Magadha, aka: Māgadha, Māgadhā; 15 Definition(s)


Magadha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Māgadha (मागध) is the Sanskrit name of one of Bharata’s sons, mentioned in the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.26-33. After Brahmā created the Nāṭyaveda (nāṭyaśāstra), he ordered Bharata to teach the science to his (one hundred) sons. Bharata thus learned the Nāṭyaveda from Brahmā, and then made his sons study and learn its proper application. After their study, Bharata assigned his sons (eg., Māgadha) various roles suitable to them.

2) Māgadha (मागध) is the name of a tribe, usually to be represented by a dark or deep blue (śyāma) color when painting the limbs (aṅgaracanā), according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 23. The painting is a component of nepathya (costumes and make-up) and is to be done in accordance with the science of āhāryābhinaya (extraneous representation).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
context information

Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (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 (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).


1a) Magadha (मगध).—The kingdom of Jarāsandha (s.v.), see also Māgadha.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa III. 3. 10; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 39. 2, 8.

1b) —(c)—a Janapada; an eastern kingdom;1 got from Pṛthu by Māgadha; kingdom of the Māgadhas;2 kings of;3 sometimes ruled by the Nāgas;4 kingdom of Mahāratha Bṛhadratha;5 under the Guptas.6

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 16. 55; 18. 51; Vāyu-purāṇa 45. 111. 47. 48; 62. 147; 99. 294; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 3. 16.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 36. 172; Matsya-purāṇa 50. 27.
  • 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 22. 44-5.
  • 4) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 74. 195.
  • 5) Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 221.
  • 6) Ib. 99. 383; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 24. 63.

1c) King Viśvasphāṭika pulled down Kṣatriyas and established new varṇas; people of, like Kaivartas, Baṭu, Pulinda and Brahmanas.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 24. 61.

2a) Māgadha (मागध).—Jarāsandha who was vanquished by Kṛṣṇa, see Magadha (s.v.).*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa III. 3. 10; X. 2. 2; 83. 23.

2b) Born of Pṛthu's sacrifice with Sūta; panegyrised Pṛthu and got Māgadha country as gift;1 at Kṛṣṇa's jātakarma;2 in the royal household.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 15. 20; X. 5. 5; 50. 37; 53. 43; 70. 20; 71. 29; 84. 46; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 36. 113, 159-160, 172; Vāyu-purāṇa 62. 95, 137; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 13. 52. 64.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 28. 1 and 4; 27. 13; 49. 21; 55. 9 and 14; IV. 26. 62
  • 3) Matsya-purāṇa 212. 14; Vāyu-purāṇa 62. 147-148.

2c) (Paulastya)—a sage of the 14th epoch of Bhautya Manu.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 13. 34; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 1. 112; Vāyu-purāṇa 100. 116; Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 2. 44.

2d) A Gandharva.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 26.

2e) For Śrutaśravas, son of Somādhi.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 228.

2f) The people of the Magadha country (eastern country Matsya-purāṇa); a Kingdom of Madhyadeśa;1 Kṣatriya caste of Śākadvīpa.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 2. 2; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 16. 42; Matsya-purāṇa 114. 45; 121. 50; 163. 66.
  • 2) Viṣṇu-purāṇa 11. 4. 69.

2g) The royal line from Bṛahadratha to Śrutaśravas.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 50. 27-34.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

Māgadha (मागध) refers to a variety of prāsāda (upper storey of any building), according to the Śilparatna (32.3), the Mayamata (18.10) and the Kamikāgama (57.4).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
Vāstuśāstra book cover
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Vāstuśāstra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vastu-shastra) refers to the knowledge of architecture. It is a branch of ancient Indian science dealing with topics such architecture, construction, sculpture and their relation with the cosmic universe.

Śāktism (Śākta philosophy)

Magadha (मगध) is the name of a Śāktapīṭha mentioned in the Kulārṇavatantra. The Kulārṇava-tantra is an important 11th century work for the Kaula school of Śāktism. It refers to eighteen such Śākta-pīṭhas (eg. Magadha) which is defined as a sacred sanctuary of Devī located here on earth. According to legend, there are in total fifty-one such sanctuaries (pīṭha) on earth, created from the corresponding parts of Devī’s body,

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śāktism
Śāktism book cover
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Śākta (शाक्त, shakta) or Śāktism (shaktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devī) is revered and worshipped. Śākta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

Arthaśāstra (politics and welfare)

Magadha (मगध, “panegyrist”) is an official title designating one of the seventy-two officers (niyoga) of the Bāhattaraniyogādhipati circle, according to the Inscriptional glossary of Andhra Pradesh (Śāsana-śabdakośāmu). The bāhattaraniyoga-adhipati is the highest executive officer of this circle (including a Magadha). For example: During the reign of Gaṇapatideva, the area extending between Pānagal to Mārjavāḍi was entrusted to Gaṇḍapeṇḍāru Gangayasāhiṇi as Bāhattaraniyogādhipati. Later on, this office was entrusted to Kāyastha Jannigadeva.

(Source): Shodhganga: Kakati Ganapatideva and his times (artha)
Arthaśāstra book cover
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Arthaśāstra (अर्थशास्त्र, artha-shastra) literature concers itself with subjects such as statecraft, economics politics and military tactics. The term arthaśāstra refers to both the name of these scientific teachings, as well as the name of a Sanskrit work included in such literature. This book was written (3rd century BCE) by by Kauṭilya, who flourished in the 4th century BCE.

Kāvya (poetry)

Magadha (मगध) is the name a locality mentioned in Rājaśekhara’s 10th-century Kāvyamīmāṃsā.—This is the province located in the Bihar or southern part of Bihar.

(Source): Shodhganga: The Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara
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Kāvya (काव्य) 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 mahākāvya, or ‘epic poetry’ and nāṭya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Magadha (मगध).—A province of ancient India; also the capital city of King Jarāsandha.

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Buddhism


magadha : (m.) the country of Magadha, which includes present Bihar and Orissa. || māgadha (adj.) belonging to Magadha.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Māgadha, (fr. Magadha) scent-seller, (lit. “from Magadha”) Pv. II, 937 (=gandhin PvA. 127). (Page 527)

(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.

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

One of the four chief kingdoms of India at the time of the Buddha, the others being Kosala, the kingdom of the Vamsas and Avanti. Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas and had its capital at Rajagaha or Giribbaja where Bimbisara, and after him Ajatasattu, reigned. Later, Pataliputta became the capital. By the time of Bimbisara, Anga, too, formed a part of Magadha, and he was known as king of Anga Magadha (see, e.g., Vin.i.27 and ThagA.i.544, where Bimbisara sends for Sona Kolivisa, a prominent citizen of Campa, capital of Anga). But prior to that, these were two separate kingdoms, often at war with each other (e.g., J.iv.454f). Several kings of Magadha are mentioned by name in the Jatakas - e.g., Arindama and Duyyodhana. In one story ( the Magadha kingdom is said to have been under the suzerainty of Anga. In the Buddhas day, Magadha (inclusive of Anga) consisted of eighty thousand villages (Vin.i.179) and had a circumference of some three hundred leagues (DA.i.148).

Ajatasattu succeeded in annexing Kosala with the help of the Licchavis, and he succeeded also in bringing the confederation of the latter under his sway; preliminaries to this struggle are mentioned in the books (e.g., D.ii.73f., 86).

Under Bimbisara and Ajatasattu, Magadha rose to such political eminence that for several centuries, right down to the time of Asoka, the history of Northern India was practically the history of Magadha. (A list of the kings from Bimbisara to Asoka is found in Dvy.369 ; cp. DA.i.153; Mbv.96, 98).

At the time of the Buddha, the kingdom of Magadha was bounded on the east by the river Campa (Campa flowed between Anga and Magadha; J.iv.454), on the south by the Vindhya Mountains, on the west by the river Sona, and on the north by the Ganges. The latter river formed the boundary between Magadha and the republican country of the Licchavis, and both the Magadhas and the Licchavis evidently had equal rights over the river. When the Buddha visited Vesali, Bimbisara made a road five leagues long, from Rajagaha to the river, and decorated it, and the Licchavis did the same on the other side. DhA.iii.439 f.; the Dvy. (1p.55) says that monks going from Savatthi to Rajagaha could cross the Ganges in boats kept either by Ajatasattu or by the Licchavis of Vesali.

During the early Buddhist period Magadha was an important political and commercial centre, and was visited by people from all parts of Northern India in search of commerce and of learning. The kings of Magadha maintained friendly relations with their neighbours, Bimbisara and Pasenadi marrying each others sisters. Mention is made of an alliance between Pukkusati, king of Gandhara and Bimbisara. When Candappajjota of Ujjeni was suffering from jaundice, Bimbisara sent him his own personal physician, Jivaka.

-- or --

. The name of a gotta. J.iii.339.

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.(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

General definition (in Buddhism)

One of the four great kingdoms (i.e. Magadha, Kosala, Vansa, and Avanti) in ancient India. The capital of Magadha was Rajagaha. The king of Magadha, Bimblisara, became the follower of Shakyamuni.(Source): Buddhist Door: Glossary

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Magadha (मगध) is the name of a country visited by Mahāvīra during his seventh year of spiritual-exertion.—At the end of the rainy season, the Lord broke his fast outside the Bhadrikā city and left for Magadha. Wandering across different parts of Magadha, the Lord practised the seventh year of austerity without calamities for eight months. He reached the Ālambhiyā city for the monsoon stay and observing four months fast, completed his cāturmāsa meditation breaking his fast outside the city he stayed in the Vasudeva temple in ‘Kaṇḍāga’ and in Baladeva temple ‘Bhaddaṇā’ he reached Bahusāla village and there in a Sāla forest, he became meditative.

Magadha was also visited by Mahāvīra during his 10th year as Kevalī.

(Source): HereNow4u: Lord Śrī Mahāvīra
General definition book cover
context information

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.

India history and geogprahy

Magadha (मगध).—This ancient kingdom corresponds to the modern districts of Patna, Gayā and Ṣāhābād in South Bihār. Its great importance in Indian history will be realised when we remember that it was not only the home of Buddhism and Jainism, but also the nucleus of two of the greatest of the Indian empires, the Maurya and the Gupta. Until the sixth century b.c. its capital was Girivraja, when its place was taken by Rājagṛha, the modern Rājgīr. Further information will be found in Rhys Davids’ Buddhist India, 1905; Cunningham’s Ancient Geography of India, 1871; and the Cambridge History of India, vol. i, 1922. —n.m.p.

(Source): The ocean of story (history)
India history book cover
context information

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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

māgadha (मागध).—m S A bard or minstrel.

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

māgadha (मागध).—m A bard or minstrel.

(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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