Fire Churn (India)
I have recently discovered "fire churning" or "churning of fire" which is a friction fire method in India, similar to strap drill made from the Banyan tree, and it seems to be specifically for use during Hindu Vedic fire rituals. There is also the variation of the "fire churn" which seems to have been used in Celtic and Northern European traditions, e.g creating Need Fire which I talk about in these posts: Samhain; Neid Fire
This post focusses on the Fire Churn used within the Hindu religion.
The fire sticks are also called the Arani.
The Fire Churn is also known as the Agni Manthan by some.
The Banyan tree is significant and seems to be the only wood that these are made of.
I'm only just learning about this, so I apologise if I get any of this confused, and I welcome any feedback\corrections.
From my searches and limited understanding, it seems the Fire Churn may be used in different "strands" of Hinduism but seems to be primarily used in the Hindu religion for the the "invocation" of Lord Agni (Fire.) In some Hindu symbolism, Agni's parents are said to be the two Arani used to start the fire, and when young Arani was said to be cared for by ten servants who are represented by the ten fingers of the man who starts the fire.
There is also belief that he is the son of two mothers, the two Arani which are female (in Sanskrit the gender of Arani is female.) The Arani were made from the banyan tree.
From "HOW TO PREPARE HOMA YAGNYA FIRE AGNI MANTHAN PROCESS" :
"Fire (Agni) is the primary God in Vedas and the Agni is to be prepared manually using Banyan twigs/logs ,chanting Agni Suktham. The lighting of the Havan Agni with the churning (Manthan) of the special instrument (Agni Manthan) made from a banyan tree, is considered extremely auspicious.
A participant said it required a lot of effort and that is why it is generally not used. It took them about 15 minutes to get it going.
Preparing Homa, Yagnya fire with Camphor as is being practiced now is incorrect."
From an article in the "Hindu" :
"The ‘Yaga Karta' (chief performer of the yagam) Kapilawai Ramakrishna Sastry and other ‘ritviks' (officiating priests) made the holy fire using ‘Arani Manthani', an instrument similar to a hand drill. While chanting Vedic hymns, they vigorously drilled a wooden shaft. The spinning caused black dust to form near the hole of the soft wood. The black dust with smoulder was transferred onto tinder of twigs. As soon as the flames emanated from the plate of twigs, the environs echoed with the words ‘Harom Hara'.“It is Vedic procedure to make fire with Arani Manthani. We can call it as ‘Agni Madhanam' (churning of fire). It is done with ‘Agni Prathisthana' mantras,” explained P. V. Suryanarayana Sarma, principal of the Vedic School run by the temple. "
So with Fire Churning, it is not about how quick the fire is produced or how easy but it is the ritual of producing the fire and the significance of the materials used (in this case Banyan wood) and the chants and songs that go with it.
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