Bali Time courtesy of World Clock
1. Items required for Agnihotra:
2 pinches uncooked unbroken rice grains
An Agnihotra Time Sheet for your location Cow’s ghee (clarified butter)
Semi-pyramidal copper pot of a fixed size and shape
Dried cow dung
Fire source (matches) and a time piece with seconds accuracy
To acquire these materials in Australasia you may go to the www.agnihotra.com.au or in the USA www.agnihotrasupplies.com another very helpful source is http://www.homatherapy.org/content/agnihotra-kits-supplies
2. Arranging the ingredients
Agnihotra timings are precise and should be followed as closely as the circumstances will allow. To determine the local Sunrise and Sunset times for your specific location you may reference this link for to the second accuaracy Click here! Once you have obtained the correct times about 5 – 10 minutes before the actual sunrise and sunset time, arrange pieces of dry cow dung cakes in the Agnihotra pot as follows:
First, take a small square piece of cow dung cake and place it at the bottom of the pot just big enough to fit the bottom of the pot.
Place two small pieces at the front and back sides of the pot. Arranging in such a way as to provide good air flow through the stack.
On top of the above two pieces, arrange two longer pieces vertically along the left and right sides of the pot; ensuring that there is some space in between.
Arrange 1 or 2 more layers like this, with 2 pieces placed horizontally and the next 2 placed vertically. Like this a hollow space is created in the center of the pot in which you will light the fire and make the offerings.
Take another piece of cow dung and apply ghee to it. Light this piece over a lit ghee lamp, and put it in the center of the arranged cow dung pieces in the pot. If needed, one can also use myrrh, camphor or a cotton wick soaked in ghee. While lighting the fire, a few drops of ghee can be put over the cow dung. If necessary, a hand fan can be used to ignite the pieces. Never blow on the fire. The fire should be fully ablaze in the pot at the time for Agnihotra.
Take two small portions enough to fit on the tip of two fingers of clean, unbroken rice grains smeared with a drop of ghee and place the rice on the palm of your left hand or in a small copper dish.
3. Making the offerings
Agnihotra in the morning
Keep an eye on your watch and as soon as the second hand needle touches the exact sunrise time, start saying the first mantra which begins with ‘Suryaya Swaha’.
Immediately upon saying ‘Swaha’, offer one part of the rice grains to the fire and upon continuing the mantra complete the first line uttering ‘Suryaya Idam Na mama’. While offering the grains with the thumb, middle finger and ring finger of your right hand (palm facing upwards), place the left hand on your chest in a gesture that the offering is coming from your heart.
Uttering the second line of the mantra, offer the other part of the rice grains to the fire after saying ‘Prajapataye Swaha’ and complete the mantra uttering ‘Prajapataya Idam Na mama’.
In the evening before the Agnihotra time, remove the morning Agnihotra ash from the pot very carefully and put it in a dedicated glass or copper container specifically for storing the ash for later use as medicines or agricultural applications.
Repeating the morning process, prepare a fresh fire from the cow dung cakes in the pot. Also prepare two equal parts of the ghee-smeared rice grains for the two offerings.
Exactly at sunset time, accompanied by the chanting of sunset Agnihotra mantras ‘Agnaye Swaha’, offer the first part after saying ‘Swaha’ and complete the mantra by saying ‘Agnaya Idam Na mama’.
Similarly, uttering the second line of the mantra offer other part of the rice grains to the fire after saying ‘Prajapataye Swaha’ and complete the mantra uttering ‘Prajapataya Idam Na mama’.
Concentrate on the fire till the offerings are fully burnt. This concludes the evening Agnihotra.
4. Her are the Agnihotra mantras
The offerings of Agnihotra are to be offered to the fire along with chanting of the following Sanskrit mantras. The 2 offerings are made just after the word Swaha is recited in each verse.
1. Sooryaya Swaha Suryaya Idam Na mama |
2. Prajapataye Swaha Prajapataye Idam Na mama |
1. Agnaye Swaha Agnaye Idam Na mama |
2. Prajapataye Swaha Prajapataye Idam Na mama
The chanting of these mantras helps inculcate the spiritual emotion of total surrender within the mind. When Chanting the mantra do so in such a way that the sound resonates in a fully robust way in all directions. The pronunciation should be clear and rhythmic. For those who wish to know the meaning of the mantras a literal translation can be found here. The words ‘Angi’, ‘Surya’, ‘Prajapati’ in the Agnihotra mantra denote the Supreme Being and highlight the divine qualities of the Almighty. The meaning of the mantra is: ‘I am offering the oblation to Agni, Surya or Prajapati. This now belongs to Agni, Surya or Prajapati. Not My Will but Thy Will be done.’ Though the meaning of all the three words is similar the vibration they create having an uplifting and transformational effect on the body, mind and Prana.
Keep the Agnihotra area clean and tidy.
In the morning, it will be ideal if one takes a bath before the Agnihotra time. In the evening, if taking a bath is not possible, then wash the hands, feet and mouth before performing the Agnihotra.
Agnihotra ash can be stored in a separate container. It has medicinal properties (Ref: www.homatherapy.de/linked/buch_eng.pdf) and can also be used as an effective and very useful fertilizer for your kitchen garden and agriculture. Do not treat this ash as waste to throw in a dustbin. One can immerse Agnihotra ash in a lake, river or water reservoir. It cleans and purifies the water at a subtle-level .
6. Steps in performing Agnihotra (slideshow)
Below is a slideshow that depicts the steps in performing Agnihotra.
Where to perform Agnihotra?
Agnihotra can be performed in any room or place in the house. If one has an altar or place for meditation, etc., then it is excellent to do it there. It can even be performed on the balcony or terrace of your house, or a farm or garden adjoining the house.
Who can perform Agnihotra?
The practice of Agnihotra is simple and easy to perform. So much so that even a child can learn it in a few minutes of practice. It may be performed by anyone regardless of their gender, race, creed or formal religious label or age. Throughout the world today, many people, families and tribes perform this healing fire and derive its many benefits. Children can also practice it under adult supervision. Women should avoid performing it during their menstrual periods for reasons which are explained in the book, “The Ancient Solution to Modern Pollution”. Download it here for Free!
If Agnihotra is done as a preventive or active measure for protection against nuclear radiation, then SSRF recommends that it is performed by a person of at least the 50% spiritual level. [For more information on the importance of spiritual level in increasing the efficacy of Agnihotra for protection against nuclear radiation, please refer to our article on Agnihotra as protection against nuclear radiation]
While performing Agnihotra, only one person should make the offerings. Other members of the family present at the time of Agnihotra will derive the resultant benefits. However Agnihotra may be performed simultaneously by many people in the same locations and time.
Developing a sense of total surrender
While offering the rice grains with the right hand, the left hand should be placed on the chest as this invokes the spiritual emotion of surrender.
After making the offerings in the fire, sit quietly and try to concentrate your mind on the Divine energy. At this time try to discard all thoughts from the mind and strive to develop the feeling of total surrender. Be Present in the present.
After Agnihotra, let the fire subside by itself. Do not try to extinguish it by any other method. It is best if all cow dung pieces burn. However if they do not burn then treat them as ash (by immersing in water, etc.) and use fresh pieces of cow dung next time.