Rigveda
  • Adikara – 2

    One of the names of God Śiva (Siva), mentioned in Śivasahasranāmastotra. Nīlakaṇṭha (Nilakantha), the commentator, while clarifying the meaning of the name ‘Ādikara’, has said — Ādikaraḥ hiraṇyagarbhasrastāḥ. In one of the mantras in Ṛgveda (Rigveda) it is said that, in the beginning of creation, there had been only Hiraṇyagarbha. He is the creator and […]

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  • Aghnya

    A name associated with cattle (especially cows) and the cattle community in the Indian context. Cows should not be beaten or slaughtered— rather they are unsuitable for slaughter, and thus the appellation. In the dialogue between Tulādhāra and Jājali in Mahābhārata, it has been clearly mentioned that aghṇyā is synonymous to cow — aghṇyā iti […]

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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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  • Agnitraya

    Before killing Jarāsandha (Jarasandha) in Mahābhārata (Mahabharata), Bhīma (Bhima) boasted, “Krṣṇa (Krishna) is well-versed in diplomacy, I am endowed with physical might and Arjuna is an expert warrior. We three are like the three forms of Agni” — māgadhaṃ sādhayiṣyāma iṣṭiṁ traya ivāgnayaḥ The tasks enjoined in the Vedas required three forms of Agni — Gārhapatya […]

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  • Ahirvudhnya – 1

    In Vāyupurāṇa (Vayupurana), when the term Ahirvudhnya is used for the first time, it is referred to as one of the several yajñasthāna(s) (yajnasthana; place of fire-sacrifice). It is said that Ahirvudhnya is the name of gṛhapti (grihapati)agni or gārhapatya agnisthāna (garhapatya agnisthana, a ritual fireplace considered sacred for the life of a householder). Ahirvudhnya […]

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  • Aja – 02

    One of the ethnic groups mentioned in Ṛgveda (Rigveda). The name Aja is mentioned in plural along with the names of two other ethnic groups—Śigru (Shigru) and Yakṣu (Yakshu)— ajāsaśca śigravo yakṣavaśca/ valiṃ śīrṣāni jabhruraśvyāni Aja, Śigru and Yakṣu clans were probably defeated by Tritsu and Paijavana Sudāsa (Shudasa). Based on the clues provided by […]

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  • Aja – 03

    A goat. According to Vedic concepts, it is the steed of Pūṣā (Pusha) or Pūṣan (Pushan). Pūṣā, a form of the Sun-god, is addressed as ajāśva (ajashva), that is, he who has accepted aja or a goat as his steed much like a horse (aśva; ashva). In Aśvamedha (Ashwamedha) yajña, mentioned in Vedas, a goat was carried […]

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  • Alamkara – 1

    Alaṃkāra (Alamkara; ornament) is celebrated as a giftable equipment, as described in Purāṇa(s) (Purana; Mythological Scripture). Alaṃkāra is to be dedicated to gods at the time of worshiping. Giving ornaments as gift can yield the fruits of caturvarga (the four-fold goals of life), happiness, and it determines development and satisfaction. Alaṃkāra is of forty kinds. […]

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  • Amvarisha – 1

    Amvarīṣa (Amvarisha) is one of the mantradraṣṭā (mantradrasta; seer of holy hymns) ṛṣi(s) (rishi; sage) of Ṛgveda (Rigveda). Amvarīṣa and his five brothers were sons of Vṛṣāgīra (Vrishagira). In Ṛgveda, they found to be chanting hymns to Indra — etatttya indra vṛṣṇa ukthaṃ vārṣāgirā abhi gṛṇanti rādhaḥ ṛjrāśvaḥ praṣṭibhiramvarīṣaḥ sahadevo bhayamānaḥ surādhāḥ. In Purāṇa(s) (Purana; […]

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  • Anda

    Commonly the term aṇḍa (anda) means ‘egg’ or ‘a bird’s egg’ to be specific. In a famous verse in Ṛgveda (Rigveda) we find a figure of speech based on comparison: “As a bird brings out its progeny breaking the egg…” — āṇḍeva bhitvā śakunasya garbham. This comparison considers the egg  or aṇḍa as another womb of the bird. In a […]

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  • Angira – 1

    Aṅgirā (Angira) or Aṇgirasa (Angirasa) is one of the six sons born to Brahmā (Brahma) at the beginning of Creation— marīcyatryaṅgirasau pulastyaḥ pulahaḥ kratuḥ; ṣaḍete brahmaṇaḥ putrā bīryavanto maharṣayaḥ. Numerous tales can be found in Purāṇas (Puranas) about the birth of the great sage Aṅgirā. Apart from describing him as a spiritually conceived son of […]

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  • Angshu – 1

    Aṃśu (Angshu) literally means ray or glow of light. According to Ṛgveda (Rigveda), when a certain portion part or aṃśa of the sacrificial moon-plant or somlatā (somlata) is grounded, what we have is known as aṃśu. Therefore, aṃśu is that which flows from the moon— pra syandasvba soma biśbebhiraṁśubhiḥ.  The word aṃśu literally refers to the moon, […]

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  • Anitabha

    A river. Anitabhā (Anitabha) has been mentioned along with two other rivers, namely Rasā (Rasa) and Kubhā (Kubha) in a verse of Ṛgveda (Rigveda) in which the composer calls rain down on the Earth – rasānitabhā kubhā krumurmā vaḥ sindhuni.  The river has been identified as Kandia, the river flowing through the north-west region of modern day […]

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  • Anjasi

    Añjasī (Anjasi) is a river mentioned in Ṛgveda (Rigveda). In a hymn, Sage Kutsa, son of Aṅgirā (Angira), takes the name of this river together with two others: Kuliśī (Kulisi) and Vīrapatnī (Virapatni).  Manohar Lal Bhargava observes that the course of Añjasī stretched through the regions of Kailor, Kunjheri, Mauli, Manauli, Mota and Jansia; thereafter the […]

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  • Anu – 1

    Anu was the second son sired by King Yayāti (Yayati) to Śarmiṣṭha (Sarmishtha).  When Yayāti, cursed of acquiring untimely senility by Śukrācārya (Sukracharya), requested each of his sons to exchange his youth with the king’s old age, Anu directly refused this plea of his father. He said that old men, like infants and lowly people, eat whenever […]

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  • Apaga

    Āpagā (Apaga) is a river; and there is a pilgrimage site named after this river. In Mahābhārata (Mahabharata) it is said that the river is located about one krośa (krosa, about two miles) away towards the east of Mānuṣatīrtha (Manushatirtha, the pilgrimage site called Manusha). It is hailed as a site of great virtue. It […]

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  • Asi

    Since the beginning of the Aryan culture’s flourish in India, since the earlier Vedic period, asi (a sword) had been one of the much-used weapons. However, in the mantra(s) (hymns) of Ṛgveda (Rigveda), asi had been mentioned not so much as a weapon for battle, but much as a weapon of beheading the animals as sacrifice […]

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  • Asikni – 1

    Asiknī (Asikni) is one of the sacred rivers in ancient India. According to scholars, The river called Asiknī, in Vedic times , later came to be known as Candrabhāgā (Chandrabhaga) in Sanskrita (Sanskrit).Yāska (Yaska), the author of Nirukta has said , asiknyāśuklāsitā, sitāmiti varṇa nāma. tat prativedho’sitam. That is — the river has a blcakish […]

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  • Aswattha

    Aśvattha (Aswattha) is one of the trees that have been considered as ‘divine trees’. In Vibhūtiyoga (Vibhutiyoga) of Bhagavadgītā (Bhagavadgita), while describing his manifestation as the Supreme God, Śrī Kṛṣṇa (Sri Krishna) has identified all things greatest in this world, as manifestation of His own Self. In this context he says, I am Aśvattha among […]

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  • Atiratra – 2

    Atirātra (Atiratra) is a special kind of a yajña (yajna) or yāga (yaga), a type of Somayāga (Somayaga). Its ancientness can be guessed from its mention in Ṛgveda (Rigveda) – brāhmaṇāso atirātre na some/ saro na pūrṇamabhito vadantaḥ.  During night, in three segments of paryāya (paryaya) Atirātra is observed. In each segment a cup full of […]

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  • Atithi – 1

    Since the Ṛgvedic (Rigvedic) period, Indian culture has conceived of the guest (atithi) as one who must be treated with respectful and humble hospitality and offered food and shelter. The host should do everything within his power to please the guest. Any yajña (yajna) would require fire (agni; imagined as the Fire-god), therefore fire has been […]

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  • Atri – 1

    Atri was one of the six supreme patriarch ṛṣi (rishi; sage) — like Marīci (Marichi) and Aṅgirā (Angira) — who were born at the onset of the Creation. Many legends are associated with the birth of these six prime sages, and the great sage Atri is no exception. The foremost of these legends is that all […]

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  • Indrani

    Paulamī, wife of Indra, is generally known as Indrāṇi. In the age of Ṛgveda (Rigveda), Indra was the major god to worshipped. From this conception, Indraṇī Śachī was also worshipped as an epitome of good fortune. In several mantra(s) of Ṛgveda, Indrāṇī had been invited to yajña (yajna), along with Varuṇāṇī (Varunani), wife of Varuṇa, […]

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  • Iravati – 1

    Irāvatī(Iravati) is a famous holy river of the Vedic period. In the Vedic era itself, Irāvatī had already been marked as an alternative name of river Paruṣṇ̣ī (Parushni). In Nadī-sūkta(Nadi-sukta; Hymn dedicated to rivers) of Ṛgveda (Rigveda), river Paruṣṇ̣ī is praised along with the other ancient rivers like Gaṅgā (Ganga), Yamunā (Yamuna), Sarasvatī (Sarasvarti), Śutudrī(Sutudri) in […]

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  • Rishti

    In the Ṛgveda (Rigveda), Ṛiṣti (Rishti) was mentioned as the name of a sharp weapon- Vāśīmantaḥ ṛṣtimanto maṇīṣiṇaḥ. This concept becomes more clear in the line- He throws the lightening like Ṛiṣti (Rishti)- Ārukmairāyudhā nara ṛṣvā, ṛṣtīrasṛkṣata. In this mantra, Sāyanāchārya gives the meaning of the word Ṛiṣti (Rishti) as ‘āyudha’- ṛṣtīrāyudha (rishtirayudha) as an […]

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  • Rita 1

    In the very beginning of Mahābhārata (Mahabharata), we hear the utterance of ‘Ṛta’ (Rita) from the lips of Ugraśravā (Ugrasrava) Sauti almost as a blessed utterance– Ṛtam ekākṣaraṁ Brahma vyāktāvyāktaṁ sanātanam. Here the term ṛta (rita) has been inseparably identified with the unspeakable Parabrahman, so it is also identified with the concept of Vyāktāvyakta Puruṣa […]

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  • Udgata

    In Ṛgveda (Rigveda), the Ṛtvik (Ritwik; priests) of yajña (yajna) who sings Sāmavedic chants, are called Sāmaga (Samaga). In yajñik practice, the Sāmaga brahmins are defined as ‘Ud’ The sons, sang by these ‘Ud’, in Gāyatrī-Triṣṭubha (Gayatri-Trishthubha) meter, is compared with the song of the kapinjala bird — ‘O bird, you sing like the udgāta […]

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