Shyama, aka: Śyāmā, Śyāma; 18 Definition(s)


Shyama means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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 Śyāmā and Śyāma can be transliterated into English as Syama or Shyama, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Śyāmā (श्यामा):—One of the twelve guṇas associated with Kāma, the second seat of the Svādhiṣṭhāna-chakra. According to tantric sources such as the Śrīmatottara-tantra and the Gorakṣasaṃhitā (Kādiprakaraṇa), these twelve guṇas are represented as female deities. According to the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā however, they are explained as particular syllables. They (eg. Śyāmā) only seem to play an minor role with regard to the interpretation of the Devīcakra (first of five chakras, as taught in the Kubjikāmata-tantra).

Source: Wisdom Library: Ṣaṭsāhasra-saṃhitā
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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.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

1) Śyāmā (श्यामा, “black”):—Another name for Trivṛt (Operculina turpethum), a species of medicinal plant and used in the treatment of fever (jvara), as described in the Jvaracikitsā (or “the treatment of fever”) which is part of the 7th-century Mādhavacikitsā, a Sanskrit classical work on Āyurveda.

2) Śyāma (श्याम) is a synonym for Priyaṅgu, which is a Sanskrit name for a medicinal plant (Callicarpa macrophylla). It can also be spelled as Śyāmā (श्यामा). It is a technical term used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā and the Suśruta-saṃhitā. This synonym was identified by Amarasiṃha in his Amarakośa (a Sanskrit botanical thesaurus from the 4th century). It is also mentioned as a synonym in the Bhāvaprakāśa-nighaṇṭu (medicinal thesareus) authored by Bhāvamiśra 16th century.

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Śyāmā (श्यामा) refers to “earth” and is mentioned in a list of 53 synonyms for dharaṇi (“earth”), according to the second chapter (dharaṇyādi-varga) of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu (an Ayurvedic encyclopedia).  The Dharaṇyādi-varga covers the lands, soil [viz., Śyāmā], mountains, jungles and vegetation’s relations between trees and plants and substances, with their various kinds.

Source: Wisdom Library: Raj Nighantu

Śyāmā (श्यामा) is another name for Guḍūcī, a medicinal plant identified with Tinospora cordifolia (heart-leaved moonseed) from the Menispermaceae or “moonseed family” of flowering plants, according to verse 3.13-16 of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu. The third chapter (guḍūcyādi-varga) of this book contains climbers and creepers (vīrudh). Together with the names Śyāmā and Guḍūcī, there are a total of thirty Sanskrit synonyms identified for this plant.

Source: WorldCat: Rāj nighaṇṭu
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.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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

Śyāmā (श्यामा).—Name of a river (nadī) situated near the seven great mountains on the western side of mount Naiṣadha, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 83. These settlements consume the water flowing from these seven great mountains (Viśākha, Kambala, Jayanta, Kṛṣṇa, Harita, Aśoka and Vardhamāna). Niṣadha (Naiṣadha) is one of the seven mountains located in Jambūdvīpa, ruled over by Āgnīdhra, a grandson of Svāyambhuva Manu, who was created by Brahmā, who was in turn created by Nārāyaṇa, the unknowable all-pervasive primordial being.

Source: Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

Śyāmā (श्यामा) is the name of a mind-born ‘divine mother’ (mātṛ), created for the purpose of drinking the blood of the Andhaka demons, according to the Matsya-purāṇa 179.8. The Andhaka demons spawned out of every drop of blood spilled from the original Andhakāsura (Andhaka-demon). According to the Matsya-purāṇa 179.35, “Most terrible they (eg., Śyāmā) all drank the blood of those Andhakas and become exceedingly satiated.”

The Matsyapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 20,000 metrical verses, dating from the 1st-millennium BCE. The narrator is Matsya, one of the ten major avatars of Viṣṇu.

Source: Wisdom Library: The Matsya-purāṇa

1) Śyāmā (श्यामा).—One of the nine daughters of Meru, including Śyāmā. They are called Navakanyās. They were married by the sons of Agnīdhra. (Bhāgavata, 5th Skandha).

2) Śyāma (श्याम).—A mountain in Śākadvīpa. It is as dark as clouds and very tall. (Mahābhārata Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 11, Verse 19).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Śyāmā (श्यामा) refers to a deity (Goddess) representing a “personified vine-creeper”, whose festival was once celebrated in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) as mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa (verse 797ff).—These Goddesses (eg., Śyāmā) form the shining galaxy of female deities worshipped by the people of Kaśmīra.

Source: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

1a) Śyāma (श्याम).—Mt. a hill of the Śākadvīpa; here people are of Śyāma colour.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 19. 88; Matsya-purāṇa 122. 12; Vāyu-purāṇa 49. 82; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 4. 62.

1b) A son of Sarama.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 312.

1c) A son of Śūra and Bhojā; had no son.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 71. 150, 194; Matsya-purāṇa 46. 3.

1d) A son of Śamika; had no issue;1 adopted as son the son of Vastāvana; went to the forest; became Bhoja and a Rājaṛṣi.2

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 46. 27-8.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 190.

1e) A brother of Vasudeva.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 148 Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 14. 30.

1f) One of the two dogs of the family of Vaivasvata to whom bali is to be offered in yajña.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 108. 30; 111. 39.

1g) Sons of Kallolaha.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 442.

1h) Belonging to the Dattātreya gotra.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 70. 77.

1i) A Parāśara branch.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 70. 87.

2a) Śyāmā (श्यामा).—A daughter of Meru and wife of Hiraṇmaya.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 2. 23.

2b) A name of Lalitā; appeared before the sage Mātaṅga and agreed to be his daughter. Hence Mātaṅgī.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 17. 83; 28. 37; 31. 84, 93.

2c) A mind-born mother.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 179. 17.

2d) A R. of the Ketumālā continent.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 44. 17.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Śyāma (श्याम, “dark”) refers to a specific “color of the face” which form part of the histrionic representation (abhinaya), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 8. According to its instructions, this facial color should be use when “in the Terrible (bhayānaka) and the Odious (bībhatsa) Sentiments (rasa)”.

2) Śyāma (श्याम, “dark-blue”) refers to a color, according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 23. It is also known by the name Asita. 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, “Nārāyaṇa and Nara as well as Vāsuki should be dark blue (śyāma)”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, 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 (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Śyāma (श्याम, ‘swarthy’) with Ayas (‘metal’) in all probability denotes ‘iron’ in the Atharvaveda. Śyāma alone has the same sense in the Atharvaveda and later.

Source: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Śyāmā (श्यामा) is the goddess presiding over one of the six petals of the western lotus of the vārāhyabhyudaya-maṇḍala, according to the Vārāhyabhyudayatantra. She is also known as Śyāmādevī. These six petals are presided over by a kuleśvarī (presiding lady) named Tārā. The central deity of the vārāhyabhyudaya-maṇḍala is the twelve-armed Vajravarāhī.

Śyāmā is associated with the sacred site (pīṭha) named Kaliṅga. All the goddess of the western lotus petals are to be visualised as dancing naked and being half-male / half-female (ardhanarīśvarī) with their two sides being red and yellow. In their four arms they brandish a bowl and staff, with a ḍamaru and their familial attribute.

The Vārāhyabhyudayatantra is an explanatory tantra on the Laghuśaṃvara, but its verses are largerly extracted from the 10th century Abhidhānottaratantra, a scriputre describing various sādhanas (path towards spiritual realization).

Source: Wisdomlib Libary: 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.

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Śyāma (श्याम) refers to one of the dogs part of the four utsadas of the Avīci hell according to the “world of transmigration” section in the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVII).—Accordingly, “two evil dogs, Che mo (Śyāma) and Che p’o lo (Śabala), fierce beasts with iron gullets, tear at the sinews and bones of these damned. These dogs are as strong as tigers and as fierce as lions”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
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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.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Śyāmā (श्यामा) is the mother of Vimala according to Śvetāmbara (but she is named Jayaśyāmā according to Digambara), according to the Ācāradinakara (14th century work on Jain conduct written by Vardhamāna Sūri). Vimala is the thirteenth of twenty-four Tīrthaṅkaras in Janism. A Tīrthaṅkara is an enlightened being who has conquered saṃsāra (cycle of birth and death), leaving behind him a path for others to follow.

The husband of Śyāmā is Kṛtavarmā. It is an ancient Jain practice to worship the Tīrthaṅkara’s parents in various rites, such as the pratiṣṭhāvidhi.

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism
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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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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

śyāma (श्याम).—a S Dark blue, black as a full and bursting cloud.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

śyāma (श्याम).—a Dark blue.

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

Śyāma (श्याम).—a. [śyai-maka Uṇ.1.134] Black, dark-blue, dark coloured; प्रत्याख्यातविशेषकं कुरबकं श्यामावदातारुणम् (pratyākhyātaviśeṣakaṃ kurabakaṃ śyāmāvadātāruṇam) M. 3.5; श्यामं द्वयोर्भागयोः (śyāmaṃ dvayorbhāgayoḥ) V.2.7; कुवलयदलश्यामस्निग्धः (kuvalayadalaśyāmasnigdhaḥ) U.4. 19; Me.15,23.

2) Brown.

3) Shady, dusky.

4) Dark-green.

-maḥ 1 The black colour.

2) The green colour.

3) A cloud.

4) The cuckoo.

5) Name of a sacred fig-tree at Allahabad on the bank of the Yamunā; अयं च कालिन्दीतटे वटः श्मामो नाम (ayaṃ ca kālindītaṭe vaṭaḥ śmāmo nāma) U.1; सोयं वटः श्याम इति प्रतीतः (soyaṃ vaṭaḥ śyāma iti pratītaḥ) R. 13.53.

6) The thorn-apple.

7) The Tamāla tree; दृश्यन्ते बन्धुजीवाश्च श्यामाश्च गिरिसानुषु (dṛśyante bandhujīvāśca śyāmāśca girisānuṣu) Rām.4.3.62.

-mam 1 Sea-salt.

2) Black pepper.

--- OR ---

Śyāmā (श्यामा).—1 Night, particularly a dark night; श्यामां श्यामलिमानमानयत भोः सान्द्रैर्मषीकूर्चकैः (śyāmāṃ śyāmalimānamānayata bhoḥ sāndrairmaṣīkūrcakaiḥ) Vb.3.1.

2) Shade, shadow.

3) A dark woman.

4) A kind of woman (yauvana- madhyasthā according to Malli. on N. 3.8; Śi.8.36; Me. 84; or śīte sukhoṣṇasarvāṅgī grīṣme yā sukhaśītalā | taptakāñcanavarṇābhā sā strī śyāmeti kathyate according to one commentator on Bk.5.18 and 8.1).

5) A woman who has borne no children.

6) A cow.

7) Turmeric.

8) The female cuckoo.

9) The Priyaṅgu creeper; कृत्वा श्यामाविटपसदृशं स्नस्तमुक्तं द्वितीयम् (kṛtvā śyāmāviṭapasadṛśaṃ snastamuktaṃ dvitīyam) M.2.7; Me.16.

1) The indigo plant.

11) ल (la) The holy basil.

12) The seed of the lotus.

13) Name of the Yamunā.

14) Name of several plants.

15) A name or form of Durgā (worshipped by the Tāntrikas).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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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Relevant definitions

Search found 122 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Śyāmakarṇa (श्यामकर्ण).—a horse suitable for a horse-sacrifice (aśvamedha). Derivable forms: śy...
Śyāmādi (श्यामादि) is the Sanskrit name for a group of medicinal plants, classified as curin...
Mahāśyāmā (महाश्यामा).—f. (-mā) A creeper, (Echites frutescens.) E. mahā large, śyāma black. “ś...
Śyāmabhās (श्यामभास्).—mfn. (-bhāḥ-bhāḥ-bhaḥ) Black as jet, of a glossy black hue. E. śyāma and...
Śyāmāṅga (श्यामाङ्ग).—mfn. (-ṅgaḥ-ṅgī-ṅgaṃ) Black-bodied, black. m. (-ṅgaḥ) The planet Mercury ...
Śyāmasundara (श्यामसुन्दर).—an epithet of Kṛṣṇa.Derivable forms: śyāmasundaraḥ (श्यामसुन्दरः).Ś...
Śyāmānana (श्यामानन).—a. having a black face; निर्जित्य च निजामस्य श्यामाननमयीं चमूम् (nirjitya...
Ardhaśyāma (अर्धश्याम).—a. half clouded. Ardhaśyāma is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the te...
Śyāmakāṇḍā (श्यामकाण्डा).—a kind of Dūrvā grass. Śyāmakāṇḍā is a Sanskrit compound consisting o...
Śyāmakaṇṭha (श्यामकण्ठ).—1) an epithet of Śiva (nīlakaṇṭha). 2) a peacock. Derivable forms: śyā...
Śyāmakākulīmṛga (श्यामकाकुलीमृग) is a Sanskrit word referring to the animal “blackish python...
Śyāmavallī (श्यामवल्ली).—black pepper. Śyāmavallī is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the term...
Śyāmagabalau (श्यामगबलौ).—the two four-eyed watch-dogs of Yama; cf. (śvānau) चतुरक्षौ शबलौ साधु...
Śyāmagranthi (श्यामग्रन्थि).—a kind of Dūrvā grass. Derivable forms: śyāmagranthiḥ (श्यामग्रन्थ...
Śyāmācara (श्यामाचर).—a demon, Rākṣasa.Derivable forms: śyāmācaraḥ (श्यामाचरः).Śyāmācara is a S...

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