Amidst the fascinating achievements of the modern era of science and technology in improving our comfort levels, stress and pollution have posed the major challenges for our well-being. The world is beginning to realize that the comforts provided to us by modern science and technology do not necessarily always make life happier. In fact apart from stress and tension, more and more unknown diseases, untold anxiety and fear are caused by the highly polluted environment and ecological imbalances. This has raised alarm bells for rethinking and changing the life style and mode of health y management. Yajna appears to be a god send gift of the ancient Indian sciences for achieving this purpose [1-3]. In this article, we highlight possible medicinal applications of yajna in terms of some recently reported research findings.
Some Case Studies on Results of Research in Scientific Laboratories:
The following sample of experiments and case studies were reported in .
Some Physiological Studies: In his study Dr. Selvamurthy has observed neurophysiology effects of the mantras of a special kind of agnihotra (described in ), which is performed at the time of sunrise and sunset. In this experimental study eight health y men were chosen as subjects. They reported on two consecutive days: First day was for control recording when rituals of agnihotra were performed but instead of the prescribed mantras, some irrelevant syllables were uttered at specific time periods. Next day the agnihotra was performed with proper mantras. Recording of physiological parameters viz. heartbeat rate, ECG lead-II, blood pressure etc were made on both days. The results showed that while the mind (brain waves) remained unaltered during the first day agnihotra, significant changes occurred after the proper agnihotra; these included – (a) G.S.R. remained significantly higher during the proper agnihotra; (b) ECG showed DC shift in the base line; (c) EEG showed alpha enhancement and delta suppression for more than 15 minutes.
Diabetic Treatment: The urine sugar level of some acute diabetic patients was found to be totally absent and the level of blood sugar was reduced to normal just after two to three weeks of daily agnihotra. (A sample of these pathological reports is shown in ).
Relief from Drug Addictions : An officer of 25 years age who had been a poly drug abuser in the past was selected for the study by Lt. Col. G.R. Golecha, a senior adviser in the psychiatry di vision of the Indian army. The patient was at that time addicted to heroin for 2 years. He had underwent some De-addiction courses twice in the past with no benefit and had become De-motivated and resistant to such methods. He was then introduced to agnihotra. The practice of agnihotra resulted in improving his motivation to abstain from smack and showed significant decrease in his urge for it within a few weeks.
Bhopal Gas Tragedy and Agnihotra: The tragic incident occurred on the night of December 3, 1984 when the poisonous MIC gas leaked from Union Carbide factory at Bhopal. Hundreds of people died and thousands were hospitalized but there were two families – those of Shri Sohan Lal S Khushwaha and Shri M.L. Rathore, living about one mile away from the plant who came out unscathed. These families were regularly performing agnihotra (havan). In these families nobody died, nobody was even hospitalized despite being present in the area worst affected by the leakage of the toxic gas. This observation implies that agnihotra is a proven antidote to pollution. (English Daily-"The Hindu’ of 4-5-85; news item under the heading ‘Vedic Way to Beat Pollution’.)
The Yagyopathy Lab at Brahm- varchas:The Brahmvarchas Research Center was established by Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya in 1979. It is situated at the Saptsarover road about 6 kilometers from the Hardwar railway station in the direction of Rishikesh, in India. This center is actively working for the integration of the modern and ancient sciences. Innovative scientific research work is being carried out here in the science of spirituality . Apart from a dedicated team of scientists, doctors and engineers and other scholars of high caliber and well equipped laboratories for relevant research in different scientific disciplines including neurology, biochemistry, hematology, photochemistry and sound therapy etc, other features of attraction here are collections of about 450 herbs which include some rare species of the Himalaya n herbs and the yagyopathy lab.
The Ayurvedic (herbal medicine) lab of this centre and its pharmaceutical unit have produced new herbal medicines that have shown superb healing results in some cases of nervous system disorders, asthma, heart diseases, diabetes, lung infections, a wide variety of skin diseases and the diseases of the eyes and ears. Tens of thousands of patients benefit every year from the free consultancy and pure herbal medicines available at no-profit prices here. The yagyopathy lab studies the properties and effects of these herbs when sublimated in the fire of yajna.
The yagyopathy laboratory has a havan kunda placed in a glass chamber and a gas analysis wing for the collection and analysis of the fumes and vapors of yajna. The efficacy of various herbal ingredients in the havishya and the quality of the samidhas are assessed in the photochemistry lab, which is equipped with units like the gas-liquid chromatography. The purpose is to analyze the raw content in the beginning and what is left after these substances have been fumigated [5, 6].
Blood samples are kept in the glass chamber when it is full of the fumes and vapors during the daily yajna (havan) and the changes in the blood biochemistry and hematological parameters are recorded for these samples.
A large number of experiments are carried out on random samples of health y and diseased persons, living on the Shantikunj and Brahmvarchas campuses for prescribed periods. The subjects include the sadhakas as well as the non-sadhakas of all age groups (both men and women ) from all walks of life irrespective of their social or religious background. During such experiments, the subjects are asked to sit in the glass chamber and inhale the fumes of yajna for specific periods of time. A thorough analysis of their bodies and mind s is made before and after performing this experiment.
The measurements (carried out by chromatography, multichannel physio graphs, etc) of the above experiments include – Hematological parameters like HB, TRBC, TWBC, Platelets, RBC fragility etc; biochemical changes like those in the levels of blood urea, sugar, cholesterol, creatinine , SGOT, SGPT etc; and the immunological changes like the antibody levels and innate immunity towards various pathogenic offending organisms.
The EEG, EMG and ECG recordings are carried out in the neurophysiology labs. The psychometric lab assesses the aptitude, learning potential, memory, the intelligence quotient, emotional quotient and the overall personality makeup of the subjects. The cases are followed upon at regular intervals (e.g. after performing yajna regularly for a week, or a month etc.) These experiments may be extended, in collaboration with some neurochemists, to also record the levels of various hormones like cortisol, thyroxin, ACTH, androgen's etc in the endocrinology lab.
The general conclusion of the results obtained so far is that performing yajna significantly enhances the vitality and resistance against adverse metro-biological changes and against the invasion of otherwise lethal viruses and bacteria. Mental peace, emotional stability and creative development of the mind are the general observations of the analysis on the psychological fronts.
Potential of Yagyopathy in Curing Psychosomatic Diseases:
In a physical laboratory it might not be possible to get and demonstrate the spiritual effects of yajna, but certainly the physical and mental effects of yajnas can be tested, and the claims to cure physical and mental diseases through yajna can be verified [1-3].
It is to be noted here that the traditional systems of treatment of physical diseases employ medicines, which are mostly administered orally. They therefore produce effects only after they have been digested and absorbed into the system. Major part of the medicine taken orally is not utilized by the digestive system. Oral medicines also upset digestion seriously. The same is more or less true of medicines directly injected into the blood. They produce quicker results, but their adverse side-effects are more pronounced. White corpuscles of the blood resent intrusion of any foreign bodies into the blood, and sometimes the reaction of the system to the sudden, massive and direct intrusion of foreign matter into the blood through injection is most serious, and even fatal. In a yajna, medicines and herbs are vaporized by offering them into the sacrificial fire, and they enter the human system in a gaseous form through the nose, lungs and the pores of the skin. This could prove to be the easiest, least taxing, least risky and most effective method of administering a medicine so as to reach every single cell of the body.
The possibilities of curing mental diseases by yajna are even more encouraging. Diagnosis and treatment of mental diseases is still in its infancy in the modern systems of treatment. There are neither well-established diagnostic aids, nor any recognized system of treatment of diseases like Neurosis, Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Depression, Tension, Melancholia, Mania, Hysteria, etc. On the other hand, psychosomatic diseases are even more rampant than physical diseases and they break their victims even more acutely than the latter.
Symptoms of psychosomatic diseases, except in extreme and advanced cases, are not so apparent, and that may explain why enough attention has not been paid to them. The stress and strain of modern life , degradation of social norms and all-pervasive fall in moral values are contributing to an alarming increase in psychosomatic diseases. Yajna might offer a solution to this serious problem as well. The Brahmavarchas Research Center, Shantikunj , Hardwar has taken up research on these aspects of yajna. Their initial results on several experimental groups (who performed yajna with specific herbs for a prescribed duration every day for about fifteen days to a month) of patients suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, etc have been very positive and promising as compared to the control groups (of patients who did not perform yajna). The experiments would be extended to thorough analysis of yajna-ash, which is said to contain certain ingredients that soothe, pacify and tranquilize the mind .
The technique of yajna for the treatment of physical and mental diseases does not comprise mere vaporization of the medicines or herbs to be used, but various samidhas (special kind of wood pieces) are offered into the sacrificial fire of yajna to create the desired effects. Research on all these aspects of yajna is also being conducted in the laboratory of Brahmvarchas Research Center. It might well lead to the development of a new scientifically established mode of alternative therapy – yagyopathy, like Allopathy, Homeopathy, Chromopathy, Naturopathy, etc. It would also offer a unique benefit of preventive cure and health y development of body and mind together with spiritual elevation.
The technical details and results of this experimental research will be published subsequently in the relevant scientific journals to give directions for therapeutic use of different herbal medicines by means of yajna and further research on herbal medicine and to establish firm ground for other scientific applications of yajna.
Newer Directions: In the recent years, the established healing therapies have begun to recognize the role of psychology in prevention and cure of diseases of different kinds. As the atmosphere, praa and mind are interlinked; the individuals naturally experience relaxation, peace, quietening of the mind , loss of worries and stress in the yajna atmosphere [5-6]. The increase in the level of prana (vital energy) in the atmosphere when a yajna is performed – was also recorded with the help of Kirilian photographs of human hands before and after yajna in the experiments conducted by Dr. Matthias Ferbinger of Germany .
The atmosphere surrounding the place where a yajna (or agnihotra) is being performed and the ash produced in the kunda are suffused with energetic currents and soothing and uplifting ambience.
Further scientific research and large scale experiments on the potentials of yagyopathy will help make it a distinct, alternative therapy of far-reaching benefits to humanity at large and open up newer directions for constructive integration of the modern and the ancient sciences.
1. Selected Articles from Akhand Jyoti (Aug. ‘84, July & Aug. ‘92, March ’93, Sept. ’97). Publisher, Akhand Jyoti Sansthan, Mathura.
2. Fumigating Substances used in Yajna –– article published in the proceedings of Ashwamedha Yagna held in Montreal, Canada (26 to 28 July, 1996).
3. "The Integrated Science of Yagna"; book compiled by Dr. R. R. Joshi. Publ. Yug Nirman Yojna, Mathura (1999).
4. "Agnihotra: The Message of Time" – Paper by Dr. Madhukar P. Gaikwad. (Presented in the National Symposium on Unification of Modern and Ancient Sciences, held in Andheri, Mumbai on April 30, 1995).
5. Yajnas Scientific Interpretation – article published in the proceedings of Ashwamedha Yajna held in Montreal, Canada (26 to 28 July, 1996).
"The New Age Force of Gayatri "; book by Ashok N. Raval. Publ. Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai (1981).