Brahmi, aka: Brāhmī; 18 Definition(s)

Introduction

Brahmi 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.

In Hinduism

Ayurveda (science of life)

[Brahmi in Ayurveda glossaries]

1) Brāhmī (ब्राह्मी) is a Sanskrit word referring to the Bacopa monnieri (Indian pennywort), a perennial herb from the Plantaginaceae family, and is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. Other commonly used English names include “herb of grace” and “water hyssop”. It prefers marsy areas throughout India, Nepal and neighbouring regions.

This plant (Brāhmī) 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.

2) Brāhmī (ब्राह्मी) is a Sanskrit word referring to Centella asiatica (centella), a perennial herb from the Apiaceae family, and is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. Other commonly used named in English include “gotu kola” and “Thunder god’s root”. It is native to wetlands in Asia and prefers tropical swampy areas.

3) Brāhmī (ब्राह्मी) is another name (synonym) for Bastagandhā, which is the Sanskrit word for Ocimum gratissimum (clove basil), a plant from the Lamiaceae family. This synonym was identified by Narahari in his 13th-century Rājanighaṇṭu, which is an Āyurvedic medicinal thesaurus.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Brāhmī (Bacopa monieri): Considerable number of studies (animal experiments and clinical trials) have been done to evaluate its efficacy in learning and memory. It was concluded that Brāhmī has a positive effect on learning and both short-term and long-term memory. In a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, the above findings were further proved and it was found that maximal effect was evident after 12 weeks of treatment.

(Source): PMC: Ayurvedic management of postlumbar myelomeningocele surgery

A recently published systematic review on complementary and alternative medicines in ADHD has identified Bacopa monnieri (Brāhmī) as a potential agent for improving attentional and hyperkinetic disorders via a combination of cognitive enhancing and sedative effects. Although our study has demonstrated potential of Brāhmī ghṛtam in ADHD, we did not observe any sedative effect of Brāhmī; in fact the medication showed stimulant activity. This difference may be due to the presence of other plant ingredients and ghṛtam.

(Source): PMC: Evaluation of Brāhmī ghṛtam in children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Ayurveda book cover
context information

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.

Discover the meaning of brahmi in the context of Ayurveda from relevant books on Exotic India

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

[Brahmi in Shaktism glossaries]

1) Brāhmī (ब्राह्मी, “The Śakti of Brāhma”):—One of the names of Mahāsarasvatī (sattva-form of Mahādevī). Mahālakṣmī is one of the three primary forms of Devī. Not to be confused with Lakṣmī, she is a more powerful cosmic aspect (vyaṣṭi) of Devi and represents the guṇa (universal energy) named sattva. Also see the Devī Māhātmya, a Sanskrit work from the 5th century, incorporated into the Mārkaṇḍeya-Purāṇa.

2) Brahmi (ब्रह्मि, “the power of the immense being”):—One of the names of Sarasvatī, the Hindu goddess of speech, eloquence and all forms of knowledge.

3) Brāhmī (ब्राह्मी):—Name of one of the sixty-four mātṛs to be worshipped during Āvaraṇapūjā (“Worship of the Circuit of Goddesses”, or “Durgā’s Retinue”), according to the Durgāpūjātattva. They should be worshipped with either the five upācāras or perfume and flowers.

Her mantra is as follows:

ॐ ब्राह्म्यै नमः
oṃ brāhmyai namaḥ.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śāktism

Brahmi or Brahmani refers to one of the seven mother-like goddesses (Matrika).—The Matrikas emerge as shaktis from out of the bodies of the gods: Brahmi form Brahma. The order of the Saptamatrka usually begins with Brahmi symbolizing creation. It is often represented by the all-comprehensive primordial Nada Om (pranava). The most important significance of Saptamatrka symbolism is the implication of the cyclical universal time and its cessation. In the standard versions, Brahmi symbolizes creation.

The Bhavanopanishad (9) recognizes Matrikas as eight types of un-favourable dispositions, such as: desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride, jealousy, demerit and merit. Tantra-raja-tantra (36; 15-16) expands on that and identifies Brahmi with desire (kama).

According to Khadgamala (vamachara) tradition of Sri Vidya, the eight Matrkas are located along the wall (four at the doors and four at the corners) guarding the city (Tripura) on all eight directions: Brahmi on the West.

(Source): Sreenivasarao's blog: Saptamatrka (part 4)
Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Purana

[Brahmi in Purana glossaries]

Brāhmī (ब्राह्मी) is the form of Trikalā having a white body representing the energy of Brahmā, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 90. Trikalā is the name of a Goddess born from the combined looks of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (Śiva).

She is also known by the following names: Sarasvatī, Ekākṣarā, Sarvākṣarā, Vāgīśā, Vidyeśvarī, Amitākṣarā, Jñānanidhi, Vibhāvarī.

The Varāhapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 24,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 10th century. It is composed of two parts and Sūta is the main narrator.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

Brāhmī (ब्राह्मी) is the name of a mind-born ‘divine mother’ (mātṛ), created for the purpose of drinking the blood of the Andhaka demons, according to the Matsya-purāṇa 179.8. The Andhaka demons spawned out of every drop of blood spilled from the original Andhakāsura (Andhaka-demon). According to the Matsya-purāṇa 179.35, “Most terrible they (eg., Brāhmī) all drank the blood of those Andhakas and become exceedingly satiated.”

The Matsyapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 20,000 metrical verses, dating from the 1st-millennium BCE. The narrator is Matsya, one of the ten major avatars of Viṣṇu.

(Source): Wisdom Library: The Matsya-purāṇa

1a) Brāhmī (ब्राह्मी).—(saṅkhyā)—creatures and worms (1/1000) of sthāvara; (1/1000) of the above result in watery animals. (1/1000) of the above become birds; (1/1000) of birds become four-footed animals; (1/1000) of these become two-footed animals including men; (1/1000) part of these go to heaven; (1/1000) of these attain salvation; others fall into hells.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 2. 199-210.

1b) A Śakti.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 20. 13; 36. 58.

1c) A mind-born mother; in the kalpalata gift.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 179. 9; 286. 6.

1d) A R. of the Ketumālā continent.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 44. 21.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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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Vastushastra (architecture)

[Brahmi in Vastushastra glossaries]

Brāhmī (ब्राह्मी) refers to the fourth of twenty-seven constellations (ṛkṣa), according to the Mānasāra. It is also known by the name Kārttikā. Ṛkṣa is the third of the āyādiṣaḍvarga, or “six principles” that constitute the “horoscope” of an architectural or iconographic object. Their application is intended to “verify” the measurements of the architectural and iconographic object against the dictates of astrology that lay out the conditions of auspiciousness.

The particular nakṣatra, also known as ṛkṣa (eg., brāhmī) of all architectural and iconographic objects (settlement, building, image) must be calculated and ascertained. This process is based on the principle of the remainder. An arithmetical formula to be used in each case is stipulated, which engages one of the basic dimensions of the object (breadth, length, or perimeter/circumference). In the context of village planning and measurement, the text sates that among the stars (ṛkṣa), the ones that are pūrṇa (odd), are auspicious and the ones that are karṇa (even), inauspicious.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

[Brahmi in Shilpashastra glossaries]

Brahmi or Brahmani refers to the first Matrka and is the shakthi of Brahma. She is depicted in bright golden complexion, having four faces and four hands. In her back- right hand, she carries a kamandalu and in the back- left hand an Akshamala. The front- right hand gestures Abhaya and the front-left hand bestows Varada. She is seated under a Palasha tree, upon a red lotus. She is adorned in a mellow bright garment (Pitambara) and various ornaments; and, has on her head karanda-makuta. Her vahana and her emblem is the swan (Hamsa): (Amsumadbhedagama and Purva-karanagama).

The Vishnudharmottara describes Brahmi as having six hands. Of the three hands on the left, the lowest one gestures abhaya; while the other two hold pustaka (book) and kamandalu. On her right, the lowest hand gestures Varada; while the other two hold sutra and sruva (a ladle for pouring oblations of ghee into fire). It also mentions deer-skin as a part of her attire.

(Source): Sreenivasarao's blog: Saptamatrka (part 4) (shilpa)
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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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Brahmi in Hinduism glossaries]

Brāhmī, a type of herb found in Ayurvedic texts. (Indian penny-wort)

(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism

The Brāhmī (ब्राह्मी) is another name for Rohiṇī, a particular section of the ecliptic. It is also known as Brāhmīnakṣatra. Brāhmī means “the śakti of Brahmā”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism

1) Bacopa monnieri is a medicinal herb used in Ayurveda, where it is also known as "Brahmi," after Brahmā, the creator God of the Hindu pantheon.

2) Brahmi is also the name given to Centella asiatica, particularly in North India, and Kerala (also known as muttil or kodakan in Malayalam). Hēmādri’s Commentary on Aṣṭāṅgahṛdayaṃ (Āyuṛvēdarasāyanaṃ) treats maṇḍūkapaṛṇī (C. asiatica) as a synonym of brahmi, although that may be a case of mistaken identification that was introduced during the 16th century.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Brahmi in Jainism glossaries]

Brāhmī (ब्राह्मी):—One of the daughters of Ṛṣhabanātha (also known as Ṛṣabha), who is the first Jina (‘spiritual victor’), and his wife Sumaṅgala. Her story is first seen in the Ādipurāṇa of Jinasena, which tells the life-story of Ṛṣabha.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism
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

[Brahmi in India history glossaries]

Brahmi and Kharoshthi Scripts (3000-2800 BCE).—These two scripts were popularly used in the regions of Gandhara, Bactria, Modern Pakistan and Kashmir at least from the post-Mahabharata period. The Ashokan inscriptions (1765-1737 BCE) found at Shahbazgarhi and Manshera clearly indicate that Kharoshthi Script was traditionally popular in the west of Indus River whereas Brahmi Script was popular in the east of Indus River.

(Source): academia.edu: The Chronology of Ancient Gandhara and Bactria
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

[Brahmi in Marathi glossaries]

brahmī (ब्रह्मी).—f (S) A creeping plant bearing an esculent pod; called also kharasāmbaḷī q. v. 2 One of the Shakti or personified energies of Brahma.

--- OR ---

brāhmī (ब्राह्मी).—f (S) A plant, Siphonanthus Indica; also Colebrookia ternifolia; also a common name of several shrubs.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

brahmī (ब्रह्मी).—f A creeping plant.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

[Brahmi in Sanskrit glossaries]

Brahmī (ब्रह्मी).—

1) Name of a medicinal plant.

2) A kind of fish.

--- OR ---

Brāhmī (ब्राह्मी).—1 The personified female energy of Brahman.

2) Sarasvatī, the goddess of speech.

3) Speech; संस्कारो- पगतां ब्राह्मीं नानाशास्त्रोपबृंहिताम् (saṃskāro- pagatāṃ brāhmīṃ nānāśāstropabṛṃhitām) Mb.1.1.19.

4) A tale or narrative.

5) A pious usage or custom, Vedic rituals; ब्राह्म्या संवर्तयामासू राङ्कवास्तरणावृताम् (brāhmyā saṃvartayāmāsū rāṅkavāstaraṇāvṛtām) Rām.6.111.113.

6) Name of the constellation Rohiṇī.

7) Name of Durgā.

8) A woman married according to the Brāhma form of marriage.

9) The wife of a Brāhmaṇa.

1) A kind of medicinal plant; ब्राह्मी हिमा सरा तिक्ता लघुर्मेध्या च शीतला । कषाया मधुरा स्वादुपाकायुष्या रसायनी । स्वर्या स्मृतिपदा कुष्ठपाण्डु- मेहाश्रकासजित् (brāhmī himā sarā tiktā laghurmedhyā ca śītalā | kaṣāyā madhurā svādupākāyuṣyā rasāyanī | svaryā smṛtipadā kuṣṭhapāṇḍu- mehāśrakāsajit) || Bhāva. P.; बभूव तेषां रजनी ब्राह्मीव प्रीतिवर्धिनी (babhūva teṣāṃ rajanī brāhmīva prītivardhinī) Mb.15.18.23.

11) A kind of brass.

12) Name of a river.

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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Relevant definitions

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