Pancaraksha, Pañcarakṣā, Panca-raksha: 6 definitions


Pancaraksha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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 Pañcarakṣā can be transliterated into English as Pancaraksa or Pancaraksha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

Alternative spellings of this word include Pancharaksha.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: The Indian Buddhist Iconography

Pañcarakṣā (पञ्चरक्षा) or simply Rakṣa, refers to the five protectresses (deities) as they are called in Tantric works. The Pañcarakṣā deties are popular and well-known amongst the Mahāyāna Buddhists, particularly of Nepal. A manuscript copy of the Pañcarakṣā describing the five Rakṣā deities, their worship on different occasions and their powers, is to be found in almost every Buddhist house-hold in Nepal. [...]. The Pañcarakṣā is recited in all varieties of domestic difficulties, such as, illnesses, adversities, loss of wealth, cattle, etc.

The five Pañcarakṣā deities according to the Niṣpannayogāvalī are:

  1. Mahāpratisarā,
  2. Mahāsāhasrapramardanī,
  3. Mahāmantrānusāriṇī,
  4. Mahāśītavatī,
  5. Mahāmāyūrī.
Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

Discover the meaning of pancaraksha or pancaraksa in the context of Tibetan Buddhism from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Buddhism)

[«previous (P) next»] — Pancaraksha in Buddhism glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Pañcarakṣā (पञ्चरक्षा) refers to the “five protectors” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 5):

  1. Pratisarā (assailer), 
  2. Sāhasrapramardanī (thousands-crusher), 
  3. Mārīcī (moonlight), 
  4. Mantrānusāriṇī (mantra-follower), 
  5. Śītavanī (cool wood).

The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., pañcarakṣā). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Source: DLMBS: Buddhānusmṛti

Pañcarakṣā (पञ्चरक्षा), that is, the “collection of the five dhāraṇīs” is popular in Nepal. These five protecting spells include:

  1. mahā-pratisarā (for protection against sin, disease and evils),
  2. mahā-sahasrapramardinī (for protection against evil spirits),
  3. mahā-māyūrī or vidyārājñī (for protection against snake-poison),
  4. mahā-śītavatī (for protection against 'cruel' planets, cruel animals and poisonous insects), and
  5. mahā rakṣā mantrānusāriṇī (for protection against diseases).
Source: Cambridge Digital Library: Pañcarakṣā, Saptavāra

Pañcarakṣā (पञ्चरक्षा, “five protections”) consists of:

  1. Mahāpratisarā,
  2. Mahāmāyūrī,
  3. Mahāsāhasrapramardanī,
  4. Mahāmantrānusāriṇī,
  5. Mahāśītavatī (in various sequences).

The earliest evidence for texts grouped together as the “five great dhāraṇīs” comes from Tibetan catalogues around 800 CE. These scriptures include spells, enumerations of benefits and ritual instructions for use.

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

[«previous (P) next»] — Pancaraksha in Sanskrit glossary
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Aufrecht Catalogus Catalogorum

Pañcarakṣā (पञ्चरक्षा) as mentioned in Aufrecht’s Catalogus Catalogorum:—vedānta. Oppert. 2366. 5081.

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

Pañcarakṣā (पञ्चरक्षा):—[=pañca-rakṣā] [from pañca] f. Name of [work]

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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