Ahamkara, Aham-kara, Ahaṃkāra, Ahaṅkāra, Ahankara: 13 definitions

Introduction

Ahamkara means something in Buddhism, Pali, 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

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).

Shaktism book cover
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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)

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
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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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Yoga (school of philosophy)

[«previous (A) 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.”

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 (A) 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.
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)

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
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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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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous (A) 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
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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

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-English 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.

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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