We finally got a taste of Sukuna’s millennia-old knowledge while he fought Eight Handled Sword Divergent Sila Divine General Mahoraga. Through dodging and attacking, our favourite special grade cursed spirit gave us some valuable background on his opponent. Furthermore, this shikigami is an amalgamation of the best cultural and religious references! This is just a testament to how well Jujutsu Kaisen incorporates Buddhism and Japanese culture while retaining its modern setting!
(Also Akutami sensei gets to flex his intelligence on us.)
Coated in mysteries and danger, this shikigami is one of the most beautiful examples of referencing. Curious to know more? Then, read ahead!
Mahoraga & Buddhism
What does Eight Handled Sword Divergent Sila Divine General Mahoraga mean?
Talk about long names! Firstly, let’s look at the roamanized version of Mahoraga’s actual name in romanji.
Yatsuka-no-Tsurugi Ikaishinsho Makora.
There are roughly three parts in the name; Eight Handled Sword, Divergent Sila, and Divine General Mahoraga (Makora).
Get ready, because there is going to be some really interesting information up ahead! Akutami sensei combined Buddhism and Japanese ancient history to give us this epic name.
Eight Handled Sword- Ten Sacred Treasures
Sukuna mentions the “Ten Sacred Treasures” and how it aids the shikigami. This is a reference to Japanese culture. In the Sendai Kuji Hongi, these ten treasures were passed down from the “Heavenly Ancestor” to Nigihayi no Mikoto. This is the Yatsuka no Tsurugi, or the “Sword Eight Hands Long”. This is where the first part of this shikigami’s name comes from.
The incantations that Sukuna talks about also hold sacred meaning. These regalia contain magical properties which can grant the wish of the user. This happens by taking the name of each treasure while waving it in times of difficulty. Since “Eight Handled Sword” is a part of the Mahoraga’s (super long) name, it hints at the fact that the ten shikigamis could represent each of the other Ten Sacred Treasures too.
The only place where we do see eight handles is the wheel on top of his head. That being said, let’s look at another possible reference of it, this time from Buddhism!
The Wheel- Dharmachakra
The wheel on Mahoraga is of sacred importance. It is known as the “dharmachakra”. This is the wheel of cosmic law and order. It is the oldest symbol of Buddhism. The wheel depicts multitude of teachings, and the different number of spokes can help distinguish that. The eight spoke wheel is usually what is associated with the dharmachakra. This certain wheel symbolises the “Eightfold Path”.
The wheel symbolises overcoming of obstacles, which is fitting for the Mahoraga. As Sukuna mentions, the wheel is smybolising completeness and harmony. The Eightfold Path is represented on each spoke of the wheel. These are Right:
This is very important to understand why the next part of the name is called “Divergent Sila”.
Before delving further into deconstructing the meaning of Divergent Sila, there is a connection that Sukuna makes between the Ten Sacred Treasures and the “Wheel”. That is to say, both represent harmony and completion together. It makes sense because wheels have always been identified with moving forward and completing a circle. Similarly, the Ten Sacred Treasures symbolise harmony. This is because the magic activates only when the incantations consist of all ten of them.
This concept comes to play in Mahoraga’s powers!
As mentioned above, the Eightfold Path and the Dharmachakra are some of the most fundamental aspects of Buddhism. Hence, it should be no surprise that there is another Buddhist teaching in Mahoraga’s name!
Sila is the Buddhist concept that focuses on morality. Subsequently,it focuses on “right speech”, “right action”, and “right livelihood”. As you must’ve guessed, they are parts of the Eightfold Path. This only deepens the affirmation that the wheel has Buddhist references too!
So, what does the “divergent” indicate?
Divergent means moving away from one’s path. If we put two and two together, it means that it is some body who did not follow Sila. Sila has ten conditions that one must follow, the first and foremost being not taking life. Since the Mahoraga has probably killed more than a few people, it is divergent.
This is ironic, because the last part of the name epitomises the protectors of Buddhism and Buddha.
Divine General Mahoraga – Buddhist Guards?
The Japanese kanji for the name actual has Makora in the end rather than Mahoraga. So before we get into what Mahoraga means, let’s see what Makora is and how it connects to aforementioned name!
Makora is one of the Twelve Divine Generals that guard the Buddha of Medicine, Yakoshi Nyorai. These are Hindu deities that have been taken into Buddhism. One of them is Makora (Makora Taisho), who’s name in Sanskrit translates to Mahoraga. This is most probably why the translations show us Mahoraga rather than Makora.
Now, about what the word “Mahoraga” means-
“Mahoraga” are humanoid deities across Hindusim, Jainisim and Buddhism. Since Jujutsu Kaisen derives its inspiration from Buddhism, there will be some cultural difference for the term in comparision with the other two religions.
In Buddhism, the Mahoraga is one of the “Eight Legions” who protect dharma. These Eight Legions consist various celestial beings, from Tenbu (which means Deva in Japanese) to the Mahoraga. Mahoragas have a body which is half serpentine, though Akutami sensei took the creative liberty of making the design a little different. This Mahoraga does have a tail at the back of its head along with two pairs of wings on its face. Furthermore, the Mahoragas have the ability to rotate the Earth, which can cause earthquakes.
Yamata no Orochi and Mahoraga
Lastly, Sukuna also mentions that Mahoraga is similar to Yamata no Orochi. He was an eight-headed and eight tailed serpent (remember, the Mahoraga is serpent like). Apparently, trees grew out of its back and he was covered in moss. Additionally, it was so big that he covered eight valleys and eight hills. It was Susanoo, the Thunder God in Shintoism, that killed it by first intoxicating him with sake before striking him down.
Akutami sensei stuffed a textbook’s worth of knowledge into one shikigami, didn’t he? Did you know about this already? Let us know in the comments!