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Scientific Aspects of Agnihotra

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

In physical terms, Yagnya is a process aimed at the refinement of the subtle energy existing in matter with the help of thermal energy of the Mantras. The knowledge of philosophy and science of Yagnya is as essential for understanding and experimenting the science of spirituality as the knowledge of elementary physics is for material based sciences. The experiments of Yagnya, when performed at a small scale in day to day life are called --- Havan or Agnihotra.

There are two basic energy systems in the physical world: Heat and Sound. In performing Yagnya, these two energies, namely, the heat from Yagnya’s fire and the sound of the Vedic Mantras, are combined to achieve the desired physical, psychological and spiritual benefits. The fumigation of specific substances in the Yagnya --- fire is a scientific method of subtulisation of matter into energy and expanding its potential and positive effects in the surrounding atmosphere. The electromagnetic waves generated thereby help in transmitting, at cosmic level, the desired sonic signals ‘stored’ in the Mantras, which are chanted during the process of sacrificing the special materials in the fire.


Photo-Chemical process : When all the volatile substances are diffused in the surrounding atmosphere, these are further subjected to photochemical reactions in the sunlight. This may be the reason why it has been recommended that Yagnya should be performed in the presence of strong sunlight. These changes occur in the ultra-violet and other short wavelength regions. The products of fumigation thus go photochemical decomposition, oxidation and reduction. To some extent even CO2 is also reduced to formaldehyde as follows:
CO2 + H2 O + 112,000 cal. = HCHO = O2 From environmental angle, reduction of CO2 produced in Yagnya as above and liberation of oxygen cannot be overemphasized.

Products of Combustion:

Vaporization of wood


Besides complete combustion of Gomay (driend cow dung patties)/cellulose material of wood, it is also subjected to vaporization. This happens due to the way Samidhas are arranged in the Agnikunda (copper pyramid), the conditions of temperature and air supply which prevail in it.


Steam Volatilization of Odorous Substances


The temperature attained in the Kunda(pot) varies between 250°C and 600°C, while in actual flames it can go as high as 1200°C to 1300°C. The boiling points of volatile constituents get diffused over in the surrounding atmosphere. Also when cellulose and other carbohydrates undergo combustion, 10 steam is formed in copious quantities by the combination of hydrogen of organic substances with the oxygen. This is how the substances like thymol, eugenol, pinene, terpinol etc., are carried over in the surroundings and the aroma of a Yagna can be smelt even at a considerable distance.

In addition to steam, smoke is also given out in copious quantities and solid particles existing in a highly divided state offer sufficient surface for mechanical diffusion. Thus smoke also functions as colloidal particles for diffusion of volatile aromatic substances depending on temperature and direction of the wind.


Combustion of Fatty Substances


The fatty substances used in Yagnya are mainly ghee. Ghee helps in rapid combustion of Dried Cow dung Patties/cellulose of wood and keeps the fire alight. All fatty substances used are combinations of fatty acids, which volatilise easily. The combustion of glycerol portion gives acetone bodies, pyruvic aldehyde and glyoxal etc.

The hydrocarbons produced in the reactions again undergo slow combustion and as a result methyl and ethyl alcohols, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, formic acid and acetic acids are formed.


Photo-Chemical process
When all the volatile substances are diffused in the surrounding atmosphere, these are further subjected to photochemical reactions in the sunlight. This may be the reason why it has been recommended that Yagnya should be performed in the presence of strong sunlight. These changes occur in the ultra-violet and other short wavelength regions. The products of fumigation thus go photochemical decomposition, oxidation and reduction. To some extent even CO2 is also reduced to formaldehyde as follows: CO2 + H2 O + 112,000 cal. = HCHO = O2 From environmental angle, reduction of CO2 produced in Yagnya as above and liberation of oxygen cannot be overemphasized.

Conditions


At the outset, it can be said that the interpretation of process of combustion in a Yagna in a physical scientific terms is rather difficult due to the following reasons:

(i) The properties of substances which are used is vastly varying;

(ii) The conditions under which combustion takes place remain unspecified. The products of combustion depend on the following factors like ---

(a) The nature of substances used and their proportions;

(b) Temperature attained;

(c) Controlled supply of air and

(d) Interaction amongst the various products formed.


Inverted Pyramid Shaped Copper Agni Kunda (pot)

Chanting of Sanskrit Mantras:

Fumigating Substances Used in Yagnya








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