Agni

Agni literally means “fire”: the name is etymologically related to ignite. Because Agni is fire, he is a deity with whom people have daily contact. He is fire and he is the spirit of fire. When you gaze at a flame, you gaze at Agni.

Agni is an equal-opportunity spirit. He loves all people, regardless of wealth, power, influence, or lack thereof. He lives in any home with a hearth, no matter how humble or poor. Light a candle and there he is! He is everyone’s friend. Agni is the fire that cooks food and provides warmth and safety. He was at one time a critically important deity. Over two hundred hymns in the Rig Veda are dedicated to him. Eight of its ten books start with praise for Agni as Vedic Lord of Fire. Agni serves as mediator between people and other spirits, accepting and delegating burned offerings. An offering that fails to ignite has been rejected by Agni. He protects people both before and after life:

• An incantation in the Rig Veda requests that he protect fetuses from physical and magical danger.

• Agni has the power to grant immortality or cleanse one’s sins at the moment of death.

• He is a psychopomp, guiding souls to other realms.

Souls of the deceased are believed to ascend with smoke from funeral pyres, hence the ancient preference of many Indo-European peoples for cremation as opposed to burial or other methods of disposing of cadavers.

Agni is the spirit of unquenchable erotic fire. He may be invoked by lovers seeking flames of passion and by men seeking to invigorate or enhance their virility: to burn all night like a constant fire.

Manifestations:

Agni is fire and lightning. He also manifests in the form of a three-legged, two-headed man. Each head has seven tongues of flame. He has two or seven arms. His faces are red; his eyes and long, wild hair are black. His face shines from butter smeared on it.

ORIGIN:

India

Consort:

Svaha, a solar deity

ATTRIBUTES:

A flaming spear, torch, axe, prayer beads

COLOUR:

Red

Planets:

The Sun; the stars are sparks from his fire.

Bird:

Parrot

Mounts:

A ram (as in Aries, the first fire sign) or a chariot pulled by flaming horses

Offering:

Ghee (clarified butter); place a cotton wick in ghee and burn it like a candle.

SOURCE:

Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes

Agni (fire) In Hindu mythology, the fire god. Fire and its relation to sacrifice was a dominant feature of the fire cult during Vedic times. The flames and the aroma of the sacrifice rose into the sky and were thus assumed to be the most effective way to reach the all-powerful beings. In the sacred Indian collection of hymns the Rig-Veda, Agni has more hymns addressed to him than has any other god except the storm god, Indra. Agni is called the messenger and mediator between heaven and earth, announcing to the gods the hymns sung to them and conveying offerings of their worshippers. He invited the worshippers by his crackling flames, bringing fire down on the sacrifice. The Hindu epic poem The Mahabharata tells how Agni, having devoured too many offerings, lost his power. To regain his strength he wanted to consume a whole forest. At first Indra prevented him, but eventually Agni tricked Indra and accomplished his task. In another Hindu epic, The Ramayama, Agni is the father of Nila, who aids the hero Rama. Agni is portrayed as a red man with three legs, seven arms, and dark eyes, eyebrows, and hair. He rides a ram and wears a yajñopavita (a Brahmanical thread) and a garland of fruit. Fire issues from his mouth, and seven streams of glory radiate from his body. Gustav Holst wrote Hymn to Agni, based on a hymn in the Rig-Veda. The work is scored for male chorus and orchestra. Agni is also called Vahni (he who receives the burnt offerings); Brihaspati (lord of sacred speech) in his role as creative force; Vitihotra (he who sanctifies the worshipper); Dhananjaya (he who destroys riches); Kivalana (he who burns); Dhumektu (he whose sign is smoke); Chagaratha (he who rides on a ram), referring to his mount; Saptajihva (he who has seven tongues); Pavaka (the purifier); and Grihapati, when referring to household fire. Associated with Agni are the Bhrigus (roasters or consumers), spirits who nourish a fire and are the makers of chariots. Also associated with Agni is Kravyad, the fire that consumes bodies on a funeral pyre. In Hindu folklore today a kravyad is a flesh-eating goblin or any carnivorous animal.

SOURCE:

Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

God of fire in the VEDA. Vedic HINDUISM— a form of Hinduism that scholars often suggest entered India from the northwest around 1500 B.C.E.—centres upon performing SACRIFICES. As a result, the fire into which sacrifices are made assumes tremendous importance. It is worshipped as the god Agni. In the sacrificial grounds three fires represent Agni in the three levels of the universe: HEAVEN, atmosphere, and earth.

As the “oblation-eater” (the one who devours sacrifices) Agni is the divine equivalent to the priest. He is responsible for purifying the gifts of human beings and bearing them to the gods. He also brings the blessings of the gods to human beings. In the sacred collection of hymns known as the Rig-veda, he is praised more than any god
but INDRA.

Related Articles

Hestia

Hestia ORIGIN: Greece Hestia is the goddess of hearth fire and the presiding spirit of the home. (Although typically described as a goddess of the…

Gabija

Gabija Goddess of Ashes ALSO KNOWN AS: Gabeta; Pelenu Deive; Ponike; Ramuté; Ugnine; Ungula ORIGIN: Lithuania Lithuania was the last heathen nation in Europe, not…

Brihaspati

Brihaspati (lord of sacred speech) In Hindu mythology, originally an epithet of Indra, or Agni. It later evolved into a separate god who instructed the…

Ashvins

Ashvins ORIGIN: India The Ashvins are the Vedic divine twins. These two brothers, Dasra (“Accomplishing Wonderful Deeds”) and Nasatya (“Helpful”) are described as leaders of…