Theosophical University Press Online Edition

Gods and Heroes of The Bhagavad-Gita by Geoffrey A. Barborka

Gods and Heroes and Technical Terms: H - M

A - G | N - S | T - Y
* The asterisk preceding a Sanskrit word herein means 'derived from the verbal root.' (See 'Abbreviations,' and 'Pronunciation Key.')

 Hanuman (nominative case: dictionary form or ‘crude form’. Hanumat) The celebrated monkey-deity of the Ramayana, son of Pavana, the god of the wind, by Anjana. 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 Rama in his battle against Ravana and the Rakshasas of Lanka (Ceylon). Among mental achievements Hanuman is credited with being a skilled grammarian, and no one could equal him in the sastras (scriptures) and in the art of explaining them.

Arjuna had adopted the traditional representation of Hanuman as his crest. (B.G. 4)

Hari Especially the name of Krishna as an Avatara of Vishnu; applied also to Vishnu and Siva. (B.G. 79)

Hastinapura The city founded by king Hastin (the great-great-grandfather of Kuru), which became the capital city of the kings of the Chandravansa (the ‘Lunar Dynasty’), and the principal city of the Kurus. A great part of the main action of the Mahabharata centers about this city. It formed the main objective of the Pandavas in the great conflict at Kurukshetra (between the Kurus and the Pandavas), at the conclusion of which the victorious Yudhishthira was crowned king after a triumphal entry into the city. Hastinapura 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)

Himalaya The lofty range of mountains in central Asia. Also known as Himachala and Himadri and personified as Himavat, mythologically considered to be the husband of Mena and the father of Ganga (the Ganges river). (B.G. 74)

Hrishikesa A name applied to Krishna and to Vishnu. (m. lord of the senses. B.G. 84)

Ikshvaku 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! Ikshvaku was the founder of the Suryavansa (the ‘solar dynasty’), reigning at Ayodhya at the commencement of the Treta-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 Vritra, the demon of drought, whom he slays; hence he is called Vritrajit), and conquering them with his thunderbolt (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 Varuna: thus more Vedic hymns are addressed to Indra than to any other deity, except Agni (q.v.). In later mythology, however, the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Siva) 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 (Uchchaihsravas, q.v.), or an elephant (Airavata, q.v.).

"Fohat is the scientific aspect of both Vishnu and Indra, the latter older and more important in the Rig Veda than his sectarian successor" (S.D. I, 673). (B.G. 67)

Isvara ‘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. Isvara is also used as a title for many of the gods, such as Vishnu and Siva.

"The Logos, or both the unmanifested and the manifested WORD, is called by the Hindus, Iswara, ‘the Lord,’ … Iswara, 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) *is, to rule, to be master. B.G. 130)

Janaka A king of the Mithila Dynasty who reigned at Videha, famed for his good works, knowledge, and sanctity: through his righteous life he became a Brahmana and one of the Rajarshis. He was the father of Sita, who sprang up from the earth from the furrow he had made with his plow. (B.G. 25)

Janardana In the Puranas the One Cosmic Intelligent Life, manifesting in the threefold aspect of Fashioner, Preserver, and Regenerator (i.e., the Hindu Trimurti – Brahma, Vishnu, Siva). Applied to Krishna in his avataric mamfestation of Vishnu. *jan, to be born, to come forth; *ard, to move: ‘the ever-born.’ B.G. 72)

Jayadratha A prince of the Chandravansa (Lunar Dynasty), son of Brihanmanas and king of the Sindhus and Sauviras (tribes living along the Indus river). Jayadratha. married Duhsala, the daughter of Dhritarashtra, hence he became an ally of the Kurus in the war with the Pandavas, during which he was slain by Arjuna. (m. having victorious chariots. B.G. 83)

Jumna The modern Jamna: a river in the Northwest Provinces of India: it joins the Ganges at Allahabad. The strip of land lying between it and the Sarasvati river was the region of the Kurus in the Mahabharata. The Yadavas ruled over the country west of the Jumna. Vyasa was born on an island situated in this river. (B.G. 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 Brahma – minor kalpas are numerous. A Mahakalpa is often made the equivalent of a Manvantara. *klrip, to be in order. B.G. 65)

Kamadeva The god of love (lit. the god Kama). The first-born in the Vedas: "Him neither devas, nor pitris, nor men have equalled. Thou art superior to these and forever great," chants the Atharva-Veda; while the Rig-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). Kamadeva 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 Taittiriya-Brahmana has it that Kamadeva was the son of Dharma (moral religious duty, piety, justice) and of Sraddha (faith); in another hymn he is born from the heart of Brahma and therefore called the Self-Existent (Atma-bhu), or the Unborn (Aja).

Kamadeva is in the Rig-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 afterwards became the sexual Cupid, so was Kama in his original Vedic character," (ibid.). (B.G. 74 – mentioned as ‘the god of love.’)

Kamaduh (dict.: nom. Kamadhuk) The mythical cow belonging to the sage Vasishtha, produced by the gods at the churning of the cosmic ocean. (See Ananta.) She is supposed to grant all desires and hence is termed the ‘cow of plenty.’ The alternative form, Kamadhenu, gives the clue to this meaning: kama, 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 Yadava line of the Lunar Dynasty, ruler of the Bhojas, reigning at Mathura, who deposed his own father, Ugrasena. Ugrasena was the brother of Devaka, the latter being the father of Devaki mother of Krishna. Kansa is usually called the uncle of Krishna; strictly speaking, however, he is a cousin. In spite of this relationship, he became the avowed enemy of Krishna because a prophecy had been foretold to him that a son of Devaki would cause his death. In order to prevent this from happening, Kansa imprisoned Devaki 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, Balarama, was saved through the connivance of his parents. Then when Krishna was born, his parents escaped from the palace and fled from the city of Mathura, whereupon the enraged Kansa ordered all infant boys in the kingdom put to death; but the parents escaped from the realm with Krishna, and the child was brought up by cow-herds in seclusion. Kansa at length learned that Krishna had escaped destruction and made several attempts to bring about his death: as an instance, he sent jarasandha, the king of Magadha, to battle with the young Krishna eighteen times, but that monarch was as many times defeated. Krishna finally slew Kansa, as was predicted, restored Ugrasena, but left Mathura and established his kingdom at Dvaraka. (B.G. 121)


Kapila One of the famous Rishis. There are many sages by the name of Kapila, the last being the founder of the Sankhya (q.v.) philosophy. A legend relates that while Kapila was engaged in meditation in Patala, he was menaced by the sixty thousand sons of Sagara, whereupon 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 Puranas. First the primeval sage, then Kapila, one of the three ‘Secret’ Kurnaras; and Kapila, son of Kasyapa and Kadru ... 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-Gita (and for that matter throughout the whole of the Mahabharata) 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. *kri to do, to act: dictionary form or ‘crude form’: karman, nominative case: karma. B.G. 15)

Karna The son of Pritha (or Kunti) by Surya, the god of the sun, through the instrumentality of a mantra granted to her by the sage Durvasas. This occurred before her marriage to Pandu, hence Karna was the half-brother of the Pandavas, although this was not known to them until after his death, which was accomplished by Arjuna during the battle at Kurukshetra. Karna had been abandoned by his mother while yet a child: he was found by the suta (Charioteer) of Dhritarashtra, named Adhiratha (or Nandana), and brought up as his own son. Although knowing his relationship to the Pandavas, Karna sided with the Kauravas, because Duryodhana had given him the kingdom of Anga. During the great conflict Karna was on the point of slaying Arjuna, of whom he was especially envious, but was prevented from doing so by Krishna. (B.G. 2)

Kasi (or Kasi) A country situated in the vicinity of modern Benares, whose king, Kasya, sided with the Pandavas. (B.G. 2)

Kauravas (see Kurus)


Kesava A name applied to Krishna, likewise to Vishnu. (m. having much or fine hair. B.G. 18)

Kesin A daitya (or ‘demon’) slain by Krishna when the prince was attacked by Kesin in the form of a horse. The daitya was believed to have been sent by Kansa (q.v.) in order to cause the death of Krishna. (B.G. 121)

Kripa The son of the sage Saradvat. With his sister Kripa he was adopted by king Santanu (the father of Bhishma). Kripa was one of the privy councillors at Hasti napura, 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)

Krishna The son of Devaki and Vasudeva (of the Yadava line of the Chandravansa – the Lunar Dynasty). (For particulars as to his birth see Kansa.) Krishna is represented as the eighth Avatara of Vishnu: in this aspect he is the spiritual teacher, the embodiment of wisdom; but as with other Saviors, stories and allegories have been woven around him in great abundance. In the Mahabharata his story is briefly sketched, yet all his exploits are enumerated: he appears throughout the work mostly as the advisor of the Pandavas. The life of Krishna is told in full in the Harivansa (a work regarded as an addition to the epic), also in great detail in the Vishnu- and Bhagavata-Puranas, and popularized for the multitude in the Prem Sagar (written in Hindi. The various stories and allegories woven around Krishna 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-Gita are as applicable today in the Occident as in the Orient – although couched in the metaphor and background of a people living thousands of years ago. The date of Krishna’s death is given as 3102 B.C., and this event marked the commencement of the Kali-yuga, the present ‘Iron Age.’ The Bhagavad-Gita itself best describes the avataric character of Krishna: it represents the teacher as the Logos, while Arjuna typifies man.

H. P. Blavatsky makes the following interesting comment regarding the successive incarnations of avataras of Vishnu (i.e., the Narasinha Avatara, Rama, and Krishna) and the successive reincarnations of Daityas. Hiranyakasipu, the unrighteous but valiant monarch of the Daityas, because of his wickedness was slain by the Avatara 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 Krishna, the last incarnation of Vishnu. This parallel evolution of Vishnu (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. Krishna is represented as being very dark-skinned. B.G. 3)

Krishna Dvaipayana (see Vyasa). (B.G. p. iii)

Krishna-Yajur-Veda lit. ‘the Black Yajur-Veda’ – an alternative name for the Taittiriya-Samhita – one of the two divisions of this Veda, the other part being known as the White YajurVeda. It is called ‘black’ (krishna) because the Samhita and Brahmana portions of this Veda are confused and mixed together, whereas the part named ‘white’ (sukla) is free from this confusion and is arranged in an orderly manner. Yajur-Veda means ‘sacrificial Veda’: – it is a collection of sacred mantras which are practically identical with some of the mantras in the Rig-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 (asvamedha). (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, administrators, etc. (see B.G. pp. 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)

Kshetrajna 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; jna, the knower. B.G. 93)

Kunti The patronymic of Pritha, the sister of Krishna’s father, Vasudeva, and daughter of a Yadava prince named Sura, who gave her to his childless cousin Kunti (or Kuntibhoja), by whom she was adopted – hence she was called Kunti. As a maiden she paid such respect and devotion to the sage Durvasas 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, Surya, and Karna (q.v.) was born: but Kunti abandoned the child. She chose Pandu as her husband (at a svayamvara). With the aid of her mantra she invoked the god of justice, Dharma, by whom Yudhishthira was born by invoking Vayu, the god of the wind, Bhima was born; and by supplication to Indra, the god of the sky, Kunti gave birth to Arjuna. In the Mahabharata Kunti is represented as the model of maternal affection and devotion, ever watching over the Pandavas, with whom she spent thirteen years in exile. After the great war she retired with Gandhari and Dhritarashtra into the forest, where she perished in a conflagration.

"As Aditi is called Surarani (the matrix or ‘mother’ of the sura gods), so Kunti the mother of the Pandavas, is called in Mahabharata Pandavarani – which term is already physiologized." (S.D. II, 527) (B.G. 4)

Kuntibhoja (or Kunti) King of the Kuntis (a people of ancient India). This Yadava prince adopted Pritha, the daughter of his cousin Sura, hence she was called Kunti (q.v.). (B.G. 2)

Kuru A king of the Paurava line of the Chandravansa (the Lunar Dynasty) reigning at Hastinapura. He was the son of Samvarana and Tapati and the ancestor of Dhritarashtra and Pandu 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 Mahabharata. (comp. Kuru, and kshetra, field. B.G. 1)

Kurus (or Kauravas) An ancient people inhabiting the northwest of India, in the vicinity of the modern Delhi. In the Mahabharata they are divided into northern and southern Kurus: the northern occupying one of the four Mahadvipas (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-Gita reigning at Hastinapura.

In the text (of the B.G.), the reference to the Kurus is applicable to the sons of Dhritarashtra, although the sons of Pandu 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)

Kusa The sacred grass (Poa cynosuroides), used in India at certain religious ceremonies. H. P. Blavatsky remarks that it has certain occult properties. (Theos. Gloss.) (B.G. 46)

Kusumakara The season of Spring. (comp. kusuma, flower, blossom; akara, making a quantity of. B.G. 76)

Kutastha A philosophical term meaning ‘holding the highest position,’ hence the primordial divinity. As a noun it is often used as a synonym for Isvara, the Divine-Spiritual Monad. Kutastha is often used derivatively for Akasa (q.v.) and for Mulaprakriti. (comp. kuta, the highest, the summit; stha, standing. B.G. 108)

Madhu The name of an asura (q.v.), who was slain by Vishnu. Madhu and his companion Kaitabha sprang from the ear of Vishnu while the deity was resting at the end of a kalpa. These two asuras took advantage of the sleep of the god to approach Brahma, who was also resting, and were on the point of putting him to death but Vishnu awoke and frustrated them in their plot by immediately slaying the asuras. Because of this act Vishnu is known by the names of Madhusudana (slayer of Madhu) and Kaitabhajit (Causing the death of Kaitabha). W. Q. Judge suggests that Madhu represents the quality of passion in nature (B.G. 49). Krishna was also called Madhusudana. (B.G. 9)

Madhusudana A name applied to KrishnaVishnu (Krishna in the aspect of Vishnu). (comp. Madhu (q.v.); sudana, slayer. B.G. 9) Also the name of many Sanskrit authors. (B.G. 51)

Madri A sister of the king of the Madras, who became the second wife of Pandu. By means of the mantra given her by Kunti (q.v.), she became the mother of Nakula and Sahadeva by the twin Asvins (the sky-gods). At the death of Pandu, Madri ascended the funeral pyre with her husband’s corpse. (B.G. p. iv)

Mahabharata lit. ‘The great (war) of the Bharatas.’ The great epic poem of Hindusthan, 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 Chandravansa (Lunar Dynasty) dealing especially with the exploits of the Kurus and the Pandavas, 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-Gita being but a single instance); teachings in regard to Karman and Reincarnation are expounded as well as illustrated in story-form (see under Draupadi and Sikhandin); moral and ethical lessons are repeatedly inculcated, while the traditions and legends of the Bharatas are stressed at all times, featuring all the exploits of a war-like race. The tale of Rama (which forms the basis for the second great epic of India, the Ramayana) is told in full, as is also the story of Sakuntala (later dramatized by Kalidasa). Unquestionably the Mahabharata 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 Vyasa (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 Mahabharatean war so famous in Indian History." (S.D. II, 395) (B.G. p. i)

Maharshi lit. ‘Great Sage’ (great Rishi): referring especially to the ten Maharshis who were the ‘mind-born sons’ of Prajapati (or Manu Svayambhuva) enumerated in Manu (I, 34) as: Marichi Atri Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Prachetas, Vasishtha, Bhrigu, Narada. They are also called the ten Prajapatis. Sometimes they are referred to as seven only – as in chapter x, sloka 6, rendered as "the seven great Sages," B.G. 71. (See Rishi.)

"Every nation has either the seven and ten Rishis-Manus and Prajapatis; ... 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. maha, great; rishi, a Sage or Seer. B.G. 81)

Mahatman lit. ‘Great Soul’ or ‘Great Self’compound of maha, great; atman, 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-Gita. 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)

Mahesvara lit. ‘Great Lord,’ a term applied to the ‘spirit.’ Also a title applied to Siva (the third member of the Hindu Trimurti). (comp. maha, great; isvara, lord, master. B.G. 96)

Mahusudana (should be Madhusudana, q.v. The name of many Sanskrit writers. B.G. 51)

Makara A sea-animal: the vehicle of Varuna (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 Manasaputra.

"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 Manasa putra, ‘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)

Manipushpaka 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 Viraj: he then produced the ten Prajapatis (q.v.), who in turn produced seven other Manus; each of these Manus again produced seven Manus. Fourteen Manus, however, 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 Rishi.)

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 Viraj, 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 Puranas, 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 Purana." (S.D. II, 614) (B.G. 30)

Margasirsha The name of the month in which the full moon enters Mrigasiras (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)

Marichi One of the ten Prajapatis (progenitors) or mind-born sons of Brahma, from whom mankind is descended (according to Manu). He is also regarded as one of the seven great Rishis (q.v.), in the Mahabharata. He is the father of the Rishi Kasyapa – the Vedic sage, the most prolific of creators, who produced the Nagas (q.v.). Marichi is also represented as the chief of the Maruts (q.v.). In Manu the Pitris of the Gods are reborn as the sons of Marichi and his wife Sambhuti. These pitris are the Agnishvatta Pitris, while those called in Manu the ‘Pitris of the Demons,’ who are reborn as the sons of Atri are the Barhishad Pitris. (S.D. II, 89) (B.G. 73)

Maruts The storm gods, helpers of Indra: armed with lightning and thunderbolts, 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 Puranas it is related that the Maruts were born in the following manner: Did, the wife of Kasyapa, (one of the great Rishis) 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. Siva 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 Akasa. 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, pp. 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 Akasa’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)

Maya 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 Maya rendered ‘illusion.’ One of the traditional explanations of this term given in the Vedanta 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 – maya.

"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)

Maya is often used as an equivalent for Avidya (ignorance), although properly it should be applied solely to Prakriti (q.v.). *ma, 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 (Dvipas); 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)