Lila, Līlā: 22 definitions



Lila means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, Marathi, Hindi. 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 and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Līlā (लीला) refers to “divine sports”, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.1.20.—“[...] thus lord Śiva who had assumed the form of Rudra performed divine sports (līlā) on the mount Kailāsa though he was foremost among Yogins. Thus lord Śiva spent some time without his divine consort. After some time He married Satī, the daughter of Dakṣa Prajāpati. Lord Śiva sported with her. Following the conventions of the world, O celestial sage, he became happy”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Līlā (लीला).—A Svara śakti.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 44. 57.
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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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

Līlā (लीला).—A transcendental “pastime” or activity performed by God or His devotee; The endlessly expanding spiritual activities and pastimes of Kṛṣṇa.

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhagavad-gita (4th edition)

Līlā (लीला) refers to “divine sportive pastimes of the Supreme Lord or His eternal associates”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhajana-rahasya - 2nd Edition

Līlā (लीला) refers to:—The divine and astonishing pastimes of Śrī Bhagavān and His eternal associates. (cf. Glossary page from Bhajana-Rahasya).

Source: Pure Bhakti: Brhad Bhagavatamrtam

Līlā (लीला) refers to:—The Lord’s activities, or pastimes, of both cosmic creation and transcendental exchanges of love with His devotees. (cf. Glossary page from Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta).

Vaishnavism book cover
context information

Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Līlā (लीला, “sportive mimicry”) 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. The natural graces (such as līlā) are defined according to the science of sāmānyābhinaya, or “harmonious representation”.

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra, “imitating the behaviour of a lover by means of relevant words, gestures and make-up (alaṃkāra, lit. ornament) which are delightful and inspired by affection, is called ‘sportive mimicry’ (līlā)”.

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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Kavya (poetry)

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara

Līlā (लीला) or Līlāparvata is the name of a mountain whose lord is named Vikrośana: a Vidyādhara king who fought on Śrutaśarman’s side but was slain by Prabhāsa, who participated in the war against Sūryaprabha, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 48. Accordingly: “... when they heard that [speech of Śrutaśarman], eight warriors in anger surrounded Prabhāsa.... And the third was the hero Indramālin, a prince of the Vidyādharas, lord of a host of distinguished warriors, and his home was the mountain Līlā”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Līlā, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

context information

Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Lila (Sanskrit: लीला, līlā) is a concept within Hinduism literally meaning "pastime", "sport" or "play". It is common to both non-dualistic and dualistic philosophical schools, but has a markedly different significance in each. Within non-dualism, Lila is a way of describing all reality, including the cosmos, as the outcome of creative play by the divine absolute (Brahman). In the dualistic schools of Vaishnavism, Lila more simply refers to the activities of God and his devotees, as distinct from the common activities of karma.

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

līlā : (f.) grace; charm.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Līlā, (līḷā) (f.) (cp. Epic Sk. līlā or *līḍā) play, sport, dalliance; probably for līḷhā at J. V, 5 & 157, both times combined with vilāsa.

Pali book cover
context information

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

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

liḷā (लिळा).—f (līlā S) Sport, diversion, pastime,play. liḷā phiraṇēṃ -badalaṇēṃ -pālaṭaṇēṃ g. of s. To change one's course from good to bad or vice versâ.

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līlā (लीला).—f (S) Sport, diversion, pastime or play in general. 2 (Abridged from līlāvatāra q.v. infra.) An incarnation of Vishn̤u. Hence līlā- dhāraṇa Assumption of an incarnation, and līlā- dhārī Assumer of &c.

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līlā (लीला) [or लीळा, līḷā].—ad (Poetry.) As it were in play; easily. See avalīḷā.

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

līlā (लीला).—f Play or pastime, sport.

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liḷā (लिळा).—f Play or pastime, sport.

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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Līlā (लीला).—[lī-kvip liyaṃ lāti lā-ka vā Tv.]

1) Play, sport, pastime, diversion, pleasure, amusement; क्लमं ययौ कन्दुक- लीलयापि या (klamaṃ yayau kanduka- līlayāpi yā) Ku.5.19; oft. used as the first member of comp.; लीलाकमलम्, लीलाशुकः (līlākamalam, līlāśukaḥ) &c.

2) Amorous pastime, wanton, amorous or playful sport; उत्सृष्टलीलागतिः (utsṛṣṭalīlāgatiḥ) R.7. 7;4.22;5.7; क्षुभ्यन्ति प्रसभमहो विनापि हेतोर्लीलाभिः किमु सति कारणे रमण्यः (kṣubhyanti prasabhamaho vināpi hetorlīlābhiḥ kimu sati kāraṇe ramaṇyaḥ) Śi.8.24; Me.37; (līlā in this sense is thus explained by ujjavalamaṇi:aprāptavallabhasamāgamanāyikāyāḥ sakhyāḥ puro'tra nijacittavinodabuddhyā | ālāpaveśagatihāsyavilokanādyaiḥ prāṇeśvarānukṛtimāphalayanti līlām ||).

3) Ease, facility, mere sport, child's play; लीलया जघान (līlayā jaghāna) 'killed with ease'.

4) Appearance, semblance, air, mien; यः संयति प्राप्तपिनाकि- लीलः (yaḥ saṃyati prāptapināki- līlaḥ) R.6.72 'appearing like Pinākin'.

5) Beauty, charm, grace; मुहुरवलोकितमण्डनलीला (muhuravalokitamaṇḍanalīlā) Gīt.6; R.6.1;16 71.

6) Pretence, disguise, dissimulation, sham; as, लीलामनुष्यः, लीलानटः (līlāmanuṣyaḥ, līlānaṭaḥ) &c.

7) Frivolity, disrespect; दातव्य- मन्नं विधिवत् सत्कृत्य न तु लीलया (dātavya- mannaṃ vidhivat satkṛtya na tu līlayā) Rām.1.13.14.

8) Action.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Līlā (लीला).—f.

(-lā) 1. A branch of feminine action, proceeding from love; or the imitation of a lover’s manner, speech, gait, &c. by his mistress, to pass the time in his absence. 2. Play, sport, pastime in general. 3. Amorous or wanton sport. 4. Fecility in doing anything. 5. Mien, manner. 6. Grace, charm. 7. Pretence, disguise, sham. 8. A species of the Dandaka metre. E. to embrace, kvip aff., and to get or give, affs. ka and ṭāp .

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Līlā (लीला).— (akin to las), f. 1. Play, sport, pastime, [Pañcatantra] 161, 15; līlayā (instr.), Sportively, [Pañcatantra] 229, 10; easily, without any effort, [Pañcatantra] 211, 12; [Hitopadeśa] 81, 18. 2. Amorous or wanton sport, [Pañcatantra] iii. [distich] 237.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Līlā (लीला).—[feminine] play, sport, amusement, pastime; wantonness, grace, beauty, charm; mere play or sport, i.e. either ease or facility in doing anything; or appearance, semblance, pretence. °— & [instrumental] for sport, without effort; feignedly.

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

1) Līlā (लीला):—f. (derivation doubtful) play, sport, diversion, amusement, pastime, [Mahābhārata; Kāvya literature] etc.

2) mere sport or play, child’s play, ease or facility in doing anything, [ib.]

3) mere appearance, semblance, pretence, disguise, sham, [Kāvya literature; Kathāsaritsāgara; Purāṇa] ([in the beginning of a compound] sportively, easily, in sport, as a mere joke ; also = līlayā ind. for mere diversion, feignedly)

4) grace, charm, beauty, elegance, loveliness, [Kālidāsa; Kathāsaritsāgara; Rājataraṅgiṇī]

5) (in [rhetoric]) a maiden’s playful imitation of her lover, [Daśarūpa; Sāhitya-darpaṇa; Pratāparudrīya]

6) a kind of metre (4 times ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯), [Colebrooke]

7) Name of a Yoginī, [Hemacandra’s Pariśiṣṭaparvan]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Līlā (लीला):—(lā) 1. f. A branch of feminine action proceeding from love; play, sport, dalliance.

[Sanskrit to German] (Deutsch Wörterbuch)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Böhtlingk and Roth Grosses Petersburger Wörterbuch

Līlā (लीला):—f.

1) Spiel, Scherz, Belustigung; = krīḍā, vilāsa [Amarakoṣa 3, 4, 26, 201.] [Hemacandra’s Abhidhānacintāmaṇi 555.] [Anekārthasaṃgraha 2, 508.] [Medinīkoṣa l. 46.] krīḍanti līlām [Harivaṃśa 4339.] vidhāna [15787.] līlā vidadhataḥ [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 1, 1, 18.] līlāḥ kar [Harivaṃśa 2463.] sahajāṃ līlāṃ dhārayan [2985.] līlāḍhyo nāradaḥ [Mahābhārata 13,252.] [Bharata] [NĀṬYAŚ. 34,82.] [Spr. 685. 3318. fg.] [Raghuvaṃśa 16,71.] [Śiśupālavadha.8,24.] [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 10,11,32.] [Oxforder Handschriften 127,a, No. 223.] strībhirlīlaiva procyate līlā [PRASAṄGĀBH. 14],b. śiśulīlāṃ tataḥ kurvan [Harivaṃśa 3407. 3650.] bāla [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 3, 2, 2.] bālalīlādhara [Suśruta 2, 394, 11.] bibhratīṃ cāmbikālīlām (jāhnavīm) [Kathāsaritsāgara 93, 78.] kṛṣṇa [Spr. 4897.] vṛddho pi vāraṇapatirna jahāti līlām [4056.] kanduka Ballspiel [Kumārasaṃbhava 5, 19.] [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 5, 9, 19. 8, 12, 18. 22.] hindola [Spr. 3053.] dyūta [Kathāsaritsāgara 62, 164.] pānādi [18, 27. 17, 1. 38, 33. 56, 210. 75, 115. 108, 123.] mṛgayā (so zu verbinden) [42, 6.] saṃbhoga [93, 46.] tanmukhābjāli [74, 240.] sadudbhavasthānanirodha [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 2, 4, 12.] [SARVADARŚANAS. 49, 20.] līlayā niḥśaṅkitayā [Pañcatantra 161, 15.] līlayā zur Belustigung, um sich zu belustigen [Spr. 566.] [Kathāsaritsāgara 44, 40.] [SARVADARŚANAS. 55, 7.] [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 1, 1, 17. 3, 7, 2. 10, 11.] ātmalīlayā dass. [1, 10, 24.] svalīlayā dass. [7, 8, 40. 10, 8, 52.] svalīlāvaśāt [SARVADARŚANAS. 54, 18.] am Anf. eines comp. līlā so v. a. līlayā zur Belustigung: vigrahagrahaṇa [129, 2. 13.] jalada das Spiel der Wolken [Journ. of the Am. Or. S. 7, 44.] pallava [Spr. 680.] Insbes. die in der Nachahmung des Geliebten bestehende Belustigung eines Mädchens: priyānukaraṇaṃ līlā madhurāṅgaviceṣṭitaiḥ [DAŚAR.2,35.4,64.] [Sāhityadarpana 136. 50,15. 54,2.] [PRATĀPAR. 55,b.] [Amarakoṣa.1,1,7,32.3,4,26,201.] [Hemacandra’s Abhidhānacintāmaṇi 507.] [Hemacandra’s Anekārthasaṃgraha] [Medinīkoṣa] [Halāyudha.1,89.] [Gītagovinda.6,5.] —

2) blosses Spiel, blosse Belustigung so v. a. eine ohne alle Anstrengung von der Hand gehende Handlung: nikhilavāridhipāna [Rājataraṅgiṇī 4, 717.] harerghṛtakroḍatanoḥ svamāyayā niśamya goruddharaṇaṃ rasātalāt | līlām [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 3, 20, 8.] līlayā so v. a. ohne alle Anstrengung, mit der grössten Leichtigkeit [Mahābhārata 13, 855.] [Harivaṃśa 2330.] [Rāmāyaṇa 1, 67, 15. 3, 31, 30. 4, 9, 92.] [Kathāsaritsāgara 47, 84.] [VṚDDHA-Cāṇakya 15, 19.] [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 3, 2, 30. 13, 46. 19, 9. 11.] [Mārkāṇḍeyapurāṇa 21, 83. 82, 49.] [Pañcatantra 48, 20. 211, 12. ed. orn. 56, 3.] [Hitopadeśa 81, 18]; vgl. līlāmātreṇa [PAÑCAR. 1, 9, 22.] aprayatnenaiva līlānyāyena [] bei [Frid 112.] Am Anf. eines comp. līlā = līlayā ohne Anstrengung: sādhya [Kathāsaritsāgara 123, 161.] dagdha [Spr. 919.] govardhanadhara [PAÑCAR. 4, 3, 134.] —

3) blosses Spiel so v. a. blosses Aussehen, Schein: sa praviśya dadarśātra citrālokanalīlayā | sthitaṃ kanakavarṣaṃ taṃ nṛpaṃ citrakaro rahaḥ || so v. a. er betrachtete den Fürsten als wenn er ein Bild ansähe [Kathāsaritsāgara 55, 39.] tasmiṃścitānale nyapatacchītalahradalīlayā als wenn es ein kühler Teich wäre [53, 160.] gajalīlayā so v. a. nach Art eines Elephanten, wie ein Elephant [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 3, 13, 32.] gajendralīla einen Elephanten darstellend, einem El. gleichend [26. 9, 10, 6.] Auch in comp. mit dem, was den Schein bewirkt: śailaprākāralīlayā [Rājataraṅgiṇī 1, 31.] lāvaṇyalīlājala (saras) [Spr. 1970.] gotralīlātapatra [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 3, 2, 33.] —

4) beabsichtigter Schein, Verstellung: naṭana ein Tanzen, durch welches man Jmd zu täuschen beabsichtigt, [Spr. 2396.] mandaṃ prasthitam erkünstelt langsam [2081.] avajñayā na dātavyaṃ kasyacillīlayāpi vā so v. a. im Spotte. zum blossen Scheine [4436, v. l.] —

5) Anmuth, Liebreiz [Kumārasaṃbhava.1, 34.] [Raghuvaṃśa 6, 1.] līlāvadhūtaiścāmaraiḥ [Meghadūta 36.] [Kathāsaritsāgara 56, 250.] [CAURĀP. 34.] [Prabodhacandrodaja 40, 4.] khela [Raghuvaṃśa 4, 22.] vilasitaiḥ [Spr. 771.] smita [Raghuvaṃśa 5, 70.] [Rājataraṅgiṇī 4, 302.] hasita [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 2, 2, 12.] gati [Raghuvaṃśa 7, 7] [?(= Kumārasaṃbhava 7, 58).] līlāvalokana [Bhāgavatapurāṇa 3, 20, 30. 8, 8, 7.] valayaraṇita [Spr. 23.] —

6) ein best. Metrum: 4 Mal ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ [Colebrooke II, 162 (XI, 6).] — Das Wort wird gewöhnlich als eine Corruption von krīḍā betrachtet, könnte aber vielleicht mit 3. in Verbindung stehen. — Vgl. anta, ava, ādi, turagalīlaka, bhāgavatalīlārahasya, madhya, mahālīlasarasvatī, rājalīlānāman, salīla.

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Līlā (लीला):—

3) vidhivatsatkṛtya na tu līlayā so v. a. nicht zum blossen Schein [Rāmāyaṇa ed. Bomb. 1, 13, 14.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Sanskrit-Wörterbuch in kürzerer Fassung

Līlā (लीला):—f.

1) Spiel , Scherz , Belustigung. Instr. und līlā zur Belustigung , um sich zu belustigen. ātma und sva dass. —

2) die in der Nachahmung des Geliebten bestehende Belustigung eines Mädchens.

3) blosses Spiel , blosse Belustigung , so v.a. eine ohne alle Anstrengung von der Hand gehende Handlung. Instr. und līlā ohne alle Anstrengung , mit der grössten Leichtigkeit. līlāmātreṇa und līlānyāyena dass. —

4) blosses Spiel , so v.a. blosses Aussehen , Schein. na tu līlayā nicht aber zum blossen Schein. In Comp. mit dem , was blosser Schein ([Jayadeva's Prasannarāghava 143,9.] [Bālarāmāyaṇa 196,20.] [Kād. (1872) 183,18]) ist , und mit dem , was den Schein bewirkt. gajendralīla Adj. einen Elephanten darstellend , einem E. gleichend.

5) beabsichtigter Schein , Verstellung. Instr. und līlā zum blossen Schein , verstellter Weise.

6) Anmuth , Liebreiz.

7) ein best. Metrum.

8) Nomen proprium einer Yogini [Hemādri’s Caturvargacintāmaṇi 2,a.94,8.10.]

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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Hindi dictionary

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Līlā (लीला) [Also spelled lala]:—(nf) sport, play; amorous sport; fun and frolic; stage representation [of the deeds of divine incarnations, e.g, [rāmalīlā, rāsa-līlā]; -kalaha] love strife; ~[priya] frolicsome; ~[puruṣa] an epithet of Lord Krishna who revelled in his divine sport; ~[maya] sportive; playful; ~[sthala] site of amorous sport/play.

context information


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