Ramayana
  • Adityahridayamantra

    Ādityahṛdayamantra (Adityahridayamantra) is a powerful hymn in salutation to Āditya (Aditya), the Sun-god. The hymn consists of the salutation to Ghṛṇi(Ghrini) at first, then Sūrya (Surya), and then Āditya along with Praṇava(Pranava; Om-kara). It is believed to be a sanātana (sanatana; eternal and traditional) hymn, which is also guhya( secret) as Sage Agastya says to Rāmacandra(Ramachandra). […]

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  • Agaru or Aguru

    Among all the fragrances used in India since ancient times, agaru or aguru or agar wood is one of the most famous ones. Sandal and agaru have been used as aromatic cosmetics since time immemorial. In Mahābhārata (Mahabharata) and Purāṇas (Puranas), sandal and agaru have almost always been mentioned together as perfumes. People of yore, irrespective of their sex, used […]

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  • Agastya

    When God Srīhari (Shrihari) created Urvaśi (Urvashi) from his thighs, all the gods were bewitched by her. Mitra was one of the gods of the pair Mitrāvaruṇa (Mitravaruna). Urvaśī consented when Mitra sought union with her. But Varuṇa (Varuna) followed her, pulling at the corner of her dress. Urvasī told him, “Mitra has courted me […]

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  • Agastya-ashrama – 07

    It is mentioned in Kiṣkindhyākāṇḍa (Kishkindhyakanda) of Rāmāyaṇa that the beautiful Mahendra Parvata (Mahendra Hills) are built by sage Agastya.  Clearly the presence of another Agastya-āṣrama may be assumed at the site of Mahendra Parvata. Mahendra Parvata can be located in modern day Orissa. [See: Mahendra Parvata]

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  • Agastya-Ashrama – 09

    Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana) mentions that sage Agastya’s āśrama (ashrama; ‘abode’) was located four yojana to the south of his brother’s āśrama. In course of the description of this Agastya-āśrama , sage Agastya’s exploits have also been described, all of which seemingly took place in South India. The southern part of India had become habitable to all […]

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  • Agastya-ashrama – 12

    There is an Agastya-āśrama (Agastya-ashrama) on Devasaha Parvata (Devasaha Hills) near Gokarṇa (Gokarna) in the region of Pāṇḍya (Pandya). This āśrama was founded by one of Agastya’s disciples, as Mahābhārata (Mahabharata) refers to this āśrama as belonging to a disciple of Agastya – āśramo’gastyaśiṣyasya puṇye devasahe girau. But Agastya himself must have set his foot […]

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  • Agastya-ashrama – 13

    In Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana) we see that during the battle between Rāmacandra (Ramachandra) and Rāvaṇa (Ravan), the king of Laṃkā (Lanka), Agastya was present as an observer in the battlefield. Agastya taught Rāmacandra Ādityahṛdaya (Adityahridaya) mantra and advised him on the battle. From this it can be derived that Agastya visited the kingdom of Laṃkā as […]

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  • Agastyakuta

    Agastyakūṭa (Agastyakuta) is the name of a sacred mountain peak in South India. It is also known by the names Agastya Parvata, Agastamala Hills and Pothiyar Hills. Sugrīva (Sugriva) had sent his monkey scouts and warriors to the south to look for Sītā (Sita). Before seeing them off, he had asked them to meet sage […]

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  • Agni – 1

    Agni is the Sanskrit word for ‘fire’. Agni is one of the foremost among the Vedic deities. In regard of the number of Vedic hymns (sūkta; sukta) attributed to the deities, Agni comes only second to Indra (almost two hundred hymns have been dedicated to Agni). Since Agni’s deeds and actions are mainly observable on […]

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  • Agnihotra

    Pṛśni (Prishni), the wife of Savitā (Savita), a representative form of Sūrya (Surya), gave birth to a sacrificial rite of immense significance known as agnihotra.  Agnihotra has been compared to the grinding of teeth of yajñavaraha (yajnavaraha), the sacrificial boar conceptualised as the mythical presiding deity of a yajña (yajna).  Bhāgavatapurāṇa (Bhagavatapurana) opines, while commenting on the […]

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  • Agniketu

    A rākṣasa (rakshasa). Before the war of Laṅkā (Lanka) many rākṣasa generals came to Rāvaṇa (Ravan) to encourage him to wage a battle against Rāmacandra’s (Ramchandra) army so that Rāmacandra’s forces could be crushed. Agniketu was one of these generals. He sought Rāvaṇa’s permission to fulfil his wish of killing Rāma (Ram), Lakṣmaṇa (Lakshman), Sugrīva […]

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  • Agnivarna

    In the main Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana) the great sage Vaśiṣṭha (Vashishtha) is seen introducing the Solar Dynasty (Sūryavaṃśa; Suryavangsha) before Rāmacandra’s (Ramachandra) marriage. In this description Agnivarṇa is mentioned as Sudarśana’s (Sudarshana) son and the father of Śīghra (Shighra) or Śīghraga (Shighraga). All of them are Rāmacandra’s ancestors. But in Purāṇas (Purana), Kuśa (Kusha) is Rāmacandra’s […]

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  • Agnyadhana

    The ritual of agnyādhāna (agnyadhana) is also known as agnyādheya (agnyadheya). This ritual used to be held grandly from the Vedic age to the age of Mahābhārata (Mahabharata). This ritual saw the gathering of araṇi (arani; firewood) from a few days before the ritual. After that, the yajamāna (yajamana; the host of the worshipping ritual) […]

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  • Aja – 04

    In Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana), according to ādikavi (adikavi; the first poet, i.e., Vālmīki; Valmiki), Aja is the son of Nābhāga (Nabhaga)— nābhāgasya vabhūvājaḥ. However, in most of the Pūraṇas (Purana), Aja is the son of Raghu of the Ikṣvāku (Ikshvaku) clan, and the father of Daśaratha (Dasharatha). According to Matsyapūraṇa (Matsyapurana), Aja or Ajaka is the […]

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  • Akampana – 3

    Khara and Dūṣaṇa (Dushana), who dwelt in Janasthāna (Janasthan), sought revenge after Rāvaṇa’s (Ravana) sister Śūrpanakhā (Surpanakha) had her nose and ears cut off. Akampana was under their command. When Khara and Dūṣaṇa were killed by Rāma (Rama) and Lakṣmaṇa (Lakshmana), this demon named Akampana delivered the news of their death to Rāvaṇa. It was […]

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  • Akopa

    Akopa was a minister at Ayodhyā (Ayodhya). He adorned the royal court of King Daśaratha (Dasharatha).

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  • Aksha – 1

    Akṣa (Aksha) was a rākṣasa (rakshasa) or demon born of Rāvaṇa (Ravana) to Mandodarī (Mandodari). He was valiant, strong, skilled in warfare, and had a gigantesque figure. His eyes bore the ferocity of a lion’s. He always adorned himself in gold bracelets and amulets. Prince Akśa observed numerous rigorous austerities and eventually received a splendid […]

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  • Alakshita

    A forest in the western part of India. When Sugrīva (Sugriva), in search of Sītā (Sita), sent the Vānara (Vanara)-heroes to several places, he described the places in Western India, after referring to the places in South India. At that time he referred to this forest called Ālakṣita (Alakshita).

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  • Alamvatirtha

    Alamvatīrtha (Alamvatirtha) is a celestial site of pilgrimage. It has not been possible to determine the present location of this heavenly site of pilgrimage. It is said that, Garuḍa (Garuda), in search of a suitable place to sit and consume the huge elephant and tortoise, came to this site of pilgrimage. In Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana), this […]

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  • Anahitagni

    The Sanskrit word āhitāgni (ahitagni) refers to a brāhmaṇa (brahmana) who ceaselessly performs the ritual of agnihotra everyday; therefore, the ones not to perform agnihotra in this manner are known as anāhitāgni (anahitagni). Ayodhyā (Ayodhya), the capital of King Daśaratha (Dasaratha), has been described as abode of no anāhitāgni brāhmaṇa – nānāhitāgni-nāyajvā. The Śiromaṇi (Siromani) commentary of Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana) explains that […]

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  • Anala – 1

    A rākṣasa (rakshasa, roughly translated as demon) born of Mālī (Mali), the brother of rākṣasa king Rāvaṇa’s (Ravana’s) maternal grandfather Sumālī (Sumali), to the gandharva woman Vasudā (Vasuda). Before the battle of Laṅkā (Lanka), while telling Rāmacandra (Ramachandra) about Laṅkā’s defense structure, Vibhīṣaṇa (Vibhishana) mentioned four of his own ministers; Anala was one of them. […]

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  • Anala – 1

    An alluring rākṣasī (rakshasi, or female demon) born of the rākṣasa (rakshasa or demon) king Rāvaṇa’s (Ravana’s) maternal grandfather Sumālī’s (Sumali’s) elder brother Mālyavāna (Malyavana) to his enchanting wife. Analā (Anala) was the wife of Viśvāvasu (Vishwabasu). A beautiful daughter named Kumbhīnasī (Kumbhinasi) was born of Viśvābasu to Analā; Kumbhīnasī was married to a great […]

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  • Anala – 2

    Surabhī (Surabhi) was one of the nine daughters of Krodhavaśā (Krodhavasha). Analā (Anala) was Surabhī’s daughter. According to many South Indian versions of Mahābhārata (Mahabharata), Analā was one of the three daughters of the nāga (naga; snake) matriarch Surasā (Surasa). Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana) recounts that Prajāpati Dakṣa (Prajapati Daksha) had sixty accomplished daughters; Kaśyapa (Kashyapa) married […]

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  • Ananga – 1

    Another name of Madana, the presiding deity of lust, love and affection. Once he was burnt to ashes by the fire of the third eye of Śiva-Mahādeva’s (Shiva-Mahadeva’s). Aṅga (anga) means body. Charred by Mahādeva’s fire of rage, Madana became incorporeal and hence came to be known as Anaṅga (Ananga; ‘one without a body’). An exceptional […]

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  • Ananga – 2

    A monkey warrior mentioned in Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana). In Kiṣkindhyākāṇda (Kishkindhyakanda) of Rāmāyaṇa it is chronicled that Anaṅga (Ananga) and Ulkāmukha (Ulkamukha) are sons of of the the monkey warrior named Hutāśana (Hutashana).

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  • Anangashrama

    A holy place mentioned in Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana). Sage Viśvāmitra (Vishwamitra) was on his way back to his hermitage along with Rāmacandra (Ramachandra) and Lakṣmaṇa (Lakshmana). After crossing the Sarayū (Sarayu) River, they spotted another hermitage at the confluence of the rivers Gaṅgā (Ganga) and Sarayū. Rāmacandra and Lakṣmaṇa asked whom it belonged to. Viśvāmitra told […]

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  • Ananta- 1

    Ananta was the renowned son born to Kaśyapa (Kashyapa) and Prajāpati Dakṣa’s (Prajapati Daksha’s) ninth daughter Kadrū (Kadru). Anantadeva’s wife was called Tuṣti (Tushti). In the lower parts of the multitudes of hells lies the universal flame of annihilation or kālāgni (kalagni). Below that resides Anantadeva. Balanced on his head like a grain of mustard […]

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  • Anaranya
  • Anashana

    Not eating. A mode of asceticism or severe self-discipline. Right after uttering the eminence of the eleventh day of the lunar fortnight it is said that just like there is no ritual of observing a vow of penance on this day, there is no religious austerity such as anaśana (anashana) or starvation by choice. Here, by […]

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  • Anga – 8

    A country or kingdom. The word Aṇga (Anga) is also used to refer to the citizens of the kingdom of Aṇga. Usually, it is mentioned along with four other kingdoms situated in eastern India—Aṇga, Vaṇga (Banga), Kaliṇga (Kalinga), Suhma (Suhma) and Puṇḍra (Pundra). Perhaps these five kingdoms formed a confederacy of which the capital was […]

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  • Angada – 1

    The son born to Tārā (Tara) and Bāli (Bali), the king of apes in Kiṣkindhyā (Kishkindhya). Aṅgada (Angada) was married to the eldest daughter of Mainda, another chief of clan of apes. Aṅgada’s son was named Dhruba. Aṅgada was first introduced in Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana) as a judicious royal personage, not as Bāli’s or Tārā’s son. […]

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  • Angada – 3

    Son of the Rāma’s (Rama’s) brother Lakṣmaṇa (Lakshmana), a renowned character in Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana). Before his death, Rāma instructed Lakṣmaṇa to look for suitable regions so that Rāma could enthrone each of Lakṣmaṇa’s sons as kings of separate states. Eventually, on Bharata’s advice, Rāmachandra crowned Aṅgada (Angada) the king of the Aṅgadīya (Angadiya), a city […]

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  • Angada – 5

    In Brahmāṇdapurāṇa (Brahmandapurana) the kingdom of Lakṣmaṇa’s (Lakshmana’s) son Aṅgada (Angada) situated in Kārupatha (Karupatha) has been referred to as ‘Aṅgada’; ‘Aṅgadā’ (Angadaa) has been used as an adjective for the city—aṅgadasya aṅgadākhyātā deśe kārapathe purī. (the verse in the version of Brahmāṇdapurāṇa majorly followed by us is incorrect here — it reads kārayate in this version. […]

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  • Angadiya

    A prosperous city situated on the flanks of Himālaya (the Himalayas). It was ruled by Aṅgada (Angada), the son of Lakṣmaṇa (Lakshmana) in Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana). The entire settlement was known as Kārupatha (Karupatha) or Kārapatha (Karapatha). During Rāmā’s (Rama’s) lifetime, Bharata took over the land of Kārupatha and established the city of Aṅgadīyā (Angadiya) according to […]

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  • Angalepa

    A province in the Western India. When Sugrīva (Sugriv) sent out his monkey warriors to various places in search of Sītā (Sita), he referred to Aṅgalepā (Angalepa) while elucidating on the various states situated in the western part of India.

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  • Angshudhana

    Bharata and Śatrughna (Shatrughna) were at their maternal uncle’s home when King Daśaratha (Dasharatha), their father, passed away. Bharata, who was in a hurry to return to Ayodhyā (Ayodhya) from Kekaya, crossed River Yamuna and reached a village named Aṃśudhāna (Angshudhan) after navigating through a great forest. River Gaṅgā (Ganga) flowed past this village but […]

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  • Angshumana – 1

    According to some Purāṇas (Puranas), all but four of the sixty thousand sons born of King Sagara’s first wife perished by the fire of Sage Kapila’s wrath. Pañcajana (Panchajana)(Pañcavana or Panchabana according to Vāyupurāṇa or Vayupurana) was one of the sons of King Sagara who survived. Śivapuraṇa (Shivapurana) states that Pañcajana became king after Sagara. Aṃśumāna (Angshuman) was Pañcajana’s […]

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  • Anila – 2

    A rākṣasa (rakshasa; a type of demon) sired by Mālī (Mali) to Vasudā (Vasuda), a gandharva (a kind of demigod) woman. Mālī was a brother of Sumālī (Sumali), grandfather of the rākṣasa king Rāvaṇa (Ravana) of Laṅkā (Lanka). Anila was one of the advisors of Vibhīṣaṇa (Vibhishana). 

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  • Anjana – 1

    An elephant famous in Purāṇas (Purana). He was fathered by the great elephant Airāvata (Airavata) to Abhramū (Abhramu) and lived in the netherworld (pātāla; patala). He was born in the lineage of another famous elephant Supratīka (Supratik). Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana) categorises him as one of the dighastī (dighasti). [See Dighastī] In the battle of Kurukṣetra (Kurukshetra) […]

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  • Anjanaa

    Upon being cursed, apsarā (apsara) Puñjikasthalā (Punjikasthala), daughter of the Water-god Varuṇa (Varuna), was born as the daughter of Kuñjara (Kunjara), the vānara (vanara; monkey) king [here ‘monkey’ must be read in terms of the ethnic group of people who used to wear the totem of monkey] and married off to another vānara king, Keśarī (Kesari). This […]

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  • Anjanaparvata – 3

    According to Kiṣkindhyākāṇḍa (Kishkindhyakanda) of Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana), Añjanaparvata (Anjanaparvata) and its surrounding area was the habitat of the vānara (vanara) people (the Sanskrit word means ‘monkey’. Surely this place was no ‘monkey kingdom’. It is supposed that this area was ruled by an ethnic group of people who used to wear the totem of and identified themselves […]

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  • Araja

    Arajā (Araja) was the eldest daughter of Bhārgava (Bhargava) Śukrācārya (Sukracharya). King Daṇḍa (Danda) , charmed by her beauty, made a proposal of love to him. Arajā, in order to pray for her father’s permission, requested Daṇḍa to wait. But Daṇḍa did not listen to her and made love to her by force. As a […]

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  • Archirmalya

    Arcirmālya (Archirmalya) is a gaṇa (gana; sect)of the Vānara(s), as mentioned in Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana). Vānara(s) belonging to this gaṇa were known to have been sons of Maharṣi (Maharshi; Great Sage)Marīci (Marichi). They are described as very intelligent, powerful and robust. In search of Sītā (Sita), they set out towards the west, being led by Suṣeṇa […]

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  • Arishtanemi – 3

    The daughter of Ariṣtanemi (Arishtanemi) was the second wife of the famous king Sagara, belonging to Sūryavaṃśa(Suryavamsa; the Solar dynasty). In Mahābhārata (Mahabharata), he has given a number of advices on the virtues of Mokṣadharma (the moral and spiritual codes of attaining ultimate liberation); and here Ariṣṭanemi has been once referred to as Tārkṣya (Tarkshya). […]

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  • Arka – 6

    Arka was a Vānara (Vanara) chieftain. During the battle of Laṅkā (Lanka). when Rāmacandra (Ramachandra), with his army, set our towards the south, he was protecting one side of the army along with three associates — Panasa, Keśarī (Kesari) and Gaja.

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  • Arthasadhaka

    Arthasādhaka (Arthasadhaka) was a mantrī (mantri; minister) of Ayodhyā (Ayodhya). When Rāmacandra (Ramachandra)returned from exile, Arthasādhaka, along with seven other ministers, as instructed by Bharata, went to welcome him.

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  • Aruna – 1

    Aruṇa is born of the womb of Vinatā, the eighth daughter of Dakṣa (Daksha), and sired by the great sage Kaśyapa (Kasyapa). He is the elder brother of Garūḍa (Garuda). He pleased Mahādeva (Mahadeva) with great tapasyā (tapasya; ascetic practices), and was appointed the charioteer of the Sun-god, by grace of Mahādeva. Aruṇa’s wife’s name was […]

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  • Asaniprabha

    Aśaniprabha (Asaniprabha) is a Rākṣasa (Rakshasa)-warrior. During the battle of Laṅkā (Lanka), while having an one-to-one bout between the Vānara (Vanara)and the Rākṣasa(s), Aśaniprabha fought with the Vānara-warrior called Dvivida.

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  • Asita – 1

    King Bharata was the son of king Dhruvasandhi, belonging to Ikṣvākuvaṁśa (Ikswakuvamsa, the royal line of Ikswaku). He has clashes with the kings and heroes belonging to Tālajangha (Talajamgha), Haihaya and Śaśavindu (Sasavindu) vaṁśa (vamsa; genealogical line or dynasty). He were defeated by them in a battle, and losing his kingdom, went to live in […]

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  • Atibala – 1

    Atibalā (Atibala)  is one of the eight herbs used in consecration or bathing ceremony of a deity (or his/her idol). Apart from Balā (Bala) and Atibalā, some of the other herbs mentioned in this context are Byāghrī (Byaghri), Śaṅkhapuṣpī (Sankhapushpi) and so on. In Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana) we find Sage Viśvāmitra (Viswamitra) imparting to Rāmacandra (Ramachandra) and […]

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