All activities in the limitless expansion of the universe are said to have generated from a grand eternal Yajna(Yagya). Atharva Veda (9.15.14) describes Yagya as: Ayam Yajna Vishvasya Bhuvanasya Nabheehiâ implying Yagya as the fundamental process of manifestation of nature.
In physical terms, Yagya (homam, havan or agnihotra) is a process of herbal sacrifices in holy fire aimed at the finest utilization of the subtle properties of sacrificed matter with the help of the thermal energy of fire and the sound energy of the mantras. Modern scientific research has also shown significant therapeutic applications of Yagya and also affirmed its potential in purification of environment.
Literally speaking, Yagya means – selfless sacrifice for noble purposes. Sacrificing ego, selfishness and material attachments and adopting rational thinking, humane compassion and dedicated creativity for the welfare of all – is indeed the best Yagya which should be performed by all human beings. The philosophy of Yagya teaches a way of living in the society in harmony, a living style to promote and protect higher humane values in the society – which is indeed the basis of the ideal human culture.
The Yagya Campaign of Gayatri Pariwar
All World Gayatri Pariwar is engaged in multiple reformative and reconstructive activities on the personal, familial, social, national and cultural fronts of life. Spiritual refinement of the sukshma vatavarana has been the predominant focus of this mission and it has endeavored a Yagya-based movement on the lines of the vedic tradition to achieve this virtually The Yagya Campaign of the Yug Nirman Mission The Yug Nirman Yojana mission of All impossible goal.
This historic mission has emerged from the rigorous tap-sadhna of the Vishwamitra of our times, the rishis of this age – Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya. The devout endeavors and supernormal spiritual eminence of this yug rishi enabled the epochal descent of the otherwise lost and forgotten super knowledge (vidya) of Gayatri and accomplished it as the savior of the world. This visionary saint deciphered and propagated the divine light of Yug Ïakti Gayatri to reach the masses and also pioneered the revival of the vedic culture of Yagya so that it could be adopted by every man and woman in the present times too. Likewise the rishis of yore, his sagacious acumen and saintly heart had understood the enormous problems and crisis of the era through deeper depths. He therefore encouraged eroding of the root cause hidden in the sukshma vatavarana and attempted colossal refinement in every dimension of the gross and sublime environment of life by the spiritual experiments of Gayatri Sadhana and Yagya.Massive number of small and hundreds of grand Yagyas have been organized since the advent of his “Yug Nirman” campaign. The “Sahastranshu Brahm Yagya” performed on the Gayatri Jayanti 1953 was the first spiritual experiment of grand participation of people from all parts of the society. It was the auspicious commemoration of the glorious completion of thetwenty-four divine Mahapurashcharnas endeavored by Gurudev Shriram Sharma Acharya for twenty-four years. This also laid the foundation of the Gayatri Pariwar. Series of distinct Yagyas in vedic tradition commenced in 1955 in which the Mahamrityunjaya Yagya, Rudra Yagya, VishnuYagya, Indra Yagya, Nava Graha Yagya, GanpatiYagya, Saraswati Yagya, Jyotioma Yagya, Agnioma, and the Gayana Yagya of the four Vedas, etc were performed with the participation of more and more Gayatri Sadhakas. Year 1956 marked the 108 Kundiya Yagyas and grand Narmedha Yagya to mobilize the collective power and enthusiasm of the Sadhakas dedicated towards social reformation and welfare of the masses. Over 20,000 people from all walks of life had participated in these Yagyas conducted by Acharyaji in Gayatri Tapobhumi Mathura. Organization of 108 Gayatri Yagyas across the country was pledged on this occasion to propagate the Gayana of Gayatri and viGayana of Yagya among the masses. This number increased to 1008 within a year, which included 5 and 9 Kundiya to 108 Kundiya (Maha) Yagyas
The Yug Nirman Movement was launched under the guidance of Param Pujya Gurudev Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya on the solid foundation of Gayatri and Yagya, the two pillars of divine Indian heritage. This movement has spread with lightning speed throughout the world. Keeping in view the need of the hour, various steps have been taken to simplify the ritualistic procedure of Yagya with a view to make it universally appealing and acceptable. This has been achieved by adoption of Deep Yagya.
Deep Yagya has made possible, the propagation of Gayatri Sadhana and a lifestyle guided by the injunctions of Yagya, in a very short period to large populace. Its popularity has spread with tremendous speed due to the use of lamps and fragrant sticks, which are universally used in worship and prayer by all religions. Therefore, followers of all faiths participate in Deep Yagya without hesitation. Also Dravya Yagya in vogue requires much longer time and is therefore performed in batches, turn by turn. The devotees participating in Dravya Yagya thus fail to derive the full benefits of inspiration from it.However Deep Yagya is completed within a much shorter period of about one and a half hours and all participants collectively enjoy the delightful and enchanting view of the twinkling lamps. They thus derive the full benefit of inspiration from DeepYagya.
Scientific Aspects of Yagya
There are two basic energy systems in the physical world: Heat and Sound. In performing Yagya, these two energies, namely, the heat from Yagya’s fire and the sound of the Gayatri and other Mantras, are combined to achieve the desired physical, psychological and spiritual benefits.
The fumigation of specific substances in the Yagya – fire is a scientific method of subtulisation of matter into energy and expanding its potential and positive effects in the surrounding atmosphere. The electromagnetic waves generated thereby help in transmitting, at cosmic level, the desired sonic signals ‘stored’ in the Mantras, which are chanted during the process of sacrificing the special materials in the fire.
Fumigating Substances Used in Yagya
In order to get an idea of the various chemical changes which take place, it is essential to know the various substances offered in Yagya.
(A) Wood: Wood has to be dry and free from dust, insects and worms. The wood is cut into small sticks of varying lengths called Samidhas according to the size of the altar or Agnikunda.
The principal types of wood used are the following
- Sandal-wood (Santalum Album)
- Agar and Tagar wood (Aquilana Malaccensis and Valeriana Wallchii)
- Deodar (Cedrys Libani)
- Mango (Mangifera Indica)
- Dhak or Palash (Butea Frondosa)
- Bilva (Aegle Marmelos)
- Pipal (Ficus Religiosa)
- Bargad (Ficus Bengalensis)
- Shami (Proposis Spicigera)
- Gular (Ficus Glomerata)
In addition to wood, various Havishya or Havan samagri are offered in Yagya can be divided into the following four groups:
(B) Odoriferous Substances:-
These are – saffron, musk, agar, tagar, chandan, illaychi, jayphal, javitri and camphor.
(C) Substances with Healthy Constituents:-
These are clarified butter (ghee), milk, fruits and cereals like wheat, rice, barley, til, kangu, munga, chana, arhar, masur or peas.
(D) Sweet Substances:-
These usually are – sugar, dried grapes, honey or chhuhara.
(E) Medicinal Herbs:-
These are used as per specific requirement. Some common herbs are Somalata or Giloya, Brahmi, Shankhpushpi, Nagkesar, Mulhati,Red Chandan, Baheda, Sonth and Harad.
Now-a-days Havan -samagri is readily available in the market consisting of the following substances in a crude powder form: Saw dust of sandal-wood and pine wood, the agar and tagar wood chips, kapurkachari, gugal, nagarmotha, balchhaar or jatamansi,narkachura, sugandhbala, illayachi, jayphal, cloves and dalchini.
Products of Combustion
At the outset, it can be said that the interpretation of process of combustion in a Yagya in a physical scientific terms is rather difficult due to the following reasons:
- The properties of substances which are used are vastly varying;
- The conditions under which combustion takes place remain unspecified. The products of combustion depend on the following
Factors like –
- The nature of substances used and their proportions;
- Temperature attained;
- Controlled supply of air and
- Interaction amongst the various products formed.
Vapourization of wood:
Besides complete combustion of cellulose material of wood, it is also subjected to vaporization. This happens due to the way Samidhas are arranged in the Agnikunda, the conditions of temperature and air supply which prevail in it.
Steam Volatilization of Odorous Substances:
The temperature attained in the Kunda varies between 250°C and 600°C, while in actual flames it can go as high as 1200°C to 1300°C. The boiling points of volatile constituents get diffused over in the surrounding atmosphere. Also when cellulose and other carbohydrates undergo combustion, steam is formed in copious quantities by the combination of hydrogen of organic substances with the oxygen. This is how the substances like thymol, eugenol, pinene, terpinol etc., are carried over in the surroundings and the aroma of a Yagya can besmelt even at a considerable distance.
In addition to steam, smoke is also given out in copious quantities and solid particles existing in a highly divided state offer sufficient surface for mechanical diffusion. Thus smoke also functions as colloidal particles for diffusion of volatile aromatic substances depending on temperature and direction of the wind.
Combustion of Fatty Substances:
The fatty substances used in Yagya are mainly ghee and other fatty substances of vegetable origin. Ghee helps in rapid combustion of cellulose of wood and keeps the fire alight. All fatty substances used are combinations of fattyacids, which volatilize easily. The combustion of glycerol portion gives acetone bodies, pyruvic aldehyde and glyoxal etc.The hydrocarbons produced in the reactions again undergo slow combustion and as a result methyl and ethyl alcohols, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, formic acid and acetic acids are formed.
Photo-Chemical process :
When all the volatile substances are diffused in the surrounding atmosphere,these are further subjected to photochemical reactions in the sunlight. This may be the reason why it has been recommended that Yagya should be performed int he presence of strong sunlight. These changes occur in the ultra-violet and other short wavelength regions. The products of fumigation thus go photochemical decomposition, oxidation and reduction. To some extent even CO2is also reduced to formaldehyde as follows:
CO2 + H2O + 112,000 cal. = HCHO = O2
From environmental angle, reduction of CO2 produced in Yagya as above and liberation of oxygen cannot be overemphasized.
Inverted Pyramid Shaped Agni Kunda
The word ‘pyramid’ means the fire in the middle’. This ancient-word meaning for pyramid is closely connected with the inexplicable energies emanating from its central shape. The pyramid shape is widely experienced to generate and store a special energy field, which possess bacteriostatic properties. The inverted pyramid shape of the Agni kunda (also called Havan Kunda) allows controlled generation and multi directional dissipation of energy. It acts as a generator of unusual energy fields and spreads them in its surrounding atmosphere.
For a daily Agnihotra (Balivaishva) a small copper pot is used. The inverted pyramid shaped Agnihotra pot receives, generates and decentralizes electrosphere. It acts as an effective bacteriostatic and antimicrobial reactor.
Copper is universally acknowledged for its excellent conduction of electricity and heat. The Agnihotra has an obvious link with fire, heat, electro-magnetic force and because of its inverted pyramid shaped Kunda, it does have connection with the cosmic energy fields.
The dimensions of the copper pot used for the daily Agnihotras are: 14.5 cm ×14.5cm at the top. 5.25cm × 5.25 cm at the bottom and 6.5 cm in height with three steps. For large scale Yagyas, the dimensions are increased proportionately and the Kundas are also made up of specific combinations of clays. A part from the pyramid shape, some other special symmetric geometrical designs are also used according to the kind of energy fields and the cosmic currents required to be generated by the Yagya. Specific types of Kundas are recommended for different
kinds of Yagyas.
Chanting of Mantra
The power of sound vibrations is long since acknowledged in the field of science. These vibrations can penetrate the energy spheres at the subtle and cosmic levels. All the alphabets of the Sanskrit language are endowed with special vibrational powers, which set out harmonious wave patterns when pronounced.
It is interesting to note that Dr. Howard Steingull, an American Scientist has established that recitation of Gayatri Mantra produces 110,000 sound waves per second. In fact recitation of the Gayatri Mantra during the fire-worship (Yagya) acts supplementary. The patterns of chanting of Mantras are so designed that they latently contain the essence of the music or the quite essential sound of the torrent of life sustaining energies emanating from the cosmic energy center of the corresponding Mantras. (The cosmic energy center a deity associated with the Gayatri Mantra is Sun). Uttering of these Mantras produces vibrations which are soothing to human mind, all plant and animal life. These vibrations also help in spreading specific energy waves in the surrounding atmosphere as the oblations are offered.