Putana, aka: Pūtanā, Pūtana; 6 Definition(s)


Putana means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Pūtanā (पूतना):—Sanskrit name of one of the twenty-four goddesses of the Sūryamaṇḍala (first maṇḍala of the Khecarīcakra) according to the kubjikāmata-tantra. She is also known as Pavanā according to the Gorakṣa-saṃhitā. The Khecarīcakra is the fifth cakra (‘internal mystic center’) of the five (pañcacakra) and is located on or above the head. She presides over the pītha (‘sacred site’) called Āmrātikeśvara.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra
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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.

Āyurveda (science of life)

Pūtanā (पूतना):—One of the seven varieties of Harītakī (‘yellow myrobalan tree’), which is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. It has small fruits with big seeds and can be used for external application. It is found throughout the Sindh area.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.


1a) Pūtanā (पूतना).—A demoness and a friend of Kaṃsa; was deputed by him to kill all infants. Once she came to Vraja and changing her form to that of a fascinating lady, entered Nanda's house and began to suckle the baby Kṛṣṇa. He understood the purpose and sucked her life out to the wonderment of the Gopīs and Gopas. Her body was cremated and she reached heaven;1 to be propitiated at the commencement of building operations of palaces.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 2. 1; 6. 2-17, 28 and 34-38; 14. 35; 26. 4; 43. 25; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 29. 124; III. 73. 100; Vāyu-purāṇa 9. 97; 98. 100; Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 4. 1; 5. 7-11, 23; 6. 23; 15. 2; 29. 5.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 268. 29.

1b) A daughter of Bali;1 mother of the bhūtas and a graha.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 5. 43; Vāyu-purāṇa 67. 84.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 158 and 161.

1c) A Varṇa śakti.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 44. 59.

1d) A Rākṣasī and wife of Bhadra: Her sons are called Naiṛrtas.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 59. 12-4.

2) Pūtana (पूतन).—A class of fearful Rākṣasas.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 190.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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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.

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Pūtanā (पूतना) is depicted as a sculpture on the second pillar of the southern half of the maṇḍapa of the temple of Lokeśvara.—The next sequence shows the demoness Pūtanā who tried to feed the child with her poisonous breasts. In no time, the baby put an end to her life by sucking her blood through her venomous breast. According to Bhāgavata, he was only seven days old, when he encountered Pūtanā. But in the sculpture, he looks a little older.

(Source): Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (śilpa)
Śilpaśāstra book cover
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Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Pūtanā (पूतना, “putrefaction”) is a Rakṣasī (demoness), who is killed by the infant-god Kṛṣṇa. Pūtanā is also considered as a foster-mother of Kṛṣṇa as she breast-fed him, though it was with the motive of killing Kṛṣṇa by poisoned milk. By offering her milk, Pūtanā had performed “the supreme act of maternal devotion”, in the shadow of her evil motives. The word “Pūtanā”, broken as pūt (‘virtue’) and (‘no’) means “devoid of virtue”. Another explanation derives “Pūtanā” from pūta (‘purifying’), thus meaning “she who purifies”.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Pūtanā (पूतना).—A witch who was sent by Kaṃsa to appear in the form of a beautiful woman to kill baby Kṛṣṇa but who was killed by Him and granted liberation.

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

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