One of the thousand names of God Viṣṇu (Vishnu). Śaṅkarācārya (Shankaracharya), while explaining the meaning of this name, says — agre jāyata iti agrajaḥ.

Upaniṣadas (Upanishadas) have conceived parameśvara (parameshwara) or the Supreme Being, as one without a form.

At the beginning of Creation, the Almighty, in order to create the Universe, first assumed an incarnate form (a perceptible form of) himself, and then, all animate and inanimate objects were borne of His body. Thus, as the Creator of the Universe, he was the first one to be born, and therefore, he is agraja [literally, the one who is born first]. In this context, the commentaries of Śaṅkarācārya refer to a verse from the tenth maṇḍala (mandala; canto) of Ṛgveda (Rigveda). It is said in the first verse of this hymn that Hiraṇyagarbha (Hiranyagarbha; the golden embryo from which ensued the entire Creation), one who is the one and only Lord and Creator of the entire Universe, was the only one present at the beginning of time. It was he who placed the earth and the skies in their proper loci—

hiraṇyagarbha samavartatāgre bhūvasya jātaḥ patireka āsīt;

sa dādhāra pṛthivīṃ dyāmutemāṃ kasmai devāya haviṣā vidhema.

The subsequent verses chronicle in great detail the greatness of this Supreme Being, the creator of the Universe. Since Viṣṇu is an incarnation of this Supreme Being, the Creator, he is also known by the name Agraja.

[See Hiraṇyagarbha]

[See Aṇḍa]