Jimena Clarke, Elqui Valley, Chile
The 12th International Congress of Complementary Medicine was held from August 22-23 2015, in Santiago, Chile, and featured the promotion of Agnihotra and Homa Therapy. The Congress was organized by the School of Oriental Medicine and Culture, the Amanecer Clinic, and Fivefold Path Foundation Chile, a foundation recently created for the support of Agnihotra and Homa Therapy.
Dr. Ulrich Berk from Germany spoke about the effects of Agnihotra on human health. His lecture was very well-received by a large number of the Congress participants.
Sponsors of the Congress were the Medical Association of Chile and the Faculty of Medicine of Finis Terrae University of Santiago.
On the second day, two students from this university presented a research paper on stress reduction effects of Agnihotra. These studies were conducted at the suggestion of Drs. Andrea Chavez and Ernesto Vega.
Stress levels were measured by testing hormone concentrations in the saliva.
In order to avoid placebo effects, the persons tested were not performing Agnihotra, or even sitting for Agnihotra; they were just sitting for some time in a room next to the Agnihotra room.
The results were highly significant. This provided motivation to start a larger experiment with more people and over a longer period of time. Also, they will try to find a scientifically acceptable way to show any differences between being next to an Agnihotra room – sitting for Agnihotra – and performing Agnihotra oneself (avoiding the possible objection that the results are just due to placebo effect).
In these two days, more than 50 Agnihotra kits were sold–evidence of people’s enthusiasm about Agnihotra after listening to Dr. Berk’s talk. He talked about how regular practice of Agnihotra can lead us to a happier life, in harmony with nature and each other.
Dr. Purushottam Rajimwale from India, grandson of Shree Gajanan Maharaj (who revived the practice of Agnihotra in modern times), spoke on Ayurveda. Also he gave a workshop on the second day of the conference on Ayurveda and diet, with practical solutions, easy to use in everyday life.
Dr. Berk has been working for many years with various universities around the world, urging scientists and researchers to conduct more studies on the effects of Agnihotra and Agnihotra Ash and their underlying mechanisms. One of the things he said that created a strong impression among those who did not know about Agnihotra was that this fire, performed in such a small copper container, has such immense power, and produces significant changes in our environment and in many aspects of our lives.
After nearly 30 years of living in England and having only returned to Chile 12 months ago, I was delighted to hear about the visit of my dear friend Ulrich Berk. I came down from my beloved Elqui Valley to have the privilege of accompanying him and serving as his translator during his stay in Chile, and also to share with old and new friends.
Events like these help us to consolidate ties, unify our knowledge, learn from those with more experience, but above all, to interact in harmony with each member of our global family of fire.
There is no doubt that Ulrich’s visit to Chile had a great impact, especially in giving a push to the promotion and teaching of Agnihotra–this magnificent tool that Shree Gajanan Maharaj, via Shree Vasant, has left us, to help our society face these times of so much misery and uncertainty.
Once the Congress was over, the Fivefold Path Foundation organized a series of talks and presentations, both in Santiago and other regions of the country. In these, Ulrich shared with the audience, in a very clear and accurate way, some of the results of research made so far, and the work he has been doing in recent decades to encourage scientists to investigate the enormous benefits of Homa Therapy, whether in the fields of medicine, agriculture, or other sciences.
At one of the talks held in Santiago in a center for Ayurvedic studies, Ulrich talked about Homa Therapy and health, and how Agnihotra may decrease the levels of stress, among other things. This topic was the subject of a research project, which is still in process, carried out by medical students of the University Finis Terrae in Chile. These experiments and researches will continue, even though some immediate results have already been obtained. More details on these studies will be officially published in the near future.
Another topic of his lectures was Homa Organic Farming. Ulrich had the opportunity to meet with various officials of the Ministry of Agriculture.
In one meeting, it was agreed that Agnihotra Ash preparations and Homa Biosol (a preparation of several ingredients, including Agnihotra Ash) will in future be among the products allowed for organic farming. This will be the first time this has been done.
Ulrich also met with a group of organic farmers from small and medium-sized farms. They were interested in hearing about Homa agriculture and how they could implement it on their land. The talk was informative as well as practical, speaking of the use of Agnihotra ash in the plantings, the production of Homa Biosol, etc. These farmers are now aware that climate change is undoubtedly affecting them, despite the use of organic agriculture. Recently in this area of the South, a volcano began erupting after having been passive for over a hundred years; we were also told that last summer was a hotter season than usual and without rain, which is unusual in the area.
Thanks to the efforts undertaken by agronomist and Agnihotri Paula Heinsohn, Ulrich also had the opportunity to make a brief presentation about Homa agriculture to a small group of important officials of the INIA (Institute of Farming and Stockbreeding Research), who are in charge of projects and research in the area of organic farming. These officials were very interested in the subject. It is expected that next year they will submit a project at the regional government level for the implementation of Homa Agriculture for organic farmers in the area. Meanwhile, they intend to begin some research on the use of Agnihotra Ash.
Coming back to the capital, in Curacaví, an agricultural area near Santiago, Ulrich gave his last public talk, in the town hall, to a group of farmers and individuals interested in learning a little more about Agnihotra, Homa Therapy and their practical uses.
The following day was Ulrich’s last day in Chile. We went back to Santiago for a private meeting with a former adviser of a past President of Chile, who was in charge of issues related to air pollution, and is now head of an institute working in this field. This was a very good meeting, especially because this person was willing to do an experiment to see how Agnihotra could help to solve the problem of air pollution in the capital of Chile, which suffers from severe air pollution. He has all the equipment and instruments to start some tests, so now it is important to follow up on this. It was a good final meeting, with some good possibilities for further research.
Ulrich remained in Chile for a bit more than 3 weeks, keeping a tight schedule during this period, giving lectures and specific workshops, but also having informal meetings with Chilean Agnihotris and old friends.
Many ideas and new projects are now on the table, including managing Homa Therapy Teachers Certification and the future training of Homa agricultural technicians in Chile.
Time will tell how this will develop, but I have no doubt that Ulrich’s visit to Chile has turned “the wheel of fire”, so to speak, and we can see an interesting future for the promotion of these sacred fires at a more scientific level, but at the same time at a very practical level, as in growing food. Above all, it is unified work with a constant exchange between the international family of fire.
I personally want to thank the organizers of these events: Dr. Ernesto Vega and his wife Dr. Andrea Chavez, Paula Heinsohn, Héctor Rosas, and many others, but especially to Karina Ohme for her tireless work, her big and friendly heart and infinite patience and for welcoming us in her home for 3 weeks!
Thanks again to Ulrich, for having accepted the invitation to come to the land at the end of the world! We hope that he will be able to return to Chile in the future, especially to once again have a dip in the wonderfully healing waters of our sacred Cochiguaz River, in the Elqui Valley, that he also had the opportunity to go to on a short visit. We hope it will be longer next time!