After we set into motion creating a weekly Agnihotra gathering, things quickly fell into place, literally and figuratively. Within a day or two after the first Agnihotra group session, a manager of a community space on the side of Austin offered to allow us to use their back patio for our gatherings.
Despite the momentum, I had deep misgivings about being the one to lead the Agnihotra sessions.
On the surface, there was vastly more information I did not know about Agnihotra and the Vedas, than I knew and understood. Would I be able to explain Agnihotra properly? What if someone asks me a question I couldn’t answer?
But on a deeper level, I was unsure if I was ready to lead and facilitate community gatherings.
The following is difficult to properly explain, and maybe even more difficult to understand and relate to.
In June 2004, more than a decade before my move to Austin, I experienced a combination of a spiritual experience and traumatic heart injury that changed the trajectory of my life. This experience and injury caused a dark cloud to loom and envelope me, and it impacted absolutely every aspect in my life. From my own perceptions and emotions, to my interactions with loved ones, friends, and professional colleagues.
In the summer of June 2004 when I had recently moved to New York City, I began a new practice of mantra chanting, but it was a mantra that was not given by a qualified teacher.
Without going into the details, I pushed too hard in the meditation, and it caused my heart to intensely palpitate and pop several times.
It is difficult to convey the degree of damage, both on the physical and more subtle aspects of myself. Physically, the injury had caused my heart to shift and protrude into my left lung, and I felt a deep twisted knot within my organs, as if a rod was lodged there. More subtly, I had ruptured a major energy channel in my heart, which stagnated and disrupted the flow of energy throughout my body.
For many years, life was very difficult to bear.
In every situation of my life when I would enter a room or attend a gathering with others, at least one person would make eye contact with me, and immediately I could sense their reaction to my presence, and see them actively attempt to protect themselves from my presence, either by leaving the room or attempting to avoid physical proximity from me.
At work at the law firm I was employed at, every working relationship became rocky and abrasive. After exhausting a potential working relationship with every partner in the firm, I found myself needing to look for work elsewhere.
In friendships and relationships, I attracted friends and partners that were either chronically depressed, or helplessly manipulative.
Every moment of my waking life, I was reminded of this dark cloud and intense pain and knots in my heart.
Nothing I could do in meditation was helping heal the injury, help the energy flow, or mitigate the field effects from the injury.
After four years of living in a deep state of depression and a constant whirlwind of chaos, I found Agnihotra to be the only tool to help mitigate the ill effects of the injury.
Despite Agnihotra helping over the years, I still carried the deep knot within my heart, and there were times when I would notice people pull away from me, and I was unsure if the residual effects from the injury still lingered.
For years, I had intentionally avoided sharing Agnihotra, because I did not know if my presence itself would cause someone to be put off with Agnihotra. I wanted to wait until this energy was fixed and healed before sharing.
In this context, I found myself in a position of sharing Agnihotra before feeling ready, and I was unsure if I was the proper person to share the practice.
Despite my misgivings, the calling to share Agnihotra was clear, and it was my duty to answer the call and hope for the best.