Ala, aka: Aḷa, Āla; 8 Definition(s)


Ala means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, Marathi. 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.

The Sanskrit term Aḷa can be transliterated into English as Ala or Alia, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Katha (narrative stories)

Āla (आल) is the name of a monkey that was trained to swallow money, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 57. Accordingly, “and the monkey [Āla], being trained to swallow money, did so. Then she [Yamajihvā] said: ‘Now, my son, give twenty to him, twenty-five to him, sixty to him, and a hundred to him’. And the monkey [Āla], as often as Yamajihvā told him to pay a sum, brought up the exact number of dīnārs, and gave them as commanded”.

The story of Āla was narrated by Marubhūti to Naravāhanadatta in order to demonstrate that “courtesans have no goodness of character”, in other words, that “there never dwells in the minds of courtesans even an atom of truth, unalloyed with treachery, so a man who desires prosperity should not take pleasure in them, as their society is only to be gained by the wealthy, any more than in uninhabited woods to be crossed only with a caravan”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Āla, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Āla (“banyan”) refers to one of the several “attributes” (āyudha) or “accessories” of a detiy commonly seen depicted in Hindu iconography, defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—The śilpa texts have classified the various accessories under the broad heading of āyudha or karuvi (implement), including even flowers, animals, and musical instruments. The fruits found in connection with the deities or held in the hands of the deities are, for example, Āla.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

ala : (m.; nt.) claw of a crab, etc.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

1) Ala, 2 (adj.) (alaṃ adv. as adj.) enough, only in neg. anala insufficient, impossible M.I, 455; J.II, 326 = IV.471. (Page 78)

2) Ala, 1 frequent spelling for aḷa. (Page 78)

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Aḷa, (etym. unknown) 1. the claw of a crab M.I, 234; S.I, 123; J.I, 223, 505 (°chinno kakkaṭako; T. spells ala°); II, 342; III, 295;— 2. the nails (of finger or toe) (?) in °chinna one whose nails are cut off Vin.I, 91. (Page 80)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

aḷa (अळ).—f C aḷaī f (Better aḷī) A maggot which infests grain and fruit: also a little creature of the caterpillar kind.

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āla (आल).—f A tree (Morinda citrifolia) from the roots of which a red color is extracted for staining leather, dyeing silks &c.

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āḷa (आळ).—m f A false accusation. v ghē, ghāla, yē. Pr. ēka āḷa āṇi ēka mahāāḷa Once a false accusation, and soon very serious injury. 2 fig. A mere appearance, guise, semblance, shadow of: as puru- ṣācā āḷa māña The form or shadow of a man; brāhmaṇācā āḷa, śipāyācā or śipāīgirīcā āḷa.

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āḷa (आळ).—m f Longing or hankering after: also importunate begging or beseeching. v ghē, pāḷa, purava. 2 f R A lane, an alley, a row. 3 m R Commonly āḷā.

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āḷā (आळा).—m A binding or tie; any thing used to bind or fasten (a bundle, a bale &c.) 2 Confinement, cohibition, control, restraint: also contraction, limitation, restriction. v ghāla, tuṭa. āḷyānta asaṇēṃ-rāhaṇēṃ-vāgaṇēṃ-cālaṇēṃ To be in obedience or subjection. āḷā piḷaṇēṃ To twist (by means of the ōḷadāṇḍī) the āḷā or binding of the ākharī & sāṭā of a cart.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

aḷa (अळ).—f aḷaī f (or aḷī f) A maggot which infests grain or fruit.

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āla (आल).—f A tree from the root of which a red color is obtained.

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āḷa (आळ).—m f A false accusation; guise; longing after. f A lane.

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āḷā (आळा).—m A binding or tie; control; con- traction. āḷayānta, asaṇēṃ-rāhaṇēṃ Be in obe- dience or subjection.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Ala (अल).—[al-ac]

1) The sting in the tail of a scorpion.

2) Yellow orpiment; cf. आल (āla).

Derivable forms: alam (अलम्).

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Āla (आल).—a. [ā-al-paryaptau ac]

1) Large, extensive.

-laḥ, -lam 1 Spawn, any discharge of venomous matter from poisoncus animals; °अक्त (akta) anointed with poison as an arrow.

2) Trick, fraud; येषां श्रुतमालजालाय (yeṣāṃ śrutamālajālāya) K.288; °जालानि चिन्तयन्ती (jālāni cintayantī) 31.

3) Yellow arsenic, orpiment.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Ala (अल).—n.

(-laṃ) 1. The sting in the tail of the scorpion. 2. Yellow orpiment. E. ala to adorn, &c. and ac aff.

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Āla (आल).—mfn.

(-laḥ-lā-laṃ) Large, extensive. n.

(-laṃ) Yellow orpiment. E. ala to adorn, in the causal form, ac aff.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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