Atavaka, Āṭavaka: 3 definitions


Atavaka means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Āṭavaka (आटवक) is the name of a yakṣa of olden times subdued by the Buddha mentioned in order to demonstrate the fearlessness of the Buddha according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter XL.1.4. Accordingly, “Great yakṣas such as A-lo-p’o-kia (Āṭavaka), etc., submitted and took refuge in him”.

Dwelling in the Āṭavī forest, between Śrāvastī and Rājagṛha, the yakṣa Āṭavaka ate the humans beings whom the king of the country had pledged to provide for him. The population was rapidly decimated and the time came when the only prey to be offered to the yakṣa was the king’s own son, prince Ātavika. The Buddha wanted to save him and appeared at the yakṣa’s dwelling without having been invited. Āṭavaka used his magical power to try to drive him away. The Buddha resisted all his attacks victoriously, but agreed to solve eight puzzles that intrigued the yakṣa (Saṃyutta, I, p. 213–215; Suttanipāta, p. 31–33). Satisfied with this solution, Āṭavaka was converted and attained the fruit of srotāpanna. Also, when the young prince was brought to him as food, he took him and offered him to the Buddha who, in turn, gave him back to his parents (Comm. on the Suttanipāta, I, p.230). As the young Āṭavika had thus been passed from hand to hand, he was surnamed Hastaka Āṭavika (see above, p. 562–565F and note).

Source: De Gruyter: A Buddhist Ritual Manual on Agriculture

Āṭavaka (आटवक) refers to “dough”, according to the Vajratuṇḍasamayakalparāja, an ancient Buddhist ritual manual on agriculture from the 5th-century (or earlier), containing various instructions for the Sangha to provide agriculture-related services to laypeople including rain-making, weather control and crop protection.—Accordingly [as the Bhagavān taught the detailed offering-manual], “Having made an image of dough (āṭavaka-pratikṛti), the body of a nine-headed Nāga measuring eight aṅgulas should be coloured by vermilion. Ribbons should be bound around the neck. A square maṇḍalaka should be prepared. Flowers should be scattered. A Nāga image should be made in the middle. [...]”.

Note: Āṭavaka is unattested in dictionaries. The Tibetan version reflects “wheat/barley flour”. Cf. Hindi āṭā “flour”.

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

Sanskrit dictionary

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Aṭavaka (अटवक).—(compare Āṭavaka), name of a nāga king: Mahā-Māyūrī 247.22.

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Āṭavaka (आटवक).—(compare Aṭ°; = Pali Āḷavaka), name of a yakṣa: Mahāvyutpatti 3377; Mahā-Māyūrī 15; Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra 161.13 (here saṃdhi permits interpretation as Aṭ°); doubtless read so (or Aṭ°) for Aṭhavaka, Samādhirājasūtra, p. 43 line 19; and for Ārṭavaka Mahā-Māyūrī 237.1.

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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