Kaka, aka: Kāka, Kākā; 18 Definition(s)


Kaka 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.

In Hinduism

Ayurveda (science of life)

Kāka (काक)—Sanskrit word for a bird corresponding to “crow”. This animal is from the group called Prasaha (‘carnivorous birds’). Prasaha itself is a sub-group of the group of animals known as Jāṅghala (living in high ground and in a jungle).

Source: archive.org: Sushruta samhita, Volume I

Kāka (काक) refers to the “crow” as described in the 17th century Bhojanakutūhala (dravyaguṇāguṇa-kathana), and is commonly found in literature dealing with the topics of dietetics and culinary art, also known as Pākaśāstra or Pākakalā.—Kāka is mentioned in a discusses regarding the reaction of certain insects and other living beings on consumption of poisionous food. The after-effect of intake of poison for Kāka (crow) is defined as: “die after tasting poisoned food”.

Source: Shodhganga: Dietetics and culinary art in ancient and medieval India
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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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

1) Kāka (काक).—A son of Kaṃsa (Bhāgavata, 9th Skandha). (See full article at Story of Kāka from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

2) Kāka (काक).—(crow) Origin. Kaśyapa was the son of Marīci, who was the son of Brahmā. Kaśyapa’s wife Tāmrā had many daughters like Kākī, Śyenī, Bhāsī, Gṛdhṛkā, Śukī and Grīvā. From Kākī were born the crows in the world. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 19). Crows—the symbol of sin. There is a reference in Śiva Purāṇa to this. Long ago the King of Kāśī had a daughter named Kalāvatī. Even in her youth, she received the "Śaiva pañcākṣara mantra." After that, she was married by Dāśārha, King of Mathurā, who was a sinner. When he touched Kalāvatī who was a holy woman, he experienced unbearable heat. Kalāvatī said that it was because of the King’s sin. So she took Dāśārha to the sage Garga, who purified Dāśārha with his mantras (incantations) and made him stand in water. At once the King’s sins came out of his body in the shape of crows. Some of them flew away. Many of them fell down with their wings burnt. Seeing this, the sage Garga said that all those crows were the volume of sins accumulated in the course of the innumerable births through which he had passed. (Śiva Purāṇa, Pañcākṣara Māhātmya). The Crow and Rice-offerings. In Uttara Rāmāyaṇa there is a story about the crow’s right to eat the offering of rice to Pitṛs. Once a King named Marutta performed a Maheśvara sattra. Indra and other gods attended the sattra. Hearing about this, Rāvaṇa came that way. The frightened gods fled away assuming the forms of different birds. Yama escaped in the form of a crow. From that time, Yama was pleased with crows. He gave a blessing that in future, when human beings worship the piṭrs by offering rice to them, the crows will have the right to eat that rice. Thus the right of the crows to eat offerings of rice, originated from that time. (Uttara Rāmāyaṇa).

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Kāka (काक).—(Mt.) a hill touching the sea.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 18. 76.

1b) A bird; a vāhana of Sūcīmukha.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 455; IV. 24. 44.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Kāka (काक) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. VI.10.63) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Kāka) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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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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Vastushastra (architecture)

Kākā (काका, “female crow”) refers to the seventh of eight yoni (womb), according to the Mānasāra. 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., kākā) 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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Kāka (काक, “crow”) 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, Kāka.

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 Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Slave of King Canda Pajjota.

His father was non human, and he himself could travel sixty leagues a day. When Pajjota discovered that Jivaka had fled, after administering to him some medicine containing ghee, he sent Kaka to overtake Jivaka and bring him back, giving Kaka strict injunctions not to eat anything offered by Jivaka.

Kaka came upon the physician at Kosambi having his breakfast. Jivaka invited him to eat, but he refused. In the end, however, he consented to eat half a myrobalan, which he thought would be harmless, but into which Jivaka had introduced some drug hidden in his finger nail. Kaka purged violently and was very alarmed. Jivaka told him that all he desired was for him to be slightly delayed and left him, after having handed over to him the elephant Bhaddavatika, which he had used in his flight. Vin.i.277f; DhA.i.196.

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).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Kāka (काक, “crow”) represents an incarnation destination of the tiryaggati (animal realm) according to the “world of transmigration” section in the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVII).—The Bodhisattva sees the animals (tiryak) undergoing all the torments: they are made to gallop by blows of the whip or stick; they are made to make long journeys carrying burdens; their harness is damaged; they are branded with hot iron. As a result of shamelessness (anapatrāpya), lack of self-respect (āhrīkya) and gluttony (gṛddhitva), they take the form of a bird such as [for example], a crow (kāka).

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
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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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Kāka (काक) is the name of a Vīra (hero) who, together with the Ḍākinī named Kākī forms one of the 36 pairs situated in the Vāyucakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the vāyucakra refers to one of the three divisions of the dharma-puṭa (‘dharma layer’), situated in the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs and Vīras [viz., Kāka] are dark blue in color; they each have one face and four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife.

Source: academia.edu: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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India history and geogprahy

Kāka (काक) is the name of a tribe mentioned in the Gupta inscriptions. The Gupta empire (r. 3rd-century CE), founded by Śrī Gupta, covered much of ancient India and embraced the Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. We know of the Kākas, an autonomous community mentioned in the Allahabad Inscription of Samudragupta. In Eastern Malwa we have two ancient place-names connected with the Kākas. One is the hill now called Sāñcī hill (the ancient) Kākanāda. The other is an ancient village called Kāka-pura, some 20 miles north of Bhilsa, and full of ancient monuments. Also see Kākanāda: the name of a locality mentioned in the Gupta inscription No. 5.

Source: archive.org: Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

Kāka.—(IE 8-6), same as kākinī. (EI 14), name of a land measure. Note: kāka is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

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Kāka.—same as kākinī. Note: kāka is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

kāka : (m.) a crow.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Kāka, (onomat. , cp. Sk. kāka; for other onomat. relatives see note on gala) the crow; frequent in similes: S. I, 124= Sn. 448; J. I, 164. Its thievish ways are described at DhA. III, 352; said to have ten bad qualities A. V, 149; J. I, 342; III, 126; kākā vā kulalā vā Vin. IV, 40.—As bird (of the dead) frequenting places of interment and cremation, often with other carcass-eating animals (sigāla, gijjha) Sn. 201; PvA. 198 (=dhaṅka); cp. kākoḷa.—In cpds. often used derisively.—f. kākī J. II, 39, 150; III, 431.

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

kāka (काक).—m (S) A crow.

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kākā (काका).—m ( H) A paternal uncle. This meaning is rather that of the Hindustani word . In Marathi kākā is generally used as a respectful com- pellation for a paternal uncle, an elderly cousin, or other elderly male person. See vyāvahārika nāva. kākā māmā karaṇēṃ To address flatteringly or persuasively.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

kāka (काक).—m A crow.

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kākā (काका).—m A paternal uncle.

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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kāka (काक).—[kai śabdakaraṇe-kan Uṇ.3.43]

1) A crow; काकोऽपि जीवति चिराय बलिं च भुङ्क्ते (kāko'pi jīvati cirāya baliṃ ca bhuṅkte) Pt.1.24.

2) (Fig.) A contemptible fellow, base or impudent person.

3) A lame man.

4) Bathing by dipping the head only into water (as crows do).

5) A sectarial mark (tilaka).

6) A kind of measure.

7) Name of a Dvīpa.

-kā Name of several plants काकनासा, काकोली (kākanāsā, kākolī) &c.

-kī 1 A female crow.

-kākī see Mbh. on IV.1.63.

-kam 1 A multitude of crows.

2) A modus coeundi.

Derivable forms: kākaḥ (काकः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kāka (काक).—m.

(-kaḥ) 1. A crow. 2. A plant, (Ardisia solanacea?) 3. A lame man, a cripple, one whose legs are wanting or useless. 4. One of the divisions of the world or Dwipas. 5. A measure. 6. Washing the head, bathing by dipping the head only into the water. 7. A sectarial mark, the Tilaka? 8. Shameless, arrogant. n.

(-kaṃ) 1. Modus coeundi. 2. A multitude or assemblage of crows. f.

(-kā) An appellation of several plants, as, 1. The common Vakapushpa: see vaka; 2. Kakjhangi, (Leea hirta;) also in this sense kākī; 3. A medicinal plant, vulg. Kakoli; 4. The Retti or Gunja, (Abrus precatorius;) 5. Opposite-leaved fig-tree: see uḍumbara; 6. A potherb, (Solanum Indicum, &c.) see kākamācī. E. kai to sound, Unadi affix kan; or ka for ku bad, ill, and aka to go, &c.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara 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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