(That which is sacrificed for agni, the fire, is Agnihothram)
Agnihothram is a yagya performed in the household. The basic premise of this ritual is to purify the atmosphere with agni (fire) and to promote the welfare of the family.
It is usually conducted either at sunrise or sunset. Fire is burnt inside a copper pot in the shape of a half pyramid, placed upside down.
The flames are lit in fried layers of cow dung. In addition to cow dung, dry twigs of the banyan tree, neem tree, and fig tree can also be used. Camphor is used to light the fire.
Two pinches of full rice soaked in cow’s ghee should be put in the fire, chanting the appropriate mantras. It is believed that the fumes that emit from this fire can destroy all poisonous elements in the atmosphere. There are two different mantras to be chanted during the performance of this yagya in sunrise and sunset.
The whole rite gets over in three minutes. The mantras should be chanted with care and concentration.
It is customary for one member of the family to conduct the rite while others attend it. However, all can chant the mantras together. The pot should not be moved till the fire turns into ash. This ash can be used as manure later.
The ancients believed that copper had special properties and the pot used during the yagya can absorb the waves of the sun and moon alike. These are reproduced manifold as the fire is lit.
When Agnihothram is repeated, the copper pot absorbs more energy and emits waves. Cow dung is an effective germicide. That is why it is used in this yagya.
The texts say that the Agnihothram ritual can purify the atmosphere stretching to an area of 800 square feet. An experiment conducted by scientists of Pune found out that 97 per cent off germs in the area where the yagya was conducted got destroyed.
More important is the fact that the yagya brings welfare to the family. It cures us of diseases and contributes to our mental and physical health. The positive energy it lets out heightens our confidence and strengthens character.
Plants exposed to the yagya grow healthy. The roots of the plants grow stronger and hence the minerals they absorb reach every part of the plant and distribute energy alike. This contributes to the productivity of the plant.
Kirlian photography has proved that plants exposed to the Agnihothram have brighter and longer-lasting halos compared to those in other areas.
The ash that remains after the yagya can be used to enrich the earth with potash and nitrogen. Thus, Agnihothram promotes the welfare of all beings.
While Agnihothram is being performed, our brain waves undergo many positive changes. Delta waves in the brain get weakened and Alpha waves get strengthened. This helps the person distinguish between the favourable and the unfavourable.
It is believed that when a man addicted to intoxicants is exposed to Agnihothram, he starts realising the harmful effects of his evil habits and yearns for change. Since the yagya fire produces auspicious waves in abundance, the negative habits of the addict are forced to leave him. He becomes strong enough to resist temptations.
So Agnihothram is also used in the treatment of nervous disorders and rehabilitation of those addicted to intoxicants.