ॐ Hindu Of Universe ॐ

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

Introduction to Agni
The Sanskrit word Agni means ‘fire’ and the term represents the Fire God. Agni is one of the most important Vedic Gods, who is said to preside over the earth. He is the most referred divinity in the ancient Rig Veda, which has praised him with many hymns and regarded as a supreme deity, along with Vayu, the Wind God, and Surya, the Sun.

Significance of Agni
This God of Fire is the divine messenger, who accepts the sacrificial offerings on behalf of the Gods. He remains the spark of life, and thus a vital part of all lives. He is Sun’s fire, the stars’ twinkle, and the lightning’s sparkle, and is also the blazing fire, which consumes the offerings to the Gods and also digests the food in people’s stomach. This all-important power is thus revered and worshipped as God Agni.

There are different versions regarding his origin. While, somewhere he is regarded as Indra’s twin brother, who was born with great vigor and full power, some other texts call him as the son of sages Kashyapa and Aditi. He is also said to be the son of sage Angiras and the grandson of Sandila. His wife is Swaha, who is the strength behind his power, and the couple had three sons, Pavak, Pavman and Suchi. Somewhere, Agni is also considered the father of the warrior God Skanda or Karthikeya.

Depiction of Agni
Agni has many forms and his depictions are also as varied as the theories about his origin. He has one to three heads, two to four arms, is red-complexioned with a golden brown hair, and has a halo of flames, which go upwards beyond his crown. He also looks strong and pot-bellied, as he eats almost everything. He is shown to be riding a ram or a chariot drawn by goats or parrots.

Mythology behind Agni
There are many legends around Agni, God of fire.

Once, he is said to have offended sage Bhrigu, who cursed him to be ever hungry and be the swallower of everything. Mahabharata speaks about Agni approaching Krishna and Arjuna for appeasing his hunger, and also about his consuming the entire Khandava forest with their help, burning all things down for a full fortnight. Later, Lord Brahma showed mercy and amended the curse, making Agni, the purifier of everything he touched.

Agni also figures in the story, in which, king Shibi is tested by the Fire God, who appears in the form of a pigeon and seeks the king’s refuge, being chased by Lord Indra, in the form of a hawk. Shibi’s compassion is proved when he protects the pigeon and instead, offers his own flesh to the hawk to satisfy its hunger. The pleased Gods then give their blessings to the noble king.

Agni also plays a crucial role in Ramayana. In the great epic, after the war with Ravana was over, Sita had to undergo Agni Pariksha (fire ordeal) to prove her chastity. As she enters the fire, Lord Agni appears in his human form carrying the glowing divine mother, thus proving her impeccable purity to the entire world.

Blessings of Worshipping Agni
Agni has remained an important medium of worship from time immemorial, and as a part of all traditional rituals associated from birth to death. There were ancient times when the fire was worshipped as a mighty God and prayers were offered to him in the form of Agni Pooja. But subsequently, his place as a primary God of worship declined. However, Agni still wields a unique position in religious traditions.

Agni is essentially considered as a purifying and transformational agent, a form of energy that helps connect with the divine. Fire acts as the bridge between the gross material world and the subtle spiritual dimensions.

Events Related to Agni
Agni is also regarded as the mouth of the Gods and hence is invoked in the homas, the fire rituals, which act as a channel for conveying the offerings to the divinities. Every homa thus remains as a great tribute to Agni, and also as the most evolved spiritual technology.



Agni is an ancient Hindu deity who is one of the most important Vedic gods. Agni is the god of fire, the messenger of gods, and accepts sacrifices made to him from anyone who is devoted to his Lord. He was very important to the people living in the Vedic times, and they have 200 hymns addressed to him in the Rig Veda. Eight of the ten books begin with praises for Agni, the god of fire.

Agni is present in everyone’s hearth. He is supposed to be the vital spark of life, and the food in people’s stomach is burned by Agni. Agni is also the fire of the Sun, and gives it brilliance and heat that the Sun is known for. Agni is very essential for the survival and development of humans, which is why people have been praying to him since ancient times.

Agni is sometimes said to be the twin brother of Lord Indra, the ruler of the heavens, and is often closely associated with him. In Vedic times, he occupied the most important position after Indra. Along with Indra and Surya, he makes up the holy triad of Vedic gods.


Iconography of Agni
He is depicted as having two heads. One head signifies immortality, and the other is a symbol of life. He was one of the Supreme gods of the early Vedic period, along with Indra and Varuna. He is often said to be the link between the heaven and earth, and humans and deities. He is associated with Vedic sacrifice, and takes sacrifices of the devotees to their beloved and much respected and adored gods in his fire.

His mount, or ram, is said to be the ram. The people living in the early Vedic period, who developed the worship of fire, personified him as the sacrificial fire. It is said that Agni was born in three levels, earth, mid-space, and heaven. It reflects the ‘domestic fire’, the ‘defensive fire’ and the ‘’offering fire’ in a Vedic household.

Once Agni had offended sage Bhrigu, who cursed him to become the devourer of everything in this world. Terrified of this curse, Agni went to Brahma and requested him to do something about it, otherwise Agni would have been responsible for the destruction of the entire world. So, Brahma modified the curse in such a way that Agni became the purifier of all the things he touched.


The Birth of Agni
The origin of his birth is a mystery. Different people have different ideas about it. Some say his parents were sage Kashyapa and Aditi, some say he was born of Dyaus Pita and Prithvi, and some say he was the son of a queen who kept his birth a secret from her husband, the king. Agni is sometimes said to be the son of ten mothers, who were all sisters, depicting the ten fingers of a man. His sisters are the personification of night and dawn, and his wife is Svaha. He is the father of Pavak, Pavman, and Suchi. He has been given various names over the years, like Jivalana, Dhananjaya, and Vahni.

When Agni is represented in a humanoid form, he is shown to have two faces, which are smeared with butter, to provide fuel to the flame. He has seven fiery tongues and sharp golden teeth. He has black, long hair, and is red in colour. Seven rays of light come out of his body, and he has seven hands and three legs. He is often shown to be riding a chariot either pulled by rams or goats, or sometimes he rides parrots.

Agni does not differentiate between his devotees, and visits everyone’s hearth irrespective of their financial status. For him, the young and the old, the rich and the poor, a Brahmin and a Kshatriya, everyone is equal. He is often thought to be a mediator between the heaven and earth, which is why all yajnas take place with Agni being present.

It is said, that when people use fire, they should use it in different directions. For using fire to offer sacrifices to the gods, the fire should be in the direction facing east. When facing south, the fire should be used to offer sacrifices to the dead. When using fire for cooking food, the direction should be in the direction of west. Agni also has the power to reduce a person’s sins after his death, or grant him immortality.

In the later Vedic period, his prominence reduced considerably. He was shown as an incarnation of either Shiva or Brahma, and eventually was called on by men who wanted to increase their virility. Agnicayana and Agnihotra are the Vedic rituals used with Agni.

Agni is also one of the guardians of directions. He is said to be the guardian of the south east direction. He gives out the light of knowledge and leads us to the path of truth. He is the mouth of the gods, as he’s the divine personification of the sacrificial fire.

In Hari Vans, Agni is dressed in black and has smoke all around him. He is shown to have four hands, and drives a chariot with four red horses. The Agni Purana is said to have been recited to sage Vashishta by Agni himself. He is the innermost light who gives brightness to all animate and inanimate objects.


The Ten Forms of Agni
Agni is said to have ten forms. They are lightning, fire, sun, absorbing fire, destructive fire, fire yielded through sticks used for sacrifices and rituals, fire given to a student during his Upanayana ceremony, domestic fire used for household uses, southern fire of ancestors used for some types of rituals and funeral fire in cremation rituals.

In the Hindu scriptures, Agni is mentioned to be present at all times during the birth of a person (diya lamp), prayers (diya lamp), at weddings, when the bride and groom circle the sacred fire seven times, and at death, when a person is burned at the cremation ground.


Agni – One of the 3 Prominent Deities During Vedic Period
In the Vedas, it is written that Agni, Vayu and Soma are the representation of Fire, Water and Air. These are three of the five tanmantras born from the three heated worlds. They were the principal deities in the Vedic times. Agni used to bring the subject and the object together and establish a relationship between them, known as sambandha. Vayu helped in the progress and development of that relationship, known as abhidheya. Soma used to convert forms into pleasure felt in the consciousness, known as prayojna.

A lot of animal sacrifices were also made to Agni during the Vedic times. Agni was said to be the representation of all the others gods, so anyone who wished to pray to any god had to use Agni for that. The animals to be sacrificed were often tied to an octagonal wooden stake called yupa. During an ashwamedha ceremony, animals were often sacrificed to Soma or Prajapati.

The Agni Purana, which is eight among the eighteen Puranas, states that one cannot approach any god without using Agni as a medium. No divinity can come without the presence of Agni. It is also written that Agni was the son of Agniras, who discovered fire and its uses. His most destructive form is the Kravyad form.

Agni has had three births. His first birth was in the heavens, when he appeared as a bolt of lightning. He took his second birth among humans as Jataveda, and his third birth took place in water.

Jataveda is the form used to carry the offerings to gods by people performing yajnas. It is identified with everything pious and knowledgeable. Kravyad is the form used to burn the corpses of humans or animals after their death in the Pitri-yajna, and Agni is obtained from the rays of the sun for this purpose.

Agni is the messengers who carries all the prayers and wishes of devotees to the gods. When Agni is happy, the gods are generous and listening to the prayers of the people. Together with Soma, Agni is invoked the most in the Rig Veda among all the gods. The cultivated, cooked and cultured aspects of Vedic ritual are represented by Agni.

According to the Vayu Purana, the three sons of Agni stand for his three forms. Pavaka represents the electric fire, Pavamana represents the fire produced by friction, and Suchi is the fire of the sun. They are said to have been cursed by sage Vashishta, and take births again and again in this world.

Being one of the most important gods right since the Vedic times, Agni is ever important for humans even now, and it would be very difficult for life on earth to sustain and develop with the blessings of Lord Agni, the God of Fire.



Agni: The Fire God
Agni deva is the fire god and acceptor of sacrifices. He is the god of divine knowledge. He is also the ashta-dikapala (guardians of the directions) of the southeast direction. To invoke Agni deva the mantra is ‘Om Agnidevaya Namaha’. In the Vedas, Agni is the second-most important deva after Devapati Indra. His mount is a goat named Rama (not Rama, the avatar of Lord Vishnu).

Father: Brahma
Wife: Svaha
Sons: Pavak, Pavanmaan, Shuchi
Marrying Swaha
Once Agni attended a yagna. The Saptarishis and their wives had also come to this yagna. Agni fell in love with them, but he knew that none of them would cheat on their husbands. Dejected, Agni wandered around in the forest. Swaha, the daughter of Daksha, had wanted to marry Agni for a long time. She took advantage of this opportunity and disguised herself as the wife of Angiras. Disguised as the wife of Angiras, she was able to seduce Agni. Swaha then went on to disguise herself as six of the wives of the Saptarishis. However, when she tried took the form of Arundhati, Vashishta’s wife, and seduced Agni, Agni realized it was a trick. This is because Arundhati is really devoted to Vashishta.

Agni said to Swaha, “Thanks to you, I was able to fulfill my desire of making love with the wives of the Saptarishis without breaking the rules of marriage. I am very pleased with you and wish to have you as my wife,” Agni said.

Swaha was really happy and accepted the proposal. Agni and Swaha were then married. Agni declared that in a yagna, he would not accept an offering unless the name “Swaha” was uttered. That is why priests say Swaha before pouring anything into the fire.

Conflict with Bhrigu
In this second birth, Bhrigu rishi married Puloma, a daughter of Kashyapa. Puloma and Bhrigu started living together in an ashram. She soon became pregnant with a son.

Once, Bhrigu went for his morning ablutions and left Puloma in the care of Agni deva. At that time, a rakshasa named Puloma came to the ashram and saw the beauty of Puloma. This rakshasa had actually been betrothed to Puloma before she married Bhrigu and was still enamored by her. But the Rakshasa then saw Agni deva and asked him, “Was Puloma wedded with Bhrigu through sacred Vedic rights?” Reluctantly, Agni said no. Hearing this, Puloma rakshasa decided to abduct Puloma. He turned into the form of a boar and he ran away with her. Frightened by this, Puloma gave birth to a son who fell to the ground. He was called Chyavana, which means “fallen from the womb”, and he was shining brightly. Overwhelmed by this, Puloma rakshasa ran away.

Puloma then came back to the ashram and told Bhrigu what had happened to her and her son. Bhrigu was pleased with the birth of their son, but he was enraged when he was told that Agni had revealed Puloma’s status. In a fit of rage, Bhrigu cursed, “Agni! You will become the consumer of all things!”

Agni became furious after hearing Bhrigu’s curse. “I am omnipresent. The gods and the pitrs (ancestors) accept oblations offered to me. Thus, it would be improper for me to consume an offering of unclean things,” he thundered. Agni refrained from cursing Bhrigu because he was a revered Brahmin and rishi. After this incident, Agni went into incognito. Brahma then called Agni and told him that the curse stands modified because his flames will consume everything but his body will remain pure. Satisfied, Agni went back to his duties.

Angiras becomes the Son of Agni
Once, sage Angiras performed severe penance and became more brilliant than Agni. The entire world was illuminated by his brilliant flames. Since Angiras was fulfilling the role of Agni, the people of the world started disregarding Agni. Agni was really upset by this and he once again went into hiding in a forest. When Agni disappeared, everyone was dismayed. Angiras went to the forest and consoled Agni and took him to Brahma. Brahma declared that from that day on, Angiras would be known as the son of Agni. Agni then resumed his regular duties.

Testing King Shibi
Shibi was a famous king. He was very righteous and virtuous. Once, he was doing a large yagna that would elevate him to the status of a minor deva. When Agni and Indra heard about this, they decided to test him. Agni turned into a pigeon and flew to King Shibi. Indra turned into a hawk which was trying to eat the pigeon (Agni). Agni settled in Shibi’s hand and said, “King, please protect me from this hawk that is trying to eat me.” Shibi replied, “I will protect you.”

The hawk arrived there and said, “Give up that pigeon, it is my food.” The king replied,” It has sought my protection. I cannot give it to you.” “I too need your protection. If I don’t catch that pigeon, my wife, my children and I will starve to death,” the hawk said. The pigeon whispered,” Please do not give me to him!” The king said, “I won’t.” The hawk replied, “If you care so much about that pigeon, slice a piece of your flesh from your right thigh equal to the pigeon.” The king immediately agreed to cut his thigh. He cut a portion of his thigh and weighed it with the pigeon. Since the pigeon weighed more, Shibi cut even more of his thigh.

Suddenly, the pigeon turned back into Agni and the hawk turned back into Indra. The part that Shibi had cut from his thigh was restored. Shibi bowed down to Agni and Indra. Agni and Indra gave Shbi the blessing that his name would remain immortal and that there would have a special place in Swarga reserved for Shibi.

Agni’s Indigestion
There was once a mighty king called Svetaki. He conducted many long yagnas. Not able to tolerate the high amounts of smoke in the yagna hall, all the sages left the king. Undismayed, Svetaki started another 12-year yagna in which no sages took part. Instead, the sages said that if he wanted to conduct another yagna, he could invite sudras (the lowest caste). Svetaki could not tolerate this insult and started doing penance on Mount Kailash. Soon, Lord Shiva appeared before him and made Durvasa rishi his priest. Durvasa rishi agreed to conduct the 12-year yagna. Throughout the 12-year period, Durvasa rishi fed the Agni (fire) lots of food. Agni was overfed and he developed indigestion. He lost his appetite, became weak, and his brilliance vanished.

Agni and the Khandava Forest
Agni’s indigestion continued for a long time. Dismayed, Agni approached Brahma for advice. Brahma said that Agni’s indigestion would be cured if he could burn the Khandava forest, the abode of the Nagas. Agni tried to consume the forest by burning it, but the Nagas quickly extinguished his fires. Agni was disheartened and once again approached Brahma. Brahma told him to wait for the arrival of Nara-Narayana at the forest. They would be the ones who would assist him.

Agni waited for the arrival of the pair for many years. At that time, Arjuna and Krishna, who were Nara and Narayana, were living in Indraprastha. The Khandava forest was part of their half of the Kuru kingdom. Wishing to explore and civilize their lands, Arjuna and Krishna arrived at the Khandava forest. Hearing about the arrival of Arjuna and Krishna, Agni disguised himself as a Brahmin and requested their help.

“I have tried countless times to burn this forest, but my efforts are always futile due to Indra. His friend Takshaka, the king of the Nagas, resides in this forest. Every time I set off a fire, Indra sends down rains to protect his friend’s tribe,” Agni explained.

Arjuna and Krishna agreed to help Agni. But they needed to arm themselves. Agni gave Arjuna a chariot bearing the flag of Hanuman and four white horses. Arjuna then prayed to Varuna deva, who gave him the Gandiva bow and two inexhaustible quivers.

Agni then started burning the forest. Immediately, Indra sent down a rainstorm, but Arjuna created a canopy of arrows above the forest to block the rain. Krishna used his Sudarshan chakra and assisted Arjuna. Soon, the entire forest was reduced to ashes and Agni was cured of his indigestion.

Agni and Sudarshana
King Nila of Mahishmati had a beautiful daughter named Sudarshana. Once, Agni took a small glance at her and immediately fell in love. Agni started dreaming about the beautiful lips of Sudarshana. In the end, Agni married Sudarshana and started staying at the palace of King Nila.

At this time, Yudhistira launched the Rajasuya military campaign and Sahadeva was sent south. After conquering Vidarbha, Sahadeva entered the kingdom of Nila. Before long, a fire erupted in his camp. Sahadeva was distressed by this setback and started praying to Agni deva. This lead to him learning about the relationship between Nila and Agni.

But Agni deva knew that for the Rajasuya yagna to be successful, Nila would have to surrender and pay tribute. He advised Nila to peacefully surrender. Nila listened to the advice of Agni and surrendered. Sahadeva then moved on to other southern kingdoms.

Reciting the Agni Purana to Vashistha
Once, Vashistha (one of the saptarishis), came to Agni. He wanted to have the knowledge of the Brahman.

Agni willingly explained the entire knowledge of the Brahmana to Vashistha. Later, Vashistha narrated what Agni had said to Ved Vyas, who wrote everything down. He called his writings the Agni Purana.