Agni (English: AG-nee, Sanskrit: अग्नि, romanized: Agni) is a Sanskrit word meaning fire and connotes the fire god of Hinduism

He is also the guardian deity of the southeast direction and is typically found in southeast corners of Hindu temples

In the classical cosmology of the Indian religions, Agni as fire is one of the five inert impermanent elements (pañcabhūtá) along with space (ākāśa), water (ap), air (vāyu) and earth (pṛthvī), the five combining to form the empirically perceived material existence (Prakriti)

In Vedic literature, Agni is a major and oft-invoked god along with Indra and Soma

Agni is considered the mouth of the gods and goddesses and the medium that conveys offerings to them in a homa (votive ritual)

He is conceptualized in ancient Hindu texts to exist at three levels, on earth as fire, in the atmosphere as lightning, and in the sky as the sun

This triple presence connects him as the messenger between gods and human beings in the Vedic thought

The relative importance of Agni declined in the post-Vedic era, as he was internalized and his identity evolved to metaphorically represent all transformative energy and knowledge in the Upanishads and later Hindu literature

Agni remains an integral part of Hindu traditions, such as being the central witness of the rite-of-passage ritual in traditional Hindu weddings called Saptapadi or Agnipradakshinam (seven steps and mutual vows) as well being part of Diya (lamp) in festivals such as Divali and Aarti in Puja

Agni (Pali: Aggi) is a term that appears extensively in Buddhist texts and in the literature related to the Senika heresy debate within the Buddhist traditions

In the ancient Jainism thought, Agni (fire) contains soul and fire-bodied beings, additionally appears as Agni-kumara or “fire princes” in its theory of rebirth and a class of reincarnated beings and is discussed in its texts with the equivalent term Tejas