From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Rājā literally means ‘one who shines with power’ ‘king’.

Ancient scriptures recognized the great necessity for the office of the king or the Supreme Head of the State. Otherwise, jungle-law would prevail. In the Vedic age, the kings were actually social leaders elected by the people. The office of the king as a hereditary institution seems to be a later development. Even then, the people’s consent was taken before the appointment of the Yuvarāja[1] who would later on succeed to the throne. Most of the ancient kings traced their descent to Surya,[2] Candra,[3] or Agni.[4]


  1. Yuvarāja is the crown prince.
  2. Surya means the Sun.
  3. Candra means the Moon.
  4. Agni means the Fire.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore