Preta; 11 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

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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
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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Dharmashastra (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)
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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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
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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).

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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

Pali-English dictionary

Preta in Pali glossary... « previous · [P] · next »

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

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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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.

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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
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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

Preta (प्रेत).—p. p. [pra-i-kta] Departed from this world, dead, deceased; स्वजनाश्रु किलातिसंततं दहति प्रेतमिति प्रचक्षते (svajanāśru kilātisaṃtataṃ dahati pretamiti pracakṣate) R.8.86.

-taḥ 1 The departed spirit, the spirit before obsequial rites are performed.

2) A ghost, evil spirit; प्रेतान् भूतगणांश्चान्ये यजन्ते तामसा जनाः (pretān bhūtagaṇāṃścānye yajante tāmasā janāḥ) Bg.17.4; Ms.12.71.

3) The inhabitant of hell (nāraka); शुश्रुवुर्दारुणा वाचः प्रेतानामिव भारत (śuśruvurdāruṇā vācaḥ pretānāmiva bhārata) Mb.6.46.19.

4) The manes (pitara); प्रथिता प्रेतकृत्यैषा पित्र्यं नाम विधुक्षये । तस्मिन् युक्तस्यैति नित्यं प्रेतकृत्यैव लौकिकी (prathitā pretakṛtyaiṣā pitryaṃ nāma vidhukṣaye | tasmin yuktasyaiti nityaṃ pretakṛtyaiva laukikī) || Ms.3.127.

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Preta (प्रेत).—&c. See under प्रे (pre).

See also (synonyms): preti, pretya.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Preta (प्रेत).—mfn.

(-taḥ-tā-taṃ) Dead, deceased. m.

(-taḥ) 1. A ghost, a goblin, a spirit, an evil being, especially animating the carcases of the dead. 2. The spirit before obsequial rites are performed. E. pra before, ita gone.

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

Search found 77 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Pretaloka (प्रेतलोक).—m. (-kaḥ) The region of disembodied spirits, in which they remain for one...
Pretarāja (प्रेतराज).—m. (-jaḥ) Yama. E. preta and rāja king.
Pretapakṣa (प्रेतपक्ष).—n. (-kṣaṃ) The dark half of the month. E. preta and pakṣa a fortnight.
Pretaśauca (प्रेतशौच).—purification after the death of a relative. Derivable forms: pretaśaucam...
Pretāyana (प्रेतायन).—Name of a particular hell. Derivable forms: pretāyanaḥ (प्रेतायनः).Pretāy...
Pretabhūmi (प्रेतभूमि).—f. a cemetery. Derivable forms: pretabhūmiḥ (प्रेतभूमिः).Pretabhūmi is ...
Pretahāra (प्रेतहार).—m. (-raḥ) One who carries a corpse, a near kinsman. E. preta and hāra who...
Pretakārya (प्रेतकार्य) or Pretakāryya.—n. (-ryaṃ) Obsequial ceremonies, any usages observed in...
Pretakṛtya (प्रेतकृत्य).—nf. (-tyaṃ-tyā) Obsequial rites. E. preta and kṛtya a ceremony; also p...
Pretapaṭaha (प्रेतपटह).—m. (-haḥ) A drum played at the death of a person. E. preta dead, and pa...
Pretānna (प्रेतान्न).—n. (-nnaṃ) Food offered to the manes or distributed on a person’s death. ...
Pretanara (प्रेतनर).—m. (-raḥ) A ghost, a corpse. E. preta and nara a man.
Pretarākṣasī (प्रेतराक्षसी).—the holy basil (tulasī). Pretarākṣasī is a Sanskrit compound consi...
Pretāsana (प्रेतासन) refers to a type of Āsana (sitting poses), according to T. A. G. Rao ...
Pretoddeśa (प्रेतोद्देश).—m. (-śaḥ) An offering to the manes. E. preta and uddeśa object.

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