Shveta, aka: Śvetā, Sveta, Śveta; 13 Definition(s)


Shveta means something in 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 Śvetā and Śveta can be transliterated into English as Sveta or Shveta, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Ayurveda (science of life)

The third fold or layer (of the skin) is called Śvetá, which measures in thickness, a twelve-twentieth of a Vrihi (rice grain).

(Source): Sushruta samhita, Volume II
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.

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Śveta (श्वेत), one of the fifty Rudras according to the Caryāpāda section of the Makuṭāgama (one of the 28 Saiva Siddhanta Agamas).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Śveta (श्वेत) is the name of a mountain-range situated to the north of Ilāvṛta, according to the Parākhyatantra 5.76. Ilāvṛta is a region (navakhaṇḍa) situated within Jambūdvīpa: one of the seven continents situated within the world of the earth (pṛthivī). These continents are located above the seven pātālas and may contain even more sub-continents within them, are round in shape, and are encircled within seven concentric oceans.

According to the Parākhyatantra, “beyond that to the North like Nīla there is the mountain Śveta, wherethe great sage Śveta, though being devoured by Death, was protected by Śiva”.

The Parākhyatantra is an old Śaiva-siddhānta tantra dating from before the 10th century.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śaivism
Shaivism book cover
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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.

Śāktism (Śākta philosophy)

Śvetā (श्वेता, “white”):—Name of one of the sixty-four mātṛs to be worshipped during Āvaraṇapūjā (“Worship of the Circuit of Goddesses”, or “Durgā’s Retinue”), according to the Durgāpūjātattva. They should be worshipped with either the five upācāras or perfume and flowers.

Her mantra is as follows:

ॐ श्वेतायै नमः
oṃ śvetāyai namaḥ.

(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.


1a) Śveta (श्वेत).—(Varṣaparvata) a mountain range to the north of Ilāvṛta, and a boundary limit of Hiraṇmaya; residence of Daityas and Dānavas; centres round the Kumuda hill of Śālmalidvīpam; for Asuras.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 16. 8; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 1. 69; II. 15. 22 and 28; 17. 35; 20. 52; III. 7. 194; Matsya-purāṇa 113. 23, 84; 144. 57; Vāyu-purāṇa 1. 85; 42. 68; 45. 2; 46. 35. 49. 39; 50. 50.

1b) A chief Nāga of Pātāla;1 with the sun in Āvaṇi and Puraṭṭāśi.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 24. 31.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 23. 10; Vāyu-purāṇa 52. 11.

1c) A son of Vapuṣmat after whom came the Śvetadeśa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 14. 32-3; Vāyu-purāṇa 33. 28; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 4. 23, 29.

1d) A son of Devajanī and a Yakṣa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 128.

1e) A son of Bṛhati.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 71. 256; Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 247.

1f) A son of Vipracitta the dānava in the Tārakāmaya war.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 173. 19; 177. 7.

1g) The form of a great seer which Śiva assumes at the end of the four Yugas of the Kalpa; (Vārāha) in the Chagala hillock of the Himālayas;1 the avatār of the 23rd dvāpara in the Kalañjara hill.2

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 23. 115.
  • 2) Ib. 23. 203-4.

1h) One of the four Vedic disciples of Śveta, an avatār of the Lord Śiva.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 23. 117.

1i) A son of Maṇivara.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 159.

1j) A ṛtvik at Brahmā's sacrifice.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 106. 36.

1k) A division of Jambūdvipa.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 1. 21. 2. 11.

1l) A region of Śālmalidvīpa adjoining the Kumuda hill;1 the kingdom of Hiraṇvān.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 19. 44.
  • 2) Ib. II. 14. 50; 15. 34; 19. 44.

1m) A Parāśara clan; a dynasty of kings.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 8. 95; 74. 268; Vāyu-purāṇa 70. 89; 73. 62.

1n) The sages who sprang out of the side of Kumāra (Deveśa) in the 29th Kalpa.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 22. 15.

1o) A Janapada of the Ketumālā.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 44. 11; 99. 455.

2a) Śvetā (श्वेता).—A daughter of Krodhavaśā (Krodhā, Vāyu-purāṇa) and wife of Pulaha; mother of Vānaras;1 mother of four Diggajas.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 172, 180-203; Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 205.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 214.

2b) A daughter of Bṛhati.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 256; Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 247.

3) Sveta (स्वेत).—A varṣa round the Kumuda hill in Śālmalidvīpam.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 49. 39.
(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.

Kathā (narrative stories)

Śveta (श्वेत).—Nīla, Śveta and Śṛṅgavān are three varṣaparvatas to the north of Jambūdvīpa and they divide the three continents namely Ramyaka, Hiraṇmaya and Uttarakurudeśa respectively.

(Source): Shodhganga: A critical appreciation of soddhalas udayasundarikatha
Kathā book cover
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Kathās (कथा) are special kind of Sanskrit literature: they are a kind of a mix between Itihāsa (historical legends) and Mahākāvya (epic poetry). Some Kathās reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of the historical deeds of the Gods, sages and heroes.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Śveta (श्वेत, “white”) refers to one of the four primary colors, according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 23. It is also known by the name Sitā. According to the science of āhāryābhinaya (extraneous representation), there are four main colors (varṇa) from which various derivative and minor colors (upavarṇa) are derived. Colors are used in aṅgaracanā (painting the limbs), which forms a section of nepathya (costumes and make-up).

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra, “Soma (the Moon), Bṛhaspati. Śakra (Indra) Varuṇa and the stars (tāraka, tārakagaṇa), the ocean (samudra), the Himalayas, and Gaṅgā (the Ganges) are to be made white in colour (śveta)”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
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Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (e.g., 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 (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Śveta (श्वेत) refers to one of the forty-seven tānas (tone) used in Indian music.—The illustration of Śveta (as a deity) according to 15th-century Indian art is as follows.—The colour of his body is yellow. His face is similar to the face of a bull. A viṇā is held with both hands.

The illustrations (of, for example Śveta) are found scattered throughout ancient Jain manuscripts from Gujarat. The descriptions of these illustrations of this citrāvalī are based on the ślokas of Vācanācārya Gaṇi Sudhākalaśa’s Saṅgītopaniṣatsāroddhāra (14th century) and Śārṅgadeva’s Saṅgītaratnākara (13th century).

(Source): Illustrations of Indian Music and Dance in Western Indian Style

Śveta (श्वेत) is depicted as a sculpture on the sixth pillar of the southern half of the maṇḍapa of the temple of Lokeśvara.—According to the Liṅgapurāṇa (vol. 1, chap. 30), Śveta was one of the best ascetics. He was engaged in performing the pūjā, cult of Śiva, reading the Rudrādhyāya etc. to please Śiva. In his right hand Śveta is holding a round thing when Yama has put his noose on his neck. Probably, it is the Liṅga he is holding to perform the pūjā. The Liṅgapurāṇa mentions that an effigy of a Liṅga is given to the disciple by the preceptor at the time of the initiation and the disciple should worship that Liṅga in a Śiva temple. In our opinion this idea is visible here. Śveta is worshipping the Liṅga which was given to him at the time of his initiation. Śiva with four arms is emanating from the main Liṅga.

(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.

Itihāsa (narrative history)

Śveta (श्वेत) is a son of King Virāṭa with his wife Surathā. On the first day of the battle of the Mahābhārata Śveta enters the battlefield. He faces first Śalya and then Bhīṣma. Śveta starts fighting with Śalya. When the Kaurava party notices that Śalya is almost in the jaws of death, Duryodhana advances with Bhīṣma, the great old man well versed in archery. The inscription might be mentioning the name of Bhīṣma, who, on entering the battlefield, before setting out to fight, offers his homage to Kṛṣṇa first. Śalya escapes from the war field. Bhīṣma comes to the spot. Then he advances in a chariot towards Śveta. But on seeing Śveta descending from the chariot Bhīṣma too gets down from his chariot. Then both the opponents are fighting on foot. “Śveta took up a sword and cut off Bhīṣma’s bow” (Mahābhārata, part III, VI, Bhīṣmaparva, adhyāya 48, 103).

(Source): Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (mahābhārata)
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Itihāsa (इतिहास) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Purāṇas, 2) the Mahābhārata and 3) the Rāmāyaṇa. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smṛti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to śruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

General definition (in Hinduism)

Sveta (स्‍वेत): A son of King Virata who fell in battle to Bhishma's arrow.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Sveta (स्वेत).—A son of King Virāṭa. He was killed in a ferocious battle with grandfather Bhīṣma. (Bhīṣma Parva in Mahābhārata)

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

śvēta (श्वेत).—a (S) White. śvētakṛṣṇa hōṇēṃ (To become white and black.) To die.

--- OR ---

śvēta (श्वेत).—m (Corr. from sētu S) A bridge.

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