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Agni Dev

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Agni Dev

We cannot imagine a world with out fire, that is why Agni (Fire) is a god for us. Agni is omnipresent - It is present in nether area within earth, on the earth surface and above it. In Nether earth it is present in a crude form. Petrol, kerosene and our LPG is made out of it. In the Earth it is produced naturally from rubbing of pieces of tree branches like Arani. For Yagya Agni is produced by rubbing two sticks together. These sticks are called Arani. Agni also exists in the chlorate form of potassium in the match sticks and on the sides of the match box. In this way Agni  is produced by rubbing the stick on the side of the matchbox. In the sky Agni appears as lightning. The volcanoes are the Agni coming from inside of the Earth. In fact geographically the Earth still has its core burning and boiling.

Agni Dev-Introduction
Agni Dev is a Hindu deity, one of the most important and powerful of the Vaidik gods. He is the god of Fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods. He is ever-young, because the fire is re-lit every day, and is also immortal. Agni, the Vaidik god of fire, has made the transition into the Hindu pantheon of gods, without losing his importance. With Varun and Indra he was one of the supreme gods in the Rig Ved. The link between Heaven and Earth, the deities and the humans, he is associated with Vaidik sacrifice, taking offerings to the other world in his fire. In Hinduism, his vehicle is the ram.

He is one of the three highest deities of Rig Ved - Soorya, Agni and Vaayu. They preside over the sky, Earth and air respectively. Agni is addressed to largest number of Mantra. 218 out of 1,028 hymns in the Rig Ved are attributed to him in Vaidik times. He is one of the 7 great sages and is the son Maharshi Aangiras and the grandson of Sandila

The word "Agni" is the Sanskrit word for "fire" (noun), cognate with Latin "ignis" (the root of English ignite). Agni has three forms : fire, lightning and the Sun. Agni is the first word of the first hymn of the Rig Ved. In several temples priest sings this hymn while lighting the lamp. Agni is laud, the high priest, god, minister of sacrifice, the invoker, lavishes of wealth. He is the supreme director of religious ceremonies and duties, and figures as messenger between mortals and gods. All Vaidik rituals involve Agni, for example the elaborate Agnicayana, that is, the piling of the fire altar, the Agnihotra, viz., offering to Agni etc. The Rig Ved often says that Agni arises from water and dwells in the waters. He may have originally been the same as Aapam. Agni is a Devtaa, second only to Indra in power and importance.

Agni is the eldest son of Brahmaa. According to Vishnu Puraan, Agni (Abhimaanee), the Fire god, is said to have sprung from the mouth of the Viraat Purush, the Cosmic Man. His wife is Swaahaa. Abhimaanee had three sons of surpassing brilliancy: Paavak, Pavamaan, and Shuchi, the personifications of the three fires that produced our Earth and humanity. All these three names indicate purity. Abhimaanee, his three sons, and their 45 sons constitute the mystic 49 fires of the Puraan and theosophy - as told in Agni Puraan. As the eldest son of Brahmaa, Abhimaanee represents the cosmic Logos, the first force produced in the universe at its evolution, the fire of cosmic creative desire. His three sons, according to the Vaayu Puraan, stand for three different aspects of Agni (fire): Paavak is the electric fire, Pavamaan is the fire produced by friction, and Shuchi the solar fire. It appears that his three sons were cursed by sage Vashishth to take birth again and again and this story is told in Bhaagavat Puraan.

Agnaye idannamahe - Agnaye Iswaahaa - Agni Dev does not accept anything without the name of his wife Swaahaa. After every offering, one has to pronounce the name "Swaahaa". Normally whatever thing is offered to Agni is immediately burnt, that is why Swaahaa word has been the synonym of consuming a thing very soon, such as the expression "Sweets become Swaahaa in our house." This means that Sweets are consumed very fast in our house.  Or the expression "Whatever money comes in our house becomes Swaahaa." It means that whatever money comes in our house is spent very soon or finishes very soon, or our expenses are so much that even a lots of money falls short.

Agni is considered as Indra's twin but second to Indra, and said to have two mothers, since it is produced by rubbing two parts. He is said to have 10 servants, since all the five fingers of both hands are used to ignite Agni. He is considered to have been twice born. Agni is the god of southeast direction. This direction is called Agni Moolaa (Aagneya Kon). While constructing the house, kitchen used to be earmarked to this area as per Vaastu principle. Bed room is not desired in Agni Moolaa.

Agni is considered as illuminator of knowledge. Agni produces heat and light. Agni summons the Devtaa endowed with knowledge.
MBH cites that Agni's son killed Kraunch.

Agni Dev-Depiction
In Hindu art, Agni is depicted with two or seven hands, two heads and three legs. He has seven fiery tongues with which he licks sacrificial butter. Seven rays are said to be emanates from his body. (Agni Naalam). Agni is represented as red complexioned and two-faced, suggesting both his destructive and beneficent qualities.

Agni Puraan
Agni Dev has one Puraan also on his name - Agni Puraan.

Agni in Human Life
Agni is also an important entity in Aayur Ved. It is considered to be the one which is responsible for the sustenance of life. Agni helps in various physiological functions of the body.
--Agni when is within our body digests the food we eat. And this Agni is called Jatharaagni.
--Bheem had Vrik named Agni in his stomach because of which he ate equal to his four brothers' food combined. That is one of his names was Vrikodar too.
--When a person is very much hungry, he expresses my stomach burns. Many enzymes within the body have the nature of fire.
--When certain medicines are taken we feeling the sensation of fire.
--Even the sexual feeling is expressed as Kaamaagni.
--When the fire is spread in a forest it is difficult to stop and is called as Badavaanal.

Agni Vanshee
The Agni Vanshee are those people belonging to the Agni's Vansh (lineage). According to a legend, they are descended from Agni, the Vaidik God of Fire. The Agni's lineage is one of the three lineages into which the Kshatriya caste of Hindu is divided, the other two races being the Soorya Vanshee (descended from Soorya Dev, the Hindu Sun God) and the Chandra Vanshee, descended from Chandra Dev, the Hindu Moon God.

Agni in Buddhism
Agni plays a central role in most Buddhist Hom Fire Poojaa rites. A typical praise to Agni starts with - "O Son of Brahmaa, Lord of the World, and King of Fire gods empowered by Takkee, Whose supreme wisdom burns all delusion.

Tidbits About Agni Dev
Bhaagvat Puraan, 4/6, says that on the request of Brahmaa Jee, Raaja Praacheenbarhi married the daughter of Samudra - Shatadruti. She was so beautiful, that when she was circling around Agni for marriage, Agni Dev also fell in love with her as he did for Shukee.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Updated on 10/17/13