Citralekha, Citralekhā, Citra-lekha: 18 definitions


Citralekha means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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 Chitralekha.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Citralekha in Purana glossary
Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

1) Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा).—A celestial maiden. This maiden came and danced in the assembly of the Pāṇḍavas once. (Śloka 34, Chapter 9, Vana Parva, Mahābhārata).

2) Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा).—A companion of Uṣā, daughter of the demon, Bāṇa. She was a beautiful portrait painter. Uṣā once dreamt of Aniruddha, grandson of Kṛṣṇa. Even before knowing the identity of the idol of her dream Uṣā fell in love with him. Next day morning Citralekhā gathered from the gloomy Uṣā details of her dream and Citralekhā started making portraits of many known charming princes but Uṣā was not satisfied. She then drew in her imagination a figure which was exactly like that of Aniruddha, the man of her dream. Uṣā was satisfied and it was through the cleverness of Chitralekhā that Aniruddha was brought to Uṣā’s room and Uṣā was able to marry Aniruddha. (See under 'Aniruddha').

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा).—A companion of Bāṇa's daughter, Ūṣā; daughter of Kumbhāṇḍa minister to Bāṇa; heard from Ūṣā of her dream about a certain prince, and being an artist drew pictures of gods and men. Ūṣā identified Aniruddha as her lover. Citralekha travelled by air to Dvārakā and carried Aniruddha to Ūṣā's harem at Śoṇitapura unnoticed by any.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 61. 23[9]; 62. 14-23; Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 32. 17-30; 33. 5.

1b) An Apsaras in the sabhā of Hiraṇyakaśipu; rescued along with Urvaśī from the Asura Keśin by Purūravas.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 161. 75; 24. 23.
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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

1) Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा) refers to a type of syllabic metre (vṛtta), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 16. In this metre, the first five, the eleventh, the twelfth, the fourteenth, the fifteenth, the seventeenth syllables of a foot (pāda) are heavy (guru), while the rest of the syllables are light (laghu). It is also known by the name Kusumitalatāvellitā.


Citralekhā falls in the Dhṛti class of chandas (rhythm-type), which implies that verses constructed with this metre have four pādas (‘foot’ or ‘quarter-verse’) containing eighteen syllables each.

2) Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा) refers to one of the twenty prakāras: rules used in the playing of drums (puṣkara) [with reference to Mṛdaṅga, Paṇava and Dardura] according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 33. Accordingly, “when different instruments with mṛdaṅga and paṇava etc. are played together in various ways, then it is called Citralekha”.

Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (shastra) of performing arts, (natya—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), construction and performance of Theater, and Poetic works (kavya).

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

[«previous next»] — Citralekha in Chandas glossary
Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature

Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा) refers to one of the 130 varṇavṛttas (syllabo-quantitative verse) dealt with in the second chapter of the Vṛttamuktāvalī, ascribed to Durgādatta (19th century), author of eight Sanskrit work and patronised by Hindupati: an ancient king of the Bundela tribe (presently Bundelkhand of Uttar Pradesh). A Varṇavṛtta (e.g., citra-lekhā) refers to a type of classical Sanskrit metre depending on syllable count where the light-heavy patterns are fixed.

Source: Journal of the University of Bombay Volume V: Apabhramsa metres (2)

Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा) is the name of a catuṣpadi metre (as popularly employed by the Apabhraṃśa bards), as discussed in books such as the Chandonuśāsana, Kavidarpaṇa, Vṛttajātisamuccaya and Svayambhūchandas.—Citralekhā has 26 mātrās in each of its four lines, divided into the groups of 5, 4, 4, 4, 4 and 5 mātrās, where the 2nd and the 4th groups must not be [ISI]. These two metres [i.e., Mugdhikā and Citralekhā] are but the varieties of the Adhikākṣarā, obtained by the substitution of a pañcamātra for a caturmātra in the 4th and the 1st places respectively.

Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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Kavya (poetry)

[«previous next»] — Citralekha in Kavya glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara

Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा) is a friend of Uṣā: the daughter of Asura Bāṇa, who had Citralekhā paint her a picture of her unknown lover Aniruddha, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 31. Accordingly, “and Citralekhā, being acquainted with magic, thus addressed that Uṣā, who knew not the name of her lover nor any sign whereby to recognise him: ‘My friend, this is the result of the boon of the goddess Gaurī. What doubt can we allege in this matter? But how are you to search for your lover, as he is not to be recognised by any token? I will sketch for you the whole world, gods, Asuras and men, in case you may be able to recognise him; and point him out to me among them in order that I may bring him’.”.

The story of Citralekhā, Uṣā and Bāṇa was narrated by Kaliṅgasenā to Somaprabhā in order to demonstrate the similarity between the story and her situation involving the Udayana (king of Vatsa).

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Citralekhā, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

Kavya book cover
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Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[«previous next»] — Citralekha in Hinduism glossary
Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Citralekha (चित्रलेख): Chitralekha was a friend of Usha and daughter of minister of Banasura. She was a talented lady who helped Usha to identify the young man, Aniruddha, seen in the dream of Usha. Chitralekha through supernatural powers abducted Aniruddha from the palace of Krishna and brought him to Usha.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[«previous next»] — Citralekha in Jainism glossary
Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा) is the name of an Apsaras, instructed by Śakra to help in the preparations of Ṛṣabha’s wedding-preparations, according to chapter 1.2 [ādīśvara-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra: an ancient Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three illustrious persons in Jainism.


“[...] Then having ascertained the Lord’s purpose, Purandara at once summoned gods for the tasks of the wedding-preparations.—‘[...] Citralekhā, paint the various pictures in the shrine; quickly make ready the vessels filled with gifts, Pūrṇinī. Puṇḍarīkā, decorate the full pitchers with lotuses. [...]’. From the bustling of the Apsarases instructing each other in this way, and frequently calling names, a mighty tumult arose”.

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

Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Citralekha in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Citralekha (चित्रलेख).—a. of beautiful outlines, highly arched; रुचिस्तव कलावती रुचिरचित्रलेखे श्रुवौ (rucistava kalāvatī ruciracitralekhe śruvau) Gītagovinda 1. (-khā) 1 a portrait, picture.

2) Name of a friend and companion of Uṣā, daughter of Bāṇa. [When Uṣā related to her her dream, she suggested the idea of taking the portraits of all young princes in the neighbourhood; and on Uṣā's recognising Aniruddha, Chitralekhā, by means of her magical power, conveyed him to her palace.]

Citralekha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms citra and lekha (लेख).

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

Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा).—f.

(-khā) 1. A portrait, a picture. 2. An Apsaras and friend of Usha. 3. A form of metre.

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

Citralekha (चित्रलेख).—f. khā, 1. an image, a picture, [Gītagovinda. ed. Lassen.] 10, 15. 2. name of an Apsaras, [Vikramorvaśī, (ed. Bollensen.)] 7, 5.

Citralekha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms citra and lekha (लेख).

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

Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा).—[feminine] picture; a woman’s name.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Aufrecht Catalogus Catalogorum

Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा) as mentioned in Aufrecht’s Catalogus Catalogorum:—an Upakathā. Mentioned by Rāyamukuṭa.

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

1) Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा):—[=citra-lekhā] [from citra > cit] f. a picture, portrait, [Gīta-govinda x, 15] two metres of 4 x 17 syllables

2) [v.s. ...] another of 4 x 18 syllables

3) [v.s. ...] Name of an Apsaras (skilful in painting), [Mahābhārata; Harivaṃśa]

4) [v.s. ...] of a daughter of Kumbhāṇḍa, 9930 [Bhāgavata-purāṇa x, 62, 14.]

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

Citralekhā (चित्रलेखा):—[citra-lekhā] (khā) 1. f. A picture; an Apsara; a metre.

[Sanskrit to German]

Citralekha 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

[«previous next»] — Citralekha in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Citrālekha (चित्रालेख):—(nm) the scenario (of a film etc.), screen play.

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