Agni is whatever in us that manifests the essential light and power of the Divine that is consciousness and creative being. To render the word Agni only as fire or God of fire is like calling the Milky Way, a term also found in the Rig Veda, not a galaxy but a stream of milk.
The ancient mantras of Vedas cannot be translated into modern English because it is more than merely finding equivalent terms in English, which seldom exist.Thus, the literal translation of the Vedas leads to meaningless passages. An often-quoted example of this is found in a hymn of the Rig Veda (1-105), “A ruddy wolf beheld me once as I was faring on my path”. However, with insight and using the etymological meaning of the words involved, we learn that the passage implies “the moon, the maker of the months, moves through the lunar mansions (the asterisms or nak shatras).” It is clear that the root sounds of mantric language cannot be put into words or defined in any final manner.
As an example, consider the word Agni, which is fire in the sense we normally employ. Agni is also translated as the God of fire. He is the energy of transformation, which is essentially the energy of consciousness. He is whatever burns, penetrates, perceives, labors, creates, envisions, wills, aspires and ascends with force. He is symbolically a fire, like the way we speak of the fire of genius. He is like fire but not simply a fire, even as seen by a fertile imagination. As the principle of light and energy in general, Agni is the sun by day, the moon by night, the fire in houses, the stars in the sky, the wind in the atmosphere, of lightning in the clouds. As whatever manifests power, strength and spirit, he is the heroic man, the swift stallion, the strong bull, or the soaring eagle. In terms of our faculties, Agni is wakeful awareness and mindfulness, the will to truth, consciousness, the state of seeing, the self, the soul, the intelligence, listening, chanting and the voice.
In short, Agni is whatever in us that manifests the essential light and power of the Divine that is consciousness and creative being. To render the word Agni only as fire or God of fire is like calling the Milky Way, a term also found in the Rig Veda, not a galaxy but a stream of milk.