Mahavrata, aka: Mahāvrata, Maha-vrata; 6 Definition(s)


Mahavrata 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)

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

Mahāvrata (महाव्रत).—The performance of this vow leads one to the world of Gaurī.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 101. 53.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Mahavrata in Shaivism glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

Mahāvrata (महाव्रत) is the Sanskrit name of a deity presiding over Mahendra, one of the sixty-eight places hosting a svāyambhuvaliṅga, which is one of the most sacred of liṅgas according to the Śaivāgamas. The list of sixty-eight svāyambhuvaliṅgas and presiding deities (eg., Mahāvrata) is found in the commentary on the Jirṇoddhāra-daśaka by Nigamajñānadeva. The word liṅga refers to a symbol used in the worship of Śiva and is used thoughout Śaiva literature, such as the sacred Āgamas.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Mahāvrata (महाव्रत, “great observance”), also called kapālavrata or “observance of the skull”, lokātītavrata or “observance going beyond the world”, and mahāpāśupatavrata or “great Pāśupata observance”. The Lākulas were the first Śaiva sect to practice the mahāvrata, which required a full assimilation to Bhairava.

Te practice of the mahāvrata was preceded by Lākula initiation, after which the initiate was also required to understand and meditate on the cosmic hierarchy of 11 levels. These levels include and build on those taught by the Pāśupatas, and they are later extended upward and some-what changed by agamic Śaivas.

Source: Kāpālikas
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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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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

1) Mahāvrata (महाव्रत) or Agnimukha is the name of a Kṣetrapāla (field-protector) and together with Jvālāmkukhī Devī [or Mahālakṣmī] they preside over Kollagiri: one of the twenty-four sacred districts mentioned in the 9th century Vajraḍākatantra (chapter 18). Their weapon is the khaḍga and their abode is the nimba-tree [or top of the mountain]. A similar system appears in the tradition of Hindu Tantrims, i.e., in the Kubjikāmatatantra (chapter 22), which belongs to the Śākta sect or Śaivism.

2) Mahāvrata (महाव्रत) is also mentioned as the Kṣetrapāla (field-protector) who, together with Pūtanā Devī they preside over Āmraka. Their weapon is the lāṅgala and gaya and their abode is the dāru-tree.

Source: A Critical Study of the Vajraḍākamahātantrarāja (II)
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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)

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Mahāvrata (महाव्रत) refers to “minor vows” and represents one of the two types of vows (vrata) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 7.2.—What is meant by major vows (mahāvrata)? Total abstinence from the five sins for ever is called major vows. How many types of major vows are there? There are five types of major vows namely non-violence (ahiṃsāmahāvrata), speaking the truth (satyamahāvrata), non stealing (acauryamahāvrata), celibacy (brahmacaryamahāvrata) and non-possession (aparigrahmahāvrata).

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 7: The Five Vows
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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

Sanskrit-English dictionary

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

Mahāvrata (महाव्रत).—a. very devotional, rigidly observing vows. (-tam) 1 a great vow, a great religious observance; a vow for not taking even water for a month; महाव्रतं चरेद्यस्तु (mahāvrataṃ caredyastu) Mb.12.35.22 (com. mahāvrataṃ māsamātraṃ jalasyāpi tyāgaḥ).

2) any great or fundamental duty; प्राणैरपि हिता वृत्तिरद्रोहो व्याजवर्जनम् । आत्मनीव प्रियाधानमेतन्मैत्रीमहाव्रतम् (prāṇairapi hitā vṛttiradroho vyājavarjanam | ātmanīva priyādhānametanmaitrīmahāvratam) Mv.5.59; क्रतौ महाव्रते पश्यन् ब्रह्मचारी- त्वरीरतम् (kratau mahāvrate paśyan brahmacārī- tvarīratam) N.17.23.

Mahāvrata is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and vrata (व्रत).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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. 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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