Lokapala, aka: Lokapālā, Lokapāla, Loka-pala; 12 Definition(s)

Introduction

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

Katha (narrative stories)

[Lokapala in Katha glossaries]

The Lokapālas are the guardians of the four cardinal and intermediate points of the compass. They appear to be usually reckoned as

  1. Indra, guardian of the East,
  2. Agni of the South-East,
  3. Varuṇa of the West,
  4. Yama of the South,
  5. Sūrya of the South-West,
  6. Pavana or Vāyu of the North-West,
  7. Kuvera of the North,
  8. Soma or Chandra of the North-East.

Some substitute Nirṛti for Sūrya and Īśānī or Pṛthivī for Soma.

(Source): archive.org: The ocean of story. vol. 8
Katha book cover
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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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

[Lokapala in Natyashastra glossaries]

1) Lokapāla (लोकपाल) is a Sanskrit word referring to the “guardians of the worlds”. Acording to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.82-88, when Brahmā, Indra and all other gods went to inspect the playhouse (nāṭyamaṇḍapa) designed by Viśvakarmā, he assigned different deities for the protection of the playhouse itself, as well as for the objects relating to dramatic performance (prayoga).

As such, Brahmā assigned the Lokapālas to the protection of the sides of the main building. The protection of the playhouse was enacted because of the jealous Vighnas (malevolent spirits), who began to create terror for the actors.

2) Lokapāla is to be worshipped during raṅgapūjā, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra 3.1-8. Accordingly, the master of the dramatic art who has been initiated for the purpose shall consecrate the playhouse after he has made obeisance (eg., to Lokapāla).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
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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Purana

[Lokapala in Purana glossaries]

Lokapāla (लोकपाल).—Indra, Agni, Yama and Varuṇa are called lokapālas. (Śloka 35, Chapter 57, Vana Parva).

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Lokapālā (लोकपाला).—Eight in number, each with a city of his own situated in the eight cardinal points, surrounding the outskirts of Brahmā's city;1 stand in the midst of Lokāloka, on the four sides of Meru in their respective towns: EastIndia in Vasvaukasāra: South-Yama in Samyamana: WestVaruṇa in Sukha and North-Candra in Vibhāvari. These are stationed round the Mānasa lake for the protection of Dharma and progress of the world;2 an aṃśa of the Supreme Lord;3 served Tāraka as servants; beaten by Tāraka;4 served in the battle of Tripura;5 requested Soma to restore Tārā back to Bṛhaspati;6 oblations to, in rituals of digging tanks and planting gardens;7 invoked in making the 16 gifts;8 function until the Pralaya.9

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 16. 29.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 21. 28-34, 156; III. 3. 102; Matsya-purāṇa 124. 94; Vāyu-purāṇa 50. 86, 91; 111. 25.
  • 3) Matsya-purāṇa 52. 21.
  • 4) Ib. 148. 27; 153. 183.
  • 5) Ib. 24. 5; 138. 1.
  • 6) Ib. 23. 35.
  • 7) Ib. 58. 33; 59. 10.
  • 8) Ib. 274. 41f; 285. 9; 291. 3.
  • 9) Vāyu-purāṇa 50. 155 and 205.
(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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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

[Lokapala in Shaktism glossaries]

Lokapāla (लोकपाल) refers to a set of ten deities, the worship of whom forms part of the rituals performed one day before Dīkṣā: an important ritual of Śāktism described in the Śāradātilaka-tantra, chapters III-V.—Then he should worship the Lokapālas along with their attendants and their equipments, the Lokapālas mentioned being Indra, Agni, Yama, Rakṣas, Varuṇa, Pavana, Vidhu, Īśāna, Pannagādhīśa and Pitāmaha. Then he should enkindle fire on a sthaṇḍila and perform the Vaiśvadeva sacrifice. Having worshipped his deity he should offer oblations of pāyasa with Vyāhṛtis.

(Source): JSTOR: Tāntric Dīkṣā by Surya Kanta
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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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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Lokapala in Hinduism glossaries]

Lokapāla (लोकपाल):—In Hinduism the Guardians of the eight cardinal directions are called the Lokapālas or Ashta Dikpalakas. They are:

  1. Indra (east)
  2. Agni (south - east)
  3. Yama (south)
  4. Nirṛti ( South - west)
  5. Varuṇa (west)
  6. Vayu (North west)
  7. Kubera (north)
  8. Īśāna (north east)
(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Lokapāla (लोकपाल).—A generic term for the deity presiding over one of the directions: Indra for the east, Agni for the southeast. Yama for the south, Sūrya for the southwest, Varuṇa for the west, Vāyu for the northwest, Kuvera for the north, and Candra for the northeast.

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Lokapala in Jainism glossaries]

Lokapāla (लोकपाल).—One of the ten sub-types of gods (devas), according to Jain cosmology. The occupation of the lokapālas is to act as border-guards.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Lokapāla (लोकपाल, “custodian”) refers to one of the ten grades (ranks) of celestial beings (deva), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 4.4. These celestial beings (devas, gods) are of four orders /classes” and each class of celestial beings has ten grades (eg., Lokapāla).

Who are called custodians (lokapāla)? The ‘police’ are like police who protect the citizens and their property. The ministers (trāyastriṃśa) and the custodians (lokapāla) do not exist in the peripatetic (vyantara) and stellar (jyotiṣī) celestial beings classes.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 4: The celestial beings (deva)
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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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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[Lokapala in Marathi glossaries]

lōkapāla (लोकपाल).—m (S) pop. lōkapāḷa m A king. 2 A regent of a lok or region.

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

lōkapāla (लोकपाल) [-ḷa, -ळ].—m A king; a regent of a region.

(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

[Lokapala in Sanskrit glossaries]

Lokapāla (लोकपाल).—

1) a regent or guardian of a quarter of the world; ललिताभिनयं तमद्य भर्ता मरुतां द्रष्टुमनाः सलोकपालः (lalitābhinayaṃ tamadya bhartā marutāṃ draṣṭumanāḥ salokapālaḥ) V.2.18; R.2.75;12.89;17.78; (the lokapālas are eight; see aṣṭadikpāla).

2) a king, sovereign.

Derivable forms: lokapālaḥ (लोकपालः).

Lokapāla is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms loka and pāla (पाल). See also (synonyms): lokapa.

(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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