Brahmarakshasa, Brahmarākṣasa, Brahma-rakshasa, Brahman-rakshasa: 10 definitions

Introduction

Brahmarakshasa means something in 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.

The Sanskrit term Brahmarākṣasa can be transliterated into English as Brahmaraksasa or Brahmarakshasa, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous (B) next»] — Brahmarakshasa in Purana glossary
Source: archive.org: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Brahmarākṣasa (ब्रह्मराक्षस) refers to “Brahminical Rākṣasas”, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.2.26. Accordingly as Nandin cursed Dakṣa (and others):—“[...] With the power of Śiva (backing me) I now heap curses on these Brahmins here who are against Śiva and hence wicked like you. [...] These brahmins will be officiating in the sacrifices of Śūdras, following the Vedic path. They will be perpetually poor and eager to receive monetary gifts. Due to their acceptance of monetary gifts from undeserving persons they will fall into hell. O Dakṣa, some of them will become Brahminical Rākṣasas [viz., brahmarākṣasa]’”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Brahmarākṣasa (ब्रह्मराक्षस).—A class of demons: Agastyas and Visvāmitras come under this group;1 live in the Surabhi forest;2 born in the family of Brahmarākṣasis; generally reside in śleṣmātaka trees.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 63. 11; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 2. 33; III. 7. 100; 8. 59; 41. 29; Vāyu-purāṇa 2. 33.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 121. 62.
  • 3) Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 134-5.
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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

[«previous (B) next»] — Brahmarakshasa in Shilpashastra glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Śilpa-śāstra

Brahmarākṣasa (ब्रह्मराक्षस) is a Sanskrit name referring to one of the eight manifestations of Kāpāla, who is a form of Bhairava. According to the Rudrayāmala, there are eight main forms of Bhairava who control the eight directions of this universe. Each form (eg., Kāpāla) has a further eight sub-manifestations (eg., Brahmarākṣasa), thus resulting in a total of 64 Bhairavas.

When depicting Brahmarākṣasa according to traditional iconographic rules (śilpaśāstra), one should depcit him (and other forms of Kāpāla) having a yellow color and should carry in their hands the kuṇḍa, the kheṭaka, the parigha (a kind of club) and bhiṇḍipāla. The word Śilpaśāstra refers to an ancient Hindu science of arts and crafts, dealing with subjects such as painting, sculpture and iconography.

Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[«previous (B) next»] — Brahmarakshasa in Jainism glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

Brahmarākṣasa (ब्रह्मराक्षस) is the name of a class of rākṣasas according to both the Digambara and the Śvetāmbara traditions. The rākṣasas refer to a category of vyantaras gods which represents one of the four classes of celestial beings (devas). The rākṣasas are black and their caitya-vṛkṣas (sacred-tree) is Kaṇṭaka according to the Digambara They are white and have a fierce appearance according to Śvetāmbara.

The deities such as the Brahmarākṣasas are defined in ancient Jain cosmological texts such as the Saṃgrahaṇīratna in the Śvetāmbara tradition or the Tiloyapaṇṇati by Yativṛṣabha (5th century) in the Digambara tradition.

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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India history and geogprahy

[«previous (B) next»] — Brahmarakshasa in India history glossary
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Brahmarākṣasa.—(EI 3, 16), a Brāhmaṇa defeated in dis- putations. Note: brahmarākṣasa is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[«previous (B) next»] — Brahmarakshasa in Marathi glossary
Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

brahmarākṣasa (ब्रह्मराक्षस).—m (S) The ghost of a Brahman that in his life-time possessed high attainments, and indulged a haughty, disdainful spirit. 2 The ghost of a Brahman gen.

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

brahmarākṣasa (ब्रह्मराक्षस).—m The ghost of a Brahman.

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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

[«previous (B) next»] — Brahmarakshasa in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Brahmarākṣasa (ब्रह्मराक्षस).—a kind of ghost, the ghost of a Brāhmaṇa, who during his life time indulges in a disdainful spirit and carries away the wives of others and the property of Brāhmaṇas; (parasya yoṣitaṃ hṛtvā brahmasvamapahṛtya ca | araṇye nirjale deśe bhavati brahmarākṣasaḥ || Y.3.212; cf. Ms.12.6 also).

Derivable forms: brahmarākṣasaḥ (ब्रह्मराक्षसः).

Brahmarākṣasa is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms brahman and rākṣasa (राक्षस).

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Brahmarākṣasa (ब्रह्मराक्षस).—See ब्रह्मग्रह (brahmagraha); छिद्रं हि मृगयन्ते स्म विद्वांसो ब्रह्मराक्षसाः (chidraṃ hi mṛgayante sma vidvāṃso brahmarākṣasāḥ) Rām. 1.8.17.

Derivable forms: brahmarākṣasaḥ (ब्रह्मराक्षसः).

Brahmarākṣasa is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms brahman and rākṣasa (राक्षस).

context information

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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