Vaitarani, Vaitaraṇī, Vaitaraṇi: 13 definitions


Vaitarani means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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 and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous (V) next»] — Vaitarani in Purana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी).—Name of a river originating from Vindhya, 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.

The Varāhapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 24,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 10th century. It is composed of two parts and Sūta is the main narrator.

Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

1) Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी).—A hell. (See under Kāla, the Section Naraka).

2) Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी).—The name of river Ganges when it flows through the world of the Manes. (Mahābhārata Ādi Parva, Chapter 169, Stanza 22).

3) Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी).—A river. The prominence of this river is given below:

(i) This river stays in the court of Varuṇa and glorifies him. (Mahābhārata, Sabhā Parva, Chapter 9, Stanza 20).

(ii) This river gives remission of sins. There is a spot called Virajatīrtha, in this river. He who bathes in this holy place would shine like the moon. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 85, Stanza 6).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी).—(Vaitaraṇam) one of twenty-eight hells. Intended for the mad, and for those fallen from character and conduct, those that spoil makha or devastate villages.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 26. 7; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 28. 83; IV. 2. 149-171; Matsya-purāṇa 141. 69; Vāyu-purāṇa 56. 78; 101. 148, 169; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 6. 3 and 24.

1b) A river in hell. For transgressing law and convention one gets drowned in this river of refuse and urine, etc.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 2. 7; V. 26. 22; VII. 9. 43.

1c) A R. from the Vindhyas; fit for Śrāddha offerings;1 a deva nadī; gift of a cow here secures release for twenty-one generations.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 16. 33; III. 13. 103; Matsya-purāṇa 114. 27; Vāyu-purāṇa 45. 102; 77. 95.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 105. 44; 108. 80; 109. 17; 112. 26.
Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी) refers to the name of a River or Tīrtha (pilgrim’s destination) mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. III.81.70, III.83.6, III.114.4, III.114.13, VI.10.33). Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Vaitaraṇī) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

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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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

[«previous (V) next»] — Vaitarani in Shaktism glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam

Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी) refers to one of the thirty hells (naraka) mentioned in the Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa 8.21 (on the narrative of hells). The hells are destinations where dead beings brought by messengers of Yama (the God of the Pitṛs), and get punished by him according to their karmas and faults.

The Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa or Śrīmad-devī-bhāgavatam (mentioning Vaitaraṇī), is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, a type of Sanskrit literature containing cultural information on ancient India, religious/spiritual prescriptions and a range of topics concerning the various arts and sciences. The whole text is composed of 18,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 6th century.

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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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous (V) next»] — Vaitarani in Mahayana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

1) Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी) or Khārodakā refers to the “salt river” and represents one of the four utsadas of the Avīci hell according to the “world of transmigration” section in the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVII).—Accordingly, “the damned enter the salt river [Khārodakā-nadī or Vaitaraṇī], which they enter and are swept downstream. When they emerge, they tread on a ground of burning iron. Walking on iron spines (ayaḥkhaṇṭaka) and sitting on iron spikes (ayaḥstambha) that enter them from behind. The guardians open their mouths with pliers and pour in molten copper; they make them swallow flaming balls of iron; these balls enter and burn their mouth (mukha), penetrate into and burn the throat (kaṇṭha); they penetrate into and burn the belly; the five viscera (read tsang, 130 and 18) having been burned, they fall to the ground”.

2) Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी) refers to the “forest of iron spines” and is one of the “eight hells of fire and flame” forming part of the sixteen utsadas (secondary hells) sitauted outside of the eight great hells, according to the “world of transmigration” section in the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVII).—Accordingly, “in their previous lives, these unfortunates had wounded and killed water animals, fish or turtles; they had pushed people to fall into the water; they had thrown them into boiling water or into ice-water. They suffer this punishment for all these evil acts”.

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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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी) is the name of a Ḍākinī who, together with the Vīra (hero) named Vaitaraṇa forms one of the 36 pairs situated in the Cittacakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the cittacakra refers to one of the three divisions of the nirmāṇa-puṭa (‘emanation layer’), situated in the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs [viz., Vaitaraṇī] and Vīras are black in color; they each have one face and four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife.

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.

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India history and geogprahy

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

Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी) is the name of a river mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—Gaṅgodbheda Māhātmya, the Vitastā Māhātmya and the Kedāra Māhātmya mention one Vaitaraṇī but do not help in its identification. The name seems to have been used for one of the streams which join the Vitastā above Vijayeśvara. The only river near Śūrapura is the Rembyāra and the Purohitas of Vijayeśvara actually give the name Vaitaraṇī to the Rembyāra in its course near and below Śupiyan.

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

[«previous (V) next»] — Vaitarani in Marathi glossary
Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी).—f S The river of the inframundane regions. Hence applied to the cow which is presented to the Brahman performing the obsequies of a defunct that his passage over the river may be secured.

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

[«previous (V) next»] — Vaitarani in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Vaitaraṇi (वैतरणि) or Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी).—f.

1) Name of the river of hell; पश्यञ्जनं पतितं वैतरण्याम् (paśyañjanaṃ patitaṃ vaitaraṇyām) Bhāg.2.2.7.

2) Name of a river in the country of the Kaliṅgas.

Derivable forms: vaitaraṇiḥ (वैतरणिः).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Vaitaraṇi (वैतरणि).—f. (-ṇiḥ-ṇī) 1. The river of hell. 2. Name of a river in the Kalingas. 3. The mother of the Rakshasas. E. vi various, taraṇa crossing, aff. or aṇ, and ṅīṣ aff.; or vi prohibitive, taraṇī crossing; or vitaraṇa giving, (liberality in life securing a passage;) or vi priv., taraṇī a boat, passed without a boat; the aff. is same.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Vaitaraṇi (वैतरणि).—vaitaraṇī, i. e. vitaraṇa + ī, f. 1. The river of hell, Mahābhārata 18, 84 (ṇī). 2. A proper name.

Vaitaraṇi can also be spelled as Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी):—[from vaitaraṇa] a f. See below.

2) Vaitaraṇi (वैतरणि):—[from vaitaraṇa] f. = next, [Uṇādi-sūtra ii, 103 [Scholiast or Commentator]]

3) Vaitaraṇī (वैतरणी):—[from vaitaraṇa] b f. Name of the Hindū Styx id est. the river that flows between earth and the lower regions or abode of departed spirits presided over by Yama (it is described as rushing with great impetuosity, hot, fetid, and filled with blood, hair and bones See, [Religious Thought and Life in India 290, 570]), [Mahābhārata; Purāṇa] etc.

4) [v.s. ...] a cow (given to Brāhmans) that transports a dead man over that river, [Hemādri’s Caturvarga-cintāmaṇi]

5) [v.s. ...] Name of a sacred river in Kaliṅga or Orissa (usually called Baitaraṇī), [Mahābhārata; Harivaṃśa; Rāmāyaṇa; Purāṇa]

6) [v.s. ...] of a division of the lower regions, [Monier-Williams’ Sanskrit-English Dictionary]

7) [v.s. ...] of the mother of the Rākṣasas, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

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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