Ananta, aka: Ānanta, Anantā; 19 Definition(s)


Ananta means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, 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.

In Hinduism

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

According to the Aṃśumadbhedāgama, Ananta (1st class Vidyeśvara), has a handsome, pacific appearance; a single face with three eyes in it; four arms; has the red colour of the shoe-flower; is adorned with a karaṇḍa-makuṭa and all other ornaments; he is to be standing pon a padmapīṭha and clothed in white garments. Two of his hands are held in the varada and abhaya poses and the other two keep in them the śūla and ṭaṅka.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Elements of Hindu Iconograpy

Ananta (अनन्त) refers to one of the many varieties of the Śālagrāma (ammonite fossil stones).—The Ananta is thick or large in size (sthūla); mark of serpent-hood (nāga-bhogi); very black in colour or having many colours (nānā-varṇa); and as many as fourteen cakras. Śālagrāma stones are very ancient geological specimens, rendered rounded and smooth by water-currents in a great length of time. They (eg., Ananta stones) are distinguished by the ammonite (śālā, described as “vajra-kīṭa”, “adamantine worms”) which having entered into them for residence, are fossilized in course of time, leaving discus-like marks inside the stone.

(Source): Pratima Kosa Encyclopedia of Indian Iconography - Vol 6
Śilpaśāstra book cover
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Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Ananta (अनन्त):—Presiding deity of the Dūtīcakra. He is also the ninth and final of the nine male deities, presiding over the Dūtīcakra, into which he multiplied himself, according to the Kubjikāmata-tantra. These nine deities divide themself each nine times, resulting in the eighty-one Dūtīs.

His consort (as a bhairava, or, one of the nine emenation of Ananta himself) is named Bindukā.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra

Ananta (अनन्त) refers to one of the “eight embodiments” (mūrtyaṣṭaka) of Śiva according to the Svacchandatantra 10.1161–1162 where they are identical with the eight vidyeśvaras (lords of knowledge). The eight embodiments are also mentioned in a copper-plate inscription found in Malhar, Chhattisgarh, written around 650 CE.

All these manifestations of Śiva (eg., Ananta) appear at the borders of various divisions of the universe according to the Lākula system.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śaivism
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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.

Ayurveda (science of life)

Anantā (अनन्ता):—Another name for Sārivā (Hemidesmus indicus), a species of medicinal plant and used in the treatment of fever (jvara), as described in the Jvaracikitsā (or “the treatment of fever”) which is part of the Mādhavacikitsā, a Sanskrit classical work on Āyurveda.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany
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.


Ananta (अनन्त).—The son of Pṛthu, who was the son of Vibhu, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 74. Vibhu was the son of Prastotā, whose ancestral lineage can be traced to Svāyambhuva Manu, who was created by Brahmā, who was in turn created by Nārāyaṇa, the unknowable all-pervasive primordial being. Ananta had a son named Gaya.

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

1a) Ananta (अनन्त).—The Tāmasī Kalā of Hari. Followers of sātvata tantra designate him Saṅkarṣaṇa. He bears the Earth on one of his 1000 hoods. From between his agitated brows came out Rudra exhibiting in eleven forms. The Nāga princes make obeisance to him for his blessings. He wears the vaijayantī garland. His glory is sung by Nārada and Tumburu in the court of the Creator. Also known as Śeṣa.1 Identified with Balarāma, the seventh son of Devakī.2 At the time of the deluge, withdraws the universe unto himself.3 Identified with Hari;4 a Nāga;5 ety. of;6 Balarāma, an incarnation of.7

  • 1) Bhā III. 26. 25; IV. 9. 14; V. 25. 1-11; VII. 7. 10-11; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 5. 13-27; V. 18. 54.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 1. 24; 2. 5.
  • 3) Ib. X. 68. 46.
  • 4) Ib. XI. 16. 19.
  • 5) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 20. 53.
  • 6) Matsya-purāṇa 248. 38.
  • 7) Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 25. 3; 35. 3; Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 14. 35.

1b) The sacred hill.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 13. 58.

1c) A king and the son of Vītihotra (Vīrahotra, Vāyu-purāṇa). Father of Durjaya.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 69. 53; Vāyu-purāṇa 94. 53.

2) Anantā (अनन्ता).—The wife of Svāyambhuva Manu.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 4. 33.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Pāñcarātra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Ananta (अनन्त) 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 Anantanṛsiṃha or Anantanarasiṃha. 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
Pāñcarātra book cover
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Pāñcarātra (पाञ्चरात्र, pancaratra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Nārāyaṇa is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaiṣnavism, the Pāñcarātra literature includes various Āgamas and tantras incorporating many Vaiṣnava philosophies.

Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Ananta (अनन्त) is the name of a king and one of the patrons of Kṣemendra, who, (as a poet, as a historian and as a rhetorician) was patronized by many kings of Kashmir of his time. Mainly king Ananta and his son Kalaśa had extended patronage to the great composer. In his Aucityavicāracarcā, Kṣemendra also mentions about Ratnasiṃha and Udayasiṃha as his patrons.

(Source): Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

General definition (in Hinduism)

One of the 108 names of Krishna; Meaning: "The Endless Lord"

(Source): humindian: 108 names of Lord Krishna

Ananta (अनन्‍त): Ananta may be 1.The thousand headed nāga that issued from Balrāma's mouth 2. Author and commentator of Katyayana sutra 3. Ananta was the name of present Shekhawati region of Rajasthan in India.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

The serpent king referred to under Anantapokkharani, but not elsewhere mentioned in the old books. He is also called Anantabhoga. For details see Hopkins Epic Mythology (pp. 23-4).

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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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).


ananta : (adj.) endless; limitless; infinite.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
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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.

Vajrayāna (Tibetan Buddhism)

Ananta (अनन्त) is another name for Huluhulu: the serpent deity (nāga) of the south-eastern cremation ground.—Huluhulu is also “Ananta” (Śmaśānavidhi 15), described there as colored like a peacock’s neck, with a lotus on his hood, making the añjali before his lord’s feet.

(Source): Google Books: Vajrayogini
Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

1) Ananta (अनन्त):—The fourteenth Tīrthaṅkara (Janism recognizes 24 such teachers or Siddhas). He is also known as Anantanātha. His colour is gold (kāñcana), according to Aparājitapṛcchā (221.5-7). His height is 50 dhanuṣa (a single dhanuṣa (or, ‘bow’) equals 6 ft), thus, roughly corresponding to 91 meters. His emblem, or symbol, is a Porcupine or Falcon.

Ananta’s father is Siṃhasena and his mother is Suyaśā according to Śvetāmbara or Sarvayaśā according to Digambara. It is an ancient Jain practice to worship the Tīrthaṅkara’s parents in various rites, such as the pratiṣṭhāvidhi, according to the Ācāradinakara (14th century work on Jain conduct written by Vardhamāna Sūri).

2) Ānanta (आनन्त) refers to a heavenly abode (kalpa) inhabited by Kalpopapanna gods, according to Jain cosmological texts in both the Śvetāmbara and Digambara tradition. The Kalpopapannas (‘those born in the heavens’) represent a sub-species of the Vaimānika gods, which in turn represents the fourth main classification of devas (gods). This kalpa is also known as Ānantakalpa. In this specific kalpa, instead of bodily coition, a more and more refined sort of sexual satisfaction takes its place. The associated leśyā is white. There are ten such kalpas being ruled over by sixty-four Indras (heavenly kings).

In Jain iconography, the associated animal symbol of the Ānanta-kalpa is a snake (prakrit: bhujaṃga, sanskrit: bhujaṃga, bhujaṅga, bhujaga). These animals are depicted in a cosmological text of the Śvetāmbara tradition known as the Saṃgrahaṇīratna (“jewel of the compilation”), also known as the Trailokyadīpikā (“illumination of the triple world”), written by Śrīcandra in the 12th century.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

India history and geogprahy

Ananta (“cobra”) is one of the exogamous septs (divisions) among the Komatis (a trading caste of the Madras Presidency). The Komatis are said to have originally lived, and still live in large numbers on the banks of the Godavari river. One of the local names thereof is Gomati or Gomti, and the Sanskrit Gomati would, in Telugu, become corrupted into Komati. The sub-divisions are split up into septs (viz., Ananta), which are of a strictly exogamous character.

(Source): Project Gutenberg: Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Volume 1
India history book cover
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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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

ananta (अनंत).—a (S) Eternal: unbounded: innumerable:--i.e. endless or boundless whether in time, in space, or in number. 2 m A name of viṣṇu or kṛṣṇa. 3 The chief of the Naga or Serpent race that inhabit pātāḷa. 4 A silken cord with fourteen knots, tied on the right arm, and worshiped on the fourteenth of bhādrapadaśuklapakṣa. 5 An ornament for the ear. 6 Abridged from anantacaturdaśī. 7 A flower. See anantatagara. 8 In arithmetic. Infinite quantity.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

ananta (अनंत).—a Eternal; unbounded; innumer- able. m A name of viṣṇu or kṛṣṇa.

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