Ahamkara, Ahaṅkāra, Ahaṃkāra, Ahankara, Aham-kara: 30 definitions


Ahamkara means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi, Jainism, Prakrit, Hindi. 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Ahankar.

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In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: bhagavadgitausa.com: Kashmir Saivism

Ahamkara: Buddhi generates Ahamkara (the I-doer) or ego, which has the sense of possessiveness. Ahamkara determines whether an object is his or not. Its dominant quality is Rajas.

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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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism

Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार, “ego”):—In Hindu iconology, Kālī (‘goddess of time’) holds a
severed head in one of her hands. The head represents the ego (the notion of individuality). The severed head reminds all living beings that there is no escape from time (which is represented as Kālī).

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

1) Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) refers to “pride”, according to the second recension of the Yogakhaṇḍa of the Manthānabhairavatantra, a vast sprawling work that belongs to a corpus of Tantric texts concerned with the worship of the goddess Kubjikā.—Accordingly, as the God (i.e., Bhairava) said to the Goddess (i.e., Khageśī), “[...] I will give up all that is forbidden in the Kaula (teachings), especially what is excluded from the teaching and I will practice in tranquillity (nirvāṇa). My greed, passion, and delusion have been destroyed today in every way. The triple world is pervaded by pride (ahaṃkāra) and ego (mamakāra). I will give up deceit and especially lust and anger. Tradition and virtue (vinaya)—this Kaula (teaching) has emerged today. I will observe all that. O Kaulinī, be gracious!”.

2) Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) refers to “one’s ego”, according to the Manthānabhairavatantra.—Accordingly, “(A true practitioner) is a hero (vīra) who exerts himself and is courageous. [...] He is always content and is loved by the Yoginīs. He is free of attachment, aversion and ego [i.e., ahaṃkāra-vivarjita]. He is loved by his (spiritual) clan (svagotra). He is wise and he observes the Rules. He is the joy of those who are devoted to him and always does what he promises to do. He who has these characteristics is an accomplished soul (siddha) (already) in his previous life. Otherwise he is not a Siddha and his tradition is not Kaula”.

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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Yoga (school of philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Ahamkara in Yoga glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Yoga

Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) is a Sanskrit word referring to the “individuality, ego”. It is one of the fourteen Adhyātma (pertaining to the body) mentioned in the Subālopaniṣad (fifth section). The corresponding Ādhibhūta (pertaining to the elements) is called ahaṃkartavya (that which is done by the self) and the corresponding Adhidaivata (presiding deity) is rudra. Accordingly, “the nādis form their bond (or connect them). He who moves in the ego (ahaṃkāra), in ahaṃkartavya, in rudra, in the nādis, in prāṇa, in vijñāna, in ānanda, in the ākāśa of the heart and within all else—That is Ātman. It is that which should be worshipped. It is without old age, death, fear, sorrow or end.”

Source: ORA: Amanaska (king of all yogas): A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation by Jason Birch

Ahaṅkāra (अहङ्कार) refers to the “ego”, according to the the Amanaska Yoga treatise dealing with meditation, absorption, yogic powers and liberation.—Accordingly, as Īśvara says to Vāmadeva: “Thought, intellect and ego are the officiants; mind is the Soma-drinking sacrificer, and it sacrifices the senses and ten vital breaths into the orb of light. [This] orb of light shines from the root [of the palate] to the aperture [at the top of the head]. It is to be meditated on constantly by yogins [because] it bestows the eight supernatural powers such as minimisation”.

Yoga book cover
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Yoga is originally considered a branch of Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Ahamkara in Purana glossary
Source: archive.org: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) refers to the “cosmic ego”, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.1.6, while explaining and enumerating the principles (tattvas):—“from Prakṛti came into being the Mahat (cosmic Intellect), from Mahat the three Guṇas. Ahaṃkāra (the cosmic ego) arose therefrom in three forms according to the three Guṇas”.

Note: The Ego (Ahaṃkāra) is threefold according to the qualities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. In the present enumeration it is counted as one.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Ahaṅkāra (अहङ्कार).—One of the tatvas; description of.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 103. 38; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 2, 36-46.
Source: Shodhganga: The saurapurana - a critical study

Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) is three-fold (viz., vaikārika, taijasa and bhūtādi/tāmasa), originating from mahat, according to the 10th century Saurapurāṇa: one of the various Upapurāṇas depicting Śaivism.—[...] The pradhāna covers the mahat just as a seed is covered by the skin. Being so covered there spring from the three fold mahat the threefold ahaṃkāra called vaikārika, taijasa and bhūtādi or tāmasa.

Mahat, Ahaṃkāra and the five Tanmātras are in themselves unable to produce the orderly universe which is effected through the superintendence of the Puruṣa (puruṣā dhiṣṭhitatvācca) and by the help of Avyakta (avyaktānugraheṇa). As the universe grows up, they form into an egg which gradually expands from within like a water-bubble, and this is called the materialistic body of the Lord.

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: Pure Bhakti: Brhad Bhagavatamrtam

Ahaṅkāra (अहङ्कार) refers to:—False ego. (cf. Glossary page from Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta).

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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Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: gurumukhi.ru: Ayurveda glossary of terms

Ahaṅkāra (अहङ्कार):—[ahaṅkāraḥ] The material principle of egoity or existance having three inherent properties of sattva, raja and tama; one of the principles of the evolution as per classical indian philosophy

Ayurveda book cover
context information

Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Ahamkara (अहंकार): A Sanskrit term that refers to the ego of one's self, the identification of one's own ego.

Source: Hindupedia: The Hindu Encyclopedia

Ahaṅkāra literally means ‘egoism’. Ahaṅkāra is that which produces abhimāna, the sense of I and ‘mine.’ According to Sāṅkhyan metaphysics, a large part of which is accepted by Vedānta, ahaṅkāra is the principle of individuation that arises after mahat or buddhi in the process of evolution from prakṛti (nature). It is regarded as a substance since it is the material cause of other substances like the mind or the sense-organs. Through its action the different puruṣas (individual selves) become endowed each with a separate mental background. These puruṣas identify themselves with the acts of prakṛti through ahaṅkāra.

At the individual level it makes the puruṣa feel that he receives the sensations through the senses and the mind, and decides about appropriate action, through the intellect. At the cosmic level, the five senses of cognition (jñānendriyas), the five organs of action (karmendriyas), the mind (manas) and the five subtle elements like the earth (tanmātras) are produced out of ahaṅkāra.

In some works of Vedānta, ahaṅkāra is considered as a function of antahkaraṇa (internal instrument or mind), responsible for ego-sense and possessiveness.

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: archive.org: The Indian Buddhist Iconography

Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) refers to the “identity” of the Bodhi mind (bodhicitta), according to Vajrayāna or Tantric Buddhism.—In the realisation of the deity, there are thus three elements, the worshipper, the deity and their connection or identity. These are named in the Tantric works as the Bodhicitta, the Mantrapuruṣa (Mantra body) and the Ahaṃkāra (identity). The worshipper is called the Bodhisattva (Bodhi essence), and, his mind is known as the Bodhicitta (Will to Enlightenment). [...]

Ahaṃkāra  refers to the identity of the relation between the caller and the calling deity.—When the Mantra becomes powerful the vibrations let loose by the Bodhi-mind (boddhicitta) react on the universal Śūnya which explodes in consequence in the divine form of the deity and appears before his mind sky. According as the calling signal is different in different cases the deity becomes different, and thus its number increases. [...] The relation between the caller and the calling deity is one of identification. It is called Ahaṃkāra or the identity of the Bodhi mind (bodhicitta) with the deity, the manifestation of Śūnya or the ultimate reality, The identity is established with the Mantra “I am the goddess and the goddess is in me”. The worshipper should conceive himself as the deity with the same complexion, form and limbs as described in the Sādhana and should, instead of worshipping any external object, worship himself.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: academia.edu: A Study and Translation of the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā

Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) refers to the “conception of self”, according to the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā: the eighth chapter of the Mahāsaṃnipāta (a collection of Mahāyāna Buddhist Sūtras).—Accordingly, “[Tolerance (kṣānti), examples]—As for patience, when thinking ‘I have patience with those abusing me’, is concerned with the conception of mine, but it is not the patience similar to open space; when thinking ‘these abuses are to be endured by me’, this is the conception of self (ahaṃkāra), but it is not the patience like open space; when thinking ‘I am not quarrelsome,’ this is the patience of sound and voice, but it is not the patience like open space; [...]”.

Source: De Gruyter: A Buddhist Ritual Manual on Agriculture

Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) refers to “(self-) conceit”, according to the Vajratuṇḍasamayakalparāja, an ancient Buddhist ritual manual on agriculture from the 5th-century (or earlier), containing various instructions for the Sangha to provide agriculture-related services to laypeople including rain-making, weather control and crop protection.—Accordingly, “Now there lived a Brahmin called Viṣṇudatta in Navanagara. [...] In the crop-growing season he experienced a lack of water. With words of self-conceit (ahaṃkāra-śabda), [possessing] approval [to use] mantrapadas he said, ‘I am going to send forth rain showers and summon Nāgas’. He sacrificed the prescribed fire oblation with sesame seed, rice grain and mustard seed anointed with pungent oil. He prepared an image-form of a certain harmful Nāga. [...]”.

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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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Ahamkara in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

ahaṃkāra : (m.) egotism; arrogance.

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

Ahaṃkāra refers to: selfishness, egotism, arrogance (see also mamaṃkāra) M.III, 18, 32; S.II, 253; III, 80, 136, 169 sq.; IV, 41, 197, 202; A.I, 132 sq.; III, 444; Ud.70; Nett 127, and frequent passim. (Page 91)

Note: ahaṃkāra is a Pali compound consisting of the words ahaṃ and kāra.

Pali book cover
context information

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

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

ahaṅkāra (अहंकार).—m (S) Pride, haughtiness, conceit. 2 Conscious feeling or regard; apprehension of self as an existence distinct from the Deity or from the World without; assertion or assurance of personality.

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

ahaṅkāra (अहंकार).—m Pride; conscious feeling; conceit; assertion of personality.

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 dictionary

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

Ahaṅkāra (अहङ्कार).—m.

(-raḥ) 1. Pride. 2. Individuality, sense of self. 3. One of the elements of creation, consciousness, individualization. E. aham 1, and kāra what makes; thinking highly of one’s self.

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

Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार).—i. e. aham-kāra, m. 1. Conceiving objects with the notion that they refer to one’s own self, egotism, [Vedāntasāra, (in my Chrestomathy.)] in Chr. 207, 3. 2. Pride, [Rāmāyaṇa] 4, 6, 22. 3. Self-conceit, [Daśakumāracarita] in Chr. 192, 4; arrogance, [Rājataraṅgiṇī] 5, 234.

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

Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार).—[masculine] sense of self, egoism, pride, arrogance; poss. rin.

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

1) Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार):—[=ahaṃ-kāra] [from ahaṃ > aham] m. conception of one’s individuality, self-consciousness, [Chāndogya-upaniṣad] etc.

2) [v.s. ...] the making of self, thinking of self, egotism, [Mahābhārata] etc.

3) [v.s. ...] pride, haughtiness, [Rāmāyaṇa] etc.

4) [v.s. ...] (in Sāṅkhya [philosophy]) the third of the eight producers or sources of creation, viz. the conceit or conception of individuality, individualization

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

Ahaṅkāra (अहङ्कार):—[aha-ṅkāra] (raḥ) 1. m. Pride.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Ahaṃkāra.

[Sanskrit to German]

Ahamkara in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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Hindi dictionary

[«previous next»] — Ahamkara in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) [Also spelled ahankar]:—(nm) vanity; egotism; vainglory; ~[] egotist, vainglorious.

context information


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Prakrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary

Ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) in the Prakrit language is related to the Sanskrit word: Ahaṃkāra.

context information

Prakrit is an ancient language closely associated with both Pali and Sanskrit. Jain literature is often composed in this language or sub-dialects, such as the Agamas and their commentaries which are written in Ardhamagadhi and Maharashtri Prakrit. The earliest extant texts can be dated to as early as the 4th century BCE although core portions might be older.

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Ahaṃkāra (ಅಹಂಕಾರ):—

1) [noun] the quality or tendency of showing great pride in oneself and disdain, contempt or scorn for others; haughtiness; disdainful pride.

2) [noun] (phil.) the third of the eight producers or elements of creation, i.e. the conceit or conception of individuality, one of the 25 elements.

3) [noun] the sense of the self.

4) [noun] ಅಹಂಕಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಉದಾಸೀನವೇ ಮದ್ದು [ahamkarakke udasinave maddu] ahaŋkārakke udāsīnavē maddu (prov.) ignore the arrogant; for mad words, deaf ears; away goes the devil when doors shut against him.

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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