Balahaka, Balāhaka, Balāhakā: 17 definitions



Balahaka means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. 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

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Balahaka in Purana glossary
Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

1) Balāhaka (बलाहक).—(VALĀHAKA). A serpent famous in the Purāṇas. This serpent stays in the durbar hall of Varuṇa, worshipping him. (Mahābhārata, Sabhā Parva, Chapter 9, Stanza 9).

2) Balāhaka (बलाहक).—(VALĀHAKA). A brother of Jayadratha the King of Sindhu. He helped Jayadratha in kidnapping Draupadī. (Mahābhārata, Vana Parva, Chapter 265, Stanza 12).

3) Balāhaka (बलाहक).—(VALĀHAKA). A famous horse yoked on the right side of the chariot of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Mention is made about this horse in Mahābhārata, Virāṭa Parva, Chapter 45, Stanza 23.

4) Balāhaka (बलाहक).—A king. Once Śiva gave this king a vision of him in the shape of a cow-calf. After that in the place where Śiva appeared as calf a Śivaliṅga arose. It began to grow to the extent of an atom daily. But the growth ceased, when an outcaste who became so by Karma (action) visited it. (Skandha Purāṇa 3-2-27).

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Balāhaka (बलाहक) refers to a “cloud”, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.2.22. Accordingly as Śiva said to Sitā:—“[...] O gentle lady, the clouds (ghana) usually come only upto the foot of Kailāsa. They never go above it. The clouds (balāhaka) never go above the mountain Sumeru. The clouds Puṣkara, Āvartaka etc. reach the foot of Jambu (and return)”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Balāhaka (बलाहक).—The name of one of the four horses of Kṛṣṇa's chariot.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 53. 5; 89. 49.

1b) Mountain of the Śālmalidvīpam;1 drowned itself into the sea for fear of Indra.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 19. 37; Vāyu-purāṇa 49. 34; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 4. 26.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 18. 78; Matsya-purāṇa 121. 72; 122. 55; Vāyu-purāṇa 47. 75

1c) A Kādraveya Nāga.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 34; Matsya-purāṇa 6. 40; Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 71.

1d) A Vānara chief.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 240.

1e) A commander of Bhaṇḍa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 21. 77.

1f) The first seven sons of Kīkasa, and all commanders to lead 300 akṣauhiṇis; started against Lalitā's army, rode on the great eagle, Samhāragupta, followed by his brothers who rode on different animals; all of them were sun worshippers and obtained the vow that whoever would see them would be dragged by their bright eyes and would not see them straight; so they created confusion among the ranks of the Śakti; Lalitā ordered Daṇḍanātha Tiraskaraṇikā to create darkness so that the dānavas might not see; it was done, but its effect was short-lived; and when they were blinded, their heads were chopped off.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 24. 4-92.

1g) One of the seven pralaya clouds.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 2. 8.
Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

Balāhaka (बलाहक) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. II.9.9) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Balāhaka) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

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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Kavya (poetry)

[«previous next»] — Balahaka in Kavya glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara

Balāhaka (बलाहक) or Balāhakaparvata is the name of a mountain situated on the island Nārikela, as mentioned in the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 54. Accordingly, as four heavenly figures said to Naravāhanadatta: “... there is in the midst of the great sea a great, prosperous and splendid island, which is called the island of Nārikela, and is renowned in the world for its beauty. And in it there are four mountains with splendid expanses of land, named Maināka, Vṛṣabha, Cakra and Balāhaka; in those four we four live”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Balāhaka, 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.

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Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini

Balāhaka (बलाहक) refers to “thundercloud” and is the name of a cloud (megha) associated with Subhīṣaṇa: the southern cremation ground (śmaśāna) according to the Guhyasamayasādhanamālā 34. The name for the cloud of the southern direction is sometimes given as Āvartaka. As a part of this sādhana, the practicioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the circle of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.

These clouds (e.g., Balāhaka) are known as cloud-kings (megharāja) and have names that are associated with the loud noises of thunderclouds and the noise of rain, according to the Guhyasamayasādhanamālā 11.77. Their presence in the cremation grounds may be connected with the nāgas, for they are known to be responsible for the rain.

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.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

Balāhakā (बलाहका) refers to one of the eight Dikkumārīs living in the upper world (on mount Meru), according to chapter 1.2 [ādīśvara-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra (“lives of the 63 illustrious persons”): a Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three important persons in Jainism.


“[...] Likewise, having known by the shaking of their thrones, the eight Dikkumārīs [viz., Balāhakā] living on mount Meru, inhabitants of the upper world, came. After bowing to the Jina and the Jina’s mother and announcing themselves as before, they quickly made a mass of clouds in the sky, like the month nabhasya. For a yojana around the house they [viz., Balāhakā] laid the dust completely with perfumed water like darkness by moonlight. They made a shower of five-colored flowers knee-deep, making the earth made of variegated paintings as it were. [...].”.

General definition book cover
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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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Balāhaka (बलाहक).—

1) A cloud; बलाहकच्छेदविभक्तरागामकालसंध्यामिव धातुमत्ताम् (balāhakacchedavibhaktarāgāmakālasaṃdhyāmiva dhātumattām) Ku.1.4.

2) A kind of crane.

3) A mountain.

4) Name of one of the seven clouds appearing at the destruction of the world.

5) One of the four horses of Viṣṇu.

6) A kind of snake; अथ कम्बलाऽश्वतर-धृतराष्ट्र- बलाहकाः । इत्यादयोऽपरे नागास्तत्तत्कुलसमुद्भवाः (atha kambalā'śvatara-dhṛtarāṣṭra- balāhakāḥ | ityādayo'pare nāgāstattatkulasamudbhavāḥ) || Abh. Ch.1311.

Derivable forms: balāhakaḥ (बलाहकः).

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

Balāhaka (बलाहक).—m. = the horse Valāha, q.v.: Mahāvyutpatti 4774.

--- OR ---

Bālāhaka (बालाहक).—= prec.: Avadāna-śataka ii.104.2 °ka-sadṛśā aśvā(ḥ); Lalitavistara 16.11, said of the ‘horse-jewel’ who belongs to a cakravartin, Bālāhako nāma aśvarājaṃ (so!).

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

Balāhaka (बलाहक).—m.

(-kaḥ) 1. A mountain. 2. A cloud. 3. One of the Nagas or infernal serpents. 4. The name of a demon. 5. A kind of crane. 6. Name of one of the seven clouds which arise at the end of the world. E. bala strength, a the negative prefix to to abandon, aff. kvun, this word is differently derived also, and preferably written valāhaka, q. v.

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

Balāhaka (बलाहक).—also valāº valāº, m. 1. A cloud, Mahābhārata 1, 1289; [Śiśupālavadha] 4, 54. 2. A mountain. 3. A Nāga. 4. A demon, [Draupadīpramātha] 2, 13.

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

Balāhaka (बलाहक).—[masculine] cloud; [Name] of a serpent-demon etc.

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

1) Balāhaka (बलाहक):—m. or valāhaka ([Naighaṇṭuka, commented on by Yāska i,10]) a rain or thunder -cloud, any cloud, [Mahābhārata; Kāvya literature] etc. (ifc. f(ā). )

2) one of the 7 clouds appearing at the destruction of the world, [Catalogue(s)]

3) a mountain, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

4) Cyperus Rotundus, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

5) a kind of crane (= balāka), [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

6) a kind of snake, [Suśruta]

7) a kind of metre, [Colebrooke]

8) Name of a serpent-demon, [Mahābhārata; Harivaṃśa; Purāṇa]

9) of a commander, [Kādambarī]

10) of one of the 4 horses of Viṣṇu, [ib.]

11) of a brother of Jayad-ratha, [Mahābhārata]

12) of a Daitya, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

13) of a mountain, [Kathāsaritsāgara]

14) Bālāhaka (बालाहक):—[from bālāha] m. idem, [ib.]

15) [v.s. ...] Name of a serpent-demon, [Harivaṃśa]

16) [v.s. ...] yuddhe balāhaka-jambu-māle, ‘in the contest between Bālāhaka and Jambu-māla’ [Nīlakaṇṭha]

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

Balāhaka (बलाहक):—[balā+haka] (kaḥ) 1. m. A mountain; a cloud; a serpent; a demon.

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

Balāhaka (बलाहक) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit words: Balāhaga, Balāhayā.

[Sanskrit to German]

Balahaka 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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