Magadhi, aka: Māgadhī; 2 Definition(s)


Magadhi means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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) Māgadhī (मागधी) is the name of an Apsara created for the sake of a type of dramatic perfomance. Acording to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.46-51, after Brahmā asked Bharata for materials necessary for the Graceful Style (kaiśikī: a type of performance, or prayoga), Bharata answered “This Style cannot be practised properly by men except with the help of women”. Therefore, Brahmā created with his mind several apsaras (celestial nymphs), such as Māgadhī, who were skillful in embellishing the drama.

2) Māgadhī (मागधी) refers to one of the seven “major dialects” (bhāṣā) in language, according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 18. Accordingly, “Māgadhī is assigned to guards (lit. inmates) of the royal harem.”.

3) Māgadhī (मागधी) refers to a class of gīti: an ancient system of classification of rhythms, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 29. Accordingly, “the māgadhī is sung in different tempos (vṛtti)”. These gītis also include special formations of syllables and variation in speed. It is also mentioned as gativṛtti. Śārṅgadeva uses the term mārga to indicate vṛtti or gativṛtti.

4) Māgadhī (मागधी) refers to one of the varieties of the catuṣpadā type of song, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 31. Accordingly, “that song which observes three tempos and three yatis, and includes three kinds of syllables in equal measure, and requires a tāla of thirty-one kalās, is called māgadhī”.

5) Māgadhī (मागधी) refers to one of the types of Rīti (‘style’ or ‘essence’ of poetry) according to Bhoja (in his Sarasvatīkaṇṭhābharaṇa).

(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).

In Buddhism


māgadhī : (f.) the language of Magadha.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
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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