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Cover of a modern copy of Amara kosha

The Amarakosha (Devanagari: अमरकोशः , IAST: Amarakośaḥ , ISO: Amarakōśaḥ ) is the popular name for Namalinganushasanam (Devanagari: नामलिङ्गानुशासनम् , IAST: Nāmaliṅgānuśāsanam , ISO: Nāmaliṅgānuśāsanam ) a thesaurus in Sanskrit written by the ancient Indian scholar Amarasimha. It may be one of the oldest extant kosha. The author himself mentions 18 prior works, but they have all been lost. There have been more than 40 commentaries on the Amarakosha.


The word "Amarakosha" derives from the Sanskrit words amara ("immortal") and kosha ("treasure, casket, pail, collection, dictionary"). The actual name of the book "Namalinganushasanam" means "instruction concerning nouns and gender".[citation needed]


Amarasimha is said to have been one of the Navaratnas ("nine gems") at the court of Vikramaditya, the legendary king inspired by Chandragupta II, a Gupta king who reigned around AD 400. Some sources indicate that he belonged to the period of Vikramaditya of 7th century.[1]

Mirashi examines the question of the date of composition of Amarakosha. He finds the first reliable mention in Amoghavritti of Shakatayana composed during the reign of Amoghavarsha (814-867 CE).[2]

Textual organisation[edit]

The Amarakosha consists of verses that can be easily memorized. It is divided into three khāṇḍas or chapters. The first, svargādi-khāṇḍa ("heaven and others") has words pertaining to gods and heavens. The second, bhūvargādi-khāṇḍa ("earth and others") deals with words about earth, towns, animals and humans. The third, sāmānyādi-khāṇḍa ("common") has words related to grammar and other miscellaneous words.[citation needed]

Svargadhikhaanda, the first Khaanda of the Amarakosha begins with the verse 'Svaravyam swarganakathridivatrishalaya..' describing various names of Heaven viz. Sva, Avya, swarga, Naka, Tridiva, Tridasalaya etc. The second verse 'Amara, nirjara, deva,’ describes various words that are used for gods and demigods. The fifth and sixth verses give various names of Buddha and Shakyamuni (i.e. Gautam Buddha). The following verses give the different names of Brahma, Vishnu, Vasudeva, Balarama, Kamadeva, Lakshmi, Krishna, Shiva, Indra etc. All these names are treated with great reverence. While Amara Simha is regarded to have been a Buddhist,[3][4] Amarakosha reflects the period before the rise of sectarianism. Commentaries on Amarakosha have been written by Brahmanical, Jain and well as Buddhist scholars.[5]

The second Kanda, Bhuvargadhikanda, of the Amarakosha is divided into ten Vargas or parts. The ten Vargas are Bhuvarga (Earth), Puravarga (Towns or Cities), Shailavarga (Mountains), Vanoshadivarga (Forests and medicines), Simhadivarga (Lions and other animals), Manushyavarga (Mankind), Bramhavarga (Brahmin), Kshatriyavarga (Kshatriyas), Vysyavarga (Vysyas) and Sudravarga (Sudras).[citation needed]

The Third Kanda, Samanyadhikanda contains Adjectives, Verbs, words related to prayer and business etc. The first verse Kshemankaroristatathi Shivathathi Shivamkara gives the Nanarthas of the word Shubakara or propitious as Kshemankara, Aristathathi, Shivathathi and Shivamkara.[citation needed]


  • Amarakoshodghātana by Kṣīrasvāmin (11th century CE, the earliest commentary)
  • Tīkāsarvasvam by Vandhyaghatīya Sarvānanda (12th century)
  • Rāmāsramī (Vyākhyāsudha) by Bhānuji Dīkshita
  • Padachandrikā by Rāyamukuta
  • Kāshikavivaranapanjikha by Jinendra Bhudhi
  • Pārameśwari by Parameswaran Mōsad in Malayalam
  • A Telugu commentary by Linga Bhatta (12th century)


"Gunaratha" of Ujjain translated it into Chinese in the 7th century.

The Pali thesaurus Abhidhānappadīpikā, composed in the twelfth century by the grammarian Moggallāna Thera, is based on the Amarakosha.