Wisdom Library Logo

Aṣṭāvakra, aka: Ashtavakra; 9 Definition(s)


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

The Sanskrit term Aṣṭāvakra can be transliterated into English as Ashtavakra or Astavakra, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism


Aṣṭāvakra (अष्टावक्र).—A sage crooked in eight parts of the body; was performing penances with his body below the neck under waters. The nymphs who went to Merupṛṣṭa to see a festival beheld him and hymned him; pleased he asked them their wish. “Puruṣottama for husband” they said. He agreed and when he came out of waters, seeing his form they laughed at him. Insulted, he imprecated that they would be the wives first of Puruṣottama and then fall into the hands of robbers. They prayed fervently and he said that they would attain heaven afterwards.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 38. 71-84.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

about this context:

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Aṣṭāvakra. As the name itself indicates, he was bent in eight places. The story goes that this youth was insulted and laughed at. But it did not disturb Aṣṭāvakra in the least, as he was never identified himself with the body.

Source: Google Books: A Silent Journey - In Search of Oneself

Astavakra in Samskrta means-asta i.e. eight and vakra is crooked or curbed- with eight crooked(limbs). He was cursed by his father while still in his mother's womb. As a result of the curse, he developed eight deformities like hunch-backed, hump, knock-knees, bow-legs, flat-footed etc., and was therefore named Astavakra.

Source: Exotic India: Astavakra (Ashtavakra) Gita

Aṣṭāvakra (अष्टावक्र).—The founder of Māyāvāda philosophy, which declares that the spiritual effulgence (Brahman) is the cause of all causes.

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

Aṣṭāvakra is the author of the work Aṣṭāvakra Gītā, also known as Aṣṭāvakra Saṃhitā, a treatise on the instruction by Aṣṭāvakra to Janaka about the Self. Aṣṭāvakra is the Guru of the king Janaka and the sage Yājñavalkya.

Source: Ancient India: Hinduism

Ashtavakra was the son of a Brahmana named Kahoda and Sujata, the daughter of the sage Uddalaka. His father Kahoda had been a disciple of Uddalaka, and after completing his studies, had been assisting his father-in-law with teaching.

While still in the womb, the child had obtained mastery over the Vedas, thanks to the fact that his mother was in the habit of sitting near the place where her father and her husband used to teach. Unfortunately, Kahoda lacked the skill of Uddalaka and was in the habit of making numerous mistakes in recitation. Unable to bear them, the child started correcting them, even from the womb! Insulted before his disciples, Kahoda cursed the unborn child to be born with eight deformities.

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

One of the great sages Aṣṭāvakra, was the son of the sage Kahola. While yet in the womb, the baby-sage is said to have laughed at the wrong intonation of the Vedas by his father. His angry father cursed him to be born with a body crooked in eight places. Hence he was named as ‘Aṣṭāvakra.’ He was the author of the Astā-vakragītā.

The work Astāvakragitā, also known as Astāvakra Samhitā, contains 298 verses in the simple anuṣṭubh meter, spread over 20 chapters. Most of the chapters are very small. The 18th chapter alone, however, contains 100 verses. The book, which often gives the description of the ātman in hyperbolic terms stresses that it can be realized here and now. Disciplines like renouncing the desires for the pleasures of life, cultivating virtues like forgiveness, kindness and truth are advocated in this Samhitā. There is a beautiful description of the man of knowledge in the 17th chapter. Supreme detachment is a special characteristic of his. But it is difficult to recognize him since he often lives like an ordinary person. Only another man of knowledge can recognize him.

Source: Hindupedia: The Hindu Encyclopedia

1) Ashtavakra (अष्टावक्रः) is a sage mentioned in Hindu scriptures. He is described as one born with eight different deformities of the body (two feet, two knees, two hands, the chest and the head). In Sanskrit, Aṣṭāvakra means "one having eight bends". Ashta (Aṣṭa) means eight, while Vakra means bend or deformity. Aṣṭāvakra is the author of the work Aṣṭāvakra Gītā, also known as Aṣṭāvakra Saṃhitā, a treatise on the instruction by Aṣṭāvakra to Janaka about the Self. Aṣṭāvakra is the Guru of the king Janaka and the sage Yājñavalkya.

In the Vana Parva of the Mahābhārata, the legend of Aṣṭāvakra is described in greater detail. On losing the game of dice with the Kauravas, the five Pāṇḍava princes and Draupadi are exiled for twelve years. On their pilgrimage, they meet the sage Lomaśa, who shows the river Samanga to Yudhiṣṭhira. Lomaśa says that this is the same river, on bathing in which the deformed Aṣṭāvakra was cured of his eight deformities. On being asked by Yudhishthira, Lomaśa narrates to the Pāṇḍava princes the legend of Aṣṭāvakra, over three chapters of Vana Parva of the Mahābhārata.[3][4] Aṣṭāvakra's wisdom on various aspects of human existence is recited in the Mahābhārata.

Later Aṣṭāvakra grew into a spiritually advanced rishi and self-realised atman. He went again to Mithila and instructed King Janaka about the Self. These teachings form the content of the Aṣṭāvakra Gītā or Aṣṭāvakra Saṃhitā as it is sometimes called.

2) Aṣṭāvakra (Hindi: अष्टावक्र) (2010) is a Hindi epic poem (Mahakavya) composed by Jagadguru Rambhadracharya (1950–) in the year 2009. It consists of 864 verses in 8 cantos (sargas) of 108 verses each. The poem presents the narrative of the Ṛṣi Aṣṭāvakra which is found in the Hindu scriptures of the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Relevant definitions

Search found 12 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Ashtavakra Gita
Aṣṭāvakra Gīta or the Song of Aṣṭāvakra, also known as Aṣṭāvakra saṃhitā is an Advaita Vedān...
Aṣṭāvakrāsana (अष्टावक्रासन, “Aṣṭāvakra posture”) is a Sanskrit word referring t...
Rambhā (रम्भा) is the name of a mind-born ‘divine mother’ (mātṛ), created for th...
Lomaśa (लोमश).—The Sūta; performed tapas with success in the Muṇḍapṛṣṭa hill of Gayā; cal...
Uddālaka (उद्दालक).—A sage.** Vāyu-purāṇa 41. 44; 61. 25.
Sujātā (सुजाता) is the name of a beautiful damsel (kanyā), with black curly hair and red lip...
Tilottamā (तिलोत्तमा) is the name of an apsara cursed King Sahasrānīka after he ignored her ...
vandi : (aor. of vandati) saluted; paid homage; honoured; adored.
Shwetaketu was the son of sage Uddalaka, who was famed for his learning. According to the [M...
Kahoḍa (कहोड).—A madhyamādhvaryu.** Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 33. 16.
Sri Parnananda Tirtha
Sri Purnananda Tirtha has written many Advaitic works. Nothing is known about him except the...
Kagola (कगोल): A disciple of the great sage and teacher of Vedanta, Uddalaka. Although virtuous...

Relevant text

Search found 24 books containing Aṣṭāvakra or Ashtavakra. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the 20 most relevant articles:

- Was this explanation helpufll? Leave a comment:

Make this page a better place for research and define the term yourself in your own words.

You have to be a member in order to post comments. Click here to login or click here to become a member.