Vishanti are Agamotto, Hoggoth, and Oshtur, three benevolent
extradimensional entities possessing vast mystical power,
who bestow mystical knowledge and power upon sorcerers
who invoke their names and whom they consider worthy.
They are the beings whom Earth's sorcerer supreme, Doctor
Stephen Strange, most often invokes to grant additional
power to his spells.
Very little has been revealed about the
Vishanti themselves. Presumably they are indeed three
separate beings, although one text has referred to Agamotto
as one of the "aspects" of the Vishanti. On
the few recorded occasions that the three Vishanti have
manifested themselves together to human beings, Hoggoth
has appeared as a mans head, Oshtur as the head of a beautiful
young woman, and Agamotto as the head of a catlike being.
On one of these occasions Agamotto resembled a lion, while
on another he looked much like a tiger. It is not known
what resemblance these manifestations may bear to the
Vishanti's true forms. When Doctor Stephen Strange has
visited Agamotto's own dimension, Agamotto has appeared
to him as a gigantic caterpillar. In fact, Agamotto explained
to Strange that this was not his true form and that he
had made himself an image from Lewis Carroll's "Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland" that he had seen in Strange's
mind Agamotto has also been pictured as a being resembling
no creature on Earth.
Hoggoth is often called "hoary Hoggoth,"
presumably indicating that he is of great age. Agamotto,
however, has claimed to have existed before the creation
of the Earth. Hence, if Hoggoth is indeed the eldest of
the Vishanti, he is older than most other known beings
in the multiverse. Sorcerers speak of "the hoary
hosts of Hoggoth" and sometimes invoke the hosts
themselves in casting spells. This fact suggests that
Hoggoth's hosts themselves have existed perhaps as long
as Hoggoth himself and that they too can bestow mystical
power. No more is known about the hosts of Hoggoth, however.
Oshtur is often called "omnipotent
Oshtur." This name suggests that she may be the most
powerful of the three Vishanti. However, it is clear that
Agamotto himself is one of the most powerful known mystical
beings. On one occasion Doctor Strange invoked both Hoggoth
and Oshtur in casting a spell against Agamotto, but the
spell failed. Possibly this incident indicates that Agamotto
is more powerful than either Hoggoth or Oshtur, or perhaps
only that the other two Vishanti chose not to help Strange
against Agamotto (in any event, though Oshtur clearly
possesses vast power, she is presumably not literally
omnipotent.) The fact that Oshtur is also addressed as
"gracious lady" may indicate that she has a
kindly and noble nature.
Of the three Vishanti, the most is known
about Agamotto the All-Seeing according to one account,
Agamotto was the first sorcerer supreme of the Earth dimension.
Considering that Agamotto claims to be older than the
Earth itself, and that he appears to be of other dimensional
origin, this account may not be entirely accurate. However,
Agamotto may indeed have himself acted directly to protect
the Earth dimension before the rise of its first native
sorcerer supreme. Agamotto is known to be the creator
of the Amulet of Agamotto, which contains the Eye of Agamotto,
which can generate a powerful beam of "white"
magical energy. The Amulet of Agamotto is traditionally
in the possession of the Earth dimension's principal opponent
to the sinister mystical being, Dormammu. Currently the
amulet is the principal weapon in the possession of Dormarnmu's
arch foe, Doctor Stephen Strange.
Doctor Strange also possesses another creation
of Agamotto, the Orb of Agamotto, a mystical crystal ball
through which Strange can see persons and things in far
distant places both in the Earth dimension and other dimensions.
Agamotto is aware of every time either the Amulet or the
Orb is utilized.
Agamotto himself is called "the All-Seeing,"
and has apparently spent his long life observing events
throughout the multiverse from the pocket dimension in
which he resides. Agamotto's senses and mind are far more
complex than a human being's, enabling him to watch and
comprehend seemingly unlimited number of events simultaneously.
Presumably the Orb of Agamotto draws on Agamotto's mystical
ability to observe distant places.
Agamotto dwells within a pocket dimension
that Doctor Strange has entered by casting a spell that
mystically transports him into the Eye or Orb of Agamotto.
(If Strange enters through the Eye, then he exits through
the Orb, and vice versa.) Agamotto's dimension is said
to be a realm of "unreality," in which the natural
laws of the Earth dimension do not necessarily apply.
Hence, once when Strange was mortally wounded on Earth,
he would not die as long as he remained within Agamotto's
dimension. A traveler into Agamotto's dimension perceives
that dimension according to his own subconscious fantasies.
Hence, Strange's perception of that dimension appears
to be based on his knowledge of the works of Lewis Carroll,
EC Comics. 1960s' psychedelic art, and medieval art, among
Agamotto utilizes a device whose true form
is unknown, but which Doctor Strange perceives as the
caterpillar's hookah, or water pipe. Agamotto claims he
uses it to focus his magic spells.
In his documented appearances along side
Hoggoth and Oshtur, Agamotto appears to act as solemnly
as the other two Vishanti. However, when he encounters
Doctor Strange in his pocket dimension, Agamotto behaves
quite differently, sometimes taking an ironic attitude
toward Strange and the multiverse in general, sometimes
becoming threatening, and sometimes acting in a highly
benevolent manner. To what extent Agamotto's behavior
with Strange reflects his true personality is not known.
Moreover, it is possible that Agamotto is continually
role-playing in his encounters with Strange in an effort
to test Strange's skill and determination.
Doctor Strange first entered Agamotto s
pocket dimension soon after Strange had been mortally
wounded by his enemy, Silver Dagger. When the dying Strange
used the Orb of Agamotto, he found himself drawn through
the Orb into Agamotto's dimension. There Strange met Agamotto,
who appeared to him as a giant Caterpillar but did not
identify himself. The caterpillar claimed that Strange's
own wish to continue living was an "unreal' desire
(presumably because it seemed impossible), and that its
unreality caused him to be drawn into this dimension of
unreality (It is quite possible, however, that Agamotto
drew Strange into the dimension specifically to save his
life. After briefly taking on a more sinister form and
battling Strange (possibly as a test of Strange's will
to live), Agamotto told Strange how to leave the pocket
dimension. Strange did so, died and returned to life through
the intervention of the spirit of his deceased mentor,
One, and defeated Silver Dagger. On realizing that
Strange was on the side of morality in their clash, Silver
Dagger was himself drawn into Agamotto's dimension and
remained a prisoner there for some time. Strange returned
briefly to Agamotto's dimension in a later encounter with
Years later, the alien sorcerer, Urthona,
stole most of Strange's occult talismans and volumes,
including the Orb of Agamotto and the Book of the Vishanti.
Strange cast a spell to destroy the talismans and volumes
in order to prevent them from being used by Urthona for
evil purposes. (Urthona nonetheless escaped with the indestructible
Darkhold, which he had also stolen from Strange.) Strange
believed that the spell had indeed taken effect, but in
actuality, Agamotto mystically transported the talismans
and volumes to his pocket dimension.
Months later, Strange returned to Agamotto's
dimension to escape imprisonment in the nether dimension
ruled by the demon, Mephisto. Strange again encountered
the caterpillar, who revealed himself to be Agamotto,
and insisted that Strange remain there as his companion
Strange refused, intent on returning to Earth to save
it from devastation by Mephisto and another demon, Satannish.
Strange battled the far more powerful Agamotto, to no
avail until Strange finally captured the caterpillar's
"hookah." At that point Agamotto agreed to allow
Strange to leave his dimension in exchange for the "hookah."
Moreover, Agamotto returned to Strange the Orb of Agamotto,
the Book of the Vishanti, and the other talismans and
volumes that Strange had thought he himself had destroyed,
as well as the Darkhold, which Agamotto had spirited away
from Urthona's possession. Furthermore, Agamotto mystically
gave Strange one of Silver Dagger's eyes, to replace the
one that Strange had himself recently lost. Agamotto also
gave Strange a cryptic hint as to how to defeat Mephisto
and Satannish that Strange later successfully interpreted
Possibly the first human magician on Earth
to seek knowledge and power from the Vishanti was the
man now known as the Aged Genghis. Before the dawn of
human history in the Orient, the Genghis asked certain
mystical beings, presumably the Vishanti themselves, for
great mystical knowledge. In return for their gift, he
pledged to bring together Earth's most powerful sorcerers
once every hundred years for a mystical competition to
determine who should hold the rank of Earth's sorcerer
supreme. The Aged Genghis has now lived for many thousands
of years, aging extremely slowly but inevitably. Ultimately
his extreme age and the strain of holding so much mystical
knowledge within his mind caused the Genghis to give way
to senility. However, his full sanity returns every hundred
years long enough for him to organize the competition,
at which the Vishanti appear and administer a test of
combat to the assembled sorcerers. The contest is held
at the Temple of the Three in the jungles of Java. No
sorcerer is allowed to approach the temple unless he is
summoned to do so by the Vishanti or by the Aged Genghis,
as their representative. The victor in the contest is
obliged to grant a boon to any other sorcerers who were
not felled in the struggle.
In the most recent such competition, which
took place after Strange's most recent journey to Agamotto's
dimension, the Vishanti created a large mystical crystal
which imprisoned the Aged Genghis and which projected
mystical forces at the competing sorcerers. The victor
in the contest, who succeeded in freeing the Genghis,
was Doctor Strange. (It should be noted that all of the
competitors were native to Earth. Possibly this means
that the winner of the contest has proved himself to be
the sorcerer supreme of Earth, but not necessarily the
sorcerer supreme of the entire dimension containing Earth.
At least one extraterrestrial, the sorcerer Urthona, is
known to seek to become the Earth dimension's sorcerer
supreme. It should also be noted that even before the
competition, Doctor Strange was generally recognized to
be sorcerer supreme of the Earth dimension.)
Doctor Strange possesses the Book of the
Vishanti, the greatest known source of white magical knowledge
(that is to say, magical knowledge that is not linked
to evil) in the Earth dimension. The Book contains descriptions
of more spells and occult rituals than any other known
work except the Darkhold, which deals primarily with black
magic (magical knowledge used for malevolent purposes).
Every possessor of the Book has added his or her own original
spells to the volume. Consequently, the arcane lore contained
within the Book of the Vishanti is written in a variety
of languages. It is not known how many pages the Book
contains: as if by magic, pages seem to materialize within
its binding to accommodate additional spells.
The origins of the Book of the Vishanti
are unknown. However, it is believed to have been written
by practitioners of the occult arts who were in regular
contact with the Vishanti themselves.
The various possessors of the Book of the
Vishanti have also inscribed within it the history of
various occult practitioners and phenomena. For example,
the Book is known to contain a biography of Baron Kart
Amadeus Mordo, the history of the Darkhold, and an account
of the history of the Frankenstein family and the artificial
living beings they have created.
Thousands of years ago, the Book of the
Vishanti came into the possession of the priests of the
Babylonian god. Marduk. The priests had the Book guarded
by a gryphon, a winged creature that resembles both an
eagle and a lion. Within the last hundred years the Ancient
One traveled back in time, defeated the gryphon, and took
possession of the Book, which he brought back to his own
time. The Ancient One eventually entrusted the keeping
of the Book of the Vishanti to his disciple, Doctor Stephen
Strange, who afterwards succeeded his mentor as sorcerer
supreme of the Earth dimension. Today, Doctor Strange
keeps the Book in the library of his town house in New
York City's Greenwich Village. Intricate protective spells
keep unwary innocents from using the Book. The Book is
itself a talisman containing great mystical power. Doctor
Strange once used the Book itself (not the spells inscribed
within it) to deflect mystical bolts hurled toward him
by the sorcerer, Kaluu.
First Appearance: (first reference
to Vishanti and Agamotto) STRANGE TALES #115, (first reference
to Hoggoth) STRANGE TALES #116, (first reference to Oshtur)
STRANGE TALES #120, (first appearance of Agamotto as caterpillar)
DOCTOR STRANGE (first series) #1, (Aged Genghis) STRANGE
TALES # 136