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How to perform Agnihotra

Check the local sunrise sunset timings from the annual timetable provided for performing Agnihotra. Adjust your watch correctly as per the standard time. Arrange a few pieces of dry cow dung cakes in the Agnihotra pot about 5-10 minutes before the actual sunrise time.

First, take a small piece of the cow dung cake and place it at the bottom of the pot. Now put Gugul, Camphor or a Cotton Wick duly soaked in cow's ghee on the bottom piece and then start arranging the other pieces of cow dung cakes around it neatly. Use a matchstick to light the fire. If necessary, use the fan so that all the pieces are fully ablaze. Take two pinchfuls of clean, unbroken rice grains (raw) on your left palm or in a small dish. Smear these rice grains with a few drops of cow's pure ghee. Divide the ghee smeared rice grains in two parts.

Keep an eye on your watch and sooner its needle touches the exact sunrise time, start uttering the first mantra 'Sooryaya Svaha'. While you start saying 'Svaha' offer one part of the rice grains to the fire. Continue and complete the mantra's first line 'Sooryaya Idam Na Mama'.
Start uttering the other line of the mantra, 'Prajapataye Svaha',while offering the other part of the rice grains to the fire after saying and go on to complete the mantra, 'Prajapataye Idam Na Mama'. Concentrate on the fire till the offerings are fully burnt. The morning Agnihotra concludes here.

In the evening before the Agnihotra time, remove very carefully the morning Agnihotra ash from the pot and put it in a bag or box specially kept aside for it. Repeating the morning process, prepare a fresh fire from the cowdung cakes in the pot. Also prepare two equal parts of the cow ghee smeared rice grains for the two offerings.
Exactly at sunset time, accompanied by the chanting of sunset Agnihotra mantras - 'Agnaye Svaha' offer the first part after saying 'Svaha' and complete the mantra by saying 'Agnaye Idam Na Mama'. Similarly, uttering the second line of the mantra offer other part of the rice grains to the fire after saying 'Prajapataye Svaha' and complete the mantra uttering 'Prajapataye Idam Na Mama'. Concentrate on the fire till the offerings are fully burnt.
This concludes the evening Agnihotra.

1. Agnihotra ( Pyramid-shaped ) Copper pot
2. Copper Dish
3. Copper Spoon ( Long )
4. Copper fork
5. Cow's pure ghee
6. Gugul- Loban ( For igniting Agnihotra fire )
7. Local sunrise - set timings yearly chart of your place

This article was published on Sunday 04 September, 2005.

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