Director’s Anecdote II

Agni

Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC archives / 2014
Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 PUBLIC archives / 2014

The word agni is the Sanskrit word for fire and light. Agni is called as Thee in Tamil. Agni occupies a prominent place in the Vedas and vedic Brahmanas works as a Hindu and Vedic deity. The ancient Indians recognized it as the power of heat and light and the will-power united with wisdom, they knew the human will-power to be a feeble projection of this power which they believed could be strengthened by the Rig Vedic chants to Agni. The Vedic people developed the worship of Agni, personified and deified Agni as the sacrificial fire, the priest of the gods and the god of the priests, who through yajna carries the oblations to the gods, the celestial controllers of the mysterious and potent forces of nature, to ensure the continuance of conditions favourable to mankind.  In Vedic deities Agni occupies, after Indra, the most important position. He is ever-young, because the fire is re-lit every day, yet he is also immortal.

Agni is the first word of the first hymn of the Rigveda (Sukta I.i.1) revealed to Rishi Madhuchchandah Vaishvamitah in Gayatri metre. The Rig Veda begins with a prayer to Agni, the receiver, holder and distributor of energy, who leads the devtas to victory in their battles against the asuras, and confers wealth of various kinds to the performers of yajnas. According to Agni Purana, which is the eighth in the list of eighteen Puranas, no god is approachable without the medium of Agni, and no divinity is without the presence of Agni; his element is earth. At the command of Bhirgu, Agni was brought down from the heavens for man’s use by Matarishvan in the later writings Agni is described as a son of Angiras who happened to discover fire and its uses. Agni as the immortal guest is the witness of all actions, supremely powerful, all consuming and irresistible but who commands all earthly and heavenly riches i.e. all temporal good. As the most potent and visible form of energy, useful but destructive at the same time, fire was both revered and at the same time feared by the Vedic people. Cow’s milk and its derivatives such as ghee (clarified butter) are integral parts of Vedic fire sacrifices, which are conducted by Brahmin priests; That’s why the Vedic priests who are the keepers of fire worshiped the cow that provide ghee to feed the fire.

Project 365 is a PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC ART PROJECT initiated by EtP to photo-document the fast changing ancient culture and contemporary lifestyle of the ancient Tamilakam territory. During the first phase, forty photographers will be documenting the multi-cultural aspects of #Tiruvannamalai, South Indian heritage town over a year period (Aug 2014 – July 2015). This Project is led by contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad. FOR MORE PROJECT 365 IMAGES, see #etpproject365 In the next five years, EtP will document the Sangam period ports Muziris, Tindis, Korkai and the Cauvery basin culture and lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this blog is copyrighted property of the author and belongs to PROJECT 365 PUBLIC ARCHIVES. Text research Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / EtP. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing. For more information about Project 365, contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / ekalokam@gmail.com / FACEBOOK – Project 365

 

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