Khecari, Khecarī: 12 definitions


Khecari 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Khechari.

In Hinduism

Yoga (school of philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Khecari in Yoga glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Yoga

From the Haṭha Yogha Pradīpikā (chapter III): “The Khechari Mudrā is accomplished by thrusting the tongue into the gullet, by turning it over itself, and keeping the eyesight in the middle of the eyebrows.” (śl. 32) and “To accomplish this, the tongue is lengthened by cutting the frænum linguæ, moving, and pulling it. When it can touch the space between the eyebrows, then Khechari can be accomplished.” (śl. 33)

Source: ORA: Amanaska (king of all yogas): A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation by Jason Birch

Khecarī (खेचरी) refers to “(the Siddhi of) moving in the ether”, according to the Amanaska Yoga treatise dealing with meditation, absorption, yogic powers and liberation.—Accordingly, as Īśvara says to Vāmadeva: “[...] [Now], I shall define the nature of that highest, mind-free absorption which arises for those devoted to constant practice. [...] Then, by means of an absorption for a period of thirteen days, the best of Yogins attains most wonderously the Siddhi of moving in the ether (khecarī-siddhi) at will. [...]”.

Yoga book cover
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Yoga is originally considered a branch of Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra

1) Khecarī (खेचरी):—The Sanskrit name for the goddess representing the fourth secondary gross element “wind”, according to the Ṣaṭsāhasra-saṃhitā.

2) Khecarī (खेचरी):—First of the eight Mahāmātṛs existing within the Mātṛcakra, according to the Kubjikāmatatantra. Khecarī stands for “ether” and her name literally means “she who moves through the sky”. The eight Mahāmātṛs are also called mudrās because all the directions are ‘sealed’ by them.

Khecarī (as do each of the eight Mahāmātṛs) divides herself into eight (secondary) mātṛs, presided over by a Bhairava (fearsome manifestations of Śiva) and his Mātṛkā as consorts. The Mātṛs of this first and north-eastern group are born from Khecarī’s body and represent the eight directions of the compass from east to north-east.

The eight deities originating from Khecarī are called:

  1. Aindrāṇī,
  2. Agnimātarā,
  3. Yāmyamātrī,
  4. Rākṣasī,
  5. Vāruṇī,
  6. Vāyavī,
  7. Kuberā 
  8. and Īśānī.

Sometimes, this first group of eight Mātṛs are represented by the eight Mahāmātṛs themselves (see Ṣaṭsāhasra-saṃhitā 23.19cd-21).

Shaivism book cover
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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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Ayurveda (science of life)

Rasashastra (Alchemy and Herbo-Mineral preparations)

Source: Google Books: The Alchemical Body

Khecari (खेचरि):—The concept of khecara (etheric state of meditation) becomes concretized on an alchemical level as well. Mercury (rasa), when bound, is said to become khecari, possessed of the power of flight, a power it transmits to the alchemist who holds a capsule of said mercury in his mouth. If, however, it is heated before it has been properly prepared, or too rapidly, it can be lost to evaporation. Here, it is said that until its wings have been clipped (pakṣa-ccheda) through various stabilizing techniques, unrefined mercury becomes subject to flight, i.e., evaporation (pātana), and may be “gone like a goose” (haṃsaga). Here, mercury behaves like the haṃsa of the vital breaths: unless these are tethered by yogic discipline, the breath will eventually fly up out of the body to be lost forever, and the person will die.

Ayurveda book cover
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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)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Khecarī (खेचरी) refers to “celestial”, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.4.7 (“Commencement of the War”).—Accordingly, as Brahmā narrated to Nārada: “On hearing the celestial (khecarī) voice [vācaṃ tu khecarīṃ], the gods became enthusiastic. Fearlessly they roared like heroes. With their fear subsided, and keeping Kumāra ahead, the gods went to the confluence of the river Mahī and the ocean desirous of fighting. Immediately Tāraka, along with a great army, came to the place where the gods stood and was surrounded by them in a body. [...]”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Khecarī (खेचरी).—A varṇa śakti; a mudrā devī.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 37. 10; 42. 14; 44. 59 and 86. 114.
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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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

1) Khecarī (खेचरी) is associated with the second of the five phases of the Pīṭhakrama, according to the Mahānayaprakāśa verse 2.1-35, while explaining the cycles of the goddesses of consciousness.—Accordingly, “The energy of consciousness (citi) that pulsates (spandamānā) in the Void (vyoman) (of consciousness) undifferentiated by time which, by the combustion of time, is one, is said to be Khecarī who is the Cremation Ground. [...]”.

2) Khecarī (खेचरी) (or Khecarīmudrā, Ghaṭamudrā) is the name of the gesture (mudrā) associated with Oḍḍiyāna, one of the sacred seats (pīṭha), according to the Manthānabhairavatantra, a vast sprawling work that belongs to a corpus of Tantric texts concerned with the worship of the goddess Kubjikā.

3) Khecarī (खेचरी) or Khecarīmudrā is also mentioned as the Gesture (mudrā) associated with Oḍiyāna, one of the sacred seats (pīṭha), according to the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā, an expansion of the Kubjikāmatatantra: the earliest popular and most authoritative Tantra of the Kubjikā cult.

4) Khecarī (खेचरी) refers to one of the eight Kaula consorts (dūtī-aṣṭaka) associated with Tisrapīṭha (located in the ‘end of sound’—nādānta), according to the Manthānabhairavatantra.—[...] The eight Kaula consorts (dūtyaṣṭaka): Revatī, Bhagavatī, Rāmā, Rohiṇī, Kṛttikā, Khecarī, Khaṇḍinī, Kṣānti

5) Khecarī (खेचरी) refers to one of the nine attendants of Goddess Tvaritā, according to the Agnipurāṇa, the Tantrarāja verse 14.15-16 and the Kulakaulinīmata verse 3.82-88.—[...] These nine attendants (e.g., Khecarī) embody the syllables of Tvaritā’s Vidyā that are the initials of their names. The same nine are listed in the Tantrarāja as the attendants of Tvaritā. They are worshipped on the eight petals of a lotus as the energies of the letters of Tvaritā’s mantra (mantrārṇaśakti).

Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions (shaktism)

Khecarī (खेचरी) refers to one of the ten gestures (daśamudrā or mudrā-daśaka) of the Goddess Nityā Sundarī, according to the Kāmasiddhi-stuti (also Vāmakeśvarī-stuti) and the Vāmakeśvaratantra (also known as Nityāṣoḍaśikārṇava).—[...] Although the Vāmakeśvaratantra does not assign a place for the gestures (mudrā) in the maṇḍala, it does describe them and asks the worshipper to use them during the worship. As found in the third chapter of the Vāmakeśvaratantra, these ten gestures are [e.g., khecarī, ...]

Shaktism book cover
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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.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: A Critical Study of the Vajraḍākamahātantrarāja (II)

Khecarī (खेचरी) refers to a “woman going in the sky” which is the name of a Ḍākinī associated with the Cittacakra (‘circle of mind’), according to the 9th-centruy Vajraḍākatantra.—Twenty-four districts or seats form three circles (tricakra) i.e.:—1) ‘the cicle of mind’ (cittacakra), 2) ‘the circle of word’ (vākcakra), 3) ‘the circle of body’ (kāyacakra). And the sacred girls (Ḍākinīs) residing on each of tricakra are called respectively:—1) ‘a woman going in the sky’ (khecarī), 2) ‘a woman going on the ground’ (bhūcarī), 3) ‘a woman living underground’ (pātālavāsinī).

These three Ḍākinīs (viz., khecarī) correspond to the three Cakras of the tricakra (three circles) which contain the twenty-four districts or seats (deśa, kṣetra or sthāna) resided over twenty-four “sacred girls” (ḍākinīs).

Source: MDPI Books: The Ocean of Heroes

Khecarī (खेचरी) refers to the “sky-going females” (associated with the ākāśacakra or ‘space circle’), 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, “Now, the Space Circle outside [this] is like a dark blue lotus [in color]. Sky-going (khecarī) Yoginīs are in the middles of the thirty-six spokes [of the circle], as follows—[...] The colors [of these Yoginīs] are various and wonderful. Alternatively, [they have] the circle’s color (dark blue). [They] dwell in the upakṣetra (“near to the field”) [holy sites], are [inhabitants of] the third continent, and are excellent. Residing in this continent, they belong to the class of sky-going females (khecarī). It is the Radiance Level. [All twelve levels are] connected with their respective [classes of holy] sites such as the pīṭha.”.

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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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Khecarī (खेचरी):—[=khe-carī] [from khe-cara > khe > kha] f. with siddhi or gati, the magical power of flying, [Kathāsaritsāgara xx, 105; Sarvadarśana-saṃgraha] ix etc.

2) [v.s. ...] Durgā, [Mahābhārata iv, 186]

3) [v.s. ...] a Vidyā-dharī, [Rudrayāmala]

4) [v.s. ...] a particular Mudrā or position of the fingers

5) [v.s. ...] an earring or a cylinder of wood passed through the lobe of the ear, [Horace H. Wilson]

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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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Khēcari (ಖೇಚರಿ):—[noun] a female of the khēcara class of deities.

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Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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