Abhisheka, Abhiseka, Abhiṣeka: 24 definitions

Introduction

Abhisheka means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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.

The Sanskrit term Abhiṣeka can be transliterated into English as Abhiseka or Abhisheka, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous (A) next»] — Abhisheka in Purana glossary
Source: archive.org: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक) refers to “performing ablution ” and represents one of the sixteen upacāra, or “sixteen types of homage and services”, as described while explaining the mode of worshipping the phallic form (liṅga) of Śiva in the Śivapurāṇa 1.11. Accordingly, “[...] the devotee shall install the phallic emblem (liṅga) and it will accord directly the region of Śiva. Or the devotee need perform the rites from water-offering to food offering alone duly. Or the devotee shall daily perform, as he can, ablution (abhiṣeka); food offering (naivedya); and obeisance (namaskāra) and propitiation (tarpaṇa),—all these in order. It will accord him the region of Śiva”.

Abhiṣeka (ablution) is also mentioned in the Śivapurāṇa 1.20, while explaining the mode of worshipping an earthen phallic image (pārthiva-liṅga) according to the Vedic rites:—“[...] the scholarly devotee shall offer sacrificial fee (Dakṣiṇā) with the three mantras beginning with ‘Hiraṇya-garbha’ etc. and shall perform ablution (Abhiṣeka) with the mantra ‘Devasya tvā’ etc.”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक).—The anointing ceremony: when Puru, the last son was recommended by Yayāti, the people said that it was dharma to anoint the eldest; defined the law that the faithful son alone was fit for the throne; Puru having fulfilled his father's wishes was to be regarded the faithful and dutiful; this was agreed to; further it was endorsed by Śukra.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 93. 76-87; 99. 451.
Source: valmikiramayan.net: Srimad Valmiki Ramayana

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक) refers to “ceremonial bath” (to be performed three times a day), according to the Rāmāyaṇa chapter 2.28. Accordingly:—“[...] soothening with kind words to Sītā, when eyes were blemished with tears, the virtuous Rāma spoke again as follows, for the purpose of waking her turn back: ‘[...] The celestials, the ancestors, the guests who arrive are to be worshiped always according to the prescribed rites. Bath (abhiṣeka) is to be performed three times a day at appropriate time by the one moving in the forest, with one’s mind kept in restraint. Hence, living in a forest is very much a misery’”.

Purana book cover
context information

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

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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक).—A bathing ceremony, particularly for the coronation of a king or the installation of the Lord's Deity form.

Vaishnavism book cover
context information

Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Ganapatya (worship of Ganesha)

[(A) next»] — Abhisheka in Ganapatya glossary
Source: Google Books: Ganapati: Song of the Self

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक) refers to “ritual bath”, representing one of the possible preliminary rites (upacāra) of a pūjā (deity worship).—Each act in a pūjā is not only physical and/or mental, but also symbolic, cosmic, and spiritual. Sprinkling, sipping, and bathing are symbolic of purification, of the worshipped as well as of the worshipper and the surroundings. Various offerings [viz., abhiṣeka] symbolize the surrendering of one’s latent tendencies (vāsanā) as expressed in thoughts, words, and deeds.

context information

Ganapatya (गाणपत्य, gāṇapatya) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Ganesha is revered and worshipped as the prime deity (ishta-devata). Being a minor though influential movement, Ganapatya evovled, llike Shaktism and Shaivism, as a separate movement leaving behind a large body of literature.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

[«previous (A) next»] — Abhisheka in Shaivism glossary
Source: Shodhganga: Temple management in the Āgamas

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक) refers to the “daily snapana ceremony”, to be performed during pūjā (ritualistic worship), according to the Arcanāvidhipaṭala of Kāmikāgama.—[After pādya, ācamana and arghya], the Ācārya then performs abhiṣeka or the daily snapana. The water in the snānakumbha is first worshipped with puṣpa and dhūpa. First, the Ācārya rubs new oil and fresh fragrant ghee onto the liṅga and pīṭha. He then offers dhūpa. Then he rubs a mixture of turmeric powder, rice powder and gram powder before performing abhiṣeka. One can also rub other fragrant unguents at this point, including gooseberries. One can also perform abhiṣeka with warm water fragranced with sandal paste. Then the Ācārya offers milk, curd, ghee, honey, sugar, tender coconut water, fruit juices, flowers, water mixed with precious stones and gold, sandal water, etc. as abhiṣeka. The Ācārya intermittently offers dhūpa and dīpa during the abhiṣeka. The Āgama cautions that the top of the liṅga should never be śūnya or without a puṣpa/ candana etc.

Pañcagavya-abhiṣeka may also be performed. The large bell must be sounded during the abhiṣeka. There must be upasnāna or washing with water after each round of abhiṣeka, followed by dhūpa.

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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General definition (in Hinduism)

[«previous (A) next»] — Abhisheka in Hinduism glossary
Source: Sanjay Rath: Maha Mrtyunjaya Mantra

The abhiṣeka ritual is a prayer for rain as the Sun draws the water from the oceans by its mighty rays and pours it down blessing the lands and rivers and bringing life on earth.

Source: ACHC: Smarta Puja

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक) refers to the “ceremonial bathing of an icon”, representing one of the various services (upacāra) of a pūjā (ritualistic worship of a deity) which aim at the purification of the devotee.—The icon is offered the abhiṣeka bath, for which several arrangements can be made. A small icon is shifted from its place to a shallow dish (Mar. tāmhan) over which the vessel (Mar. abhiṣeka-pātra) is fixed on a stand (cf. illustration); in case of large icons in temples the abhiṣeka-pātra is fixed (hanging over the icon) with a chain; abhiṣeka can also be given to a small icon as a substitute. Mūrtis made of clay or wood are not bathed.

Abhiṣeka occurs in the Brahmana texts as sprinkling of water at the consecration of a king. The anointing with special substances is a means to transfer the power of these substances to the icon. A similar concept underlies the dhara (pūjā) where water or a substance like ghee, honey is poured in a continuous stream. Abhiṣeka is in none of the original services which are commonly listed in the texts. This may indicate that it is a late addition, part of the extension of the bathing rites (snāna).

Source: Shodhganga: Temples and cult of Sri Rama in Tamilnadu (h)

Abhiseka refers to “sacred bath to the image” and represents one of the various daily ceremonies performed during puja (worship).—Offering of water and food or tirtham and prasadam to the deities on the different occasions or specified hours of the day is an important item in the daily pujas. [...] While for the daily routine, only ordinary plain rice was offered, special food preparations were offered often on festival days. [...] The daily routine includes a number of ceremonies [viz., Abhiseka] that are repeated.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

The name of a statue of the Buddha in the Abhayagiri vihara. King Dhatusena had a golden ornament made for it (Cv.xxxviii.67), and in the time of Kassapa I., a senapati, named Migira, built a house for it (Cv.xxxix.6). Migara also instituted a dedication festival for Abhiseka Buddha. Ibid., 40; see also Geigers trans, i.35, n.7; 36, n.2.

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous (A) next»] — Abhisheka in Mahayana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक) refers to the “crucial anointment” and represents one of the ten Bodhisattva grounds (bodhisattabhūmi), according to the Mahāvastu referring to a Daśabhūmikasūtra, as mentioned in the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter 52.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

[«previous (A) next»] — Abhisheka in Buddhism glossary
Source: Google Books: Buddhist Tantra: A Philosophical Reflection and Religious Investigation

According to Śrī Cakra-Sambhāra-Cakra there are six kinds of Abhiṣeka, i.e. Abhiṣeka with Udaka (water), Mukuṭa (crown), Vajra (indestructible), Ghaṇṭā (bell), Nāma (name) and Ācāraya (preceptor). These six Abhiṣekas are of the nature of six Tathāgathas.

  1. The initiation with Udaka (water) is the nature of ideal knowledge and it represents Akṣobhaya.
  2. The initiation with Mukuṭa (crown) represents the equalizing knowledge (Samatajñāna) and it represents Ratnasambhava.
  3. Initiation with Vajra refers to discriminative knowledge. It stands for Amitabha.
  4. The initiation with Ghaṇṭā connotes the performance of duties and it represents Amoghsiddhi.
  5. The initiation with Nāma represents the knowledge of pure Dharma Dhātu and it represents Vairocana.
  6. And the last kind of Kalasābhiṣeka by Ācāraya represents the pure knowledge (Vajrajñāna).

These Abhiṣekas are followed by the Guhyābhiṣeka, i.e. the initiation into the secret of Tāntric esotericism.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[«previous (A) next»] — Abhisheka in Jainism glossary
Source: HereNow4U: Glossary

Indian tradition relates the Abhiṣeka motif usually to the Hindu goddess Śrī Lakṣmī. In her appearance as Gajalakṣmī she is attended by a couple of water sprinkling elephants.

Jina Abhiṣeka: According to the Ācārāṅgasūtra (2.15.9) Mahāvīra was brought to Mount Meru by god Śakra (Indra) in the night after his birth. Śakra made himself fivefold to carry the child safely to the top of the mountain, where the 63 Indras came to bathe future Jina. Similar legends were told about Pārśvanātha and Ṛṣabhanātha. The Jina Abhiṣeka is a common subject of Jain miniature paintings and illustrates manuscripts of the Kalpasūtra and other texts.

General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geogprahy

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Abhiṣeka.—(EI 4), coronation; cf. abhiṣeka-kkāṇi, abhiṣeka- kkāṇikkai (SITI), Sanskrit-Tamil; presents offered to the king at the time of his coronation. Note: abhiṣeka 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 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

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous (A) next»] — Abhisheka in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

abhiseka : (m.) consecration; ablution; sprinkling.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Abhiseka, (fr. abhi + sic, cp. Sk. abhiṣeka) anointing, consecration, inauguration (as king) A.I, 107 (cp. abhisitta); II, 87 read abhisek’—anabhisitto; J.II, 104, 352; DhA.I, 350; PvA.74. Cp. ābhisekika. (Page 72)

Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

[«previous (A) next»] — Abhisheka in Marathi glossary
Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

abhiṣēka (अभिषेक).—m (S) abhiṣiñcana or abhiṣēcana n S Dropping drop by drop (holy water, milk &c.) over an idol, a king, an officiating priest, a sick person &c. by way of ceremonial ablution, royal inunction or inauguration, or solemn purification and preparation (whether by dropping over, or aspersion, or immersion &c.) Ex. paya dadhi āṇi dhṛta || madhu śarkarā guḍa saṃyukta || mūrtti nhāṇōni pañcāmṛtēṃ || a0 karitī maga tēvhāṃ || 2 Sprinkling.

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

abhiṣēka (अभिषेक).—m-ṣiñcana-ṣēcana n Dropping drop by drop (holy water &c.) over an idol, a king, &c., by way of ceremonial ablu- tion, royal inauguration, etc. Sprinkl- ing, watering. Coronation, installa- tion (of kings).

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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

[«previous (A) next»] — Abhisheka in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक).—

1) Sprinkling, watering, wetting.

2) Anointing, inaugurating or consecrating by sprinkling water (a king, idol &c.). ततो हि नः प्रियतरं नान्यत्किंचिद्भविष्यति । यथाभिषेको रामस्य (tato hi naḥ priyataraṃ nānyatkiṃcidbhaviṣyati | yathābhiṣeko rāmasya) Rām.2.17.11; अग्निहोत्राभिषेकौ (agnihotrābhiṣekau) Kau. A. 1.3.

3) (Particularly) Coronation, inauguration, installation (of kings); royal unction; अथाभिषेकं रघुवंशकेतोः (athābhiṣekaṃ raghuvaṃśaketoḥ) R.14.7.

4) The (holy) water required at inauguration, coronation water; अमात्यपरिषदं ब्रूहि संभ्रियतामायुषो राज्याभिषेक इति (amātyapariṣadaṃ brūhi saṃbhriyatāmāyuṣo rājyābhiṣeka iti) V.5; यौवराज्य ° (yauvarājya °) ibid.; R.17.14.

5) Bathing; ablution, holy or religious bathing; अभिषेकोत्तीर्णाय काश्यपाय (abhiṣekottīrṇāya kāśyapāya) Ś.4; अत्राभिषेकाय तपोधनानाम् (atrābhiṣekāya tapodhanānām) R.13.51, 1.85, 1.63,13.58,14.82; K.22,36,96; Ku.5.16;7.11; Ś.7.12; H.4.87.

6) Bathing or sprinkling with water (of a divinity to whom worship is offered).

Derivable forms: abhiṣekaḥ (अभिषेकः).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक).—name of the tenth (bodhisattva-) bhūmi in one list (not the ordinary one, see bhūmi 4; see also next): Mahāvastu i.76.18 daśamī tv abhiṣekāto; 124.20 °ka-bhūmi- prāptānāṃ; Gaṇḍavyūha 472.25 °ka-bhūmi-sthita, said of Maitreya; Gaṇḍavyūha 514.7 ekajāti-pratibaddhānām abhiṣekaprāptānāṃ.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक).—m.

(-kaḥ) Bathing, sprinkling. E. abhi before sic to sprinkle, and ghañ affix; the word is often used for initiation, royal unction, &c. sprinkling with the water of the Ganges, or water in which various articles have been immersed, being an essential part of the rites; also for a religious ceremony, including the presentation of a variety of articles, fruits, gems, &c. along with water or fluid substances for the bathing of the deity to whom worship is offered.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक).—i. e. abhi-sic + a, m. 1. Sprinkling with water, inauguration of a king, [Pañcatantra] iii. [distich] 267. 2. The water used for an inauguration. 3. Ablution, [Śākuntala, (ed. Böhtlingk.)] 50, 16.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक).—[masculine] sprinkling over, bathing, religious, ablation, consecration, inauguration; the consecrated water itself.

--- OR ---

Ābhiṣeka (आभिषेक).—([feminine] ī) relating to the inauguration of a king.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Abhiṣeka (अभिषेक):—[=abhi-ṣeka] [from abhi-ṣic] m. anointing, inaugurating or consecrating (by sprinkling water), inauguration of a king, royal unction

2) [v.s. ...] the water or liquid used at an inauguration, [Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa] etc.

3) [v.s. ...] religious bathing, ablution, [Mahābhārata] etc.

4) [v.s. ...] bathing of the divinity to whom worship is offered, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.] (cf. mahābhiṣeka and mūrdhābhiṣeka.)

5) Ābhiṣeka (आभिषेक):—mfn. ([from] abhi-ṣeka), relating to the inauguration of a king

6) serving for it, [Varāha-mihira’s Yogayātrā]

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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