vyāghra व्याघ्र

Definition: ‘Tiger,’ is never found in the Rigveda, but frequently occurs in the Atharvaveda, as well as the lion. This fact is legitimately regarded as an indication that the Atharvaveda belongs to a period when the Vedic Indian had approached and entered the territory of Bengal. Later, also, mention of the tiger is quite common. The Taittirīya Samhitā preserves a reference to the danger of waking a sleeping tiger. The destructive character of the animal is often alluded to, the man-eater (purusād) being also mentioned. Like the lion, the tiger passes as a symbol of strength. This idea is illus­trated by the fact that the king at the Rājasūya ('royal consecration') steps on a tiger’s skin to win himself the strength of the animal. Cf. also śārdūla, Petva.


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