Mahavira, Mahāvīra, Maha-vira: 15 definitions

Introduction

Mahavira means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. 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 (M) next»] — Mahavira in Purana glossary
Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia

1) Mahāvīra (महावीर).—A son of Priyavrata. Svāyambhuva Manu had two famous sons named Priyavrata and Uttānapāda. Of them, Priyavrata married Surūpā and Barhiṣmatī, the two beautiful and virtuous daughters of Viśvakarma Prajāpati. By his first wife Surūpā, Priyavrata had ten sons, namely, Agnīdhra, Idhmajihva, Yajñabāhu, Mahāvīra, Rukmaśukra, Ghṛtapṛṣṭha, Savana, Medhātithi, Vītihotra and Kavi. The youngest of his children was a daughter named Ūrjjasvatī. (Devī Bhāgavata, 8th Skandha).

2) Mahāvīra (महावीर).—Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva, Chapter 67, Verse 68, refers to a Mahāvīra, who was the re-birth of the Asura Krodhavaśa.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Mahāvīra (महावीर).—A son of Priyavrata, remained a bachelor all through life engaged in ātmavidyā.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 1. 25-6.
Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

Mahāvīra (महावीर) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.61.55) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Mahāvīra) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

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

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: academia.edu: A Critical Study of the Vajraḍākamahātantrarāja (II)

Mahāvīra (महावीर) is the husband of Vāyuvegā: the name of a Ḍākinī (‘sacred girl’) presiding over Triśakuni: one of the four Upakṣetra (‘sacred spot’) present within the Vākcakra (‘circle of word’), according to the 9th-centruy Vajraḍākatantra. The Vākcakra is one of three Cakras within the Tricakra system which embodies twenty-four sacred spots or districts resided over by twenty-four Ḍākinīs whose husbands (viz., Mahāvīra) abide in one’s body in the form of twenty-four ingredients (dhātu) of one’s body.

Vāyuvegā has for her husband the hero (vīra) named Mahāvīra. She is the presiding deity of Triśakuni and the associated internal location are the ‘navel’ and the bodily ingredients (dhātu) are the ‘lungs’.

Source: academia.edu: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Mahāvīra (महावीर) is the name of a Vīra (hero) who, together with the Ḍākinī named Vāyuvegā forms one of the 36 pairs situated in the Vajracakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the vajracakra refers to one of the four divisions of the sahaja-puṭa (‘innate layer’), situated within the padma (lotus) in the middle of the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs and Vīras [viz., Mahāvīra] each have one face and four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum and a knife; they are dark-bluish-black in color.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

Mahāvīra (महावीर):—The twenty-fourth Tīrthaṅkara (Janism recognizes 24 such teachers or Siddhas). His colour is gold (kāñcana), according to Aparājitapṛcchā (221.5-7). His height is 7 hatha (4 hatha equals 1 dhanuṣa, which equals 6 feet), thus, roughly corresponding to 3.2 meters. His emblem, or symbol, is a Lion.

Mahāvīra’s father is Siddhārtha and his mother is Triśalā according to Śvetāmbara or Priyakāriṇī according to Digambara. It is an ancient Jain practice to worship the Tīrthaṅkara’s parents in various rites, such as the pratiṣṭhāvidhi, according to the Ācāradinakara (14th work on Jain conduct written by Vardhamāna Sūri).

Source: archive.org: The Jaina Iconography

Mahāvīra (महावीर) refers to the last of twenty-four Tīrthaṃkaras or Jinas, commonly depicted in Jaina iconography.—Mahāvīra, the twenty-fourth or the last Jina is the greatest of all the Tīrthaṃkaras. His position is of unchallenged eminence in the Jaina religion, history and iconography. Being the Lion among the Jaina prophets, rightly given was his emblem of a lion. His Yakṣa spirits are respectively known as Mātaṅga and Siddhāyikā. The Magadhan King Śreṇika or better known as Bimbisāra acts as his Chowri-bearer. His Kevala tree is called Sāla (L. Shorca robusta).

Vardhamāna was born of a royal family of Videha or North Bihār, his father Siddhārtha, being the ruling prince of Kuṇḍapura, the abode of the Nāta or Nāya clan, his mother is known by the name of Triśalā. Connected with his birth is the auspicious legend that the Tīrthaṃkara was actually born of Devanandā of the family of Jālandhara, wife of Ṛṣabha Datta, a Brāhmaṇa, but Indra finding that a Jina ought not to according to tradition, take his birth in a Brahmin family, transferred the foetus through his general Hariṇegameṣa to the womb of Triśala, a Kṣatriya lady of royal family. The child Vardhamāna had shewn early being destined to be a Prophet. Thirty years he lived as a house-holder, but after his parent’s death, he determined to take the ascetic life and obtained the permissionof his brother, who had, then, become king. He renounced everything, all his gold and jewels, distributing them in charity and dividing them among his relatives. He then proceeded in his palanquin to the Park called Sundavana (Śveta) or Sārathi-Khaṇḍa (Digambara in Kuṇḍanagara of Vaiśāli) and there under the Aśoka tree, he stripped himsell of all his raiments and jewels and entered upon an ascetic life of severest penances and austerities.

Source: Shodhganga: A cultural study on the jain western Indian illustrated manuscripts

Mahāvīra (महावीर).—An illustrated kalpasūtra will open with the image of Mahāvīra recognizable by his symbol of lion below his throne. Mahāvīra sits in padmāsana on a throne supported by lions and elephants facing each other. It is a majestic meditating image resembling sculptural icons.

Source: academia.edu: The epoch of the Mahavira-nirvana

Mahāvīra (महावीर), the 24th Tirthankara.—Mahavira was the son of Kundagrama King Siddhartha of Ikshvaku dynasty and Trishala, the sister of King Chetaka of Vajji Ganarajya. According to Guṇabhadra’s Uttarapurāṇa, Mahāvīra became a Siddha in the month of Kārttika, kṛṣṇapakśa-chaturdaśi and Svātinakśatra. Thus, Mahāvīra attained nirvāṇa on 22 nd October 1189-88 BCE, 605 years and 5 months before the commencement of the Śaka era (583 BCE) and 470 years before the commencement of the Kārttikādi Vikrama era (719-718 BCE).

General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous (M) next»] — Mahavira in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

mahāvīra : (m.) great hero.

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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mahāvīra (महावीर).—

1) a great hero or warrior.

2) a lion.

3) the thunderbolt of Indra.

4) an epithet of Viṣṇu.

5) of Garuḍa.

6) of Hanumat.

7) a cuckoo.

8) a white horse.

9) a sacrificial fire.

1) a sacrificial vessel.

11) a kind of hawk. °चरितम् (caritam) Name of a celebrated drama by Bhavabhūti.

Derivable forms: mahāvīraḥ (महावीरः).

Mahāvīra is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and vīra (वीर).

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

Mahāvīra (महावीर).—m.

(-raḥ) 1. Garuda the bird, and vehicle of Vishnu. 2. A hero. 3. A lion. 4. A white horse. 5. Sacrificial fire. 6. Indra'S thunderbolt. 7. A bird, a sort of hawk. 8. The Kokila or Indian cuckoo. 9. The last and most celebrated Jina or Jaina teacher of the present who age, is supposed to have flourished in the province of Behar, in the sixth century before the Christian era. 10. Sacrificial vessel. 11. Vishnu. 12. Agni or fire. f.

(-rā) A sort of drug, commonly Kshirakakoli, and conceived to be the dried root of a species of lily. E. mahā great, and bīra hero.

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

Mahāvīra (महावीर).—[masculine] great hero, [Epithet] of Viṣṇu.

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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