Home » Gods and Heroes of The Bhagavad-Gītā I

« | INDEX | »
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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



Ikṣvāku 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 Sūryavaṅsa (the ‘solar dynasty’), reigning at Ayodhya at the commencement of the Tretā-Yuga (the second Yuga). (Bh.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but because of the religious observances instituted necessitating the invocation of the deity of the atmosphere, he superseded the more spiritual Varuṇa: thus more Vedic hymns are addressed to Indra than to any other deity, except Agni (q.v.). In later mythology, however, the Trimūrti (Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva) 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 (Uchchhaihsravas, q.v.), or an elephant (Airāvata, q.v.).

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

Iśvara ’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. Iśvara is also used as a title for many of the gods, such as Viṣṇu and Śiva.

“The Logos, or both the unmanifested and the manifested WORD, is called by the Hindus, Iśvara, ‘the Lord,’ … Iśvara, 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 Dhyān-Chohanic consciousnesses.’ ” (S.D. I, 573) *is, to rule, to be master. Bh.G. 130)