Vishakha, aka: Visakha, Viśākha, Visākhā, Visākha, Viśākhā; 13 Definition(s)

Introduction

Vishakha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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.

The Sanskrit terms Viśākha and Viśākhā can be transliterated into English as Visakha or Vishakha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Jyotiṣa (astronomy and astrology)

Viśākha (विशाख):—Name for a particular section of the ecliptic. It is also known as Viśākhanakṣatra. Nakṣatra means “Lunar mansion” and corresponds to a specific region of the sky through which the moon passes each day. Viśākha means “forked, having branches” and is associated with the deity known as Indrāgni (God of sacrificial fire). The presiding Lord of this lunar house is Guru (Jupiter).

Indian zodiac: |20° Tulā| – |3°20' Vṛścika|
Tulā (तुला, “balance”) corresponds to Libra and Vṛścika (वृश्चिक, “scorpion”) corresponds with Scorpio.

Western zodiac: |16°| – |29°20' Scorpio|
Scorpio corresponds with Vṛścika (वृश्चिक, “scorpion”)

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jyotiṣa
Jyotiṣa book cover
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Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or ‘astrology’. It is one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

Purāṇa

Viśākha (विशाख) is the name of a gaṇa (attendant of Śiva), mentioned in the Skandapurāṇa 4.2.53. In this chapter, Śiva (Giriśa) summons his attendants (gaṇas) and ask them to venture towards the city Vārāṇasī (Kāśī) in order to find out what the yoginīs, the sun-god, Vidhi (Brahmā) were doing there.

While the gaṇas such as Viśākha were staying at Kāśī, they were desirous but unable of finding a weakness in king Divodaśa who was ruling there. Kāśī is described as a fascinating place beyond the range of Giriśa’s vision, and as a place where yoginīs become ayoginīs, after having come in contact with it. Kāśī is described as having both the power to destroy great delusion, as well as creating it.

The Skandapurāṇa narrates the details and legends surrounding numerous holy pilgrimages (tīrtha-māhātmya) throughout India. It is the largest Mahāpurāṇa composed of over 81,000 metrical verses, with the core text dating from the before the 4th-century CE.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Skanda-purāṇa

Viśākha (विशाख).—One of the seven major mountains situated on the western side of mount Niṣadha, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 83. These mountains give rise to many other mountains and various settlements. Niṣadha is one of the seven mountains located in Jambūdvīpa, ruled over by Āgnīdhra, a grandson of 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): Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

1a) Viśākha (विशाख).—A son (brother vā. p., vi. p.) of Skanda: an aṃśa of Skanda, Vāyu-purāṇa [a son of Agni (Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa and Matsya-purāṇa)];1 from him originated the planet Sūrya;2 an epithet of Kumāra;3 commander.4

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 3. 25; Matsya-purāṇa 5. 26. Vāyu-purāṇa 53. 104; 66. 24; 101. 280. Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 15. 115.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 24. 129.
  • 3) Matsya-purāṇa 159. 3.
  • 4) Ib. 230. 7.

1b) A mountain on the south of the Mānasa;1 temple of Guha at.2

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 36. 23;
  • 2) Ib. 39. 55.

1c) When the sun is in Viśākha, fourth aṃśa, the moon is then at the head of Kṛttikā.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 50. 196; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 21. 145; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 8. 76-7.

1d) Is Skanda.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 6. 14.

2) Viśākhā (विशाखा).—A constellation: Śrāddha performance on that day leads to birth of sons.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 18. 8; Vāyu-purāṇa 66. 50; 82. 9.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

Viśākhā (विशाखा) refers to the sixteenth of twenty-seven constellations (ṛkṣa), according to the Mānasāra. Ṛkṣa is the third of the āyādiṣaḍvarga, or “six principles” that constitute the “horoscope” of an architectural or iconographic object. Their application is intended to “verify” the measurements of the architectural and iconographic object against the dictates of astrology that lay out the conditions of auspiciousness.

The particular nakṣatra, also known as ṛkṣa (eg., viśākhā) of all architectural and iconographic objects (settlement, building, image) must be calculated and ascertained. This process is based on the principle of the remainder. An arithmetical formula to be used in each case is stipulated, which engages one of the basic dimensions of the object (breadth, length, or perimeter/circumference). In the context of village planning and measurement, the text sates that among the stars (ṛkṣa), the ones that are pūrṇa (odd), are auspicious and the ones that are karṇa (even), inauspicious.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
Vāstuśāstra book cover
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Vāstuśāstra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vastu-shastra) refers to the knowledge of architecture. It is a branch of ancient Indian science dealing with topics such architecture, construction, sculpture and their relation with the cosmic universe.

Discover the meaning of vishakha or visakha in the context of Vastushastra from relevant books on Exotic India

Kathā (narrative stories)

Viśākha (विशाख) is one of the two mighty sons of Kārttikeya that sprung from his body after being struck by Indra’s thunderbolt, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 20. Kārttikeya is the name of Śiva’s son born for the purpose of slaying the asura Tāraka and to protect the realm of Indra.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Viśākha, 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
Kathā book cover
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Kathās (कथा) are special kind of Sanskrit literature: they are a kind of a mix between Itihāsa (historical legends) and Mahākāvya (epic poetry). Some Kathās reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of the historical deeds of the Gods, sages and heroes.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Viśākha (विशाख), (dual: viśākhe) is the couple of stars α and β Libræ. This mansion is later called Rādhā according to the Amarakośa, and it is curious that in the Atharvaveda the expression rādho Viśākhe, ‘the Viśākhe are prosperity’, should occur. But probably Rādhā is merely an invention due to the name of the next Nakṣatra, Anurādhā, wrongly conceived as meaning ‘that which is after or follows Rādhā’.

(Source): archive.org: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

In Buddhism

Pali

visākhā : (f.) name of a lunar mansion, and that of a female devotee of the Buddha.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Visākhā, (f.) (vi+sākhā, Sk. viśākhā) N. of a lunar mansion (nakkhatta) or month (see vesākha), usually as visākha° (—puṇṇamā), e.g. SnA 391; VvA. 165. (Page 639)

— or —

Visākha, (adj.) (visākhā as adj. ) having branches, forked; in ti° three-branched S. I, 118=M. I, 109. (Page 639)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

1. Visakha. Husband of Dhammadinna. He was a rich merchant of Rajagaha and accompanied Bimbisara on his visit to the Buddha, who was then at Rajagaha for the first time after his Enlightenment. Visakha, on that occasion, became a Sotapanna, after hearing the Buddha preach; he later became a sakadagami and then an anagami. After he became an anagami his behaviour to his wife completely changed, and when he explained to her the reason, offering her all his wealth and freedom to do as she wished, she asked his leave to join the Order. Visakha informed Bimbisara of her wish, and, at his request, the king ordered that the city be decked in her honour on the day of her renunciation and that she be taken to the nunnery in a golden palanquin.

After Dhammadinna had joined the Order, she left the city and retired into the country, returning to Rajagaha after she had attained arahantship. Visakha, hearing of her return, visited her at the nunnery and asked her various questions regarding the Buddhas teachings, all of which she answered (MA.i.514f.; ThigA.15, 19). Their conversation is recorded in the Culla Vedalla Sutta (M.i.299f.; cf. DhA.iv.229f.; AA.i.197). Visakha then visited the Buddha and reported their conversation to him, winning the Buddhas praises for Dhammadinna.

In the time of Phussa Buddha, Visakha and Dhammadinna had been husband and wife. (For details see PvA.20ff.; of. KhpA.202f.; DhA.i.86f. AA.i.144f.) Visakha had been the treasurer, appointed by the three sons of Jayasena, in charge of the provisions given by them for the almsgiving held in honour of Phussa Buddha and his monks.

Visakha is mentioned (SA.iii.223) as one of the seven lay disciples in the time of the Buddha who had each five hundred followers.

2. Visakha. Called Pancaliputta. He was son of a provincial governor (mandalikaraja) of Magadha, and was called Pancaliputta because his mother was the daughter of the Pancala king. (AA.ii.511 calls him the son of Pancalibrahmani). He succeeded his father, and, hearing one day that the Buddha had arrived near his village, he visited him, heard him preach and joined the Order. He then accompanied the Buddha to Savatthi, where he became an arahant. Later, out of compassion, he visited his relations.

(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).

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

1) Viśākhā (विशाखा) refers to one of the twenty-seven constellations (nakṣatra) according to according to Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XIV).—Viśākhā is the Sanskrit equivalent of Chinese Ti, Tibetan Sa-ga and modern Librae.

Viśākhā is classified in the first group: “The moon revolves around the earth in 28 days. If the moon enters one of the six following constellations (eg., Viśākhā), then at that moment, the earth trembles (bhūmicala) as if it would collapse, this shaking extends up to the god of fire (Agni). Then there is no more rain, the rivers dry up, the year is bad for grain, the emperor (T’ien tseu) is cruel and the great ministers are evil”.

2) Viśākhā (विशाखा) is the mother of thirty-two boys that were born from eggs, according to Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XIV).—The thirty-two sons of P’i chö k’ia mi k’ie lo mou (Viśakhā Mṛgāramātā): Viśākhā, their mother, gave birth to thirty-two eggs which on breaking open, released thirty-two boys who all were strong men; the oldest of them was Mṛgāra. Viśākhā obtained the fruit of the threefold Path.

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

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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

viśākhā (विशाखा).—f pl S The sixteenth lunar asterism.

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

viśākhā (विशाखा).—f pl The 16th lunar asterism.

(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.

Relevant definitions

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