Catur, Cātur, Catus, Catush: 18 definitions


Catur means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi, Hindi. 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 Chatur.

In Hinduism

Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Source: SriMatham: Vaiṣṇava Iconology based on Pañcarātra Āgama

Catur (“four”) is the number of the earth, and represents the fulfilment of manifestations in all the spheres of existence.

Thus they represent all the following;

  1. The cardinal directions; indicating that the Lord is all pervading and has perfect dominion over all the directions.
  2. The Yajña-kuṇḍa (fire pit); the Lord is known as Yajña Purusha, he is the sole enjoyer of the sacrifices as well as being the sacrifice itself, and as such his arms represent the four Vedic kuṇḍas (gārhapatya, āhavaniya, avasathya, sabhya).
  3. The four Vedas which are the sacred Revelation namely Rik, Yajus, Sama and Atharvana.
  4. The four divisions of society; intellectuals, administrators, entrepreneurs, and workers.
  5. The four stages of life; student, householder, retirement and renunciate.
  6. The four levels of consciousness; waking (jāgrata), dream (svapna), sub-consciousness (suṣupti) and transcendental consciousness (turiya).
  7. The four types of devotees; distressed, inquirer, the opportunist and the sage.
  8. The four functional manifestations (vyuhas). Vasudeva, Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Sankarshana.
  9. The four essential components of dharma; truth (satya), austerity (tapa), compassion (dayā), and charity (Dāna).
  10. The four aims of human endeavor (purushārthas); pleasure (kāma), prosperity (artha), righteousness (dharma) and liberation (mokṣa)
  11. The four types of liberation (mukti), communion (sāyujya), association (sārūpya),contiguity (sāmīpya), collocation (sālokya).
  12. The four ages of man. (yugas) Satya, Treta, Dvapara, Kali.
  13. four types of birth—gods (deva), humans (manushya), animals (tiryak) and plants (sthāvaram).
  14. The four types of Spiritual Paths or Yogas:—jñāna, karma, bhakti and śaranāgati
  15. The four types of differentiation among all existing things—genus (jāti), form (rūpa), nature (svabhāva) and knowledge (jñāna).
  16. The four qualities of all manifested beings: category (jāti), attributes (guna), function (kriya), relationship (sambandha).
Pancaratra book cover
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions

Catur (चतुर्) or Caturmāsa refers to “four months” (observance of the raudravrata), according to the Kiraṇatantra chapter 49 (dealing with vratacaryā).—Accordingly, “Garuḍa spoke: ‘You have taught me, O great Lord, the activities of the Neophyte, the Putraka and the Ācārya. Tell me those of the Sādhaka’. The Lord spoke: ‘[...] This is the auspicious Raudra-vrata: imposing with a chignon of matted locks, marked by a trident and khaṭvāṅga, equipped with a clean half skull, awe-inspiring with a third eye, clothed in the skin of a tiger, peaceful. For one firm [in this observance, the highest Siddhi will arise in six months]; middling [powers] in four months (catur-māsamāsaiścaturbhiś ca); the lowest [powers] will arise in three months. [...]’”.

Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions (philosophy)

Catur (चतुर्) [=Catuṣṭaya?] refers to “four (elements)”, according to the Īśvarapratyabhijñāvivṛtivimarśinī 2.131:—“[...] For the former [i.e., Ṣaḍdhātusamīkṣā] acknowledge that ordinary human practice is accounted for if this much [is admitted]: the five elements and consciousness, because such other [things as] the sense organs are included in these; whereas the latter admit that the ordinary human practice [consisting in the relationship between] an apprehending [subject] and an apprehended [object] is accounted for if a particular transformation called ‘consciousness’ arises in the four elements (bhūta-catuṣṭaya) from [some of their] various combinations, and if this transformation does not arise [from other combinations of the four elements]”.

Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions (shaktism)

Catur (चतुर्) [=Catuṣṭaya?] refers to “four (hands)”, according to the King Vatsarāja’s Pūjāstuti called the Kāmasiddhistuti (also Vāmakeśvarīstuti), guiding one through the worship of the Goddess Nityā.—Accordingly, “[...] I honour Padmā, [beautiful and tender like] a lotus plant. Her eyes are lotus-like and she dwells in a bed of lotuses. Her four arms (pāṇi-catuṣṭaya) look splendid with two lotuses [in two hands] and the gestures of grace and safety [in two others]. May the virgin goddess Durgā annihilate my hardships, I pray. Her hands are marked by the conch and discus. She has curly locks and rides [a lion,] the king of wild animals. [...]

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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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Catur (चतुर्) or Caturāryasatya refers to the “four truths”, according to Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter 4).—Accordingly, “[Question: Why is the Buddha called Sugata?]—[Answer]: [...] He alone knows who can be saved, who is sick or weakened, what each one needs to be saved, to whom it is suitable to preach generosity (dāna) or discipline (śīla) or nirvāṇa, to whom he can expound the system (dharma) of the five elements (pañcaskandha), the twelve causes (dvādaśa-hetupratyaya) or the four truths (catur-āryasatya), etc., in order to introduce them into the Path. It is under aspects such as these that he knows the extent of knowledge (jñānabala) of his disciples and that, consequently, he preaches the doctrine. This is why he is called Sugata, well-spoken”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

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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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: The University of Sydney: A study of the Twelve Reflections

1) Catur (चतुर्) or Catuḥśikṣā refers to the “four (educational vows)”, according to the Yogaśāstra verse 2.1.—Accordingly, “As far as a householder is concerned, the roots of orthodoxy are the five minor vows (aṇuvratā), the three virtuous [vows] (guṇavrata), [and] the four educational vows (catur-śikṣāśikṣāpadāni catvāri vratāni). [These twelve vows progressively bring him closer to the life of a mendicant]”.

2) Catur (चतुर्) or Caturgati refers to the “four (states of existence)”, according to the Jñānārṇava.—Accordingly, “Pitiable living beings roam about perpetually in the ocean of life which is a great whirlpool having four states of existence (catur-gati-mahāvarta) [and] inflamed by the hell-fire of suffering. Embodied souls, living in immovable and movable bodies, are born [and] die constrained by the chains of their own actions”.

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

Pali-English dictionary

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

1) Cātur°, (and cātu°) (see catur) consisting of four. Only in cpds. viz.

2) Catur, catu° in composition (Vedic catvārah (m.) catvāri (nt.) fr. *qǔetuor, *qǔetur=Gr. tέttares (hom. piζurQs), Lat. quattuor, Goth. fidwōr, Ohg. fior, Ags fēower, E. four; catasras (f.) fr. *qǔ(e)tru, cp. tisras. Also as adv. catur fr. *quetrus=Lat. quater & quadru°) base of numeral four; 1. As num. adj. Nom. & Acc. m. cattāro (Dh. 109; J. III, 51) and caturo (Sn. 84, 188), f. catasso (Sn. 1122), nt. cattāri (Sn. 227); Gen. m. catunnaṃ (Sn. p. 102), (f. catassannaṃ); Instr. catubbhi (Sn. 229), catūhi (Sn. 231) & catuhi; Loc. catūsu (J. I, 262) & catusu.—2. As num. adv. , catu° catur° in cpds. catuddasa (14), also through elision & reduction cuddasa PvA. 55, 283, etc., cp. also cātuddasī. Catuvīsati (24) Sn. 457; catusaṭṭhi (64) J. I, 50; II, 193; PvA. 74; caturāsīti (84) usually with vassa-sahassāni J. I, 137; II, 311; Pv IV. 77; DhA. II, 58; PvA. 9, 31, 254, etc. See also cattārīsa (40).

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

catur (चतुर्).—a S Four. 2 One of the two divisions of the śrāvaka or jaina people. These are agriculturalists: the other (pañcama) engage in trade.

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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Catur (चतुर्).—num. a. [cat-uran Uṇādi-sūtra 5.58] (always in pl.; m. catvāraḥ; f. catasraḥ; n. catvāri) Four; चत्वारो वयमृत्विजः (catvāro vayamṛtvijaḥ) Ve.1.25; चतस्रोऽवस्था बाल्यं कौमारं यौवनं वार्धकं चेति (catasro'vasthā bālyaṃ kaumāraṃ yauvanaṃ vārdhakaṃ ceti); चत्वारि शृङ्गा त्रयो अस्य पादाः (catvāri śṛṅgā trayo asya pādāḥ) &c.; शेषान् मासान् गमय चतुरो लोचने मील- यित्वा (śeṣān māsān gamaya caturo locane mīla- yitvā) Meghadūta 11. -ind. Four times. [cf. Zend chathru; Gr. tessares; L. quatuor.] [In Comp. the र् (r) of चतुर् (catur) is changed to a Visarga (which in some cases becomes ś, ṣ or s, or remains unchanged) before words beginning with hard consonants.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Catur (चतुर्).—mfn. plu. only, (catvāraḥ catasraḥ catvāri) Four: in composition, and the last member of a compound, the numeral is inflected in all the numbers; thus priyacatur Who has four favorites, makes masc. and fem. (sing.) priyacatvā (du.) tvārau (plu.) tvāraḥ and n. (sing.) priyacatuḥ (du.) catvārī (plu.) catvāri, &c. vahuvacanāntaḥ cata-uran .

—— OR ——

Catus (चतुस्).—ind. Four times: see catur.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Catur (चतुर्).— (for catvar), f. catasṛ, numeral, Four, Chr. 28, 21; msc. instead of the fem. [Rāmāyaṇa] 4, 39, 33.

— Cf. for [Latin] quatuor; [Gothic.] fidvör; A. S. feower.

--- OR ---

Catus (चतुस्).—i. e. catur + s, adv. Four times, [Cāṇakya] 71.

— Cf. [Latin] quater.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Catur (चतुर्).—(°—) v. catvār.

--- OR ---

Catus (चतुस्).—[adverb] four times.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Catur (चतुर्):—[from catasṛ] tvāras m. [plural], tvāri n. [plural], 4 ([accusative] m. turas [instrumental case] turbhis [for f., [Rāmāyaṇa iv, 39, 33]] [genitive case] turṇām [ablative] turbhyas; class. [instrumental case] [dative case] [ablative], and [locative case] also oxyt. [Pāṇini 6-1, 180 f.]; ifc. [Kāśikā-vṛtti] and, [Siddhānta-kaumudī on Pāṇini 7-1, 55 and 98 ff.]; for f. See catasṛ);

2) [v.s. ...] cf. τέσσαρες, τέτταρες, [Aeolic] πίσυρες; [Gothic] fidvor; [Latin] quatuor; [Cambro-Brit, the language of Wales] pedwar, pedair; [Hibernian or Irish] ceatkair; [Lithuanian] keturi; [Slavonic or Slavonian] cetyrje.

3) Catuś (चतुश्):—[from catasṛ] in [compound] for tur.

4) Catuṣ (चतुष्):—[from catasṛ] in [compound] for tur.

5) Catus (चतुस्):—[from catasṛ] 1. catus ind. ([Pāṇini 5-4, 18]; in [compound] before hard gutturals and labials tuḥ or tuṣ, [viii, 3, 43]) 4 times, [Atharva-veda xi, 2, 9; Taittirīya-saṃhitā ii; Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa; Āśvalāyana-gṛhya-sūtra etc.]

6) [v.s. ...] 2. catus in [compound] for tur.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Catur (चतुर्):—(catvāraḥ, catasra, catvāri) a. Four.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Catur (चतुर्) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Cau.

[Sanskrit to German]

Catur in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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Hindi dictionary

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

1) Catur (चतुर्):——used as the first member of Sanskrit compound words being an allomorph of [catu]:, meaning four; ~[raṃga] quadripartite, consisting of four members or parts; ~[raṃgiṇī] quadripartite, comprised of four members or parts; (used esp. to denote an army comprised of four arms or departments, viz; elephants, cavalry, chariots and the infantry); a complete army; ~[rāśrama] the four stages in a man’s life (see [āśrama]); ~[rtha] the fourth; ~[rthāṃśa] quadrant; quarter, one-fourth (part); ~[rthāśrama] the fourth [āśrama] i.e. [saṃnyāsa]—the stage of the anchorite; ~[rthī] the fourth day of a lunar fortnight; ~[rdaśa] the fourteenth day of a lunar fortnight; ~[rdik/rdiśa] all round, on all the four sides; ~[rdhāma] the four sacred places of pilgrimage of the Hindus (viz. [purī, badarikāśrama, dvārakā, rāmeśvara]); ~[rbhuja] a quadrangle; quadrilateral; an epithet of Lord Vishnu having four arms; ~[rmāsa] the four months of the rainy season extending from the twelfth day of the moonlit half of [āṣāḍha] to that of [kārtika; ~rmukha] four-faced; the Creator-god [brahmā]; all round. four-sided; ~[rmukhī] all round, four-sided; ~[ryuga] the four yugas (viz. [sata, tretā, dvāpara, kali]); ~[rvarga] the four human pursuits [viz. virtue ([dharma]), wealth ([artha]) sensual pleasures ([kāma]) and salvation ([mokṣa])]; ~[rvarṇa] the four main castes of the Hindus (viz. [brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya] and [śūdra]); ~[rvādda] quartet; ~[rvidha] of four types, four-fold; ~[rveda] the four Vedas. (viz. [ṛk, sāma, yajur] and [arthava]); ~[rvedī] a scholar well-versed in the four Vedas; a subcaste of the Brahmans.

2) Catuṣ (चतुष्):——an allomorph of [catu]: used as the first member of Sanskrit compound words meaning four; ~[ṣkoṇa] four-cornered; a quadrangle; ~[ṣkoṇīya] quadrangular; ~[ṣpatha] a road-crossing; ~[ṣpada/ṣpāda] four-footed; a quadruped.

3) Catus (चतुस्):——used as the first member of Sanskirt compound words being an allomorph of [catu]: —meaning four; ~[ssūtrī] four-point(ed); four-stringed.

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