Amrita, aka: Amṛtā, Amṛta; 17 Definition(s)
Amrita means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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 terms Amṛtā and Amṛta can be transliterated into English as Amrta or Amrita, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).
Amṛtā (अमृता) is the name of a beautiful damsel (kanyā), with black curly hair and red lips, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 92. Amṛtā (and other innumerable ladies) arose out of the agitation of Vaiṣṇavī while she was doing penance at Viśālā. For these young women, Vaiṣṇavī created the city Devīpura, containing numerous mansions with golden balconies, crystal stairs and water fountains, with jewelled windows and gardens.
Vaiṣṇavī is the form of Trikalā having a red body representing the energy of Viṣṇu. Trikalā is the name of a Goddess born from the combined looks of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (Śiva).
The Varāhapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 24,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 10th century. It is composed of two parts and Sūta is the main narrator.(Source): Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa
Amṛta (अमृत): In the Ṛgveda amṛta is not found as a name of a divne drink. The term, however, occurs as an attribute of Soma which was regarded as a divine drink. Soma was a stimulant and conferred immortality upon the gods. The term Amṛta itself, signifying a celestial drink, occurst very often in the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa. Still it has close connection with Soma. We find Soma called the nectar (amṛta) of immortatity. There is also a reference to Amṛta being recovered by fods. Amṛta, as purely a drink of immortality, is many times mentioned by the Gītā. Here we do not find it connected with Soma at all.
In the Vāyu-purāṇa Amṛta occurs as a drink of the gods; but there are some instances connecting it with Soma, the moon, and not with Soma the plant. This information of the Vāyu-purāṇa is thus assignable to a period subsequent to that of the Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa though it is difficult to say about the lowest limit of time. There is one reference stating that Amṛta was stored by the gods on the Somaka mountain but it is not clear whether this name Somaka should be connected with Soma, the drink or Soma, the moon.(Source): Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna
Amṛtā (अमृता).—Daughter of a King of Magadha. She was the wife of Anaśva and mother of Parīkṣit. (Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva, Chapter 95, Verse 41).(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia
1a) Amṛta (अमृत).—An Amitābha god.*
- * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 36. 53; Vāyu-purāṇa 62. 46.
1b) A son of Bharatāgni.*
- * Vāyu-purāṇa 29. 8.
1c) One of the seven divisions of Plakṣadvīpa.*
- * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 20. 3.
1d) The juice from medicinal herbs of the Candra hill of Plakṣadvīpa.*
- * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 19. 8; 24. 27 and 31.
1e) Nectar arising out of the churning of milk ocean by gods and Asuras. Others that came out of it were curds, liquor, Soma, Lakṣmī, horse, Kaustubha, Pārijāta, and lastly Kālakūṭa. Then appeared Dhanvantari. Distribution of amṛta by Mohinī, the form assumed by Hari to delude the Asuras. When Rāhu was seen, partaking of it, had his head cut off. Finding themselves deceived, the Asuras began war.*
- * Matsya-purāṇa 1. 9; 249. 14 to the end; cha. 250 and 251 (whole); Vāyu-purāṇa 23. 90; 52. 37; 92. 9; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 9. 80-111.
2a) Amṛtā (अमृता).—A Śakti devī; the goddess enshrined in a Vindhyan cave.*
- * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 44. 84; Matsya-purāṇa 13. 42.
2b) The goddess enshrined at Veṇa.*
- * Matsya-purāṇa 13. 49; 122. 33.
2c) R. of the Plakṣadvīpa.*
- * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 19. 19; Vāyu-purāṇa 49. 17; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 4. 11.
2d) A group of rain-giving nāḍis with the sun.*
- * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 24. 27; Vāyu-purāṇa 53. 20.
2e) One of the fourteen clans of Apsaras, born of waters.*
- * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 19; Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 56.
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.
Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)
Amṛtā (अमृता, “Liquor”):—Fourth of the eight Mātṛs born from the body of Sukṛtālayā, according to the Kubjikāmata-tantra. These eight sub-manifestations (mātṛ) are associated with the (element) water. Amṛtā is the name for a river. They are presided over by the Bhairava Kapālīśa and his consort named Cāmuṇḍā. Sukṛtālayā is the Last of the Eight Mahāmātṛs, residing within the Mātṛcakra (third of the five cakras) and represents water.(Source): Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra
Amṛta (अमृत) or Amṛtāgama refers to one of upāgamas (supplementary scriptures) of the Cintyāgama which is one of the twenty-eight Siddhāntāgama: a classification of the Śaiva division of Śaivāgamas. The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu. The purpose of revealing upāgamas (eg., Amṛta Āgama) is to explain more elaborately than that of mūlāgamas (eg., Cintya-āgama) and to include any new idea if not dealt in mūlāgamas.(Source): Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva
Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.
Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)
Amṛta (अमृत):—Like the supreme yogic god Śiva, the hathayogin is himself capable—through his raising of the kuṇḍalinī—of transmuting poisons into nectar. More properly speaking, that which is poison for mere mortals is, for the yogin who has realized, through his practice, a divine “identity in difference” view of reality, identical to nectar, amṛta. Numerous Nāth Siddhas are known for their ability to control (and charm) serpents, yet another metaphor for their mastery of the female kuṇḍalinī, and for their ability to treat poisons as elixirs.(Source): Google Books: The Alchemical Body
Rasashastra (रसशास्त्र, rasaśāstra) is an important branch of Ayurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasashastra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.
Ayurveda (science of life)
1) Amṛtā (अमृता) is a Sanskrit word referring to Tinospora cordifolia, a herb from the family Menispermaceae, and is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. It is also known as Guḍūcī. In English, the plant is known as “Heart-leaved moonseed”, “Giloy” or “heart-leaved moonseed”. It is traditionally used in the treatment of various diseases. The Sanskrit word Amṛtā is derived from Amṛta, translating to “nectar”, but in a different context can refer to “immortal”. This plant (Amṛtā) is also mentioned as a medicine used for the treatment of all major fevers (jvara), as described in the Jvaracikitsā (or “the treatment of fever”) which forms the first chapter of the Sanskrit work called Mādhavacikitsā. In this work, the plant is also known by the names Guḍūcī, Kuṇḍalī, Chinnaruhā and Cinnodbhava.
2) Amṛtā (अमृता):—One of the seven varieties of Harītakī (‘yellow myrobalan tree’), which is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. It has thick fruit pulp and is useful for Panchakarma (detoxification). It can be found throughout Champa (Bhagalpur area).
3) Amṛtā (अमृता) is another name for Tulasī, which is a Sanskrit word referring to Ocimum tenuiflorum (holy basil), from the Lamiaceae family. It is classified as a medicinal plant in the system of Āyurveda (science of Indian medicine) and is used throughout literature such as the Suśrutasaṃhita and the Carakasaṃhitā. The synonym was identified in the Rājanighaṇṭu (verses 10.148-149), which is a 13th-century medicinal thesaurus.
4) Amṛtā (अमृता) is another name for Indravāruṇī, which is a Sanskrit word referring to the Citrullus colocynthis (wild gourd), from the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) family. It is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. The synonym was identified in the Rājanighaṇṭu (verses 3.69-71), which is a 13th-century medicinal thesaurus.(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany
The Sanskrit term "amrita" literally means "nectar" or "ambrosia". In the context of Ayurvedic medicine, "amrita" is understood to be the nectar of the gods.
The three plants which contain this heavenly nectar (or amrita) are
- and haritaki.
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.
Dharmashastra (religious law)
Amṛta (अमृत) is a Sanskrit word, identified with a specific kind of tree by various scholars in their translation of the Śukranīti. This tree is mentioned as bearing good fruits. The King should plant such domestic plants in and near villages. He should nourish them by stoole of goats, sheep and cows, water as well as meat.
The following is an ancient Indian recipe for such nourishment of trees:
According to Śukranīti 4.4.105-109: “The trees (such as amṛta) are to be watered in the morning and evening in summer, every alternate day in winter, in the fifth part of the day (i.e., afternoon) in spring, never in the rainy season. If trees have their fruits destroyed, the pouring of cold water after being cooked together with Kulutha, Māṣa (seeds), Mudga (pulse), Yava (barley) and Tila (oil seed) would lead to the growth of flowers and fruits. Growth of trees can be helped by the application of water with which fishes are washed and cleansed.”(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra
Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.
Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)
Amṛta (अमृत) refers to an aspect of nṛsiṃha (‘man-lion’), according to the Vihagendra-saṃhitā 4.17, which mentions seventy-four forms (inlcuding twenty forms of vyūha). He is also known as Amṛtanṛsiṃha or Amṛtanarasiṃha. Nṛsiṃha is a Tantric deity and refers to the furious (ugra) incarnation of Viṣṇu.
The 15th-century Vihagendra-saṃhīta is a canonical text of the Pāñcarātra corpus and, in twenty-four chapters, deals primarely with meditation on mantras and sacrificial oblations.(Source): Wisdom Library: Pāñcarātra
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.
General definition (in Hinduism)
Amrit is the nectar of the Gods. Originally, the Devas were mortal. They came to know that they could become immortal by consuming Amrit. They knew that they can obtain Amrit by churning the ocean of milk in Vaikunta.
The churned this ocean with the help of their cousins, the Asuras, with the understanding that all will share equally of the spoils. However, with the help of Vishnu, they managed to cheat the Asuras out of their share of Amrit. However, an Asura named Rahu managed to partake Amrit by disguising himself as a Deva. Surya and Chandra saw this and told Vishnu, who beheaded the Asura with his discus. However, since he had drunk Amrit, both the head and torso of the Asura became immortal. They were given status of planets in Indian astrology.(Source): Apam Napat: Indian Mythology
Amrit (अमृत): Ambrosia, the food of the gods, which makes the partaker immortal.(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism
Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)
Amṛtā (अमृता) is one of the four daughters of Siṃhahana: an ancient king of the solar clan (āditagotra or sūryavaṃśa) according to the Mūlasarvāstivādin Vinaya mentioned in a footnote in the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter VI). The Mūlasarvāstivādin Vinaya attributes four sons and four daughters to Siṃhahana: Śuddhodana, Śuklodana, Droṇodana, Amṛtodana, Śuddhā, Śuklā, Droṇā, Amṛtā.(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
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.
Languages of India and abroad
amṛta (अमृत).—a S Exempt from death; undying, immortal.
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amṛta (अमृत).—n (S) The drink of the immortals, nectar. Ex. amṛtā cavī yāvayālāgūna || sākara ghālūna pāhavī || 2 A preparation of milk with sugar and spices. 3 S Exemption from death or from further dying (after this life); final beatitude.
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amṛtā (अमृता).—f (S) A plant, Menispermum glabrum.(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
amṛta (अमृत).—a Immortal. n Nectar. Final beati- tudo.(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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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Search found 64 books and stories containing Amrita, Amṛtā or Amṛta. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
The Gautami Mahatmya (by G. P. Bhatt)
Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra (by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön)
Appendix 6 - The story of Śaivala, son of Amṛtā (aunt of the Buddha) < [Chapter XXXIX - The Ten Powers of the Buddha according to the Abhidharma]
Part 8 - Origin of the name Ānanda < [Chapter VI - The Great Bhikṣu Saṃgha]
V. The knowledge of the aspirations of beings (nānādhimukti-jñānabala) < [Part 2 - The ten powers in particular]
The Mahabharata - First Book (by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa)
Section XVII < [Astika Parva]
Section XXXIV < [Astika Parva]
Section XXXIII < [Astika Parva]
The Great Chariot (by Longchenpa)
D. Dedicating the Merit < [Chapter I - The Freedoms and Favors, so Difficult to Obtain]
C. The dedication of merit for the general topics < [Chapter VIII - Bodhicitta, the Mind Focused on Complete Enlightenment]
Part 4 - The particular details < [E. Knowing what is to be abandoned and accepted, and how the siddhis are received]