Devadatta, aka: Devadattā, Deva-datta; 15 Definition(s)


Devadatta 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.

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Devadattā (देवदत्ता) is the name of an Apsara created for the sake of a type of dramatic perfomance. Acording to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.46-51, after Brahmā asked Bharata for materials necessary for the Graceful Style (kaiśikī: a type of performance, or prayoga), Bharata answered “This Style cannot be practised properly by men except with the help of women”. Therefore, Brahmā created with his mind several apsaras (celestial nymphs), such as Devadattā, who were skillful in embellishing the drama.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
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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Devadatta (देवदत्त):—Son of Uruśravā (son of Satyaśravā). He had a son named Agniveśya. (see Bhāgavata Purāṇa 9.2)

Source: Wisdom Library: Bhagavata Purana

1) Devadatta (देवदत्त).—A famous brahmin boy whose story is described in the Kathāsaritsāgara.

Devadatta was the son of the Brahmin, Haridatta of Kambukapura. Though as a boy Devadatta learnt all the arts and sciences when he grew up to be a youth he became a very wayward fellow. Dice-play became his main job. One day in a game of dice he lost even his clothes, and being afraid of his father, he left the place without returning home. (See full article at Story of Devadatta from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

2) Devadatta (देवदत्त).—A king of ancient India, son of King Jayadatta. Jayadatta wanted to marry his son Devadatta to the daughter of a Vaiśya in Pāṭalīputra. Though it was a far cry from Pāṭalīputra to Jayadatta’s court the Vaiśya married his daughter to the prince as he attached much importance to such an alliance with the King. From the dowry given by the Vaiśya to his daughter the resources of her father appeared to be very meagre to Devadatta.

3) Devadatta (देवदत्त).—Father of the reputed muni Utatthya. (Satyatapas). (See Satyatapas.)

4) Devadatta (देवदत्त).—The divine conch of Arjuna. Maya got this conch from Varuṇa and he kept it in the sabhā of Vṛṣaparvan, which was in Bindusaras on Mount Maināka to the south of Mount Kailāsa. When Maya built the palace at Indraprastha for the Pāṇḍavas he went to Bindusaras and brought for Arjuna that conch called Devadattam, and a club for Bhīmasena. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 3).

In the battle of Kurukṣetra Arjuna mounted a white horse and blew his conch Devadattam. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 25, Verse 14).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Devadatta (देवदत्त).—A chief Nāga of Pātāla.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 14. 24; 24. 31; VI. 9. 35.

1b) The son of Uruśrava and father of Agniveśa.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 2. 20-21.

1c) The horse of Kalki.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 2. 19.
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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Katha (narrative stories)

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1) Devadatta (देवदत्त) is one of the sons of Govindadatta, a learned Brāhman from Bahusuvarṇaka, which is a royal district on the bank of the Ganges, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 7.

Over time, Devadatta became an attendant (gaṇa) of Śiva, by the name Puṣpadanta. Accordingly, “then having seen the prosperity of his son, Devadatta considered that he had attained all his objects, and he too, with the princess, retired to the forest. There he again propitiated Śiva, and having laid aside his mortal body, by the special favour of the god he attained the position of a Gaṇa. Because he did not understand the sign given by the flower dropped from the tooth of his beloved, therefore he became known by the name of Puṣpadanta in the assembly of the Gaṇas.”

2) Devadatta (देवदत्त) is the son of king Jayadatta, and was secretly taken away by his mother, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 21. Their story is told by Piṅgalikā (a Brāhman woman) to Vāsavadattā in order to demonstrate that the hearts of women are hard as adamant in daring sin, but are soft as a flower when the tremor of fear falls upon them. Vāsavadattā is the queen-wife of Udayana (king of Vatsa).

3) Devadatta (देवदत्त) is the son of Haridatta: a Brāhman from the city Kambuka, as mentioned in the story “Devadatta the gambler”, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 26. Accordingly,  Vindurekhā narrated to Śaktideva “... the son of that auspicious man [Haridatta], who was named Devadatta, though he studied in his boyhood, was, as a young man, exclusively addicted to the vice of gaming. As he had lost his clothes and everything by gambling, he was not able to return to his father’s house, so he entered once on a time an empty temple”.

4) Devadatta (देवदत्त) is the name of a courtesan from Ujjayinī, as mentioned in the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 124. Accordingly, “... then a distinguished courtesan of Ujjayinī, named Devadattā, came to her, and gave her her own palace, worthy of a king, to dwell in by herself”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Devadatta, 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.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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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.

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

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Devadatta (देवदत्त) or Devadatta Pāṭhaka is the author of the Vṛttaratnapradīpa and Rādhārahasya. Both the texts were printed at Vrajendra Press, Brindavan in 1929.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
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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General definition (in Hinduism)

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Devadatta (देवदत्‍त): Name of Arjuna's conch, also Buddha's cousin.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Devadatta in Theravada glossary... « previous · [D] · next »
A cousin of the Buddha who tried to effect a schism in the sangha and who has since become emblematic for all Buddhists who work knowingly or unknowingly to undermine the religion from within.Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

Son of the Sakiyan Suppabuddha (maternal uncle of the Buddha) and his wife Amita. He had a sister Bhaddakaccana, who married Prince Siddhattha.

Mhv.ii.22; MT.136; DhA.iii.44. The Dulva (Rockhill, p.13) calls him the son of Amitodana and brother of Ananda. This is supported by Mtu. (ii.69), which says that after the Buddhas renunciation, Devadatta tried to tempt Bhaddakaccana. In one passage in the Vinaya (ii.189), Devadatta is spoken of as Godhiputta. Does this mean that his mothers name was Godhi? The Sanskrit books (e.g., Mtu) give several stories of his youth which show his malice. When Siddhattha was about to show his skill in the arts, a white elephant was being brought for him, and Devadatta, out of envy, killed it. The carcase blocked the city gates till Siddhattha threw it outside. The Pali Commentaries (e.g., SA.i.62) say that Devadatta had the strength of five elephants. On another occasion he quarrelled with Siddhattha, who protested against his shooting a goose.

When the Buddha visited Kapilavatthu after the Enlightenment and preached to the Sakiyans, Devadatta was converted together with his friends Ananda, Bhagu, Kimbila, Bhaddiya, Anuruddha, and their barber, Upali, and he sought the Buddha at Anupiya and entered the Order (Vin.ii.182). During the rainy season that followed, Devadatta acquired the power of iddhi possible to those who are yet of the world (puthujja nika iddhi) (Vin.ii.183; for particulars see Rockhill, p.85). For some time he seems to have enjoyed great honour in the Order, and in one passage he is mentioned in a list of eleven of the chief Elders of all of whom the Buddha speaks in praise. (Ud.i.5. Again in Vin.ii.189 Sariputta is mentioned as having gone about Rajagaha singing Devadattas praises; see also DhA.i.64f). Devadatta was later suspected of evil wishes (E.g., S.ii.156). About eight years before the Buddhas death, Devadatta, eager for gain and favour and jealous of the Buddhas fame, attempted to win over Ajatasattu.

The following account is summarised from various passages in the books, chiefly Vin.ii.184ff; iii.171f; 174f; iv.71; DhA.i.112ff; iii.154; A.iii.123, 402; ii.73; iv.160; J.i.113, 142, 185, 490; iv.37, 158; v.333ff; vi.129f., etc.

He assumed the form of a child having a girdle of snakes, and suddenly appeared on Ajatasattus lap, frightening him. He then resumed his own form, and Ajatasattu, much impressed, paid him great honour and, it is said, visited him morning and evening with five hundred chariots and sent him daily five hundred dishes of food. (According to J.i.186, 508, Ajatasattu built for him a monastery at Gayasisa and sent him, daily, five hundred pots of three year flavoured rice and the choicest dishes.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

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1) Devadatta (देवदत्त) is the name of person living at Rājagṛha, when the Buddha was dwelling there at the beginning of the discourse in the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter V. Accordingly, “... there was the Āyuṣmat Che li k’ou to (Śrīgupta). T’i p’o ta to (Devadatta), A chö che (Ajātaśatru), etc., who wished to harm the Buddha, did not believe in the Buddhadharma and were filled with jealousy (īrṣyā)”.

2) Devadatta (देवदत्त) is one of the two sons of Droṇadana, son of Siṃhahanu: an ancient king of the solar clan (āditagotra or sūryavaṃśa) according to Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter VI). Accordingly, “King Droṇodana had two sons: 1) T’i p’o ta to (Devadatta), 2) A nan (Ānanda)”.

Devadatta recited the 60,000 items of the Dharma, according to Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXIV), “Having had this thought, Śuddhodana published an edict in the land enjoining certain young men of the nobility of the Śākyas to leave home and go forth. It was then that Devadatta, son of king Hou fan (Droṇodana), left home practiced the Path and recited the 60,000 items of the Dharma (dharmaskandha). For twelve years he pursued his efforts zealously.”

3) Devadatta (देवदत्त) is the name of a person that caused one of Buddha’s nine torments according to appendix 12 of the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XIV).—Devadatta pushed down a rock to crush the Buddha and wounded him on his big toe.

4) Devadatta (देवदत्त) was the cousin and rival of the Buddha, according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter XLI. When Devadatta asked the Buddha to retire and entrust the Community to him, the Buddha refused curtly and treated his cousin as mūdha ‘fool’, śava ‘corpse’ and kheṭāśika ‘eater of spit’. Those who remembered the kiss exchanged between Ajātaśatru and Devadatta could not help but see an allusion in it to this repugnant action.

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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General definition (in Buddhism)

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A cousin of Shakyamuni. At first, he was a follower of Shakyamuni, but later left him and even attempted to kill him.Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

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dēvadatta (देवदत्त).—a (S) Given by a deity. 2 A term corresponding in use to our Some one; some person or other: ex. kōṇhī dē0 ālā āhē; or, in grammatical examples, to One, a person, somebody.

--- OR ---

dēvadatta (देवदत्त).—m S The name of one of the five upaprāṇa.

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

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Devadatta (देवदत्त).—a.

1) god-given, granted by the gods.

2) given to the gods (as a village, &c.). (-ttaḥ) 1 Name of the conch-shell of Arjuna; देवदत्तं धनञ्जयः (devadattaṃ dhanañjayaḥ) (dadhmau) Bg.1.15.

2) a certain person (used in speaking of men indefinitely); मुक्तस्ततो यदि बन्धाद्देवदत्त उपाच्छिनत्ति (muktastato yadi bandhāddevadatta upācchinatti) Bhāg.5.14.24; देवदत्तः पचति, पिनो देवदत्तो दिवा न भुङ्क्ते (devadattaḥ pacati, pino devadatto divā na bhuṅkte) &c.

3) one of the vital airs exhaled in yawning; देवदत्तो विजृम्भणे (devadatto vijṛmbhaṇe). °अग्रजः (agrajaḥ) Name of Buddha.

Devadatta is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms deva and datta (दत्त).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Devadatta (देवदत्त).—(1) (= Pali id.), n. of a Śākyan, relative of the Buddha and inimical to him: son of Śuklodana, brother of Ananda and Upadhāna, Mv iii.176.15; after the Bodhisattva's retirement asks Yaśodharā to marry him, Mv ii.69.2; kills an elephant at the city gate but can- not remove it, Mv ii.74.13 ff.; various previous incarnations identified, Mv i.128.14; ii.72.10; Divy 328.11; instigated Ajātaśatru to parricide, Divy 280.18; Av i.83.6; 308.5; other refs., Mvy 3610; LV 144.10 ff.; 152.14 ff.; 154.1 ff.; enters the order of monks, Av ii.112.4; hostility to Buddha, Av i.88.6; 177.6 ff.; Karmav 45.3; as a typically, prover- bially evil person, Karmav 49.4; RP 36.3; Devadatto- drakasamācāro Śikṣ 105.17, characterized by conduct like D. and U.; (2) n. of an evidently virtuous monk, follower of Buddha, to whom in a previous birth he had taught a holy text, and for whom the Buddha now predicts future Buddhahood: SP 259.2 ff. (only in prose; no verse account of this incident; probably a late intrusion).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Devadatta (देवदत्त).—mfn.

(-ttaḥ-ttā-ttaṃ) Given by the gods, god-given. m.

(-ttaḥ) 1. The younger brother of Bud'dha. 2. The conch of Arjuna. 3. One of the vital airs that which is exhaled in yawning E. deva a deity, and datta given; the name is often used in grammatical and other examples, in the place of some one, a certain person, &c.

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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