Dharma Holistic House, Chame, Panamá
Black Sigatoka Project in Panama
In January, 1997, Roger Subotnik and I traveled to Panama to introduce Homa Therapy as a means to combat the plant disease Black Sigatoka. This leaf fungus attacks banana and plantain crops, and has killed thousands of acres of plantain trees in Venezuela and Colombia. Stronger and stronger fungicides have been used to fight the disease, and some success has been achieved for a while. But eventually a point is reached when the only chemicals capable of killing the fungus are also deadly to man. Hundreds of farmers in South America have abandoned their farms due to the devastation caused by this disease.
January 16, 1997 was the start of our project in Panama, to eliminate Black Sigatoka through the ancient Vedic science of Homa Therapy. The site chosen was the plantain farm of Francisco and Ismelda Baules. The farm measures two and a half hectares and is located eight kilometers from Puerto Armuelles, which is strongly infected with Black Sigatoka. Since the Baules’ economic situation has not allowed them to continue the chemical treatment for Black Sigatoka they are very grateful for Homa Therapy’s healing fires, and are open to experiencing their effects.
When I arrived at the farm, my first impression of the area was of a forest of trees with brown, dried, dead leaves; only a few leaves stood straight on the trees. Out of those trees approximately fifty percent were strongly infected and another twenty percent showed signs of the disease. Plants which bore fruits and were close to being harvested did not have a single green leaf left; all were either dying or dead. The harvested fruits were also infected. The peels had lots of dark spots and looked dirty. Each tree carried only fifteen to twenty fruits. There were only a few flowering plants coming up. The plants and the land appeared to have little strength. The atmosphere felt weak and depleted.
After Ten Days
Already in the first week of daily performance of Agnihotra at sunrise and sunset and four hours of Om Tryambakam fire new leaves have started growing in mass and the area around where the Yajnyas are performed has a new glow. The atmosphere is getting stronger and so is the energy of the place and the plants.
After Twenty Days
People are coming daily to learn about this Ayurvedic healing fire. They are noticing a change and are observing that the area looks a lot greener. More and more new leaves are sprouting on the trees. They are strong and healthy and they stay that way. The infection rate is visibly decreasing.
After Thirty Days
The plants that are sending out flowers are healthier now. For example, out of nine leaves, three are infected with the disease and another one carries spots of S.N. The rest are growing and healthy. Francisco states that he has seen an improvement of forty percent on his farm.
After Forty Days
On some days streams of people come from nearby places to experience Agnihotra and hear about its purifying and healing effects. Mothers bring their asthmatic children so they can inhale the healing smoke from the fire. They also ask for Agnihotra ash so they can use it to prepare some simple folk medicines. Then they come back and report that their child has slept calmly and peacefully for the first time in a long time without asthma attacks, that the pain from sore muscles vanished after massaging them with ghee mixed with powdered Agnihotra ash, that sore throats are healed by drinking a mixture of Agnihotra ash, lemon and honey, that stomach pains disappear after taking powdered Agnihotra ash with water, that swollen joints, skin problems, headaches, and open wounds all get better and heal through the use of Agnihotra ash medicines. Some people are just coming to experience the peaceful atmosphere which releases their stress and tension and makes their faces light up and glow with a light that is deep within all of us.
After Fifty Days
The plants are thriving even though rain is lacking, and water is essential for all life on this planet. Some of the weaker plants fall over, but the overall energy is strong and healthy. The atmosphere feels full and nutritious. Elidor, the neighbor from across the road, reports remarkable progress on his plantation, too. The new plants are strong and have no signs of infection. They’re producing shoots and growing; a full, lustrous green fills the view. Dots of new flowers are coming up, which is unusual for this time of the year.
After Sixty Days
The old dead leaves have been cut off the plants by Francisco and his stepson Julio. The area seems to be a green paradise now. Since they have been working on the plants and watching closely, they state that the young plants are very strong and disease-free. The new harvest shows that there are up to five green leaves at the time the plant is cut. And the plantains are clean. This is also the first harvest in which the flowers came up in Yajnya atmosphere. The bunches of plantains carry up to 35 fruits. It is wonderful to experience this tremendous change in only two months’ time. Francisco now says that he has a seventy percent improvement on his farm.