Uma, aka: Umā, Ūma; 15 Definition(s)


Uma 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

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

1) Umā (उमा) is a name of Pārvatī.—One of the female offspring from Mahāsarasvatī (sattva-form of Mahādevī). Mahāsarasvatī is one of the three primary forms of Devī, the other two being Mahālakṣmī and Mahākālī. Not to be confused with Sarasvatī, Mahāsarasvatī is a more powerful cosmic aspect (vyaṣṭi) of Devi and represents the guṇa (universal energy) named sattva. Also see the Devī Māhātmya, a Sanskrit work from the 5th century, incorporated into the Mārkaṇḍeya-Purāṇa.

2) Umā (उमा, “splendour, fame”):—Name of one of the sixty-four mātṛs to be worshipped during Āvaraṇapūjā (“Worship of the Circuit of Goddesses”, or “Durgā’s Retinue”), according to the Durgāpūjātattva. They should be worshipped with either the five upācāras or perfume and flowers.

Her mantra is as follows:

ॐ उमायै नमः
oṃ umāyai namaḥ.

3) Umā (उमा, “the peace of the night”).—One of the names of the Goddess, Devī, who is regarded as the female principle of the divine; the embodiement of the energies of the Gods.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism
Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Umā (उमा):—She is the wife of Maheśvara and is known as Umā Maheśvara. She was born to Himavān, the king of mountains and his wife Mena. She started Her penance at the age of five to attain Maheśvara (Śiva) as Her husband. Śiva sūtra (I.13) says Icchā śaktir umā kumārī. Here Umā means splendour of Śiva. One’s will power in constant commune with Śiva is also known as Umā.

Umā is the combination of three letters of OM – U + M + A, the praṇava. U refers to creation, M refers to destruction and A refers to sustenance. Therefore Umā also means the three acts of the Brahman.

Liṅga Purāṇa further says

“The goddess born of Rudra’s body rebuked Dakṣa and was born as Umā, the daughter of Himavān. She is bowed to, by all the worlds. Let her try to captivate the mind of Rudra by means of her beauty. Through their union Lord Skanda will be born.”

Source: Manblunder: Sri Rudram 8.1-9
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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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Umā (उमा, “tranquillity, quiet”):—One of the twenty-four emanations of Lakṣmī accompanying Nārāyaṇa. This particular manifestation couples with his counterpart form called Janārdana and together they form the eighteenth celestial couple. Lakṣmī represents a form of the Goddess (Devī) as the wife of Viṣṇu, while Nārāyaṇa represents the personification of his creative energy, according to the Pāñcarātra literature.

Source: Wisdom Library: Pāñcarātra
Pancaratra book cover
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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Umā (उमा).—Pārvatī. (For details see under Pārvatī).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Umā (उमा) refers to a deity that was once worshipped in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) according to the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—Of Śiva’s female-consort Umā, the Nīlamata speaks so highly as to give her a position higher than that of Śiva. The land of Kaśmīra is described as her material manifestation and she is further stated to have taken the form of Kaśmīra’s most famous river Vitastā.

Daughter of the mountain Himālaya, she is stated to have been originally blue-complexioned but became fair after performing penance on a mountain peak later named as Gaurīśikhara. Reference to her marriage is also made and her association with Śiva, it is said, has made her purer. Her worship is prescribed on various occasions under different names such as Durgā, Śyāmā, Satī, Bhadrakālī etc. Vegetables, fruits, roots, meat, various kinds of drinks, lamps, jewels, garlands, clothes, incense etc. are offered to her.

Source: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

1a) Umā (उमा).—Worshipped for a happy family.1 Her splendour.2 Also known as Ambikā; also Rudrāṇī.3 In the forest of Sukumāra.4 Consort of Śiva, also Gaurī; originally Dākṣāyanī, daughter of Menā and Himavān. Original name Aparṇā. Her garden: a śakti:5 The world of: adhidevatā for the planet Soma.6 Festivities at her birth.7 Going with her father to Śiva's house, they met Rati weeping on the way. She said that Śiva had burnt down her husband. On this Umā's father did not like the idea of giving his daughter to such an ill-tempered person. Umā requested permission to do penance and was allowed. Indra at this time thought of the seven sages to bring about Śiva's marriage with Umā. The sages were satisfied of her steadfast love to Śiva and had his consent for the marriage; celestial women dressed Umā, as also the god Śiva; amidst divine music, the couple went to the city of Mahāgirinagara and Brahmā officiated as priest: After the marriage they left for Mandaragiri.8 Once Umā made a doll with elephant face and dropped it in the Ganges. It became a huge figure and was claimed as son by Umā and the Ganges respectively.9 Then Umā grew a tender Aśoka plant when Bṛhaspati and others told her that she would have a real son and that trees and dolls were no satisfaction;10 once she heard a yell of noise and was told of the play engaged in by Gaṇas, and then her eyes attracted Vīraka. She expressed to Śiva for a son like Vīraka. Śiva asked her to have him as her child. He was sent for and nursed by Umā.11 Touched by Goddess of Night, she became black in colour. Śiva found fault with her and after reproaching him with his past deeds, she left him for penance. Vīraka appealed to her when she said she would return as Gaurī. She asked Vīraka to see that no lady entered her harem. Meanwhile Āḍi, son of Andhakāsura entered Śiva's abode in the guise of Umā but was slain by Śiva. Hearing from Vāyu that a lady entered her home, she cursed Vīraka to be born on the earth; out of her rage came out a lion which Brahmā gave to the Goddess of Night, who was asked to leave Umā for the Vindhya hills. Now Umā became Gaurī and entered Śiva's abode when Vīraka stopped her, as he did not at first recognise her. Convinced of his mother's identity, he requested her to recall her curse and was assured of a place in Devagaṇa.12 While Umā was sporting with Śiva, Agni entered the harem in the form of a parrot. Noticing this Umā left the bed and Śiva made Agni drink his vīrya. Out of the scattered vīrya, there sprang up a beautiful pond where the six Pleiades bathed and took water in a lotus leaf. Blessed by them the Devī got the garbha and out of her left side came out Subrahmaṇya.13 Going through the udyāna again Śiva spoke to her of the greatness of Benares.14 Satī in previous birth.15

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 3. 7.
  • 2) Ib. VIII. 7. 33; VI. 17. 36.
  • 3) Ib. VIII. 18. 17; III. 12. 13.
  • 4) Ib. IX. 1. 25; XII. 10. 4.
  • 5) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 25. 17; 26. 44; III 9. 1; 10. 13 and 26; 41. 17 and 55; 60. 24 and 27; IV. 44 84; Matsya-purāṇa 13. 18-9; 23. 5; Vāyu-purāṇa 71. 2-5.
  • 6) Matsya-purāṇa 84. 9; 93. 13; 132. 18.
  • 7) Matsya-purāṇa 154. 93-108.
  • 8) Matsya-purāṇa 154. 276-496.
  • 9) Matsya-purāṇa 154. 502-505.
  • 10) Matsya-purāṇa 154. 506-510.
  • 11) Matsya-purāṇa 154. 522-555.
  • 12) Matsya-purāṇa 154. 588; chap. 15558.
  • 13) Matsya-purāṇa 158. 24-48; Vāyu-purāṇa 72 (whole).
  • 14) Matsya-purāṇa 180. 20-79; 181. 6-8; 191. 113; 193. 46.
  • 15) Vāyu-purāṇa 30. 71; 54. 20; 55. 42; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 13. 77.

1b) The goddess enshrined at Viṅāyaka.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 13. 41.
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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Katha (narrative stories)

Umā (उमा) is one of the epithets of Durgā, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 53. Accordingly, as Vīravara praised Durgā: “... thou art the principle of life in creatures; by thee this world moves. In the beginning of creation Śiva beheld thee self-produced, blazing and illuminating the world with brightness hard to behold, like ten million orbs of fiery suddenly produced infant suns rising at once, filling the whole horizon with the circle of thy arms, bearing a sword, a club, a bow, arrows and a spear. And thou wast praised by that god Śiva in the following words ... [Umā, etc...]”.

Also, “... when Skanda, and Vasiṣṭha, and Brahmā, and the others heard thee praised, under these [eg., Umā] and other titles, by Śiva well skilled in praising, they also praised thee. And by praising thee, O adorable one, immortals, Ṛṣis and men obtained, and do now obtain, boons above their desire. ”

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Umā, 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

Umā (उमा), the consort of Śiva has heen referred to hy the poet under several names, like Girīndraduhitā, Adrisutā, Pārvatī, Ambikā, Bhavāni and Gaurī. He has also referred to her pañcāgni penance.

Source: Shodhganga: A critical appreciation of soddhalas udayasundarikatha
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.

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Itihasa (narrative history)

Umā (उमा) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. IX.44.12) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Umā) 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
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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’).

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General definition (in Hinduism)

1) Umā (उमा)—One of the eleven wives of Rudra, called a Rudrāṇī.

2) Umā means ‘knowledge,’ and speak of Umā as the impersonation of ‘divine knowledge’, according to the commentary on the Kena-upanishad.

3) In the Rāmāyana, Umā is said to be the daughter of Himavat and Mena; the two forms of Lima and Pārvati

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Umā is the name by which the consort of Siva is first known. In the sacred books she appears in many forms, and is known by many names; but as there are legends giving the circumstances connected with the names and forms more generally known, these will be given as far as possible in chronological order. When Devi (the goddess) appears as Umā, she is said to be the daughter of Daksha, a son of Brahmā. Her father was at first very unwilling that his daughter should marry a mendicant, but his scruples were overcome by the persuasion of Brahmā. As Siva is styled Mahādeva, Umā is frequently called simply Devi.

Source: Sacred Texts: Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Umā (उमा) is the mother of Dvipṛṣṭha: the second Vāsudeva (“violent heroes”) according to both Śvetāmbara and Digambara sources. Since they enjoy half the power of a Cakravartin (universal monarch) they are also known as Ardhacakrins. Jain legends describe nine such Vāsudevas usually appearing together with their “gentler” twins known as the Baladevas. The legends of these twin-heroes usually involve their antagonistic counterpart known as the Prativāsudevas (anti-heroes).

The stories of queen Umā, king Brahma and their son, Dvipṛṣṭha are related in texts such as the Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacarita (“the lives of the sixty-three illustrious persons”), a twelfth-century Śvetāmbara work by Hemacandra.

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism
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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India history and geogprahy

Umā (उमा) is the name of a river found in India.—It is more or less certain that the Umā is none else than the Wunnā. The river formed the eastern boundary of the donated village Kothuraka, whose site seems to be occupied by Mangaon on the right bank of Wunnā.

Source: Geography in Ancient Indian inscriptions
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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

umā (उमा).—a Simple, plain, unlearned. Ex. āpaṇa marāṭhī umēṃ māṇūsa āpaṇājavaḷa dākhalā nāhīṃ.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
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

Uma (उम).—

1) A town.

2) A wharf.

Derivable forms: umaḥ (उमः).

--- OR ---

Umā (उमा).—[oḥ śivasya mā lakṣmīriva, uṃ śivaṃ māti manyate patitvena mā-ka vā Tv.]

1) Name of the daughter of Himavat and Menā, and wife of Śiva; Kālidāsa thus derives the name :उ मेति (u meti) (oh do not, scil. practise penance) मात्रा तपसो निषिद्धा पश्चादुमाख्यां सुमुखी जगाम (mātrā tapaso niṣiddhā paścādumākhyāṃ sumukhī jagāma) Ku.1.26; उमावृषाङ्कौ (umāvṛṣāṅkau) R.3.23.

2) Light, splendour.

3) Fame, reputation.

4) Tranquility, calmness.

5) Night.

6) Turmeric (haridrā).

7) Flax (atasī).

--- OR ---

Ūma (ऊम).—a. Protecting,

-maḥ Ved. A good friend, an affectionate companion.

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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