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Shankha, aka: Saṅkhā, Saṅkha, Sankha, Śaṅkha; 16 Definition(s)

Shankha means something in Buddhism, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Pali Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article:

16 Definition(s) from various sources:

Śaṅkha (शङ्ख):—The Sanskrit name for a classification of a ‘temple’, according to the Agnipurāṇa, featuring a list of 45 temple types. It is listed under the group named Kailāśa, featuring circular-shaped temples. This list represents the classification of temples in North-India. The Vāstuśāstras (composed of vāstu, ‘building’ and śāstra, ‘instruction’) represent a Hindu branch of science dealing with architecture and construction.

Added: 31.Aug.2016 | Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
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Śaṅkha (शङ्ख) is a Sanskrit word referring to the animal “conch snail”. The meat of this animal is part of the māṃsavarga (‘group of flesh’), which is used throughout Āyurvedic literature. The animal Śaṅkha is part of the sub-group named Vāriśaya, refering to animals “living in waters”. It was classified by Caraka in his Carakasaṃhitā sūtrasthāna (chapter 27), a classical Āyurvedic work. Caraka defined such groups (vargas) based on the dietic properties of the substance.

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Śaṅkha (Conch) - In battle conveys the instruction of the commander to the troops. It represents the diffusion of the Dharma teachings and the proclamation of war upon the negative forces of the mind. Also creation through sound and the Prāṇava — AUM.

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The conch (Śaṅkha) in Viṣṇu’s upper left hand represents the first manifestation of articulate language— AUM— nāda Brāhman. This monosyllable contains within itself all language and meaning in a potential state. It is the seed from which speech developed — the nutshell containing the whole of wisdom.

All the forms of the universe are effects of the primeval sonic vibration. Thus the conch is the symbol of the origin of existence. Its shape is a spiral, starting at one point and evolving into ever increasing spheres. It comes from water, the first compact element. When blown it produces the sound AUM.

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Śaṅkha is the ordinary chank shell which is almost always found in one of the hands of the images of Viṣṇu, The śaṅkha of Viṣṇu is known by the name of Pāñcajanya, being supposed to have been derived from the body of the asura named Pañcajana. It is declared to have been employed by Viṣṇu in war; by the blowing of this powerful conch-shell, he often struck terror into the hearts of his enemies. The conch, held in the hand with all the five fingers by its open end, or an ornamented one, having its head or spiral-top covered with a decorative meatl cap, surmounted by the head of a mythical lion, and having a cloth tied round it so that portions of it may hang on either side.

There are also tassels of pearls hanging on the sides. Curiously enough a śaṅkha of this description is show so as to be held between the first two fingers, which is indeed a difficult task to perform. In a few instances, attached to the lower end of the śaṅkha, there is a thick jewelled ribbon which is made to serve as a handle. Sometimes this ornamental variety of śaṅkha is shown with jvālās or flames of fire on the top and the sides.

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Śaṅkha (शङ्ख, “conch”):—One of the nine symbols representing the cosmic principles of the universe, according to the Pāñcarātra literature (early Vaiṣṇava movement). These nine weapons and ornaments symbolize the principles which they represent as the presiding deity. The Conch (śaṅkha) represents sāttvic ahaṃkāra (‘virtuous and rightous egoism’).

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The conch represents the first manifestation of articulate language—AUM—nāda-brahman. This monosyllable contains within itself all language and meaning in a potential state. It is the seed from which speech developed—the nutshell containing the whole of knowledge and wisdom. All matter is light and vibration. All the forms of the universe are effects of the primeval sonic vibration. Thus the conch is the symbol of the origin of exist e nce. Its shape is a spiral, starting at one point and evolving into ever increasing spheres. It comes from water, the first compact element. When blown it produces the sound AUM.

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Śaṅkha (शङ्ख)—Sanskrit word for an animal “conch” (Turbinella sp.). This animal is from the group called Kośastha (conchiferous: ‘those which have a shell’). Kośastha itself is a sub-group of the group of animals known as Ānupa (those that frequent marshy places).

The flesh of animals of the Shankha orders is sweet in taste and digestion, cooling in its potency, demulcent, and beneficial to stool and the Pittam. It destroys the deranged Vāyu and produces Kapham.

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Śaṅkha (शङ्ख, “conch”): a Musical Instrument.—The Ṛgveda does not refer to it; but the Jātakas mention it. In the epic war-scenes use of the śaṅkhas is very common, and we find in the Gītā the śaṅkhas of various warriors mentioned by name. Kauṭilya testifies to the use of śaṅkhas in war. The Vāyu-purāṇa, however, shows its use only in connection with the worship of Śiva by the Bhūtas.

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One of the saṃyutta-hastāni (Twenty-four combined Hands).—Śaṅkha (conch) : the thumbs of Śikhara hands are joined, andthe forefinger extended. Usage: conch.

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Saṅkhā, (f.) & Saṅkhyā (f.) (fr. saṃ+khyā) 1. enumeration, calculation, estimating D. II, 277; M. I, 109; Miln. 59 ‹-› 2. number Dāvs. I, 25.—3. denomination, definition, word, name (cp. on term K. S. I. 321) S. III, 71 sq.; IV, 376 sq.; Nd2 617 (=uddesa gaṇanā paññatti); Dhs. 1306; Miln. 25.—saṅkhaṃ gacchati to be styled, called or defined; to be put into words D. I, 199, 201; Vin. II, 239; M. I, 190, 487; A. I, 68, 244=II. 113; Pug. 42; Nett 66 sq.; Vism. 212, 225, 235, 294 (khy); SnA 167 (khy); DhsA. 11 (khy). saṅkhaṃ gata (cp. saṅkhāta) is called DA. I, 41 (uyyānaṃ Ambalaṭṭhikā t’eva s. g.). saṅkhaṃ na upeti (nopeti) cannot be called by a name, does not count, cannot be defined It. 54; Sn. 209, 749, 911, 1074; Nd1 327; Nd2 617. (Page 664)

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1) Saṅkha, 2 (etym. ?) a water plant (combd with sevāla) Miln. 35. See detail under paṇṇaka 2. (Page 664)

2) Saṅkha, 1 (cp. Vedic śaṅkha; Gr. kόgxos shell, measure of capacity, & kόxlos; Lat. congius a measure) a shell, conch; mother-of-pearl; a chank, commonly used as a trumpet D. I, 79; II, 297=M. I, 58; A. II, 117; IV, 199; Vv 8110; J. I, 72; II, 110; VI, 465, 580; Miln. 21 (dhamma°); DhA. I, 18. Combined with paṇava (small drum) Vism. 408; J. VI, 21; or with bheri (large drum) Miln. 21; Vism. 408.

—ûpama like a shell, i.e. white J. V, 396, cp. VI, 572. —kuṭṭhin a kind of leper; whose body becomes as white as mother-of-pearl DhA. I, 194, 195. —thāla mother of pearl, (shell-) plate Vism. 126 (sudhota°), 255. —dhama a trumpeter D. I, 259=M. II, 19; M. II, 207=S. IV, 322. —dhamaka a conch blower, trumpeter J. I, 284; VI, 7. —nābhi a kind of shell Vin. I, 203; II, 117. —patta motherof-pearl DhA. I, 387. —muṇḍika the shell-tonsure, a kind of torture M. I, 87; A. I, 47; II, 122. —mutta mother-ofpearl J. V, 380 (C expls as “shell-jewel & pearl-jewel”); VI, 211, 230. —likhita polished like mother-of-pearl; bright, perfect D. I, 63, 250; S. II, 219; A. V, 204; Vin. I, 181; Pug. 57; DA. I, 181; DhA. IV, 195. See also under likhita, & cp. Franke, Wiener Zeitschrift 1893, 357. —vaṇṇa pearl-white J. III, 477; M. I, 58=A. III, 324. —sadda the sound of a chank A. II, 186; Vism. 408; Dhs. 621. —silā “shell-stone, ” a precious stone, mother-of-pearl (?) Ud. 54; J. IV, 85; Pv. II, 64. Frequent in BSk. , e.g. AvŚ I. 184, 201, 205; Divy 291. (Page 663)

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saṅkha : (m.) a chank; a conch shell. || saṅkhā (f.) enumeration; calculation; a number; definition.

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Śankha (शंख): Shankha is the divine Counch or sea shell, which is one of the insignia in the Hindu God Vishnu's hands. The sound emitted from Shankha when blown, is too divine, that is used for regular rituals for Vishnu. Śankha was also the name of one of sons of King Virata who was killed in Mahabharata.

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One of the Eight Auspicious Symbols

The right turning white conch shell, representing the beautiful, deep, melodious, interpenetrating and pervasive sound of the Buddhadharma which being appropriate to different natures, predispositions and aspirations of disciples, awakens them from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to accomplish their own welfare and the welfare of others;

In Hinduism the Conch is an attribute of Vishnu as is the Wheel. Vaishnavism holds that Shakyamuni Buddha is an avatar of Vishnu.

The conch shell is thought to have been the original horn trumpet; ancient Indian mythical epics relate heroes carrying conch shells. The Indian god Vishnu is also described as having a conch shell as one of his main emblems; his shell bore the name Panchajanya meaning having control over the five classes of beings.

(Sanskrit: Sankha; Wylie: dung gyas kyil)

Added: 26.Apr.2009 | WikiPedia: Buddhism
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(also see Saknha Sutta)

1. Sankha. The Bodhisatta, born as a brahmin in Molininagara (Benares). See the Sankha Jataka.

2. Sankha. The Bodhisatta, born as a setthi of Rajagaha. See the Agampadana Jataka.

3. Sankha. A future king, who will be the Cakka vatti of Ketumati at the time of the appearance of Metteyya Buddha in the world. He will raise up again the palace of King Mahapanada and live there. But later he will give it to the Order and become an arahant. D.iii.75f.; Anagat. p. 42 (vs. 10).

According to the Commentary (DA.iii.856), he was one of two cane workers (nalakara), father and son, who made a hut for a Pacceka Buddha. After death, both were born in heaven. The son became Mahapanada, and, later, Bhaddaji. The father is in the deva world and will be reborn as Sankha. Mahapanadas palace still remains un destroyed, ready for his use.

4. Sankha. A Naga king; a previous birth of Rahula. SNA.i.341; but elsewhere (e.g., SA.iii.26) he is called Palita. See Palita.

5. Sankha. One of the treasure troves which arose from the earth for the use of the Bodhisatta in his last lay life. These appeared on the day of his birth. DA.i.284.

6. Sankha. The Bodhisatta born as a brahmin in Takkasila. He was the father of Susima. See the Sankha Jataka (2).

7. Sankha. A general of Kittisirimegha; he lived in Badalatthali. The king entrusted him with the celebrations in connection with the upanayana ceremony of Parakkamabahu (afterwards Parakkamabahu I.). When Parakkamabahu returned to Badalatthali in his tour of preparation, Sankha welcomed him and paid him all honour. But Parakkamabahu proved treacherous and had him slain. Cv.lxiv.8f., 22f.; lxv.13f, 27f.

8. Sankha. A Singhalese general who maintained a stronghold in Gahgadoni in the Manimekhala district, while Magha ruled in the capital. Cv.lxxxi.7f.

Added: 12.Apr.2009 | Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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One of the Eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism The Conch Shell (Skt. shankha; Tib. dung dkar): The conch shell has survived as the original horn trumpet since time immemorial. Ancient Indian epics describe how each hero of mythical warfare carried a mighty white conch shell, which often bore a personal name. It is one of the main emblems of Vishnu, and his conch bears the name of Panchajanya, meaning having control over the five classes of beings.

Ancient Indian belief classifies the conch into male and female varieties. The thicker shelled bulbous one is thought to be the male (purusha), and the thin shelled slender conch to be the female (shankhini).

The fourfold caste division is also applied as follows:

  1. The smooth white conch represents the Brahmin caste
  2. The red conch the kshatriyas (warriors)
  3. The yellow conch the vaishyas (merchants)
  4. The grey conch the shudras (labourers)

The right spiralling movement of such a conch is believed to echo the celestial motion of the sun, moon, planets and stars across the heavens.

Added: 16.Nov.2008 | Kheper: General
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