The Great Vedic Deities
Agni the Fire God--Source of Life--The Divine Priest--Myths regarding his Origin--The Child God--Resemblances to Heimdal and Scyld--Messenger of the Gods--Martin Elginbrodde--Vayu or Vata, the Wind God--Teutonic Vate and Odin--The Hindu "Wild Huntsman"--Rudra the Howler--The Rain God--Sublime Varuna--The Omniscient One--Forgiver of Sins--Mitra, an ancient Deity--Babylonian Prototype--A Sun God--A Corn God--Mitanni Deities--Surya, the Sun God--The Adityas--Ushas, Goddess of Dawn--Ratri, Night--Chandra, the Moon--Identified with Soma--The Mead of the Gods--A Humorous Hymn--Sources of Life--Origin of Spitting Ceremonies.
AGNI, the fire god, was closely associated with Indra, and is sometimes called his twin brother. The pair were the most prominent deities in Vedic times: about 250 hymns are addressed to Indra and over 200 to Agni.
Indra gave the "air of life" to men; Agni symbolized the "vital spark", the principle of life in animate and inanimate Nature; he was in man, in beast, and fish; he was in plants and trees; he was in butter and in intoxicating Soma. The gods partook of the nature of Agni. In one of the post-Vedic Creation myths he is identified with the Universal soul; Brahma existed in the form of Agni ere the worlds were framed and gods and men came to be. Agni was made manifest in lightning, in celestial sun flames, in the sacred blaze rising from the altar and in homely household fires. The fire god was the divine priest as contrasted with Indra, the divine warrior.