By Dr Manish Pandit
(Part 3 of that blog on Agni is here: https://mmpandit.wordpress.com/2021/07/12/homa-as-a-stand-alone-sadhana-part-3/ )
There is a curious mention by some Gurus that Agni is the veritable foundation of the Universe. But is it really the foundation? Can we find some sort of verse which corroborates this observation?
Let’s go to Sukta 67, verse 5-6
अ॒जो न क्षां दा॒धार॑ पृथि॒वीं त॒स्तंभ॒ द्यां मंत्रे॑भिः स॒त्यैः ॥प्रि॒या प॒दानि॑ प॒श्वो नि पा॑हि वि॒श्वायु॑रग्ने गु॒हा गुहं॑ गाः ॥
These above verses are mighty important as they prove just that. The verse 5 reads “Like the unborn (Sun), Agni has sustained (upheld) the earth and he has also propped up (upheld) the heavens with the true mantras. The idea derived from the ancient Vedic idea that the Devatas were worried by the obliquity of the region of the Sun and hence upheld this by using the Vedas, this act is attributed to Agni himself! Thus he becomes the upholder of the heavens, without whose worship, the world itself might end.
Let’s move on to verse 1-2 of the same Sukta;
वने॑षु जा॒युर्मर्ते॑षु मि॒त्रो वृ॑णी॒ते श्रु॒ष्टिं राजे॑वाजु॒र्यं ॥क्षेमो॒ न सा॒धुः क्रतु॒र्न भ॒द्रो भुव॑त्स्वा॒धीर्होता॑ हव्य॒वाट् ॥
The verse refers to Agni who is born in the forest (woods) and protects his worshipper as a Raja favours someone who is capable, kind as a defender and prosperous (bringing prosperity) … here the verse again refers to Agni as the Invoker of the Devatas (refer to part 1 of this blog)
This idea of Agni being a protector of one who worships him is taken further in a verse of the previous Sukta 66, verse 5-6
दु॒रोक॑शोचिः॒ क्रतु॒र्न नित्यो॑ जा॒येव॒ योना॒वरं॒ विश्व॑स्मै ॥चि॒त्रो यदभ्रा॑ट् छ्वे॒तो न वि॒क्षु रथो॒ न रु॒क्मी त्वे॒षः स॒मत्सु॑ ॥
This verse refers to the impossible brightness (shining nature) of Agni, he is described as being vigilant here (that is to say that he protects against the ritual being disturbed by Rakshasas)… here Agni’s innate power is described. Don’t we feel a sense of safety when we light a fire which stops wild animals from coming near it and does not a diya dispel darkness’s once?
The impossible brightness of Agni is compared to a woman in her dwelling and he is described as the Sun amongst men, about to do battle.
Verse translations from Sayanacharya and Arya/ Joshi.
In the next part, we will take the concept of Agni further.