Shri
Shri in Devanagari script used for Sanskrit

Shri (/ʃr/;[1] Sanskrit: श्री, romanizedŚrī, pronounced [ɕriː]) is a Sanskrit term denoting resplendence, wealth and prosperity, primarily used as an honorific.[1]

The word is widely used in South and Southeast Asian languages such as Assamese, Meitei (Manipuri), Marathi, Malay (including Indonesian and Malaysian), Javanese, Balinese, Sundanese, Sinhala, Thai, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Bengali, Nepali, Malayalam, Kannada, Sanskrit, Pali, Khmer, and also among Philippine languages. It is usually transliterated as Sri, Sree, Shri, Shiri, Shree, Si, or Seri based on the local convention for transliteration.

The term is used in Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia as a polite form of address equivalent to the English "Mr." in written and spoken language.

"Shri" is also used as a title of veneration for deities or as honorific title for individuals.

Shri is also an epithet for Hindu goddesses - Lakshmi while a yantra or a mystical diagram popularly used to worship her is called Shri Yantra.

Etymology


MahārājaShrīGupta
"Great King, Lord Gupta"
in the Gupta script, on the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta (4th century CE).[2]

Monier-Williams Dictionary gives the meaning of the root verb śrī as "to cook, boil, to burn, diffuse light", but as a feminine abstract noun, it has received a general meaning of "grace, splendour, beauty; wealth, affluence, prosperity".[3][4]

The word śrī may also be used as an adjective in Sanskrit, which is the origin of the modern use of shri as a title. From the noun, is derived the Sanskrit adjective "śrīmat" (śrimān in the masculine nominative singular, śrīmatī in the feminine), by adding the suffix indicating possession, literally "radiance-having" (person, god, etc.). This is used in modern vernacular as form of address Shrimati (abbreviated Smt) for married women, while Sushri, (with "su", "good", added to the beginning), can be used for women in general (regardless of marital status).

Spelling and pronunciation

In Devanagari script for Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi and other languages, the word श्री is combination of three sounds: श् (ś), र् (r) and (ī, long i). There are two conventions in India to transliterate the consonant श् (ISO: ś) to English: some use s (which in narrower transcription represents only स्) as in Sri Lanka and Srinagar, while others use sh as in Shimla and Shimoga.[5] Similarly, री (; र् + ई) is also transliterated to English in two different ways as ri and ree, although the latter is non-standard in Hindi.[5][6] Hence this word श्री may be rendered in English as Shri (the standard spelling), Shree, Sri or Sree; Some other transliterations used are Shri, Shiri, Shrii. Whatever the transliteration may be, its pronunciation remains the same.

Sanskrit is written in many other Indian scripts as well, each of which has its own equivalents of these Devanāgari letters; the Sanskrit pronunciation remains the same regardless of script.

Usage

Shri is an epithet of the Hindu goddesses - Lakshmi.

Shri is a polite form of address equivalent to the English "Mr." or "Ms.".[7]

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, refers to the supreme consciousness, i.e. god.[citation needed]

Shri, also rendered Sridevi, is an epithet of Lakshmi.[8][9] The Vedas speak of Shri as a goddess, who personified ten qualities coveted by other divine beings: food, royalty, holiness, kingdom, fortune, sovereignty, nobility, power, righteousness, and beauty. The Vedic Shri is believed to have identified with later conceptions of Lakshmi, as the embodiment of royalty and dignity.[10]

Other current usage

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 Shri, Desai Shri, and Thakur Shri 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.

A common Sikh greeting is “Sat Shri Akaal (Gurmukhi: ਸਤਿ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਅਕਾਲ)”, meaning “Truth is divine and eternal”. Shri here is used to denote divinity or godliness.

Indian music

The use of the term is common in the names of ragas (musical motifs), either as a prefix or postfix. Some examples are Shree, Bhagyashree, Dhanashree, Jayashree, Subhashree, Itishree, Jiteshree, and Shree ranjani.

Other languages

South and Southeast Asia

Language/Script Form Notes
Bengali-Assamese script শ্রী
Balinese jaimin Comparable to the Javanese usage: a particle prefixed to royal names, the goddess of rice-culture.
Burmese သီရိ (thiri) See Tamil below.
Dhivehi ސިރީ (siree or sirī) Used in the full titles of sultans and kings
Gujarati jemsking
Gurmukhi (Punjabi) ਸ਼੍ਰੀ
Javanese ꦱꦿꦶ (Sri) alternatively written as ꦯꦿꦶ or ꦯꦿꦷ Often used to address royal or venerated figures, such as the King of Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono and the title "Sri Bhaginda" (equivalent to "your majesty"), and for names of deities, such as the Javanese rice goddess Dewi Sri. In modern Javanese, it is a common part of proper names of Javanese people, e.g the name of Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Indonesian marine corps officer Lt. Col Sri Utomo. "Sri" is also a widely used name in Java used for names of placements, organizations, institutions, etc
Kannada ಶ್ರೀ (Sri or Sree)
Khmer ស្រី (Srey) and សេរី (Serey)
Lao ສີ (Si) and ສຣີ (Sri or Sree)
Malay (including Malaysian and Indonesian varieties) Jawi: سري, Latin: Seri (Malaysian)
Sri (Indonesian)
Often used as a title of veneration for honorific titles in Malay kingdoms and sultanates. This includes the honorific title for the Sultan of Brunei: Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and King of Malaysia: Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda. It is also used for the name of places in the Malay world such as Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei and Siak Sri Indrapura city in Sumatra, Indonesia

Usage of "Sri" in Indonesia is used for honorary titles for a king or other great person, for example the King of Yogyakarta Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono and Sri Baginda which means "Your Majesty", and is also used for people's names, mainly Javanese people such as Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani, Indonesian marine officer Lt. Col Sri Utomo, Indian-Indonesian businessman Sri Prakash Lohia, etc. It also refers to the Javanese rice goddess "Dewi Sri". "Sri" is also used as names of companies, placements, institutions, etc (e.g — Sriwijaya Air, Sriwijaya University, etc).
The oldest recorded word of "Sri" founded in Indonesia was written in the Mulawarman inscription founded in Kutai, East Kalimantan dating back to the 4th century AD which read: srimatah sri-narendrasya, kundungasya mahatmanah (meaning: "the maharaja Kudungga, who was very noble")

Malayalam ശ്രീ (Sri or Sree)
Meitei (Manipuri) ꯁ꯭ꯔꯤ (transliterated as "shri/shree/sri/sree" in Meitei script) Used as honorific as in Shri Biren and Shri Shri Govindaji Temple
Nepal Bhasa (Newari) 𑐱𑑂𑐬𑐷 (Sri)
Odia ଶ୍ରୀ
Philippine languages / Baybayin ᜐ᜔ᜇᜒ (Sri or Si or Sree) Formerly used as an honorific title for rulers in old Indianized pre-Hispanic states and polities in the Philippines, such as Sri Lumay of the Rajahnate of Cebu or Sri Bata Shaja of the Rajahnate of Butuan or Sri Pada/Sipad of Lupah Sūg or Sikatuna of Kedatuan of Dapitan.
Sinhala ශ්‍රී (Sri or Sree) also ශ්රී (Sri or Sree) or සිරි (Siri) Meaning "resplendent", as in Sri Lanka, "Resplendent Island".
Tamil ஸ்ரீ (Sri or Sree) The Tamil equivalent tiru is also used.
Telugu శ్రీ (Sri or Sree)
Thai ศิริ (Siri) and ศรี (Sri or Sree or Si) Used in many Thai place names, as seen below.
Vietnamese/Cham Chế Vietnamese transcription of honorific name prefix used among the Cham ethnic minority.

Place names

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

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

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Shri". Lexico. Oxford English Dictionary. Archived from the original on October 30, 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  2. ^ Full inscription, Fleet, John Faithfull (1888). Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum Vol. 3. pp. 1-17.
  3. ^ Turner, Sir Ralph Lilley; Dorothy Rivers Turner (January 2006) [1962]. A comparative dictionary of the Indo-Aryan languages. London: Oxford University Press. p. 736. Archived from the original on 15 December 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2010. śhrīˊ 12708 śhrīˊ 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 – .
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ a b Malviya, Shrikant; Mishra, Rohit; Tiwary, Uma Shanker (2017). "Structural Analysis of Hindi Phonetics and a Method for Extraction of Phonetically Rich Sentences from a Very Large Hindi Text Corpus". p. 2. arXiv:1701.08655 [cs.CL].
  6. ^ United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2007), Technical reference manual for the standardization of geographical names, United Nations Publications, 2007, ISBN 978-92-1-161500-5, ... ISO 15919 ... There is no evidence of the use of the system either in India or in international cartographic products ... The Hunterian system is the actually used national system of romanization in India ...
  7. ^ Howard Measures (1962). Styles of address: a manual of usage in writing and in speech. Macmillan. pp. 136, 140. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  8. ^ Lochtefeld, James G. (2001l). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. p. 640. ISBN 978-0-8239-3179-8.
  9. ^ "Lakshmi | Goddess of Wealth, Fortune & Prosperity | Britannica". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2023-09-26. Retrieved 2023-10-01.
  10. ^ Herman, Phyllis K.; Shimkhada, Deepak (2009-03-26). The Constant and Changing Faces of the Goddess: Goddess Traditions of Asia. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-4438-0702-9.