Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
Draupadi is the most important female character in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. Like other epic characters, Draupadi is referred to by multiple names in the Mahabharata, her names are. Kṛṣṇā – – one who has a dark complexion. Panchalī – – one from the land of Panchala. Yajñasenī – or Yajñasenā – daughter of Yajnasena, another name of Drupada. Alternately, one born from sacrificial fire. Of the two variants of the name, the effeminate former is preferred over the more classical latter in Puranic texts. Drupadakanya – – the daughter of Drupada. Sairandhrī – – an expert maid Parṣatī – – the granddaughter of Pṛṣata. Nityayuvanī – – one who never becomes old. Mālinī – – one who makes garlands. Yojanagandha – – she whose fragrance can be felt for miles. According to the epic Mahābhārata, Bareilly region is said to be the birthplace of Draupadi, referred to as'Panchali'. King Drupada of Panchala had been defeated by the Pandava prince Arjuna on behalf of Drona, who subsequently took half his kingdom. To gain revenge on Drona, he performed a yajña called Putrakameshti yajna to obtain a means of blessing him a son.
From the sacrificial fire, Draupadi emerged as a beautiful dark-skinned young woman after her sibling Dhrishtadyumna. When she emerged from the fire, Vedic sages responsible for this Yajna foretold that this woman will bring about a change in the future of Āryāvarta. Draupadi is described in the Mahabharata as a beautiful woman of her time. Drupada intended to wed his daughter to Arjuna. Upon hearing of the Pandavas' supposed death at Varnavata, he set up a Swayamvara contest for Draupadi to choose her husband from the competitive contest. At the Swayamvara all the assorted monarchs were unable to complete the challenge. There are three primary variations regarding Karna's participation; the popular rendition shows Draupadi refusing to marry Karna on account of being a Suta, other versions describe him failing to string the bow by the "breadth of a hair", while some do not present his participation in the event clearly. The Critical Edition of Mahabharat compiled by Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute has identified Draupadi's rejection of Karna as a insertion and omitted it from the text.
It is ambiguous, whether Karna failed or didn't participate at all. In the end, Arjun succeeds in the task, dressed as a Brahmin; as the other attendees, including the Kauravas, protest at a Brahmin winning the competition and attack and Bhima protect Draupadi and are able to retreat. When Draupadi arrives with the five Pandavas to meet Kunti, they inform her that Arjuna won alms, to which a serious Kunti says, "Share the alms equally"; this motherly command of Rajmata Kunti lead the five brothers to become the five husbands of Draupadi. With the Pandavas' survival revealed, a succession crisis was started. Upon the news of Pandavas' death at Varnavrat, the title of crown prince had fallen to Duryodhana. Dhritrashtra proposed that the kingdom be divided; the Pandavas are assigned the wasteland Khandavprastha, referred to as a barren land or the serpent land. With the help of Krishna, Pandavas rebuilt Khandavprastha into the glorious Indraprastha; the crown jewel of the kingdom was built at the Khandava forest, where Draupadi resided in Maya Sabha, the "Palace of Illusions".
Yudhishthira performed the Rajasuya Yagna with Draupadi by his side. A lesser known fact is Draupadi's role as an Empress. Trained in economy, she took upon the responsibility of looking after the treasury of the Empire, ran a citizen liaison, her duties as a busy Empress are mentioned in her famous conversation with Satyabhama, one of Krishna's chief queen, during their exile. There is a popular myth, believed to be the reason why Duryodhana hated Draupadi. Duryodhana and his entourage were exploring the keep during their visit to Yudhishthira's Rajasuya Yagna. While touring the grounds, an unsuspecting Duryodhana fell prey to one of the many illusions that could be seen all around the palace; when he stepped on the solid part of the courtyard, there was a splash and Duryodhana found himself waist deep in water, drenched from head to foot by the hidden pool. The myth is, Draupadi and her maids saw this from the balcony amusingly, joked Andhasya Putra Andhaha meaning'a blind man's son is always blind'.
This famous story does not feature in Veda Vyasa's Mahabharatha, but is the figment of imagination of a much playwright. It gained immense popularity through repeated depictions in various screen and written adaptations of the epic across the length and breadth of the country; the most popular depictions were by B. R. Chopra's masterpiece Mahabharata series that aired on Doordarshan in 1988 and famous Telugu film'Daana Veera Soora Karna' starring Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao as Duryodhana, where Draupadi's laughter was singled out for dramatic effect. In Vyasa's Sanskrit epic, the scene is quite different, it was Bhima and the twin brothers alongside their retinues who had witnessed Duryodhana's fall and laughed along with their servants. In the Sanskrit text, Draupadi is not mentioned in the scene at all, either laughing or insulting Duryodhana. Nonetheless, Duryodhana felt insulted by the behavior of the four Pandavas, increasing his hatred for them. On, he went
Hercules is a Roman hero and god. He was the Roman equivalent of the Greek divine hero Heracles, the son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene. In classical mythology, Hercules is famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventures; the Romans adapted the Greek hero's iconography and myths for their literature and art under the name Hercules. In Western art and literature and in popular culture, Hercules is more used than Heracles as the name of the hero. Hercules was a multifaceted figure with contradictory characteristics, which enabled artists and writers to pick and choose how to represent him; this article provides an introduction to representations of Hercules in the tradition. Hercules is known for his many adventures, which took him to the far reaches of the Greco-Roman world. One cycle of these adventures became canonical as the "Twelve Labours". One traditional order of the labours is found in the Bibliotheca. Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra. Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis.
Capture the Erymanthian Boar. Clean the Augean stables in a single day. Slay the Stymphalian Birds. Capture the Cretan Bull. Steal the Mares of Diomedes. Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon. Steal the apples of the Hesperides. Capture and bring back Cerberus. Hercules had a greater number of "deeds on the side" that have been popular subjects for art, including: Side adventures The Latin name Hercules was borrowed through Etruscan, where it is represented variously as Heracle and other forms. Hercules was a favorite subject for Etruscan art, appears on bronze mirrors; the Etruscan form Herceler derives from the Greek Heracles via syncope. A mild oath invoking Hercules was a common interjection in Classical Latin. Hercules had a number of myths. One of these is Hercules' defeat of Cacus, terrorizing the countryside of Rome; the hero was associated with the Aventine Hill through his son Aventinus. Mark Antony considered him a personal patron god.
Hercules received various forms of religious veneration, including as a deity concerned with children and childbirth, in part because of myths about his precocious infancy, in part because he fathered countless children. Roman brides wore a special belt tied with the "knot of Hercules", supposed to be hard to untie; the comic playwright Plautus presents the myth of Hercules' conception as a sex comedy in his play Amphitryon. During the Roman Imperial era, Hercules was worshipped locally from Hispania through Gaul. Tacitus records a special affinity of the Germanic peoples for Hercules. In chapter 3 of his Germania, Tacitus states:... they say that Hercules, once visited them. They have those songs of theirs, by the recital of this barditus as they call it, they rouse their courage, while from the note they augur the result of the approaching conflict. For, as their line shouts, they feel alarm; some have taken this as Tacitus equating the Germanic Þunraz with Hercules by way of interpretatio romana.
In the Roman era Hercules' Club amulets appear from the 2nd to 3rd century, distributed over the empire made of gold, shaped like wooden clubs. A specimen found in Köln-Nippes bears the inscription "DEO HER", confirming the association with Hercules. In the 5th to 7th centuries, during the Migration Period, the amulet is theorized to have spread from the Elbe Germanic area across Europe; these Germanic "Donar's Clubs" were made from deer antler, bone or wood, more also from bronze or precious metals. They are found in female graves worn either as a belt pendant, or as an ear pendant; the amulet type is replaced by the Viking Age Thor's hammer pendants in the course of the Christianization of Scandinavia from the 8th to 9th century. After the Roman Empire became Christianized, mythological narratives were reinterpreted as allegory, influenced by the philosophy of late antiquity. In the 4th century, Servius had described Hercules' return from the underworld as representing his ability to overcome earthly desires and vices, or the earth itself as a consumer of bodies.
In medieval mythography, Hercules was one of the heroes seen as a strong role model who demonstrated both valor and wisdom, while the monsters he battles were regarded as moral obstacles. One glossator noted that when Hercules became a constellation, he showed that strength was necessary to gain entrance to Heaven. Medieval mythography was written entirely in Latin, original Greek texts were little used as sources for Hercules' myths. In 1600, the citizens of Avignon bestowed on Henry of Navarre the title of the Hercule Gaulois, justifying the extravagant flattery with a genealogy that traced the origin of the House of Navarre to a nephew of Hercules' son Hispalus; the Renaissance and the invention of the printing press brought a renewed interest in and publication of Greek literature. Renaissance mythography drew more extensively on the Greek tradition of Heracles under the Romanized name Hercules, or the alternate name Alcides. In a chapter of his book Mythologiae, the influential mythographer Natale Conti collected and summarized an extensive range of myths concerning the birth and death of the hero under his Roman name Hercules.
Conti begins his lengthy chapter on Hercules with an overview description that continues the moralizing i
In Greek mythology, Memnon was an Ethiopian king and son of Tithonus and Eos. As a warrior he was considered to be Achilles' equal in skill. During the Trojan War, he brought an army to Troy's defense and killed Antilochus during a fierce battle; the death of Memnon echoes that of Hector, another defender of Troy whom Achilles killed out of revenge for a fallen comrade, Patroclus. After Memnon's death, Zeus was granted him immortality. Memnon's death is related at length in the lost epic Aethiopis, composed after The Iliad circa the 7th century BCE. Quintus of Smyrna records Memnon's death in Posthomerica, his death is described in Philostratus' Imagines. Dictys Cretensis, author of a pseudo-chronicle of the Trojan War, writes that "Memnon, the son of Tithonus and Aurora, arrived with a large army of Indians and Ethiopians, a remarkable army which consisted of thousands and thousands of men with various kinds of arms, surpassed the hopes and prayers of Priam." Memnon journeying from the western Ocean with his army of Ethiopians, arrives at Troy in the immediate aftermath of an argument between Polydamas and Priam that centres on whether or not the Aethiopian King will show up at all.
Memnon's army is described as being too big to be counted and his arrival starts a huge banquet in his honour. As per usual the two leaders end the dinner by exchanging glorious war stories, Memnon's tales lead Priam to declare that the Aethiopian King will be Troy's saviour. Despite this, Memnon is humble and warns that his strength will, he hopes, be seen in battle, although he believes it is unwise to boast at dinner. Before the next day's battle, so great is the divine love towards Memnon that Zeus makes all the other Olympians promise not to interfere in the fighting. In battle, Memnon kills Nestor's son, after Antilochos has killed Memnon's dear comrade, Aesop. Seeking vengeance and despite his age, Nestor tries to fight Memnon but the Aethiopian warrior insists it would not be just to fight such an old man, respects Nestor so much that he refuses to fight. In this way, Memnon is seen as similar to Achilles – both of them have strong sets of values that are looked upon favourably by the warrior culture of the time.
When Memnon reaches the Greek ships, Nestor begs Achilles to fight him and avenge Antilochos, leading to the two men clashing while both wearing divine armour made by Hephaestus, making another parallel between the two warriors. Zeus favours both of them and makes each man tireless and huge so that the whole battlefield can watch them clash as demigods. Achilles stabs Memnon through the heart, causing his entire army to flee in terror. In honour of Memnon, the Gods collect all the drops of blood that fall from him and use them to form a huge river that on every anniversary of his death will bear the stench of human flesh; the Aethiopians that stayed close to Memnon in order to bury their leader are turned into birds and they stay by his tomb so as to remove dust that gathers on it. Roman writers and classical Greek writers such as Diodorus Siculus believed Memnon hailed from "Aethiopia", a geographical area in Africa south of Egypt; because the original historical work by Arctinus of Miletus only survives in fragments, most of what is known about Memnon comes from post-Homeric Greek and Roman writers.
Homer only makes passing mention to Memnon in the Odyssey. Herodotus called Susa "the city of Memnon," Herodotus describes two tall statues with Egyptian and Ethiopian dress that some, he says, identify as Memnon. One of the statues was on the road from Smyrna to Sardis. Herodotus described a carved figure matching this description near the old road from Smyrna to Sardis. Pausanias describes how he marveled at a colossal statue in Egypt, having been told that Memnon began his travels in Africa: In Egyptian Thebes, on crossing the Nile to the so-called Pipes, I saw a statue, still sitting, which gave out a sound; the many call it Memnon, who they as far as Susa. The Thebans, say that it is a statue, not of Memnon, but of a native named Phamenoph, I have heard some say that it is Sesostris; this statue was broken in two by Cambyses, at the present day from head to middle it is thrown down. Philostratus of Lemnos in his work Imagines, describes artwork of a scene which depicts Memnon: Now such is the scene in Homer, but the events depicted by the painter are as follows: Memnon coming from Ethiopia slays Antilochus, who has thrown himself in front of this father, he seems to strike terror among the Achaeans – for before Memnon's time black men were but a subject for story – and the Achaeans, gaining possession of the body, lament Antilochus, both the sons of Atreus and the Ithacan and the son of Tydeus and the two heroes of the same name.
According to Manetho Memnon and the 8th Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty Amenophis was one and the same king. According to ancient Greek poets, Memnon's father Tithonus was snatched away from Troy by the goddess of dawn Eos and was taken to the ends of the earth on the coast of Oceanus. According to Hesiod Eos bore to Tithonus bronzed armed Memnon, the King of the Ethiopians and lordly Emathion. Zephyrus, god of the west wind, like Memnon was the first-born son of Eos by another father Astraeus, making him the half-brother of Memnon. According to Quintus Smyrnaeus, Memnon said himself that he was raised by the Hesperides on the coast of Oceanus. Memnon dwell
Rhea Silvia, known as Ilia, was the mythical mother of the twins Romulus and Remus, who founded the city of Rome. Her story is told in the first book of Ab Urbe Condita Libri of Livy and in fragments from Ennius and Quintus Fabius Pictor. According to Livy's account of the legend she was the daughter of Numitor, king of Alba Longa, descended from Aeneas. Numitor's younger brother Amulius seized the throne and killed Numitor's son forced Rhea Silvia to become a Vestal Virgin, a priestess of the goddess Vesta; as Vestal Virgins were sworn to celibacy for a period of thirty years, this would ensure the line of Numitor had no heirs. However, Rhea Silvia gave birth to the twins Romulus and Remus, she claimed. Livy says that she was raped by an unknown man, but "declared Mars to be the father of her illegitimate offspring, either because she imagined it to be the case, or because it was less discreditable to have committed such an offence with a god."When Amulius learned of the birth he imprisoned Rhea Silvia and ordered a servant to kill the twins.
But the servant showed mercy and set them adrift on the river Tiber, overflowing, left the infants in a pool by the bank. There, a she-wolf, who had just lost her own cubs, suckled them. Subsequently Faustulus rescued the boys; the god of the Tiber, rescued Rhea Silvia and took her to be his bride. Romulus would go on to found Rome, overthrow Amulius, reinstate Numitor as King of Alba Longa. Despite Livy's euhemerist and realist deflation of this myth, it is clear that the story of her seduction by Mars continued to be accepted; this is demonstrated by the recurring theme of Mars discovering Rhea Silvia in Roman arts: in bas-relief on the Casali Altar, in engraved couched glass on the Portland Vase, or on a sarcophagus in the Palazzo Mattei. Mars' discovery of Rhea Silvia is a prototype of the "invention scene", or "discovery scene" familiar in Roman art; the Portland Vase features a scene, interpreted as a depiction of the "invention", or coming-upon, of Rhea Sylvia by Mars. In a version presented by Ovid, it is the river Anio who takes pity on her and invites her to rule in his realm.
The name Rhea Silvia suggests a demi-goddess of forests. Silva means woods or forest, Rea may be related to res and regnum. Carsten Niebuhr proposed that the name Rhea Silvia came from Rea, meaning guilty, Silvia meaning of the forest and so assumed that Rhea Silvia was a generic name for the guilty woman of the forest, i.e. the woman, seduced there. Rhea Silvia appears as a minor goddess in Rick Riordan's fantasy novel The Mark of Athena, she and her husband Tiberinus assist demigod Annabeth Chase on her quest in Rome. She affects the appearance of Audrey Hepburn from the film Roman Holiday. In David Drake's Science Fiction story "To Bring the Light", the time travelling protagonist meets a human Rhea Silvia - a sympathetic peasant living in a small shepherd community on Palatine Hill in what would become the city of Rome. "Rhea Silva" is used as a password numerous times in the Doctor. Aeneas Founding of Rome Rhea Livy. Ab urbe condita, Book I. Quintus Ennius. "The Dream of Ilia", Annales - Book 1
Kuru was the name of a Vedic Indo-Aryan tribal union in northern Iron Age India, encompassing the modern-day states of Delhi, Haryana and the western part of Uttar Pradesh, which appeared in the Middle Vedic period and developed into the first recorded state-level society in the Indian subcontinent. The Kuru kingdom decisively changed the Vedic heritage of the early Vedic period, arranging the Vedic hymns into collections, developing new rituals which gained their position in Indian civilization as the srauta rituals, which contributed to the so-called "classical synthesis" or "Hindu synthesis", it became the dominant political and cultural center of the middle Vedic Period during the reigns of Parikshit and Janamejaya, but it declined in importance during the late Vedic period, had become "something of a backwater" by the Mahajanapada period in the 5th century BCE. However and legends about the Kurus continued into the post-Vedic period, providing the basis for the Mahabharata epic; the main contemporary sources for understanding the Kuru kingdom are ancient religious texts, containing details of life during this period and allusions to historical persons and events.
The time-frame and geographical extent of the Kuru kingdom suggest its correspondence with the archaeological Painted Grey Ware culture. The Kurus figure prominently in Vedic literature after the time of the Rigveda; the Kurus here appear as a branch of the early Indo-Aryans, ruling the Ganga-Yamuna Doab and modern Haryana. The focus in the Vedic period shifted out of Punjab, into the Haryana and the Doab, thus to the Kuru clan; this trend corresponds to the increasing number and size of Painted Grey Ware settlements in the Haryana and Doab area. Archaeological surveys of the Kurukshetra District have a revealed a more complex three-tiered hierarchy for the period of period from 1000 to 600 BCE, suggesting a complex chiefdom or emerging early state, contrasting with the two-tiered settlement pattern in the rest of the Ganges Valley. Although most PGW sites were small farming villages, several PGW sites emerged as large settlements that can be characterized as towns; the Kuru tribe was formed in the Middle Vedic period as a result of the alliance and merger between the Bharata and Puru tribes, in the aftermath of the Battle of the Ten Kings.
With their center of power in the Kurukshetra region, the Kurus formed the first political center of the Vedic period, were dominant from 1200 to 800 BCE. The first Kuru capital was at Āsandīvat, identified with modern Assandh in Haryana. Literature refers to Indraprastha and Hastinapura as the main Kuru cities; the Atharvaveda praises Parikshit, the "King of the Kurus", as the great ruler of a thriving, prosperous realm. Other late Vedic texts, such as the Shatapatha Brahmana, commemorate Parikshit's son Janamejaya as a great conqueror who performed the ashvamedha; these two Kuru kings played a decisive role in the consolidation of the Kuru state and the development of the srauta rituals, they appear as important figures in legends and traditions. The Kurus declined after being defeated by the non-Vedic Salva tribe, the center of Vedic culture shifted east, into the Panchala realm, in Uttar Pradesh. According to post-Vedic Sanskrit literature, the capital of the Kurus was transferred to Kaushambi, in the lower Doab, after Hastinapur was destroyed by floods as well as because of upheavals in the Kuru family itself.
In the post Vedic period, the Kuru dynasty evolved into Kuru and Vatsa janapadas, ruling over Upper Doab/Delhi/Haryana and lower Doab, respectively. The Vatsa branch of the Kuru dynasty further divided into branches at Mathura; the tribes that consolidated into the Kuru Kingdom or'Kuru Pradesh' were semi-nomadic, pastoral tribes. However, as settlement shifted into the western Ganges Plain, settled farming of rice and barley became more important. Vedic literature of this time period indicates the growth of surplus production and the emergence of specialized artisans and craftsmen. Iron was first mentioned as śyāma ayas in a text of this era. Another important development was the fourfold varna system, which replaced the twofold system of arya and dasa from the Rigvedic times; the Brahmin priesthood and Kshatriya aristocracy, who dominated the arya commoners and the dasa labourers, were designated as separate classes. Kuru kings ruled with the assistance of a rudimentary administration, including purohita, village headman, army chief, food distributor, emissary and spies.
They extracted mandatory tribute from their population of commoners as well as from weaker neighboring tribes. They led frequent raids and conquests against their neighbors to the east and south. To aid in governing, the kings and their Brahmin priests arranged Vedic hymns into collections and developed a new set of rituals to uphold social order and strengthen the class hierarchy. High-ranked nobles could perform elaborate sacrifices, many rituals exalted the st
Agni is a Sanskrit word meaning fire, connotes the Vedic fire god of Hinduism. He is the guardian deity of the southeast direction, is 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 constituents along with space, water and earth, the five combining to form the empirically perceived material existence. In Vedic literature, Agni is a oft-invoked god along with Indra and Soma. Agni is considered the mouth of the gods and goddesses, the medium that conveys offerings to them in a homa, he is conceptualized in ancient Hindu texts to exist at three levels, on earth as fire, in the atmosphere as lightning, 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 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, as well being part of Diya in festivals such as Divali and Aarti in Puja. Agni is a term that appears extensively in Buddhist texts, in the literature related to the Senika heresy debate within the Buddhist traditions. In the ancient Jainism thought, Agni 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, is discussed in its texts with the equivalent term Tejas; the Sanskrit word Agni means "fire". In the early Vedic literature, Agni connotes the fire as a god, one reflecting the primordial powers to consume and convey, yet the term is used with the meaning of a Mahabhuta, one of five that the earliest Vedic thinkers believed to constitute material existence, that Vedic thinkers such as Kanada and Kapila expanded namely Akasha, Vayu, Ap, Prithvi and Agni.
The word Agni is used in many contexts, ranging from the fire in stomach, the cooking fire in a home, the sacrificial fire in an altar, the fire of cremation, the fire of rebirth, the fire in the energetic saps concealed within plants, the atmospheric fire in lightning and the celestial fire in the sun. In the Brahmanas layer of the Vedas, such as in section 5.2.3 of Shatapatha Brahmana, Agni represents all the gods, all concepts of spiritual energy that permeates everything in the universe. In the Upanishads and post-Vedic literature, Agni additionally became a metaphor for immortal principle in man, any energy or knowledge that consumes and dispels a state of darkness and procreates an enlightened state of existence; the etymology of Agni is uncertain and contested. Significant proposals include: from agnir, which means "leader, going in front", based on the Vedic premise that fire leads and is the chaplain of the gods, he is the divine priest, who connects and brings the gods and men together, the first among all gods whose presence can be felt and who attends a ceremony, the first among all priests around whom other priests gather, he is the one who leads and guides all men.
From agri, the root of which means "first", referring to "that first in the universe to arise" or "fire" according to Shatapatha Brahmana section 6.1.1. According to the 5th-century BCE Sanskrit text Nirukta-Nighantu in section 7.14, sage Śakapūṇi states the word Agni is derived from three verbs – from'going', from'shining or burning', from'leading'. From Indo-European root Ag or "to move", with the cognates Latin ignis, Sclavonian ogni. There are many theories about the origins of the god Agni, some tracing it to Indo-European mythologies, others tracing to mythologies within the Indian tradition; the origin myth found in many Indo-European cultures is one of a bird, or bird like being, that carries or brings fire from the gods to mankind. Alternatively, this messenger brings an elixir of immortality from heaven to earth. In either case, the bird returns everyday with sacrificial offerings for the gods, but sometimes the bird hides or disappears without trace. Agni is molded in similar mythical themes, in some hymns with the phrase the "heavenly bird that flies".
The earliest layers of the Vedic texts of Hinduism, such as section 6.1 of Kathaka Samhita and section 1.8.1 of Maitrayani Samhita state that the universe began with nothing, neither night nor day existed, what existed was just Prajapati. Agni originated from the forehead of Prajapati, assert these texts. With the creation of Agni came light, with that were created day and night. Agni, state these Samhitas, is the same as the Brahman, the truth, the eye of the manifested