Akshara, aka: Akṣarā, Akṣara, Akṣāra, Ākṣāra; 14 Definition(s)


Akshara means something in 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 terms Akṣarā and Akṣara and Akṣāra and Ākṣāra can be transliterated into English as Aksara or Akshara, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)

Akṣarā (अक्षरा):—One of the sixty-four Divyauṣadhi, which are powerful drugs for solidifying mercury (rasa), according to Rasaprakāśa-sudhākara (chapter 9).

Source: Wisdom Library: Rasa-śāstra
Rasashastra book cover
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Rasashastra (रसशास्त्र, rasaśāstra) is an important branch of Ayurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasashastra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.

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

1a) Akṣara (अक्षर).—Father of Suyajña.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 70. 23.

1b) An epithet of Hari—(ety.)1 is Brahma.2

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 248. 39.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 32. 1.

1c) Rises out of the neck of Brahmā in the contemplation of creation.1 A system of letters formed by Brahmā.2

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 26. 14.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 6. 43-44.

1d) A term for mahān.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 102. 21.
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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Akṣara (अक्षर) refers to a “stroke” in musical notes, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra.

2) Akṣara (अक्षर) refers to “sixteen syllabic sounds” and represents one of the rules one of playing drums (puṣkara) [with reference to Mṛdaṅga, Paṇava and Dardura] according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 33. Accordingly, “K, kh, g, gh, , ṭh, , [], t, th, d, dh, [m], r, l, and h are the sixteen syllabic sounds. These are the always to be used in the vāṣkaraṇa of the puṣkara music”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Akṣara (अक्षर, “syllable”).—A verse in Sanskrit is of four feet or quarters or pādas. Each pāda is regulated either by a number of syllables (akṣaras) or by a number of syllabic instant or measures (mātrās). The metres regulated by akṣaras are called vṛttas and those regulated by mātrās are called jātis. A vṛtta is divided into three classes viz. samavṛtta, ardhasamavṛtta, and viṣamavṛtta. Again, yati or pause or caesura is a part of a verse, at which the reader is required to stop his breath and then proceed on.

Source: Shodhganga: Mankhaka a sanskrit literary genius (natya)
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Akṣara (अक्षर).—A letter of the alphabet, such as a (अ) or i (इ) or h (ह) or y (य् (y)) or the like. The word was originally applied in the Prātiśākhya works to vowels (long, short as also protracted), to consonants and the ayogavāha letters which were tied down to them as their appendages. Hence अक्षर (akṣara) came later on to mean a syllable i. e. a vowel with a consonant or consonants preceding or following it, or without any consonant at all. cf. ओजा ह्रस्वाः सप्तमान्ताः स्वराणामन्ये दीर्घा उभये अक्षराणि (ojā hrasvāḥ saptamāntāḥ svarāṇāmanye dīrghā ubhaye akṣarāṇi) R Pr. I 17-19 cf.एकाक्षरा, द्व्यक्षरा (ekākṣarā, dvyakṣarā) etc. The term akṣara was also applied to any letter (वर्ण (varṇa)), be it a vowel or a consonant, cf, the terms एकाक्षर, सन्ध्यक्षर, समानाक्षर (ekākṣara, sandhyakṣara, samānākṣara) used by Patañjali as also by the earlier writers. For the etymology of the term see Mahābhāṣya अक्षरं न क्षरं विद्यात्, अश्नोतेर्वा सरोक्षरम् । वर्णे वाहुः पूर्वसूत्रे । (akṣaraṃ na kṣaraṃ vidyāt, aśnotervā sarokṣaram | varṇe vāhuḥ pūrvasūtre |) M. Bh. Āhnika 2 end.

Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
context information

Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Akshara in Chandas glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

Akṣara (अक्षर) is one of the general characteristics of the Vedic Metres (chandas).—The Vedic Metres are calculated by syllables (akṣaras). Each pāda is made of a specific number of syllables. A syllable is a vowel or a vowel with consonant or with anusvāra. A pāda may consist of different numbers of syllables viz. five, six, seven, eight, ten, eleven, or twenty syllables. According to this principle, a word is not found to be split.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

One of the 108 names of Krishna; Meaning: "Indestructible Lord"

Source: humindian: 108 names of Lord Krishna

Traditionally syllables (not letters) in Sanskrit are called Akshara, meaning "imperishable (entity)": "atoms" of speech, as it were. These aksharas are classified mainly into two types:

  1. Svara (pratyahara aC) : Vowel
  2. Vyanjana (pratyahara haL) : Consonant

Svara akshara: are also known as prana akshara; i.e., they are main sounds in speech, without which speech is not possible. Pāṇini referred to svara as ac pratyahara. Later they became known as ac Akshara.

Vyanjana akshara: means embellishment, i.e., consonants are used as embellishment in order to yield sonorant vowels. They are also known as Prani akshara; that is, they are like a body to which life (svara) is added. Pāṇini's name for vyanjana was Hal Pratyahara, which were later referred to as Hal akshara.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Akṣara (अक्षर) - a syllable , a sound. This word also means imperishable .

Source: Hindu Dharma Forums: Mantra /Sanskrit Question

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Akshara in Jainism glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

The individual akṣaras are said the have the following symbolic meaning:

mi—miu-maddava ‘gentleness’
chā—dosāṇaṃ chāyaṇa ‘the veiling of faults’
mi, me—a-merāe thiya ‘abiding in the limitless’
du—dugañchāmi appāṇaṃ ‘I loath myself’
ka—kaḍaṃ me pāvaṃ ‘I have committed sin’
ḍa—ḍevemi taṃ uvasameṇaṃ ‘I go beyond it through attaining to calm’

Source: Google Books: Jaina Yoga: A Survey of the Mediaeval Śrāvakācāras

Akṣara (अक्षर) refers to “expressed sound” and represents one of the two types of bhāṣātmaka according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 5.24.—What is expressed sound (akṣara)? The language used to write the scriptures or the medium of communication between both civilized and novice persons to understand each other and interact are called expressed sound, e.g. Prākṛta, Saṃskṛta etc.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 5: The category of the non-living
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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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Akshara in Marathi glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

akṣara (अक्षर).—n (S) A letter of the alphabet. 2 A syllable. 3 fig. Letters, learning, erudition. Ex. a0 nāhīṃ cāturya nāhīṃ maga pratiṣṭhā kaśānēṃ hōīla.

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akṣara (अक्षर).—a S Imperishable, undecaying, unfading.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

akṣara (अक्षर).—n A letter; a syllable; fig. learn- ing. a Undecaying.

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

Akṣara (अक्षर).—a. [na kṣaratīti; kṣar calane ac-na. ta.]

1) Imperishable, indestructible, undecaying, epithet of the Supreme as well as the Individual soul; यमक्षरं क्षेत्रविदो विदुस्तमात्मानमात्मन्यवलोकयन्तम् (yamakṣaraṃ kṣetravido vidustamātmānamātmanyavalokayantam) Ku.3.5; द्वाविमौ पुरुषौ लोके क्षरश्चाक्षर एव च । क्षरः सर्वाणि भूतानि कूटस्थोऽक्षर उच्यते (dvāvimau puruṣau loke kṣaraścākṣara eva ca | kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni kūṭastho'kṣara ucyate) Bg.15.16. यस्मात्क्षरमतीतोऽहमक्षरादपि चोत्तमः । अतोऽस्मि लोके वेदे च प्रथितः पुरुषोत्तमः (yasmātkṣaramatīto'hamakṣarādapi cottamaḥ | ato'smi loke vede ca prathitaḥ puruṣottamaḥ) Bg.15.18; the unconcerned (Spirit); अक्षरं ब्रह्म परमभ् (akṣaraṃ brahma paramabh) Bg.8.3.

2) Fixed, firm, unalterable.

-raḥ 1 Śiva.

2) Viṣṇu.

3) A sword.

-rā Sound, word, speech (Ved.).

-ram [aś-saraḥ Uṇ.3.7, aśeḥ saraḥ; aśnute vyāpnoti vedādiśāstrāṇi.]

1) (a) A letter of the alphabet; अक्षराणामकारोऽस्मि (akṣarāṇāmakāro'smi) Bg.1.33; मुद्राक्षराणि, मधुर°, त्र्यक्षर (mudrākṣarāṇi, madhura°, tryakṣara) &c. (b) a syllable; एकाक्षरं परं ब्रह्म (ekākṣaraṃ paraṃ brahma) Ms.2.83 the monosyllable; गिरामस्म्येकमक्षरम् (girāmasmyekamakṣaram) Bg.1.25, Ms. 2.78,84,125 (sacred syllable). Hence (c) a word or words, speech collectively; प्रतिषेधाक्षरविक्लवाभिरामम् (pratiṣedhākṣaraviklavābhirāmam) Ś.3.24; अहो संदापनान्यक्षराणि (aho saṃdāpanānyakṣarāṇi) U.4; भर्तुरेतानि प्रणयमयान्यक्षराणि (bharturetāni praṇayamayānyakṣarāṇi) M.3 words; ब्राह्मणसंक्रमिताक्षरेण पितामहेन (brāhmaṇasaṃkramitākṣareṇa pitāmahena) V.3; अक्षंर वर्णनिर्माणं वर्णमप्यक्षरं विदुः । अक्षरं न क्षरं विद्यादश्नोतेर्वा सरोऽक्षरम् (akṣaṃra varṇanirmāṇaṃ varṇamapyakṣaraṃ viduḥ | akṣaraṃ na kṣaraṃ vidyādaśnotervā saro'kṣaram) ||

2) A document (letter &c.), sacred writing; writing in general (in pl.); तत्र भुक्तिः प्रमाणं स्यान्न साक्षी नाक्षराणि च (tatra bhuktiḥ pramāṇaṃ syānna sākṣī nākṣarāṇi ca) Pt.3.93; तत्रभवत्या अक्षराणि विसृष्टानि स्युः (tatrabhavatyā akṣarāṇi visṛṣṭāni syuḥ) V.2.

3) The highest deity or Godhead, the indestructible spirit, Brahman (paramabrahman, mūlakāraṇam); अक्षरं ब्रह्म परमम् (akṣaraṃ brahma paramam) Bg.8.3; कर्म ब्रह्मोद्भवं विद्धि ब्रह्माक्षरसमुद्भवम् (karma brahmodbhavaṃ viddhi brahmākṣarasamudbhavam) 3.15; यथा सतः पुरुषात्केशलोमानि तथाक्षरात्संभवतीह विश्वम् (yathā sataḥ puruṣātkeśalomāni tathākṣarātsaṃbhavatīha viśvam) Chān. Up.

4) Religious austerity, penance.

5) Sacrifice.

6) Water. ततः क्षरति अक्षरम् (tataḥ kṣarati akṣaram) Rv. 1.164.42.

7) The sky.

8) Final beatitude, emancipation from further transmigration.

9) Continuance, permanence.

1) Right, justice (Ved. in these two senses).

11) Name of a plant, Achyranthes Aspera. (apāmārga Mar. aghāḍā.)

12) A measure of time, equal to one-fifth of a Kāṣṭhā.

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Akṣāra (अक्षार).—a. [nāsti kṣāraṃ yatra] Free from artificial salt

-raḥ Natural salt गोक्षीरं गोघृतं चैव धान्यमुद्रास्तिला यवाः । सामुद्र- सैन्धवं चैव अक्षारंलवणं स्मृतम् (gokṣīraṃ goghṛtaṃ caiva dhānyamudrāstilā yavāḥ | sāmudra- saindhavaṃ caiva akṣāraṃlavaṇaṃ smṛtam) ||

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Ākṣāra (आक्षार).—

1) A charge or calumny, accusation (of adultery).

2) Name of a Sāman.

Derivable forms: ākṣāraḥ (आक्षारः).

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

Search found 151 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Ekākṣarā (एकाक्षरा) refers to the name of a Lady mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. IX.45.24). ...
Pramitākṣarā (प्रमिताक्षरा).—f. Name of a metre having each quarter comprised of 12 syllables. ...
1) Akṣarapaṅkti (अक्षरपङ्क्ति) refers to one of the 130 varṇavṛttas (syllabo-quantitative verse...
Aṣṭākṣara (अष्टाक्षर).—a. consisting of eight letters or parts; अष्टाक्षरं ह वा एकं गायत्र्यै प...
Bījākṣara (बीजाक्षर).—the first syllable of a Mantra. Derivable forms: bījākṣaram (बीजाक्षरम्)....
Hastākṣara (हस्ताक्षर).—one's own hand or signature, one's own sign-manual. Derivable forms: ha...
Ghuṇākṣara (घुणाक्षर).—f. an incision in wood or in the leaf of a book made by an insect or wor...
Svākṣara (स्वाक्षर).—one's own hand-writing. Derivable forms: svākṣaram (स्वाक्षरम्).Svākṣara i...
Gurvakṣara (गुर्वक्षर).—Long syllable. Note: Guru-akṣara is a Sanskrit technical term used in a...
akṣara-ōḷakha (अक्षर-ओळख).—f Acquaintance with the alphabet.
Saṃdhyakṣara (संध्यक्षर).—a diphthong. Derivable forms: saṃdhyakṣaram (संध्यक्षरम्).Saṃdhyakṣar...
Nirakṣara (निरक्षर).—a. Not knowing the letters, illiterate. Nirakṣara is a Sanskrit compound c...
Akṣarasaṃghāta (अक्षरसंघात, “compactness”).—One of the thirty-six lakṣaṇa, or “excellent points...
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Brahmākṣara (ब्रह्माक्षर).—the sacred syllable om. Derivable forms: brahmākṣaram (ब्रह्माक्षरम्...

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