Matali, aka: Matalī, Mātali; 13 Definition(s)


Matali means something in Buddhism, Pali, 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.

In Hinduism

Katha (narrative stories)

Matali in Katha glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

Mātali (मातलि) is a messenger of Indra, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 9. When a war arose between the gods and asuras, and Indra sent Mātali as a messenger to King Śatānīka, begging for aid.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Mātali, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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

Mātali (मातलि).—Charioteer of Indra. Chapter 69 of Vāmana Purāṇa gives the following story about the birth of Mātali.

A child was born to sage Śamīka. It was the time of Devāsura war. A great army of asuras under the leadership of Andhaka attacked Devaloka and conquered it. In the great battle with Andhaka the Vajrāyudha of Indra broke into two. Indra was thinking of a new weapon for him. Mahāviṣṇu then appeared before him and advised him to praise the glory of Agni. Indra did so and then a divine weapon rose from the fire. Indra flew at the asuras carrying the new weapon. There was no clever charioteer to drive the chariot of Indra. Still, seated in the golden chariot given to him by the Vasus Indra drove very swiftly against the asuras. The earth shivered by the din of the chariotwheels.

When the earth began to quake the sage Śamīka following directions of his wife Tapasvinī placed the child on the ground outside the hermitage. An astrologer had told her that a child would become two if it was placed in an open ground at the time of earth-quake. Tapasvinī wanted one more child. As soon as her child was placed on the ground another child identical in every respect with the first one was born by the side of the other. But the second child, as soon as it was born rose up and ran to Indra for driving his chariot.

When the Gandharvas knew he was coming to help Indra, they showered him with brilliance and the child approaching Indra said "Oh, Lord of the Devas, I shall be your charioteer." Indra asked him, "Child, whose son are you? How will you drive my horse? I doubt your competence." The child replied, "I am the son born to Śamīka on the ground. I have been given power and brilliance by the Gandharvas and so I am capable of driving your chariot." On hearing this, Indra accepted him as his charioteer and named him Mātali.

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Mātali (मातलि).—The charioteer of Indra;1 attacked by Jambha in the Devāsura war; attacked by Pāka; in chariot, surrounded by all the Devas against Tāraka on the other side; wounded by three darts of Tāraka; his mudgara thrown on the chariot, went to pieces. Mātali did not die;2 acted as the charioteer of Rāma in his war with Rāvaṇa.3

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 148. 81.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 11. 16-18, 22; Matsya-purāṇa 153. 161, 181, 193; 174. 10.
  • 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 10. 21.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Mātali (मातलि) had the talent to run the horses with speed equal to that of the wind, mind etc. Flying like a bird, the chariot was going in the sky. They flew over many towns and forests.

Source: Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (purāṇa)

Mātali (मातलि) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. III.164.23, III.167.7, III.170.5) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Mātali) 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
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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General definition (in Hinduism)

Matali is the chariotteer of Indra. He is often employed by Indra as a messenger on his behalf.

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Mātalī (मातली): Charioteer of Indra who took Arjuna to the kingdom of gods.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Mātali (मातलि).—The charioteer of Indra. He took Arjuna to the heavenly planets. (Vana Parva in Mahābhārata)

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

The name given to the chariot driver (sahgahaka) of Sakka. The Matali of the present age had a son, Sikhandhi, with whom Bhadda Suriyavaccasa, daughter of Timbaru, was in love; but later she transferred her affections to Pancasikha (D.ii.268). Matali is Sakkas constant companion and accompanies him everywhere, more as a confidant than as a servant. See, e.g., the conversation reported at S.i.221, 224, 234ff.; and Vv.iv. 9.

Thus, he was by Sakkas side in the war against the Asuras and drove his chariot when he fled with his bride Sujata. The chariot is called Vejayanta ratha and is drawn by one thousand Sindh horses (DhA.i.279f.; J.i.202f). Matali often accompanied Sakka on his journeys to the world of men, changing his form e.g., to that of a fish in the Culladhanuggaha Jataka, a brahmin in the Bilarakosiya Jataka and in the Suddhabhojana Jataka, and a big black dog in the Mahakanha Jataka. On several occasions he was sent by Sakka to fetch human beings to Tavatimsa e.g., Guttila, Nimi, Makhadeva and Sadhina and he proved an excellent guide, pointing out to the visitors the places of interest passed on the way.

When the Buddha descended from Tavatimsa, after preaching there the Abhidhamma, he was accompanied, on the left, by Matali, offering celestial scents, garlands and flowers (DhA.iii.226). Both in the Bilarakosiya and the Sudhabhojana Jatakas (q.v.) Matali is spoken of as the son of Suriya. Ananda is said to have been Matali during several lives (J.i.206; iv.180; v. 412; vi.129); so also Maha Kassapa (J.iv.69). In the Mahasamaya Sutta (D.ii.258), Matali is described as a Gandhabba chief, while in the Atanatiya Sutta (D.iii.204) he is mentioned among the chief Yakkhas to be invoked by followers of the Buddha in time of need.

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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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

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

mātalī : (m.) name of Indra's charioteer.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mātali (मातलि).—Name of the charioteer of Indra.

Derivable forms: mātaliḥ (मातलिः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mātali (मातलि).—n. of a yakṣa: Māy 93; 237.4 In Pali Mātali, Indra's charioteer (as in Sanskrit), is assumed in DPPN to be identical with a yakkha who is to be called on in time of need. This yakkha, in any case, is presumably the same as our Mātali.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary
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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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