A dhuni is (according to the Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc.) a sacred site represented as a cleft in the ground. This cleft is emblematic of the yoni or female vulva and generative organ. A dhuni therefore represents a site of worship dedicated to Shakti.
The dhuni (or dhunga) is also a term used in Indian cuisine to describe the process of cooking food by placing smoking charcoal into the finished dish.
The etymology of the word Dhuni is connected with the Sanskrit root dhvan, to din, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *dʰwen-, whence English din. Sayana explains it by bending or shaking, and Theodor Benfey, too, translates it by to shatter.
Honoring the dhuni
A dhuni is worshipped by spiritual intention and the kindling of a flame inside it. Suitable materials are offered to the dhuni and consumed by the heat or flame. This represents the eternal process of change and transformation on all levels of existence.
"Like a river, a dhuni is always changing. Each dhuni also has its own personality that is as much subject to moods as a person. The glow of the dhuni is both a receiver and a transmitter, and like a screen on which Rorschach-like images are projected, it delivers a code".
As the yoni is the nexus from which all manifest beings come into this world, the worship of the dhuni represents a sacred nexus for the path of return from the physical to spiritual level. This is an intentional process of inversion or return to our spiritual source. The dhuni is a sacred site and focal point for this form of spiritual exertion or sadhana.
Aside from the offering of sacred fuel to a dhuni, mantras are also offered, as well as the sounds of diverse musical instruments and ecstatic dance and gesture.
Although several cultures retain traditions of fire worship (out of which the zorastrianism is perhaps the most famous), a unique feature of the dhuni tradition is that it is the dhuni, the actual site itself which is considered sacred, not exclusively the fire kindled within it.
Sitting by the dhuni is believed to "purify one's vibrations" and to have beneficial impact on physical and mental health.
Shirdi Sai Baba
It is said that the same fire has been kept burning by Hindu devotees who were familiar with the notion of agnihotri or worship by offering to fire. This dhuni was used to create sacred ash also known as udi. This sacred ash was (and is) distributed among the devotees.
The Dhuni fire ritual was also observed by Meher Baba in a modified form. It was among the very few, bona fide religious ritual that Meher Baba performed. It is still performed on the 12th of each month, in accordance with conventions established by Baba, near the Meher Pilgrim Center in Lower Meherabad, and is one of the important focal points of the Amartithi celebration in January of each year.
- Autobiography of a Sadhu: A Journey Into Mystic India. Inner Traditions/Bear. 2010. p. 54. ISBN 9781594773303. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
- A follower of Haidakhan Babaji, Hindu sage Shastriji, said for instance: "In ancient India, the rishis guarded their sacred fire most carefully and kept it clean, as it was believed to be the residence of divinity. Sitting by the dhuni purifies one's vibrations. This you can find out for yourself. Whenever you have any kind of trouble, go to the dhuni and let it give you solace and uplift your spirit." The Teachings of Babaji, 2 August 1983.
- "Story of Sai Baba's perpetually burning dhuni in Shirdi". Shirdi Saibaba. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
- In His Service, A Newsletter from Meherabad, December 1998
- Baba Words; The Master's Glossary
- Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba, Bhau Kalchuri, Manifestation, Inc. 1986. p. 941
- Historic Meherabad (p. 3, 7th paragraph)
2. Kapilnath, Shri. Awakening the Nath Dhuni: Tantric Guidelines for Perfect Pyromania