Source: The Toledo Blade
On June 3, 2006 The Toledo Blade reported, "More than 100 families are planning to participate in a Hindu spiritual ceremony tomorrow designed to not only uplift the soul, but to purify the Earth as well. 'The Yagna, or worship ceremony, will not only disseminate the divine teachings of Indian Vedic culture but also help restore ecological balance,' said Pandit Anant Dixit of the Hindu Temple of Toledo. Seven pandits, or Hindu priests, from across North America will lead the ceremony, he said. Each of the 108 participating families will set up a fireplace under a large tent in which they will use friction to ignite a purification fire. The ceremony involves the burning of a mixture of sugar and ghee, or clarified butter. The mixture creates smoke that scientists say kill certain germs and also causes physical reactions in people’s bodies that 'fills us with pleasure,' Pandit Dixit said. The Yagna ceremony includes the chanting of mantras with sacred Hindu scriptures, called Vedas. 'There is a greater emphasis on the sound and its resonance created in the mental recesses of the devotee who is chanting or listening to the mantras,' Pandit Dixit said. 'The atmosphere will be charged with serenity and joy.' In India, special twigs are harvested for the ceremony, called a Shree Devi Yagna, and the twigs are dipped in the clarified butter and then burned. 'Those special twigs are not available in the United States,' Pandit Dixit said. 'Instead, we get those same twigs from India in powder form and keep it in a fancy box.' He said the Shree Devi Yagna 'will mark a significant event in the history of Hindu spirituality as well as the panorama of ethnic culture here in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.'"