Pratima, Pratimā: 18 definitions


Pratima means something in 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

Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Source: SriMatham: Vaiṣṇava Iconology based on Pañcarātra Āgama

pratima–Sanskrit term meaning 'resemblance', 'similitude' or 'representation' and used in hindu iconology (eg. the Āgamas).

Pancaratra book cover
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śilpa-śāstra

Pratima (प्रतिम) is a Sanskrit word translating to “resemblance”, “similtude” or “representation”. It is used throughout texts and practice of Hindu iconology.

Source: McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra (iconography)

Pratimā (प्रतिमा).—In Mānasāra chapter LXIV titled pratimāvidhanam, “Composition of Images (pratimā)”, twelve options for obtaining the height of secondary images are given. They are:

  1. from height of linga (in case of Śaiva temples);
  2. from height of the main image of Viṣṇu (in Vaiṣṇava temples);
  3. from half-breadth of the adytum of the temple;
  4. from breadth of the temple;
  5. from door;
  6. from base of the temple;
  7. from main pillar;
  8. according to hasta, cubit;
  9. according to tāla, “span”;
  10. from body of the yajamāna, “patron” or “client”;
  11. from one division of the height of liṅga or image;
  12. according to digit.

These lists of options display an “instrumental” nature, primarily as a means of procuring the height of the image.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)

Pratimā (प्रतिमा) refers to a “representation” of the supreme being.—The term “image” finds its close parallel in Sanskrit words like pratikṛti, pratimā, bimba, and so on. In Sanskrit, pratimā means tulyata or equality, rūpa or form, pratibimba or reflection as in a mirror. The word bimba means imitation and it is very frequently used in the sense of the images of divinities. The Hindus have believed from very early times that pratimā is representation, a resemblance, or a form of the Supreme Being; standing in the place of God. Pratimā tends to bring the worshipper near the worshipped. The word “idol” is often used in a derogatory sense, signifying “false god”. Therefore, the word “image” is a near approximation to the sense of pratimā. An image made of metal is called bimba, and one that is carved by hand is known as pratimā. In general, all the icons are called paḍima.

Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra

Pratimā (प्रतिमा) refers to “images of gods”. The word is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti. (See the Manubhāṣya, verse 9.285)

Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Pratimā (प्रतिमा) refers to “idols”, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.1.12, while explaining the importance of idols:—“[...] having an idol (pratimā) is very auspicious for a person who has no such knowledge. It is a ladder that enables him to climb to a higher position. It is very difficult to climb to a position without a support. The idol is only a means to achieve the Nirguṇa Śiva. The attainment of the Nirguṇa through a Saguṇa is certainly possible. In this manner, the symbols of all lords are conducive to a steady faith and belief”.

If there is no idol (pratimā), of what avail are scents, sandal paste, flowers, etc.? Till the realisation of true knowledge, the idol shall necessarily be worshipped. If any one does not worship the idol before he attains perfect knowledge, his downfall is sure.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Pratima (प्रतिम).—(Paulastya)—a sage of the second Sāvarṇa Manu.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 1. 70.
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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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Jaina Community: A Social Survey

Pratimā (प्रतिमा, “stage”).—The eleven pratimās form part of the rules of conduct for laymen.—The householder’s life has been divided into eleven stages or pratimās. These pratimās form a series of duties and performances, the standard and duration of which rises periodically and which finally culminates in an attitude resembling monkhood. Thus the pratimās rise by degrees and every stage includes all the virtues practised in those preceeding it. The conception of eleven pratimās appears to be the best way of exhibiting the rules of conduct prescribved for the Jaina laymen.

The eleven pratimās are as follows:

  1. darśana-pratimā,
  2. vrata-pratimā,
  3. sāmāyika-pratimā,
  4. proṣadhopavāsa-pratima,
  5. sacitta-tyāga-pratimā,
  6. rātri-bhukta-tyāga-pratimā,
  7. brahmacarya-pratimā,
  8. ārambha-tyāga-pratimā,
  9. parigraha-tyāga-pratimā,
  10. anumati-tyāga-pratimā,
  11. uddiṣṭa-tyāga-pratimā.

The householders are advised to ascend these stages step by step. Those who have attained the eleven stages are given special importance by the Digambara Jainas while Śvetāmbaras consider them like ascetics.

Source: WikiPedia: Jainism

Pratimā (प्रतिमा, “step”).—In Jainism, pratimā is a step or a stage marking the spiritual rise of a lay person (śravaka). There are eleven such steps called pratimā. After having passed the eleven steps, one is no longer a śrāvaka, but a muni (monk). Rules prescribed for laymen are divided into twelve vrata (vows) and eleven pratimās (steps) and are described in several codes of conduct (śrāvakācāras). The pratimās are mentioned in several ancient texts like Ratnakaraṇḍa-śrāvakācāra (2nd century A.D.)

General definition book cover
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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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India history and geogprahy

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Pratimā.—cf. pratimam (SII 2), image of a human being; usually, the image of a deity. Note: pratimā is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

India history book cover
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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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

pratima (प्रतिम).—a S Like. In comp. as ētat pratima, tat- pratima, sūryapratima, siṃhapratima.

--- OR ---

pratimā (प्रतिमा).—f (S) A resemblance, a figure, an image, a picture. ēkē pratimēcā Of one mould or stamp; of one cast or figure.

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

pratima (प्रतिम).—a Like.

--- OR ---

pratimā (प्रतिमा).—f A resemblance, a figure, an image.

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

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Pratimā (प्रतिमा).—3, 4 Ā. To compare, liken.

--- OR ---

Pratimā (प्रतिमा).—m. Ved. A creator, maker.

-mā 1 An image, a likeness, statue, figure, an idol; पुरः परार्ध्यप्रतिमागृहायाः (puraḥ parārdhyapratimāgṛhāyāḥ) R.16.39.

2) Resemblance, similitude; oft. in comp. in the sense of 'like, similar, or equal to'; देवप्रतिम, अप्रतिम (devapratima, apratima) &c.; गुरोः कुशानुप्रतिमात् (guroḥ kuśānupratimāt) R.2.49; पतत्पतङ्गप्रतिमस्तपोनिधिः (patatpataṅgapratimastaponidhiḥ) Śi.1.12.

3) A reflection, reflected image; मुखमिन्दु- रुज्ज्वलकपोलमतः प्रतिमाच्छलेन सुदृशामविशत् (mukhamindu- rujjvalakapolamataḥ pratimācchalena sudṛśāmaviśat) Śi.9.48,73; R.7. 64;12.1.

4) A measure, extent.

5) The part of an elephant's head between the tusks.

6) A symbol.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Pratima (प्रतिम).—[, in Gv 372.16, read apratima-; see s.v. traiyadhvika.]

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

Pratima (प्रतिम).—mfn.

(-maḥ-mā-maṃ) Like, resembling, (In composition) f.

(-mā) 1. A resemblance, a figure, an image, a picture. 2. An idol. 3. The part of an elephant’s head between the tusks. 4. Similarity, Similitude. 5. Measure, extent. E. prati against, to measure, aṅ and ṭāp aff.

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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