Home » Gods and Heroes of The Bhagavad-Gītā N

« | INDEX | »
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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



Nāga The word means a snake, especially a cobra; but in the Mahābhārata it refers to a race of beings inhabiting Patala, the daughter of whose king, Ulupi married Arjuna. “But as Patala means the antipodes, and was the name given to America by the ancients, who knew and visited that continent before Europe had ever heard of it, the term is probably akin to the Mexican Nāgals the (now) sorcerers and medicine men.” (Theos. Gloss. 222)

One myth relates that the Nāgas were the offspring of the Ṛṣi Kasyapa (the son of Marichi, q.v.). Regarding this H. P. Blavatsky wrote: “What is the fable, the genealogy and origin of Kasyapa, with his twelve wives, by whom he had a numerous and diversified progeny of nāgas (serpents), reptiles, birds, and all kinds of living things, and who was thus the father of all kinds of animals, but a veiled record of the order of evolution in this round?” (S.D. II, 253)

Another tale represents the Nāgas as a semi-divine race (the race of Kadru) inhabiting the waters, or the city of Bhogavatī situated under the earth: they are fabled to possess a human face with serpent-like lower extremities. Ananta (q.v.) is king of the Nāgas.

In The Secret Doctrine the word Nāga stands for a Serpent of Wisdom, a full Initiate – the serpent has ever been used in Occultism as the symbol of immortality and wisdom. “In the Secret Doctrine, the first Nāgas– beings wiser than Serpents – are the ‘Sons of Will and Yoga,’ “ (S.D. II, 181).

“Some of the descendants of the primitive Nāgas, the Serpents of Wisdom, peopled America, when its continent arose during the palmy days of the great Atlantis,” (S.D. II, 182). (Bh.G. 75)

Nakula The son of Madri (the second wife of Pandu) and the twin gods of the sky, the Aśvinau: the fourth of the Pāṇḍavas. Madri had been given by Kuntī the use of her mantra for calling to her side a god, but she was clever enough to summon the twin sky-gods, hence she gave birth to two sons: Nakula and Sahadeva. Nakula excelled in the art of training and managing horses, which he learned from Drona. (Bh.G. 4)

Nara A man. In the Mahābhārata and the Purāṇas, Nara is sometimes used as an equivalent for Cosmic Puruṣa (q.v.), ‘Primordial Universal Man,’ and associated with Narayana (the Logos). Arjuna is identified with Nara, and Kṛṣṇa with Narayana – the difference in the human sphere suggesting the difference in the cosmic sphere. Thus, as Subba Row explains, Arjuna represents Nara or the human monad, whereas Kṛṣṇa represents the Logos (N.Bh.G. 9). (Bh.G. p. viii)

Nārada One of the ten great Ṛṣis, or Prajāpatis, known as the mind-born so ns of Brahmā. This Ṛṣi is credited with the authorship of some of the hymns of the Rig-Veda. In the epic poems he is represented as the virgin-ascetic frustrating creative functions, nevertheless he is a helper of mankind and appears as the friend of Kṛṣṇa. Then too Nārada is the leader of the heavenly musicians (Gandharvas, q.v.), the inventor of the vina (lute); he also descends into Patala (the infernal regions). Nārada is called “in Cis-Himalayan Occultism Pesh-Hun, the ‘Messenger,’ … a kind of active and ever incarnating logos, who leads and guides human affairs from the beginning to the end of the Kalpa.” (S.D. II, 48) (Bh.G. 72)

Nasatya One of the twin Asvins (q.v.), the sky deities. By Madrī he became the father of Nakula – the fourth of the Pāṇḍava brothers. (m. the helpful one. Bh.G. p. iv)

Nirvāṇa A super-spiritual status: the state of supreme bliss, of complete absorption of the consciousness in pure Kosmic Being: it is the state of those beings who have reached superhuman knowledge and spiritual illumination and are enabled to live in their own spiritual essence, casting off the inferior parts of the pilgrim-monad’s sheaths – such is the meaning of the word Jīvanmukta (a ‘freed monad’). To attain Nirvāṇa one has to identify oneself with one’s divine Parent (the ‘Father in Heaven’ – the divine Monad). (comp. nir, out or away; vāṇa, past participle of va, to blow, hence ‘blown out’ – referring to man’s lower principles, which are indeed discarded by the Jīvanmukta.) (Bh.G. 21)