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Agni Deva: Hindu God of Fire

Symbolic and physical fire have been associated with religious traditions around the world for ages. Agni Deva is a masculine deity who embodies holy fire or spiritual fire in the Hindu tradition.

Fire is the perfect metaphor for release and the transformation of unwanted patterns, situations, and personal characteristics. Fire is an expression of both light and heat—two fundamentals for the sustenance of life.

“Agni” is the Sanskrit word for “fire.” In terms of the five Vedic elements (ether or space, fire, water and earth), this mantra is clearly a fire mantra. Fire can take many forms in the universe  including lightning, the rays of the sun, physical fire and divine radiation.

Agni Deva in the Hindu Tradition

According to Hindu folklore, fire was originally a force that was devouring everything on earth. Then the Creator (Brahma) modified fire so that Lord Agni would be a purifier rather than the destroyer of everything he touched.

In the Vedic healing tradition, fire mantras have been used to bring the fire element into the physical body for purification and balance. Fire mantras can support the health of the liver and digestion.

Some traditions view the liver as a physical place where old emotions and memories are held in the body. This chant and similar ones have also been traditionally recommended for maintaining a healthy weight through the support of vigorous metabolism.

Agni Deva Fire with Hands

Agni Deva Mantra Lyrics and Translation

Om Agni Devaya Namaha

Om is the primordial sound often viewed as the hum of the universe. Om focuses the mind and is often used at the beginning of mantras. Devaya means “I serve or give offerings to God.” Namaha means I bow or I honor. The meaning of this mantra can be translated as, “I give honor to God as the element of fire.”

Agni Deva is primordial fire or the lord of fire, sometimes translated as the God of Fire. The word “agni” is further associated with the Latin word “ignis” meaning to ignite or light on fire. Agni Deva can be viewed as a messenger between man and the gods. This is because offerings to fire reach the higher spheres.

Multiple Names for Agni Deva

Gods and goddesses in the Hindu tradition often have many names. They often have 108 names or even 1008 names as these are considered to be sacred numbers. For example, malas are similar to rosaries and have 108 beads on which to count mantras.

The many names for gods and goddesses are partly because each deity represents multiple functions or aspects of the cosmos. In other instances there are many names because there are many different languages and cultures in India.

Each culture has understood the gods and goddesses in their own distinct ways. A few of the names of Agni Deva are given below with their meanings to illustrate this principle.

Agni Deva Fire Mantras with Kathleen Karlsen
Kathleen Karlsen, Backyard Kirtan, Bozeman, MT

Vahni – Travels with wind
Dananjaya – Helps to earn wealth
Jwalana – Glittering, glowing
Jataveda – He who knows and creates all
Barhi – Creeping, crawling
Sushma – One who shortens or dries everything
Krishnavartma – One who produces black smoke
Sochiskesa – One who has flame as his hair
Usharbuh – Bright in the morning
Asrasya – One who burns everything associated with him
Brhatbanu – One who creates light
Pavaka – One who purifies
Rohitasva – One who has a red horse
Vayusaka – Friend of the wind
Shikavan – One who has flames
Asusukshani – Dries anything at once
Hutabuk – Everything offered to him is eaten
Dahana – One who makes everyone feels hot
Havyavahana – One who has wind as a vehicle
Saptarchi – One who has seven flames
Damuna – One who subdues or makes quiet
Chitrabanu – Colourful light
Vivavasu – Light is his wealth
Suchi – One who purifies everything

Fire Mantras with Kathleen Karlsen

The Symbolic Family of Agni Deva

According to Indian mythology, Lord Agni married a goddess named Svaha. Svaha is a word often used at the end of mantras, especially those invoked during fire ceremonies. Svaha is a feminine noun meaning sacrifice, offering or oblation.

Svaha also means an auspicious ending. Svaha derives from Sanskrit root words meaning “to call the good.” In Tibetan, the word is often translated and pronounced as “soha.”

Agni Deva God of Fire

Svaha represents a shakti (feminine) power that cannot be burned by sacred fire. Svaha and Agni had three sons: Pavaki (the purifier), Pavamana (purifying) and Suchi (purity). From these sons Agni and Svaha had forty-five grandchildren, all representing various aspects of fire.

About the Author

Kathleen Karlsen is a musician, artist, writer and speaker. She is the author of two books (Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine) and over 200 articles. Kathleen, her husband Andrew and their five children live in Bozeman, Montana. More about Kathleen Karlsen.

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Agni Deva literally means “Fire God.” Agni Deva is the Hindu god of fire, an embodiment of holy fire or spiritual fire. This article includes fascinating stories in the Hindu tradition about the role of fire in creation and spiritual practice. The article also includes a video with an Agni Deva mantra.

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