Marga, aka: Mārga, Mārgā; 12 Definition(s)


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

Dharmashastra (religious law)

Mārga (मार्ग) refers to “road”. Medhatīthi names three different types of roads (Manubhāṣya v. 7.185):

  1. those passing through the open country,
  2. those passing through marshy ground,
  3. and those passing through forests.

The term is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti.

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

1) Mārga (मार्ग).—Highways and byways; diśāmārga, grāmamārga, rājapatha, sākharathyas, gṛharathyas, uparathyas, ghaṇṭāpatha, grahāntaram, vṛttimārga and prāgvaṃśa with their respective measurements. Avaskaram and Parīvāham are other dispositions of open spaces.1

1. dik—20 dhanus in breadth.
2. Grāma 20 dhanus in breadth.
3. Sīma 10 dhanus in breadth.
4. Rājapatha 10 dhanus in breadth.
5. Śākhāratyas or streets 4 dhanus.
6. Rathyoparathyas 3 dhanus.
7. Upārathya rathas 2 dhanus.
8. Janghāpatha 4 feet
9. Gṛhāntaram (lanes) 3 feet.
10. Dhṛtimārga 6 feet and more.
11. Avaskāraparīvāra 1 ft. all round.


  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 7. 118-22.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 7. 112-16.

2) Mārgā (मार्गा).—A Brahmavādin.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 33. 19.
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.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Mārga (मार्ग, “indication”) refers to ‘clear indication of the course of action’ one intends to follow. Mārga represents one of the thirteen garbhasandhi, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 21. Garbhasandhi refers to the “segments (sandhi) of the development part (garbha)” and represents one of the five segments of the plot (itivṛtta or vastu) of a dramatic composition (nāṭaka).

(Description of Mārga): Speaking out one’s real intention (lit. reality) is called Indication (mārga).

2) Mārga (मार्ग) refers to one of the twenty aspects of tāla (time-measure), according to the Nāṭyaśāstrahapter chapter 28. In musical performance, tāla refers to any rhythmic beat or strike that measures musical time. It is an important concept in ancient Indian musical theory (gāndharvaśāstra) traceable to the Vedic era.

3) Mārga (मार्ग) refers to a set of four rules used in the playing of drums (puṣkara) [with reference to Mṛdaṅga, Paṇava and Dardura] according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 33. Accordingly, “the four mārgas relating to the strokes of the (covered) musical instruments are Aḍḍitā, Ālipta, Vitasta and Gomukha”.

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).

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Mārga (मार्ग, “path”) according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter VII).—“there are two types of path (mārga): that of the Śrāvakas (lesser vehicle) and that of the Bodhisattvas (greater vehicle). The four assemblies, bhikṣu, bhikṣuṇī, upāsaka, upāsīkā, form the path of the Śrāvakas; the bodhisattva-mahāsattvas form the path of the Bodhisattvas”.

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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General definition (in Buddhism)

Mārga (मार्ग, “path”) refers to the last of the “four noble truths” (caturāryasatya) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 21). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., mārga). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Mārga or Mārgayajñāna refers to the “knowledge of path” and represents one of the “ten knowledges” (jñāna) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 93).

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

India history and geogprahy

Marga is a term designating ‘road’, used in the inscriptions of Andhra Pradesh.—These two appellations (marga and patha) are synonymous, standing for trade-communication routes or village roads. Understands pathaka as a term similar to a pargana of later days. Divisions with these appellations occur very rarely in Andhra Pradesh. Ane-marga was a division of the Kalyana Chalukyas and Ongeru-marga-vishaya was that of the Eastern Chalukyas. The Mayidavolu plates of the Pallava king Sivaskandavarman refer to Andhra-patha which might mean not an administrative unit, but the entire Andhra region ruled by the Pallavas. In Madhya Pradesh under the Vakatakas and the Sarabhapuriyas there were a large number of marga divisions.

Source: Shodhganga: A study of place names of Nalgonda district

Mārga.—(IE 8-1), abbreviation of Mārgaśīrṣa, Mārgaśira, etc. Note: mārga is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

mārga (मार्ग).—m (S) A road, path, way. 2 A religious order or persuasion. 3 fig. A manner, method, mode: also a fashion, custom, usage, practice. 4 A road unto or way of obtaining mōkṣa or svarga or some lōka or heaven or some future blessing. Three ways are enumerated:--karmamārga, upāsanā- mārga, jñānamārga. To these some add three others:--siddhāntamārga, yōgamārga, vairāgyamārga. mārga dharaṇēṃ To set out: to get on one's way. 2 To beset or infest the road; to sit waylaying. mārga phuṭaṇēṃ in. con. To find a way or an opening. Ex. khuṇṭalī samīrācī gati|| mārga na phuṭē cālāvayā||. mārga maḷaṇēṃ g. of o. To go to the village-boundary, and there, in fulfilment of some vow made to some divinity or idol, present offerings to it. This is done ordinarily in the name of dēvī, saṭhavī, kāḷikāī or kāḷēśvarī, jarīmarī (forms of dēvī), mhasōbā, and suchlike. 2 To journey to some country garden or grove, there to dine and make merry; to take a pic-nic-jaunt. mārgīṃ lāgaṇēṃ To get on the road (of one's proposed journey); to set out. 2 To be dying. 3 To get into the way (of doing or of understanding how to do): also to be entered upon or be begun--a work or matter.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

mārga (मार्ग).—m A road Fig. A manner; a custom. A religious order. mārga dharaṇēṃ Set out. Sit way-laying. mārga phuṭaṇēṃ Find a way or an opening. mārgī lāgaṇēṃ Set out. Get into the way. Be dying.

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

Mārga (मार्ग).—[mṛj-śuddhau, mārg-anveṣaṇe ghañ vā]

1) A way, road, path (fig. also); मार्गो दशकरः प्रोक्तो ग्रामेषु नगरेषु च (mārgo daśakaraḥ prokto grāmeṣu nagareṣu ca) Śukra. 1.261; अग्निशरणमार्गमादेशय (agniśaraṇamārgamādeśaya) Ś.5; so विचारमार्गप्रहितेन चेतसा (vicāramārgaprahitena cetasā) Ku.5.42; R.2.72; U.3.37.

2) A course, passage, the tract passed over; वायोरिमं परिवहस्य वदन्ति मार्गम् (vāyorimaṃ parivahasya vadanti mārgam) Ś.7.6.

3) Reach, range; मार्गातीतायेन्द्रियाणां नमस्ते (mārgātītāyendriyāṇāṃ namaste) Ki.18. 4.

4) A scar, mark (left by a wound &c.); भोगिवेष्टन- मार्गेषु (bhogiveṣṭana- mārgeṣu) R.4.48; ते पुत्रयोर्नैर्ऋतशस्त्रमार्गानार्द्रानिवाङ्गे सदयं स्पृशन्त्यौ (te putrayornairṛtaśastramārgānārdrānivāṅge sadayaṃ spṛśantyau) 14.4.

5) The path or course of a planet.

6) Search, inquiry, investigation.

7) A canal, channel, passage.

8) A means, way.

9) The right way or course, proper course; सुमार्ग, अमार्ग (sumārga, amārga)

1) Mode, manner, method, course; शान्ति° (śānti°) R.7.71.

11) Style, direction; इति वैदर्भ- मार्गस्य प्राणा दश गुणाः स्मृताः (iti vaidarbha- mārgasya prāṇā daśa guṇāḥ smṛtāḥ) Kāv.1.42; वाचां विचित्रमार्गाणाम् (vācāṃ vicitramārgāṇām) 1.9.

12) Custom, usage, practice; कुल°, शास्त्र°, धर्म° (kula°, śāstra°, dharma°) &c.

13) Hunting or tracing out game.

14) A title or head in law, ground for litigation; अष्टादशसु मार्गेषु निबद्धानि पृथक् पृथक् (aṣṭādaśasu mārgeṣu nibaddhāni pṛthak pṛthak) Ms.8.3.

15) A high style of acting, dancing and singing; अगायतां मार्गविधानसंपदा (agāyatāṃ mārgavidhānasaṃpadā) Rām.1.4.36. (com. gānaṃ dvividham | mārgo deśī ceti | tatra prākṛtāvalambi gānaṃ deśī | saṃskṛtāvalambi tu gānaṃ mārgaḥ).

16) (In dramaturgy) Hinting or indicating how anything is to happen.

17) (In geom.) A section.

18) The anus.

19) Musk.

2) The constellation called मृगशिरस् (mṛgaśiras).

21) The month called मार्गशीर्ष (mārgaśīrṣa).

22) Name of Viṣṇu (as the way to final emancipation).

-rgam A herd of deer; मार्गमदन्या वीथ्या नागवनं प्रयातो भर्ता (mārgamadanyā vīthyā nāgavanaṃ prayāto bhartā) Pratijña Y.1.

Derivable forms: mārgaḥ (मार्गः).

--- OR ---

Mārga (मार्ग).—a. Belonging to a deer (mṛga); मार्गमायूरकौक्कुटैः (mārgamāyūrakaukkuṭaiḥ) (māṃsacayaiḥ) Rām.2.91.7.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mārga (मार्ग).—m. (Sanskrit id.; special uses, the first and third as in Pali magga), way; (1) aṣṭāṅga-m° (= Pali aṭṭhaṅga- magga), the (noble, ārya) 8-fold path: Mvy 996 etc.; the 8 steps (as in Pali) listed e.g. Mvy 997—1004, samyag- dṛṣṭi, -saṃkalpa, -vāc, -karmānta, -ājīva, -vyāyāma, smṛti, -samādhi; (2) daśāryagotra-mārgaṃ pratilabhate Laṅk 222.4, acc. to Suzuki the ten paths of discipline which belong to the noble family (of the Tathāgatas); what does this mean? the ten kuśala-karmapatha? Tibetan renders literally, ḥphags paḥi rigs kyi lam; (3) four kinds of śramaṇa (as in Pali, Sn 83—89, where this is made clear, and the magga-jina, -desaka or -desin, -jīvin, and -dūsin are defined), Mvy 5127—30, mārga-jina, conqueror of the way (of religion), -deśika, teacher of the way, -jīvin, living in the way, -dūṣin, defiling the way (by hypocrisy and wickedness).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit 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 274 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Mārgaśirṣa (मार्गशिर्ष) is the first month of the “winter season” (hemanta) in the traditional ...
Jalamārga (जलमार्ग).—a drain, canal. Derivable forms: jalamārgaḥ (जलमार्गः).Jalamārga is a Sans...
Rājamārga (राजमार्ग).—1) a highway, high road, a royal or main road, principal street. 2) the w...
Mārgastha (मार्गस्थ).—a. travelling; wayfaring; अनुगन्तुं सतां वर्त्म कृत्स्नं यदि न शक्यते । स...
Muktimārga (मुक्तिमार्ग).—the way to final beatitude. Derivable forms: muktimārgaḥ (मुक्तिमार्ग...
Sopānamārga (सोपानमार्ग).—a flight of steps, a stair-case; वापी चास्मिन् मरकतशिलाबद्धसोपानमार्ग...
Pravṛttimārga (प्रवृत्तिमार्ग).—active or worldly life, attachment to the business and pleasure...
Mūtramārga (मूत्रमार्ग).—the urethra. Derivable forms: mūtramārgaḥ (मूत्रमार्गः).Mūtramārga is ...
Haṃsamārga (हंसमार्ग) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. VI.10.68) and represents one...
Bhaktimārga (भक्तिमार्ग).—the way of devotion; i. e. devotion to god, regarded as the way to th...
Sthalamārga (स्थलमार्ग).—n. a road by land; स्थलवर्त्मना (sthalavartmanā) 'by land'; पारसीकांस्...
Jambūmārga (जम्बूमार्ग).—An ancient holy place. If one visits this place one will attain the fr...
Mārgajñāna (मार्गज्ञान) refers to the “knowledge of the path of cessation” and represents one o...
Vātamārga (वातमार्ग).—the sky. Derivable forms: vātamārgaḥ (वातमार्गः).Vātamārga is a Sanskrit ...
Locanamārga (लोचनमार्ग).—m. (-rgaḥ) The range of the eyes.

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