Mala, aka: Māḷa, Māla, Mālā; 20 Definition(s)


Mala means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Buddhism, Pali, 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.

The Sanskrit term Māḷa can be transliterated into English as Mala or Malia, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

Mālā (माला, ‘rosary’) is a weapon (āyudha or bādhra) according to the Vāstusūtra Upaniṣad.

Source: Google Books: The Theory of Citrasutras in Indian Painting
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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Ayurveda (science of life)

Mala (मल, “excreta”):—Urine, faeces, sweat etc. are malas formed from the ingested food. They are devoid of essence, are collected in their sites and thrown out by their respective passages. Malas are also formed from dhātus as the gross product while the finer portion of them leads to the formation successive dhātus.

Source: Google Books: Essentials of Ayurveda
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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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Mālā (माला, “garland”) refers to one of the thirty-six “characteristic features” (lakṣaṇa) of perfect ‘poetic compositions’ (kāvyabandha) and ‘dramatic compositions’ (dṛśyakāvya, or simply kāvya). According to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 17, these thirty-six lakṣaṇas act as instructions for composing playwrights. The term is used throughout nāṭyaśāstra literature.

(Description of Mālā): When for the purpose of accomplishing a desired object one (lit. learned men) suggests to a person his many needs that may be met, it is an instance of Series of Offers (mālā, lit. “garland”).

2) Mālā (माला) refers to one of the ten kinds of yamaka, according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 17. Yamaka is one of the four “figures of speech” (alaṃkāra), used when composing dramatic compositions (kāvya).

3) Mālā (माला) is the name of a meter belonging to the Dvipadā-caturasra class of Dhruvā (songs) described in the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 32:—“the metre which has in its feet of sixteen syllables all long, is mālā”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
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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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Mālā (माला).—Name of a river (nadī) situated near the seven great mountains on the western side of mount Naiṣadha, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 83. These settlements consume the water flowing from these seven great mountains (Viśākha, Kambala, Jayanta, Kṛṣṇa, Harita, Aśoka and Vardhamāna). Niṣadha (Naiṣadha) is one of the seven mountains located in Jambūdvīpa, 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.

Source: Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

Māla (माल).—A place of habitation of ancient India. (Śloka 39, Chapter 9, Bhīṣma Parva).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1) Māla (माल).—A Janapada of the East.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 45. 123.

2) Mālā (माला).—(Cintāmaṇi)—Kubera's wedding present to Kāmeśvara.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 15. 22.
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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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Mālā (माला).—A variety of the utterance of the Veda-Samhita (वेदपाठ (vedapāṭha)); a kind of Krama-Patha, one of the eight artificial recitations.

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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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

1) Mālā (माला) is the alternative name of a Sanskrit metre (chandas) mentioned by Hemacandra (1088-1173 C.E.) in his auto-commentary on the second chapter of the Chandonuśāsana. Mālā corresponds to Pramitā. Hemacandra gives these alternative names for the metres by other authorities (like Bharata), even though the number of gaṇas or letters do not differ.

1) Mālā is also the name of a Sanskrit metre (chandas) (according to Piṅgala) to which Hemacandra (1088-1173 C.E.) assigned the alternative name of Srak.

2) Mālā (माला) refers to one of the seventy-two sama-varṇavṛtta (regular syllabo-quantitative verse) mentioned in the 334th chapter of the Agnipurāṇa. The Agnipurāṇa deals with various subjects viz. literature, poetics, grammar, architecture in its 383 chapters and deals with the entire science of prosody (eg., the mālā metre) in 8 chapters (328-335) in 101 verses in total.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Mālā (माला) or Mālāmudrā is the name of a mudrā described in the Īśvarasaṃhitā 24.27-29.—Accordingly, “this mudrā of Kaustubha is stated. Listen now to mālāmudra. Four fingers of the two hands are to be brought at their tips not far from each other, hanging gently while being seated or standing. The two arms, O Brahmin, are to be kept hanging down between the thighs with the two wrists being kept down up to the wrists. This is described as mālāmudrā”. Mūdra (eg., Mālā-mudrā) is so called as it gives joy to the tattvas in the form of karman for those who offer spotless worship, drive out the defects which move about within and without and sealing up of what is done.

Source: Isvara Samhita Vol 5
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.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Mala is a medical term used in Ayurveda meaning "excrement".

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Mala (मल) refers to “personal uncleanliness” and represents one of the hardships (parīṣaha), or “series of trials hard to endure” according to the Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra 10.1 (Incarnation as Nandana). While practicing penance for a lac of years, Muni Nandana also endured a series of trials hard to endure (eg., mala). Nandana is the name of a king as well as one of Mahāvīra’s previous births.

Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra Vol-i

Mālā (माला, “flower garland”).—The fifth of “fourteen dreams” of Triśalā.—The fragrant flower garland that fell from the skies was predominantly white in color and had as many as twenty five types of flowers tied in bunches.

Source: Shodhganga: A cultural study on the jain western Indian illustrated manuscripts

Mālā (माला).—Why are there 108 beads in the rosary (mālā)? Multiplying the different types of passions (A.VI.8.1) gives 108 subtypes. Empirical souls while living and involved in auspicious or inauspicious activities are invariably associated with one of these passions (Kaṣāya). To purify from each of these passions and so there are 108 beads in the rosary.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 6: Influx of karmas

Mala (मल, “excretion”) refers to one of the eight types of extraordinary healing (auṣadhi), which itself is a subclass of the eight ṛddhis (extraordinary powers). These powers can be obtained by the Ārya (civilized people) in order to produce worldly miracles. The Āryas represent one of the two classes of human beings according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 3.46, the other being Mleccha (barbarians).

What is meant by extraordinary power to heal by excretion’s (mala-riddhi)? It is the extraordinary power by which the air which touches the excretions from teeth, ears, nose and eyes of an ascetic cures a patient when it touches his body.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 3: The Lower and middle worlds
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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

Pali-English dictionary

Māḷa, (& Māla) (Non-Aryan, cp. Tamil māḍam house, hall) a sort of pavilion, a hall D. I, 2 (maṇḍala°, same at Sn. p. 104, which passage SnA 447 explns as “savitānaṃ maṇḍapaṃ”); Vin. I, 140 (aṭṭa, māla, pāsāda; expld at Vin. III, 201. In the same sequence of Vbh. 251 expld at VbhA. 366 as “bhojana-sālā-sadiso maṇḍala-māḷo; Vinay’aṭṭha-kathāyaṃ pana eka-kūṭasaṅgahito caturassa-pāsādo ti vuttaṃ”); Miln. 46, 47.—Cp. mālaka.—(The BSk. form is either māla, e.g. MVastu II. 274, or māḍa, e.g. Mvyut 226, 43. ) (Page 531)

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Māla, (māḷa) (?) 1. mud (is it mis-spelling of mala?), in pakka-m°-kalala (boiling mud) J. VI, 400. Kern, Toev. s. v. believes to see the same word in phrase mālā-kacavara at J. II, 416 (but very doubtful).—2. perhaps= froth, dirty surface, in pheṇa° Miln. 117 (cp. mālin 2), where it may however be māla (“wreaths of foam”). ‹-› 3. in asi° the interpretation given under asi (as “dirt” see above p. 88) has been changed into “sword-garland, ” thus taking it as mālā. (Page 530)

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Mālā, (f.) (cp. Epic Sk. mālā) garland, wreath, chaplet; collectively=flowers; fig. row, line Sn. 401; Pug. 56; Vism. 265 (in simile); Pv. II, 316 (gandha, m. , vilepana, as a “lady’s” toilet outfit); II, 49 (as one of the 8 or 10 standard gifts to a bhikkhu: see dāna, deyyadhamma & yañña); PvA. 4=J. III, 59 (ratta-kaṇavera° a wreath of red K. flowers on his head: apparel of a criminal to be executed. Cp. ratta-māla-dhara wearing a red garland J. III, 179, an ensign of the executioner); PvA. 51, 62.—asi °-kamma the sword-garland torture (so correct under asi!) J. III, 178; Dāvs III, 35; dīpa° festoons of lamps Mhvs 5, 181; 34, 77 (°samujjota); nakkhatta° the garland of stars VvA. 167; puppha° a garland or wreath of flowers Mhvs 5, 181.—On mālā in similes see J. P. T. S. 1907, 123. In compn māla° sometimes stands for mālā°.

—kamma garland-work, garlands, festoons VvA. 188. —kāra garland-maker, florist, gardener (cp. Fick, Sociale Gleiderung 38, 182) J. V, 292; Miln. 331; DhA. I, 208, 334; VvA. 170, 253 (°vīthi). —kita adorned with garlands, wreathed Vin. I, 208. —guṇa “garland-string, ” garlands, a cluster of garlands Dh. 53 (=mālā-nikaṭi “makeup” garlands DhA. I, 419; i.e. a whole line of garlands made as “ekato-vaṇṭika-mālā” and “ubhato-v. -m. , ” one & two stalked g. , cp. Vin. III, 180). mālā guṇaparikkhittā one adorned with a string of gs. , i.e. a marriageable woman or a courtesan M. I, 286=A. V, 264. —guḷa a cluster of gs. , a bouquet Vin. III, 139; SnA 224; VvA. 32, 111 (v. l. guṇa). —cumbaṭaka a cushion of garlands, a chaplet of flowers DhA. I, 72. —dāma a wreath of flowers J. II, 104. —dhara wearing a wreath J. III, 179 (ratta°, see also above). —dhārin wearing a garland or wreath (on the head) Pv III, 11 (kusuma°; v. l. BB °bhārin); PvA. 169 (v. l. °bhārin); f. dhārinī Vv 323 (uppala°, of a Petī. See also bhārin). —puṭa a basket for flowers DhA. III, 212. —bhārin wearing a wreath (chaplet) (the reading changes between °bhārin & °dhārin; the BSk. prefers °dhārin, e.g. MVastu I. 124 & °dhāra at Divy 218) J. IV, 60, 82; V, 45; PvA. 211 (v. l. °dhārin); f. °bhārinī J. III, 530; VvA. 12; & bhārī Th. 1, 459 (as v. l.; T. reads °dhārī). Cp. °dhārin. —vaccha (vaccha here= vṛkṣa) a small flowering tree or plant, an ornamental plant Vin. II, 12; III, 179; Vism. 172 (v. l. °gaccha); DhA. II, 109 (q. v. for expln: taruṇarukkha-puppha). (Page 530)

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Mala, (nt.) (Vedic mala, see etym. under malina. The Dhtm (395) only knows of one root mal or mall in meaning “dhāraṇa” supporting, thus thinking of māḷaka) anything impure, stain (lit. & fig.), dirt. In the Canon mostly fig. of impurities. On mala in similes see J. P. T. S. , 1907, 122.—S. I, 38 (itthi malaṃ brahmacariyassa), 43 (id.); A. I, 105 (issā°); Sn. 378, 469, 962, 1132 (=rāgo malaṃ etc. Nd2 500); Nd1 15, 478 sq.; Dh. 239 sq.; Vbh. 368 (tīṇi malāni), 389 (nava purisa-malāni); Pv. II, 334 (macchera°); PvA. 45 (id.), 80 (id.), 17 (citta°); Sdhp. 220.—Compar. malatara a greater stain A. IV, 195=Dh. 243.—See also māla.

—âbhibhū overcoming one’s sordidness S. I, 18; J. IV, 64. —majjana “dirt wiper, ” a barber Vin. IV, 308 (kasāvaṭa m. nihīnajacca); J. III, 452; IV, 365. (Page 524)

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

mala (मल).—m n (S) Dirt, filth, foulness. 2 Excretion of the body; as serum, semen, blood, marrow, urine, fæces, earwax, nails, phlegm, tears, rheum, sweat. 3 Dregs, sediment, dross, rust, feculence or recrement gen. 4 fig. Evilmindedness or evil intent, malignity, moral corruption. Mem. For compounds besides those occurring below in order see under maḷa.

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maḷa (मळ).—m (mala S) Dirt, filth, feculence, foulness. For compounds besides those occurring below see under mala.

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maḷa (मळ).—f R (Usually maḷī) A roll of the sordes or scurf of the body.

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maḷā (मळा).—m (mālā S) A plantation of fruits or vegetables, an orchard &c.: also a tract of ground fit to be so used, i.e. alluvial or rich and low and level. 2 A species of sesamum.

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māla (माल).—m ( A) Property or possessions. 2 Goods, wares, merchandise, commodities. 3 An article or a thing considered with relation to worth or value. Ex. hā āṭhā rupayāñcā māla āhē. mālacā māla (The commodity or thing itself; the article exactly in statu quo ante.) A phrase used of money, goods &c. of which, after such application or employment as might augment or improve, or diminish or injure it or them, no change has taken place whether for better or for worse.

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mālā (माला).—f (S) A garland, a string or wreath of flowers. 2 A string of beads, a necklace, a rosary. 3 A line or row.

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mālā (माला).—m (Or mālū) A whitish and unctuous earth with which writing-boards &c. are rubbed.

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māḷa (माळ).—f (mālā S) A garland, a wreath, a string of flowers. 2 A row of petals, a corol. Esp. in comp. with the numerals; as ēkamāḷa, dumāḷa, timāḷa. 3 A string of gems or beads; a necklace; a rosary. 4 fig. A string, line, series; a regular succession or concatenation of things in general (as of waterpots around a waterwheel, of laborers to pass from hand to hand, of persons, legend-expounders, priests &c. to officiate by turns): also the rope of a waterwheel to which the pots are fastened. v lāva, lāga. 5 A day of the navarātra;--because a fresh string of flowers is used every day of this period. Ex. ājacī kitavī māḷa āhē. 6 The roll of sūta around the wheel passing on to the cāta or whirler. In spinning or drawing threads.

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māḷa (माळ).—m An elevated and extended tract of ground, esp. as somewhat stony or sterile; a plain, a down, a heath. 2 A loft. It is floored with bamboos, thus differing from māḍī & māḷā.

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māḷā (माळा).—m The room formed by overlaying with slight sticks the cross beams of a house, a loft. 2 An erection or a stand in a cornfield for the person that watches it: also a stand generally to see or look out from. 3 Scaffolding (of a building).

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

mala (मल).—m n Dirt. Dregs. Excretion of the body. Fig. Evil-mindedness.

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maḷa (मळ).—m Dirt, filth.

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maḷā (मळा).—m An orchard.

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māla (माल).—m Goods; property.

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mālā (माला).—f A garland. A rosary. A row.

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māḷa (माळ).—f See mālā. m A plain. A loft.

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māḷā (माळा).—m A loft; scaffolding (of a building).

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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mala (मल).—a. [mṛjyate śodhyate mṛj-kala ṭilopaḥ Tv.]

1) Dirty, foul; आमिषं यच्च पूर्वेषां राजसं च मलं भृशम् (āmiṣaṃ yacca pūrveṣāṃ rājasaṃ ca malaṃ bhṛśam) Rām.7.74.16.

2) Mean, covetous.

3) Unbelieving, infidel, godless.

4) Wicked.

-laḥ, -lam 1 Dirt, filth, impurity, dust, any impure matter; मलदायकाः खलाः (maladāyakāḥ khalāḥ) K.2; छाया न मूर्छति मलोपहतप्रसादे शुद्धे तु दर्पणतले सुलभावकाशा (chāyā na mūrchati malopahataprasāde śuddhe tu darpaṇatale sulabhāvakāśā) Ś.7.32.

2) Dregs, refuse, sediment, excrement, feces, dung.

3) Dross (of metals), rust, alloy.

4) Moral taint or impurity, sin; फलैधःकुसुमस्तेयमधैर्यं च मलावहम् (phalaidhaḥkusumasteyamadhairyaṃ ca malāvaham) Ms.11.7.

5) Any impure secretion of the body; (according to Manu these excretions are twelve:-vasā śukramasṛṅ majjā mūtraviḍ ghrāṇakarṇaviṭ | śleṣmāśrudūṣikā svedo dvādaśaite nṛṇāṃ malāḥ Ms.5.135).

6) Camphor.

7) Cuttle-fish bone.

8) Tanned leather; a leather-garment.

9) The three humours of the body (vāta, pitta and kapha).

-lam A kind of base metal.

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Māla (माल).—1 Name of a district in the west or south-west of Bengal.

2) Name of a tribe of barbarians, a mountaineer.

3) Name of Viṣṇu.

-lam 1 A field.

2) A high ground, rising or elevated ground (mālamunnatabhūtalam); क्षेत्रमारुह्य मालम् (kṣetramāruhya mālam) Me.16 (śailaprāyamunnatasthalam Malli.).

3) A wood near a village.

4) Fraud, deceit.

Derivable forms: mālaḥ (मालः).

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Mālā (माला).—[mal saṃjñāyāṃ kartari ghañ]

1) A garland, wreath, chaplet; अनधिगतपरिमलापि हि हरति दृशं मालतीमाला (anadhigataparimalāpi hi harati dṛśaṃ mālatīmālā) Vās.

2) A row, line, series, succession; गण्डोट्टीनालिमाला (gaṇḍoṭṭīnālimālā) Māl.1.1; आवद्धमालाः (āvaddhamālāḥ) Me.9.

3) A group, cluster, collection.

4) A string, necklace; as in रत्नमाला (ratnamālā).

5) A rosary, chain; as in अक्षमाला (akṣamālā).

6) A streak; as in तडिन्माला, विद्युन्माला (taḍinmālā, vidyunmālā).

7) A series of epithets.

8) (In dramas) The offering of several things to obtain a wish.

9) A vocabulary, dictionary.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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Relevant definitions

Search found 658 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Japamālā (जपमाला).—a rosary of beads. Japamālā is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms j...
Akṣamālā (अक्षमाला, “prayer beads”) refers to one of the several “attributes” (āyudha) or “acce...
1) Ketumāla (केतुमाल).—The grandson of Priyavrata, the son of Manu. Agnīdhra, a son of Priyavra...
Meghamālā (मेघमाला).—A female follower of Subrahmaṇya. (Śloka 30, Chapter 46, Śalya Parva).
Vanamālā (वनमाला).—a garland of wood-flowers, such as was usually worn by Kṛṣṇa; ग्रथितमौलिरसौ ...
Mālākara (मालाकर) or Mālākāra (मालाकार).—1) a garland-maker, florist, gardener; कृती मालाकारो ब...
Kṛtamālā (कृतमाला).—The river in which Mahāviṣṇu first appeared as fish. (See under Matsyāvatār...
Mālādhāra (मालाधार).—also °rin, q.v., m. (regularly pl.), n. of a class of godlings, in Mv i.30...
Gaṇḍamāla (गण्डमाल) or Gaṇḍamālā (गण्डमाला).—inflammation of the glands of the neck. Derivable ...
muṇḍamālā (मुंडमाला).—f (S) A necklace or string of skulls.
Dīpamālā (दीपमाला).—lighting, illumination; अद्यापि तां धवलवेश्मनि रत्नदीपमालामयूखपटलैर्दलितान्...
Naktamāla (नक्तमाल).—Name of a tree; स नर्मदारोधसि सीकरार्द्रैर्मरुद्भिरानर्तितनक्तमाले (sa nar...
Malapṛṣṭha (मलपृष्ठ).—the first (or outer) page of a book. Derivable forms: malapṛṣṭham (मलपृष...
Nirmala (निर्मल).—a. 1) free from dirt or impurities, clear, pure, stainless, unsullied (fig. a...
Varṇamālā (वर्णमाला).—the alphabet. Varṇamālā is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms va...

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