Madhu; 15 Definition(s)


Madhu means something in Buddhism, Pali, 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

Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Madhu (मधु) refers to one of the 130 varṇavṛttas (syllabo-quantitative verse) dealt with in the second chapter of the Vṛttamuktāvalī, ascribed to Durgādatta (19th century), author of eight Sanskrit work and patronised by Hindupati: an ancient king of the Bundela tribe (presently Bundelkhand of Uttar Pradesh). A Varṇavṛtta (eg., madhu) refers to a type of classical Sanskrit metre depending on syllable count where the light-heavy patterns are fixed.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
context information

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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Madhu (मधु)—Honey was used with food by the Ṛgvedic Indians. The Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa mentions honey as the life-sap of the sky. It even calls it a form of Soma, and shows its use in the ritual. The madhuparka offered to guests is mentioned in the Atharva-veda. Kauṭilya mentions it many times even in similes. It includes also the juice of grapes in ‘honey’ (madhu). With the Vāyu-purāṇa honey is amongst its favourites, and we find even a river of honey mentioned.

Source: Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

1) Madhu (मधु).—One of the Asuras born from the ear-wax of Mahāviṣṇu. The other was named Kaiṭabha. (For details see under KAIṬABHA).

2) Madhu (मधु).—Once there lived in a forest-garden on the shores of the Yamunā an Asura of name. Madhu. Śatrughna killed this Madhu and established there a city called Mathurāpurī. (Uttara Kāṇḍa, Kamba Rāmāyaṇa). While Indrajit, son of Rāvaṇa, was performing penance Madhu carried away a demoness named Kumbhīnasī and there ensued a fight on that account between Madhu and Rāvaṇa in which Madhu was killed.

3) Madhu (मधु).—A king who used to sit in the court of Yama and worship him. (Śloka 16, Chapter 8, Sabhā Parva).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Madhu (मधु) refers to “honey”, forming part of a common diet in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) as mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—Madhu is recommended as an offering to be made to the goddess Śyāmā (verse 800). Various sorts of food preparations sweetened with honey are referred to (verses 503, 691). Another name of honey is Kṣaudra (verse 694). Most of the references to the articles of diet occur in the Nīlamata in connection with the offerings made to the gods but it is not difficult to infer from them the food and drink of the common people because “what a man eats his gods eat”.

Source: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

1a) Madhu (मधु).—A son of Bindumān and Sanghā; his son was Vīravrata.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 15. 15.

1b) The father of Asura Lavaṇa;1 killed by Hari.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 11. 14.
  • 2) Ib. VII. 9. 37; X. 40. 17. Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 37. 2; III 63. 38; IV. 29. 75.

1c) A son of Kārtavīryārjuna; he had a hundred sons of whom Vṛṣni was the eldest.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 23. 27, 29; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 11. 21.

1d) A son of Devakṣatra (Devakṣetra Matsya-purāṇa and Viṣṇu-purāṇa) and father of Kuruvaśa (Puravasa Matsya-purāṇa) (Kumāravaṃśa, Viṣṇu-purāṇa).*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 24. 5; Matsya-purāṇa 44. 44; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 12. 42.

1e) A son of Kṛṣṇa.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 90. 33.

1f) A month sacred to Dhātā;1 good for the gift of the varāha p.;2 the king of seasons; generally spring, a kin of the God of Love;3 the month of Citra (Veda), the first of the six ṛtus.4

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 11. 33; Matsya-purāṇa 53. 41.
  • 2) Ib. 154. 211.
  • 3) Ib. 154. 256; Vāyu-purāṇa 30. 4; 50. 201.
  • 4) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 13. 4, 9; Vāyu-purāṇa 30. 8; 31. 49; 45. 27; 50. 201; 52. 5.

1g) An Ātreya and a sage of the Cākṣuṣa epoch.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 36. 78; Vāyu-purāṇa 62. 66.

1h) A son of Praheti: a Rākṣasa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 91; Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 165.

1i) A son of Khaśā and a Rākṣasa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 133.

1j) A son of Devana and father of Nandana, Puruvasu Manu, and Manuvaśa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 70. 46; Vāyu-purāṇa 95. 45.

1k) A Marīci god.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 1. 58.

1l) A son of Auttama Manu.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 9. 12.

1m) A Rākṣasa who attacked Nārāyaṇa; was slain by Viṣṇu.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 135. 49; 178. 6, 18.

1n) A mind-born son of Lord Viṣṇu born with Kaiṭabha representing rajas and tamas qualities;1 with Kaiṭabha shook the lotus stand of Brahmā in the navel of Viṣṇu lying in waters after interview with Rudra; then Brahmā appealed to Viṣṇu in fear; Bhū, Bhuva and Suva entered Brahmā; Viṣnu and Jiṣṇu fought with Madhu Kaitabha when Brahmā acted as arbitrator; the battle continued for thousands of years; Brahmā entered into contemplation when Mohini or Viṣṇumāya appeared to the great grief of the Asuras; both were killed when Brahmā asked for permission to create four kinds of creatures; with a view to this he performed austerities when he was filled with rage and tears out of which came wind, bile and kapha besides poisonous serpents; Brahmā's grief knew no bounds, and he swooned and lost his life; when Rudra appeared in eleven forms out of his face, revived him and helped him in his creation as his son.2

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 170. 1.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 25. 30-80.

1o) A son of Viśveśā.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 171. 49.

1p) Honey fit for ceremonies;1 used for the ablution of deities;2 fit for piṇḍa at Gayā.3

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 204. 5 and 7.
  • 2) Ib. 266. 51, 55.
  • 3) Vāyu-purāṇa 30. 151; 56. 12; 105. 34.

1q) A son of Lāngalī, the avatār of the Lord.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 23. 200.

1r) A son of Vṛṣa; had a hundred sons of whom Vṛṣṇi was the eldest.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 11. 26-7, 29.

1s) A son of Cākṣuṣa Manu.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 1. 28.

1t) A tribe whose Lord was Kṛṣṇa;1 related to the Pāṇḍavas;2 defended Dvārakā;3 relieved by Kaṃsa's death;4 heard of Kṛṣṇa's going to Mithilā and met him with presents;5 their praise of the heroic deeds of Viṣṇu;6 fought with their kinsmen and ended themselves.7

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 8. 42; 10. 26.
  • 2) Ib. I. 14. 25; IX. 24. 63.
  • 3) Ib. I. 11. 11.
  • 4) Ib. X. 45. 15.
  • 5) Ib. X. 86. 20.
  • 6) Ib. IX. 24. 63.
  • 7) Ib. XI. 30. 18.
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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Itihasa (narrative history)

Madhu (मधु) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. V.7.1, IX.36.9, IX.44.67) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Madhu) 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
context information

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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Ayurveda (science of life)

Madhu (मधु) refers to “flower juice” or “honey”, as mentioned in a list of four synonyms, according to the second chapter (dharaṇyādi-varga) of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu (an Ayurvedic encyclopedia). The Dharaṇyādi-varga covers the lands, soil, mountains, jungles and vegetation’s relations between trees [viz., Madhu] and plants and substances, with their various kinds.

Source: Wisdom Library: Raj Nighantu
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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General definition (in Hinduism)

Madhu (in several Indo-Aryan languages) means honey or sweet. It also means mead and is used for alcohol. The word originates in Sanskrit and has cognates in most Indo-European languages.

Madhu has been used for millennia in a similar metaphorical sense as wine is in English, e.g. "the wine of truth," and employed in that manner in Hindu religious literature. For example, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad contains a chapter called the Madhu Brahmana and "the secret essence of the Vedas themselves, was called the madhu-vidya or honey doctrine."

Etymology: Madhu (Hindustani: मधु or مدهو). Madhu, and the related terms mad (मद, مد) and madira (मदिरा, مدِرا), also mean alcohol. These words are all derived from the Sanskrit language, and are Indo-European cognates of the English mead, Greek μέθυ, Avestan madu, Persian may, Latvian and Lithuanian medus, German Met and Old Church Slavonic – мєдъ (medŭ).

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

Madhu (मधु, “sweet”) or Madhusāgara refers to one of the “seven oceans” (sāgara) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 126). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., madhu). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Madhu (मधु, “honey”) refers to one of the ten classifications of food (āhāra), also known as vikṛtis, according to the 12th century Yogaśāstra (verse 3.130) by Hemacandra. Madhu refers to honey, which may be of three kinds: made by bees (bhrāmara), by flies (makṣikā), or by kuttiya.

Honey (madhu) is forbidden to consume for Jain laymen. The five udumbara fruits and three forbidden vikṛtis: meat (māṃsa), alcohol (madya), and honey (madhu)—from which abstention is enjoined have one aspect in common: they are all used as offerings to the spirits of the ancestors (pitṛs). For Amitagati, in the Subhāṣita-ratna-sandoha, the common characteristic of meat, alcohol, and honey is their aphrodisiac quality.

Honey (madhu) is condemned by Somadeva, in his Yaśastilaka, because “it is pressed out of the young eggs in the womb of bees and resembles the embryo inthe first stage of its growth”. To provide but a single drop, says Amṛtacandra, in his Puruṣārthasiddhyupāya, bees have to be killed and even if they have been driven by some artifice from the comb or if the honey has dripped down of itself hiṃsā will still occur since other living creatures find their way into it.

Source: Jaina Yoga
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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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Madhu in Pali glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

madhu : (nt.) honey; wine made from the blossom of Bassia Latifolia.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Madhu, (cp. Vedic madhu, Gr. mέqu wine, Lith. medùs honey, midùs wine, Ohg. metu=Ger. met wine. Most likely to root *med to be full of juice: see under madati) honey J. I, 157 sq.; IV, 117; Dh. 69 (madhū vā read as madhuvā); Mhvs 5, 53; DhsA. 330; DhA. II, 197 (alla° fresh honey).—pl. madhūni Mhvs 5, 31.—The Abhp (533) also gives “wine from the blossom of Bassia latifolia” as meaning.—On madhu in similes see J. P. T. S. 1907, 121.

—atthika (madh°) at J. III, 493 is with v. l. to be read madhu-tthika (q. v. below). The proposal of Kern’s (Toev. s. v.) to read madh’aṭṭhika “with sweet kernels” cannot be accepted. The C. explns rightly by “madhura-phalesu pakkhitta-madhu viya, madhura-phalo hutvā. ” —atthika (madhu°) desirous of honey, seeking honey J. IV, 205; Mhvs 5, 50. —āpaṇa (madhv°) honey shop Mhvs 5, 52. —āsava (madhv°) honey extract, wine from the flower of Bassia latifolia VvA. 73 (as one of the 5 kinds of intoxicating liquors). —kara “honey-maker, ” bee J. IV, 265; Vism. 136 (in simile); DhA. I, 374. —gaṇḍa honey-comb Mhvs 22, 42; 34, 52. —tthika (madhu+thika, which latter stands for thīya, fr. styā to congeal, drip; see thika, thīna, thīya and theva) dripping with honey, full of honey J. III, 493 (so read for madh-atthika); VI, 529 (=madhuṃ paggharanto C.). Kern, Toev. s. v. unnecessarily reads as °atthika which he takes=°aṭṭhika. —da giving honey, liberal Mhvs 5, 60 (Asoka). —paṭala honey-comb J. I, 262; DhA. I, 59; III, 323. —piṇḍikā a ball of honey (to eat), honey-food, a meal with honey Vin. I, 4; M. I, 114. —pīta having drunk honey, drunk with honey S. I, 212. —(b)bata “courting honey, ” a bee Dāvs III, 65. —bindu a drop of honey Vism. 531; VbhA. 146 (°giddha, in comparison). —makkhitā smeared with honey J. I, 158. —madhuka dripping with honey, full of honey J. VI, 529. —mehika referring to a particular disease madhumeha (“honey-urine, ” diabetes?) Vin. IV, 8. —laṭṭhikā liquorice (no ref. ?); cp. Laṭṭhi-madhukavana J. I, 68. —lāja sweet corn J. IV, 214, 281. —vāṇija honey seller Mhvs 5, 49. —ssava flowing with honey Pv. II, 911. (Page 519)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's 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

maḍhū (मढू).—a (Vulgar. madhu S) Sweet;--used of kinds of fruittrees and fruits; as maḍhū-ciñca-bōra-karavanda-limba.

--- OR ---

madhu (मधु).—n (S) Honey. 2 The nectar or honey of flowers. 3 Spirituous liquor distilled from the blossoms of Bassia latifolia. 4 m The month caitra (March-April). 5 m The season of spring.

--- OR ---

madhu (मधु).—a (S) Sweet, lit. fig.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

madhu (मधु).—n Honey. a Sweet. madhukara m A bee,

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

Madhu (मधु).—a. (-dhu or -dhvī f.) [मन्यत इति मधु, मन्-उ नस्य धः (manyata iti madhu, man-u nasya dhaḥ) Uṇ.1.18) Sweet, pleasant, agreeable, delightful; आपापयति गोविन्दपादपद्मासवं मधु (āpāpayati govindapādapadmāsavaṃ madhu) Bhāg.1.18.12; त्वया सह निवत्स्यामि वनेषु मधुगन्धिषु (tvayā saha nivatsyāmi vaneṣu madhugandhiṣu) U.2.18. -f. Name of a plant (jīvā, jīvantī). -n. -(dhu) 1 Honey; एतास्ता मधुनो धाराश्च्योतन्ति सविषास्त्वयि (etāstā madhuno dhārāścyotanti saviṣāstvayi) U.3.34; मधु तिष्ठति जिह्वाग्रे हृदये तु हलाहलम् (madhu tiṣṭhati jihvāgre hṛdaye tu halāhalam).

2) The juice or nectar of flowers; मधु द्विरेफः कुसुमैकपात्रे पपौ प्रियां स्वामनुवर्तमानः (madhu dvirephaḥ kusumaikapātre papau priyāṃ svāmanuvartamānaḥ) Ku.3.36; देहि मुखकमलमधुपानम् (dehi mukhakamalamadhupānam) Gīt.1.

3) A sweet intoxicating drink, wine, spirituous liquor; विनयन्ते स्म तद्योधा मधुभिर्विजयश्रमम् (vinayante sma tadyodhā madhubhirvijayaśramam) R.4.65; Ṛs. 1.3.

4) Water.

5) Sugar.

6) Sweetness.

7) Anything sweet.

8) Ved. Soma juice.

9) Milk or anything produced from milk (Ved.).

1) A bee-hive; केचित्- पीत्वापविध्यन्ति मधूनि मधुपिङ्गलाः (kecit- pītvāpavidhyanti madhūni madhupiṅgalāḥ) Rām.5.62.1.

11) Bee-wax; Ms.1.88. -m. (dhuḥ) 1 The spring or vernal season; मधुरया मधुबोधितमाधवी (madhurayā madhubodhitamādhavī) Śi.6.2; क्व नु ते हृदयंगमः सखा कुसुमायोजितकार्मुको मधुः (kva nu te hṛdayaṃgamaḥ sakhā kusumāyojitakārmuko madhuḥ) Ku.4.24,25;3.1,3.

2) The month of Chaitra; भास्करस्य मधुमाधवाविव (bhāskarasya madhumādhavāviva) R.11.7; मासे मधौ मधुरकोकिलभृङ्गनादै रामा हरन्ति हृदयं प्रसभं नराणाम् (māse madhau madhurakokilabhṛṅganādai rāmā haranti hṛdayaṃ prasabhaṃ narāṇām) Ṛs.6. 25.

3) Name of a demon killed by Viṣṇu.

4) Name of another demon, father of Rāvaṇa and killed by Śatrughna.

5) The Aśoka tree.

6) Name of king Kārtavīrya.

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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