Amrita or Amrit (अमृत; ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ; ಅಮೃತ; అమృతము) is a Sanskrit word that literally means "without death", and is often referred to in texts as nectar. Corresponding to ambrosia, it has differing significance in different Indian religions.


Amrit is repeatedly referred to as the drink of the gods, which grants them immortality. Amrit features in the Samudra manthan, where the gods, because of a curse from the sage Durvasa, begin to lose their immortality. With the help of the asuras (demons), they churned the sea in order to find the nectar of immortality, amrit. After drinking it, the gods regained their immortality and defeated the demons.

In yogic philosophy (see yoga, Hindu philosophy) amrita is a fluid that can flow from the pituitary gland down the throat in deep states of meditation. It is considered quite a boon: some yogic texts say that one drop is enough to conquer death and achieve immortality.

"Amrit" is also a common Hindu first name for men; the feminine is "Amritā".


Amrit is the name of the holy water used in the baptism ceremony (known as Amrit Sanskar or Amrit Chhakhna by the Sikhs). This ceremony is observed to initiate the Sikhs into the Khalsa brotherhood. The ceremony requires the drinking of the Amrit. This water is created by mixing a number of soluble ingredients, including sugar, and is then rolled with a [Khanda] (a type of knife) with the accompaniment of scriptural recitation of five sacred Banis (chants).


Amrita, under its Tibetan name of dutsi, also features in Tibetan Buddhist mythology, where it is linked to the killing of the monster Rahu by Vajrapani, whose blood dripped onto the surface of this earth, causing all kinds of medicinal plants to grow.

Dutsi also refers to a herbal medicine made during ceremonies involving many high lamas in Tibetan Buddhism, known as drubchens. It usually takes the form of small, dark-brown grains that are taken with water, or dissolved in very weak solutions of alcohol, and is said to improve physical and spiritual well-being.

See also


  • Dallapiccola, Anna L. Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend. ISBN 0-500-51088-1

External links

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