Devi, Devī: 20 definitions


Devi means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, 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.

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In Hinduism

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Auspicious Wisdom: The Texts and Traditions of Srividya Sakta Tantrism in South India

From the Purāṇic point of view, Devī is the sister of Viṣṇu (Harisahodarī) and the wife of Śiva (Kapāliprāṇanāyikā) and the mother of Gaṇeśa and Subrahmaṇya. Thus she is the centre of the supreme group of deities.

From the point of view of religious sādhana, the Devī who is the giver of the intuitive knowledge of God (Śivajñānapradāyinī) is herself the supreme Sādhana as shown in the Kenopaniṣad.

Shaktism book cover
context information

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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

1) Devī (देवी, “lady”) refers to a specific “mode of address” (nāman) used in drama (nāṭya), according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 19. Devī is used by servants and attendants addressing the king’s wives. Similair terms to be used in the same situation would be Bhaṭṭini and Svāmini.

2) Devī (देवी, “queen”) refers to one of the classes of “women” (strī) who have dealings with the king, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 34. Accordingly, “those wives of the king who have all these qualities except that they are denied proper consecration, and who are proud and of royal descent, are eager for enjoying affection, are pure and always brilliantly dressed, jealous of their rivals, and maddened on account of their young age and many other qualities, are called queens (devī)”.

Source: Google Books: Music Therapy

Devi has three lines on her throat representing gati, gamaka and gītam, the three grāmas of music, and from her throat emanate different types of sweet rāgas. Devi being a beautiful woman has this sign of beauty on her neck, and it represents her chastity since she has a maṅgalyasūtra of three threads by birth and by Sāmudrikaśāstra she is the pūrṇa-strī.

Natyashastra book cover
context information

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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Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Devī (देवी) is another name (synonym) for Pāṭhā, which is a Sanskrit name for the plant Cissampelos pareira (velvetleaf). This synonym was identified by Narahari in his 13th-century Rājanighaṇṭu (verses 6.119-121), which is an Ayurvedic medicinal thesaurus.

Source: WorldCat: Rāj nighaṇṭu

1) Devī (देवी) is another name for Mūrvā, a medicinal plant identified with Marsdenia tenacissima from the Asclepiadoideae or “milkweed family” of flowering plants, according to verse 3.19-21 of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu. The third chapter (guḍūcyādi-varga) of this book contains climbers and creepers (vīrudh). Together with the names Devī and Mūrvā, there are a total of twenty-eight Sanskrit synonyms identified for this plant.

2) Devī (देवी) is also mentioned as a synonym for Liṅginī, an unidentified medicinal plant, according to verse 3.45-47.

3) Devī (देवी) is also mentioned as a synonym for Vandhyākarkoṭakī, a medicinal plant identified with Momordica dioica (spiny gourd) from the Cucurbitaceae or “gourd family” of flowering plants, according to verse 3.61-63.

4) Devī (देवी) is also mentioned as a synonym for Śāliparṇī, a medicinal plant identified with Desmodium gangeticum (sal leaved desmodium), from the Fabaceae or “legume” family of flowering plants, according to verse 4.17-20. The fourth chapter (śatāhvādi-varga) of this book enumerates eighty varieties of small plants (pṛthu-kṣupa).

Ayurveda book cover
context information

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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Devī (देवी).—(Mahāmāyā). Though Devī is without a beginning it is told how she became first visible to living beings. Beginning: While Mahāviṣṇu was resting on a fig leaf in the assumed form of a child he began thinking as to who he was, who created him and how he should act. And then a celestial voice announced as follows: (See full article at Story of Devī from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Devī (देवी).—The first charioteer; a Śakti.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 6. 17; 20. 91.

1b) The image of.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 258. 75; 266, 42.

1c) An Apsaras.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 6.
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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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhagavad-gita (4th edition)

Devī (देवी) refers to “demigoddess”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).

Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

Mother of Mahinda and Sanghamitta and wife of Asoka.

She was the daughter of Deva of Vedisagiri.

Asoka met and married her while on his way to Ujjeni, there to become Viceroy.

When he became king, Devi continued to live at Vedisagiri (Mhv.xiii.6ff;; Sp.i.70).

She is sometimes called Vedisa devi (MT.324).

Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

F Female counterpart of deva (see this world).

context information

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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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: The Indian Buddhist Iconography

Devī (देवी) is the Śakti of Sukhendra, and together forms one of the eight Yakṣa and Śakti pairs occupying the double lotus in the sādhana of Jambhala (yab-yum form), as described in the 5th-century Sādhanamālā (a collection of sādhana texts that contain detailed instructions for rituals).—Accordingly, when represented in Yab-Yum, he sits on the moon under which there is a double lotus of eight petals. [...] The eight petals of the lotus seat are occupied by the eight Yakṣas [viz., Sukhendra], who are identical in all respects with the principal figure. Each Yakṣa is accompanied by a Śakti [viz., Devī] with whom he remains in Yab-Yum in the same way as Jambhala remains with Vasudhārā [...]. The Yakṣiṇīs are identical in form with Vasudhārā, who is yellow in complexion, carries the ears of corn and shows the Varada-mudrā in her two hands.]

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

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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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

Devī (देवी) is the mother of Aranātha according to Śvetāmbara (but she is named Mitrā according to Digambara), according to the Ācāradinakara (14th century work on Jain conduct written by Vardhamāna Sūri). Aranātha is the eighteenth of twenty-four Tīrthaṅkaras in Janism. A Tīrthaṅkara is an enlightened being who has conquered saṃsāra (cycle of birth and death), leaving behind him a path for others to follow.

The husband of Devī is Sudarśana. It is an ancient Jain practice to worship the Tīrthaṅkara’s parents in various rites, such as the pratiṣṭhāvidhi.

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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India history and geogprahy

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Devī.—(IE 8-2; CII 1, 3; LL), a title originally of wives of independent monarchs and later also of feudatory rulers; often used as a termination of the names of wives of rulers of all classes; cf. Mahādevī; also means the Mother-goddess. Note: devī is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

devī : (f.) a goddess; a queen.

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

dēvī (देवी).—f (S) A goddess, the wife of any divine being; but used esp. of Durga or wife of Shiva. 2 pl The small pox;--it being considered as a visitation of Durga. Ex. dēvī ālyā-kāḍhalyā-kānapa- lyā-sukalya. dēvī kāḍhaṇēṃ To inoculate for the small pox. dēvī jāgaviṇēṃ To hold a wake before dēvī. A portion of a dēvīcēṃ vrata. (Amongst women.) Pr. dēvī raḍē hagatāṃ prasanna hōyagē bhaktāṃ Used in reproof of extravagant selfishness. dēvī dēvaḷānta paṇa nāyaṭē mulakānta Used where the vices or wicked doings (as of an embroiler or a slanderer) extend far and wide. Of dēvī in the sense of Small pox the varieties are āgyā -kathalyā -cighaḷyā-kōthimbiṛyā khēḷatyā- ghāgaṛyā-masuṛyā-sītaḷā-dēvī; and Inoculated small pox is kumbhārācyā dēvī or mātā. dēvīcā thāṭa The array (i. e. full or dense eruption) of the small pox.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

dēvī (देवी).—f A goddess. pl The small-pox. dēvī kāḍhaṇēṃ Inoculate for the small-pox; vaccinate.

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-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Devī (देवी).—

1) A female deity, a goddess.

2) Name of Durgā.

3) Name of Sarasvatī.

4) Name of Sāvitrī.

5) A queen, especially a crowned queen (agramahiṣī who has undergone the consecration along with her husband); प्रेष्य- भावेन नामेयं देवीशब्दक्षमा सती । स्नायीयवस्त्रक्रियया पत्त्रोर्णं वोपयुज्यते (preṣya- bhāvena nāmeyaṃ devīśabdakṣamā satī | snāyīyavastrakriyayā pattrorṇaṃ vopayujyate) M.5.12; देवीभावं गमिता परिवारपदं कथं भजत्येषा (devībhāvaṃ gamitā parivārapadaṃ kathaṃ bhajatyeṣā) K. P.1.

6) A respectful title applied to a lady of the first rank.

7) A kind of bird (śyāmā).

8) A particular supernatural power (kuṇḍalinī).

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

Devī (देवी).—name of a yakṣiṇī: Sādhanamālā 561.2 (but possibly only an epithet of one of the names which adjoin this word in a long [compound] listing names of yakṣiṇī).

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

Devī (देवी).—f. (-vī) See deva .

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

1) Devī (देवी):—[from deva] a f. See sub voce

2) Devi (देवि):—[from deva] a See devī.

3) Devī (देवी):—[from deva] b See devī.

4) Devi (देवि):—[from deva] b in [compound] for .

5) Devī (देवी):—[from deva] c f. (cf. deva) a female deity, goddess, [Ṛg-veda; Aitareya-brāhmaṇa; Mahābhārata] etc. (e.g. Uṣas, [Ṛg-veda vii, 75, 5]; Sarasvatī, [v, 41, 17]; Sāvitrī, the wife of Brahmā, [Mahābhārata]; Durgā, the wife of Śiva, [Mahābhārata; Harivaṃśa; Kāvya literature] etc.; the 4 goddesses of Buddhists are Rocanī, Māmakī, Pāṇḍurā and Tārā, [Dharmasaṃgraha iv])

6) [v.s. ...] Name of nymph beloved by the Sun, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

7) [v.s. ...] of an Apsaras, [Mahābhārata i, 4818]

8) [v.s. ...] (with Jainas) the mother of 18th Arhat of present Ava-sarpiṇī, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

9) [v.s. ...] queen, princess lady (the consecrated wife or daughter of a king, but also any woman of high rank), [Mahābhārata; Kāvya literature] etc.

10) [v.s. ...] a kind of bird (= śyāmā), [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

11) [v.s. ...] a [particular] supernatural power (= kuṇḍalinī), [Catalogue(s)]

12) [v.s. ...] worship, reverence, [Horace H. Wilson]

13) [v.s. ...] Name of plants (colocynth, a species of cyperus, Medicago Esculenta etc.), [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

14) [v.s. ...] (also) = gāyatrī, [Parāśara-smṛti]

15) [v.s. ...] = nāgī, [Buddhist literature]

context information

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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