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Taking Charge of Your Health


is pleased to present a new episode on Ayurveda. The present release is part of a video lecture series prepared for the education of Ayurveda literature in accordance with the academic curriculum of Ayurveda studies in India. My name is Dr Sumit Kesarkar and I will be your host throughout this video on the CONCEPT OF AGNI which discusses about various forms of Metabolic fires in Human body In Brahmasutra, Agni is depicted as a sign of life in the body. Acharya Yasaka has given the etymology of the term “Agni,” which is as follows “A” represented by the alphabet “A” denotes root “I,” meaning “to go”; “Ga” represented here by the alphabet “G” denotes the root “Anja,” which means “to glitter”
 or root “daha,” which means “to burn” and “Ni” means “to carry.” Shankaracharya illustrates that Agni carries everything in it. It moves everywhere and metamorphoses substances, burns, assimilates, transforms & glitters Agni is the first word of first hymn of Rigveda; the oldest surviving treatise Western scholars of Indology say it to be derived from Proto-Indo -Europeon root “h,egni” similar to the Latin root “ignis” which means fire However on scan of available literature Agni cannot be completely co-related with Fire, Fire is a form of Agni but Agni is not fire Agni in brief can be understood as an entity which depicts transformation at all levels of cosmic manifestations. As seed transforms into crop child grows to a man; as food transforms into blood as thoughts transform into words so at every understood level of transformation Agni can be interpreted. Through its multitude forms its is predominantly related with FIRE This high importance is evident from RigVeda 
where there are more hymns to Agni than any other gods. Agni in the Vedas is represented in the pictorial forms as having two faces, seven arms, three legs & riding a ram it is also described that Agni has dark eyes & three bodies The omnipresence of Agni is described through the 
PURANAS in all manifestations, it is described as; sage among all divinest of sages immortal with its abode amongst mortals director, protector and accomplisher of all ceremonies messenger between heaven and earth without oblations to it gods experience no satisfaction it is only communication between gods and mortals & immediately acquainted with all forms of worship Agni is also found at crematorium where it assumes form of Kravyad; a flesh eating demon Agni himself is a Kravyad, and as such takes an entirely different character. He is then represented under a form as hideous as the beings, he in common with the other gods, is called upon to devour. The origin of Agni has many legends. He is said to be a son of Dyaus and Prithivi He is described as a son of Angiras, the king of the Pitris or fathers of mankind and the authorship of several hymns is ascribed to him He is called the son of BrahmÅ, and is then named AbhimÅni He is reckoned amongst the children of Kasyapa and Aditi, and hence one of the Ädityas At the Command of Bhrigu he was first bought down to earth for humans by a wind god “Matarisvan” He is considered the Lokpal or controller of south east quarter of earth In Shabdakalpa-druma, 61 synonyms of Agni have been compiled. These synonyms help in explaining the nature and functions of the Agni Agni has many names; those more generally known as Vahni, Dhananjaya, Jivalana, Dhumketu, Saptajihva According to Maharshi Yaska, Agni is praised in His three forms in the Vedas Uttama or Aavaahneeya” Agni, The Heavenly Agni appears as Soorya or the Sun “Madhyama or Dakshinaagni”; the intermediate one, atmospheric Agni which appears as lightning or thunderbolt. “Parthiva” , the one situated on this earth. This is again divided as
 “Vaidik” Agni ; this fire is kindled for Vaidik rituals or sacrificial fire Gaarhapatya” Agni – The Earthly Agni appears at worship, for cooking and digests the food inside the body of living beings
 Agni is perceived as one of the Pachamhabhuta. In brief its one of the five elements along with other 4 elements of Aakash, Vayu, Aapah & Prithvi This Agni element is responsible for transformation and is perceived as heat in form of Fire Agni element is described as Ushna, Ruksha, Tikshna, Vishad & Sookshma All Mahabhutas are derived from the previous one and carry their properties. Understanding Agni’s properties in sequence it is formed after Akash,Vayu and before Apah and Prithvi. In Bhagvad Gita, Lord Krishna says I am the fire of digestion in the bodies of all living entities and I with the help of Prana & Apana, digest the four kinds of food that is Bhaksya, Bhojya, Lehya, and Choshya. Of all the various types of Agnis described through various treatise on Ayurveda this Agni described in Bhagvad Gita is considered the prime and center of all other Agni’s. It is known as ”Vaishavanaragni‚” Maharishi Atreya called it Aakashagni Sushruta calls it Sadhakagni or Sadhakpitta Charaka calls it “Kaya-agni” where “Kaya means body” Chakrapanidatta depicts that the treatment of the human body of “Kaya” is nothing but the treatment of this “KayaAgni” We come across a definitive reference of Agni in Ayurved texts as “Rupantaren Agni” which depicts that Agni is perceived through transformation. 
 In human body Agni transforms outside elements in a form recognizable & accepted by the body. which means Agni transforms incompatible entities into compatible ones as identified by the body. Agni is innumerable because of its presence in each and every entity of the human body. However various treatise on Ayurved have tried to enumerate these Agnis as a finite groups. Charaka has mentioned about 13 Agnis. 1 Jatharagni, 5 Bhutagni & 7 Dhatvagni According to Acharya Sushruta, 5 types of Agnis are illustrated, Pachakagni, Ranjakagni, Alochakagni, Sadhakagni and Bhrajakagni. However, there is an indirect reference of 5 Bhutagnis underlying in the brief description made to the transformation of food Vagbhatta has described additional 3 Doshagni’s and 3 Malagni’s along with Agnis of Sushrut and Charaka Sharangadhara has recognized Agni in form of 5 Pitta’s Pachak, Bhrajak, Ranjak, Alochaka and Sadhak Bhavamishra has followed Acharya Charaka and Vagbhatt The different types of Agnis mentioned through various treatise can be logically narrowed down to the 13 Agni’s mentioned by Charak and 5 Agni’s mentioned by Sushrut Evaluating further, Sushrut’s Agni are nothing different than transformation of entities at the 5 levels of Pitta at their subsequent locations. It does not give a seperate approach to understand the concept of Agni devoid of Pitta Dosha . Now, there is a question as to whether Pitta and Agni are both the same or are different? Does any area exist of Agni without Pitta, 
or is it that Pitta is Agni? According to Acharya Sushruta, there is no existence of any other Agni in the body without Pitta, Pitta has the attributes of Agni because of which it causes combustion and digestion, in the body. In a secondary sense. Pitta itself is called Agni and hence Sushruta has concluded there is no separate existence of Agni independent of Pitta But the quotation of Acharya Sushruta,
“Samadoshah samagnishcha” further confuses where it clearly indicates that Pitta dosha and Agni are different “Dalhana”, the commentator on Susruta has made efforts through Pratyeksa or direct observation; Anumana or inference & Aagama or authoritative scriptures. to justify the conclusion drawn by Susruta that Agni is the same as Pitta However Dalhana has made a subtle distinction between Agni and Pitta explaining that Pitta is endowed with Taste, Attributes & Potency, whereas Agni, is devoid of all such qualities. There are certain other views which consider Agni as a subordinate of Pitta though not distinct from it which adds to further confusion. These are mentioned by various authors Acharya Marichi has emphasized that the Agni present in Pitta gives good or bad results when it is normal or disrupted Acharya Bhoj also considers Pitta as Agni as the digestive fire included within Agni which is specially meant for different metabolic activities of the body like; Pachana, Deepan etc Chakrapanidatta in his commentary on Charak Samhita further comments on the subordinate relationship as “Pittantargatta” which states that the function of Pitta inside the body is not combustion but its work is to provide heat of Agni. The following references in ayurvedic texts make a clear distinction between Pitta and Agni Ghee or clarified butter alleviates Pitta but stimulates Agni. Goat’s milk and fish cause aggravation of Pitta but they do not stimulate Agni. Sleeping during the day time causes aggravation of Pitta but it subdues Agni. Bhavmisra has given a clear solution to this problem. According to him, it is the Ushna or heating attribute of Pitta which is responsible for its functions like 
Pachana, Ranjana and Darshan Therefore, Agni does not exist independent of Pitta. Pitta though composed of 5 Mahabhutas is dominated by Agni & Aapah and bears the characteristic features of both these Mahabhutas. It is the predominance of Agni and reduction of Aapah mahabhuta which enables Pitta to perform functions like digestion It is this modified state of Pitta which is called Agni Though in reality Pitta and Agni are two different entities because of their eternal association, in practice, these are treated as synonymous Agni does not exist independent of Pitta Pitta in addition has Aapah mahabuta properties like Drava, Visra & Adhogami whereas Agni has opposite attributes Iron Vessel is not hot but when it is heated a distinction can-not be made between the iron vessel and the heat that emanates from it Similarly, Agni, though possessed with different properties in a strict sense cannot be differentiated from Pitta This Agni, as an inseparable component of Pitta circulates all over the body through different channels to sustain life because of which it is called Kaya-Agni In this context Amarkosa gives a definitive synonym of Agni as “Appittam” which should be interpreted as “Aapah rahitam Pittam’ which implies that Pitta free from Aapah mahabhuta 
should be equated to Agni. Inferring from above discussions from various types of Agni’s and its corelation with Pitta, the 13 Agni”s described by Charak can be accepted as all encompassing Of the 13 Agnis , JatharAgni is the main important Agni that controls the function of all other 12 Agnis. All the Agni’s are totally dependent on the status of JatharAgni It performs digestion of food and is also responsible for separation of the food material into the essence portion or the Prasad bhaga and the waste products or “kitta” in our body JatharAgni is also classified into 4 categories according to its performance of digestion in the human being , a healthy state known as “SamAgni”,
 3 stages where it is corrupted by Doshas. When Vata corrupts Agni it is known as VishamAgni, Pitta disruption leads to TikshnaAgni, and Kapha leads to MandAgni JatharAgni splits the food into the simpler substances for the 5 BhutAgni later to digest their portion. BhutAgni is the one that is present in a basic element There are five Agni’s in each of the five basic elements Parthiva, Aapah, Tejas, Vayu & Aakash Acharya Charak has mentioned that the five BhutAgni digest their own part of the element present in the food materials. After the digestion of food by the BhutAgni,digested materials containing the elements and qualities similar to each bhutas nourish their own specific bhautika elements of the body Dhatu Agni refers to the Agni present in each of seven dhatus of Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Meda, Asthi, Majja and Shukra Acharya Charaka mentions that the 7 dhatus which are a support of the body contain their own Agni, and by their own Agni they digest and transform the materials supplied to them to make the substances alike to them for assimilation and nourishment Vagbhata described that when Agni through BhutAgni medium enters into the Dhatus it becomes Dhatwagni Any discrepancy at any levels of these Agni is understood by various symptoms which are detailed through various treatise and their treatments are done accordingly. It may not be incorrect to state that the entire aim of Ayurved is to keep this Agni healthy all the time The treatment of Agni is understood through the “Concept of Agnimandya” which would be covered in another video I hope this video was informative and made the subject clear. Comments and feedback are highly appreciated and you can leave them by visiting the NLAM website at or likewise by writing to me at Thank you for watching. [SUCBTITLE CREDIT: NLAM]

21 thoughts on “WHAT IS AGNI AYURVEDA, Concept of Agni

  1. Very in depth presentation of the concept. I like the summary from the orginal texts and sutras when describing agni and its close link to pitta.

  2. Incredible explanation. I understood the difference between pitta and agni so clearly for the first time. Thank you for your kindness and clarity.

  3. It was a fantastic video. We are grateful to your efforts. There are certain things to be considered though. There seem to be a lot of information in a single video and and the presentation could be a bit more interactive.
    Thank you!

  4. I love it. Video's are fast with info. Clear. Very informative and logical. Nicely put together with images. NICE WORK !

  5. I've just started learning about Ayurveda and I am really grateful for your informative presentation. Thank you!

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