The Tree of Knowledge
The four Vedas signify the philosophy of the eternity and absolute complementary role of Gayatri and Yagya in the divine creation. Atharvaveda also deals with sound therapy aspects of Mantras for the treatment of the ailing human system at the physical, psychological and spiritual levels. The Samaveda focuses on the musical chanting patterns of the Mantras and the subtle form of Yagya by defining the latter as the process of mental oblation on the surface of internal emotions through the cosmic radiation of the omnipresent subtle energy of sound. The Yajurveda contains the knowledge of principles and methods of performing Yagyas as Spiritual and Scientific experiments for global welfare.
Yagya & Pooja: A mantra is a thought manifested in, or encapsulated by, a sacred utterance that possesses profound spiritual significance. Sound holds a key place in Hindu thought. Some writers believe that it preceded the creation of the universe, and its vibrations are thought to bind the atoms of the world. Mantras are sacred syllables that encapsulate particular forms of cosmic power (shakti). In Hinduism, a mantra is sacred and spiritually beneficial. By chanting a mantra repeatedly with love and devotion a person can become spiritually illumined and develops a pure mind which enables him to realize God. Each mantra has a presiding deity over it who is supposed to be giving the results of chanting of mantra (mantra phala). Mantra means that which has to be repeated and understood. Literally it means the verse which explains the prescribed meaning. There are different forms of mantra, such as the “seed” (bija) mantra, which is thought to be an energy pervading both the human body and the universe. The deities are believed to be manifestations of bija mantras: Shiva, for example, is linked with the mantra “hrim” and Kali is associated with the syllable “krim”.
There are mantras that accomplish many kinds of wondrous deeds simply by correctly chanting them. Other mantras help purify one’s consciousness, give spiritual enlightenment, and put one in touch with the Supreme. Hindus also believe that a mantra received from a saint or holy man is far more effective than mantras picked up from a book. A mantra that has already helped someone to have God-realization is believed to have great spiritual potency. Such a mantra is called a siddha mantra.
Chanting of Mantra and their effects: When planets are not favorably placed in the horoscope and producing bad results in life, then certain mantras have to be recited to take the support of particular planet. Mantra develops harmony between man and the cosmic forces and neutralizes the negative influences of the planets. The recitation of mantra deeply affects out nervous system at deeper level. It is therefore strongly recommended that if any planet is giving malefic effect, one should chant the mantra of such planet and pronunciation of mantra should be correct with effective sound vibrations, which eradicates the route cause at a deeper level. These mantras have to be recited in a systematic way and with correct pronunciation to get the results and favour from the planets or laws of nature, so recitation of mantra for a particular planet forms a protection layer around the man. Specific Mantras to be chanted are selected upon analysis of horoscope and thereby finding the weak planet.
The teachings of Yagya: The sacrificial fire of Yagya inspires us to imbibe its five idealistic qualities in our life.
1. Fire has the characteristic of always being hot and bright. We are inspired to lead bright, radiant, active lives like fire, full of wisdom and brilliance.
2. The flame of fire always goes upwards. One may apply any amount of pressure but its flame never goes downwards. It teaches us that despite immense pressures of fear and temptations, our flame of wisdom and foresight should ever be kept alight and up-turned.
3. Anything coming in contact with fire becomes fire itself. We should also have such a quality of excellence in our character, so that anyone coming in our contact may become refined.
4. Fire accumulates nothing. Whatever is offered in the fire is vaporized. It is scattered throughout in the atmosphere and becomes universal. We should also not accumulate possessions for our selfish ends but utilize all our resources and qualities for advancing the good of the people. We should be generous and lovingly kind.
5. The residue of fire is ashes. Ultimately physical forms of all human beings are going to be reduced to a handful of ashes. The idea behind applying ashes of Yagya on the forehead is that man should always remember the inevitability of death and utilize each and every moment of his life in the best possible manner.
These five teachings are known as panchagnividya which the priest (purohit) in the form of fire teaches to every human being. A man is truly blessed if he imbibes these teachings in his daily life by performing symbolic worship in the form of Yagya. The real purpose of Yagya is to imbibe virtues like self-sacrifice, self-restraint (sanyam), charity, beneficence, generosity, compassion, etc., in our daily life. It inspires us to surrender everything, body, mind, ego and soul to God.
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 the subutlisation 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.
Types of Yagya: Apart from fire-based scientific experiment (or fire-ritual, as popularly known), other principal types of yagyas signified in the Vedic culture are: The Seva Yagna – the altruist service of the society is a noble example of Yagya. The Gyan Yagya similarly implies the service of people by enlightening their lives in the glow of knowledge and education. The Prana Yagya implies the service of saving the lives of people from suffering and agonies and inspiring liveliness and respect for life in them. A variety of such Yagyas are described in the Shastras.
Benefits of Yagya: Yagya is the source of fulfilling all desires. This appears to be true in view of the positive effects, at physical, mental and spiritual levels, of performing Yagya and ideal elevation of life by adopting the universal philosophy of Yagya in action. The first revelation of Rig Veda of is said to have given knowledge of kindling fire to the first man on the earth. The knowledge of other powers of Nature is said to have descended afterwards. Fire and thermal energy are also the key sources of materialistic development. “Fire worship” is prevalent in one form or the other in almost every religion or cult. In Hindu religion and Indian culture, the sacrificial fire of Yagya is of auspicious importance.
Purification of Environment by Yagya: Experimental studies show that the incidence of physical ailments, sickness and disease are reduced in the houses, where the Yagya (Agnihotra) is regularly performed because it creates a pure, nutritional and medicinal atmosphere. It renews the brain cells, revitalizes the skin, purifies blood and prevents growth of pathogenic organisms. Agnihotra is basically a healing process. ‘Heal the atmosphere and the healed atmosphere will heal you’ — is the modus operandi. Purification of environment through the constituent electrons of the substances fumigated in the Yagya is an obvious effect of this process. The observation of some distinguished scientists is noteworthy in this regard.
Dr Hafkine has mentioned that “mixing ghee and sugar and burning them creates smoke which kills the germs of certain diseases and secretion takes place from some glands relate to the wind-pipe, which fill our heart and mind with pleasure. Sugars present in Havishya have great power to purify the atmosphere. It kills the germs of T.B., measles, smallpox and cowpox, remarks Prof Tilward. Dr Shirowich, a Russian scientist, has remarked that (i) cow’s milk contains great power of protection from atomic radiation; (ii) Houses having cow-dung covered floors enjoy complete protection from atomic radiation; (iii) If cow’s ghee is put into Yagya fire, its fumes lessen the effect of atomic radiation to a great extent. The medicinal fumes emanating from Agnihotra have been observed by researchers in the field of microbiology to be clearly bacteriolethal in nature. These eradicate bacteria and other micro-organisms, which are the root cause of illness and diseases. This must be the reason why the incidence of physical ailments, sickness and diseases becomes less in the households where Agnihotra is regularly performed. Even without going into detailed chemical bacteriology, it can be stated that performance of Yagya leads to purification of air.
Therapeutic Benefits of Yagya: Amidst the fascinating achievements of the modern era of science and technology in improving our comfort levels, stress and pollution have posed the major challenge for man. The Brahmavarchas Shodha Sansthan (a scientific research centre in Hardwar, India) has taken up research on this aspect of Yagya. In a Yagya, medicines and herbs are vaporized by offering them into the sacrificial fire, and they enter the human body in a gaseous form through the nose, lungs and the pores of the skin. This might be proved to be easiest, least taxing, least risky and most effective method of administering a medicine so as to reach every single cell of the body. The possibilities of curing mental diseases by Yagya are even more alluring. Diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders is still in its infancy in the modern systems of treatment. The stress and strain of modern life, degradation of social behavior and fall in moral values all around are contributing to an alarming increase in psychosomatic diseases. Yagya might offer a solution to this serious problem as well. The technique of Yagya for the treatment of physical and mental diseases does not comprise mere vaporization of the constituents or herbs to be employed, but various Samidhas are offered into the sacrificial fire of Yagya to create the desired effects. Research on all these aspects of Yagya is being conducted in the laboratory of Brahmvarchas. It might well lead to the development of a scientifically established in yagnopathy, which may find not only an honored but a leading place in other therapies of the world like Allopathy, Homeopathy, Chromopathy, Naturopathy, etc. Looking to the high intellectual caliber and attainments of those who are engaged in research, Yagnopathy may come into being sooner than expected, and it may rank a unique achievement of the modern age.
Contributed by P. Chengan, Secretary – Savanne Tamil Benevolent Society
You are welcome to contribute. Write to: