Hindu god of fire, second only to Indra in Vedic mythology. He is the fire of the sun, of lightning, and of the hearth of worship, and is the divine personification of the fire of sacrifice. He is thus the messenger between human and divine orders. Agni is described as ruddy-hued and with two faces, one beneficent and one malignant. In the Rig Veda he is sometimes identified with Rudra, the forerunner of Shiva.
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Agni is a Hindu and Vedic deity. The word agni is Sanskrit for "fire" (noun), cognate with Latin ignis (the root of English ignite), Russian огонь (ogon), Polish "ogień," Lithuanian - ugnis - all with the meaning 'fire' -, with the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European root being h₁égni-. Agni has three forms: fire, lightning and the sun.
Agni is one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods. He is ever-young, because the fire is re-lit every day, yet he is also immortal.
His cult survived the change of the ancient fire worship into modern Hinduism. The sacred fire-drill (agnimathana) for procuring the temple-fire by friction – symbolic of Agni's daily miraculous birth – is still used.