Dhenu: 25 definitions


Dhenu means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Buddhism, Pali, 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.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

Dhenu (धेनु).—One of the seven major rivers in Śākadvīpa, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 86. Śākadvīpa is one of the seven islands (dvīpa), ruled over by Medhātithi, one of the ten sons of Priyavrata, son of Svāyambhuva Manu, who was created by Brahmā, who was in turn created by Nārāyaṇa, the unknowable all-pervasive primordial being.

The Varāhapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 24,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 10th century. It is composed of two parts and Sūta is the main narrator.

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia

Dhenu (धेनु).—See under Surabhi.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Dhenu (धेनु).—The brown cow fit for gift in honour of the sun; the giver attains Golokam—details described.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 93. 60. 80; 105. 16; 205. 1-7.
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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)

Dhenu (धेनु, “cow”) refers to a type of animal form, representing one of the several “attributes” (āyudha) or “accessories” of a detiy commonly seen depicted in Hindu iconography, defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—The śilpa texts have classified the various accessories under the broad heading of āyudha or karuvi (implement), including even flowers, animals, and musical instruments. The animals and birds found as vehicles for the deities or held as attributes or weapons in the hands of the deities are, for example, Dhenu.

Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Source: Prācyā: Animals and animal products as reflected in Smṛti texts

Dhenu (धेनु) or Go refers to the animal “Cow” (Bos tauras).—The Smṛtis mention several domestic as well as wild animals that are enumerated in context of specifying expiation for killing them, the flesh being used as a dietary article to give satisfaction to the Manes (Pitṛs) in Śrāddha rites, the law of transmigration due to various sins committed as well as in the context of specifying gifts to be given on various occasions. These animals [viz., Dhenu] are chiefly mentioned in the Manusmṛti, Parāśarasmṛti [Chap.6], Gautamasmṛti [17.2 and 15.1], Śātātapasmṛti [II.45-54], Uśānasmṛti [IX.7-9; IX.12-13], Yājñavalkyasmṛti [I.170-171; I.175; I.258- 260], Viṣṇusmṛti [51.3;51.6;51.26;51.33;80.3-14], Uttarāṅgirasasmṛti [X.15-17], Prajāpatismṛti [Śrāddhatyājyavastuvarṇanam. 138-143], 9 Kāśyapasmṛti [Section on Prāyaścittavarṇanam], Vṛddha Hārītasmṛti [6.253-255] and Kātyāyanasmṛti [27.11].

Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Veterinary Medicine (The study and treatment of Animals)

Source: Shodhganga: Portrayal of Animal Kingdom (Tiryaks) in Epics An Analytical study

Dhenu (धेनु) refers to the Cow, according to scientific texts such as the Mṛgapakṣiśāstra (Mriga-pakshi-shastra) or “the ancient Indian science of animals and birds” by Hamsadeva, containing the varieties and descriptions of the animals and birds seen in the Sanskrit Epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Ayurveda book cover
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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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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Source: Wisdom Library: Brihat Samhita by Varahamihira

Dhenu (धेनु) refers to “cows”, according to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā (chapter 12), an encyclopedic Sanskrit work written by Varāhamihira mainly focusing on the science of ancient Indian astronomy astronomy (Jyotiṣa).—Accordingly, “[...] I will now speak of the rules of the arghya (offering) to be presented to Agastya as stated by the Ṛṣis. [...] When the darkness of the night should just begin to be broken by streaks of red light from the eastern horizon, princes, previously prepared for the purpose, ought to offer their arghya to Agastya by pouring it on the Earth in the direction of the star Canopus rising in the south-east as will be pointed out by the astronomer. The offering to be made by princes in honor of Agastya shall consist of the fragrant flowers of the season, of fruits, of precious stones, of gold cloths, of cows [i.e., dhenu], of bulls, of well-cooked rice, of sweet-meats, of curdled milk, of colored rice, of perfumed smoke and fragrant paste”.

Source: Google Books: Studies in the History of the Exact Sciences (Astronomy)

Dhenu (धेनु) refers to a “milch-cow” and represents one of the items offered to the priests, according to the grahaśānti (cf. grahayajña) section of the Yājñavalkyasmṛti (1.295-309), preceded by the section called vināyakakalpa (1.271-294), prescribing a rite to be offered to Vināyaka.—[verse 306: Gifts to priests]—It seems that when a specific graha was chosen as the object of appeasement, the gift (dakṣiṇā) [i.e., dhenu] prescribed for each graha was to be given to the priest(s) who performed the śānti ritual.

Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotisha (ज्योतिष, jyotiṣa or jyotish) refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents the fifth of the six Vedangas (additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas). Jyotisha concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

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

Dhenu (धेनु) refers to the “cow (of heaven)”, according to the 11th century Jñānārṇava, a treatise on Jain Yoga in roughly 2200 Sanskrit verses composed by Śubhacandra.—Accordingly, “The wishing gem, divine treasure, cow of heaven (svar-dhenu), [and] wishing trees along with Lakṣmī—I think these are servants existing from ancient times of the doctrine. The doctrine bestows upon embodied souls prosperity which is desired by Indra and the lords of men and snakes, and is to be revered in the three worlds”.

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: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

dhenu : (f.) a cow; a female animal in general.

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

Dhenu, (f.) (Sk. dhenu, to dhayati to give suck, see dhātī & dhītar) a milch cow, a female animal in general J.I, 152 (miga° hind); Vv 806; DhA.I, 170; 396; PvA.112. In simile at Vism.313. (Page 343)

Pali book cover
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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

dhēnu (धेनु).—f (S) A cow.

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

dhēnu (धेनु).—f A cow.

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

Dhenu (धेनु).—f. [dhayati sutān, dhīyate vatsairvā, dhe-nu icca Tv.]

1) A cow, milch-cow; धेनुं धीराः सूनृतां वाचमाहुः (dhenuṃ dhīrāḥ sūnṛtāṃ vācamāhuḥ) Uttararāmacarita 5.31.

2) The female of a species (affixed to the names of other animals in this sense); as खड्गधेनुः, वडवधेनुः (khaḍgadhenuḥ, vaḍavadhenuḥ) &c.

3) The earth. (Sometimes at the end of comp. dhenu forms a diminutive; as asidhenuḥ, khaḍgadhenuḥ).

4) Any offering or present to Brāhmaṇa instead of or in the shape of a cow such as गुडधेनु, घृतधेनु, तिलधेनु, जलधेनु, क्षीरधेनु, मधुधेनु, शर्कराधेनु, दधिधेनु, रसधेनु, स्वरूपधेनु (guḍadhenu, ghṛtadhenu, tiladhenu, jaladhenu, kṣīradhenu, madhudhenu, śarkarādhenu, dadhidhenu, rasadhenu, svarūpadhenu); Matsya P.

5) A mare; यथा धेनुः किशोरेण (yathā dhenuḥ kiśoreṇa) MS.7.4.7. (tadyathā kṛṣṇakiśorā dhenuriti | yadyapi dhenuśabdo godhenvāṃ dṛṣṭapravṛttistathāpyabhi- dhānasāmānyādaśvadhenvāmapi bhāgīti kiśoreṇa liṅgena aśvadhenvāṃ vijñāyate | ŚB.).

Derivable forms: dhenuḥ (धेनुः).

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

Dhenu (धेनु).—f.

(-nuḥ) A milch cow, one that has lately calved. E. dhe to drink, Unadi affix nu icca . dhayati sutān, dhīyate pīyate vatsairvā .

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

Dhenu (धेनु).—[dhe + nu], f. 1. A milch cow, one that has lately calved, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 11, 137. 2. The earth, Mahābhārata 13, 3165. 3. Gift, Mahābhārata 3, 12727; in this signification the word is used especially as latter part of comp. words, e. g. tila, Mahābhārata 13, 3286; ghṛta-, 3523, etc., which imply that sesame, ghee, etc., are given instead of a milch cow, a milch cow being the usual present given to a Brāhmaṇa.

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

Dhenu (धेनु).—[adjective] milching; [feminine] = [preceding], [figuratively] the earth.

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

1) Dhenu (धेनु):—[from dhe] mfn. milch, yielding or giving milk

2) [v.s. ...] f. a milch cow or any cow, [Ṛg-veda] etc. etc. (ifc. of names of animals also denoting the female of any species of khaḍga-, go-, vaḍava-)

3) [v.s. ...] any offering or present to Brāhmans instead or in the shape of a cow (mostly ifc. cf. ghṛta-, jala-, tilaetc., where it also forms diminutives; cf. asi-, khaḍga-)

4) [v.s. ...] metaph. = the earth, [Mahābhārata xiii, 3165]

5) [v.s. ...] [plural] any beverage made of milk, [Ṛg-veda iv, 22, 6 etc.]

6) [v.s. ...] n. Name of a Sāman, [Ārṣeya-brāhmaṇa] (also marutāṃ dh and dhenu-payasī [dual number])

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

Dhenu (धेनु):—(nuḥ) 2. f. () A milch cow.

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

Dhenu (धेनु) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Dheṇu.

[Sanskrit to German]

Dhenu 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

Dhenu (धेनु):—(nf) a (milch) cow.

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Prakrit-English dictionary

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

Dheṇu (धेणु) in the Prakrit language is related to the Sanskrit word: Dhenu.

context information

Prakrit is an ancient language closely associated with both Pali and Sanskrit. Jain literature is often composed in this language or sub-dialects, such as the Agamas and their commentaries which are written in Ardhamagadhi and Maharashtri Prakrit. The earliest extant texts can be dated to as early as the 4th century BCE although core portions might be older.

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Dhēnu (ಧೇನು):—

1) [noun] the mature female of a bovine animal, of the genus Bos; a cow.

2) [noun] a cow that has just calved.

3) [noun] the wish-yielding celestial cow.

4) [noun] a female elephant.

5) [noun] a cow or something in lieu of it, donated to a brāhmaṇa.

6) [noun] land; field.

7) [noun] a long, hand-held, weapon with a sharp-pointed blade and a handle at one end; a sword.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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