Arca, aka: Arcā, Ārca; 11 Definition(s)

Introduction

Arca means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Archa.

In Hinduism

Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Arcā (अर्चा) refers to the fifth of the five-fold manifestation of the Supreme Consciousness the Pāñcarātrins believe in.—Arcā means a worshippable image (also, the worship). For the followers of the Pāñcarātra, arcā is not an inanimate piece of stone. They treat it as a living and sentient being, since life energy (prāṇa) has been infused into it through the ceremony of Prāṇapratiṣṭhā.

Source: archive.org: Isvara Samhita Vol 1

1) arca—Sanskrit term meaning 'object of adoration and worship' and used in hindu iconology (eg. the Āgamas).

2) When a stone image (bera) is fashioned according to the principles laid down in the Agama, and is consecrated according to the rules and rites, then the Supreme Being by dint of His omnipotence and Omnipresence is capable of descending into such an icon with a tiny ray of His Potency (Śakti) in a subtle body known as a "divya maṅgala vigraha". This is technically known as the Arca Avatāra or Iconical descent in which the Lord manifests Himself out of compassion for the embodied beings in order to bestow His blessings upon them and to receive their offerings.

These Icons are said to be of three types;

  1. Svayam vyakta—Self manifested; uncreated by human hands.
  2. Purva sthāpita—Those established and worshipped ma ny years ago by great sages and gods.
  3. Pratiṣṭhita—And those presently established by wealthy Beings.
Source: SriMatham: Vaiṣṇava Iconology based on Pañcarātra Āgama
Pancaratra book cover
context information

Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Arcā (अर्चा) is a Sanskrit word referring to an “object of adoration and worship”. It is used throughout texts and practice of Hindu iconology.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śilpa-śāstra

Arcā (अर्चा) refers to a classification of Hindu images, as defined in the texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—Images are classified into five forms, namely parama, vyūha, vibhāva, antaryāmi and arcā. Arcā stands for images that are worshipped, which have been fashioned according to the specifications and methodology of the sculptural tradition. It is only through the arcā state that He becomes perceptible and manifest in a form which can be identified and worshipped by all.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Arcā (अर्चा).—Of Hari. Worship of Hari's image is said to promote one's welfare. Some special places devoted to. This form is prevalent even in tretā yuga;1 to be worshipped in the payovrata.2 arcā is rājasa. Mere idol worship condemned. When proper;3 arcā may be of gold, silver, of earth or water or other substance.4 upāsanā of, a means to concentration on the Absolute.5 Worship may be offered on the ground, fire, sun, waters, Brāhmaṇa or any other thing. Image of eight kinds including stone, wood and metal; may be moveable or immoveable. The mode in worship. Subsidiary worship to the ornaments, implements and attendants on Hari. Founding a shrine, flowergarden and instituting festivals form part of the worship.6 Only people of little tapas are engaged in arcā, this being regarded inferior to worshipping Brahman.7

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VII. 14. 28-40.
  • 2) Ib. VIII. 16. 28.
  • 3) Ib. III. 29. 9, 21-25
  • 4) Ib. IV. 8. 56.
  • 5) Ib. XI. 20. 24.
  • 6) Ib. XI. 27. 9-43,
  • 7) Ib. X. 84. 10; 86. 55.
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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India history and geogprahy

Arcā (अर्चा) is the name of a work ascribed to Āśādhara (1178-1243 C.E.) according to the “New Catalogus Catalogorum” II. pp. 194-96. Āśādhara was a famous Jain author belonging to the Sapādalakṣa country where Śākambharī is situated and composed many works (viz., the Arcā).

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature (history)
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

Marathi-English dictionary

arcā (अर्चा).—f (S) Worship, adoration, homage. 2 An idol-image. 3 Also arcāśuddhi f (S) The ceremony of purifying an image from the hands of the maker and of summoning the numen or divinity to reside in it: also renewed purification of an idol from any defilement contracted.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

arcā (अर्चा).—f Worship, adoration.

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

Arca (अर्च).—a. Ved. Shining; अस्मा एतद् दिव्यर्चेव मासा (asmā etad divyarceva māsā) Rv.6.34.4.

--- OR ---

Arcā (अर्चा).—[arc-aṅ]

1) Worship, adoration; अर्चायामेव हरये पूजां यः श्रद्धयेहते (arcāyāmeva haraye pūjāṃ yaḥ śraddhayehate) Bhāg.11.2.47.

2) An idol or image intended to be worshipped; मौर्यैर्हिरण्यार्थिभिरर्चाः प्रकल्पिताः (mauryairhiraṇyārthibhirarcāḥ prakalpitāḥ) Mbh.5.3.99. (there is some dispute among scholars as to the precise meaning of this passage); अर्चापूजा- प्रतिमयोः (arcāpūjā- pratimayoḥ) Nm.

--- OR ---

Ārca (आर्च).—a. (-rcī f.) [अर्चा अस्त्यस्य ण (arcā astyasya ṇa) P.V.2.11]

1) Devout, worshipping, pious.

2) Relating to the Ṛik or Ṛigveda.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Arcā (अर्चा).—f.

(-rcā) 1. Worship, see arcana. 2. An image. E. arca to worship, ac affix, and ṭāp fem. do.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara 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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