Mangala is the name for the planet Mars in Indian tradition; in North Indian languages it is used as the name for Tuesday. Its widest meaning, how-ever, is “auspicious.” Along with its opposite, amangala, the term is constantly heard on a daily basis in Indian culture.
   A number of factors can contribute to mak-ing something auspicious in India. It may be an astrological issue—the stars and conjunctions of planets can indicate that a particular day, month, or year will be mangala or amangala. Certain individuals are by definition mangala, such as GURUS, saints, and other holy men. Additionally, certain events can be described as auspicious, for instance, the arrival of an unexpected guest. Places, including rivers, mountains, and shrines, also can be seen as mangala, or auspicious, and yield benefits in both spiritual and worldly terms if they are visited.
   A wide variety of places, times, locations, or objects can be described as mangala. In Jain tradi-tion the ashtamangala or eight auspicious things are taken out for special occasions. They include a mirror and a pot full of water. In fact, the poten-tial for auspicious or inauspicious occurrences is practically unlimited on a day-to-day basis in Indian tradition.
   Further reading: John Carman and Frederique Apffel Marglin, eds., Purity and Auspiciousness in Indian Society (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1985).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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