Abhayahasta, Abhaya-hasta: 9 definitions


Abhayahasta means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

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In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Google Books: Elements of Hindu iconography

Abhayahasta (अभयहस्त) means the protection-affording hand-pose. Here the palm of the hand, with the fingers pointing upwards, is exposed as if engaged in enquiring about the welfare of the visitor in the Hindu fashion.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)

Abhayahasta (अभयहस्त) or simply Abhaya refers to “fear not” and represents one of the twenty-four gestures with a single hand, as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—Accordingly, pratimā-lakṣaṇa (body postures of the icons) is comprised of hand gestures (hasta, mudrā or kai-amaiti), stances/poses (āsanas) and inflexions of the body (bhaṅgas). There are thirty-two types of hands [viz., abhayahasta] classified into two major groups known as tolirkai (functional and expressive gestures) and elirkai (graceful posture of the hand).

(Description of Abhaya-hasta): In this position, the four fingers from index to little finger are held vertically above the plane of the hand while the thumb is bent close to the index finger.

Source: Shodhganga: Vaisnava Agamas And Visnu Images

Abhayahasta (अभयहस्त) refers to the “hand-gesture of fearlessness”, and represents one of the various hand-poses (hastas or mudrās) defined in treatises such as the Pāñcarātra, Pādmasaṃhitā and Vaikhānasa-āgamas, extensively dealing with the technical features of temple art, iconography and architecture in Vaishnavism.—Abhayahasta conveys fearlessness and benign concept. This symbolizes the assurance of fearlessness, tranquillity and protection given by the deity to his worshipper. This hand pose is very common in the icons of Indian deities. The right hand, displayed palm outward with the fingers raised, remains turned towards the onlooker. Tills is mainly on the lower right hand. Abhayahasta is also referred to as Patākahasta.

The Pādmasaṃhitā (Kriyāpāda 20.77-78) states that the tip of the middle finger must be to the level of stanasūtra with the distance of 12 aṅgulas from the breast-nut (stanacūcuka). A lotus-stem should be present between the aṅguṣṭha and tarjanī. According to Pāñcarātra concept the śaṅkha and cakra are held in upper hands, the gadā is held in the lower left band and another important attribute padma is to be held in the lower right hand. Obviously this Saṃhitā specifies both abhaya and lotus together to accommodate both the concepts. i.e., abhaya-mudrā for fearlessnes and padma for which is mandatory in Pāñcarātra concept. Insertion of the lotus-stem in the abhaya-hasta without disturbing the position of abhaya-hasta portrays the kill of the sculptor besides expressing aesthetic beauty and benign (saumya) nature of the deity.

According to Vimānārcanākalpa (22, p. 160) of Marīci, in the abhaya-hasta, the tip of the middle finger must be at the level of breast nut of the icon at the distance of thirteen aṅgulas. Sārasvatīyacitrakarmaśāstra (14.31a), an authentic Śilpa treatise, also speaks of the same distance. Moreover, this text prescribes: “The middle line (madhya-rekhā) of the palm must be at the distance from madhya-sūtra by thirteen to seventeen aṅgulas. The middle of elbow must be at the distance of 16 to 18 aṅgulas from the madhya-sūtra. The elbow must be at 5½ or 6 aṅgulas from the side of body at śroṇī level”.

Shilpashastra book cover
context information

Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Abhayahasta in Shaktism glossary
Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Abhayahasta (अभयहस्त) refers to the “gestures of fearlessness”, according to the Manthānabhairavatantra, a vast sprawling work that belongs to a corpus of Tantric texts concerned with the worship of the goddess Kubjikā.—Accordingly, “(Kāmahā) the Maṅgalā from Kāmarūpa has four faces and is very powerful. She has two arms and sits on a ghost. She makes gestures of fearlessness [i.e., abhayahasta] and boon bestowal; she is well adorned with all the ornaments and has a large, pleasing and auspicious face”.

Shaktism book cover
context information

Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Abhayahasta in Shaivism glossary
Source: SOAS University of London: Protective Rites in the Netra Tantra

Abhayahasta (अभयहस्त) refers to “one showing the protective mudrā” and is used to describe Tumburu, according to the Netratantra of Kṣemarāja: a Śaiva text from the 9th century in which Śiva (Bhairava) teaches Pārvatī topics such as metaphysics, cosmology, and soteriology.—Accordingly, [verse 11.1-24ab, while describing the appearance and worship of Tumburu]—“[...] [He worships] Deva as Tumburu in the middle of an eight petaled lotus, in the maṇḍala, [starting] in the East, O Devī. [...] Adorning Deva is a white flower and a spade. [He] holds an elephant hook and noose. Deva [has] a thread with a cakra at the access, hand [held in the] wish-granting and protective [mudrās] (abhayahastavaradābhayahastaṃ). [...]”.

Shaivism book cover
context information

Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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India history and geography

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Abhaya-hasta.—(SII 2), pose of hand known as abhaya-mudrā (q. v.). Note: abhaya-hasta is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Abhayahasta in Marathi glossary
Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

abhayahasta (अभयहस्त).—m (S) The hand stretched forth (as of an idol or a Raja), in re-assurance or in token of favor; the holding out of the golden sceptre.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

abhayahasta (अभयहस्त).—m The hand stretched forth in reassurance.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Kannada-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Abhayahasta in Kannada glossary
Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Abhayahasta (ಅಭಯಹಸ್ತ):—

1) [noun] a particular mode of holding one’s hand (as a deity) that assures favour, boon, grace, safety, etc.

2) [noun] a palm cover made of gold or silver, for the deity’s hand which is indicating safety.

3) [noun] (fig.) an assurance against any impending danger.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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