Bilva, aka: Bilvā; 13 Definition(s)


Bilva means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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

Ayurveda (science of life)

Bilva (बिल्व) is a Sanskrit word referring Aegle marmelos (Bengal quince), a plant species in the Rutaceae family. Certain plant parts of Bilva are eaten as a vegetable (śāka), according to Caraka in his Carakasaṃhitā sūtrasthāna (chapter 27), a classical Āyurvedic work. The plant is therefore part of the Śākavarga group of medicinal plants, referring to the “group of vegetables/pot-herbs”. Caraka defined such groups (vargas) based on the dietic value of the plant. Other commonyl used English names include “bael”, “golden apple” or “wood apple”. In a different context, the Sanskrit word bilva can refer to “a small pond” or “a pool” (cf. Billa).

The plant Bilva is also mentioned as a medicine used for the treatment of all major fevers, 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 mentioned being part of the Daśamūla group of medicinal drugs.

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Bilva (बिल्व) is the name of a tree (Bel) that is associated with the Nakṣatra (celestial star) named Citrā, according to the second chapter (dharaṇyādi-varga) of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu (an Ayurvedic encyclopedia). Accordingly, “these [trees] are propounded in Śāstras, the secret scriptures (śāstrāgama). These pious trees [viz, Bilva], if grown and protected, promote long life”. These twenty-seven trees related to the twenty-seven Nakṣatras are supposed to be Deva-vṛkṣas or Nakṣatra-vṛkṣas.

Source: Wisdom Library: Raj Nighantu

Bilva (बिल्व).—The Sanskrit name for an important Āyurvedic drug.—The bark of Bilva alleviates vāta, leaves are useful in cardiac disorders, prameha and oedema and the immature fruits are astringent, bitter, improve digestive fire and check diarrhoea.

Source: Google Books: Essentials of Ayurveda
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.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Bilva (बिल्व):—The consequences of using various flowers in worship, (eg. bilva flowers) leads to the acquisition of wealth, according to the Bhaviṣya-purāṇa (brahmaparva, 197:1-11)

Source: Wisdom Library: Bhavishya-purana

Bilva (बिल्व).—(vilva) A devotee of Viṣṇu. There is a story in Skanda Purāṇa about Bilva who lived as a Vaiṣṇavite first and then was converted to a Śaivite.

In the beginning Brahmā created many things among which Vilva (tree) (Crataeva religiosa) also was created. Under that tree an anonymous man began to live. Brahmā gave him the name Vilva. Being pleased at the behaviour and devotion of Bilva, Indra asked him to turn the wheel of administration of the earth. Accepting the offer Bilva requested Indra to give him the Vajra (diamond) for the smooth running of the administration of the earth. Indra told him that vajrāyudha (diamond-weapon) would be at his disposal, when he thought about it, if the occasion required it.

Once Kapila a Śaivite reached the palace of Bilva. After a long conversation both became fast friends. One day there was a debate between Bilva and Kapila as to whether penance or Action (doing one’s duty) was appreciable. In this discussion Bilva lost the equilibrium of his mind and thinking of the diamond-weapon of Indra cut off the head of Kapila. In Kapila there was the power of penance as well as the power of Śiva. So through Śiva Kapila got immortality. In the meanwhile Bilva went to Viṣṇu and got a boon that every living thing in the earth should fear him. But the boon was futile. This was a turning point for Bilva. The mind of Bilva changed to devotion for Śiva. He concentrated his attention on the worship of Śivaliṅga at the forest of Mahākāla. One day Kapila came by that way and was greeted by Bilva with honour and regard, and they again became fast friends.

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Bilva (बिल्वपत्र) is the name of a plant, the leaves of which are used in the worship of Śiva, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.1.13:—“[...] lotuses, rose, Śaṅkha, and Kuśa flowers, Dhattūras, Mandāras grown in a wooden vessel, holy basil leaves or Bilva leaves shall be offered to each of the faces in accordance with the previous meditation or according to one’s wish. By all means Śiva favourably disposed to His devotees shall be worshipped with great devotion. If other flowers are not available, Bilva leaves (bilva-patra) shall be used exclusively in the worship of Śiva. With the offering of Bilva leaves alone, the worship shall be performed. Then scented powders, sweetsmelling oil etc. of various sorts shall be offered to Śiva with great joy. Then incense, Guggulu (the fragrant gum resin) and Aguru (the fragrant Aloe wood) shall be offered”.

Source: Siva Purana - English Translation

1) Bilva (बिल्व).—A place to be attained by pure jñāna.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 6. 13.

2) Bilvā (बिल्वा).—A Goddess following Bhavamālinī.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 179. 71.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Bilva (बिल्व) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.31.12, I.35) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Bilva) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Bilva is also mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.35.12) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Bilva (बिल्व) is a Sanskrit word, identified with Aegle marmelos (bael) 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 bilva) 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 book cover
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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.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Bilva (बिल्व) refers to a kind of tree (vṛkṣa) commonly found in the forests (vaṇa) of ancient India, mentioned in the Jñātādharmakathāṅga-sūtra. Forests have been a significant part of the Indian economy since ancient days. They have been considered essential for economic development in as much as, besides bestowing many geographical advantages, they provide basic materials for building, furniture and various industries. The most important forest products are wood and timber which have been used by the mankind to fulfil his various needs—domestic, agricultural and industrial.

Different kinds of trees (eg., the Bilva tree) provided firewood and timber. The latter was used for furniture, building materials, enclosures, staircases, pillars, agricultural purposes, e. g. for making ploughs, transportation e. g. for making carts, chariots, boats, ships, and for various industrial needs. Vaṇa-kamma was an occupation dealing in wood and in various otherforest products. Iṅgāla-kamma was another occupation which was concerned with preparing charcoal from firewood.

Source: Economic Life In Ancient India (as depicted in Jain canonical literature)
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

Marathi-English dictionary

bilva (बिल्व).—m (S) A tree sacred to śiva, Ӕgle marmelos or Cratæva religiosa. 2 A leaf of it. 3 Its fruit.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
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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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Bilva (बिल्व).—A species of tree, Aegle Marmelos or wood-apple; its leaves are used in the worship of Śiva.

-lvam 1 The fruit of this tree; बिल्वं बालं कषायोष्णं पाचनं वह्निदीपनम् । संग्राहि तिक्तकटुकं तीक्ष्णं वातकफापहम् (bilvaṃ bālaṃ kaṣāyoṣṇaṃ pācanaṃ vahnidīpanam | saṃgrāhi tiktakaṭukaṃ tīkṣṇaṃ vātakaphāpaham) || Bhāva. P.

2) A particular weight (= one pala).

3) A small pond or pool.

Derivable forms: bilvaḥ (बिल्वः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Bilva (बिल्व).—m.

(-lvaḥ) A species of tree. n.

(-lvaṃ) 1. The fruit of this tree. 2. A weight equal to one pala.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. 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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Relevant definitions

Search found 124 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Bilvavana (बिल्ववन).—a thicket or wood of Bilva trees.Derivable forms: bilvavanam (बिल्ववनम्).B...
Bilvadaṇḍa (बिल्वदण्ड) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. XIV.8.17, XIV.8) and repres...
Bilvamadhya (बिल्वमध्य).—the flesh of the बिल्व (bilva) fruit. Derivable forms: bilvamadhyam (ब...
Bilvamūlaka (बिल्वमूलक) refers to the “root of Bilva tree”, according to Śivapurāṇa 1.15. Accor...
Bilvapeśikā (बिल्वपेशिका).—the shell of the Bilva fruit. Bilvapeśikā is a Sanskrit compound con...
Bilvapeśī (बिल्वपेशी).—the shell of the Bilva fruit. Bilvapeśī is a Sanskrit compound consistin...
Kurubilva (कुरुबिल्व).—a ruby. Derivable forms: kurubilvaḥ (कुरुबिल्वः).Kurubilva is a Sanskrit...
Jalabilva (जलबिल्व).—1) a (quadrangular) pond, lake. 2) a tortoise. 3) a crab. Derivable forms:...
Ciribilva (चिरिबिल्व).—Pongamia Glabra; चिरिबिल्वान् मधूकांश्च बिल्वानथ च तिन्दुकान् (ciribilvā...
Bilvamūla (बिल्वमूल) is another spelling for Bilvamūlaka, referring to the “root of Bilva tree”...
1) Bilvaparṇī (बिल्वपर्णी) is a Sanskrit word referring Hesperethusa crenulata, a plant spec...
Mandāra (मन्दार) is the name of plant which when grown in wooden vessel (droṇa) is used in the ...
1) Kamala (कमल) is the name of a flower used in the worship of Śiva, according to the Śivapurāṇ...
Puṣpa (पुष्प) refers to “offering flowers”, representing one of the various services (upacāra) ...
1) Bilvapatra (बिल्वपत्र) or Bilvapatrasamarpaṇa refers to the “offering of bilva leaves” and i...

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