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By Swami Harshananda

Yogi literally mean ‘one who has attained concentration of mind’.

In general, anyone who is practicing any kind of the well-known yogas can be called a yogi. The Vyāsabhāsya on the Yogasutras[1] of Patañjali[2] describes four kinds of yogis. The Haṭhayogapradīpikā[3] is a standard work on Hathayoga. It describes in detail the condition of a yogi considered as mukta or emancipated especially in samādhi.[4] He has transcended all the dualties of mundane life.


References

  1. Yogasutras 3.51
  2. He lived in 200 B. C.
  3. Haṭhayogapradīpikā 4.106-112
  4. Samādhi means superconscious state.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore


By Swami Harshananda

Yoginis literally means ‘women with yogic powers,’ ‘goddesses'.

In the tāntrik practices, the male sādhaka, called a yogi, needs the help of a mate in certain occult rites. Such women, ceremonially infilled with great powers, are designated as yoginīs.

Reference of Yoginis

The word is also used to indicate the goddesses emanating out of the effulgence of Ādiśakti or the Primeval Goddess. Their number may be 8 or 62 or 64. Their names have been mentioned in some of the purāṇas and other works like:

  1. The Brhan-nandikeśvarapurāṇa
  2. The Skandapurāṇa
  3. The Mantramahodadhi

Some Famous Yoginis

A few of these names are:

  1. Nārāyaṇī
  2. Sākambharī
  3. Bhīmā
  4. Caṇḍaghaṇṭā
  5. Bhadrakālī
  6. Kṛṣṇa- piṅgalā
  7. Jalodari
  8. Sākinī
  9. Kuleśī
  10. Nakulī
  11. Dākinī
  12. Hākinī

Yoginis of Worship

During worship, sometimes, a group of eight yoginīs is selected. They are:

  1. Maṅgalā
  2. Piṅgalā
  3. Dhanyā
  4. Bhrāmarī
  5. Bhadrikā
  6. Ulkā
  7. Siddhā
  8. Saṅkaṭā

According to another view, the yoginīs are divinities associated with the eight vargas or groups of letters of the alphabets such as a-varga, ka-varga and ca-varga.

References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore


By Swami Harshananda

Yoktra literally means ‘that which binds,’ ‘a rope’.

As a technical term used in Vedic sacrifices, it indicates a cord of muñja grass,[1] having three strands. It is tied round the waist of the patnī or the wife of the yajamāna,[2] either by the āgnidhra priest or by the adhvaryu priest or even by herself. This rite is called patnīsahanana. This makes her ceremonially fit for the sacrifice. During this rite she has to recite a mantra from the Taittiriya Brāhmana.[3] A similar rope, called yoktrapāśa, is tied around the neck of the bullock which draws the cart containing the soma creepers.


References

  1. Muñja grass means Saccharum sara.
  2. Yajamāna means sacrificer.
  3. Taittiriya Brāhmana 3.3.3
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore


By Swami Harshananda

Yuddha literally means ‘war’.

Though ahinsā or non-violence has been declared as paramadharma,[1] the scriptures emphasize the need for hinsā[2] while handling the criminals and the enemies of the society.

The Mahābhārata[3] unequivocally declares that before the spiritual power of a brāhmaṇa, the military might of a kṣattriya pales into insignificance. Normally a king is expected to rule over his own kingdom according to dharma or righteousness and never interfere with the administration of other kings. However, if other kings are bent upon invading his kingdom or create trouble, he is free to adopt all the means at his disposal to thwart them, including yuddha or war.

Rules of Yuddha

  • A king, while dealing with another king, especially if the latter is irascible and ambitious, is advised to adopt in the beginning the first three upāyas or means. If none of these means work, only then can he resort to daṇḍa or war. These means are:
  1. Sāma - reconciliation
  2. Dāna - mutual rewards
  3. Bheda - divide and rule policy
  • In any war, during the ancient days, both the combatants were expected to follow some standard ethical rules.
  • The major works dealing with the rules of yuddha are:
  1. The Mahābhārata[4]
  2. The Rāmāyaṇa[5]
  3. The Manusmrti[6]
  4. The Śukraniti[7]
  5. Other works
  • Fighting should be between equals, similarly equipped.
  • One should not kill anyone fighting with another or who is running away from the battlefield or who pleads for mercy.
  • One should not kill who has lost his horse or chariot or weapons or stops fighting.
  • Treacherous means or poisoned weapons should never be used.

Writers of Rules of Yuddha

Though these rules are generally stated and accepted by most of the writers of the dharmaśāstras, Kauṭilya (300 B. C.) of the Arthaśāstra fame has his own, strong, views.

Rules of Yuddha as per Kautilya

  • A powerful king with high ambitions sets his eyes on the expansion of his kingdom by conquering other kings. Such a person is called vijigīṣu[8] Kauṭilya gives a detailed instructions to such vijigisus.
  • The vijigiṣu king can recruit men from all the four varṇas for his armed forces, though the kṣattriyas, due to their inherent fighting spirit, form the core.
  • There should be a permanent, well-trained, standing army.
  • In addition, fighting forces should be raised during invasions or emergencies by paying higher wages or getting them from allies.
  • A well-planned army generally comprises of four divisions, hence it is named as caturañgadalaviz. They are:
  1. Infantry
  2. Cavalry
  3. Chariots
  4. Elephants
  • There had to be practice of the fighting arts everyday except on declared holidays.
  • This had to be ably supported by an armory, stores containing food articles and other essential supplies as also medical and paramedical staff.
  • Yāna or invasion had to be meticulously planned by the king with the assistance of his ministers and others.
  • Friends had to be mobilized and enemies had to be neutralized.
  • Espionage had to be strengthened.
  • A reliable regent[9] should be appointed to take care of the kingdom during the king’s absence.
  • Yuddha has been described as of three types:
  1. Prakāśayuddha - open fight
  2. Kuṭayuddha - concealed fighting or tactical warfare
  3. Tuṣṇmyuddha - silent fight or using secret agents for enticing the enemies
  • The existence of naval forces is indicated by the words such as nimna-yodhin.[10]

Other topics in Kauṭilya’s work

Some of the other related topics dealt with in Kauṭilya’s work are:

  1. Appointment of suitable officers in various grades
  2. Organisation of skandhavāsa or camps during the war
  3. Formation of the forces into several vyuhas like daṇḍa-vyuha,[11] bhogavyuha,[12] Maṇḍala vyuha[13] and so on
  4. Placement of one-third or one-fourth of the mobilized troops to protect the kingdom
  5. Extra troops for guarding the rear

Types of Weapons as per Arthaśāstra

It may be interesting to note that the Arthaśāstra mentions several types of weapons and implements of war as follows:

  1. Sāṅgrāmika - weapons useful in the battle-field
  2. Daurgakarmika - weapons needed for defending the fort
  3. Parapurābhighātika - weapons needed for battering down an enemy’s fort

Types of Implements as per Arthaśāstra

The implements are:

  1. Yantra - machines
  2. Āyudha - weapons proper
  3. Āvaraṇa - shields
  4. Upakaraṇa - other equipment

A large number of machines are described, the principal purpose of which appears to be to throw huge stones at the enemy troops.

Armory as per Arthaśāstra

The section on the armory also mentions aindrajālikakarma[14] and aupaniṣadikakarma.[15] There is another classification of weapons used in war. According to this, the weapons can be of the following type:

  1. Yantramukta - discharged from a contrivance like a bow or a sling.
  2. Pāṇimukta - thrown with the hand, such as a stone or a discus.
  3. Muktāmukta - used directly or thrown like a spear
  4. Amukta - used by hand like a sword
  5. Niyuddha - wrestling

Astravidyā as per Epics

The epics and the purāṇas are replete with the names of several astras like:

  1. Āgneyāstra
  2. Aindrāstra
  3. Brahmāstra

They are arrows discharged after infilling them with power through appropriate mantras. This science called as astravidyā had to be properly learnt from a competent teacher. When a king conquers another kingdom, he is advised to install the son or a suitable relative of the defeated king if he has been killed. People of the conquered territory should be well taken care of, without disturbing their religion, culture and way of life. This is the best way to win over them. Unethical practices including harassing the people of the enemy’s country was strictly forbidden.


References

  1. Paramadharma means highest virtue.
  2. Hinsā means force, violence.
  3. Mahābhārata Ādiparva 174.45
  4. Bhiśmaparva 1.27-32
  5. Yuddhakānda 18.27, 28
  6. Manusmrti 7.90-93
  7. Śukraniti 4.7.354-362
  8. Vijigīṣu means ‘one desirous of conquering’.
  9. A reliable regent is called śṅyapāla.
  10. Nimna-yodhin means fighter in water.
  11. Daṇḍa-vyuha means staff-array.
  12. Bhogavyuha means serpent- array.
  13. Maṇḍala vyuha means circular-array.
  14. Aindrajālikakarma means magical rites.
  15. Aupaniṣadikakarma means secret practices.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore