Kumbhakarna, aka: Kumbhakarṇa, Kumbha-karna; 9 Definition(s)

Introduction

Kumbhakarna means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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

Purana

[Kumbhakarna in Purana glossaries]

Kumbhakarṇa (कुम्भकर्ण).—Genealogy. Descended from Viṣṇu thus: Brahmā—Pulastya—Viśravas—Kumbhakarṇa. (See full article at Story of Kumbhakarṇa from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Kumbhakarṇa (कुम्भकर्ण).—A son of Viśravas and Kaikarī, killed by Rāma in the Lankā war;1 a brother of Rāvaṇa.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 1. 37; VII. 1. 43; 10. 36; IX. 10. 18; Vāyu-purāṇa 70. 41.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 8. 47; IV. 29. 113 and 116.
(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.

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Itihasa (narrative history)

[Kumbhakarna in Itihasa glossaries]

Kumbhakarna is a rakshasa and brother of Ravana in the Indian Ramayana epic. Despite his monstrous size and great hunger, he was described to be of good character, though he killed and ate many Hindu monks just to show his power. Kumbhakarna had two sons, Kumbha and Nikumbha, who too fought in the war against Rama and were killed.

(Source): WikiPedia: Ramayana
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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Kumbhakarna in Hinduism glossaries]

Kumbhakarṇa (कुम्भकर्ण, “jar’s-ear”):—In Vedic hinduism, he is one of the half-brothers of Kubera, who was the Vedic God of wealth presiding over all earthly treasures.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Kumbhakarna was the brother of King Ravana of Lanka. Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Vibhishana were the sons of a sage named Vishrava, born to a Rakshasa woman named Kaikasi. They had a sister named Shurpanakha. Kubera is their half-brother, born to another wife of Vishrava.

He was a giant in stature, and consumed huge amounts of food when he was awake. One of the most powerful warriors on Ravana's side, he was also very knowledgeable about proper conduct. Like his brother Vibhishana, he counselled Ravana to return Sita to Rama to avert the war, but unlike Vibhishana, he did not abandon Ravana when his advice was rejected.

He fought valiantly against the Vanara army of Rama, causing great damage. Ultimately, he was slain by Laxmana with the help of a divine missile. Though he fought on the side of evil, his devotion to Ravana and his loyalty to his kinsmen is highly praised, and is contrasted favorably with the "treachery" of his brother Vibhishana, who fought on Rama's side.

(Source): Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Kumbhakarna in Jainism glossaries]

Kumbhakarṇa (कुम्भकर्ण) is another name of Bhānukarṇa, who is a brother of Rāvaṇa: the eighth Prativāsudeva, according to both Śvetāmbara and Digambara sources. Jain legends describe nine such Prativāsudevas (anti-heroes) usually appearing as powerful but evil antagonists instigating Vāsudeva by subjugating large portions of Bharata-land. As such, they are closely related with the twin brothers known as the Vāsudevas (“violent heroes”) and the Baladevas (“gentle heroes”).

According to the Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacarita 7.1, the mother of Kumbhakarṇa (Bhānukarṇa) and Rāvaṇa is named Ratnaśravas and his mother Kaikasī. They have another brother named Bibhīṣaṇa, and a sister named Candraṇakhā (or Śūrpaṇakhā).

The Prativāsudevas (such as Daśamukha) fight against the twin-heroes with their cakra-weapon but at the final moment are killed by the Vāsudevas. Their stories are narrated in the Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacarita (“the lives of the sixty-three illustrious persons”), a twelfth-century Śvetāmbara work by Hemacandra.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geogprahy

[Kumbhakarna in India history glossaries]

Kumbhakarna is one of the places visited by Chaitanya during his pilgrimage in Southern India between April 1510 and January 1512.—Kumbha-karna.—Kumbakonam in the Tanjore district, 20 miles north-east of Tanjore town. It contains 12 principal Shaiva and 4 Vaishnav temples and one dedicated to Brahma. (Tanjore Gaz. 217-219).

(Source): archive.org: Chaitanya’s life and teachings (history)
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

Marathi-English dictionary

[Kumbhakarna in Marathi glossaries]

kumbhakarṇa (कुंभकर्ण).—m (S) The name of a drowsy Rakshas, the brother of Rawan̤. Hence, appellatively. A sound sleeper, or a dull sleepyhead.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
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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

[Kumbhakarna in Sanskrit glossaries]

Kumbhakarṇa (कुम्भकर्ण).—'pitcher-eared', Name of a gigantic Rākṣasa, a brother of Rāvaṇa and slain by Rāma. [He is said to have devoured thousands of beings including sages and heavenly nymphs, and the gods were anxiously waiting for an opportunity to retaliate upon the powerful demon. After Brahmā had inflicted on him a curse for the humiliation to which he subjected Indra and his elephant Airāvata, Kumbhakarṇa began to practise the most rigid austerities. Brahmā was pleased and was about to grant him a boon, when the gods requested Sarasvatī to sit on his tongue and to pervert it. Accordingly when he went to the god, instead of asking Indrapada he asked Nidrāpada which was readily granted. It is said that he slept for six months at a time, and, when roused, was awake for only one day. When Lankā was besieged by the monkey-troops of Rāma, Ravāṇa with great difficulty roused Kumbhakarṇa, desirous of availing himself of his gigantic strength. After having drunk 2 jars of liquor, he took Sugrīva prisoner, besides devouring thousands of monkeys. He was ultimately slain by Rāma.] Rām.6; R.12.8.

2) an epithet of Śiva; Mb.12.

Derivable forms: kumbhakarṇaḥ (कुम्भकर्णः).

Kumbhakarṇa is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms kumbha and karṇa (कर्ण).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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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