Shvetarashmi, aka: Śvetaraśmi; 2 Definition(s)


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)

Shvetarashmi in Purana glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

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)

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia
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.

Discover the meaning of shvetarashmi or svetarasmi in the context of Purana from relevant books on Exotic India

Katha (narrative stories)

Shvetarashmi in Katha glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

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.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

Discover the meaning of shvetarashmi or svetarasmi in the context of Katha from relevant books on Exotic India

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