AGNI, the fire god of the Hindus, second only to Indra in the Vedic mythology of India. He is invoked as "priest of sacri fice" in the first verse of the Rig-Veda, and, as messenger, be tween gods and men, sacrifices to him are upborne to the deities. On earth his parents are the two sticks of the fire drill, and every day he is reborn an immortal, living among men and supreme director of religious rites and duties. His form is how ever three-fold, fire on earth, lightning and the sun, and in art he is depicted as ruddy, with two faces, beneficent and malignant, three-legged (as in the fylfot, with seven arms). Later he was identified with Rudra (q.v.). In modern India he has no pro fessed sect, but is invoked in many ceremonies. and specially affected by Agnihotri Brahmans who perform the "fire sacrifice" (agnihotra).
See A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, and F. Washburn Hopkins, Epic Mythology (1897 and 1915) ; J. N. Farquhar, Outlines of the Religious Literature of India and Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson, Rites of the Twice-born (192o).