Home » Gods and Heroes of The Bhagavad-Gītā Y

« | INDEX |
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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


Yadu The ruler of the country west of the Jumna river, whose father was Yayati and mother, Devayani. His half brother, Puru, was the founder of the Paurava line of the Chandravaṅsa (Lunar Dynasty), to which the Kurus and Pāndus belonged. Yadu inaugurated the Yādava branch of this dynasty to which Vasudeva and Kṛṣṇa belonged, hence Kṛṣṇa is referred to as ‘son of Yadu.’ But the Yādava line became extinct with Kṛṣṇa. (Bh.G. 85)

Yajur (or Yajus) A sacrificial prayer or formula: also a technical term for mantras to be muttered in a particular manner at a sacrifice, generally written in prose and hence distinguished from the Ṛk (q.v.) and Sāman (q.v.). Also the name of the second of the four Vedas. (Bh.G. 66)

Yakṣas A class of celestial beings generally associated with Kuvera, the god of wealth, and stationed in the seventh of the eight lokas of material existence (Yakṣa-loka). They are considered to be beneficent to humanity and are therefore called Pūnya-janas (‘good people’) in the scriptures. In the popular folk-lore of India, however, they are regarded as evil demons, obsessing men at times, etc. H. P. Blavatsky gives the following explanation: “In esoteric science they are simply evil (elemental) influences, who in the sight of seers and clairvoyants descend on men, when open to the reception of such influences, like a fiery comet or a shooting star.” (Theos. Gloss. 375) (Bh.G. 73)

Yama The god of the Underworld. In the Vedas Yama is represented as the son of the Sun, Vivasvat: he it is who first died and first departed to the celestial world. The interpretation of this is, that “Yama is the embodiment of the race which was the first to be endowed with consciousness (Manas), without which there is neither Heaven nor Hades.” (Theos. Gloss. 375) In the epic poems Yama is the son of Sanjña (Conscience) by Vivasvat and brother of Manu. His office is to judge the dead: seated on his throne of judgment (Vicharabhu) in his palace (Kalichi). The soul of a departed mortal enters the regions of the dead (Yamapūra) and appears before Yama, while the recorder, Chitragupta, reads out his record from the great register (Agra-saṁdhāni). In the sentence which follows, the deceased is assigned to the abode of the Pitṛs (Devachan) if guilty he must go to one of the 21 hells according to the degree of his guilt; or he is sent to be born again on earth in another form. Because of his judging, Yama is also called the god of justice, Dharma. He is represented as riding upon a buffalo armed with mace and noose, with which he secures those about to go to his realms. Yama had a twin sister, Yami who, according to an ancient hymn, is ever urging him to take her as his wife. The Esoteric teaching is “that Yama-Yami is the symbol of the dual Manas, in one of its mystical meanings. For instance, Yama-Yami is always represented of a green color and clothed with red, and as dwelling in a palace of copper and iron.” (Theos. Gloss. 376)

“The Hindu Chitra-Gupta who reads out the account of every Soul’s life from his register, called Agra-Saṁdhāni; the ‘Assessors’ who read theirs from the heart of the defunct, which becomes an open book before (whether) Yama, Minos, Osiris, or Karma – are all so many copies of, and variants from the Lipikā, and their Astral Records.” (S.D. I, 105) (Bh.G. 75)

Yoga The word lit. means a union, a joining together. It is the name of one of the six Schools of Philosophy or systems of Hindu thought (Darśanas), being so called because it sought the attainment of union or at-one-ness with the divine-spiritual essence within a man, this being virtually identical with the spiritual essence or Logos of the universe. This school was founded by Patañjali and his teachings are extant in a work written by him known as Yoga Aphorisms. However, even before his time a far grander and more inclusive system had been inculcated for ages, an ancient sage, Yajñavalkya, having outlined the same tenets. There are many systems based on Yoga, all derivative from the original system and hence all using the name yoga, thus: Jñāna-Yoga, Rāja-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, etc. Each of these stresses one particular aspect of the teaching. The Bhagavad-Gītā itself is a text-book of the highest system of Yoga. (*yuj, to join, to yoke. Bh.G. 15)

Yogi (nom.: dict. Yogin) A devotee: one who practises the Yoga-system. In ancient times such devotees practiced the highest ethics without recourse to the prescribed religious observances and sacrifices: in modern times, however, the word is often applied to any devotee in India, whether practicing Yoga or not. (Bh.G. 44)

Yudhamanyu A warrior on the side of the Pāndavas. (m. having a warlike spirit. Bh.G. 2)

Yudhiṣṭhira The eldest son of Kuntī and the god of justice, Dharma. In the Mahābhārata Yudhiṣṭhira is not represented as a valorous warrior but is portrayed as excelling in the kingly virtues of justice and wise sovereignty over his kingdom of Indraprastha, which was given to him by Dhṛtaraṣṭra and was adjacent to Hastinapura. Through the scheming of the Kauravas under Duryodhana, Yudhiṣṭhira lost his kingdom (as it was made the stake at a game of dice), and as the result of a second game he and his four brothers were compelled to exile themselves for 13 years. At the end of the period of exile Yudhiṣṭhira commenced negotiations for a peaceful restoration of his kingdom, in which Kṛṣṇa assisted. He was unsuccessful and a conflict was imminent. Yudhiṣṭhira was dissuaded from withdrawing from the battle by Kṛṣṇa, who assured him of victory. At the end of the war he was enthroned at Indraprastha, as well as at Hastinapura by Dhṛtaraṣṭra, and his eminence was later assured through the performance of the Asvamedha sacrifice. After the death of Kṛṣṇa, the Pāndavas decided to abandon the world, and the closing book of the epic describes their journey and their death, one by one, except that of Yudhiṣṭhira. He descends into hell and then ascends to heaven (Svarga) but renounces it because his faithful dog was refused entrance with him; because of his compassion, he is readmitted, however, by his parent, the god Dharma.

“Yudhiṣṭhira – the first King of the Sacea, who opens the Kali Yuga era, which has to last 432,000 years – ‘an actual King and man who lived 3102 years B.C.,’ applies also, name and all, to the great Deluge at the time of the first sinking of Atlantis. He is the ‘Yudhiṣṭhira born on the mountain of the hundred peaks at the extremity of the world beyond which nobody can go and ‘immediately after the flood.’ ” (S.D. I, pp. 369-70)

Symbolically Yudhiṣṭhira represents the Higher Ego in man. (m. firm or steady in battle. Bh.G. 4)

Yuga An age or period, referring especially to an age of the world, of which there are four enumerated in Hindu chronology as follows: (1) Kṛta-yuga or Satya-yuga, fit. ‘golden age’ – the age of purity and innocence when virtue reigns and there is no injustice in the world, lasting for a period of 4,000 years of the gods; (2) Tretā-yuga, ‘age of triads,’ or the ‘age of the three sacred fires,’ i.e., three of the four sacred fires being worshiped – the Silver Age, lasting for 3,000 years of the gods; (3) Dvāparayuga, ‘age of the number two,’ – all sacred things are halved, the Bronze Age, of 2,000 years of the gods; (4) Kali-yuga, age of darkness, or the Black Age, when strife prevails, the Iron Age, whose duration is 1,000 years of the gods. Each yuga is preceded by a period called a Saṃdhyā (twilight – or a transition period, or dawn), which is followed by a period named Saṃdhyāṃśa (‘a portion of a twilight’): each of these two periods is equivalent in length to a tenth of its accompanying year of the gods. As a year of the gods is figured as 360 days of the mortals, and adding the Saṃdhyās and Saṃdhyāṃśas, the yugas are:

Kṛta-yuga 1,728,000 years; Tretā-yuga 1,296,000 years; Dvāpara-yuga 864,000 years; Kali-yuga  432,000 years

The total of the 4 yugas is equivalent to 1 Mahā-yuga — 4,320,000 years. The reference (in B.G. 61) to the Day of Brahmā as equivalent to a thousand revolutions of the yugas, has reference to Mahāyugas, i.e., the total of the reigns of 14 Manus (each with its accompanying Sandhyās and Sandhyā totaling 4,320,000,000 years, or a ‘Day of Brahmā.’ Brahmā’s Night is of equivalent length.

In the Mahābhārata the symbol of the four yugas is a bull: during the Kṛita-yuga the bull stands firm on his four feet and justice prevails; in the Tretā-yuga, the bull has three legs, three-fourths of justice is administered; in the Dvāpara-yuga, the bull is supported by only two legs, justice only half rules the world; but in Kali-yuga, with only one leg left for the bull, only a quarter of justice is present and injustice is rampant. The life of man during the yugas is decreased by 100 years, in the series 4, 3, 2 — commencing with 400 years for the Kṛita-yuga.

“In the Hindu Yuga Kalpa, we have the regular descending series 4, 3, 2, with ciphers multiplied as occasion requires for esoteric purposes,.“ (S.D. II, 307)

“All races have their own cycles, which fact causes a great difference. For instance, the Fourth Sub-Race of the Atlanteans was in its Kali-Yug, when destroyed, whereas the Fifth was in its Satya or Kṛita Yuga. The Aryan Race is now in its Kali Yuga, and will continue to be in it for 427,000 years longer,” (S.D. II, 147). (B.G. 61)

 End of Gods and Heroes of The Bhagavad-Gītā