Lalita, aka: Lalitā, Lālita; 16 Definition(s)


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

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Here we speak of the great Goddess Lalitā , who is also known as Tripurasundarī , Mahārājñī and Rājarājeśvarī amongst other names. She is the presiding deity of the most esoteric yogic practices associated with the Śrī Cakra (also called Śrī Yantra) that are collectively called Śrī Vidyā .

Source: Kashmiri Overseas Association: The Great Goddess Lalitā and the Śrī Cakra

Tripura-Sundarī is also known as Lalitā. The wise say: “The word Lalitā has eight meanings, namely brilliance, manifestation, sweetness, depth, fixity, energy, grace and generosity; are the eight human qualities.”

The Kāma-śastra says: — Lalitā means erotic actions and also tenderness; as she has all the above- mentioned qualities she is called Lalitā.

Source: Red Zambala: The 10 Great Wisdom Goddesses
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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1a) Lalita (ललित, “sportiveness”).—One of the 108 karaṇas (minor dance movement) mentioned in the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 4. The instructions for this lalita-karaṇa is as follows, “the left hand with Karihasta gesture, the right one to be again turned aside (apavartita), two feet to be moved up and down.”. A karaṇa represents a minor dance movements and combines sthāna (standing position), cārī (foot and leg movement) and nṛttahasta (hands in dancing position).

1b) Lalita (ललित) refers to a gesture (āṅgika) made with ‘dance hands’ (nṛttahasta), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 8. The hands (hasta) form a part of the human body which represents one of the six major limbs (aṅga) used in dramatic performance. With these limbs are made the various gestures (āṅgika), which form a part of the histrionic representation (abhinaya).

(Instructions): “two ala-pallava (alapadmaka) hands to be moved above the head”. (Uses): “the dance-hands are to be used in forming karaṇas”.

1c) Lalita (ललित) also refers to a one of the twenty maṇḍalas, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 12. The Lalita-maṇḍala is classified as a ākāśa, or “aerial”, of which there are ten in total. A maṇḍala is a combination of cārīs (“dance-steps”), which refers refers to the simultaneous movement of the feet (pāda), shanks (jaṅghā) and the hip (ūru). From these cārīs proceed dance as well as movements in general.


1) The right foot to be moved in the sūcī-cārī and the left foot in the apakrāntā-cārī,
2) The right foot in the pārśvakrāntā and the bhujaṅgatrasitā-cārīs,
3a) The left foot in the atikrāntā-cārī and the ūrūdvṛttā-cārīs,
3b) the left foot and the alātā-cārī, and the right foot in the pārśvakrāntā-cārī,
4) The left foot in the atikrāntā-cārī with graceful steps.

1d) Lalita (ललित, “lolling”) refers to one of the ten “natural graces” of women (svābhāvikā), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 24. These natural graces, also known as svabhāvaja or sahaja, represent one of the three aspects of graces (alaṃkāra) which forms which forms the support of sentiments (rasa) in drama.

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra, “graceful movement of hands, feet, brows, eyes, lips etc. made by women is known as Lolling (lalita)”.

1e) Lalita (ललिता, “amorous”) refers to a specific “glance” (dṛṣṭi), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 8. This is a type of glance that expresses a ‘transitory state’ (saṃcāribhāva). There are a total thirty-six glances defined.

(Instructions): “the glance (dṛṣṭi) which is sweet, and contracted at the end of the eye and which is smiling and has movement of the eyebrows, and shows signs of love is called lalitā (amorous)”. (Uses): “in contentment and joy”.

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra, “lalitā is one of the signs of love (kāma) arising in a women (strī);—The glance in which eyes are expanded up to the corner and have sportful and smiling expressions, is called lalitā. It is used in women’s partial looks”.

1f) Lalita (ललित) refers to one of the eight aspects of the male’s sattva, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 24. The natural graces (such as lalita) and sattvas are defined according to the science of sāmānyābhinaya, or “harmonious representation”.

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra, “erotic movements and changes of features which are not deliberate and which grow out of a tender nature, constitute ‘sportiveness’ (lalita)”.

1g) Lalita (ललिता) refers to one of the four jātis, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 29. A jāti refers to a combination of the dhātus (roots). The four dhātus relate to different aspects of strokes in playing stringed instruments (tata).

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra, “the lalita relates to the vyañjana-dhātus and is so called because of its gracefulness”.

2) Lalitā (ललिता) refers to a type of syllabic metre (vṛtta), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 16. In this metre, the first pāda (feet) consist of sa (LLG), ja (LGL), sa (LLG), la (L), the second pāda consist of na (LLL), sa (LLG), ja (LGL), ga (G), the third pāda consists of na (LLL), na (LLL), sa (LLG), sa (LLG) and the fourth pāda consists of sa (LLG), ja (LGL), sa (LLG), ja (LGL), ga (G).


In the above description, G stands for guru (‘heavy syllable’) while L stands for laghu (‘light syllable’).

3) Lalitā (ललिता) is the name of a meter belonging to the Apakṛṣṭā class of Dhruvā (songs) described in the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 32:—“the metre which in its feet of twelve syllables, the first, fourth, the eighth, the tenth and the last one long, is lalitā”. The Apakṛṣṭā ones which are to be applied in case of women of the best and the middling class.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

1) A type of glance (or facial expression): Lalita (graceful): the comers of the eyes closed by the movement of the brows, smiling because of the working of Love, direct; it is used in graceful posing (lalita), etc.

2) One of the saṃyutta-hastāni (Twenty-six combined Hands).—Lālita the same hands crossed near the head. Patron deity Vaiṣṇavī. Usage: sāl-tree, mountain.

Source: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Natyashastra book cover
context information

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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Lalitā (ललिता).—The Divine Playfulness is personified either as Krishna or as a manifestation of Pārvatī known as Lalitā. She holds the Pāśa, Ankuśa and a sugar-cane bow with which she shoots the five arrows of the sense-objects.

Source: Red Zambala: Hindu Icons and Symbols | Devi
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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Vastushastra (architecture)

Lalita (ललित):—The Sanskrit name for a group of temples (prāsāda) containing 25 unique varieties. It is described in the 11th-century Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra (chapter 56) by Bhojadeva.

The Lalita group contains the following twenty-five temple classifications:

  1. Rucaka,
  2. Bhadraka,
  3. Haṃsa,
  4. Haṃsodbhava,
  5. Pratihaṃsa,
  6. Nanda,
  7. Nandyāvarta,
  8. Dharādhara,
  9. Vardhamāna,
  10. Adrikūṭa,
  11. Śrīvatsa,
  12. Trikūṭaka,
  13. Muktakoṇa,
  14. Gaja,
  15. Garuḍa,
  16. Siṃha,
  17. Bhava,
  18. Vibhava,
  19. Padma,
  20. Mālādhara,
  21. Vajraka,
  22. Svastika,
  23. Śaṅku,
  24. Malaya,
  25. Makaradhvaja.

These are the names of 25 out of a total of 64 temple types mentioned in same chapter.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
Vastushastra book cover
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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)

Lalita in Purana glossary... « previous · [L] · next »

1) Lalitā (ललिता).—See under PUNḌARĪKAMUKHA.

2) Lalita (ललित).—A Gandharva. This Gandharva was born by a curse and by observing a vrata called Kāmadā Ekādaśī he obtained relief from the curse and became Gandharva again. (Uttara Khaṇḍa, Padma Purāṇa).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Lalitā (ललिता).—Upākhyāna of; narrated to Agastya by Hayagrīva-Viṣṇu; different names like Śakti, Parāśakti, Bhagavatī are given.1 Originally mind-born daughter of Brahmā, named Prakṛti. then as Mohini in the churning of the milk ocean; originator of all gods and creatures. The third was the form of Lalitā when she killed Bhaṇḍa, in consequence of the penance done in her honour by Indra, and out of his offerings. All gods call on Her and praise Her. Finding her reigning alone, Brahmā remembered a form of Śankara, as Kāmeśvara, who was married to the Devī, the sister of Hari; rejoicing and presents on the occasion. Lalitā came to be known as Kāmeśvarī. War with Bhaṇḍa assuming the office of Śrīdaṇḍanāthā; sovereignty of;2 description of the nine parvas of Cakrarājaratha and seven parvas of Geyacakraratha sacred to Lalitā. She rode on the Cakraratha with the sāmrājya umbrella amidst war-music. Bhaṇḍa treated it as a woman's march and with contempt. Night attacks and deceitful attacks by Bhaṇḍa's soldiers; assisted by Mantriṇī and Daṇḍanāthā, Lalitā's march. Gaṇanātha's aid in encouraging the fallen Śaktis and vanquishing the asuras. For this the honour of first worship was awarded. Burning of the city Śūnyakam along with non-combatants. Bhaṇḍa's death and Lalitā's victory; created Kāma and consoled Rati. Glad at the birth of Kumāra and his marriage with Devasenā. Went back to her city, Śrīpuram.3 Pañcadaśākṣarī and other mantras sacred to Lalitā; meditation of.4

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 5. (whole) ; Chh. 17-18.
  • 2) Ib. IV. Chh. 6, 8, 10, 12-16.
  • 3) Ib. IV. Chh. 19, 20, and 21; 26, 27, 29, 30; 37. 84.
  • 4) Ib. IV. 38. 8-31.

1b) The Goddess at Prayāgā.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 13. 26.

1c) A Goddess enshrined at Santāna.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 13. 34.

1d) A name of Satī, wife of Śiva.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 60. 11.
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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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

1) Lalitā (ललिता) is the name of a Sanskrit metre (chandas) defined by Bharata, to which Hemacandra (1088-1173 C.E.) assigned the alternative name of Sumukhī in his auto-commentary on the second chapter of the Chandonuśāsana. Hemacandra gives these alternative names for the metres by other authorities (like Bharata), even though the number of gaṇas or letters do not differ.

2) Lalitā (ललिता) refers to one of the 135 metres (chandas) mentioned by Nañjuṇḍa (1794-1868 C.E.) in his Vṛttaratnāvalī. Nañjuṇḍa was a poet of both Kannada and Sanskrit literature flourished in the court of the famous Kṛṣṇarāja Woḍeyar of Mysore. He introduces the names of these metres (eg., Lalitā) in 20 verses.

3) Lalita (ललित) refers to one of the eighteen viṣama-varṇavṛtta (irregular syllabo-quantitative verse) mentioned in the 332nd chapter of the Agnipurāṇa. The Agnipurāṇa deals with various subjects viz. literature, poetics, grammar, architecture in its 383 chapters and deals with the entire science of prosody (eg., the lalita metre) in 8 chapters (328-335) in 101 verses in total.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

1) Lalita (ललित) or Lalitāgama refers to one of the twenty-eight Siddhāntāgama: a classification of the Śaiva division of Śaivāgamas. The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu. The Śaivāgamas are divided into four groups viz. Śaiva, Pāśupata, Soma and Lākula. Śaiva is further divided in to Dakṣiṇa, Vāma and Siddhānta (eg., lalita).

2) Lalita (ललित) is the name of a deity who received the Lalitāgama from Ālayeśa through the mahānsambandha relation, according to the pratisaṃhitā theory of Āgama origin and relationship (sambandha). The lalita-āgama, being part of the eighteen Rudrabhedāgamas, refers to one of the twenty-eight Siddhāntāgamas: a classification of the Śaiva division of Śaivāgamas. The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu.

Lalita obtained the Lalitāgama from Ālayeśa who in turn obtained it from Sadāśiva through parasambandha. Lalita in turn, transmitted it to through divya-sambandha to the Devas who, through divyādivya-sambandha, transmitted it to the Ṛṣis who finally, through adivya-sambandha, revealed the Lalitāgama to human beings (Manuṣya). (also see Anantaśambhu’s commentary on the Siddhāntasārāvali of Trilocanaśivācārya)

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva
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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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Lalita (ललित) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latter, as mentioned in Svayambhūdeva’s Paumacariu (Padmacarita, Paumacariya or Rāmāyaṇapurāṇa) chapter 57ff. Svayambhū or Svayambhūdeva (8th or 9th century) was a Jain householder who probably lived in Karnataka. His work recounts the popular Rāma story as known from the older work Rāmāyaṇa (written by Vālmīki). Various chapters [mentioning Lalita] are dedicated to the humongous battle whose armies (known as akṣauhiṇīs) consisted of millions of soldiers, horses and elephants, etc.

Source: Een Kritische Studie Van Svayambhūdeva’s Paümacariu
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

Lalitā (ललिता) by Kanaka Sabhāpati is the name of a commentary on the Vṛttaratnākara of Kedārabhaṭṭa (C. 950-1050 C.E.), who was a celebrated author in Sanskrit prosody. The Vṛttaratnākara is considered as most popular work in Sanskrit prosody, because of its rich and number of commentaries.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature (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

Pali-English dictionary

Lalita in Pali glossary... « previous · [L] · next »

lalita : (nt.) grace; charm. || lālita (pp. of lāleti), lulled; quelled; soothed.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise 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

lalita (ललित).—a S Beautiful, lovely, elegant. 2 Wanton, indulging in dalliance or amorous blandishments;--used of a female.

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lalita (ललित).—n S Languid signs and gestures (in females) indicative of passion,--lolling, languishing &c. 2 See the derivative laḷīta.

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lalitā (ललिता).—f S A wanton woman: also a woman in general. 2 A form of Devi or pārvatī.

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laḷīta (लळीत).—n (lalita S) A dramatic entertainment on the concluding night of the navarātra. 2 The songs or verses composed for and recited on the occasion. 3 fig. Calamitous close or conclusion; the catastrophe. 4 A term for the last abhaṅga of a series, considered as śēvaṭacēṃ maṅgala, q. v. under maṅgala. laḷatāvara or laḷitāvara yēṇēṃ To get up into a fume or fit of rage.

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lālita (लालित).—p S Indulged, fondled, petted, caressed, cockered.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

lalitā (ललिता).—f A wanton woman; a woman.

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lalita (ललित).—a Beautiful, wanton.

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lalitā (ललिता).—f A wanton woman.

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laḷīta (लळीत).—n A dramatic entertainment, the catastrophe.

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

Lalita (ललित).—a. [lal-kta]

1) Playing, sporting, dallying.

2) Amorous, sportive, wanton, voluptuous; ललितं गीतमन्वर्थं काचित् साभिनयं जगौ (lalitaṃ gītamanvarthaṃ kācit sābhinayaṃ jagau) Bu. Ch.4.37.

3) Lovely, beautiful, handsome, elegant, graceful; ललितललितैर्ज्योत्स्नाप्रायैरकृत्रिम- विभ्रमैः (lalitalalitairjyotsnāprāyairakṛtrima- vibhramaiḥ) (aṅgakaiḥ) U.1.2; विधाय सृष्टिं ललितां विधातुः (vidhāya sṛṣṭiṃ lalitāṃ vidhātuḥ) R.6.37; 19.39;8.1; Māl.1.15; Ku.3.75;6.45; Me.34.66.

4) Pleasing, charming, agreeable, fine; प्रियशिष्या ललिते कलाविधौ (priyaśiṣyā lalite kalāvidhau) R.8.6; संदर्शितेव ललिताभिनयस्य शिक्षा (saṃdarśiteva lalitābhinayasya śikṣā) M.4.9; V. 2.18.

5) Desired.

6) Soft, gentle; अवसितललितक्रियेण बाह्वोर्ललिततरेण तनीयसा युगेन (avasitalalitakriyeṇa bāhvorlalitatareṇa tanīyasā yugena) Śi.7.64.

7) Tremulous, trembling.

-taḥ 1 Name of a musical scale.

2) A particular position of hands in dancing.

-tam 1 Sport, dalliance, play.

2) Amorous pastime, gracefulness of gait; any languid or amorous gesture in a woman; सुकुमारतयाङ्गानां विन्यासो ललितं भवेत् (sukumāratayāṅgānāṃ vinyāso lalitaṃ bhavet) S. D; Śi.9.79; Ki.1.52; ता भ्रूभिः प्रेक्षितैर्भावैर्हसितैर्ललितैर्गतैः (tā bhrūbhiḥ prekṣitairbhāvairhasitairlalitairgataiḥ) Bu. Ch.4.25.

3) Beuaty, grace, charm.

4) Any natural or artless act; स्मितललितवता दिव्यनारीजनेन (smitalalitavatā divyanārījanena) Nāg.1.1-2.

5) Simplicity, innocence.

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Lalitā (ललिता).—

1) A woman (in general).

2) A wanton woman.

3) Musk.

4) A form of Durgā.

5) Name of various metres.

6) A kind of मूर्च्छना (mūrcchanā), also राग (rāga).

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Lālita (लालित).—p. p.

1) Caressed, fondled, coaxed, indulged.

2) Seduced.

3) Loved, desired.

-tam Pleasure, love, joy.

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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Gaurīlalita (गौरीललित).—n. (-taṃ) Yellow orpiment. E. gaurī the goddess, or a young girl, and l...
Lalitalalita (ललितललित).—a. excessively beautiful; ललितललितै- र्ज्योत्स्नाप्रायैरकृत्रिमविभ्रमै...
Lalitārtha (ललितार्थ).—n. (-rthaṃ) Having an amorous meaning.
Lalitavistara (ललितविस्तर).—m., n. of a work (our LV): LV 4.17; 6.16; 438.20 ff.; Mvy 1331; Śik...
Lalitaprahāra (ललितप्रहार).—m. (-raḥ) A gentle blow.
Lalitāsaptamī (ललितासप्तमी).—f. (-mī) The seventh day of the first-half of Bhadrapada.
Upāṅgalalitā (उपाङ्गललिता).—A deity, whose व्रत (vrata) is observed on the fifth of bright half...

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