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Aggi-Bhagavā

A deity (probably identical with the Vedic Agni), worship of whom brought, as reward, birth in the Brahma-world. On the day a son is born, a fire (jātaggi) is kindled; when the son comes of age and wishes to renounce household life, this fire is taken to the forest and homage is paid to Aggi-Bhagavā (J.i.285).

In the Nanguttha Jātaka (J.i.494‑5) the Bodhisatta, having received an ox as a gift, wishes to offer the flesh to Aggi-Bhagavā, but thinking that the deity will not relish a salt-free meal, he goes away in search of salt. He returns to find that the ox has been eaten by hunters, only the tail, one leg and the skin being left. “If you, Aggi-Bhagavā, do not have the power to look after your own, how can you guard me?” So saying, he quenches the fire with water and becomes an anchorite. In the verses of this context Aggi is addressed as Jātaveda.

In the Santhava Jātaka (J.ii.43‑5), too, the Bodhisatta is a votary of the deity. Once when he makes an offering of milk mixed with ghee the flames blaze forth and burn his hut, and thereupon he loses faith. In this story Aggi-Bhagavā seems to be identified with Mahā Brahmā. See also KS.i.209, n.4.

In the exegesis to the Bhuridatta Jātaka (J.vi.202), the deity is spoken of as Aggideva, and mention is made of an enquiry made of learned brahmins by a king, Mujalinda, as to the way to heaven. In answer he is told that Aggideva is the brāhmaṇa-devatā par excellence, and that he should be offered fresh ghee. See also Jātaveda.

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