Bhishma, Bhisma, Bhīṣma, Bhismā, Bhiṣmā: 22 definitions


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

The Sanskrit terms Bhīṣma and Bhiṣmā can be transliterated into English as Bhisma or Bhishma, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

Alternative spellings of this word include Bhishm.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Wisdom Library: Mahābhārata

Bhīṣma (भीष्म).—A (main) character in the Mahabharata where he was the supreme commander of the Kaurava forces. He is the one who witnessed the Mahābhārata completely from the beginning since the rule of Shantanu. Bhisma was the grand uncle of both the Pandavas and the Kauravas. He was born as the youngest son of the illustrious King Shantanu and Ganga.

Source: Wisdom Library: Bhagavata Purana

Bhīṣma (भीष्म):—Son of Śāntanu (one of the three sons of Pratīpa) and his wife Gaṅgā. He was also known as Bhīṣmadeva. He defeated Lord Paraśurāma in a fight who was then very pleased. (see Bhāgavata Purāṇa 9.22.18-20)

Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Bhīṣma (भीष्म).—Genealogy. From Viṣṇu were descended in the following order—Brahmā-Atri-Candra-Budha-Purūravas-Āyus-Nahuṣa-Yayāti-Pūru-Janamejaya-Prācinvā-Pravīra-Namasyu-Vītabhaya-Śuṇḍu-Bahuvidha-Saṃyāti-Rahovādi-Raudrāśva-Matināra-Santurodha-Duṣyanta-Bharata-Suhotra-Suhotā-Gala-Gardda Suketu-Bṛhatkṣetra-Hasti-Ajamīḍha-Ṛkṣa-Samvaraṇa-Kuru-Jahnu-Suratha-Viḍūratha-Sārvabhauma-Jayatsena-Ravyaya-Bhāvuka-Cakroddhata-Devātithi-Ṛkṣa-Bhīma-Pratīpa-Śantanu-Bhīṣma. (See full article at Story of Bhīṣma from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Bhīṣma (भीष्म).—Son of Śantanu; Grandsire of the Pāṇḍavas and Gangā. The best of Bharatas, the foremost of the Vasus, and versed in dharma: Learned, self-controlled, and devoted to Hari. His prowess was praised even by Paraśurāma. Leader of a thousand legions, called Sahasrāṇī;1 Informed by Uddhava of Balarāma's visit to Hastināpura: was invited for the Rājasūya of Yudhiṣṭhira;2 went to Syamantapañcaka for the solar eclipse and there met Kṛṣṇa and the Vṛṣṇis. Left it for his home.3 Joined Duryodhana's army and was commander for ten days when he was mortally wounded; while on his deathbed he welcomed the sages and the royal guests, who visited him;4 told the Pāṇḍavas that they were safe under the guidance of Kṛṣṇa;5 Yudhiṣṭhira addressed B. lying on a bed of arrows on the various aspects of dharma and especially mokṣa dharma. The discourse was over when it was uttarāyana, B. cast off his mortal coil with his mind fixed on Kṛṣṇa Vāsudeva. His praise of Kṛṣṇa;6 was seen among others by Akrūra, Kṛtavarman, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma;7 one of the twelve, who knew the dharma ordained by Hari;8 gave piṇḍa in Viṣṇupada;9 Baladeva's respect for;10 narrated to Nakula what he heard from his Brahmana friend Kālingaka, on the mystery of birth and death;11 the best of the Kurus;12 heard a legend from Vasiṣṭha as to who was a nagna.13

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 22. 19-20; I. 9. 4-6, 30; Matsya-purāṇa 103. 5. Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 240. Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 20. 33; V. 35. 5 and 27.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 68. 17 and 28; 74. 10.
  • 3) Ib. X. 82. 24; 84. 57, 69 [1].
  • 4) Ib. X. 78. [95(v)16], [28]; I. 9. 8-10; 15. 10.
  • 5) Ib. I. 9. 11-14.
  • 6) Ib. I. 9. 25-42; XI. 19. 11-12.
  • 7) Ib. X. 49. 1; 52. [56(v)4, and 11]; 57. 2.
  • 8) Ib. VI. 3. 20.
  • 9) Vāyu-purāṇa 111. 69.
  • 10) Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 35. 36; 38. 16, 47, 49 and 64.
  • 11) Ib. III. 7. 8.
  • 12) Ib. III. 7. 35.
  • 13) Ib. III. 17. 7.
Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

Bhīṣma (भीष्म) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.61.69) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Bhīṣma) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Purana book cover
context information

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.

Discover the meaning of bhishma or bhisma in the context of Purana from relevant books on Exotic India

Kavyashastra (science of poetry)

Source: Shodhganga: Bhismacaritam a critical study

Bhīṣma (भीष्म) figures as a male character in the Bhīṣmacarita (Bhishma Charitra) which is a mahākāvya (‘epic poem’) written by Hari Narayan Dikshit.— Bhīṣma is the central and the most honoured character of the present epic and our poet Hari Narayan Dikshit has nicely described his character in the epic. He is known for his supreme devotion towards the Lord. He was admired even by Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Bhīṣma was born as Devavrata and is the grand-sire of the Pāṇḍavas and Kauravas. He gave up marriage and throne for his father’s sake. To the people of India he is the symbol of mature wisdom. Bhīṣma had a stature and personality that in those times were fit for kings. He was having a dynamic personality. He was devoted to his teacher. A symbol of truth and duty, the benevolent Bhīṣma was in all senses a true human.

Bhīṣma was strong in body and mind. His extraordinary powers and intellect were manifested even in his childhood. He was also called Śāntanava after his father and Gāńgeya after his mother. He was very affectionate towards all. He was not only a good warrior, but also highly skilled in political science. He tried his best to bring reconciliation between Pāṇḍavas and Kauravas to prevent the war. He was very benevolent as well as he was having foresightedness. He was a great Jñānī, a man of wisdom, and also a man of great renunciation (mahātyāgī). Śrī Rāma obeyed his father’s words only for fourteen years but Bhīṣma stuck to his father’s words for the rest of his entire life. By his great determination and strict observance of his vows, he got his name Bhīṣma. He was strongly determined.

Bhīṣma was the knower of the dharma i.e. one’s own duty as well as he was very kind at heart. He was brave and valourous. He had a deep sense of renunciation. What Bhīṣma was and became can be easily guessed from the noble sacrifices that he made for his beloved father. A young prince of his age, a young man of twenty, sacrificed willingly and gladly all his prospect, all his hopes, all his pleasures, his inheritance, his sovereignty over the biggest of Āryan kingdom’s, is hardly to be found depicted in any of the literatures of the world. He not only sacrificed all this, but vowed to be ever true, faithful, and friendly to the children of his stepmother whom he himself brought for his father and made her his great queen. Everybody cannot be this, and perhaps none but Bhīṣma could do it. He was happy, he was very happy, because he was able to make his father happy.

Kavyashastra book cover
context information

Kavyashastra (काव्यशास्त्र, kāvyaśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian tradition of poetry (kavya). Canonical literature (shastra) of the includes encyclopedic manuals dealing with prosody, rhetoric and various other guidelines serving to teach the poet how to compose literature.

Discover the meaning of bhishma or bhisma in the context of Kavyashastra from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

The name Bhishma means one who has taken a terrible oath (and fulfills it). He was an incarnation of the eldest Vasu, Dhyou. He was born as Devaratha, the son of King Shantanu of the Kurus and the Goddess Ganga. He learned the scriptures from Brihaspati, the preceptor of the Devas and the art of war from Parashurama.

When war was declared between his grand-nephews, the Pandavas and the Kauravas, Bhishma had to support the Kauravas despite his personal preference for the Pandavas, for his duty was to the throne, and to King Dhritharashtra, his nephew who ruled over Hastinapura.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Bhīshma (भीष्‍म): Bhīshma was son of Shāntanu, the great Knight and guardian of the imperial house of Kurus.

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Bhishma in Pali glossary
Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Bhismā, (f.) (=bhiṃsā) terror, fright D. II, 261 (°kāya adj. terrific). (Page 505)

Pali book cover
context information

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.

Discover the meaning of bhishma or bhisma in the context of Pali from relevant books on Exotic India

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

bhīṣma (भीष्म).—m (S) A warrior renowned in Hindu story for his bravery, wisdom, continence, and fidelity to his word. Hence, appellatively, a valiant, wise, continent, and faithful person in general. 2 A cant name for a bug. Because the blood of this creature, like the eyes of the hero, is said to split diamonds.

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.

Discover the meaning of bhishma or bhisma in the context of Marathi from relevant books on Exotic India

Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Bhiṣmā (भिष्मा).—Parched or fried grain.

See also (synonyms): bhiṣmikā, bhiṣmiṭā, bhissaṭā, bhissiṭā.

--- OR ---

Bhīṣma (भीष्म).—a. [bhī-ṇic-suk-apādāne mak] Terrible, dreadful, frightful, fearful; भीष्मो हि देवः सहसः सहीयान् (bhīṣmo hi devaḥ sahasaḥ sahīyān) Bhāg. 11.23.48.

-ṣmaḥ 1 The sentiment of terror (in rhetoric); see भयानक (bhayānaka).

2) A demon, an imp, a fiend, goblin.

3) An epithet of Śiva.

4) Name of the son of Śantanu by Gangā; हृते भीष्मे हते द्रोणे शल्ये च निधनं गते (hṛte bhīṣme hate droṇe śalye ca nidhanaṃ gate) Mb. [He was the youngest of the eight sons of Śantanu by Gangā; but all the others having died, he remained the sole heir to the throne after his father. On one occasion while Śantanu was walking by the side of a river, he beheld a charming young damsel named Satyavatī, the daughter of a fisherman, and, though bowed down with age, conceived a passion for her, and sent his son to negotiate the marriage. But the parents of the girl said that if their daughter bore sons to the king, they would not succeed to the throne, for after his death Śāntanava, being the rightful heir, would be the king. But Śāntanava, to please his father, made a vow to the parents that he would never accept the kingdom or marry a wife or become the father of children by any woman, so that if their daughter bore a son to Śantanu, he would be the king. This dreadful vow soon became known abroad, and thenceforth he was called Bhiṣma. He remained single, and, after the death of his father, he installed Vichitravīrya, the son of Satyavatī, on the throne, got him married to the two daughters of king Kāśirāja (see Ambikā), and became the guardian of his sons and grandsons, the Kauravas and Pāṇḍavas. In the great war he fought on the side of the Kauravas, but was wounded by Arjuna with the assistance of Śikhanḍin and was lodged in a 'cage of darts'. But having got from his father the power of choosing his own time for death, he waited till the sun had crossed the vernal equinox, and then gave up his soul. He was remarkable for his continence, wisdom, firmness of resolve, and unflinching devotion to God].

-ṣmam Horror, horribleness.

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

Bhīṣma (भीष्म).—(1) nt., name of some (heavenly) flower (compare mahābhīṣma, which regularly follows it; with man- dārava etc.): Mahāvastu i.230.16; 267.1; ii.160.13; 286.17; iii.95. 12; 99.11; (2) adj. (?) formidable, mighty, in Saddharmapuṇḍarīka 119.1 (verse) teno vayaṃ śrāvaka bhīṣma-kalpāḥ, = Tibetan (cited by WT) de bas (= tena) bdag cag (vayaṃ) sgrogs pa (śrāvaka) mi bzad (irresistible, Jäschke (Tibetan-English Dictionary)) ḥdra (like, = kalpa); this meaning seems hardly matched in the use of Sanskrit bhīṣma; compare mahābhīṣma 2; (3) name of a great seer (maharṣi): Mahā-Māyūrī 257.1 (possibly referring to Bhīṣma of the Mbh?).

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

Bhismā (भिस्मा).—f.

(-smā) Boiled-rice. E. bhida to break, aff. kvip, so to destroy, aff. ka, and the da of bhid changed irrly. to sa; also read bhiṣma; see the last.

--- OR ---

Bhīṣma (भीष्म).—mfn.

(-ṣmaḥ-ṣmā-ṣmaṃ) Horrible, terrific, fearful. n.

(-ṣmaṃ) Horror, horribleness, the property of exciting fear or terror. m.

(-ṣmaḥ) 1. A name of Siva. 2. The grand-uncle of the Pandus. 3. An imp, a goblin. E. bhī to fear, mak Unadi aff. and suk augment.

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

Bhīṣma (भीष्म).—i. e. bhī, [Causal.], + ma, I. adj. Frightful, terrific. Ii. n. Horror. Iii. m. 1. The sentiment of horror, as the object of poetical composition. 2. Śiva. 3. An imp, a goblin. 4. The grand-uncle of the Pāṇḍus, son of the Gaṅgā, Chr. 19, 5.

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

Bhīṣma (भीष्म).—[adjective] dreadful, horrible; [Name] of an ancestor of the Bharatas, the son of Gaṅgā.

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

1) Bhiṣmā (भिष्मा):—[varia lectio] for bhissā.

2) Bhīṣma (भीष्म):—[from bhī] mfn. terrible, dreadful, [Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa] etc. etc.

3) [v.s. ...] m. ([scilicet] rasa) = bhīṣaṇa, [Monier-Williams’ Sanskrit-English Dictionary]

4) [v.s. ...] death, [Nyāyasūtra [Scholiast or Commentator]]

5) [v.s. ...] Name of Śiva, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

6) [v.s. ...] a Rākṣasa, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

7) [v.s. ...] Name of a son of Śāṃtanu and Gaṅgā (in the great war of the Bharatas he took the side of the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra against the sons of Pāṇḍu, and was renowned for his continence, wisdom, bravery, and fidelity to his word cf. [Indian Wisdom, by Sir M. Monier-Williams 375] and, [Religious Thought and Life in India 561-564]), [Mahābhārata; Harivaṃśa; Purāṇa]

8) [v.s. ...] [plural] the race or followers of Bhīṣma, [Mahābhārata]

9) [v.s. ...] n. horror, horribleness, [Horace H. Wilson]

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

Bhīṣma (भीष्म):—[(ṣmaḥ-ṣmā-ṣmaṃ) a.] Horrible. m. Shiva; grand uncle of the Pāndus; an imp. n. Horror.

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

Bhīṣma (भीष्म) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Bhippha.

[Sanskrit to German]

Bhishma 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.

Discover the meaning of bhishma or bhisma in the context of Sanskrit from relevant books on Exotic India

Hindi dictionary

[«previous next»] — Bhishma in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Bhīṣma (भीष्म) [Also spelled bhishm]:—(a) terrible, awful. horrible; name of a patriarch of the Kauravas and Pandavas who fought in the great war of Maha:- Bharat and led the armies of the kaurvas. He was known for his determination, wisdom, bravery; -[pratijñā] a difficult but unshakeable vow/pledge.

context information


Discover the meaning of bhishma or bhisma in the context of Hindi from relevant books on Exotic India

Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Bhīṣma (ಭೀಷ್ಮ):—[adjective] terrible; dreadful; frightening.

--- OR ---

Bhīṣma (ಭೀಷ್ಮ):—

1) [noun] the quality of being awefully terrible, dreadful; dreadfulness.

2) [noun] great fear; dread.

3) [noun] name of one of the important characters in Mahābhārata, the grand father of Pāṇḍavas and Kauravas.

4) [noun] (fig.) an elderly man or a man of long experience in some occupation or skill; a veteran.

context information

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

Discover the meaning of bhishma or bhisma in the context of Kannada from relevant books on Exotic India

See also (Relevant definitions)

Relevant text

Related products

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: