Sindhu; 22 Definition(s)


Sindhu 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.

In Hinduism


Sindhu (सिन्धु).—Name of a river originating from Himālaya, a holy mountain (kulaparvata) in Bhārata, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 85. There are settlements (janapada) where Āryas and Mlecchas dwell who drink water from these rivers.

Bhārata is a region south of Hemādri, once ruled over by Bharata (son of Ṛṣabha), whose ancestral lineage can be traced back to 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

1) Sindhu (सिन्धु).—A river in India, very famous in the Purāṇas. General information. It is assumed in the Purāṇas that this river is a branch of the heavenly Gaṅgā. By the efforts of Bhagīratha, the heavenly Gaṅgā fell on the earth in the Lake Bindu. After that it had six channels. Three channels flowed to the east and three to the west. The rivers which flowed to the East were Hlādinī, Pāvanī and Nalinī. The three rivers Sucakṣus, Sītā and Sindhu flowed to the west. This seventh branch followed Bhagīratha and flowed to Pātāla to perform obsequies to the sons of Sagara. Other details.

(i) Saṃvaraṇa, a King, who was defeated by his enemies, hid himself for a while in the natural arbours on the basin of Sindhu. (Mahābhārata Ādi Parva, Chapter 94, Verse 40).

(ii) Sindhu remains in the palace of Varuṇa and glorifies him. (Mahābhārata Sabhā Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 19).

(iii) Once Mārkaṇḍeya happened to see the river Sindhu in the stomach of child Mukunda. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 188, Verse 103).

(iv) Sindhu is considered to be the origin of Agni (Fire.) (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 242, Verse 22).

(v) Sindhu is one of the seven channels of Gaṅgā. (Mahābhārata Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 6, Verse 48).

(vi) By bathing in the river Sindhu, one could attain heaven. (Mahābhārata Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 25 Verse 8).

(vii) Once Pārvatī held a talk on the duties of women. All the rivers met to hear the talk. Sindhu was prominent among the rivers who were present. (Mahābhārata Anusāsana Parva, Chapter 146, Verse 18).

(viii) This is one of the rivers which ought to be remembered every morning and evening. (Mahābhārata Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 165, Verse 19).

(ix) Mention about river Sindhu occurs throughout the Ṛgveda. Prominent rivers mentioned in Ṛgveda are Kubhā, Sindhu, Suvāstu, Vitastā, Asiknī, Paruṣṇī, Vipāśā, Śatadrū, Sarasvatī etc. (See full article at Story of Sindhu from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

2) Sindhu (सिन्धु).—A country very famous in the Purāṇas. Jayadratha the King of Sindhu was present at the Svayaṃvara marriage of Draupadī (Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva, Chapter 185, Verse 21).

(Source): Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Sindhu (सिन्धु).—A river in Bhārata varṣa: The region round about fell into the hands of Vrātyas and others;1 a mahānadī: falls into the western ocean: fit for śrāddha.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 19. 18; XII. 1. 39; Vāyu-purāṇa 45. 97.
  • 2) Ib. 47. 39; 69. 241; 77. 56, 113; 108. 79.

1b) (c). Its king was Jayadratha, who was a contemporary of Jarāsandha: was stationed on the east of Gomanta during the siege.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 52. 11 [6].

1c) A Kṣetram in Prayāgā.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 110. 1.

1d) One of the three branches of the Gangā from the Pāriyātra hill flowing to the north;1 in the chariot of Tripurāri;2 flows through the kingdoms of Darada, Kāśmīra, Gāndhāra and others: falls into the western ocean;3 noted for Padma elephants;4 north and south of, unfit for śrāddha;5 confluence of, with the sea holy.6

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 114. 20; 121. 40; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 16. 24, 27.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 133. 23; 163. 62.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 18. 41, 46-7; III. 13. 121.
  • 4) Ib. III. 7. 358.
  • 5) Ib. III. 14. 33 and 81.
  • 6) Ib. III. 13. 57.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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.

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Sindhu (सिन्धु) is the name of a country pertaining to the Āvantī local usage (pravṛtti) according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 14. It is also known by the name Saindhava. These pravṛttis provide information regarding costumes, languages, and manners in different countries of the world. It is mentioned that this local usage (adopted by these countries) depends on the grand style (sāttvatī) and the graceful style (kaiśikī).

(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).

Kavya (poetry)

Sindhu (सिन्धु) is the name a locality mentioned in Rājaśekhara’s 10th-century Kāvyamīmāṃsā.—The river Indus. According to Rājaśekhara it is situated in the Northern India.

(Source): Shodhganga: The Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara
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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’.

Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Sindhu (सिन्धु) is the name of the grand-father of Kṣemendra, who was otherwise known as Vyāsadāsa as most of the colophons of his works attribute to him. Kṣemendra was the son of Prakāśendra, grandson of Sindhu and father of Somendra and also the brother of Cakrapāla. He was also the descendant of Narendra, the minister of King Jayāpīḍa.

(Source): Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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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.

Itihasa (narrative history)

Sindhu (सिन्धु) refers to the name of a River mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.89.34). Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Sindhu) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Sindhu is also mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. VI.10.39, VI.10.52, VI.20.10, VIII.4.11, VIII.4.11) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places.

(Source): JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

General definition (in Hinduism)

Sindhu (सिन्धु) in the Ṛgveda and the Atharvaveda often means simply a ‘stream’. The Ṛgveda (VIII.24.27) refers to ‘Sapta Sindhavaḥ’ or ‘the seven rivers’. But it is also used in the more exact sense of the ‘stream’ par excellence or ‘The Indus’. We get a reference to Sindhu as a river in the Amarakośa. The territories adjoining it were famous for horses and salt. The river Sindhu is mentioned in the Purāṇas along with the Gaṅgā, Sarasvatī, Satluj, Chinab and Yamunā.

(Source): Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions (hinduism)

Sindhu (सिन्धु): The Indus River, Urdu دریائے سندھ; Tibetan: Sengge Chu ('Lion River'); Persian: Hindu; Greek: Sinthos; Pashto: Abaseen ("The Father of Rivers"); Mehran (an older name)) is the longest and most important river in Pakistan. Originating in the Tibetan plateau in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Sindhu (सिन्धु).—A province in Bharata that was ruled by Jayadratha.

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

A river in India; one of the most important of those that flow from the Himalaya (Mil.p.114).

The best horses were born in the country around its banks (AA.ii.756; MA.i.248), hence their name Sindhava (J.v.260 (22); cf.ii.290). Seri was king of both Sindhu (Sindhavarattha) and Sodhika (? Sovira) (SA.i.90).

Mention is made (VvA.332) of merchants from Anga and Magadha going to Sindhu Sovira and passing through great wildernesses on the way. The Sindhava are mentioned in the Apadana (Ap.ii.359) in a list of tribes.

The Sindhunadi is the modern Indus.

Isidasi was once born as a goat in Sindhavaranna. Thig.vs.438.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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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).

(Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Sindhu (सिन्धु) is the name of a sacred site (pīṭha) presided over by Mahābalā, according to the vārāhyabhyudaya-maṇḍala. Mahābalā is a deity situated in one of the six petals of the southern lotus, of which the presiding deity is kuleśvarī (presiding lady) named Pāṇḍaravāsinī. The central deity of the vārāhyabhyudaya-maṇḍala is the twelve-armed Vajravarāhī.

Sindhu is one of the twenty-four pīṭhas, or ‘sacred-site’ (six lotuses each having six petals), each corresponding with a part of the human body. Sindhu is to be contemplated as situated on the upper part of the feet. Besides being associated with a bodily spot, each pīṭha represents an actual place of ancient India frequented particularly by advanced tantric practitioners

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.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Sindhu (सिन्धु) is the name of a river mentioned as flowing through Bhārata together with the Gaṅgā river. Bhārata is one of the seven regions (kṣetra) of Jambūdvīpa according to Jaina cosmology. Jambūdvīpa sits at the centre of madhyaloka (‘middle world’) is the most important of all continents and it is here where human beings reside.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Sindhu (सिन्धु) is the name of a river that, coupled with the Gaṅga river, separates the Bharata region. Bharata refers to one of the regions of Jambūdvīpa: the first continent of the Madhya-loka (middle-word), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 3.10. The Sindhu river flows westwards. The Gaṅga and Sindhu rivers have 14000 tributaries.

Jambūdvīpa (where flows the Sindhu river) is in the centre of all continents and oceans; all continents and oceans are concentric circles with Jambūdvīpa in the centre. Like the navel is in the centre of the body, Jambūdvīpa is in the centre of all continents and oceans. Sumeru Mount is in the centre of Jambūdvīpa. It is also called Mount Sudarśana.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 3: The Lower and middle worlds
General definition book cover
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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.

India history and geogprahy

Sindhu (सिन्धु) is the name of a river found in India.—Mehrauli Iron Pillar inscription of king Candra mentions the seven mouths of the river Sindhu. Some of the scholars take the term sindhoḥ sapta mukhāni to mean “seven tributaries of the river Indus”, while the others take it for the “seven streams of the river Indus (which are formed when the river Indus falls into the Arabian sea)”. As the inscription mentions the country Balkh (Bāhlīka) beyond the seven mouths of the Indus, the seven mouths of the river cannot be otherwise than the seven tributaries of the Indus, which are well-known from the Vedic period.

(Source): Geography in Ancient Indian inscriptions

Sindhu (सिन्धु) is the name of a river mentioned in the Gupta inscription No. 20. The Gupta empire (r. 3rd-century CE), founded by Śrī Gupta, covered much of ancient India and embraced the Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The river is mentioned in connexion with the description of the victories of king Candra who is said to have conquered the Vāhlikas after having crossed the seven mouths of the (river) Sindhu in warfare.

The term Sindhu was corrupted to Hindu in the old Persian inscriptions of Darius I (516-485 B.C.), and to Indus by the Ionian (= Pāṇini's Yavana) Greeks. The word ‘India’ is derived from the river Sindhu or the Indus.

Taking its rise from the snows of Western Kailāśa in Tibet, the Sindhu first flows north-west of Kashmir and South of little Pamir, and then takes a southward course along which lay some of the important cities of north India. Emerging from the Darad high-lands, the river (Dāradī Sindhuḥ) enters the Gandhāra country until it receives its most important western tributary the Kabul river at Ohind, a few miles north of Attock.

(Source): Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

Sindhu (सिन्धु) is the name of a river mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa. (Supra, s.v. Gaṅgā)

(Source): Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study (history)

Sindhu (“sea or flag?”) is one of the gotras (clans) among the Kurnis (a tribe of South India). Kurni is, according to the Census Report 1901, “a corruption of kuri (sheep) and vanni (wool), the caste having been originally weavers of wool”. The gotras (viz., Sindhu) are described as being of the Brāhman, Kshatriya, and Vaisya sub-divisions of the caste, and of Shanmukha’s Sudra caste.

(Source): Project Gutenberg: Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Volume 1
India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as 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.

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

sindhu : (m.) ocean; a river.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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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.

Marathi-English dictionary

sindhu (सिंधु).—m (S) The ocean or a sea. 2 The river Indus. 3 The country along the Indus or Sindh. 4 The juice that exudes from an elephant's temples. 5 f A river in general.

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

sindhu (सिंधु).—m The ocean or a sea. The Indus. The juice that exudes from an ele- phant's temples. f A river.

(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.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Sindhu (सिन्धु).—[syand-d-ad saṃprasāraṇaṃ dasya dhaśca Tv.; Uṇ.1.11]

1) The sea, ocean; तावत् त्रिभुवनं सद्यः कल्पान्तैधितसिन्धवः (tāvat tribhuvanaṃ sadyaḥ kalpāntaidhitasindhavaḥ) Bhāg. 3.11.3.

2) The Indus.

3) The country around the Indus.

4) Name of a river in Mālavā; वेणीभूतप्रतनुसलिला तामतीतस्य सिन्धुः (veṇībhūtapratanusalilā tāmatītasya sindhuḥ) Me.29 (where Malli.'s remark sindhurnāma nadī tu kutrāpi nāsti is gratuitous); पारासिन्धुसंभेदमवगाह्य नगरी- मेव प्रविशावः (pārāsindhusaṃbhedamavagāhya nagarī- meva praviśāvaḥ) Māl.4. 9/1 (see Dr. Bhāndārkar's note ad loc.).

5) The water ejected from an elephant's trunk.

6) The juice exuding from the temples of an elephant.

7) An elephant.

8) Name of Varuṇa.

9) White borax.

1) A kind of musical mode (rāga). -pl. The inhabitants of the Sindhu country. -f.

1) A great river or river in general; पिबत्यसौ पाययते च सिन्धूः (pibatyasau pāyayate ca sindhūḥ) R.13.9; Me.48; Ś.5.21; Ku.3.6;5.85.

2) The river Sindhu.

Derivable forms: sindhuḥ (सिन्धुः).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

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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