Karkota, aka: Karkoṭa; 6 Definition(s)

Introduction

Karkota means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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

Purana

Karkoṭa (कर्कोट).—The Nāga presiding over the month of puṣya.1 A Kādraveya Nāga.2 The sabhā of, in Māhiṣamati. His son defeated by Kārtavīrya Arjuna;3 used for Tripurārī's chariot.4 The assembly of, conquered by Kārtavīrya Arjuna.5

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 11. 42; Matsya-purāṇa 126. 18; Vāyu-purāṇa 52. 17; 69. 70.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 23. 17; III. 7. 34; IV. 20. 53; 33. 36; Matsya-purāṇa 6. 39; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 21. 22.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 69. 26; Matsya-purāṇa 43. 29.
  • 4) Matsya-purāṇa 133. 33; 163. 56.
  • 5) Vāyu-purāṇa 94. 26.
(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.

Katha (narrative stories)

Karkoṭa (कर्कोट).—One of the eight kulas (‘families’) of nāgas mentioned by Soḍḍhala in his Udayasundarīkathā. Karkoṭa, and other nāgas, reside in pātāla (the nether world) and can assume different forms at will. Their movement is unobstructed in the all the worlds and they appear beautiful, divine and strong.

The Udayasundarīkathā is a Sanskrit work in the campū style, narrating the story of the Nāga princess Udayasundarī and Malayavāhana, king of Pratiṣṭhāna. Soḍḍhala is a descendant of Kalāditya (Śilāditya’s brother) whom he praises as an incarnation of a gaṇa (an attendant of Śiva).

(Source): Wisdomlib Libary: Kathā
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Karkoṭa (कर्कोट) or Karkoṭatantra refers to one of the twenty Bhūtatantras, belonging to the Śāktāgama (or Śāktatantra) division of the Āgama tradition. The Śāktāgamas represent the wisdom imparted by Devī to Īśvara and convey the idea that the worship of Śakti is the means to attain liberation. According to the Pratiṣṭhālakṣaṇasamuccaya of Vairocana, the Śāktatantras are divided into to four parts, the Karkoṭa-tantra belonging to the Bhūta class.

(Source): Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva (shaktism)
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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.

In Buddhism

Vajrayāna (Tibetan Buddhism)

Karkoṭa (कर्कोट).—Serpent deity (nāga) of the western cremation ground.—In the Śmaśānavidhi 9, the nāga Karkoṭa is described as “resplendent as dark-green dūrvā grass”, with three lines on his throat, and making the añjali.

(Source): Google Books: Vajrayogini

Karkoṭa (कर्कोट) is the name of a serpent (nāga) associated with Karaṅkaka: the western cremation ground (śmaśāna) according to the Vajravārāhī-sādhana by Umāpatideva as found in te Guhyasamayasādhanamālā. As a part of this sādhana, the practicioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the circle of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.

These nāga-kings (eg., Karkoṭa) are variously known as nāgarāja, nāgeśa, nāgendra and bhujageśa and are depicted as wearing white ornaments according to Lūyīpāda’s Śmaśānavidhi. They have human tosos above their coiled snaketails and raised hoods above their heads. They each have their own color assigned and they bear a mark upon their raised hoods. They all make obeisance to the dikpati (protector) who is before them and are seated beneath the tree (vṛkṣa).

The Guhyasamayasādhanamālā by Umāptideva is a 12th century ritualistic manual including forty-six Buddhist tantric sādhanas. The term sādhana refers to “rites” for the contemplation of a divinity.

(Source): Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini
Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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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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