Omkara, Oṃkāra, Oṅkāra, Onkara, Om-kara: 21 definitions



Omkara means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Hindi. 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Onkar.

In Hinduism

Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 9.14.48

In Satya-yuga the only mantra was oṃkāra (oṃ tat sat). The same name oṃkāra is manifest in the mantra “Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare” Hare. Unless one is a brāhmaṇa, one cannot utter oṃkāra and get the desired result. But in Kali-yuga almost everyone is a śūdra, unfit for pronouncing the praṇava, oṃkāra. Therefore the śāstras have recommended the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhagavad-gita (4th edition)

Oṃkāra (ओंकार) refers to “sound representation of para-tattva brahma”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).

Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Oṃkāra (ओंकार) is a Sanskrit word referring to a deity. Acording to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.88-95, 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 Oṃkāra to the jester (vidūṣaka). The protection of the playhouse was enacted because of the jealous Vighnas (malevolent spirits), who began to create terror for the actors.

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 and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

1) Oṃkāra (ओंकार) or Oṃkāreśvara refers to one of twelve Jyotirliṅgas, according to the Śivapurāṇa 1.22 while explaining the importance of the partaking of the Naivedya of Śiva. Oṃkāra is located at Oṃkāra Māndhātā (Omkar Mandhata) on the Narmadā.

2) Oṃkāra (ओंकार) refers to an epithet of Śiva, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.2.41.—Accordingly, as Viṣṇu and others eulogized Śiva:—“[...] obeisance to Thee the blue-necked, the creator, the supreme soul, the universe, the seed of the universe and the cause of the bliss of the universe. You are Oṃkāra, Vaṣaṭkāra, the initiator of enterprises, Hantakāra, Svadhākāra and the partaker of Havya and Kavya offerings always”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Oṅkāra (ओङ्कार).—The symbol of Brahman;1 served as a prop for the chariot of Tripurārī.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 25. 63; IV. 36. 15.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 133. 34-5.
Source: Shodhganga: The saurapurana - a critical study

Oṃkāra (ओंकार) refers to one of the names for the “sun” [viz., Sūrya], according to the eulogy of the Sun by Manu in the 10th century Saurapurāṇa: one of the various Upapurāṇas depicting Śaivism.—Accordingly, the Saurapurāṇa which is purely a Śaivite work, though it purports to be revealed by the Sun, contains some references to practices of Saura Sects, and here and there it identifies Śiva with the Sun. From the eulogy of the Sun by Manu it appears that the sun is the Supreme deity. He is [viz., Oṃkāra] [...] In another passage Manu while eulogizing the Sun god expresses that the Sun is another form of Lord Śiva. [...]

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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Oṃkāra (ओंकार) is the Sanskrit name of a deity presiding over Maheśvara, one of the sixty-eight places hosting a svāyambhuvaliṅga, which is one of the most sacred of liṅgas according to the Śaivāgamas. The list of sixty-eight svāyambhuvaliṅgas and presiding deities (e.g., Oṃkāra) is found in the commentary on the Jirṇoddhāra-daśaka by Nigamajñānadeva. The word liṅga refers to a symbol used in the worship of Śiva and is used thoughout Śaiva literature, such as the sacred Āgamas.

Shaivism book cover
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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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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar

Oṃkāra (ओंकार).—The syllable ओं (oṃ) called by the term प्रणव (praṇava) and generally recited at the beginning of Vedic works. Patañjali has commented upon the word briefly as follows; पादस्य वा अर्धर्चस्य वा अन्त्यमक्षरमुपसंहृत्य तदाद्यक्षरशेषस्य स्थाने त्रिमात्रमोंकारं त्रिमात्रमोंकारं वा विदधति तं प्रणव इत्याचक्षते (pādasya vā ardharcasya vā antyamakṣaramupasaṃhṛtya tadādyakṣaraśeṣasya sthāne trimātramoṃkāraṃ trimātramoṃkāraṃ vā vidadhati taṃ praṇava ityācakṣate) M.Bh. on VIII.2.89.

context information

Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Google Books: Tantra, Its Mystic and Scientific Basis

Oṃkāra is the bīja-mantra of all Mātṛkā Varṇa. Oṃkāra is the unified form of all sounds. There is sound wherever there is vibration. Every action is vibrational. Cosmic thought projection is also an action. It has vibrations and sounds. We cannot hear this supramundane sound with our physical ears. But if we can tune our mind with the help of the intuitional scientific process, we can apprehend that eternal sound Oṃkāra. This Oṃkāra is the sum total of all cosmic vibrations. All other sounds are different manifestations of this Cosmic Sound. It may appear gibberish to the ignorant but it has great mystic significance. To make it more clear let us take the example of the village market place. From a distance one feels as if people there are only gibbering; it is only din and noise. But as one goes near it all makes sense and the nonsensical sounds become meaningful words like, ‘Give me one kilo of peas’, ‘What is the price of cauliflower’, etc. Yet these very utterances, collectively, were meaningless syllables from a distance. ‘Just as all the sounds of the market place have been unified into one howl carrying sound wave, just as all have blended their respective thought waves into one howl, similarly all the sounds of the universe are implanted in one Oṃkāra. Omkāra is the unified form of all sounds.’

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Oṅkāra (ओङ्कार).—See under ओम् (om).

Derivable forms: oṅkāraḥ (ओङ्कारः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Oṃkāra (ओंकार).—

1) the sacred syllable ओम् (om); त्रिमात्रमोकारं त्रिमात्रमोंकारं वा विदधति (trimātramokāraṃ trimātramoṃkāraṃ vā vidadhati) Mahābhārata VIII.2.89.

2) the exclamation ओम् (om), or pronunciation of the same; प्राणायामैस्त्रिभिः पूतस्तत ओंकारमर्हति (prāṇāyāmaistribhiḥ pūtastata oṃkāramarhati) Ms.2.75.

3) (fig.) commencement; एष तावदोंकारः (eṣa tāvadoṃkāraḥ) Mv.1; B. R.3.78.

Derivable forms: oṃkāraḥ (ओंकारः).

Oṃkāra is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms om and kāra (कार).

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

Oṅkāra (ओङ्कार).—m.

(-raḥ) The mysterious name of the deity: see om. f.

(-rā) A Baudd'ha Sakti, or female personification of divine energy. E. om and kāra affix implying a letter, the compound letter o; otherwise om, signifying assent, and kāra who makes; what complies with our wishes.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Oṃkāra (ओंकार).—i. e. om-kṛ + a, n. 1. The holy syllable om, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 2, 75. 2. Thanksgiving, [Rājataraṅgiṇī] 5, 134. 3. Grumbling, [Pañcatantra] 158, 7.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Oṃkāra (ओंकार).—[masculine] the syllable oṃm (q.v.).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Oṃkāra (ओंकार):—[=oṃ-kāra] [from om] m. (oṃ-k) the sacred and mystical syllable om, the exclamation om, pronouncing the syllable om, [Manu-smṛti ii, 75; 81; Kathāsaritsāgara; Bhagavad-gītā] etc., (cf. vijayoṃkāra, kṛtoṃkāra)

2) [v.s. ...] a beginning, prosperous or auspicious beginning of (e.g. a science), [Bālarāmāyaṇa]

3) [v.s. ...] Name of a Liṅga

4) Oṃkārā (ओंकारा):—[=oṃ-kārā] [from oṃ-kāra > om] f. a Buddhist Śakti or female personification of divine energy, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Oṅkāra (ओङ्कार):—(raḥ) 1. m. The mysterious name of the Trinity; consent, agreement; power. f. () Divine energy.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Oṅkāra (ओङ्कार) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Oṃkāra.

[Sanskrit to German]

Omkara in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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Hindi dictionary

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Oṃkāra (ओंकार) [Also spelled onkar]:—(nm) the sacred and mystical syllable om ([ūṃ]).

context information


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Prakrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary

Oṃkāra (ओंकार) in the Prakrit language is related to the Sanskrit word: Oṅkāra.

context information

Prakrit is an ancient language closely associated with both Pali and Sanskrit. Jain literature is often composed in this language or sub-dialects, such as the Agamas and their commentaries which are written in Ardhamagadhi and Maharashtri Prakrit. The earliest extant texts can be dated to as early as the 4th century BCE although core portions might be older.

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