Kurma, aka: Kūrma; 17 Definition(s)


Kurma means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) One of the saṃyutta-hastāni (Twenty-four combined Hands).—Kūrma (tortoise): the ends of the fingers of the Cakra hand arebent, except the thumbs and little fingers. Usage: tortoise.

2) One of the Daśāvatāra (Hands of the Ten Avatars of Vishnu).—Kūrma: the Kūrma hand is shown, then both hands Tripatāka level at the shoulders.

Source: archive.org: 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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Ayurveda (science of life)

Kūrma (कूर्म) is a Sanskrit word referring to the animal “tortoise”. The meat of this animal is part of the māṃsavarga (‘group of flesh’), which is used throughout Āyurvedic literature. The animal Kūrma is part of the sub-group named Vāriśaya, refering to animals “living in waters”. It was classified by Caraka in his Carakasaṃhitā sūtrasthāna (chapter 27), a classical Āyurvedic work. Caraka defined such groups (vargas) based on the dietic properties of the substance.

The meat of the tortoise (kūrma) is useful for complexion, alleviates vāta, is aphrodisiac, promotes vision and strength, is conducive to intellect and memory, wholesome and destroys phthisis.

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Kūrma (कूर्म)—Sanskrit word for an animal “tortoise”. This animal is from the group called Pādin (‘those which have feet’). Pādin itself is a sub-group of the group of animals known as Ānupa (those that frequent marshy places).

The flesh of animals of the Kurma orders is sweet in taste and digestion, cooling in its potency, demulcent, and beneficial to stool and the Pittam. It destroys the deranged Vāyu and produces Kapham.

Source: archive.org: Sushruta samhita, Volume I
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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Vastushastra (architecture)

Kūrma (कूर्म) refers to a type of temple (prāsāda) classified under the group named Kailāśa, according to Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra chapter 49. The Kailāśa group contains ten out of a sixty-four total prāsādas (temples) classified under five prime vimānas (aerial car/palace), which were created by Brahmā for as many gods (including himself). This group represents temples (eg. Kūrma) that are to be globular shaped. The prāsādas, or ‘temples’, represent the dwelling place of God and are to be built in towns. The Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra is an 11th-century encyclopedia dealing with various topics from the Vāstuśāstra.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

1) Kūrma (कूर्म).—A prominent serpent, son of Kadrū. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 65, Verse 41).

2) Kūrma (कूर्म).—(Turtle). The second incarnation of Mahāviṣnu. (See under Avatāras).

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Kūrma (कूर्म).—An avatār of Hari in the Pātālam.1 In this form He is worshipped in Hiraṇmaya. By His help the churning of the ocean was possible. Also kūrma-kacchapa.2 Icon of.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 7. 13; Matsya-purāṇa 249. 16, 20; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 4. 8.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 18. 29; XI. 4. 18: X. 2. 40.
  • 3) Matsya-purāṇa 259. 2; 260. 39; 285. 6.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Kūrma (कूर्म) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.59.40, I.65) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Kūrma) 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
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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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Katha (narrative stories)

Kūrma (कूर्म).—One of the incarnations of Viṣṇu.—In the Kūrma incarnation, he protected the Vedas.

Source: Shodhganga: A critical appreciation of soddhalas udayasundarikatha
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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.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Kūrma (कूर्म) refers to one of the many varieties of the Śālagrāma (ammonite fossil stones).—The Kūrma is greenish hue; round but elevation on top, a line at the bottom; mark of kaustubha; cakra. Śālagrāma stones are very ancient geological specimens, rendered rounded and smooth by water-currents in a great length of time. They (eg., Kūrma stones) are distinguished by the ammonite (śālā, described as “vajra-kīṭa”, “adamantine worms”) which having entered into them for residence, are fossilized in course of time, leaving discus-like marks inside the stone.

Source: archive.org: Pratima Kosa Encyclopedia of Indian Iconography - Vol 6

1) Kūrma (कूर्म, “tortoise”) refers to one of the several “attributes” (āyudha) or “accessories” of a detiy commonly seen depicted in Hindu iconography, defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—The śilpa texts have classified the various accessories under the broad heading of āyudha or karuvi (implement), including even flowers, animals, and musical instruments. The representations of certain animals and birds are generally found in the hands of images. They are, for example, Kūrma.

2) Kūrma (कूर्म, “tortoise”) or Kūrmāvatāra refers to one the “ten incarnations of Lord Viṣṇu”.—The hand gestures for the daśāvatāra in dancing and iconography are similar in some cases and dissimilar in most of the cases. The hasta used in dance for Kūrma-avatāra is kūrma-hasta, held at the level of the shoulders. The image of the god in this form is found with four arms where the upper hands hold a discus and a conch in kartarīmukha-hasta and the lower right and left hands hold abhaya and dola-hasta respectively.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Kūrma (कूर्म) refers to one of the various Vibhava manifestations according to the Īśvarasaṃhitā 24.260-261.—Accordingly, “O Lāṅgalin! the Lord of the nature of the tortoise is to be mediated upon like the tortoise. His splendour is like liquified gold in colour. He occupies water through His skill. His four feet are the kalās like Śakti. He is ever-existing. He calmness and other digits abound in Him. He utters the three Vedas”.

These Vibhavas (eg., Kūrma) represent the third of the five-fold manifestation of the Supreme Consciousness the Pāñcarātrins believe in. Note: Kūrma is black according to Viṣṇutantra XV.1-7. Viṣvaksena-saṃhitā XI.40b; golden colour (Padma-saṃhitā Kriya XXII.7b).

Source: archive.org: Isvara Samhita Vol 1
Pancaratra book cover
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Kūrma (कूर्म, “tortoise”) is a Sanskrit word referring to one of the ten incarnations of Viṣṇu. This incarnation appeared in the satyayuga. Viṣṇu is the name of a major Hindu deity and forms part of the trinity of supreme divinity (trimūrti) together with Brahmā and Śiva. They are seen as the cosmic personifications of creation (brahmā), maintenance (viṣṇu), and destruction (śiva).

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Avatar of Viṣnu. Kurma, the tortoise, appeared in the Satya Yuga. When the devas and asuras were churning the Ocean of milk in order to get amrita, the nectar of immortality, the mount Mandara they were using as the churning staff started to sink and Lord Vishnu took the form of a tortoise to bear the weight of the mountain.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

India history and geogprahy

Kūrma.—(EI 14), see madhya-kūrma, ‘a plot of land elevated in the middle.’ Note: kūrma 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
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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

kūrma (कूर्म).—m (S) A tortoise or a turtle. 2 One of the five minor vital airs. See upaprāṇa. 3 A red or dark spot on the eye.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

kūrma (कूर्म).—m A tortoise.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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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

Kūrma (कूर्म).—[kau jale ūrmirvego'sya pṛṣo° Tv.]

1) A tortoise; गूहेत्कूर्म इवाङ्गानि रक्षेद्विवरमात्मनः (gūhetkūrma ivāṅgāni rakṣedvivaramātmanaḥ) Ms.7.15; Bg.2.58; कूर्मः पादोऽत्र यष्टिर्भुजगपतिरसौ भाजनं भूतधात्री (kūrmaḥ pādo'tra yaṣṭirbhujagapatirasau bhājanaṃ bhūtadhātrī) Udb.

2) Viṣṇu in his second or Kūrma incarnation.

3) One of the outer winds of the body.

4) A particular gesticulation with the fingers.

-rmī A female tortoise.

Derivable forms: kūrmaḥ (कूर्मः).

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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Relevant definitions

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