Nala, aka: Naḷa, Nāla, Nālā; 18 Definition(s)

Introduction

Nala means something in Buddhism, Pali, 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.

The Sanskrit term Naḷa can be transliterated into English as Nala or Nalia, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

[Nala in Natyashastra glossaries]

One of the Hands of Famous Emperors.—Nala: the Mayura hand.

(Source): archive.org: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Natyashastra book cover
context information

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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Purana

[Nala in Purana glossaries]

Nala (नल).—One of the eleven rākṣasas facing the eleven rudras in the battle of the gods (devas) between the demons (asuras), according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 94. This battle was initiated by Mahiṣāsura in order to win over the hand of Vaiṣṇavī, the form of Trikalā having a red body representing the energy of Viṣṇu. Trikalā is the name of a Goddess born from the combined looks of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (Śiva).

The Varāhapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 24,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 10th century. It is composed of two parts and Sūta is the main narrator.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

1) Nala (नल).—Nala the King of Niṣadha. (As the history of Nala is included under the word Damayantī, some points which are not given there, are mentioned here).

(i) Nala was the son of Vīrasena, the King of Niṣadha. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 52, Stanza 56).

(ii) Once the hermit Bṛhadaśva came to the Palace of Vīrasena and praised Nala a good deal and spoke highly of his good qualities to his father. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 53, Stanza 2).

(iii) When Nala was playing in the garden some swans with golden wings flew to the lake in the garden. Nala caught hold of one of them just for fun. The swan said to Nala, "If you will let me off, I will tell Damayantī about you." So it was released. As a reward it flew to the country of Vidarbha and persuaded Damayantī to love Nala. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 53).

(iv) After death Nala sat in the aerial chariot of Indra and witnessed the battle fought by Arjuna with the Kauravas at the end of the forest life of the Pāṇḍavas. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 56, Stanza 10).

(v) Previous birth. Two different stories are narrated about the previous birth of Nala.

In the previous birth Nala was a Vaiśya of the city of Pippala in the Gauḍa country. This Vaiśya became abstinent and after leaving off everything he had, he went to the forest. There, according to the advice of a hermit he undertook the fast of Gaṇeśa. As a result he was born as Nala in the next birth. (Gaṇeśa Purāṇa).

Nala and Damayantī were foresters named Āhuka and Āhukā. Śiva was pleased with the couple. So they were born in royal families in the next birth, and Śiva in the form of a swan, helped them. (Śiva Purāṇa, Śatarudra Saṃhitā).

2) Nala (नल).—An ancient hermit. In Sabhā Parva, Chapter 7, Stanza 17, it is mentioned that this hermit lives in the palace of Indra.

3) Nala (नल).—A monkey. This monkey was the son of Viśvakarmā. Śrī Rāma and the monkey-army went to redeem Sītā from Laṅkā and reached the sea-shore. A bridge had to be made to cross the sea and reach Laṅkā. Immediately Varuṇa the King of the seas appeared there and said, "Nala who is in the monkeyarmy, is the son of Viśvakarmā. His father had given him a blessing that he would become as expert an architect as his father. So let the construction of the bridge be commenced under his supervision." Accordingly under the supervision of Nala, Rāma’s bridge of rock was completed and Śrī Rāma and the army of monkeys reached Laṅkā by walking over this bridge (Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Yuddha Kāṇḍa, Sarga 22).

In the battle hetween Rāma and Rāvaṇa, Nala fought with the giant Tuṇḍaka. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 285, Stanza 9).

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Nala (नल).—A son of Yadu.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 23. 20; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 11. 5.

1b) A Vanara son of Agni born by the wife of Kanakabindu.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 229.

1c) A Vānara chief.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 234.

1d) A nephew of Hiraṇyakaśipu.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 6. 26.

1e) The son of Niṣadha, hence Naiṣadha; with the son of Vīrasena he made the two Nalas in the Kaśyapa line;1 taught the game of dice to King Ṛtuparṇa.2 Learned in Aśvavidyā.

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 12. 52, 56; Vāyu-purāṇa 88. 202.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 9; 17; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 63. 173 and 202, 74. 190; Vāyu-purāṇa 88. 174; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 4. 37.

1f) A son of Vīrasena.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 12. 56.

1g) Also known as Nandanodaradundubhi, son of Taittiri, performed aśvamedha, and in the middle of the atirātra rite Punarvasu appeared and became his son.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 44. 63-5.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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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Vastushastra (architecture)

[Nala in Vastushastra glossaries]

Nāla (नाल) is an alternative name (synonym) for Praṇāla, which refers to “water drain”. It is a channel built into a sanctum for the purpose of draining oblation water and rainwater.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
Vastushastra book cover
context information

Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Itihasa (narrative history)

[Nala in Itihasa glossaries]

Nala (नल) and Damayantī are the king and queen of a kingdom. He is very fond of dice play and once in that game he loses everything including his realm. The king and the queen go in exile. As hard times do not come singularly, one night even his dhoti is stolen by birds. Then the king abandons his wife, starts roaming alone in the forest.

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

Nala (नल) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. XIII.116.67, XIII.115) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Nala) 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
context information

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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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

[Nala in Jyotisha glossaries]

Nala (नल) or Anala refers to the fiftieth saṃvatsara (“jovian year)” in Vedic astrology.—The native who is born in the ‘samvatsara’ of ‘nala’ is gifted with good sense (intelligence), is deft or expert in the trade of things produced (or obtained from) in water, is of good character, a little wealthy, restless, and is a supporter of many.

According with Jataka Parijata, the person born in the year nala (2036-2037 AD) will be a donor endowed with many liberal virtues, tranquil and well-behaved.

(Source): The effect of Samvatsaras: Satvargas
Jyotisha book cover
context information

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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Katha (narrative stories)

[Nala in Katha glossaries]

Nala (नल) is the name of an ancient king according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 56. Accordingly, “of old time there lived a king named Nala, whose beauty, I fancy, so surpassed that of the God of love (Kāma) that in disgust he offered his body as a burnt-offering in the fire of the eye of the enraged Śiva. He [Nala] had no wife, and when he made inquiries he heard that Damayantī, the daughter of Bhīma, the King of Vidarbha, would make him a suitable wife.”.

The story of Nala was narrated by Sumanas to queen Bandhumatī in order to demonstrate that “reunions do take place, even of the long separated”, in other words, that “great ones, after enduring separation, enjoy prosperity, and following the example of the sun, after suffering a decline, they rise again”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Nala, 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
context information

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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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Nala in Hinduism glossaries]

Nala was the King of the Nishadas, and the son of Virasena. He was was exceedingly handsome, and had a great knowledge of horses. He heard of the divine beauty of Damayanti, the princess of Vidarbha and fell in love with her without ever having seen her. Similarly, she had also resolved to have him as her husband, solely by hearing of his virtuous deeds and great beauty.

(Source): Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Nala (नल): King of Nishadha who lost his kingdom in a game of dice and deserted his wife Damayanti because of a curse.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[Nala in Theravada glossaries]

1. Nala

A village in Magadha, near the Bodhi tree at Gaya. It was the birthplace of Upaka (Thig.294; ThigA.225). The Buddhavamsa Commentary (p3) speaks of a brahmin village Nala, where the Buddha spent his eleventh rainy season. It was the township of the Upatissas (hence also called Upatissagama), and it was there that Sariputta and other members of his family were born.

2. Nala

Wife of the Adipada Udaya. She was the daughter of his maternal uncle and was under the protection of King Sena I., but Udaya married her during an absence of the king and took her to Pulatthinagara. The king, however, forgave him. Cv.l.9; see also Cv. Trs.i. 138, n. 3.

3. A Gandhabba chieftain (D.ii.258) to be invoked by followers of the Buddha in time of need. Ibid.,iii.204.

4. It was also the birthplace of Maha Gavaccha (ThagA.i.57). Sariputta seems to have continued to reside there from time to time, even after he joined the Order, and when his death drew near, he went back to Nalakagama and, having made his mother a Sotapanna, died in the room where he was born.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
context information

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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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Nala in Jainism glossaries]

Nala (नल) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latter, as mentioned in Svayambhūdeva’s Paumacariu (Padmacarita, Paumacariya or Rāmāyaṇapurāṇa) chapter 57ff. Svayambhū or Svayambhūdeva (8th or 9th century) was a Jain householder who probably lived in Karnataka. His work recounts the popular Rāma story as known from the older work Rāmāyaṇa (written by Vālmīki). Various chapters [mentioning Nala] are dedicated to the humongous battle whose armies (known as akṣauhiṇīs) consisted of millions of soldiers, horses and elephants, etc.

(Source): archive.org: Een Kritische Studie Van Svayambhūdeva’s Paümacariu
General definition book cover
context information

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

[Nala in Pali glossaries]

naḷa : (m.) a reed; a tube. || nāḷa (m.), a stalk; tube.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Nala, & Naḷa (Ved. naḍa & Sk. naḷa, with dial. ḍ(ḷ) for *narda, cp. Gr. naρdhc) a species of reed; reed in general Vin. IV, 35; A. II, 73; Dh. 337; Nd2 680II; J. I, 223; IV, 141, 396 (n. va chinno); Pv. I, 116 (id.); DhA. III, 156; IV, 43. See also nāḷa, nāḷī & nāḷikā.

—âgāra a house built of reeds S. I, 156; IV, 185 (+tiṇāgāra); A. I, 101 (+tiṇāgāra); Nd2 40d (id.), Miln. 245; cp. AvŚ Index II. 228 (naḍāgāra); —aggi a fire of reeds J. VI, 100 (°vaṇṇaṃ pabbataṃ); —kalāpī a bundle of r. S. II, 114; —kāra a worker in reeds, basket-maker; D. I, 51 (+pesakāra & kumbhakāra); J. V, 291; ThA. 28; PvA. 175 (+vilīvakāra); DhA. I, 177; —daṇḍaka a shaft of r. J. I, 170; —maya made of r. Vin. II, 115; —vana a thicket of reeds J. IV, 140; Miln. 342; —sannibha reedcoloured J. VI, 537 (Com. : naḷa-puppha-vaṇṇa rukkhasunakha); —setu a bridge of reeds Sn. 4. (Page 347)

— or —

Nāla, & Nāḷa (nt.) (Sk. nāla, see nala) a hollow stalk, esp. that of the water lily A. IV, 169; J. I, 392 (°pana v. l. °vana); VvA. 43. See also nāḷikā & nālī. (Page 350)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

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

[Nala in Marathi glossaries]

naḷa (नळ).—m (nala S) The ascending portion or the sigmoid flexure of the colon. 2 An aqueduct, a conduit pipe, a sewer. 3 n The stalk of a lotus and fig. of nābhikamala i. e. the umbilical cord. naḷa gāṇṭha ēka hōṇēṃ g. of s. To be affected with umbilical induration. naḷānta bharaṇēṃ To make itself painfully felt in the colon--water &c. drunk unseasonably or whilst standing. A phrase of incessant use.

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naḷā (नळा).—m (nala S) A pantile. 2 A kind of firework,--a tube filled with powder. 3 A vessel for holding oil: (composed of a joint of bamboo.) Pr. gāḍyā- barōbara naḷyāsa yātrā. 4 A tube; a joint of bamboo or other hollow wood; a seed-tube &c. 5 A tube for administering medicines to cattle, a drenching tube. 6 The bone of the leg, tibia.

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nāla (नाल).—m ( A) A horse-shoe. 2 f The case or frame of a longish pakhavāja or tabor. 3 n S A tubular stalk; any tubular vessel of the body. 4 The umbilical cord. 5 c A term for a loose, scampish person (male or female); also for a vitious or troublesome beast. 6 m A blow upon the iṭī at the play iṭīdāṇḍū.

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nālā (नाला).—m ( H) A rivulet, a rude irregular stream or its dry bed. 2 A drain, a sewer, a gutter.

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nāḷa (नाळ).—n (nāla S) The stalk of the lotus or water-lily. 2 The umbilical cord. 3 f The prow of a vessel. 4 A gall on the back (of a beast); a navel-gall. 5 A particular vegetable. 6 A cannon. 7 m f A sort of frame for a pakhavāja. 8 The flour which, during grinding, gathers around and chokes the handmill. Ex. nāḷa mōḍa mhaṇajē pīṭha gaḷēla. 9 f A narrow passage through hills: also a subterranean passage: also a furrow as torn along by a torrent of rain or rush of water. 10 f Old metal vessels. nāḷīvara lāgaṇēṃ or paḍaṇēṃ To touch to the quick.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

naḷa (नळ).—m The ascending portion of the colon. An aqueduct, a sewer. n The stalk of a lotus and fig. of nābhikamala i. e. the umbilical cord. naḷa gāṇṭha ēka hōṇēṃ To be affected with umbilical indura- tion. naḷānta bharaṇēṃ To make itself pain- fully felt in the colon-water &c.

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naḷā (नळा).—m A pantile. A kind of firework. -a tube filled with powder. A vessel for holding oil: (composed of a joint of bamboo.) Pr. gāḍyābarōbara naḷyāsa yātrā.

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nāla (नाल).—m A horse-shoe. f The case or frame of a longish pakhavāja or tabor. n A tubular stalk; any tubular vessel of the body. The umbilical cord. A blow upon the iṭī at the play iṭīdāṇḍū.

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nālā (नाला).—m A rivulet, a drain, sewer.

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nāḷa (नाळ).—n The stalk of the lotus or water- lily. The umbilical cord. f The prow of a vessel. A gall on the back (of a beast); a navel-gall. A cannon. m f A sort of frame for a pakhavāja. The flour which during grinding, gathers around and chokes the hand- mill. Ex. nāḷa mōḍa mhaṇajē pīṭha gaḷēla. f A narrow passage through hills: also a subterranean passage; also a furrow as torn along by a torrent of rain or rush of water. f Old metal vessels. nāḷīvara lāgaṇēṃ or paḍaṇēṃ To touch to the quick.

(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

[Nala in Sanskrit glossaries]

Nala (नल).—1 A kind of reed; Bhāg.1.6.13; एरण्डभिण्डार्कनलैः प्रभूतैरपि संचितैः । दारुकृत्यं यथा नास्ति तथैवाज्ञैः प्रयोजनम् (eraṇḍabhiṇḍārkanalaiḥ prabhūtairapi saṃcitaiḥ | dārukṛtyaṃ yathā nāsti tathaivājñaiḥ prayojanam) || Pt.1.96.

2) Name of a celebrated king of the Niṣadhas and hero of the poem called 'Naiṣadhacharita'. [Nala was a very noble-minded and virtuous king. He was chosen by Damayantī in spite of the opposition of gods, and they lived happily for some years. But Kali--who was disappointed in securing her hand-- resolved to persecute Nala, and entered into his person. Thus affected he played at dice with his brother, and having lost everything, he, with his wife, was banished from the kingdom. One day, while wandering through the wilderness, he abandoned his wife, almost naked, and went away. Subsequently he was deformed by the serpent Karkoṭaka, and so deformed he entered the service of king Ṛituparṇa of Ayodhyā as a horse-groom under the name of Bāhuka. Subsequently with the assistance of the king he regained his beloved and they led a happy life; see ऋतुपर्ण (ṛtuparṇa) and दमयन्ती (damayantī) also.]

3) Name of a monkey-chief, son of Viśvakarman, who, it is said, built the bridge of stones called Nalasetu or 'Adam's bridge' over which Rāma passed to Laṅkā with his army.

4) Name of a year (Nm.)

5) A measure of length (equal to 4 hastas); वेदीमष्टनलोत्सेधाम् (vedīmaṣṭanalotsedhām) Mb.7.7.16.

6) Name of divine being (pitṛdeva).

-lam 1 A blue lotus; नलनीलमूर्तेः (nalanīlamūrteḥ) Śrīkanthacharita 1.33.

2) Smell, odour.

Derivable forms: nalaḥ (नलः).

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Nāla (नाल).—a. [nalasyedaṃ aṇ] Consisting or made of reeds; नालं वनं यूथपतिर्यथोन्मदः (nālaṃ vanaṃ yūthapatiryathonmadaḥ).

-lam 1 A hollow stalk, especially the stalk of the lotus; विकचकमलैः दीर्घवैडूर्यनालैः (vikacakamalaiḥ dīrghavaiḍūryanālaiḥ) Me.78; R.6.13; Ku.7.89; (-m. also in this sense).

2) Any tubular vessel of the body.

3) Yellow orpiment.

4) A handle.

5) The neck; L. D. B.

-laḥ A canal, drain. (-lam, -laḥ) The navel-string.

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Nālā (नाला).—A hollow stalk, especially that of the lotus; नालां मृणालाग्रभुजो भजामः (nālāṃ mṛṇālāgrabhujo bhajāmaḥ) N.

(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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Nālāyantra (नालायन्त्र).—a cannon, a gun; चयाट्टमस्तकन्यस्तनालायन्त्रसुदुर्गमे (cayāṭṭamastakan...
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Nālāstra (नालास्त्र).—any tubular weapon as gun, cannon &c.Derivable forms: nālāstram (नालास्त्...
Nalapattika
Nalapaṭṭikā (नलपट्टिका).—a sort of mat made of reeds. Nalapaṭṭikā is a Sanskrit compound consis...
Kharanala
Kharanāla (खरनाल).—a lotus; नार्वाग्गतस्तत्खरनालनाल- नाभिं विचिन्वंस्तदविन्दताजः (nārvāggatasta...
Lohanala
Lohanāla (लोहनाल).—an iron arrow. Derivable forms: lohanālaḥ (लोहनालः).Lohanāla is a Sanskrit c...
Nabhinala
Nābhināla (नाभिनाल) or Nābhīnāla (नाभीनाल).—1) the umbilical cord; तदङ्कशय्याच्युतनाभिनाला (tad...
Panktintala Nala
paṅktīntalā naḷā (पंक्तींतला नळा).—m A tube of gunpowder set and fired in the paṅkti or sitting...

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