Ancient fire ritual has positive impact on environment: Scientists

A 4,000 year old fire ritual conducted in the remote village in Kerala had a positive impact on the atmosphere, soil and other environment effects, according to scientists who are now ready with their findings.

Ancient fire ritual has positive impact on environment: Scientists

The “Athirathram” ritual held at Panjal village in Thrissur district was the focus of a detailed study by a team of scientists led by Prof V P N Nampoori, former director of the International School of Photonics, Cochin University of Science and Technology.

The scientists had focused on the fire ritual’s scientific dimensions and impact on the atmosphere, soil and its micro—organisms and other potential environmental effects. The yagna seems to have accelerated the process of seed germination and also the microbial presence in air, water and soil in and around the region of the fire ritual is vastly diminished, according to a statement released by the Varthathe Trust, who organised the ritual. The team had planted three types of seeds — cowpea, green gram and Bengal gram — on all four sides of the ritual venue at varying distances. They found that the growth was better in case of pots kept closer to the fire altar. This effect, the study says, was more pronounced in the case of Bengal gram with growth about 2,000 times faster than in other places. According to Nampoori, sound is a vibration and continuous positive vibrations through chanting, accelerates the process of germination. “The findings would not only help dispel superstitious notions associated with Vedic rituals but also help in continuation of such tradition for the betterment of nature and the environment,” says Nampoori. He added that further research on the phenomenon were on which could prove that some bio—amplifier generated in the atmosphere because of the ritual, had a selective effect on Bengal gram. The study focused on counting bacterial colonies at three locations — within the yagnashala, 500 metres and 1.5 kilometres from the yagnasala. Microbial analysis made before, during and four days after the yagna revealed that the air in the vicinity of the yagnashala was pure and had very low count of microbe colonies.

The research team also found that microbial activities in the soil and water around the yagnashala were remarkably less compared to normal ground. The “Athirathram” ritual which literally means “building up of the fireplace and performed overnight” and usually held to propagate universal peace and harmony, was first documented 35 years ago by US—based Indologist Frits Staal. Staal, currently Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley had in 1975 organised and recorded the ritual in detail with the help of grants and donations from the Universities of Havard, Berkely and Finland”s Helsinki University. The research team conducted tests near the fire altars of the 1918 and 1956 Athirathram, still preserved in the backyards of Namboothiri homes, reveal that the bricks continue to be free of microbial presence. “It’s an indication that the effect of the ritual is long—lasting. Studies are on to find out if other positive changes on the atmosphere are transitional or permanent,” say researchers. An analysis conducted on the dimensions of temperature from the flames of the pravargya by Prof A K Saxena, head of photonics division, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, found that the fire ball that formed during the ritual had a particular wavelength with an unusually high intensity similar to what is observed in typical laser beams at about 3,870 degree centigrade.

It may be possible to have stimulated emission at this wavelength (700 nm) and gain from plasma recombination. It needs to be studied further, he says. The members of the team of scientists’ team at the Panjal Athirathram 2011 included experts from various disciplines and included Dr Rajalakshmy Subrahmanian (Cusat), Dr Parvathi Menon (M G College, Thiruvanathapuram), Dr Maya R Nair (Pattambi Government College), Prof Saxena ( Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore) and Prof. Rao (Andhra University). The scientific team members were supported by Zarina (Research Scholar, CUSAT), Ramkumar (Biotechnologist), Asulabha (Biotechnologist) and a number of postgraduate, graduate and school students.


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19 Responses to "Ancient fire ritual has positive impact on environment: Scientists"

  1. Bkhatri  January 7, 2014 at 6:23 am

    What is athriratram??
    I think it is Ati Rudram

    • Sanskriti  January 7, 2014 at 6:31 am

      Athirathram (Malayalam: അതിരാത്രം): The piling of the altar of Agni is a Śrauta ritual of the Vedic religion, the predecessor of modern day Hinduism which is considered to be the greatest ritual as per the Vedic ritual hierarchy.

  2. Arjun Chatterjee  January 7, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Great … This is intense ..

  3. Ravi  January 7, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Is this now being done every year ? It looks like this analysis was done in Apr, 2011 and results published in June, 2011. http://www.hindu.com/2011/06/10/stories/2011061058260900.htm

  4. Kaushik  July 1, 2014 at 4:57 am

    Can you give me the scientific research journal or a link to it where this has been published. Thanks.

  5. ajay  July 1, 2014 at 10:39 am

    atiratra agnicayana.

  6. LtCol (Retd).K.G.RAMACHANDRAN the  July 2, 2014 at 5:06 am

    Unfortunately our Indian SICKULAR intelligentia will need a white man’s cerrificate.
    what all we have lost during british rule and afterwards, only GOD can say!

  7. seetharaman  September 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Any fire will reduce bacteria presence around that area (and also in the bricks used for that purpose). This has nothing to do with chanting mantras.

  8. Arjun Paul  September 16, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Every fire oblation burns the pollution and makes the enviorment pollution free to live and grow peacefully

  9. gg  January 17, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    The problem was nothing was explained to us. Why??
    That’s why everything was considered superstition and waste of money , ghee, clothes , etc.
    The real meaning and methods and uses were never discussed.
    There is so much science in every ritual. We were the most scientific ppl on the earth.

  10. gg  January 17, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    The vibration in chanting also has a science behind and helps the body.
    Even om has so much health benefits. Read up on agnihotra homam.
    This changed the whole thinking for me

  11. Ilya  May 27, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Has this research been published in any per-review journal? This claim is to extraordinary to be believed. If it is considered to be true, it classifies as a supernatural phenomenon. Just go and take this 1 000 000 $ from James Randi foundation.

    • zoran  August 11, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      @Ilya – You are wrong…this is not supernatural phenomenon, but very natural, but forgotten.

  12. charan  May 30, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Great News.I

  13. charan  May 30, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Great News.I was recently reading an article, which speaks about Farmers using this(and other similar “technologies”) in their farms for better organic yield.Is this true?

  14. Kesavachandran  September 22, 2015 at 2:13 am

    When this elaborate ritual was done for the first time over 25 years ago at Paanjal the late Prof Frits Staal of the University of California ,Berkely was associated with the Akkithiripad at the yaga shala..It was a dry summer with no rain but when the wooden structure of the Yaga Shala was set alight with the sacrificial fire as per ritual it was put out by copious showers on the spot and around the vicinity signifying the Yaga was a success.

  15. s ganesh babu  March 5, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Perhaps, one needs to include a few white men in order tor obtain approval from the western world, with out which our sickularists will dub it on Hinduthva and more particularly on Modi and his team. After all these are te people who have underestimated themselves and have no trust in their capabilities.

  16. ARUN KUMAR  April 17, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    If Hindus do public dont accept……………if other religions do something………..then the hype……..ooohhhh……………

  17. joyda  April 18, 2016 at 9:34 am

    This ritual was studied and documented extensively in 1975 by a team of scientists from the US and India. Then, in 2011 it was held again. Like all forms of clairvoyance, it has its fair share of takers and non-takers. Please don’t link this with Indian sanskriti. Science is still an open ended phenomenon.


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