Jambu, aka: Jambū; 15 Definition(s)


Jambu 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.

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

One of the Hands indicating Trees.—Jambu, the Ardha-patāka hand.

(Source): archive.org: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Natyashastra book cover
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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).


Jambū (जम्बू).—A tree which stands on the southern side of the mount Mahāmeru. This tree bears fruits and flowers throughout the year irrespective of the seasons. This tree is watered by the Siddhacāraṇas. The branches of this tree reach the realm of heaven. The place in which this tree stands is known as Jambūdvīpa. The ripe fruits as big as elephants fall down and are broken. The juice oozing from them flows as a big stream. This is called the river Jambū. It flows through the southern part of the country known as Ilāvṛtta. The goddess who lives on the bank of this big river is known as Jambvādinī. She is very fond of Jambū fruit. This goddess who loves everything in the world, is worshipped by the gods, nāgas (snakes), the hermits and sages, Rākṣasas (giants) and every body in the world with devotion. Even by the mere thinking of her she could be pleased. She destroys the sins and increases the purity of people. She cures all the diseases and gives people, health, wealth, long life, prosperity and happiness.

The juice of the Jambū fruit when mixed with soil and acted upon by water, air and sun’s rays, turns into a kind of gold called Jāmbūnada. The devas, Vidyādharas etc. use this gold to make ornaments for their women. This gold is superior to other kinds of gold. (Devī Bhāgavata, Skandha 8).

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1) Jambu (जम्बु).—The tree at Ilāvṛtam in the Himālayas.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 17. 12; 19. 29; III. 22. 37; 27. 17; IV. 43. 17.

2a) Jambū (जम्बू).—(Jāmbūnada) a river of juice of celestial roseapple tree flowing from the top of Merumandara into Ilāvṛta. The earth on its two banks yields fine gold jāmbūnada from which jewels are made in heaven; source of jambu;1 R. from Candraprabha2 in colour like a butterfly.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 16. 19-20; Vāyu-purāṇa 35. 26-30.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 18. 69.
  • 3) Vāyu-purāṇa 46. 30.

2b) (Jambūdvīpa)—occupies the central position of the globe in the form of a lotus leaf, in extent a 100,000 yojanas. There are nine continents demarcated by mountain ranges. In the middle is situated Ilāvṛta, at whose middle portion stands Meru. Some say that eight extra countries were attached to it by the sons of Sagara who dug into the earth on all sides in search of sacrificial horse. This dvīpa is surrounded by salt sea.1 Contains many janapadas, cities, mountains, rivers, nine bhuvanas, salt ocean, six varṣaparvatas and two oceans—east and west. Divided into nine parts among the sons of Āgnīdhra;2 from the jambu tree.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 12. 5; V. 1. 32; 16. 5-7; 19. 29-30; 20. 2; Matsya-purāṇa 83. 32; 113. 7; 122. 2; 284. 2; Vāyu-purāṇa 11. 84; 33. 11 and 45; ch. 34. Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 3. 28.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 17. 24, 30; 15. 8 to the end; 14. 11, 43 and 52; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 1. 12; 2. 23-25.
  • 3) Vāyu-purāṇa 46. 25.
(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.

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Jambū (जम्बू) refers to one of the seven continents (saptadvīpa) situated within the world of the earth (pṛthivī), according to Parākhyatantra 5.61. It is also known as Jambūdvīpa. These continents are located above the seven pātālas and may contain even more sub-continents within them, are round in shape, and are encircled within seven concentric oceans.

According to the Parākhya-tantra, “all this is called the continent Jambu, where the Jambu tree with large fruits grows. Because of contact with the juices that come from those arises the gold known as Jāmbūnada. Outside that is the ocean (sāgara) of salt water that was created bythe sons of Sagara”.

The Parākhyatantra is an old Śaiva-siddhānta tantra dating from before the 10th century.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śaivism
Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

A village, in command of which was a Tamil general of the same name, whom Dutthagamani slew. Mhv.xxv.15.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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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).

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

1) Jambū (जम्बू) is the name of the caitya-tree (identified with Eugenia jambulana) under which the parents of Vimala are often depicted in Jaina iconography, according to the Śvetāmbara tradition. According to the Digambara tradition the tree is known as Pāṭalajambū. The term caitya refers to “sacred shrine”, an important place of pelgrimage and meditation in Jainism. Sculptures with such caitya-trees generally shows a male and a female couple seated under a tree with the female having a child on her lap. Usually there is a seated Jina figure on top of the tree.

Vimala is the thirteenth of twenty-four tīrthaṅkaras: enlightened beings who, having conquered saṃsāra (cycle of birth and death), leave a path behind for others to follow. His father is Kṛtavarmā and his mother is Śyāmā according to Śvetāmbara or Jayaśyāmā according to Digambara, according to the Ācāradinakara (14th century work on Jain conduct written by Vardhamāna Sūri).

2) Jambū (जम्बू) is the shorter name of Jambūdvīpa, one of the continents (dvīpa) of the middle-world (madhyaloka) which is encircled by the ocean named Lavaṇasamudra (or simply Lavaṇa), according to Jain cosmology. The middle-world contains innumerable concentric dvīpas and, as opposed to the upper-world (adhaloka) and the lower-world (ūrdhvaloka), is the only world where humans can be born.

Jambū is recorded in ancient Jaina canonical texts dealing with cosmology and geography of the universe. Examples of such texts are the Saṃgrahaṇīratna in the Śvetāmbara tradition or the Tiloyapannatti and the Trilokasāra in the Digambara tradition.

3) Jambū (जम्बू) refers to the caityavṛkṣa (sacred-tree) associated with the Dvīpa or Dvīpakumāra class of the bhavanavāsin species of Devas (gods), according to Jain cosmology. They are defined according to the cosmological texts, such as the Saṃgrahaṇīratna in the Śvetāmbara tradition, or the Trilokasāra in the Digambara tradition.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

1) Jambu (जम्बु) refers to a kind of tree (vṛkṣa) commonly found in the forests (vaṇa) of ancient India, mentioned in the Jñātādharmakathāṅga-sūtra. Forests have been a significant part of the Indian economy since ancient days. They have been considered essential for economic development in as much as, besides bestowing many geographical advantages, they provide basic materials for building, furniture and various industries. The most important forest products are wood and timber which have been used by the mankind to fulfil his various needs—domestic, agricultural and industrial.

Different kinds of trees (eg., the Jambu tree) provided firewood and timber. The latter was used for furniture, building materials, enclosures, staircases, pillars, agricultural purposes, e. g. for making ploughs, transportation e. g. for making carts, chariots, boats, ships, and for various industrial needs. Vaṇa-kamma was an occupation dealing in wood and in various otherforest products. Iṅgāla-kamma was another occupation which was concerned with preparing charcoal from firewood.

2) Jambu (जम्बु) refers to the “blackberry” (Syzygium cumini): a type of fruit (phala), according to Jain canonical texts (eg., the Jñātādharmakathāṅga-sūtra from the 3rd century B.C.). Various kinds of fruits were grown and consumed by the people in ancient India. Fruits were also dried up for preservation. Koṭṭaka was a place for this operation. Besides being grown in orchards, fruits were gathered from jungles and were carried to cities for sales.

The Jain canonical texts frequently mention different horticulture products viz. fruits (eg., Jambu fruit), vegetables and flowers which depict that horticulture was a popular pursuit of the people at that time. Gardens and parks (ārāma, ujjāṇa or nijjāṇa) were full of fruits and flowers of various kinds which besides yielding their products provided a calm and quiet place where people could enjoy the natural surroundings.

(Source): archive.org: Economic Life In Ancient India (as depicted in Jain canonical literature)

Jambū (जम्बू) is the name of the tree enveloping the continent of Jambūdvīpa: the first continent of the Madhya-loka (middle-word), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 3.10.—The main Jambū tree is located in the middle of the most auspicious-enjoyment-land (bhogabhūmi) called Uttarakuru. Uttarakuru in turn lies north of Sudarśana Mount or Meru in Videha-kṣetra. What is the size of Jambū tree’s family? There are four satellite trees in the four directions around this Jambū tree. There are 140115 trees around these satellite trees. Thus the total number of trees including the main and four trees is 140120.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 3: The Lower and middle 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.

India history and geogprahy

Jambu (or, Jaṃbū) refers to one of the 84 castes (gaccha) in the Jain community according to local Gujarat tradition. The Jain caste and sub-caste system was a comparatively later development within their community, and it may have arisen from the ancient classification of Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya and Śūdra. Before distinction of these classes (such as Jambu), the society was not divided into distinct separate sections, but all were considered as different ways of life and utmost importance was attached to individual chartacter and mode of behaviour.

According to Dr. Vilas Adinath Sangava, “Jainism does not recognise castes (viz., Jambu) as such and at the same time the Jaina books do not specifically obstruct the observance of caste rules by the members of the Jaina community. The attitude of Jainism towards caste is that it is one of the social practices, unconnected with religion, observed by people; and it was none of its business to regulate the working of the caste system” (source).

The legendary account of the origin of these 84 Jain castes (eg., Jambu) relate that once a rich Jain invited members of the Jain community in order to establish a vaiśya-mahāsabhā (i.e. Central Association of Traders). In response, 84 representatives came from different places, and they were later seen as the progenitors of these castes. Various sources however mention differences in the list.

(Source): Wisdom Library: India History

Jambu is the name of a tree mentioned in the Kathasaritsagara by Somadeva (10th century A.D).—Jambu refers to the “Rose-apple” and is known for its sweet fruits.

Somadeva mentions many rich forests, gardens, various trees (eg., Jambu), 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 Jambu, 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

Pali-English dictionary

jambu : (f.) the rose-apple tree. || jambū (f.) the rose-apple tree.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Jambu, (f.) (Sk. jambu) the rose-apple tree, Eugenia Jambolana J. II, 160; V, 6; Vv 67; 4413, 164.—As adj. f. jambī sarcastically “rose-apple-maid, ” appld to a gardener’s daughter J. III, 22.

—dīpa the country of the rose-apples i.e. India J. I, 263; VvA. 18; Miln. 27, etc. —nada see jambonada; —pakka the fruit of Eugenia jambolana, the rose-apple (of black or dark colour) Vism. 409; —pesī the rind of the r. -a. fruit J. V, 465; —rukka the r. -a. tree DhA. III, 211; —saṇḍa rose-apple grove (=°dīpa, N. for India) Sn. 552= Th. 1, 822. (Page 279)

(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.

Marathi-English dictionary

jambu (जंबु).—f (S) Rose apple-plant, Eugenia Jambu. 2 n or jambuphala n Its fruit.

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jambū (जंबू).—m A tribe, or an individual of it, of Brahmans in Gujarat. Also called khistī.

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

jambu (जंबु).—f Rose-apple plant, Engenia Jambu.

(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.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Jambu (जम्बु) or Jambū (जम्बू).—f.

1) The rose apple tree and its fruit; द्राक्षेक्षुरम्भाजम्बूभिः (drākṣekṣurambhājambūbhiḥ) Bhāg.8.2.13.

(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.

Relevant definitions

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