Why are Indra and Agni both regarded as Bṛhaspati in Rigveda 10.112.9 and 3.26.2, respectively?

Rig-Veda 2.23.1

ग॒णानां॑ त्वा ग॒णप॑तिं हवामहे क॒विं क॑वी॒नामु॑प॒मश्र॑वस्तमं । ज्ये॒ष्ठ॒राजं॒ ब्रह्म॑णां ब्रह्मणस्पत॒ आ नः॑ शृ॒ण्वन्नू॒तिभिः॑ सीद॒ साद॑नं ॥

Rig-Veda 10.112.9, for Indra,

नि षु सी॑द गणपते ग॒णेषु॒ त्वामा॑हु॒र्विप्र॑तमं कवी॒नां । न ऋ॒ते त्वत्क्रि॑यते॒ किं च॒नारे म॒हाम॒र्कं म॑घवंचि॒त्रम॑र्च ॥

Rig-Veda 3.26.2, for Agni,

तं शु॒भ्रम॒ग्निमव॑से हवामहे वैश्वान॒रं मा॑त॒रिश्वा॑नमु॒क्थ्यं॑ । बृह॒स्पतिं॒ मनु॑षो दे॒वता॑तये॒ विप्रं॒ श्रोता॑र॒मति॑थिं रघु॒ष्यदं॑ ॥

  • 1
    Ah yes, the Bráhmaṇaspáti hymn, it's used in the aşva-medhá (ŞB, ĀpŞS 20.18.1), pra-vargía ceremony (ĀiB 1.21.1, ŞŞS 5.9.18), &c. &c. Jamison and other scholars argue that bráhmaṇaspáti is Índra. In the Vala hymns, bráhmaṇaspáti is directly used as name for Índra. I don't think 10.112.9 is a good indicator that Índra is bráhmaṇaspáti/br̥haspáti though.
    – Savitr̥
    Jun 3, 2023 at 4:54

1 Answer 1


Brahmanaspati means the Lord or Best of the Brahmins.

Brihaspati is Brahmanaspati as he is the 1st Brahmana (Varna).

From root Brihat (Big), comes Brahmana. So, Brihaspati is the Lord of Brahmana.

A.V. 15.10.:

  1. From him (Vratya/Shiva), verily, sprang Priesthood (Brahmana) and Royalty (Kshatriya). They said, Into whom shall we enter?

  2. Let Priesthood enter into Brihaspati, and Royalty into Indra, was the answer.

  3. Hence Priesthood entered into Brihaspati and Royalty into Indra.

A.V. 15.14.:

  1. He, when he went away to the upper region, went away having become Brihaspati and having made the exclamation Vashat an eater of food. He who hath this knowledge eats food with the exclamation Vashat as food-eater.
  • Vaṣaṭ (वषट्) or Vauṣat is an exclamation uttered by the Hotṛ priest at the end of the sacrificial verse on hearing which the Adhvaryu priest casts the oblation offered to the deity into the fire.

So, being a Brahmanaspati is mainly related to sacrifice (yajna). A Brahmana's main duty. And Indra, Agni, Brihaspati, etc all gods are related to Sacrifice. Plus, being a Ganapati he is first.

R.V. 2.36.1.:

“(The libation) that is being presented, Indra, to you, comprises the (products of the) cow, and he (consecrated) water; and the leaders (of the rite) have expressed it with stones, and strained it through woollen (filters); do you, Indra, who are the first (of the gods), and rule (over the world), drink the Soma offered by the Hotā, and sanctified by the exclamations svāhā and vaṣat.”

R.V. 4.50.7.:

“That prince overcomes by his strength and prowess, all hostile people, who cherishes liberally Bṛhaspati, and glorifies and honours him as the first sharer (of the offering).”

R.V. 1.1.4.:

"Agni, the perfect sacrifice which thou encompassest about Verily goeth to all the Gods".

Again, in the sacrifice Indra is Maghavan (Patron of the Sacrifice), Brihaspati (Priest/Brahmana) and Agni is the Sacrifice itself.

Plus, It's also because in reality all are one.

T.A. 10.21.1.:

May the Supreme (Ishwara) who is the Ruler (Ishana) of all knowledges, controller of all created beings, the preserver of the Vedas and the one overlord of Brahmanas and also to the Lord of the Brahmanas (Hiranyagarbha), the Supreme Brahman, be Benign (Shiva) to me. I am the Sadasiva described thus and denoted by Pranava (Omkara).

Ṛ.V. 1.164.46.:

They call it Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, the divine winged Garuda. The good scholars speak of one truth in many ways and calls it Agni, Yama, Vayu.

Brahma Purana 2 (88), Bibek Debroy.:

Shambhu (Shiva) alone is known by the names of Indra, Mitra, and Agni. For the sake of those who are confused , Brahmanas speak of them in different ways.

I hope this clarifies all your queries. Prd..

  • 1
    thanks, but I am more interested in the formation process. the vedic thought is metaphysical, thus morphing, combining, etc is normal. the answer should say the circumstance for unification, under what condition(s), etc.
    – blue_ego
    Jun 1, 2023 at 17:02
  • 1
    This isn't a good argument, ékaṁ sát isn't some Devá that we are all praying to when we praise Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni &c., the devá-s are not just some interpretation of the same entity, they are projections of the same entity and were separate and had existence before humans did. the devá-s are separate and can interact and conflict with each other.
    – Savitr̥
    Jun 3, 2023 at 4:58
  • To reply the 1st comment i didn't answer you but the op so it was according the question. As for the second one devas are said to be one in shrutis. In various places the same name, qualiy, etc are given to different deities. The differentiation occurred in the smritis. So, its a bad argument from ur part. Prd.. Sep 5, 2023 at 18:05

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