Preta; 10 Definition(s)


Preta means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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

Āstika (orthodox philosophy)

Hungry ghosts.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Indian Philosophy
context information

The term āstika refers to six mainstream schools of Hindu philosophy, accepting the Vedas as authorative. They are: Nyāyá (logic), Vaiśeṣika (atomism), Sāṃkhya (enumeration), Yoga (Patañjali’s school), Mimāṃsā (Vedic exegesis) and Vedanta (Upaniṣadic tradition). Together they also go by the name ṣaḍdarśana (‘six systems’).


Preta (प्रेत).—Spirits harassing children.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 6. 43; 10. 38; VI. 8. 25; X. 6. 27; 63. 11; XI. 10. 28.
(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.

Dharmaśāstra (religious law)

Preta (प्रेत).—The preta body of dead is formed only on offering piṇḍas. For example, on the first day of piṇḍa offering, the head of the preta body becomes piṇḍa body, on the second day of offering neck and shoulders become piṇḍa body and so on. On the tenth day, the entire preta body is converted into piṇḍa body or piṇḍa-śarīra (śarīra means body).

Piṇḍa is offered everyday during the first ten days along with water, honey, ghee, sesame seeds, etc. Piṇḍas are also offered on the day of sapiṇḍīkaraṇa. On taking this piṇḍa, the preta-śarīra becomes a pitṛ and can reach the world of ancestors. It is said that a deceased person cannot reach the world of ancestors with preta-śarīra. A preta eats food twice, on eleventh and twelfth days.

(Source): Manblunder: Garuda Purana series (dharmashastra)
Dharmaśāstra book cover
context information

Dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharma-shastra) is a category of Hindu literature containing important instructions regarding religious law, ethics, economics, jurisprudence and more. It is categorised as smṛti, an important and authorative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

A "hungry shade" or "hungry ghost" - one of a class of beings in the lower realms, sometimes capable of appearing to human beings. The petas are often depicted in Buddhist art as starving beings with pinhole sized mouths through which they can never pass enough food to ease their hunger.(Source): Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

M Being living in the compound of apaya worlds, situated between the world of animals and the world of hells.

(Source): Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

(Sanskrit preta): lit. 'departed spirit', ghost; s. loka.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
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).


peta : (adj.) dead; departed. (m.) a ghost.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Preta (प्रेत, “ghost ”) refers to one of the “six destinations” (gata) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 57). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., preta). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

prēta (प्रेत).—n (S) A corpse. 2 A goblin or sprite, esp. one animating the carcasses of the dead.

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

prēta (प्रेत).—n A corpse. A goblin.

(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.

Relevant definitions

Search found 31 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Pretaloka (प्रेतलोक).—the world of the dead; प्रेत- लोकं परित्यज्य आगता ये महालये (preta- lokaṃ...
prētāśauca (प्रेताशौच).—n (S) Impurity contracted from carrying, or from some connection with, ...
Pretasūtra (प्रेतसूत्र).– As is said in a sūtra, there was a preta whose head was like...
Pretasañjīvana (प्रेतसञ्जीवन) is the name of an Ayurvedic recipe defined in the fourth volume o...
Pretāsthi (प्रेतास्थि).—n. the bone of a dead man. °dhārin an epithet of Śiva. Pretāsthi is a S...
Pretagopa (प्रेतगोप).—the keeper of the dead. Derivable forms: pretagopaḥ (प्रेतगोपः).Pretagopa...
Preteśa (प्रेतेश).—an epithet of Yama. Derivable forms: preteśaḥ (प्रेतेशः).Preteśa is a Sanskr...
Pretāsana (प्रेतासन) is the posture in which the yogi lies flat on his back, with his arms o...
piṇḍa (पिंड).—m A lump. An oblation to deceased ancestors. The body. The embryo. piṇḍāsa basaṇē...
Yama (यम) refers to one of the 53 gods to be worshipped in the southern quarter and given pāyas...
Kuṇapa (कुणप, “dead body”).—According to the Manusmṛti 12.71, “The Brāhmaṇa fallen off from his...
paśu (पशु).—m Beast, a brute, a quadruped.--- OR --- pasū (पसू).—f A mare kept for breeding.
Vārāhī (वाराही) refers to the second of the “six Yoginīs” (ṣaḍyoginī) as defined in the Dharma-...
pēṭa (पेट).—m The charge of a gun. The report of a gun. m Kindling fire, igniting.--- OR --- pē...
Sapiṇḍīkaraṇa (सपिण्डीकरण).—On the twelfth day (of ones death), a special ritual known as sapiṇ...

Relevant text

- Was this explanation helpful? Leave a comment:

Make this page a better place for research and define the term yourself in your own words.

You have to be a member in order to post comments. Click here to login or click here to become a member.