Mahannavo etymology/meaning

I’ve been reading the teachings for a few years with the help of a few translations, and recently I’ve become interested in translations of the standard Pali chants, especially the Salutations to the Triple Gem. The Dhammayut book - and a lot of the others - translates mahannavo as ocean-like but countless google searches and all my usual resources have drawn blanks on the word, except for some suggestions around navigation and boat. Obvs (?) maha is great or big, but navi/navo… Sanskrit, Hindi, Prakrit…? I would love some guidance.

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I think this would be a compound of mahā + annava (sea or ocean).
You can find it listed in the PTS Pali-English dictionary under the entry for ‘Mahant’, mah +
-annana “the (great) ocean”

Or under the entry for ‘annava’ Skt ‘arnava’.

In Alagaddupama Sutta, Majjhima 22, there is mention of ‘mahantam udakannavam’, one seeing a ‘great expanse of water’ , in the simile of the raft.


Thanks a lot, that clears it up beautifully.

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