Narach Philosophy

THE GODS OF THE VEDAS: AGNI


The hymns of the Rig Veda begin in every Mandala or Book, except the eighth and ninth with invocation to Agni, and the deity next in order is Indra. This is significant, for we have seen how it is logical to find in the idea of elliptical motion in Ether the first and simplest proof of the existence of energy higher than the obvious, regarded as self-created and unchanging; and this gives us Agni, the Purusha of Buddhi, characterised by motion in the universe. Hence it is said that the idea of God arises in motion (Gou, Cow, or Ether). Further, as elliptical motion leads to change of place in motion, or speed, the latter is personified in Indra, who follows Agni in the hymns.

Figure of Agni: Agni is spoken of in the Vedas as a guardian of the Eastern region and as the idea of region is always associated with Ether, and the latter is indicated by the pointed side of the Golden Egg, Agni may be represented by the following position of the Supreme Purusha in relation to Prakrti:

It will be noticed that it is possible to place Agni, as a guardian of the Eastern region, at two points, (1) to the north, and (2) to the east of the Golden Egg and in the one he will represent Buddhi, being placed directly over the region of the Mind; and in the other Mind, being placed directly against the region of Ether; for all energy flows down from the higher to the lower, and Purusha must be one degree higher than the point of the Golden Egg facing him. But, if Agni is placed to the Right side of the Golden Egg, his position will be detective, for the current of life, being electric or super electric, flows down in the direction of the hands of the clock, with the result that the positive or the Purushic current will be below the Prakrtic, which is erroneous; for the Purushic energy must always be either above or on the Right side of the Prakrtic, and never below or on the left side. Accordingly we must represent Agni as lying to the north of Prakrti or Brahmanda, with the pointed side turned to the east.

Meaning of Agni: According to our letter-analysis, Agni may be resolved into A. g, n, i, and would mean, Buddhi (A) associated with motion (g) arising out of (i) Ether (n) Thus we see that Agni represents Buddhi associated with motion in Ether; and this is elliptical, as the letters g and n belong to the region of Purushic Ether; hence Agni is a Buddhi god associated with elliptical motion and the senses of knowledge; and this agrees with what has already been observed.

Child of Waters: It has been pointed out that Ether is often identified with Prakti, and the latter is symbolized as Water. Now, as the idea of Agni arises out of motion in Ether, he may be conceived as born of Ether or Prakti or Waters. Accordingly he is spoken of as the child of Waters, an offspring of the floods especially of the falling floods, to indicate the idea of motion yet more clearly.

A Restless God: As Agni is characterised by motion, he is called a restless god.

Lives in Water or Prakrti: The idea of Agni arises out of motion in Ether; hence he may be said to live in Ether; and as the latter is identified with Prakrti or Water, he lives in all streams, and has his home in the floods. Again, as Prakrti (Water) is drawn towards Purusha, the Waters find their place in Agni and, as Prakrti is made creative by Purusha, he quickens the Water's seed, and is spoken of as the germ of the world.

A Buddhi God: a Creator: As Agni is a Buddhi-god, and Buddhi is associated with the number seven, he is the lord of the sevenfold race of men, and the seven streams are said to flow from him. As Buddhi is personified by the Sun, he is identified with the latter and so. As Supreme Purusha, he is the creator of the universe and, as establishing a correct idea with regard to manifest life, is spoken of as the friend and president of the holy laws.

Agni and Sacrifice: Agni is always spoken of as the High Priest of sacrifice. It has been pointed out that creation itself is conceived as an act of sacrifice of the Supreme Purusha, and sacrifice is the result of action. Now Agni is said to be associated with motion, which leads to action, but cannot be identified with it. Thus he leads to sacrifice and does not usually perform it himself and it is only a god associated with action who can do justice to the latter. Accordingly Agni is a High Priest of sacrifice; while Indra, who is associated with (the senses of) action, is called Satakratu or a performer of a hundred or countless sacrifices.

Agni and Cows and Horses: It has been observed that Gou (Cow) refers to Ether, while the Horse represents the senses. Now the letters, g (a), u, composing Gou, both belong to Purushic Ether, which is characterised by elliptical motion, associated with Agni; hence his connection with the Cow. Again, if the Horse represents the senses, we have seen that the latter are of two kinds, the senses of knowledge and of action; and the former are associated with Purushic, and the latter with Prakrtic Ether; accordingly, one kind of horse, related to Purushic Ether or the senses of knowledge, is associated with Agni, and that is the red one, for that is the colour of Purusha or the Sun; while another kind of horse, referring to the senses of action or Prakrtic Ether, is associated with Indra, related to that aspect of the element; and that is a black-red or bay horse, black being the colour of Prakrti, as red of Purusha.

Cow and Horse in the Vedas: As might be expected, almost all the Vedic gods are associated with Cows and Horses, and for obvious reasons; for the latter are associated with the twofold character of Ether, in which meet all the great energies of life and systems of thought and it is these that are personified as Vedic gods. Thus we have Agni, Indra, Vishnu, Surya, Brhaspati, Soma, the two Asvins, Vayu all referred to in connection with Horses and Cows. We have the red horses of Agni the bay horses of Indra the golden colored horses of Dawn and the seven tawny horses of Surya or the Sun. Again the Cow (Ether) is personified as Prakrti, in whose home is born the great Eternal then we have cows of different colours all yielding white milk the Cow of Plenty; the Cow as meaning speech, dawn, rays of light, clouds, and rain.

Worship of the Cow and Sacrifice of the Horse: Thus, the worship of the Cow by the Hindus has Vedic sanction behind it; while a number of sacrifices are associated with the Horse. It is necessary, therefore, to understand the correct idea of the Cow and the Horse; for there are many Hindus today who hold that the very existence of their religion depends on the Cow (Gou), and would identify the latter with the animal of that name. Similarly Horse-sacrifice is seldom understood as a sacrifice of the senses, to which references are repeatedly made in the Bhagavad Gita and other sacred works. It is necessary, therefore, to understand in some detail the various ideas associated with the Cow and the Horse in the sacred works of the Hindus.

The Cow: The word for the Cow used in the Vedas is Gou; and, according to our letter analysis, it may be resolved into G (a), u. Both the letters belong to Purushic Ether; and as the one is a consonant and the other a vowel, g (a) refers to the element Ether and u to Ether of the Heart; and this should explain the idea of the Cow in sacred literature. The following is the place of Gou (Cow) in our diagram of the alphabet.

Dictionary Meanings of Gou: The following are the dictionary meanings of the word Gou (Cow):

Cow in the Vedas: Reference has already been made to the Cow figuring in the Vedas in various ways. She is identified with Ether of the Heart, and conceived as Prakrti, or the universal Mother of life. Accordingly the Great Eternal is born in her home, the streams (flowing waters or Prakrti in motion) descend from her, and from thence has the universe its birth. She is associated with Agni, Indra, Varuna, Vishnu, the two Asvins, Soma, Rudra, Heaven and Earth, Brhaspati, Maruts, Ribhus, Visvadevas, Usas or Dawn, and with the supreme Law of life. It might be of interest to note that the epithet, Bull, is applied to Agni, Indra, Varuna, Vishnu, Asvins, Soma, Rudra, Dyaus, Maruts, and Surya.

Cow and Ether: A number of meanings have been given to the Cow by Sayana in his commentary on the Rig Veda; but the original idea of its connection with the element Ether and Ether of the Heart is enough to explain everything relating to the Cow of the Vedas. We have already observed that:

  1. Ether of the Heart is the first form of the energy of life.
  2. Time, in the form of a wave or a snake, is the first development of the Ether of the Heart, corresponding to the birth of a snake from an egg.
  3. All manifest life has the element Ether for its basis, and: the viviparous are born in it.
  4. Ether has a twofold aspect, Purushic and Prakrtic.
  5. It is characterised by sound, magnetic energy, elliptical motion, speed; and by the senses of knowledge and action.
  6. Purushic Ether is characterised by south-seeking magnetic energy, elliptical motion, sound and the senses of knowledge: while Prakrtic Ether by north-seeking magnetic energy, speed or motion with change of place, sound, and senses of action.
  7. The form of life in Purushic Ether is elliptical, corresponding to motion without speed; while that in Prakrtic Ether is circular, or like a wave or a line, corresponding to motion with speed.
  8. The energy of Heat as well as Electricity is made manifest in Ether.

Cow in Hinduism: If the Cow is identified with Ether, the element as well as Ether of the Heart, we can easily understand why it is said to constitute the basis of all that is contained in Hinduism; for, as has already been observed, all the great energies of life and the systems of thought meet in that element; and if we eliminate the idea of Ether or the Cow, all that relates to Hindu philosophy and religion must perish. But the animal Cow is also connected with the same idea; and it will presently be shown how important a place it occupies in the economy of life. It is indeed both a triumph and tragedy of Hinduism and its great systems of thought, that the highest truth is linked up with the simplest facts of life, and the two harmonized into one single whole; but when the truth is forgotten and lost, the people yet continue to embrace the obvious, substituting it for the idea it was meant to illustrate. Hence the decadence of this wonderful religion.

Cow and Prakrti: It has been said that the Cow is identified with Ether, and the latter with Prakrti; again it has been observed that Woman is conceived as Prakrti or an instrument of creation, and Man as Purusha. Thus the Cow may be said to be personified as a Woman; and as the latter is both a creator and supporter of life creator as wife and supporter as mother we have in the Cow this twofold conception, that of creating and supporting life. This is a further characteristic of Ether that it creates and supports life; and we shall be able to explain all that is associated with the Cow in the Vedas or in connection with its dictionary meanings in the light of what Ether connotes and the life creating and supporting character of Prakti.

Explanation of Dictionary Meanings of Cow: The different meanings of the Cow may be explained as follows:

(a) Sun; Moon; stars; lightning; rays of light; earth; a region of the sky; the number nine: The Sun represents Buddhi (heat, tapas) and Sattva Guna, and is both a creator and supporter of life. The Moon and lightning both refer to the energy of the Mind and Rajas Guna, which too create and support life. The stars are believed to govern the destiny of life; hence their connection with creation and its continuance. The rays of light are associated with the sun or the moon or the stars. Our planet Earth is the mother of the mobile and the immobile a region refers to Ether, which is conceived as life creating and supporting. The number nine relates to the seven energies from Buddhi to the element "Earth", and the two, Purushic and Prakrtic, currents of life; and so completes the idea of the energies which create and support life.

(b) Ox; cow; anything coming from or belonging to the cow or the ox, e.g. milk, butter, ghee or clarified butter, fat, sinews etc.: Here we get the connection of the animal Cow with its more philosophic or symbolic sense. The Cow, in its original conception, represents the energy that creates or supports life; and the idea of milk, as understood by the ancients, is the same. It is said that "in their infancy both men and animals live on milk; and all this, whatever breathes and breathes not, rests and depends on milk". Further, it is believed, and this is borne out by modern research, that taking all things together, the Cow's milk is the best on earth; and this would explain how the animal is a supporter of the human race, and thereby of all life. If, therefore, the animal Cow be eliminated from creation, it would affect mankind most seriously; and as Hinduism is conceived as a picture of life, we see its connection with the Cow. Thus, on a small scale, the animal Cow is a part of the essential economy of life, even as Ether which it represents. From this we may conclude that all that belongs to the Cow has a kind of life-supporting power, and so is called by its name. We see this specially in the case of small-pox, which has its remedy, both as preventive and cure, largely in the Cow.

(c) Mother; name of wife or daughter-in-law: As has been pointed out, Woman is always conceived as Prakrti or an instrument of creation a wife or daughter-in-law creates, and a mother supports life; hence they are called Cow.

(d) Water: It has been pointed out that Water represents Prakrti; hence the meaning.

(e) A goer or Horse: A goer refers to Ether, which is characterised by motion; hence its association with the Cow. The connection of the Horse with the Cow has already been explained.

(f) Speech; singer; praiser; Sarasvati: All these are associated with sound, which is produced in Ether. Sarasvati, the goddess of Speech, also personifies Prakti, and this will be explained due course.

(g) An organ of sense; the eye: It has been pointed out that there are two kinds of senses, of knowledge and action and of these the former are represented by the Cow; hence the meaning, an organ of sense. The Eye is perhaps the most important sense of knowledge, and is spoken of as fashioned from the Sun, and identified with the Sun. Again we are told that "the eye is motion, for it is in accordance with the eye that this body moves". This connects the eye as an organ of sense with Ether, characterised by motion, and the latter is Gou or Cow. In this connection it might be of interest to note that the form of the eye of the viviparous illustrates the idea of Ether in a significant manner. It is a combination of an ellipse and a circle, the former referring to the Purushic and the latter to the Prakrtic character of Ether; the one related to motion without relative change of place, and the other to motion with change.

Sacredness of the Cow: Thus we see what the Cow signifies and the reason why it is held sacred by the Hindus. It personifies Ether and all that it connotes; and the foundation of all Hindu thought, science, philosophy and religion rests on a proper understanding of the character of Ether and its twofold aspect, Purushic and Prakrtic. All the great energies of life, Heat, Electricity and Magnetism, are associated with Ether; so are the Sun, Moon and the stars; the three Gunas, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, meet in Ether; and the great systems of Hindu philosophy, Vedanta, Yoga, and Sankhya, and their corresponding religions, are all associated with Ether. Thus does Hinduism, the religion of life, depend on Ether or the Cow.

The Horse: A Symbol of the Senses: It has been observed that the Horse in sacred literature personifies the senses. We are told that "the senses are called the Horses, and the objects of senses their roads" that "he who has understanding and whose mind is always firmly held, his senses are under control, like good horses of a charioteer" and that "the organs of perception or senses of knowledge (ear, skin, eye, tongue, nose) are his reins; the organs of action (tongue for speaking, hands, feet, anus, generative organ) his horses; the body his chariot, the mind the charioteer, the whip being the temperament". From this we see that the Horse refers to the senses in general, and to the senses of action in particular. Where a distinction is made between the Cow and the Horse, the former would refer to the Purushic, and the latter to the Prakrtic, aspect of Ether, characterised by the senses of knowledge and action respectively; otherwise both the Cow and the Horse may represent Ether and the senses in general.

Asvins: Thus the twin Asvins are two Horsemen; and as they would refer to the twin senses of knowledge and action or the twofold character of Ether, one of them represents the senses of knowledge and Purushic Ether, and the other the senses of action and Prakrtic Ether. Similarly Nakula and Sahadeva, born of the two Asvins, represent the same idea.

Meaning of Horse: If the Horse refers to the senses, we should be able to get the meaning from its Sanskrt names. The words commonly used for a horse in the Vedas are Asva, Hari, and Haya. of these Asva may be analyzed into A, s, va, and it would mean, a personification (a) of Ether (s, occupying place No. 5) in relation to Prakrti (va); Hari may be analyzed into Ha, r, i, and its meaning would be, Speed or change of place in motion (r) arising from (i) Prakrti (ha); while Maya may be analyzed into Ha, ya, and would mean, Moving (ya) Prakrti (ha) Thus we see that all the three words for Horse refer to Ether, motion, and Prakrti; and we have a further indication of Prakrtic Ether or the senses of action in Hari.

Horse in the Vedas: Like the Cow, the Horse is associated in the Vedas with almost all the principal gods, Agni, Indra, Varuna, Vishnu, the two Asvins, Soma, Rudra, Brhaspati, Maruts, Ribhus, Usas or Dawn, and Surya. Agni has red horses, and so has Dawn, and so Brhaspati; Indra has tawny horses, and so has Surya; the horses of the Maruts are tawny and spotted and red; while the two Asvins are horsemen personified.

Sacrifice of the Horse: As the Horse is regarded as a symbol of the senses, of knowledge as well as action, Asvamedha, or the Sacrifice of the Horse, is nothing but a sacrifice of the senses; and a sacrifice is conceived as creative and selfless action. The idea of the sacrifice of the senses is often referred to in the sacred works of the Hindus; and it is regarded as leading to creative action loosening the bonds of action making for a true conception and performance of action and resulting in the control of the senses, Mind, and Buddhi, and the knowledge of the Supreme.

Twofold Birth of Agni: We may now pass on to examine the description of Agni as given in the Vedas. It has been observed that the idea of Purusha, after the Vrtra or sole-Prakrti idea has been examined and found wanting, arises out of an observation of motion and change in the universe; and this motion is twofold, elliptical, and characterised by change of place, which we may call speed.

Thus Agni, the Purusha of motion, is born of this twofold character of Ether; and represents, more particularly, the senses of knowledge, as Indra does the senses of action. Accordingly Agni is said to be doubly born the child of two mothers of two births; whom the twice-five sisters, dwelling together, in the homes of men engendered.

Agni and the Dawn: Agni is called the beloved of the Dawn and its refulgent gift. Now the Dawn is the meeting point of Day and Night, or Purusha and Prakrti, for the Day is Purushic and Night Prakrtic; and so is Ether the meeting place of the positive and negative or Purushic and Prakrtic currents of life and the idea of Agni, as has been explained, arises from its twofold character; hence the connection of Agni with the Dawn.

Agni and Two World-Halves: The Agni idea is born of the two aspects of Ether; and the latter are spoken of as the two world-halves, personified by Heaven and Earth or Dyava-Prthvi, who are said to be his parents and he fills the two joined world-halves with the light of heaven. The explanation is obvious.

Agni a Serpent?: Agni has been called an Ahi, a raging serpent; and we are told that "he in mid-air's expanse hath golden tresses; a raging serpent, like the rushing tempest". But if what has been said about Agni be correct, he cannot be correctly described as a raging serpent, for that would confuse him with Vrtra. Indeed, it may be argued that, since Agni is a Buddhi-god, and the first manifestation of life from the Golden Egg is a Serpent, corresponding to the birth of Buddhi from the Heart, he may appropriately be called an Ahi; and it is for this reason that the principal gods of the Hindus, Vishnu, Krshna, Siva, and Buddha are all associated with the Serpent. Whatever the point of this explanation, it cannot be denied that to call Agni a serpent would cause confusion of thought. There would, therefore, be an error somewhere; and we find that one of the dictionary meanings of Ahi, the word used in the text, is the Sun. While the idea of the Sun agrees with that of the serpent, it harmonizes still more with that of Agni, who, as a Buddhi-god, is the Sun personified. This fits in with Agni having golden tresses, for gold is associated with the Sun; whereas a serpent cannot be so described.

Agni and Indra: A number of Vedic hymns are addressed jointly to Agni and Indra. In this connection we have observed that Agni represents Buddhi associated with Purushic Ether or the senses of knowledge, while Indra personifies Buddhi in association with Prakrtic Ether or the senses of action: hence the union of the two.

Agni and Soma: There are a number of references to Soma in connection with Agni. Agni and Soma are a mighty pair Soma is pressed for Agni and Agni is the guardian of the Soma juice. Indeed, almost all Vedic gods are associated with Soma, even as with the Cow and the Horse. Soma, as will be explained in the course of this Chapter, represents Mind energy in union with Purushic Ether; while Agni is a Buddhi god, connected with the same; hence the association of the two.

Agni an Asura: Agni is called an Asura, and the name is applied to other gods as well, Varuna, Surya, Soma, and Indra. The word Asura is also used in the sense of an enemy of the gods; and this is its usual meaning in post-Vedic literature. In the Vedas too Indra is called an Asura-slayer and in the Upanishads the Asuras and Devas are both spoken of as descendants of Prajapati, the Devas being the younger and the Asuras the elder ones.

According to our letter-analysis, Asura may be resolved into A, s, u, ra, and means, a personification (A) of Heart and Mind energy (s), associated with Purushic (u) and Prakrtic Ether (ra, speed). As Agni too is connected with Purushic Ether, it is called an Asura; and the explanation of the word in connection with other gods would be similar too, for they are all associated with Heart energy, Mind, Purushic or Prakrtic Ether.

The reason why the Asuras are spoken of as the first-born of Prajapati is because they refer to the Heart, the first unmanifest energy of life; they are the enemies of the gods because they represent Heart energy as Prakrtic rather than Purushic; and they are described as dark because they represent the association of the Heart with Ether, which is referred to as darkness or Tamas.

Agni and Bharata: Agni is called Bharata in Vedic as well as post-Vedic literature. The name is also applied to a prince in general, and to the country, India, in particular. The word Bharata (of Bharata) is usually derived from bhar, to bear or support; and Agni is said to have become breath, thereby supporting life, and so is called Bharata.

India as Bharata: The reason why the name is applied to India is not far to seek. In the map of India with its present boundaries, excluding Baluchistan, we see that the country from west to east easily admits of being described as an egg, with the point eastwards, corresponding to the position of the universe in relation to Agni, as already explained. This may be illustrated as follows:

Significance of the Figure: It will be noticed that the figure of the egg includes the whole of what is called the Gangetic valley; and this would perhaps explain why Aryan civilization in India is said, at one stage, to have been centred there. The point of the egg is turned towards the east; and at the place assigned to the region of the Mind is situated the Manas Lake, the Lake of the Mind, over which rises Mount Kailasa the abode of Mahadeva who personifies the Mind. Further, we see that the Himalayas correspond to the regions of Buddhi, Mind, and Purushic Ether; and have to be understood in sacred literature in this light.

Another Figure of Bharata: The map of India offers yet further scope for speculation, as representing a picture of the universe; and we can draw the figure of an egg, from north to south, with its point downwards, corresponding to Prakrti as presided over by Indra or Vishnu, both of whom, as we shall see, are associated with action and the energy of the Heart; and this will explain why in the Satapatha Brahmana Agni or Bharata is identified with Breath or Prana, the energy of action as well as of the Heart.

Significance of the Figure: The form of this figure in connection with the map of India has a great bearing on the stories of Ramayana and the Mahabharata. We see that the city of Ayodhya, the birth-place of Rama, is situated near the region of the Mind, indicating thereby the character of the hero of Ramayana) Further, we notice that Mathura, the birthplace of Krshna, is situated within the Golden Egg, near the region of the Heart, showing what Krshna, signifies. The city of Hastinapura, identified with modern Delhi, is situated a little to the north of Mathura, and corresponds to the region of the left lung in the human body; and as the lung is an organ of breathing, and breath is associated with action, Hastinapura, the birth-place of the Kauravas and Pandavas, is related to the problem of the energy of action in the story of the Mahabharata, as has already been explained. Again, we see that the city of Dwarka, where Krshna is said to have ruled, is situated near the region of Air, the element of action, indicating how the Supreme Purusha rules and guides all manifest action on earth.

Rama and Ravana: In this connection it may be of interest to note that, while a large portion of India may be included in the figure of an egg, with its point downwards, Ceylon or Lanka, the kingdom of Ravana in the Ramayana, may also be represented as an egg, with its point upwards; and from this we shall be able to understand the idea of the war between Rama and Ravana. The questions to be decided are: (1) Which is a correct picture of the universe, India or the Golden Egg with its point downwards, or Lanka; or the Golden Egg with its point upwards? and (2) Who is superior, Ravana, the lord of Lanka, or Rama, the Rightful ruler of Bharata?

We have already pointed out that Rama represents Mind energy as an expression of the energy of the Heart (Vishnu, whose incarnation he is); and have shown that the ten heads of Ravana correspond to the ten senses of knowledge and action, associated with Ether, presided over by the Mind. Thus Ravana represents Mind energy associated with the ten senses; while Rama personifies it as an expression of the Heart; and the question is, Who represents a more correct point of view? The victory of Rama over Ravana is the conclusion in the case; and as killing signifies assigning to Prakrti, the death of Ravana at the hands of Rama indicates that the association of the Mind with the senses is Prakrtic; that is, it relates to the world of the manifest, and cannot disclose the full nature of the Supreme Purusha, who resides in the Heart.

Agni and the Number Three: The number three is associated with Agni and several other gods and goddesses of the Vedas Vishnu, the two Asvins, Varuna, Indra, Soma, Dawn, and the three goddesses, Bharati, Ida, and Sarasvati. Then we have three forms of light, three divisions of the universe, three steps of Vishnu, three regions, three worlds, three world-beakers or bowls, three dawns, three deities, three Vedas, thrice eleven gods, and thrice seven Maruts.

The number three relates obviously to (a) Ether, being the third energy of manifest life, as Buddhi is first and the Mind second; and (b) the three Gunas, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, which meet in Ether and the association of Agni with this element has already been explained.

Agni and Numbers Five and Seven: Agni is also associated with the numbers five and seven, which refer to Ether and Buddhi respectively; and as Agni represents the same energies too, the explanation is obvious. Thus we see that the idea of Agni, as expressed in the Vedas, is in harmony with his explanation as personifying Buddhi in association with Purushic Ether or the senses of knowledge.

Agni in Post-Vedic Literature: The post-Vedic idea of Agni follows the lines of Vedic thought. He is born of Water (Prakti), and the Cow (Gou, Purushic Ether), of Dyaus, and Earth (Prthvi), and is distributed among the plants. He is threefold has the Moon for one of his forms is identified with the Sun and, as Vaisvanara, is the fire within man by which the food is digested. He is one of the eight Vasus has the white horse led in front of him and is compared to a bird. He is oblation-bearer and conveys the sacrifice to the gods is foremost among them in slaying.

Vrtra is their head and progenitor and repels the Rakshasas arrayed in battle against them. He is spoken of as a healer, and creator of medicines. He is the lord of the household, is invoked at marriages and described as wife leader, giving the bride to the bridegroom, and is the cause of all sexual union. Ghee or clarified butter is sacred to him, and he is the chief priest at the sacrifice, seated on the altar. He promotes and leads the sacrifice, and is a good performer of it too. Finally, he is identified with Speech, with Prana or Breath, and with the Purusha or the Highest Self.