Mahatman, Mahātmā, Mahātman, Mahatma, Maha-atman: 18 definitions


Mahatman 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.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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

1) Mahātman (महात्मन्) is an epithet of Śiva, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.2.15. Accordingly as Brahmā narrated to Nārada:—“[...] On arrival there, after paying respects to the lord [Śiva] with great excitement we lauded Him with various hymns with palms joined in reverence. The Devas said: [...] Obeisance to Thee, O lord, from whom the mobile and the immobile beings have originated. Obeisance to the great Puruṣa, Maheśa, the supreme Īśa and the great Ātman [viz., Mahātman]”.

2) Mahātman (महात्मन्) refers to “one of noble soul” and is used to describe Kāma, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.3.17 (“The dialogue between Indra and Kāmadeva”).—Accordingly, as Śiva described Pārvatī: “Is this your face or the moon? Are these your eyes or lotus petals? These two eyebrows are the bows of Kāma of noble soul [i.e., Mahātman]. Is this your lower lip or Bimba fruit? Is this your nose or the beak of a parrot? Do I hear your voice or the cooing of the cuckoo? Is this your slender waist or the sacrificial altar? How can her gait be described? How can her comely appearance be described? How can the flowers be described? How can the clothes be described? [...]”.

3) Mahātman (महात्मन्) refers to “noble-souled” and is used to described Himavat (Himālaya), according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.3.21 (“Nārada instructs Pārvatī”).—Accordingly, as Brahmā said to Nārada: “[...] O celestial sage, O intelligent one, employed by Indra, the slayer of Bala, you came to Himalaya mountain roaming here and there as you pleased. You were then worshipped by the noble-souled mountain [i.e., mahātmanbhūdhareṇa mahātmanā]. You enquired of his health and happiness and you were seated in a noble seat. Then the lord of the mountains told you the story of his daughter from her service to Śiva to the burning of Kāma by Him. [...]”.

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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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

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

Mahātmā (महात्मा) refers to “magnanimous person, or great soul. It is a title of respect offered to those elevated in spiritual consciousness”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).

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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: SOAS University of London: Protective Rites in the Netra Tantra

1) Mahātman (महात्मन्) refers to “possessing a noble nature” and is used to describe Sūrya, according to the Netratantra of Kṣemarāja: a Śaiva text from the 9th century in which Śiva (Bhairava) teaches Pārvatī topics such as metaphysics, cosmology, and soteriology.—Accordingly, [verse 13.17-25ab, while describing the appearance and worship of Sūrya]—“Now, I explain that which consists of light [i.e., Sūrya]. He manifests the siddhi of man. [Sūrya] resembles a red flower, has equal splendor with red juice. [He is] the color of a heap of vermillion, as beautiful as a ruby, appears as the color of safflower . [He] looks like the flower of a pomegranate [and] resembles Soma at the end of time. [Sūrya has] one face, three eyes, four arms, possess a noble nature (mahātmanmahātmānaṃ), and [holds his] hands in the shape of the wish-granting and protection [mudrās]. [...]”.

2) Mahātman (महात्मन्) or “noble nature” is also used to describe Rudra.—Accordingly, [verse 13.29-36, while describing the appearance and worship of Rudra]—“[...] [Rudra] has noble nature (mahātman) [and holds] a spike for safety. Carrying a citrus tree, mighty Deva [also] has a rosary. Now, [the Mantrin] should think [so that] Deva appears, his many arms posed in a dance [position]. [The Mantrin meditates on Rudra] who holds Umā at [his] side. Or [the Mantrin visualizes Rudra] as half of Viṣṇu. [Or finally, the Mantrin visualizes Rudra as] taking a bride. [The Mantrin] worships him nearby”.

Shaivism book cover
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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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Yoga (school of philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Mahatman in Yoga glossary
Source: ORA: Amanaska (king of all yogas): A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation by Jason Birch

1) Mahātma (महात्म) refers to “great-souled ones”, according to the Śārṅgadharapaddhati 4350.—Accordingly, “Mastered by Kṛṣṇadvaipāyana and others, it was called Laya by [such] great-souled ones (mahātma) who had accomplished absorption in the nine cakras”.

2) Mahātman (महात्मन्) refers to “one who is great” and is used to describe Śiva, according to the Brahmayāmala-tantra (or Picumata), an early 6th century Śaiva text consisting of twelve-thousand verses.—Accordingly: while describing the aspectless Śiva (which is beyond the mind): “[Śiva], the agent of grace for all, has the form of the supreme effulgence, and is pervasive, with form unmanifest, beyond mind, and great (mahātman)”.

Yoga book cover
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Yoga is originally considered a branch of Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: De Gruyter: A Buddhist Ritual Manual on Agriculture

Mahātmā (महात्मा) refers to the “magnanimous one” and is used to describe the Garuḍa Lord, according to the Vajratuṇḍasamayakalparāja, an ancient Buddhist ritual manual on agriculture from the 5th-century (or earlier), containing various instructions for the Sangha to provide agriculture-related services to laypeople including rain-making, weather control and crop protection.—Accordingly, “Now the Bhagavān was residing in the abode of Brahmā. [...] [There was] the Garuḍa Lord, the Great King, the one with golden wings, the one with a Vajra Beak, the magnanimous one (mahātmā), the one with a blazing body, the wrathful one, the one of frightful power. He was adorned with various wonderful gems, pearls and gold. [...]”.

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: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Mahātman.—(CII 1), a person of high rank; a rich man; explained in some cases as ‘a magistrate’ (cf. Select Inscriptions, p. 248, note 6). Note: mahātman 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

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

Mahātmā (महात्मा).—a (S Of a great spirit.) Magnanimous, nobleminded, large-hearted, generous, bold.

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

Mahātmā (महात्मा).—a Magnanimous, generous.

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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mahātman (महात्मन्).—a.

1) high-souled, high-minded, magnanimous, noble; अयं दुरात्मा अथवा महात्मा कौटिल्यः (ayaṃ durātmā athavā mahātmā kauṭilyaḥ) Mu.7; द्विषन्ति मन्दाश्चरितं महात्मनाम् (dviṣanti mandāścaritaṃ mahātmanām) Kumārasambhava 5.75; Uttararāmacarita 1.49; प्रकृतिसिद्धमिदं हि महात्मनाम् (prakṛtisiddhamidaṃ hi mahātmanām) Bhartṛhari 1.63.

2) illustrious, distinguished, exalted, eminent; किमाचाराः किमाहाराः क्व च वासो महात्मनाम् (kimācārāḥ kimāhārāḥ kva ca vāso mahātmanām) Mahābhārata (Bombay) 3. 1.4.

3) mighty (mahābala); अथायमस्यां कृतवान् महात्मा लङ्केश्वरः कष्टमनार्यकर्म (athāyamasyāṃ kṛtavān mahātmā laṅkeśvaraḥ kaṣṭamanāryakarma) Rām.5.9.74. (-m.)

1) the Supreme Spirit; युगपत्तु प्रलीयन्ते यदा तस्मिन् महात्मनि (yugapattu pralīyante yadā tasmin mahātmani) Manusmṛti 1.54.

2) the great principle, i. e. intellect of the Sāṅkhyas. (mahātmavat means the same as mahātman).

Mahātman is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and ātman (आत्मन्).

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

Mahātman (महात्मन्).—mfn. (-tmā-tmā-tma) Liberal, lofty-minded, magnanimous. E. mahā great, ātman self, soul.

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

Mahātman (महात्मन्).—adj. magnanimous, [Pañcatantra] ii. [distich] 153.

Mahātman is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and ātman (आत्मन्).

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

Mahātman (महात्मन्).—1. [masculine] the supreme spirit, the intellect (ph.).

--- OR ---

Mahātman (महात्मन्).—2. [adjective] large-minded, magnanimous, generous, noble, eminent.

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

1) Mahātman (महात्मन्):—[from mahā > mah] mfn. (hāt) ‘high-souled’, magnanimous, having a gr° or noble nature, high-minded, noble, [Manu-smṛti; Mahābhārata; Rāmāyaṇa] etc.

2) [=mahā-tman] [from mahātman > mahā > mah] highly gifted, exceedingly wise, [Pañcatantra]

3) [v.s. ...] eminent, mighty, powerful, distinguished, [Mahābhārata; Rāmāyaṇa; Pañcatantra; Suśruta]

4) [v.s. ...] m. the Supreme Spirit, gr° soul of the universe, [Maitrī-upaniṣad; Manu-smṛti]

5) [v.s. ...] the gr° principle id est. Intellect, [Bhāgavata-purāṇa]

6) [v.s. ...] ([scilicet] gaṇa), Name of a class of deceased ancestors, [Mārkaṇḍeya-purāṇa]

7) [v.s. ...] of a son of Dhī-mat, [Viṣṇu-purāṇa]

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

Mahātman (महात्मन्):—[mahā-tman] (tmā-tma) a. Liberal; heroic.

[Sanskrit to German]

Mahatman 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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Hindi dictionary

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

Mahātmā (महात्मा):—(a and nm) a saint, sage, saintly (person), noble / enlightened soul; hence ~[pana] (nm).

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Mahātma (ಮಹಾತ್ಮ):—

1) [noun] a man of greatness, having no petty qualities as narrow-mindedness, selfishness, partisan view,etc.; a great-soul (used as an adjectival appelation).

2) [noun] the Supreme Soul.

context information

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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