Late this afternoon, I had a new and interesting experience. I attended an Agnihotra gathering at the Poh Ern Shih Temple of Thanksgiving, off Pasir Panjang Road.
It was 3rd time lucky, as I had wanted to go when I was invited to the first sunset Agnihotra organised by my old school mate, Betty Khoo, a month ago but it rained cats and dogs, and rain and I just don’t go well together.
I was all prepared to go to the 2nd gathering a fortnight ago but as I was setting out, the skies opened again. After I decided to call off the trip and changed back into comfy home clothes, the rain slowed and then stopped. I could have jumped into my car and rushed to the gathering but didn’t. Didn’t think I would be in the mood for a peaceful ceremony.
Today i got lucky. The weather was in my favour. Not hot yet not wet. And best of all, JL volunteered to drive.
So there we were, JL and I, among a handful of other observers, including a mother and son from the Netherlands.
There were 26 of us in all, including one Mr Lee whose grandfather founded the Poh Ern Shih Temple of Thanksgiving. Only 12 had the copper bowls called “pyramids” for burning cow “patties” (actually dried dung) as part of the cleansing ceremony.
So what is Agnihotra? Until a month ago, I had never heard of the word.
Today, I learnt that it’s for people of all faiths or no faith. One could just observe and leave.
From one of the many websites on Agnihotra, i found that Agnihotra is the process of purifying the atmosphere through a specially prepared fire.
Agnihotra needs three inputs:
– Specific organic substances burned in a copper pyramid
– Agnihotra has to be performed at exact sunrise and sunset
– Vibrational input in the form of a short Sanskrit mantra
Agnihotra is said to heal the environment and could be used for personal healing, gardening and farming, and in psychotherapy.