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[[Agni (आग्निःअग्निः)|Agni]] (Samskrit: अग्निः) is the devata for fire, [[Yajna (यज्ञः)|yajnas]] and divine knowledge. A large number of mantras and suktas are devoted to describing and praising Agni in various texts. Kindling of Agni, which generically refers to lighting of fire, is one of the important aspects in all वैदिकयज्ञः ([[Shrauta Yajnas (श्रौतयज्ञाः)|Srauta Shrauta Yajnas]] or rituals prescribed in [[Vedas (वेदाः)|Vedas]]) and गह्ययज्ञः (Grhyayajnas, homas in domestic affairs such as that in [[Samskaras (संस्काराः)|samskaras]]). Agni carries the ahutis (oblations) of men to the devatas in heavenly worlds, who thereby pleased ensure the continuance of conditions favorable to mankind.
अग्निः ॥ Agni, as a devata important next to [[Indra (इन्द्रः)|Indra]], occupies a notable place as होत्र || hotr (the carrier of offerings in a yajna) and is significantly revered in the [[Rigveda (ऋग्वेदः)|Rigveda]] with many suktas rendered to propitiate Him. Further as we gradually progress towards the [[Upanishads (उपनिषदः)|Upanishads]], Agni is personified as the ज्ञानिः || Jnani (Knower of Brahman). The three Fires (गार्हपत्यः ॥ Gaarhapatya, आहवनीयः॥ Aahavaniya, and दक्षिणाग्निः ॥ Dakshinaagni) expound [[Brahmavidya (ब्रह्मविद्या)|brahmavidya]] to Upakosala (the student of Satyakama Jabali), in the [[Chandogya Upanishad (छान्दोग्योपनिषतद्)|Chandogya Upanishad]].
== Agni in Brahmanas ==
The role of Agni in [[Brahmana (ब्राह्मणम्)|Brahmanas]] highlight the use of fire as the chief carrier of the havishya with the chanting of mantras. The ritualistic part is always associated with the mantras without which yajnas or ishtis are not possible.
=== Satapatabrahmanam Shatapathabrahmana (Madhyandina) ===
The Ukhasambharana kanda (6th Kanda) of Shatapatha Brahmana (Maadhyandina sakha) starts with the description of Agnichayana or building of the fire altar. This kanda describes the importance of Agni, the fire, who is identified with Prajapati, the Srustikarta, who is the source of life in this world.
Prajapati as the Srustikarta creates all the celestial beings and heavenly bodies such as Aakasha, nakshtras. He also creates Agni as the sacrificial fire. <blockquote>अथ यो गर्भोऽन्तरासीत् - सोऽग्निरसृज्यत | स यदस्य सर्वस्याग्रमसृज्यत - तस्मादग्निः | अग्निर्हवै तमग्निरित्याचक्षते परोऽक्षम् | परोऽक्षकामा हि देवाः |.... 11 काण्डिका</blockquote><blockquote>atha yō garbhō'ntarāsīt - sō'gnirasr̥jyata | sa yadasya sarvasyāgramasr̥jyata - tasmādagniḥ | agnirhavai tamagnirityācakṣatē parō'kṣam | parō'kṣakāmā hi dēvāḥ |.... 11 kāṇḍikā</blockquote><blockquote>ततः 'यः' जातगर्भः, 'सः' "अग्निः असृज्यत" तस्मात् सर्वस्य स्थूलप्रपञ्चस्य "अग्रम्" आदौ सृष्टत्वात् अग्निरित्युच्यते | तम् अग्रिम् इदानीन्तना अग्निनाम्ना व्यवहारं कुर्वन्ति | .... Saayana Bhashyam of 11 काण्डिका </blockquote><blockquote>tataḥ 'yaḥ' jātagarbhaḥ, 'saḥ' "agniḥ asr̥jyata" tasmāt sarvasya sthūlaprapañcasya "agram" ādau sr̥ṣṭatvāt agnirityucyatē | tam agrim idānīntanā agnināmnā vyavahāraṁ kurvanti | .... Saayana Bhashyam of 11 kāṇḍikā</blockquote>Summary : Agni is described here as the form of heat which is the root of all creation. He is created first and forms the base for all gross creation until the present time. Hence Agni is called अग्रिम् || Agrim (first)
=== Satpathabrahmanam Shatapathabrahmana (Kanva) ===
It proclaims Agni as wisdom or discriminating power. The Adhvara (4th) kanda has 9 adhyayas each of which contains 4 brahmanas further divided into varying number of kaandikas. It describes the Agnistoma yajna wherein detailed procedures involving many "इष्टिः || isthis" (similar to a yajna) including the construction of the yagasala and invocation of Agni are given.<ref>Swaminathan. C. R. (2000). ''[http://ignca.nic.in/eBooks/KANVASATAPATHABRAHMAAAM_Vol_III.pdf Kanvasatapathabrahmanam]''[http://ignca.nic.in/eBooks/KANVASATAPATHABRAHMAAAM_Vol_III.pdf , Third Volume], New Delhi : Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts and Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd</ref><blockquote>मेधायै मनसेऽग्नये स्वाहेति मेधया वै मनसाभिगच्छति यजेयेति तदस्येतदमुभयमात्मन्येव यन्मेधा च मनश्च ते अस्मिन्नेते उभे देवते आत्मन्याधीते || (Kanva Shata. Brah. 4.1.4.11)</blockquote><blockquote>mēdhāyai manasē'gnayē svāhēti mēdhayā vai manasābhigacchati yajēyēti tadasyētadamubhayamātmanyēva yanmēdhā ca manaśca tē asminnētē ubhē dēvatē ātmanyādhītē || (Kanva Shata. Brah. 4.1.4.11)</blockquote>Meaning : Yajamani chants " To wisdom, to mind, to Agni - Svaaha". He intends with his mind, " May I perform the yajna". These two - wisdom and mind are within himself. He meditates upon both these deities (intent) in his own mind.
== Agni in Upanishads ==
=== Isavasyopanishad Ishavasyopanishad ===
In this Upanishad, the last two mantras, as given below are a prayer to Agni who is the divine witness to the actions of every life form<blockquote>वायुरनिलममृतमथेदं भस्मान्तम् शरीरम् । ॐ क्रतो स्मर कृतम् स्मर क्रतो स्मर कृतम् स्मर ॥१७॥ (Isav. Upan. 17)<ref name=":3">Isavasyopanishad ([https://sa.wikisource.org/wiki/%E0%A4%88%E0%A4%B6%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%AA%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%B7%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AD%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B7%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%8D_%E0%A4%B6%E0%A4%99%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%95%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%9A%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%95%E0%A5%83%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%8D Mantras 17 and 18])</ref></blockquote><blockquote>vāyuranilamamr̥tamathedaṁ bhasmāntam śarīram ।oṁ krato smara kr̥tam smara krato smara kr̥tam smara ॥17॥ (Isav. Upan. 17)</blockquote><blockquote>अग्ने नय सुपथा राये अस्मान्विश्वानि देव वयुनानि विद्वान् । युयोध्यस्मज्जुहुराणमेनो भूयिष्ठां ते नम उक्तिं विधेम ॥१८॥ (Isav. Upan. 18)<ref name=":3" /></blockquote><blockquote>agne naya supathā rāye asmānviśvāni deva vayunāni vidvān ।yuyodhyasmajjuhurāṇameno bhūyiṣṭhāṁ te nama uktiṁ vidhema ॥18॥ (Isav. Upan. 18)</blockquote>Summary : Let my vital force merge with the Immortal being or Hiranyagarbha and let the body be reduced to ashes, Om, O my mind (Fire is identified with the mind) remember your deeds. Let Agni, who knows all our deeds, lead us along the right path or the bright path of the Devas ([[Devayana Marga and Pitruyana Marga (देवयानमार्गः पितृयानमार्गः च।)|Devayana]] path from where there is no return to mortality), remove from us all crooked sins.<ref name=":22">Swami Gambhiranand, (1957) ''Eight Upanishads, With the Commentary of Sankaracarya, Vol 1.'' Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama http://estudantedavedanta.net/Eight-Upanisads-Vol-1.pdf</ref><ref>Swami Sharvananda (1943) ''[http://estudantedavedanta.net/ISAVASYOPANISHAD.pdf Isavasyopanishad]'' Madras:Sri Ramakrishna Math</ref>

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