How Havan benefits the Environment

“How Havan benefits the Environment’ by Purti Chaturvedi, for Arya Samaj, Houston.

     Havan or Homam (Sanskrit) is a traditional Hindu spiritual ritual, originally practiced by the ‘Rishis’ and had existed for millennia, dating back to the Vedic times. The essential performance involves creation of fire, invocation of divine presence with Mantras and offering various prescribed objects like ghee, herbs, twigs, fruits, and grains into the Agni.
     The symbolic significance of Havan is to invoke Supreme Consciousness while the scientific advantages are several including the cleansing of the atmosphere. Thus, Havans are performed as means of purifying the environment as well as enhancing the physical and spiritual essentials of the individuals.
     The manuscript of ‘How Havan Benefits the Environment’, written by Puti Chaturvedi and published by Arya Samaj of Houston provides an exhaustive analysis of the ecological effects and benefits of Havan.
     The author has done a comprehensive review of literature in its first part and has covered the ‘project’ in its four basic elements under Vedas, Agnihotra, Pollution Acid Rain and Soybean. The second part covers the details of the scientific documentation of the research that has been undertaken with analytical data, measures, statistics and information arriving at and providing the final inference.
     The section on Vedas gives information about the four kinds of them with reference to Agnihotra. Vedas mean knowledge, from the Sanskrit root, ‘Vid’. As proclaimed by Maharshi Dayanad Saraswati, Vedas have been created for the benefit of the human race, (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – the world is one family) and contain the seeds of science and knowledge, made available to all.
     Rig Veda covers education and knowledge, Yajur Veda giving means of action of such knowledge, Sama Veda dealing with spiritual knowledge and Atharva Veda entailing scientific and protective understanding. Agnihotra or Homa is the basic Yagnya, and the text explains in detail the significance of 212 Havan, the Vedic method of agriculture, the analysis of fumigating substances and about the products of combustion. The section of Pollution (Pradhushan- Sanskrit) and Acid Rain, elaborates on the cataclysmic contamination of atmosphere that is happening today and how performance of Havans can ameliorate such injurious effects. The segment on Soybean enumerates the features and economic importance of the plant, the seeds of which are considered the highest natural vegetable food known.
     The second part of the book deals with the Materials and Methodology of the research, focusing on the site, method, the Homa process and its scope. The study was carried out at the Department of Botany at Meerut College. SAR (simulated acid rain, with Sulphuric and Nitric acids) was used as representing the damaging chemicals in environmental pollution. The effects were studied on the morphological, eco-physiological and phonological characters of Soybean plants. Homa was performed twice a day at the sunrise and sunset times. Offerings included cow dung cakes, rice grains, gugal, camphor and pure cow ghee. The effects were studied of the Homa fumes and the Homa ash.
     Numerous data were collected and tabulated of the parameters of the plant, such as the biomass, height of plants, chlorophyll content, growth area of leaves, distance of root nodules and the like. Separate conclusions were recorded on several counts; site, measures of pH, time, rate, quantity, distance and numbers. The study categorically corroborates the damaging effects of SAR on the plant and elucidates how the exposure to Homa fumes or addition of Homa ash can significantly ameliorate such damaging results.
     In the summary, the author ascertains that the Vedic knowledge is commensurate with scientific facts and that our Puranic practices are based on fundamentally proven measures to compensate the ill effects imposed by the ignorant humans. The annexure of the book enumerates the several chemical reactions brought on during Agnihotra and concludes the dissertation with an elaborate explanation of the methods of the Mantras.
     This manuscript is a monumental contribution that adds essential and crucial information about a very valid concern that humanity is facing at the present, that of environmental pollution. It then offers a treasure of remedial measures from the time- tested practices prescribed in our ancient Vedas, but substantiating the sense, need and urgency of instituting such on much broader scales.
     The readers will be amply rewarded by the knowledge that they will gain from this book.

Author: Dr. Venugopal Menon

Was born and raised in a loving family in pre-independent India, became a doctor, served Indian army, got married, then came over to America with wife and a daughter, established as a successful Allergist, raised a family of three children, was involved in many social establishments, retired, and wrote memoirs, 'My Mother Called Me Unni, A Doctor's Tale of Migration'.

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