Agni is a reference to the fire-element, as well as the devatā who carries the same. Symbolizing one of the five base elements, some scholars have equated the worship of Agni to a more pre-hindu period where the worship mainly consisted of the visible elements of the universe such as water, earth, trees, air, etc. With that, some scholars have divided the various facets of God, such as Śiva, Gaṇeśa, Agni etc. into two groups of Vedic deities and Hindu deities thinking that with time the deities have changed their form or identity, or simply new names/Gods have come into existence in the minds of the population.
However this is not the case, as the traditions of India would agree that deities of the Rig Vedic period are the same as that of today, only their names may have changed slightly. I.e. in the Rig Veda the name Iṣa is used for Iśvara/ Śiva, and the name Gaṇapati is an obvious name for Gaṇeśa. Garutman has become Garuda today, and similar different names exist.
Agni has always been worshipped as Agni, and the worship of Agni has been constantly maintained by the Agni hotris, who specifically are Agni-worshippers, and more recently the Brahma and Arya Samaja’s of India. Here the latter two go as far as rejecting any other physical form of God, and only worship Agni and offer the various mantras of the Rig Veda to the fire.
This practice is not wrong per say, as Agni is said to be the vehicle between the worshipper and the Devatā. For this reason he carries another name Vahni which stems from the word vhni meaning the conveyor, carrier or bearer (also refer vahana). This is said to be symbolic of the third eye (ajñakhya chakra) where Agni rests, and from which the prayers are transmitted to the Devatā of worship. Hence also, the worship of Agni is essential for the grace of the devatā of worship and as its ultimate purpose gives the worshipper enlightenment through the blessing of Śiva. For this reason the first śloka of the Rig Veda is dedicated to Agni:
अग्निमीळे पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य देवंऋत्विजं। होतरां रत्नधातमम्॥
agnimīḻe purohitaṁ yajñasya devaṁṛtvijaṁ| hotarāṁ ratnadhātamam||
In fact the entire first sukta of the Rg Veda is dedicated purely to Agni, and shows the importance of Agni worship.
In the cosmology Agni is born from Mahāṛṣi Kaśyapa. Astrologically Kaśyapa Gotra is associated with Sūrya and Śani. Sūrya because Kaśyapa is the father of the twelve Adityas and Agni. Śani because is is also the father of all the asuras, daityas and danavas. The latter is also partly the reason why those who do not know their Gotra are asked to take the name of Kaśyapa during certain rituals and rites.
Agni has two wives/śaktis, namely Svāhā and Svadhā who represent the oblations for the deva/Gods and pitri/ancestors respectively. Thus mantras ending in either of these two words specifically refer to the object of the offering being either God or ancestors, i.e. om agnaye svāhā or om pitṛbhyo svadhā are common uses.
Agnikoṇa is a reference to one among the ten directions and here Agni is a Digpala. Digpala litteraly means protector of direction and here specifically refers to Agni as a devatā who rules the south-eastern direction. The Digpala are devatā who rule the directions of karma and their wives are the givers of fruits of these paths or directions. No fruit arises without the blessings of one of these Digpala, or rather their śaktis namely the Digvadhu. Therefore Agni has a very central position in ensuring the fruits of karma.
This role of Agni is closely associated with the latin word Ignis or fire. From this word came the word ingineer, thus reffering to the function of Agni. The south-eastern direction is ruled by Venus and therefore gives rise to people who are great designers or can make great scetches or plans in their mind, and are masters of inventions such as those seen by the Sri Paraśurama Avatara.
Among the planets and luminaries Sun and Mars are associated with fire, where Sun is more closely associated with the light emanating from fire, whilst Mars is specifically referred to as being of the fiery element. For this reason Mars’ placement in the arthatrikona in the dasamsa chart can show engineering as a profession.
Among sounds Agni is associated with the consonant ra and carries significance akin to the Egyptian Sun-God. This is known as a sound of the seers/rishis as the seers are said to be channels/pathways towards God, and here the two paths of moving upwards towards God (ra-fire) or bringing God down to oneself (la-earth) are governed by the rishis. The sound ra is commonly added to the mystic seed/bija mantras, i.e. hrīm, śrīm and krīm (viz. ka+ra+ī+m) are common uses of the same and represent this upwards movement.
Agni is depicted with seven tongues or jihva with which he accepts the offerings people make and transmits them to the Gods. In this form he is known by the name Vahni and is eulogized as he acts as a vehicle between the worshipper and Deva. The seven tongues/jihva symbolize the seven weekdays during which the offering are accepted.
Table 1: Saptajihva bīja
Jihva Bija (graha)
hiraṇyā hrum (Sun)
gaganā srum (Moon)
raktā śrum (Mars)
kṛṣṇā vrum (Mercury)
suprabhā lrum (Jupiter)
bahurūpā rum (Venus)
atiraktā yrum (Saturn)
The Sanskrit word for weekday is Vāra. The word Vāra is short for the word Vāsara. Vāsa means to stay, abide, dwell in, whilst Ra is a reference to Agni the God of fire much like the Egyptian Sun God. Hence the word Vāsara implies an abode for the God of fire. Similarly, a weekday/Vāra is a resting place for the Agni, and all the functions of the weekdays arise from this principle.
The seven tongues/jihva are name: hiraṇyā, gaganā, raktā, kṛṣṇā, suprabhā, bahurūpā and atiraktā. They each have a bija or monosyllable mantra consisting of the bija yrūm, and prefixed by one of the seven semi-vowels.
These seven tongues have seven sounds associated with them, and are also associated with the five planets and two luminaries.
For Jyotiṣis the Siva Purāṇa gives us eight bīja for the eight directions.
Table 2: Agni bīja
Those who recite the sounds associated with their lagna lord in the chart will gain direction and enlightenment in their life, through the blessings of Agni. The worshipper will be able to digest and thus understand any subject they study due to the blessing. This sound should be recited preferably before lighting the lamp in worship as a symbol of lighting the inner lamp of enlightenment. Recitation of these sounds also gives enormous strength to the physical body, and a very sharp mind.
For those with Aquarius Lagna, they should choose whether to have Rāhu or Saturn as the Lagna lords.
Among mantras for Agni simple mantras such as om agnaye namaḥ or om jatavedase namaḥ exist. But a more popular mantra in the traditions of Jyotish is the chaitanya/consciousness mantra, meant to bring superior awareness and consciousness to the individual. It’s also called the navarna mantra as it is nine syllables in length: om hūm rām chaitanyayai namaḥ|
Astrologically, through the traditional principles of mantrakriya, -bhoga and –devatā, we can derive the following from the mantra:
The mantra has five words; therefore this astrologically corresponds to the fifth house and will be the mantra-kriya of the mantra. This means that the mantra will act by using the energy of the fifth house, i.e. intelligence, knowledge, memory, etc. The fruit of this activity is seen from the mantra-bhoga.
The mantra-bhoga is found by counting the number of syllables or akshara. Here there are nine syllables, viz.: om(1) hūm (2) rām (2) chaitanyayai (4) namah (2) = total of nine syllables. Therefore astrologically the energy of the mantra will be spent on ninth house activities, i.e. getting a guru, expanding ones worldview, expanding ones view of God, ensuring fortune, and attaining Vijnana or the higher spiritual knowledge which is associated with diksha and pratibha through which the latter ensures that the native can speak directly with the guru and seers.
The mantra devatā is found by counting the distance from the mantra-kriya house to the mantra-bhoga house, and then counting the same distance there from. This is the manifestation of God in ones life and where the knowledge will arise in ones life.
Example: mantra-kriya is the fifth house; the mantra-bhoga is the ninth, the fifth house there from. Counting to the fifth house from the ninth house we come to the first house and this will be the seat of the mantra-devatā. Here the deity of the mantra will sit on the persons head (first house) and therefore grant enlightenment. The tool of this enlightenment is seen from the bija of the mantra. Here the bija’s om, hūm and ram are the weapons of the devatā, and shows that truth/satya (om), hūm (obstacle removing) and rām (agni/enlightenment).
The scriptures teach to add the bīja’s hūm and rām together to form one bija, namely hrūm (bodhana or causing to awake/have knowledge). But then how can the mantra still be nine syllables? Here the advice of the tradition becomes pertinent. After the newly found hrūm bīja, add one of the eight bīja of ones Lagna lord. This forms a personal Agni mantra.
Example: For Leo Lagna the lord is Sun, and the bija associated with it is: brūm. Therefore the mantra becomes: om hrūm brūm chaitanyayai namaḥ|
This is to be recited whilst lighting the lamp and recited as japa. It grants the practitioner perfect knowledge and enlightenment.
 The seed syllable hum, has two forms namely short u hum and long u hūm . Both are well known sounds to worship Ganesha, but are quite different in nature. This is best depicted through their sanskrit depictions as given here:
हुं & हूं – Notice that in the former (हुं or hum) the curve at the bottom moves towards the left, whilst in the latter (हूं or hūm) the curve is to the right. Similarly Ganesha is depicted with either his trunk towards the left and right respectively. If his trunk is to the right (from the viewer) then Ganesh is picking (accepting) laddoos with his trunk and is symbolic of removing all obstacles. When otherwise, i.e. with his trunk towards the left (from the viewer) he is holding weapons and is symbolic of blocking, suppressing evils and protecting the native from all evils. This differentiation is quite important. The image of Ganesha with the trunk to the left is normally kept for the bedroom or such private places where you wouldn’t want others to enter. One example is given of a mother who accidentally put this form on the door of her house and the resultant effect was quarrels with relatives who though had visited regularly suddenly felt unwelcome and excluded.
The longer u is used to remove obstacles and especially anger. One who offers kusa grass with this mantra to the twelve forms of Ganesha is freed from any anger from others. It is also the Mahakala bija and when recited twice ensures perfect memory beyond the borders of time.