Table of Contents
Ancient Oaks Children’s Summer Farm Program 2017–Another Success!
Patricia (Patty) Norton and Maria Broom
It was one of Shree Vasant’s greatest dreams to bring children from the heart of Baltimore city out to our Homa farm where they could experience green open spaces and a healing atmosphere saturated with Homa fires. With a generous grant from the Krieger Fund, the Baltimore Homa Community was able to offer a second year of their Children’s Summer Farm Program at Ancient Oaks Homa Farm in Westminster, Maryland. Eight groups–over 300 children–came to enjoy a half-day of hiking, drumming, dancing, yoga, sound healing, storytelling, tasty vegetarian lunches and quiet meditation with Homa fire, not to mention lots and lots of free time to just run and play without fear of traffic, violence or bullets. With wonderful, flexible facilitators and plenty of Shree’s grace we were able to do all of this and it is extremely humbling.
The first group was from Collington Square Freedom School. Their energy was intense and somewhat resistant, but they truly enjoyed themselves.
The Children’s Farm Program at Ancient Oaks looks like “Elder Care meets the Little Rascals,” or even, “The Young and the Aged.” This is true. With the exception of Taylor and Leanora, all the facilitators are elders, mostly in their sixties and seventies.
There was one children’s visit that stands out in particular. The teachers, young counselors and children circled up under the oaks as always, as Maria Broom welcomed them in song…
“Good morning, good morning, good morning to you…..”
Maria then introduced the Baltimore Homa Community facilitators and volunteers and also Grandmother and Grandfather Oak. “We named this farm after them and they are about 300 years old, so they are very wise. If you spend time with them, and ask a question, you might even hear an answer.”
After lunch, Tahlea, a fifteen-year-old student, asked Maria if she could talk to her. She burst into tears and said that Grandfather Oak spoke to her. Through tears she explained that Grandfather said that her father was ill, was in the hospital and had an operation but was okay. Tahlea called her mother and verified that this was true. Tahlea shared that this scared her because she had never heard voices before. We spent much time with her the rest of the day, reassuring her that this was one of her gifts. Maria shared this with her teacher so Tahlea would have someone to talk to who understood.
We all have our unique gifts to share with the world. This was a pivotal day in Tahlea’s life that she will most likely never forget.
The children arrive after a long school bus ride with no air conditioning, hot and tired. The teenaged counselors are not always in a great mood and they can’t use their phones here. But with Shree’s Grace of enough clouds, heavenly breezes and lots of Homa fire, we elders (plus Taylor) managed to send them back home feeling good and happy, calm on the inside, well fed, and with their spirits and energy uplifted. Heartfelt thanks to those hardworking BHC and guest facilitators!
[Special thanks to Maria Broom. The Ancient Oaks Children’s Summer Farm Program was formed through Maria’s devoted commitment and consistent, goal-focused communications.–Patricia Norton]
The Somayag Committee, Bruce Johnson and Ed.
It was the vision of Shree Vasant Paranjpe to complete a series of seven Maha Somayags on the banks of the Narmada River in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, India, for the healing of our planet. February 12th, 2017 marked the successful completion of the Aptoryam, the seventh and final Somayag in this series
As in the previous Somayags held at the Homa Therapy Goshala in Maheshwar, India, the basic procedures were as follows:
- Bringing the fire from Tretagni Agnihotra.
- Ishti fire. Ishti means whatever is inside us we offer to God. It is a basic requirement for the other steps of the Somayag.
- Pravargya for three days. This is preparation for the Soma offering.
- Soma offering.
- Wrapping up–final offerings and prayers.
- Bath in the Narmada River.
Arrival of the Tretagni Fire
In the afternoon on February 6th, 2017 the arrival of the Tretagni fire was celebrated with a procession, drumming and dancing. Yajaman Achal Apte led the way, carrying the box containing the Tretagni fire from their home. (Tretagni Agnihotra is the ancient, long form of Agnihotra, which requires great discipline and unwavering commitment. Achal and his wife Bhakti Apte perform Tretagni Agnihotra, and transported that fire with them to Maheshwar. Only a performer of Tretagni Agnihotra is qualified to be a Yajaman for Somayag.) The fire was carried to Shree Vasant’s house, where participants were permitted to take Darshan, then to Kusum, Paranjpe, Shree Vasant’s widow, and finally to the Somayag Shala.
Day One—February 7th
The first day included the opening ceremony, energetic clearing of the Yajnya shala space, gathering the team of priests, transferring fire from Tretagni Agnihotra altars to Somayag altars, and consecration (Diksha).
In the opening ceremony, hosts Abhay and Anjali Paranjpe, plus the Yajaman, his wife and the rutvijas, assemble before the Tretagni altars just outside the boundaries of the Somayag Shala. Prayers are offered, asking that this Somayag go as smoothly as the previous six. Each of the deities is invoked by name. Specific details are given. For example, the exact location of this Somayag, the name of Abhay Paranjpe, as representative of those organizing this Somayag, is mentioned, his father’s name. Shree Vasant Paranjpe, as well as Shree Gajanan Maharaj’s name, are all given.
They prayed that this program be conducted without any obstacles, and that this event is for peace, for the whole universe.
An energetic clearing of the Yajnya shala space followed, in which some blessed items, such as coconuts on plates full of rice, were placed at different points around the shala. In the spirit of unity, various attendees from different countries were asked to carry the items to their respective places.
Next, the team of priests was assembled. In old days, someone would have gone from house to house, asking for the proper persons to participate in the Somayag. Today, the group has already been chosen and is present. They sit together and Achal, the Yajaman, asks each person if they agree to carry out their responsibility to complete the Somayag.
Once the team was assembled, they moved the fire from the Tretagni altar into the Somayag Shala.
The next session consisted of consecration, wherein the Yajaman is “shaved” with mantras. Afterwards, his hair and beard are physically shaved at the river. When he returns to the Somayag Shala, he sits with his staff in hand and takes full responsibility for the Somayag.
Participants then had the opportunity to offer Diksha to the Yajaman.
Day Two—February 8th
On this morning, a little drama of the Soma being purchased was enacted. The priest asks the price, how much money or cows do you want.
They bargain, then the priest “beats” him, saying that he should not charge money for a medicinal herb for Somayag. Everyone was then invited to join in a procession to bring the Soma into the Somayag Shala.
Ishti fire was performed in the morning, as is required before the other steps of the Somayag.
Next, new fire was produced to greet the Soma. Vedas state that Agni-Tattva (source of fire) is present in Ashwatth (peepal) Tree (Ficus religiosa) and Agni is created from two pieces of Ashwatth tree by friction. For Somayag we need pure fire energy, which is created through a special process.
The Yajaman brings one block of this special wood which carries the energy of the Tretagni Agnihotra which he performs at home. A wooden stick is pressed into a notch in the block of wood and rotated backwards and forwards by means of a rope wrapped around the stick until friction creates fire. This is quite hard work. One person stands, pressing this stick on the block of wood while the second person turns it rapidly, in a pulley-type fashion, creating the friction. This important procedure of creating “fresh” fire is performed at several points during the Somayag in order to add new energy. This process is called Agnimantan.
Then comes Pravargya. The Pravargya ritual is an integral component of the Somaya, which takes place on the second, third and fourth days of the Somayag. This builds up the energy for the Soma offerings.
While performing the Pravargya ritual, the vessel used is called Mahavir, a three-partitioned earthen pot which is used to boil the cow-ghee. In Vedas the procedure for creating and curing the Mahavir earthen pot is prescribed in great detail. Once constructed the Mahavir is extremely strong, strong enough to sustain the extremely high temperature and pressure of the boiling cow-ghee.
In the process of Pravargya fresh cow-ghee is poured into the Mahavir pot and boiled on fire. Simultaneously, Rigveda, Samveda and Yajurveda mantras are chanted in deep solemn voice till the cow-ghee reaches its boiling point. Boiling time is observed through timely chanting of Mantras. All aspects of the Mantras are very strictly observed including the lengthened syllable ‘Om’ at the end of every mantra. When the cow ghee has reached its boiling point, fresh milk is taken from a cow and a goat at the Yajnya place and oblation of cow milk/goat milk is given to the boiling cow-ghee. Instantly with very great intensity, the flame shoots up into the atmosphere about 10 metres.
Pravargya is significant because it is seeding the clouds to make rains more nutritional, which will lead to nutritious crops. Pravargya is related to the production of nutritious food.
Day Two, afternoon session
In the afternoon session, the basic pattern of Pravargya days is repeated: Ishti, Pravargya, silent mantras, then Subramanyam.
Ishti is done before the first Pravargya (for welcoming the Soma).
Then silent mantras are done after every Pravargya, and this is called Upasad Ishti. This is done to invoke the king. (The king is the Soma; that is why the Soma has a special place to sit, is brought in a carriage, etc.)
After Upasad Ishti comes Subramanyam. We want the rain, but at the proper time. We can say that we invoke the rain. Subrahmanya is responsible for that.
Day Three—February 9th
The pattern of Ishti, Pravargya, silent mantras, then Subramanyam resumes in the morning session.
The Rutvijas freshen the Soma by holding a gold coin in one hand while water is poured over it onto the Soma. Soma is the king of herbs, so it cannot be kept on the ground.
Day Four—February 10th
Two Pravargyas were performed in the morning, making a total of six in three days. For three days they have been inviting Indra to come to the Somayag.
Now the activity will shift out of the Agni Shala area into the last area which contains the Sadomandap, Aagnidhra Mandap, Havirdhanam Mandap and Maha Vedi. Each “room” in the area is prepared with mantra.
A large piece of Audumbar wood is being prepared, with some grass or herb attached around the top. It is then wrapped in white cloth. The Audumbar tree symbolizes the Samaveda and Rigveda mantras sung together. The tree has form of of a Y, symbolizing these two Vedas; it holds them together.
Day Five—February 11th
The morning session consists of crushing Soma and the offering of Soma juice into the Uttar Vedi.
After Subrahmanya the priests filled some clay vessels with water, then began crushing the Soma on a square stone, pouring water over it to get the juice. Several vessels were used to strain the juice through cloth.
Everyone was invited to participate in crushing the Soma.
The juice was offered to the atmosphere to bring timely nutritional rains.
After the offerings, some of the priests formed a line, holding onto each other’s clothes and moving in a serpentine way to the left side of the Uttarvedi.
Again they churned fire and put it in the Uttarvedi.
Ghee was offered to the fire to foster knowledge and wisdom.
Next, one of the priests chanted mantras while blindfolded in the Havirdhanam Mandap.
An Audumbar post has been installed in this Mandap. Another one has already been placed in front of the Uttarvedi. It marks the border of the Somayag area.
A number of Soma offerings are made to fire, in the Uttarvedi. Six priests and Achal again did the serpentine walk.
Fire and offerings continued until late in the night.
Day Six—February 12
In the morning some final offerings were made. Also, the rutvijas did one fire, asking that if any mistakes were made during the Somayag, that they may be forgiven.
The Yajaman, his wife, the rutvijas and the attendees formed a procession and moved to the amphitheater. After some drumming and dancing, Sarvajit Paranjpe addressed the group regarding the significance of the Somayag, thanking the Somayag performers for successful completion of the Somayag, and thanking all who contributed support to this important event.
The group proceeded down to the river and assembled on the bank. After some more mantras, the Yajaman, his wife, and the rutvijas bathed in the river. The rutvijas threw many of the implements used in the Somayag into the river; they are never be used in any ritual again. Then the attendees were invited to bathe in the river, which has now been charged with the energy from the Somayag utensils.
Excerpts from an Interview with Yajaman Achal Apte
The first purpose of the Somayag is that it benefits the environment. There are six seasons as mentioned in The Vedas, and the 6 Pravargyas that are happening in the Somayag correlate to the six seasons of the environment.
Soma is said to be the king of all herbs in the Vedas. That’s why this Soma juice is offered in the Somayag, which will further nourish all the environment and later on come in the form of rains and ultimately nourish all the herbs on the planet and all humans.
Holy scripture says that through Yajnyas rain comes in and through rain, food grain comes in. This means that Soma ultimately helps all the Earth’s biosphere, which ultimately helps the rain, and ultimately helps grow the food crops which give us energy in order to survive in this world. That is why Somayag needs to be performed everywhere. This is the main purpose of Somayag.
The energy, the sound created during the Somayag, resonates with us. It acts as an amplified effect which ultimately affects our mind, which purifies our mind. That is also one effect of Somayag.
On the first day of Somayag, the Yajaman and the Yajaman’s wife [Achal Apte and his wife Bhakti Apte] take a vow. There is a shloka which says that the Yajaman is the fire, and fire is the Yajaman. This means that the Yajaman becomes the fire. The fire cannot take baths; we shall not extinguish the fire through water. That’s why the Yajaman shall not take a bath during the period of Somayag, as he himself is a form of fire. On the 5th day they give up the vow and on that day they can take a bath in the river. For example, when we want to give any shape to any metal, say, for example, gold, we have to heat up the gold, and we have to give it one specific shape. When the shape has been completed, we immerse the gold into water, it solidifies, and it gets that exact shape. In the same way, the Yajaman becomes fire; during the first day he takes a vow. He becomes the fire, and on the 5th day he takes a bath in the river. It just denotes that he becomes the divine.
The Yajaman also is the representative of all the people who are a part of the Yajnya. On the first day he is a representative of all the people who are part of the Yajnya, and on the last day he is a representative and a part of everybody, and on the 5th day, he gives up everything, whatever he has, to everybody. He is fasting during the period of Somayag.
The minimum period for Vedic studies is 6 years to 7 years. For a complete study, it is almost 14 years.
In order to take the vow of Tretagni, a wife is required. Only husband and wife together can take this vow. Bhakti, Achal’s wife, plays an important role in order to do any procedure. If the wife is not present, if Bhakti is not present, the Yajaman doesn’t have the right or cannot perform any of the procedures. The mantras which the wife has to know, which need to be chanted during the Somayag, for that one year of study is required.
The Yajaman needs to be married and needs to have a child, in order to serve the Tretagni. The ultimate purpose of having a son or a daughter is to secure that even the next generation will go on continuing the tradition, the things which the parents are following. Only then, later on, they can take the vow of Tretagni fire. The person who has Tretagni only can perform Somayag.
Scientific Aspects of Agnihotra
Dr. Ulrich Berk
Purification of the Atmosphere by Agnihotra
The main statement of Homa Therapy is: Agnihotra heals the atmosphere – and the healed atmosphere heals the environment, plants, animals, and humans.
How can we understand that statement in terms of modern science? And then, as a second step, see whether modern scientific research can either confirm or refute such statements?
We will cover all these aspects of Agnihotra – effects on our environment (air, soil, and water resources), plant life including agriculture and horticulture, animal health and animal breeding, and human health in the following issues of this newsletter.
Let us now begin with the effect of Agnihotra in purifying our air. We can distinguish three forms of air pollution: biological, chemical, and physical air pollution. Actually, there is one more form of pollution of our atmosphere – that is thought pollution. Although this perhaps is the worst form (as it leads to the other forms of pollution), we will deal with that aspect later on, as a scientific examination is a bit more complicated.
Biological air pollution is the presence of pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Will this contamination be reduced by performing Agnihotra? Several studies have confirmed this assumption. The first of such studies was done in the eighties of last century at one Warsaw university in Poland. It showed that the bacterial count went down, starting right after Agnihotra. After 12 hours, less than 10% of the original bacterial count was remaining. That would have been the time for next Agnihotra.
Alas, we do not have a photo documentation of this early experiment. But we do have photos and data from replications. One was done at Fergusson College (one of the leading colleges in Pune, India) a few years back. The difference between before and after Agnihotra is obvious – although the “after“ measurement was taken only half an hour after Agnihotra.
It will be interesting to see the effect after 12 hours, and even more interesting to see what happens if we perform Agnihotra regularly for one week or for one month.
(See the full report, Scientific Study of Vedic Knowledge Agnihotra, on experiments performed at Fergusson College, Pune, India.)
Chemical air pollution refers to chemical compounds detrimental to our health. Modern technology has brought a lot of such compounds into our homes, many of them potentially harmful for humans. A series of experiments was conducted recently at Vikram University, Ujjain, M.P., and at North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon, India. They tested the chemical compounds SOx and NOx which are produced by any form of combustion, and the levels are getting alarmingly high–especially in cities, because of all the cars with combustion engines. Also these experiments measured physical pollution, i.e. particle pollution. See the results:
|Ambient Air Quality Report
(Values are in µg/m3)
Sampling Period: – 30 min
SOx: Sulfur Oxides
The sampling was done with a high-volume air sampler which sucks in the air and then presses it through a filter. Particles are stuck in the filter, depending on the filter specifications.
Although the values go up a little bit after Agnihotra (which is to be expected, as fire creates some level of SOx, NOx, as well as some smoke, which means particles), after some time all values go down well below the levels we had before Agnihotra. This means that Agnihotra purifies our air also from these chemical and physical pollutants. The experiments were done both at sunrise and at sunset in order to rule out any effects of normal variations between day and night.
Next step will be to do this experiment for one week, performing Agnihotra regularly morning and evening.
From the Orion Transmissions
July 10, 2017 On Unity Through Diversity
Yes, yes. Transmissions shall again resume. Indeed, as we view it, the world is a shattered stage upon which the play must continue. We see the human condition as warranting great change in order to overcome the adverse conditions upon this Earth caused in part by mighty corporations and by those who abide by them.
Creating, manifesting, supporting and nurturing alternatives are quite essential to living in harmony on this planet. If the beings of this planet would refuse to be divided by race, religion, cultural background, financial status or creed, these barriers would come down.
To cite and recite all past and current injustices somehow mistakenly relieves one of the responsibility to work tirelessly to change them. Is it enough to voice your comments on social media? Is it really sufficient to, “Tsk, tsk. So unjust,” then turn to the next page of the Sunday Times?
Educating others is one step toward creating a better, more tolerant, compassionate world. To preach to others whose views are already similar to your own is like living-room banter, unless it reaches outside one’s comfort zone and touches the hearts of those less tolerant, less aware than yourselves.
Use your abilities to reach those outside your circle of comrades in arms. Gather together amongst yourselves of the same path of spirit to uplift and support each other. Then, expand your view and your reach to envelop the world.
The seeds for global change lie within each of you. Let not a day go by where you have not spoken TRUTH, where you have not stood in understanding and compassion for all.
Refuse to be DIVIDED.
Remember your WORTH.
And all are children of Almighty.
Seek UNITY through diversity.
And let your voices call out loud.
Let there be peace on Earth
and let it begin with YOU.
July 15, 2017 On Environment, Inner and Outer
Yes, yes. Whilst defending the environment from the onslaught of industrialists and anti-
environmentalists, remember to clear your own inner environment.
Reduce your anger, quell your fears. Go within to seek direction in all matters—be they
ecological action, interpersonal communication, physical rejuvenation, or spiritual
Therein lies all the strength you will need in these tumultuous times. This will give you the power and courage fueled by faith and clarity to continue in the world as a Light bringer, a carrier of the Light, a force for change.
In order to be fully effective as a pioneer in this world, an advocate for humans, plants and
animals’ rights, and a beacon of Light for the younger generation who are in dire need of
enlightened leadership—remember to always return to that inner spring of Wisdom Within.
Meditate daily and regularly.
Pray as you will.
Listen in silence.
Then, armed with Truth as your shield and your sword, walk in Light.
In this world, this is the only way to maintain your power. By aligning yourselves with the
Highest, you will remain above the fray, and your voices will be clear and will be heard.
Despite all the darkness of today’s world, hold on to the Light.
Keep Faith as you breathe and breathe deeply.
You are not alone. All that radiates love and healing energies throughout time, throughout this universe, pulsates with you who continue to believe and remain resolute.
Then, defend Nature.
Protect your environment and do so 100,000 times strong.
If you listen, you can hear the many voices calling in unison with you.
There is more than meets the eye, beloved ones.
We are all One
and we are mighty.
July 15, 2017 On the Unstoppable Force of Light
Yes, yes. The force of Light is unstoppable. It appears the darkness is winning. It is not so. It is
not what it seems. We know there is much destruction already perpetuated upon the Earth. That the negative forces are stirring up trouble—yes, it is certain.
However, the power to change it is in the hands of those who are working diligently for the Light.
Those of you who have risen in defense of Nature have been heard. However, the ‘powers that be’ prefer all be blanketed in darkness.
Do not fall prey to the fear-fueled media, which for the most part is controlled by the same
Listen to the silence, the drumming of ancestors, the calling of the Holy Spirit as it rises within
you like a lion from deep slumber.
Every avenue that ‘appears’ to be blocked is accessible to you who walk in Faith, not fear.
There is power beneath your feet.
There is power above, as below.
There are forces unknown to human beings which are aligned to protect and support those who are on the Earth.
Take comfort in it.
That which shall be, shall be.
We are ONE.
For more information:
Healing with Homa Therapy
Guayaquil, Ecuador, South America
(Taxi driver of Dr. Monica Franco)
I am 55 years old. Since a young age, I suffered with asthma and I was choking often. I took a lot of medicines; still that problem persisted. Once I talked to Dr. Monica about this and she gave me Agnihotra ash. I started to take it and I saw how the choking and the asthma went away in about 15 days. I continued taking this remedy for 2.5 months. Then I told the doctor that this medicine has helped me. I also had suffered from sinusitis and this is disappearing.
When I was taking the ash, I felt something moved in my nose and a little blood came. Then I could breathe better. This occurred three times. I had had a nose operation when I was young, but the problem still continued.
Now, by just taking the Agnihotra ash, I’m fine. Today is my first time that I participate in the Agnihotra Fire.
From Shree Vasant’s Teachings
On Problem Solving
Whatsoever adversities come your way, welcome them. That does not mean not to solve the problems as they arise, but to face them and realize the lesson each one comes to bear for you, like a “transporter.” They carry the lessons to be learned. Your whole life you are just waiting for the transporter to bring these lessons for you to learn and to rise higher–whole life. So, if this transporter seems to have run late, then you may be experiencing the delivery of several transports at one time. It is all right. That is also a lesson. If you can see it like that and get it, you will have much less trouble later on. Next “transport” will arrive and you will be ready for it. “Okay. Deliver it here. Thank you very much.” Times ahead will be so much simpler if you learn the lessons.
Much trouble in the world now. Time will come when the whole world suffers. Be strong. Do not allow weaknesses to be stronger.
You have been told repeatedly for a long time that much destruction is to come. Now we are witnessing that time. More and more you will see it, read about it, hear it. Why are you surprised?
Houses where Agnihotra is performed will be places of refuge. Fire temples will be places of refuge. Now is the time it begins. You need not have fear.
This one commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” should be first and foremost in every action, every thought, every movement you make. Remember this always.
If you truly become full of love, that alone is sufficient. Through that love, anyone with whom you come in contact will feel the healing vibration of love. Can you imagine the positive effects if you let go of fear, refuse to give in to anger and maintain a positive state of mind? Then GRACE escalates. Love is the most powerful energy available. There are disturbing forces on the planet. They are affecting everyone. We must be armed with only one weapon and that weapon is LOVE. None other will combat the forces of evil.
Fivefold Path for Happy Living
HOMA Therapy is the science of purification of the atmosphere through the agency of FIRE. AGNIHOTRA HOMA (YAJNYA) is the basic HOMA. It is tuned to the biorhythm of sunrise/sunset and gives nutrients to the plant kingdom, removes diseases in a certain area and removes tension on the mind. This is the basic process in the science of medicine, agriculture, climate engineering and interplanetary communication.
Sharing of your assets in a spirit of humility. This corrects imbalance in financial matters and creates non-attachment to worldly possessions.
Self-discipline of body and mind. This is conducive to a change in attitudes of mind and body. It results in a harmonious state of mind.
“You reap as you sow.” Always practicing good Karma (actions) diminishes the burden of negative Karma and one begins to invest in his own future. This means that what you do today will bring its fruits. Sowing seeds of love and kindness will bless my garden with plenty of love. Do Karma for self purification.
Practice Swadhyaya (Self-study) for liberation. Who am I? Why am I here? My work on this planet is to learn to react with total LOVE with each opportunity given to me.
This is the Fivefold Path for happy living on the planet. By practicing the Fivefold Path you become better members of your society, group, religion, community, etc.
Publisher: Fivefold Path Inc.
Parama Dham (House of Almighty Father), 278 N. White Oak Dr., Madison, VA 22727 USA
Editor: Lisa Powers
Published seven times yearly.
Please direct all Satsang correspondence to the Editor.
Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of Satsang.