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Sustainable living through yajna

A lot of us are inter­est­ed in liv­ing a healthy and sus­tain­able life and are pas­sion­ate about our envi­ron­ment. We often won­der what can I as an indi­vid­ual do for the envi­ron­ment? How can I con­tribute pos­i­tive­ly to it? We also realise the influ­ence of the envi­ron­ment on our health and well being. One often won­ders how may I pro­tect and take care of myself and my fam­i­ly from the pol­lu­tion and harm­ful influ­ences in the envi­ron­ment? What changes can I bring in my lifestyle and rou­tine to be in tune with nature? Towards these one can look at yagna as an excel­lent prac­tice to inte­grate in one’s life.

In the Indi­an tra­di­tion, the envi­ron­ment is seen as an exten­sion of one’s body, of one­self and they mutu­al­ly influ­ence and impact each oth­er. It is through our envi­ron­ment that we take in food, air, water, ener­gy which form our body and through our life process­es and actions, we in turn give back to the envi­ron­ment. Our thoughts and emo­tions are also influ­enced by the envi­ron­ment. Through Ayurve­da we under­stand that the vata, pit­ta and kapha lev­els in our body change with the envi­ron­ment and so do our thoughts, feel­ings and emo­tions. Thus a healthy and pure envi­ron­ment nour­ish­es us. By adopt­ing a life in har­mo­ny with nature, we in turn give back to Her.

Yagna and envi­ron­ment

The process of yagna puri­fies the doer, the receiv­er and the envi­ron­ment. In the Bha­gavad Gita, Bha­ga­van Shree Krish­na explains the phi­los­o­phy and dif­fer­ent kinds of yagna.

The vedas describe yagna as a means to ful­fil one’s desires, attain hap­pi­ness through health, wealth, peace, strength, fame and pro­tec­tion from nat­ur­al calami­ties, dis­eases, and all unfore­seen events. The vedas give dif­fer­ent kinds of yag­nas for ful­fill­ing the var­i­ous needs and desires of beings.

In chap­ter 3 of the Bha­gavad Gita, Bha­ga­van Shree Krish­na says that the cre­ation is sus­tained through yagna and by indi­vid­u­als per­form­ing their swad­har­ma. He fur­ther states that it is through yagna that the divine forces and nature are pleased and nour­ished and they in turn nour­ish us and ful­fil our desires. Thus by mutu­al­ly serv­ing and tak­ing care of each oth­er, there is pros­per­i­ty and abun­dance every­where and well being for all.

Through yagna, one ben­e­fits not just one­self but also the envi­ron­ment. The envi­ron­ment when puri­fied and nour­ished in turn makes us healthy and hap­py. The ben­e­fits of yagna are not lim­it­ed to the time of activ­i­ty or to the peo­ple who par­tic­i­pate in it but extend much beyond the imme­di­ate vis­i­ble sphere in space and time.

Peo­ple across the world have start­ed inte­grat­ing the prac­tice of yagna. Source:

The most com­mon form of a yagna that one would have seen is a homa (a havana) where offer­ings are made to agni in a kunda/vedi. The tra­di­tion of homas is ancient and is fol­lowed since the Vedic times. Spe­cial homas (havana — a form of yagna) are per­formed on spe­cial days such as ekadashi, poorn­i­ma or on impor­tant occa­sions such as one’s birth­day, anniver­sary, etc. One can also per­form homas for the ful­fil­ment of an impor­tant task or sankalpa. A com­mon form of yagna per­formed dai­ly is the agni­ho­tra done at the time of sun­rise and sun­set. Through the process of yagna one can par­tic­i­pate in pos­i­tive­ly con­tribut­ing and enrich­ing not just the out­er but also one’s inner envi­ron­ment.

At our Ashram near Iyvar Malai, nitya yagna and japa hap­pens at the Dhyanalayam, a con­se­crat­ed space. The yagna is per­formed using cow dung pat­ties which are fresh­ly pre­pared from the gausha­la. More on the agni kriya ser­vice at Dhyanalayam here:

Sci­en­tif­ic research and sus­tain­able liv­ing through Yag­nas

In the pre­vi­ous arti­cles we have looked at how yag­nas and their ash ben­e­fit the air, water, soil and agri­cul­ture as found in sci­en­tif­ic research. Through sci­en­tif­ic research, we have begun to under­stand the time­less tra­di­tion of yag­nas. There are numer­ous ben­e­fits of Yagna and this is a top­ic of fur­ther explo­ration.

On see­ing the smoke aris­ing from the yagna flames, It may seem coun­ter­in­tu­itive that yagna actu­al­ly puri­fies the air but research on yag­nas has shown them to reduce air pol­lu­tion by reduc­ing the con­cen­tra­tion of par­tic­u­late mat­ter in air and the harm­ful gas­es and improv­ing the mois­ture con­tent in the atmos­phere. They have also been shown to reduce the harm­ful bac­te­ria in the atmos­phere sig­nif­i­cant­ly. After the yagna, the envi­ron­ment is charged with prana and pos­i­tive ener­gy which nour­ish­es all beings. Thus through yagna, the air around becomes puri­fied, and as one breathes in pure air, one need not wor­ry about pol­lu­tion, smoke and indoor pol­lu­tion and the relat­ed res­pi­ra­to­ry dis­eases com­mon in the urban envi­ron­ments. It is inter­est­ing to know that an aver­age adult eats ~2 kg of food per day, drinks 3–4 litres of water and breathes 11,000 litres of air in a day! Thus the qual­i­ty of air can have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on our health.

Sim­i­lar­ly it has been shown that homa ash can be used to puri­fy water in water bod­ies and made fit for drink­ing by increas­ing the dis­solved oxy­gen con­tent, reg­u­lat­ing the pH and remov­ing the harm­ful bac­te­ria in it.

Homa ash is also being used to cul­ti­vate organ­ic food which is shown to have high­er yield and high­er nutri­tion­al val­ue. With the emerg­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty of kitchen gar­dens and oth­er meth­ods of grow­ing plants and food at homes or local­ly, one can explore homa farm­ing at home as well. There have been suc­cess­ful exper­i­ments around the globe on homa farm­ing with agni­ho­tra by indi­vid­u­als.

Yagna puri­fies the envi­ron­ment in a holis­tic man­ner

Anoth­er com­mon source of ‘pol­lu­tion’ that impacts the envi­ron­ment, oth­er liv­ing beings and our men­tal and phys­i­cal well being are the elec­tro­mag­net­ic radi­a­tions. Espe­cial­ly since the lock­down, the expo­sure to devices has increased sig­nif­i­cant­ly and one often feels exhaust­ed after spend­ing long hours on them and looks for a relief. Research has shown that elec­tro­mag­net­ic radi­a­tions from devices are great­ly reduced in the yagna envi­ron­ment. One expe­ri­ences a great sense of relax­ation and the mind feels fresh and free from con­stant engage­ment.

Duing yagna is a great­ly ener­gis­ing and spir­i­tu­al­ly uplift­ing process. The thoughts and emo­tions are puri­fied. The mind calms down and a sense of seren­i­ty dawns. The atmos­phere feels vibrant. One expe­ri­ences pos­i­tive ener­gy dur­ing the whole day. The aro­ma of the yagna fumes is also quite refresh­ing and some­times acts as a nat­ur­al per­fume 🙂

Through fur­ther research on yagna, we can exam­ine and study their ben­e­fits and appli­ca­tions in our lives to a greater extent. The Vedas describe in detail the ben­e­fits of yagna in cur­ing var­i­ous dis­eases and ful­fill­ing one’s needs. Yagna has shown to cure sev­er­al dis­eases and their ther­a­peu­tic use is a top­ic of research. In the Athar­va Veda, var­i­ous types of yag­nas are giv­en for cur­ing dis­eases and each of them make use of dif­fer­ent mate­ri­als. Mod­ern research has shown yag­nas to help reduce anx­i­ety, addic­tions, stress and oth­er lifestyle relat­ed dis­eases.

Through the process of yagna, nature and the envi­ron­ment, the air, water, soil, atmos­phere are puri­fied and nour­ished and they in turn nour­ish the beings in them. Through By hav­ing rich and nutri­tious foods devoid of any chem­i­cal pes­ti­cides or fer­tilis­ers cul­ti­vat­ed using homa farm­ing, hav­ing pure and bal­anced water and breath­ing in pure air charged with prana, liv­ing in a charged atmos­phere bal­anc­ing our emo­tions and thoughts through yagna, hav­ing puri­fied aahaara one can tru­ly live a sus­tain­able, healthy and holis­tic life that nour­ish­es the envi­ron­ment and us.

Could there be any­thing bet­ter? One can only mar­vel and bow down in humil­i­ty at the genius and great­ness of the rishis who’ve laid the path to well-being and free­dom for every­body.

Such is the great­ness of the Sanatana Dhar­ma where the work­ings of nature are inte­grat­ed in one’s dai­ly life in a par­tic­i­pa­tive man­ner so that one can expe­ri­ence and realise the truth one­self.

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