‘Yagnam’ is a fire-ritual carried out to please the Gods and it is of 21 types.
‘Yagna –vedi’ – the sacrificial fireplace acts as the venue for the performance of the ‘yagnam’. This is guarded on the three sides of East, south and West by the three forms of the fire-god ‘Agni’ – Aahavaneeyam, Dakshinaagni and Gaarhapatyam – and the North-eastern side by the other two forms of the fire-god ‘Agni’ – Sadhyam and Apasadhyam. It is His place, so the fire-god Agni takes it upon Himself to protect the Yagna-vedi from all sides by placing Himself in five forms known as ‘panchaagnulu’ the five forms of ‘Agni’.
In the epic ‘Mahabharatham’, the great ascetic ‘Vyasa’ compares the waist of Draupadi, wife of Pandavas, with ‘yagna –vedi’.
A few hundred years later, in the Sanskrit play ‘Kumara Sambhavam’, the great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, revives the simile and compares the waist of Parvathi, the divine consort of Lord Siva, with ‘yagna –vedi’.