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In the early Vedic age, the word Asura meant mighty!
“The word Asura including its variants asurya and aasura occurs 88 times in the Rg Veda, 71 times in the singular number, 4 times in the dual, 10 times in the plural, and 3 times as the first member of a compound. In this the feminine form asuryaa is included twice. The word asurya has been used 19 times as an abstract noun, while the abstract form asuratva occurs 24 times, 22 times in each of the 22 times of one hymn and twice in the other tow hymns.” – P.L. Bhargava in the book ‘Vedic Religion and culture’.
As per P.L. Bhargava, in the most of the ancient hymns, the word Asura is always used as an adjective meaning powerful or mighty. Two generous kings of the Rk veda as well as some priests have been described as Asura. One hymn requests a son who is an asura. In 9 hymns, Indra is described as Asura. 5 times he is said to possess asurya and once he is said to possess Asuratva. Agni has total of 12 Asura descriptions, Varuna has 10, Mitra 8, and Rudra 6. Bhargava gives a count of the word usage per every Vedic deity.
As per Bhargava, the word slowly took on a negative connotation towards the end of the Vedic period. The Avesta (the book of the Zoroastrians) describes their supreme God as Ahura Mazda – Asura Medhira – Mighty and Wise! For them, the word Deva is negative!
In the Vendidad, Hapta-Hindu (Sapta-Sindhu) is one of the 16 lands abandoned by ancient Iranians because of excessive heat. This can be another example of the Out-Of-India theory.
Thus Asura is an epithet. Ravanasura means mighty Ravana. Ravana was a Brahmana – Rakshasa. There was no ‘Asura Jathi‘ in the way that there were rakshasas, daityas, devas and brahmanas! Using Yaskacharya’s Niruktha’s reversal rule : Asura (means mighty in sanskrit) is the same as Arasu (means King in Kannada).
Bhagavad Gita : Asuras : Naraka : Chapter 16 : Devaasura Sampad Vibhaaga Yoga : the Gita, chapter 16 uses the term aasuric to describe and egoistic, atheistic people with the sort of attributes that bind them to this planet and do not give moksha.
See Also :
- Ksheera Sagara Mathanam (Location)
- Ksheera sagara: Ocean of milk: The milky way
- Bakasura, Hidimbasura in Kishkinda
- For synonyms of Asura see : Learning Vedic Sanskrit : Kasyapa’s Nighantu – Yaska Niruktha : 3 : In brackets you can see the modern meanings…”Synonyms for mEghA (cloud) : adri (mountain), gOtra, rouhiNa, raivata, ahi (snake), odana (cooked rice), vRtra (Indra slayed vRtra), asura (mighty, enemies of devas)”
- sura from s’Ura?
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