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Encyclopedia of Hindu Gods


MAKARA


Image from Moor.

Basic Description:  Described as a marine monster, horned shark, or dolphin.    Makara is also the name of the zodiacal sign Capricorn.  He is the riding animal of Varuna.

Iconography: He has the head of a deer, legs of an antelope, and the body and tail of a fish. 

Mythology:  Makara is mentioned in the Gita Govinda, where it refers to Kama having subdued the Makara.  Perhaps for this reason, the dolphin is found on Kama’s red banner.  It follows that one of Kama’s names is Makara-Ketu: ketu means a banner.

Although there are apparently no stories that revolve around Makara, a few references to him may be found.  Radha, speaking of Krishna's earrings says thatthey are shaped like the fish Makara.

Elsewhere, it is written that the earrings of Vishnu are also shaped like the fish Makara and represent the two methods of knowledge.

Riding Animal:  Makara is the riding animal of Varuna.

Sources:

Danielou, Alain.  The Myths and Gods of India.  Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International, 1991.

Moor, Edward.  The Hindu Pantheon.  Los Angeles: The Philosophical Research Society, Inc., 1976.

Thomas, P.  Epics, Myths and Legends of India.  Bombay; D. B. Taraporevala Sons & Co. Private Ltd., 1961.


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