Makara, aka: Makāra, Mākara; 21 Definition(s)


Makara means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Makara (मकर) refers to a gesture (āṅgika) made with ‘combined hands’ (saṃyuta), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 8. The hands (hasta) form a part of the human body which represents one of the six major limbs (aṅga) used in dramatic performance. With these limbs are made the various gestures (āṅgika), which form a part of the histrionic representation (abhinaya).

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

One of the saṃyutta-hastāni (Twenty-six combined Hands).—Makara: Ardha-candra hands, one enclosing the other, palms downwards, the thumbs moving. Patron deity Mahendra. Usage: the sea, overflowing of a river, deer-face, prosperity, solidity, platform, crocodile.

Source: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)

1) Makara (मकर).—A type of gesture (āṅgika) made with combined hands (saṃyuta-hasta);—(Instructions): When the two Patāka hands with their thumbs raised are turned down and placed on each other the Makara hand is produced. (Uses): It is used to indicate lion, tiger, elephant, crocodile, shark and fish and other carnivorous animals.

2) Makara (मकर).—Description of a women of makara type;—A woman who has a large head, a steady neck, a mouth wide open, very loud voice and is cruel, has habits of a fish, is known to have the nature of a makara.

Source: Natya Shastra
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).

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Makara (मकर) is a Sanskrit word referring to the animal “great Indian crocodile”. The meat of this animal is part of the māṃsavarga (‘group of flesh’), which is used throughout Āyurvedic literature. The animal Makara is part of the sub-group named Vāriśaya, refering to animals “living in waters”. It was classified by Caraka in his Carakasaṃhitā sūtrasthāna (chapter 27), a classical Āyurvedic work. Caraka defined such groups (vargas) based on the dietic properties of the substance.

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Makara (मकर)—Sanskrit word for a fish (fabulous). This animal is from the group called Sāmudra-matsya (‘marine fish’). Sāmudra-matsya itself is a sub-group of the group of animals known as Ānupa (those that frequent marshy places).

Source: Sushruta samhita, Volume I
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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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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

1a) Makara (मकर).—A mountain to the north of Meru.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 16. 27.

1b) A sea monster; gift of a golden one in the ceremony of digging tanks, etc.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 58. 19.

1c) One of the eight nidhis of Kubera.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 41. 10.

1d) The Tamil month, Tai; with Sūrya,1 in the Capricornus; the sun entering which, Uttarāyaṇa commences.2

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 105. 48.
  • 2) Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 8. 28, 68.

1e) The sons born to the daughters of Ṛkṣa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 415.

2) Makāra (मकार).—Is Pluta, consonant and svarloka; the third mātrā is plutavatī, protracted as a vowel.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 20. 9, 10, 14.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Makara (मकर) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.27) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Makara) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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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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Vastushastra (architecture)

Makara (मकर) corresponds with the Capricorn zodiac sign and refers to the tenth of twelve rāśi (zodiacal sign), according to the Mānasāra. Rāśi is one of the three alternative principles, besides the six āyādiṣaḍvarga, used to constitute the “horoscope” of an architectural or iconographic object. Their application is intended to “verify” the measurements of the architectural and iconographic object against the dictates of astrology that lay out the conditions of auspiciousness.

The particular rāśi (eg., makara) of all architectural and iconographic objects (settlement, building, image) must be calculated and ascertained. This process is based on the principle of the remainder. An arithmetical formula to be used in each case is stipulated, which engages one of the basic dimensions of the object (breadth, length, or perimeter/circumference). All twelve rāśis, except the eighth (vṛścika) are auspicious.

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.

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Makāra (मकार).—The consonant म् (m) with the vowel अ (a) and the affix कार (kāra) added for facility of use and pronunciation; cf. T.Pr.I.17 and 21.

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.

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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Makara (मकर).—Capricorn. Note: Makara is a Sanskrit technical term used in ancient Indian sciences such as Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry.

Source: Wikibooks (hi): Sanskrit Technical Terms
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Jyotisha (ज्योतिष, jyotiṣa or jyotish) refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents the fifth of the six Vedangas (additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas). Jyotisha concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Makara (मकर, “fish”) refers to a type of animal form, representing one of the several “attributes” (āyudha) or “accessories” of a detiy commonly seen depicted in Hindu iconography, defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—The śilpa texts have classified the various accessories under the broad heading of āyudha or karuvi (implement), including even flowers, animals, and musical instruments. The animals and birds found as vehicles for the deities or held as attributes or weapons in the hands of the deities are, for example, Makara.

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

Makara (मकर):—Mount of Varuṇa. It is a mythical sea-monster associated with eiter a shark or a crocodile. Varuṇa is the presiding deity of the invisible world and represents the inner reality of things.

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

1) Makara (Sanskrit: मकर) is a sea-creature in Hindu mythology. It is generally depicted as half terrestrial animal in the frontal part, in animal forms of an elephant, crocodile, stag, or deer, and in the hind part as an aquatic animal, in the form of a fish or seal tail.

2) Makara is the vahana (vehicle) of the Ganga - the goddess of river Ganges (Ganga) and the sea god Varuna. It is also the insignia of the love god Kamadeva.

3) Makara is the astrological sign of Capricorn, one of the twelve symbols of the Zodiac. It is often portrayed protecting entryways to Hindu and Buddhist temples.

4) Makara symbolized in ornaments are also in popular use as wedding gifts for bridal decoration.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

A floodgate in the Parakkamasamudda from which ran the Gambhira Canal. Cv.lxxix.40.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Makara (मकर) refers to the “king of the fish” (matsyarāja) according to a story found in the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter 13. Accordingly, “Once there were five hundred merchants who had gone to sea to search for precious stuffs. They encountered Mo k’ie lo (Makara), king of the fish (matsyarāja): the water of the sea rushed into its gaping mouth and the ship was about to be engulfed. The captain (karṇadhāra) asked the man in the look-out: “What do you see?” He answered: “I see three suns (āditya), ranges of white mountains (avadātaparvatarāji) and a waterfall (jalaprapāta) at the entrance to a cave.” The captain shouted: “It is the Makara, the king of the fish; he is holding his mouth agape; the first sun is the real sun, the other two suns are his eyes (akṣi); the white mountains are his teeth (danta): the waterfall is the sea water that is rushing into his mouth.”

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Makara in Pali glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

makara : (m.) a sea-monster; a sword-fish.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Makara, (cp. Epic Sk. makara) a mythical fish or sea monster, Leviathan (cp. Zimmer, Altind. Leben 97) J. II, 442; III, 188; Miln. 131, 377; ThA. 204.—f. makarinī Miln. 67.

—dantaka the tooth of a sword fish, used as a pin Vin. II, 113, cp. p. 315.—as a design in painting or carving Vin. II, 117. 121, 152; IV, 47. In these latter passages it occurs combd with latākamma & pañcapaṭṭhika (q. v.). The meaning is not quite clear. (Page 511)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
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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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Marathi-English dictionary

makara (मकर).—m (S) An aquatic monster understood usually of the alligator, crocodile, and shark, but, properly, a fabulous animal. It is the emblem of the god of love. 2 One of the signs of the zodiac. It corresponds with Capricorn.

--- OR ---

makara (मकर).—n ( A) Fraud, feint, pretence, sham: also craft or cunning.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

makara (मकर).—m A crocodile. The sign Capri- corn. n Fraud.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

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.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 113 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Makaradhvaja (मकरध्वज) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latt...
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Makaravaktra (मकरवक्त्र) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. IX.44.74) and represents ...
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Makara-toraṇa.—(EI 29), one of the royal insignia. (EI 3; SII 1, 3), an ornamental arch; an arc...
Śuṇḍamakara (शुण्डमकर).—A type of praṇāla, or ‘water-drain’.—The makara variety ...
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Makarālaya (मकरालय).—m. (-yaḥ) The ocean. E. makara a sort of fish, and ālaya abode.
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