Sharabha, Śarabhā, Sarabha, Śarabha: 30 definitions


Sharabha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, 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 Śarabhā and Śarabha can be transliterated into English as Sarabha or Sharabha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

Images (photo gallery)

In Hinduism

Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Śarabha (शरभ) is a Sanskrit word referring to the animal “wapiti”. The meat of this animal is part of the māṃsavarga (‘group of flesh’), which is used throughout Ayurvedic literature. The animal Śarabha is part of the sub-group named Jāṅgalamṛga, refering to “animals living in forests”. It was classified by Caraka in his Carakasaṃhitā sūtrasthāna (chapter 27), a classical Ayurvedic work. Caraka defined such groups (vargas) based on the dietic properties of the substance.

Ayurveda book cover
context information

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.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Sharabha in Purana glossary
Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

1) Śarabha (शरभ).—A nāga born in the Takṣaka dynasty. It was burnt to death at Janamejaya’s serpent yajña. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 57, Verse 8).

2) Śarabha (शरभ).—A nāga born in the Airāvata dynasty. It was burnt to death at Janamejaya’s serpent yajña. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 57, Verse 11).

3) Śarabha (शरभ).—A notorious Dānava, son of Kaśyapaprajāpati by his wife Danu. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 65, Verse 26).

4) Śarabha (शरभ).—A maharṣi, who worships Yama in his court. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 8, Verse 14).

5) Śarabha (शरभ).—Brother of Dhṛṣṭaketu, King of Cedi. He was a friend and supporter of the Pāṇḍavas. During the aśvamedha he helped Arjuna to lead the yājñic horse. (Aśvamedhika Parva, Chapter 83, Verse 3).

6) Śarabha (शरभ).—A brother of Śakuni. He was killed in the great war by Bhīma. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 157, Verse 24).

7) Śarabha (शरभ).—Vīrabhadra incarnated himself as Śarabha to defeat Narasiṃhamūrti (Śiva Purāṇa, Śatarudrasaṃhitā).

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Śarabha (शरभ) refers to a type of eight-legged Bird (pakṣin), according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.5.2 (“The Prayer of the gods).—Accordingly, as the Gods eulogized Śiva: “[...] Among all stones, you are the crystal, O great god, among the flowers you are the lotus; among mountains you are Himavat. Among all activities you are the speech; among poets you are Bhārgava. Among birds you are the eight-legged Śarabha. Among beasts of prey you are the lion. [...]”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Śarabha (शरभ).—A Dānava.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 6. 12; Vāyu-purāṇa 68. 12.

1b) A Vānarajāti born of Hari and Pulaha; hunted by Haihaya in the Vindhyas.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 174, 319; 26. 30; 35. 21; 51. 11; IV. 29. 41.

1c) A son of Vyāghra and father of Śuka.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 207, 233.

1d) A son of Jāmbavat; after him came the Śarabhas, a Vānara jāti.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 304, 319.

1e) A son of Rukmiṇī and Kṛṣṇa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 71. 245; Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 237.
Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

Śarabha (शरभ) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.52.10, I.57) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Śarabha) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Śarabha is also mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.59.26, I.65, I.61.28) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places.

Source: Srimad Valmiki Ramayana

Śarabha (शरभ) refers to “legendary animal with eight legs” (living in the forest), according to the Rāmāyaṇa chapter 2.29. Accordingly:—“[...] Sītā was distressed to hear these words of Rāma and spoke these words slowly, with her face with tears: ‘[...] Oh Rāma! Antelopes, lions, elephants, tigers, Śarabhas, birds, yaks and all others which roam in the forest, run away after seeing your form, since they have never seen your figure before. When there is cause for fear, who would not have fear?’”.

Purana book cover
context information

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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Śarabhā (शरभा) refers to a type of syllabic metre (vṛtta), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 16. In this metre, the first four, the tenth, the eleventh, the thirteenth and the fourteenth syllables of a foot (pāda) are heavy (guru), while the rest of the syllables are light (laghu).


Śarabhā falls in the Śakkarī class of chandas (rhythm-type), which implies that verses constructed with this metre have four pādas (‘foot’ or ‘quarter-verse’) containing fourteen syllables each.

Natyashastra book cover
context information

Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (shastra) of performing arts, (natya—theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing Dramatic plays (nataka), construction and performance of Theater, and Poetic works (kavya).

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Sreenivasarao's blog: Saptamatrka (part 4) (shilpa)

Sharabha according to Kalikagama.—The body of Sharabha should be that of a bird of golden hue, having two red eyes; and it should have two up-lifted wings and eight limbs. Sharabha, which is said to be mightier than an elephant, should have the fierce face of a lion grinning widely, having tusks and   wearing kirita makuta. The torso of Sharabha resembles that of human male having four hands .The lower part of its body should resemble that of a lion having four legs, sharp claws and a tail. Sharabha should be shown carrying the figure of Narasimha in his human form with upraised folded hands, anjali-mudra.

Shilpashastra book cover
context information

Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature

1) Śarabha (शरभ) refers to one of the 23 types of dohā metres (a part of mātrā type) described in the 1st chapter of the Vṛttamauktika by Candraśekhara (17th century): author of many metrical compositions and the son of Lakṣmīnātha Bhaṭṭa and Lopāmudrā.

2) Śarabha (शरभ) refers to one of the 130 varṇavṛttas (syllabo-quantitative verse) dealt with in the second chapter of the Vṛttamuktāvalī, ascribed to Durgādatta (19th century), author of eight Sanskrit work and patronised by Hindupati: an ancient king of the Bundela tribe (presently Bundelkhand of Uttar Pradesh). A Varṇavṛtta (e.g., śarabha) refers to a type of classical Sanskrit metre depending on syllable count where the light-heavy patterns are fixed.

Chandas book cover
context information

Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

1) Śarabha (शरभ)—Sanskrit word for a kind of “deer”. This animal is from the group called Jaṅghāla (large-kneed). Jaṅghāla itself is a sub-group of the group of animals known as Jāṅghala (living in high ground and in a jungle)

2) A creature part lion and part bird. According to Sanskrit literature, Sharabha is an eight-legged beast. In later literature, Sharabha is described as an eight-legged deer.

3) The Vaishnavas refute the portrayal of Narasimha as being destroyed by Shiva-Sharabha and regard Sharabha as a name of Vishnu. 

Source: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

1) Śarabha (शरभ) is the name of some wild animal in the Atharvaveda and later. In the classical literature it is a fabulous, eight-legged beast, dwelling in the snowy mountains, a foe of lions and elephants: the commentator Mahīdhara sees this sense, but without reason, in the Vājasaneyisaṃhitā. The animal is spoken of as akin to the goat: it was probably a kind of deer.

2) Śarabha (शरभ) is the name of a Ṛṣi in the Rigveda.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Sharabha is a creature in Hindu mythology that is part lion and part bird. According to Sanskrit literature, Sharabha is an eight-legged beast, mightier than a lion and elephant and which can kill the lion. Sharabha, can clear a valley in one jump. In later literature, Sharabha is described as an eight-legged deer.

1) Shaiva scriptures narrate that god Shiva assumed the Avatar (incarnation) of Sharabha to pacify Narasimha;

2) In Sanskrit literature, Sharabha is initially described as an animal that roared and scared other animals in the hills and forest areas.

3) In Puranic literature, Sharabha is associated with god Shiva, who incarnates to subdue fierce manifestations of Vishnu.

4) The Mahabharata, the great Hindu epic, narrates: a dog, with the help of a Rishi (sage) assumes various animal forms—starting from a dog to a tiger then to an elephant followed by a lion and a sharabha—terrorized every one in the hermitage of the Rishi.

5) Shaivite views: The legend of Sharabha as an incarnation of Shiva is narrated in many Hindu scriptures.

6) The Shiva Purana mentions: Shiva assumed the Sharabha form after slaying Hiranyakashipu, and then attacked Narasimha and embraced him.

7) The Skanda Purana: The purpose of Shiva assuming the form of Sharabha was to ensure that the lion body of Vishnu was discarded and he got united with his original divine form.

8) In the Kalika Purana, Varaha - Vishnu’s boar avatar - had amorous dalliance with the earth goddess. He and his three boar sons then created mayhem in the world, which necessitated Shiva to take the form of Sharabha, to kill the Varaha form.

9) Vaishnava followers including Dvaita scholars, such as Vijayindra Tirtha (1539–95) refute the portrayal of Narasimha as being destroyed by Sharabha as they consider the Shaivite Puranas as tamasic - and thus not authoritative.

10) The Sharabha Upanishad mentions that shara means jiva ("soul") and Hari (Vishnu) is gleaming in the form of Sharabha.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

A Paribbajaka who joined the Order and soon after left it. He then went about proclaiming in Rajagaha that he knew the Dhamma and Vinaya of the Sakyaputta monks, and that was why he had left their Order. The Buddha, being told of this, visited the Paribbajakarama, on the banks of the Sappinika, and challenged Sarabha to repeat his statement. Three times the challenge was uttered, but Sarabha sat silent. The Buddha then declared to the Paribbajakas that no one could say that his claim to Enlightenment was unjustified, or that his dhamma, if practised, did not lead to the destruction of Ill. After the Buddhas departure, the Paribbajakas taunted and abused Sarabha (A.i.185ff).

It is said (AA.i.412 f ) that Sarabha joined the Order at the request of the Paribbajakas. They had failed to find any fault with the Buddhas life, and thought that his power was due to an avattanimaya, which he and his disciples practised once a fortnight behind closed doors. Sarabha agreed to find it out and learn it. He therefore went to Gijjhakuta, where he showed great humility to all the resident monks. An Elder, taking pity on him, ordained him. In due course he learned the patimokkha, which, he realized, was what the Paribbajakas took to be the Buddhas maya. Having learned it, he went back to the Paribbajakas, taught it to them, and with them went about in the city boasting that he knew the Buddhas teaching and had found it worthless.

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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General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: Ancient Buddhist Texts: The Story of the Śarabha (Anukampā)

One time, it is said, the Bodhisattva was a Śarabha, living in a remotepart of a certain forest. That region, lying beyond the path and thenoise of men, was a dwelling-place of manifold tribes of forest-animals.

That Śarabha had a solid body, endowed with strength, vigour, and swiftness; he was distinguished by the beautiful colour of his skin. As he was addicted to practising compassion, he cherished friendly feelings towards all animals. Possessing the virtue of contentment, he subsisted only on grasses, leaves and water, and was pleased with his residence in the forest. So he adorned that part of the forest, longing, like a Yogin, for complete detachment.

“Bearing the shape of a forest-animal, but pos-sessing the intellectual faculties of a man, he lived in that solitary wilderness, showing, like an ascetic, mercy to all living beings, and contenting himself like a Yogin, with blades of grass.”

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

1) Śarabha (शरभ) is the name of an ancient king, according to the Jain Ramayana and chapter 7.4 [Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra: an ancient Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three illustrious persons in Jainism.—Accordingly, “Siṃharatha’s son, Brahmaratha, became king next, then Cāturmukha, Hemaratha, Śataratha, Udayapṛthu, Vāriratha, Induratha, Ādityaratha, Māndhātṛ, Vīrasena in turn, King Pratimanyu, King Pratibandhu, King Ravimanyu, Vasantatilaka, Kuberadatta, Kunthu, Śarabha, Dvirada in turn, then Siṃhadaśana, Hiraṇyakaśipu, Puñjasthala, Kakutstha, Raghu. Among these kings some reached emancipation and some heaven”.

2) Śarabha (शरभ) is the name of a Kapi or Monkey-chief, according to chapter 7.6 [Bringing news of Sītā].—Accordingly, as Hanumat said to Rāma: “There are many Kapis like me. King Sugrīva says this from affection. [e.g., Śarabha, ...], and many other Kapi-chiefs are here, master. Completing their number, I am ready to do your work. Shall I lift up Laṅkā with Rākṣasadvīpa and bring it here? Or shall I capture Daśakandhara and his relatives and bring them here? [...]”.

General definition book cover
context information

Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geography

Source: Google Books: Vakataka - Gupta Age Circa 200-550 A.D.

Śarabha (शरभ).—The city of Śarabhapura was apparently founded by a king named Śarabha who seems also to have been the founder of the dynasty of the Śarabhapura rulers. King Śarabha is actually known to have been the father of Mahārāja Narendra who issued the Pipardula grant from Śarabhapura in the third year of his reign. This Śarabha may further be identified with Śarabharāja, maternal grandfather of Goparāja, who was a vassal of Bhānugupta of the Imperial Gupta dynasty abnd died at Eran in 510 A.D.

Source: Singhi Jain Series: Ratnaprabha-suri’s Kuvalayamala-katha (history)

Śarabha (शरभ) refers to a type of animal stronger than a lion (and said to have eight feet), which was commonly depicted on the Saṃsāracakra paintings (representing scenes of animal life), in ancient India, as mentioned in the Kathās (narrative poems) such as Uddyotanasūri in his 8th-century Kuvalayamālā (a Prakrit Campū, similar to Kāvya poetry).—Page 185.21 f.: Here follows a description of a printed scroll illustrating the Jaina conception of saṃsāracakra. [...] The saṃsāra-cakra illustrated the three worlds of hell, human world and the world of gods. [For example:] A number of animals making a composite form, one upon another: spider caught in the web of another spider, the latter catching an insect pursued by a lizard and the latter caught by a black bird which flying in the sky with its feed was caught by a bird of prey, and the latter falling to the ground was caught by a wild cat which in turn was attacked by a wild boar, the latter was being attacked by leopard, and the leopard was attacked by a tiger, the latter instantaneously by a lion and the lion by a wild Śarabha.

India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Sharabha in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

sarabha : (m.) a kind of deer.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Sarabha, (Vedic śarabha a sort of deer J. IV, 267; VI, 537) (rohiccasarabhā migā=rohitā sarabhamigā, C. ibid. 538); Sarabhamigajātaka the 483rd Jātaka J. I, 193, 406 (text Sarabhaṅga); IV, 263 sq.

Pali book cover
context information

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

śarabha (शरभ).—m S A fabulous animal of eight legs inhabiting the Himalaya range. 2 A locust: also a grasshopper.

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

śarabha (शरभ).—m A locust; a grasshopper.

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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Śarabha (शरभ).—[śṝ-abhac Uṇādi-sūtra 3.122]

1) A young elephant.

2) A fabulous animal said to have 8 legs and to be stronger than a lion; शरभकुलमजिह्मं प्रोद्धरत्यम्बु कूपात् (śarabhakulamajihmaṃ proddharatyambu kūpāt) Ṛtusaṃhāra 1 23; अष्टपादः शरभः सिंहघाती (aṣṭapādaḥ śarabhaḥ siṃhaghātī) Mb.

3) A camel.

4) A grass-hopper.

5) A locust.

Derivable forms: śarabhaḥ (शरभः).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Śarabha (शरभ).—(1) (= Pali Sarabha) name of a parivrājaka (see Malalasekara (Dictionary of Pali Proper Names)): Pischel, SBBA 1904 p. 816 fol. 167a ff.; (2) name of a maharṣi: Mahā-Māyūrī 256.25.

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

Śarabha (शरभ).—m.

(-bhaḥ) 1. A fabulous animal, supposed to have eight legs, and to inhabit particularly the snowy mountains. 2. A young elephant. 3. A monkey in Rama'S army. 4. A camel. 5. A grasshopper. 6. A locust. E. śṝ to injure, Unadi aff. abhac; or śara an arrow, bhā to shine, aff. ka .

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Śarabha (शरभ).— (cf. karabha), m. 1. A fabulous animal with eight legs, stronger than a lion, [Meghadūta, (ed. Gildemeister.)] 55. 2. A young elephant. 3. A camel. 4. A grasshopper (cf. śalabha). 5. A locust, [Ṛtusaṃhāra] 1, 23.

— Cf. perhaps [Anglo-Saxon.] crabba.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Śarabha (शरभ).—[masculine] a kind of deer, later a fabulous eight-legged animal; [Epithet] of Viṣṇu, [Name] of an Asura etc.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Śarabha (शरभ):—m. a kind of deer or (in later times) a fabulous animal (supposed to have eight legs and to inhabit the snowy mountains; it is represented as stronger than the lion and the elephant; cf. aṣṭa-pad and mahā-skandhin), [Atharva-veda] etc. etc.

2) a young elephant, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

3) a camel, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

4) a grasshopper (= śalabha), [Horace H. Wilson]

5) a locust, [ib.]

6) a kind of metre, [Colebrooke]

7) Name of Viṣṇu, [Monier-Williams’ Sanskrit-English Dictionary]

8) of an Upaniṣad (cf. śarabhopaniṣad)

9) of an Asura, [Mahābhārata]

10) of two serpent-demons, [ib.]

11) of various men, [Ṛg-veda; Mahābhārata] etc.

12) of a son of Śiśu-pāla, [Mahābhārata]

13) of brother of Śakuni, [ib.]

14) of a prince of the Aśmakas, [Harṣacarita]

15) of a monkey in Rāma’s army, [Rāmāyaṇa]

16) ([plural]) Name of a people, [Mahābhārata] ([Bombay edition] śabara)

17) Śarabhā (शरभा):—[from śarabha] f. a girl with withered limbs and therefore unfit for marriage, [Gṛhya-sūtra]

18) [v.s. ...] ([probably]) a kind of wooden machine. cf. [according to] to some, [Greek], κίραφος, κόραφος.

19) Sarabha (सरभ):—m. Name of a monkey ([probably] [wrong reading] for śarabha), [Rāmatāpanīya-upaniṣad]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Śarabha (शरभ):—[śara-bha] (bhaḥ) 1. m. A fabulous animal with eight legs; young elephant; monkey in Rāma’s army; camel; locust; grasshopper.

[Sanskrit to German]

Sharabha in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Śarabha (ಶರಭ):—

1) [noun] a very fabulous mythological animal having eight legs, believed to overpower lions and elephants.

2) [noun] a young elephant.

3) [noun] a kind of mystical hymn.

4) [noun] Vīrabhadra, son of Śiva.

5) [noun] (pros.) a kind of alleteration in which two consonants joined together get repeated.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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