Mahajana, Mahājana, Maha-jana: 19 definitions


Mahajana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi, Hindi. 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Mahajan.

In Hinduism

Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhagavad-gita (4th edition)

Mahājana (महाजन) refers to “spiritual authority; one who truly understands religious prin-ciples; the twelve principal mahājanas are identified in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.3.20) as Lord Brahmā, Bhagavān Nārada, Śivajī, the four Kumāras, Kapiladeva, Svāyambhuva Manu, Prahlāda Mahārāja, Janaka Mahārāja, Grandsire Bhīṣma, Balī Mahārāja, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Yamarāja”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhajana-rahasya - 2nd Edition

Mahājana (महाजन) refers to:—A great personality who teaches the highest ideal and who by his conduct sets an example for others to follow. (cf. Glossary page from Bhajana-Rahasya).

Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Mahajana in Purana glossary
Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Mahājana (महाजन) refers to the “general public”, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.3.31 (“Description of Śiva’s magic”).—Accordingly, as Śiva (in disguise of a Brahmin) said to the Lord of Mountains: “I have come to know that you desire to give your daughter to Śiva, [...] O mountain, this inclination of yours is not at all conducive to auspiciousness. O foremost among the wise, born of Nārāyaṇa’s family, learn sense. For the marriage of Pārvatī, He is not at all a deserving person. On hearing of this, the general public (mahājana) will smile in derision. [...]”.

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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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: A Study and Translation of the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā

Mahājana (महाजन) refers to a “great number of people”, according to the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā: the eighth chapter of the Mahāsaṃnipāta (a collection of Mahāyāna Buddhist Sūtras).—Accordingly, “[...] At that time, sixty koṭis of Bodhisattvas, having stood up from the congregation, joined their palms, paid homage to the Lord, and then uttered these verses in one voice: ‘[...] (229) They will deceive kings and a great number of people (mahājana) will be split, even then living beings will listen to the dharma by the presence of the Buddha. (230) At that evil time, for the benefit of living beings, giving up our bodies and lives, we will uphold the true dharma. [...]’”.

Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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India history and geography

Source: What is India: Inscriptions of the Śilāhāras

Mahājana refers to “members of the committees” and was a title used in the administration during the rule of the Śilāhāra dynasty (r. 765-1215 A.D.).—In towns and villages local administration was carried on with the help of Committees on which merchants, artisans and trade-guilds were represented. Members of the Committees were called mahājanas. Their number sixteen is mentioned in one record. In some records they are called mahattaras (representatives of the towns or villages). In the Cānje inscription they are called mhātārās (Sanskrit, mahattaras), and are cited as witnesses.

The head of such a Committee was called mahattama. In Kananḍa inscriptions he is called prabhu (Mayor). Local religious institutions were also represented on such Committees. One record mentions pañca-maṭha-mahāsthāna, which was probably so called because the five maṭhas comprised in it were dedicated to five Hindu deities (viz. Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva, Sūrya and Dēvī) or to five prominent religious sects such as those of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva, Buddha and Jina. These Town and Village Committees could make grants of land with the consent of the local gāvuṇḍas or officers and the administrative heads.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Mahājana.—(SITI; ASLV), Brāhmaṇa residents of the entire village; all the members of the village assembly; general body of the sabhā or village assembly. (IE 8-3), a member of village council. (EI 8), a merchant. (LP), generally, the merchants, magnates, grandees. Note: mahājana 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 mythology, zoology, 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

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Mahajana in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

mahājana : (m.) the public.

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

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

mahājana (महाजन).—m (S) A virtuous or an illustrious man. 2 A merchant or trader. 3 (Mahadzan.) A merchant or trader. 4 also mahājanī m An hereditary officer in a village, kasba, or city. His business is to superintend the trade of, and to assist in collecting the tax from, certain classes of traders.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

mahājana (महाजन).—m A virtuous man. A merchant. An hereditary office, in a city.

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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: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mahājana (महाजन).—

1) a multitude of men, a great many beings, the general populace or public; महाजनो येन गतः स पन्थाः (mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ) Mahābhārata (Bombay) 3.313. 117; आगम्य तु ततो राजा विसृज्य च महाजनम् (āgamya tu tato rājā visṛjya ca mahājanam) 6.98.25.

2) the populace, mob; विलोक्य वृद्धोक्षमधिष्ठितं त्वया महाजनः स्मेरमुखो भविष्यति (vilokya vṛddhokṣamadhiṣṭhitaṃ tvayā mahājanaḥ smeramukho bhaviṣyati) Kumārasambhava 5.7.

3) a great man, a distinguished or eminent man; महाजनस्य संसर्गः कस्य नोन्नतिकारकः । पद्मपत्रस्थितं तोयं धत्ते मुक्ताफलश्रियम् (mahājanasya saṃsargaḥ kasya nonnatikārakaḥ | padmapatrasthitaṃ toyaṃ dhatte muktāphalaśriyam) Pañcatantra (Bombay) 3.6.

4) the chief of a caste or trade.

5) a merchant, tradesman.

Derivable forms: mahājanaḥ (महाजनः).

Mahājana is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and jana (जन).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Mahājana (महाजन).—m.

(-naḥ) 1. A virtuous or illustrious man, a great man. 2. A merchant, a trader. 3. The mob. E. mahā great, jana a man.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Mahājana (महाजन).—m. 1. a preeminent man, a virtuous man. 2. a merchant.

Mahājana is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and jana (जन).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Mahājana (महाजन).—[masculine] a great or eminent man (also coll.); a great number of men, people (also [plural]).

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

1) Mahājana (महाजन):—[=mahā-jana] [from mahā > mah] m. (sg.; rarely [plural]) a gr° multitude of men, the populace (ne ind. in the presence of a gr° number of men, in public), [Mahābhārata; Rāmāyaṇa; Kāvya literature] etc.

2) [v.s. ...] a gr° or eminent man, gr° persons, [Pañcatantra]

3) [v.s. ...] the chief or head of a trade or caste, [Monier-Williams’ Sanskrit-English Dictionary]

4) [v.s. ...] a merchant (?), [Pañcatantra]

5) [v.s. ...] mfn. (a house) occupied by a gr° number of men, [Mahābhārata]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Mahājana (महाजन):—[mahā+jana] (naḥ) 1. m. A virtuous or illustrious man; a merchant.

[Sanskrit to German]

Mahajana in German

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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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Hindi dictionary

[«previous next»] — Mahajana in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Mahājana (महाजन) [Also spelled mahajan]:—(nm) a private banker, money-lender; ~[] banking; money-lending (business).

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Mahājana (ಮಹಾಜನ):—

1) [noun] a multitude of general people; the general public.

2) [noun] (pl.) the prominent persons of a town, village.

3) [noun] (pl.) the juries of a village.

4) [noun] (pl.) scholarly brāhmaṇas who are well-versed in vedas.

5) [noun] (pl.) religious people.

6) [noun] a merchant; a trader.

7) [noun] the chief of a community or clan.

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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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