Shakra, aka: Śakra, Sakra, Śākra; 11 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

Āstika (orthodox philosophy)

The lord of the celestials, riding on his white elephant.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Indian Philosophy
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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’).

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.


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
Purāṇa book cover
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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.

Śāktism (Śākta 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
Śāktism book cover
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Śākta (शाक्त, shakta) or Śāktism (shaktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devī) is revered and worshipped. Śākta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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
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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).

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
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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.

Relevant definitions

Search found 55 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Śakrāśana (शक्राशन).—the Kuṭaja tree. -nam an intoxicating drink prepared from hemp. Derivable ...
Śakrajīt (शक्रजीत्).—m. epithets of Meghanāda, son of Rāvaṇa. Śakrajīt is a Sanskrit compound c...
Śakrotsava (शक्रोत्सव).—a festival in honour of Indra on the 12th day of the bright half of Bhā...
Śakrasuta (शक्रसुत).—1) an epithet of Jayanta. 2) of Arjuna. 3) of Vāli. Derivable forms: śakra...
Śakradhvaja (शक्रध्वज).—a flag set up in honour of Indra; जृम्भमाणः सुविपुलं शक्रध्वजमिवोच्छ्रि...
Śakrabīja (शक्रबीज) is a Sanskrit name referring to the seeds of Kuṭaja (Wrightia antidysent...
Śakratīrtha (शक्रतीर्थ).—On the southern bank of the Narmadā; sacred to the Pitṛs.** Mats...
Śakravallī (शक्रवल्ली) is another name for Indravāruṇī, which is a Sanskrit word referring t...
Śakramātṛ (शक्रमातृ) is another name for Bhāraṅgī, which is a Sanskrit word referring to Cle...
Indra (इन्द्र) is the name of a ancient authority on the science of Sanskrit metrics (chandaśās...
Śīta (शीत, “cool”) refers to one of the “eleven tangibles” (spraṣṭavya) as defined in the Dharm...
abhiṣēka (अभिषेक).—m-ṣiñcana-ṣēcana n Dropping drop by drop (holy water &c.) over an idol, a ki...
1) Sudarśana (सुदर्शन) refers to the “beautiful mountain” and represents one of the “eight moun...
Gandharva (गन्धर्व) refers to “divine artists” accompanying the gods according to the Mahāprajñ...
Nandana (नन्दन) or Nandanavana is the name of one of the four parks of the Sudarśana city accor...

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