Hayagriva, aka: Hayagrīva, Haya-griva; 12 Definition(s)
Hayagriva 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.
Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव, “the horse-faced”):—Another name for Janārdana Mādhava (‘the Lord of all’) after his head was severed out of His body, according to the Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa (Ch. 5 - The narrative of Hayagrīva). He is described as the ‘cause of all causes’ and Ādi Deva Jagannath (‘Lord of the universe’).(Source): Wisdom Library: Purāṇas
A Hayagriva stone is of the shape of a goad.(Source): archive.org: The Garuda puranam
1) Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव).—An Asura, the son of Kaśyapaprajāpati by his wife Danu. (Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Araṇyakāṇḍa, Canto 14).
As a child the Asura began tapas on the banks of river Sarasvatī, and after a thousand years Devī appeared and asked him to choose any boon he wanted, and he wanted to become invincible by Devas and Asuras, and also deathless. When Devī told him that such a boon was out of question, he wanted the boon that he (Hayagrīva) should not be killed by anyone but by a Hayagrīva (one with the horse’s neck). Devī granted him the boon.
Hayagrīva, who became haughty and overconfident on receiving such a boon, went about the three worlds troubling good people, and at last he clashed with the Devas. As he could be killed only by one with the head of a horse the combined attack of Mahāviṣṇu and the Devas did not succeed in defeating him and Mahāviṣṇu decided to rest for some time to recoup himself from weariness. During his rest his head was hit by the end of his own bow and the head was severed from the trunk. Mahāviṣṇu replaced the head thus lost with that of a horse and killed Hayagrīva in fight. (For details see Cital). (See full article at Story of Hayagrīva from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)
2) Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव).—An asura who guarded the kingdom of Narakāsura. He was killed by Śrī Kṛṣṇa, (Udyoga Parva, Chapter 130 Verse 50).
3) Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव).—A King born in the Videha dynasty. (Udyoga Parva, Chapter 74, Verse 15).
4) Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव).—A saintly king. Though he defeated his enemies, yet, as he had no backing and support, he was finally killed. The story of Hayagrīva was told by Vyāsa to teach Dharmaputra the lesson that even the greatest of heroes requires the support of others. Though killed, Hayagrīva secured a place in heaven. (Śānti Parva, Chapter 24, Verse 23).
5) Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव).—An incarnation of Viṣṇu. In Vedic literature:—In Vedic literature incarnation as Hayagrīva is attributed not to Viṣṇu, but to Yajña. But the Taittirīya āraṇyaka depicts yajña as a protoform of Viṣṇu. The inference that may be drawn from the above is that the root of the Hayagrīva story detailed in Vedic and Purāṇic literature is one and the same.
About the Hayagrīva incarnation the Pañcaviṃsabrāhmaṇa contains the following story.
Agni, Indra, Vāyu and Yajña (Viṣṇu) once began a yajña on the understanding that the havirbhāga obtained from it should be divided among all the Devas. But, in violation of the agreement, yajña left the place carrying away the whole Yajñabhāga with him, and he drove back the Devas who followed him with the help of the bow presented to him by Devī. Finally the Devas got the string of the bow bitten off by termites and the bow which got straightened up cut off yajña’s head. Yajña then apologized for his offence and then the devas got the Aśvinīdevas to fix the head of a horse to the trunk of Yajña. (Pañcaviṃśabrāhmaṇa 7, 5, 6; Taittirīya āraṇyaka 5, 1; Taittirīya Saṃhitā, 4-9, 1). In Purāṇic literature. The above story is told in Skanda Purāṇa with slight modifications as follows:—
Once Brahmā and other Devatās conducted a test as to which one amongst them was the greatest, and when it became evident tha tMahāviṣṇu was, in every respect, superior to all the others Brahmā cursed that Viṣṇu should lose his head. Viṣṇu, who got thus bereft of his head attended a yajña conducted by the Devas with the head of a horse attached to his trunk. After the yajña was over he went to dharmāraṇya and did tapas there and by the blessings of Śiva got back his former head instead of that of the horse.(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia
Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव).—In the Mahābhārata, Hayagrīva occurs as the name of a demon who is commander of Naraka’s army. According to the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Viṣṇu killed the demon Hayagrīva. The Viṣṇu Purāṇa and the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa state that Viṣṇu appears as Hayaśiras in Bhadrāśva. The Devībhāgavata mentions Viṣṇu Hayagrīva killing the demon Hayagrīva, while the Kālikā Purāṇa states that Hayagrīva had killed Jvarāsura.(Source): archive.org: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study
1a) Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव).—(Hayaśīrṣa)—a manifestation of Hari worshipped as such by Bhadraśravas: Half-man and halfhorse: got back to Brahmā the Vedas seized by Asura Madhu of Rasātala;1 the form of Viṣṇu who appeared before Agastya at Kāncī, having Śankha, Cakra, Akṣavalaya, and Pustaka (book) in his hand;2 resides in Sutalam.3
- 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 18. 1-6; XI. 4. 17.
- 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 5. 9, 35-40.
- 3) Ib. II. 20. 21; Vāyu-purāṇa 50. 20.
1b) A son of Danu: followed Vṛtra in his battles with Indra: a follower of Bali.*
- * ^1 Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 6. 30; 10. 19; VII. 2. 4; VIII. 10. 21; Vāyu-purāṇa 68. 10.
1c) The demon who carried off the Vedas during the pralaya: killed by Matsya Hari who recovered them.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 24. 8 and 57.
1d) A Dānava in the Tārakāmaya.*
- * Matsya-purāṇa 173. 15; 177. 6.
1e) An Asura killed by Kṛṣṇa in prāgjyotiṣa.*
- * Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 29. 19.
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.
Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)
Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव), the horse-face avatāra (incarnation) of Viṣṇu, with variant names: Aśvamukha, Aśvaśīrṣa, Hayaśīrṣa, was associated in Hindu mythology with the restoration of the Vedas and with learning, speech and knowledge. The Mahābhārata (XII. 127) mentions a beautiful region called Badarī, the abode of Nara and Nārāyaṇa, where Aśvaśīrṣa read the read the Vedas. Elsewhere (XII, 347), it describes the horse-face Viṣṇu bringing back the stolen Vedas after killing the two asura thieves Madhu and Kaiṭabha. The Harivaṃśa (Chapter 72) has a prayer addressed to Hayagrīva who kills Madhu and Kaiṭabha to rescue the Vedas.(Source): Google Books: Studies in Jaina Art and Iconography (vaishnavism)
Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).
Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव) refers to one of the many varieties of the Śālagrāma (ammonite fossil stones).—The Hayagrīva is blue in colour; two cakras; five lines together making a mark like goad (aṅkuśākāra-pañca-rekhā); many spots (bindus); shape of a horse’s head. Śālagrāma stones are very ancient geological specimens, rendered rounded and smooth by water-currents in a great length of time. They (eg., Hayagrīva stones) are distinguished by the ammonite (śālā, described as “vajra-kīṭa”, “adamantine worms”) which having entered into them for residence, are fossilized in course of time, leaving discus-like marks inside the stone.(Source): archive.org: Pratima Kosa Encyclopedia of Indian Iconography - Vol 6
Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.
Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)
Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव) or Hayagrīvatantra refers to one of the twenty Bhūtatantras, belonging to the Śāktāgama (or Śāktatantra) division of the Āgama tradition. The Śāktāgamas represent the wisdom imparted by Devī to Īśvara and convey the idea that the worship of Śakti is the means to attain liberation. According to the Pratiṣṭhālakṣaṇasamuccaya of Vairocana, the Śāktatantras are divided into to four parts, the Hayagrīva-tantra belonging to the Bhūta class.(Source): Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva (shaktism)
Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.
Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)
Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव) refers to one of the various Vibhava manifestations according to the Īśvarasaṃhitā 24.249-256.—Accordingly, “one should meditate upon the Lord of speech, having the face of the horse, who has all imperishable things in the world in the form of speech, who is in His nature as (inherent) power of the form of sentience; having unlimited splendour, he is like the sun-stone ornamented by many arms. He has in the six right hands, lotus, rosary garland, altar (pedestal) bedecked by the three fires, sruk and sruva having the flow of ghee, handful of Kuśa grass with Soma juice, hide of deer with darbha and girdle. One shall think of a book and conch staff, gourd and ladle, these three in the left hand, the fifth hand filled with seeds grown in villages and forests to prepare caru. He shall have in the sixth hand a vessel for Soma juice which shall have garlands, roots, fruits, leaves (petals), materials (required) for the sacrifice together with the gifts and all the materials required for the members of all castes. This shall be meditated upon having the Ṛg and others—Vedas, Upavedas, impressions with sacrifices in concrete forms”.
These Vibhavas (eg., Hayagrīva) represent the third of the five-fold manifestation of the Supreme Consciousness the Pāñcarātrins believe in. Note: Hayagrīva bears the conch and discuss; He has four faces; and seated on a serpent’s body; His body is like that of Nṛsiṃha; lotus-seat. He is associated with Śrī and Bhūdevī; pāśa (nooses), arikissa (goad), fire, and some more ornaments are also mentioned.(Source): archive.org: Isvara Samhita Vol 1
Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.
Katha (narrative stories)
Hayagrīva (हयग्रीव) is the name of an Asura who was reborn as Mahābuddhi: minister of Sūryaprabha, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 45. Accordingly, as Kaśyapa said to Maya, Sunītha and Sūryaprabha: “... and the other Asuras, who were your companions, have been born as his friends; for instance,... the two Asuras, who used to be called Vikaṭākṣa and Hayagrīva, have been born as his two ministers here, Sthirabuddhi and Mahābuddhi”.
The story of Hayagrīva was narrated by the Vidyādhara king Vajraprabha to prince Naravāhanadatta in order to relate how “Sūryaprabha, being a man, obtain of old time the sovereignty over the Vidyādharas”.
The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Hayagrīva, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.(Source): Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.
Languages of India and abroad
1) Name of a form of Viṣṇu.
2) Name of a demon; ज्ञात्वा तद्दानवेन्द्रस्य हयग्रीवस्य चेष्टितम् (jñātvā taddānavendrasya hayagrīvasya ceṣṭitam) Bhāg.8.24.9.
-vā Name of Durgā.
Hayagrīva is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms haya and grīva (ग्रीव).(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.
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Search found 24 books and stories containing Hayagriva, Hayagrīva or Haya-griva. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
Shakti and Shakta (by John Woodroffe)
Chapter XXVIII - Matam Rutra (the Right and Wrong Interpretation) < [Section 3 - Ritual]
List of Mahabharata people and places (by Laxman Burdak)
The Indian Buddhist Iconography (by Benoytosh Bhattachacharyya)
Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra (by Helen M. Johnson)
Part 22: Duel between Tripṛṣṭha and Hayagrīva < [Chapter I - Śreyāṃsanāthacaritra]
Part 18: The attack on Caṇḍavega < [Chapter I - Śreyāṃsanāthacaritra]
Part 21: The battle < [Chapter I - Śreyāṃsanāthacaritra]
The Devi Bhagavata Purana (by Swami Vijñanananda)
Chapter 5 - On the narrative of Hayagrīva < [Book 1]
Chapter 8 - On the description of Ilāvrita < [Book 8]
Chapter 4 - On the excellency of the Devī < [Book 1]
The Garuda Purana (by Manmatha Nath Dutt)
Chapter XXXIV - Hayagriva worship < [Agastya Samhita]
Chapter XXXV - The mode of worshipping the Hayagriva manifestation of Vishnu < [Agastya Samhita]
Chapter XIII - The prayer of Vishnu Panjaram < [Agastya Samhita]