Narayana, aka: Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyana; 14 Definition(s)


Narayana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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

Pāñcarātra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Nārāyaṇa (नारायण, “Ground of being”):—One of the twenty-four forms of Viṣṇu through which Nārāyaṇa manifests himself. He is accompanied by a counterpart emanation of Lakṣmī (an aspect of Devī) who goes by the name Kānti.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Pāñcarātra
Pāñcarātra book cover
context information

Pāñcarātra (पाञ्चरात्र, pancaratra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Nārāyaṇa is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaiṣnavism, the Pāñcarātra literature includes various Āgamas and tantras incorporating many Vaiṣnava philosophies.


“Nārā means water and bodies ”—we have thus heard it is a name for water; and in it he lies, hence he is called Nārāyaṇa.

(Source): The Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa

The stone known as Nārāyana is of a black colour, contains the mark of a dub-like line in its cavity and has the circular mark at the navel or a little raised up.

(Source): The Garuda puranam

1a) Nārāyaṇa (नारायण).—An avatār with Nara; as the Supreme Being; as Puruṣa and Mahāpuruṣa; Protector of the prāṇas; is Kṛṣṇa;1 identified with Veda;2 reincarnated as Aditī's son;3 mantra sacred to;4 the sage of sages;5 the āśrama of;6 born of dharma in the Cākṣuṣa epoch.7 The Lord without birth; same as Viṣṇu, brother of Indra; the last resort of the sages.8 The one who came out of the darkness of mahāpralaya and created the world in its different aspects; his serpent couch on the dark waters described; approach of Brahmā into Nārāyaṇa's stomach, and coming out by way of the lotus;9 permeates the whole universe and pervades the three worlds;10 approached by Śiva to redeem the sin of brahmicide;11 the Vāraha avatār of;12 is Prajāpati, is Brahman;13 is Sādhya with Śrī as wife;14 a compound of Kṣetraja and Prakṛti for the welfare of the world;15 to be remembered in śrāddhas;16 encouraged the Asuras and Devas in the churning of the ocean; praised by Brahmā;17 represents the planet Budha; Urvaśī born of.18

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 2. 4; 3. 9; II. 5. 15-16; 7. 6; 10. 11; IV. 1. 52; V. 26. 38; X. 6. 24; 69. 44; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 35. 93; III. 3. 62; 33. 16; 35. 3, 36-40; Vā 104. 58; 109. 23.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 1. 40-41.
  • 3) Ib. VI. 6. 38.
  • 4) Ib. VI. ch. 8. (whole).
  • 5) Ib. XI. 16. 25; XII. 8. 32 and 47; 9. 1.
  • 6) Ib. VII. 14. 32.
  • 7) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 71. 196-7; 73. 72.
  • 8) Ib. II. 35. 208; III. 3. 102; Matsya-purāṇa 1. 2-3; 154. 352; 164. 27; 172. 3-5; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 3. 3, 8. 15; 9. 41; 22. 86.
  • 9) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 35. 170; IV. 34. 76; Matsya-purāṇa 2. 27-37; 178. 1.
  • 10) Vāyu-purāṇa 1. 204; 5. 38; 24. 8-35.
  • 11) Matsya-purāṇa 183. 88.
  • 12) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 4. 27; 5. 3-5; Matsya-purāṇa 247. 6; Vāyu-purāṇa 6. 3-78; 21. 81; 103. 9.
  • 13) Matsya-purāṇa 247. 35; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 6. 61.
  • 14) Vāyu-purāṇa 30. 72.
  • 15) Ib. 101. 228.
  • 16) Matsya-purāṇa 16. 45.
  • 17) Ib. 154. 359; 163. 104; 248. 43; 249. 1, 3-4, 81; 250. 1; 282. 5.
  • 18) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 24. 49; III. 7. 16.

1b) The name of the last son of Ajāmila.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 1. 24.

1c) The son of Bhūmimitra Kaṇva; ruled for 12 years:1 Father of Suśarman.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 1. 20; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 74. 158; Matsya-purāṇa 272. 34; Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 345.
  • 2) Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 24. 40-1.

1d) The sage who taught the bhāgavata purāṇa to Nārada who in turn taught it to Vyāsa.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 4. 41; 13. 10 and 18.

1e) A Sādhya and overlord of the Sādhyas; the Hari of the Svārociṣa epoch.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 3. 17; 8. 6; Matsya-purāṇa 203. 11.

1f) A devaṛṣi.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 61. 83.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Nārāyaṇa (नारायण) refers to one of the many varieties of the Śālagrāma (ammonite fossil stones).—The Nārāyaṇa stone is dark blue (asita) in colour, an elevation suggesting the navel-lotus and a line in the centre suggesting mace; another account prescribes two lines. Śālagrāma stones are very ancient geological specimens, rendered rounded and smooth by water-currents in a great length of time. They (eg., Nārāyaṇa stones) are distinguished by the ammonite (śālā, described as “vajra-kīṭa”, “adamantine worms”) which having entered into them for residence, are fossilized in course of time, leaving discus-like marks inside the stone.

(Source): Pratima Kosa Encyclopedia of Indian Iconography - Vol 6
Śilpaśāstra book cover
context information

Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

General definition (in Hinduism)

One of the 108 names of Krishna; Meaning: "The Refuge Of Everyone"

(Source): humindian: 108 names of Lord Krishna

Narayana is an appelation of Vishnu. He is also said to be the Godhead portion of the divine twins Nara and Naryana. Along with his twin Nara, he created the divine Urvashi from their thighs.

(Source): Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Narayana (Sanskrit: नारायण) is the Vedic Supreme God (including his different avatars) in Hinduism, venerated as the Supreme Being in Vaishnavism. He is also known as Vishnu and Hari and is venerated as Purushottama or Supreme Purusha in Hindu sacred texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Vedas and the Puranas.

Narayana is the name of the Supreme God in his infinite all pervading form. He is the Supreme Purusha of Purusha Sukta. The Puranas present a seemingly divergent, but accurate description of Narayana (as an Enlightened Supreme Being). The fifth verse of the Narayana Sukta, a hymn in Yajurveda, states that Narayana pervades whatever is seen or heard in this universe from inside and outside alike. Another important translation of Narayana is The One who rests on Water. The waters are called narah, [for] the waters are, indeed, produced by Nara [the first Being]; as they were his first residence [ayana], he is called Narayana. In Sanskrit, "Nara" can also refer to all human beings or living entities (Jivas). Therefore, another meaning of Narayana is Resting place for all living entities. The close association of Narayana with water explains the frequent depiction of Narayana in Hindu art as standing or sitting on an ocean.

In Hindu sacred texts like Vedas, Puranas etc., Narayana is described as having the divine blue colour of water-filled clouds, four-armed, holding a Padma (lotus flower), mace Kaumodaki, Panchajanya shankha (conch) and a discus weapon Sudarshana Chakra. Narayana is also described in the Bhagavad Gita as having a 'Universal Form' (Vishvarupa) which is beyond the ordinary limits of human perception or imagination.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

1. Narayana

The name of a god (Visnu). E.g., Cv.xlvii.25.

2. Narayana

A general of Parakkamabahu I., in charge of Anuradhapura. He rose in rebellion against the king and was slain in battle. Cv.lxxii.65.

3. Narayana

A Damila chief, one of the three Virapparayaras. He was an ally of Lankapura, general of Parakkamabahu I. Cv.lxxvii.6.

(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).

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Nārāyaṇa (नारायण) is the name of the eighth Vāsudeva (“violent heroes”) according to both Śvetāmbara and Digambara sources. Since they enjoy half the power of a Cakravartin (universal monarch) they are also known as Ardhacakrins. Jain legends describe nine such Vāsudevas usually appearing together with their “gentler” twins known as the Baladevas. The legends of these twin-heroes usually involve their antagonistic counterpart known as the Prativāsudevas (anti-heroes).

The parents of as Nārāyaṇa are known as king Daśaratha and queen Kekayī whose stories are related in texts such as the Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacarita (“the lives of the sixty-three illustrious persons”), a twelfth-century Śvetāmbara work by Hemacandra.

The nine Vāsudevas (such as Nārāyaṇa) are also known as Nārāyaṇas or Viṣṇus and are further described in various Jain sources, such as the Bhagavatīsūtra and Jambūdvīpaprajñapti in Śvetāmbara, or the Tiloyapaṇṇatti and Ādipurāṇa in the Digambara tradition. The appearance of a Vāsudeva is described as follows: their body is of a dark-blue complexion, they wear a yellow robe made of silk, and they bear the śrīvatsa on their chest.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism
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.

India history and geogprahy

Narayana (or, Nārāyaṇa) refers to one of the 84 castes (gaccha) in the Jain community according to Mr. P. D. Jain. The Jain caste and sub-caste system was a comparatively later development within their community, and it may have arisen from the ancient classification of Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya and Śūdra. Before distinction of these classes (such as Narayana), the society was not divided into distinct separate sections, but all were considered as different ways of life and utmost importance was attached to individual chartacter and mode of behaviour.

According to Dr. Vilas Adinath Sangava, “Jainism does not recognise castes (viz., Narayana) as such and at the same time the Jaina books do not specifically obstruct the observance of caste rules by the members of the Jaina community. The attitude of Jainism towards caste is that it is one of the social practices, unconnected with religion, observed by people; and it was none of its business to regulate the working of the caste system” (source).

The legendary account of the origin of these 84 Jain castes (eg., Narayana) relate that once a rich Jain invited members of the Jain community in order to establish a vaiśya-mahāsabhā (i.e. Central Association of Traders). In response, 84 representatives came from different places, and they were later seen as the progenitors of these castes. Various sources however mention differences in the list.

(Source): Wisdom Library: India History

Nārāyaṇa Paṇḍita (fl. 1049 AD), son of Tikkapaiya, is mentioned in the “Ṭhāṇā plates of Mummuṇirāja”. Accordingly, Nārāyaṇa Paṇḍita is mentioned amongst fourteen Brāhmaṇas living together, hailing from Karahāṭaka (Karahāṭa), as receiving a gift of several villages. He is associated with the Jāmadagnya-Vatsa gotra (clan)

These copper plates (mentioning Nārāyaṇa) were discovered in 1956 while digging the ground between the Church and the District Office at Ṭhāṇā, the chief town of the Ṭhāṇā District in Mahārāṣṭra. Its object is to record the grant, by the Śilāhāra Mummuṇirāja, of some villages and lands to learned Brāhmaṇas on the occasion of the lunar eclipse on the fifteenth tithi of the bright fortnight of Phālguna in the Śaka year 970, the cyclic year being Sarvadhārin.

(Source): What is India: Inscriptions of the Śilāhāras
India history book cover
context information

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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

narayāna (नरयान).—n S A vehicle carried by men; a palanquin, a dooly, a sedan.

--- OR ---

nārāyaṇa (नारायण).—m (S) A name of viṣṇu, esp. as considered as the Deity who was before all worlds. Pr. aḍalā nā0 gāḍhavācē pāya dharī A man hard up will embrace and supplicate the basest. 2 A cant word among Sanyasis for money. A rupee is called thōra- lā nārāyaṇa, and a pysa dhākaṭā nārāyaṇa. 3 A cant term for the Naru or Guinea-worm.

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

narayāna (नरयान).—n A vehicle carried by men; a pa- lanquin, a dooly, a sedan.

--- OR ---

nārāyaṇa (नारायण).—m A name of viṣṇu, esp. as con- sidered as the Deity who was before all worlds. Pr. aḍalā nā?B gāḍhāvācē pāya dharī A man hard up will embrace and supplicate the basest. A cant term for the Na'ru' or Guinea-worm.

(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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