Gaja, aka: Gajā; 15 Definition(s)


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

In Hinduism

Ayurveda (science of life)

Gaja (गज) is a Sanskrit word referring to the animal “elephant”. The meat of this animal is part of the māṃsavarga (‘group of flesh’), which is used throughout Āyurvedic literature. The animal Gaja is part of the sub-group named Ānupamṛga, refering to animals “who live in marshy land”. It was classified by Caraka in his Carakasaṃhitā sūtrasthāna (chapter 27), a classical Āyurvedic work. Caraka defined such groups (vargas) based on the dietic properties of the substance.

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Gaja (गज)—Sanskrit word for the animal “elephant” (Elephas maximus). This animal is from the group called Kūlacara (‘shore-dwellers’). Kūlacara itself is a sub-group of the group of animals known as Ānupa (those that frequent marshy places).

The flesh of the Elephant tends to produce a state of extreme parchedness in the system, and is liquefacient and heat-making in its potency. It vitiates the Pittam and has a palatable acid and saline taste, and destroys the Vāyu and Kapham.

Source: Sushruta samhita, Volume I
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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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Vastushastra (architecture)

1) Gaja (गज):—The Sanskrit name for a classification of a ‘temple’, according to the 2nd century Matsyapurāṇa and the Viśvakarmaprakāśa, both featuring a list of 20 temple types. This list represents the classification of temples in South-India.

Gaja is also mentioned in a list from the Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra chapter 56, being part of the group named Lalita, containing 25 unique temple varieties.

Gaja is found in another list in the Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra, chapter 63, where it is listed in the group named Nāgara, containing 20 different prāsādas (temples/buildings).

Gaja is also listed in the Agnipurāṇa which features a list of 45 temple types. It is listed under the group named Maṇika, featuring oval-shaped temples. This list represents a classification of temples in Nort-India.

2) Gajā (गजा, “elephant”) refers to the seventh of eight yoni (womb), according to the Mānasāra. It is also known by the name Dantī. Yoni is the fourth of the āyādiṣaḍvarga, or “six principles” that constitute the “horoscope” of an architectural or iconographic object. Their application is intended to “verify” the measurements of the architectural and iconographic object against the dictates of astrology that lay out the conditions of auspiciousness.

The particular yoni (eg., gajā) of all architectural and iconographic objects (settlement, building, image) must be calculated and ascertained. This process is based on the principle of the remainder. An arithmetical formula to be used in each case is stipulated, which engages one of the basic dimensions of the object (breadth, length, or perimeter/circumference). The first, third, fifth and seventh yonis are considered auspicious and therefore to be preferred, and the rest, inauspicious and to be avoided.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Gaja (गज, “elephant-form”) refers to one of the fifty-six vināyakas located at Kāśī (Vārāṇasī), and forms part of a sacred pilgrimage (yātrā), described in the Kāśīkhaṇḍa (Skanda-purāṇa 4.2.57). He is also known as Gajavināyaka, Gajagaṇeśa and Gajavighneśa. These fifty-six vināyakas are positioned at the eight cardinal points in seven concentric circles (8x7). They center around a deity named Ḍhuṇḍhirāja (or Ḍhuṇḍhi-vināyaka) positioned near the Viśvanātha temple, which lies at the heart of Kāśī, near the Gaṅges. This arrangement symbolises the interconnecting relationship of the macrocosmos, the mesocosmos and the microcosmos.

Gaja is positioned in the Northern corner of the fifth circle of the kāśī-maṇḍala. According to Rana Singh (source), his shrine is located at “Rajadarwaja, Bharbhuteshvara, K 54/ 44”. Worshippers of Gaja will benefit from his quality, which is defined as “the giver of strength and wealth”. His coordinates are: Lat. 25.18810, Lon. 83.00611 (or, 25°11'17.2"N, 83°00'22.0"E) (Google maps)

Kāśī (Vārāṇasī) is a holy city in India and represents the personified form of the universe deluded by the Māyā of Viṣṇu. It is described as a fascinating city which is beyond the range of vision of Giriśa (Śiva) having both the power to destroy great delusion, as well as creating it.

Gaja, and the other vināyakas, are described in the Skandapurāṇa (the largest of the eighteen mahāpurāṇas). This book narrates the details and legends surrounding numerous holy pilgrimages (tīrtha-māhātmya) throughout India. It is composed of over 81,000 metrical verses with the core text dating from the before the 4th-century CE.

Source: Wisdom Library: Skanda-purāṇa

1) Gaja (गज).—A powerful monkey King who fought on the side of Śrī Rāma against Rāvaṇa. (Vana Parva, Chapter 283, Verse 3).

2) Gaja (गज).—Younger brother of Śakuni, the son of Subala. He, along with his brother fought in the great war against the Pāṇḍavas and got killed by Irāvān. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 90).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Gaja (गज).—The name of an asura.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa XI. 12. 6.

1b) A pupil of Rathītara.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 35. 4.

1c) A son of Uttama Manu.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 36. 39.

1d) A son of Mṛga (Nāga).*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 332.

2) Gajā (गजा).—A chief Vānara.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 241.
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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Gaja (गज) or Gajahasta refers to “elephant trunk” and represents one of the four Elirkai gestures, as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—Accordingly, pratimā-lakṣaṇa (body postures of the icons) is comprised of hand gestures (hasta, mudrā or kai-amaiti), stances/poses (āsanas) and inflexions of the body (bhaṅgas). There are thirty-two types of hands [viz., gaja-hasta] classified into two major groups known as tolirkai (functional and expressive gestures) and elirkai (graceful posture of the hand).

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

General definition (in Jainism)

Gaja (गज, “elephant”).—One of the fourteen gems (ratna) serving the Cakravartin;—The gaja is an elephant of unsurpassable power.

Source: Google Books: Jainism: An Indian Religion of Salvation

Gaja (गज) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latter, as mentioned in Svayambhūdeva’s Paumacariu (Padmacarita, Paumacariya or Rāmāyaṇapurāṇa) chapter 57ff. Svayambhū or Svayambhūdeva (8th or 9th century) was a Jain householder who probably lived in Karnataka. His work recounts the popular Rāma story as known from the older work Rāmāyaṇa (written by Vālmīki). Various chapters [mentioning Gaja] are dedicated to the humongous battle whose armies (known as akṣauhiṇīs) consisted of millions of soldiers, horses and elephants, etc.

Source: Een Kritische Studie Van Svayambhūdeva’s Paümacariu
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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

gaja : (m.) an elephant.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Gaja, (Sk. gaja) an elephant J.IV, 494; Miln.2, 346; DhsA.295 (appld to a kind of thought).

—potaka the young of an elephant PvA.152;—rājā the king of the elephants Miln.346. (Page 240)

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

gaja (गज).—m (S) An elephant. gajamastakārūḍha Mounted upon the head of an elephant, i. e. exceedingly haughty or proud. gaja- skandhīṃ basaṇēṃ (To sit upon the shoulder of an elephant. ) To forget, in newly acquired dignities, one's former acquaintance; to be puffed up.

--- OR ---

gaja (गज).—m ( P) A measure of length, a measure of about 2 feet or 24 tasū. 2 A measuring rod of this length. 3 A quantity (of cloth &c.) measured by one gaja. 4 A ramrod. 5 A bar as fixed in a grate, window, railing. 6 The border or raised edge of a well or tank.

--- OR ---

gajā (गजा).—m (Gaja.) A narrow piece of cloth worn round the waist in the way of a dhotar.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

gaja (गज).—m An elephant. A measure of tasū. A measuring rod of this length. A quantity (of cloth &c.) measured by one gaja. A bar as fixed in a grate, window, railing.

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

Gaja (गज).—[gaj-made ac]

1) An elephant; कचाचितौ विश्वगिवागजौ गजौ (kacācitau viśvagivāgajau gajau) Ki.1.36.

2) The number 'eight'.

3) A measure of length, a Gaja or yard, (thus defined :-- sādhāraṇanarāṅgulyā triṃśadaṅgulako gajaḥ).

4) A demon killed by Śiva.

5) One of the eight elephants of the quarters.

-jī A female elephant; वितृषोऽपि पिबन्त्यम्भः पाययन्तो गजा गजीः (vitṛṣo'pi pibantyambhaḥ pāyayanto gajā gajīḥ) Bhāg.4.6.26.

Derivable forms: gajaḥ (गजः).

Source: DDSA: The practical 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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Relevant definitions

Search found 166 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Gajadanta (गजदन्त).—1) an elephant's tusk, ivory; कार्योलङ्कार- विधिर्गजदन्तेन प्रशस्तेन (kāryo...
Gajapati.—(IE 8-2; EI 9, 30; CII 4; HD), ‘the lord of elephants’; officer in charge of the elep...
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Diggaja (दिग्गज).—m. one of the eight elephants said to guard and preside over the eight cardin...
Gajendra (गजेन्द्र).—1) an excellent elephant, a lordly elephant; किं रुष्टासि गजेन्द्रमन्दगमने...
Gajagati (गजगति).—f. 1) a stately, majestic gait like that of an elephant. 2) a woman with such...
Gajarāja (गजराज).—a lordly or noble elephant. Derivable forms: gajarājaḥ (गजराजः).Gajarāja is a...
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Gajāri (गजारि) or Gajārimūrti refers to one of the twenty-eighth forms (mūrti) of Śiva mentione...

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