[Advaita-l] On a Vedic quest

sunil bhattacharjya skbhattacharjya at yahoo.co.in
Tue Oct 25 18:51:32 CDT 2005

Dear Sir,

In the eastern part of India, at the start of
agnihotra,the fire is purified by sending the
flesh-eating component of the fire to yamaloka with a
mantra and then the  remaining fire is requested to
carry the oblations to the deity invoked.Fire obtained
from any source, even by lighting a match box, should
be OK if properly purified as above,

Secondly the yajnadhoom ( the smoke from the yajna
)has special significance. Some say that the smoke
from the herbs offered to the fire or the smoke from
the burning of cow-dung cakes etc. has medicinal
properties too. I wonder if the smokeless fire has any
Vedic sanction.

Thirdly the saying at the end of the ahuti " idam na
mama "truly signifies that the meterial has truly been
sacrificed and that no more belongs to the sacrificer.
without this ending the sacrifice is not complete.


--- Abhishek RK <rkabhi at gmail.com> wrote:

> On a Vedic quest
> "I AM doing Agnihotram not for name or fame but
> because I love it. It is
> considered the mother of all Yagas. I believe in
> Srouta Yaga. I want to know
> how Agnihotram is performed in different parts of
> the country." Indeed it is
> the quest of a sincere Nityagnihotri. But he is
> neither a traditional
> scholar nor an academic researcher in Vedic rituals.
> This Agnihotri, Dr.
> Jayanta Kumar Dirghangi, is a certified medical
> practitioner of the American
> Board of Obstetrics and Gynaecology with many
> professional affiliations to
> his credit, practising at Memphis, Tennessee.
> It needs tenacity of a different kind to juggle a
> demanding career and a
> religious rite like Agnihotram with its stringent
> regulations performed
> twice daily, day after day. It has become an
> all-consuming passion with this
> doctor ever since he set out on this journey to
> discover his roots over
> eight years ago. He returns to his motherland
> unfailingly every year to
> quench his thirst for knowledge of the age-old Vedic
> tradition.
> Dr. Dirghangi developed an interest in Sanskrit,
> Vedic chanting and Srouta
> Karma at an early age and the late Prof. Gourinath
> Sastri encouraged him to
> study further. Amidst his hectic professional life
> in the U.S. he pursued
> these disciplines relentlessly till he was initiated
> into Agnihotram on May
> 1, 2000, according to Apastambha Srouta Sutra,
> Krishna Yajur Veda. A person,
> who wishes to perform Agnihotram and other Srouta
> rites must first acquire
> the sacrificial fire.
> The rituals starting from Agnihotram should be
> performed with oblations to
> the three distinct altars having different fires
> namely, the Garhapatya,
> Aahavaniya and the Dakshina. The acquisition of
> these fires and instituting
> them in one's house are done through a ritual called
> Adhana (Agnyadhana,
> Agnyadheya), during initiation.
> Dr. Dirghangi received guidance from the 45th
> Azhagiya Singar of Ahobila
> Math and instruction from Sengalipuram Adhvarapathy
> Dikshitar and
> Therezhundur Anantanarayana Dikshitar. When a close
> friend introduced him to
> the veteran traditional scholar, Agnihotram Ramanuja
> Thathachariar, it
> opened up further vistas in his avocation and he
> mastered the intricacies of
> performing the ritual and learnt the meaning of the
> Mantras from him. He has
> travelled to remote villages seeking the help of
> masters of this practice,
> observing them perform, clarifying doubts and
> documenting the subtle
> differences among the different Srouta sutras like
> Apastambha, Asvalayana,
> Vaikhanasa, Manaba and so on.
> He is learning the procedure according to the Rig,
> Sama and Atharvana Vedas
> though he follows the Yajur Veda. Back at home in
> Memphis he has an
> improvised smokeless Yagasala, where the sacrificial
> fire has to be
> maintained. The furnace had to be improvised to
> conform to the laws of the
> US where smoke in any form triggers an alarm. He
> felt the need for a
> handbook on Agnihotram explaining its performance,
> meaning and variations.
> So he has undertaken the task of compiling one
> himself. His trips to India
> are well planned. Dr. Dirghangi shared his
> experience during this trip with
> this writer. "This time I visited Kerala to meet the
> Namboodiris. Through
> one of my patients I was introduced to an Agnihotrin
> at Thiruvananthapuram.
> The Namboodiris performed the Agni (Athirtha) Yaga,
> which is a little longer
> than the Somayaga, in 1975, and in 1995 at Panjal
> near Thrissur and
> Guruvayur, and he learnt about their history. As
> many as 64 Namboodiri
> families migrated from Gujarat long ago and of them
> 32 settled in the Tulu
> speaking region of Karnataka and the rest in Kerala.
> Some of these families
> continue to practise this rite. Each family becomes
> the high priest
> (Yajamana) of a particular Yaga. From
> Thiruvananthapuram I went to Thrissur
> as these Namboodiri families live around this place.
> I met Neelakantan
> Namboodiri, who is an authority on the Rig Veda, at
> Vattakulam. I spent a
> day with him and performed Agnihotram with him. From
> there I proceeded to
> Kouprra to meet Sankara Narayan Somayajipad who
> performs the Somayaga.
> Finally at Chembra, I had the opportunity of
> interacting with Ravi
> Akkithiripad who is the only one allowed to perform
> the Athiratha Yaga by
> hereditary right in Kerala, while in Tamil Nadu and
> Andhra Pradesh others
> are permitted to."
> "I spend the best part of my visit every time with
> Thathachariar Swami who
> has been extremely generous in sharing his knowledge
> on the subject. I
> continue to learn the meaning of the Mantras from
> him as they have both a
> literary and a subtler meaning. I must share another
> experience with you.
> The earlier feature in this paper generated a lot of
> interest both in the US
> and in West Bengal. I keep getting calls from people
> evincing interest in
> Agnihotram. It gives me immense joy that I should be
> instrumental in
> reviving interest in the Vedic sacrifices. I have
> been invited to present a
> paper at the Asiatic Society and a
> lecture-demonstration on Agnihotram
> before the intelligentsia of Calcutta in this trip."
> Before you wonder where
> he will be venturing into next, he signs off saying,
> "My dream is to become
> a Somayaji ultimately."
> --
> bhava Sankara deSika me saraNam
> sadASiva samArambham SankaracArya madhymam
> asmadAcArya paryantam vande guru paramparam
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