Alpa: 20 definitions


Alpa means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi, Hindi. 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Alp.

In Hinduism

Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: Ayurveda glossary of terms

Alpa (अल्प):—Less, Scanty, Diminished

Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Source: Wisdom Library: Brihat Samhita by Varahamihira

Alpa (अल्प) refers to the “minor (princes)”, according to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā (chapter 4), an encyclopedic Sanskrit work written by Varāhamihira mainly focusing on the science of ancient Indian astronomy astronomy (Jyotiṣa).—Accordingly, “If, during the waxing moon, Mars should be eclipsed by a horn, the border (mleccha) princes as well as wicked rulers will suffer; if Saturn should be so eclipsed there will be fear from weapons and from hunger; if Mercury should be so eclipsed there will be drought and famine in the land; if Jupiter should be so eclipsed eminent princes will suffer; and if Venus, the minor princes [i.e., alpa] will suffer. As regards the waning moon the subject has been elsewhere treated”.

Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotisha (ज्योतिष, jyotiṣa or jyotish) refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents the fifth of the six Vedangas (additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas). Jyotisha concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Alpa (अल्प) refers to a “few”, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.3.9.—Accordingly, as Brahmā narrated to Sage Nārada:—“O excellent sage, the lord of the mountains having thus explained to Menakā, both of them remained watching its result, pure in mind. When a few days [i.e., alpa-dina] passed by, lord Śiva, the goal of saintly men, the cause of protection and enjoyment wandering here and there in his flutter and excitement due to the separation from Satī, came there with pleasure accompanied by a few of his Gaṇas, in order to perform penance. The lord was completely agitated due to Satī’s love and separation from her. [...]”.

Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Vastushastra (architecture)

Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions (architecture)

Alpa (अल्प) refers to a “lack” (of sons), according to the Devyāmata (chapter 105).—Accordingly, [while describing the consequences of a doorway]—“[...] At Bhṛśa is awfulness. And at Ambara there is theft. At Agni there is a lack of sons (alpa-suta). At Pūṣan is servitude. At Vitatha the householder comes to a lack of decorum, at Gṛhakṣata he gains wisdom. At Yama he attains savagery. At Gāndharva he acquires glory. [...]

Vastushastra book cover
context information

Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Source: Universität Wien: Sudarśana's Worship at the Royal Court According to the Ahirbudhnyasaṃhitā

Alpa (अल्प) refers to a “decrease (in production)” (of grains), according to the Ahirbudhnyasaṃhitā, belonging to the Pāñcarātra tradition which deals with theology, rituals, iconography, narrative mythology and others.—Accordingly, “An abnormal modification caused by a aggressive ritual against Kings, occurring at the improper time, dreadful and all-reaching, is characterized by the these signs: [...] the earth produces less grains (alpa-sasya) and multitudes of cows fall dead; his kingdom suffers again and again from droughts; the Earth-Master’s Queens are seized by serious illness; snakes and ants appear in the palace, at the main gate and in the pavilion; [...] from such and other signs he should understand that the enemy is performing a aggressive ritual”.

Pancaratra book cover
context information

Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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Yoga (school of philosophy)

Source: ORA: Amanaska (king of all yogas): A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation by Jason Birch

Alpa (अल्प) refers to “little (food)”,  according to the Dattātreyayogaśāstra 146-47 (Cf. Haṭhapradīpikā 3.79 and Śivasaṃhitā 3.36 and 5.7).—Accordingly, “The action called Viparīta [by which the body is inverted] destroys all diseases. For one who frequently practises it, their digestive fire increases. [That person] should certainly procure plenty of food, O Sāṅkṛti, [because] if little food (alpa-āhāra) [is eaten], the digestive fire burns up [the body]”.

Yoga book cover
context information

Yoga is originally considered a branch of Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: A Study and Translation of the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā

Alpa (अल्प) refers to “little (learning)”, according to the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā: the eighth chapter of the Mahāsaṃnipāta (a collection of Mahāyāna Buddhist Sūtras).—Accordingly, “[...] Thus he becomes one who subjugates the works of Māra (mārakarman). What then is the subjugation of the works of Māra? That by means of which none of Māra can find a weak point in the Bodhisattva. [...] (27) having a lazy mind thinking that whatever is done by living beings is sufficient is the work of Māra; (28) living in pride with no respect, slanderous speech, having falsehood and fraud, taking pleasure in fabrications, dishonesty, harsh and unpleasant [speech], not criticizing sins, pulling out the root of dharmas, being satisfied with little learning-dharma (alpa-śruta-mātra-saṃtuṣṭi), desire for the non-dharma, not blocking obstructions, interruptions, the uprising [of depravities] are the works of Māra; [...]”.

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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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

alpa (अल्प).—a (S) Little, of small quantity. In comp. as alpabuddhi, alpabala, alpāhāra, alpavyāpāra, alpalābha, alpabhāṣī, alpavidya, alpavyayī. Of the less obvious compounds some are explained below.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

alpa (अल्प).—a Little, of small quantity.

context information

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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Alpa (अल्प).—a. [al-pa]

1) Trifling, unimportant, insignificant (opp. mahat or guru); अल्पविद्यः (alpavidyaḥ) Manusmṛti 11.36.

2) Small, little, minute, scanty (opp. bahu); अल्पस्य हेतोर्बहु हातुमिच्छन् (alpasya hetorbahu hātumicchan) R.2.47;1.2; अल्पकुचान्तरा (alpakucāntarā) V.4.49.

3) Mortal, of short existence; अथ यदल्पं तन्मर्त्यम् (atha yadalpaṃ tanmartyam) Ch. Up.

4) Young.

5) Seldom, rare.

-lpaḥ A class of buildings; Kāmikāgama, 45.53-54.

-lpam Very little.

-lpam, -lpena, -lpāt adv.

1) A little.

2) For a slight reason; प्रीतिरल्पेन भिद्यते (prītiralpena bhidyate) Rām.4.32.7.

3) Easily, without much trouble or difficulty.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Alpa (अल्प).—mfn.

(-lpaḥ-lpā-lpaṃ) 1. Little, small. 2. Inferior. low. E. al to be able. &c. pa affix or with kan added alpaka.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Alpa (अल्प).—adj. f. . 1. Little, small, [Rāmāyaṇa] 5, 35, 31; [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 3, 55; alpena, For a small price, Daśak in Chr. 180, 18. 2. Insignificant, [Raghuvaṃśa, (ed. Stenzler.)] 2, 47. 3. Of no great value, [Daśakumāracarita] in Chr. 198, 6 (cf. naya). 4. Short, [Pañcatantra] [prologue.] [distich] 10. 5. Feeble, [Kathāsaritsāgara, (ed. Brockhaus.)] 24, 136. Comparative, alpīyaṃs, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 8, 36, and alpatara.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Alpa (अल्प).—[adjective] small, minute, little. [neuter] little, a trifle. alpena and alpāt [adverb] for a little, easily, without pain. Comp. alpīyaṃs less, little; [neuter] a little bit.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Alpa (अल्प):—mf(ā)n. (m. [plural] e or ās, [Pāṇini 1-1, 33]) small, minute, trifling, little, [Atharva-veda] etc.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Alpa (अल्प):—[(paḥ-pā-paṃ) a.] Little, small, few.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Alpa (अल्प) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Appa.

[Sanskrit to German]

Alpa in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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Hindi dictionary

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Alpa (अल्प) [Also spelled alp]:—(a) a little, small; minute; short; few; ~[kālika] short-lived; temporary; short-term; ~[janataṃtra] oligarchy; ~[jīvī] short-lived, fugacious; ~[taṃtra] oligarchy; ~[tama] minimum, minimal; ~[] smallness, minuteness; insignificance; ~[dṛśyatā] obscurity; ~[dṛṣṭi] short-sighted, not far-sighted; ~[prāṇa] unaspirated; vigourless, lacking vitality; ~[buddhi] a nitwit, silly; idiot, ~[bhāṣī] taciturn; reserved; ~[mata] minority; ~[mūlyana] under-valuation; ~[vaya] underage; -[virāma] comma; ~[śa]: by bits, in small quantities; ~[saṃkhyaka] minority (group, party, community, etc.); •[varga] minority group; ~[saṃkhyā] minority; [alpāyu] of young age; shortlived; ephemeral; [alpāhāra] abstemiousness, abstinence (in respect of food); [alpāhārī] abstemious, abstinent (in respect of food)

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Alpa (ಅಲ್ಪ):—

1) [adjective] small a) deficient or relatively little in size, age, stature, degree, power, amount, number, weight etc.; b) of less dimensions than the standard kind, belonging to the lesser kind.

2) [adjective] slight, inconsiderable, trifling, petty.

3) [adjective] abject; mean; base; trivial; servile; paltry.

4) [adjective] ಅಲ್ಪ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಅರಮನೆಗೆ ಹೋಗಬಾರದು [alpa karyakke aramanege hogabaradu] alpa kāryakke aramanege hōgabāradu (prov.) do not seek great man’s favour for a trivial gain.

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Alpa (ಅಲ್ಪ):—

1) [noun] a man of mean quality or of least importance.

2) [noun] a trifle thing; an insignificant factor.

3) [noun] ಅಲ್ಪನಿಗೆ ಐಶ್ವರ್ಯ ಬಂದರೆ ಅರ್ಧರಾತ್ರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕೊಡೆ ಹಿಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ [alpanige aishvarya bamdare ardharatriyalli kode hidisikomda] alpanige aiśvarya bandare ardharātriyalli koḍe hiḍisikoṇḍa (prov.) an immature person who has become rich accidentally, display his wealth ostentatiously and in vain; a beggar mounted, runs his horse to death; ಅಲ್ಪರ ಸಂಗ ಅಭಿಮಾನ ಭಂಗ [alpara samga abhimana bhamga] alparasaŋga abhimāna bhaŋga (prov.) one’s association with people of base quality brings disgrace to oneself; who keeps company with a wolf will learn to howl; ಅಲ್ಪಸ್ವಲ್ಪ [alpasvalpa] alpa svalpa a very little quantity.

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Alpa (ಅಲ್ಪ):—[adjective] (dial.) (adj.) abundant; plenty.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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