AGNI (Fire) is one of those very few gods who have retained their supremacy in
the Hindu hierarchy of gods completely, unimpaired right from the Vedic age till
|AGNI - GOD OF FIRE
Fire, is not merely the physical fire we know but the ramifications of the fire
element throughout all nature. He is the vital spark in the earth; lightning
in the sky; and Surya the sun. He is the sap in the plants, which is carried
down to them by the rain.
- THE DESTRUCTOR
He is present even in the dry sticks for, by friction, he can be brought to birth
from them, and, when freed, soars to heaven. He brings fire down to earth as
the lightning, which escapes from the ocean of clouds, which hide it. He is electricity
itself and the vital element in man, power over which gives complete freedom
and mastery over life. Just as there are seven notes to the scale and seven colors
in the spectrum, so fire is sevenfold in its nature, and as each seven can be
subdivided seven times, we have the forty-nine fires spoken of.
Fire has always to be brought forth from where he is hiding, but, when he has
been released by friction, he has the power to light innumerable things. Fire
by friction is one of the earliest gifts given to man by divine beings that helped
infant humanity, it is said, and sacrifice by fire has been part of religious
rituals down the ages.
There are many descriptive passages in the old scriptures of this great nature
god. He is described as raging in the forest like a lion whose golden mane flies
in the wind. He eats up everything that is in his path, and breathes out smoke
as he burns up the living trees, leaving behind him blackened stumps.
wheels of his swift chariot leave dark tracks in the forest, and the sparks,
flying out on all sides, turn the grass into a withered mass. All nature is terrified
of his approach. He is also likened to a bull among a herd of cows, or to the
onward rush of huge masses of water.
- THE PURIFIER
These are his destructive aspects. On the other hand he is the friend of man,
for he gives him warmth and light, and is a great purifier.
In Rig Veda the largest number of hymns are addressed to
AGNI. AGNI, as per scriptures,
has seven tongues, each of which has a separate name and in being used for licking
up butter offered in sacrifices.