Tirtha, aka: Tīrtha; 14 Definition(s)


Tirtha means something in 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


Tirtha in Purana glossary... « previous · [T] · next »

Tīrtha (तीर्थ, “holy places”) are described throughout the Nīlamatapurāṇa, which extols the tīrthas of various parts of India. Of Kaśmīra, particularly, each and every spot is regarded as sacred1 and references to these holy places are found throughout the work. Four lists occurring in the latter half of the work are of special interest for the geography of Kaśmīra.

Source: archive.org: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

Tīrtha (तीर्थ).—A holy place. Even from very ancient times the people of Bhārata believed in the sacredness of holy places and they considered a pilgirmage to holy places as a part and parcel of their life. Almost all the Purāṇas have praised the greatness of holy places.

It is not true that all those who visit holy places and bathe in the sacred ponds there would get salvation. In Chapter 11 of Padma Purāṇa it is stated thus:

He would get salvation whose limbs, mind, knowledge, austerity and fame are under his own control. He who lives clean in body, without egoism, contented and never accepting gifts for services done would get salvation by visiting holy places. He who would fast if he did not get food, whose organs of sense are all under control would get salvation if he visits holy places. He who is righteous, free from anger, treats all animate objects like himself would get salvation if he visits holy place.

Once the great sage Cyavana told Prahlāda thus: "Only those who are pure in heart would get the benefit of visiting sacred places. It is a sin for others to do pilgrimage. The banks of Gaṅgā are crowded with villages and cities. Many types of people like Parayas, Fishermen, Vaṅgas, Khasas, Huns and Mlecchas live there. They bathe in the holy river and drink the holy water, but they do not get salvation because their mind and heart are not clean." (4th Skandha, Devī Bhāgavata).

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Tīrtha (तीर्थ).—A righteous person fit to receive a dāna.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 91. 111.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Tīrtha (तीर्थ).—The Skanda-purāṇa says that a spot of the earth, resorted to by ancient good men for the collection of merit is called a tīrtha. Numberless tīrthas and holy shrines have been mentioned from ancient times. The Matsya-purāṇa States (110-7) that there are 35 millions of tīrthas in the sky, in the aerial region’s and on the earth.

The Brahma-purāṇa (70, 16-19) classifies tīrthas into four divisions viz,

  1. daiva,
  2. āsura,
  3. ārṣa,
  4. mānuṣa.

The Brahma-purāṇa assings daiva, āsura, ārṣa and maṇuṣa-tīrthas respectively to the Kṛta, Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali yugas.

Source: Shodhganga: Critical and cultural study of the kaumarika khanda Cultural study
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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Dharmashastra (religious law)

1) The term tīrtha (तीर्थ, “Receptacle”) means a clean vessel containing water; ‘tīrtha’ (literally) is that which exists for the purpose of saving people, i.e., freeing them from their sins. In some places ‘tīrtha’ is explained as ‘that by which people descend into water.’ Also see the translation of Manusmṛti-manubhāṣya verse 2.58-59 by Ganganatha Jha.

2) Tīrtha (तीर्थ, “watering place”) is that place where people go for the purpose of fetching water from rivers, tanks and other reservoirs. Such a place is generally deserted; as none except one desiring water goes near the place; and as a rule it is places like this that are appointed rendezvous for lovers’ meetings. (See the Manubhāṣya, verse 8.356)

Source: Google Books: Manusmṛti with the Manubhāṣya
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Tīrtha (तीर्थ).—A tīrtha, or holy place, is a place where great saintly personalities visit or reside. Although the holy places were already places of pilgrimage, they were all purified by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's visit. Many people go to these holy places and leave their sinful activities there, thus becoming free from contamination. When these contaminations pile up, they are counteracted by the visit of great personalities like Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His strict followers.

Source: Prabhupada Books: Sri Caitanya Caritamrta
Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Itihasa (narrative history)

Tirtha (तिर्थ) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. III.82.9) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Tirtha) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
context information

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’).

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General definition (in Hinduism)

In Hinduism, Tirtha and Kshetra are two terms denoting sites of pilgrimage. The Indian subcontinent is full of Tirthas and Kshetras.

A tīrtha (Sanskrit: तीर्थ), which literally means "a ford, a shallow part of a body of water that may be easily crossed" has come to connote places of pilgrimage associated with sacred water.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Tīrtha (तीर्थ).—A sacred place of pilgrimage associated with a pastime of an incarnation of God, such as a holy river, a temple of the Lord, or the residence or place of meditation of a holy sage or saintly person.

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

In Jainism, a tīrtha is used to refer both to pilgrimage sites as well as to the four sections of the sangha. A tirtha provides the inspiration to enable one to cross over from worldly engagement to the side of nirvana.

etymology: tīrtha (Sanskrit: तीर्थ "ford, a shallow part of a body of water that may be easily crossed")

Source: WikiPedia: Jainism

Tīrtha (तीर्थ, “ford-maker”).—One of the seven sub categories of ascetics (nirgrantha-muni);—What are the peculiarities amongst different kind of ascetics with reference to the period of the ‘ford-maker’ (tīrtha)?

All the five types of ascetics (pulāka, bakuśa, kuśīla, nirgrantha, snātaka) are found during the period of each fordmaker.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 9: Influx of karmas
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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

tīrtha (तीर्थ).—n (S) A holy or sacred place; any place of pilgrimage, but esp. particular spots along the course of sacred streams or in the vicinity of sacred springs. 2 A holy stream, or water brought from one; water in which a Brahman, Sanyasi &c. has dipped his foot; which has been poured over an idol &c.; holy water. 3 Pilgrimage to a holy place or stream. v kara, ghaḍa. 4 A term for a sacred preceptor or Guru. 5 A holy region or spot. It is disting. into dēvatīrtha, pitṛtīrtha, manuṣya- tīrtha, signifying the tips of the fingers; the outer side of the palm; the inner side of the palm; and the terms are used on occasion of śrāddha &c. when water is thrown off from these regions, respectively addressed to dēva, pitṛ, manuṣya. A fourth region is agnitīrtha Middle of the palm. This is the spot from which a person drinks water for himself; or into which (of the hand of a Brahman) water is poured when money or grain is placed in it; to prevent agni from devouring this offering. tīrthīṃ gēlyāvāñcūna muṇḍaṇa hōta nāhīṃ (There is no learning without some rough experience.) Used where a person will listen to no warning or caution.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

tīrtha (तीर्थ).—n A holy place. A holy stream; holy water tīrthī gēlyāvācūna muṇḍaṇa hōta nāhīṃ (There is no learning without some rough experience.) Used where a person will listen to no warning. Also, there is no gain without labour.

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

Tīrtha (तीर्थ).—[tṝ-thak Un.2.7] 'तीर्थं शास्त्राध्वरक्षेत्रोपायोपाध्यायमन्त्रिषु (tīrthaṃ śāstrādhvarakṣetropāyopādhyāyamantriṣu)' इति विश्वः (iti viśvaḥ).

1) A passage, road, way, ford; सुप्र- तारां दृढा तीर्थे शीघ्रं नावमुपाहर (supra- tārāṃ dṛḍhā tīrthe śīghraṃ nāvamupāhara) Rām.2.52.6; Bhāg.9.19.4.

2) A descent into a river, the stairs of a landing-place (Mar. ghāṭa); विषमोऽपि विगाह्यते नयः कृततीर्थः पयसामिवाशयः (viṣamo'pi vigāhyate nayaḥ kṛtatīrthaḥ payasāmivāśayaḥ) Ki.2.3 (where tīrtha means 'a remedy' or 'means' also); तीर्थं सर्वविद्यावताराणाम् (tīrthaṃ sarvavidyāvatārāṇām) K.44.

3) A place of water.

4) A holy place, place of pilgrimage, a shrine &c. dedicated to some holy object (especially on or near the bank of a sacred river &c.); तीर्थोदकं च वह्निश्च नान्यतः शुद्धिमर्हतः (tīrthodakaṃ ca vahniśca nānyataḥ śuddhimarhataḥ) U.1.13; शुचि मनो यद्यस्ति तीर्थेन किम् (śuci mano yadyasti tīrthena kim) Bh.2.55; R.1.85.

5) A channel, medium means; तदनेन तीर्थेन घटेत (tadanena tīrthena ghaṭeta) &c. Māl.1.

6) A remedy, expedient; नाध्यगच्छद्बलिर्लोके तीर्थ- मन्यत्र वै द्विजात् (nādhyagacchadbalirloke tīrtha- manyatra vai dvijāt) Mb.3.26.12.

7) A sacred or holy personage, worthy person, an object of veneration, a fit recipient; क्व पुनस्तादृशस्य तीर्थस्य साधोः संभवः (kva punastādṛśasya tīrthasya sādhoḥ saṃbhavaḥ) U.1; Ms.3. 136; H.2.8; R.5.15; वृद्धस्य तीर्थेषु प्रतिपादिनी (vṛddhasya tīrtheṣu pratipādinī) Kau. A.1.

8) A sacred preceptor, a teacher; मया तीर्थादभिनयविद्या शिक्षिता (mayā tīrthādabhinayavidyā śikṣitā) M.1.

9) Source, origin.

1) A sacrifice.

11) A minister; Rām.2.1.36; Pt.3.68.

12) Advice, instruction; विषमोऽपि विगाह्यते नयः कृततीर्थः पयसामिवाशयः (viṣamo'pi vigāhyate nayaḥ kṛtatīrthaḥ payasāmivāśayaḥ) Ki.2.3.

13) Right place or moment; प्रादात्स्वन्नं च विप्रेभ्यः प्रजातीर्थे स तीर्थवित् (prādātsvannaṃ ca viprebhyaḥ prajātīrthe sa tīrthavit) Bhāg.1.12.14.

14) The right or usual manner; गौतम तीर्थेनेच्छासा इत्युपैम्यहं भवन्तम् (gautama tīrthenecchāsā ityupaimyahaṃ bhavantam) Bṛ. Up.6. 2.7.

15) Certain parts of the hand sacred to deities, manes &c.

16) A school of philosophy.

17) Pudendum muliebre.

18) Menstrual courses of a woman.

19) A Brāhmaṇa.

2) (In liturgical language) The path to the altar between the चात्वाल (cātvāla) q. v. and उत्कर (utkara) q. v.

21) Fire.

22) Ascertainment of a disease.

23) A science (śāstra).

24) An auxiliary, a help; a person or official connected with the king and being in close attendance on him; (the number being 15 on one's side and 18 on the enemy's side); cf. Pt.3.69.

-rthaḥ One of the ten orders of ascetics founded by शंकराचार्य (śaṃkarācārya), An honorary affix added to the names of ascetics, saints &c.; e. g. आनन्दतीर्थ (ānandatīrtha). -a

1) Sacred.

2) Liberator, saviour; वार्तां सखे कीर्तय तीर्थकीर्तेः (vārtāṃ sakhe kīrtaya tīrthakīrteḥ) Bhāg.3.1.45.

Derivable forms: tīrtham (तीर्थम्).

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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Relevant definitions

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Devatīrtha (देवतीर्थ) refers to the name of a Tīrtha (pilgrim’s destination) mentioned in the ...
Rāmatīrtha (रामतीर्थ) is the name of a sacred spot mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—Rāmatīrtha ...
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Tīrthayātrā (तीर्थयात्रा) refers to a “pilgrimage to sacred places”, according to the Kathāsari...
Brahmatīrtha (ब्रह्मतीर्थ).—A holy place in Kurukṣetra. It is mentioned in Mahābhārata, Vana Pa...
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1) Dharmatīrtha (धर्मतीर्थ).—A holy place of ancient Bhārata. If a man bathes in a pond there, ...
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Ugratīrtha (उग्रतीर्थ).—A Kṣatriya king, who was Krodhavaśa, the asura, reborn. (Mahābhārata Ād...
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Aśvatīrtha (अश्वतीर्थ).—An ancient holy place on the banks of the river, Ganges, near Kanauj. I...
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Ṛṣitīrtha (ऋषितीर्थ) is the name of a Tīrtha (sacred bathing place) that is associated with the...

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