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




Rajas In Hindu philosophy, one of the three guṇas (qualities) running through the web or fabric of Nature: the quality of longing, activity, passion. (See Bh.G. chapters xiv, xviii.) (Bh.G. 28)

Rājaṛṣi comp. of rajan, ’king’; Ṛṣi ‘sage’: a kingly or royal sage, i.e., kings and princes who follow the path of illumination and initiation. The Rājaṛṣis in India were the same as the King-Hierophants of ancient Egypt.

“There were three classes of Ṛṣis in India, who were the earliest adepts known; the royal, or Rājaṛṣis, kings and princes, who adopted the ascetic life; the Devaṛṣis, divine, or the sons of Dharma or Yoga; and Brahmaṛṣis, descendants of those Ṛṣis who were the founders of gotras of Brahmans, or caste-races.” (S.D. II, pp. 501-2) (Bh.G. 30)

Rākṣasas Popularly regarded as demons (evil elemental beings) residing in the sixth of the material spheres (Rākshasa-loka); in the scriptures, however, they are grouped into three distinct classes: (1) elemental beings not necessarily evil; (2) giants engaged in warfare with the gods; (3) fiends and demons haunting cemeteries, etc., disturbing sacrifices, and afflicting mankind in various ways. In the epic poems ‘Rakshasa’ is rather loosely applied to any pre-Aryan people – such as the inhabitants of Lanka under the leadership of Rāvana – ultimately defeated by the Aryans. “The Rākṣasas,regarded in Indian popular theology as demons, are called the ‘Preservers’ beyond the Himalayas. This double and contradictory meaning has its origin in a philosophical allegory,” (S.D. II, 165). *raksh,to protect. Bh.G. 65)

Rāma Three heroes are known by the name of Rāma: Paraśu-rāma, Rāma-chandra, and Bala-rāma (see Kaṅsa).The second is the one to whom the name is especially applied, for he is the hero of the Rāmayāna,wherein his exploits are fully recounted. Rāma was the eldest son of king Daśaratha of the Sūryavaṅsa (the Solar Dynasty) reigning at Ayodhya; he is represented as the seventh Avatara of Viṣṇu, incarnating at the end of the Tretā-yuga (the second ‘Great Age’) for the especial purpose of delivering mankind and the gods from the iniquities caused by Rāvana, the Rākṣasa king of Lanka. Rāma was known as the mightiest of those who carry arms, inasmuch as he was the only one able to bend the mighty bow of the god Śiva. To him who could bend this bow, Janaka (q.v.) offered the hand of his daughter, Sītā, in marriage; thus she became the bride of Rāma. With the help of Hanuman (q.v.), Rāma accomplished the purpose of the gods.

The Rāmayāna “is the mystic narrative in epic form of the struggle between Rāma – the first king of the divine dynasty of the early Aryans – and Rāvana, the symbolical personation of the Atlantean (Lanka) race. The former were the incarnations of the Solar Gods; the latter, of the lunar Devas. This was the great battle between Good and Evil, between white and black magic, for the supremacy of the divine forces, or of the lower terrestrial, or cosmic powers. … The Rāmāyāna – every line of which has to be read esoterically – discloses in magnificent symbolism and allegory the tribulations of both man and soul.” (S.D. II, 495-6) (Bh.G. 75)

Ṛk (or Ṛch, Rik) A verse, especially a sacred verse recited in praise of a deity – one of the four kinds of Vedic composition. (Bh.G. 66)

Ṛṣi (Ṛṣi). An adept, a seer, an inspired person. In Vedic literature the term is employed as referring to the seers through whom the various mantras or hymns of the Veda were revealed. The Śatapātha-Brāhmaṇa enumerates seven as: Gotama, Bharadvaja, Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni Vasiṣṭha, Kasyapa, and Ātri. In later times (in the epic poems and Purāṇas) the Ṛṣis are regarded as a particular class of beings, distinct from gods and men, the patriarchs or ‘creators’ (see under Maharṣi).The Mahābhārata enumerates the seven Ṛṣis of the first manvantara as: Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya, Vasiṣṭha. These are also called the seven great Ṛṣis (Saptaṛṣis) especially associated with the Great Bear – being, in fact, seven Planetary Regents. The above-named Ṛṣis are also called in most of the texts the seven Ṛṣis “of the Third Manvantara; the latter referring both to the Third Round and also to the third Root-Race and its branch-Races in the Fourth Round. These are all the creators of the various beings on this Earth, the Prajāpatis, and at the same time they appear as divers reincarnations in the early Manvantaras or races.” (S.D. II, 78) (Bh.G. 80)

Rudras An alternative name for the stormgods or Maruts (q.v.), who are under the leadership of Rudra or Śiva. ”These deities are only another aspect,or a development of the Kumāras, who are Rudras in their patronymic, like many others.” (S.D. II, 613) (m. howlers, or roarers. Bh.G. 73)