Hawan is a Sanskrit word which refers to any ritual that involves making offerings into a consecrated fire. It was done by ‘Rishis’ in early period and is an important religious practice in Hinduism where they are part of most Sanskar ceremonies. They are also prevalent in current-day Buddhism and Jainism. A consecrated fire is the central element of every Hawan ritual however the procedure and items offered to the fire vary by occasions/ceremony or by the benefit expected from the ritual. A Hawan (homam, yagya or agnihotra) is a scientific experiment in which special herbal/plant medicinal preparations (Hawan Samagri ) are offered in the fire of medicinal woods ignited in a specially designed inverted pyramid-shaped fire pit or container (called Agni-kuñda). The specific shape and size of the Agni-kuñda, the arrangement of wood pieces in it, the time-frequency and amount of Hawan Samagri account for controlled chemical processing in the fire and lead to sublimation, chemical conversion and/or transformation into vapor phase of the herbal/plant medicinal preparation leading to release of medicinal phytochemicals. The decomposition and transformation (into vapor or gaseous phase/colloidal forms, etc) of specific substances in the Yagya-fire is a scientific method of subtilization of matter into energy and expanding its potential and positive effects. The electromagnetic waves generated thereby compounded with the sonic signals encoded in the mantras help in intensifying and transmitting the desired benefits of Yagya in the surrounding atmosphere and far beyond.
The process of Yagya magnifies the advantages of the desirable medicinal phytochemicals and other healthy nutritional substances. Medicines and herbs are vaporized by offering them into the sacrificial fire and enter the human body in a gaseous form through the nose, lungs and the pores of the skin.
Hawan seems to be designed by the ancient scholars to fight with the diseases of the brain. The components of Hawan are having a number of volatile oils that volatilize due to high temperature of the fire. The vapors of these oils enter into the central nervous system through nasal route.
Components of Hawan Samagri
- Saffron (Crocus sativus)
- Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi )
- Coconut (Cocos nucifera)
- Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum)
- Clove (Eugenia caryophyllus)
- Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
- Nagkesar (Mesua ferra)
- Tagar (Valeriana wallichii )
- Agar (Aquilana malaccensis)
- Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus)
- Ber (Zizphus jujube)
- Phoolmakhane (Nelumbo nucifera)
- Mango (Mangifera indica)
- Camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora)
- Guggal (Commiphora weightii )
- Almond (Prunus amygdalus)
- Gular (Ficus racemosa)
- Chirongi (Bauchanania lanzan)
- Kapurkachri (Hedychium spicatum)
- Red sandal (Pterocarpus santalinus)
From time immemorial, human beings have used smoke of medicinal plants for curing disorders. The smoke produced from natural substances has been used extensively in many cultures and famous ancient physicians have described and recommended such use. Under the continuous Saraswati–Indus civilization going back to 7500 BC), the great rishis (saints) used to perform agnihotra-yagnas to purify the environment by sublimating the havan sámagri (mixture of wood and odoriferous and medicinal herbs) in the fire accompanied by the chanting of Vedic mantras described in Rigveda – the most ancient compilation of knowledge on earth. The fumigation of an operating room with fumes of mustard, butter, and salt might be considered an early form of “antisepsis” of the air, although it was also used to get rid of evil spirits.