How Jujutsu Kaisen's Mahoraga makes the most of Hindu and Buddhist symbolism

Ayaan PaulNovember 23, 2023 | 08:00 IST

In the current exhilarating saga of Jujutsu Kaisen's second season, the anime has unfolded a breathtaking arc interwoven with intense battles, most recently introducing Mahoraga, the Eight-Handled Sword Divergent Sila Divine General - a shikigami of unparalleled power and a testament to the seamless integration of Hindu and Buddhist symbolism within the anime.

Eight-Handled Sword Divergent Sila Divine General Mahoraga

Mahoraga, a towering humanoid figure with wings and a distinctive eight-handled wheel, epitomises the complexity of cultural references in its very form. 

  • The eight-handled wheel, known as the dharmachakra, is a fundamental symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism. It represents the cosmic wheel of law and order, a motif echoing through millennia of religious philosophy. 
  • This wheel's eight spokes correlate with the Eightfold Path, a guiding principle in Buddhism that outlines the journey toward ethical and mental development.

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Infinite adaptability

The shikigami's adaptability adds another layer of significance to its symbolism. 

  • The turning of the eight-handled wheel enables Mahoraga to respond dynamically to various stimuli, both defensively and offensively. 
  • This mirrors the Buddhist concept of overcoming obstacles and achieving completeness, capturing the essence of the dharmachakra's teachings.

Delving into Mahoraga's nomenclature reveals a rich tapestry of cultural allusions. 

Eight-Handled Sword

  • The term "Eight-Handled Sword" harks back to the Sword Eight Hands Long, part of Japanese cultural heritage and associated with the Ten Sacred Treasures. 
  • These treasures, passed down from the mythical "Heavenly Ancestor" to Nigihayi no Mikoto, hold cultural and magical significance. 
  • The inclusion of this reference adds depth to Mahoraga's character, grounding it in both Japanese and broader Asian cultural contexts.

Divergent Sila

  • Sila, a Buddhist concept emphasising morality and ethical conduct,makes its way into the shikigami's name. Some iterpretations of the word also suggest it means "gift" or "treasure" which alludes to Megumi's summoning incantation: "With this treasure I summon...".
  • "Divergent" implies a departure from the path of Sila, suggesting that Mahoraga, in its destructive nature, has deviated from the moral guidelines outlined in Buddhist teachings.

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Mahoraga's last name deepens the narrative's connection to Hinduism. 

  • Makora, the Japanese name of one of the 12 divine generals who accompany and protect the healing Buddha, resonates with the Sanskrit name Mahala. 
  • These divine generals, often depicted with serpentine bodies, align with Mahoraga's appearance and its role as a guardian within the Jujutsu Kaisen universe.
  • In Hindu mythology, the Mahoraga are a race of deities often depicted as anthropomorphic beings with serpentine bodies from the waist down. However, their appearance can differ depending on artistic tradition, sometimes having serpent heads with humanoid bodies.


The intrigue deepens when Mahoraga is posited as untameable, serving as a mutually assured destruction threat. 

  • This concept aligns with the Hindu Chakravarti Samrat, the Emperor of Emperors, symbolised by the turning of the wheel or the dharmachakra.
  • Sukuna, representing Yama, the Hindu god of Death and Destruction with his title of Dharmaraja, seems to wield authority over Mahoraga, forming a captivating narrative thread that intertwines the very same Hinduist elements.

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  • Worthiness becomes a central theme, drawing inspiration from Hindu and Theravada Buddhist concepts such as Arahata/Arhat, signifying one who is worthy and capable of achieving enlightenment. 
  • The criteria for commanding Mahoraga, including clarity of will, strength in various dimensions (mental, physical, magical), and a selfless intent focused on protecting others, reflect the nuanced layers of spirituality embedded in the narrative.

Mahoraga transcends its role as a mere shikigami, emerging as a captivating embodiment of Hindu and Buddhist symbolism intricately woven into the fabric of Jujutsu Kaisen. The terrifying being stands as a testament to the series' commitment to authenticity, transforming each battle into a dynamic interplay of spiritual philosophies and cultural depth.

Last updated: November 23, 2023 | 08:00
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