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Preparing the Agnihotra Fire

Do I need to take a course to learn Agnihotra?
You can learn Agnihotra from our websites. There you will find videos on how to perform Agnihotra. It is simple and easy to learn.

Are cow dung and cow's ghee the only materials that can be used to prepare Agnihotra fire?
Agnihotra should be performed using only 100% pure cow dung cakes and 100% pure cow's ghee. When we say cow we mean either the male or female progeny of the cow species. Dung and ghee from other animals is strictly forbidden in the practice of Agnihotra.

Cow's ghee is a unique substance with properties unlike any other known material. Ghee from other animals such as the buffalo or goat will fail to produce the same beneficial healing result.

Can I use guggul, camphor, cotton wick or oil to light the Agnihotra fire?
None of these materials should be used in this Agnihotra. Applying pure cow's ghee to pure cow dung is enough to light the Agnihotra fire.

Must we use organic ghee and organic cow dung?
The ideal would be to use such, however, these may be hard to obtain or, in the case of organic ghee, too expensive. It is better to do Agnihotra than not to. Preferably the cow dung should come from grass-fed cows as opposed to grain-fed. Requirements for ghee are that it must be pure cow’s ghee and free of additives or antioxidants, etc. Generally Asian or Indian manufactured ghee contains undesirable additives and thus is not suitable for Agnihotra.

Are there any tips on how to make the Agnihotra fire?
Start by placing a piece of dried cow dung flat in the bottom of the pyramid. Add two small pieces in opposing corners. Continue adding pieces in alternating corners, using bigger and bigger pieces as the pile grows. Ghee can either be spread on each piece before adding to the pyramid or the ghee can be poured over each layer as you build. If you want, you may prepare a larger fire by continuing to stack the dung pieces above the top of the pyramid, but use smaller pieces to make the stack more stable. To light the dung, spread some ghee on a narrow piece of dung, ignite it and stick it down the "chimney" created by the layers of dung. The air flow will give you a blazing fire which will not collapse as it burns.

When igniting the Fire refrain from holding a match over the pyramid or a candle with dripping wax, as any match debris or wax etc that falls into the pyramid is a pollutant. If using a candle make sure it is extinguished before the time of making the offering. Also do not burn incense during Agnihotra.

The fire should be lit enough in advance so that the fire coming from the "chimney" is burning with maximum intensity exactly at the instant of sunrise or sunset. A hand-fan may be used if necessary, but lighter fluid or other ignitable materials, such as kerosene, should never be used.

In Agnihotra there are two offerings. The quantity of rice which can be held in the fingertips of one hand constitutes the rice for one offering. Apply a little ghee to the body of rice and divide into two portions. Exactly at sunrise and sunset utter the first Mantra and add the first portion of rice after you say the word "Swáhá." The rice and ghee are given to the fire with the thumb between middle and ring fingertips. The right hand only should be used. There is a power present in the right hand of humans for the purpose of making the Agnihotra offerings. Even if the person is left-handed, offerings are always made with the right hand. Then utter the second Mantra and give the second portion of rice after the word "Swáhá." All the ingredients in the pyramid should be consumed by the fire, leaving only ash. After the Mantras are uttered and the offerings have been made you can sit quietly until the fire subsides naturally. Never try to extinguish the fire.

For maximum effects, it is best if the pyramid always faces the same direction, and if possible, facing East. (This refers to the secondary effects of Agnihotra, as Agnihotra will have effects no matter which way the pyramid faces.) This is possible by scratching the underside of one lip of the pyramid with a sharp object. This scratch can be felt and used to orient the pyramid in the same direction each time. Also, some pyramids already have a dot on one side which then, accordingly, can always face east.

As the fire burns, concentrate your mind on something you regard as sacred, such as love, the image of any Divine Messenger, or holy symbol.

How do I tell if the contents are completely consumed by the fire and thus medicinal ash?
Completely burnt cowdung disintegrates easily into ash when handled, and burnt rice will be black and gritty to the touch. If there remains an unburnt piece of cow dung, the ash should not be used as medicine for human consumption.

Can I use medicinal herbs in Agnihotra fire?
No. The materials required for practice of Agnihotra are 100% pure cow dung cakes, 100% pure cow's ghee and uncooked, unpolished whole grains of rice.

What about the medicinal Yajnyas mentioned in the book, Homa Therapy, Our Last Chance? Can I learn to put herbs in the Yajnya fire, as the book mentions?
In order to perform those Yajnyas with herbs, one would have to study for years. We teach Agnihotra, Vyahruti Homa, Om Tryambakam Homa, and they are very powerful. When the time comes, we will be shown how to do those other Yajnyas.

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