Sri

Sri, Shri, Shree, Siri or Seri (Devanagari - श्री, Bahasa- Seri, Kannada- ಶ್ರೀ, Tamil - ஸ்ரீ, IAST "Śrī") is a Sanskrit title of veneration. It is an honorific stemming from the Puranic conception of prosperity and frequently used in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism.

It signifies the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, who symbolizes beauty, wealth and grace. According to Sanskrit grammar, Sri belongs to the feminine subjunctive gender but nowadays it is written as a masculine name prefix, short for Sriman and it is akin to Mr. in English, "kreiōn" in Greek, Effendi in Turkish, or Thiru in Tamil. The related veneration terms Shrimati (which is the equivalent of Mrs.) and Sushri (the equivalent of Ms.) are used for women.

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.

Pronunciation

The letter Ś in IAST actually stands for the voiceless postalveolar fricative. English "sh" is also the voiceless postalveolar fricative. This means that the "Ś" in "Śrī" is pronounced almost the same as the "sh" in "sheep". There is a widespread misunderstanding that ṣ is English "sh", and that Ś is somewhere in between English s and English sh. This is not true.

ignificance

"Sri"' is an epithet of some Hindu gods. It is also used as a prefix to the names of men and women who are considered great or holy, or who derive their power from that which is holy. When used as a title for gods, "Śrī" is sometimes translated into English as "Lord".

Sri Devi (or in short Sri, another name of Lakshmi, consort of Vishnu) is the Devi (goddess) of wealth according to Hindu beliefs. Lakshmi is the embodiment of Love, from which devotion to God or Bhakti flows from. It is through Love/Bhakti or Lakshmi that the atma or soul is able to reach God or Vishnu. Sri or Lakshmi is also the personification of the Spiritual energy within us and universe called Kundalini. Also, She embodies the Spiritual World or Vaikunta; the abode of Lakshmi-Narayana or Vishnu, or what would be considered Heaven in Hinduism. She is also the Divine qualities of God and the soul. Lakshmi is God's superior spiritual feminine energy or the Param Prakriti, which purifies, empowers and uplifts the individual. Hence, She is called the Goddess of Fortune.

"Śrī" is one of the names of Ganesha, the Hindu god of prosperity. The origin of the word Sri is traced to the account of Lord Ganesha losing his head while protecting his mother Pārvatī. This is why He is the first to be worshiped in all the 'yagyas'.

Current usage

Sri/Shri is often used by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains as a respectful affix to the names of celebrated or revered persons. It is not 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).

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

Another usage is as an emphatic compound (which can be used in multiple: "shri shri", or "sri sri sri", etc.) in princely styles, notably in Darbar Shri, Desai Shri, and Thakur Shri or as in Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a Hindu spiritual Guru and leader.

Place name

It is used in the name of the country Sri Lanka, which means "venerable" island and as in Sri Perambadur, a town in the State of Tamil Nadu, where the Srivaishnava pontiff Ramanujacharya was born.


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