On the Etymology of Senzar

Excerpted from an article on Universal Theosophy by Jon W. Fergus

Senzar in the Writings of Blavatsky (In Chronological Order)

Yes, the letter-tree of Tibet is a fact; and moreover, the inscriptions in its leaf-cells and fibres are in the Senzar, or sacred language used by the Adepts, and in their totality comprise the whole Dharma of Buddhism and the history of the world.

(“The Sacred Tree of Kum Bum,” Theosophist, March, 1883)

[Quoting from a Letter received by T. Subba Row from the Sankaracharya (possibly referring to Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrusimha Bharati Mahaswami, native of Mysore and head of Sringeri Śārada Pīṭhaṃ in 1883), with HPB’s comments in square brackets:]

Here is the letter received by T. Subba Row, from Mysore. Let us remember that the former is an initiated adept, the only man in India who now possesses the key to all the Brâhmanical mysteries and has spiritual authority from Cape Comorin to the Himâlayas and whose library is the accumulation of long centuries. Moreover, he is recognized, even by the English, as the greatest authority on the value of archaic manuscripts. Here is what he says: “If the manuscript [the ‘Hieratic Code’ in question] is written in Senzar Brahmabhâshya [secret sacerdotal language], it can only be read or understood by initiated Brâhmanas, who have already received the revelation of Atharvan and Angiras [the last and supreme initiation]. Now, none of these manuscripts, not even a copy, can possibly be in the possession of a Mlechchha [impure foreigner] because to begin with, the list of the books [codes] was carved on the column of the Âśrama [a sacred place, a temple] at the time when the Great and Holy Achârya, ‘Master’ [in this case, Śankarâchârya of the Vedânta himself, who founded the hierarchy, and built and lived in that temple of Mysore] traced the names thereof with his own hand, and they are all still there . . .”

(“Theosophy and Spiritism,” Bulletin Mensuel de la Société Scientifique d’Études Psychologiques, Paris, June 15, 1883; translated from the French)

Tradition says, that it [the “very old book,” the “parent volume”] was taken down in Senzar, the secret sacerdotal tongue, from the words of the Divine Beings, who dictated it to the sons of Light, in Central Asia, at the very beginning of the 5th (our) race; for there was a time when its language (the Sen-zar) was known to the Initiates of every nation, when the forefathers of the Toltec understood it as easily as the inhabitants of the lost Atlantis, who inherited it, in their turn, from the sages of the 3rd Race, the Manuṣyas, who learnt it direct from the Devas of the 2nd and 1st Races.

(Secret Doctrine 1:xliii)

The Stanzas which form the thesis of every section are given throughout in their modern translated version, as it would be worse than useless to make the subject still more difficult by introducing the archaic phraseology of the original, with its puzzling style and words. Extracts are given from the Chinese, Tibetan and Sanskrit translations of the original Senzar Commentaries and Glosses on the Book of Dzyan—these being now rendered for the first time into a European language.

(Secret Doctrine 1:22-23)

However it may be, the records of the temples, Zodiacal and traditional, as well as the ideographic records of the East, as read by the adepts of the Sacred Science and Vidya, are not a whit more doubtful than the so-called ancient history of the European nations, now edited, corrected, and amplified by half a century of archæological discoveries, and the very problematical readings of the Assyrian tiles, cuneiform fragments, and Egyptian hieroglyphics. So are our data based upon the same readings, in addition to an almost inexhaustible number of Secret works of which Europe knows nothing—plus the perfect knowledge by the Initiates of the symbolism of every word so recorded. Some of these records belong to an immense antiquity. Every archæologist and palæontologist is acquainted with the ideographic productions of certain semi-savage tribes, who from time immemorial have aimed at rendering their thoughts symbolically. This is the earliest mode of recording events and ideas. And how old this knowledge is in the human race may be inferred from some signs, evidently ideographic, found on hatchets of the Palæolithic period. The red Indian tribes of America, only a few years ago comparatively speaking, petitioned the President of the United States to grant them possession of four small lakes, the petition being written on the tiny surface of a piece of a fabric, which is covered with barely a dozen representations of animals and birds. (See Lubbock.) The American savages have a number of such different kinds of writing, but not one of our Scientists is yet familiar, or even knows of the early hieroglyphic cypher, still preserved in some Fraternities, and named in Occultism the Senzar. Moreover, all those who have decided to regard such modes of writing—e.g., the ideographs of the Red Indians, and even the Chinese characters—as “attempts of the early races of mankind to express their untutored thoughts,” will decidedly object to our statement, that writing was invented by the Atlanteans, and not at all by the Phœnicians.

(Secret Doctrine 2:439)

The sacerdotal language (Senzar), besides an alphabet of its own, may be rendered in several modes of writing in cypher characters, which partake more of the nature of ideographs than of syllables.

(Voice of the Silence)

The Senzar and Sanskrit alphabets, and other occult tongues, besides other potencies, have a number, color and distinct syllable for every letter, and so had also the old Mosaic Hebrew.

(see CW 12:642)

Senzar. The mystic name for the secret sacerdotal language or the “Mystery-speech” of the initiated Adepts, all over the world.

(Theosophical Glossary)

Zend means “a commentary or explanation”, and Avesta (from the old Persian âbashtâ, “the law”. (See Darmsteter.) As the translator of the Vendîdâd remarks in a foot note (see Int. xxx.): “what it is customary to call ‘the Zend language’, ought to be named ‘the Avesta language’, the Zend being no language at all; and if the word be used as the designation of one, it can be rightly applied only to the Pahlavi”. But then, the Pahlavi itself is only the language into which certain original portions of the Avesta are translated. What name should be given to the old Avesta language, and particularly to the “special dialect, older than the general language of the Avesta” (Darmst.), in which the five Gâthas in the Yasna are written? To this day the Orientalists are mute upon the subject. Why should not the Zend be of the same family, if not identical with the Zen-sar, meaning also the speech explaining the abstract symbol, or the “mystery language,” used by Initiates?

(Theosophical Glossary, “Zend-Avesta”)

[In an unpublished MS. in HPB’s handwriting she says the following:]

The Brahmans alone spoke both the tongue of the Gods (Sanskrit and its hieratic supplement, the Senzar), the Sanskrit bhāsha and the Prakriti bhāsha. The tongue of the gods was unknown to all but themselves.

(CW 13:317)

Summary

HPB suggests that Senzar is ideographic or hieroglyphic in nature.

She refers to Senzar as: the “mystery language,” or “mystery speech”; the “sacred language,” the “sacerdotal language,” “secret sacerdotal language,” or “secret sacerdotal tongue”; and also “speech explaining the abstract symbol.” The Sankaracharya of 1883 reportedly used the term “Senzar Brahmabhâshya” in a letter to T. Subba Row, thus connecting Senzar with a known Sanskrit term. HPB’s unpublished MS. quoted above also makes a connection between Senzar and Sanskrit.

In each of the phrases used by HPB to describe Senzar we see two components:

1. mystery, secret, sacerdotal, hieratic, abstract symbol
2. language, speech, tongue

This may suggest “Sen-zar” to be a compound term, formed of two terms with these two general meanings. Alternatively, Senzar may be a single term either with a suffix or merely as tranformed into a noun from a root form. We will explore both these options together in the following.

I Am Not an Anthropology Ph.D. Student

The person who first brought the notion of Warrior’s Path to the minds of millions, yes millions. Was an anthropology Ph.D. student.

I have written and spoken about the warrior’s path here and I was, at least for a while, a hardcore physical science academic. I have published > 50 papers in the physical science literature. I have two granted US patents and one under examination.

I wrote the business plan which helped to secure £5million start-up funding for a high technology laser company.

I have studied at and been employed by some pretty fine universities.

I am not a hairy arsed Mexican shaman taking peyote, mushrooms and jimson weed.

Toltec means man of knowledge and this one worked in the very heart of scientific knowledge, but it seems he is shunned for now.

Viewed from any angle this is a strange quirk of fate…

Some hippy-trippy Castaneda-esque dude has spoken at a NATO-ASI conference…

They have installed optical analytical devices in the heart of a semiconductor tool manufacturer, Tokyo Electron.

I can operate in your world, but would you be able to do so, in mine?

Even for just one day?

City of the Golden Gates and Airships – Atlantis

These are excerpted from:

The Story of Atlantis

A Geographical, Historical and Ethnological Sketch

by W. Scott-Elliot

[1896]

At Sacred Texts

Agriculture

In such an empire as the Toltec, agriculture naturally received much attention. Not only were the labourers taught their duties in technical schools, but colleges were established in which the knowledge necessary for carrying out experiments in the crossing both of animals and plants, was taught to fitting students.

It is said that wheat was not evolved on this planet at all. It was the gift of the Manu who brought it from another globe outside our chain of worlds. But oats and some of our other cereals are the results of crosses between wheat and the wild grasses of the earth. Now the experiments which gave these results were carried out in the agricultural schools of Atlantis. Of course such experiments were guided by high knowledge. But the most notable achievement to be recorded of the Atlantean agriculturists was the evolution of the plantain or banana. In the original wild state it was like an elongated melon with scarcely any pulp, but full of seeds as a melon is. It was of course only by centuries (if not thousands of years) of continuous selection and elimination that the present almost seedless plant was evolved.

Among the domesticated animals of the Toltec days were creatures that looked like very small tapirs. They naturally fed upon roots or herbage, but like the pigs of to-day, which they resembled in more than one particular, they were not over cleanly, and ate whatever came in their way. Large cat-like animals and the wolf-like ancestors of the dog might also be met about human habitations. The Toltec carts appear to have been drawn by creatures somewhat resembling small camels. The Peruvian llamas of today are probably their descendants. The ancestors of the Irish elk, too, roamed in herds about the hill sides in much the same way as our Highland cattle do now–too wild to allow of easy approach, but still under the control of man.

Constant experiments were made in breeding and cross-breeding different kinds of animals, and, curious though it may seem to us, artificial heat was largely used to force their development, so that the results of crossing and interbreeding might be more quickly apparent. The use, too, of different coloured lights in the chambers where such experiments were carried on were adopted in order to obtain varying results.

This control and moulding at will by man of the animal forms brings us to a rather startling and very mysterious subject. Reference has been made above to the work done by the Manus. Now it is in the mind of the Manu that originates all improvements in type and the potentialities latent in every form of being. In order to work out in detail the improvements in the animal forms, the help and co-operation of man were required. The amphibian and reptile forms which then abounded had about run their course, and were ready to assume the more advanced type of bird or mammal. These forms constituted the inchoate material placed at man’s disposal, and the clay was ready to assume whatever shape the potter’s hands might mould it into. It was specially with animals in the intermediate stage that so many of the experiments above referred to were tried, and doubtless the domesticated animals like the horse, which are now of such service to man, are the result of these experiments in which the men of those days acted in co-operation with the Manu and his ministers. But the co-operation was too soon withdrawn. Selfishness obtained the upper hand, and war and discord brought the Golden Age of the Toltecs to a close. When instead of working loyally for a common end, under the guidance of their Initiate kings, men began to prey upon each other, the beasts which might gradually have assumed, under the care of man, more and more useful and domesticated forms, being left to the guidance of their own instincts naturally followed the example of their monarch, and began to prey more and more upon each other. Some indeed had actually already been trained and used by men in their hunting expeditions, and thus the semi-domesticated cat-like animals above referred to naturally became the ancestors of the leopards and jaguars.

City of the Golden Gates

The “City of the Golden Gates” and its surroundings must be described before we come to consider the remarkable system by which its inhabitants were supplied with water. It lay, as we have seen, on the east coast of the continent close to the sea, and about 15º north of the equator. A beautifully wooded park-like country surrounded the city. Scattered over a large area of this were the villa residences of the wealthier classes. To the west lay a range of mountains, from which the water supply of the city was drawn. The city itself was built on the slopes of a hill, which rose from the plain about 500 feet. On the summit of this hill lay the emperor’s palace and gardens, in the centre of which welled up from the earth a never-ending stream of water, supplying first the palace and the fountains in the gardens, thence flowing in the four directions and falling in cascades into a canal or moat which encompassed the palace grounds, and thus separated them from the city which lay below on every side. From this canal four channels led the water through four quarters of the city to cascades which in their turn supplied another encircling canal at a lower level. There were three such canals forming concentric circles, the outermost and lowest of which was still above the level of the plain. A fourth canal at this lowest level, but on a rectangular plan, received the constantly flowing waters, and in its turn discharged them into the sea. The city extended over part of the plain, up to the edge of this great outermost moat, which surrounded and defended it with a line of waterways extending about twelve miles by ten miles square.

It will thus be seen that the city was divided into three great belts, each hemmed in by its canals. The characteristic feature of the upper belt that lay Just below the palace grounds, was a circular racecourse and large public gardens. Most of the houses of the court officials also lay on this belt, and here also was an institution of which we have no parallel in modern times. The term “Strangers’ Home” amongst us suggests a mean appearance and sordid surroundings, but this was a palace where all strangers who might come to the city were entertained as long as they might choose to stay–being treated all the time as guests of the Government. The detached houses of the inhabitants and the various temples scattered throughout the city occupied the other two belts. In the days of the Toltec greatness there seems to have been no real poverty–even the retinue of slaves attached to most houses being well fed and clothed–but there were a number of comparatively poor houses in the lowest belt to the north, as well as outside the outermost canal towards the sea. The inhabitants of this part were mostly connected with the shipping, and their houses, though detached, were built closer together than in other districts.

It will be seen from the above that the inhabitants had thus a never-failing supply of pure clear water constantly coursing through the city, while the upper belts and the emperor’s palace were protected by lines of moats, each one at a higher level as the centre was approached. It was from a lake which lay among the mountains to the west of the city, at an elevation of about 2,600 feet, that the supply was drawn.

Now it does not require much mechanical knowledge in order to realise how stupendous must have been the works needed to provide this supply, for in the days of its greatness the “City of the Golden Gates” embraced within its four circles of moats over two million inhabitants. No such system of water supply has ever been attempted in Greek, Roman or modern times–indeed it is very doubtful whether our ablest engineers, even at the expenditure of untold wealth, could produce such a result.

Air-Ships

If the system of water supply in the “City of the Golden Gates” was wonderful, the Atlantean methods of locomotion must be recognised as still more marvellous, for the air-ship or flying-machine which Keely in America, and Maxim in this country are now attempting to produce, was then a realised fact. It was not at any time a common means of transport. The slaves, the servants, and the masses who laboured with their hands, had to trudge along the country tracks, or travel in rude carts with solid wheels drawn by uncouth animals. The air-boats may be considered as the private carriages of those days, or rather the private yachts, if we regard the relative number of those who possessed them, for they must have been at all times difficult and costly to produce. They were not as a rule built to accommodate many persons. Numbers were constructed for only two, some allowed for six or eight passengers. In the later days when war and strife had brought the Golden Age to an end, battle ships that could navigate the air had to a great extent replaced the battle ships at sea–having naturally proved far more powerful engines of destruction. These were constructed to carry as many as fifty, and in some cases even up to a hundred fighting men.

The material of which the air-boats were constructed was either wood or metal. The earlier ones were built of wood-the boards used being exceedingly thin, but the injection of some substance which did not add materially to the weight, while it gave leather-like toughness, provided the necessary combination of lightness and strength. When metal was used it was generally an alloy–two white-coloured metals and one red one entering into its composition. The resultant was white-coloured, like aluminium {sic}, and even lighter in weight. Over the rough framework of the air-boat was extended a large sheet of this metal, which was then beaten into shape, and electrically welded where necessary. But whether built of metal or wood their outside surface was apparently seamless and perfectly smooth, and they shone in the dark as if coated with luminous paint.

“In 1800, Sir Humphry Davy discovered the short-pulse electrical arc and presented his results in 1801. In 1802, Russian scientist Vasily Petrov created the continuous electric arc, and subsequently published “News of Galvanic-Voltaic Experiments” in 1803, in which he described experiments carried out in 1802. Of great importance in this work was the description of a stable arc discharge and the indication of its possible use for many applications, one being melting metals. In 1808, Davy, who was unaware of Petrov’s work, rediscovered the continuous electric arc. In 1881–82 inventors Nikolai Benardos (Russian) and Stanisław Olszewski (Polish) created the first electric arc welding method known as carbon arc welding using carbon electrodes. The advances in arc welding continued with the invention of metal electrodes in the late 1800s by a Russian, Nikolai Slavyanov (1888), and an American, C. L. Coffin (1890). Around 1900, A. P. Strohmenger released a coated metal electrode in Britain, which gave a more stable arc. In 1905, Russian scientist Vladimir Mitkevich proposed using a three-phase electric arc for welding. Alternating current welding was invented by C. J. Holslag in 1919, but did not become popular for another decade.”

In shape they were boat-like, but they were invariably decked over, for when at full speed it could not have been convenient, even if safe, for any on board to remain on the upper deck. Their propelling and steering gear could be brought into use at either end.

But the all-interesting question is that relating to the power by which they were propelled. In the earlier times it seems to have been personal vril that supplied the motive power–whether used in conjunction with any mechanical contrivance matters not much–but in the later days this was replaced by a force which, though generated in what is to us an unknown manner, operated nevertheless through definite mechanical arrangements. This force, though not yet discovered by science, more nearly approached that which Keely in America used to handle than the electric power used by Maxim. It was in fact of an etheric nature, but though we are no nearer to the solution of this problem, its method of operation can be described. The mechanical arrangements no doubt differed somewhat in different vessels. The following description is taken from an air-boat in which on one occasion three ambassadors from the king who ruled over the northern part of Poseidonis made the journey to the court of the southern kingdom. A strong heavy metal chest which lay in the centre of the boat was the generator. Thence the force flowed through two large flexible tubes to either end of the vessel, as well as through eight subsidiary tubes fixed fore and aft to the bulwarks. These had double openings pointing vertically both up and down. When the journey was about to begin the valves of the eight bulwark tubes which pointed downwards were opened–all the other valves being closed. The current rushing through these impinged on the earth with such force as to drive the boat upwards, while the air itself continued to supply the necessary fulcrum. When a sufficient elevation was reached the flexible tube at that end of the vessel which pointed away from the desired destination, was brought into action, while by the partial closing of the valves the current rushing through the eight vertical tubes was reduced to the small amount required to maintain the elevation reached. The great volume of current, being now directed through the large tube pointing downwards from the stern at an angle of about forty-five degrees, while helping to maintain the elevation, provided also the great motive power to propel the vessel through the air. The steering was accomplished by the discharge of the current through this tube, for the slightest change in its direction at once caused an alteration in the vessel’s course. But constant supervision was not required. When a long journey had to be taken the tube could be fixed so as to need no handling till the destination was almost reached. The maximum speed attained was about one hundred miles an hour, the course of flight never being a straight line, but always in the form of long waves, now approaching and now receding from the earth. The elevation at which the vessels travelled was only a few hundred feet–indeed, when high mountains lay in the line of their track it was necessary to change their course and go round them–the more rarefied air no longer supplying the necessary fulcrum. Hills of about one thousand feet were the highest they could cross. The means by which the vessel was brought to a stop on reaching its destination–and this could be done equally well in mid-air–was to give escape to some of the current force through the tube at that end of the boat which pointed towards its destination, and the current impinging on the land or air in front, acted as a drag, while the propelling force behind was gradually reduced by the closing of the valve. The reason has still to be given for the existence of the eight tubes pointing upwards from the bulwarks. This had more especially to do with the aerial warfare. Having so powerful a force at their disposal, the warships naturally directed the current against each other. Now this was apt to destroy the equilibrium of the ship so struck and to turn it upside down–a situation sure to be taken advantage of by the enemy’s vessel to make an attack with her ram. There was also the further danger of being precipitated to the ground, unless the shutting and opening of the necessary valves were quickly attended to. In whatever position the vessel might be, the tubes pointing towards the earth were naturally those through which the current should be rushing, while the tubes pointing upwards should be closed. The means by which a vessel turned upside down, might be righted and placed again on a level keel, was accomplished by using the four tubes pointing downwards at one side of the vessel only, while the four at the other side were kept closed.

The Atlanteans had also sea-going vessels which were propelled by some power analogous to that above mentioned, but the current force which was eventually found to be most effective in this case was denser than that used in the air-boats.

The Yellow Rose and The Soular Lotus

When it comes to models, it is wise to remember that they are just that. It is easy to fall into the trap of imagining the model to be reality and the sum total of reality at that.

When I first started doing the dreaming practice which involves a rājā yoga visualisation of a yellow rose, I was like a duck to water. This was because I can visualize multiple dimensions and things like symmetry operations easily.

Here is an annotated Toltec version of Otz Chiim. In blue are my suggestions.

Visualizing the yellow rose invokes the lightning strike from “on high” and this is an invigorating thing to do. One is intending union with the dreamer the Soul. As a part of the dreaming practice one can ascertain the dreaming colour or in other words upon which ray the egoic or Soular lotus is to be found. The idea is to fully open the heart, the lotus. After eight years of several times a day I switched to the Master in the Heart meditation which builds the Antahkarana {in red} up to the Soular lotus and beyond. In other words, this meditation builds Jacob’s ladder.

The two models do not coincide completely but there are correspondences.

What one has to bear in mind is that these two-dimensional flat representations are in fact at least three dimensions. Visualizing both of these diagrams in 3d should help.

The idea is to bring about complete fusion of Soul and personality, cooperation between the dreamer and the dreamed. This is the first goal of yoga or union.

In effect one hands the steering wheel of the physical plane entity over to the Soul or the Dreamer. Union is the true meaning of yoga.

Nāga – नाग

Excerpted from Wikipedia:

The Nāga (IAST: nāga; Devanāgarī: नाग) or Nagi (f. of nāga; IAST: nāgī; Devanāgarī: नागी) are divine, semi-divine deities, or a semi-divine race of half-human half-serpent beings that reside in the netherworld (Patala) and can occasionally take human form. Rituals devoted to these supernatural beings have been taking place throughout south Asia for at least two thousand years. They are principally depicted in three forms: wholly human with snakes on the heads and necks, common serpents, or as half-human half-snake beings in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. A female naga is a “Nagi”, “Nagin”, or “Nagini”. Nagaraja is seen as the king of nāgas and nāginis. They are common and hold cultural significance in the mythological traditions of many South Asian and Southeast Asian cultures. They are the children of Rishi Kashyapa and Kadru.

Etymology

In Sanskrit, a nāgá (नाग) is a cobra, the Indian cobra (Naja naja). A synonym for nāgá is phaṇin (फणिन्). There are several words for “snake” in general, and one of the very commonly used ones is sarpá (सर्प). Sometimes the word nāgá is also used generically to mean “snake”. The word is cognate with English ‘snake’, Germanic: *snēk-a-, Proto-IE: *(s)nēg-o- (with s-mobile).

Hinduism

The mythological serpent race that took form as cobras can often be found in Hindu iconography. The nāgas are described as the powerful, splendid, wonderful and proud semidivine race that can assume their physical form either as human, partial human-serpent or the whole serpent. Their domain is in the enchanted underworld, the underground realm filled with gems, gold and other earthly treasures called Naga-loka or Patala-loka. They are also often associated with bodies of waters — including rivers, lakes, seas, and wells — and are guardians of treasure. Their power and venom made them potentially dangerous to humans. However, they often took beneficial protagonist role in Hindu mythology; in Samudra manthan folklore, Vasuki, a nāgarāja who abides on Shiva’s neck, became the churning rope for churning of the Ocean of Milk. Their eternal mortal enemies are the Garudas, the legendary semidivine birdlike-deities.

Vishnu is originally portrayed in the form sheltered by Śeṣanāga or reclining on Śeṣa, but the iconography has been extended to other deities as well. The serpent is a common feature in Ganesha iconography and appears in many forms: around the neck, use as a sacred thread (Sanskrit: yajñyopavīta) wrapped around the stomach as a belt, held in a hand, coiled at the ankles, or as a throne. Shiva is often shown garlanded with a snake. Maehle (2006: p. 297) states that “Patanjali is thought to be a manifestation of the serpent of eternity”.

Buddhism

As in Hinduism, the Buddhist nāga generally has sometimes portrayed as a human being with a snake or dragon extending over his head. One nāga, in human form, attempted to become a monk; and when telling it that such ordination was impossible, the Buddha told it how to ensure that it would be reborn a human, and so able to become a monk.

The nāgas are believed to both live on Nagaloka, among the other minor deities, and in various parts of the human-inhabited earth. Some of them are water-dwellers, living in streams or the ocean; others are earth-dwellers, living in caverns.

The nāgas are the followers of Virūpākṣa (Pāli: Virūpakkha), one of the Four Heavenly Kings who guards the western direction. They act as a guard upon Mount Sumeru, protecting the dēvas of Trāyastriṃśa from attack by the asuras.

Among the notable nāgas of Buddhist tradition is Mucalinda, Nāgarāja and protector of the Buddha. In the Vinaya Sutra (I, 3), shortly after his enlightenment, the Buddha is meditating in a forest when a great storm arises, but graciously, King Mucalinda gives shelter to the Buddha from the storm by covering the Buddha’s head with his seven snake heads. Then the king takes the form of a young Brahmin and renders the Buddha homage.

In the Vajrayāna and Mahāsiddha traditions, nāgas in their half-human form are depicted holding a nāgas-jewel, kumbhas of amrita, or a terma that had been elementally encoded by adepts.

The two chief disciples of the Buddha, Sariputta and Moggallāna are both referred to as Mahānāga or “Great nāga”. Some of the most important figures in Buddhist history symbolize nāgas in their names such as Dignāga, Nāgāsēna, and, although other etymons are assigned to his name, Nāgārjuna.

Literature

The Nāga Saṃyutta of the Pali Canon consists of suttas specifically devoted to explaining nature of the nāgas.

In the “Devadatta” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the daughter of the dragon king, an eight year old longnü (龍女, nāgakanyā), after listening to Mañjuśrī preach the Lotus Sutra, transforms into a male Bodhisattva and immediately reaches full enlightenment. Some say this tale appears to reinforce the viewpoint prevalent in Mahayana scriptures that a male body is required for Buddhahood, even if a being is so advanced in realization that they can magically transform their body at will and demonstrate the emptiness of the physical form itself. However many schools of Buddhism and classical, seminal Chinese exegeses interpret the story to repudiate this viewpoint, stating the story demonstrates that women can attain Buddhahood in their current form.

According to tradition, the Prajñapāramita sutras had been given by the Buddha to a great nāga who guarded them in the sea, and were conferred upon Nāgārjuna later.

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I have often pondered on the similarity of nāga with nagal and nagual, East meets West.

Gateway to the Nagual’s world similar to Nagaloka?

Quetzalcoatl