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ADI-PURAiVA 'The first Pin-ana,' a title generally conceded to the Brahma Purana.
ADITL Tree, unbounded.' Infinity ; the boundless heaven as compared with the finite earth; or, according to M. Muller, "the visible infinite, visible by the naked eye; the endless expanse beyond the earth, beyond the clouds, beyond the sky." In the i?ig-veda she is frequently, implored "for blessings on children and cattle, for protection and for forgiveness." Aditi is called Deva-matri, 'mother of the gods,' and is represented as being the mother of Daksha and the daughter of Daksha. On this statement Yaska remarks in the Nirukta :—" How can this be possible 1 They may have had the same origin; or, according to the nature of the gods, they may have been born from each other, have derived their substance from one another." "Eight sons were bor n from the body of Aditi; she approached the gods with seven but cast away the eighth, Marttanrfa (the sun)." These seven were the Adityas. In the Yajur-veda Aditi is addressed as "Supporter of the sky, sustainer of the earth, sovereign of this world, wife of Vishnu;" but in the Mahabharata and Ramayana, as well as in the Puranas, Vishnu is called the son of Aditi. In the Vishnu Purana she is said to be the daughter of Daksha and wife of Kasyapa, by whom she was mother of Vishnu, in his dwarf incarnation (wherefore he is sometimes called Aditya), and also of Indra, and she is called "the mother of the gods" and "the mother of the world." Indra acknowledged her as mother, and Vishnu, after receiving the adoration of Aditi, addressed her in these words: "Mother, goddess, do thou show favour unto me and grant me thy blessing." According to the Matsya Purana a pair of ear-rings was produced at the churning of the ocean, which Indra gave to Aditi, and several of the Puranas tell a story of these ear-rings being stolen and carried off to the city of Prag-jyotisha by the Asura king Naraka, from whence they were brought back and restored to her by Krishna. DevakI, the mother of Krishna, is represented as being a new birth or manifestation of Aditi. See Max Muller's Rig Veda, i. 230; Muir's Texts, iv. 11, v. 35.
ADITYA In the early Vedic times the Adityas were six, or more frequently seven, celestial deities, of whom Varuna was chief, consequently he was the Aditya. They were sons of Aditi, who had eight sons, but she approached the. gods with
seven, having cast away the eighth, Marttanrfa (the sun). In after-times the number was increased to twelve, as representing the sun in the twelve months of the year. Aditya is one of the names of the sun. Dr. Muir quotes the following from Professor Roth :—" There (in the highest heaven) dwell and reign those gods who bear in common the name of Adityas. We must, however, if we would discover their earliest character, abandon the conceptions which in a later age, and even in that of the heroic poems, were entertained regarding these deities. According to this conception they were twelve sun-gods, bearing evident reference to the twelve months. But for the most ancient period we must hold fast the primary signification of their name. They are the inviolable, imperishable, eternal beings. Aditi, eternity, or the eternal, is the element which sustains or is sustained by them. . . . The eternal and inviolable element in which the Adityas dwell, and which forms their essence, is the celestial light . The Adityas, the gods of this light, do not therefore by any means coincide with any of the forms in which light is manifested in the universe. They are neither sun, nor moon, nor stars, nor dawn, but the eternal sustainers of this luminous life, which exists, as it were, behind all these phenomena."
The names of the six Adityas are Mitra, Aryaman, Bhaga, Varuna, Daksha, and Ansa. Daksha is frequently excluded, and Indra, Savitri (the sun), and Dhatri are added Those of the twelve Adityas are variously given, but many of them are names of the sun.
ADITYA PURAiVA. One of the eighteen Upa-puranas.
AG ASTI, AGASTYA A i&hi, the reputed author of several hymns in the JSig-veda, and a very celebrated personage in Hindu story. He and VasisWha are said in the iftg-veda to be the offspring of Mitra and Varuna, whose seed fell from them at the sight of Urvasi; and the commentator Sayana adds that Agastya was born in a water-jar as "a fish of great lustre," whence he was called Kalasi-suta, Kumbha-sambhava, and Ghatodbhava. From his parentage he was called Maitra-varuni and Aurvasiya; and as he was very small when he was born, not more than a span in length, he was called Mana, Though he is thus associated in his birth with Vasish/ha, he is evidently later in date, and he is not one of the Prajapatis. His name.
Agastya, is derived by a forced etymology from a fable which represents him as having commanded the Vindhya mountains to prostrate themselves before him, through which they lost their primeval altitude; or rather, perhaps, the fable has been invented to account for his name. This miracle has obtained for him the epithet Vindhya-kufci; and he acquired another name, Pitabdhi, or Samudra-chuluka, 'Ocean drinker,' from another fable, according to which he drank up the ocean because it had offended him, and because he wished to help the gods in their wars with the Daityas when the latter had hidden themselves in the waters. He was afterwards made regent of the star Canopus, which bears his name. The Puranas represent him as being the son of Pulastya, the sage from whom the Bakshasas sprang. He was one of the narrators of the Brahma Purana and also a writer on medicine.
The Mahabharata relates a legend respecting the creation of his wife. It says that Agastya saw his ancestors suspended by their heels in a pit, and was told by them that they could be rescued only by his begetting a son. Thereupon he formed a girl out of the most graceful parts of different animals and passed her secretly into the palace of the king of Vidarbha. There the child grew up as a daughter of the king, and was demanded in marriage by Agastya. Much against his will the king was constrained to consent, and she became the wife of the sage. She was named Lopa-mudra, because the animals had been subjected to loss (lopa) by her engrossing their distinctive beauties, as the eyes of the deer, &c. She was also called KausitakI and Vara-prada. The same poem also tells a story exhibiting his superhuman power, by which he turned King Nahusha into a serpent and afterwards restored him to his proper form. See Nahusha.
It is in the Ramayana that Agastya makes the most distinguished figure. He dwelt in a hermitage on Mount Kunjara, situated in a most beautiful country to the south of the Vindhya mountains, and was chief of the hermits of the south. He kept the Rakshasas who infested the south under control, so that the country was "only gazed upon and not possessed by them." His power over them is illustrated by a legend which represents him as eating up a Rakshasa named Vatapi who assumed the form of a ram, and as destroying by a flash of his eye the
Rakshasa's brother, Ilvala, who attempted to avenge him. (See Vatapi.) Rama in his exile wandered to the hermitage of Agastya with Sita and Lakshmana. The sage received him with the greatest kindness, and became his friend, adviser, and protector. He gave him the bow of Vishnu; and when Rama was restored to his kingdom, the sage accompanied him to Ayodhya.
The name of Agastya holds a great place also in Tamil literature, and he is "venerated in the south as the first teacher of science and literature to the primitive Dravirfian tribes;" so says Dr. Caldwell, who thinks "we shall not greatly err in placing the era of Agastya in the seventh, or at least in the sixth century ac." Wilson also had previously testified to the same effect: "The traditions of the south of India ascribe to Agastya a principal share in the formation of the Tamil language and literature, and the general tenor of the legends relating to him denotes his having been instrumental in the introduction of the Hindu religion and literature into the Peninsula."
AGHASURA (Agha the Asura.) An Asura who was Kansa's general. He assumed the form of a vast serpent, and Krishna's companions, the cowherds, entered its mouth, mistaking it for a mountain cavern: but Krishna rescued them.
AGNAYl. Wife of Agni. She is seldom alluded to in the Veda and is not of any importance.
AGNEYA Son of Agni, a name of Ka1ttikeya or Mars; also an appellation of the Muni Agastya and others.
AGNEY ASTRA, 'The weapon of fire.' Given by Bharadwaja to Agnivesa, the son of Agni, and by him to Drona. A similar weapon was, according to the Vishnu Purana, given by the sage Aurva to his pupil King Sagara, and with it "he conquered the tribes of barbarians who had invaded his patrimonial possessions."
AGNEYA PURAA'A. See Agni Purana.
AGNL (Nom. Agnis = Ignis.) Fire, one of the most ancient and most sacred objects of Hindu worship. He appears in three phases—in heaven as the sun, in mid-air as lightning, on earth as ordinary fire. Agni is one of the chief deities of the Vedas, and great numbers of the hymns are addressed to him, more indeed than to any other god. He is one of the three great deities —Agni, Vayu (or Indra), and Surya—who respectively preside over earth, air, and sky, and are all equal in dignity. "He is
considered as the mediator between men and gods, as protector of men and their homes, and as witness of their actions; hence his invocation at all solemn occasions, at the nuptial ceremony, &c. Fire has ceased to be an object of worship, but is held in honour for the part it performs in sacrifices." Agni is represented as having seven tongues, each of which has a distinct name, for licking up the butter used in sacrifices. He is guardian of the south-east quarter, being one of the eight lokapalas (q.v.), and his region is called Pura-jyotis .
In a celebrated hymn of the .ffig-veda attributed to Vasish/ha, Indra and other gods are called upon to destroy the Kravyads 'the flesh-eaters,' or Rakshas enemies of the gods. Agni himself is also a Kravyad, and as such he takes an entirely different character. He is represented under a form as hideous as the beings he is invoked to devour. He sharpens his two iron tusks, puts his enemies into his mouth and swallows them. He heats the edges of his shafts and sends them into the hearts of the Rakshas.
"He appears in the progress of mythological personification as a son of Angiras, as a king of the Pitris or Manes, as a Marut, as a grandson of Sandila, as one of the seven sages or Ilishis, during the reign of Tamasa the fourth Manu," and as a star. In the Maha-bharata Agni is represented as having exhausted his vigour by devouring too many oblations, and desiring to consume the whole KhaWava forest as a means of recruiting his strength. He was prevented by Indra, but having obtained the assistance of Krishna and Arjuna, he baffled Indra and accomplished his object . In the Vishnu Purana, he is called AbhimanI, and the eldest son of Brahma. His wife was Swaha; by her he had three sons, Pavaka, Pavamana, and Suchi, and these had forty-five sons; altogether forty-nine persons, identical with the forty-nine fires, which forty-nine fires the Vayu Purawa endeavours to discriminate. He is described in the Hari-vansa as clothed in black, having smoke for his standard and head-piece, and carrying a flaming javelin. He has four hands, and is borne in a chariot drawn by red horses, and the seven winds are the wheels of his car. He is accompanied by a ram, and sometimes he is represented riding on that animal . The representations of him vary.
The names and epithets of Agni are many—Vahni. Anala, Pavaka, Vaiswanara, son of Viswanara, the sun; Abja-hasta,