His name is the first word of the first hymn of the Rig-veda: "Agni, I entreat, divine appointed priest of sacrifice."
The sacrifices made to Agni pass to the gods, for Agni is a messenger from and to the gods; but, at the same time, he is more than a mere messenger, he is an immortal, for another hymn runs: "No god indeed, no mortal is beyond the might of thee, the mighty One. . . ." He is a god who lives among men, miraculously reborn each day by the fire-drill, by the friction of the two sticks which are regarded as his parents; he is the supreme director of religious ceremonies and duties,and even has the power of influencing the lot of man in the future world. He is worshipped under a threefold form, fire on earth, lightning and the sun. His cult survived the metamorphosis of the ancient Vedic nature-worship into modern Hinduism, and there still are in India fire-priests (agnihotri) whose duty is to superintend his worship. The sacred fire-drill for procuring the temple-fire by friction--symbolic of Agni's daily miraculous birth--is still used. In pictorial art Agni is always represented as red, two-faced, suggesting his destructive and beneficent qualities, and with three legs and seven arms.