Agni
by
http://theosophytrust.org/tlodocs/articlesSymbol.php?d=Agni-1087.htm&p=51#


First, Agni sprang to life from out of Heaven; the second time from us came Jatavedas.
Thirdly, the Manly-souled was in the waters. The pious lauds and kindles him the Eternal.
Agni, we know thy three powers in three stations, we know thy forms in many a place
divided.
We know what name supreme thou hast in secret, we know the source from which thou hast
proceeded.
The Manly-souled lit thee in sea and waters; man's Viewer lit thee in the breast of heaven.
There, as thou stoodest in the third high region, the Seers increased thee in the water's bosom.

Rig Veda XLV

Alone without a second, Prajapati asked himself how he could procreate. From within his
vast completeness he drew forth exertion and produced Agni through his mouth. Being thus
created, it was natural for Agni to be an eater of food. Brought forth before the other gods, it
was fitting that he should take his name from agre, meaning 'he comes in front'. Prajapati
paused to observe his progeny and thought, "Here is an eater of food whom I have
generated, and as there is nothing other than myself here that is food, I can only hope that he
will not wish to eat." At that time all was barrenness. The earth was not and there was no life
anywhere. Even as Prajapati considered this problem, Agni turned towards him with open
mouth. Prajapati became afraid and his greatness, in the form of speech, departed from him.

He sought an oblation within himself, thinking to appease the Devourer. He rubbed his
forehead and obtained a ghee offering, but it was mixed with hairs; so he rejected it, pouring
it upon the newly born earth. He ordered the earth to "suck it quickly", and where it was
absorbed, plants and trees arose. He rubbed his forehead a second time and obtained another
oblation which met with his approval. His own greatness urged him to offer it ("my own
greatness [sva] has spoken [aha] it to me"). Thus he offered it, saying "Svaha "(which
accompanies the oblation in the earthly agnihotra), whereupon the one that gives out heat (the
sun) arose, followed by the one who ventilates (the wind). Only then did Agni turn away, and
only thus, by offering the reproduction of himself, did Prajapati save himself from death. It is
said that he who offers the agnihotra knowing this, reproduces himself, saving himself from
the death of Agni, who is about to consume him.

Agni's three powers in three stations have reference to this 'reproduction' of Prajapati, this
manifest universe. But even prior to its manifestation, his triple fire resides in the Invisible
Sun. With creation, Agni expresses himself in the trinity of Agni-Vayu-Surya, the three occult
degrees of fire which emanate his Seven Tongues, identified with the Sapta Rishis who
overbrood and influence the descent of the Sons of Fire into the world. This can be traced in
the mystical doctrine of the Forty-Nine Fires, each of which has a distinct function and
meaning in the spiritual and physical worlds as well as a correspondence to one of the human
psychic faculties. His three 'sons' are Pavaka (Purifier), representing electric or vaidyuta fire,
Pavamana (Purifying), or the fire of friction, and Suchi (Purity), the solar fire. From these
three spring the forty-five fires associated with the Pitris, the Asuras and the gods, bringing
the total to forty-nine.

Emphasizing principle instead of Being, the same notion is expressed in the Vedic assertion
that Agni originates in the 'womb' of rita, the great truth of Reality inherent in cosmic order
and moral law as the living, moving fire of God, the Great Breath expanding and contracting
as the divine heartbeat of the universe (the first Fire), spreading out as the vesture of akasha
(the second Fire), and partaking of water born of fire to produce the Sons of the Fire Mist
(the third Fire). Arising out of the 'mouth' of the One, Agni can be identified with Kama in
the First Creation, desire rooted in truth and omnipotent, omnipresent energy, yielding
universal will. In the secondary creation Agni's ubiquitous effectiveness descends unerringly
into the manifesting world, laying the basis for the motion and substance of life itself. His
three forms – the sun, lightning and fire – become "the structural presences of the cosmos
and of the inner life of men".

Man needs four flames and three fires to become one on Earth, and he requires the essence
of the forty-nine fires to be perfect.

The Secret Doctrine

The Stanzas of Dzyan teach that fire is the 'father' of light. The Dark Fire of the Absolute
radiates the light that penetrates the Mother Deep, causing the Eternal Egg to drop the germ
that becomes the World Egg. This first ray is described as cold, luminous flame that forms
curds out of the ocean of space, which collide and cause a rotating motion, yielding material
fire in flames and then comets, whose heat generates vapour, producing water. This forms
the basis for the world, motion being inseparable from heat, leading to archetypal expansion,
the dissociation of relatively homogeneous and ethereal molecules, and their recombinations,
producing slightly altered 'knots' of energy which whirl and cool according to the fluctuations
of Agni's breath. In order for water, as we know it, to be produced, carbon is required, an
element too gross to play a part on this cosmogonic stage. But a subtle ancestor of something
analogous to carbon must have differentiated, something capable of responding to Agni's
heat, resulting in the waters of akasha, the soma of the macrocosm. The elements that would
eventually follow are quaternaries completed by their root, the spiritual fiery Breath of the
noumenon, which becomes the electric fire within manifestation. Thus it can be said that air
is fluidic fire, water is liquid fire and earth is solid fire – all living expressions of Agni. For
thinkers like Paracelsus, fire is life. It bears the 'seed' of life and its internal nature is
spermatic and generative.

Generative and omnipresent, Agni is Vaishvanara, the 'all-pervader'. Among all the spheres of
elements he is the chief deity, called Jatavedas (All-Possessor), Hutasha (Devourer of
Offerings), Saptajiva (Seven-Tongued), Dhumaketu ('his standard is smoke') and Bhuritejas
(Resplendent). His colour is red, flickering around eyes of yellow which glow from his two
heads. With his four arms he carries a torch, a fan, an axe, and a spoon for the offering.
Dressed in black, he carries a banner of smoke and rides atop a ram or in a chariot drawn by
flaming red horses. The seven winds are his wheels, and with his seven tongues he licks the
ghee of sacrificial oblations. And yet, as in the myth depicting the fiery seed of Shiva which
he swallowed, Agni may take the form of a bird who then flies down from the realm of the
gods to earth. This theme is widespread in the world and often figures in myths about the
divine gift of fire to human beings. It frequently involves stolen fire, as in the stories of the
Northwest coastal American Indian tribes, where Raven steals the light of the sun to light up
the minds of men. In Agni's case he assumed the guise of a bird in order to interrupt
Mahadeva in his dalliance with Parvati and thus obtain the seminal fire of mind, which would
incarnate in the world through Shiva's son Karttikeya. Agni provided the means for this just
as he provided the fire in the seed.

In his less than omnipotent state depicted in the stories about Shiva and other later gods, Agni
was rendered painfully uncomfortable by the burning seed, but even so, he alone of all the
gods could bear to touch it, and as the mouth of all the gods he alone could swallow it.
Restored to his Vedic importance, Agni is truly the fire in the seed, the mediator between
gods and men, and the living, participating witness in the electric current of life on every
level. He is Hutasha, the oblation eater, and Havyavahana, the oblation bearer, as well as
Vahni, the conveyor. Because he is fundamental in all things and is the connection between
all things, it can truly be said that "the understanding of the nature of fire leads to the
understanding of the universe".

Here is the pramantha, the generator is ready. Bring the mistress of the race (Aditi-Arani).
Let us produce Agni by attrition, according to the ancient custom.

Hymn to Agni

Bhuranya is a name for Agni meaning 'the rapid' – the rapid carrier of the divine spark, the
firebird that brings heavenly lightning to earth. In myth this passage of the spark is frequently
made in a narthex rod, a jointed reed like that in which the embryo of Karttikeya fell from
Himavat into the Ganges, or in which Prometheus secreted the fire of Zeus. It is the
pramantha rod, whose name implies rotary motion whilst suggesting the idea of snatching
away or appropriating something. Etymologically, it can be traced from the Sanskrit to the
Greek, thus linking Prometheus to Promati, the son of Fohat, and both to the notion of
awakened intelligence. In the early Rig Veda, Agni is identified as an Asura and connected
with the Sons of the Fiery Breath, the fallen angels who fought with Soma against Brihaspati
and brought down the fire of mind. These were the Agnishvatta Pitris, the first beings
evolved from primary fire, the unity of akasha. Their progeny gave the flame to the Agnibhu
(Agni- or fire-born), the four races of Kshatriyas, descended from Karttikeya, which had
King-Instructors at their head.

Agni always rises upwards. Fulfilled, he becomes mighty in his own home and thither he
leads the aspiration of humanity. He is the flame of Divine Will expressed as the force of
consciousness in the three worlds. He is the immortal in mortals who use desire and egoism
to transcend themselves. Men seem to have sensed this from the earliest of times, for the act
of kindling a fire has traditionally been thought a sacred act. Even in modern times, when the
notion of the quest for fire has been crudely reduced to the imagined stumblings of a
primitive human ancestor, the idea has persisted that its 'discovery' is linked to self-conscious
awareness and human speech, followed by all the proliferation and complexity associated
with human culture. Intuitive thinkers have always realized that the terrestrial fire that is
captured and controlled is analogous to a more powerful fire received from above. And all the
wonderful technology men have developed by means of Agni's heat and electricity are merely
shadows of the incalculable enlightenment and development that characterizes the awakened
human mind. Fire is the instrument of man's power, first and above all, of his mind.

Men from fire-sticks, with their hands' swift movement, have, in deep thought, engendered
glorious Agni.

Rig Veda

In ancient societies and in households still preserving a sense of the sacred connection
between heaven and the domestic hearth, Agni is kept alive. Orthodox Hindus tend all three
of his sacred flames within the home, never permitting them to go out. Such fires bring life to
a household that cannot be provided by any other thing. It is possible that modern life has lost
much of its sensitivity because homes usually no longer have central fires into which one can
gaze and enjoy the reverie essential to humanness. How is this possibly true? Sitting before a
fire instead of television, one finds oneself naturally centred and given over to thought rather
than absorbed (or even mesmerized) by external events. The fire into which one gazes is a
controlled fire but at the same time ever changing. Burning, consuming, it seems to hasten
life's conclusion – suggesting even death and the funeral pyre. It is vitally alive yet
participating in death. In its dancing glow, love, death and fire unite to blazon forth a picture
of immortality. Gazing into Agni's flame, the authoress George Sand once wrote, "Death
could not exist in that ethereal region to which you are carrying me. . . . My fragile body may
be consumed by the fire, my soul must be united with those tenuous elements of which you
are composed."

The contemplation of the oneness of life and death frees the mind of the observer from its
clutching grasp upon time and circumstance. It floats free to blend with the soul, and the
individual basks in an inner warmth of peace and clarity inexplicable in terms of mere
physical heat. Psychically, we are created by our abstract musings and dreams. They
delineate the limits of the mind wherein imagination works like a flame, sparking and
illuminating as it is fed by reverie. In Agni's bosom lies the mirror of the imaginative flame
within, and the two merge and feed one another, bridging the gap between the external and
the internal on the level, not of the personal, but of the timeless and detachedly contemplative
Self.

In the bright crystal of your eyes
Show the havoc of fire, show its inspired works
And the paradise of its ashes.

PAUL ÉLUARD

The voracious Agni turning upon his parent reminds us of the danger of fire, which, more
than anything else, embodies good as well as evil. Shining in heaven, Agni also burns in hell,
colouring our knowledge of him with strong emotions of liberation as well as of fear and
prohibition. The fire of friction, on earth mirrored in the procreative friction producing
incarnated beings, is fraught with prohibitions and taboos. The knowledge accompanying this
fire is double-edged and forces man to understand that he sees fire by the light of fire, that
Agni is the subject, predicate and object of his conscious awareness. This is not an easy
realization. It is one thing to accept the old adage about "fighting fire with fire", imagining that
it merely refers to some kind of overt use of force, but quite another to apply the idea to
one's own complex and fiery nature. Perhaps this is why Agni has been seen primarily as the
witness and mediator in ritual observances and formulas. It is easier to use physical fire
symbolically in the hope of arousing corresponding effects in Nature and in the human
psyche than to identify and master that fire which can subdue the lesser fires within one's
own mind.

In preparation for the ceremony of the new fire, the Natchez Indians allowed all the fires kept
for the previous year to go out. Before dawn of the new year the priest rubbed two pieces of
wood together, chanting all the while. When the sun rose he speeded up, and as he cried
"Oah!" fire spurted forth from the wood, catching the tinder. Then shamans set reed hoops
afire, which they wound around in a spiral and used to ignite the oak logs placed upon the
sacred altar. Thus they produced the seed flame which would provide a renewed spark of life
for every hearth in the settlements. This is known as seeding the fire, a ritual act below
reflecting that above. With the sun's ray, the heavenly spark arrives and is guided through
lightning channels, through caduceus curves, to the fuel-offering of the world. As above, so
below; man lives by the divine spark just as surely as he is devoured by its flame. Man lives,
his crops grow and his hearth abounds with nourishing food, only to find that he too is food
in the great cyclic return that revolves between heaven and earth. At each moment
numberless forms of fire devour forms of life which are fuel. The sun itself shines by
devouring its own substance. Agni, turning with mouth agape towards Prajapati, marks the
beginning of a fundamental feature of manifest existence: the universe is a constant sacrifice,
the transformation of life into life.

"To live is to devour life", and on every level of the cosmos all is of the nature of fire and
water, Agni and Soma, the Devourer and the Devoured. In the sphere of the Self-born, fire
rules supreme, acting as both creator and devourer of the subsequent watery realm which
Vishnu rules. Out of this ocean of fuel the fiery solar sphere arises, only to feed upon the
field of soma incipient to the solidified world. The cosmos is made up of alternating spheres
wherein the nature of Agni or Soma dominate, an alternation crowded in consubstantial
complexity on the earthly plane of existence. Thus, all existence can be thought of as food
(anna) and the devourer (annada). Devouring is the only permanent thing; the other two are
but transient aspects of it. Because fire grows immediately when it is fed and dies quickly
when it is not, it is a perfect illustration of this, embodying the actual nature of existence itself
as well as its luminous source. When existence ceases, the fire goes out, but it does not cease
to be in potentia. Even the night of pralaya has its dark flame waiting to be struck.

All this universe, conscious and unconscious, is made up of the Agni and Soma offering.

Mahabharata

All is sacrifice, and the initial offering is made by fire itself. The light that penetrates the
Mother Deep is the beginning of generations of fire giving of its essence, penetrating, setting
in motion, heating and expanding, producing the nurturing waters. On earth the hydrological
cycle illustrates this perfectly, for it is the sun which makes it all possible. Without its fire
there would be no motion. All would be inert. One cannot even imagine globes in revolution
without its electricity. Water could not exist, and even if it could, it would necessarily be
dead, incapable of bearing life in its stagnation. The solar rays of Agni, heating subtle matter,
created the waters and drew up their vapours into clouds bringing rain. Agni as Purusha thus
dismembers himself into millions of sparks which enliven matter and spin it off into endlessly
recombining forms that each play their part in the great cycle of sacrifice. In the Chandogya
Upanishad, Shvetaketu learns that the cosmos is made up of five great sacrificial fires in
which the gods make offerings. They offer 'faith' in celestial fire (ahavaniya), producing
soma; soma in parjanya fire, producing rain; rain in garhapatya fire, producing food; food in
human fire, producing semen; and semen in woman fire, producing embryo. Thinking in
these terms, the ancients experienced the all-pervasiveness of fire by imitating the gods, who
take their very breath through Agni's mouth. Fire became for them the essential instrument of
their participation in cosmic sacrifice. Increasingly in Vedic times they imitated in their rituals
the process by which the universe itself existed.

They measured off its thirty-three spheres, from the inner fire of immortality (amrita agni) to
that of the earth, in concentric regions of sacrifice (ahargana) wherein the immortal flame was
brought into the world by degrees. There it was changed into an offering, returning through
the transcendent world of maharloka to the sphere of the Self-born (Svayambhu Mandala),
where the fire becomes an offering of dik soma and bhasvara soma. In the process, the
deities, the gods of the elements and the cosmic forces, each represented by different classes
of priests, were all involved. Some of these great sacrifices lasted for several earthly years,
employing thousands of priests and necessitating great sacrificial wealth. In them the fire
consumed the matter of this world, coming alive as it converted it to smoke. They followed
the adage that "to kindle a fire is to call on God", but they did so with exacting precision,
striving to create an art form of the kindling process which would reflect accurately the
cosmological process. From their meditations they had discovered the various aspects of
Agni's nature working within their own nature, so when they invoked him in the ritual, they
knew that while he called upon the other gods to share in the sacrifice, he also awakened the
corresponding powers within the sacrificer.

Associate with fires, make your god Agni envoy at
sacrifice, best skilled in worship.
Establish firm among mankind, the holy flame –
crowned and fed with oil, the Purifier.

All life is in fiery motion producing heat. From the stirring of rita Agni never ceases to act,
heating up matter, creating a continuous tension between heat and the process of cooling.
Heat marks incipient change and growth. It is characteristic of the transitory state between
the profane and the sacred. One may think of the penetrating power of heat which, unlike
light, goes to the interior of things. There is the flame of love which enlivens one at many
levels and the heat of fury which produces increased strength and may be difficult to control.
There is the sweat-house heat of initiation and the heat of a body which, through fever, is
throwing out invasive and disharmonious lives. Then there is the heat of devotion, the ecstasy
of the mystic, the boiling blood of long-dead saints, the fiery vision of those who, like Jacob
Boehme, perceived the fire within each blade of grass. The practitioner of meditation
experiences stages of heat: a burning and tingling of various parts of the body, and the heat
lightning arising on the horizon of the mind. With effort the meditator identifies the fires and
feeds them with the fuel of his own impurities. He learns to practise controlled burning,
gaining mastery over his physical and astral temperature only as a byproduct of a deeper
process of mental alchemy. The passions and emotions are consumed in Agni's greater flame,
becoming part of his universal truth. Gradually one is made pure through a process perfectly
reflected in the action of terrestrial fire as it deodorizes, disinfects and separates substances,
thus destroying material impurities.

The sun draws its food to itself through its rays, and gives back heat.

Taittiriya Upanishad

Agni enjoys and devours the things of life whilst generating its nervous energy that becomes
the forces of thought, upheld by Agni, preparing the action of the luminous mind. He acts as
Angiras, the manifestation of fire as the power of enlightenment, the lord of sacrifices. He
projects himself and yet, like the sun, draws his food from himself, giving back the heat of
growth and increased awareness. Man may quicken this process by intensifying his sacrificial
efforts, feeding the inner fire which can transform his nature. In his will to engage continually
in self-correction, he performs this tapas until the fires that were consuming him begin to
enlighten, the haphazard passions become deliberate compassions. This amounts to a
spiritualization of the emotions, producing purity which, when consciously realized, results in
the pouring forth of light. At death it is said that speech (vach) enters into manas, manas into
prana, prana into tejas (tapas or heat) and tejas into brahman. The earnest seeker of self-
purification attempts to cross these thresholds during life by igniting the sacrificial fires of
tapas within. He begins by sacrificing thoughtless speech and ends by becoming one with the
radiant sacrifice itself. The chela does this symbolically when he gathers kindling for the guru
and tends his fire, providing Agni with fuel, for it is he who will bring enlightenment to the
disciple through initiation.

In India, through the ashrama stages of life, Agni is carefully fed and reigns at the centre of
the human struggle for individual and collective wisdom. The prajapatya agni is given to the
brahmacharin at his upayana ceremony, and with it he performs the agnihotra offering,
pledging to preserve this fire and feed it with oblations until he becomes an old man and
retires to the forest. At the householder stage the garhapatya agni is brought into the house
after the marriage ceremony, where it plays a central role. In its new home it will be the focal
point of rituals and will ever be fed with offerings to ensure spiritual generation. When the
householder phase of life is over and the vanaprastha goes off to the forest, he or she takes
the three fires. Even sannyasis perform a morning and evening agnihotra, remaining awake
during the night between them. They utter, "Ya te agni yajniya tanur", requesting Agni to
enter them in his three guises, inhaling smoke three times and then announcing, "Bhur
bhuvah svah" (earth, mid-space and heaven), "I have now entered the sannyasa ashrama. "
After this they kindle no external fire and all their offerings are now interior sacrifices. For
them the three fires of Agni are contained only in true sacrifice.

And when he dies, and when they place him on the fire, then he is born again out of the fire,
and the fire only consumes his body. Even as he is born from his father and mother, so he is
born from the fire. But he who offers not the agnihotra, verily he does not come into life at
all.

Satapatha Brahmana

According to the Sadvimshabrahmana, the agnihotra was originated by Prajapati, who
performed a sacrifice for one thousand years. While observing austerities, he desired to create
gods who, when emitted, were themselves desirous of obtaining a home (heaven) by their
own austerities. As they performed them, their essence came forth in the form of the earth,
air and heaven, produced by the heat of their tapas. When these realms themselves were
irradiated with heat, their essence came forth as the Rig Veda from the earth, the Yajur Veda
from the air and the Sama Veda from heaven. Again, through the eating of these, the
garhapatya fire came forth from the Rig Veda, the dakshinagni fire from the Yajur Veda and
the ahavaniya fire from the Sama Veda. As these were all irradiated with tapas, Agni-Purusha
came forth with a thousand heads, eyes and feet. The gods asked him, "Who art thou?" and
he said, "I am Sacrifice by name." Then the gods turned to Prajapati and said, "With our
immortal bodies we have been able to accomplish this Great Sacrifice, which mortals, alas)
will never be able to accomplish." In response, Prajapati performed the essential form of the
sacrifice in 'one day' (an abridgement of twelve days for mortals).

Agni-Purusha thus broke through the seven circles of (his own) fire ('Pass Not') to make
manifest the fires of the gods and become witness and means by which humanity could
consciously participate in the Great Universal Sacrifice. Following the stages of the twelve-
day agnihotra, one may use the fire of imagination and pursue its analogous course within the
sheaths of one's own being. After the sheltering structures have been constructed, a bird-
shaped altar is outlined, whose great geometrically measured form represents Agni-Purusha
and is emblematic of the Word as well as of a manifesting cycle of existence. Seeds from the
field crops are asked to succeed like a victorious horse (in Vedic times sacrificed) and six
pairs of male and female pots are consecrated and buried. Then the bricks of the altar are put
in place, layer upon layer, until five layers have been laid and Agni-Purusha (who fragmented
into a million pieces that the world of differentiation might come into existence) is once again
made whole as at the beginning of time. The soma is enthroned to the south of the altar, the
sacrificer enters from the east, and walking between the garhapatya and the ahavaniya fires
(alerting the gods associated with them who repel evil), he circumambulates them before
sitting to the south. The priest presides from the north, guiding the yajnamana (sacrificer) in
the creation.

At dawn and at nightfall the solar Agni is wed to his altar flame, and heaven, mid-air and
earth are brought into perfect alignment. A pot containing the milk of woman is heated in
Agni's blaze as an offering made between the three fires (worlds). The priests address Agni
with mantras as the ritual unfolds, eventually culminating in a measured movement to the
east. Thither fire in a pot begins its journey from the world of men to that of the gods on the
bird-altar. The gods are invited to come to witness the soma extraction and kusha grass is
spread for them. Before sunrise on the tenth day the soma plant is mashed and an offering is
made to them by pouring some of its juice on the fire. The priests then drink the soma and
begin to intone the Sama Veda chants, which are marked in their exacting progression by
sticks. Entering into a trance, the priests soar upward upon Agni's wings, becoming channels
through which the sacrificer enters the pure and unborn world of arnrita agni, from which he
and his wife may be born anew on the last day of the sacrifice.

In reality the agnihotra is far too complex to be described so simply, but the seeker of true
spiritual fire can follow the outline and find analogues within his own strivings. The forty-nine
fires of Agni are all realizable in the individual human nature. Those which draw their fuel
from the stimuli of the world, waxing and waning on the basis of desires, likes and dislikes,
are easy to identify. But they cannot simply be snuffed out with the rank breath of fear or
doused with the wet blanket of contempt. All fires are sacred. All burn with the unalterable
truth of Agni, and all must be used, fighting fire with fire, to purify the whole nature so that
one can stand on the altar of the gods. How is this to be done? The lower fires must be kept
alive and purified by the higher. The lower fires are polluted by their fuel, not by their
essential nature. The waters that should be the sacrificial offerings in our nature are pollutants
insofar as they have been allowed to become clouded by objects of desire and fear.

The pure water of soma, filling the akasha as well as the buddhic principle in man, is an
ocean of fire, suffused with the pure electricity of spirit and fully informed by its will. This is
a sublimely fit offering to Agni. But the waters of the personal nature too often tend to flow
and mingle with those of the lower astral light, linking us with the dregs of human failure and
debasement. Such are not fit to participate in cosmic sacrifice. Letting go of the devouring
tendencies of the earth-bound nature and giving up the objects of desire they are endlessly
focussed upon, one moves in consciousness to a realization that the devouring is the only real
and permanent fact of existence. The subject and object – devourer and devoured – in man
are truly an illusion. Freed of this maya, the waters of one's lower nature become irradiated
with a growing flame of higher buddhic awareness. The impurities with which they have been
tainted are alchemically treated and transmuted, and become pure streams of oblation
fearlessly offered in the one unalterable attribute of life – motion.

The mind may be seen as a fiery devourer, its objects of thought the devoured. But reality
lies in the act of devouring, which is metaphysically prior to and transcends the individual
mind and object of thought. Therefore, in seeking reality one must use the fire of mind and
its object, realizing one is greater than both, capable of controlling the complex heating and
cooling processes taking place in their interaction. One can come to do this, affecting the
seven fires in all the seven levels of one's being, bringing the lesser reflections of Agni's truth
steadily into the unlimited devouring of his universal radiance. He is not a subject acting upon
the world or a deity afar to whom men sacrifice. He is the motion of devouring, the tapas, the
heat of life consuming itself endlessly in a celebration of that which lies beyond time and
space and fiery blaze. He is the spark lighting the hidden inner eye of man, the dark flame
glowing in the bosom of the Invisible Spiritual Sun.

What am I but a child – agnibhu –
To be purified in thy flame – agnishuddhi –
To be cast upon thy sacred hearth – agnigriha –
Consumed in thy three flames – agnitraya.

Let my fires be the food of thine,
My breath its ceaseless fuel.
Let the soma offering shine
In the glory of thy renewal.