Aciravati, Aciravatī, Acira-vati: 5 definitions



Aciravati means something in Buddhism, Pali, the history of ancient India. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

1. Aciravati - A river, the modern Rapti in Oudh; one of the Panca mahanadi (Vin.ii.237), the five great rivers flowing from the Himalaya eastwards (pacinaninna) (S.v.39, etc.) into the sea. During the hot season it ran dry, leaving a bed of sand (A.iv.101). It flowed through Kosala, and at Savatthi an udumbara grove grew on its banks; it, could be seen from the terrace of Pasenadis palace (Vin.iv.111-12; SnA.i.19). To the south of it was Manasakata, and on its southern bank was a mango grove where the Buddha sometimes resided (D.i.235-6). The Tevijja Sutta was preached here, and the Aciravati is used in a simile to prove the futility of sacrifices and prayers: it is of no use standing on one bank of the river and calling to the other bank to come over.

In the river were many bathing places, in some of which courtesans bathed naked; the Bhikkhunis did likewise until a rule was passed prohibiting it (Vin.i.293; iv.278). The Chabbaggiya nuns, however, continued to do so even afterwards (Vin.iv.259f).

The river was crossed in rafts (Vin.iii.63); it sometimes became so full (D.i.244-5; M.iii.117; J.iv.167) that disastrous floods occurred, in one of which Vidudabha and his army were swept into the sea (DhA.i.360).

In sheltered spots monks and brahmins used to bathe (Vin.iv.161), and once Sariputta himself bathed there (AA.i.315). The Sattarasa vaggiya monks frequented the river for water sports (Vin.iv.111-12).

Once the Buddha was told that the Pancavaggiya monks were in the habit of seizing the cows that crossed the river (Vin.i.191).

The elder Sivali stopped on the banks of the Aciravati while on his way to the Himalaya with five hundred monks (AA.i.139). In the time of Kassapa Buddha the river flowed round Savatthi and, at the eastern fort, flowed into a wide and deep lake on which separate bathing places were made for the king, the people, the Buddha and the Order respectively (MA.i.371).

The people on the banks were in the habit of casting nets for fish (UdA.366). Near the river was Dandakappa, a Kosalan village, and while staying there Ananda bathed in the river with many other monks (A.iii.402).

Two occasions are mentioned on which monks hit in the eye swans flying over the river (J.i.418 and ii.366. See also DhA.iv.5 and 8f). It was here that Patacaras child was drowned (DhA.ii.264).

Kapila was born here as a golden fish as a result of his evil deeds (DhA.iv.41; see also Kapila S). In the Avadana Sataka (DhA.i.63; also ii.60) the name is given as Aciravati, and according to I Tsing (p.156) means the river of the Aji (dragon).

2. Aciravati - A canal which ran westwards from the Mahavaluka ganga in Ceylon; from it flowed four other canals eastwards: the Sataruddha, Nibbinda, Dhavala and Sida. Cv.lxxix.51-3.

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Aciravati in Mahayana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Aciravati (अचिरवति) is the name of a river mentioned by the Buddha while teaching the practice of disgust, as mentioned in the Tiṃsamattā-sutta (or Lohita-sūtra), according to Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter XLIII.—Accordingly, “thus forty Bhikṣus from the land of Po-li (“inhabitant of the region of Pāvā”; Pāvā or Pāpā is the actual Kasia) who observed fully the twelve pure practices (dhūtaguṇa) came to the Buddha who taught them the practice of disgust (nirveda, saṃvega). The Buddha asked them: The five rivers, Heng-k’ie (Gaṅgā), Lan-meou-na (Yamunā), Sa-lo-yeou (Sarayū), A-tche-lo-p’o-t’i (Aciravati) and Mo-hi (Mahī) arise and empty into the great ocean (mahāsamudra). Is the mass of water contained in this ocean great or small? The Bhikṣus answered: It is very great. The Buddha continued: In the course of a single kalpa, during his animal existences, a single man has been cut up and flayed. In yet other circumstances when he committed a wrong-doing, his hands and feet have been cut off and his head has been has been cut off. Well then! His blood (lohita) that has been spilled surpasses the amount of water in the ocean”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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India history and geography

Source: The Geographical Dictionary of Ancient and Mediaeval India

Aciravatī or Achiravatī.—The river Rapti in Oudh, on which the town of Śrāvastī was situated (Varāha.purāṇa, ch. 214; Tevijja-sutta in the Sacred Books of the East, Vol. XI). It was also called Ajiravatī and its shortened form is Airāvatī. It is a tributary of the Sarayu.

Source: Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 1963

Aciravatī is the name of an ancient canal that existed in the Polonnaruva (Polonnaruwa) district of Ceylon (Sri Lanka).—Of the 29 canalso mentioned in the Cūlavaṃsa as having been constructed by Parakkamabāhu I, the Pūjāvaliya mentions only one, Aciravatī. This canal took off from the Mahavali-Gaṅga westward, and it had 4 branches which flowed eastward (towards the river): from the point at which the Aciravatī canal originated, another canal, named Gomatī, flowed eastward to east of the river and it had a branch which flowed northward. The site of the dam from which these two canals took off to right and left is about ½ a mile upstream of the island in the river now called Kāliṅga-nuvara. The left bank channel, Aciravatī, is now known as Kāliṅga Yodi-ala.

The Aciravatī canal flowed westward from the Mahavali Gaṅga from it branched eastward the Gomatī, Sataruddhā, Nibbindā, Dhavalā and Sīdā, canals, and northward the Malāpaharaṇī canal.

Source: Ancient Buddhist Texts: Geography of Early Buddhism

Aciravatī (अचिरवती) is the name of a river situated in Majjhimadesa (Middle Country) of ancient India, as recorded in the Pāli Buddhist texts (detailing the geography of ancient India as it was known in to Early Buddhism).—Aciravatī is the river Rapti in Oudh, on which the town of Sāvatthī was situated. It was also called Ajiravatī and its shortened form is Airāvati. It is a tributary of the river Sarayū.

In the Saṃyutta Nikāya, as well as in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, Aciravatī is mentioned as one of the five great rivers or Mahānadi. The four other rivers mentioned are: Gaṅga, Yamunā, Sarabhu, and Mahī. In the Sālittaka Jātaka and in the Kurudhamma Jātaka we find that the river Aciravatī was near Sāvatthī. In the Dīgha Nikāya we read that once the Buddha went to Manasākaṭa, a brahmin village in the Kosala country and dwelt at Ambavana on the bank of the river Aciravatī to the north of Manasākaṭa.


India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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