Divine chariot: 1 definition


Divine chariot means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Divine chariot in Purana glossary
Source: archive.org: Shiva Purana - English Translation

The Divine Chariot of lord Śiva (in Sanskrit: Divya-Ratha) was built by Viśvakarman and contains everything found in the world (brahmāṇḍa), according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.5.8 (“The detailed description of the chariot etc.”).—Accordingly, as Sanatkumāra narrated to Vyāsa: “The divine chariot (divyaratha) of lord Śiva consisting of all the worlds was built by Viśvakarman with devoted effort. It was appreciated by all. [...] Everything in the world (brahmāṇḍa) found a place in the chariot”.

The symbolism of the Divine Chariot is explained by associating its various parts and attributes with deities and natural phenomena:

The colour (varṇa) is associated with:—golden colour (sauvarṇa);
The material is associated with:—all the elements (sarvabhūtamaya);
The right wheel (dakṣiṇa-rathāṅga) is associated with:—the Sun (Sūrya);
The left wheel (vāma-rathāṅga) is associated with:—the Moon (Soma);
The twelve spokes of the right wheel (dvādaśāra) are associated with:—Twelve Ādityas (dvādaśāditya);
The sixteen spokes of the left wheel (ṣoḍaśāra) are associated with:—Sixteen digits of the moon (ṣoḍaśakalā);
The left side (vāma) is associated with:—the asterism (ṛkṣa);
The rims (nemi) are associated with:—the six seasons (ṛtu);
The Puṣkara (?) is associated with:—the sky (antarikṣa);
The inner side (rathanīḍa) is associated with:—Mandara;
The pole-shafts (kūbara) are associated with:—the rising and setting mountains (udayādri and astādri);
The support (adhiṣṭhāna) is associated with:—Mahāmeru;
The sharp sides (āśraya) are associated with:—the Keśara mountains;
The velocity (vega) is associated with:—the year (saṃvatsara);
The junctions of the wheels and axles (cakrasaṃgama) are associated with:—the two Ayanas (northern and southern);
The joints (vandhura) are associated with:—the Muhūrtas;
The pins of the yoke (śamyā) are associated with:—the Kalās;
The nose (ghoṇā) is associated with:—the Kāṣṭhā division of time;
The axle-shaft (akṣadaṇḍa) is associated with:—the Kṣaṇa division of time;
The bottom of the carriage (anukarṣa) is associated with:—the Nimeṣa division of time;
The poles (īṣā) are associated with:—the minutest division of time (anulava);
The fender (varūtha) is associated with:—the firmament;
The flag staffs (dhvaja) are associated with:—heaven and salvation (svarga-mokṣa);
The harrows at the end of the shafts (yugānta-koṭita) are associated with:—Abhramu and Kāmadhenu (Bhramadugha and Kāmadugha?);
The shaft (īṣādaṇḍa) is associated with:—unmanifest principle (avyakta);
The reeds (naḍvala) are associated with:—the cosmic intellect (vṛddhi ?);
The corners (koṇa) are associated with:—the cosmic Ego (ahaṃkāra);
The strength (bala) is associated with:—the elements (bhūta);
The embellishments on all sides (bhūṣaṇabhūṣaṇāni samaṃtataḥ) are associated with:—the cosmic sense-organs (indriya);
The movements (gati) are associated with:—faith (śraddhā);
The ornaments (bhūṣaṇa) are associated with:—the six Vedāṅgas;
The side trinkets (upabhūṣaṇa) are associated with:—The Purāṇas, Nyāya, Mīmāṃsā and Dharma Śāstras;
The tinkling bells (ghaṇṭā) are associated with:—The forceful and excellent mantras with their syllables and feet;
The fittings (bandha) are associated with:—Ananta embellished with thousand hoods (sahasra-phaṇa-bhūṣita);
The pedestals (pāda) are associated with:—the main and subsidiary quarters (diś and upadiś);
The gem-studded banners (pātaka) are associated with:—The clouds Puṣkara and others;
The bullocks (balin) are associated with:—The four oceans (samudra);
The Cāmara-holders are associated with:—Gaṅgā and other rivers;
The steps leading the chariot (sopāna) is associated with:—The seven courses of the wind (āvaha etc.);
The side steps (upasopāna) are associated with:—the Lokāloka mountain;
The outer and oblique steps (bāhya, bāhyasopāna?) are associated with:—The lake Mānasa etc.;
The cords and chains (pāśa) are associated with:—the Varṣa mountains;
The bottom surface (tala) is associated with:—the residents of the Tala region (talanivāsin);
The charioteer (sārathi) is associated with:—Lord Brahmā;
The bridle-holders (raśmidhara) are associated with:—the gods (Devas);
The great umbrella (mahacchatra) is associated with:—the syllable A (akāra);
The side staff (pārśvadaṇḍa-bhāj) is associated with:—Mandara;
The bow (kārmuka) is associated with:—the lord of mountains (śailendra);
The bowstring (jyā) is associated with:—the lord of serpents (bhujaṅgādhipa);
The bells of the bow (dhanurghaṇṭā) is associated with:—Goddess Sarasvatī in the form of the Vedas;
The arrow (iṣu) is associated with:—Viṣṇu;
The spear-head (śalya) is associated with:—Agni;
The horses (haya) are associated with:—the four Vedas;
The embellishments (of the horses?) (bhūṣaṇa) are associated with:—the (remaining) planets (jyotis);
The army (anīka) came up from water (viṣasaṃbhūta);
The feathers, wings etc. (vājaka) are associated with:—the winds (vāyu);
The drivers of the vehicle (vāhavāha) is associated with:—Vyāsa and other sages.

Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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