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BY Swami Harshananda

The word is probably derived from ‘athar,’ an obsolete word for fire. It means a priest connected with the worship of fire. According to Vedic mythology, Atharvan was son of Brahmā, the Creator. His attributes are :

  • He first brought down fire from heaven and offered soma into it with the recitation of appropriate mantras learnt from his father.
  • He is sometimes considered as the propagator of the fourth Veda which is called the Atharvaveda or the Atharvanaveda.
  • His wife was Śānti, the daughter of Kardama Prajāpati.
  • He is sometimes identified with Aṅgiras, called Atharvāṅgiras, and is considered as the father of Agni, the fire-god.
  • The word Atharvan and Atharvāṅgiras, is sometimes used to indicate the descendants of this sage.
  • The word Atharvan also refers to the hymns of the Atharvaveda.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore