GODS AND HEROES
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF
OF ANCIENT INDIA AS CONTAINED
IN THE BHAGAVAD-GITA, INCLUDING
TECHNICAL TERMS AND EXPLANATIONS:
IN THE LIGHT OF THEOSOPHY
GEOFFREY A. BARBORKA
THEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS
POINT LOMA, CALIFORNIA
MOST Theosophists are aware of the fact that it was H. P. Blavatsky’s especial wish that a selection from the Bhagavad-Gîtâ should always be read at commemoration services held on the day of her passing, which she desired to have known as White Lotus Day. There must have been a potent reason for thus singling out this ancient work, and we have her words stating that the ‘Gîtâ’ is an esoteric work. A clue to this is the fact that the very first word of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ (in the Sanskrit text) is Dharmakshetre, meaning ‘on the field of (Dharma),’ and indicating that what is about to be recounted occurs not only ‘on the field of the Kurus’ (i.e., Kurukshetre — the second word of the text), but on the field of moral law (dharma), and is to be interpreted in a cosmic sense.
W. Q. Judge’s high regard for the book is well known, and an interpretation is suggested by him in his ‘Antecedent Words’ to his recension.
Readers of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ have doubtless
pondered upon the signification of the many Sanskrit words and names appearing in this philosophical work. Perhaps some, having been deeply impressed by the teachings inculcated, have commenced a study of the background of the work, and have thus acquired a knowledge of the main events in the great epic of India — the Mahâbhârata — in which the episode of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ occurs. But the task of looking up all the characters mentioned, and finding a satisfactory meaning of the terms, is a difficult one. To meet this need the present book is offered, as a means of gaining a deeper understanding of the work.
The Bhagavad-Gîtâ is pre-eminently an ethical treatise. It inculcates teachings applicable to daily life, suited to the time in which it was written. These are considered from the stand point of two highly philosophical systems of thought which were then prominent, namely, the Sânkhya and the Yoga. Furthermore there is a philosophical and religious background which is not very prominent in the theme, yet is al ways present: this is the mythology of ancient India, a consideration of which is necessary for a complete understanding of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ.
It is information along this line that the present handbook supplies.
It would seem from a study of the mythology of Hindűsthân that it may be divided into three main periods: (1) the Vedic period, containing the original exposition of the deities, etc., as found in the Vedas; (2) the post-Vedic period, consisting of The Laws of Manu and the two great epics, the Mahâbhârata and the Râmâyana (3) the post-Mahâbhâratan period, as found in the Purânas.
Pursuing this line of thought one finds that along with the modifications which the deities undergo during these three periods, there is a corresponding change in religious outlook. As religious ideas and beliefs do not change suddenly but arise slowly and only after considerable lapses of time, the conclusion naturally follows that great periods of time must have elapsed between the production of the Sanskrit works above enumerated; and the works themselves indicate the trend of thought of the time in which they were written.
The characters and terms used in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ represent the religious outlook and mythology of the Mahâbhâratan-period. Never-
theless the information given in this handbook in regard to the deities comprises the three periods above outlined. This plan has been followed in order to give as complete an explanation as possible.
Although there are
voluminous commentaries upon the ancient Sanskrit literature, written by Eastern
sages, the keys to an interpretation of the mythology of India were not known
in the West until Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (the founder of the modern
Theosophical Movement) published her books. Such keys are not easily
accessible, however, as they are scattered throughout her works. The effort in
this hand book has been to place this information before students. Wherever
possible the inner meanings which
H. P. Blavatsky gave to terms or to deities have been included herein (with references subjoined). These esoteric explanations are of inestimable value, as they give a means of understanding the Bhagavad-Gîtâ in a new light. Witness the following citation: the author is referring to the story about Vaivasvata-Manu as told both in the Mahâbhârata and the Purânas:
All this, which seems a jumble to the profane, is
full of philosophical meaning to the Occultist. On the very face of the narrative a secret and sacred meaning is perceivable, all the details, however, being so purposely mixed up that the experienced eye of an Initiate alone can follow them and place the events in their proper order.
The story as told in the “Mahabhârata” strikes the key-note, and yet it needs to be explained by the secret sense contained in the Bhagavad Gîtâ. It is the prologue to the drama of our (Fifth) Humanity.
—The Secret Doctrine, II, 139
The best information about the characters occurring in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ is the Mahâbhârata itself, for the stories about the gods and heroes are therein told in detail. This epic was used for the background of the compilation. Verification was made by use of Monier-Williams’s Sanskrit Dictionary, and the systemic spelling for the names and terms adopted; also the orthography. The labor of preparation has been materially aided by access to this standard authority. Further, material has been drawn from Dowson’s Classical Dictionary. Due acknowledgment is given to these works, as well as to the Theosophical works of H. P. Blavatsky and G. de Purucker for the illumination and
clarification which Theosophy brings to an understanding of the Sanskrit terms employed in its literature.
Root-meanings of Sanskrit words have been placed in parentheses at the conclusion of articles, because the root-meaning of a Sanskrit word provides the key to its correct understanding.
The names and terms in this book are those that appear in the recension of the Bhagavad Gîtâ made by William Q. Judge (the work principally known to Theosophists), and his latest edition (the sixth) was used in regard to pagination — which the 1939 Point Loma edition also follows.
GEOFFREY A. BARBORKA
Point Loma, California.
Through an error in composition, credit was not given in the previous Foreword for a certain number of passages or extracts taken from an encyclopaedic glossary which it is hoped to publish in the future, and for others from the “Simplified Sanskrit Course” of The Junior Theosophist. The author is happy to acknowledge his indebtedness to these sources for the extracts used.
GEOFFREY A. BARBORKA
Gods and Heroes and
Technical Terms 1—120
in alphabetical order
Pronunciation Key 129
adj. = adjective
B.G. = Bhagavad-Gîtâ (W. Q.
Judge’s Recension). B.G. followed by a number has reference to the page in
which the word first appears in
W. Q. J.’s edition of 1896, and Point Loma edition of 1939
comp. = compound
dict. = dictionary form or ‘crude form.’ Sanskrit words when not used in sentences (i.e., when isolated without grammatical form) have a special form; this is the manner in which they appear in dictionaries (e. g. Âtman — dict.; Âtmâ — nominative case.)
lit. = literally—the literal meaning of the word
m. = meaning of the word itself
Manu = The Laws of Manu (Mânava-Dharma Sâstra)
N.B.G. = Notes on the Bhagavad. by Subba Row
nom. = nominative case
q.v. = quod vide (‘which see’)
S.D. = The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky
Theos. Gloss. = The Theosophical Glossary by H.P.B. Blavatsky
* (asterisk preceding a Sanskrit word)= derived from the verbal root
GODS AND HEROES
Achyuta The unfallen, i.e., the imperishable: a philosophical term about which H.P.Blavatsky writes: “Achyuta is an almost untranslatable term. It means that which is not subject to fall or change for the worse: the Unfalling; and it is the reverse of chyuta, ‘the Fallen.’ The Dhyanis who incarnate in the human forms of the Third Root-Race and endow them with intellect (Manas) are called the chyuta, for they fall into generation.” (S.D.II,47) Achyuta is applied to Vishṇu and to Kṛishṇa in his avatâric aspect of Vishṇu: not, however, as an individualized entity but in respect to the condition or state of essential Cosmic Being. (comp. a, not; chyuta from *chyu, to move to and fro, to fall, to fade. B.G.132)
‘Original Element,’ i.e., the primordial substratum or element of matter and
* The asterisk preceding a Sanskrit word herein means ‘derived from the verbal root.’ (See ‘Abbreviations,’ pp.xi-xii, and ‘Pronunciation Key’ pp.127-32.)
all objects, in its cosmic aspect. (comp. adhi, ‘above,’ therefore implying superiority; bhűta, a word frequently used for ‘element.’ B.G.57)
Adhidaivata lit. The original or primordial divine, i.e., the divine agent operating in and through beings and objects. A generalizing adjective applying to the divine part of any being from the hierarchical standpoint: applicable to Adhyâtman (q.v.). (comp. adhi, above, therefore implying superiority; daivata, divine. B.G.57)
Adhiyajńa lit. ‘Primordial sacrifice.’ Cosmologically this refers to the Cosmic Logos, which in the Esoteric Philosophy is represented as in a sense sacrificing itself for the benefit of the world; because due to its own coming into manifestation it enables the waiting hosts of monads to come into being. In the small, every Avatâra repeats the sacrifice for the benefit of all that lives. The Bhagavad-Gîtâ refers to this in the words “Adhiyajńa is myself in this body,” i.e., Kṛishṇa the Avatâra in a physical body. (comp. adhi, upper, paramount; yajńa, sacrifice. B.G.58)
Adhyâtman lit. ‘The Supreme or Original Âtman,’ the highest of a hierarchy, equivalent to Paramâtman. (comp. adhi, above, therefore implying superiority; âtman, Self. B.G.57)
Âdityas The twelve
great gods of the Hindu pantheon, sometimes also reckoned as seven (as in early
Vedic times, and named, Varuṇa, the chief, Mitra, Aryaman, Bhaga, Daksha, Anśa
Sűrya): sons of boundless infinitude (Aditi). These great gods have been known
under many names in different kalpas: they are the eternal sustainers of the
divine life which exists in all things. “The wise call our fathers Vasus; our
paternal grandfathers Rudras; our paternal great grandfathers, Âdityas;
agreeable to a text of the Vedas.” (Manu, iii, 284) Astronomically, the seven
Âdityas are the regents of the seven planets.
(S.D.I,99) (m. belonging or coming from Aditi. B.G.73)
Agni The god of fire: one of the most important of the Vedic deities, to whom the greatest number of hymns are addressed, for he presides chiefly over the earth, and is regarded as the mediator between men and the gods, as protector of men and their homes, and as witness
of all their actions. Fire is regarded in three phases: in heaven as the sun, in the air as lightning, and on earth as ordinary fire. Agni is represented as clothed in black, having smoke for his standard and head-piece, and carrying a flaming javelin; he has four hands and seven tongues, with which he licks up the butter used in sacrifices. His chariot is drawn by red horses; the seven winds form the wheels of his car, and he is followed by a ram. Esoterically Agni represents the divine essence present in every atom of the universe, the Celestial Fire; hence in its manifestations Agni is often used synonymously with the Adityas (q.v.) or our spiritual Pitris (q.v.). In this sense Fire is spoken of as the PRIMARY in the Stanzas of Dzyan: “The Spirit, beyond manifested Nature, is the fiery BREATH in its absolute Unity. In the manifested Universe, it is the Central Spiritual Sun, the electric Fire of all Life. In our System it is the visible Sun, the Spirit of Nature, the terrestrial god. And in, on, and around the Earth, the fiery Spirit thereof— air, fluidic fire; water, liquid fire; Earth, solid fire. All is fire — ignis, in its ultimate constitution, . . the three Vedic chief gods are Agni (ignis), Vayu [q.V.], and Sűrya
Fire, Air, and the Sun, three occult degrees of fire.” (S.D.II, 114) (B.G.85)
Ahankâra (or Ahamkâra) Egoism, the sense of personality or ‘I-am-I-ness’: in its lower aspect in man it is the egoistical principle which produces the notion of the personal ego as being different from the Universal One-Self. Kosmically speaking, Ahankâra is “that which first issues from ‘Mahat’ or divine mind; the first shadowy outline of Self-hood, for ‘pure’ Ahankâra becomes ‘passionate’ and finally ‘rudimental’ (initial); . . .“ (S.D.1,452-3). (comp. aham, I; kâra, doer, maker; from *kṛi, to do. B.G.53)
Airâvata The elephant produced by the gods at the time of the churning of the ocean. (See Ananta.) He became the special charge of Indra and one of the eight Lokapâlas. These latter are the cosmical spirits who preside over the eight points of the compass (Airâvata guards the east), and are closely akin to the four Mahârâjas —the four ‘Great Watchers.’ Although the Lokapâlas are represented as ‘elephants,’ H. P. Blavatsky remarks that “all of them have an occult significance.” (S.D.I,128) (m. produced from the ocean, fr. irâvat, the ocean. B.G.74)
Âkâśa The Fifth Kosmic
Element: the spiritual Essence which pervades all
space; in fact it may be
called imbodied universal Space — in this aspect
known as Aditi. It is the
substratum for the seven Prakṛitis (roots) of all in the universe; thus in one
sense is Műlaprakṛiti (the Kosmical Root-Substance). The word itself, without its
philosophical meaning, signifies the sky, the open space, hence it is often
rendered ‘ether’ in translations from the Sanskrit works, but as H.P.Blavatsky
pointed out, Âkâśa “is not that Ether of Science, not even the Ether of the
Occultist, who defines the latter as one of the principles of
Âkâśa only” (S.D.I,296). In the Brâhmanical scriptures the term is used in the same manner that
Northern Buddhists employ Svabhavat more mystically
Âdi-Buddhi. Some have
associated the Astral Light with Âkâśa but the former is but a reflection of the
latter: “To put it plainly, ETHER is the Astral Light, and the Primordial
Upadhi of DIVINE THOUGHT.”
(S.D.I,326) (*kâś to shine, to appear. B.G.53)
Ambâ The eldest daughter of the king of Kâśî Through the fault of Bhîshma she was
rejected by her suitor, whereupon she withdrew to the forest and after practising severe penances she ended her life on the funeral pyre, and was then reborn as Śikhaṇḍin (q.v.). The word in the text (last line of p.iii B.G.) should read Ambikâ (q.v.) — the second daughter of the king.
Ambâlikâ The third daughter of the king of Kâśî given by Bhîshma in marriage to his half brother Vichitravîrya. After the latter’s death she was wedded to Vyâsa, and became the mother of Pâṇḍu (q.v.). (B. G. p.iii)
Ambikâ The second
daughter of the king of Kâśî wedded to Vichitravîrya. After his death she was
married to Vyâsa, and gave birth to Dhṛitarâshṭra (q.v.).
Amṛita The nectar of the gods, by quaffing which immortality was attained; hence called the waters of immortality or the elixir of life. The amṛita was produced when the gods used Ananta (q.v.) for churning the ocean. In the Vedas, amṛita is applied to the mystical Soma (q.v.), which makes a new man of the Initiate. “Amṛita is beyond any guna [for it is UN-
CONDITIONED per Se”; (S.D.I,348). Mystically it is the drinking of the water of supernal wisdom and the spiritual bathing in its life-giving power. (comp. a, not; mṛita, dying. B.G.74)
Ananta The name of the serpent Śesha, represented as seven-headed and forming the couch of Vishṇu (q.v.), on which he reclines during the pralayas. Śesha is called Ananta (meaning the unending, the infinite) because he perdures through manvantaras as well as during the pralayas, i.e., during the periods of activity and quiescence. Ananta is represented as carrying a plow and a pestle, for during the churning of the waters for the purpose of making Amṛita (q.v.), the gods used Śesha as a great rope, twisting his tail around the mountain Mandara, and thus using it as a churn. Ananta is also the symbol of eternity, i.e., a serpent in the form of a circle. In the Purâṇas Śesha is said to have a thousand heads — an expansion of the legend. The seven heads of the serpent “typifies the Seven principles throughout nature and man; the highest or middle head being the seventh.” (S.D.I,407) (comp. an, not; anta, ending. B.G.74)
Ananta-Vijaya The name of the conch-shell of Yudhishṭhira. (m. eternally victorious. B.G.4)
The hero of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ depicted as the disciple of Kṛishṇa
is one of the most interesting and lovable characters in the Mahâbhârata. He is
the third of the Pândava brothers, the son of Indra by Pṛitha (or Kuntî)— hence referred to
throughout the poem as the son of Pṛithâ, or again as the son of Kuntî (in
Sanskrit Pârtha and Kaunteya). His individual exploits are related at great
length in the epic, each one being of interest. As the warrior-hero par
excellence, his achievements are foremost in the martial line; thus Arjuna is
represented as the favorite pupil of Droṇa (q.v.), as being instructed in arms
by the gods themselves (from whom he obtained celestial weapons as well as his
remarkable bow, Gâṇḍîva, q.v.). By means of his prowess in arms he was chosen
by Draupadî (q.v.) as husband at her svayamvara (‘self choice’). During a self-imposed
exile, Arjuna traveled to Pâtâla (the Antipodes, the name by which America was
known in ancient Hindűsthân) and there was wooed by the princess
Ulűpî, who wedded him (see S.D.II, 214).
Arjuna is best known in his relationship with Krishna: the manner in which Krishna became Arjuna’s charioteer is related as follows. When it became apparent that a war was to be waged between the Kurus and the Pâṇḍavas, both Duryodhana and Arjuna hastened to Kṛishṇa in order to obtain his aid. Duryodhana arrived first, but Kṛishṇa was in bed asleep: he was still reposing when Arjuna reached the palace, so he stationed himself at the foot of Kṛishṇa’s bed, so that upon awaking his eyes rested on his brother-in-law (Arjuna was married to Kṛishṇa’s sister, Subhadrâ). Immediately each hero implored Kṛishṇa to aid his cause: but the latter declared that he would not fight in the coming battle, that he would act solely as an advisor; and as each was entitled to his help, Kṛishṇa gave his petitioners the choice of his splendidly equipped army to the one side, and to the other himself as advisor. Duryodhana having arrived first was given first choice, and he chose the army, whereupon Arjuna was over joyed to accept Kṛishṇa as his advisor, and the latter agreed to act as his charioteer in the battle. Because of this Arjuna was victorious.
Of especial interest is the fact that there is
a second dialog between Kṛishṇa and Arjuna in the Mahâbhârata, known as the Anu-gîtâ, which is even more philosophical and more occult than the first dialog, but as it is more difficult of comprehension and deals with more abstruse subjects it is not so well known. (See S.D.I,94-6.)
“Arjuna, who was
was intended to represent the human
(N. B. G. 11)
“Krishna is the seventh principle in man, and his gift of his sister in marriage to Arjuna typifies the union between the sixth and the fifth.”
(N. B. G. 9) (m. white, clear; cf. ṛijra and *raj or *rańj, to redden, to glow, also illuminate. B.G.2)
Ârya A respectable, honorable, or faithful man; also an inhabitant of Aryâvarta (or India). In later times the word is used as a title for the first three castes of ancient India. (*ri, to rise, to tend upwards. B.G.p.iii)
Aryaman The chief of the Pitris (q.v.). Also the name of one of the Âdityas (q.v.). (m. a bosom friend. B.G. 75)
Aryana (see Aryaman)
Not-being, non-being: applied in Hindu philosophy to the manifested universe as
being illusory, unreal, false, in contradistinction to Sat—Be-ness, Reality. In
this sense Asat is “Nature, or the illusive shadow of its one true essence.”
(Theos. Gloss. 33) (comp. a, not; sat, being, be-ness. B.G. 119)
Asita One of the Vedic Ṛishis a descendant of Kaśyapa closely associated with Devala (q.v.). (B.G. 72)
Asura Originally the word stood for the supreme spirit (being so used in the Ṛig-Veda) and equivalent to the Zoroastrian Ahura Mazda; then it became applied to deities, such as Indra, Agni, and Varuṇa; later still it denoted a class of elemental beings evil in nature, and consequently Asuras are termed demons. The Taitti rîya-Brâhmana represents the Asuras as being created from the breath of Brahmâ-Prajâpati, likewise the Laws of Manu, but the Purâṇas indicate that they sprang from his thigh. “Esoterically, the Asuras, transformed subsequently into evil Spirits and lower gods, who are eternally at war with the great deities — are the gods of
the Secret Wisdom. . . . They are the sons of the primeval Creative Breath at the begining of every new Mahakalpa, or Manvantara; . . . Evidently they have been degraded in Space and Time into opposing powers or demons by the ceremonialists,” (S.D.II,500-1). (*as, to breathe. B.G. 65)
Aśvattha The pippala, the
sacred Indian fig tree, ficus religiosa. In Buddhism called the Bodhi-tree — the
tree under which the Buddha received full illumination. Mystically, the ‘Tree of
Life,’ the great World Tree, symbolic both of the vital structure of the
universe and of the cosmic hierarchies in all their various inter-relations. The
roots of the
Aśvattha “represent the Supreme Being, or First Cause, the Logos; but one
has to go beyond those roots to unite oneself with Kṛishṇa, . . . Its boughs are
the highest Dhyan
Chohans or Devas. The Vedas are its leaves. He only who goes beyond the roots
shall never return, i.e., shall reincarnate no more during this ‘age’ of
(See B.G. 105.) (m. ‘under which horses stand’: aśva, a horse; ttha fr. sthâ, to stand. B.G.74)
Aśvatthâman The son of Droṇa and Kṛipâ (sister of Kṛipa, q.v.): one of the generals in the army of the Kauravas. He was one of the three surviving warriors at the end of the war, and was then made commander. (B.G.3)
Aśvins (or more correctly Aśvinau, the word itself meaning ‘the two horsemen’). Two Vedic deities represented as twin horsemen, harbingers of Ushas, the dawn. They appear in the sky in a chariot drawn by golden horses, or again by birds. Their attributes pertain to youth and beauty. They are regarded as the physicians of the gods, and avert from mankind sickness and misfortune; hence many Vedic hymns are addressed to them. Yâska, the celebrated commentator of the Vedas, referring to the ‘twin horsemen’ as precursors of light and the dawn, held that they represent the transition from darkness to light, and the intermingling of both produces that inseparable duality which is expressed by the twin nature of the Aśvinau H.P.Blavatsky remarks: “ . . . these twins are, in the esoteric philosophy, the Kumâra-Egos, the reincarnating ‘Principles’ in this Manvantara.” (Theos. Gloss. 41) (B.G. 78)
Bhagavad-Gîtâ lit. Krishna’s song (or divine song). The philosophical discourse between Arjuna and Krishna, the latter being represented as the Avatâra of Vishṇu, but acting as Arjuna’s charioteer. It is cast in the traditional form of question and answer between disciple and teacher in verses of metrical prose termed lokas. The meter is called Anu-shṭubh and consists of four pâdas or quarter verses of eight syllables each, or two lines of sixteen syllables each. The dialog is placed in the sixth book of the Mahâbhârata entitled the Bhîshma-parva (the book. of Bhîshma) śokas 830-1532 thereof. “The work is pre-eminently occult or esoteric,” writes H.P.Blavatsky in Theosophical Glossary, p. 56, and also states in The Secret Doctrine that there is a “secret sense contained in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ.” (II, 139)
“The main object of the Bhagavad Gîtâ — which is one of the main sources of Hindu philosophy — is to explain the higher principles that operate in the cosmos, which are omnipresent and permanent and which are common to all the solar systems.” (N. B. G. 108) (comp. bhagavat, holy, divine; also a name of Kṛishṇa; gîtâ, song.)
Bharata The name of a great number of kings and heroes. The one referred to in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ is of the Puru branch (or Pauravas) of the Chandravaṇśa (Lunar Race), the son of Dushyanta and Śakuntalâ. The ninth king in descent from Bharata was Kuru, and the seventeenth from Kuru was Yudhisḥṭhira and his four brothers, i.e., the Pâṇḍavas. (B.G.11)
Bhârata A descendant of Bharata: referable to either the Kauravas or the Pâṇḍavas, but most often applied solely to the latter. Arjuna is often referred to as ‘son of Bharata’ or ‘best of the Bharatas.’ (B. G. 11)
Bhîma The second son
of Kuntî by the god of the wind, Vâyu. All through the Mahâbhârata the
remarkable achievements of Bhîma provide entertaining reading: his feats of
valor and strength are unsurpassable, especially those performed with his
enormous club. He shared with Arjuna the honors of valorous exploits in the
great conflict, in which the Pâṇḍavas were finally victorious.
(m. the terrible. B.G.3)
Bhîshma The son of king Śantanu and the river-goddess Gangâ Although the rightful heir
to the throne of the
Kurus, he relinquished the kingdom so that the children of his father’s second
wife, Satyavatî, might rule instead, but he remained the protector to the
throne. Thus he was the ancestor of both the Kauravas and the Pâṇḍavas (referred
to in the text as the grandsire of the Kurus). He was persuaded to side with the
sons of Dhṛitarâshṭra and was made the commander-in-chief. He was mortally
wounded on the tenth day of the conflict, but as he had been granted the boon to
terminate his life whenever he wished, Bhîshma remained alive for 58 days and
instructed Yudhishṭhira in the duties of a king.
(m. the terrible. B.G.2)
Bhṛigu One of the most celebrated of the Vedic Ṛishis or Sages, regarded as the ancestor of the Bhârgavas (in which race Paraśu-Râma was born). He is known as one of the ten Prajâpatis (or mind-born sons of Brahmâ — regarded as the fathers of the human race). He is also regarded as one of the nine great Ṛishis (in the Vishṇu-Purâṇa). The Laws of Manu were confided to Bhṛigu and Manu called him his son. Some hymns in the Ṛig-Veda are at tributed to the Ṛishi (B.G.74)
Bhűtas The decaying remnants of corpses in the astral world — the real part of man having dropped off these grossest portions of its former vehicle; hence phantoms or ‘shells’, the eidola or shades of the ancients. They are popularly believed to haunt burial places, etc., for these remnants, although in the astral world (and invisible), are still attracted to the localities of their former physical associations. (*bhű, to be come; lit. ‘has-beens’, i.e., entities that formerly lived and have passed on. B.G.68)
Brahmâ The first aspect of the Hindu Triműrti (or triad), the emanator or ‘creator’ — the other two being Vishṇu, the ‘preserver,’ and śiva, the ‘destroyer,’ or rather the ‘regenerator.’ The idea of the Triműrti is not found in the Vedas, nor does the name Brahmâ occur; the active creator is therein known as Hiraṇyagarbha, or Prajâpati: in later times the term Prajâpati was bestowed on Brahmâ (meaning ‘the Progenitor’). In Manu it is said that the supreme soul, the self existent lord created the waters and deposited in them a seed, which seed became a golden egg (Hiraṇyagarbha) in which he himself was born as Brahmâ, the progenitor of all the worlds.
The idea of the Triműrti is of course present in the epic poems: Brahmâ is represented as springing from the lotus which arose from the navel of Vishṇu. From Brahmâ then rise the mind-born Sons (the Prajâpatis) who people the world. In the Purâṇas (especially in Vishṇu-Purâṇa), Vishnu becomes more prominent than Brahmâ: the latter is represented as being in its totality the aspect of Prakṛiti (q.v.), both evolved and unevolved (Műlaprakṛiti), and also the aspect of Spirit, and the aspect of Time.
Brahmâ is in fact the vehicle or sheath of Brahman: the spiritual evolving or developing energy-consciousness of a solar system, i.e., the Logos, deriving from Brahman. It should be pointed out that the Sanskrit word Brahman is both masculine and neuter, and therefore has two meanings: in order to distinguish these, in Theosophical literature the masculine is spelled Brahmâ (the nominative form), whereas the neuter is spelled Brahman (q.v.).
“Brahmâ, as ‘the germ of unknown Darkness,’ is the material from which all evolves and develops ‘as the web from the spider, as foam from the water,’ etc. . . . Brahmâ ‘expands’ and becomes the Universe woven out of his own sub-
stance.” (S.D.I,83). (*bṛiḥ to expand, to grow, also meaning to fructify.)
(B.G.56 — where it should be spelled Brahman. See B.G.61.)
a life of philosophic and religious training — usually applicable to the first
stage in the life of a Brâhmaṇa of ancient times, signifying the state of an
unmarried religious student of the Vedas. (comp. Brahman, the Cosmic Spirit —
in some cases meaning spiritual wisdom’; charya, conduct). The person following
this mode of life is called a Brahmachârin.
Brahman The impersonal and uncognisable Principle of the Universe, implying both the aspect of essential consciousness and that of substance: thus it represents the spiritual back ground of the Universe, the Cause of all Causes. “The student must distinguish between Brahma the neuter, and Brahmâ, the male creator of the Indian Pantheon. The former, Brahma or Brahman, is the impersonal, supreme and uncognisable Principle of the Universe from the essence of which all emanates, and into which all returns, which is incorporeal, immaterial, unborn, eternal, beginningless and endless. It is
all-pervading, animating the highest god as well as the smallest mineral atom. Brahmâ, on the other hand, the male and the alleged Creator, exists periodically in his manifestation only, and then again goes into pralaya, i.e., disappears and is annihilated.” (Theos. Gloss. 62)
Brahman is what is called in Theosophy the Unmanifest Logos: through and from It, therefore, arises Brahmâ (q.v.). (*bṛih, to expand, to grow. B.G.58)
Brâhmaṇa (often Anglicized as BRAHMAN or BRAHMIN) The highest of the four castes into which the social classes of Hindűsthân were divided in post-Vedic times. Originally a Brâhmana was one who had been twice-born (i.e., a dvîja, or an initiate), but in decadent times the term came to be used simply as a hereditary prerogative, and hence applied to the members of the priestly caste. (B.G. 127)
Bṛihaspati The deity who represents the worshiper of the gods: the suppliant and sacrificer, designated as the Purohita (family priest), because he intercedes with the gods on behalf of mankind, and likewise protects the righteous men from the wicked. He is often called the
father of the gods because of his creative powers, and is named the shining one, the golden colored one. Bṛihaspati is also the regent of the planet Jupiter. The lengthy legend about his wife, Târâ, being carried off by Soma, the moon, and the consequent war in heaven (the Târakâmaya) is related in The Secret Doctrine (II,498-9) and is there interpreted by H.P.Blavatsky. (comp. bṛiḥ, as noun, ‘prayer,’ fr. *bṛiḥ, to grow great, to expand; pati, lord. B.G.74)
Bṛihat-Sâman The name of the hymns in the
Sâma-Veda, written in the
Bṛihatî meter, i.e., meters of 36 syllables (originally written 8-8-12-8). (comp. Bṛihat, the Brihatî meter; Sâman, a sacred verse to be sung. B.G.76)
Buddhi The sixth principle in the Theosophical classification of man’s component parts. As the vehicle for Universal Spirit, Buddhi is inseparably linked with Âtman and regarded as its vehicle. It is the channel for the divine inspiration which streams from Âtman, as well as the faculty of discrimination, and the knowledge of discrimination between good and evil, hence spiritual consciousness. When awakened in man the Buddhic principle evokes compassionate love
for all, instant understanding, and intuition. A man so fully awakened is termed a Buddha. . . the Spiritual Soul (Buddhi) . . conceals a mystery which is never given to any one, with the exception of irrevocably pledged chelas,” (The Key to Theosophy,119-20). (*budh, to awaken, to enlighten. B.G.28)
Chakra A word with a number of meanings: a wheel; a circle; a discus — the weapon of Vishṇu (hence also a symbol of the deity); a cycle or period of time; also the physiological centers of prânic vitality in the human body. In Buddhism the chakra is a favorite symbol, especially associated with Gautama the Buddha, for he is represented as setting a new chakra in motion: his disciples, in broadcasting his message are often referred to as ‘turning the wheel.’ As the weapon of Vishṇu, the chakra means “the whirling wheel of spiritual will and power.” (W.Q.Judge, in footnote, B.G.80.)
Chekitâna An ally of the Pâṇḍavas: a son of Dhṛishṭaketu (or Kaikeya), the father-in-law of Kṛishṇa and Râja of the Kekayas, (one of the chief nations in the war of the Mahâbharata). (B.G.2)
Chitraratha The king of the Gandharvas (q.v.). (m. having a fine car. B.G.74)
Daityas lit. Descendants of Diti — by the Ṛishi Kaśyapa The daityas are the titans (popularly called demons), constantly warring with the gods; at times they are the victors, at others the vanquished. “The first war happened in the night of time, between the gods [And] the (A)-suras, and lasted for the period of one ‘divine year.’ On this occasion the deities were defeated by the Daityas, under the leadership of Hrada. After that, owing to a device of Vishṇu, to whom the conquered gods applied for help, the latter defeated the Asuras. In the Vishṇu Purâna no interval is found between the two wars. In the Esoteric Doctrine, one war takes place before the building of the Solar system; another, on earth, at the ‘creation’ of man;” S.D.I,419). The meaning of the wars is, therefore, that the Daityas represent the urgers of evolutionary progress in the cosmic scheme. B.G.75)
Dasra One of the twin sky deities, the Aśvins (q.v.), father of Sahadeva—the fifth Pâṇḍava— by Mâdrî. (The text is incorrectly spelled
‘Darsa’ — B.G.p.iv) (m. accomplishing wonderful deeds.)
Deva A divinity, a spiritual being. In the plural the reference is to the heavenly or shining ones called in the Ṛig-Veda (ii, 3, 4) viśve devâs ‘all the gods,’ — often reckoned as 33 (figuring 11 for each of the ‘three worlds’), or again as the 8 Vasus, the 11 Rudras, the 12 Âdityas, and the 2 Aśvins. This is also the enumeration in the Mahâhârata. The three worlds are the “three planes above us.” (Theos. Gloss. 98) The word is generally rendered ‘god,’ although incorrectly, as pointed out by Subba Row: “Do not make the mistake of thinking that the word Deva means a god, and that because we have thirty-three crores of Devas, we therefore worship thirty-three crores of gods. This is an unfortunate blunder generally committed by Europeans. Deva is a kind of spiritual being, and because the same word is used in ordinary parlance to mean god, it by no means follows that we have and worship thirty-three crores of gods. These beings, as may be naturally inferred, have a certain affinity with one of the three component upadhis [basic principles] into which we have
divided man” (N.B.G.37-8)— i.e., the upâdhi of the Kâraṇa-śarîra (fr. div, the sky, the heaven. B.G.74)
Devachan A Sanskrit-Tibetan compound word (deva, a divine being, deity; chan, region): the heaven-world. The state of the ego after death between earth-lives, when it rests in utter bliss and perfect repose. In this state all the spiritual aspirations and intellectual yearnings of the past life find fulfillment. Devachan is “an absolute oblivion of all that gave it pain or sorrow in the past incarnation, and even oblivion of the fact that such things as pain or sorrow exist at all. The Devachanee lives its intermediate cycle between two incarnations surrounded by everything it had aspired to in vain, and in the companionship of everyone it loved on earth. It has reached the fulfillment of all its soul-yearnings. And thus it lives throughout long centuries an existence of unalloyed happiness” (The Key to Theosophy, 148). (B.G.51)
Devadatta The name of the conch-shell of Arjuna. This conch was given to Arjuna by his parent Indra, the deity of the sky, upon the successful conclusion of the expedition which he
was requested to make against the daityas of the sea, who had been troubling the deities. They were vanquished by Arjuna. (m. god-given. B.G.3)
Devala A Vedic Ṛishi descendant of Kaśyapa: he is credited with having written some of the hymns of the Vedas, particularly Ṛig-Veda ix. (B.G.72)
Deva-sthâna lit. ‘The place of a deity,’ or any place in which a deity stays or has its abode. Equivalent to Deva-loka (the word usually employed). (comp. deva, a divine being, a deity; sthâna, a place, an abode. B.G.67)
Dhanańjaya (or Dhanaṃjaya) A name of Arjuna. (comp. dhana, prize, wealth, riches; jaya, winner, conqueror: hence ‘winner of the prize’ or ‘conqueror of wealth.’ B.G.16)
Dhṛishṭadyumna The brother of Draupadî, son of Drupada, the king of Pańchâla. He was made the commander-in-chief of the Pâṇḍava army, and accomplished the death of Droṇa, after losing his own father in the great conflict. (m. confident in strength. B.G.4)
Dhṛishṭaketu An ally of the Pâṇḍavas: son of Śiśupâla the king of the land of the Chedis — living in the district of the modern Bundelkhand (or Bundelcund). The Chedis were renowned for their attachment to ancient laws and institutions. (m. confident in clearness. B.G.2)
Dhṛitarâshṭra The eldest son of Kṛishṇa Dvaipâyana Vyâsa and Ambikâ (widow of Vichitravîrya) being born blind. He was the father by Gândhârî of Duryodhana (the eldest of 100 sons), to whom he relinquished the government of his kingdom at Hastinâpura. Therefore he sided with the Kauravas (i.e., the sons of Kuru, as Duryodhana and his followers were called) rather than with the Pâṇḍavas, the sons of his half-brother Pâṇḍu. Vyâsa offered Dhṛitarashṭra vision, but he refused the gift inasmuch as he could not bear the sight of the fratricide and slaughter in the oncoming battle at Kurukshetra; nevertheless, taking a keen interest in the proceedings, as the opening stanzas show, he has Sańjaya narrate every event that occurs. With the final victory of the Pâṇḍavas, Dhṛitarashṭra enthrones Yudhishṭhira at Hastinâpura, and with his wife, Gândhârî, and Kuntî, he retires to the
forest, where all lose their lives in a conflagration.
W. Q. Judge suggests the interpretation that Dhṛitarashṭra stands for man’s physical body — viewing the story from the standpoint of the evolutionary development of man. (m. he whose empire stands firm. B.G.1)
Doab (Hindustani) A region of land situated between two rivers. The particular reference is to the country between the Jumnâ and Sarasvatî rivers, which in ancient times was the land of the Kurus. (Also written duab, fr. Persian, dű, two; âb, water; from the Sanskrit, dva, two; âp, water. B.G.p.iii)
Draupadî The patronymic of Kṛishṇâ, the daughter of Drupada, king of Pańchâla. At a svayamvara (a gathering for a display of feats of skill for the purpose of allowing a king’s daughter to choose a bridegroom) Draupadî selected Arjuna as her bridegroom, but when he returned with his four brothers to his mother, Kuntî, and announced that they had made a great acquisition, she told them that they were obliged to share it. Because of this and also through the insistence of their ancestor, the sage Vyâsa, it was decided that she should become
the wife of the five brothers. The Mahâbhârata also relates that in a previous life Draupadî had received the boon that she should be wedded to five husbands. The Draupadeyas (i.e., sons of Draupadî) referred to in the text, were the five sons of the Pâṇḍavas, by name: Prativindhya (by Yudhishṭhira), Sutasoma (by Bhîma); Śrutakîrti (by Arjuna), Śatânîka (by Nakula); Śrutasena (by Sahadeva).
Symbolically Draupadî represents ‘the terrestrial life of the personality.’
Droṇa A Brâhmaṇa son of Bharadvâja, who
married Kṛipâ the half-sister of Bhîshma, by whom he had a son, Aśvatthâman He was âchârya
(teacher of the military art) to the Kaurava princes as well as to the Pâṇḍavas. Although loving the princes equally, nevertheless because of his
relationship to Bhîshma, he sided with the Kauravas in the great conflict at
Kurukshetra. The words spoken to the ‘preceptor’ in the second loka (as
narrated by Sańjaya — B.G. 2) were addressed by Duryodhana to his teacher,
Droṇa. When Bhîshma was mortally wounded on the field of battle,
commander in-chief of the Kaurava army.
Drupada The son of Pṛishata, king of Pańchâla (the region adjacent to the land of the Kurus), father of Dhṛishṭadyumna (‘the clever son’ referred to in the text). He was also the father of Draupadî (the wife of the a Pâṇḍavas). His son was made commander-in-chief of the Pâṇḍava army. (B.G. 2)
Duryodhana The eldest son of Dhṛitarashṭra and Gândhârî, leader of the Kurus (or Kauravas) in the conflict with the Pâṇḍavas at Kurukshetra. Because of his blindness, Dhṛitarashṭra had intended to make his brother’s virtuous son, Yudhishṭhira the heir-apparent to his throne, but the Kurus under Duryodhana objected so a strongly that instead he allowed his son to take charge of the government, and turned over a portion of his kingdom — that of Indraprastha— to the Pâṇḍavas. Owing to further machi-nations of the Kurus, Yudhishṭhira lost this kingdom in a game of dice, and Duryodhana forced the Pâṇḍavas into exile for thirteen years. When this period had elapsed, however, Duryodhana refused to give up the kingdom, and as a consequence the great conflict was waged, in which he lost his life. In the Mahâbhârata
Duryodhana represents the forces of evil battling with the forces of light: one story represents him as doing wicked deeds in spite of himself, and realizing this he attempted to put an end to his life. He was prevented from doing this by the imps of darkness, so that he might continue imbodied for their purposes.
Duryodhana is represented as an ambitious, malicious prince, the antithesis of the wise and righteous ruler. (m. difficult to conquer. B.G. 1)
Dvaṃdva A pair of opposites (e.g., heat and cold, joy and sorrow, etc.). The Dvaṃdva compound in the text has reference to a copulative compound, i.e., two members of a compound which are in the same case and likewise may be connected with the conjunction and. (m. two and two: the word is the num. adj. dva, two, reduplicated. B.G. 75)
Dvîpa A zone, region, land, or continent, commonly called ‘island,’ inasmuch as each dvîpa is described as being surrounded by distinct concentric circumambient oceans centering about Mount Meru. Seven dvîpas are enumerated as follows: Jambu, Plaksha, Śâlmalî, Kuśa Krauńcha, Śâka, and Pushkara. Esoterically the
dvîpa refer on the one hand to the seven
globes of the Planetary Chain of this Earth, and
on the other hand to the seven great continents which come successively into existence as
the homes of the seven Root-Races. Jambu-dvîpa corresponds to Globe D of the
Chain, Mount Meru rising from its center.
This dvîpa was divided into nine parts termed varshas (q.v,). (B.G. p.ii)
Gandharvas The musicians and singers of the gods, represented as dwelling in the sky and preparing the heavenly soma-juice for the gods, as they are especially skilled in medicine. In the Vedas they are described as revealing the secrets of heaven and divine truths to men. The Athar-va-Veda mentions that there are 6,333 Gandharvas. “Cosmically — the Gandharvas are the aggregate powers of the solar-fire, and constitute its Forces; psychically — the intelligence residing in the Sushumna, Solar ray, the highest of the seven rays; mystically — the occult force in the Soma (the moon, or lunar plant) and the drink made of it; physically — the phenomenal, and spiritually — the noumenal causes of Sound and the ‘Voice of Nature.’ Hence, they are
called the 6,333 ‘heavenly Singers’ and musicians of Indra’s loka who personify (even in number) the various and manifold sounds in Nature, both above and below.” (S.D.I, 523)(B.G. 74)
Gâṇḍiva (or Gâṇḍîva) A remarkable bow which Arjuna received from the fire-god Agni in order that he might assist the deity in a battle with the god of the sky, Indra. At this time Arjuna also assisted Agni in the burning of the Khâṇḍava forest — an episode in the Mahâbhârata. The bow was originally given by Soma to the god Varuṇa, who in turn passed it on to Agni. It is likewise said to have belonged to Prajâpati, Brahmâ, and Śiva. (B.G. 6)
Ganges (Gańgâ) The sacred river of India, represented in the Purâṇas as taking its rise in the heavens from the toe of Vishṇu, and brought down to earth through the prayers of the sage Bhagîratha, in order to purify the ashes of the sixty thousand sons of king Sagara. (These sons had been destroyed by the angry glance of the sage Kapila.) Gańgâ intended to flood the earth (because of being obliged to descend from her heavenly abode), but the force of the fall
was intercepted by the god Śiva, who caught the river in his matted locks, and allowed it to descend from his brow in seven gentle streams upon the earth. Gańgâ is personified as a goddess, the daughter of Menâ and Himavat (the personification of the Himâlaya mountains). The goddess became the wife of king Śântanu and gave birth to Bhîshma. (B.G. 75)
Garuḍa The bearer of Vishṇu (hence often called Vishṇu-ratha): represented as having the body and limbs of a man but the head, wings, talons, and beak of an eagle; the face being white, the wings red, and the body golden. Garuḍa is regarded as the king of the birds and the great enemy of serpents: his parents were the Vedic sage Kaśyapa and Vinatâ — one of the daughters of Daksha (one of the Prajâpatis). The myths also relate that Garuḍa once took the Amṛita (q.v.) from the gods in order to purchase the freedom of his mother from Kadru. Indra pursued Garuḍa and recovered the Amṛita—although the god of the sky was worsted in the battle for it. Garuḍa is “the symbol esoterically of the great cycle,” (S.D.II, 323), while his son, Jatâyu “is, of course, the cycle of 60,000
years within the great cycle of GARUDA; hence he is represented as his son, or nephew,” (S.D.II, 570). (B.G. 75)
Gâyatrî An ancient meter of 24 syllables (variously arranged, but generally as a triplet of 8 syllables each). The word is also applied specifically to a verse in the Ṛig-Veda, iii, 62, 10:
tat savitur vareṇyam bhargo devasya
dhiyo yo naḥ prachodayât.
Literal translation: “Let us meditate on that excellent splendor of the divine Sun; may it illumine our hearts (minds).” (B.G. 76)
Govinda A name applied to Kṛishṇa It refers to the time of his youth, for he was reared amongst the cowherds. (m. chief of cowherds: go, a cow. B.G. 11)
Guḍâkeśa One of the names given to Arjuna.(m. thick-haired. B.G. 79)
Guru A Teacher, a Preceptor, especially one who imparts spiritual teachings to a disciple.(B.G. 86)
Hanumân (nom,: dict. Hanumat) The celebrated monkey-deity of the Râmâyaṇa son of Pavana, the god of the wind, by Ańjanâ. His exploits partake more of the superhuman than human, thus they are favorite topics among the Hindus from youth to old age. As instances: the epic relates that he jumped from India to Ceylon in one leap; he tore up trees by the roots; he flew to and from the Himalayas bringing healing herbs to the wounded. It is related that he and his monkey host were created by the gods in order to assist Râma in his battle against Râvana and the Râkshasas of Lańkâ (Ceylon). Among mental achievements Hanumân is credited with being a skilled grammarian, and no one could equal him in the śâstras (scriptures) and in the art of explaining them. Arjuna had adopted the traditional representation of Hanumân as his crest. (B.G. 4)
Hari Especially the name of Kṛishṇa as an Avatâra of Vishṇu applied also to Vishṇu and Śiva. (B.G. 79)
Hastinâpura The city founded by king Hastin (the great-great-grandfather of Kuru), which became the capital city of the kings of the
Chandravaṇśa (the ‘Lunar Dynasty’), and the principal city of the Kurus. A great part of the main action of the Mahâbhârata centers about this city. It formed the main objective of the Pâṇḍavas in the great conflict at Kurukshetra (between the Kurus and the Pâṇḍavas), at the conclusion of which the victorious Yudhishṭhira was crowned king after a triumphal entry into the city. Hastinâpura was situated about 57 miles north-east of the modern city of Delhi, on the banks of an old channel of the Ganges river. (m. the city of the elephant — hastin, an elephant. B.G. p.i)
Himâlaya The lofty range of mountains in central Asia. Also known as Himâchala and Himâdri, and personified as Himavat, mythologically considered to be the husband of Menâ and the father of Gangâ (the Ganges river).(B.G. 74)
Hṛishîkeśa A name applied to Kṛishṇa and to Vishṇu. (m. lord of the senses. B.G. 84)
Ikshvâku The son of Vaivasvata-Manu, of whom it is related in mythology that he was born from the nostril of his father when the latter
happened to sneeze! Ikshvâku was the founder of the Sűryavanśa (the ‘solar dynasty’), reigning at Ayodhyâ at the commencement of the Tretâ-Yuga (the second Yuga). (B.G. 30)
Indra The god of the sky and atmosphere: in the Vedas, lord of the deities of the intermediate region (the sky), lord of rain and thunder, and leader of the storm-gods (Maruts, q.v.). He is represented as riding in a: golden car drawn by two tawny horses, waging war upon the demons of darkness (especially Vṛitra the demon of drought, whom he slays; hence he is called Vṛitrajit, and conquering them with his thunder bolt (vajra) and his bow and arrows. Originally Indra was not the chief of the gods, but because of the religious observances instituted necessitating the invocation of the deity of the atmosphere, he superseded the more spiritual Varuṇa thus more Vedic hymns are addressed to Indra than to any other deity, except Agni (q.v.). In later mythology, however, the Triműrti (Brahmâ, Vishṇu, Śiva) became most prominent, therefore Indra was relegated to a subservient position. In Manu he is the regent of Svarga (heaven) with particular watch
over the east quarter, and is considered one of the twelve Adityas (q.v.). He is then represented as riding a white horse (Uchchaiḥśravas q.v.), or an elephant (Airâvata, q.v.).
“Fohat is the scientific aspect of both Vishṇu and Indra, the latter older and more important in the Ṛig Veda than his
(S.D.I, 673).(B.G. 67)
Îśvara ‘Lord’ (used in the same sense as is the term ‘Father in heaven’ in the Christian New Testament), hence the Supreme Self or Hierarch of a system, applicable to the great or to the small — to the universe or to man. In man it is the Divine Spirit, or the Divine-Spiritual Monad. Îśvara is also used as a title for many of the gods, such as Vishṇu and Śiva.
“The Logos, or both the unmanifested and the manifested WORD, is called by the Hindus, Îśvara, ‘the Lord,’ . . . Îśvara, say the Vedantins, is the highest consciousness in nature. ‘This highest consciousness,’ answer the Occultists, ‘is only a synthetic unit in the world of the manifested Logos . . . for it is the sum total of Dhyan Chohanic consciousnesses.’” (S.D.I, 573) (*îś. to rule, to be master. B.G. 130)
Janaka A king of the Mithilâ Dynasty who reigned at Videha, famed for his good works, knowledge, and sanctity: through his righteous life he became a Brâhmaṇa and one of the Râjarshis. He was the father of Sîtâ, who sprang up from the earth from the furrow he had made with his plow. (B.G. 25)
Janârdana In the Purânas the One Cosmic Intelligent Life, manifesting in the threefold aspect of Fashioner, Preserver, and Regenerator (i.e., the Hindű Triműrti — Brahmâ, Vishṇu Śiva). Applied to Kṛishṇa in his avatâric mani- festation of Vishṇu. (*jan, to be born, to come forth; *ard, to move: ‘the ever-born.’ B.G. 72)
Jayadratha A prince of the Chandravanśa (Lunar Dynasty), son of Bṛihanmanas and king of the Sindhus and Sauvîras (tribes living along the Indus river). Jayadratha married Duḥśalâ the daughter of Dhṛitarâshṭra, hence he became an ally of the Kurus in the war with the Pâṇḍavas during which he was slain by Arjuna. (m. having victorious chariots. B.G. 83)
Junnâ The modern Jamna: a river in the Northwest Provinces of India: it joins the Ganges
at Allahâbâd. The strip of land lying between it and the Sarasvatî river was the region of the Kurus in the Mahâbhârata. The Yâdavas ruled over the country west of the Jumnâ. Vyâsa was born on an island situated in this river.(B.G.p. iii)
Kalpa A period of time, a cycle: a generalizing term and therefore used for time-periods of different lengths; chronologers, however, compute a Kalpa by the Life of Brahmâ — minor kalpas are numerous. A Mahâkalpa is often made the equivalent of a Manvantara. (*klṛip, to be in order. B.G. 65)
Kâmadeva The god of love (lit, the god Kâma). The first-born in the Vedas: “Him neither devas, nor pitrîs nor men have equalled. Thou art superior to these and forever great,” chants the Atharva-Veda; while the Ṛig-Veda sings: “Desire first arose in It, which was the primal germ of mind; and which sages, searching with their intellect, have discovered in their heart to be the bond which connects entity with non-entity” (x, 129). Kâmadeva is the lord of the Apsarasas (the celestial nymphs, consorts of the Gandharvas, q.v.), and is represented as
a handsome youth riding on a parrot, attended by the Apsarasas, one of whom bears his banner distinguished by the Makara (q.v.). His bow is made of sugar-cane, and his bow-string a line of bees, while each one of his arrows is tipped with a different flower. The Taittirîya-Brâhmaṇa has it that Kâmadeva was the son of Dharma (moral religious duty, piety, justice) and of Śraddhâ (faith); in another hymn he is born from the heart of Brahmâ and therefore called the Self-Existent (Âtma-bhű), or the Unborn (Aja).
Kâmadeva is in the Ṛig-Veda “the personification of that feeling which leads and propels to creation. He was the first movement that stirred the ONE, after its manifestation from the purely abstract principle, to create,” (S.D.II, 176).
“As Eros was connected in early Greek mythology with the world’s creation, and only after wards became the sexual Cupid, so was Kama in his original Vedic character,” (ibid.). (B.G. 74 — mentioned as ‘the god of love.’)
Kâmaduh (dict.: nom. Kâmadhuk) The mythical cow belonging to the sage Vasishṭha, produced by the gods at the churning of the cos-
mic ocean. (See Ananta.) She is supposed to grant all desires and hence is termed the ‘cow of plenty.’ The alternative form, Kâmadhenu, gives the clue to this meaning: kâma, desire, wish; dhenu, milch-cow. In interpretation of the above allegory: the reference is to the appearance of the Earth in space as the mother of all that later appears on it. (B.G. 23)
Kansa A king of the Yâdava line of the Lunar Dynasty, ruler of the Bhojas, reigning at Mathurâ, who deposed his own father, Ugrasena. Ugrasena was the brother of Devaka, the latter being the father of Devakî, mother of Kṛishṇa.
Kansa is usually called the uncle of Kṛishṇa; strictly speaking, however, he is a cousin. In spite of this relationship, he became the avowed enemy of Kṛishṇa because a prophecy had been foretold to him that a son of Devakî would cause his death. In order to prevent this from happening, Kansa imprisoned Devakî and Vasudeva in his palace and commanded that all infants born to them should be put to death. Six children were so slain, but a seventh, Balarâma, was saved through the connivance of his parents. Then when Kṛishṇa was born, his parents es-
caped from the palace and fled from the city of Mathurâ, whereupon the enraged Kansa ordered all infant boys in the kingdom put to death; but the parents escaped from the realm with Kṛishṇa and the child was brought up by cow-herds in seclusion. Kansa at length learned that Kṛishṇa had escaped destruction and made several attempts to bring about his death: as an instance, he sent Jarâsandha, the king of Magadha, to battle with the young Kṛishṇa eighteen times, but that monarch was as many times defeated. Kṛishṇa finally slew Kansa as was pre- dicted, restored Ugrasena, but left Mathurâ and established his kingdom at Dvârakâ. (B.G. 121)
Kapila One of the famous Ṛishis. There are many sages by the name of Kapila, the last being the founder of the Sânkhya (q.v.) philosophy. A legend relates that while Kapila was engaged in meditation in Pâtâla, he was menaced by the sixty thousand sons of Sagara, where upon the sacred flame which darted from his person immediately reduced the sixty thousand sons to ashes. “That the story is an allegory is seen upon its very face: the 60,000 Sons, brutal, vicious, and impious, are the personification of
the human passions that a ‘mere glance of the sage’ — the SELF who represents the highest state of purity that can be reached on earth — reduces to ashes.” (S.D.II, 571)
“There are several well-known Kapilas in the Purânas. First the primeval sage, then Kapila, one of the three ‘Secret’ Kumâras; and Kapila, son of Kasyapa and Kadrű . . . besides Kapila, the great sage and philosopher of the Kali Yuga.”
(S.D.II, 572) (B.G. 74)
Karma Briefly, the teaching of Karma in the
Bhagavad-Gîtâ (and for that matter throughout the whole of the Mahâbhârata) is,
that man’s actions set in motion causes which in due time react upon their
producer, hence until he can “burst the bonds of Karma and rise above them” he
is in fact chained thereby, and must return to the scene of his actions again
and again, i. e., he is reborn on Earth again and again until he is freed from
the bonds of Karma. The means for freeing himself are inculcated, principally in
chapters iii, v, xiv, and xviii.
(*kṛi, to do, to act: dict. karman, nom. karma. B.G. 15)
Karṇa The son of Pṛithâ (or Kuntî) by Sűrya, the god of the sun, through the instru
mentality of a mantra granted to her by the sage Durvâsas. This occurred before her marriage to Pâṇḍu hence Karṇa was the half-brother of the Pâṇḍavas, although this was not known to them until after his death, which was accomplished by Arjuna during the battle at Kurukshetra. Karṇa had been abandoned by his mother while yet a child: he was found by the sűta (charioteer) of Dhṛitarâshṭra, named Adhiratha (or Nandana), and brought up as his own son. Although knowing his relationship to the Pâṇḍavas, Karṇa sided with the Kauravas, because Duryodhana had given him the kingdom of Ańga. During the great conflict Karṇa was on the point of slaying Arjuna, of whom he was especially envious, but was prevented from doing so by Kṛishṇa (B.G. 2)
Kâśi (or Kâśî A country situated in the vicinity of modern Benares, whose king, Kâśya sided with the Pâṇḍavas. (B.G. 2)
Kauravas (see Kurus)
Keśava A name applied to Kṛishṇa likewise to Vishṇu. (m. having much or fine hair. B.G. 18)
Keśin A daitya (or ‘demon’) slain by Kṛishṇa when
the prince was attacked by
the form of a horse. The daitya was believed to have been sent by Kansa (q.v.) in order to cause the death of Kṛishṇa. (B.G. 121)
Kṛipa The son of the sage Śaradvat. With his sister Kṛipâ he was adopted by king Śântanu (the father of Bhîshma). Kṛipa was one of the privy councillors at Hastinâpura, and was one of the three sole surviving warriors of the conflict on the side of the Kauravas (hence he is referred to in the text as ‘the conqueror in battle’). (B.G. 3)
Kṛishṇa The son of Devakî and Vasudeva (of the Yâdava line of the Chandravanśa—the Lunar Dynasty). (For particulars as to his birth see Kansa.) Kṛishṇa is represented as the eighth Avatâra of Vishṇu in this aspect he is the spiritual teacher, the imbodiment of wisdom; but as with other Saviors, stories and allegories have been woven around him in great abundance. In the Mahâbhârata his story is briefly sketched, yet all his exploits are enumerated: he appears throughout the work mostly as the advisor of the Pâṇḍavas. The life of Kṛishṇa is told in full in the Harivanśa (a work regarded as an addition to the epic), also in great detail in the
Vishṇu- and Bhâgavata-Purânas, and popularized for the multitude in the Prem Sâgar (written in Hindi. The various stories and allegories woven around Kṛishṇa are still the most loved topic among the populace of India today, who revere him as a god. Nevertheless his teachings as outlined in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ are as applicable today in the Occident as in the Orient — although couched in the metaphor and back ground of a people living thousands of years ago. The date of Kṛishṇa’s death is given as 3102 B.C., and this event marked the commencement of the Kali-yuga, the present ‘Iron Age.’ The Bhagavad-Gîtâ itself best describes the avatâric character of Kṛishṇa: it represents the teacher as the Logos, while Arjuna typifies man.
H. P. Blavatsky makes the following interesting comment regarding the successive incarnations of avatâras of Vishṇu (i.e., the Narasinha Avatâra, Râma, and Kṛishṇa) and the successive reincarnations of Daityas. Hiranyakaśipu, the unrighteous but valiant monarch of the Daityas, because of his wickedness was slain by the Avatâra Nara-sinha (Man-lion). “Then he was born as Ravana, the giant king of Lanka, and killed by Rama; after which he is reborn
as Sisupala, the son of Raja-rishi (King Rishi) Damaghosha, when he is again killed by Kṛishṇa, the last incarnation of Vishṇu. This parallel evolution of Vishṇu (spirit) with a Daitya, as men, may seem meaningless, yet it gives us the key not only to the respective dates of Rama and Krishna but even to a certain psychological mystery.” (S.D.II, 225)
(m. dark-colored, black, or blue-black. Kṛishṇa is represented as being very dark-skinned. B.G. 3)
Kṛishṇa Dvaipâyana (see Vyâsa). (B.G.p. iii)
Kṛishṇa-Yajur-Veda lit. ‘the Black Yajur Veda’ — an alternative name for the Taittirîya Saṃhitâ one of the two divisions of this Veda, the other part being known as the White Yajur Veda. It is called ‘black’ (Kṛishṇa) because the Saṃhitâ and Brâhmaṇa portions of this Veda are confused and mixed together, whereas the part named ‘white’ ( is free from this confusion and is arranged in an orderly manner. Vajur-Veda means ‘sacrificial Veda’:—it is a collection of sacred mantras which are practically identical with some of the mantras in the Ṛig-Veda; in fact it is simply a collection, cut
up and rearranged for the priests as a sort of sacrificial prayer-book. The principal sacrifices are those to be performed at the new and full moon, and at the horse-sacrifice (aśvamedha)(B.G. 31)
Kshattriya (or Kshatriya) The second of the
four social classes in the Vedic period: generally called the warrior caste, but
the term refers also to the world of officialdom, i.e., kings, princes,
(see B.G. 127-8).(B.G. 14)
Kshetra A sphere of action, a field, a vehicle. Referred to (in B.G.) as the compounded constitution of the knower, or of the conscious entity, i.e., the body. (B.G. 93)
Kshetrajńa The conscious ego: the cognising and recognising element in the human constitution—Buddhi-Manas (translated ‘soul’ in B.G.). (comp. kshetra, field, i.e., body; jńa, the knower. B.G. 93)
Kuntibhoja (or Kunti) King of the Kuntis (a people of ancient India). This Yâdava prince adopted Pṛitha the daughter of his cousin Śűra, hence she was called Kuntî (q.v.). (B.G. 2)
Kuntî The patronymic of Pṛithâ, the sister of Kṛishṇa's father, Vasudeva, and daughter of a Yâdava prince named Śűra, who gave her to his childless cousin Kunti (or Kuntibhoja), by whom she was adopted — hence she was called Kuntî. As a maiden she paid such respect and devotion to the sage Durvâsas that he taught her a mantra whereby she was enabled to have a child by any god she chose to invoke. In order to test the efficacy of this she invoked the god of the sun, Sűrya, and Karṇa (q.v.) was born: but Kuntî abandoned the child. She chose Pâṇḍu as her husband (at svayamvara). With the aid of her mantra she invoked the god of justice, Dharma, by whom Yudhishṭhira was born; by invoking Vâyu, the god of the wind, Bhîma was born; and by supplication to Indra, the god of the sky, Kuntî gave birth to Arjuna. In the Mahâbhârata Kuntî is represented as the model of maternal affection and devotion, ever watching over the Pâṇḍavas, with whom she spent thirteen years in exile. After the great war she retired with Gândhârî and Dhṛitarâshṭra into the forest, where she perished in a conflagration.
“As Aditi is called Surârani (the matrix or
‘mother’ of the sura gods), so Kuntî, the mother of the Pâṇḍavas, is called in Mahabhârata Pandavârani — which term is already physiologized.” (S.D.II, 527) (B.G. 4)
Kuru A king of the Paurava line of the Chandravanśa (the Lunar Dynasty) reigning at Hastinâpura. He was the son of Samvaraṇa and Tapatî, and the ancestor of Dhṛitarâshṭra and Pâṇḍu by the fourteenth remove. Hence Arjuna is referred to as ‘son of Kuru’ (B.G. 51) or ‘best of the Kurus’ (B.G. 35).
Kurukshetra lit., ‘The field of the Kurus’: a plain situated in the vicinity of modern Delhi, on which was staged the great conflict which forms the principal theme of the Mahâbhârata. (comp. Kuru, and kshetra, field. B.G. 1)
Kurus (or Kauravas) An ancient people in habiting the northwest of India, in the vicinity of the modern Delhi. In the Mahâbhârata they are divided into northern and southern Kurus: the northern occupying one of the four Mahâdvîpas (principal divisions of the known world), and regarded as a country beyond the most northern range of the Himalayas, often described
as a country of everlasting happiness and considered to be the ancient home of the Aryan Race. The southern Kurus were those referred to in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ reigning at Hastinâpura.
In the text (of the B.G.), the reference to the Kurus is applicable to the sons of Dhṛitarâshṭra, although the sons of Pâṇḍu are equally ‘Kurus.’ And so Arjuna is referred to as ‘the best of the Kurus,’ for he was a descendant of Kuru by the fifteenth remove. (B.G. 4)
Kuśa The sacred grass (Poa cynosuroides), used in India at certain religious ceremonies.
H. P. Blavatsky remarks that it has certain
(Theos. Gloss.p.183) (B.G. 46)
Kusumăkara The season of Spring. (comp. kusuma, flower, blossom; âkara, making a quantity of. B.G. 76)
Kűṭastha A philosophical term meaning ‘holding the highest position,’ hence the primordial divinity. As a noun it is often used as a synonym for Îśvara the Divine-Spiritual Monad. Kűṭastha is often used derivatively for Âkâśa (q.v.) and for Műlaprakṛiti (comp. kűṭa, the highest, the summit; stha, standing. B.G.108)
Madhu The name of an asura (q.v.), who was slain by Vishṇu. Madhu and his companion Kaiṭabha sprang from the ear of Vishṇu while the deity was resting at the end of a kalpa. These two asuras took advantage of the sleep of the god to approach Brahmâ, who was also resting, and were on the point of putting him to death but Vishṇu awoke and frustrated them in their plot by immediately slaying the asuras. Because of this act Vishṇu is known by the names of Madhusűdana (slayer of Madhu) and Kaiṭabhajit (causing the death of Kaiṭabha).
W. Q. Judge suggests that Madhu represents
the quality of passion in nature
(B.G. 49). Kṛishṇa was also called Madhusűdana. (B.G. 9)
Madhusűdana A name applied to Kṛishṇa Vishṇu (Kṛishṇa in the aspect of Vishṇu). (comp. Madhu (q.v.); sűdana, slayer. B.G. 9) Also the name of many Sanskrit authors. (B.G. 51)
Mâdrî A sister of the king of the Madras, who became the second wife of Pâṇḍu. By means of the mantra given her by Kuntî (q.v.), she became the mother of Nakula and Sahadeva by the twin Aśvins (the sky-gods). At the
death of Pâṇḍu, Mâdrî ascended the funeral
pyre with her husband’s corpse.
Mahâbhârata lit. ‘The great (war) of the Bhâratas.’ The great epic poem of Hindűsthân, consisting of about 215,000 lines of metrical prose, which are divided into 18 parvas (books or sections). The main theme of the work is the recounting of the history of the later scions of the Chandravanśa (Lunar Dynasty) dealing especially with the exploits of the Kurus and the Pâṇḍavas, culminating in the great conflict which forms the major portion of the epic. Not only does it follow the achievements of its principal characters, for the ramifications of the narrative consider innumerable stories and allegories with a wealth of description and fancy unequalled in the realm of fiction; but every phase of the human emotions is dealt with, so that this epic has been the source of material for dramas and stories for succeeding generations. The mythological and religious aspect of the people of ancient times is set forth, as regards both the allegories of the deities and the priestly ceremonial observances; philosophical discourses abound (the Bhagavad-Gîtâ being but a single
instance); teachings in regard to Karman and Reincarnation are expounded as well as illustrated in story-form (see under Draupadî and Śikhaṇḍin); moral and ethical lessons are repeatedly inculcated, while the traditions and legends of the Bhâratas are stressed at all times, featuring all the exploits of a war-like race. The tale of Râma (which forms the basis for the second great epic of India, the Râmâyaṇa is told in full, as is also the story of Śakuntalâ (later dramatized by Kâlidâsa). Unquestionably the Mahâbhârata is a work intended for the populace, therefore it is written in a manner which would appeal to the people of that time, and deals principally with battles. Its compilation is attributed to Vyâsa (q.v.). “No two Orientalists agree as to its date. But it is undeniably extremely ancient.” (Theos. Gloss. 201) from the first appearance of the Aryan race . . . down to the final disappearance of Plato’s small island of Atlantis, the Aryan races had never ceased to fight with the descendants of the first giant races. This war lasted till nearly the close of the age which preceded the Kali Yug, and was the Mahabhâratean war so famous in Indian History.” (S.D.II, 395) (B.G. p.i)
Maharshi lit. ‘Great Sage’ (great Ṛishi): referring especially to the ten Maharshis who were the ‘mind-born sons’ of Prajâpati (or Manu Svâyambhuva) enumerated in Manu (i, 34) as: Marîchi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Prachetas, Vasishtha, Bhrigu, Nârada. They are also called the ten Prajâpatis. Sometimes they are referred to as seven only — as in ch. x, śl. 6, rendered as “the seven great Sages,” B.G. 71. (See Ṛishi)
“Every nation has either the seven and ten Rishis-Manus and Prajâpatis; . . . One and all have been derived from the primitive Dhyan Chohans of the Esoteric doctrine, or the ‘Builders’ of the Stanzas (Book I). From Manu, Thoth-Hermes, Oannes-Dagon, and Edris-Enoch, down to Plato and Panodorus, all tell us of seven divine Dynasties, of seven Lemurian, and seven Atlantean divisions of the Earth; of the seven primitive and dual gods who descend from their celestial abode and reign on Earth, teaching mankind Astronomy, Architecture, and all the other sciences that have come down to us. These Beings appear first as ‘gods’ and Creators; then they merge in nascent man, to finally emerge as ‘divine-Kings and Rulers.’” (S.D.II, 365-6)
(comp. mahâ, great; ṛishi, a Sage or Seer. B.G. 81)
Mahâtman lit. ‘Great Soul’ or ‘Great Self’ — comp. of mahâ, great; âtman, Self. In India today the word (Anglicized as Mahatma) is applied as a title to a man of outstanding achievement, although in ancient times it referred to a man of outstanding spiritual attainment, as mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ. In Theosophical literature the word is employed technically for those beings farther advanced evolutionally than ordinary men, who are also referred to as the Masters of Wisdom, or the Sages and Seers. (B.G. 55)
Maheśvara lit. ‘Great Lord,’ a term applied to the ‘spirit.’ Also a title applied to Śiva (the third member of the Hindű Triműrti). (comp. mahâ, great; îśvara, lord, master. B.G. 96)
Mahusudana (should be Madhusudana, q.v. The name of many Sanskrit writers.
Makara A sea-animal: the vehicle of Varuṇa (god of the ocean). It is variously described: as a fish, a shark, a dolphin, or a crocodile; however, in the legends it is depicted as having
the head and forelegs of an antelope and the body and tail of a fish — very similar to Capricornus, and like it, allocated to the tenth sign of the Zodiac. Makara is “now the most sacred and mysterious of the signs of the Zodiac.”
(S.D.II, 268) (B.G. 75)
Manas The seat of mind and consciousness of egoity: the real man. In the Theosophical classification of man’s principles, the fifth (counting upwards): regarded as the child of Mahat, hence called Mânasaputra.
“Manas is a ‘principle,’ and yet it is an ‘Entity’ an individuality or Ego. He is a ‘God,’ and yet he is doomed to an endless cycle of incarnations, .
In its very essence it is THOUGHT, and is, therefore, called in its plurality Manasaputra, ‘the Sons of the (Universal) mind.’“ (The Key to Theosophy, 183-4)
“Manas, or the Thinker, is the reincarnating being, the immortal who carries the results and values of all the different lives lived on earth or elsewhere. Its nature becomes dual as soon as it is attached to a body.” The reasoning faculty “is the lower aspect of the Thinker or Manas,
Its other, and in theosophy higher, aspect is the intuitional, which knows, and does not depend on reason.” (The Ocean of Theosophy, 54) (B.G. 53)
Maṇipushpaka The name of the conch-shell of Sahadeva. (m. jewel-flowered. B.G. 4)
Manu In the Laws of Manu it is stated that Manu was created by Virâj: he then produced the ten Prajâpatis (q.v.), who in turn produced seven other Manus; each of these Manus again produced seven Manus. Fourteen Manus, how ever, are allocated to the seven globes of a planetary chain, two to each: one appears at the commencement of a Round (called the Root-Manu) and one at the conclusion (the Seed-Manu), the interval between the two Manus being termed a Manvantara. The Manu in charge of our present Fourth Round is named Vaivasvata Manu (q.v.). The four Manus (mentioned on p. 71 B.G.) refer to the Manus of the four Rounds, the fourth Round being now in progress. (See Maharshi and Ṛishi.)
Esoterically Manu stands for the entities collectively which appear first at the beginning of manifestation: it is the spiritual ‘Tree of Life’
of any planetary chain of manifested being. “Manu declares himself created by Virâj, or Vaiswanara, (the Spirit of Humanity), which means that his Monad emanates from the never resting Principle in the beginning of every new Cosmic activity:” (S.D.II, 311).
“Notwithstanding the terrible, and evidently purposed, confusion of Manus, Rishis, and their progeny in the Purânas, one thing is made clear: there have been and there will be seven Rishis in every Root-Race (called also Manvantara in the sacred books) as there are fourteen Manus in every Round, the ‘presiding gods, the Rishis and Sons of the Manus’ being identical. .‘Six’ Manvantaras are given, the Seventh being our own in the Vishnu Purâna.” (S.D.II, 614) (B.G. 30)
Mârgaśîrsha The name of the month in which the full moon enters Mṛigaśirsha (generally applied to Capricornus in the signs of the Zodiac): the tenth or in later times the first month in the year. (B.G. 76)
Marîchi One of the ten Prajâpatis (progenitors) or mind-born Sons of Brahmâ, from whom mankind is descended (according to Manu).
He is also regarded as one of the seven great Ṛishi (q.v.), in the Mahâbhârata. He is the father of the Ṛishi Kaśyapa the Vedic sage, the most prolific of creators, who produced the Nâgas (q.v.). Marîchi is also represented as the chief of the Maruts (q.v.). In Manu the Pitṛis of the Gods are reborn as the sons of Marîchi and his wife Sambhűti. These Pitṛis are the Agnishvâtta Pitṛis, while those called in Manu the ‘Pitṛis of the Demons,’ who are reborn as the sons of Atri, are the Barhishad Pitṛis. (S.D.II, 89) (B.G. 73)
Maruts The storm gods, helpers of Indra: armed with lightning and thunder they ride on the whirlwind and direct storms. They are prominent in the Vedas, being called the sons of Rudra (the storm god), or again sons and brothers of Indra (god of the sky). In the Purânas it is related that the Maruts were born in the following manner: Diti, the wife of Kaśyapa (one of the great Ṛishi was about to give birth to a son, but the embryo was separated by Indra into seven portions, each portion when born being again separated into seven parts. Śiva transformed these into boys, calling them Maruts.
H. P. Blavatsky interprets this legend as
follows: Diti “is the sixth principle of metaphysical nature, the Buddhi of
Akâsa. Diti, the mother of the Maruts, is one of her terrestrial forms, made to
represent, at one and the same time, the divine Soul in the ascetic, and the
divine aspirations of mystic Humanity . . .“ Indra represents the cosmic
principle Mahat, in man “Manas in its dual aspect: as connected with Buddhi; and
as allowing himself to be dragged down by his Kama-principle (the body of passions and desires) .“ The babe allegorizes “the divine and steady will of the
Yogi — determined to resist all such temptations, and thus destroy the passions
within his earthly personality. Indra succeeds again, because flesh conquers
spirit. . . He divides the ‘Embryo’ (of new
divine adeptship, begotten once more by the Ascetics of the Aryan Fifth Race),
into seven portions — a reference not alone to the seven sub-races of the new
Root-Race, in each of which there will be a ‘Manu,’ but also to the seven
degrees of adeptship — and then each portion into seven pieces — alluding to the
Manu-Rishis of each Root-Race, and even sub-race.”
(S.D.II, 614-5) “The Maruts represent (a) the passions that
storm and rage within every candidate’s breast, when preparing for an ascetic life — this mystically; (b) the occult potencies concealed in the manifold aspects of Akâsa’s lower principles — her body, or sthula sarira, representing the terrestrial, lower, atmosphere of every inhabited globe — this mystically and sidereally; (c) actual conscious Existences, Beings of a cosmic and psychic nature.
“At the same time, ‘Maruts’ is, in occult parlance, one of the names given to those EGOS of great Adepts who have passed away, and who are known also as Nirmanakayas;” (S.D.II, 615).(B.G. 73)
Mâyâ As a philosophical term the word has come to be associated with the illusory aspect of man’s thoughts and views as he considers life and his surroundings, endeavoring to interpret and understand things: therefore is Mâyâ rendered ‘illusion.’ One of the traditional explanations of this term given in the Vedânta is: a man sees a coil of rope and believing it to be a serpent instinctively jumps away from it. On looking a second time he realizes that it is but a piece of rope: yet he thought he saw a serpent;
therefore he decides that he was fooled by the illusory nature of things — mâyâ.
“Maya or illusion is an element which enters into all finite things, for everything that exists has only a relative, not an absolute, reality, since the appearance which the hidden noumenon assumes for any observer depends upon his power of cognition.” (S.D.I, 39)
Mâyâ is often used as an equivalent for Avidyâ (ignorance), although properly it should be applied solely to Prakṛiti (q.v.). (*mâ, to measure, with an acquired meaning of to form, to limit. B.G. 31)
Meru Mythologically, a mountain situated in the center of the earth, represented as the abode of the gods, compared to the seed-vessel of a lotus, the leaves of which are formed by the various island-continents (Dvîpas); the river Ganges falls on its summit and flows therefrom to the world in four streams; the regents of the four quarters occupy corresponding faces of the mountain, which is resplendent with gold and gems. “Meru is not ‘the fabulous mountain in the navel or centre of the earth,’ but its roots and foundations are in that navel, though it is
in the far north itself. This connects it with the ‘central’ land ‘that never perishes’;” (S.D.II, 401).
“It is the north pole, the country of ‘Meru,’ which is the seventh division, as it answers to the Seventh principle” (S.D.II, 403). (B.G. 74)
Muni An ascetic, monk, devotee, hermit (especially one who has taken a vow of silence. (*man, to think; hence one of the meanings of the word is ‘a man who has attained union with his inner divinity.’ B.G. 18)
Nâga The word means a snake, especially a cobra; but in the Mahâbhârata it refers to a race of beings inhabiting Pâtâla, the daughter of whose king, Ulűpî, married Arjuna. “But as Pâtâla means the antipodes, and was the name given to America by the ancients, who knew and visited that continent before Europe had ever heard of it, the term is probably akin to the Mexican Nagals the (now) sorcerers and medicine men.” (Theos. Gloss. 222)
One myth relates that the Nâgas were the offspring of the Ṛishi Kaśyapa (the son of Marîchi, q.v.). Regarding this H.P.Blavatsky
wrote: “What is the fable, the genealogy and origin of Kaśyapa, with his twelve wives, by whom he had a numerous and diversified progeny of nâgas (serpents), reptiles, birds, and all kinds of living things, and who was thus the father of all kinds of animals, but a veiled record of the order of evolution in this round?” (S.D.II, 253)
Another tale represents the Nâgas as a semi divine race (the race of Kadrű) inhabiting the waters, or the city of Bhogavatî situated under the earth: they are fabled to possess a human face with serpent-like lower extremities. Ananta (q.v.) is king of the Nâgas.
In The Secret Doctrine the word Nâga stands for a Serpent of Wisdom, a full Initiate — the serpent has ever been used in Occultism as the symbol of immortality and wisdom. “In the Secret Doctrine, the first Nâgas — beings wiser than Serpents — are the ‘Sons of Will and Yoga,’ “ (S.D.,II, 181).
“Some of the descendants of the primitive Nagas, the Serpents of Wisdom, peopled America, when its continent arose during the palmy days of the great Atlantis,” (S.D.II, 182).(B.G. 75)
Nakula The son of Mâdrî (the second wife of Pâṇḍu) and the twin gods of the sky, the Aśvinau: the fourth of the Pâṇḍavas. Mâdrî had been given by Kuntî the use of her mantra for calling to her side a god, but she was clever enough to summon the twin sky-gods, hence she gave birth to two sons: Nakula and Sahadeva. Nakula excelled in the art of training and managing horses, which he learned from Drona. (B.G. 4)
Nara A man. In the Mahâbhârata and the Purâṇas, Nara is sometimes used as an equivalent for Cosmic Purusha (q.v.), ‘Primordial Universal Man,’ and associated with Nârâyaṇa (the Logos). Arjuna is identified with Nara, and Kṛishṇa with Nârâyaṇa — the difference in the human sphere suggesting the difference in the cosmic sphere. Thus, as Subba Row explains, Arjuna represents Nara or the human monad, whereas Kṛishṇa represents the Logos (N.B.G. 9). (B.G. p.viii)
Nârada One of the ten great Ṛishis or Prajâpatis, known as the mind-born sons of Brahmâ. This Ṛishis is credited with the authorship of some of the hymns of the Ṛig-Veda. In the
epic poems he is represented as the virgin-ascetic frustrating creative functions, nevertheless he is a helper of mankind and appears as the friend of Kṛishṇa. Then too Nârada is the leader of the heavenly musicians (Gandharvas, q.v.), the inventor of the vîṇâ (lute); he also descends into Pâtâla (the infernal regions). Nârada is called “in Cis-Himalayan Occultism Pesh-Hun, the ‘Messenger,’ . . . a kind of active and ever incarnating logos, who leads and guides human affairs from the beginning to the end of the Kalpa.” (S.D.II, 48) (B.G. 72)
Nâsatya One of the twin Aśvins (q.v.), the
sky deities. By Mâdrî he became the father of Nakula — the fourth of the Pâṇḍava
brothers. (m. the helpful one.
Nirvâṇa A super-spiritual status: the state of supreme bliss, of complete absorption of the consciousness in pure Kosmic Being: it is the state of those beings who have reached super human knowledge and spiritual illumination and are enabled to live in their own spiritual essence, casting off the inferior parts of the pilgrim monad’s sheaths — such is the meaning of the word Jîvanmukta (a ‘freed monad’). To attain
Nirvâṇa one has to identify oneself with one’s divine Parent (the ‘Father in Heaven’ — the divine Monad). (comp. nir, out or away; vâna, past part. of vâ, to blow, hence ‘blown out’ — referring to man’s lower principles, which are indeed discarded by the Jîvanmukta.) (B.G. 21)
OM (or AUM) The syllable which has come to have a holy significance in India, particularly in Brâhmanical literature. It has the meaning of benediction and affirmation, it opens and closes invocations or prayers (see B.G. 119), and is pronounced by Yogins during meditation.
“It is a compound of three letters a, u, m, which, in the popular belief, are typical of the three Vedas, also of three gods — A (Agni) V (Varuna) and M (Maruts) or Fire, Water and Air. In esoteric philosophy these are the three sacred fires, or the ‘triple fire’ in the universe and Man, besides many other things.” (Theos. Gloss. 240) (B.G. 1)
Oosana (see Uśanas).
Pâńchajanya The name of Kṛishṇa’s conch shell, which he obtained in the following manner: Pańchajana was an elemental of the sea,
using the form of a conch-shell (śankha). He had seized the son of Sândîpani (who had instructed Kṛishṇa in the use of arms), where upon Krishna attacked and slew Pańchajana, taking the shell for use as his conch.
It is significant and interesting that the word Pańchajana itself means ‘five classes,’ having reference to the five lower classes of beings which in a general way were considered by the ancient Hindűs to inhabit the universe. The name therefore could properly be applied to a head of any one such composite group of beings; and to speak of Pańchajana as a ‘demon,’ as Orientalists often do, is to forget the fact that one of the Pańchajana or five classes of animate beings are men, who can hardly be called ‘demons,’ even in the Hindű mythological sense. (m. lit, descended from Pańchajana. B.G. 3)
Pâṇḍu The son of Kṛishṇa Dvaipâyana Vyâsa and Ambâlikâ, half-brother of Dhṛitarâshṭra, and parent of the five hero princes — Yudhishṭhira, Bhîma, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva — who were known as the Pâṇḍavas (i.e., Sons of Pâṇḍu). When Pâṇḍu became of age, he was given the throne of Hastinâpura by his regent-
uncle Bhîshma, because Dhṛitarâshṭra was
considered unfit to rule the kingdom on account of his blindness. Pâṇḍu,
however, relinquished the kingdom because of a curse pronounced upon him while
hunting, and retired to the Himâlayas, where he died.
Pâṇḍus (or Pâṇḍavas) The sons of Pâṇḍu, referring to the five brothers — Yudhishṭhira, Bhîma, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva — who sought to regain their kingdom of Indraprastha, which had been taken from them by the Kauravas under the leadership of Duryodhana. This led to the great battle at Kurukshetra, in which the Pâṇḍavas were victorious. (B.G. 2)
Parabrahman lit. Beyond Brahman, i.e., that which is beyond the summit of a manifested kosmic hierarchy; referred to in Vedic literature as TAT, THAT (the world of manifestation being Idam, This). Parabrahman is very closely connected with Műlaprakṛiti (Root-Substance) in asmuch as Műlaprakṛiti is the veil of Parabrahman (N.B.G. 62). Kṛishṇa speaks of Parabrahman as his Avyaktaműrti, because Parabrahman “is unknowable, and only becomes knowable when manifesting itself as the Logos”
or Îśvara (N.B.G. 62). Parabrahman “is the field of Absolute Consciousness, i.e., that Essence which is out of all relation to conditioned existence, and of which conscious existence is a conditioned symbol.” (S.D.I, 15) (comp. parama, beyond; âtman, ‘Universal Spirit.’ B.G. 71)
Paramâtman The Supreme Self. In man Paramâtman is the three highest principles, with especial emphasis upon the âtman, hence the reference is to the root-base of man. The term may likewise apply to the Root-Base of a hierarchy, and cosmically, to the First or Unmanifest Logos of the Universe. (comp. parama, beyond; âtman, Self: hence the SELF which is higher than the Self of the human ego. B.G. 96)
Pauṇḍra The name of the conch-shell of Bhîma. (B.G. 4)
Pâvaka A name applied to one of the eight Vasus (q.v.), the Vasu fire. Also applied to the god of fire, Agni (q.v.). (m. bright, shining. B.G. 74)
Pavana An alternative name for the god of the wind, Vâyu (q.v.). (B.G. 75)
Pimpala (more correctly Pippala) The sacred Indian fig-tree, ficus religiosa, called in Buddhism the Bo-tree. Mystically the Cosmic World-Tree, or Tree of Life, the Aśvattha (q.v.). (B. G. 74)
Pitṛis lit. Fathers: referring to (a) the deceased father, grandfathers, and great grand fathers of a person, and (b), the Progenitors of the human race. To both classes rites are performed (Śrâddhas) and oblations presented (Piṇḍas) — to which the text refers. The Progenitors are of seven groups or classes: the three higher classes are called Arűpa-Pitṛis — commonly Solar Pitṛis or Agnishvâtta-Pitṛis i.e., those who have no physical ‘creative fire’ albeit the enlighteners of the mind of man (the Mânasaputras of The Secret Doctrine); the four lower classes are called Barhishads — commonly Lunar Pitṛis, who fashion mankind’s vehicle, i. e., the Monads undergoing evolution in the Lunar Chain who transfer their energies to the Earth-chain at the time of its reimbodiment. (See Marîchi.)
“The Progenitors of Man, called in India ‘Fathers,’ Pitaras or Pitṛis, are the creators of our bodies and lower principles. They are our-selves, as the first personalities, and we are they.
. . . they were ‘lunar Beings.’ “ (S.D.II, 88) (B.G. 68)
Prahlâda The son of Hiraṇyakaśipu of the Daitya race (i.e., Titans), who waged wars with the gods, in one of which they overcame Indra and took possession of Svarga (heaven). Prahlâda, however, as a boy, instead of following the Daitya practice, became an ardent worshiper of Vishṇu. This was told his father who in anger ordered that his son be killed. But no Daitya weapon could cause his death, nor even the flames of fire, whereupon Prahlâda was sent back to his preceptor and he continued his adoration of Vishṇu. Because of Prahlâda’s per secution, Vishṇu took on incarnation as the Nara sinha (‘man-lion’) Avatâra, slaying Hiraṇyakaśipu and expelling the Daityas from heaven. (See under Kṛishṇa) They took up their abode in Pâtâla under the rule of Prahlâda. At his death Prahlâda attained union with Vishṇu. The Pâdma-Purâṇa narrates that in a previous birth, as a Brâhmaṇa named Soma he was desirous of uniting himself with Vishṇu but was distracted in his meditations by the Daityas, and so was born again as one of them. (B.G. 75)
Prajâpati lit. ‘Lord of progeny,’ or lord of creation: a title applied originally to several of the Vedic gods, as divinities presiding over the production of worlds and men; later applied to the Hind Triműrti (Brahmâ, Vishṇu Śiva) especially to Brahmâ as the chief progenitor, evolver, and producer (as in Manu). Likewise Manu Svâyambhuva is termed a Prajâpati, as the son of Brahmâ, and as the secondary creator of the ten Rishis the mind-born sons of Brahmâ from whom mankind is descended, hence termed Prajâpatis. These are enumerated as:
Marîchi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Vasishṭha, Prachetas (or Daksha), Bhṛigu, Nârada. Occasionally only the first seven are enumerated, and they are made equivalent to the seven great Ṛishis (q.v.). The Prajâpatis “are neither gods, nor supernatural Beings, but advanced Spirits from another and lower planet, reborn on this one, and giving birth in their turn in the present Round to present Humanity.” (S.D.II, 611)
“What are all the myths and endless genealogies of the seven Prajâpatis, and their sons, the seven Rishis or Manus, and of their wives, sons and progeny, but a vast detailed account of
the progressive development and evolution of animal creation, one species after the other?” (S.D.II, 253) (*pra-jan, to give birth to; pati, lord. B.G. 85)
Prakṛiti Broadly speaking equivalent to Nature — in the sense of the great producer of beings. Through Nature acts the ever-moving Spirit — Brahmâ or Purusha. Thus Purusha is Spirit and Prakṛiti is its productive veil or sheath. Although Prakṛiti is commonly rendered ‘matter,’ matter is rather the productions that Prakṛiti brings about (i.e., the Vikṛitis) through the excitation or influence of Purusha. Some Hindu schools use Prakṛiti in the sense of Śakti, or Mâyâ (Illusion), the Vedântins, however, teach that every particle of Prakṛiti contains Jîva (divine life) and is the śarîra (body) of that Jîva which it contains. (comp. pra, forwards, progression; *kri, to do, to make; hence lit, production, bringing forth. B.G. 65)
Pṛithâ The name of the daughter of Śűra, a Yâdava prince, who gave her to his childless cousin Kuntî (or Kuntibhoja) by whom he was adopted—hence she was called Kuntî (q.v.). She is the mother of the Pândavas Throughout
the text Arjuna is referred to as the son
of Prithâ (in Sanskrit, Pârtha).
Purujit A hero on the side of the Pâṇḍavas,
brother of Kuntibhoja (q.v.).
(m. conquering many. B.G. 2)
Purusha lit. ‘Man’: used in the sense of the Ideal Man (i.e., the Primordial Entity of Space), likewise for the Spiritual Man in each human being — equivalent to Spiritual Self. Purusha also sometimes stands as an interchangeable term with Brahmâ, the Evolver or ‘Creator.’ In an other aspect Purusha (Spirit) is equivalent to the energic force in the universe of which Prakṛiti (Matter) is the other pole. Purusha and Prakṛiti are but the two primeval aspects of the One and Secondless. They produce all things, but they are essentially one and not two. (S.D.I, 281) (B.G. 59, see also p.96.)
Rajas In Hindu philosophy, one of the three
guṇas (qualities) running through the web or fabric of Nature: the quality of
longing, activity, passion.
(See B.G. chapters xiv, xviii.)(B.G. 28)
Râjarshi Comp. of râjan, ‘king’; ṛishi, ‘sage’:
a kingly or royal sage, i.e., kings and princes who follow the path of illumination and initiation. The Râjarshis in India were the same as the King-Hierophants of ancient Egypt.
“There were three classes of Rishis in India, who were the earliest adepts known; the royal, or Râjarshis, kings and princes, who adopted the ascetic life; the Devarshis, divine, or the sons of Dharma or Yoga; and Brahmarshis, de- scendants of those Rishis who were the founders of gotras of Brahmans, or caste-races.” (S.D.II, 501-2) (B.G. 30)
Râkshasas Popularly regarded as demons (evil elemental beings) residing in the sixth of the material spheres (Râkshasa-loka); in the scriptures, however, they are grouped into three distinct classes: (1) elemental beings not necessarily evil; (2) giants engaged in warfare with the gods; (3) fiends and demons haunting cemeteries, etc., disturbing sacrifices, and afflicting mankind in various ways. In the epic poems ‘Râkshasa’ is rather loosely applied to any pre Aryan people — such as the inhabitants of Lankâ under the leadership of Râvaṇa —ultimately
defeated by the Aryans. “The Râkshasas,
regarded in Indian popular theology as demons, are called the ‘Preservers’
beyond the Himalayas. This double and contradictory meaning has its origin in a
(S.D.II, 165). (*raksh, to protect. B.G. 65)
Râma Three heroes are known by the name of Râma: Para Râma-chandra, and Bala-râma (see Kansa). The second is the one to whom the name is especially applied, for he is the hero of the Râmâyana, wherein his exploits are fully recounted. Râma was the eldest son of king Daśaratha of the Sűryavanśa (the Solar Dynasty) reigning at Ayodhyâ; he is represented as the seventh Avatâra of Vishṇu in- carnating at the end of the Tretâ-yuga (the second ‘Great Age’) for the especial purpose of delivering mankind and the gods from the iniquities caused by Râvaṇa the Râkshasa king of Lańkâ (Ceylon). Râma was known as the mightiest of those who carry arms, inasmuch as he was the only one able to bend the mighty bow of the god Śiva. To him who could bend this bow, Janaka (q.v.) offered the hand of his daughter, Sîtâ, in marriage; thus she became
the bride of Râma. With the help of Hanumân (q.v.), Râma accomplished the purpose of the gods.
The Râmâyaṇa “is the mystic narrative in epic form of the struggle between Rama — the first king of the divine dynasty of the early Aryans — and Ravana, the symbolical personation of the Atlantean (Lanka) race. The former were the incarnations of the Solar Gods; the latter, of the lunar Devas. This was the great battle between Good and Evil, between white and black magic, for the supremacy of the divine forces, or of the lower terrestrial, or cosmic powers. . . . The Ramayana — every line of which has to be read esoterically — discloses in magnificent symbolism and allegory the tribulations of both man and soul.” (S.D.II, 495-6) (B.G. 75)
Ṛik (or Ṛich) A verse, especially a sacred verse recited in praise of a deity — one of the four kinds of Vedic composition. (B.G. 66)
Ṛishi An adept, a seer, an inspired person. In Vedic literature the term is employed as referring to the seers through whom the various mantras or hymns of the Veda were revealed.
The Śatapatha-Brâhmana enumerates seven as:
Gotama, Bharadvâja, Viśvâmitra, Jamadagni, Vasishṭha, Kaśyapa, and Atri. In later times (in the epic poems and Purâṇas) the Ṛishis are regarded as a particular class of beings, distinct from gods and men, the patriarchs or ‘creators’ (see under Maharshi). The Mahâbhârata enumerates the seven Ṛishis of the first manvantara as: Marîchi, Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya, Vasishṭha. These are also called the seven great Ṛishis (Saptarshis) especially associated with the Great Bear — being, in fact, seven Planetary Regents. The above-named Ṛishis are also called in most of the texts the seven Ṛishis “of the Third Manvantara; the latter referring both to the Third Round and also to the third Root-Race and its branch-Races in the Fourth Round. These are all the creators of the various beings on this Earth, the Prajâpatis, and at the same time they appear as divers reincarnations in the early Manvantaras or races.” (S.D.II, 78) (B.G. 80)
Rudras An alternative name for the storm- gods or Maruts (q.v.), who are under the leadership of Rudra or Śiva. “These deities are only
another aspect, or a development of the Kumâras, who are Rudras in their patronymic, like many others.” (S.D.II, 613) (m. howlers, or roarers. B.G. 73)
Sâdhyas A class of divine beings: in the Vedas represented as dwelling in regions superior to the gods — in later works they are placed in Bhuvar-loka (between heaven and earth). In Manu the Sadhyas are stated to be the offspring of the Soma-sads from Virâj, i.e., children of the Ancestors from the Moon — the Pitṛis (q.v.). The Sâdhyas are termed ‘divine sacrificers,’ “the most occult of all” the classes of the Pitṛis (in S.D.II, 605) — the reference being to the Mânasaputras. (*sâdh, to be fulfilled, completed, attained. B.G. 81)
The son of Mâdrî (the second wife
of Pâṇḍu) and the twin sky-gods, the Aśvinau: brother of Nakula (q.v.).
Regarded as the youngest of the five Pâṇḍava princes. Sahadeva excelled in
the science of astronomy, which he studied under Droṇa (q.v.). He was also
very proficient in the management of cattle.
Śaibya The king of the Śibis (an ancient people of India): an ally of the Pâṇdavas.(B.G. 2)
Sâman A metrical hymn, or song of praise; especially a sacred verse which is to be sung, rather than recited or muttered — one of the four kinds of Vedic composition. (B.G. 66)
Sâma-Veda The third of the Vedas, consisting of metrical hymns (of 1549 verses) many of which are similar to the Ṛig-Veda The hymns are especially arranged for chanting at the sacrifices or offerings of the Soma (q.v.). Those who chanted the hymns were called Udgâtṛis. (B.G. 73)
Sańjaya A sűta (i.e., a charioteer, as well as a royal bard who recounted the heroic actions of the king, etc.) of the monarch Dhṛitarâshṭra, also an ambassador of that king, bearing the family-name Gâvalgani. He was granted by Kṛishṇa Dvaipâyana Vyâsa the divine sight of seeing everything in minutest detail, so that he might thus recount all that he saw in regard to the conflict at Kurukshetra to the blind monarch Dhṛitarâshṭra. Therefore, as the opening stanzas
tell, Sańjaya relates the preliminaries of the battle, at which time the dialog between Kṛishṇa and Arjuna occurs — this dialog being known as the Bhagavad-Gîtâ. (m. completely victorious. B.G. 1)
Sankalpa (or Saṃkalpa) Conception or idea formed in the mind or heart; hence the word has the further meaning of will, volition, desire. (*saṃklṛip, to be brought about, to come into existence. B.G. 31)
Śankara (or Śarṃkara) lit. ‘The auspicious’:
a name of Śiva (q.v.), in his aspect of chief of the Rudras (or Maruts, q.v.). Also and especially in his auspicious or beneficent character: that of regenerator, hence popularly regarded as the creator. (B.G. 73)
Sânkhya (or Sâṃkhya) The name of the third of the six Darśanas or Hindű schools of philosophy, which may be rendered ‘the school of reckoners.’ It was so called because this school divided or ‘reckoned’ the universe (and likewise man, as a child of the universe) into 25 elementary principles (Tattwas) — 24 of which formed the vehicles or bodies in which
the true self (Purusha) works. This school
was founded by Kapila (q.v.).
H.P.Blavatsky states that the system was established by the first Kapila (as stated in the Purâṇas) and written down by the last Kapila, the sage and philosopher of the Kali-yuga period. (S. D. II, 572) There were several sages of the name of Kapila. (*khyâ+sam, m. to reckon, to enumerate. B.G. 15)
Sannyâsa Renunciation of the world and material affairs and the taking up of the path leading to mystic knowledge. (comp. sam, with; *ni-as, to reject, to resign worldly life.) One who practises Sannyâsa is called a Sannyâsin.(B.G. 44)
Śantanu (or Śâṃtanu The son of Pratîpa (of the Lunar Dynasty), a king of the Kurus, and younger brother of Devâpi, who became a hermit when antanu usurped his throne. He married Gangâ, who gave birth to Bhîshma (q.v.). He later wedded Satyavatî, by whom he had two sons, Chitrângada and Vichitravîrya (q.v.). Śantanu was the fourteenth descendant of Kuru and was remarkable for his devotion,
charity, modesty, constancy, and resolution. It was further related of him that every decrepit man whom he touched became young again. (B.G.p. iii)
Sat Being, or rather Be-ness — the state of existence. The term is used as the Real (true being), in contradistinction to Asat (the illusory world). In the Vedânta it is equivalent to the self-existent or Universal Spirit (Brahman). “Sat is in itself neither the ‘existent,’ nor ‘being.’ SAT is the immutable, the ever present, changeless and eternal root, from and through which all proceeds. But it is far more than the potential force in the seed, which propels onward the process of development, or what is now called evolution. It is the ever becoming, though the never manifesting.” (S.D.II, 449) (present participle of *as, to be. B.G. 119)
Sattva (or Sattwa) The quality of truth,
goodness, purity: one of the three qualities (Tri-gunas) running through the web
or fabric of Nature: (See B.G. chs. xiv and xviii.) (sat, being; tva — a
noun-suffix, hence: ‘true essence.’
Sâtyaki A member of the Kṛishṇa family, kinsman of Kṛishṇa, and acting as his charioteer. He also lent his aid to the Pâṇḍavas in the battle to regain their kingdom. (B.G. 4)
Satyavatî The daughter of Uparichara, a king of Chedi, and Adrikâ, about whom it is related that although an Apsaras (‘celestial nymph’), she was doomed to live on earth in the form of a fish. Satyavatî was the mother of Vyasa by the Ṛishi Parâśara giving birth to him on an island (dvîpa)— hence he was called Dvaipâyana. Later Satyavatî wedded king antanu (king of the Kurus) giving birth to Chitrângada and Vichitravîrya (q.v.). (B.G. p. iii)
Siddhas A class of semi-divine beings of great purity and perfection, represented as possessing the eight supernatural faculties (the Siddhis), and inhabiting Bhuvar-loka (the region between earth and heaven). In later mythology they are often confused with the Sâdhyas (q.v.). “According to the Occult teachings, however, Siddhas are the Nirmanakayas or the ‘spirits’ (in the sense of an individual, or con-
scious spirit) of great sages from spheres on a higher plane than our own, who voluntarily incarnate in mortal bodies in order to help the human race in its upward progress. Hence their innate knowledge, wisdom and powers.” (S.D.II, 636) (*sidh, to attain; hence ‘the perfected ones.’ B.G. 81)
Śikhaṇḍin A son of Drupada, king of Panchâla, who accomplished the death of Bhîshma in the great conflict. The story regarding Śikhaṇḍin is one of the specific instances portraying reincarnation, with which the Mahâbhârata is studded. The epic relates that the eldest daughter of the king of Kâśî Ambâ (q.v.), was rejected by her betrothed through the fault of Bhîshma whereupon she retired into the forest and by severe penances and sacrifices obtained a boon from Śiva promising her immediate rebirth as a man in order to mete out judgment upon her wrongdoer, Bhîshma. She thereupon ascended her funeral pyre and was forthwith reborn as Śikhaṇḍin. (B.G. 4)
Śiva The third aspect of the Hindu Triműrti, commonly called the destroyer, but with the
idea intimately associated therewith of regeneration, hence also the regenerator. The name Śiva does not appear in the Vedas, nor does the concept of the Triműrti; but the deity Rudra does occur (associated in the Vedas with Agni, the fire god), and in later times Śiva is known under the name of Rudra, hence the association of the two has been made. Rudra is hailed in the Ṛig-Veda as the lord of songs and sacrifices, the lord of nourishment, he who drives away diseases and removes sin — the beneficent aspect of Śiva. In the Mahâbhârata, Śiva’s place in the Trimürti is maintained, although he is not quite as prominent as Vishṇu (the preserver), nevertheless the deity comes in for his share of reverence.
Śiva is described as the beautiful white deity with a blue throat — blue because of the poisons he drinks in order to preserve mankind thereby; his hair is of a reddish color and piled on his head in matted locks — for Śiva is the patron deity of ascetics. He is depicted with three eyes, one placed in the center of his fore head, representing the eye of wisdom (called by Occultists the eye of Śiva or the third eye): the three eyes represent Time, present, past, and fu-
ture. A crescent moon above his forehead indicates Time measured by the phases of the moon, while a serpent around his neck indicates the measure of Time by cycles: a second necklace (of human skulls) refers to the races of men which Śiva continuously destroys in order to regenerate new races. The serpents which surround him represent the deity as king of the Nâgas (q.v.), standing also for symbols of spiritual immortality. Śiva is often represented with five faces — representing the five manifested elements.
In many of the Purâṇas Śiva is regarded as the greatest of deities, hence he is called Mahâ deva (the great god). He is also spoken of as the patron deity of Esotericists and as the divine protector of the mystic Occultists. For Śiva is “the howling and terrific destroyer of human passions and physical senses, which are ever in the way of the development of the higher spiritual perceptions and the growth of the inner eternal man — mystically,” (S.D.I, 459).
Śiva, although the destroying deity, is Evolution and Progress personified, he “is the regenerator at the same time; who destroys things under one form but to recall them to life under
another more perfect type.” (S.D.II, 182) In the Bhagavad-Gîtâ Śiva is referred to under his alternative name of Śankara (B.G. 73).
Skanda The name of the god of war, also known as Kârttikeya (so called because he was reared by the six Pleiades, Kṛittikâs), hence he is described as six-headed. For the purpose of destroying the Daitya Târaka, who had become a potential source of trouble to the deities because of the austerities he had performed and his strict religious observances, Skanda was produced, springing from the seed of Śiva which had been cast into the fire and then carried to Gangâ (the Ganges river). He is represented as riding the peacock, Paravâni, holding a bow in one hand and an arrow in the other.
Skanda is also the regent of the planet Mars. (B.G. 74)
Śloka A stanza, especially a particular kind of epic meter, also called the Anushṭubh which consists of 4 pâdas (quarter verses) of 8 syllables each; or it may be 2 lines each containing 16 syllables. The syllables of each line may be altered as desired except for the 5th, 13th,
14th, and 15th syllables which have a fixed method for composition. The following indicates this:
. . . . ˘ . . . I . . . . ˘ - ˘ .
The dots represent syllables which may be either long or short. The 6th and 7th syllables should be long; but if the 6th is a short syllable then the 7th is short also. As an example the first loka of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ is given illus- trating this (although the 14th syllable is short in both lines):
dharmakshetre kurukshetre samavetâ yuyutsavah
˘ ˘ ˘ ˘ ˘ ˘ ˘ ˘ I ˘ ˘ - ˘ ˘ ˘ ˘ ˘
mâmakâh pâṇḍavâśchaiva kimakurvata sańjaya.
- ˘ - - ˘ - - ˘ I ˘ ˘ ˘ ˘ ˘ ˘ ˘ ˘
The Râmâyana relates that the first loka was composed by Vâlmîki, who was moved to such sorrow by seeing the mate of a bird killed by a hunter during the wooing of the pair, that in his grief he developed the spirit of poesy. The word Śloka means sound, or noise; in the Ṛig-Veda it means a hymn of praise. (cf. *śru, to hear. B.G. p. i)
Soma Astronomically, the Moon — an occult mystery, for the moon as a symbol stands for both good and evil. “Soma is the mystery god and presides over the mystic and occult nature in man and the Universe” (S.D.II, 45).
In mystical phraseology Soma is a sacred and mystic beverage which was drunk by Brâhmanas and Initiates, during their mysteries and sacrificial rites, producing mystic visions. “The partaker of Soma finds himself both linked to his external body, and yet away from it in his spiritual form. The latter, freed from the former, soars for the time being in the ethereal higher regions, becoming virtually ‘as one of the gods,’ and yet preserving in his physical brain the memory of what he sees and learns.” (S.D.II, 499).
“The Soma-drink known to Europeans is not
the genuine beverage, but its substitute; for the initiated priests alone can
taste of the real Soma; and even kings and Rajas, when sacrificing, receive the
substitute.” (Theos. Gloss. 304)
Somadatta A favorite name in ancient times: many kings bore this appellation. The son of
one so named sided with the Kurus. (m. gift of Soma. B.G. 3)
Subhadrâ The daughter of Vasudeva: a younger sister of Kṛishṇa wife of Arjuna, and mother of Abhimanyu (the son referred to in the text of B.G. 2). Subba Row suggests that the gift of Kṛishṇa’s sister to Arjuna typifies the union between the sixth and fifth principles in man’s constitution, i.e., Buddhi and Manas. (N.B.G. 9) (m. very auspicious. B.G. 2)
Śűdra The fourth and lowest of the four castes of Vedic India, whose duty consisted in serving the three higher classes. (B.G. 69)
Sughosha The name of the conch-shell of Nakula. (m. making a loud noise. B.G.4)
Śűra A king of the Yâdava line of the Lunar Dynasty, who ruled over the Śűrasenas at Mathurâ. He was the father of Vasudeva and Kuntî (q.v.), hence the grandfather of Kṛishṇa (B.G. p. iv)
Sursooty The modern name of the ancient Sarasvati river: although small it was held very sacred by the Hindűs. In ancient times it
marked with the Dṛishadvatî river one of the boundaries of the region Âryadeśa and of the sacred district called Brahmâvarta (Manu, ii, 17). The river joins the Ganges and Jumnâ at Allahâbâd. (B.G. p. iii)
Svasti An interjection: well, happily: hence a salutation meaning, may it be well with thee! hail! so be it! (As a noun the word means success, prosperity. B.G. 81)
Tamas One of the three guṇas — essential attributes or characteristics of manifested beings and things: the quality of darkness, illusion, ignorance. In a different sense Tamas also means passivity, repose, inertia. (See B.G. chs.xiv and xviii.) (B.G. 41)
Tanhâ (Pâli) The familiar Buddhist term, meaning ‘thirst,’ applied specifically to the thirst for life and experience on material planes, which is the prime factor in causing the Reincarnating Ego to return to earth for reimbodiment. Equivalent to the Sanskrit term tṛishṇâ. (B.G. 1)
Tat (also Tad) The word used by Vedic sages to represent that which is beyond expression, the unnameable principle — rendered THAT
— in contradistinction to the manifested world, Idam (This). (The neuter form of a pronominal particle used as a noun. B.G. 119)
Uchchaiḥśravas The white horse produced by the gods at the churning of the ocean (see Ananta). He became the steed of Indra (q.v.), and is regarded as the model horse, ‘the king of horses.’ (m. neighing aloud. B.G. 74)
Uragas A class of semi-divine serpents, usually associated with the Nâgas (q.v.) and represented as a serpent with a human face.
W. Q. Judge comments “it must refer to the great Masters of Wisdom, who were often called Serpents.” (B.G. 80) (m. breast-going, i.e., a serpent.)
Uśanas An ancient sage and prophet-seer, descendant of the Kavyas or Kâvyas. (Also the name of the planet Venus and its regent.) (B.G. 76)
Űshmapâs A class of semi-divine beings, associated with the Pitris (q.v.). (fr. Űshma, heat, vapor, steam. B.G. 81)
Uttamaujas A warrior on the side of the Pâṇḍavas. (m. of excellent valor. B.G. 2)
Vaiśya lit. ‘A man who settles on the soil,’ thus a peasant or working-man. The third of the four social classes or castes into which society was divided in Hindűsthân, It also referred to one whose occupation was that of trade as well as of agriculture. (B.G. 69)
Vaivasvata-Manu The name of the seventh Manu (q.v.) who presides over the present Manvantara: lit, the sun-born Manu, also called Satya-vrata because of his piety. He is sometimes described as one of the 12 Âdityas (q.v.), and is regarded as the progenitor of the present race of living beings. In the Mahâbhârata Vaivasvata is the hero of the deluge. As the story runs, while he was observing his devotions by the side of the river, he was interrupted in his worship by a small fish who entreated the monarch to shield him from the larger fish who was about to seize his victim. Being moved by compassion, Vaivasvata placed the little fish in a vase, but was very soon astonished to find that the receptacle could no longer contain it. Where upon the fish was placed in a larger vessel. But the fish kept on growing, so that in time no tank was large enough to hold him, therefore the river
became his abode. Still the fish grew so much in girth, that he had to be transferred to the ocean. Then the fish commanded Vaivasvata to build a ship and place himself and the 7 Ṛishis on it, and fasten the prow to his horn, for a deluge would soon overwhelm the earth. Having done as he was bid, upon entering the vessel, Vaivasvata and the Ṛishis were towed off by the fish and were thus saved from the flood. Finally they were brought to Himavat (the Himâlayas), where Vaivasvata landed and thereafter repeopled the earth.
“In the Satapatha Brâhmana, Manu finds that ‘the Flood had swept away all living creatures, and he alone was left’ — i.e., the seed of life alone remained from the previous dissolution of the Universe, or Maha-pralaya, after a ‘Day of Brahmâ’; and the Mahâbhârata refers simply to the geological cataclysm which swept away nearly all the Fourth Race to make room for the Fifth. Therefore is Vaivasvata Manu shown under three distinct attributes in our esoteric Cosmogony: (a) as the ‘Root-Manu’ on Globe A in the First Round; (b) as the ‘seed of life’ on Globe D in the Fourth Round; and (c) as thy ‘Seed of Man’ at the beginning of
every Root-Race — in our Fifth Race especially.” (S.D.II, 146-7) (fr. vivasvat, the sun. B.G. 30)
Vâraha-Upanishad The name of a text of the Vâraha School of the Krishṇa-Yajur-Veda (q.v.): not one of the Vedic Upanishads. (B.G. 31)
Varṇa-sańkara (or -saṃkara) Confusion or mixture of castes through intermarriage. (comp. varṇa, a caste — referring especially to the four castes as enumerated in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ; saṃkara mixing or blending together. B.G. 7)
Varsha A district. The geography of the Mahâbhârata depicts seven dvîpas (q. v.), the central one, Jambu-dvîpa, corresponding to our earth (Globe D). This dvîpa is divided into nine parts termed varshas as follows: (1) Bhârata, or India, situated south of the Himâlayas, the southernmost division; (2) Kimpurusha; (3) Harivarsha; (4) Ilâ-vṛita, the central varsha containing Mount Meru; (5) Ramyaka; (6) Hiraṇ-maya; (7) Uttara-Kuru; (8) Bhadrâśva east of IIâ-vṛita; (9) Ketu-mâla, west of the central varsha. Uttara-Kuru was the varsha of the northern Kurus, described as a country of eternal beatitude. (B.G. p. ii)
Varuṇa One of the most ancient deities of the Vedas, regarded therein as the personification of the all-embracing sky, maker and up holder of heaven and earth: the king of the universe, king of gods and earth and possessor of illimitable knowledge, ruling principally, how ever, over the night while Mitra reigned over the day. In later times Varuṇa was regarded as chief of the Adityas (q.v.); later still he was allocated to the waters as god of the sea and rivers, riding upon the Makara (q.v.). In the Vedas Varuṇa is connected with the ‘element of water’ and the ‘waters of space,’ but with descending cycles the original spiritual idea associated with the deities of the ancients being lost sight of in the effort to attach material significance to the gods, Varuṇa — in common with other deities — became associated with the visible fluids. Varuṇa is made the regent of the Western quarter. A moral character is also associated with the deity: he is represented as binding all guilty mortals with a noose (i.e., the mortal was bound in the net of his own actions). “Varuṇa , ‘without whom no creature can even wink,’ was degraded like Uranos [Ouranos], and, like him, he fell into generation, his
functions, . . . having been lowered down from heaven to earth by exoteric anthropomorphism.” (S.D.II, 268) (B.G. 75)
Vâsava A name applied to Indra (q.v.), especially in his character of leader of the Vasus (q.v.). (B.G. 73)
Vâsudeva lit. ‘Son of Vasudeva’ — a name applied to Kṛishṇa, because of his birth in the family of Vasudeva and Devakî. The Mahâbhârata also explains that Kṛishṇa is thus called from his dwelling (vasanât) in all beings, from his issuing as a Vasu from a divine womb. (B.G. 55)
Vâsuki The king of the Nâgas (q.v.) in Pâtâla. He is sometimes made the same as the serpent of Vishṇu Śesha or Ananta (q.v.); again he is distinct (as in the text of B.G. 74).
Vasus A particular class of deities, eight in number, associated with Indra: they form one of the nine Gaṇas (classes of deities) mentioned in the Vedas. The Vasus are named: Âpa (water), Dhruva (the pole-star), Soma (the Moon), Dhara or Dhava (the Earth), Anila (wind), Pâvaka or Anala (fire), Prabhâsa (dawn), Pratyűsha (light). The Râmâyana re-
gards them as children of Aditi. A verse in Manu says: “The wise call our fathers Vasus” (iii, 284). (B.G. 74)
Vâyu The god of the wind, also called Pavana. In the Vedas he is associated with Indra, and rides in the golden chariot of the god of the sky. One hymn calls him the son-in-law of Tvashtṛi (the artificer of the gods), while an other gives his origin as arising from the breath of Purusha (q.v.). His particular regency is the northwest quarter of the heavens. In the Mahâbhârata the god of the wind is represented as the father of Bhîma, and also the father of Hanumân. The Vishṇu-Purâṇa makes Vâyu the king of the Gandharvas (q.v.). The ancient meaning attaching to ‘air’ was “one of the five states of matter, namely the gaseous; one of the five elements, called, as wind, Vâta. . . . The trinity of the mystic gods in Kosmos closely related to each other, are ‘Agni (fire) whose place is on earth; Vâyu (air, or one of the forms of Indra), whose place is in the air; and Sűrya (the sun) whose place is in the air.’ (Nirukta.) In esoteric interpretation, these three cosmic principles, correspond with the three human prin
ciples, Kâma, Kâma-Manas and Manas, the sun of the intellect.” (Theos. Gloss. 361) (B.G. 85)
Vedânta lit. ‘End of the Veda,’ i.e., complete knowledge of the Veda. The name is particularly associated with the Uttara-mimânsâ school (the third of the six Hindű systems of philosophy), as this school especially studied the latter portion of the Veda. The reputed founder of the Vedânta is Vyâsa (q.v.), but its chief exponent was Śankarâchârya, who especially taught the Advaita (‘non-dual’) aspect, hence his followers are called Advaita-Vedântins. In brief: the Advaita system teaches that nothing real exists but the One Self, or Soul of the Universe, called Brahman or Paramâtman, and that the Jîvâtman (individual human soul or monad), and in fact all phenomenal manifestations of nature, are really identical with Paramâtman; their apparent separate existence is due to Ajńâna (nescience, ‘non-wisdom’). A proper understanding of the Vedânta removes this Ajńâna. “The Vedas are, and will remain for ever, in the esotericism of the Vedanta and the Upanishads, ‘the mirror of the eternal Wisdom.’ “ (S.D. II, 484) The nearest exponent of the Esoteric
philosophy “is the Vedanta as expounded by the Advaita Vedantists,” (S.D.I, 55). (B. G. 108)
Vedas The ancient sacred literature of the Hindus. There are four Vedas known as the Ṛig-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, the Sâma-Veda, and the Atharva-Veda. Their origin is ascribed to divine revelation ( and Hindűs as well as Theosophical students place their period at many thousands of years before the Christian era. They state that the Vedas were taught orally for thousands of years and then finally were compiled on the shores of the sacred lake Mânasa-Sarovara by Veda-Vyâsa (abt. 3100 B.C.). It is quite apparent that the original authorship is not by one person, inasmuch as various hymns are attributed to various Vedic Sages. They are written in a style of Sanskrit different from any other literary works.
The Vedas are divided into two main portions: the mantra part (hymns in verse), and the Brâhmaṇa part consisting of liturgical, ritualistic and mystic treatises in prose. With the latter are closely connected the Âraṇyakas and Upanishads. “Between the Vedas and the Purânas there is an abyss of which both are the poles,
like the seventh (atmic) and the first or lowest principle (the physical body) in the Septenary constitution of man. The primitive, purely spiritual language of the Vedas, conceived many decades of millenniums earlier, had found its purely human expression for the purpose of describing events taking place 5,000 years ago, the date of Kṛishṇa’s death (from which day the Kali Yuga, or Black-Age, began for mankind) .“ (S.D.II, 527) (*vid, to know. B.G. 15)
Vichitravîrya The younger son of Śantanu (q.v.) and Satyavatî, who became king of the Kurus when his elder brother Chitrângada (an arrogant and proud man) was killed as a young man in a battle with a Gandharva of the same name. Vichitravîrya married Ambikâ and Ambâlikâ, the two daughters of the king of Kâśî but died childless. (B.G. p. iii)
Vikarṇa One of the hundred sons of Dhṛitarâshṭra, following the lead of his elder brother, Duryodhana. (B.G. 3)
Virâṭa The râja of Virâṭa (a country in the midland or northwest districts of India — in about the position of the modern province of
Berar). It was at the court of this king that the Pâṇḍavas spent the last year of their exile in disguise — as imposed upon them by Duryodhana. Because of the many services rendered to him by the Pâṇḍavas, Virâṭa lent his aid to the sons of Pâṇḍu. (B.G. 2)
Vishṇu The second aspect of the Hindu Tri-műrti (Brahmâ being the first and Śiva the third): the most prominent of deities, especially in his character of Sustainer and Preserver of all manifestation — equivalent to the Logos. In the Vedas, however, the conception of the Tri-műrti is not present: Vishṇu is mentioned with the other gods as the personification of the sun and light, he is described as striding across the heavens in three paces, explained as the three manifestations of light — fire, lightning, and the sun. It is in the epic poems and Purâṇas that Vishṇu becomes the most worshiped deity, riding on Garuḍa (q.v.), or again resting on Ananta (q.v.). Brahmâ (‘the creator’) is represented as springing from a lotus arising from Vishṇu’s navel, while the latter slept on the waters of space; while Śiva (‘the destroyer’) sprang from his forehead. In his character of the preserver,
Vishṇu manifests in the world in the form of Avatâras, ten principal ones being enumerated, the seventh and eighth being Râma and Kṛishṇa. (See B.G. 30-31) “Vishṇu is, as well as Adam Kadmon, the expression of the universe itself; and . . . his incarnations are but concrete and various embodiments of the manifestations of this ‘Stupendous Whole.’ “ (I.U.II, 277) (*viś to enter, to pervade. B.G. 73)
Viśvas (also Viśve-devas) A class of deities: according to the Purânas represented as the sons of Viśvas (the daughter of Daksha), and named:
Vasu, Satya, Kratu, Daksha, Kâla, Kâma, Dhṛiti, Kuru, Purűravas, Mâdravas, Rochaka (or Lochana), Dhvani. They are particularly worshiped at Śrâddhas — a ceremony of reverential homage unto deceased relatives performed by the offering of water daily (as recommended by Manu); and supplicated at Piṇḍa services—balls of rice and meal offered at regular intervals (see B.G. 7). (m. all-pervading. B.G. 81)
Vitteśa lit. ‘Lord of wealth,’ the name of Kuvera (or Kubera), the god of wealth. In the Vedas, Kuvera is represented as the chief of the evil beings or spirits of darkness (having
the name Vaiśravaṇa i.e., the son of Viśravas by Iḍaviḍâ). In later times Kuvera is represented as the lord of riches and wealth, the chief of the Yakshas, and the regent of the northern quarter, thus answering to one of the four great Guardians (Mahârâjas). In the Râmâyana, Kuvera was the possessor of Lańkâ, but he was expelled therefrom by his half-brother, Râvaṇa; whereupon he performed such austerities that he was granted the regency of the domain of wealth, and named guardian of the northern quarter. He is described as a white man greatly deformed in body, having three legs and only eight teeth. (B.G. 73)
Vivasvat lit. ‘The brilliant one’ — a name of the Sun. In epic poetry (and also in the Ṛig-Veda) regarded as the father of Vaivasvata-Manu (q.v.), the seventh or present Manu. (*vi-vas to shine forth. B.G. 30)
Vṛishṇi A descendant of Yadu, the first of the Yâdava line, which became extinct with Kṛishṇa. Kṛishṇa was therefore called Vârshṇeya ‘descendant of Vṛishṇi.’ Yadu was also the half-brother of Puru (the ancestor of the Kurus and founder of the Paurava line). (B.G. 27)
Vyâsa The celebrated sage and author, regarded as the original compiler and arranger of the Vedas and Vedânta-sűtras (hence called Veda-vyâsa — vyâsa meaning an arranger, a compiler). In the Mahâbhârata it is related that Vyâsa was the half brother of Vichitravîrya and Bhîshma, his parents being the Ṛishi Parâśara and Satyavatî. Because of his dark complexion he was called Kṛishṇa, and on account of being born on a dvîpa (island) in the Jumnâ, he received the name Dvaipâyana. Although he had retired into the wilderness in order to become a hermit, his mother implored him to wed the childless widowed wives Ambikâ and Ambâlikâ) of Vichitravîrya, and he thus became the father of Dhṛitarâshṭra and Pâṇḍu—parents of the Kurus and Pâṇḍavas respectively, by whom the great conflict was waged. Vyâsa is also regarded as the compiler of the Mahâbhârata, the narrator of the Bhâgavata-Purâna, and author of other Purânas. The Purânas mention 28 Vyâsas — represented as incarnations of Brahmâ or Vishṇu descending upon earth for the purpose of arranging and promulgating the Vedas and other śâstras.
‘Vyâsa’ is indeed a term applied to the high-
est gurus in India, “for that which he explains, interprets and amplifies is a mystery to the pro fane. . . There were many Vyâsas in Aryavarta; one was the compiler and arranger of the Vedas; another, the author of the Mahâbhârata — the twenty-eighth Vyâsa or revealer in the order of succession — and the last one of note was the author of Uttara Mîmânsâ, the sixth school or system of Indian philosophy. He was also the founder of the Vedânta system.” (Theos. Gloss. 367) (B,G. p. iii and 72)
Yadu The ruler of the country west of the Jumnâ river, whose father was Yayâti and mother, Devayânî. His half brother, Puru, was the founder of the Paurava line of the Chandra vau (Lunar Dynasty), to which the Kurus and Pâṇḍus belonged. Yadu inaugurated the Yâdava branch of this dynasty to which Vasudeva and Kṛishṇa belonged, hence Kṛishṇa is referred to as ‘son of Yadu.’ But the Yâdava line became extinct with Kṛishṇa (B.G. 85)
Yajur (or Yajus) A sacrificial prayer or formula: also a technical term for mantras to be muttered in a particular manner at a sacrifice, generally written in prose and hence distin-
guished from the Ṛik (q.v.) and Sâman (q.v.). Also the name of the second of the four Vedas. (B.G. 66)
Yakshas A class of celestial beings generally associated with Kuvera, the god of wealth, and stationed in the seventh of the eight lokas of material existence (Yaksha-loka). They are considered to be beneficent to humanity and are therefore called Puṇya-janas (‘good people’) in the scriptures. In the popular folk-lore of India, however, they are regarded as evil demons, obsessing men at times, etc. H.P.Blavatsky gives the following explanation: “In esoteric science they are simply evil (elemental) influences, who in the sight of seers and clairvoyants descend on men, when open to the reception of such influences, like a fiery comet or a shooting star.” (Theos. Gloss. 375) (B.G. 73)
Yama The god of the Underworld. In the Vedas Yama is represented as the son of the Sun, Vivasvat: he it is who first died and first departed to the celestial world. The interpretation of this is, that “Yama is the embodiment of the race which was the first to be endowed with consciousness (Manas), without which
there is neither Heaven nor Hades.” (Theos. Gloss. 375) In the epic poems Yama is the son of Sańjńâ (conscience) by Vivasvat and brother of Manu. His office is to judge the dead: seated on his throne of judgment (Vichâ rabhű) in his palace (Kâlîchî). The soul of a departed mortal enters the regions of the dead (Yamapura) and appears before Yama, while the recorder, Chitragupta, reads out his record from the great register (Agra-saṃdhânî). In the sentence which follows, the deceased is as signed to the abode of the Pitṛis (Devachan); if guilty he must go to one of the 21 hells according to the degree of his guilt; or he is sent to be born again on earth in another form. Because of his judging, Yama is also called the god of justice, Dharma. He is represented as riding upon a buffalo armed with mace and noose, with which he secures those about to go to his realms. Yama had a twin sister, Yamî, who, according to an ancient hymn, is ever urging him to take her as his wife. The Esoteric teaching is “that Yama-Yamî is the symbol of the dual Manas, in one of its mystical meanings. For instance, Yama-Yamî is always represented of a green colour and clothed with red, and as
dwelling in a palace of copper and iron.” (Theos. Gloss. 376)
“The Hindu Chitra-Gupta who reads out the account of every Soul’s life from his register, called Agra-Sandhani; the ‘Assessors’ who read theirs from the heart of the defunct, which becomes an open book before (whether) Yama, Minos, Osiris, or Karma — are all so many copies of, and variants from the Lipika, and their Astral Records.” (S.D.I, 105) (B.G. 75)
Yoga The word literally means a union, a joining together. It is the name of one of the six Schools of Philosophy or systems of Hindű thought (Darśanas) being so called because it sought the attainment of union or at-one-ness with the divine-spiritual essence within a man, this being virtually identical with the spiritual essence or Logos of the universe. This school was founded by Patańjali, and his teachings are extant in a work written by him known as Yoga Aphorisms. However, even before his time a far grander and more inclusive system had been inculcated for ages, an ancient sage, Yâjńavalkya, having outlined the same tenets. There are many systems based on Yoga, all derivative from the
original system and hence all using the name yoga, thus: Jńâna-Yoga, Râja-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, etc. Each of these stresses one particular aspect of the teaching. The Bhagavad-Gîtâ itself is a text-book of the highest system of Yoga. (*yuj, to join, to yoke. B.G. 15)
Yogî (nom.: dict. Yogin) A devotee: one who practises the Yoga-system. In ancient times such devotees practised the highest ethics with out recourse to the prescribed religious observances and sacrifices: in modern times, however, the word is often applied to any devotee in India, whether practising Yoga or not. (B.G. 44)
Yudhâmanyu A warrior on the side of the Pâṇḍavas. (m. having a warlike spirit. B.G. 2)
Yudhishṭhira The eldest son of Kuntî and the god of justice, Dharma. In the Mahâbhârata Yudhishṭhira is not represented as a valorous warrior but is portrayed as excelling in the kingly virtues of justice and wise sovereignty over his kingdom of Indraprastha, which was given to him by Dhṛitarâshṭra and was adjacent to Hastinâpura. Through the scheming of the Kauravas under Duryodhana, Yudhishṭhira lost his kingdom (as it was made the stake at a
game of dice), and as the result of a
second game he and his four brothers were compelled to exile themselves for 13
years. At the end of the period of exile Yudhishṭhira commenced negotiations for
a peaceful restoration of his kingdom, in which Kṛishṇa
assisted. He was unsuccessful and a conflict was imminent.
Yudhishṭhira was dissuaded from withdrawing from the battle by Kṛishṇa, who assured him of victory. At the end of the war he was enthroned at Indraprastha, as well as at Hastinâpura by Dhṛitarâshṭra, and his eminence was later assured through the performance of the Aśvamedha sacrifice. After the death of Kṛishṇa, the Pâṇḍavas decided to abandon the world, and the closing book of the epic describes their journey and their death, one by one, except that of Yudhishṭhira. He descends into hell and then ascends to heaven (Svarga) but renounces it because his faithful dog was refused entrance with him; because of his compassion, he is readmitted, however, by his parent, the god Dharma.
“Yudhishṭhira the first King of the Sacea, who opens the Kali Yuga era, which has to last 432,000 years — ‘an actual King and man who lived 3102 years B.c.,’ applies also, name and
all, to the great Deluge at the time of the
first sinking of Atlantis. He is the ‘Yudhishthira born on the mountain of the
hundred peaks at the extremity of the world beyond which nobody can go’ and
‘immediately after the flood.’”
Symbolically Yudhishṭhira represents the Higher Ego in man. (m. firm or steady in battle. B.G. 4)
Yuga An age or period, referring especially to an age of the world, of which there are four enumerated in Hindu chronology as follows:
(1) Kṛita-yuga or Satya-yuga, lit. ‘golden age’— the age of purity and innocence when virtue reigns and there is no injustice in the world, lasting for a period of 4,000 years of the gods;
(2) Tretâ-yuga, ‘age of triads,’ or the ‘age of the three sacred fires,’ i.e., three of the four sacred fires being worshiped — the Silver Age, lasting for 3,000 years of the gods; (3) Dvâpara-yuga, ‘age of the number two,’ all sacred things are halved, the Bronze Age, of 2,000 years of the gods; (4) Kali-yuga, age of darkness, or the Black Age, when strife prevails, the Iron Age, whose duration is 1,000 years of the
gods. Each yuga is preceded by a period called a Sandhyâ (twilight—or a transition period, or dawn), which is followed by a period named Sandhyâi (‘a portion of a twilight’): each of these two periods is equivalent in length to a tenth of its accompanying year of the gods. As a year of the gods is figured as 360 days of the mortals, and adding the Sandhyâs and San dhyâij the yugas are:
Kṛita-yuga 1,728,000 years
Tretâ-yuga 1,296,000 years
Dvâpara-yuga 864,000 years
Kali-yuga 432,000 years
The total of the 4 yugas is
equivalent to 1 Mahâ-yuga — 4,320,000 years. The reference (in B.G. 61) to the Day of Brahmâ as equivalent to a thousand revolutions of the yugas, has reference to Mahâyugas, i.e., the total of the reigns of 14 Manus (each with its accompanying Sandhyâs and Sandhyâ totaling 4,320,000,000 years, or a ‘Day of Brahmâ.’ Brahmâ’s Night is of equivalent length.
In the Mahâbhârata the symbol of the four yugas is a bull: during the Kṛita-yuga the bull stands firm on his four feet and justice prevails; in the Tretâ-yuga, the bull has three
legs, three-fourths of justice is administered; in the Dvâpara-yuga, the bull is supported by only two legs, justice only half rules the world; but in Kali-yuga, with only one leg left for the bull, only a quarter of justice is present and injustice is rampant. The life of man during the yugas is decreased by 100 years, in the series 4, 3, 2 — commencing with 400 years for the Kṛita-yuga.
“In the Hindu Yuga Kalpa, we have the regular descending series 4, 3, 2, with ciphers multiplied as occasion requires for esoteric purposes,.“ (S.D. II, 307)
“All races have their own cycles, which fact causes a great difference. For instance, the Fourth Sub-Race of the Atlanteans was in its Kali-Yug, when destroyed, whereas the Fifth was in its Satya or Kṛita Yuga. The Aryan Race is now in its Kali Yuga, and will continue to be in it for 427,000 years longer,” (S.D. II, 147). (B.G. 61)
Yuyudhâna One of the names of Sâtyaki. A kinsman of Kṛishṇa, for whom he acted as charioteer, fighting on the side of the Pâṇḍavas (m. warlike. B.G. 2)
FROM THE BHAGAVAD-GITA
(Recension of W. Q. Judge — in order of occurrence)
With the loss of virtue, vice and impiety over whelm the whole of a race. p. 7
Those who are wise in spiritual things grieve neither for the dead nor for the living. p. 11
I myself never was not, nor thou, nor all the princes of the earth; nor shall we ever here after cease to be. p. 11
As the lord of this mortal frame experienceth therein infancy, youth, and old age, so in future incarnations will it meet the same. p. 1
He to whom pain and pleasure are the same, is fitted for immortality. p. 12
It (the Spirit) is not a thing of which a man may say, ‘It hath been, it is about to be, or is to be hereafter’; for it is without birth and meeteth not death; it is ancient, constant, and eternal, and is not slain when this its mortal frame is destroyed. p. 12
aśochyânanvaśochastvaṃ prajńâdânścha bhâshase
gatâsűnagatâsűnścha nânuśochanti paṇḍitâh 11
na tvevâham jâtum nâsam na tvam neme janâdhipâḥ
na chaiva na bhavishyâmah sarve vayamataḥ param
dehino ‘sminyathâ dehe kaumâram yauvanam jarâ
tathâ dehântaraprâptir dhîras tatra na muhyati 13
mâtrâsparśâstu kaunteya śîtoshṇasukhaduḥkhadâḥ
âgamâpâyino ‘nityâstâṃstitikshasva bhârata 14
yam hi na vyathayantyete purusham purusharshabha
samaduḥkhasukham dhîram so ‘mṛitatvâya kalpate
nâsato vidyate bhâvo nâbhâvo vidyate satah
ubhayorapi dṛishṭo ‘ntastvanayostattvadarśibhiḥ 16
avinâś tu tadviddhi yena sarvamidam tatam
vinâśamavyayasyâsya na kaśchit kartumarhati 17
antavanta ime dehâ nityasyoktâh śarîriṇah
anâśino ‘prameyasya tasmâdyuddhyasva bhârata 18
ya enam vetti hantâram yaśchainam manyate hatam
ubhau tau na vijânîto nâyam hanti na hanyate 19
“Thou grievest for those that may not be lamented, whilst thy sentiments are those of the expounders of the letter of the law. Those who are wise in spiritual things grieve neither for the dead nor for the living.
I myself never was not, nor thou, nor all the princes of the earth; nor shall we ever hereafter cease to be. As the lord of this mortal frame experienceth therein infancy, youth, and old age, so in future incarnations will it meet the same. One who is confirmed in thisbelief is not disturbed by anything that may come to
pass.” (For rest of translation see B.G. pp. 11-12)
As a man throweth away old garments and putteth on new, even so the dweller in the body, having quitted its old mortal frames, entereth into others which are new. p. 13
Death is certain to all things which are born, and rebirth to all mortals; wherefore it doth not behoove thee to grieve about the inevitable. p. 13
Make pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, the same to thee. p.15
Be free from the ‘pairs of opposites’ and constant in the quality of Sattwa. p.16
Let, then, the motive for action be in the action itself, and not in the event. p. 16
Do not be incited to actions by the hope of their reward, nor let thy life be spent in inaction. p. 16
Equal-mindedness is called Yoga. p. 17
Yoga is skill in the performance of actions. p. 17
The man whose heart and mind are not at rest is without wisdom or the power of contemplation. p. 20
Do thou perform the proper actions: action is superior to inaction. p. 23
The man who doeth that which he hath to do, without attachment to the result, obtaineththe Supreme. p. 25
Whatever is practised by the most excellent men, that is also practised by others. The world follows whatever example they set. p. 25
It is better to do one’s own duty, even though it be devoid of excellence, than to perform another’s duty well. p. 27
It is better to perish in the performance of one’s own duty; the duty of another is full of danger. p. 27
Both I and thou have passed through many births. Mine are known unto me, but thou knowest not of thine. p. 31
I produce myself among creatures, whenever there is a decline of virtue and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world. p. 31
In whatever way men approach me, in that way do I assist them; but whatever the path taken by mankind, that path is mine. p. 32
That man who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is wise among men. p. 33
There is no purifier in this world to be compared to spiritual knowledge. p. 36
The man of doubtful mind hath no happiness either in this world or in the next or in any other. p. 36
Renunciation of action and devotion through action are both means of final emancipation. p.38
The devotee who is engaged in the right practice of his duties approacheth the Supreme Spirit in no long time. p. 39
Whoever in acting dedicates his actions to the Supreme Spirit and puts aside all selfish interest in their result is untouched by sin. pp. 39-40
The man who is devoted and not attached to the fruit of his actions obtains tranquillity. p.40
He whose heart is not attached to objects of sense finds pleasure within himself. p. 42
Action is said to be the means by which the wise man who is desirous of mounting tomeditation may reach thereto. p. 44
He who seeth me in all things and all things in me looseneth not his hold on me and I forsake him not. p. 49
Never to an evil place goeth one who doeth good. p. 51
The man whose devotion has been broken off by death goeth to the regions of the righteous. p. 51
In whatever form a devotee desires with faith to worship, it is I alone who inspire him with constancy therein. p. 55
All worlds up to that of Brahman are subject to rebirth again and again. p. 60
There is that which upon the dissolution of all things else is not destroyed; it is indivisible, indestructible, and of another nature from the visible. p. 61
Light and darkness are the world’s eternal ways. p. 62
All this universe is pervaded by me in my in visible form. p. 64
I accept and enjoy the offerings of the humble soul who in his worship with a pure heart offereth a leaf, a flower, or fruit, or water unto me. p. 68
I am the origin of all; all things proceed from me. p. 71
I am the Ego which is seated in the hearts of all beings. p. 73
I established this whole universe with a single portion of myself, and remain separate. p. 77
He also is my beloved servant who is equal-minded to friend or foe, the same in honor and dishonor . . . to whom praise and blame are as one. pp. 91-2
True wisdom of a spiritual kind is freedom from self-esteem, hypocrisy, and injury to others.p. 94
He who seeth the Supreme Being existing alike imperishable in all perishable things, sees indeed. p. 97
He who seeth that all his actions are performed by nature only, and that the self within is not the actor, seeth indeed. pp. 97-8
As a single sun illumineth the whole world, even so doth the One Spirit illumine every body. p. 98
There dwelleth in the heart of every creature, the Master—Ishwara——who by his magic power causeth all things and creatures to revolve, mounted upon the universal wheel of time. p. 130
THE pronunciation of Sanskrit words is
simple when the principles governing the alphabet are known, and when the system of
transliterating the Devanâgarî characters is understood, because there are no
‘silent’ letters as in English. Further, every letter or every combination (of
letters) always has the same sound without variance. The alphabet is written in Devanâgarî* and is based on scientific principles. It commences with the
vowels. It will be observed (in the diagram which follows) that each vowel has a
short and long form — the latter being distinguished by a diacritical mark. The
order of the consonants runs according to the means required for pronunciation,
commencing with those which are sounded at the back of the mouth, in the throat
— the Gutturals — moving forward position by position — i.e., to the Palatals, Linguals, Dentals — to the sounds made against the lips — the Labials (see Diagram). Then follow the Semivowels (one for each of the above positions of the
*The name by which Sanskrit writing is known, called the language of the gods: lit. ‘god-city.’
the Sibilants, concluding with the Aspirate — h. Placed in diagrammatic form, the Sanskrit alphabet is as follows:
It will be observed that the second and fourth vertical columns represent aspirated letters of the first and third columns respectively. It is the pronunciation of these aspirated letters which
seems to cause the greatest difficulty to English- speaking students, who usually place a vowel between the two letters and thus cause a hiatus (which is foreign to Sanskrit). It is imagined that such sounds do not occur in the English language, but they do, as the following words clearly illustrate: inkhorn, leghorn, witch-hazel, hedgehog, right-handed, adhere, upheaval, abhor. Another difficulty in pronunciation is the vowels. Most of the vowels in English take on different sounds depending upon their positions between other letters. In Sanskrit this is not the case: the vowels retain their true tonal sound irrespective of position. The following examples illustrate the pronunciation.
a — sofa (or human); â — arm; i — bin;
î—machine; u—full; ű—fool; ṛi—fibre;
ṛî (the same, lengthened); lṛi — revelry;
e—prey; ai—aisle; 0—so; au—out.
The anusvâra — generally termed a nasal, and pronounced like the French an, am — perhaps may be classed as a guttural vowel (because its sound is best produced by placing the mouth in the position for pronouncing k, but instead making an am sound). The visarga (ḥ) is equivalent to a final aspirate, as in the Scotch loch.
The consonants have the same sounds as in
English, except the fourth horizontal line (of the diagram), named Linguals:
these are made with the tip of the tongue against the palate — farther back in
the mouth than the Dentals (for which the tongue is placed against the teeth).
Notice the different sound of the following pairs of words: not, teen; with,
these; nod, dean. However, in the West the difference in pronunciation of
Linguals and Dentals is generally ignored, although the former are
differentiated by placing dots below the letters:
ṭ, ḍ, ṇ, etc.
The Palatal Sibilant śa is best pronounced by placing the mouth in a position to make the ch-sound (as in char), but instead make the sh-sound — śarîra.
It will be noticed that the fifth vertical row of the diagram has four different characters, each represented by the English letter n. The diacritical marks give the clue to pronunciation. The guttural ŉ is either followed by k or g, and is sounded as in the words sink and linger (not the ng in singer). The palatal ń has the sound of the n in onion. The lingual ṇ is softer than the dental n (compare the sounds of n in crunch and need). A fifth n is the ‘anusvâra n
of independent origin,’ preceding sibilants and the aspirate: such as in hansa, Chandravanśa sinha(but these words are often spelled with an m). Contrariwise the true anusvâra m ) when preceding k is often spelled with an n: e.g., Ahankâra, Sânkhya (while scholars use the ṃ,— Ahaṃkâra, Sâṃkhya).
A pronunciation-chart using the order of the letters of the English alphabet now follows:
PRONOUNCED SANSKRIT WORD
AS IN :
a sofa nara
â arm mâyâ
ai aisle airâvata
au out draupadî
b bar buddhi
bh abhor bhagavat
ch chart chakra
chh witch-hazel chhâyâ
d day deva
dh adhere dharma
e prey devachan
g agate gîtâ
gh leghorn sughosha
h home hari