Scientific experiments on yagya have revealed that this philosophy-powered Hindu ritual is more than a show of burning a medley of organic substances. They help reduce the levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide in air and bacteria count in water.
It has also been found that bhasm or ash, the yagya residue, yields phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium and nitrogen. These act as non-toxic fertilizer for healthy plant growth.
The findings followed an experiment by Brahmavarchas Shodh Sansthan (BSS) in Hardwar (northern Indian state of Uttaranchal) on the effects of an agnihotra or small-scale yagya. Dr. Rajani R. Joshi of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, later verified the results.
Air samples studied before and after a series of agnihotras showed an average drop of 2.56 mg in ambient sulfur dioxide and 0.14 mg in nitrous oxide. Similarly, water samples gave a bacteria count reading of 1250, down by 3250 counts.
The ash content after each agnihotra was also measured. The average phosphorous weight per kilo of ash was found to be 4076 mg. The potassium yield was 3407 mg, calcium 7822 mg, magnesium 6426 mg and nitrogen 32 mg.
“What a yagna does is combust fumigating, odoriferous substances, fats, carbohydrates, proteins and medicinal herbs together to give off purifying gas,” Dr Joshi had told me in Lucknow some time ago.
The effect of these on body, mind, air, water and earth was tremendous, he added.
Hindu scriptures mention a string of yagyas, the most prominent being the seva yagya for service, the gyana yagya for knowledge and prana yagya to elevate people from sufferings.
In physical terms, yagya, aided by the sound energy from the chanting of mantras, is a process of utilizing the subtle strength existing in matter with the help of thermal energy of the fire.
An assortment of substances is used for a yagya. They vary from sandalwood, agar, deodar, mango wood to saffron, musk, cinnamon, milk, fruits, honey and herbs such as somlata, brahmi, shankhpushpi and sonth.
The last time I had met Dr Joshi and BSS researchers, the Sansthan was planning to popular Yagyophaty on the basis of these findings. Yagnopathy is the medical application of yagna and is said to be as effective as Naturopathy and forms of cure.
It was contemplating Agnihotra Farming too. This, according to BSS, is a holistic concept of growing plants in a pure and healthy atmosphere and balancing the ecological cycles by performing an agnihotra.
Yagyopathy has already invaded Europe courtesy Dr. Matthias Ferbinder of Germany.