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Shri (//; Devanagari: श्री, ISO: Śrī, Sanskrit pronunciation: [ʃriː], Non-Sanskrit pronunciation: [sriː]), also transliterated as Shree, Sri, or Sree, is a Sanskrit term denoting resplendence, wealth and prosperity, primarily used as an honorific.
The word is widely used in South and Southeast Asian languages such as Indonesian, Javanese, Balinese, Sinhala (ශ්රී), Thai, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Nepali, Malayalam, Kannada, Sanskrit, Pali, Khmer, Malay, and among Philippine languages. It is usually transliterated as Sri, Sree, Shri, 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, but also as a title of veneration for deities or as honorific title for local rulers.
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".
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 ई (ī, long i). There are two conventions in India to transliterate the syllable श (ISO: śa) (i.e., श् (ś) with the inherent vowel अ (a); श् (ś) + अ (a)) to English. Some use the convention of sa for transcribing स as in Sri Lanka and Srinagar, while others use the convention of sha for transcribing श as in Shimla and Shimoga. Similarly, री (rī; र् + ई) is also transliterated to English in two different ways as ri and ree, although the latter is non-standard in Hindi. Hence, in English, the spelling of this word श्री varies from Shri (the standard spelling) to Shree through Sri and Sree. Whatever be the transliteration, the pronunciation is the same. Sanskrit is written in many Indian scripts as well, in which case there are corresponding letters which have the exact same values as the Devanagari, so the Sanskrit pronunciation remains the same regardless of script.
Shri is also frequently used as an epithet of some mythologiacal 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.
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, while "Sri" or "Shri" is used to address humans.
Shri is one of the names of Ganesha, the Hindu god of prosperity.
Shri may be repeated depending on the status of the person.
- Shri: for anybody
- Shri 2: honorific, guru, e.g. Ravi Shankar, Abhi Joshi
- Shri 3: title used by former Maharaja of Lamjung and Kaski and PMs of Nepal (e.g. Shrī Tīn Jung Bahadur Kunwar Ranaji)
- Shri 4: title used by Divine factor, e.g. Afactor Abinash
- Shri 5: title used by former King of Nepal (e.g. Shri pānch ko sarkār (His Majesty's Government))
- Shri 108: used by spiritual leaders
- Shri 1008: used by spiritual leaders (e.g. Shri 1008 Satyatma Tirtha)
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.
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.
South and Southeast Asia
|Language/Script||Shri written as||Notes|
|Burmese||သီရိ (thiri)||See Tamil below.|
|Javanese||ꦱꦿꦶ (Sri or Sree) alternatively written as ꦯꦿꦶ or ꦯꦿꦷ||Often used to address royal or venerated figures, such as "Sri Bhaginda" (equivalent to "your majesty), and for names of deities, such as the ancient Javan rice goddess Dewi Sri. In modern Javanese, it is a common part of proper names, eg. the name of former Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati. "Sri" is also used as a name for things other than people, such as the Indonesian bus companies "Sri Rahayu" and "Sri Padma Kenchana".|
|Kannada||ಶ್ರೀ (Sri or Sree)|
|Khmer||ស្រី (Srey) and សេរី (Serey)|
|Lao||ສີ (Si) and ສຣີ (Sri or Sree)|
Latin: Seri (Malaysian), Sri or Sree (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. It is also used for the name of places such as Bandar Seri Begawan
Usage in Indonesia however is less frequent as "Sri" is also the name of the ancient Javan rice goddess Dewi Sri. It is also used as a royal title such as "Sri Bhaginda", etc. "Sri" can also be used as part of a proper name, usually by Javanese people, such as "Sri Rahayu", "Ibu Sri" (Mrs. Sri), "Sri Agung", "Sri Padma Kenchana", etc.
|Malayalam||ശ്രീ (Sri or Sree)|
|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 Thiru 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.|
The honorific is incorporated into many place names. A partial list follows:
- 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 on the Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu border.
- Shri Kshetra, name of the Puri Jagannath Dham, Odisha. One of the four Dhams in the Hindu religion.
- Sree Mandira 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 southern 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.
- Srinagar, nagar meaning "city", is the capital of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir
- Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the administrative capital of Sri Lanka.
- Sri Maha Bodhi, a sacred fig tree in the Mahamewna Gardens, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.
- Srivijaya, a former kingdom centered on Sumatra, Indonesia.
- Sriwijaya University, located in South Sumatra, Indonesia
- Sri (ศรี), pronounced and usually transliterated Si in Thailand place names:
- 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
- Wat Si Saket in Vientiane, Laos.
- Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei.
- Seri Menanti, the royal town of Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.
- Banteay Srei, a 10th-century Hindu temple in Angkor, Cambodia
- Srey Santhor, a district located in Kampong Cham, Cambodia.
- "Shri". Lexico. Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
- Turner, Sir Ralph Lilley; Dorothy Rivers Turner (January 2006) . 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 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
- 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].
- 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 ...
- Howard Measures (1962). Styles of address: a manual of usage in writing and in speech. Macmillan. pp. 136, 140. Retrieved 19 January 2011.