Kerala, aka: Keralā; 12 Definition(s)


Kerala means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India. 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 and Itihasa (epic history)

Kerala in Purana glossary... « previous · [K] · next »

Kerala (केरल):—Kerala was one of the four sons of king Janāpīḍa of Turvasu line. His janapada was known as Kerala.

Source: Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

Kerala (केरल).—General information A small country lying in the south-west corner of India. From the Purāṇas it could be understood that this country lying to the south of Gokarṇa upto Cape Comorin and to the west of Western Ghats had a very ancient history and civilization of its own. (See full article at Story of Kerala from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Kerala (केरल).—A son of Āṇḍira, after whom came the Keraladeśa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 74. 6; Matsya-purāṇa 48. 5.

1b) One of the four sons of Janāpiḍa; with him kingdom of Kerala came into being.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 6.

1c) (c)—of the Dakṣiṇāpatha;1 visited by Balarāma; king of, went to Syamantapañcaka for solar eclipse;2 people of, enlisted by Jarāsandha against the Yadus.3

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 16. 56; Matsya-purāṇa 114. 46; Vāyu-purāṇa 45. 124; 47. 52.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 79. 19; 82. 13.
  • 3) Ib. X. [50 (v) 2].

1d) Pravara sages.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 199. 17.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Kerala (केरल) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. II.28.48, VI.10.57) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Kerala) 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
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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Kerala (केरल) is the Sanskrit name of one of Bharata’s sons, mentioned in the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.26-33. His name can also be spelled as Sukerala. After Brahmā created the Nāṭyaveda (nāṭyaśāstra), he ordered Bharata to teach the science to his (one hundred) sons. Bharata thus learned the Nāṭyaveda from Brahmā, and then made his sons study and learn its proper application. After their study, Bharata assigned his sons (eg., Kerala) various roles suitable to them.

2) Keralā (केरला) is the name of an Apsara created for the sake of a type of dramatic perfomance. Acording to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.46-51, after Brahmā asked Bharata for materials necessary for the Graceful Style (kaiśikī: a type of performance, or prayoga), Bharata answered “This Style cannot be practised properly by men except with the help of women”. Therefore, Brahmā created with his mind several apsaras (celestial nymphs), such as Keralā, who were skillful in embellishing the drama.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
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).

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Kavya (poetry)

Kerala in Kavya glossary... « previous · [K] · next »

Kerala (केरल) is the name a locality mentioned in Rājaśekhara’s 10th-century Kāvyamīmāṃsā.—Kerala is the region of southern India; know as the Mālābār Coast or the Cera country. This comprises on Mālābār, Travancora and Cochin states.

Source: Shodhganga: The Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara
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Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Kerala (केरल) is the name of a country classified as Kādi (a type of Tantrik division), according to the 13th century Sammoha-tantra (fol. 7).—There are ample evidences to prove that the zone of heterodox Tantras went far beyond the natural limits of India. [...] The zones in the Sammoha-tantra [viz., Kerala] are here fixed according to two different Tantrik modes, known as Kādi and Hādi.

Source: Indian Historical Quarterly Vol. 7

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

The people of Kerala. The Keralas served as mercenary soldiers to the kings of Ceylon. They rebelled against Mahinda V. and governed certain parts of the country (Cv.iv.5, 12). They fought in the army of Parakkamabahu I. against Gajabahu (Cv.lxix.18; lxx.230). Later, when Parakkamabahus forces were employed in Rohana, the Kerala mercenaries in Kotthasara conspired with others to capture Rajarattha, but their attempt was foiled (Cv.lxxiv.44f). The Keralas formed the largest part of Maghas army which devastated Ceylon, and Magha gave over to them, for their use, whatever they coveted in the conquered territory. They overran the country, carrying destruction wherever they went (Cv.lxxx.61, 76; lxxi.4). Later, however, they suffered severe defeat at the hands of Parakkamabahu II (Cv.lxxxiii.20). Once a Pandu king fled from the Cola king and took refuge among the Keralas (Cv.liii.9; Cv. Trs.i.172, n.3).

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A country in South India, along the Malabar coast. See Kerala.

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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India history and geogprahy

Kerala (केरल) is the name of a country included within Dakṣiṇapatha which was situated to the south of the Vindhyas according to the Yādavaprakāśa. Dakṣiṇāpatha is a place-name ending is patha 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.

Kerala as included within Dakṣiṇapatha is also mentioned by Rājaśekhara (fl. 10th century) in his Kāvyamīmāṃsā (chapter 17) who places Dakṣiṇapatha ahead of Māhiṣmatī.

Source: Wisdom Library: India History

Kerala Temples—The temples of Kerala are very different from the others in South India, with wood being used much more than stone. The central part of the Kerala temple called the Śrī Vimāna is mostly circular with sloping tiled roof. The kūṭṭambalam, which is the hall where the traditional music and dance performances are staged, is one of the striking features of temples of this region.

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Architecture (1): Early and Classical Architecture (h)
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

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kerala (केरल).—(pl.)

1) Name of a country (in the south of India, the modern Malabar) and its inhabitants; Māl.6.19; भयोत्सृष्टविभूषाणां तेन केरलयोषिताम् (bhayotsṛṣṭavibhūṣāṇāṃ tena keralayoṣitām) R.4.54.

-lī A woman of the Kerala country; कर्णाटीनां मुषितमुरलीकेरलीहारलीलः (karṇāṭīnāṃ muṣitamuralīkeralīhāralīlaḥ) (rājendrakarṇapūraḥ).

2) Astronomical science.

3) A Hora or period of time equal to one hour.

Derivable forms: keralaḥ (केरलः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kerala (केरल).—m.

(-laḥ) The appellation of a country, Keraladesha or the modern Malabar. f. (-lī) 1. Astronomical science. 2. Astronomical Sas- tra or treatise. 3. A Hora or period of time equal to about one hour.

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

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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