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

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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.

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