Scientists’ Analysis says Athiratham, an ancient fire ritual purifies the environment

Athirathram, a 4000-year ancient fire ritual (Yagnam) purifies the environment and has positive impact on atmosphere, soil and other environment effects, as per the analysis of scientists. In 2011, Athiratham ritual was held in Panjal, a remote village in Thrissur district of Kerala from April 4th to 15th.

The group of scientists led by Prof V P N Nampoori, former director of the International School of Photonics, Cochin University of Science and Technology, focused on the Vedic ritual’s scientific dimesions and the impact on the atmosphere, soil and its microorganisms and other potential environmental effects.

The Hindu published:

The yagna seems to have accelerated the process of seed germination and also the microbial presence in air, water and soil in and around the region of the fire ritual is vastly diminished, according to a statement released by the Varthathe Trust, who organised the ritual.

The team had planted three types of seeds — cowpea, green gram and Bengal gram — on all four sides of the ritual venue at varying distances. They found that the growth was better in case of pots kept closer to the fire altar. This effect, the study says, was more pronounced in the case of Bengal gram with growth about 2,000 times faster than in other places.

The research team also found that microbial activities in the soil and water around the yagnashala were remarkably less compared to normal ground. The “Athirathram” ritual which literally means “building up of the fireplace and performed overnight” and usually held to propagate universal peace and harmony, was first documented 35 years ago by US—based Indologist Frits Staal.

Staal, currently Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley had in 1975 organised and recorded the ritual in detail with the help of grants and donations from the Universities of Havard, Berkely and Finland”s Helsinki University. The research team conducted tests near the fire altars of the 1918 and 1956 Athirathram, still preserved in the backyards of Namboothiri homes, reveal that the bricks continue to be free of microbial presence.

An analysis conducted on the dimensions of temperature from the flames of the pravargya by Prof A K Saxena, head of photonics division, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, found that the fire ball that formed during the ritual had a particular wavelength with an unusually high intensity similar to what is observed in typical laser beams at about 3,870 degree centigrade.

It may be possible to have stimulated emission at this wavelength (700 nm) and gain from plasma recombination. It needs to be studied further, he says.

The members of the team of scientists’ team at the Panjal Athirathram 2011 included experts from various disciplines and included Dr Rajalakshmy Subrahmanian (Cusat), Dr Parvathi Menon (M G College, Thiruvanathapuram), Dr Maya R Nair (Pattambi Government College), Prof Saxena ( Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore) and Prof. Rao (Andhra University). The scientific team members were supported by Zarina (Research Scholar, CUSAT), Ramkumar (Biotechnologist), Asulabha (Biotechnologist) and a number of postgraduate, graduate and school students.

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