Mahadevi, Mahādevī: 12 definitions


Mahadevi means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism

Mahādevī (महादेवी, “the consort of the great Lord”).—One of the names of the Goddess, Devī, who is regarded as the female principle of the divine; the embodiement of the energies of the Gods.

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Mahādevi (महादेवि) refers to the “great Goddess”, according to the Kularatnoddyota, one of the earliest Kubjikā Tantras.—Accordingly, “[...] I am that Path of Meru and the omnipresent supreme space. O great goddess [i.e., mahādevi] , that beginningless Transmission (krama) originated from its presence. That is called the Primordial Seat, the beginningless Kramamaṇḍala. These two are Kailāśa and Malaya. There, they are said to be sacred seats. My merger takes place there (and so) is called ‘Malaya’. Again, O goddess, (the meaning of) Kailāśa is explained as (it should be) understood. O goddess, dear one, it is (so called as it relates) to the blood that I have placed in that (sacrificial) vessel. Kailāśa originates where that has been offered as a libation”.

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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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Mahadevi in Purana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: The Matsya-purāṇa

Mahādevī (महादेवी) is the name of a mind-born ‘divine mother’ (mātṛ), created for the purpose of drinking the blood of the Andhaka demons, according to the Matsya-purāṇa 179.8. The Andhaka demons spawned out of every drop of blood spilled from the original Andhakāsura (Andhaka-demon). According to the Matsya-purāṇa 179.35, “Most terrible they (e.g., Mahādevī) all drank the blood of those Andhakas and become exceedingly satiated.”

The Matsyapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 20,000 metrical verses, dating from the 1st-millennium BCE. The narrator is Matsya, one of the ten major avatars of Viṣṇu.

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Mahādevī (महादेवी) refers to the “great Goddess” and is an epithet of the Goddess (Devī), who incarnated as Satī, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.2.14. Accordingly as Brahmā narrated to Nārada:—“[...] On seeing the mother of the universe born of Vīriṇī, Dakṣa joined his palms in reverence, paid respects to her and eulogised her. [...] O Goddess, the eternal mother of the universe, obeisance to Thee. O great Goddess (Mahādevī), the Truthful and truth-featured, be pleased”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Mahādevī (महादेवी).—A mother Goddess; a name of Lalitā, as originating from Agnikuṇḍa of Indra and gods who propitiated Devī to get rid of Bhaṇḍa.1 The goddess enshrined at Śālagrāma.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 6. 3; 12. 74; 13. 29; 14. 26; 15. 3; 18. 15; 36. 4; Matsya-purāṇa 179. 31.
  • 2) Ib. 13. 33.
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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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Mahādevī (महादेवी, “chief queen”) refers to one of the classes of “women” (strī) who have dealings with the king, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 34. Accordingly, “the chief queen (mahādevī) is one who has been consecrated on her head, is of high birth and character, possessed of accomplishments; advanced in age, indifferent to her rivals, free from anger and malice, and who fully understands the king’s character, shares equally his joys and sorrows, is always engaged in propitiatory rites for the good of the royal husband, and is calm, affectionate, patient, and benevolent to the inmates of the harem”.

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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In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

An eminent Theri of Ceylon. Dpv.xviii.24.

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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).

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India history and geography

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Mahādevī.—(IE 8-2; EI 7; CII 3, 4; HD), a queen; often wrongly taken as the first wife of a king or his chief queen (SITI); a title of the wives originally of paramount sovereigns and later also of feudatory rulers; cf. Devī, Agra- mahādevī, Mahāmahādevī. Note: mahādevī is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

India history book cover
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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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

mahādēvī (महादेवी).—f (S) Durga, the wife of Shiva.

--- OR ---

mahādēvī (महादेवी).—f A species of cucurbitaceous plant of the genus Bryonia. Its seed resembles the lingam of Mahadeva. Hence its name.

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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: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Aufrecht Catalogus Catalogorum

1) Mahādevī (महादेवी) as mentioned in Aufrecht’s Catalogus Catalogorum:—and—[commentary] jy. by Mahādeva. B. 4, 172. Laghumahādevī. B. 4, 192.
—[commentary] by Dhanarāja. B. 4, 172.
—[commentary] by Mādhava. B. 4, 172. Mahādevīkoṣṭhaka. B. 4, 172. Mahādevīsāraṇī, and—[commentary] by Dhanarāja. P. 14.

2) Mahādevī (महादेवी):—astronomical tables for Śāka (1600-1780). Fl. 268.

3) Mahādevī (महादेवी):—astronomical tables. Bd. 845. Tod 24. 45. C. by Dhanarājagaṇi. Bd. 845. Mahādevasāraṇī by Mahādeva. Peters. 5, 497. 6, 429. The same as above. C. by Dhanarāja. Peters. 5, 497.

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

1) Mahādevī (महादेवी):—[=mahā-devī] [from mahā-deva > mahā > mah] f. Name of Śiva’s wife Pārvatī, [Mahābhārata; Harivaṃśa] etc. ([Religious Thought and Life in India 186])

2) [v.s. ...] of Lakṣmī, [Mahābhārata; Rāmāyaṇa]

3) [v.s. ...] of Dākṣāyaṇī in the Śālagrāma, [Catalogue(s)]

4) [v.s. ...] the chief wife of a king, [Mahābhārata; Kathāsaritsāgara] etc. (vī-tva n. the rank of chief wife, [Kathāsaritsāgara])

5) [v.s. ...] a kind of colocynth, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

6) [v.s. ...] Name of various women, [Vetāla-pañcaviṃśatikā; Catalogue(s)]

7) [v.s. ...] Name of sub voce works.

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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 (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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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Mahādēvi (ಮಹಾದೇವಿ):—

1) [noun] Pārvati.

2) [noun] Lakṣmi, the Goddess of Wealth.

3) [noun] the principal wife of a king.

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Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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