Agnihotra and Rainfall

Fire rit­u­als are an inte­gral part of ancient tra­di­tions across the world. Agni­ho­tra is one such very sig­nif­i­cant ancient Vedic fire rit­u­al which is wide­ly prac­ticed even today. Its puri­fy­ing impact on the envi­ron­ment, atmos­phere, and water sys­tems are now being sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly researched and estab­lished. In this arti­cle, we explore the link of this fire rit­u­al with rain­fall. 

What is Agni­ho­tra?

Agni­ho­tra is a sim­ple Yaj­na per­formed dur­ing sun­rise and sun­set by burn­ing dried cow dung in a fire pit made of cop­per in the shape of an invert­ed pyra­mid. Sticks known as Samid­has are obtained from med­i­c­i­nal trees with spe­cif­ic prop­er­ties and are burnt while adding cow ghee, rice, dried herbs and oth­er fra­grant herbs as obla­tions. Agni­ho­tra is a bio-ener­gy fumi­ga­tion process car­ried out by spe­cial­ists. 

Rela­tion between fire and rain:

The fol­low­ing verse from the Bha­gavad Gita relates the per­for­mance of Yaj­nas with rain:

annād bha­van­ti bhūtāni par­janyād anna-samb­havaḥ

yajñād bha­vati par­janyo yajñaḥ kar­ma-samudb­havaḥ (BG 3.14)

All liv­ing beings sub­sist on food, and food is pro­duced by rains. Rains come from the per­for­mance of sac­ri­fice, and sac­ri­fice is pro­duced by the per­for­mance of pre­scribed duties. 

To under­stand how agni­ho­tra aids in rain, let us look at what caus­es cloud for­ma­tion and rain. If we look at it fun­da­men­tal­ly, it is heat that pro­duces rain. The heat from the sun caus­es water from dif­fer­ent sources to evap­o­rate, rise high into the sky and form clouds. This deep under­stand­ing is reflect­ed in the fol­low­ing verse from Lin­ga Purana: “After being heat­ed by the Sun, water con­tained in most of the mate­ri­als on earth gets con­vert­ed to smoke (vapour) and ascends to sky with the air and sub­se­quent­ly gets con­vert­ed to cloud. Thus the com­bi­na­tion of smoke, fire and air is the cause of cloud for­ma­tion. These clouds cause rain­fall under the guid­ance of Lord Indra, hav­ing thou­sand eyes”. A severe form of this can be seen dur­ing vol­canic erup­tions and for­est fires, when the huge flames cre­ate their own clouds known as pyrocu­mu­lus, which means “fire cloud” which pro­duces local­ized rain. 

The water vapour requires a non-gaseous sur­face to con­dense and form clouds. In the atmos­phere, this sur­face presents itself as tiny sol­id or liq­uid par­ti­cles called Cloud Con­den­sa­tion Nuclei (CCN). These CCNs, their num­ber and size are impor­tant to form the cloud and pre­cip­i­ta­tion. When these water droplets get too heavy to stay sus­pend­ed in the cloud, they fall to Earth as rain. Agni­ho­tra caus­es the fumi­gat­ed par­ti­cles to get released into the atmos­phere at high veloc­i­ties and rise high enough to cause coag­u­la­tion to form clouds and sub­se­quent con­den­sa­tion to give rains. 

Agni­ho­tra and rain:

The tem­per­a­ture in the Agni­ho­tra fire pit is typ­i­cal­ly between 200 to 1000 degrees Cel­sius or above. At this tem­per­a­ture gen­er­al­ly all added mate­ri­als are vapor­ized and the mol­e­cules, ions or nanopar­ti­cles rise high into the atmos­phere. Ghee, pre­pared from cow milk, con­sists of min­er­als like Fe, and Cu etc., and on fumi­ga­tion these mol­e­cules, with high kinet­ic ener­gy, trav­el long dis­tances and climb great heights as the den­si­ty of these vapors are less­er than the sur­round­ing air. It is found that these vapours are capa­ble of puri­fy­ing the atmos­phere, aid in cloud for­ma­tion and cause good rain­fall by act­ing as CCNs to form liq­uid droplets. Hence Yaj­nas sig­nif­i­cant­ly impact the water cycle and pro­duce rain. 

A study [1] was con­duct­ed in Atlanta, where a Yaj­na exper­i­ment was con­duct­ed on a large scale at dif­fer­ent times of the year for 8 years and the rain­fall pat­tern was stud­ied over 23 years. It was found that the rain­fall quan­ti­ty increased dur­ing the years when Yaj­na was per­formed com­pared to the years when there was no Yaj­na. 

The addi­tion of cow prod­ucts plays an impor­tant role with the chem­i­cal com­po­si­tion of cow’s and buffalo’s milk con­tain­ing met­als like iron (Fe), cop­per (Cu), man­ganese (Mn), and Zinc (Zn), which on fumi­ga­tion are released into the atmos­phere to a good extent. With high veloc­i­ties caused due to high tem­per­a­ture in the fire pit, when they col­lide with atmos­pher­ic mol­e­cules (par­tic­u­late mat­ter or any pol­lu­tant) can excite them and cause dis­so­ci­a­tion, there­by also puri­fy­ing air.

Yaj­nas are respon­si­ble indi­rect­ly for reg­u­lat­ing the micro cli­mate and con­tin­u­a­tion of sea­son­al cycles by impact­ing the humid­i­ty, heav­i­ness and oth­er prop­er­ties of the atmos­phere. They can sig­nif­i­cant­ly impact cloud for­ma­tion as well as pre­cip­i­ta­tion lead­ing to rain­fall and also the qual­i­ty of rain­fall. 


[1] Yaj­na caus­es good rain­fall — 

[2] Agni­ho­tra tech­nol­o­gy in the per­spec­tives of mod­ern sci­ence – A review: 

[3] Hydrol­o­gy in Ancient India  — 

[4] The Mys­ti­cal Won­der of Rains — 

[5] Yaj­na can increase humid­i­ty even in win­ter — 

[6] Hydro­log­i­cal knowl­edge in ancient India (all vers­es) —