According to Vedas and Hindu Mythology, Yagya and Havan were two very essential rituals for every aspect of life. Marriage, Death Ceremony, Celebrations, Festival, Farming activities, Spiritual Ceremonies – they all revolved around some form of Yagya or Havan. According to Vedas, Yagya and Havan are vedic rituals to communicate with cosmic energy, to send messages to Gods. It usually involves a fire cermony where offerings are made to the fire. God is believed to have “Agnimukh” i.e. Fire as his mouth, so we make offerings to fire with the faith that it’ll go to God.
While a Yagya is more elaborate ritual, Havan can be a very simple and small ritual. Yagyas may go on for days, months, year and may involve various other aspects like Satsang, Dana, Bhoj etc..While Havans are usually simple. Further it can be said that Havans are primarily for personal and worldly benefits, a Yagya is often for world’s welfare.
Agnihotra is a very simple form of Havan prescribed to be done right at Sunrise and Sunset. The offering of Desi Cow’s ghee and unbroken rice (Akshat) is made to fire of cow dung cakes. It is suggested to do it in a pyramid shape container called Dasangula patra. It is believed to purify the environment, attract positive cosmic energy and ensure general well-being of all living beings in its vicinity.
Personally, I had heard of this in my childhood when my mother used to perform it.I had vague memories of the calmness that I used to enjoy and the fun of racing with time of sunset and sunrise.
Recently, me and Priyamvada decided to start Agnihotra again at the farm. While there is an entire farming technique and philosophy called “Homafarming” that goes along with Agnihotra, – we were more interested in only Agnihotra. We were simply interested in starting something sacred together.
So, we started Agnihotra few months ago. We are in love with it now. The calm it induces, the fun of it, the simplicity of it, the mystery of it – we like it all. Whether it is because of Agnihotra or something else, that debate is quite meaningless for us.
We feel good performing Agnihotra and hence also believe that our crops, plants and fellow living beings will also benefit. We use it’s ash in various ways in our everyday life and natural farming. I think we have found a lovely companion for our natural farming and spiritual journey. It certainly introduces positivity and peacefulness in our lives and we would certainly recommend it.
Agnihotra need not be a life-long process and that’s the beauty of it. It’s really like a friend. No hard rigid rules, no punishments -it only shared whatever lovely things it has to offer. It’s just like a sacred moment of prayer where we get an opportunity to be grateful to nature’s elements, to earth, to sun, to soil, to God for everything that they bestow us with.
(For more details, please web-search “Agnihotra” or “Homafarming”.)