Matrika, Mātṛkā, Mātṛka, Mātrikā: 17 definitions

Introduction

Matrika 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.

The Sanskrit terms Mātṛkā and Mātṛka can be transliterated into English as Matrka or Matrika, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

Images (photo gallery)

In Hinduism

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism

Mātṛkā (मातृका) refers to the “eight mother Goddesses” (Aṣṭamātṛkā) of Kathmandu city, each having a local deity name.

Source: Sreenivasarao's blog: Saptamatrka (part 2)

As per the narration in Matsya Purana, Shiva created the seven Matrikas to assist him in his combat against the demon Andhaka. After the battle, the Matrikas go on a rampage destroying the beings of the world. The destructive Matrikas are eventually pacified by the benign goddesses created by Lord Narasimha.

In the Suprabhedagama it is said these seven Matrikas were created by Brahma the purpose of killing the Demon Nirrita.

The Varaha Purana carries an interesting sidelight. It mentions that the Matrkas were created from the distracted mind of goddess Vaishnavi while she was trying hard to meditate. These Matrkas are described as lovely looking attendants assisting the goddess on the battlefield.

Shaktism book cover
context information

Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: archive.org: Sri Vijnana Bhairava Tantra

Another important aspect of Mantra is matrika, which are also known as the “little mothers” of creation. They represent the inherent sound vibration of each akshara or indelible sound vibration contained within the letters which make up words and language. Mantra is the source of matrika, or creative energy. In fact, they are so closely linked that another name for Mantra is matrika.

In the Shiva Sutras, an important text of Kashmir Shaivism and Trika philosophy, Shiva states that matrika is concealed in the Mantra and does not reveal itself unless he commands, thus showing the interdependence of energy and consciousness. When the awareness is focused through the medium of Mantra, the energy awakens from its slumber. Until that is done, the energy remains asleep.

Source: HAL: The alphabet goddess Mātṛkā in some early Śaiva Tantras

Mātṛkā (मातृका) is a well-known alphabet goddess mentioned in many tantric texts, irrespective of their age or affiliation. Her name is traditionally explained as the matrix or source (yoni), i.e. the source of all mantras, all śāstras, and in general, of everything that is made of words.This explanation is commonly given by exegetes, who paraphraseher name with synonyms for Mother, mātṛ.

1) Kṣemarāja glosses her name as she who gave rise to all mantras and Tantras. Kṣemarāja also points out in other passages that she is the cause of the universe, which is made of whatever is expressed and whatever expresses. Kṣemarāja also adds a nondualist interpretation to the understanding of Mātṛkā as the Mother of all mantras.

2) Nārāyaṇakaṇṭha, in his commentary on the Mṛgendratantra, says that she is associated with Śiva, and that she is called Mātṛkā because she is like a Mother: she gave birth to everything that is made of words.

3) The Uttarasūtra clearly speaks of Mātṛkā as the alphabet, stating that she consists of eight letter groups, vargas. She is said to be the source of everything made of words, mantras and śāstras, in the manner of later definitions. She is defined as a mantra or female mantra (vidyā) herself, and is accordingly listed in association with other mantras, notably the piṇḍākṣara or navātman, which is also said to consist of eight parts.

4) The Nayasūtra adds some more praises of Mātṛkā to what the Uttarasūtra contains. But it also elaborates her worship with an additional practice. The sādhaka must imitate each letter with his own body, thus a new equivalence is created be tween the alphabet and the body. Furthermore, both Mātṛkā and each letter, in particular the letter [A], is said to contain all the tattvas.

5) It is in the Guhyasūtra that she is unambiguously treated as a goddess, for here Śiva speaks to Devī as Mātṛkā herself. He states that they are the ultimate source of the universe with the recurring line ‘everything is produced from my seeds and is born from your womb.’

6) In another passage of the Tantrāloka (15.130-1), Abhinavagupta also clarifies how he analyses the name Mātṛkā. He derives it from the verbal root -, ‘to measure, to experience.’ He interprets the agent noun suffix (-tṛ) as being used to form the periphrastic future and the suffix -ka as indicating comparison, likeness. Thus, Mātṛkā is defined as ‘she who is like the one who will be the subject of experience,’ for she is still within Śabdarāśi without being manifest as a separate entity. Only when she becomes manife st will she be Mālinī , responsible for the obtainment of supernatural effects as well as liberation. The relation of Śabdarāśi, Mātṛkā and Mālinī is explained in the Tantrāloka (3.198-9ab).

Shaivism book cover
context information

Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Wisdom Library: Purāṇas

Mātṛkā (मातृका) is another name for Mātṛ, referring to a set of Mothers (Goddesses).—As has been pointed out by Avalon in the Introduction (p. 35) to Prapañcasāra-tantra, the Mātṛs are seven [viz., Saptamātṛkā (seven mothers)]. Skandapurāṇa (Kāśīkhaṇḍa, 83.33 of Uttarārdha) mentions Nine Mātṛs. Devībhāgavata (12.11.57-58), on the other hand, mentions Eight Mātṛs [viz., Aṣṭamātṛkā (eight mothers)]. The characteristics of these eight are described in detail in the Nityāṣoḍaśikārṇava belonging to Vāmakeśvara-tantra (8.126ff).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Mātṛka (मातृक).—A mantranyāsa in Dīkṣa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 43. 11.

1b) Evil spirits (see Mātṛs).*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 6. 28.

2) Mātṛkā (मातृका).—The wife of Aryama and mother of Carṣaṇis.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 6. 42.
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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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Matrikas : A group of mother goddesses.

Source: China Buddhism Encyclopedia: Hinduism

The Sanskrit word mātṛkā means divine mother. It refers to all the treatises in the Abhidharma-piṭaka, and those in the upadeśa, which is the twelfth of the twelve categories of the Buddha’s teachings.

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: Google Books: Buddhist Tantra: A Philosophical Reflection and Religious Investigation

Śiva Sūtra further says, that the basis of knowledge is Mātṛkā. Mātṛkā stands for the mystic sound corresponding to each letter of Sanskrit alphabet. This is called Mātṛkā (the mystic soniric power) because it produces the entire universe. The Sanskrit alphabet from ‘a’ to ‘kṣa’ the mother of entire universe is a presiding deity. She is called Mātṛka because she is unknown. When the Mātṛkā is known she leads one to salvation. The different letters are being presided over by different deities.

  • Avarga; (the class of vowels) – Yogīśvarī or Mahālakṣmī,
  • Kavarga (ka, kha, ga, gha, ṅa) – Brāhmī,
  • Cavarga (ca, cha, ja, jha, ña) – Māheśvari,
  • Ṭavarga (ṭa, ṭha, ḍa, ḍha, ṇa) – Kaumārī,
  • Tavarga (ta, tha, da, dha, na) - Vaiṣṇavī,
  • Yavarga (ya, ra, la, va) – Aindrī or Indrāṇī,
  • Śavarga (śa, ṣa, sa, ha, kṣa) - Cāmuṇḍā

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

mātṛkā (मातृका).—f (S) A letter of the alphabet. 2 A mother: also a nurse. 3 A divine mother, a personified energy of a deity. Eight are enumerated; viz. brāhmī, mahēśvarī, kaumārī, vaiṣṇavī, vārāhī, indrāṇī, kaubērī or cāmuṇḍā, carcikā. They are worshiped at weddings and other festal occasions. There is a varying specification of these deities, and there are other enumerations or lists, one of sixteen, another of seven &c. 4 A simple sound, a note, a vowel.

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

mātṛkā (मातृका).—f A letter of the Alphabet. A vowel. A mother.

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

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Mātṛka (मातृक).—a.

1) Coming or inherited from a mother; मातृकं च धनुरूर्जितं दधत् (mātṛkaṃ ca dhanurūrjitaṃ dadhat) R.11.64,9.

2) Maternal.

-kaḥ A maternal uncle.

-kā 1 A mother; शत्रुश्चैव हि मित्रं च न लेख्यं न च मातृका (śatruścaiva hi mitraṃ ca na lekhyaṃ na ca mātṛkā) Mb.2.55.1.

2) A grandmother; -सत्यामपि प्रीतौ न मातुर्मातृकाया वा शासनातिवृत्तिः (satyāmapi prītau na māturmātṛkāyā vā śāsanātivṛttiḥ) Dk.2.2.

3) A nurse.

4) A source, origin.

5) A divine mother.

6) Name of certain diagrams written in characters supposed to have a magical power; मातृकारहितं मन्त्रमादिशन्ते न कुत्रचित् (mātṛkārahitaṃ mantramādiśante na kutracit) Brahmavidyā Up.63.

7) The character or alphabet so used (pl.).

8) Name of the 8 veins of the neck.

-kam The nature of a mother.

--- OR ---

Mātrikā (मात्रिका).—A syllable or prosodial instant (= mātrā above).

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

Mātṛkā (मातृका).—(= Pali mātikā), (1) a name for the Abhi- dharma(piṭaka): °kādhītā Divy 18.6; sūtrasya vinayasya °kāyāḥ 18.15; sūtraṃ mātṛkā ca 333.7; MSV iii.122.4 °kā-dharo; Prāt 520.13; (2) (see also Bodhisattva- (sūtra-)-piṭaka-mātṛkā) summary, condensed statement of contents; the Abhidharma probably professed originally to be a summary of the main points of certain aspects of the Dharma (see CPD s.v. abhidhamma): Bbh 210.10; 274.21; (probably) 303.25; aṣṭau mātṛkā-padāni MSV ii.161.14, eight summary points.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Mātṛka (मातृक).—mfn.

(-kaḥ-kā-kaṃ) Maternal, belonging to a mother. m.

(-kaḥ) A maternal uncle. f.

(-kā) 1. A mother. 2. A nurse. 3. The alphabet employed in certain diagrams for magical purposes. 4. A simple sound, a note, a vowel. 5. A goddess. 6. A grand-mother. 7. Source, origin. E. kan added to the preceding.

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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