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(ăg`nē): see VedaVeda
[Sanskrit,=knowledge, cognate with English wit, from a root meaning know], oldest scriptures of Hinduism and the most ancient religious texts in an Indo-European language.
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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Agni is the Hindu god of fire, from whose name are derived the English words "igneous" and "ignite."

The harnessing of fire was one of the first crucial steps humans had to take in order to advance. The fire sacrifice is one of the earliest of religious rituals, brought down through the famous Khyber Pass around 1500 BCE by Indo-European Aryans and imposed upon the existing culture of India. This migration began what we now call intellectual Hinduism. The world's first scripture, the Hindu Rig Veda, appeared at about this time. It told of Agni, the magician of fire, existing on Earth not only to consume but also to give warmth and to help in cooking food. In the atmosphere, he is the lightning. In the sky, the sun. Inhabiting all three levels of the cosmos—Earth, sky, and atmosphere—he is able to bear prayers and sacrifices to the gods.

Gradually Agni became internalized. Fire is a mystery and burns within Earth and the sun. But the fire of life also burns within each human. Sometimes it even breaks out in fever during times of emotional turmoil or illness. Agni, then, dwells within as well as without.

Although the Sanskrit doctrine of tat tvam asi, "thou art that" (see Brahman/Atman), had not yet been fully developed, it was a small but formative step to picture Agni as the fire of life itself. Within humans burned the fire that is at the very heart of the universe.

Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), the Indian spiritual master, has written:

The Vedic deity Agni is the first of the powers that have issued from the vast and secret Godhead. Agni is the form, the fire, the forceful heat and flaming will of this Divinity. [The word Agni] means a burning brightness, whence its use for fire. When man, awakened from his night, wills to offer his inner and outer activities to the gods of a truer and higher existence and so to arise out of mortality into the far-off immortality, it is this flame of upward aspiring Force and Will that he must kindle; into this fire he must cast the sacrifice.

Thus Agni, oldest of the Hindu gods, evolved into a metaphor for creativity and spiritual yearning.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


intermediary of the gods through sacrificial fire. [Hindu Myth.: Parrinder, 12]
See: Fire


god of fire and lightning. [Hindu Myth.: Benét, 15]


Vedic light god; embodies eternal youth. [Vedic Myth.: LLEI, I: 322]
See: Youth
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Meanwhile, Quoyle's crusty Yankee aunt, Agnis (Judi Dench) stops by with condolences for his dead parents.
The simple solution, which the city implemented immediately, was to place basic court information on the system and print the system number and codes on each ticket Since the change, Mobile public relations director Susan Nelson noted, "the system handled 14,1184 calls compared to 1,069 for the same period last year." Putting an ear to the street earned AGNIS over a 1,000 percent increase in calls and made an old project "exciting" again.
There's a near tragedy, Quoyle's no-nonsense Aunt Agnis (Judi Dench, reliable and emotionally deep as ever) gets to reveal and confront the dark family secret that ruined her life and everyone comes to terms with their past.
But Petal is killed in a car accident, so Quoyle drifts along with his young daughter and strong-willed Aunt Agnis (Judi Dench) to the bleak landscapes of Newfoundland.
Her role in Iris could hardly have been more different from that of Agnis Hamm in The Shipping News.
The city of Mobile, Ala, had been using their Automated Government News Information System, or AGNIS, as she is fondly referred to, for over five years and call volume had dropped to a fairly low level The city's real problem, however, was that the courthouse was inundated with repetitive calls every day about parking and speeding tickets.
ASM is currently supplying Prestwick International Airport with Taxiway Guidance Signs, Stand Indicator Signs and PAPA and AGNIS systems and has recently completed the design of the airport's new stand layouts.