Cakravaka, aka: Cakravāka, Cakra-vaka; 13 Definition(s)


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

Alternative spellings of this word include Chakravaka.

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

One of the Hands that indicate Flying Creatures.—Cakravāka, the Alapadma hands fluttered.

Source: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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Cakravāka (चक्रवाक)—Dhṛtarāṣṭrī was a wife of Garuḍa. She gave birth to haṃsas, kalahaṃsas, cakravākas, and various other kinds of birds. The attachment between the cakravāka and the cakravākī is alluded to in a simile.

Source: Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

1a) Cakravāka (चक्रवाक).—Birds noted for their staunch love;1 the seven sons of Kauśika took their form in Mānasa; on the Airāvadi.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 15. 79; III. 7. 458; 50. 41; Vāyu-purāṇa 45. 19; 54. 31.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 20. 17; 21. 9 and 28; 113. 76; 116. 11.

1b) A tīrtham sacred to Pitṛs.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 22. 42.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Cakravāka (चक्रवाक) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.60.56) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Cakravāka) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

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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Ayurveda (science of life)

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Cakravāka (चक्रवाक) is a Sanskrit word referring to the “cakra bird (Anas Casarca)”, or to the “ruby sheldrake”. The meat of this animal is part of the māṃsavarga (‘group of flesh’), which is used throughout Āyurvedic literature. The animal Cakravāka is part of the sub-group named Ambucārin, refering to animals “which move on waters”. It was classified by Caraka in his Carakasaṃhitā sūtrasthāna (chapter 27), a classical Āyurvedic work. Caraka defined such groups (vargas) based on the dietic properties of the substance.

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Cakravāka (चक्रवाक)—Sanskrit word for an animal “sheldrake”, “brahminy duck” (Tadorna ferruginea). This animal is from the group called Plava (‘those which float’ or ‘those move about in large flocks’). Plava itself is a sub-group of the group of animals known as Ānupa (those that frequent marshy places).

Source: Sushruta samhita, Volume I

Cakravāka (चक्रवाक) is the name of an animal described in the 17th century Bhojanakutūhala (dravyaguṇāguṇa-kathana), and is commonly found in literature dealing with the topics of dietetics and culinary art, also known as Pākaśāstra or Pākakalā.—Cakravāka is mentioned in a discusses regarding the reaction of certain insects and other living beings on consumption of poisionous food. The after-effect of intake of poison for Cakravāka is defined as: “die after tasting poisoned food”.

Source: Shodhganga: Dietetics and culinary art in ancient and medieval India
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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General definition (in Hinduism)

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The cakravāka bird and the sun; one of similes (or pairs) given in Śivānandalaharī 59. The cakravāka couples, it is believed, are separated and mourn during night; hence, their longing for the sun.

Source: Google Books: The Hymns of Śaṅkara

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

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Cakravāka (चक्रवाक, “cakra bird”) represents an incarnation destination of the tiryaggati (animal realm) according to the “world of transmigration” section in the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVII).—The Bodhisattva sees the animals (tiryak) undergoing all the torments: they are made to gallop by blows of the whip or stick; they are made to make long journeys carrying burdens; their harness is damaged; they are branded with hot iron. If sensual desires (kāmarāga), passion and ignorance (avidyā) were predominant in them [people], they are reborn as [for example] cakra bird (cakravāka); thus they become one of the hundred thousand kinds of birds. If they are guilty of lust, their body becomes covered with hairs and feathers; their plumage is fine and smooth; their beak, big and wide; thus they cannot distinguish touch (sparśa) and taste (rasa).

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Cakravāka (चक्रवाक) is the name of a Vīra (hero) who, together with the Ḍākinī named Cakravākī forms one of the 36 pairs situated in the Vāyucakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the vāyucakra refers to one of the three divisions of the dharma-puṭa (‘dharma layer’), situated in the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs and Vīras [viz., Cakravāka] are dark blue in color; they each have one face and four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife.

Source: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala
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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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

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cakravāka (चक्रवाक).—m S Brahmany goose or duck, Anascasarca.

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

Cakravaka in Sanskrit glossary... « previous · [C] · next »

Cakravāka (चक्रवाक).—


- f.) the ruddy goose; दूरी- भूते मयि सहचरे चक्रवाकीमिवैकाम् (dūrī- bhūte mayi sahacare cakravākīmivaikām) Me.83. °बन्धुः (bandhuḥ) the sun.

Derivable forms: cakravākaḥ (चक्रवाकः).

Cakravāka is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms cakra and vāka (वाक).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Cakravāka (चक्रवाक).—m.

(-kaḥ) The ruddy goose. commonly called in India, the Brahmany duck or goose, (Anas casarca.) E. cakra an imitative sound, and vāka speech. vaca paribhāṣaṇe karmaṇi ghañ .

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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