Sri (Devanagari: श्री, IAST: Śrī, IPA: /ʃɹiː/ or /ɕɹiː/, pronounced 'shree'), also transliterated as Sree, Shri, Shree, Si or Seri 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, but also as a title of veneration for deities. It is also widely used in other South and Southeast Asian languages.
Sri has a core meaning of "diffusing light or radiance", related to the root śrā "to cook, boil", but as a feminine abstract noun, it has received a general meaning of "grace, splendour, lustre, beauty; wealth, affluence, prosperity".
Spelling and pronunciation
In Devanagari script for Sanskrit, Hindi and other languages, the word ⟨श्री⟩ is spelled with three conjoined letters: श (śa / sha) – र (ra) – ी (ī, long i). These are distinct from स (sa) and ि (short i). The strict transliteration is śrī or shrii. (Other forms include Hunterian zrI.)
Some other Indian languages do not distinguish /ʃ/ (sh in English) from /s/ in speech or for native words, but do retain distinct spelling for loanwords. For example, Sinhalese and Tamil respectively have: (ශ, ஶ், śa) versus (ස, ஸ், sa). In these cases, the spelling generally reflects Sanscrit śrī ("shri"), though the pronunciation may be "sri", "seri", or "si".
Shri 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, Shri if used by itself and not followed by any name then it refers to the supreme consciousness i.e. God.
Shri Devi (or in short Shri, 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.
Shri is one of the names of Ganesha, the Hindu god of prosperity.
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Shri may be repeated depending on the status of the person.
- Sri: for anybody
- Sri 2: e.g. Ravi Shankar
- Sri 3: Title used by former Rana PMs of Nepal
- Sri 5: Title used by former King of Nepal ( e.g. Shri pānch ko sarkaar (His Majesty's Government)
- Sri 108: Used by spiritual leaders
- Sri 1008: Used by spiritual leaders (e.g.: Sri 1008 Satyatma Tirtha)
Other current usage
Shri, along with the forms Shrimati (for married women, equivalent to English Mrs.) and Sushri, 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 Shri 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: shri shri, or shri shri shri, 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 Shri Guru Granth Sahib. Similarly, when the Ramlila tradition of reenacting the Ramayana is referred to as an institution, the term Shri Ramlila is frequently used.
South and Southeast Asia
|Language/Script||Sri written as||Notes|
|Burmese||သီရိ (thiri)||See Tamil below.|
|Indonesian||Sri||Often used as a title of veneration, however "Sri" also the name of ancient Java rice goddess Dewi Sri and also for royal usage such as "Sri Bhaginda", etc.|
|Javanese||ꦱꦿꦶ (Sri, conjunct form may not be shown properly)||Javanese language treats it as a common part of names in, for example, the name of former Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.|
|Khmer||ស្រី (Srey) and សេរី (Serey)|
|Lao||ສີ (Si) and ສຣີ (Sri)|
|Sinhala||ශ්රී (Sri or "Shree") or සිරි (Siri)||Meaning "resplendent", as in Sri Lanka, "Resplendent Island".|
|Tamil||ஸ்ரீ (Shre or Shree)||Its Tamil equivalent (Thiru) is also used.|
|Thai||ศิริ (Siri) and ศรี (Sri or Si)||Thai place names below.|
|Vietnamese/Cham||Chế||Vietnamese transcription of honorific name prefix used among the Cham ethnic minority.|
The honorific is incorporated into many place names. A partial list:
- Srimangal, Bangladesh
- Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, a Siva temple, also one of the holiest places of worship for Hindus.
- Srikakulam, a town in northern Andhra Pradesh.
- Sri City an integrated township located in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu border.
- Shri Khetra Name of the Puri Jagannath Dham, Odisha. one of the four Dham in Hindu religion.
- Sree Mandira (Odia: ଶ୍ରୀମନ୍ଦିର) is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath (Krishna) and located in the coastal town of Puri in Odisha.
- Sri Lanka, an island country at the south tip of India.
- Sri Perumbudur, a town in the State of Tamil Nadu
- Sri Rangam, an island zone in the city of Tiruchirapalli, in Tamil Nadu.
- Sri Nagar where nagar means a city is the capital of the northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir
- Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte the administrative capital of Sri Lanka.
- Srivijaya, a former kingdom centered on Sumatra, Indonesia.
- Sri (Thai: ศรี), pronounced and usually transliterated Si in Thailand place names:
- 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
- Turner, Sir Ralph Lilley; Dorothy Rivers Turner (January 2006) . A comparative dictionary of the Indo-Aryan languages. London: Oxford University Press,. p. 736. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
śhrīˊ 12708 śhrīˊ feminine ' light, beauty ' R̥gveda, ' welfare, riches ' Avestan (Iranian) Pali Prakrit sirī – feminine, Prakrit sī – 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 – .
- 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
- Howard Measures (1962). Styles of address: a manual of usage in writing and in speech. Macmillan. pp. 136, 140. Retrieved 19 January 2011.