Mahasattva, Mahāsattva, Maha-sattva: 12 definitions


Mahasattva 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

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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

Mahāsattva (महासत्त्व) refers to “big animals”, and is used to describe the mountain Kailāsa (the auspicious excellent mountainous abode of Śiva), according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.2.40.—Accordingly, as Brahmā narrated to Nārada:—“[...] accompanied by the gods, sages, Brahmā and others Viṣṇu went to Kailāsa, the auspicious excellent mountainous abode of Śiva. [...] Kailāsa was infested with big animals (i.e., mahāsattva), tigers and others who were free from cruelty. It was of divine nature endowed with shining brilliance. It inspired great surprise and wonder”.

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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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Source: Shodhganga: Kasyapa Samhita—Text on Visha Chikitsa (p)

Mahāsattva (महासत्त्व) refers to “one who has immense energy” and is used to describe Garuḍa, according to the second chapter of the Kāśyapa Saṃhitā: an ancient Sanskrit text from the Pāñcarātra tradition dealing with both Tantra and Viṣacikitsā (Toxicology).—Accordingly, text text dictates that a Garuḍa-upāsaka, the aspirant, must meditate on Garuḍa of the following form—[...] Garuḍa, seated on a lotus, adorned with these ornaments [i.e., the eight divine serpents], has huge wings and immense energy (mahāsattva). Garuḍa of smiling countenance, blazes with eight shoulders adorned by the weapons - conch, discus, nectar-pot, serpent, mace, and sword and two hands reaching out to the feet of the Lord.

Pancaratra book cover
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Mahasattva in Mahayana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Mahāsattva (महासत्त्व).—According to Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter IX), what is a Mahāsattva?

1) Mahā means great, and sattva means being or bravery. The person who is able to accomplish a great work without regressing or turning back in his bravery is called Mahāsattva.

2) Moreover, he is called Mahāsattva because he is the chief of many beings.

3) Furthermore, he is called Mahāsattva because he feels great loving kindness (mahāmaitrī) amd great compassion (mahākaruṇā) for many beings; he establishes them in the Greater Vehicle, he travels the great Path (mahāmārga) and attains a very high place.

4) Furthermore, he is called Mahāsattva because he is endowed with the marks of the Great Man (mahāpuruṣa-lakṣaṇa).

5. Furthermore, he is called Mahāsattva because he must preach the Dharma and destroy the great wrong views (mithyādṛṣṭi) and the afflictions (kleśa), such as great craving (mahātṛṣṇā), pride (abhimāna), great attachment to the self (ātmasneha), etc., in all others as well as in himself.

6. Finally, like the great ocean (mahāsamudra), beings (sattva) are without beginning and without end. A skillful teacher of arithmetic (gaṇanācārya) who would keep track for numberless years would not reach the end of them. The Bodhisattva wishes to save them all, free them all from suffering and establish them all in the happiness of unconditioned safety. He is called Mahasattva because he has made this great resolution to save these numerous beings.

The Bodhisattvas are called Mahāsattva because they make the great vow (mahāpraṇidhāna), because they want to do the great work and because they want to arrive at the great place.

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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General definition (in Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Mahasattva in Buddhism glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Buddhism

Mahasattva:—A great being.

Source: Buddhist Door: GlossaryThere are seven meanings of Mahasattva: 1. He has perfected great roots. 2. He has great wisdom. 3. He believes the great Dharma. 4. He understands the great principle. 5. He cultivates the great conduct. 6. He passes through great kalpas. 7. He seeks the great fruit. Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

Mahāsattva, (lit: "great being"), is a great Bodhisattva practicing the Buddhism for a long time and reaching a very high level on the path to awakening (bodhi), generally refers to the Bodhisattvas who have reached at least the seventh ground of the ten Bodhisattvas' grounds (bodhisattvānām daśabhūmīḥ).

The eight most famous Mahāsattvas are

  1. Mañjuśrī,
  2. Samantabhadra,
  3. Avalokiteśvara,
  4. Mahāsthāmaprāpta,
  5. Âkāśagarbha (Akasagarbha),
  6. Kṣitigarbha,
  7. Maitreya
  8. and Sarvanīvaraṇaviṣkambhin (Sarvanivarana-Vishkambhin).

etymology: The translation of the word Mahāsattva in Chinese is móhé sāduò (摩诃萨埵) (simplified: móhésà 摩诃萨) and dàshì (大士), in Japanese, makasatsu or daishi.

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Mahasattva in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mahāsattva (महासत्त्व).—a.

1) noble.

2) very strong or powerful.

3) just, righteous. (-ttvaḥ) 1 a large animal.

2) Name of Sākyamuni.

3) an epithet of Kubera.

Mahāsattva is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and sattva (सत्त्व).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Mahāsattva (महासत्त्व).—m. (1) ‘great Being’, standard epithet of Bodhisattvas: Mahāvyutpatti 626 et passim (very often follows bodhisattva); (2) name of a prince, hero of Vyāghrīparivarta (chapter 18) of Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra: Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra 206.13 ff. Several times in the verse version, 225.11, 234.13, 238.14, Mahāsattva-varo (°varaḥ) is printed as if a [compound], tho the name otherwise appears as Mahāsattva also in verses, e.g. 226.6 etc.; perhaps better division would be Mahāsattva (m.c. for °vo, °vaḥ) plus (adj.) varaḥ.

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

Mahāsattva (महासत्त्व).—adj. good, virtuous, [Hitopadeśa] 100, 12.

Mahāsattva is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and sattva (सत्त्व).

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

Mahāsattva (महासत्त्व).—1. [masculine] great creature or being.

--- OR ---

Mahāsattva (महासत्त्व).—2. [adjective] great-minded, noble, virtuous, courageous; [abstract] [feminine]

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

1) Mahāsattva (महासत्त्व):—[=mahā-sat-tva] [from mahā > mah] m. a gr° creature, large animal, [Mahābhārata]

2) [v.s. ...] n. = -sat-tā above, [Upaniṣad]

3) [v.s. ...] mfn. steady, constant (See -tā below)

4) [v.s. ...] n. having a gr° or noble essence, noble, good (of persons; with Buddhists, Name of a Bodhi-sattva), [Mahābhārata; Rāmāyaṇa] etc.

5) [v.s. ...] extremely courageous, [Mahābhārata; Kathāsaritsāgara]

6) [v.s. ...] containing large animals (See -tā below)

7) [v.s. ...] m. a Buddha, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

8) [v.s. ...] Name of Kubera, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

9) [v.s. ...] of Gautama Buddha as heir to the throne, [Buddhist literature]

[Sanskrit to German]

Mahasattva in German

context information

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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