Mitra, aka: Mitrā; 17 Definition(s)


Mitra means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

1) Mitra (मित्र):—Another name for Piṅgeśa (the name for Śiva), who is the central deity of the Mātṛcakra (third of the five cakras) according to the Kubjikāmatatantra. From his body are born the eight Mahāmātṛs. Mitra resides in the pericarp of the central lotus. He represents the ātman in its individual aspect.

2) Mitra (मित्र):—According to the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā, Mitra figures as the Bhairava presiding over the eastern petal (of the Mātṛcakra), which, contrary to the Kubjikāmatatantra, is taken to be the seat of the eight Mahāmātṛs themselves.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra
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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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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Mitra (मित्र) refers to the “ally”, as in, an allied sovereign. It is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti and the Baudhāyana-dharmasūtra.

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra
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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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Mitra (मित्र) is a Sanskrit word referring to a vedic deity (representing friendship, integrity and harmony). Acording to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.82-88, when Brahmā, Indra and all other gods went to inspect the playhouse (nāṭyamaṇḍapa) designed by Viśvakarmā, he assigned different deities for the protection of the playhouse itself, as well as for the objects relating to dramatic performance (prayoga).

As such, Brahmā assigned Mitra to the protection of the tiring room (backstage, nepathya). The protection of the playhouse was enacted because of the jealous Vighnas (malevolent spirits), who began to create terror for the actors.

2) Mitra is to be worshipped during raṅgapūjā, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra 3.1-8. Accordingly, the master of the dramatic art who has been initiated for the purpose shall consecrate the playhouse after he has made obeisance (eg., to Mitra).

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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Mitra (मित्र, “friend”) refers to one of the fifty-six vināyakas located at Kāśī (Vārāṇasī), and forms part of a sacred pilgrimage (yātrā), described in the Kāśīkhaṇḍa (Skanda-purāṇa 4.2.57). He is also known as Mitravināyaka, Mitragaṇeśa and Mitravighneśa. These fifty-six vināyakas are positioned at the eight cardinal points in seven concentric circles (8x7). They center around a deity named Ḍhuṇḍhirāja (or Ḍhuṇḍhi-vināyaka) positioned near the Viśvanātha temple, which lies at the heart of Kāśī, near the Gaṅges. This arrangement symbolises the interconnecting relationship of the macrocosmos, the mesocosmos and the microcosmos.

Mitra is positioned in the Eastern corner of the sixth circle of the kāśī-maṇḍala. According to Rana Singh (source), his shrine is located at “Scindhia Ghat, Atmavireshvara, CK 7 / 158”. Worshippers of Mitra will benefit from his quality, which is defined as “the giver of good companionship”. His coordinates are: Lat. 25.18731, Lon. 83.00929 (or, 25°11'14.3"N, 83°00'33.4"E) (Google maps)

Kāśī (Vārāṇasī) is a holy city in India and represents the personified form of the universe deluded by the Māyā of Viṣṇu. It is described as a fascinating city which is beyond the range of vision of Giriśa (Śiva) having both the power to destroy great delusion, as well as creating it.

Mitra, and the other vināyakas, are described in the Skandapurāṇa (the largest of the eighteen mahāpurāṇas). This book narrates the details and legends surrounding numerous holy pilgrimages (tīrtha-māhātmya) throughout India. It is composed of over 81,000 metrical verses with the core text dating from the before the 4th-century CE.

Source: Wisdom Library: Skanda-purāṇa

1) Mitra (मित्र).—General information. One of the twelve Sūryas. The twelve Sūryas born to Aditi of Kaśyapaprajāpati are Viṣṇu, Śakra, Aryamā, Dhātā, Tvaṣṭā, Pūṣā, Vivasvān, Savitā, Mitra, Varuṇa, Bhaga and Aṃśa. (Chapter 15, Aṃśa 1, Viṣṇu Purāṇa).

Mitrāvaruṇas are two devatās of great intimacy. They are always found together. If you pray to Mitrāvaruṇas you will get plenty of rains. (Śūkta 2, Anuvāka 1, Maṇḍala 1, Ṛgveda).

See para 2 under Agastya to understand the story of how Mitrāvaruṇas became the father of Agastya. Other details.

(i) Mitra came and stood in the sky at the time of the birth of Arjuna. (Śloka 66, Chapter 122, Ādi Parva).

(ii) Mitra was one among those sent by Indra to fight against Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna at the time of the burning of the forest Khāṇḍava. (Śloka 36, Chapter 226 Ādi Parva).

(iii) Mitra was a member of the Indra sabhā. (Śloka 21, Chapter 7, Sabhā Parva).

(iv) He presented two Pārṣadas named Suvrata and Satyasandha to Subrahmaṇya. (Śloka 41, Chapter 45, Śalya Parva). (See full article at Story of Mitra from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

2) Mitrā (मित्रा).—A female companion of Pārvatī. (Śloka 41, Chapter 231, Vana Parva).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Mitra (मित्र).—A Brahmaṛṣi, and one of the seven sons of Vasiṣṭha.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 1. 41.

1b) A son of Aditī;1 an Āditya; a name used for the sun;2 Bhaga to see through the eye of;3 acted as milkman of the Devas to milk the cow-earth when Indra was calf; the milk was of vigorous strength and the vessel was of gold;4 loved Ūrvaśī and finding her thinking of Varuṇa, cursed her to be born on the earth; performed austerities at Badarī, saw Ūrvaśī and let flow his retas, which was collected by Ūrvaśī in a pot and from which came Agastya and Vasiṣṭha;5 fought with Praheti in the Devāsura war;6 was offered sacrifice by Vasiṣṭha on behalf of Śrāddhadeva;7 worshipped by Yudhiṣṭhira and Akrūra;8 to be worshipped in house-building; also in palace building;9 in the sun's chariot in the months of śuci and jyeṣṭha.10

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 6. 39.
  • 2) Ib. I. 13. 30; Matsya-purāṇa 6. 4; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 23. 5, 104; 24. 33, 39; III. 3. 67; IV. 20. 48; Vāyu-purāṇa 66. 66; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 15. 131.
  • 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 7. 3.
  • 4) Matsya-purāṇa 10. 17.
  • 5) Ib. 61. 27, 31; 126. 6; 171. 56; 201. 23-9.
  • 6) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 10. 28.
  • 7) Ib. IX. 1. 13.
  • 8) Ib. X. 39. 32.
  • 9) Matsya-purāṇa 253. 43; 268. 22.
  • 10) Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 10. 7.

1c) His wife was Revatī. Utsarga and others were her sons.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 18. 6.

1d) The name of the sun in the month of Śukra (jyeṣṭha).*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 11. 35; Vāyu-purāṇa 52. 6.

1e) A son of Vasudeva and Madīrā.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 71. 171; Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 169.

1f) A Marut gaṇa.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 171. 52.

1g) Of three kinds to a King; the hereditaryally, the enemy of the enemies and the Kṛtrima (acquired) ally.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 220. 17-18.

1h) A son of Maṇibhadra.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 156.

1i) A Vāsiṣṭha branch.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 70. 90.

2) Mitrā (मित्रा).—Mother of Maitreya and (Maitreyī, Bhāgavata-purāṇa). Her son was seen by Vidura on the banks of the Ganges.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa III. 4. 36.
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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Mitra (मित्र) refers to one of the forty-seven tānas (tone) used in Indian music.—The illustration of Mitra (as a deity) according to 15th-century Indian art is as follows.—The colour of his body is yellow. His face is similar to the face of a bull. A viṇā is held with both bands.

The illustrations (of, for example Mitra) are found scattered throughout ancient Jain manuscripts from Gujarat. The descriptions of these illustrations of this citrāvalī are based on the ślokas of Vācanācārya Gaṇi Sudhākalaśa’s Saṅgītopaniṣatsāroddhāra (14th century) and Śārṅgadeva’s Saṅgītaratnākara (13th century).

Source: Illustrations of Indian Music and Dance in Western Indian Style
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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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Arthashastra (politics and welfare)

Mitra refers to “the friend of the conqueror” and represents one of the twelve categories of the maṇḍala system laid out by Kauṭilya (4th century BCE) and Kāmandaka (7th century A.D.). These twelve cateogires of state can be broadly applied to Gaṇapatideva  (r. 1199-1262 A.D.) and the Kākatīya empire. The friend of the conqueror, the Kota and the Nātavāḍi chiefs were the principal friends who made the conquest of the Velanāḍu region possible.

Source: Shodhganga: Kakati Ganapatideva and his times (artha)
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Arthashastra (अर्थशास्त्र, arthaśāstra) literature concerns itself with the teachings (shastra) of economic prosperity (artha) statecraft, politics and military tactics. The term arthashastra refers to both the name of these scientific teachings, as well as the name of a Sanskrit work included in such literature. This book was written (3rd century BCE) by by Kautilya, who flourished in the 4th century BCE.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Mitra (मित्र) refers to one of the 53 gods to be worshipped and given pāyasa (rice boiled in milk) according to the Vāstuyāga rite in Śaktism (cf. Śāradātilaka-tantra III-V). The worship of these 53 gods happens after assigning them to one of the 64 compartment while constructing a Balimaṇḍapa. Vāstu is the name of a prodigious demon, who was killed by 53 gods (eg., Mitra).

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism
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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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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Mitrā (मित्रा) or Mitratithi is the name of the seventh of fifteen tithis (cycle of time) according to both the Gārgīyajyotiṣa and the Śārdūlakarṇāvadāna. The associated deity for Mitrā according to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā is Śakra. A tithi was defined as one thirtieth of a synodic month (c. 29.5 days), resulting in an average tithi being slightly less than a day.

Accordingly, “(23) The seventh tithi is called Mitrā. One should engage in gentle activities performed for friends, make king’s banner, parasol, throne and beds. (24) One should put on jewels, gems, pearls, clothes and ornaments for the purpose of embellishment. The deities are known as the seven ṛṣis”.

Source: Tithikarmaguṇa in Gārgīyajyotiṣa
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Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha or jyotish) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa 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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Itihasa (narrative history)

Mitra (मित्र) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.59.15, I.65, IX.44.5, IX.44.37) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Mitra) 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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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Mitra is a deity of the pre-vedic period. In the Rig Veda, he is mostly addressed in the dual Mitra-Varuna, and sometimes as part of the dual Mitra-Indra. His association with Varuna is so tight, that there is only one hymn [R.V.3.59] where he is addressed separately. He is the protector of oaths and lord of justice (along with Varuna). In the Brahmanas, Mitra is associated with day and Varuna is connected with night.

He appears to be more well established in the ancient persian texts where he is closely associated with the sun. In Sanskrit the name means either "friend" or "associate". He is a benevolent God.

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Mitra (मित्र): One of the Adityas.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Mitrā (मित्रा) is the mother of Aranātha according to Digambara (but she is named Devī according to Śvetāmbara), according to the Ācāradinakara (14th century work on Jain conduct written by Vardhamāna Sūri). Aranātha is the eighteenth of twenty-four Tīrthaṅkaras in Janism. A Tīrthaṅkara is an enlightened being who has conquered saṃsāra (cycle of birth and death), leaving behind him a path for others to follow.

The husband of Mitrā is Sudarśana. It is an ancient Jain practice to worship the Tīrthaṅkara’s parents in various rites, such as the pratiṣṭhāvidhi.

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism
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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

Marathi-English dictionary

mitra (मित्र).—m (S) A friend. 2 The sun.

--- OR ---

mitra (मित्र).—a (S) Friendly. Ex. of comp. mitralābha, mitravatsala, mitrayuddha, mitraspardhā, mitravāda, mitraprīti, mitraprāpti, mitraparīkṣā, mitrabhēda, mitravṛddhi, mitrasatkāra, mitradāsa.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

mitra (मित्र).—m A friend. The sun. a Friendly.

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

Mitra (मित्र).—[midyati snihyati, mid-tra, mi-tra vā]

1) The sun; तद्दिनं दुर्दिनं मन्ये यत्र मित्रागमो हि ना (taddinaṃ durdinaṃ manye yatra mitrāgamo hi nā) Subhāṣ.

2) Name of an Āditya and usually associated with Varuṇa; cf. Ṛv. 3.59.

3) The deity presiding over the part of rectum (gudasthāna); गुदं पुंसो विनिर्भिन्नं मित्रो लोकेश आविशत् (gudaṃ puṃso vinirbhinnaṃ mitro lokeśa āviśat) Bhāg.3.6.2.

-tram 1 A friend; तन्मित्रमापदि सुखे च समक्रियं यत् (tanmitramāpadi sukhe ca samakriyaṃ yat) Bh.2.68; Me.17.

2) An ally, the next neighbour of a king; cf. मण्डल (maṇḍala).

Derivable forms: mitraḥ (मित्रः).

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

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