Dussehra 2018: What Are the Scientific Benefits of Performing Havan or Homa?
Havan (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

Fire or Agni has a lot of significance in Hinduism, since it can create and destroy life. In the Rig Veda and the other Hindu religious texts, Agni or the God of Fire was increasingly given more importance over the other gods. Fire was seen as a medium to communicate with other gods. It was believed that the offerings made to other gods will be transported them through fire. This belief led to the practice of Havan or Homa in Hinduism, where offerings to gods are placed in the fire to appease them. During Navratri and Dussehra, havans are performed for Goddess Chandi, the primordial energy known also as Shakti. What is Navdurga or The Nine Forms of Durga?

As part of the havan, offerings or havan samagri such as ghee, clove, saffron, almond, camphor, sugar, incense, seeds and grains are put into the fire while chanting Sanskrit mantra. Havan was performed by the Rishis where the samagri were burnt in a specially-designed agni-kunda. Why Are Apta Leaves Called ‘Sona’ or Gold and Gifted During Dussehra?

It’s a tradition that has been followed in the Indian subcontinent for centuries, as a way to counter negative energies, to bring in prosperity and to remove obstacles. No wonder we feel energised after attending one.

Apart from the intangible, spiritual benefits like positivity and prosperity, havan also has some tangible benefits that are backed by science.

The smoke generated after burning the havan samagri, most of which are wood and medicinal herbs, has therapeutic benefits according to Ayurveda. Brain-related diseases like epilepsy were treated through methods like havan during the ancient times. A neural disorder, epilepsy is said to be a way through which gods, goddesses and spirits manifest inside the human body. Why Is the Ten-Headed Demon King Ravana Worshipped in Some Parts of India?

When the smoke generated by burning the samagri is inhaled, it enters the brain, followed by the lungs and other parts of its body. According to science, the nasal route is a good method to administer medicine and it shows rapid pharmacological activity.

That’s not all. Burning herbs in the havan-kund have been scientifically proven to reduce bacteria and other pathogens in the air. A study by the National Botanical Research Institute claimed that the smoke emanating from the havan destroys air-borne bacteria, capable of spreading respiratory diseases. The scientists discovered the benefits of the havan smoke when they burned five dozen odoriferous and medicinal herbs in Haridwar. Wishes and Subho Bijoya HD Images: Best WhatsApp Messages & Status, SMS, GIF Images & Facebook Quotes to Send Happy Vijayadashami Greetings.

Athirathram, another 4000-year-old havan-like ritual, carried out in the southern state of Kerala was found to have had a positive impact on the atmosphere, the soil and the environment. Scientists studied the effect of the ritual and found that the yagna accelerated seed germination and reduced microbes in the air and the soil. In addition to this, the team of researchers also examined the bricks of the havan-kunds used for performing the Athirathram in 1918 and 1956 in Brahmin households. They found that they were still free of microbes.

These facts show that our ancestors didn’t blindly believe in these rituals. Performing havan served a dual purpose, both spiritual and health.