Mahamaya, aka: Mahāmāya, Mahāmāyā, Maha-maya; 15 Definition(s)

Introduction

Mahamaya means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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)

Mahamaya in Shaktism glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

1) Mahāmāya (महामाय, “Great Illusion”):—One of the names of Mahākālī (tamas-form of Mahādevī). It represents the divine power that makes the phenomenal universe congnizable to the senses. Mahākālī is one of the three primary forms of Devī. Not to be confused with Kālī, she is a more powerful cosmic aspect (vyaṣṭi) of Devi and represents the guṇa (universal energy) named tamas. For reference, see the Devī Māhātmya, a Sanskrit work from the 5th century, incorporated into the Mārkaṇḍeya-Purāṇa.

2) Mahāmāyā (महामाया, “grand deceit, great illusion”):—Name of one of the sixty-four mātṛs to be worshipped during Āvaraṇapūjā (“Worship of the Circuit of Goddesses”, or “Durgā’s Retinue”), according to the Durgāpūjātattva. They should be worshipped with either the five upācāras or perfume and flowers.

Her mantra is as follows:

ॐ महामायायै नमः
oṃ mahāmāyāyai namaḥ.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism
Shaktism book cover
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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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

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Mahāmāyā (महामाया):—Sanskrit name of one of the twenty-four goddesses of the Sūryamaṇḍala (first maṇḍala of the Khecarīcakra) according to the kubjikāmata-tantra. The Khecarīcakra is the fifth cakra (‘internal mystic center’) of the five (pañcacakra) and is located on or above the head. She presides over the pītha (‘sacred site’) called Ujjayinī, which is also known as Ekāmraka, according to the Ṣaṭsāhasraṭippanī.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Mahamaya in Purana glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

Mahāmāyā (महामाया).—Name of a river (nadī) situated near the seven great mountains on the western side of mount Naiṣadha, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 83. These settlements consume the water flowing from these seven great mountains (Viśākha, Kambala, Jayanta, Kṛṣṇa, Harita, Aśoka and Vardhamāna). Niṣadha (Naiṣadha) is one of the seven mountains located in Jambūdvīpa, ruled over by Āgnīdhra, a grandson of Svāyambhuva Manu, who was created by Brahmā, who was in turn created by Nārāyaṇa, the unknowable all-pervasive primordial being.

Source: Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

1) Mahāmāya (महामाय).—A Dānava and a commander of Bhaṇḍa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 6. 5; IV. 21. 81.

2) Mahāmāyā (महामाया).—A vidyā taught to Pradyumna by Māyāvatī to vanquish Śambara; it was an astra and one which could dispel all māyā.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 55. 16, 22.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Mahāmāyā (महामाया) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. IX.44.39) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Mahāmāyā) 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
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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Katha (narrative stories)

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1) Mahāmāya (महामाय) is the name of an Asura king, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 45. Accordingly: “... And then Prahlāda invited, by means of messengers, the chiefs of the Asuras, and they came there in order from all the underworlds. First came King Bali, accompanied by innumerable great Asuras. Close behind him came Amīla and the brave Durāroha and Sumāya, and Tantukaccha, and Vikaṭākṣa and Prakampana, and Dhūmaketu and Mahāmāya, and the other lords of the Asuras; each of these came accompanied by a thousand feudal chiefs. The hall of audience was filled with the heroes, who saluted one another, and after they had sat down in order of rank Prahlāda honoured them all”.

In chapter 47, Mahāmāya is one of the four lords of the Asuras (asurādhipa) and considered a king over chiefs of hosts of transcendent warriors (atiratha) in Sunītha and Sūryaprabha’s army. Accordingly, as the Asura Maya explained the arrangement of warriors in Sunītha’s army: “... and Mahāmāya, and Kāmbalika, and Kālakampana here, and Prahṛṣṭaroman, these four lords of the Asuras, are kings over chiefs of hosts of transcendent warriors”.

2) Mahāmāya (महामाय) is the name of a guardian of the cave of mount Kailāsa, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 109. Accordingly, as Devamāya said to Naravāhanadatta: “... and in course of time I, Devamāya, was born in the family of Mahāmāya, the keeper of the entrance of the cave [of Mount Kailāsa]”.

3) Mahāmāya (महामाय) is the name of a Daitya who participated in the war between the Asuras and the Devas, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 115. Accordingly, “... then Vidyuddhvaja arrived, and there took place between those two armies a great battle, in which it was difficult to distinguish between friend and foe. [...] Mahāmāya and his forces [fought] with the gods of fire (Agnis) [...]”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Mahāmāya, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Mahamaya in Mahayana glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

Mahāmāyā (महामाया) is the name of a Goddess included in the list of spiritual friends of Sudhana: the son of a merchant from Sukhākara who received a prophecy from Mañjuśrī, according to the Avataṃsaka-sūtra. Accordingly, Sudhana devoted himself to 110 spiritual friends in a great building adorned with the ornaments of Vairocana. These spiritual friends included monks, bodhisattvas, ṛṣis, brāhmaṇas, girls, kings, youths, goddesses (eg., Mahāmāyā), householders, etc. From these beings, Sudhana took the vows without the need for any formal basis.

Source: Wisdom Library: Mahayana Buddhism

Mahāmāyā (महामाया) is the mother of the Buddha and the sister of Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī, who was born to Devadaha, of the Śākya Añjana. Her brothers were Daṇḍapāṇi and Suprabuddha and her sister was Mahāmāyā, mother of the Buddha. The latter had died eight days after the birth and Mahāprajāpatī took the place of mother to the Buddha. Like her sister, she was the wife of Śuddhodana to whom she had born a son, the handsome Nanda. The Buddha accepted his aunt into the Buddhist order with her five hundred companions.

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
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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Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Mahamaya in Theravada glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

See Maya.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

The mother of the Buddha (D.ii.52; see Thomas: op. cit., 25).

Her father was the Sakiyan Anjana of Devadaha, son of Devadahasakka, and her mother Yasodhara, daughter of Jayasena. (Mhv.ii.17ff.; elsewhere her father is called Maha Suppabuddha (ThigA.141), while the Apadana (ii.538) gives the name of her mother as Sulakkhana).

Dandapani and Suppabuddha were her brothers, and Maha Pajapati her sister. Both the sisters were married to Suddhodana in their youth, but it was not till Maya was between forty and fifty that the Buddha was born (Vibha.278). She had all the qualities necessary for one who was to bear the exalted rank of being the mother of the Buddha: she was not too passionate, she did not take intoxicants, she had practiced the parami for one hundred thousand kappas, and had not, since her birth, violated the five sila. On the day of her conception she kept her fast, and in her sleep that night she had the following dream: the four Maharaja gods took her in her bed to Himava and placed her under a sala tree on Manosilatala. Then their wives came and bathed her in the Anotatta Lake and clad her in divine robes. They then led her into a golden palace and laid her on a divine couch; there the Bodhisatta, in the form of a white elephant, holding a white lotus in his gleaming trunk, entered into her right side. This was on the day of the Uttarasalhanakkhatta, after a festival lasting seven days, in which she had already taken part.

From the day of her conception she was guarded by the Four Regent Gods; she felt no desire for men, and the child in her womb could be seen from outside. At the end of the tenth month she wished to return to her people in Devadaha, but, on her way thither, she stopped at the sala grove in Lumbini and there her child was born as she stood holding on to the branch of a sala tree (J.i.49ff). Seven days later Maya died and was reborn as a male in the Tusita world, under the name of Mayadevaputta (Thag.vss.533f.; ThagA.i.502).

The Buddha visited Tavatimsa immediately after the performance of the Twin Miracle at the foot of the Gandamba tree, on the full moon day of Asalha, and there, during the three months of the rainy season, the Buddha stayed, preaching the Abhidhamma Pitaka to his mother (who came there to listen to him), seated on Sakkas Pandukambalasilasana, at the foot of the Paricchattaka tree. (It is said that, during this time, at certain intervals, the Buddha would return to earth, leaving a seated image of himself in Tavatimsa to continue the preaching while he attended to his bodily needs, begging alms in Uttarakuru and eating his food on the banks of Anotatta, where Sariputta waited on him and learnt of what he had been preaching to the devas.) (DhSA.i.15; DhA.iii.216f)

The Commentaries (UdA.276f ) state the view, held by some,

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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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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General definition (in Buddhism)

Mahamaya in Buddhism glossary... « previous · [M] · next »
The mother of Shakyamuni. She was the Koliyan Princess and married to Suddhodana. She died seven days after giving birth to Shakyamuni.Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Mahamaya in Marathi glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

mahāmāyā (महामाया).—f (S) corruptly mahāmaya f A name of Durga. 2 Worldly illusion; the unreality and illusiveness of the universe, appearing as material and of distinct subsistence whilst it is but the expanded spirituality of Brahma. 3 Applied appellatively and revilingly to a woman hated as a shrew or scold; or viewed as occasioning ill-luck &c.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

mahāmāyā (महामाया).—f Wordly illusion. Fig. A shrew. Durga.

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

Mahamaya in Sanskrit glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

Mahāmāya (महामाय).—

1) an epithet of Śiva.

2) of Viṣṇu.

Derivable forms: mahāmāyaḥ (महामायः).

Mahāmāya is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and māya (माय).

--- OR ---

Mahāmāyā (महामाया).—

1) worldly illusion, which makes the material world appear really existent.

2) Name of Durgā; महामाया हरेश्चैषा यया संमोह्यते जगत् (mahāmāyā hareścaiṣā yayā saṃmohyate jagat) Devīmāhātmya.

Mahāmāyā is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and māyā (माया).

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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Relevant definitions

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