Mahishasura, Mahisha-asura, Mahiṣāsura: 5 definitions

Introduction

Mahishasura means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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 term Mahiṣāsura can be transliterated into English as Mahisasura or Mahishasura, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

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In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous (M) next»] — Mahishasura in Purana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

Mahiṣāsura (स्त्रीघ्न) is an Asura king who started the battle between the gods (devas) between the demons (asuras) in order to win over the hand of Trikalā, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 94. Trikalā is a Goddess born from the combined looks of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (Śiva). Mahiṣāsura faced Indra in battle whom he also defeated.

The Varāhapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 24,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 10th century. It is composed of two parts and Sūta is the main narrator.

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: Red Zambala: Hindu Icons and Symbols | Devi

Mahiṣāsura (or “the buffalo-demon”) represents the gross negative aspect of Tamas which obstructs and thwarts spiritual progress. As the personification of the Tāmasic Ahaṃkāra — he constantly and adroitly changes shape whenever he is confronted by Durgā.

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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General definition (in Hinduism)

[«previous (M) next»] — Mahishasura in Hinduism glossary
Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Mahishasura was a mighty Asura, born to the King of Asuras named Rambha (different from the divine nymph Rambha). When Rambha was walking in the street, he saw a beautiful female buffalo. He was immediately smitten with desire and sated his lust on the poor animal. The demon Mahishasura was born of this union. In Sanskrit Mahisha=Buffalo.

He became the king of the Asuras after his father. As was the custom of the Asuras, he prosecuted a terrible war with the Devas. To help his kinsmen gain the upper hand, Mahishasura performed a tough penance directed at Lord Brahma. Pleased, the Lord granted a boon to him that death shall not approach him, save by means of a woman.

Source: Sri Kamakoti Mandali: Hinduism

According to tāntric lore, Mahiṣāsura first took birth in Raṃbhakalpa as the son of Raṃbhāsura. In that birth, he was slain by Parāmbā in her form as Aṣṭādaśabhujā Ugracaṇḍā who used a śvetakhaḍga to kill the demon. This form of Parāmbā is invoked through the famous Navākṣarī mantra.

Again, in the Nīlalohita kalpa, Mahiṣāsura took birth and this time, he was killed by ṣodaśabhujā Bhadrakālī who used a śvetabāṇa to destroy him.

Finally, he was born a third time in śvetavarāha kalpa but he remembered his previous births by the grace of sage Jaigīṣavya. Having realized the possibility of death again at the hands of Mahāmāyā , he resorted to ekānta bhakti (kāyika, vācika, mānasika) and immersed himself in the upāsanā of Parāśakti. After twelve-thousand years of upāsanā, Bhagavatī manifested before him and he addressed her thus:

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

[«previous (M) next»] — Mahishasura in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mahiṣāsura (महिषासुर).—the demon Mahiṣa. °घातिनी, °मथनी, °मर्दनी, °सूदनी (ghātinī, °mathanī, °mardanī, °sūdanī) epithets of Durgā.

Derivable forms: mahiṣāsuraḥ (महिषासुरः).

Mahiṣāsura is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms mahiṣa and asura (असुर).

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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