In view of the scriptural citations and scientific affirmation by clinical trials, case studies, laboratory tests and pharmacokinetic analysis, yagya-therapy assumes great significance in today’s world where we are facing threatening challenges of ever-new viral infections, psychosomatic disorders, dreaded diseases like cancer and AIDS and unabated air-water-soil pollutions.
Therapy is a herbal inhalation therapy derived from the ancient Medical Science of Ayurveda[1, 2]. The multiple benefits of yagya – experiments include purification of atmospheric environment and healthy fertilization of the soil. Scientific validity and technical evaluation of this Vedic ritual in recent times indicate its enormous potential in reducing air-water pollution and for agricultural and therapeutic applications [3-8].
The philosophy and deeper science of Gayatri and Yagya (yajna) constitute the foundations of the divine value system and Indian Culture bequeathed for humanity by the Vedic Wisdom. Yagya symbolizes noble deeds and altruistic mode of life that generates and expands benevolence in all forms of Nature. The cycle of Nature is itself a cosmic yagya that is essential for sustenance of the natural rhythm of the universe and existence and maintenance of the animate and inanimate worlds in it. The paramount importance of yagya is greatly hailed in the Vedas and ancient texts.
Yagya is referred in the Vedas as the nucleus process of manifestation of Nature. For example, the hymn (9|15|14) of the Atharva Veda remarks – Ayam Yajna Visvasya Bhuvanasya Nabhi
Lord Krishna says in the Gita (3|10) —
Sahayajna¡ Praja¡ SrasÚa Purovacha Praja pati¡ |
Anena Prasavisyadhvamesa VoastvisÚa Kamadhuk ||
Meaning: Before the existence of the cosmos, Prajapati Brahma – the supreme creator, the eternal source of all existence, had originated yagya and commenced the process of generation and expansion of cosmic powers and their limitless expressions resulting in the creation and manifestation of Nature.
As a process of ‘homam’ (havan or agnihotra) or fire ritual, yagya is a scientific experiment in which special herbal/plant medicinal preparations (havan samagri) are offered in the fire of medicinal woods ignited in a specially designed inverted pyramid shaped altar, pit or container (called agni-kuñÃa). The specific shape and size of the agni-kuñÃa (fire-pit) the arrangement of wood pieces in it and the time-frequency and amount of havan samagri account for controlled chemical processing in the fire and lead to sublimation, chemical conversion and/or transformation into vapor phase of the herbal/plant medicinal preparation and release of medicinal phytochemicals[3, 9-11].
Referring to this fire-ritual yagya, the Gita (3|14) says –
Annadbhavanti Bhutani Parjanyadanna Sambhava¡ |
Yajnadbhavati Parjanyo Yajna¡ Karma Samudbhava¡ ||
Meaning: All creatures survive on food produced by food-crops and vegetation; Yagyas performed and practiced by prescribed methods bring rainfall and hence the source of existence of life.
The Yajur-Veda contains the knowledge of the principles and methods of performing yagyas as part of spiritual and scientific experiments for global welfare. The Sam-Veda focuses on the musical chanting patterns of the mantras that deal with the subtle forms of yagya pertaining to mental oblation in the deeper core of emotions.
There are two basic energy systems in the physical world — heat and sound. In the process of yagya these two energies –– namely the heat from yagya-fire and the distinct sound waves generated by the rhythmic chanting of the Gayatri Mantra and other Vedic Mantras ––combine to achieve the desired physical, psychological and spiritual benefits. The decomposition and transformation (into vapor or gaseous phase/colloidal forms, etc) of specific substances in the yagya-fire is a scientific method of subtlization of matter into energy and expanding its potential and positive effects. The electromagnetic waves generated thereby compounded with the sonic signals encoded in the mantras help in intensifying and transmitting the desired benefits of yagya in the surroundings atmosphere and far beyond[3, 10].
It is a well-known fact that the substances when taken in their vapor or gaseous form through the nostrils have much greater efficacy – many hundred times more. And, the same quantity of substance can benefit a much larger population. It is a common experience that if an individual eats a red chilly then that person alone would be sneezing under its influence. But if the same chilly is put in the fire then the resultant air can cause many hundred people to sneeze
The process of yagya magnifies the advantages of the desirable medicinal phytochemicals and other healthy nutritional substances. Further, the thermal and associated aerodynamic characteristics of the base-fire cause the sublimated/subtlized/ vaporized substances to traverse and diffuse everywhere in the surroundings where yagya is being conducted. Thus, because of the anti-bacterial properties of the herbs commonly used in it, yagya also purifies the environment.
Yagya and Atmospheric Environment:
Recent research[13, 14] on assessment of yagya effects in reducing air-borne bacteria and pollutants shows good potential of yagya in controlling air-water pollution. As per the Vedic scriptural descriptions, grand (large-scale) yagyas performed on regular basis for a certain time-period help maintain the natural equilibrium in the various components of the environment. The effects of yagya help conserve the eco-system., purify the atmosphere, kill and destroy many disease-causing microbes and also remove the air, water and soil pollution.
Yagya is that scientific process through which the balance of CO2 and O2 is maintained in the atmosphere. There are various cycles in the nature through which all things reach their point of origin like seasonal cycle, animal cycle, solar cycle, lunar cycle, rain cycle etc. In Rig-Veda (10|90|6) and Yajur-Veda (31|14), these cycles have been termed as natural yagyas, which are being performed continuously.
Clarifying this process it is further said that the Sun God is made happy through Yagya and the Sun in turn satisfies the mother earth through the rains which are formed in the Dyu-lok (upper layers of atmosphere). Through yagya clouds can be generated and from clouds desired rainfall can be had. For example,
Bhumim parjanya jinvanti, divam jinvantyagnayah|
K—asischa me v—asÚischa me yagyen kalpatam|
The hymns nos. 1 to 29 in chapter 18 of the Yajur Veda describe Yagya as the basis of good agriculture, physical, mental and spiritual and intellectual progress, prosperity in the botanical kingdom of the earth, prosperity in food and cereals produce, good health and pure environment through removal of pollution.
n Chhandogya Upanishada yagya has been described as the best remedy to eliminate subtle environmental and atmospheric pollution. For instance, following hymn (4|16|1) says that yagya removes all the impurities and pollution and purifies everything.
Aisa hi vai yagyo yo ayam pavate| Idam sarvam punati, tasmadev aiva yagya¡||
In the Vedas and Vedic scriptures like Brahmanas and Ayurvedic texts yagya is regarded as the sustainer of all living beings and hence it is also referred as bhujyu and provider of safety and security to life. It is mentioned here that therapeutic (bhaisajya) yagyas should be performed to eliminate the effect of contagious/epidemic diseases which occur at the change of seasons. These therapeutic yagyas, along with diseases, also remove all sorts of pollution and purify the atmosphere (e.g see the following citations):
Yagyo vai bhuvanasya nabhi¡| –Tat. Bra. (3|9|5|5). Yagyo va avati | –Tad. Bra. (6|4|5)
Yagyo hi sarvani bhutani bhunakti| –Shatpath Bra. (9|4|1|11). Bhujyu¡ suparño yagya¡| –Yajur Veda (18|42). Ayam vai yagyo yoayam pavate| –Aet. Bra. (5|33). And, Gopath Bra. U. (1|19): Bhaisajya yagya va aete, ritu sandhishu prayujyante, Ritu sndhishu pai vyadhirjayate|