Ketu; 11 Definition(s)


Ketu means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, 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


1) Ketu (केतु).—(KETUMĀN). A Dānava. He was the son of Kaśyapa (grandson of Brahmā and son of Marīci) by his wife Danu. This Asura, who exists in the shape of a planet had thirtythree brothers, i.e. Vipracitti, Śambara, Namuci, Pulomā, Asilomā, Keśī, Durjaya, Ayaśśiras, Aśvaśiras, Aśva, Śaṅku, Mahābala, Garga, Amūrdhan, Vegavān, Mānavān, Svarbhānu, Aśvapati, Vṛṣaparvan, Ajaka, Aśvagrīva, Sūkṣma, Tuhuṇḍa, Ekapāt, Ekacakra, Virūpākṣa, Harāhara, Nikumbha, Kapaṭa, Śarabha, Śalabha, Sūrya and Candramas. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 65).

But Ketu maintained closer relationship with Rāhu, a step-brother of his, being the son of Kaśyapa by another wife called Siṃhikā. Rāhu and Ketu are even today considered as inauspicious planets. Rāhu wears a half-moon and Ketu holds in his hands a sword and lamp. Amitaujas was Ketu reborn. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 67, Verse 11).

2) Ketu (केतु).—A great sage of ancient India. He attained salvation by self-study. (Śānti Parva, Chapter 26, Verse 7).

3) Ketu (केतु).—A synonym of Śiva. (Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 17, Verse 38).

4) Ketu (केतु).—A King born in Bharata’s dyanasty. (Bhāgavata, 9th Skandha).

5) Ketu (केतु).—(DHŪMAKETU). The following story is told in Viṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa about the birth of Dhūmaketu.

Noting that the population on earth had increased abnormally Brahmā created a damsel called Mṛtyu and asked her to kill people. At this command of Brahmā she began crying, and from her tear drops various kinds of diseases originated at the sight of which she took to penance. Then Brahmā appeared and blessed her saying that no one would die because of her at which she heaved a great sigh of relief from which was born Ketu or Dhūmaketu.

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Ketu (केतु).—A son of Ṛṣabha.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 4. 10.

1b) One of the 100 sons of Vipracitta and Simhikā besides Rāhu (s.v.).*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 23. 7; VI. 6. 37.

1c) A son of Tāmasa Manu.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 1. 27.

1d) A planet with a chariot of 8 horses, all green;1 in size one-fourth less than Bṛhaspati.2 Dhūmaketu, the first among the Ketus.3

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 23. 90; 24. 136 and 39; Matsya-purāṇa 93. 10; 127. 11; Vāyu-purāṇa 52. 82; 111. 5; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 12. 23.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 128. 64.
  • 3) Vāyu-purāṇa 53. 111.

1e) A son of Danu.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 6. 18.

1f) The second son of Druhyu.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 48. 6.

1g) One of the prāṇahinas of the king.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 57. 69.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
context information

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)

One of the Nava-graha (Hands that indicate the Nine Planets).—Ketu: left hand–Sūci, right hand–Ardha-patāka.

Source: 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).

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Ketu is the body of an Asura, who partook Amrit while disguised as one of the Devas, during the churning of the sea of milk. He was beheaded by Vishnu's discus, with the head becoming Rahu. He is responsible for the eclipses of the moon, which he causes by swallowing Chandra, in revenge for Chandra and Surya's betrayal during the incident mentioned above.

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Ketu (केतु): Ketu is generally referred to as a "shadow" planet. It has a tremendous impact on human lives and also the whole creation. Astronomically, Ketu and Rahu denote the points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move on the celestial sphere.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

India history and geogprahy

Ketu.—(EI 24), the shape or form. Note: ketu 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

ketu : (m.) flag; banner.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Ketu, (Vedic ketu, *(s)qait, clear; cp. Lat. caelum (=*caidlom), Ohg heitar, heit; Goth. haidus; E.—hood, orig. appearance, form, like) — 1. ray, beam of light, splendour, effulgence Th. 1, 64; which is a riddle on the various meanings of ketu.—2. flag, banner, sign, perhaps as token of splendour Th. 1, 64. dhamma-k° having the Doctrine as his banner A. I, 109=III, 149; dhūma-k° having smoke as its splendour, of fire, J. IV, 26; VvA. 161 in expln of dhūmasikha.

—kamyatā desire for prominence, self-advertisement (perhaps vainglory, arrogance) Vism. 469; Dhs. 1116 (Dhs. A. trs. 479), 1233=Nd2 505; Nd1 on Sn. 829 (=uṇṇama);— mālā “garland of rays” VvA. 323. (Page 225)

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.

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Marathi-English dictionary

kētu (केतु).—m (S) The dragon's tail or descending node;--in astronomy, the ninth of the planets;--in mythology, a demon. See rāhu. 2 A banner or flag.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

kētu (केतु).—m Name of a demon. The 9th of the planets. A banner or flag. Descending node.

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

Ketu (केतु).—[cāy-tu kī ādeśaḥ Uṇ.1.73]

1) A flag, banner; चीनांशुकमिव केतोः प्रतिवातं नीयमानस्य (cīnāṃśukamiva ketoḥ prativātaṃ nīyamānasya) Ś.1.33;

2) A chief, head, leader, foremost, any eminent person (oft. at the end of comp.); मनुष्यवाचा मनुवंशकेतुम् (manuṣyavācā manuvaṃśaketum) R.2.33;14.7; कुलस्य केतुः स्फीतस्य (kulasya ketuḥ sphītasya) (rāghavaḥ) Rām.

3) A comet, meteor; Bhāg.2.6.15; Ms.1.38.

4) A sign, mark.

5) Brightness, clearness.

6) A ray of light; प्रययौ कान्तिमिव द्रुमाब्जकेतुम् (prayayau kāntimiva drumābjaketum) Bu. Ch.5.3; Bhāg.8.6.15. cf. also 'केतुर्द्युतौ पताकायाम् (keturdyutau patākāyām)' इति विश्वः (iti viśvaḥ).

7) The descending node considered as the ninth planet, and the body or trunk of the demon सैंहिकेय (saiṃhikeya) (the head being regarded as Rāhu); क्रूर- ग्रहः स केतुश्चन्द्रं संपूर्णमण्डलमिदानीम् (krūra- grahaḥ sa ketuścandraṃ saṃpūrṇamaṇḍalamidānīm) Mu.1.6.

8) Day-time.

9) Apparition, form, shape.

1) Intellect, judgement; नि केतुना जनानां चिकेथे पूतदक्षसा (ni ketunā janānāṃ cikethe pūtadakṣasā) Rv.5.66.4.

11) A pigmy race.

12) A disease.

13) An enemy.

Derivable forms: ketuḥ (केतुः).

Source: DDSA: The practical 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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Relevant definitions

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