Cakravartin, aka: Cakra-vartin; 7 Definition(s)
Cakravartin means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India. 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 Chakravartin.
Katha (narrative stories)
Cakravartin (चक्रवर्तिन्), translated by Tawney as “emperor,” is usually taken to mean “universal monarch.” The etymology of the word has been variously interpreted, but that advanced by Jacobi seems most acceptable. Cakra must be taken in its original sense of “circle,” while vartin denotes the idea of “abiding in.” Thus the whole expression denotes “he who abides in the circle.” The “circle” refers to the discus of Viṣṇu, the symbol of the sun, and only he who had attained the highest honours could rejoice in the name of Cakravartin, so closely connected with the deity. The number and variety of the “jewels” or ratnas varies, although seven was the usual numberSource: archive.org: The ocean of story. vol. 8
Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.
Purana and Itihasa (epic history)
Cakravartin (चक्रवर्तिन्).—Came into being in Treta and partook the aṃśa of Hari to protect Dharma. Their seven ratna— cakra, ratha, maṇi, sword, carma, Ketu, and nidhi (some include wife, horse and elephant and leave out sword and Ketu) and seven creatures: wife, purohita, senāni, rathakrit, mantri, aśva and kalabha; had the attributes of Viṣṇu; they enjoyed trivarga, fame and success, aiśvarya like Aṇima and Prabhu śakti; learned and pure; entertained with their prowess sages, gods, devils, men, etc.; bodily characteristics of; legs with the symbol of wheel and fish, hands with conch and lotus.1 Reigned for a long time with daṇḍanīti.2 Vāli was a cakravartī. Arjuna (Kārtavīrya) was another.3
- 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 1. 98; II. 29. 71 ff.; Matsya-purāṇa 142. 64-75; Vāyu-purāṇa 57. 66-80.
- 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 275.
- 3) Ib. 69. 23.
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.
General definition (in Hinduism)
Chakravartin is a term used in Indian religions for an ideal universal ruler, who rules ethically and benevolently over the entire world. Such a ruler's reign is called sarvabhauma. It is a bahuvrīhi, literally meaning "whose wheels are moving", in the sense of "whose chariot is rolling everywhere without obstruction". It can also be analyzed as an 'instrumental bahuvrīhi: "through whom the wheel is moving" in the meaning of "through whom the Dharmacakra ("Wheel of the Dharma) is turning" (most commonly used in Buddhism and Hinduism).
In Buddhism and Jainism, three types of Chakravartins are distinguished:
- Cakravala Cakravartin: a ruler over all four continents postulated in ancient Indian cosmography
- Dvipa Cakravartin: a ruler over only one of four continents
- Pradesa Cakravartin: a ruler over only part of a continent.
etymology: Chakravartin (चक्रवर्तिन् cakravartin, Pali Cakkavatti)Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism
General definition (in Jainism)
Cakravartin (चक्रवर्तिन्).—Cakravartins are “universal monarchs” or “world conquerors”. The Jaina Purāṇas give a list of twelve such Cakravartins who flourished in this Avasarpiṇī. Golden in complexion and the mark of the Śrīvatsa symbol, formed of hair, adorns their chests. They all belonged to the Kāśyapa-gotra. The first amongst them was Bharata, the son of Ṛṣabhanātha, who gave his name to this land, which is called Bharata-bhūmi or Bhārata. His chief queen was Subhadrā.
The mother of a Cakravartin sees some dreams at the time of conception. According to the Ādipurāṇa, Bharata’s mother saw the sun and the moon, the mount Meru, the lake with swans, earth and the ocean. According to Hemacandra, Summaṅgalā, the mother of Bharata, sees fourteen great dreams.
According to both Digambara and Śvetāmbara, every universal monarch obtains ratnas or jewels amongst human beings and amongst symbols, weapons or animals.Source: Google Books: Jaina Iconography
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.
Languages of India and abroad
1) an emperor, universal monarch, sovereign of the world, a ruler whose dominions extend as far as the ocean (āsamudrakṣitīśa Ak.); पुत्रमेवंगुणोपेतं चक्रवर्तिनमाप्नुहि (putramevaṃguṇopetaṃ cakravartinamāpnuhi) Ś.1.12; तव तन्वि कुचावेतौ नियतं चक्रवर्तिनौ । आसमुद्रक्षितीशोऽपि भवान् यत्र करप्रदः (tava tanvi kucāvetau niyataṃ cakravartinau | āsamudrakṣitīśo'pi bhavān yatra karapradaḥ) || Udb. (where there is a pun on the word cakravartin, the other meaning being 'resembling in shape the ruddy goose', 'round');
2) (hence) head, foremost; आपद्गतः किल महाशयचक्रवर्ती विस्तारयत्यकृतपूर्वमुदार- भावम् (āpadgataḥ kila mahāśayacakravartī vistārayatyakṛtapūrvamudāra- bhāvam) Bv.1.7; कवयस्तर्कयाञ्चक्रुरित्थं ते चक्रवर्तिनः (kavayastarkayāñcakruritthaṃ te cakravartinaḥ) Parṇal.5.38.
3) a kind of horse having one or three curls on the shoulder; स्कन्धपार्श्वे यदावर्त एको वा यदि वा त्रयः । चक्रवर्ती स विज्ञेयो वाजी भूपालमन्दिरे (skandhapārśve yadāvarta eko vā yadi vā trayaḥ | cakravartī sa vijñeyo vājī bhūpālamandire) || Śālihotra of Bhoj.
Cakravartin is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms cakra and vartin (वर्तिन्).Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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Search found 16 books and stories containing Cakravartin or Cakra-vartin. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra (by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön)
The Bahudhātuka-sūtra (sutta) < [Part 2 - The ten powers in particular]
Part 1 - Why is the Buddha called Bhagavat < [Chapter IV - Explanation of the Word Bhagavat]
VI. Literal commentary on the Vaiśāradyasūtra < [Part 1 - The four fearlessnesses of the Buddha according to the Abhidharma]
Kathasaritsagara (the Ocean of Story) (by Somadeva)
The seven jewels of the Cakravartin < [Notes]
Foreword to volume 7 < [Forewords]
Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra (by Helen M. Johnson)
Part 5: Life as Cakravartin < [Chapter VI - Śrī Maghavacakravarticaritra]
Introduction to volume 4 < [Introductions]
Part 4: Vajrāyudha’s conquest as Cakravartin < [Chapter III - Eighth incarnation as Vajrāyudha]
The Vimalakīrti Sutra (by John R. McRae)
Chapter III - Disciples < [Fascicle One]
Chapter XIII - Dharma Offering < [Fascicle Three]
The Great Chronicle of Buddhas (by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw)