50 Facts About Agni


Agni is a Sanskrit word meaning fire and connotes the Vedic fire deity of Hinduism.

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Agni is the guardian deity of the southeast direction and is typically found in southeast corners of Hindu temples.

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In Vedic literature, Agni is a major and oft-invoked god along with Indra and Soma.

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Agni is considered the mouth of the gods and goddesses and the medium that conveys offerings to them in a homa .

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Agni is conceptualized in ancient Hindu texts to exist at three levels, on earth as fire, in the atmosphere as lightning, and in the sky as the sun.

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The relative importance of Agni declined in the post-Vedic era, as he was internalised and his identity evolved to metaphorically represent all transformative energy and knowledge in the Upanishads and later Hindu literature.

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Agni is a term that appears extensively in Buddhist texts and in the literature related to the Senika heresy debate within the Buddhist traditions.

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Agni is molded in similar mythical themes, in some hymns with the phrase the "heavenly bird that flies".

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Agni originated from the forehead of Prajapati, assert these texts.

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Agni is originally conceptualized as the ultimate source of the "creator-maintainer-destroyer" triad, then one of the trinities, as the one who ruled the earth.

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Agni is prominent in the hymns of the Vedas and particularly the Brahmanas.

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The Rigveda opens with a hymn inviting Agni, who is then addressed later in the hymn as the guardian of Rta .

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In Vedic mythologies, Agni is presented as one who is mysterious with a tendency to play hide and seek, not just with humans but with the gods.

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Agni is considered equivalent to and henotheistically identified with all the gods in the Vedic thought, which formed the foundation for the various non-dualistic and monistic theologies of Hinduism.

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Agni honestly admits his poverty and that his mother does not know who his father was, an honesty that earns him a spot in a Vedic school .

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In verse 18 of the Isha Upanishad, Agni is invoked with, "O Agni, you know all the paths, lead me on to success by the good path, keep me away from the wrong path of sin".

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Agni is a part of many Hindu rites-of-passage ceremonies such as celebrating a birth, prayers, at weddings and at death .

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Agni has been important in temple architecture, is typically present in the southeast corner of a Hindu temple.

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The ritual involves a couple completing seven actual or symbolic circuits around the Agni, which is considered a witness to the vows they make to each other.

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Agni is symbolism for psychological and physiological aspects of life, states Maha Purana section LXVII.

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Agni, who is addressed as Atithi, is called Jatavedasam, meaning "the one who knows all things that are born, created or produced".

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Agni is symbolism for "the mind swiftest among those that fly".

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Agni is shown with one to three heads, two to four arms, is typically red-complexioned or smoky-grey complexioned standing next to or riding a ram, with a characteristic dramatic halo of flames leaping upwards from his crown.

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Agni is shown as a strong looking man, sometimes bearded, with a large belly because he eats everything offered into his flames, with golden brown hair, eyes and mustache to match the color of fire.

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Agni holds a rosary in one hand to symbolize his prayer-related role, and a sphere in another hand in eastern states of India.

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Occasionally, Agni iconography is shown in Rohitasva form, which has no ram as his vahana, but where he is pulled in a chariot with seven red horses, and the symbolic wind that makes fire move as the wheels of the chariot.

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Agni has three forms, namely fire, lightning, and the Sun, forms sometimes symbolized by giving his icon three heads or three legs.

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Agni sometimes is shown wearing a garland of fruits or flowers, symbolic of the offerings made into the fire.

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In Gupta sculptures, Agni is found with a halo of flames round the body, the sacred thread across his chest, a beard, pot-bellied and holding in his right hand a amrtaghata .

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Iconographic statues and reliefs of god Agni are typically present in the southeast corners of a Hindu temple.

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However, in rare temples where Agni is envisioned as a presiding astrological divinity, according to texts such as the Samarangana Sutradhara, he is assigned the northeast corner.

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Agni is historically considered to be present in every grihastha, and therein presented in one of three forms – garhapatya, ahavaniya and dakshinagni .

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Yaska states that his predecessor Sakapuni regarded the threefold existence of Agni as being in earth, air and heaven as stated by the Rig Veda, but a Brahmana considered the third manifestation to be the Sun.

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Agni's seduces him by successively impersonating six of seven women at a gurukul that Agni desired for, and thus with him has a baby who grows to become god Skanda – the god of war.

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Mahabharata mentions that when Agni was residing at Mahishmati he fell in love with the daughter of king Nila.

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In return, Agni promised protection of the city during any invasion.

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Agni is identified with same characteristics, equivalent personality or stated to be identical as many major and minor gods in different layers of the Vedic literature, including Vayu, Soma, Rudra, Varuna and Mitra.

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Agni appears in many Buddhist canonical texts, as both a god as well as a metaphor for the element of heart or fire.

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Agni is featured prominently in the art of the Mahayana tradition.

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Agni appears in Tibetan Manjushri's mandalas as well, where he is depicted with Brahma and Indra.

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The Tibetan iconography for Agni strongly resembles that found in the Hindu tradition, with elements such as red-colored skin, a goat vehicle, conical hair and crown, a beard, and wielding a pot of water or fire in one hand, and rosary beads in the other.

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Agni is commonly depicted with two faces, eight arms, red in color, wearing a headdress in the shape of a gourd, and emitting flames.

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In East Asian Buddhism, Agni is a dharmapala and often classed as one of a group of twelve deities grouped together as directional guardians.

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Agni is included with the other eleven devas, which include Taishakuten, Futen, Emmaten, Rasetsuten, Ishanaten, Bishamonten, Suiten Bonten, Jiten, Nitten, and Gatten .

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Agni appears in Jain thought, as a guardian deity and in its cosmology.

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Agni is one of the eight dikpalas, or directional guardian deities in Jain temples, along with these seven: Indra, Yama, Nirrti, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera and Isana.

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Agni-related category, states Dominik Wujastyk, included that of "hot, fiery, dry or parched" types, while Soma-related category included "moist, nourishing, soothing and cooling" types.

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Agni was viewed as the life force in a healthy body, the power to digest foods, and innate in food.

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Agni is the fiery metabolic energy of digestion, allows assimilation of food while ridding the body of waste and toxins, and transforms dense physical matter into subtle forms of energy the body needs.

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Just as the illuminating power in the fire is a part of Agni's own effulgence, even so the heating power in the foods digestive and appetizing power is a part of Agni's energy or potency.

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