Agnihotra and Microbes

Agnihotra and Microbes, A Laboratory Experience
Dr. Arvind D. Mondkar M.Sc; Ph.D (Micro)

Our way of life has intensified the quantum of pollution. No place can be
called safe from pollution. What varies is the type of pollutant and the degree of
pollution. Pollution is of various types such as gaseous pollution, water pollution,
food pollution, radioactive pollution and so on. Of these types microbial pollution is
the most important type of pollution for people in the medical or paramedical field.
Microorganisms are ubiquitous in nature.
There are mainly two types, namely non-pathogenic or saprophytic (harmless and not causing any disease) and pathogenic (disease producing). There are certain opportunistic pathogens which, given a chance, can produce disease in human beings. Thus the mere presence of these microorganisms in a definite strength in various media can produce contaminants.
Microorganisms like Salmonellae, Shigellae or Vibrios contaminate water,
eatables, milk and milk products. When the contaminated eatables are consumed
the individual suffers from typhoid, bacillary dysentary or cholera. Similarly,
organisms like Staphylococci cause food poisoning by increasing toxins in food.
This microorganism also causes wound infections with pus formation. Streptococci
infect the respiratory tract after inhalation of the droplet nuclei on which they are
settled.  Hospital infections by Staphylococci and Pseudomones are not
uncommon. Recently, Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been reported to have entered
the space age. This microorganism was isolated from the lining of the fuel tank of
a jet engine and was found to be responsible for the corrosion of the  tank.

It is stated that Agnihotra helps to undo the effects of pollution. In this respect  it was decided to observe the last type of pollutant, i.e., microorganisms and the effect of Agnihotra on them. The present article restricts only to the effect of Agnihotra on microorganisms as observed in a microbiology laboratory.

Agnihotra Effect on Bacterial Population

A preliminary experiment was carried out to study the effect of Agnihotra on
the bacterial population in a room where Agnihotra was performed. For this study,
two rooms of equal dimensions (13¼’ x 8’ x 11’) were selected. In both rooms fire
was prepared from dried cowdung cakes in copper pyramids and the basal reading
of number of microorganisms in both the rooms was taken by exposing blood agar
plates at four corners of the room for 10 minutes. This was done exactly half an
hour before Agnihotra time. Agnihotra was performed exactly at sunset in one of
the rooms. Bacterial counts were taken again in both the rooms in a similar manner
at half hour intervals. Thus readings were taken in both the rooms up to two hours
after performance  of Agnihotra. It was quite interesting to note that microbial
counts in the room where Agnihotra was performed were reduced by 91.4%
whereas the room where only fire was generated did not show appreciable changes
in the microbial counts.  This leads one to think that it was the process of Agnihotra
which was responsible for the reduction of bacterial counts and not the mere
presence of fire.

In the regions of North and South poles, many times, carbon particles accumulate
to form a layer called “smog”. When fire is lit the hot currents push the smog into
the upper strata and it is diffused in such a way that the carbon particles are no
longer harmful in the residual concentration. In the present study perhaps
Agnihotra fumes might have dissociated the microorganisms in such a way that the
residual population was no more harmful and was well within tolerable limit to
human beings.

Agnihotra Effects on Bioenergetic Systems of Individual Microorganisms

This kindled our interest and it was decided to study the effect of Agnihotra
on  the bioenergetic systems of individual microorganisms. A strain of
Staphylococci pyogenes isolated from a pus sample was selected for the study. The
strain showed all the characteristics of a pathogen. It was isolated from a lesion,
produced beta haemolyses on blood agar, showed a positive coagulase test and
fermented mannitol with the production of acid. The strain was innoculated on a
pair of blood agar plates, one of which was kept away from the Agnihotra
atmosphere (control plate). The other one was exposed to Agnihotra fumes for five
minutes and was allowed to remain in that atmosphere till next Agnihotra was
performed (approximately 12 hours). Agnihotra is to be performed on the
biorhythm of sunrise/sunset. Surprisingly, it was observed that the plate exposed to
Agnihotra (test plate) showed a tremendous reduction in the zone of haemolysis as
against a wide zone of haemolysis in the control plate.

Organisms from both the plates were then subjected to coagulase test. The
organisms from the test plate showed a negative coagulase test demonstrating their
inability to produce coagulase. Finally, the organisms from both the plates were
emulsified in one ml. of normal saline separately to give suspensions of equal
strength. This was achieved by use of Brown’s opacity tube no. 3. The suspensions
were then injected intradermally into the thighs of an albino mouse. The mouse
was kept under observation for five days.

It was very interesting to note that the suspension from the test plate failed
to produce any lesion in the mouse wheras the suspension from the control plate
produced typical abscess. These results suggest that Agnihotra played a pivotal role
in controlling the metabolic activities of this microorganism. In this case, a
pathogenic strain of Staphylococcus pyogenes showed characteristics of a
nonpathogenic strain ofter exposure to Agnihotra atmosphere. This was just an
observation and triggered quite a number of questions in the mind:

– Is this effect phenotypic or genotypic?
– Is it necessary to expose the strain for a prolonged time interval or will a short
exposure cause a similar effect?
– Will the progeny of these microorganisms behave in a similar manner?
– Does the small or microdose of substances released from Agnihotra process boost
the immunity mechanism of the patient to get rid of the infection or does the
infecting agent lose its virulence? Perhaps both the effects go hand in hand.
Answers to these questions are still beyond sight and show a need for further
experimentation in this field.

Therapeutic Effect of Agnihotra Ash

An attempt was then made to study the therapeutic use of Agnihotra ash
against scabies in rabbits. Rabbits are quite often infected with scabies—marked by
snow white crust formations on their nose, ear margins and skin.  The infection
then becomes systemic and the animal dies. Normally this sort of scabies is cured
by daily application of benzyl benzoate and salicylic acid for about 6 to 8 days,
depending upon the severity of the infection.

In one study, Agnihotra ash was homogenized with an equal volume of
cow’s ghee (clarified unsalted butter) and applied over the infected area above the
nostrils of a rabbit. Agnihotra ash worked extremely well and the crust was
detached on the third day of application—and that too with a single application.
With benzyl benzoate and salicylic acid, it took five days for the crust to detach
itself from the control rabbit. Another notable advantage of this was that the
preparation was not irritating like benzyl bezoate or salicylic acid. The rabbits
always lick that application because of irritation and the young ones die of
poisoning. This risk could be avoided with Agnihotra ash.

These results promise a solution to microbial pollution by the performance
of Agnihotra and ingestion of Agnihotra ash medicines.

(Reprinted from Satsang Vol. 9, No. 20, 3/4/82)