Eastern Spirituality

Glossary Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

In Hindu mythology, Uchchaihshravas (Sanskrit: "long-ears" or "neighing aloud", Uccaiḥśravas) or (Uccaiḥśravā) is a seven-headed flying horse, that was obtained during the churning of the milk ocean. It is considered the best of horses, prototype and king of horses. Uchchaihshravas is often described as a vahana ("vehicle") of Indra - the god-king of heaven, but is also recorded to be the horse of Bali, the king of demons. Uchchaihshravas is said to be snow white in colour.

George Harrison's Dark Horse Records music label uses a logo inspired by Uchchaihshravas.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Udayana also known as Udayanācārya (Udyanacharya, or Master Udayana) was a very important Hindu logician of the tenth century who attempted to reconcile the views held by the two major schools of logic (Nyaya and Vaisheshika). This became the root of the Navya-Nyāya school of the thirteenth century, established by Gangesha Upadhyaya ("New Nyāya") school of "right" reasoning, which is still recognized and followed in some regions of India. He lived in Kariyan village in Mithila, near present-day Darbhanga, Bihar state, India.

Udayana wrote a sub-gloss on Vachaspati's work called the Nyaya-vaartika-taatparya-tiikaa-parishuddhi. He wrote several other works such as the Kusumanjali, Atma-tattva-viveka, Kiranaavali and Nyaya-parishishhta (also called Bodha siddhi or Bodha shuddhi).

He it is to whom credit is given by Naiyâyikas for having demolished in final fashion the claims of the Buddhist logicians. All his works, or at least all of which we know, have been preserved, which attests to the respect in which he was held from the beginning.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Aruni or Uddalaka or Uddalaka Aruni (fl. c. 7th century BCE) was a philosopher of Vedic India, whose teachings are recorded in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and Chandogya Upanishad. One of the first philosophers in recorded history, he taught that everything in the universe (including all living things) is made of three elements: heat (or light), water, and food (or plants), and furthermore that all of these were manifestations of the universal Self or Ātman. It has been suggested that his teachings contain the seeds of Indian atomism, because of his belief that "particles too small to be seen mass together into the substances and objects of experience".

Aruni hailed from the country of Panchala and was known as Aruni of Panchala. His son was Svetaketu.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Uddhava (also known as Pavanayadhi) is a character from the Puranic texts of Hinduism, who is the friend and counsellor of Krishna the Avatar. He plays a significant role in the Bhagavata Purana, being taught the processes of yoga and bhakti directly by Krishna. The principle of these discussions is often referred to as the Uddhava Gita, similarly to the Bhagavad Gita wherein Krishna instructs Arjuna. According to some texts Uddhava was also Krishna's cousin, being the son of Devabhaga, who was the brother of Vasudeva, Krishna's father. His physical appearance was so like that of Krishna's that in some instances he is temporarily mistaken for the latter.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Ugrasena was the King of Mathura, a kingdom that was established after the various Yadava clans, which include the Vrishnis and Bhojas decided that the dividing states would unite as one and that the Kingship would not be subject to heredity (but could be) and if decided not to be so, the succeeding leader would be chosen by a simple majority, therefore, a semi-democracy was established. When the groups gathered, the uniting factions decided to throne Ugrasena as the king due to his skills in warfare and his humble nature towards domestic and foreign policy issues.

According to the Vayu Purana (96.134), Ugrasena belonged to the Kukura clan (Kukurodbhava). According to the Puranas, he was son of Ahuka. Ugrasena was married to Queen Padmavati and was the father of Kamsa and Rajimati who was to get married to Neminath but later got initiated as a nun in his holy order after his enlightenment. Due to the tremendous power of Kamsa, Ugrasena declared him as the crown prince of Mathura, therefore guaranteeing the succession of kingship after his retirement or death. Later on, Ugrasena also installed Kamsa as the army commander.

However, due to hostile behavior of Kamsa and his ruthless actions towards the military members and the citizens of Mathura, growing friction began to occur the two, which led to the serious thought of whether Kansa should be dethroned. However, before such action might take place and sensing change, Kamsa overthrew his father with the support of his father-in-law, King Jarasandha of Magadha and his immense military. After the coup, Kamsa imprisoned his father and kept him in the deepest pits of jail for a sustained time period.

After the death of Kamsa by the hands of Krishna, Ugrasena was installed the King of Mathura and ruled over the kingdom for a while. The crown prince under his second reign was Krishna's father, Vasudeva. During Ugrasena's reign, the sages Vishwamitra, Narada and Kanwa came to meet Krishna. The sons of Krishna decided to play a joke on the sages by disguising Samba as a pregnant woman and asked whether the child would be male or female. The sages who had occult vision came to know that they were playing a prank on them. The sages then cursed that Samba would deliver an iron rod which will annihlate the whole Yadava clan. As per the curse, Samba next day delivered an iron rod. The Yadavas gave news about this incident to Ugrasena who had the rod turned into powder and thrown into the sea. He also prohibited liquor in his kingdom. Sometime after this incident he died and attained heaven. He along with Bhurshiravas, Shalya, Uttara and his brother Shankha, Vasudeva, Bhuri, Kamsa joined the company of Devas in heaven.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Ujjain (also known as Ujain, Ujjayini, Avanti, Avantika, Avantikapuri), is an ancient city situated on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River in the Malwa region of central India. The city is today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh, and it is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division.

The city of Lord Mahakal, Ujjain is known by several names in Vedas and Puranas. The word ‘Avanti’ has repeatedly surfaced in the verses of Vedas. Another name Ujjayini has emerged in the sutra “Striyamwanti Kurubhyashcha” of great scholar Panini. The city was named after King Kartavirya Arjun’s son Avanti, which was later called as Avantika, Avantipuri, Avanti Nagri or Avantikapuri. The city was even called as Vishala due to its large area and Padmavati due to its grand palaces and prosperity.

In ancient times, the city had several names including Padmavati, Swarnashringa, kushshthali, Avantika, Amravati and Chudamani. it was also called ’Kanakshringa’ due to the golden designs on its buildings. It was named as ‘Kumudvati’ because flowers were found in abundance here. The city was called as ‘Pratikalpa’ as it was ruined and settled frequently.

According to the Brahmapuran, Ujjayini was described as the best city of the world. Equipped with all kinds of Bhogas, it was called as ‘Bhogavati’ while the city was also known as ‘Hiranyavati’ due to the prosperity.

The city was called as ‘Vikrampuri’ as it was the capital of King Vikramaditya, the founder of Vikram Samvat calendar while it was named Mahakalpuri or Shivpuri as world’s famous Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is situated here. The city has been named as Avanti in the epics like Vedas, Valmiki Ramayan and Mahabharat. The most popular name ‘Ujjayini’ is still in use with a slight modification as Ujjain.

Udyanani cha ramyani vananyupavnani cha

The city was prosperous due to its richness of gardens. In ‘Prakrit’ language, garden is called ‘Ujjain’ and thus the city was titled Ujjayini which was later renamed as Ujjain."

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

'An owl.' Son of Kitava. He was king of a country and people of the same name. He was an ally of the Kauravas, and acted as their envoy to the Pandavas.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Ulūpī or Uloopi, in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, was one of Arjuna's wives. While Arjuna was in Manipur, the widow Naga princess became infatuated with him. She caused him to be abducted after he had been intoxicated with potent concoctions and had him conveyed to her realm in the netherworld. There, Ulupi induced an unwilling Arjuna to take her for a wife. She was the mother of Iravan. She later restored Arjuna to the lamenting Chitrāngadā, one of Arjuna's other wives. She played a major part in the upbringing of Arjuna and Chitrangada's son, Babruvahana. She was also able to restore Arjuna to life after he was slain in battle by Babruvahana. When Arjuna was given a curse by the Vasus, Bhishma's brothers, after he killed Bhishma in the Kurukshetra War, she redeemed Arjuna from the curse.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Wife of Shiva.

Umadevi (c. 1150 – 1218) was one of the wives of King Veera Ballala II and a Mysore general during the Chalukya campaigns.

Born around 1150, Umadevi became one of the consort of Bellala II at age twenty-two. She commanded Mysore armies against the rival Chalukyas on at least two occasions, allowing Bellala to concentrate on administrative matters. Significantly contributing to the Hoysalas’ conquest of the Chalkyua at Kalyani (near present day Bidar) in 1190, she eventually committed suicide, according to the Indian tradition of sati, following her husband’s death in 1218.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

The life of a mendicant, begging his food.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Spiritual guide other than one's Sat Guru.

Example via www.ramdass.org: The Need for a Guru

Example via www.ramdass.org: Functions of a Teacher

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

One of King Dhritarashtra's sons who perished in the war.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Clinging; the 9th link of Pratitya-Samutpada; the Ninth Twelve Nidanas. Upādāna is a word used in both Buddhism and Hinduism.

  • In Buddhism, upādāna is a critical link in the arising of suffering.
  • In Hinduism, upādāna is the material manifestation of Brahman.
Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Spiritual teacher.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

The Upanishads (/uːˈpænɪˌʃædz, uːˈpɑːnɪˌʃɑːdz/; singular: IAST: Upaniṣat, IPA: [upəniʂət̪]) are a collection of texts in the Vedic Sanskrit language which contain the earliest emergence of some of the central religious concepts of Hinduism, some of which are shared with Buddhism and Jainism. The Upanishads are considered by Hindus to contain revealed truths (Sruti) concerning the nature of ultimate reality (brahman) and describing the character and form of human salvation (moksha).

The Upanishads are sometimes referred to as Vedanta, variously interpreted to mean either the "last chapters, parts of the Veda" or "the object, the highest purpose of the Veda". The concepts of Brahman (Ultimate Reality) and Ātman (Soul, Self) are central ideas in all the Upanishads, and "Know your Ātman" their thematic focus. The Upanishads are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought and its diverse traditions. Of the Vedic corpus, they alone are widely known, and the central ideas of the Upanishads are at the spiritual core of Hindus.

Example via www.ramdass.org: “The Upanishads: In The Light of Kriya Yoga”

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: Sound & Silence

More than 200 Upanishads are known, of which the first dozen or so are the oldest and most important and are referred to as the principal or main (mukhya) Upanishads. The mukhya Upanishads are found mostly in the concluding part of the Brahmanas and Aranyakas and were, for centuries, memorized by each generation and passed down verbally. The early Upanishads all predate the Common Era, some in all likelihood pre-Buddhist (6th century BCE), down to the Maurya period. Of the remainder, some 95 Upanishads are part of the Muktika canon, composed from about the start of common era through medieval Hinduism. New Upanishads, beyond the 108 in the Muktika canon, continued to being composed through the early modern and modern era, though often dealing with subjects which are unconnected to the Vedas.

Along with the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutra the mukhya Upanishads (known collectively as the Prasthanatrayi), provide a foundation for the several later schools of Vedanta, among them, two influential monistic schools of Hinduism.

With the translation of the Upanishads in the early 19th century they also started to attract attention from a western audience. Schopenhauer was deeply impressed by the Upanishads and called it "the production of the highest human wisdom". The 19th century transcendentalists noted the influence of the Upanishads in western philosophy.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Upaplavya was a city in the Matsya Kingdom ruled by king Virata as per the epic Mahabharata. It was the city where the Pandavas camped and planned their strategy for the Kurukshetra War. The allies of the Pandavas held extensive meetings in the tents constructed at Upaplavya, and stayed there as guests of King Virata. Vasudeva Krishna started his famous peace mission to Hastinapura, starting his journey from Upaplavya. It took Krishna 2 days of travel by his fast chariot to reach Hastinapura from Upaplavya. The location of this city is somewhere in the border of Rajastan and Haryana states of India.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

A Vasu or demigod, who, according to the Mahabharata, became king of Chedi by command of Indra. He had five sons by his wife; and by an Apsaras, named Adrika, condemned to live on earth in the form of a fish, he had a son named Matsya (fish), and a daughter, Satyavati, who was the mother of Vyasa.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

A lay follower of Buddhism. Upāsaka (masculine) or Upāsikā (feminine) are from the Sanskrit and Pāli words for "attendant". This is the title of followers of Buddhism (or, historically, of Gautama Buddha) who are not monks, nuns, or novice monastics in a Buddhist order, and who undertake certain vows. In modern times they have a connotation of dedicated piety that is best suggested by terms such as "lay devotee" or "devout lay follower."

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

A female lay follower.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

A mythological character from the great epic Mahabharata, Upasunda was an asura prince and the brother of Sunda. The brothers grew up to be very powerful and were always of one mind. Together, they embarked on a campaign of world domination that began with a program of extreme asceticism in the mountains. Their asceticism generated such extreme heat that the gods themselves became exceedingly alarmed. Unsuccessfully, the gods attempted to distract the brothers through the enticement of maidens and by means of disturbing illusions of rampaging Rakshasas. Finally, Brahma agreed to grant the brothers a boon, on condition that they desist from their asceticism. The brothers agreed to the condition, and received the boon of being completely invulnerable, except that they could be killed by each other. Leaving the mountains, Sunda and Upasunda returned home, mustered an army, and proceeded to conquer and to devastate the entire world. They even drove the gods from their celestial abode. Finally, Brahma was again moved to action. He created the beautiful apsara Tilottama and ordered her to cause dissent between the brothers. Tilottama found Sunda and Upasunda in the countryside with their retinue, drinking and celebrating their victories. Beholding Tilottama, they immediately fell to fighting over her, and ended up killing each other. Thus was the world order reestablished.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Method. Upaya (Sanskrit: upāya, expedient means, pedagogy) is a term used in Mahayana Buddhism to refer to an aspect of guidance along the Buddhist Paths to liberation where a conscious, voluntary action is driven by an incomplete reasoning around its direction. Upaya is often used with kaushalya ("cleverness"), upaya-kaushalya meaning "skill in means".

Example video: Methods to Consciousness

Example via www.ramdass.org: Methods to Consciousness (Pt. 1-4)

Upaya-kaushalya is a concept emphasizing that practitioners may use their own specific methods or techniques that fit the situation in order to gain enlightenment. The implication is that even if a technique, view, etc., is not ultimately "true" in the highest sense, it may still be an expedient practice to perform or view to hold; i.e., it may bring the practitioner closer to the true realization in a similar way. The exercise of skill to which it refers, the ability to adapt one's message to the audience, is of enormous importance in the Pali Canon.

The Digital Dictionary of Buddhism notes that rendering the Chinese term fangbian into English as 'skillful' or as 'expedient' is often difficult, because the connotations shift according to the context as (1) the teaching being something to marvel at — the fact that the Buddha can present these difficult truths in everyday language (thus, skillful), yet that (2) they are teachings of a lower order as compared to the ultimate truth, and are far removed from reflecting reality, and are a kind of 'stopgap' measure (thus, expedient).

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Equanimity. Upekkhā is the Buddhist concept of equanimity. As one of the Brahma Vihara (meditative states), it is a pure mental state cultivated on the Buddhist path to nirvāna.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Urmila is one of the major characters in the Hindu epic Ramayana. She was the daughter of King Janaka of Mithila and Queen Sunayana and the younger sister of Sita. She was the wife of Lakshmana with whom she had two sons, Angad and Dharmaketu.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

A concave circular dot on the forehead between the eyebrows. In Buddhist art and culture, the Urna (more correctly ūrṇā or ūrṇākośa (Pāli uṇṇa), and known as byakugō is a spiral or circular dot placed on the forehead of Buddhist images as an auspicious mark. It symbolizes a third eye, which in turn symbolizes vision into the divine world; a sort of ability to see past our mundane universe of suffering.

As set out in the Lakkhaṇa Sutta or 'Discourse on Marks', the ūrṇā is the thirty-first physical characteristic of Buddha. It is generally thought to be a whorl of hair and be a mark or sign of the Buddha as a mahāpuruṣa or great being. The device is often seen on sculptures from the 2nd century CE. Sometimes it is represented with a jewel and frequently said to symbolize wisdom. In the Lalitavistara it is the place from which emits rays of brilliant light.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Urvashi (Urvaśī, from Urus "thighs" + Vasi "born from", "The one born from Lord Vishnu's thighs") is an Apsara (nymph) in Hindu legend. Monier Monier-Williams proposes a different etymology in which the name means "widely pervasive," and suggests that in its first appearances in Vedic texts it is a name for the dawn goddess. She was a celestial maiden in Indra's court and was considered the most beautiful of all the Apsaras.

She became the wife of king Pururavas (Purūrávas, from purū+rávas "crying much or loudly"), an ancient chief of the lunar race. ShBr 11.5.1, and treated in Kalidasa's drama Vikramōrvaśīyam.

She is perennially youthful and infinitely charming but always elusive. She is a source as much of delight as of dolour.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Ushas (uṣas), Sanskrit for "dawn", is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well.

Sanskrit uṣas is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is uṣásas. It is from PIE *h₂ausos-, cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora.

Ushas is an exalted goddess in the Rig Veda but less prominent in post-Rigvedic texts. She is often spoken of in the plural, "the Dawns." She is portrayed as warding off evil spirits of the night, and as a beautifully adorned young woman riding in a golden chariot on her path across the sky. Due to her color she is often identified with the reddish cows, and both are released by Indra from the Vala cave at the beginning of time.

Twenty of the 1,028 hymns of the Rig Veda are dedicated to the Dawn: seven in Book 7, two in each of Books 4, 5, and 6, and six and one in the later Books 1 and 10 respectively. In RV 6.64.1-2 (trans. Griffith), Ushas is invoked as follows:

  • The radiant Dawns have risen up for glory, in their white splendour like the waves of waters.
  • She maketh paths all easy, fair to travel, and, rich, hath shown herself benign and friendly.
  • We see that thou art good: far shines thy lustre; thy beams, thy splendours have flown up to heaven.
  • Decking thyself, thou makest bare thy bosom, shining in majesty, thou Goddess Morning.

In the "family books" of the Rig Veda (e.g. RV 6.64.5), Ushas is the divine daughter—a divó duhitâ —of Dyaus Pita ("Sky Father"). This is taken literally in the traditional genealogies of Hindu mythology.

In one recent Hindu interpretation, Sri Aurobindo in his Secret of the Veda, described Ushas as "the medium of the awakening, the activity and the growth of the other gods; she is the first condition of the Vedic realisation. By her increasing illumination the whole nature of man is clarified; through her [mankind] arrives at the Truth, through her he enjoys [Truths] beatitude."

The Goddess is still worshipped in the form of Chhathi Maiya in the popular festival Chhath Puja, held in the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and the adjoining country of Nepal.

In the British television science fiction series Doctor Who, Ushas is the original name of the Rani, a renegade time lady obsessed with genetic experimentation.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Shukra (Śukra), the Sanskrit for "clear, pure" or "brightness, clearness", is the name of the son of Bhrigu, and preceptor of the Daityas, and the guru of the Asuras, identified with the planet Venus, one of the Navagrahas. He presides over Shukravar "Friday".

He is of white complexion, middle-aged and of agreeable countenance. He is described variously as mounted on a camel, horse or crocodile. He holds a stick, beads and a lotus and sometimes a bow and arrow.

Ushanas is the name of a Vedic rishi with the patronymic Kāvya (descendant of Kavi, AVŚ 4.29.6), who was later identified as Ushanas Shukra. He is venerated as a seer in Bhagavad Gita where Krishna tells Arjun that among Kavis he is Ushanas (indirectly it is remarked that Ushanas is the best among Kavis).

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

In Hindu mythology, Uttanka, also spelled as Utanka, is a rishi (sage) who resided in the Maru desert. The primary source of his account is found in the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

In the earliest version, Uttanka is described as the disciple of sage Veda. In the second version, his guru is Gautama. In both legends, he is a learned sage who goes through many hurdles in procuring the earrings demanded by his guru's wife as fee to the teacher (gurudakshina). In both legends, the Nagas (serpents) steal the earrings, and the gods Indra and Agni help Uttanka to retrieve the earrings from the realm of the serpents.

Uttanka is one of the few persons described to have seen the Vishvarupa (Universal form) of the god Krishna. He was blessed by Krishna and given a boon that his thirst would be quenched in the desert, upon remembering Krishna. It is said since then, the rare clouds that shower in the desert are called "Uttanka's clouds".

Uttanka is described to have instigated the King Janamejaya to take revenge against Takshaka, the king of Nagas, who was responsible for his father Parikshit's death by snake bite.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

The part of epic Ramayana added later to the work of Valmiki.

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

In the epic Mahabharata, Uttar or Uttara(उत्तर), the prince of Matsya Kingdom and the son of King Virata, at whose court the Pandavas spent a year in concealment during their exile. He was brother of Uttarā and husband of Keesavi, the daughter of King Srilajan.

Towards the end of the year that the Pandavas spent at the Matsya kingdom, Duryodhana attacked Matsya and brought the army of Hastinapura to their borders. King Virata had already taken his entire army to another battle, so Uttar alone went to confront Duryodhana's army with Arjuna(disguised as the eunuch danseuse Brihannala) as his charioteer. While initially Uttar was confident of his abilities, he panicked upon seeing the congregation of renowned warriors at the head of Duryodhana's forces, particularly Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Karna, and Asvatthama. Uttar dismounted the chariot and ran for his life, but Arjun gave chase and caught him, telling him off for such a show of cowardice unbecoming of a crown-prince. Arjuna then revealed his true identity to Uttar who was incredulous and believed Arjuna only when he recited his ten aliases. Arjuna then took charge and single-handedly and defeated the entire Hastinapura army in a spectacular show of his masterful archery. After this experience, Uttar gained much courage.

Uttar fought at the Pandavas' side and was killed by Shalya on the first day of the Kurukshetra war. On that day, Keesavi gave birth to a child which was born dead. He had two brothers who also fought at the Pandavas' side. One was Shweta, who too was killed on the first day. When he started attacking Shalya repeatedly to avenge his brother's death, Bhishma came to his rescue and ultimately killed him. The other one was Shankhya, who was killed by Drona on the seventh day of the war.

Glossary Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z