Ela, aka: Eḷa, Elā; 12 Definition(s)


Ela means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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.

The Sanskrit term Eḷa can be transliterated into English as Ela or Elia, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Rasaśāstra (chemistry and alchemy)

Elā (एला):—One of the sixty-seven Mahauṣadhi, as per Rasaśāstra texts (rasa literature). These drugs are useful for processing mercury (rasa), such as the alchemical processes known as sūta-bandhana and māraṇa.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Rasa-śāstra
Rasaśāstra book cover
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Rasaśāstra (रसशास्त्र, rasa-shastra) is an important branch of Āyurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasaśāstra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.

Āyurveda (science of life)

Elā (एला) is a Sanskrit word referring to the “Cardamom” spice, made from the seeds of plants in the Zingiberaceae family, and is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. According to ayurveda, cardamom is good for balancing all the three doshas, and is also used for reducing intestinal gas.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Elā (एला).—The Sanskrit name for an important Āyurvedic drug.—Elā plant grows in South India. It is fragrant and cold and is used in consumption and dysuria and for purifying mouth.

(Source): Google Books: Essentials of Ayurveda
Āyurveda 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.

Śāktism (Śākta philosophy)

Elā (एला) is the name of a tree found in maṇidvīpa (Śakti’s abode), according to the Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa 12.10. Accordingly, these trees always bear flowers, fruits and new leaves, and the sweet fragrance of their scent is spread across all the quarters in this place. The trees (eg. Elā) attract bees and birds of various species and rivers are seen flowing through their forests carrying many juicy liquids. Maṇidvīpa is defined as the home of Devī, built according to her will. It is compared with Sarvaloka, as it is superior to all other lokas.

The Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa, or Śrīmad-devī-bhāgavatam, is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, a type of Sanskrit literature containing cultural information on ancient India, religious/spiritual prescriptions and a range of topics concerning the various arts and sciences. The whole text is composed of 18,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 6th century.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam
Śāktism book cover
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Śākta (शाक्त, shakta) or Śāktism (shaktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devī) is revered and worshipped. Śākta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Elā (एला).—Name of a musical composition (subgenre of song);—The start (graha=pāṇi) of the musical metre (tāla) should take place before (anāgata) or after (atīta) the start of the melody, but not at the same time (sama) as the latter. In this way all characteristics of the elā compositions have been preserved by the ancient experts. There are sixteen words in the elā composition, viz.: six words in the udgrāha, the same number in the pallava; traditionally, the melāpaka has one word; in the dhruva there are three words. In this connection the word (pada) is the subdivision (khaṇḍa). This is the rule.

These are the respective names of the sixteen words of the elā compositions:

  1. kāma (longing),
  2. manmathavat (enamoured),
  3. kānta (lovely),
  4. jita (subdued),
  5. matta (ecstatic),
  6. vikāravat (variegated),
  7. māndhātṛ (thoughtful),
  8. sumatī (devotional),
  9. śobhī (brilliant),
  10. suśobhī (very brilliant),
  11. gītaka (melodious),
  12. añcita (honorific lit. “bent”),
  13. vicitra (diverse),
  14. vāsava (supreme),
  15. mṛdu (tender),
  16. sucitra (extremely diverse),

The first word of the second line is called vikāravat. The next ten words, i.e. the seventh to the sixteenth word, correspond to the following types of musical expression: homogeneous (samāna), sweet (madhura), intense (sāndra), lovely (kānta), brilliant (dīpta), harmonious (samāhita), wild (agrāmya), delicate (sukumāra) distinct (prasanna) and vigorous (ojasvin)

These are the respective deities of the words of the elā composition:

  1. lokamātā (mother of the world),
  2. patriṇī (the feathered one),
  3. rañjanī (the charming one),
  4. sumukhī (the fair-faced one)
  5. śacī (the powerful one),
  6. vareṇya (the desirable one),
  7. vāyuvegā (swift as the wind),
  8. medinī (the earth),
  9. mohinī (the bewildering one),
  10. jayā (the victorious one),
  11. gaurī (the brilliant one),
  12. vāṇī (=Sarasvatī, ‘speech’),
  13. mātaṅgī (female elephant),
  14. caṇḍikā (the passionate one),
  15. vijayā (the triumphant one),
  16. cāmuṇḍā (a particular form of Durgā),

Some people mention here, immediately after caṇḍikā, devatāhara (the divine destructor, i.e. Śiva).

(Source): Google Books: Saṅgītaśiromaṇi: A Medieval Handbook of Indian Music

Elā (एला).—The important subgenre of song known as elā (“cardamon”) provides another opportunity to see the process of categorical expansion at work; it is also instructive in the efforts of authors and compilers to “map” this species of song across the entire universe of Indian culture and civilization. Mataṅga’s account of the elās occupies almost 45 percent of the Bṛhaddeśī’s prabandha canto.

Twenty-eight separate versions of the elā are grouped into four primary categories, following a brief description of their general characteristics. By the time of the Saṅgītaratnākara the elās have grown to 356, with an “infinite” number of mixed varieties.

Elā was regarded as auspicious and as one of the most important of the prabandhas. Its name is explained in a typical passage of nirukta analysis in which each of the phonetic elements signifies a member of an illustrious family group: analyzing the inital e as a diphthong (ai), a represents Viṣṇu, i his “flower-armed” son Kāmadeva, the god of love, and la his wife Lakṣmī.

(Source): Google Books: Music and Musical Thought in Early India
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
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Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (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 (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).

In Buddhism


elā : (f.) 1. saliva; 2. the seed or plant of cardamom. || eḷā (f.), saliva.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Eḷa, (nt.) (Sk. enas) in eḷamūga deaf & dumb A.II, 252; III, 436; IV, 226; Miln.20, 251 (cp. Miln.trsl. II.71). A rather strange use and expln. of eḷamūga (with ref. to a snake “spitting”) we find at J.III, 347, where it is expld. as “eḷa-paggharantena mukhena eḷamūgaṃ” i.e. called eḷamūga because of the saliva (foam?) dripping from its mouth, v. l. elamukha.—Cp. neḷa & aneḷa. (Page 161)

— or —

Ela, (nt.) (?) salt(?) or water(?) in elambiya (= el°ambu-ja) born in (salt) water Sn.845 (= ela-saññaka ambumhi jāta); Nd1 202 (elaṃ vuccati udakaṃ). (Page 161)

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

India history and geogprahy

King Ela or Aila.—According to an excerpt published in 1801 in the sixth volume of the Asiatic Researches or Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, the name of the king was Ela or Aila who built the city of Elapura. He also excavated the temples, and built the fortress of Devagiri (Daulatabad). According to Puranas, Aila kings belonged to the Lunar dynasty.

(Source): academia.edu: The Date of Ellora’s Kailasa Cave-Temple

Ela is the name of a tree mentioned in the Kathasaritsagara by Somadeva (10th century A.D).—Ela refers to the “cardum-tree” and is mentioned with the Lavanga-bakulamra trees.

Somadeva mentions many rich forests, gardens, various trees (eg., Ela), creepers medicinal and flowering plants and fruit-bearing trees in the Kathasaritsagara. Travel through the thick, high, impregnable and extensive Vindhya forest is a typical feature of many travel-stories. Somadeva’s writing more or less reflects the life of the people of Northern India during the 11th century. His Kathasaritsagara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Ela, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravahanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyadharas (celestial beings).

(Source): Shodhganga: Cultural history as g leaned from kathasaritsagara
India history book cover
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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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

ēlā (एला).—f S A cardamom (large or small), a seed of warp. Eletteria or Alpinia cardamomum: also the plant. 2 m A tree, Terminalia nitida. Grah.

--- OR ---

ēḷa (एळ).—f m (Vulgar for vēḷa q. v.) Time: also a time, a period.

--- OR ---

ēḷā (एळा).—f pl (ēlā S) Cardamoms, esp. of the large kind. 2 A tree, Terminalia nitida. Grah.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

ēlā (एला).—m A carda- mom.

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