Itihasa, Itihāsa, Iti-hasa: 25 definitions


Itihasa means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Itihas.

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In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Itihāsa (इतिहास) refers to an “ancient story”, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.3.35 (“The story of Padmā and Pippalāda”).—Accordingly, as Vasiṣṭha said to Himavat mount (Himācala): “[...] All kinds of riches were granted to the couple increasing their happiness. They were conducive to the prosperity here and hereafter. O lord of mountains, this ancient story (itihāsa) of the couple has been narrated to you. You have heard the story with pleasure and respect. Knowing the real situation give your daughter Pārvatī to Śiva. Cast off sins, O lord of mountains, in the company of your wife Mena. [...]”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Itihāsa (इतिहास).—(Purāṇa)—Historical literature known to Sūta;1 the fifth Veda; their origin; to be read or heard on days of fasting;2 came in a personified form, to see Trivikrama Hari.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 1. 6; Matsya-purāṇa 57. 15; 58. 4; 69. 33; 72. 6; 247. 17.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 4. 20, 22; III. 12. 39; Matsya-purāṇa 99. 11; Vāyu-purāṇa 54. 115; 55. 2; 60. 16; 79. 53; 104. 2; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 22. 83; III. 4. 10; V. 1. 38.
  • 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 21. 2; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 1. 171; II. 34. 16; III. 15. 25; IV. 4. 47, 56; 7. 9; Vāyu-purāṇa I. 25, 32.
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: Brhad Bhagavatamrtam

Itihāsa (इतिहास) refers to:—A history. (cf. Glossary page from Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta).

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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Kavyashastra (science of poetry)

Source: Shodhganga: Bhismacaritam a critical study

Itihāsa (इतिहास) (iti-ha-āsa) literally ‘so it was’ and Purāṇa literally ‘old’ are almost synonymous, and these terms are found associated with each other in the early literature. The word Itihāsa may become a saying, proverb rather than a legend. In this sense the words Gītā; and Gāthā; were also used. Gāthā; need not necessarily be sung and means only a proverbial verse. In the extant literature, the terms Itihāsa and Purāṇa have acquired a distinct use. Itihāsa may correspond to an epic and Purāṇa to a series of narrations, without the main porp of a running tale, meant solely to explain cosmological and theological tenets.

The Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata are found to be the original epics. The compiled, revised and researched forms of these two have originated the new tradition of epics. As per Jayakishan Khandelwal’s reference, amongst both, the Rāmāyaṇa is more poetic and less historic, while the Mahābhārata is more historic and less poetic. Hence, the Rāmāyaṇa is the father of decorated epics.

Kavyashastra book cover
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Kavyashastra (काव्यशास्त्र, kāvyaśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian tradition of poetry (kavya). Canonical literature (shastra) of the includes encyclopedic manuals dealing with prosody, rhetoric and various other guidelines serving to teach the poet how to compose literature.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Advaita Academy: Hinduism

Itihāsa is primarily a historical narrative in verse with an element of myth in it, with several interludes on morality, metaphysics, statecraft and other issues. Itihāsa was meant to popularize the message of the Vedas through stories of kings, and other ideal persons. Mahabharata is such an Itihāsa where there are innumerable case studies on dharma.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Itihas ("so indeed it was") as defined by Amarakosha (I.6.4) refers to purvavritta, i.e. events of the past. In the Vedic age, those portions of the Brahmanas which narrated events of bygone days were known as itihasa and had some ritualistic importance. The recitation of the itihasa-purana in the pariplava nights was a part of the Asvamedha ritual. Later, the connotation of the term widened to cover all such narratives which related to past events.

Source: Institute of Sri Ramchandra Consciousness: A Handbook of Hindu Religion: Literature

Itihāsa (इतिहास):—The Itihāsas describe how the duties taught in our Smṛtis are discharged by different individuals, how men should act when there is apparent conflict of duties, and thereby create in the minds of people a desire to follow dharma and to shun adharma. The Itihāsas are the Rāmāyana and the Mahābhārata.

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: A Study and Translation of the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā

Itihāsa (इतिहास) [=Itihāsaka?] refers to a “narrative of the past”, according to the Mahāvyutpatti (Cf. Bhūtapūrva in the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā: the eighth chapter of the Mahāsaṃnipāta—a collection of Mahāyāna Buddhist Sūtras).

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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India history and geography

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Itihāsa.—(EI 13), legendary lore. J Note: itihāsa 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
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, 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

[«previous next»] — Itihasa in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

itihāsa : (m.) history; tradition.

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

Itihāsa refers to: (= iti ha āsa, preserving the Vedic form āsa, 3rd sg. perf. of atthi) “thus indeed it has been”, legendary lore, oral tradition, history; usually mentioned as a branch of brahmanic learning, in phrase itihāsa-pañca-mānaṃ padako veyyākaraṇo etc. D. I, 88 = (see DA. I, 247); A. I, 163; III, 223; Sn. 447, 1020. Cp. also M Vastu I. 556.—hītiha (itiha + itiha) “so & so” talk, gossip, oral tradition, belief by hearsay etc. (cp. itikirā & anītiha. Nd2 spells ītihītiha) M. I, 520; S. I, 154; Sn. 1084; Nd2 151. (Page 118)

Note: itihāsa is a Pali compound consisting of the words iti and hāsa.

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

itihāsa (इतिहास).—m (S) History; written or traditional account of. This word is used interchangeably with śabda as a form of pramāṇa or Proof. See ex. under pramāṇa. 2 A detailed account of an affair gen.

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

itihāsa (इतिहास).—m History; a detailed account of an affair.

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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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Itihāsa (इतिहास).—[fr. iti-ha-āsa (3rd. pers. sing. Perf. of as to be); so it has been] (

1) History (legendary or traditional); धर्मार्थकाममोक्षाणामुपदेशसमन्वितम् पूर्ववृत्तं कथा- युक्तमितिहासं प्रचक्षते (dharmārthakāmamokṣāṇāmupadeśasamanvitam pūrvavṛttaṃ kathā- yuktamitihāsaṃ pracakṣate); Mb. cf. also आर्यादिबहुव्याख्यानं देवर्षि- चरिताश्रयम् । इतिहासमिति प्रोक्तं भविष्याद्भुतधर्मयुक् (āryādibahuvyākhyānaṃ devarṣi- caritāśrayam | itihāsamiti proktaṃ bhaviṣyādbhutadharmayuk) ||

2) Heroic history (such as the Mahābhārata).

3) Historical evidence, tradition (which is recognized as a proof by the Paurāṇikas).

Derivable forms: itihāsaḥ (इतिहासः).

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

Itihāsa (इतिहास).—m.

(-saḥ) History, traditional accounts of former events, heroic history, as the Mahabharata and Ramayana. E. itiha traditional instruction, as to be, and ghañ aff.

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

Itihāsa (इतिहास).—i. e. iti-ha-āsa (the last part is the third sing. of the pf. of 1. as) m. Traditional account, a legend, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 3, 232.

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

Itihāsa (इतिहास).—[masculine] story, legend, tradition.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Aufrecht Catalogus Catalogorum

Itihāsa (इतिहास) as mentioned in Aufrecht’s Catalogus Catalogorum:—Oppert. 6501.
—by Vasiṣṭha. B. 2, 128.
—by Vyāsa. B. 2, 128. Oppert. Ii, 5644.

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

1) Itihāsa (इतिहास):—[=iti-hāsa] [from iti] a see below

2) [=iti-hāsa] [from iti-ha > iti] b m. (iti-ha-āsa, ‘so indeed it was’), talk, legend, tradition, history, traditional accounts of former events, heroic history, [Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa; Mahābhārata; Manu-smṛti etc.]

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

Itihāsa (इतिहास):—[itihā+sa] (saḥ) 1. m. History.

[Sanskrit to German]

Itihasa 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

[«previous next»] — Itihasa in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Itihāsa (इतिहास) [Also spelled itihas]:—(nm) history; ~[kāra] a historian; ~[vettā] a scholar of history.

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Itihāsa (ಇತಿಹಾಸ):—

1) [noun] an account, in a narrative from, of what has or might have happened, esp. in chronological order with analysis and explanation; history.

2) [noun] a traditional account handed down for generations among a people and believed to have a historical basis; a legend.

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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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Nepali dictionary

Source: unoes: Nepali-English Dictionary

Itihāsa (इतिहास):—n. 1. history; epics/scriptures which convey historical and mythological sagas and tales; 2. the Books of Chronicles; two books of the Bible;

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Nepali is the primary language of the Nepalese people counting almost 20 million native speakers. The country of Nepal is situated in the Himalaya mountain range to the north of India.

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