I had read in January about a Vedic ritual to be conducted at the Laxmi Narayan temple in Panjal in Thrissur bordering Palakkad district of Kerala close to the Nila river from the 4th to 14th of April.
The ritual is intended for causing rain and based on knowledge from the vedas. The article describes the importance of the chanting and the pitch that causes vibrations that lead to desired results.
So why am I writing about this? Because it is going to be observed by a team of scientists investigating the impact of the ritual on its surroundings.
The village had played host to Athirathram 35 years ago and it was supported by the Helsinki, Harvard and Berkeley universities. But this is the first time the ritual will be held with people’s support to promote world peace by the Varthathe Trust, a religious forum that promotes Vedic knowledge and spiritual systems.
A team of scientists led by V.P.M. Nampoori, former director of the International School of Photonics, Cochin University (CUSAT), will conduct research into the impact of Vedic chants and the fire ritual on the atmosphere.
The 12-day ritual will present the opportunity to explore the “scientific implications on nature, mankind and all other living creatures”, the scientist said in a statement.
Nampoori said the “chanting of mantras and the worshipping of Agni with medicinal herbs energise and protect the environment”.
“The application of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and astronomy is evident in every aspect of this performance.”
The scientist said he would conduct “elaborate experiments in the areas of atmospheric changes in temperature, humidity and pressure level during the ritual”.
“Studies will be conducted on the implications on micro-organisms in the soil and variation in the yield from plants and animals,” he said.
The research will also include the “physiological and psychological effects on human beings, especially on those who meditate or are under medication …”
Sivakaran Namboodiri, a trustee of the Varthathe Trust and a Vedic scholar and healer, said: “The three previous editions of Athirathram had brought rain – to Panjal 35 years ago, to Kundoor where it was held in 1990 and to Kizhakkencherry in 2006”.
“We want to find out whether it brings rain and increases the yield of the soil and milch cattle, which will be exposed to chanting,” Sivakaran said.
The 2006 ritual was supported by the Smithsonian School and the Rock Foundation, the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and several scholars from Japan and Europe.
Sivakaran said the “yajaman Ramanujan Somayaji of the Athirathram 2011 is training a team of young Vedic priests to chant the mantras in the right pitch for the maximum positive impact on those present at the ritual and on the environment”.
The ritual of Athirathram was first recorded in the 10th century BC. It survives in a few Brahmin and spiritual pockets.
Indologist Frits Staal from US, who authored a book, “Agni”, in two volumes after the first ritual in April 1975, said the “ritual was a triumph of the human spirit over the limitations of matter and the physical body.”
Would be interesting to see the data that is generated. Stay tuned, I’m going to be following this.