Preta: 12 definitions

Introduction

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.

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In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Preta (प्रेत).—Spirits harassing children.*

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

Source: Manblunder: Garuda Purana series (dharmashastra)

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.

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)

Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist TermsA "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: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

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

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

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

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).

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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: academia.edu: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Preta (प्रेत) is the name of a Vīra (hero) who, together with the Ḍākinī named Pretī forms one of the 36 pairs situated in the Cittacakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the cittacakra refers to one of the three divisions of the nirmāṇa-puṭa (‘emanation layer’), situated in the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs and Vīras [viz., Preta] are black in color; they each have one face and four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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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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General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

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.

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

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

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

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

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

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

prēta (प्रेत).—n A corpse. A goblin.

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

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: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara 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.

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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