Aghora; 13 Definition(s)


Aghora means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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.

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

1) Aghora (अघोर):—One of the five aspects of Śiva, known collectively as the Pañchabrahmās. They are emanations from the niṣkala-Śiva. According to the Rūpamaṇḍana, the face of Aghora should be of terrific look, set with three yellow coloured eyes and the mouth having side tusks; on the head there should be a garland of human skulls and a snak, and snake ornaments everywhere; two snakes serving as the ear-rings, two others as keyūras, one as hāra, one as yajñopavīta, one as kaṭisūtra (the waist-zone), the snakes Takṣa and Puṣṭika as anklets, and so on; there should also be a garland composed of scorpions (vṛśchika). The colour of the body of Aghora should be blue like the nīlotpala, and that of the jaṭās, yellow, and these should be adorned with the crescent moon.

The general look of this aspect of Śiva should resemble that of Kāla (the god of death) and appear as though terrifying a host of enemies. The left hands should bear in them the khaṭvāṅga, the kapāla, the kheṭaka and the pāśa while the right ones, the triśūla, the paraśu, the khaḍga and the daṇḍa

The Śrītatvanidhi gives somewhat different description. For Aghora should have, according to this work, four; each of these faces should have three eyes; the colour of Aghora should be blue. This face ought to point to the southern direction. There should be the paraśu, veda (a book?), aṅkuśa, pāśa, śūla, kapāla, ḍhakka and akṣamālā in the hands of Aghora.

2) Aghora (अघोर):—Second of the twelve emanations of Rudra, according to the Rūpamaṇḍana.

Source: Wisdom Library: Elements of Hindu Iconograpy
Shilpashastra book cover
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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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Aghora: अघोर “Nonterrifying.” An aspect of Śiva which, like Rudra, personifies of His power of dissolution or reabsorption. Ghora means “terrific, frightful, terrible, etc.” See: Sadāśiva.

Source: Himalayan Academy: Dancing with Siva

Aghora (अघोर).—The southern face of Sadāśiva is called Aghora literally "not terrific"; but it expresses the terrific aspect of destruction of ignorance. Aghora is associated with Vidyākalā. It is Kartṛsādākhya. He destroys the ignorance.

Source: Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (śaivism)

1) Aghora (अघोर) refers to one of the five faces of Sadāśiva that revealed the Āgamas (sacred texts).—According to the sṛṣṭikrama method mentioned in the Uttarakāmikāgama, “Vijayāgama, Niśvāsāgama, Svāyambhuvāgama, Anala and Vīrāgama are from the face called Aghora”. According to the saṃhārakrama mentioned in the Pūrvakāraṇāgama, “Vijayāgama, Niśvāsāgama, Svāyambhuvāgama, Anala and Vīrāgama are from the face called Aghora”.

According to the Ajitāgama, “Svāyambhuva, Vīra, Raurava, Makuṭa and Kiraṇa are emanated from the Aghora face”. According to the Rauravāgama, “Raurava, Makuṭa, Vimala and Candrajñāna are from the Aghora face of Sadāśiva”.

2) Aghora (विमल) or Aghorāgama refers to one of upāgamas (supplementary scriptures) of the Vijayāgama which is one of the twenty-eight Siddhāntāgama: a classification of the Śaiva division of Śaivāgamas. The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu. The purpose of revealing upāgamas (eg., Aghora Āgama) is to explain more elaborately than that of mūlāgamas (eg., Vijaya-āgama) and to include any new idea if not dealt in mūlāgamas.

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva
Shaivism book cover
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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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Aghora in Purana glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

Aghora (अघोर).—The form of Maheśvara in the 32nd kalpa, all black.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 23. 29, 76.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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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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General definition (in Hinduism)

Aghora is mentioned in the Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam as a "Divine Great weapon":

“At their request, I called in my mind the Divine Great weapon, named Aghora, beautiful and terrible and containing the strength of all the Devas, to kill him. It was inconceivable and it was blazing with fire.”


“For full divine one thousand years I remained awake with eyelids wide open in thinking of the Aghora weapon, the destroyer of all obstacles, whereby the killing of Tripurāsura might be effected and the troubles of the Devas be removed. ”

S.D.B., Book 11, Chapter 4

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

The male deity or epithet aghora plays an importa nt role already in pre-tantric Śaivism. The vedic Aghora-mantra, which evokes three forms of Rudra, is one of the five mantras of the Pāśupatas. The Śaiva Siddhānta adopts these five mantras (commonly known as the five Brahma-mantras), and, at a later date, associates them with five heads of Śiva. The Aghora mantra thus becomes identified with the frightening Southern face and Bhairava.

The Aghora-mantra itself mentions three for ms of the god:

  1. the undreadful or benign (aghora),
  2. the dreadful (ghora)
  3. and the more dreadful than the dreadful (ghoraghoratara) .
Source: HAL: The (un)dreadful goddess

Aghora is associated with the southern direction and jῆāna Shaktī--the power of knowledge; as well as the Buddhi rūpa meaning the form of the intellect. This face is associated with the Pranamaya Kosha, and represents the rejuvenating and dissolving qualities of Shiva as well as being connected with the water element and Svadishthana chakra.

Source: Universal Yoga: The Five Faces of Shiva

1) Aghora: Represents Jñāna Śaktī(Infinite Knowledge). It is function of Prakṛti (nature, consort of Shiva) and Parā Śaktī. This face of Śiva is Buddhi rūpa (Intellect). Represents Pūrṇagiri Pīṭha. Banaliṅgam. One billion (100,00,000) mantras are trying to describe this face of Śiva. Smoke(Dhumra varṇa) in color. It represents our balanced aspect of Ahaṃkāra Tattva (our ego nature). Mixture of Prāmaṇa and Prameya. It represents the forces of Rudra.

2) (third face of Shiva) - Aghora -Dissolution/Rejuvenation. South. Fire. Agni

According to Śaiva Agama, Lord Shiva performs five actions - creation, preservation, dissolution, concealing grace, and revealing grace. Each of the five actions corresponds to a name and form of Shiva with varying attributes.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

A euphemistic epithet of Śiva, applied to him in his awe-inspiring or terrible mode, whether mythologically or iconographically (Aghora-mūrti). Sometimes referred to as Aghora-Bhairava. Iconographically, the term is also applied to Śiva's southern face, representing universal Law (dharma).

Source: Oxford Reference: A Dictionary of Hinduism

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

aghōra (अघोर).—a (a & ghōra) Careless, unapprehensive, unanxious, unsolicitous.

--- OR ---

aghōra (अघोर).—a (S) Formidable, terrible, dreadful, frightful, monstrous, shocking;--applied freely to objects, places, actions. Ex. a0 araṇya A frightful wilderness; a0 karma A dreadful deed; a0 daṇḍa Awful punishment; a0 nidrā Profound sleep; a0 pātaka Monstrous sin; a0 duḥkha, a0 yātanā, a0 bhōjana, a0 śrama &c.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

aghōra (अघोर).—a Terrible, formidable-applied freely to objects, places, actions aghōrī a Vile Horrible Loathsome.

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

Aghora (अघोर).—a. Not terrific or fearful.

-raḥ [nāsti ghoro yasmāt]

1) Name of Śiva or of one of his forms, (īśānāghoranā- mānau vāmadevastataḥ param | sadyojāta iti proktaḥ kramaśo'rcanakarmaṇi ||)

2) A worshipper of Śiva and Durgā.

-rā [aghoraḥ śivaḥ upāsyatvena asyāṃ sā, aghora-ac] The fourteenth day of the dark half of Bhādra sacred to Śiva (bhādramāsyasite pakṣe hyaghorākhyā caturdaśī | tasyāmārādhitaḥ sthāṇurnayocchivapuraṃ dhruvam ||).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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Relevant definitions

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Rudra (रुद्र) or Rudrasaṃhitā refers to one of the seven books (saṃhitās) of the Śiva-purāṇa, a...
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