Kapalamala, Kapāḷamāḷā, Kapālamālā: 8 definitions


Kapalamala means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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 Kapāḷamāḷā can be transliterated into English as Kapalamala or Kapaliamalia, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Kapalamala in Shaivism glossary
Source: SOAS University of London: Protective Rites in the Netra Tantra

Kapālamālā (कपालमाला) refers to a “skull rosary”, according to the Netratantra of Kṣemarāja: a Śaiva text from the 9th century in which Śiva (Bhairava) teaches Pārvatī topics such as metaphysics, cosmology, and soteriology.—Accordingly, [verse 9.19cd-26, while instructing to visualize Sadāśiva in order to worship the formless Amṛteśa]—“[He] resembles the swelling moon, a heap of mountain snow. [...] [The Southern Sadāśiva] bears a skull rosary (kapālamālā-ābharaṇa) and makes the world tremble. [Sadāśiva's] Western [face] resembles snowy jasmine and the North as a beautiful red lotus. The face above the [other] Śiva [faces] resembles a crystal [i.e., colorless]. [...]”.

Shaivism book cover
context information

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.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Kapalamala in Shaktism glossary
Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Kapālamālā (कपालमाला) refers to a “garland of skulls”, according to the Śrīmatottara-tantra, an expansion of the Kubjikāmatatantra: the earliest popular and most authoritative Tantra of the Kubjikā cult.—Accordingly, [while describing the visualized form of Navātman Bhairava]: “[...] Navātman’s mind is blissful with his own energy and he is delighted by the bliss of (spiritual) wine. [...] (He is) adorned with a garland of skulls (kapālamālā) and is beautiful in all (his) limbs. Replete with all (the good) characteristics, he is in the midst of the host of Yoginīs. He has a large chest and a big belly and is very strong. A corpse is placed (under) the soles of (his) feet and, burning intensely, he is very powerful. [...]”.

Shaktism book cover
context information

Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: OSU Press: Cakrasamvara Samadhi

Kapālamālā (कपालमाला) refers to “(possesing) a crown of (five) skulls” which is used to describe Cakrasaṃvara, according to the Saṃvaramaṇḍala of Abhayākaragupta’s Niṣpannayogāvalī, p. 45 and n. 145; (Cf. Cakrasaṃvaratantra, Gray, David B., 2007).—Accordingly, [while describing the iconography of Cakrasaṃvara]: “In the Saṃvara Maṇḍala atop Mount Sumera within a vajra-canopy there is a variegated lotus, on top of that a palace, in the middle of which is the Blessed Lord, standing in ālīḍhāsana, "archer's pose", [...] possessing a naraśiromālā-śatārdha, "garland of fifty (fresh) human heads" around the neck, the ṣaṇmudrā, "six insignia", bone ornaments, which are the kaṇṭhikā, "necklace", rucaka, "bracelets", kuṇḍala, "ear-rings", mekhalā, "girdle", śiromaṇi, "crest jewel", and bhasmitiḥ, "covered in ashes", a jaṭāmakuṭa, "crest of dreadlocks", kapālamālā, "crown of (five) skulls", topped by an ardhacandra, "crescent moon", and viśvavajra, "world vajra" or "double vajra", a vikṛitānana, "fierce face", and daṃṣṭrotkaṭa, "horrible gigantic fangs".

Note: [For Cakrasaṃvara]—The crown of five skulls symbolize the pañcajñāna, "The Five Wisdoms": 1) ādarśa-jñāna "mirror-like wisdom" 2) samatā-jñāna "the wisdom of equality" 3) pratyavekṣā-jñāna "discriminating wisdom" 4) kṛityanuṣṭhāna-jñāna "the wisdom of action" 5) tathatā-jñāna "the wisdom of thusness".—[For Vajravārāhī and Vajrayoginī]—The crown of five skulls represent the purified pañca-skandha, "The Five Aggregates" (also see the pañca-jñāna, "The Five Wisdoms")

Source: MDPI Books: The Ocean of Heroes

Kapālamālā (कपालमाला) refers to a “string of skulls”, according to the 10th-century Ḍākārṇava-tantra: one of the last Tibetan Tantric scriptures belonging to the Buddhist Saṃvara tradition consisting of 51 chapters.—Accordingly, “[...] Yoginīs are on the lotus petals [facing to the four cardinal directions] such as the east [and] to every intermediate [direction]. [Yoginīs] starting with Ḍākinī, twenty-four in total, are [arranged] by sixes. [...] Assuming the pratyālīḍha posture, [every Yoginī] wears a string of skulls (kapālamālā) and other [good ornaments] [kapālamālādidhāriṇī]. [Every Yoginī] is to be discerned on [the lotus petals in] a counterclockwise direction, to have been born on the upper portion (summit) of Mt. Sumeru. *The lotus petals are thus [taught]* [...]”.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

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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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Kapalamala in Marathi glossary
Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

kapāḷamāḷā (कपाळमाळा).—(kapāḷa & māḷa) An interjection of astonishment and grief. 2 f (Properly kapālamālā) A necklace of human skulls. One of the ornaments of Shiva.

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 dictionary

[«previous next»] — Kapalamala in Sanskrit glossary
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kapālamālā (कपालमाला):—[=kapāla-mālā] [from kapāla] f. Name of a being in the retinue of Devī.

[Sanskrit to German]

Kapalamala 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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