Mahendra, aka: Māhendra, Maha-indra; 24 Definition(s)


Mahendra means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, 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

Vastushastra (architecture)

Mahendra (महेन्द्र):—The Sanskrit name for a classification of a ‘temple’, according to the Suprabhedāgama, which describes a list of 13 types. This list represents the earliest form of the classification of temples in the South Indian Vāstuśāstra literature. The name is also mentioned in the Īśānaśivagurudevapaddhati which features a list of 52 temple types. This list represents the classification of temples in South-India.

Mahendra is mentioned in another list of 40 temples, in the Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra, chapter 57, where it is mentioned as one of the twenty temples being a favorite of Viṣṇu.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Mahendra (महेन्द्र) is a Sanskrit word referring to Indra. Acording to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.82-88, when Brahmā, Indra and all other gods went to inspect the playhouse (nāṭyamaṇḍapa) designed by Viśvakarmā, he assigned different deities for the protection of the playhouse itself, as well as for the objects relating to dramatic performance (prayoga).

As such, Brahmā assigned Mahendra to the side of the stage (raṅgapīṭha). The protection of the playhouse was enacted because of the jealous Vighnas (malevolent spirits), who began to create terror for the actors.

2) Mahendra (महेन्द्र) is the name of a mountain said to be located within the Dākṣiṇāpatha (Deccan) region. Countries within this region pertain to the Dākṣinātyā local usage (pravṛtti) according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 14. These pravṛttis provide information regarding costumes, languages, and manners in different countries of the world.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).


Mahendra (महेन्द्र).—One of the seven holy mountains (kulaparvata) situated in Bhārata, a region south of mount Meru, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 85. In the settlements (janapada) along these mountains dwell Āryas and Mlecchas who drink water from the rivers flowing there. Meru is one of the seven mountains located in Jambūdvīpa, which is 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, who was created by Brahmā, who was in turn created by Nārāyaṇa, the unknowable all-pervasive primordial being.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

1) Mahendra (महेन्द्र).—Father of the princess Pāṭalī. (See under Pāṭalīputra).

2) Mahendra (महेन्द्र).—One of the holy mountains. This mountain has great Purāṇic importance.

2) After slaughtering the Kṣatriyas to extinction sage Paraśurāma made Mahendra his place of abode. (Śloka 53, Chapter 129, Ādi Parva).

2) Once Arjuna visited the mountain Mahendra. (Śloka 13, Chapter 214, Ādi Parva).

2) The presiding deity of this mountain sits in the court of Kubera worshipping him. (Śloka 30, Chapter 10, Sabhā Parva).

2) If one bathes in the pond of Rāmatīrtha on the top of this mountain one would get the benefit of performing an Aśvamedhayāga. (Śloka 16, Chapter 85, Vana Parva).

2) Brahmā once went to this mountain and conducted a yāga there. (Śloka 22, Chapter 87, Vana Parva).

2) Yudhiṣṭhira during his pilgrimage visited this mountain. (Śloka 30, Chapter 114, Vana Parva).

2) Paraśurāma gave a darśana (Interview) to Yudhiṣṭhira on a Caturdaśī day on this mountain. (Śloka 16, Chapter 117, Vana Parva).

2) Hanūmān when he was going in search of Sītā visited this mountain also along with the other monkeys. (Sundara Kāṇḍa, Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa).

(Source): Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Mahendra (महेन्द्र).—A name of Indra (s.v.);1 in the Siṃsumāra.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 15. 12; Vāyu-purāṇa 39. 10; 53. 33; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I, 9. 18; V. 10. 36; 11. 14.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 52. 95; Matsya-purāṇa 127. 24.

1b) A mountain a Kulaparvata of the Bhāratavarṣa;1 sacred to Indra and Hari and fit for śrāddha;2 Paraśurāma's penance here for 12 years, twice;3 aśvamedha at;4 during the war with Bhaṇḍa, the Devī enclosed M. all round by a wall of fire;5 rivers taking their origin from.6

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 19. 16; VII. 14. 32; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 16. 18; Matsya-purāṇa 114. 17, 31; 124. 21; Vāyu-purāṇa 45. 89; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 3. 3.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 13. 17.
  • 3) Ib. III. 44. 36; 46. 29; Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 79. 12; IX. 16. 26.
  • 4) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 47. 39, 45; 56. 23; 57. 1; 58. 3; IV. 21. 2; 31. 17; 44. 99.
  • 5) Ib. IV. 26. 17-32.
  • 6) Vāyu-purāṇa 45. 106.

1c) A tīrtha sacred to the Piṭrs.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 22. 44.

2) Māhendra (माहेन्द्र).—A Rākṣasa of the Atalam.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 50. 18.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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.

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

1) Mahendra (महेन्द्र) is a Sanskrit word referring to one of the sixty-eight places hosting a svāyambhuvaliṅga, one of the most sacred of liṅgas according to the Śaivāgamas. The presiding deity residing over the liṅga in this place (Mahendra) is named Mahāvrata. The list of sixty-eight svāyambhuvaliṅgas is found in the commentary of 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.

2) Mahendra (महेन्द्र) is one of the twelve princes born to Kuṃkumā, consort to Mīnanātha, who is the incarnation of Siddhanātha in the fourth yuga, belonging to the Pūrvāmnāya (‘eastern doctrine’) tradition of Kula Śaivism, according to the Ciñcinīmatasārasamuccaya. Siddhanātha incarnates as a Kaula master in each of the four yugas. Mahendra was one of the six princes not having the authority to teach.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Māhendra (माहेन्द्र) or Māhendrāgama refers to one of upāgamas (supplementary scriptures) of the Kāraṇāgama which is one of the twenty-eight Siddhāntāgama: a classification of the Śaiva division of Śaivāgamas. The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu. The purpose of revealing upāgamas (eg., Māhendra Āgama) is to explain more elaborately than that of mūlāgamas (eg., Kāraṇa-āgama) and to include any new idea if not dealt in mūlāgamas.

(Source): Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva
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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.

Katha (narrative stories)

Mahendra (महेन्द्र).—One of the eight kulaparvatas (boundary-mountains) mentioned by Soḍḍhala.—Mahendra is the whole range of hills extending from Orissa to the District of Madurā and was known by the name of Mahendra Parvata. It included the eastern ghāts and the range extending from the northern circars to Goṇḍavānā, part of which, near Gañjam is still called Mahendra Mālā or the hills of Mahendra.

(Source): Shodhganga: A critical appreciation of soddhalas udayasundarikatha
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.

Kavya (poetry)

Mahendra (महेन्द्र) is the name a locality mentioned in Rājaśekhara’s 10th-century Kāvyamīmāṃsā.—In the Kāvyamīmāṃsā, Rājaśekhara mentions Mahendra in the mountains of south India. But Kālidāsa in his Raghuvaṃśa (IV. 39-40) says, Mahendra is situated in the Kaliṅga country. However Rājaśekhara includes Kaliṅga both in the group of eastern as well as southern countries. So it is probable that, Mahendragiri located near Ganjam was the northern boundary of the Kaliṅga country.

(Source): Shodhganga: The Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara
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Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Māhendra (माहेन्द्र).—Name of very ancient, pre-Paninian grammar ascribed to इन्द्र (indra) of which some references only are available. The grammar work is also referred to as ऐन्द्र (aindra); cf. यान्युञ्जहार महेन्द्राद् व्यासो व्याकरणार्णवात् । पदरत्नानि किं तानि सन्ति पाणिनिगेष्पदे (yānyuñjahāra mahendrād vyāso vyākaraṇārṇavāt | padaratnāni kiṃ tāni santi pāṇinigeṣpade) Devabodha's com. on the Mahabharata. For details see p. 124-27 Vol. VII Mahaabhaasya, D. E. Society's Edition.

(Source): Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
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Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

Itihasa (narrative history)

Mahendra (महेन्द्र) refers to the name of a Mountain or Tīrtha (pilgrim’s destination) mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. III.83.14, III.85.16, III.114.26, VI.10.10). Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Mahendra) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Mahendra also refers to the name of a River mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. VI.10.21).

(Source): JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Mahendra (महेन्द्र) or Mahendrasaṃhitā is the name of a Vaiṣṇava Āgama scripture, classified as a sāttvika type of the Muniprokta group of Pāñcarātra Āgamas. The vaiṣṇavāgamas represent one of the three classes of āgamas (traditionally communicated wisdom).—Texts of the Pāñcara Āgamas are divided in to two sects. It is believed that Lord Vāsudeva revealed the first group of texts which are called Divya and the next group is called Muniprokta which are further divided in to three viz. a. Sāttvika (eg., Mahendra-saṃhitā). b. Rājasa. c. Tāmasa.

(Source): Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva (pancaratra)
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.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Mahendra (महेन्द्र) is a Sanskrit word referring to a dwelling place or resort of the celestial nymphs (apsaras). They live chiefly on earth around rivers or on mountains, as in the courts of all the gods.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism

One of the 108 names of Krishna; Meaning: "Lord Of Indra"

(Source): humindian: 108 names of Lord Krishna

Mahendra (महेन्‍द्र): A King who had attained heaven. Also the name of a mountain upon which Hanumana rushes while searching Sita, shaking it in wrath and frightening every beast that lived in its woods and caves.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

(Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Mahendra (महेन्द्र) is the name of a mountain associated with Aṭṭaṭṭahāsa: the north-eastern cremation ground (śmaśāna) according to the Vajravārāhī-sādhana by Umāpatideva as found in te Guhyasamayasādhanamālā. As a part of this sādhana, the practicioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the circle of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.

The Guhyasamayasādhanamālā by Umāptideva is a 12th century ritualistic manual including forty-six Buddhist tantric sādhanas. The term sādhana refers to “rites” for the contemplation of a divinity.

(Source): Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini
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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.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Mahendra (महेन्द्र) is the thirty-fifth of sixty digits (decimal place) in an special enumeration system mentioned by Vasubandhu in his Abhidharmakośa (“treasury of knowledge”). The explanations of the measure of years, eons, and so forth must be comprehended through calculation based on a numerical system. Enumeration begins from one and increases by a factor of ten for each shift in decimal place. The sixtieth number in this series is called “countless”.

Among these decimal positions (eg., mahendra), the first nine positions from one to one hundred million are called ‘single set enumeration’. From a billion up to, but not including countless is “the enumeration of the great companion” and is called the ‘recurring enumeration’.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Buddhism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Māhendra (माहेन्द्र) refers to a heavenly abode (kalpa) inhabited by Kalpopapanna gods, according to Jain cosmological texts in both the Śvetāmbara and Digambara tradition. The Kalpopapannas (‘those born in the heavens’) represent a sub-species of the Vaimānika gods, which in turn represents the fourth main classification of devas (gods). This kalpa is also known as Māhendrakalpa. In this specific kalpa, instead of bodily coition, a more and more refined sort of sexual satisfaction takes its place. The associated leśyā is lotus-pink. There are ten such kalpas being ruled over by sixty-four Indras (heavenly kings).

In Jain iconography, the associated animal symbol of the Māhendra-kalpa is a lion (prakrit: sīha, sanskrit: siṃha). These animals are depicted in a cosmological text of the Śvetāmbara tradition known as the Saṃgrahaṇīratna (“jewel of the compilation”), also known as the Trailokyadīpikā (“illumination of the triple world”), written by Śrīcandra in the 12th century.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Māhendra (माहेन्द्र) refers to one of the sixteen heavens (kalpa) hosting the sixteen classes of empyrean celestial beings (vaimānika), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 4.19. The living beings residing in the vimānas are called the empyrean gods (vaimānika) and represents one of the four classes of Devas.

What is the number of layers in Sanatkumāra and Māhendra heavens? There are seven layers there. Which thought-colourations are there in Sānatkumāra-Māhendra gods? They have yellow and pink thought-colourations. What is the maximum lifespan of deities in Sānatkumāra and Māhendra kalpa? It is seven ocean-measured-periods (sāgara) for both.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 4: The celestial beings (deva)
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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.

India history and geogprahy

Mahendra (महेन्द्र) is the name of one of the seven kulaparvata (clan mountain) of Bhāratavarṣa, associated with a distinct country or tribe.—As ascertained by Professor Hemachandra Raychaudhuri, Mahendra is the mountain par excellence of the Kaliṅgas. Among the kulaparvatas, Mahcedra comes first. Under the name of Mahida, it is said In the Nasik eulogy to have been conquered by Gautamīputra Śātakarṇi. About tbe term Mahcedra-giri in Allahabad Inscription of Samudragupta, we are not certain whether it denotes the famous kulaparvata or it is the name of a king.

Mr. Pargiter identified the Mahendra range with the portion of Eastern Ghats between the Godāvarī and Mahānadī rivers, part of which near Ganjam in Orissa. This portion of Eastern Ghats is still known by the names of Mahendra-giri and Mahendrā-cala. Raghuvaṃśa places Mahendra in Kaliṅga and Bhāgavata-purāṇa, between Gaṅgā-Sāgara-Saṅgama and Sapta-Godāvarī.

(Source): Geography in Ancient Indian inscriptions

Mahendra is one of the places visited by Chaitanya during his pilgrimage in Southern India between April 1510 and January 1512.—Mahendra hill.—There is a peak of this name in the Travancore State, but too far from Cape Comorin.

(Source): Chaitanya’s life and teachings (history)

Mahendra (महेन्द्र) refers to one of the seven kulaparvatas (chief mountains) mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa. Mahendra refers to the eastern Ghats. Teste. Law, B. C. Historical Geography of Ancient India, pp. 19-23.

(Source): Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study (history)
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 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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

mahēndra (महेंद्र).—m S One of the seven principal chains of mountains in India.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
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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.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Māhendra (माहेन्द्र).—a. (-ndrī f.)

1) Relating to or fit for Indra; माहेन्द्रमम्भः प्रथमं पृथिव्या (māhendramambhaḥ prathamaṃ pṛthivyā) Ku.7.84; R.12.86.

2) Eastern.

-dram A kind of pearl; Kau. A.2.11.29.

-drī 1 The east.

2) A cow.

3) Name of Indrāṇī.

--- OR ---

Mahendra (महेन्द्र).—

1) 'the great Indra', Name of Indra; इयं महेन्द्रप्रभृतीनधिश्रियः (iyaṃ mahendraprabhṛtīnadhiśriyaḥ) Ku.5.53; R.13.2; Ms.7.7.

2) a chief or leader in general.

3) Name of a mountain range; पतिर्महेन्द्रस्य महोदधेश्च (patirmahendrasya mahodadheśca) R.6.54;4.39,43. °चापः (cāpaḥ) rain-bow. °नगरी (nagarī) Name of Amarāvatī, the capital of Indra. °मन्त्रिन् (mantrin) m. an epithet of Bṛhaspati. °वाहः (vāhaḥ) the elephant Airāvata; महेन्द्रवाहप्रतिमो महात्मा (mahendravāhapratimo mahātmā) Mb.9.17.52.

Derivable forms: mahendraḥ (महेन्द्रः).

Mahendra is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahā and indra (इन्द्र).

(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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