Sri

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This article is about the word. For other uses of "Sri" and "SRI", see Sri (disambiguation).
"Shree" redirects here. For the raga, see Shree (raga).
Sri (Sinhala)

Sri (Devanagari: श्री, IAST; Śrī), also transliterated as Sree or Shri or Shree is a word of Sanskrit origin, used in the Indian subcontinent as a polite form of address equivalent to the English "Mr." or "Ms." in written and spoken language, or as a title of veneration for deities (usually translated as "Holy").

Etymology[edit]

Sri has the root meaning of radiance or prosperity.[1][2]

In Sanskrit grammar, Sri has the feminine gender. It is gender-specific in Sanskrit, but the assumption that it is masculine has resulted in the titles of Shrimati (abbreviated Smt) for married women and Sushri for women (independent of marital status).

Usage[edit]

Sri (also Sree, Shri, Shree, श्री) is a polite form of address equivalent to the English "Mr." or "Ms."[3] The title is derived from Sanskrit श्रीमान् (śrīmān). This use may stem from the Puranic conception of prosperity.

Śrī is also frequently used as an epithet of some Hindu gods, in which case it is often translated into English as Holy. Also in language and general usage, Śrī if used by itself and not followed by any name then it refers to the supreme consciousness i.e. God.

Sri Devi (or in short Sri, another name of Lakshmi, consort of Vishnu) is the devi (goddess) of wealth according to Hindu beliefs. Among today's orthodox Vaishnavas, the English word "Shree" is a revered syllable and is used to refer to Lakshmi as the supreme goddess, while "Sri" or "Shri" is used to address humans.

Śrī is one of the names of Ganesha, the Hindu god of prosperity.

Sri may be repeated up to five times, depending on the status of the person, see Sri Sri. E.g. king Birendra of Nepal was addressed as Sri paanch (sri x5) as in Sri paanch ko sarkaar (His majesty's government).

Other current usage[edit]

Sri, along with the forms Srimati (for married women, equivalent to English Mrs.) and Susri, is often used by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains as a respectful affix to the names of celebrated or revered persons.

There is a common practice of writing Śrī as the first word centralised in line at the beginning of a document.

Another usage is as an emphatic compound (which can be used several times: sri sri, or sri sri sri, etc.) in princely styles, notably in Darbar Sri, Desai Shri, and Thakur Sri or Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, the founder of the social and spiritual movement Ananda Marga (the Path of Bliss).

The honorific can also be applied to objects and concepts that are widely respected, such as the Sikh religious text, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Similarly, when the Ramlila tradition of reenacting the Ramayana is referred to as an institution, the term Sri Ramlila is frequently used.

Indian Music[edit]

Its usage is common as a raga name, either as a prefix or postfix. Some examples are Shree, Bageshree, Dhanashree, Malashree, Jayantashree, Rageshree, and Shree ranjani.

Other languages[edit]

South and Southeast Asia[edit]

Śri is used in most languages of the Indian subcontinent and Seri is used in most of the languages of southeast Asia:

Place names[edit]

The honorific is incorporated into many place names. A partial list:

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (พระนครศรีอยุธยา), formal name of city and province of Ayutthaya
Nakhon Si Thammarat (นครศรีธรรมราช) city and province
Sisaket (ศรีสะเกษ) city and province

References[edit]

  1. ^ Turner, Sir Ralph Lilley; Dorothy Rivers Turner (January 2006) [1962]. A comparative dictionary of the Indo-Aryan languages.. London: Oxford University Press,. p. 736. Retrieved 22 April 2010. "śrīˊ 12708 śrīˊ feminine ' light, beauty ' R̥gveda, ' welfare, riches ' Avestan (Iranian) Pali Prakrit sirī – feminine, Prakrit – feminine ' prosperity '; Marāṭhī – s honorific affix to names of relationship (e.g. āj̈ā – s, ājī – s) Jules Bloch La Formation de la Langue Marathe Paris 1920, page 412. – Sinhalese siri ' health, happiness ' (Wilhelm Geiger An Etymological Glossary of the Sinhalese Language Colombo 1941, page 180) a loanword from Pali <-> See addendum śrḗyas – , śrḗṣṭha – . See Addenda: śrīˊ – occurring for the first time in Addenda : śrīparṇī – ." 
  2. ^ Apte, Vaman Shivaram (1957–59). Revised and enlarged edition of Prin. V. S. Apte's The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary. Prasad Prakashan. p. 1575. "1 Wealth, riches, affluence, prosperity, plenty; ... -2 Royalty, majesty, royal wealth;... -3 Dignity, high position, state;... -4 Beauty, grace, splendour, lustre;... -5 Colour, aspect; ... -6 The goddess of wealth, Lak-ṣmī, the wife of Viṣṇu;... -7 Any virtue or excellence. -8 Decoration. -9 Intellect, understanding. -1 Super- human power. -11 The three objects of human existence taken collectively (धर्म, अर्थ and काम). -12 The Sarala tree. -13 The Bilva tree. -14 Cloves. -15 A lotus. -16 The twelfth digit of the moon. -17 N. of Sarasvatī, (the goddess of speech). -18 Speech. -19 Fame, glory. -2 The three Vedas (वेदत्रयी);... -m. N. of one of the six Rāgas or musical modes. -a. Splendid, radiant, adorning. (The word श्री is often used as an honorific prefix to the names of deities and eminent persons; श्रीकृष्णः, श्रीरामः, श्रिवाल्मीकिः, श्रीजयदेवः; also celebrated works, generally of a sacred character; श्रीभागवत, श्रीरामायण)&c.; it is also used as an auspicious sign at the commencement of letters, manuscripts &c" 
  3. ^ Howard Measures (1962). Styles of address: a manual of usage in writing and in speech. Macmillan. pp. 136, 140. Retrieved 19 January 2011.