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FAQ

Agnihotra – FAQs

1. Who can perform Agnihotra?

The practice of Agnihotra is simple, easily adoptable and universal. It may be performed by any one irrespective of barriers like religion, sect, cast, creed, nationality, color, sex and age. Women and children can also practice it.

2. Can Agnihotra be performed at home?

Performing Agnihotra cannot be limited to space barriers. Agnihotra can be performed in any room or place in the house. While performing Agnihotra in a family at one place, only one person should make the offerings, in one pot. Other members of the family present too can derive the resultant beneficial effects of the purified and nutritious atmosphere. Others can join in chanting the Agnihotra Mantras. If more people from the same family are desirous of performing Agnihotra individually, they should prepare fire in separate Agnihotra pots and make offerings. Agnihotra can also be performed in a farm or a garden adjoining your house. Agnihotra can also be performed in an office or a work place. If you happen to be traveling for work or pleasure, you can feel free to carry your Agnihotra travel kits. (Specially designed travel kits are available at our centre). The procedure remains the same concerning the procedure but the venue may change according to situation.

3. If I start Agnihotra in my house can my other family members perform it?

Yes, if due to any reason one is not in a position to perform/attend Agnihotra himself on some occasions, any other family member can perform it. Agnihotra can be taken up as a personal discipline or as a family discipline. Even if it is taken up as a personal discipline and if one is unable to perform on a particular occasion any other family member or friend can do it and keep the healing cycle unbroken. When Agnihotra is practiced in a place then everyone, including animals and plants, in its atmosphere are benefited.

4. What do you do before and after Agnihotra performance?

One may take a bath before the Agnihotra time. As per Ayurveda, taking a bath calms the mind. If a bath is not possible, at least one must wash the hands before the Agnihotra time. After making the Agnihotra offering sit peacefully for a few minutes. You can engage yourself is your regular practice, in other spiritual pursuits like meditation or self-study immediately after the procedure is complete. The Agnihotra atmosphere will be an aid in your efforts.

5. Are there any tips on how to make the Agnihotra fire?

Fire should be fully ablaze in the pot before Agnihotra time. It consumes offerings immediately. After the Agnihotra, let the fire subside by itself. Do not try to extinguish it by any other method. Do not disturb it in any manner, nor put any other material in it. While lighting the fire a few drops of cow's ghee can be put over the cakes or cow's ghee can be applied on the dry cow dung pieces before lighting them. Dry twigs of Vata (Banyan tree), Audumbara, Palaash, Peepal and Bilva, can also be used. These contain medicinal properties. To start the Fire one may use Guggul, a resin; Cotton-wicks soaked in ghee or pure camphor tablets. Arrange the pieces of cow dung in a log cabin fashion. This will allow the air to pass freely.
In case of homes supported with fire alarms it is suggested to perform the procedure in a more open area to avoid the smoke setting the alarm.
Keep the Agnihotra place clean and tidy. Agnihotra is method of purifying and energizing self and atmosphere. It must be performed in a clean and hygienic place.

6. Which direction should I face while performing Agnihotra?

There is no hard and fast rule about which direction to face while performing Agnihotra. Because Agnihotra is related to sunrise and sunset, you may, if you are in a position to determine the direction, face east for performing the sunrise ritual and west for sunset. However, please be informed that there is no such rule in the basic disciplines of Agnihotra.

7. Can the Agnihotra mantras be translated in to other languages?

Agnihotra mantras should not be translated. A mantra is a unique combination of sound vibrations and purport. Their utterance in esoteric combination produces unique healing sound waves which have wonderful effect on the atoms of the body, mind and atmosphere. It has tremendous peaceful effect on the mind. This is revealed knowledge and the language used is Sanskrit. Translating the mantras in other language would change the frequency patterns and thus will not produce the desired healing effect of the mantra.

8. What do you do with the pot and ash after Agnihotra?

Remove the Agnihotra ash from the pot and store it in a bag or box. This ash can is used as an effective fertilizer for kitchen garden and agriculture. This ash can also be used as a healing substance. (Details of how to use the ash for the different purposes will be explained in the coming books of this series.) Do not throw this ash in a dustbin. Dropping the Agnihotra ash in wells, rivers and water-reservoirs is extremely beneficial as well.

9. Can Agnihotra vessel be washed?

With the passage of time the Agnihotra vessel gets covered with soot. It can be washed periodically with organic substances like lemon or tamarind. Due care is to be taken to see that the shape of the vessel is not altered. Please avoid banging or hitting the pot on a hard surface. Altered shape of the pot may reduce the efficacy of the process.

10. What happens when Agnihotra performance is discontinued due to traveling or other reasons?

If the cycle of daily morning-evening Agnihotra performance is by any chance discontinued on an occasion or two do not worry about it. Resume the practice immediately from the next Agnihotra time and continue the practice. If the person regularly performing the Agnihotra in the home has to go out of station for work or if he or she is not able to be present in the house at that Agnihotra time, any other member of the family can perform Agnihotra. If the entire family has to go out then a friend or a neighbor can be requested to perform Agnihotra in your house.
This helps in keeping the 'healing cycle' of Agnihotra unaffected. The person going out can carry a spare Agnihotra kit, so that Agnihotra can be performed at the other places local sunrise/sunset time.

11. What should be done if the oblations do not burn completely due to improper ignition?

Our endeavor should be to ignite the Agnihotra fire properly. In an exceptional case, when the fire is not proper and if the oblations are not consumed one can try to inflame the fire by fanning. If this too fails then just allow the Agnihotra pyramid to cool down as usual and then remove the ash at the time of the next Agnihotra. If the oblations are not consumed by the fire it does not mean that there will be some adverse effect. One need not have any such fear in the mind.

12. What if I miss the exact time of Agnihotra?

Agnihotra is to be performed at the exact local sunrise and sunset timings. Sunrise and sunset are the two most important circadian rhythms of nature. Agnihotra is to be performed to coincide with these important transitional moments.
If on an occasion due to unavoidable reasons you miss the exact time of Agnihotra you can perform it at the next opportunity. If Agnihotra is performed at any time other than the local time of sunrise and sunset, mentioned in the time sheet, then the effects won’t be the same.

13. At places where we can actually see the sunrise or set one finds that the timings given in the computerized chart and the actual time at which one sees the sunrise or set do not match?

There is always a difference between the sunrise and sunset time found out mathematically and the time at which sunrise / sunset is actually seen. This difference arises due to the refraction of the sunrays that takes place when they enter the earth’s atmosphere.
Due to this refraction of sunrays an illusory image of the sun becomes visible on the horizon a few minutes before the sun actually arrives on the horizon and conversely at the time of sunset the image of sun remains visible on the horizon for a few minutes after the sun has set below the horizon. So if the mathematical (Agnihotra) time of sunrise is say at six in the morning then it will be seen that the sun rises a few minutes before six am. And if the mathematical sunset time is six in the evening then it will be seen that the sun sets a few minutes after six pm.

14. Is it necessary to calculate the Agnihotra time in seconds?

It is really not necessary to calculate the Agnihotra timings in seconds. The concept of a sunrise and sunset time calculation that is used by today’s meteorological departments and that of the Vedas is different.
The Vedic Science of time counting considers sunrise as a time when half of the Sun is visible above the horizon and Sunset as the disappearance of half of the sun below the horizon.
The Vedas use a time unit called the Muhurat for calculating happening of events of the geographical and astronomical nature.
So the calculations in the time sheet available on the Vishwa/ISVS website are as per the Vedic Sciences calculation technique. Thus it is not necessary to use the second based calculation for the performance of Agnihotra.

15. Can I use any lighter fluid, kerosene and so on to light the Agnihotra Fire?

One cannot use any such substance as they will only add to the contamination and not produce any healing effects. Only the substances that are part of the Yajnya routines can be used. They have healing properties which are released into the atmosphere to create a positive and beneficial effect.

16. How long would I have to perform Agnihotra before I start seeing the results? And how long do I have to continue performing it after that?

The time it takes for the effects to start becoming visible will vary from individual to individual. The process of Agnihotra is meant to provide inner strength and peace. How and when one starts feeling that will be dependent on the person’s physical, environmental and psychological situation. Agnihotra is part of a lifestyle that one will have to inculcate to see the real results. It is the first step, a doorway to a larger understanding. The harder one tries the better are the results. To be able to keep enjoying these results Agnihotra has to be done all through the life. It is like food or exercise; they have to be continued as long as one wants the benefits. The necessity of a healthy Prana and a Stable Mind is going to be throughout the life, so Agnihotra has to be taken as a discipline, a lifestyle.