, the giver of energy, I salute you and offer unto you what is given to me by you, that which is not mine but of the Divine.

 

                                    PRAJAPATAYE SWAHA,

                                    PRAJAPATAYE IDAM NA MAMA {Second mantra}

 

Purport- O lord, the Creator, I salute you and offer unto you that what is given to me by you, that which is not mine but of the Divine.

 

At sunset:                  

 

AGNAYE SWAHA,

                                    AGNAYE IDAM NA MAMA {First Mantra}

 

Purport- O Agni, the Primordial element, I salute you and offer unto you that what is given to me by you, that which is not mine but of the Divine.

 

                                    PRAJAPATAYE SWAHA,

                                    PRAJAPATAYE IDAM NA MAMA {second Mantra}

Purport- O lord, the Creator, I salute you and offer unto you that what is given to me by you, that which is not mine but of the Divine.

 

 

These mantras are easy to chant. Agnihotra mantras have a relaxing and purifying effect on the mind. They create vibrations of peace and love.

 

These Mantras are in Sanskrit language.

 

Their effect on the atmosphere, living beings and even plants is extremely pacifying. Agnihotra Mantras are to be uttered in their original form that is in Sanskrit. They are not to be translated in any other language because it will change their original frequency patterns. The translated words will be devoid of creating the beneficial vibratory sound waves and hence no benefits can be derived from uttering such words.

 

The offering to the fire are to be made uttering only two Mantras. There are two mantras in the morning at sunrise and two mantras in the evening at sunset. The mantras should be chanted in clear voice. Agnihotra mantras are to be uttered in a way that its sound vibrates in the entire household.

 

The words Soorya, Agni and Prajapati in the Mantras are synonyms of energy and the Almighty.

 

As we have seen in the earlier chapters, the Sun, the Agni are the chief energy sources on the planet and are given synonyms similar to the Supreme Consciousness. The Agnihotra Mantra’s inculcate a feeling of surrender unto the Almighty and its energy.

 

The Sunrise Mantra is a prayer to the Sun, the propeller and the impelling power behind our world, to provide energy, healing and life till the Sunset.

 

The Sunset Mantra is a prayer to the Agni symbolizing warmth and protection, to provide energy, healing and protection of life till the Sunrise.

 

The second line in each Mantra referring to the word Prajapati meaning The Creator is a sign of praying unto the Divine Energy to create a feeling to surrender in the mind, body and soul.

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