Uttarakuru, aka: Uttara-kuru; 10 Definition(s)

Introduction

Uttarakuru 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

Purana

[Uttarakuru in Purana glossaries]

Uttarakuru (उत्तरकुरु).—A part of the Jambūdvīpa (Island of Jambū). Mention is made in the Mahābhārata that during his conquest Arjuna had gone up to this place and carried away from there plenty of wealth. It is believed by common people that this place is inaccessible to human beings. (Mahābhārata Sabhā Parva, Chapter 28, Stanzas 7 to 20). The southern end of this place is the Nīlagiri and the Northern end Mount Meru. The inhabitants are gifted people, with trees bearing flowers and fruits, the flowers fragrant and the fruits sweet.

A particular type of tree known as Kṣīrī (milky) grows here from which milk will flow. There are also trees which will give you whatever you ask. It was the belief of ancient people that with the fruits of Kṣīrī, you could make garments and ornaments. The soil of this place contains gems and in the sand there is gold. Those who fall down from heaven live in this region. The average age of the inhabitants of this place is said to have been eleven thousand years. There is a kind of bird in this place called Bhāruṇḍa. These birds drag dead bodies away to caves. (Mahābhārata Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 8, Stanzas 2 to 13).

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Uttarakuru (उत्तरकुरु).—Traversed by the river Bhadrā; a continent adjoining Meru, in the hill of Suparśva north of Śṛngavat and south of the sea. Here Hari revealed himself as Varāha (matsya, vi.) and mother Earth praised him by Upaniṣad naming him yajña and kratu.1 Conquered by Parīkṣit.2 Full of milk trees; women-folk excel apsaras; people are born in pair (mithuna) and love each other as Cakravāka birds. Here Aila lived for some time with Urvaśī.3 A sacred tīrtha.4

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 17. 8; 18. 34, 39; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 15. 51, 71-80; Vāyu-purāṇa 34. 57; 35. 44, 47; 41. 85, 42. 77; 49. 120; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 2, 14, 38, 50.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 16. 13.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 19. 124; III. 59. 46; 66. 7; Matsya-purāṇa 83. 34; 105. 20; 113. 44; 123. 25; Vāyu-purāṇa 91. 7.
  • 4) Matsya-purāṇa 13. 50.
(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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Kavya (poetry)

[Uttarakuru in Kavya glossaries]

Uttarakuru (उत्तरकुरु) is the name a locality mentioned in Rājaśekhara’s 10th-century Kāvyamīmāṃsā.—In the Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata, Tibet and eastern Turkistan were included in this Uttarakuru. The Purāṇas consider this to be a varṣa surrounding the varṣa-parvata Śṛṅgvan, which is the third mountain range from the Mahāmeru in the north. YV Rājaśekhara also accepted this same view.

(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’.

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In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[Uttarakuru in Theravada glossaries]

A country often mentioned in the Nikayas and in later literature as a mythical region. A detailed description of it is given in the Atanatiya Sutta. (D.iii.199ff; here Uttarakuru is spoken of as a city, pura; see also Uttarakuru in Hopkins: Epic Mythology, especially p.186). The men who live there own no property nor have they wives of their own; they do not have to work for their living. The corn ripens by itself and sweet scented rice is found boiling on hot oven stoves. The inhabitants go about riding on cows, on men and women, on maids and youths. Their king rides on an elephant, on a horse, on celestial cars and in state palanquins. Their cities are built in the air, and among those mentioned are Atanata, Kusinata, Natapuriya, Parakusinata, Kapivanta, Janogha, Navanavatiya, Ambara Ambaravatiya and Alakamanda, the last being the chief city.

The king of Uttarakuru is Kuvera, also called Vessavana, because the name of his citadel (? rajadhani) is Visana. His proclamations are made known by Tatola, Tattala, Tatotala, Ojasi, Tejasi, Tetojasi, Sura, Raja, Arittha and Nemi. Mention is also made of a lake named Dharani and a hall named Bhagalavati where the Yakkhas, as the inhabitants of Uttarakuru are called, hold their assemblies.

The country is always spoken of as being to the north of Jambudipa. It is eight thousand leagues in extent and is surrounded by the sea (DA.ii.623; BuA.113). Sometimes it is spoken of (E.g., A.i.227; v.59; SnA.ii.443) as one of the four Mahadipa - the others being Aparagoyana, Pubbavideha and Jambudipa - each being surrounded by five hundred minor islands. These four make up a Cakkavala, with Mount Meru in their midst, a flat world system. A cakkavattis rule extends over all these four continents (D.ii.173; DA.ii.623) and his chief queen comes either from the race of King Madda or from Uttarakuru; in the latter case she appears before him of her own accord, urged on by her good fortune (DA.ii.626; KhA.173).

The trees in Uttarakuru bear perpetual fruit and foliage, and it also possesses a Kapparukkha which lasts for a whole kappa (A.i.264; MA.ii.948). There are no houses in Uttarakuru, the inhabitants sleep on the earth and are called, therefore, bhumisaya (ThagA.ii.187-8).

The men of Uttarakuru surpass even the gods of Tavatimsa in four things:

they have no greed (amama) (the people of Uttarakuru are acchandika, VibhA.461), no private property (apariggaha), they have a definite term of life (niyatayuka) (one thousand years, after which they are born in heaven, says Buddhaghosa, AA.ii.806) and they possess great elegance (visesabhuno).

They are, however, inferior to the men of Jambudipa in courage, mindfulness and in the religious life (A.iv.396; Kvu.99).

(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).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[Uttarakuru in Mahayana glossaries]

Uttarakuru (उत्तरकुरु).—According to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XV). Accordingly, “people born in the blissful abodes (sukha-sthānaja) often lack exertion (vīrya), intelligence (medhā) and wisdom (prajñā). This is why people of Yu yan lo wei (Uttarakuru) are so happy that among them there are no monks (pravrajita) or followers of the precepts (śīlamādana)”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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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)

[Uttarakuru in Jainism glossaries]

Uttarakuru (उत्तरकुरु) is the name of a region situated between the mountains Gandhamādana and Mālyavat. These two mountains are located to the north of mount Meru and south of mount Nīla, which is one of the seven mountain ranges (varṣadharaparvata) 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

Uttarakuru (उत्तरकुरु) refers to one of the two most most auspicious of bhogabhūmi (regions of enjoyment). These Bhogabhūmi apply to various regions situated within Jambūdvīpa: the first continent of the Madhya-loka (middle-word), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 3.10. The five Uttarakuru regions in which inhabitants live have a happy-happy period (1st time period) always. There the inhabitants have a life span of three palya, height of their bodies is 6000 arrows, they take food once after an interval of three days, and their bodies are of golden colour which is similar to that in the Devakuru in southern region.

Jambūdvīpa (where Uttarakuru is situated) 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.

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India history and geogprahy

[Uttarakuru in India history glossaries]

Uttarakuru (उत्तरकुरु) refers to the “northern Kurus” and is the name of a locality mentioned in the Gupta inscription No. 22. 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. Uttarakuru or the country of the Northern Kurus, is supposed to be a region beyond the most northern range of the Himālaya mountains, and is described as a country of everlasing happiness.

(Source): archive.org: Personal and geographical names in the Gupta 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

[Uttarakuru in Marathi glossaries]

uttarakuru (उत्तरकुरु).—m n (S) One of the nine divisions of the globe, the country around the north-pole; the arctic circle.

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

[Uttarakuru in Sanskrit glossaries]

Uttarakuru (उत्तरकुरु).—(m. pl.) one of the nine divisions of the world, the country of the northern Kurus (said to be a country of eternal beatitude).

Uttarakuru is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms uttara and kuru (कुरु).

(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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