Agni, the God of Fire

Agni, the God of Fire, is represented as a red man having three legs, two to seven arms, dark red eyes, thick eyebrows and hair. In his hands he carries a spear: a fan, a cup and spoons and various implements used for fire associated ceremonies. He may have one or two heads and a pot-belly. Flames issue from his mouth with which he licks up the butter which the priest offers to the sacrificial fire. The priest, while pouring butter in the fire summons ‘Svaha’, the consort of Agni, by name.

He rides on a ram, wears a sacred thread, a garland of fruits and seven streams of glory radiate from his body. Agni is one of the few gods who have retained their supremacy in the Hindu hierarchy of gods, from the Vedic age till today and has the largest number of hymns addressed to him. He is the priest of the gods and the god of the priests and serves as the liaison between gods and men. He presides over all the great events of a person’s life and at the end it is Agni, through the flames of the funeral pyre, who accepts the body as an offering.

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