Maheshvari, Mahesvari, Māheśvarī, Maheśvarī: 23 definitions


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

The Sanskrit terms Māheśvarī and Maheśvarī can be transliterated into English as Mahesvari or Maheshvari, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Maheshvari in Shaktism glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism

1) Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी) or Rudrāyaṇī refers to the third of the eight Aṣṭamātṛkā (mother Goddesses) of Kathmandu city, locally known as Mhayepi Ajimā. Her location is Mhayepi.

2) Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी):—Name of one of the sixty-four mātṛs to be worshipped during Āvaraṇapūjā (“Worship of the Circuit of Goddesses”, or “Durgā’s Retinue”), according to the Durgāpūjātattva. They should be worshipped with either the five upācāras or perfume and flowers.

Her mantra is as follows:

ॐ माहेश्वर्यै नमः
oṃ māheśvaryai namaḥ.

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी) or Śāṅkarī is the name of a Mātṛkā (‘mother’) and is identified with the sacred site of Varaṇā, according to the Manthānabhairavatantra, a vast sprawling work that belongs to a corpus of Tantric texts concerned with the worship of the goddess Kubjikā.—According to the Kubjikā Tantras, the eight major Kaula sacred sites each have a house occupied by a woman of low caste who is identified with a Mother (Mātṛkā).—[...] Varaṇā is identified with (a) the class of liquor seller (śuṇḍinī) [or collyrium girl (kajjalī)], (b) the Mātṛkā or ‘mother’ named Māheśvarī (Śāṅkarī), and (c) with the location of ‘heart’.

Source: Sreenivasarao's blog: Saptamatrka (part 4)

Maheshvari refers to one of the seven mother-like goddesses (Matrika).—The Matrikas emerge as shaktis from out of the bodies of the gods: Maheshvari from Shiva. The order of the Saptamatrka usually begins with Brahmi symbolizing creation. Then, Vaishnavi. Then, Maheshvari, who resides in the hearts of all beings, breaths in life and individuality. Maheshvari is also known as Raudri, Rudrani and Maheshi.

The Bhavanopanishad (9) recognizes Matrikas as eight types of un-favourable dispositions, such as: desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride, jealousy, demerit and merit. Tantra-raja-tantra (36; 15-16) expands on that and identifies Maheshvari with the tendency to degenerate and dissipate (krodha).

According to Khadgamala (vamachara) tradition of Sri Vidya, the eight Matrkas are located along the wall (four at the doors and four at the corners) guarding the city (Tripura) on all eight directions: Maheshvari on the North.

Source: Kamakoti Mandali: The Yoginis of Narasimha Vyuha

Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी) is the name of a Mātṛkā-Śakti created by Mahārudra in order to control the plague of demons created by Andhakāsura.—Accordingly, Andhaka-Asura tried to kidnap Umā (Devī Pārvatī), and was fiercely attacked by Mahārudra who shot arrows at him from his mahāpināka. when the arrows pierced the body of Andhakāsura, drops of blood fell to earth and from those drops, thousands of Andhakas arose. To control this plague of demons, Mahārudra created Mātṛkā-Śaktis [viz., Māheśvarī] and ordered them to drink the blood of the demons and drain them dry.

Source: Kamakoti Mandali: Nrisimha matrika-mandala

Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी) refers to one of the various Mātṛkā-Śaktis created by Rudra in order to destroy the clones that spawned from Andhaka’s body.—Accordingly, [...] Andhakāsura attempted to abduct Girājanandinī (Pārvatī) and thus ensued a fierce battle between Andhakāsura and the great Rudra, the Lord of Umā. Like raktabīja, every drop of blood that fell from the body of Andhaka created another Asura like him and in no time, the entire world was filled with Andhakas. To destroy the growing number of Andhakas, Rudra created innumerable Mātṛkā-Śaktis [viz., Māheśvarī]. These Śaktis of immense power at once began to drink every drop of blood that flowed from the body of Andhaka, but they could still not effectively contain the emergence of more and more demons.

Shaktism book cover
context information

Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Maheshvari in Purana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: The Matsya-purāṇa

Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी) is the name of a mind-born ‘divine mother’ (mātṛ), created for the purpose of drinking the blood of the Andhaka demons, according to the Matsya-purāṇa 179.8. The Andhaka demons spawned out of every drop of blood spilled from the original Andhakāsura (Andhaka-demon). According to the Matsya-purāṇa 179.35, “Most terrible they (e.g., Māheśvarī) all drank the blood of those Andhakas and become exceedingly satiated.”

The Matsyapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 20,000 metrical verses, dating from the 1st-millennium BCE. The narrator is Matsya, one of the ten major avatars of Viṣṇu.

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Maheśvarī (महेश्वरी) refers to the “great Goddess” and is used as an epithet for Goddess Umā, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.3.3.—Accordingly, as the Gods eulogized Umā with devotion:—“[...] O goddess Umā, mother of the universe, resident of Śivaloka, favourite of Śiva, O great goddess (i.e., Maheśvarī), O Durgā, we bow to you, With great devotion we bow to the illustrious Energy, the holy, the tranquil, the holy nourishment and the one with the forms of Mahat and the Avyakta”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1) Maheśvarī (महेश्वरी).—The Goddess enshrined at Mahākāla;1 a name of Lalitā;2 Gā and Virūpā dropped out of the face of Maheśvara; also Rudrāṇī and Mahādevī; was Mati, Smṛti, and Buddhi; asked by Mahādeva to bring the world under control by Yoga.3

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 13. 41.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 10. 7; 14. 3; 28. 89; 29. 102; 40. 2.
  • 3) Vāyu-purāṇa 23. 5.

2a) Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी).—A śakti and a mother goddess;1 Images after the manner of Māheśvara.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 19. 7; 36. 58; 44. 111.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 179. 9; 261. 25; 286. 10.

2b) Created out of Dakṣiṇāgni for the use of the Kāśi King's son to avenge his father's death at the hands of Kṛṣṇa; unable to bear the Sudarśana of Kṛṣṇa she fled to Kāśī.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 34. 39.
Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी) refers to the name of a Tīrtha (pilgrim’s destination) mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. II.82.101). Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Māheśvarī) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Purana book cover
context information

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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Sreenivasarao's blog: Saptamatrka (part 4) (shilpa)

Maheshvari refers to the third Matrka and is the shakthi of Shiva. She is white in complexion; and has three eyes. She is depicted with four arms; two of which are in the Varada and the Abhaya mudra, while the other two hands hold the trishula and akshamala. Sometimes, she is also shown holding panapatra (drinking vessel) or axe or an antelope or a kapala (skull-bowl) or a serpent. Her banner as well as the vahana is Nandi (bull). She wears snake-bracelets; and jata-makuta on her head.

The Vishnudharmottara mentions that Goddess Maheshvari should be depicted with five faces, each possessing three eyes and each adorned with jata-makuta crown and crescent moon. Her complexion is white. She is depicted with six arms. In four of the hands she carries the sutra, damaru, shula and ghanta. The other two hands gesture Abhaya and Varada mudra. Her banner also has the Bull for its emblem.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)

Maheśvari is the name of one of the Aṣṭaśakti, or “eight powers” as found depicted in the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai (or Madura), which represents a sacred place for the worship of The Goddess (Devī).—The entrance on the eastern side of the temple leads to the Aṣṭaśakti-maṇḍapa. On the right there are four śakti (powers) [viz., Maheśvari]. Maheśvari is represented in samapāda-sthānaka with four hands. The upper right hand holds aṅkuśa and the upper left hand holds pāśa. The lower right hand is in abhaya and the lower left hand is in varada. The upper hands are in kapittha-hasta while depicting in dance and in kaṭaka in iconography. The lower right and left hands are in abhaya (patāka) and varada-hasta (patāka inverted) respectively.

Shilpashastra book cover
context information

Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

[«previous next»] — Maheshvari in Ayurveda glossary

Nighantu (Synonyms and Characteristics of Drugs and technical terms)

Source: WorldCat: Rāj nighaṇṭu

Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी) is another name for Yavatiktā, a medicinal plant identified with Andrographis paniculata (creat or green chireta) from the Acanthaceae or “acanthus family” of flowering plants, according to verse 3.76-78 of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu. The third chapter (guḍūcyādi-varga) of this book contains climbers and creepers (vīrudh). Together with the names Māheśvarī and Yavatiktā, there are a total of sixteen Sanskrit synonyms identified for this plant.

Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Maheshvari in Shaivism glossary
Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions

Maheśvarī (महेश्वरी) (seed-syllable: aṃ) refers to one of the eight Mother-goddesses (Mātṛs) of the pantheon of Mantra-deities, according to the Brahmayāmala-tantra (or Picumata), an early 7th century Śaiva text consisting of twelve-thousand verses.—Patterning the processes of inner and outer ritual is the Brahmayāmala’s pantheon of mantra-deities, whose core comprises the Four Goddesses or Guhyakās, Four Consorts or Handmaidens, and their lord, Kapālīśabhairava. Secondary members of the pantheon are a sextet of Yoginīs and an octad of Mother-goddesses [e.g., Maheśvarī].

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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General definition (in Hinduism)

[«previous next»] — Maheshvari in Hinduism glossary
Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

A Maheshwari (Sanskrit: माहेश्वरी, māheśvarī) is a follower of Maheshwarism. “Maheshwari” properly refers to adherents of Maheshwarism as a religion, not an ethnic group. A Maheshwari place of worship is called Mandir (Mahesh Mandir). A Maheshwari is believes in Mahesh Pariwar (Shiv Parivar) and gurus and their teachings truth, love and justice. Maheshwarism emphasis community services and helping the needy. The Marwad, Rajasthan region is the historic homeland of the Maheshwaris, although significant communities exist around the world.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Maheshvari is the power of Lord Mahesha (Shiva), also known as Maheshvara. Maheshvari is depicted seated on Nandi (the bull) and has two, four or six hands. The white complexioned, the three eyed Goddess holds a trident, drum, a garland of beads, drinking vessel, axe and a skull-bowl. She is adorned with serpent bracelets, the crescent moon and a headdress formed of piled, matted hair, with a serpent on it. And just like Lord Shiva, she also wears a serpent around her neck. She is also known by the names Raudri, Rudrani, Shankari, Shiva and Maheshi.

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Tibetan Buddhism

Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी) refers to one of the various Mātṛs and Mahāmātṛs mentioned as attending the teachings in the 6th century Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa: one of the largest Kriyā Tantras devoted to Mañjuśrī (the Bodhisattva of wisdom) representing an encyclopedia of knowledge primarily concerned with ritualistic elements in Buddhism. The teachings in this text originate from Mañjuśrī and were taught to and by Buddha Śākyamuni in the presence of a large audience (including Māheśvarī).

Source: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी) refers to the Ḍākinī of the northern gate in the Medinīcakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the medinīcakra refers to one of the three divisions of the dharma-puṭa (‘dharma layer’), situated in the Herukamaṇḍala. The four gate Ḍākinīs [viz., Māheśvarī] each has the same physical feature as the four Ḍākinīs starting with Lāmā.

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)

[«previous next»] — Maheshvari in Jainism glossary
Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी) is the name of an ancient city founded by Acala in the Dekhan, according to chapter 4.1 [śreyāṃsanātha-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra: an ancient Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three illustrious persons in Jainism.

Accordingly:—“When Bhadrā heard of this new stain on the family which would be ridiculed by all the people, causing great shame to her husband (i.e., Ripupratiśatru), Bhadrā was very much ashamed. She went to the Dekhan with her son Acala. That is a fine country where evil gossip is never heard. Like a new Viśvakarman Acala founded a city, Māheśvarī, in the Dekhan for his mother. [...]”.

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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India history and geography

Source: Wisdom Library: India History

Maheshvari (or, Maheśvarī) refers to one of the 84 castes (gaccha) in the Jain community according to various sources. The associated place of origin is known as Didavane (or, Ḍīḍavāṇe). The Jain caste and sub-caste system was a comparatively later development within their community, and it may have arisen from the ancient classification of Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya and Śūdra. Before distinction of these classes (such as Maheshvari), the society was not divided into distinct separate sections, but all were considered as different ways of life and utmost importance was attached to individual chartacter and mode of behaviour.

According to Dr. Vilas Adinath Sangava, “Jainism does not recognise castes (viz., Maheshvari) as such and at the same time the Jaina books do not specifically obstruct the observance of caste rules by the members of the Jaina community. The attitude of Jainism towards caste is that it is one of the social practices, unconnected with religion, observed by people; and it was none of its business to regulate the working of the caste system” (source).

The legendary account of the origin of these 84 Jain castes (e.g., Maheshvari) relate that once a rich Jain invited members of the Jain community in order to establish a vaiśya-mahāsabhā (i.e. Central Association of Traders). In response, 84 representatives came from different places (e.g., Didavane), and they were later seen as the progenitors of these castes. Various sources however mention differences in the list.

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

Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Maheshvari in Sanskrit glossary
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी).—f. (-rī) 1. A name of Durga. 2. One of the divine mothers or energies of the gods, the Sakti of Siva. E. maheśvara Siva, aṇ and ṅīṣ affs.

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

1) Maheśvarī (महेश्वरी):—[from maheśvara > mahā > mah] f. Name of Durgā, [Tantrasāra] ([Indian Wisdom, by Sir M. Monier-Williams 522])

2) [v.s. ...] of Dākṣāyaṇī in Mahā-kāla, [Catalogue(s)]

3) [v.s. ...] a kind of brass or bell-metal, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

4) [v.s. ...] Clitoria Ternatea, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

5) Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी):—[from māheśvara > māhā] a f. See below

6) [from māhā] b f. the Consort or Energy of Śiva (one of the seven divine Mātṛs, also = Durgā), [Mahābhārata] (cf. [Indian Wisdom, by Sir M. Monier-Williams 522])

7) [v.s. ...] Name of a river, [Śatruṃjaya-māhātmya]

8) [v.s. ...] a species of climbing plant, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

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

Māheśvarī (माहेश्वरी):—(rī) 3. f. A name of Durgā; the energy of Shiva.

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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Kannada-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Maheshvari in Kannada glossary
Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Mahēśvari (ಮಹೇಶ್ವರಿ):—[noun] Pārvati, the consort of Mahēśvara.

--- OR ---

Māhēśvari (ಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರಿ):—

1) [noun] Pārvati, the consort of Mahēśvara.

2) [noun] (myth.) name of one of the seven foster mothers of Ṣaṇmukha.

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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