Sumukhi, Sumukhī: 8 definitions

Introduction

Sumukhi 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.

In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra

Sumukhī (सुमुखी):—Sanskrit name of one of the thirty-two female deities of the Somamaṇḍala (second maṇḍala of the Khecarīcakra) according to the kubjikāmata-tantra. These goddesses are situated on a ring of sixteen petals and represent the thirty-two syllables of the Aghoramantra. Each deity (including Sumukhī) is small, plump and large-bellied. They can assume any form at will, have sixteen arms each, and are all mounted on a different animal.

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.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Sumukhī (सुमुखी) is the name of an Apsara created for the sake of a type of dramatic perfomance. Acording to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.46-51, after Brahmā asked Bharata for materials necessary for the Graceful Style (kaiśikī: a type of performance, or prayoga), Bharata answered “This Style cannot be practised properly by men except with the help of women”. Therefore, Brahmā created with his mind several apsaras (celestial nymphs), such as Sumukhī, who were skillful in embellishing the drama.

Source: Wisdom Library: Saṅgītaśiromaṇi

Sumukhī (सुमुखी) refers to “the fair-faced one” and is the presiding deity of jita (‘subdued’), according to the Saṅgītaśiromaṇi 67-84. Jita represents one of the sixteen words that together make up the elā musical composition (prabandha). Elā is an important subgenre of song and was regarded as an auspicious and important prabandha (composition) in ancient Indian music (gāndharva). According to nirukta analysis, the etymological meaning of elā can be explained as follows: a represents Viṣṇu, i represents Kāmadeva, la represents Lakṣmī.

Sumukhī is one of the sixteen deities presiding over the corresponding sixteen words of the elā-prabandha, all of which are defined in the Saṅgītaśiromaṇi (“crest-jewel of music”): a 15th-century Sanskrit work on Indian musicology (gāndharvaśāstra).

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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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia

1) Sumukhī (सुमुखी).—Mother of the serpent called Aśvasena who dwelt on the serpent faced arrow (Sarpamukhabāna) of Karṇa in the battle of Kurukṣetra. She got the name Sumukhī as she protected her son by her mukha (face). (Karṇa Parva, Chapter 90, Verse 42).

2) Sumukhī (सुमुखी).—An apsarā woman of Alakāpurī. She once danced at Kubera’s court in honour of Aṣṭāvakra muni. (Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 19, Verse 45).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Sumukhī (सुमुखी).—A Laukikya Apsaras.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 10.

1b) A daughter of the Gandharvas.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 10.
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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: archive.org: Illustrations of Indian Music and Dance in Western Indian Style

Sumukhī (सुमुखी) refers to a type of mūrchanā (melodic mode), and its illustration as a Goddess (according to 15th-century Indian art) is as follows.—The colour of her body is golden. She holds nafari with both hands. She wears a bodice of rosy colour, and a scarf of rosy colour, with a crimson-coloured design. She wears a lower garment of saffron-colour bearing a black design.

The illustrations (of, for example Sumukhī) 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).

Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature

1) Sumukhī (सुमुखी) is the alternative name of a Sanskrit metre (chandas) mentioned by Hemacandra (1088-1173 C.E.) in his auto-commentary on the second chapter of the Chandonuśāsana. Sumukhī corresponds to Drutapādagati (according to Barata). Hemacandra gives these alternative names for the metres by other authorities (like Bharata), even though the number of gaṇas or letters do not differ.

2) Sumukhī (सुमुखी) refers to one of the 135 metres (chandas) mentioned by Nañjuṇḍa (1794-1868 C.E.) in his Vṛttaratnāvalī. Nañjuṇḍa was a poet of both Kannada and Sanskrit literature flourished in the court of the famous Kṛṣṇarāja Woḍeyar of Mysore. He introduces the names of these metres (eg., Sumukhī) in 20 verses.

3) Sumukhī (सुमुखी) refers to one of the 130 varṇavṛttas (syllabo-quantitative verse) dealt with in the second chapter of the Vṛttamuktāvalī, ascribed to Durgādatta (19th century), author of eight Sanskrit work and patronised by Hindupati: an ancient king of the Bundela tribe (presently Bundelkhand of Uttar Pradesh). A Varṇavṛtta (eg., sumukhī) refers to a type of classical Sanskrit metre depending on syllable count where the light-heavy patterns are fixed.

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.

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