10

Arjuna has been referred to, using various names in the Mahabharata epic. Sri Krishna often used the name Partha/Kaunteya, when referring to Arjuna,as it originated from the name of Sri Krishna's aunt Pritha/Kunti, who was Arjuna’s mother.

And when Sri Krishna wanted to categorize between 3 Kaunteyas and Nakula /Sahadeva(Madreya or Queen Madri's sons) he used the word Kaunteya, for Arjuna.

In addition to the aforesaid two names,it can be seen in the various Chapters{Parvas} of the Mahabharata epic, that various names like Vibhatsu, Dhananjaya etc have also been used for Arjuna.

It is understood that all names had a distinct significance, with respect to the context, in which they were being used.

What are the various appellations of Arjuna? What is the significance of each appellation?

  • Kunti was mother of Arjuna not aunt. When Krishna wanted to categorize between 3 Kaunteyas and Nakula,Sahadeva(madreya) he used the word Kauteya. – Yogi Oct 7 '16 at 4:43
10

Arjuna was chiefly referred to, using ten appellations, in the Mahabharata epic.

These names along with their significance, was disclosed by Arjuna himself to Prince Uttara of the Matsya kingdom, before the war of Virata.

The ten appellations of Arjuna, along with the significance of each, are explained hereunder.

Arjuna said,

'I will, O son of Virata, tell thee my ten names.

Listen thou and compare them with what thou hadst heard before.

Listen to them with close attention and concentrated mind. They are Arjuna, Falguna, Jishnu, Kiritin, Swetavahana, Vibhatsu, Vijaya, Krishna, Savyasachin and Dhananjaya."

Uttara said,

Tell me truly why art thou called Vijaya, and why Swetavahana. Why art thou named Krishna and why Arjuna and Falguna and Jishnu and Kiritin and Vibhatsu, and for what art thou Dhananjaya and Savyasachin?

Arjuna said,

{1}They called me Dhananjaya because I lived in the midst of wealth, having subjugated all the countries and taking away their treasures.

{2}They called me Vijaya because when I go out to battle with invincible kings, I never return (from the field) without vanquishing them.

{3}I am called Swetavahana because when battling with the foe, white horses decked in golden armour are always yoked unto my car.

{4}They call me Falguna because I was born on the breast of the Himavat on a day when the constellation Uttara Falguna was on the ascendent.

{5}I am named Kiritin from a diadem, resplendent like the sun, having been placed of old on my head by Indra during my encounter with the powerful Danavas.

{6}I am known as Vibhatsu among gods and men, for my never having committed a detestable deed on the battle-field.

{7}And since both of my hands are capable of drawing the Gandiva, I am known as Savyasachin among gods and men.

{8}They call me Arjuna because my complexion is very rare within the four boundaries of the earth and because also my acts are always stainless.

{9}I am known among human beings and celestials by the name of Jishnu, because I am unapproachable and incapable of being kept down, and a tamer of adversaries and son of the slayer of Paka.

{10}And Krishna, my tenth appellation, was given to me by my father out of affection towards his black-skinned boy of great purity.

Arjuna also had a few other names, as mentioned below.

{11} Gudakesha - someone who has control over sleep.

{12} Kapidhwaja - having flag of Kapi (monkey) in his chariot (Arjuna's flag displayed an image of Hanuman}.

{13} Parantapa - one who concentrates the most, destroyer of enemies from his concentration.

{14} Gandivadhanvan - one who possessed the mighty bow named 'Gandiva' which was created by Lord Brahma.

{15} Gandivadhara - Gandiva holder

{16} Madhyapandava - the third of Pandavas, younger to Yudhishtra and Bhima and elder to Nakula and Sahadeva.

In addition to the above mentioned names, Lord Sri Krishna has addressed Arjuna with names

like-(i)Anagha-the sinless one(ii)Purushavyaghra-tiger amongst

men and (iii)Bharatasattama-best of the Bharatas, in the Srimad Bhagavad Gita.

Reference-Mahabharata Book:4, Virata Parva, Go-Harana Parva and Wikipedia

  • 2
    When it thunders it is recommended to chant 10 names of Arjuna ( Arjuna Phalguna Patha Kiriti Swethavahana Dhananjaya Bhibhathsa Vijaya Savyasachi Krishna). It is to overcome the fear caused by loud breaking sound and blinding light. I think it may also serve to equalize air pressure on either side of eardrum to reduce possible pain or damage. – Narasimham Oct 7 '16 at 21:31
4

Following are the various names of Arjuna and what they stand for.

  • Dhananjaya - because even after having conquered all the lands and amassed wealth he stands in the centre of righteousness
  • Vijaya - because in fights with haughty opponents, he always succeeds.
  • Śvetavāhana, Sitāsva, Sita-sapti, Anīlavājin - because white horses are harnessed to his chariot decked with golden ornaments.
  • Phālguna - because he was born in the month of Phālguna and under the star, Phālguna.
  • Kirīti - because during his fight with daityas he put on a head crown which was glowing as the Sun.
  • Bhībhatsu - because he never resorts to revolting-means during war.
  • Savyasācī - because both his hands are adept in using the bow, Gāṇḍīva.
  • Arjuna - because, people who possess fair colour as him are rare and moreover his acts are white (just and ethical).
  • Jiṣṇu - he's unassailable and unconquerable, he subjugates and conquers, and also because he's the son of Indra.
  • Kṛṣṇa - the name his father gave him because he was very attractive.
  • kapi-dwaja, kapi-ketana (with the ape-banner), lankesa-vanari-ketu (having the enemy of the grove of Ravana i.e., Hanuman for an ensign)
  • Karna-jit (conqueror of karna), Karnari (enemy of karna)
  • Kaunteya or Kunti-suta (son of Kunti)
  • pārtha (BG 1.25) or pritā-suta or pritāja (son of Prita)
  • Pāndava, Pāndaveya, Pändunandana (son of Pāndu)
  • Madhyama-pāndava (middlemost of the five Pāndavas)
  • Kaurava, Kuru-nandana (descendant of Kuru, BG 2.41)
  • kuru-śreṣṭha (best of the Kurus, BG 10.19) or kuru-sattama (BG 4.31)
  • Krishna-paksha (one who stands on the side of Krishna)
  • Krishna-sakha (friend or follower of Krishna)
  • Krishna-sarathi (having Krishna for a charioteer)
  • Gāndīvin (possessor of Gāṇḍīva)
  • Gudā-kesa (whose hair forms tufts or matted locks)
  • Citra-yodhin (fighting in a wonderful manner or in various ways)
  • Citranga (due to his wife Citrangada?)
  • Tāpatya (descendant of Tapati who's the daughter of Surya and Chāya. She married Samvarana and is the mother of Kuru)
  • Rādhā-bhedin
    • according to some this name has reference to a particular attitude in shooting (standing with the feet a span apart)
    • according to others it was given to Arjuna as having prevailed on Krishna to abandon Rādha
  • Vrihan-nalā or Vrihan-nada - name assumed when living in the family of king Virata as a eunuch in female attire
  • Sabda-bhedin or Sabda-vedhin (sound-piercer)
  • Subhadresa (husband of Subhadra)
  • Bhārata (descendant of Bharata)
  • Bhimänuja (younger brother of Bhima):

As son of Indra:

  • Aindri
  • Vāsavi
  • Tridasavarātmaja
  • Vārtraghna (fr. vritra-ghna - son of the Vritra-slayer)
  • Sakra-suta or Sakra-nandana
  • Surapati-tanaya
  • Kausikatmaja
  • Paka-sasani - fr. Paka-sasana (punisher of the daitya Paka or instructor of the ignorant)

References:

  1. Conversation between Uttara and Arjuna in Virata Parva of Mahabharata
  2. Puranic Encyclopedia
  3. Monier Williams Sanskrit-English dictionary
  4. An Index to the Names in the Mahabharata, Søren Sørensen

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .