From HandWiki
Short description: Race of deities in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism
Translations of
EnglishGreat serpent
(IAST: mahoraga)
(rōmaji: magoraga)
(RR: mahuraga)
Wylie: lto ’phye chen po
Vietnamesema hầu la già
Glossary of Buddhism

The Mahoraga (Sanskrit: महोरग) are a race of deities in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Like the nāga, they are 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.[1]


An illustration from an 1866 Japanese book. Mahoraga, who is an incarnation of Bodhisattva Kannon in this scene, gives a sermon to folks.

The Mahoraga are one of the eight classes of deities (aṣṭasenā) that are said to protect the Dharma. They are described as huge subterranean serpents who lie on their sides and rotate the earth, which occasionally causes earthquakes.[2]

Like the kinnara, the mahoraga are also associated with music. They are understood as being associated with large serpents such as pythons, while the nāgas are more closely related to the cobra.[3]

According to the Śariputraparipṛcchā Sūtra (T. 1465), one is reborn as a mahoraga as a result of practicing generosity and upholding the Dharma, while being inclined toward anger.


  1. Nishigori, Ryosuke. Tenbu no Butsuzo Jiten. Tokyo Bijutsu, 1983
  2. Buswell, Robert E., Jr., & Donald S. Lopez Jr., Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press, 2013
  3. Kobuta, Yura & F.E.A.R. Mikkyo Mandara. Shinkigensha Co., Ltd., 2000