Shvetarashmi, Śvetaraśmi: 3 definitions


Shvetarashmi 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.

The Sanskrit term Śvetaraśmi can be transliterated into English as Svetarasmi or Shvetarashmi, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous (S) next»] — Shvetarashmi in Purana glossary
Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Śvetaraśmi (श्वेतरश्मि).—An elephant. A Gandharva happened to be born as a white elephant in the Kaliṅga country, as a result of a curse. Śvetaraśmi is the name of that elephant. The King Ratnādhipa mounted that elephant and did many exploits.

King Ratnādhipa was the ruler of the island Ratnakūṭa. He was a prominent Vaiṣṇava. He did tapas to Viṣṇu with the object of conquering the whole earth and to get all princesses as his wives. Mahāviṣṇu appeared before him and said:—"A Gandharva has been born in the land of Kaliṅga by a curse as a white elephant. His name is Śvetaraśmi. As directed by me, he will come to you. You may ride him and he will take you through the air across the sky. All the Kings against whom you fight, will be defeated and they will offer their daughters to you as tribute." (See full article at Story of Śvetaraśmi from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

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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Kavya (poetry)

[«previous (S) next»] — Shvetarashmi in Kavya glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara

Śvetaraśmi (श्वेतरश्मि) is the name of a white elephant possessing the power of flying through the sky, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 36. Accordingly, “... there is in the land of Kaliṅga a Gandharva, who has become a white elephant by the curse of a hermit, and is known by the name of Śvetaraśmi. On account of the asceticism he performed in a former life, and on account of his devotion to me, that elephant is supernaturally wise, and possesses the power of flying through the sky, and of remembering his former birth”.

The story of Śvetaraśmi was narrated by Ratnaprabhā in order to demonstrate that “women of good family are guarded by their own virtue as their only chamberlain; but even God himself can scarcely guard the unchaste” in other words, “in no case can anyone guard a woman by force in this world, but the young woman of good family is ever protected by the pure restraint of her own chastity”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Śvetaraśmi, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

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Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

[«previous (S) next»] — Shvetarashmi in Sanskrit glossary
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Śvetaraśmi (श्वेतरश्मि):—[=śveta-raśmi] [from śveta > śvit] m. Name of a Gandharva transformed into a white elephant, [Kathāsaritsāgara]

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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.

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