While preparing the draft of the present monograph, the class of readers kept before my mind has been ‘men of wisdom ’. The draft was, therefore, circulated amongst authorities in different disciplines for their comments, suggestions and also for expressing doubts if any, about the multi- sided claims made therin about ‘Agnihotra ’. The present shape is the outcome of the cooperation extended by them all. This method was adopted to know the reactions, and if possible, to re-present the subject in such a way as to create a receptive approach amongst the readers. I am grateful to all of them.
History, as is well known, has recorded that many revolutionary discoveries or inventions have their origin either in an intuition that the scientific genius had at some subtle moment or in some accidental happening. Unfortunately the established scientific world has very rarely accepted such revolutionary inventions at their first sight. Leaving aside for a moment, the mental torture which some scientists of exceptional talent had to bear beacause of the negative attitude of the relatively orthodox contemporary scientific circles, one Ends that the world was deprived of the benefits of such inventions because of that attitude for a number of years. Though some scientific theories, which were universally accepted as unrefutable, have since then been exploded, the desired change in an average scientist’s attitude is not as fast as it should have been. How then can there be a change in the attitude of a common man ? Acupuncture, which is now being practised by licensed physicians, has roused interest all over the world. It was simply taboo to mention even the word in medical circles a few decades back.
I would, therefore, urge upon the reader to explore, with an open mind, whether this monograph would act as a turning point in building a ‘new humanistic life-style ’. Perhaps the reader will have to transgress rigid barriers artificially created not only by the established world religions, but also by isolationism seen amongst different branches of science. Then alone man will be able to enter a zone, where the highest level of happiness and fulfilment prevails.
Vedas, the most ancient wisdom revealed to man, have recommended Agnihotra so that man can build up a fundamental attitude towards his life from body, mind and soul angle. Innumerable persons, by performing Agnihotra regularly have, in recent years, experienced this basic change in their way of thinking towards the ever mounting problems of life. If the analytical talent will go through the following pages with a receptive mind and will think of further investigation on the findings, noted therein, it will realise that a new horizon has been re-opened.
The hints given or comments and doubts expressed by a number of experts on my draft were of much use to me in giving final shape to this monograph. The readers will, however, End that Agnihotra is a multi-disciplinary science. An attempt has, therefore, been made to project Agnihotra from as many angles as possible. From a chemical Stand-point, both bactericidal and vermifugal effects can be called as curative effects. Agnihotra, however, acts as an enhancer of the environment from a preventive angle.
Its para.—psychological impact on the present day world, dominated by economic considerations, is of prime importance. Agnihotra is, therefore, worship, a prayer or a meditation, accompanied by what looks like a ritual or a physical act, performed much more as a scientific experiment in a particular sequence. The scriptures call it a supreme act Sresthatama Karma not only because it is selfless action but also because of its multidimensional effects. The ancient Vedic seers have given in the hands of man, Agnihotra as a replica of cosmic working and have thus opened before him the way to Vedic cosmology. It is a revealed wisdom and not wisdom for mundane attainment. Looking to the ever increasing problems, which man is creating and his inability to tackle them effectively, a situation has arisen when he has to rely on the guidance given by the ‘Supreme Wisdom ’.
Amongst the Christian Churches, ecumenical movement has made some progress in reducing differences and in revitalizing Christianity. Whatever success it will achieve, it will be limited to followers of that religion only. Techno- logical growth has made the world small and has brought people nearer physically. A movement which will establish a dialogue amongst different faiths and religions, ideologies and isms is a need of the day. Such an attempt alone is going to reduce differences the bent of mind developed by following ‘Five Fold Path’ in general and Agnihotra in particular contributes in re-framing individual faith in such a way that differences are reduced.
There are innumerable people who are performing Agnihotra regularly and they are living all over the world. As this number will increase, and it is increasing at an unimaginable speed, the ecumenical movement will acquire its real broader shape and solve the problems which are vexing people all over the planet. Belief in a particular faith or ism will not prove to be a deterrent factor in that process. Vedas have handed over to humanity, a simple ritual of Agnihotra by which biological reactions and mental attunements have just to be experienced. Only with an inter—related effort, the different disciplines will be able to appreciate this. IV hat had been established and experienced centuries ago, has simply been re-worded to suit the present day aptitude. A suitable change in such an aptitude alone will help man to tackle the unsurmountable problems he is facing.
This monograph, to be frank, does not claim to be a scientific treatise. Its only purpose is to stimulate interest in deeper exploration of interrelated multi-disciplinary principles underlying ‘Agnihotra’ or for that matter underlying the working of the Cosmic Energy.
I am grateful to Dr. T. N. Dharmadhikari of Vaidika Samshodhana Mandala, Pune, for offering, on his own, the cooperation for publishing this monograph as a joint publication of the Mandala and the Panca Sadhana Pracara Kendra I am thankful to all those who have helped me in completing this work as perfectly as possible.
As the title of the monograph suggests, the present day problems have been analysed against the back-ground' of Vedic literature. The regulating force or the cosmic order behind events of nature, as has been put up by the Vedas, comes before the mind first. It is interesting to watch the working of the entire universe governed by the cosmic order. Such working is traceable in spheres like the cosmic world, scientific world, the ecological world and the socio-philosophical world.
The Cosmic World Abundant clues are traceable in the vast Vedic literature which enlighten the reader about the entire working of the universe. This phenomenon has been put in one sentence by the Vedas-
Rtasya Deva anu vrata guh (Rg.1.65.3).
Rta, the cosmic order or if the word is taken in a limited sense, the physical forces of the world follow the- course of eternal law. It is, therefore quite pertinent to know what Rta is, for on knowing Rta the magnitude of the Vedas is going to be revealed. This word carries different meanings like truth, eternal laws, cosmic order, Yajna (sacrifice) etc. Rta, in ordinary sense, means true, proper, right or honest. Ancient commentators like Sayanacarya or Yaskacarya, or the recent ones like Dayananda Saraswati, Bloomfield, Maxmuller, though not unanimous in arriving at one meaning, admit the high grandeur of Rta in one form or the other.
Though the description of this grandeur has been given in a symbolic way, it leads to the fact that all the established forces of the visible world, especially, the events of nature that recur periodically are regulated by Rta, The cosmic force that rules the world and nature is thus projected as Rta.
One finds a similar emphasis on the word Agni, (Fire) in the Vedas. In fact, Rgveda commences with the word, Angi, It is, therefore, quite interesting to see the relation between Rta and Agni. In the same Veda, sacrificial fire, Agni, is seen to be kindled under the' yoking of the Rta ' or as one should say, under the auspices of the world order. Agni, the god of fire, is the first born or the 'scion' of Rta. He performs his work with Rta. Agni, therefore, becomes a regulating force for the functioning of the whole universal system coming within the ambit of cosmic order.
Vedas in a true sense, are the treasure house of Rta and the Almighty Divine or the Cosmic Energy is the upholder of the laws eternal, Rtasya gopah.1
An effort will be made in this monograph to see, in a comprehensive sense, how Agni, an element of the cosmic order, is the first discovery of man, forming a base for further growth or the fundamental principle for regulating the environment related to man.
Scientific World The present age saw an astronaut landing on the Moon and his returning back safely to the Earth. This has been one of the highest technological feats achieved by man. It is interesting to trace the technological evolution that has taken place, both directly and indirectly, before reaching the present stage.
"As we all know, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, witnessed a tremendous impact of the Newtonian mechanics. Physicists were able to extend the same theory to the continuous motion of fluids and vibration of elastic bodies. A century later, a new physical reality was discovered, which made the limitations of the Newtonian model apparent and showed that none of its features had absolute reality. This prepared the way for the scientific revolution of today and can be seen in Maxwell's electrodynamics. The culmination of this theory was in the realisation that light is nothing but a rapidly alternating electromagnetic field, travelling in the form of waves. The two subsequent but separate developments, namely those of the relativity theory and of atomic physics- shattered all the principal concepts of the Newtonian world view: the notion of absolute space, time, the elementary solid particle, etc. This brought physicists, for the first time, into contact with the strange and unexpected reality of the sub-atomic world.
Every time the physicists asked nature a question in an atomic experiment, nature answered it with a paradox and the more they tried to clarify the situation, the sharper the paradoxes became. They somehow worked out precise and consistent mathematical formulation of quantum physics. But the effect of all this on their imagination was truly shattering. The quantum theory has demolished the very foundation of classical physics, revealing a basic oneness of the universe. Though the atomic nucleus is about one hundred thousand times smaller than the whole atom, it contains all the atom's mass. To understand such nuclear world, a theory which incorporated both quantum and relativity theories is needed. Such a theory has not yet been established or one may say that a complete theory of nucleus has not yet been formulated.
The relativity theory, however, has had a profound influence on our picture of matter by forcing us to modify our concept of a particle in an essential way. Mass is no more left as some indestructible material substance, but is a form of energy. Energy is, however, a dynamic quantity associated with activity or with process. It has been observed millions of times that pairs of particle and antiparticles can be created if enough energy is available and can be made to turn into pure energy in the reverse process of annihilation. This was predicted by Dirac, while formulating a relativistic equation. (This prediction, incidentally, takes one back to the Vedic concept of the formation of the material world out of cosmic energy and the material world's dissolution back into cosmic energy, Agni playing an important role in this transformation.) In this dynamic aspect of universe of the modern physics, the traditional concepts of space and time, of isolated objects and of cause and effect, lose their meaning. Such an experience of sub-atomic physics is very much similar to that of the Eastern Mysticism or Vedanta.
In modern physics, a very different attitude has now developed. Physicists have come to see that all their theories of natural phenomena, including the laws they describe, are creations of the human mind, properties of our conceptual map of reality, rather than of reality itself. This conceptual scheme is necessarily limited and approximate, as are all theories and laws of nature it contains. Physicists have to remain satisfied with an approximate' understanding of nature. The Eastern Mystics, on the other band, are not interested in approximate or relative knowledge. They are concerned with absolute knowledge, involving an understanding of totality of life. Being well aware of the essential inter-relationship of the universe, they realise that to explain some thing means to show how it is ultimately connected to every thing else".2
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