Pranava, Praṇava, Praṇavā: 25 definitions


Pranava means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi, 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 Pranav.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Wisdom Library: Skanda-purana

Praṇava (प्रणव, “sacred oṃ”) 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 Praṇavavināyaka, Praṇavagaṇeśa and Praṇavavighneśa. 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.

Praṇava is positioned in the Eastern corner of the second circle of the kāśī-maṇḍala. According to Rana Singh (source), his shrine is located at “in Hiranyagarbheshvara, at Trilochan Ghat”. Worshippers of Praṇava will benefit from his quality, which is defined as “the giver of the message of eternity”. His coordinates are: Lat. 25.19152, Lon. 83.01411 (or, 25°11'29.5"N, 83°00'50.8"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.

Praṇava, 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: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Praṇava (प्रणव) refers to the syllable “Om”, as defined in the Śivapurāṇa 1.17. Accordingly, “[...] the syllable Om means an excellent boat to cross the ocean of worldly existence. [Pra=of the Prakṛti i.e. the world evolved out of it. Navam—Nāvāṃ Varam—an excellent boat] Or Praṇava may mean: “there is no world for you” or it may mean ‘That which leads to salvation’. Or it may mean “that which leads to new knowledge.” After annihilating all actions it gives the persons who repeat the mantra or worship, a fresh knowledge of the pure soul. This Praṇava is two-fold (1) the subtle (2) the gross. The subtle one is of a single syllable where the constituent five syllables are not differentiated clearly. The gross one is of five syllables where all the constituent syllables are manifest”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Praṇava (प्रणव).—The top mantra; glorifies Īśvara; yajña glorifies Praṇava; manas yajña in the form of Rudra; hence Paramampadam;1 Omkāram, Akṣaram, Brahmā and three varṇas;2 Praṇavātmaka is Brahmā;3 is Rudra.4

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 85. 6; Vāyu-purāṇa 20. 38.
  • 2) Ib. 32. 1.
  • 3) Ib. 24. 51.
  • 4) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 13. 137.
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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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature

Praṇava (प्रणव) refers to one of the seventy-two sama-varṇavṛtta (regular syllabo-quantitative verse) mentioned in the 334th chapter of the Agnipurāṇa. The Agnipurāṇa deals with various subjects viz. literature, poetics, grammar, architecture in its 383 chapters and deals with the entire science of prosody (e.g., the praṇava metre) in 8 chapters (328-335) in 101 verses in total.

Chandas book cover
context information

Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram (shaivism)

Praṇava (प्रणव) refers to the fivefold stages in the utterance of OṂ, according to Kṣemarāja’s commentary on the Svacchandabhairavatantra.—Accordingly, “Praṇava is called this because in a pre-eminent way (pra-) it acknowledges (nava-), i.e. praises i.e. contemplates in its ultimate unity, the nature of the Supreme Lord which encompasses the cosmic totality; as such it is the Indivisible Lord; Praṇava also stands for the syllable OṂ, the mystic pervasion of which is inseparably connected with it”.

Note: In the Svacchandabhairavatantra the Instruments (karaṇa) are assimilated, as are the praṇavas, to stages in the utterance of OṂ. The lower Instruments, progressively abandoned, merge into the higher ones leading to Śiva who is beyond them. [...] It seems that Kṣemarāja is referring to just one, original praṇava i.e. OṂ. But in actual fact, as it possesses five states, this one praṇava is presented in the Svacchandabhairavatantra as the Five Praṇavas. Despite this fundamental difference, we find several carry-overs in the doctrines associated with this fivefold praṇava in the Kubjikā system, thus exemplifying the pervasive influence the cult of Svacchanda Bhairava has had on it, as it has on all the major cults that have their roots in the Bhairava Tantras.

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva

Praṇava (प्रणव) is the name of a deity who was imparted with the knowledge of the Kāmikāgama by Sadāśiva through parasambandha, according to the pratisaṃhitā theory of Āgama origin and relationship (sambandha). The kāmika-āgama, being part of the ten Śivabhedāgamas, refers to one of the twenty-eight Siddhāntāgamas: a classification of the Śaiva division of Śaivāgamas. The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu.

Praṇava in turn transmitted the Kāmikāgama (through mahānsambandha) to Trikala, who then transmitted it to Hara who then, through divya-sambandha, transmitted it to the Devas who, through divyādivya-sambandha, transmitted it to the Ṛṣis who finally, through adivya-sambandha, revealed the Kāmikāgama to human beings (Manuṣya). (also see Anantaśambhu’s commentary on the Siddhāntasārāvali of Trilocanaśivācārya)

Source: SOAS University of London: Protective Rites in the Netra Tantra

Praṇava (प्रणव) refers to “Oṃ”, according to the Netratantra of Kṣemarāja: a Śaiva text from the 9th century in which Śiva (Bhairava) teaches Pārvatī topics such as metaphysics, cosmology, and soteriology.—Accordingly, [verse 22.14]—“Oṃ (praṇava) exists as the vital energy [i.e., life] (prāṇa) of living beings (prāṇin). It is established as that which keeps [living beings] alive. Praṇava enables [those beings] with all [their] parts. He [who knows this] shall know Śiva”.

Shaivism book cover
context information

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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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

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

Praṇava (प्रणव) refers to “the syllable that gives life, derived from the Sanskrit verbal root praṇu, to make a reverberating humming of the syllable oṃ (10.25)”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).

Vaishnavism book cover
context information

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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Mantrashastra (the science of Mantras)

Source: Shodhganga: Kasyapa Samhita—Text on Visha Chikitsa (mantra)

Praṇava (प्रणव) (Mantra) refers to the “quintessence of the Vedas”, according to the Māṇḍūkyopaniṣd I.1.—Mantras refers to “that which is chanted by people to obtain their spiritual aspirations”.—The Upaniṣads often echo the fact that Om or Praṇava is the quintessence of the Vedas. It is the crest jewel of all mantras, as all mantras derive their potency from it.All that is past, present and future is indeed Om. Praṇava is beyond the triple concept of time.

context information

Mantrashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, mantraśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science of mantras—chants, incantations, spells, magical hymns, etc. Mantra Sastra literature includes many ancient books dealing with the methods reciting mantras, identifying and purifying its defects and the science behind uttering or chanting syllables.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Manblunder: Sri Chakra Nyāsa

Praṇava (ॐ). ॐ is known as Brahma praṇava or Prākaśa praṇava.

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: A Critical Sanskrit Edition and a Translation of Kambala’s Sādhananidhi, Chapter 8

Praṇavā (प्रणवा) is the name of a Deity associated with the syllable “oṃ” of the Devīhṛdayamantra (Goddess’ heart mantra): one of the four major mantras in the Cakrasaṃvara tradition, as taught in the eighth chapter of the 9th-century Herukābhidhāna and its commentary, the Sādhananidhi. The thirteen letters constituting the mantra are transformed in meditation into thirteen deities. All these female deities [viz., Praṇavā] have their male consorts who resemble their consort female deities in appearance and are in sexual union with them.

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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

praṇava (प्रणव).—m S The mystical name of the Hindu triad,--the syllable ōm q. v. Ex. praṇavarūpiṇī mūḷaprakṛti || pari kōpēla tribhuvanapati ||.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

praṇava (प्रणव).—m The mystical name of the Hindu' triad,-the syllable .

--- OR ---

praṇava (प्रणव).—a Sloping, declining. Bent, dis posed towards.

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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Praṇava (प्रणव).—

1) The sacred syllable om; आसीन्महीक्षितामाद्यः प्रणवश्छन्दसांमिव (āsīnmahīkṣitāmādyaḥ praṇavaśchandasāṃmiva) R.1.11; Manusmṛti 2.74; Kumārasambhava 2.12; प्रणवः सवेदेषु (praṇavaḥ savedeṣu) Bhagavadgītā (Bombay) 7.8; तस्य वाचकः प्रणवः (tasya vācakaḥ praṇavaḥ), Pātañjala S.27; प्राणदः प्रणवः प्रभुः (prāṇadaḥ praṇavaḥ prabhuḥ) Viṣṇu Sahasranāma.

2) A kind of musical instrument (drum or tabor).

3) An epithet of Viṣṇu or the Supreme Being.

Derivable forms: praṇavaḥ (प्रणवः).

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

Praṇava (प्रणव).—m.

(-vaḥ) 1. The mystical name of the Deity, or syllable “Om.” 2. A small kind of drum or tabor. 3. A name of Vishnu. E. pra before, nu to praise, aff. ap .

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

Praṇava (प्रणव).—i. e. pra-nu + a, m. 1. The holy syllable om, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 2, 74. 2. A small tabor.

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

Praṇava (प्रणव).—[masculine] the sacred syllable Om (—° also praṇavaka).

--- OR ---

Praṇava (प्रणव).—[masculine] the sacred syllable Om (—° also praṇavaka).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Aufrecht Catalogus Catalogorum

Praṇava (प्रणव) as mentioned in Aufrecht’s Catalogus Catalogorum:—[dharma] Rice. 208.

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

1) Praṇava (प्रणव):—[=pra-ṇava] a See pra-ṇu.

2) [=pra-ṇava] [from pra-ṇu] b mf. (or pra-ṇ) (ifc. f(ā). ) the mystical or sacred syllable om, [Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā; Taittirīya-saṃhitā; Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa; Manu-smṛti] (ifc. also -ka) etc. (-tva n., [Rāmatāpanīya-upaniṣad])

3) [v.s. ...] m. a kind of small drum or tabor = (and [probably] [wrong reading] for) paṇana, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

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

Praṇava (प्रणव):—[pra-ṇava] (vaḥ) 5. m. Name of the trinity, om. a. A small drum.

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

Praṇava (प्रणव) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Paṇava.

[Sanskrit to German]

Pranava 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

[«previous next»] — Pranava in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Praṇava (प्रणव) [Also spelled pranav]:—(nm) the sacred and mystical syllable Om, God Almighty.

context information


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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Praṇava (ಪ್ರಣವ):—

1) [noun] the sacred and mystic syllable 'ಓಂ [om]' (consisting of three syllables – ಅ, ಉ [a, u]andಮ).

2) [noun] the Supreme Being.

3) [noun] a kind of small drum or tabor.

4) [noun] the quality of being novel; newness; freshness; novelty.

--- OR ---

Pranava (ಪ್ರನವ):—[adjective] absolutely new; brand new; (the construction of this word is considered as grammatically wrong).

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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