Hello, I’m Abhinav Chetan, a digital marketer, a generative AI expert, and a yogi. My yoga journey started in 2010 at the Sivananda Dwarka Centre in Delhi and, of all the practices I’ve learned, few have resonated with me as deeply as Agnihotra. Today, I want to share this ancient ritual’s transformative power in my life and why I believe it’s a vital practice for our times.
My Introduction to Agnihotra: It was the first few weeks of covid in India and it coincided with Navaratri. We had decided to do a homa (fire ritual) but no priest would come home because of the countrywide lockdown. Left with no option, I decided to research, learn and do a homa myself. It was on the 1st of April 2020 that I performed the first homa in my house. It was Ashtami and also April Fool’s Day. I thought, who in their right mind would light a fire in their home and that too without any experience.
That was the beginning of a special journey into the fascinating world of homa. I started conducting homas regularly for various deities at home and at the Sivananda Yoga Centre. Every homa took a lot of time and energy to prepare, conduct and then wrap up. I also gradually started sharing my experiences with different mentors. One of them, a renowned Vedanta teacher, listened to my laments about the complexity of the practice an mentioned Agnihotra, which was much simpler and less time-consuming. Agnihotra is a Vedic ritual performed at sunrise and sunset and it intrigued me from the very start. It’s a simple practice and at the precise moments of sunrise and sunset, a small fire is lit in a copper vessel and specific offerings are made. When I first embarked on a 40-day Agnihotra Mandala, I didn’t expect the profound impact it would have. By the end, I felt a clarity and calm permeating my day. It was a certain alert, ever-present lightness that I hadn’t experienced before.
Challenges Along the Way: Like any practice worth doing, Agnihotra came with its challenges. The ritual’s timing is crucial, and initially, I struggled with getting it right. There were days when I couldn’t light the fire in time or it would extinguish before the right moment. But these challenges were part of the journey, teaching me the importance of patience and perseverance.
The Transformative Effects: Gradually, Agnihotra became more than a ritual, it became more of a habit which was a source of balance and peace. I found myself more present, grounded, and generally more connected whenever and wherever I performed it.
Sharing Agnihotra with Others: As I practised more Agnihotra a strong desire to share my learnings took root. Being an educator I’ve always wanted to understand all aspects of practices I took up. So after reading different books and researching homa and agnihotra, I built my own workshop titled ‘Firendship: Health, healing & harmony through fire’ where we discuss the importance of fire, its role in our evolution and talk about Agnihotra, focusing on its environmental and scientific aspects.
It’s always a revelation to learners how this simple practice can have such a profound impact – not just on the practitioner but on the environment too. Research shows that Agnihotra can improve air, water, and soil quality, making it a practice that benefits us and our entire ecosystem.
Learn more about the Firendship: Health, healing & harmony through fire workshop: abhinavchetan.com/firendship/
Why Agnihotra Matters Today: In today’s world, where environmental challenges loom large and personal peace seems elusive, Agnihotra offers great respite. It’s a practice that aligns us with the natural world, reminding us of our connection to the earth and the cosmos. Performing Agnihotra is a step towards healing ourselves and our planet. It’s a small act, but a powerful one.
I encourage everyone to explore Agnihotra. Whether you’re seeking inner peace, a deeper connection with nature, or a way to contribute positively to the environment, this practice offers a path. It’s a journey towards harmony and in these times, it’s more important than ever. Agnihotra is not just about lighting a fire, it’s about igniting a change within and without.
A link to a research paper on the benefits of Agnihotra: