Yaksha

Yaksha (Sanskrit: यक्ष yakṣa, Tamil: யகன் yakan, இயக்கன் iyakan, Odia: ଯକ୍ଷ jôkhyô, Pali: yakkha) are a broad class of nature-spirits, usually benevolent, but sometimes mischievous and sexually aggressive or capricious caretakers of the natural treasures hidden in the earth and tree roots. They appear in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist texts, as well as ancient and medieval era temples of South Asia and Southeast Asia as guardian deities. The feminine form of the word is yakṣī or Yakshini (yakṣiṇī).

In Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist texts, the yakṣa has a dual personality. On the one hand, a yakṣa may be an inoffensive nature-fairy, associated with woods and mountains; but there is also a darker version of the yakṣa, which is a kind of ghost (bhuta) that haunts the wilderness and waylays and devours travelers, similar to the rakṣasas.

In the Hindu Mythology Kubera (Sanskrit: कुबेर, Pali/later Sanskrit: Kuvera), also spelt Kuber, the Lord of Wealth and prosperity is considered as the god-king of the semi-divine Yakshas. He is regarded as the regent of the North (Dik-pala), and a protector of the world (Lokapala). His many epithets extol him as the overlord of numerous semi-divine species and the owner of the treasures of the world. Kubera is often depicted with a plump body, adorned with jewels, and carrying a money-pot and a club. His plump body denotes that Kubera the lord of Yakshas, is indeed a Yaksha. His (vehicle) is the viverrine (mongoose). He is often seen with another religious figure, Lakshmi (Sanskrit: लक्ष्मी, lakṣmī, ˈləkʂmiː) the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity. Kubera was originally described as the chief of evil spirits in Vedic-era texts, Kubera acquired the status of a Deva (god) only in the Puranas and the Hindu epics.

In Kālidāsa's poem Meghadūta, for instance, the yakṣa narrator is a romantic figure, pining with love for his missing beloved. By contrast, in the didactic Hindu dialogue of the Yakṣapraśnāḥ "Questions of the Yakṣa", it is a tutelary spirit of a lake that challenges Yudhiṣṭhira. The yakṣas may have originally been the tutelary gods of forests and villages, and were later viewed as the steward deities of the earth and the wealth buried beneath.

In Indian art, male yakṣas are portrayed either as fearsome warriors or as portly, stout and dwarf-like. Female yakṣas, known as yakṣiṇīs, are portrayed as beautiful young women with happy round faces and full breasts and hips.

Several monumental Yashas are known from the time the Mauryan Empire period. They are variously dated from around the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century BCE. These statues are monumental (usually around 2 meters tall), and often bear inscriptions related to their identification as Yakshas. They are considered as the first known monumental stone sculptures in India. Two of these monumental Yakshas are known from Patna, one from Vidisha and one from Parkham, as well as one female Yakshi from Besnagar.

This page was last edited on 29 May 2018, at 20:30 (UTC).
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaksha under CC BY-SA license.

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