Shakra, aka: Śakra, Sakra, Śākra; 13 Definition(s)


Shakra 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.

The Sanskrit terms Śakra and Śākra can be transliterated into English as Sakra or Shakra, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism


Śakra (शक्र) is the name of a Nakṣatra mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa verse 784. As regards the heavenly bodies, the Nīlamata refers to the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars. The divisions of the time are also mentioned as objects of worship.

(Source): Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

1a) Śakra (शक्र).—(Śatakratu) a son of Aditi, and surname of Indra (s.v.); his brother Upendra;1 deceived Rāji accepting him to be his son in the first instance and finally contrived to oust him from Indrahood.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 6. 39; 10. 18; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 6. 11; Vāyu-purāṇa 30. 95, 109; 61. 30; 96. 196; 97. 23.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 92. 88.

1b) A son of Śoṇāśva.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 44. 79.

1c) A son of Śūra.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 137.

1d) An Āditya.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 15. 130.

1e) Indra;1 attended on Diti and cut the embryo in seven parts and later into forty-nine pieces; these are the Maruts;2 city of Vaśankasāra;3 joined Bṛhaspati in the Tārakāmaya;4 father of Arjuna.5

  • 1) Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 11. 1; 29. 1; 30. 4 and 26; 34. 1.
  • 2) Ib. I. 21. 33, 40.
  • 3) Ib. II. 8. 9.
  • 4) Ib. IV. 6. 16.
  • 5) Ib. IV. 20. 40.

2) Śākra (शाक्र).—Of the Yajurvedins, to be recited in rituals connected with the digging of tanks.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 58. 35; 93. 132.
(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.

Ayurveda (science of life)

Śakra (शक्र) is a synonym for Kuṭaja (Wrightia antidysenterica, “Kurchi fruit”), from the Apocynaceae family. The term is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Carakasaṃhitā. This synonym was identified by Amarasiṃha in his Amarakośa (a Sanskrit botanical thesaurus from the 4th century). Śakra literally translates to “powerful one” and is an epithet for Indra (king of the devas in Vedic Hinduism).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany
Ayurveda book cover
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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.

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Śakra (शक्र) refers to one of the 53 gods to be worshipped and given pāyasa (rice boiled in milk) according to the Vāstuyāga rite in Śaktism (cf. Śāradātilaka-tantra III-V). The worship of these 53 gods happens after assigning them to one of the 64 compartment while constructing a Balimaṇḍapa. Vāstu is the name of a prodigious demon, who was killed by 53 gods (eg., Śakra).

Śakra is also mentioned as another one of the 53 gods to be worshipped in the eastern quarter.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śāktism
Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

Itihasa (narrative history)

Śakra (शक्र) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.57.18, I.59.15, I.65, I.60.35) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Śakra) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

(Source): JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

General definition (in Hinduism)

Śakra (सक्र): Śakra is identified with the Vedic deity Indra. Śakra is sometimes named as one of the twelve Ādityas.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

King of the gods:

"... In the days of the Buddha, the Sakra (King of the gods) himself had these signs appear to him..."

(Source): Pali Kanon: Fundamentals of Vipassanā Meditation
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).

Vajrayāna (Tibetan Buddhism)

Śakra (शक्र) is another name for Indra: protector deity of the eastern cremation ground.—Indra is the king of the gods, also called Śakra (Śmaśānavidhi 4) and Devendra (Guhyasamayasādhanamālā). In the Śmaśānavidhi he is described mounted on his elephant, Airāvata. He is white and holds a vajra (left) and skull bowl (right); in Adbhutaśmaśānālaṃkāra he is said to hold a vajra (left), and make the threatening gesture, the tarjanīmudrā (right)

(Source): Google Books: Vajrayogini
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.

Discover the meaning of shakra or sakra in the context of Tibetan Buddhism from relevant books on Exotic India

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Śakra (शक्र) or “Śakra devānām indra” is one of the three great leaders among the gods according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XV). Accordingly, “Śakra devānām indraḥ is the leader of two classes of gods, (the Cāturmahārājika and the Trāyastriṃśa)”.

Also, “Śakra devānām indraḥ resides above ground like the Buddha; he is constantly near the Buddha; he is very famous (yaśas) and people know him well”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

śakra (शक्र).—m S A name of Indra. śakradhanu n The bow of Indra, rain-bow.

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

śakra (शक्र).—m A name of indra. śakradhanu n Rainbow.

(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.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Śakra (शक्र).—[śak-rak]

1) Name of Indra; एकः कृती शकुन्तेषु योऽन्यः शक्रान्न याचते (ekaḥ kṛtī śakunteṣu yo'nyaḥ śakrānna yācate) Kuval.

2) The Arjuna tree.

3) The Kuṭaja tree.

4) An owl.

5) The asterism ज्येष्ठा (jyeṣṭhā).

6) The number 'fourteen'.

7) Name of Śiva.

8) Lord; शक्रप्रस्थस्य शक्रेण विरुद्धोऽयमभूत् सदा (śakraprasthasya śakreṇa viruddho'yamabhūt sadā) Śiva B.9.5.

Derivable forms: śakraḥ (शक्रः).

--- OR ---

Śākra (शाक्र).—a. Relating or belonging to Indra; प्रादुश्चक्रे ततः पार्थः शाक्रमस्त्रं महारथः (prāduścakre tataḥ pārthaḥ śākramastraṃ mahārathaḥ) Mb.7.93.21.

-kram The ज्येष्ठा (jyeṣṭhā) Nakṣatra (presided over by Indra).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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.

Relevant definitions

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