ATRI – Son of Brahma

Brahma had six manasa-putras—sons created from his mind. Atri was one of them. The other five sons of Brahma are Marici, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, and Kratu. Another version of the manasa-putras increased the number to seven, or the seven sages (sapta-rishis). Atri married Anasuya, and they had three sons, Soma…

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BHAGAVATI – The goddess

Bhagavati (feminine form of “lord”) is another name for Devi, or Shakti; when it elevated the goddess to the role of the Supreme, it became a term used by her sect, the Saktas. In the Devi Bhagavata Purana the mother of the universe, Devi, taught Vishnu about the eternal reality…

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BHAGAVATA PURANA – A scripture

The Bhagavata Purana is a highly devotional scripture that articulated the views of tenth-century South India and of those worshippers of Krishna known as the Bhagavatas. It is quite large, even by Indian standards, containing 18,000 verses (slokas), in twelve books (skandhas) of 332 chapters. All the incarnations of Vishnu…

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BHAGAVAD GITA, BHAGAVADGITA – A scripture

The Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord) is one of the most loved scriptures of India. It is pan-Indian, even though its central character, Arjuna, discovered that the driver of his war chariot, Krishna, was the supreme lord of the universe, Lord Vishnu. If this claim were taken literally and…

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BHAGA – A deva

Bhaga (inherited share) was a Vedic deity of wealth, power, and happiness. He was also, according to the Rigveda, one of the seven adityas. The other six are Mitra (friendship, comradeship), Aryaman (honor, or chivalry), Varuna (binder to tribal rules; “all-seeing”), Daksha (ritual skill, or rules of ritual), and Amsa…

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BHADRAKALI – An incarnation of Parvati

When SSiva learned of his wife Sati’s self-immolation in the sacrificial fire of her father Daksha, he loosened his matted hair in full anger. Out of this angry energy were born two attendants: Virabhadra and Bhadrakali. Bhadrakali was the angry energy of Parvati in a feminine form. Siva sent them…

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BHADRAKA – A sinful brahmin

Bhadraka had lead such an immoral life that some accounts say that he was out- casted. But one day he took a ritual bath for three days at Prayaga, during the month of Magha (a month in the Hindu calendar that falls in February or March). It had been said…

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BALI – A king of the asuras

Bali was present at so many times and places that the mythmakers had to employ one of their greatest discoveries, the various periods of the Manus (man- vantaras), a repeating of the cosmic ages each with its own “first man” (Manu). Thus the stories of Bali and his deva (god)…

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BALA – A demon (asura)

Bala lived in Atala (one of the seven hells), teaching ninety-six kinds of magic to trouble the devas (divinities). Out of one of his own yawns, he created three women with the power to entice whomever they wanted. These three women had an aphrodisiac called hataka. They gave hataka to…

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