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An asterisk (*) preceding a Sanskṛt word herein means ‘derived from the verbal root …’



Daityas lit. Descendants of Diti – by the Ṛṣi Kaśyapa. The daityas are the titans (popularly called demons), constantly warring with the gods; at times they are the victors, at others the vanquished. “The first war happened in the night of time, between the gods [and] the (A)-suras, and lasted for the period of one ‘divine year.’ On this occasion the deities were defeated by the Daityas, under the leadership of Hrada. After that, owing to a device of Viṣṇu, to whom the conquered gods applied for help, the latter defeated the Asuras. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa no interval is found between the two wars. In the Esoteric Doctrine, one war takes place before the building of the Solar system; another, on earth, at the ‘creation’ of man;” (S.D. I, 419). The meaning of the wars is, therefore, that the Daityas represent the urgers of evolutionary progress in the cosmic scheme. (Bh.G. 75)

Dasra One of the twin sky deities, the Aśvins (q.v.), father of Sahadeva – the fifth Pāṇḍava – by Madri. (m. accomplishing wonderful deeds.)

Deva A divinity, a spiritual being. In the plural the reference is to the heavenly or shining ones called in the Rig-Veda (II, 3, 4) visve devas ’all the gods,’ – often reckoned as 33 (figuring 11 for each of the ‘three worlds’), or again as the 8 Vasus, the 11 Rudras, the 12 Adityas, and the 2 Asvins. This is also the enumeration in the Mahābhārata. The three worlds are the ”three planes above us.” (Theos. Gloss. 98) The word is generally rendered ‘god,’ although incorrectly, as pointed out by Subba Row: “Do not make the mistake of thinking that the word Deva means a god, and that because we have thirty-three crores of Devas, we therefore worship thirty-three crores of gods. This is an unfortunate blunder generally committed by Europeans. Deva is a kind of spiritual being, and because the same word is used in ordinary parlance to mean god, it by no means follows that we have and worship thirty-three crores of gods. These beings, as may be naturally inferred, have a certain affinity with one of the three component upādhis [basic principles] into which we have divided man” (N.Bh.G. pp. 37-8) – i.e., the upādhi of the Karaṇa-śarīra. (from div, the sky, the heaven. Bh.G. 74)

Devachan A Sanskṛt-Tibetan compound word (deva, a divine being, deity; chan, region): the heaven-world. The state of the ego after death between earth-lives, when it rests in utter bliss and perfect repose. In this state all the spiritual aspirations and intellectual yearnings of the past life find fulfillment. Devachan is “an absolute oblivion of all that gave it pain or sorrow in the past incarnation, and even oblivion of the fact that such things as pain or sorrow exist at all. The Devachanee lives its intermediate cycle between two incarnations surrounded by everything it had aspired to in vain, and in the companionship of everyone it loved on earth. It has reached the fulfillment of all its soul-yearnings. And thus it lives throughout long centuries an existence of unalloyed happiness” (The Key to Theosophy, 148). (Bh.G. 51)

Devadatta The name of the conch-shell of Arjuna. This conch was given to Arjuna by his parent Indra, the deity of the sky, upon the successful conclusion of the expedition which he was requested to make against the daityas of the sea, who had been troubling the deities. They were vanquished by Arjuna. (m. god-given. Bh.G. 3)

Devala A Vedic Ṛṣi descendant of Kasyapa: he is credited with having written some of the hymns of the Vedas, particularly Ṛg-Veda ix. (Bh.G. 72)

Deva-sthāna lit. ’The place of a deity,’ or any place in which a deity stays or has its abode. Equivalent to Deva-loka (the word usually employed). (comp. deva, a divine being, a deity; sthāna, a place, an abode. Bh.G. 67)

Dhanañjaya (or Dhanamjaya) A name of Arjuna. (comp. dhana, prize, wealth, riches; jaya, winner, conqueror: hence ‘winner of the prize’ or ‘conqueror of wealth.’ Bh.G. 16)

Dharmakṣetra The ‘field of the dharma’ in distinction of kurukṣetra (q.v.) with which it is connected in the first verse of the Bhagavad Gītā, ‘the field of the body’ in which we work and about which the Bhagavad Gītā speaks: the religious duty or universal task we have to perform in our body. Outwardly Kurukṣetra was (and is) a location West of Delhi in India, and Dharmakṣetra is the same region signifying the placed where the ṛṣis lived and performed their vedic rituals (Editor Daily Theosophy).

Dhṛṣṭadyumna The brother of Draupadi son of Drupada, the king of Pañchala. He was made the commander-in-chief of the Pāṇḍava army, and accomplished the death of Drona, after losing his own father in the great conflict. (m. confident in strength. Bh.G. 4)

Dhṛṣṭaketu An ally of the Pāṇḍavas: son of Sisupala, the king of the land of the Chedis living in the district of the modern Bundelkhand (or Bundelcund). The Chedis were renowned for their attachment to ancient laws and institutions. (m. confident in clearness. Bh.G. 2)

Dhṛtarāṣṭra The eldest son of Kṛṣṇa Dvaipayana Vyāsa and Arnbikā (widow of Vichitravirya) being born blind. He was the father by Gandhari of Duryodhana (the eldest of 100 sons), to whom he relinquished the government of his kingdom at Hastinapura. Therefore he sided with the Kauravas (i.e., the sons of Kuru, as Duryodhana and his followers were called) rather than with the Pāṇḍavas, the sons of his half-brother Pandu. Vyāsa offered Dhṛtarāṣṭra vision, but he refused the gift inasmuch as he could not bear the sight of the fratricide and slaughter in the oncoming battle at Kurukshetra; nevertheless, taking a keen interest in the proceedings, as the opening stanzas show, he has Sañjaya narrate every event that occurs. With the final victory of the Pāṇḍavas, Dhṛtarāṣṭra enthrones Yudhiṣṭhira at Hastinapura, and with his wife, Gandhari and Kuntī he retires to the forest, where all lose their lives in a conflagration.

W. Q. Judge suggests the interpretation that Dhṛtarāṣṭra stands for man’s physical body – viewing the story from the standpoint of the evolutionary development of man. (m. he whose empire stands firm. Bh.G. 1)

Doab (Hindustani) A region of land situated between two rivers. The particular reference is to the country between the Jumna (Yamuna) and Saraśvatī rivers, which in ancient times was the land of the Kurus. (Also written duab, from Persian, du, two; ab, water; from the Sanskṛt, dva, two; ap, water. Bh.G. iii)

Draupadī The patronymic of Kṛṣṇa, the daughter of Drupada, king of Pañchala. At a svayamvara (a gathering for a display of feats of skill for the purpose of allowing a king’s daughter to choose a bridegroom) Draupadi selected Arjuna as her bridegroom, but when he returned with his four brothers to his mother, Kuntī and announced that they had made a great acquisition, she told them that they were obliged to share it. Because of this and also through the insistence of their ancestor, the sage Vyāsa, it was decided that she should become the wife of the five brothers. The Mahābhārata also relates that in a previous life Draupadi had received the boon that she should be wedded to five husbands. The Draupadeyas (i.e., sons of Draupadi) referred to in the text, were the five sons of the Pāṇḍavas, by name: Prativindhya (by Yudhiṣṭhira), Sutasoma (by Bhīma); Śrutakirti (by Arjuna), Satanika (by Nakula); Śrutasena (by Sahadeva).

Symbolically Draupadi represents ‘the terrestrial life of the personality.’ (Bh.G. 2)

Drona A Brahmana, son of Bharadvaja, who married Kṛpa, the half-sister of Bhīshma, by whom he had a son, Aśvatthaman. He was acharya (teacher of the military art) to the Kaurava princes as well as to the Pāṇḍavas. Although loving the princes equally, nevertheless because of his relationship to Bhīshma, he sided with the Kauravas in the great conflict at Kurukshetra. The words spoken to the ‘preceptor’ in the second śloka (as narrated by Sañjaya – Bh.G. 2) were addressed by Duryodhana to his teacher, Drona. When Bhīshma was mortally wounded on the field of battle, Drona became commander-in-chief of the Kaurava army. (Bh.G. 5)

Drupada The son of Pṛṣata, king of Pañchala (the region adjacent to the land of the Kurus), father of Dhṛṣṭadyumna (‘the clever son’ referred to in the text). He was also the father of Draupadī (the wife of the Pāṇḍavas). His son was made commander-in-chief of the Pāṇḍava army. (Bh.G. 2)

Duryodhana The eldest son of Dhṛtaraṣṭra and Gandhari leader of the Kurus (or Kauravas) in the conflict with the Pāṇḍavas at Kurukshetra. Because of his blindness, Dhṛtaraṣṭra had intended to make his brother’s virtuous son, Yudhiṣṭhira, the heir-apparent to his throne, but the Kurus under Duryodhana objected so strongly that instead he allowed his son to take charge of the government, and turned over a portion of his kingdom – that of Indraprastha – to the Pāṇḍavas. Owing to further machinations of the Kurus, Yudhiṣṭhira lost this kingdom in a game of dice, and Duryodhana forced the Pāṇḍavas into exile for thirteen years. When this period had elapsed, however, Duryodhana refused to give up the kingdom, and as a consequence the great conflict was waged, in which he lost his life. In the Mahābhārata Duryodhana represents the forces of evil battling with the forces of light: one story represents him as doing wicked deeds in spite of himself, and realizing this he attempted to put an end to his life. He was prevented from doing this by the imps of darkness, so that he might continue imbodied for their purposes.

Duryodhana is represented as an ambitious, malicious prince, the antithesis of the wise and righteous ruler. (m. difficult to conquer. Bh.G. 1)

Dvamdva A pair of opposites (e.g., heat and cold, joy and sorrow, etc.). The dvamdva compound in the text has reference to a copulative compound, i.e., two members of a compound which are in the same case and likewise may be connected with the conjunction and. (m. two and two: the word is the num. adj. dva, two, reduplicated. Bh.G. 75)

Dvīpa A zone, region, land, or continent, commonly called ‘island,’ inasmuch as each dvīpa is described as being surrounded by distinct concentric circumambient oceans centering about Mount Meru. Seven dvīpas are enumerated as follows: Jambu, Plakṣa, Salmali Kusa, Krauñcha, Saka, and Puṣkara. Esoterically the dvīpas refer on the one hand to the seven globes of the Planetary Chain of this Earth, and on the other hand to the seven great continents which come successively into existence as the homes of the seven Root-Races. Jambu-dvīpa corresponds to Globe D of the Chain, Mount Meru rising from its center. (S.D. II, 320). This dvīpa was divided into nine parts termed varṣas (q.v.). (Bh.G. ii)