Why are you chanting Mantras? To whom are you praying?
There are three inputs to Agnihotra: specific organic substances burned, exact timings of sunrise/sunset, and vibrational input in the form of two short Mantras. All three inputs are necessary to produce Agnihotra’s effects.
Mantras are a vibrational input necessary to bring about Agnihotra’s healing and purifying effects. Scientists know that different vibrations have different effects on living things: if you play nice music to cows, they yield more milk; if you play nice music to plants, they grow better.
Agnihotra is a science of atmospheric purification simply. In such an atmosphere, the breathing becomes more calm, one’s mind becomes more at peace. It is thereby a good time for meditation, prayer or concentrating on the breath. If you wish to pray, that is your choice.
Agnihotra is not prayer, but a process of resonance which impacts the environment beneficially. Part of its effect is to alleviate stress on body and mind. Some people take advantage of the purified atmosphere and resultant calmness of mind and use Agnihotra time for prayer, meditation, etc. Agnihotra will enable you to become a better person and therefore a better Christian, a better Muslim, a better Jew, a better Buddhist, and so on.
Is it not correct to begin the Agnihotra Mantra with Om?
No. No change of any kind should be made in the Mantra as originally given.
Can the Agnihotra Mantras be rendered in other languages?
No. Agnihotra Mantras are given in Vedas in Sanskrit language. They are special sound combinations. They are unique in their vibrational effect. It is this vibrational aspect which provides the healing power. If you were to render the Mantra in any other language it would no longer be Agnihotra.
Can Agnihotra Mantras be chanted continuously?
No. The Agnihotra Mantras are to be recited only once and only two offerings are given at each Agnihotra performance. Apart from Agnihotra time, of course, we can sing or practice these mantras as long as we like.