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In Devi Suktam, word (sarvabhūteṣu) is repeated for different manifestations of Devi. I am quite sure with Sarva(सर्व) means all, but word Bhoota (भूत) just confused me a lot.

Bhoota is quite commonly used for Past in context of past, present, future.

Also somewhere I read it is used living beings.

Also Hindi meaning modernly used for spirits of person after death.

Also in Pancha Bhoota (पञ्चभूत pañcabhūta) or Pancha Maha-Bhoota (पञ्चमहाभूत pañcamahābhūta) context, it is used for five prime elements of nature (Air, Water, Fire, Space, Earth). So here Bhoota means elements.

What is actual meaning of this word (Bhoota) in context of Devi Suktam?

  • could you post some of the verses in context ? – ram Oct 15 '18 at 1:15
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    Bhoota means Prapancha (Space+Air+ Fire+Water+Earth). Shiva is called Nijprapancha(Beyond matter). nirguna Parabrahma Svarupa Gamagama Bhuta Prapanca Rahita Nija Guhanihita Nitanta Ananta Ananda Atishaya Aksayalinga satvikamshivam.weebly.com/shiva-stuti---bho-shambho.html By Swami Dayanand Saraswati – user10298 Oct 15 '18 at 4:50
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    Shiva's other name is Bhootnath(i.e husband/Lord of Maya aka Bhoota) and not ghosts unlike what is understood by people these days – user10298 Oct 15 '18 at 4:54
  • @Ravi I am with you on this, when we say Ghost of past haunting, it eventually means we are not able leave past & still suffering. But bollywood have given other meaning to term Bhoot – Pranav Singh Oct 15 '18 at 10:14
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    Science in Sanskrit is Gyan and Gyan Yoga is considered highest in Geeta and Vedanta, even the word 'Vedas' means wisdom and knowledge, which seems kind of missing in the present era. Only superstition and idolism is what is seen in Kaliyug. Vedanta supersedes all Vedas and Puranas and it is pure reasoning and wisdom. Moksha is not even possible without Gyan/wisdom. I hope you read story of [1]: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nachiketa – user10298 Oct 15 '18 at 11:28
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Yes, the sanskrit word Bhuta can have different meanings e.g. 1. For addressing happened in past, 2. For Pancha Mahabhuta (five elements - Agni, Vayu, Jala, Prithivi and Aakash) and 3. For living beings. More accurate translation would be "becoming" or manifasting.

Here it's used to address living beings. According to Sanskrit Dictionary:

bhūta भूत

Definition: n. (see above) that which is or exists, any living being (divine, human, animal, and even vegetable), the world (in these senses also m.) etc.

This meaning or interpretation is nicely supported in the famous context of Bhagavad Gita 15.7

ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूतः सनातनः।
मनःषष्ठानीन्द्रियाणि प्रकृतिस्थानि कर्षति।।15.7।।

15.7 It is verily a part of Mine which, becoming the eternal individual soul in the region of living beings, draws (to itself) the organs which have the mind as their sixth, and which abide in Nature.

You can refer सार्थश्लोकसङ्ग्रह (Collection of Commonly Recited Shlokas with Meanings) from Sanskrit Documents where word-to-word translation is provided:

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु मातृरूपेण संस्थिता ।
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु शक्तिरूपेण संस्थिता ।
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु शान्तिरूपेण संस्थिता ।
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः ।
ॐ अम्बायै नमः ॥ ॥

Adorations to the Divine Mother! Again and again adorations unto that Devi (Goddess) who manifests in all living beings as the Mother. Adorations to Her! Again and again adorations unto that Devi (Goddess) who manifests in all living beings as Energy. Adorations to Her! Again and again adorations unto that Devi (Goddess) who manifests in all living beings as Peace. Adorations to Her!.

या = She who;
देवी = goddess;
सर्वभूतेषु = among all the living beings;
शान्तिरूपेण = in the form of peace;
संस्थिता = well-positioned; standing well;
नमस्तस्यै = salutations unto thee;
नमस्तस्यै = salutations unto thee;
नमस्तस्यै = salutations unto thee;
नमो = bowing; salute;
नमः = bowing; salutation;
ॐ = same as 'OM' i.e. the praNava or 'o.nkAra' mantra; अम्बायै = to the goddess or mother; नमः = bowing; salutation;

By the way it would be fine if we take the meaning of Bhuta as PanchaBhuta + Jiva (to consider non-living or insentient being made up of Pancha Mahabhuta and living or sentient being) as according to Vedanta, the supreme-self (परमात्मा) is the inner self of Jiva and Jagat as well, however the qualities like शक्तिरूपेण, श्रद्धारुपेण etc. are not manifested in insentient beings. So, it would be appropriate to consider living beings in which the supreme-self (here various forms of Devi) dwells.

  • I like translations, but that point only confusion started. I think qualities like शक्तिरूपेण, श्रद्धारुपेण etc. can be manifested in insentient beings like you car is non living insentient but can convert fuel to kinetic energy(शक्ति) to move. Dog is considered insentient but his devotion is unquestionable to his owner. Similarly people are devoted to cows, can't say we devote to some being without devotion. – Pranav Singh Oct 15 '18 at 10:00
  • More confusion comes when Sadhguru one time mentioned Shiv is dark matter what is present everywhere in universe(3 times more than what we can see & observe) & without which nothing is possible even proven scientifically. When Shiv(dark matter) meets Shakti(energy), it creates matter and generates galaxies/universe (proven scientifically too about creation from nothingness i.e. Shoonaya involves something we can't perceive, emit no energy or light quantifiable so called dark matter support & form galactic entities). – Pranav Singh Oct 15 '18 at 10:09
  • I don't want to speculate what I don't know but that means what we call insentient can have attributes we assume it don't have – Pranav Singh Oct 15 '18 at 10:09
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    @PranavSingh well I think Shiva is not limited to Dark matter and Shakti to Energy. Definitely Brahman is the material and efficient cause for whole the creation. I recommend to read Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda to have a clear concept about energy relation to Antah Karana. – Pandya Oct 15 '18 at 10:16
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    @PranavSingh Best of Luck! – Pandya Oct 15 '18 at 10:25
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The word is made up of two words - sarva (meaning all) and bhooteshu.

The word bhooteshu itself is the plural locative form of the word bhoota. Literally it means "in (as in inside) bhootas". The meaning of bhootas is already explained in the other answer. The literal meaning I found on a french site is

bhūtā été; devenu, qui a existé, qui s'est produit; passé; vrai, réel — ifc. qui est devenu, qui est pareil à, qui consiste en — n. être vivant, âme, créature | myth. esprit, fantôme, génie | phil. [Sāṃkhya] cf. bhūtatattva | phil. [Vaiśeṣika] cf. bhūtadravya | math. symb. le nombre 5 — m. myth. esprit d'un défunt, spectre; les bhūtās sont une classe d'êtres maléfiques.

which Google transaltes roughly to (emphasis mine)

bhut; become, who has existed, who has occurred; past; true, real - ifc. who has become, who is like, who consists of - n. to be alive, soul, creature | myth. spirit, ghost, genius | phil. [Sāṃkhya] cf. bhūtatattva | phil. [Vaiśeṣika] cf. bhūtadravya | math. symb. the number 5 - m. myth. spirit of a deceased, specter; the bhūtās are a class of evil beings.

The composite meaning is thus "inside all beings".

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