Yaksha are a broad class of nature-spirits benevolent, but sometimes mischievous or capricious, connected with water, trees, the forest and wilderness. They appear in Hindu and Buddhist texts, as well as ancient and medieval era temples of South Asia and Southeast Asia as guardian deities; the feminine form of the word is Yakshini. In Hindu and Buddhist texts, the yakṣa has a dual personality. On the one hand, a yakṣa may be an inoffensive nature-fairy, associated with mountains. Several monumental Yakshas are known from the time the Mauryan Empire period, they are variously dated from around the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century BCE. These statues are monumental, bear inscriptions related to their identification as Yakshas, they are considered as the first known monumental stone sculptures in India. Two of these monumental Yakshas are known from Patna, one from Vidisha and one from Parkham, as well as one female Yakshi from Besnagar; the yakṣas may have been the tutelary gods of forests and villages, were viewed as the steward deities of the earth and the wealth buried beneath.
In early Indian art, male yakṣas are portrayed either as fearsome warriors or as portly and dwarf-like. Female yakṣas, known as yakṣiṇīs, are portrayed as beautiful young women with happy round faces and full breasts and hips. In Buddhist literature, the yakṣa are the attendants of Vaiśravaṇa, the guardian of the northern quarter, a beneficent god who protects the righteous; the term refers to the Twelve Heavenly Generals who guard Bhaiṣajyaguru, the Medicine Buddha. The-Mahamayuri-Vidyaraini-Sutra a Buddhist text that dates back to fourth cent or earlier gives a large list of Yakshas throughout the classical cities in ancient India who are invoked to seek the protection of the BuddhaDharma: Jains maintain cult images of Arihants and Tirthankaras, who have conquered the inner passions and attained moksha. Yaksha and Yakshini are found in pair around the cult images of Jinas. Yaksha is on the right-hand side of the Jina image and Yakshini on the left-hand side, they are regarded as devotees of the Jina, have supernatural powers.
They are wandering through the cycles of births and deaths just like the worldly souls, but have supernatural powers. The Harivamsapurana refers to them as Shasandevatas. Among the yakshas and Purnabadra yakshas and Bahuputrika yakshini were popular; the yaksha Manibhadra is worshipped by the Jains affiliated with the Tapa Gachchha. During tenth and thirteenth centuries yaksha Saarvanubhuti, or Sarvahna and yakshinis Chakreshvari, Ambika and Jwalamalini became so popular that independent temples devoted to them were erected; the Yakshas and Yakshinis are common among traditional Murtipujak Shvetambara and Bispanthi Digambar Jains. The Digambara Terapanth movement opposes their worship. Among the Murtipujak Shvetambaras, the Tristutik Gaccha sect object to the worship of shruta-devatas. In Jainism, there are twenty-four yakshas and twenty-four yakshais that serve as shasan-devatas for the twenty-four tirthankaras:; the Yakshas are Gomukha Mahayaksha Trimukha Yaksheshvara or Yakshanayaka Tumbaru Kusuma Varanandi or Matanga Vijaya or Shyama Ajita Brahma or Brahmeshvara Ishvara or Yakset Kumara Dandapani Patala Kinnara Kimpurusha or Garuda Gandharva Kendra or Yakshendra Kubera Varuna Bhrikuti Gomedha or Sarvahna Dharanendra or Parshvayaksha Matanga In the Hindu and Jain mythology Kubera spelt Kuber, the Lord of Wealth and prosperity is considered as the god-king of the semi-divine Yakshas.
He is regarded as the regent of the North, a protector of the world. His many epithets extol him as the overlord of numerous semi-divine species and the owner of the treasures of the world. Kubera is depicted with a plump body, adorned with jewels, carrying a money-pot and a club, his plump body denotes. His is the viverrine, he is seen with another religious figure, Lakshmi the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. Vaiśravaṇa is the Buddhist equivalent of Kubera, in Buddhism Vaiśravaṇa is considered chief of Yakshas. In Kālidāsa's poem Meghadūta, for instance, the yakṣa narrator is a romantic figure, pining with love for his missing beloved. By contrast, in the didactic Hindu dialogue of the Yakṣapraśnāḥ "Questions of the Yakṣa", it is a tutelary spirit of a lake that challenges Yudhiṣṭhira. In Mahavamsa poem of Sri Lanka, a local population is given the term Yakkhas. Prince Vijaya encountered the royalty of the yakkhas' queen, Kuveni, in her capital of Lanka pura, conquered them; the Yakkhas served as loyal subjects with the House of Vijaya and the yakkha chieftain sat on equal height to the Sri Lankan leaders on festival days.
Yakshas are an important element in architecture. They are common as guardians of the gates in Buddhist temples throughout the country since at least the 14th century. Ceramic sculptures of guardian Yakshas were produced in Thailand, during the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya periods, between the 14th and 16th centuries, at several kiln c
Hindu deities are the gods and goddesses in Hinduism. The terms and epithets for deity within the diverse traditions of Hinduism vary, include Deva, Ishvara, Bhagavān and Bhagavati; the deities of Hinduism have evolved from the Vedic era through the medieval era, regionally within Nepal, India and in southeast Asia, across Hinduism's diverse traditions. The Hindu deity concept varies from a personal god as in Yoga school of Hindu philosophy, to 33 Vedic deities, to hundreds of Puranics of Hinduism. Illustrations of major deities include Parvati, Sri, Sati and Saraswati; these deities have distinct and complex personalities, yet are viewed as aspects of the same Ultimate Reality called Brahman. From ancient times, the idea of equivalence has been cherished for all Hindus, in its texts and in early 1st millennium sculpture with concepts such as Harihara, Ardhanārīshvara, with myths and temples that feature them together, declaring they are the same. Major deities have inspired their own Hindu traditions, such as Vaishnavism and Shaktism, but with shared mythology, ritual grammar, theosophy and polycentrism.
Some Hindu traditions such as Smartism from mid 1st millennium AD, have included multiple major deities as henotheistic manifestations of Saguna Brahman, as a means to realizing Nirguna Brahman. Hindu deities are represented with various icons and anicons, in paintings and sculptures, called Murtis and Pratimas; some Hindu traditions, such as ancient Charvakas rejected all deities and concept of god or goddess, while 19th-century British colonial era movements such as the Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj rejected deities and adopted monotheistic concepts similar to Abrahamic religions. Hindu deities have been adopted in other religions such as Jainism, in regions outside India such as predominantly Buddhist Thailand and Japan where they continue to be revered in regional temples or arts. In ancient and medieval era texts of Hinduism, the human body is described as a temple, deities are described to be parts residing within it, while the Brahman is described to be the same, or of similar nature, as the Atman, which Hindus believe is eternal and within every living being.
Deities in Hinduism are as diverse as its traditions, a Hindu can choose to be polytheistic, monotheistic, agnostic, atheistic or humanist. Deities in Hinduism are referred to as Devi; the root of these terms mean "heavenly, anything of excellence". According to Douglas Harper, the etymological roots of Deva mean "a shining one," from *div- "to shine," and it is a cognate with Greek dios "divine" and Zeus, Latin deus. In the earliest Vedic literature, all supernatural beings are called Asuras. By the late Vedic period, benevolent supernatural beings are referred to as Deva-Asuras. In post-Vedic texts, such as the Puranas and the Itihasas of Hinduism, the Devas represent the good, the Asuras the bad. In some medieval Indian literature, Devas are referred to as Suras and contrasted with their powerful, but malevolent half-brothers referred to as the Asuras. Hindu deities are part of Indian mythology, both Devas and Devis feature in one of many cosmological theories in Hinduism. In Vedic literature and Devis represent the forces of nature and some represent moral values, each symbolizing the epitome of a specialized knowledge, creative energy and magical powers.
The most referred to Devas in the Rig Veda are Indra and Soma, with "fire deity" called the friend of all humanity, it and Soma being the two celebrated in a yajna fire ritual that marks major Hindu ceremonies. Savitr, Vishnu and Prajapati are gods and hence Devas; the Vedas describes a number of significant Devis such as Ushas, Aditi, Saraswati, Vāc, Nirṛti, Ratri and bounty goddesses such as Dinsana, Puramdhi, Bharati, Mahi among others are mentioned in the Rigveda. Sri called Lakshmi, appears in late Vedic texts dated to be pre-Buddhist, but verses dedicated to her do not suggest that her characteristics were developed in the Vedic era. All gods and goddesses are distinguished in the Vedic times, but in the post-Vedic texts, in the early medieval era literature, they are seen as aspects or manifestations of one Brahman, the Supreme power. Ananda Coomaraswamy states that Devas and Asuras in the Vedic lore are similar to Angels-Theoi-Gods and Titans of Greek mythology, both are powerful but have different orientations and inclinations, the Devas representing the powers of Light and the Asuras representing the powers of Darkness in Hindu mythology.
According to Coomaraswamy's interpretation of Devas and Asuras, both these natures exist in each human being, the tyrant and the angel is within each being, the best and the worst within each person struggles before choices and one's own nature, the Hindu formulation of Devas and Asuras is an eternal dance between these within each person. The Devas and Asuras and Titans, powers of Light and powers of Darkness in Rigveda, although distinct and opposite in operation, are in essence consubstantial, their distinction being a matter not of essence but of orientation, revolution or transformation. In this case, the Titan is an Angel, the Angel still by nature a Titan.
Yama or Yamarāja is a god of death, the south direction, the underworld, belonging to an early stratum of Rigvedic Hindu deities. In Sanskrit, his name can be interpreted to mean "twin". In the Zend-Avesta of Zoroastrianism, he is called "Yima". According to the Vishnu Purana, Yama is the son of sun-god Surya and Sandhya, the daughter of Vishvakarma. Yama is the brother of Sraddhadeva Manu and of his older sister Yami, which Horace Hayman Wilson indicates to mean the Yamuna. According to the Vedas, Yama is said to have been the first mortal. By virtue of precedence, he became the ruler of the departed, is called "Lord of the Pitrs". Mentioned in the Pāli Canon of Theravada Buddhism, Yama subsequently entered Buddhist mythology in East Asia, Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka as a Dharmapala under various transliterations, he is otherwise called as "Dharmaraja". In Hinduism, Yama is the son of Surya. Three hymns in the 10th book of the Rig Veda are addressed to him. In Puranas, Yama is described as having four arms, protruding fangs, complexion of storm clouds with a wrathful expression.
He wields a noose. Yama is the son of Saranyu, he is brother of Shraddhadeva Manu and the step brother of Shani. His wife was Goddess Dhumorna and his son was Katila. In Buddhism, Yama is a dharmapala, a wrathful god or the Enlightened Protector of Buddhism, considered worldly, said to judge the dead and preside over the Narakas and the cycle of rebirth; the Buddhist Yama has, developed different myths and different functions from the Hindu deity. In Pali Canon Buddhist myths, Yama takes those who have mistreated elders, holy spirits, or their parents when they die. Contrary though, in the Majjhima Nikaya commentary by Buddhagosa, Yama is a vimānapeta – a preta with occasional suffering. In other parts of Buddhism, Yama's main duty is to watch over purgatorial aspects of Hell, has no relation to rebirth, his sole purpose is to maintain the relationships between spirits that pass through the ten courts, similar to Yama's representation in several Chinese religions. He has spread and is known in every country where Buddhism is practiced, including China, Vietnam, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and United States.
In Chinese texts, Yama only holds transitional places in Hell where he oversaw the deceased before he, the Generals of Five Paths, were assigned a course of rebirth. Yama was placed as a King in the Fifth Court when texts led to the fruition of the underworld that marked the beginnings of systemizations. Yama can be found in one of the oldest Japanese religious works called Nipponkoku Genpō Zenaku Ryōiki, a literary work compiled by the Monk Keikai in 822. Yama was introduced to Japan through Buddhism, he holds the same position title as other works depict him – a judge who imposes decisions on the dead who have mistreated others. Naraka in Hinduism serves only as a temporary purgatory where the soul is purified of sin by its suffering. In Hindu mythology, Naraka holds many hells, Yama directs departed souls to the appropriate one. Elevated Mukti-yogyas and Nitya-samsarins can experience Naraka for expiation of sins. Although Yama is the lord of Naraka, he may direct the soul to a Swarga or return it to Bhoomi.
As good and bad deeds are not considered to cancel each other out, the same soul may spend time in both a hell and a heaven. The seven Swargas are: Bhuvas, Tharus, Savithaa and Maha; the idea of Naraka in Sikhism is like the idea of Hell. One's soul, however, is confined to 8.4 million life cycles before taking birth as a human, the point of human life being one where one attains salvation, the salvation being sach khand. The idea of khand comes in multiple levels of such heavens, the highest being merging with God as one; the idea of Hell comes in multiple levels, hell itself can manifest within human life itself. The Sikh idea of hell is where one is apart from the Guru's charana. Without naama one is damned. Naama is believed to be a direct deliverance by God to humanity in the form of Guru Nanak. A Sikh is hence required to take the Amrit from gurubani, panj pyare to come closer to naama. A true Sikh of the Gurus has the Guru himself takes that person into sach khand. In the Jātakas the Narakas are mentioned as Yama's abode.
It is noted that all of Samsāra is subject to Yama's rule, escape from samsāra means escape from Yama's influence. The Vetaranī River is said to form the boundary of Yama's kingdom. Elsewhere, it is referred to as consisting of Ussadaniraya, the four woeful planes, or the preta realm. Naraka is translated into English as "hell" or "purgatory". A Naraka differs from the hells of western religions in two respects. First, beings are not sent to Naraka as the result of a divine punishment. Instead, a being is born into a Naraka as a direct result of his or her previous karma, resides there for a finite length of time until his karma has exhausted its cumulate effect. Mandarin Diyu, Japanese Ji
Indra is a Vedic deity in Hinduism, a guardian deity in Buddhism, the king of the highest heaven called Saudharmakalpa in Jainism. His mythologies and powers are similar to other Indo-European deities such as Jupiter, Perkūnas, Taranis and Thor. In the Vedas, Indra is the king of Svarga and the Devas, he is the god of the heavens, thunder, rains, river flows, war. Indra is the most referred to deity in the Rigveda, he is celebrated for his powers, the one who kills the great symbolic evil named Vritra who obstructs human prosperity and happiness. Indra destroys Vritra and his "deceiving forces", thereby brings rains and the sunshine as the friend of mankind, his importance diminishes in the post-Vedic Indian literature where he is depicted as a powerful hero but one, getting in trouble with his drunken and adulterous ways, the god who disturbs Hindu monks as they meditate because he fears self-realized human beings may become more powerful than him. Indra rules over the much sought Devas realm of rebirth within the Samsara doctrine of Buddhist traditions.
However, like the Hindu texts, Indra is a subject of ridicule and reduced to a figurehead status in Buddhist texts, shown as a god that suffers rebirth and redeath. In the Jainism traditions, like Buddhism and Hinduism, Indra is the king of gods and a part of Jain rebirth cosmology, he is the god who appears with his wife Indrani to celebrate the auspicious moments in the life of a Jain Tirthankara, an iconography that suggests the king and queen of gods reverentially marking the spiritual journey of a Jina. Indra's iconography shows him wielding a lightning thunderbolt known as Vajra, riding on a white elephant known as Airavata. In Buddhist iconography the elephant sometimes features three heads, while Jaina icons sometimes show the elephant with five heads. Sometimes a single elephant is shown with four symbolic tusks. Indra's heavenly home is near Mount Meru; the etymological roots of Indra are unclear, it has been a contested topic among scholars since the 19th-century, one with many proposals.
The significant proposals have been: root ind-u, or "rain drop", based on the Vedic mythology that he conquered rain and brought it down to earth. Root ind, or "equipped with great power"; this was proposed by Vopadeva. Root idh or "kindle", ina or "strong". Root indha, or "igniter", for his ability to bring light and power that ignites the vital forces of life; this is based on Shatapatha Brahmana. Root idam-dra, or "It seeing", a reference to the one who first perceived the self-sufficient metaphysical Brahman; this is based on Aitareya Upanishad. Roots in ancient Indo-European, Indo-Aryan deities. For example, states John Colarusso, as a reflex of proto-Indo-European *h₂nḗr-, Greek anēr, Sabine nerō, Avestan nar-, Umbrian nerus, Old Irish nert, Ossetic nart, others which all refer to "most manly" or "hero". Colonial era scholarship proposed that Indra shares etymological roots with Zend Andra derived from Old High German Antra, or Jedru of Old Slavonic, but Max Muller critiqued these proposals as untenable.
Scholarship has linked Vedic Indra to the European Aynar, Abaza and Innara of Hittite mythology. Colarusso suggests a Pontic origin and that both the phonology and the context of Indra in Indian religions is best explained from Indo-Aryan roots and a Circassian etymology, he is known in Burmese as သိကြားမင်း, pronounced. Indra has many epithets in the Indian religions, notably Śakra, Vṛṣan, Vṛtrahan, Meghavāhana, Devarāja, Surendra, Vajrapāṇī and Vāsava. Indra is of unclear origin. Aspects of Indra as a deity are cognate to other Indo-European gods; the similarities between Indra of Hindu mythologies and of Thor of Nordic and Germanic mythologies are significant, states Max Muller. Both Indra and Thor are storm gods, with powers over lightning and thunder, both carry hammer or equivalent, for both the weapon returns to their hand after they hurl it, both are associated with bulls in the earliest layer of respective texts, both use thunder as a battle-cry, both are heroic leaders, both protectors of mankind, both are described with legends about "milking the cloud-cows", both are benevolent giants, gods of strength, of life, of marriage and the healing gods, both are worshipped in respective texts on mountains and in forests.
Michael Janda suggests that Indra has origins in the Indo-European *trigw-welumos "smasher of the enclosure" and diye-snūtyos "impeller of streams". Brave and heroic Innara or Inra, which sounds like Indra, is mentioned among the gods of the Mitanni, a Hurrian-speaking people of Hittite region. Indra as a deity had a presence in northeastern Asia minor, as evidenced by the inscriptions on the Boghaz-köi clay tablet
Durga, identified as Adi Parashakti, is a principal and popular form of Hindu Goddess. She is the warrior goddess, whose mythology centres around combating evils and demonic forces that threaten peace and dharma of the good, she is the fierce form of the protective mother goddess, willing to unleash her anger against wrong, violence for liberation and destruction to empower creation. Durga is depicted in the Hindu pantheon as a Goddess riding a lion or tiger, with many arms each carrying a weapon defeating Mahishasura; the three principle forms of Durga worshiped are Maha Durga and Aparajita. Of these, Chandika has two forms called Chandi, of the combined power and form of Saraswati and Parvati and of Chamunda, a form of Kali created by the goddess for killing demons Chanda and Munda. Maha Durga has three forms: Ugrachanda and Katyayani. Bhadrakali Durga is worshiped in the form of her nine epithets called Navadurga, she is a central deity in Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, where she is equated with the concept of ultimate reality called Brahman.
One of the most important texts of Shaktism is Devi Mahatmya known as Durgā Saptashatī or Chandi patha, which celebrates Durga as the goddess, declaring her as the supreme being and the creator of the universe. Estimated to have been composed between 400 and 600 CE, this text is considered by Shakta Hindus to be as important a scripture as the Bhagavad Gita, she has a significant following all over India and Nepal in its eastern states such as West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar. Durga is revered after autumn harvests, specially during the festival of Navratri; the word Durga means "impassable", "invincible, unassailable". It is related to the word Durg which means "fortress, something difficult to defeat or pass". According to Monier Monier-Williams, Durga is derived from the roots gam. According to Alain Daniélou, Durga means "beyond defeat"; the word Durga, related terms appear in the Vedic literature, such as in the Rigveda hymns 4.28, 5.34, 8.27, 8.47, 8.93 and 10.127, in sections 10.1 and 12.4 of the Atharvaveda.
A deity named Durgi appears in section 10.1.7 of the Taittiriya Aranyaka. While the Vedic literature uses the word Durga, the description therein lacks the legendary details about her, found in Hindu literature; the word is found in ancient post-Vedic Sanskrit texts such as in section 2.451 of the Mahabharata and section 4.27.16 of the Ramayana. These usages are in different contexts. For example, Durg is the name of an Asura who had become invincible to gods, Durga is the goddess who intervenes and slays him. Durga and its derivatives are found in sections 4.1.99 and 6.3.63 of the Ashtadhyayi by Pāṇini, the ancient Sanskrit grammarian, in the commentary of Nirukta by Yaska. Durga as a demon-slaying goddess was well established by the time the classic Hindu text called Devi Mahatmya was composed, which scholars variously estimate to between 400 and 600 CE; the Devi Mahatmya and other mythologies describe the nature of demonic forces symbolised by Mahishasura as shape-shifting and adapting in nature and strategy to create difficulties and achieve their evil ends, while Durga calmly understands and counters the evil in order to achieve her solemn goals.
There are many epithets for Durga in Shaktism and her nine appellations are: Shailaputri, Chandraghanta, Skandamata, Kaalratri and Siddhidatri. A list of 108 names of the goddess are recited in order to worship her and is popularly known as the "Ashtottarshat Namavali of Goddess Durga". One of the earliest evidence of reverence for Devi – the feminine nature of God, appears in chapter 10.125 of the Rig Veda, one of the scriptures of Hinduism. This hymn is called the Devi Suktam hymn: – Devi Sukta, Rigveda 10.125.3 – 10.125.8, Devi's epithets synonymous with Durga appear in Upanishadic literature, such as Kali in verse 1.2.4 of the Mundaka Upanishad dated to about the 5th century BCE. This single mention describes Kali as "terrible yet swift as thought" red and smoky colored manifestation of the divine with a fire-like flickering tongue, before the text begins presenting its thesis that one must seek self-knowledge and the knowledge of the eternal Brahman. Durga, in her various forms, appears as an independent deity in the Epics period of ancient India, the centuries around the start of the common era.
Both Yudhisthira and Arjuna characters of the Mahabharata invoke hymns to Durga. She appears in Harivamsa in the form of Vishnu's eulogy, in Pradyumna prayer. Various Puranas from the early to late 1st millennium CE dedicate chapters of inconsistent mythologies associated with Durga. Of these, the Markandeya Purana and the Devi-Bhagavata Purana are the most significant texts on Durga; the Devi Upanishad and other Shakta Upanishads dated to have been composed in or after the 9th century, present the philosophical and mystical speculations related to Durga as Devi and other epithets, identifying her to be the same as the Brahman and Atman. The historian Ramaprasad Chanda stated in 1916 that Durga evolved over time in the Indian subcontinent. A primitive form of Durga, according to Chanda, was the result of "syncretism of a mountain-goddess worshiped by the dwellers of the Himalaya and the Vindhyas", a deity of the Abhiras conceptualized as a war-goddess. Durga transformed into Kali as the personification of the all-destroying time, while aspects of her emerged as the primordial energy integrated into the samsara concept and this idea was built
Rama or Ram known as Ramachandra, is a major deity of Hinduism. He is the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu, one of his most popular incarnations along with Krishna and Gautama Buddha. In Rama-centric traditions of Hinduism, he is considered the Supreme Being. Rama was born to Dasharatha in Ayodhya, the ruler of the Kingdom of Kosala, his siblings included Lakshmana and Shatrughna. He married Sita. Though born in a royal family, their life is described in the Hindu texts as one challenged by unexpected changes such as an exile into impoverished and difficult circumstances, ethical questions and moral dilemmas. Of all their travails, the most notable is the kidnapping of Sita by demon-king Ravana, followed by the determined and epic efforts of Rama and Lakshmana to gain her freedom and destroy the evil Ravana against great odds; the entire life story of Rama and their companions allegorically discusses duties and social responsibilities of an individual. It illustrates dharmic living through model characters.
Rama is important to Vaishnavism. He is the central figure of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, a text popular in the South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures, his ancient legends have attracted bhasya and extensive secondary literature and inspired performance arts. Two such texts, for example, are the Adhyatma Ramayana – a spiritual and theological treatise considered foundational by Ramanandi monasteries, the Ramcharitmanas – a popular treatise that inspires thousands of Ramlila festival performances during autumn every year in India. Rama legends are found in the texts of Jainism and Buddhism, though he is sometimes called Pauma or Padma in these texts, their details vary from the Hindu versions. Rāma is a Vedic Sanskrit word with two contextual meanings. In one context as found in Arthavaveda, states Monier Monier-Williams, it means "dark, dark-colored, black" and is related to the term ratri which means night. In another context as found in other Vedic texts, the word means "pleasing, charming, lovely".
The word is sometimes used as a suffix in different Indian languages and religions, such as Pali in Buddhist texts, where -rama adds the sense of "pleasing to the mind, lovely" to the composite word. Rama as a first name appears in the Vedic literature, associated with two patronymic names – Margaveya and Aupatasvini – representing different individuals. A third individual named Rama Jamadagnya is the purported author of hymn 10.110 of the Rigveda in the Hindu tradition. The word Rama appears in ancient literature in reverential terms for three individuals: Parashu-rama, as the sixth avatar of Vishnu, he is linked to the Rama Jamadagnya of the Rigveda fame. Rama-chandra, as the seventh avatar of Vishnu and of the ancient Ramayana fame. Bala-rama called Halayudha, as the elder brother of Krishna both of whom appear in the legends of Hinduism and Jainism; the name Rama appears in Hindu texts, for many different scholars and kings in mythical stories. The word appears in ancient Upanishads and Aranyakas layer of Vedic literature, as well as music and other post-Vedic literature, but in qualifying context of something or someone, "charming, lovely" or "darkness, night".
The Vishnu avatar named Rama is known by other names. He is called Raghava. Additional names of Rama include Ramavijaya, Phreah Ream, Phra Ram, Megat Seri Rama, Raja Bantugan, Ramar. In the Vishnu sahasranama, Rama is the 394th name of Vishnu. In some Advaita Vedanta inspired texts, Rama connotes the metaphysical concept of Supreme Brahman, the eternally blissful spiritual Self in whom yogis delight nondualistically; the root of the word Rama is ram- which means "stop, stand still, rejoice, be pleased". According to Douglas Adams, the Sanskrit word Rama is found in other Indo-European languages such as Tocharian ram, reme, *romo- where it means "support, make still", "witness, make evident"; the sense of "dark, soot" appears in other Indo European languages, such as *remos or Old English romig. This summary is a traditional legendary account, based on literary details from the Ramayana and other historic mythology-containing texts of Buddhism and Jainism. According to Sheldon Pollock, the figure of Rama incorporates more ancient "morphemes of Indian myths", such as the mythical legends of Bali and Namuci.
The ancient sage Valmiki used these morphemes in his Ramayana similes as in sections 3.27, 3.59, 3.73, 5.19 and 29.28. Rama was born on the ninth day of the lunar month Chaitra, a day celebrated across India as Ram Navami; this coincides with one of the four Navratri on the Hindu calendar, in the spring season, namely the Vasantha Navratri. The ancient epic Ramayana states in the Balakhanda that Rama and his brothers were born to Kaushalya and Dasharatha in Ayodhya, a city on the banks of Sarayu River; the Jain versions of the Ramayana, such as the Paumacariya by Vimalasuri mention the details of the early life of Rama. The Jain texts are dated variously, but pre-500 CE, most sometime within the first five centuries of the common era. Dasharatha was the king of Kosala, a part of the solar dynasty of Iksvakus, his mother's name Kaushalya implies that she was from Kosala. The kingdom of Kosala is mentioned in Buddhist and Jaina texts, as one of the sixteen Maha janapadas of ancient India, as an important center of pilgrimage for Jains and Buddhists.
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A Rakshasa is a mythological being in Hindu mythology. As this mythology influenced other religions, the rakshasa was incorporated into Buddhism. Rakshasas are called "Maneaters". A female rakshasa is known as a Rakshasi. A female Rakshasa in human form is a Rakshesha; the terms Rakshasa are sometimes used interchangeably. Rakshasas were believed to have been created from the breath of Brahma when he was asleep at the end of the Satya Yuga; as soon as they were created, they were so filled with bloodlust that they started eating Brahma himself. Brahma shouted "Rakshama!" and Vishnu came to his aid, banishing to Earth all Rakshasas. Their literary origins can be traced to Vedic sources through Hymn 87 of the tenth mandala of the Rigveda, they are classified amongst mythological beings that consume raw flesh. Rakshasas were most depicted as ugly, fierce-looking and enormous creatures, with two fangs protruding from the top of the mouth and having sharp, claw-like fingernails, they are shown as being mean, growling like beasts, as insatiable cannibals that could smell the scent of human flesh.
Some of the more ferocious ones were shown with flaming red eyes and hair, drinking blood with their palms or from a human skull. They could fly and had Maya, which enabled them to change size at will and assume the form of any creature; the female equivalent of rakshasa is rakshasi. In the world of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Rakshasas were a populous race. There were both good and evil rakshasas, as warriors they fought alongside the armies of both good and evil, they were expert magicians and illusionists. As shape-changers, they could assume different physical forms, it was not always clear whether they had a natural form. As illusionists, they were capable of creating appearances which were real to those who believed in them or who failed to dispel them; some of the rakshasas were said to be man-eaters, made their gleeful appearance when the slaughter on a battlefield was at its worst. They served as rank-and-file soldiers in the service of one or another warlord. Aside from its treatment of unnamed rank-and-file Rakshasas, the epics tell the stories of certain members of the "race" who rose to prominence, some of them as heroes, most of them as villains.
The Battle of Lanka pitted an army of Rakshasas under Ravana against an army of Vanaras, or monkeys, under Rama and Sugriva. Ravana was the King of Lanka, he was the commander of the Rakshasas. He was the immortal enemy of the hero of the Ramayana. In the Mahabharata, the Sage Markandeya recounts the story of how Ravana kidnapped Rama's wife Sita and whisked her off to his stronghold Lanka. Rama, aided by the monkey King Sugriva and his army of monkeys, laid siege to Lanka, slew Ravana, rescued Sita. Vibhishana was Ravana's younger brother, he was beautiful and assiduous in his religious observances. When Brahma granted him a boon, he asked never to swerve from the path of righteousness and to always be illumined by divine knowledge Vibhishana joined Rama in his campaign against Ravana and helped Rama's army to cross the ocean into Lanka; when invisible Rakshasas infiltrated Rama's camp, Vibhishana caused them to become visible. After Rama's final victory over Ravana, the loyal Vibhishana was made king of Lanka and remaining Rakshasas.
Kumbhakarna was another brother of Ravana. Like Rakshasas, he ate large quantities of food and meat. A fearsome warrior and master of illusion, he slept through most of the Battle of Lanka; when Ravana awakened him with alarming news about the conflict, he took the field. Upon marching out of the city, Kumbhakarna was swarmed by Rama's monkeys; when the monkey king Sugriva attacked, Kumbhakarna started to drag him off. At that point Rama and his brother Lakshmana used arrows and a secret Brahmastra to kill Kumbhakarna, dropping him "like a huge tree cleft in twain by a thunderbolt." Other Rakshasas that are featured in the Ramayana include Kabandha, Shurpanakha, Subahu, Prahasta, Akshayakumara and Indrajit - the most powerful son of Ravana. The Pandava hero Bhima was the nemesis of forest-dwelling Rakshasas who dined on human travellers and terrorized human settlements. Bhima killed a cannibal Rakshasa; the Mahabharata describes him as a cruel cannibal with prodigious strength. When Hidimba saw the Pandavas sleeping in his forest, he decided to eat them.
He sent his sister Hidimbi to reconnoiter the situation, the young woman fell in love with the handsome Bhima, whom she warned of danger. Infuriated, Hidimba declared he was ready to kill not only the Pandavas but his sister, but he was thwarted by the heroism of Bhima, who defeated and killed him in a duel. Ghatotkacha, a Rakshasa who fought on the side of the Pandavas, was the son of Bhima and the Rakshasa Hidimbi, who had fallen in love with the hero and warned him of danger from her brother. Bhima killed the evil Rakshasa Hidimba, their son's nam