Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Vaishvanara Mean?

Vaishvanara is a Sanskrit term for an abstract concept in Hinduism. This concept is related to atman, or the individual soul. It is derived from the words vishva meaning “universe” and narah, which means “man." Therefore, it can be translated as “universal man.” Another translation is “ruling or befitting all men.”

In the Tantras, Vaishvanara is an alternative name for the tantric goddess Savitri, and in the Rig Veda, it is a name for the deity Agni.

In some meditation teachings, vaishvanara refers to the waking state of consciousness.


Yogapedia Explains Vaishvanara

The Mandukya Upanishad defines vaishvanara as the first of four states of consciousness. Because it is a waking state, it is outwardly cognitive and when the self is in the vaishvanara form it is said to have seven limbs and nineteen mouths.

The seven “limbs” correspond to the “cosmic body” rather than the physical body, and they encompass the manifest universe. For example, the heavens are said to correspond to the head, while the sun is the eyes, the air is the breath and the fire is the heart.

The nineteen “mouths” correspond to:

  • The five sensory organs

  • The five organs of action, which are walking, talking, procreating, handling and expelling

  • The five pranas

  • The mind, the ego, the intellect and thought

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