Arcana, Arcanā: 28 definitions


Arcana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi, 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 Archana.

In Hinduism

Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

Arcana (अर्चन).—The procedures followed for worshiping the arcā-vigraha, the Deity in the temple; engaging all the senses in the service of the Lord.

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhagavad-gita (4th edition)

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to “worship”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhajana-rahasya - 2nd Edition

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to:—Deity worship; one of the nine primary processes of devotional service. (cf. Glossary page from Bhajana-Rahasya).

Source: Pure Bhakti: Arcana-dipika - 3rd Edition

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to “deity worship” according to the Arcana-dīpikā (manual on deity worship).—The worship of the neophyte devotee is arcana, and the worship of the elevated devotee is bhajana—When, in accordance with the guidelines of the Pañcarātra one reverentially performs worship of the deity with various articles, it is called arcana. [...] In the process of arcana, Bhagavān’s holy name always remains the prime factor. Kīrtana of the holy name of the Lord is the life and soul of arcana. Deity worship that is devoid of śrī nāma-saṅkīrtana does not yield any result.

Arcana is classified under three categories—vaidika (that which is prescribed in the Vedas), tāntrika (that which is taught in the Tantras) and miśra (mixed). The altar or sacrificial arena, fire, the sun, water and the heart are the foundation of arcana.

Generally, there are five limbs of arcana. This is also known as pañcāṅga-viṣṇu-yajña (fivefold sacrifice performed for the pleasure of Śrī Viṣṇu). The five limbs are:

  1. abhigamana (cleansing the temple of the deity),
  2. upādāna (picking flowers),
  3. yoga (purifying oneself),
  4. svādhyāya (chanting the holy name),
  5. ijyā (serving one’s worshipful deity).

These five limbs of Arcana (pañcāṅga-arcana) are not temporary and mundane but eternal, supremely pure limbs of bhakti that help one attain the lotus feet of Śrī Bhagavān.

Source: Pure Bhakti: Brhad Bhagavatamrtam

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to:—Deity worship. (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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: Sardhatrisatikalottaragama

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to “worshipping (the earth)” which is prescribed as one of the operations/ preliminary ceremonies related to the kuṇḍa (“fire-pit”), according to the various Āgamas and related literature. Arcana is mentioned in the Mataṅgapārameśvara (Kriyā-pāda, chap 4), Acintyaviśvasādākhya (chapter 14) and Pūrvakāmika-āgama (chapter 8). The Suprabheda-āgama mentions Samarcana. The Ajita-āgama (Kriyā-pāda, chapter 21) mentions Kuṇḍārcana.

Source: Shodhganga: Temple management in the Āgamas

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to a classification of pūjā (ritualistic worship) according to the Suprabhedāgama.—The Āgamas have several different classifications of nityapūjā (daily worship), based on the number of offerings, frequency, time duration and so on. The nomenclature also varies between Āgamas. The essence however is similar. Arcana is mentioned in the Suprabhedāgama (7.1) as “the pūjā that offers only the first seven mandatory offerings”. Arcana is also mentioned in the Kāraṇāgama (30.405), Dīptāgama (26.1) and Makuṭāgama (3.32) as “the pūjā that ends with dīpa”.

Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to “worship”, according to the Guhyasūtra chapter 3.—Accordingly, “[...] One may perform the Block-of-Wood Observance in a forest full of bears, tigers and lions, conquering the urges to sleep and eat, [constantly] reciting. If one takes on the appearance of a woman and sings and dances, adorned with bracelets, with a winnowing fan, ball and plait, one observes the Colourful Observance. With a weapon in hand, full of compassion, if one wanders like a saviour of creatures (?) focussed upon recitation (japa), meditation (dhyāna) and worship (arcana), one performs the Warrior Observance. [...]”.

Source: eScholarship: The descent of scripture: a history of the Kamikagama

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to “(the daily ritual of) worship”, according to the Kāmikāgama: an ancient Śaiva Āgama scripture in 12,000 Sanskrit verses dating to at least the 5th century and represented as an encyclopedic account of ritual instructions (kriyāpāda).—In modern print editions, the Kāmika-āgama is structured in two major parts. The Pūrvabhāga consists of 75 chapters (paṭalas) [...] Chapters 3 to 8 outline the particulars of daily ritual with specific chapters dedicated to bathing (Chapter 3, snāna), worship (Chapter 4, arcana), ancillaries of worship (Chapter 5, arcanāṅga), ritual offerings (Chapter 6, naivedya), characteristics of fire pits (Chapter 7, kuṇḍalakṣaṇa), and fire rituals (Chapter 8, agnikārya).

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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to “worshipping” and represents one of the nine-fold (navadhā) devotion (bhakti), as explained in the Śivapurāṇa 2.2.23, as Śiva said to Satī:—“[...] O Goddess Satī, listen, I shall explain the great principle whereby the remorseful creature becomes a liberated soul (mukta). [...] Devotion (bhakti) to me is considered as the bestower of worldly pleasures and salvation. It is achievable only by my grace. It is nine-fold (navadhā) [viz., arcana]. There is no difference between devotion and perfect knowledge. A person who is engrossed in devotion enjoys perpetual happiness. Perfect knowledge never descends in a vicious person averse to devotion. [...] According to scholars O Goddess, the nine ancillary adjuncts are:—[viz., arcana, ‘worshipping’...]. O Śiva, its further subdivisions too have been explained”.

Arcana (‘worshipping’) detailed explanation: “offering sixteen types of service to me, the supreme soul, in accordance with one’s capacity is called worshipping. The sixteen types of service are Pādya etc.”.

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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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Source: Wisdom Library: Brihat Samhita by Varahamihira

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to the “worship” (of the Devas), according to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā (chapter 2), an encyclopedic Sanskrit work written by Varāhamihira mainly focusing on the science of ancient Indian astronomy astronomy (Jyotiṣa).—Accordingly, “We shall now proceed to give a brief description of (the qualifications of) a jyotiṣaka. [...] He must be of cleanly habits, able, noble-minded, eloquent and of originality and imagination; must possess a knowledge of place and time; be meek and without nervousness, must be difficult of conquest by his fellow students; must be able and devoid of vices; must be learned in matters of expiatory ceremonies, of Hygiene, of Occult Magic and of ablutions; must be a worshipper [i.e., arcana] of the Devas and an observer of fast and penance; must be of remarkable genius and capable of solving any difficulties save in matters of direct divine interference; and finally, he must be learned in astronomy, natural astrology (Saṃhitā) and horoscopy”.

Jyotisha book cover
context information

Jyotisha (ज्योतिष, jyotiṣa or jyotish) refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents the fifth of the six Vedangas (additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas). Jyotisha concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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Kavya (poetry)

Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions (kavya)

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to “being worshipped”, according to Bāṇa’s Kādambarī (p. 225-226).—Accordingly, while describing the shire of the Goddess Caṇḍikā, “[Then follows the image of the Goddess Caṇḍikā, which matches the conception of Kālarātri in the passage from the Mahābhārata:] [...] she was adorned in garlands of bilva-leaves furnished with gleaming fruits and buds anointed with red sandalwood, that were like hanging garlands of infant-heads; she expressed cruelty with limbs worshipped (kṛta-arcana) with clusters of kadamba flowers ruddy with blood, which horripilated, it seemed, at the thrill of the flavour of the keen roar of drums during the animal-offering; [...]”.

Kavya book cover
context information

Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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Yoga (school of philosophy)

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

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to “worship”, according to verse 1.38 of the Śivayogadīpikā by Sadāśivayogīśvara: a text dealing with Śaivism and Haṭhayoga in two hundred and eighty-nine verses.—Accordingly, “There are two types of worship of Śiva; internal and external yoga. In the internal [yoga], worship is foremost, and it has been called external worship (bāhya-arcana-uditā)”.

Yoga book cover
context information

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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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: MDPI Books: The Ocean of Heroes

Arcana (अर्चन) refers to the “offering” (to the four layers), according to the 10th-century Ḍākārṇava-tantra: one of the last Tibetan Tantric scriptures belonging to the Buddhist Saṃvara tradition consisting of 51 chapters.—Accordingly: [while explaining the body circle (kāyacakra)]: “[Every Yoginī] has the nature of wisdom and means, dwells in the upapīlava (“near the village border”) [holy site], and is [of] the Level of the Practice of Resolution. These are the twelve circle [deities]. Square [in shape], this circle has the name of the Emanation Body, [is decorated with] five lines [representing the Fivefold Gnosis] starting with the Mirror-like, and is marked with every [kind of good] characteristic. Sixteen [offerings] are performed by goddesses—[this is] the offering (arcana) to the four layers [...]”.

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

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

arcana (अर्चन).—n (S) arcanā f (S) Worship, homage paid to gods or superiors.

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

arcana (अर्चन).—n-f Worship, homage paid to gods.

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: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Arcana (अर्चन).—a. [arc-lyuṭ] worshipping, praising.

-nam, -nā Worshipping, reverence or respect paid to deities and superiors.

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

Arcana (अर्चन).—mfn.

(-naḥ-nā-naṃ) An article of worship. nf.

(-naṃ-nā) Worship, the homage paid to deities and to superiors. E. arca to worship, yuc affix, and ṭāp fem. do.

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

Arcana (अर्चन).—[arc + ana], n. Worship, Da- śak. in Chr. 181, 19.

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

Arcana (अर्चन).—[neuter] arcanā & arcā [feminine] praise, worship.

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

1) Arcana (अर्चन):—[from arc] mf(ī)n. ifc. honouring, praising, [Nirukta, by Yāska]

2) [v.s. ...] nf. (am, ā) homage paid to deities and to superiors, [Mahābhārata etc.] (cf. vibudhārcana and surārcana).

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

Arcanā (अर्चना):—(nā) 1. f. Worship.

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

Arcana (अर्चन) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit words: Accaṇa, Accaṇā.

[Sanskrit to German]

Arcana 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

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Arcana (अर्चन) [Also spelled archan]:—[[]] (nm), ~[na:] (nf) worship, adoration; ~[nīya] adorable, fit to be worshipped; [arcita] worshipped; adored.

context information


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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Arcana (ಅರ್ಚನ):—[noun] = ಅರ್ಚನೆ - [arcane -] 1.

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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Nepali dictionary

Source: unoes: Nepali-English Dictionary

1) Arcana (अर्चन):—n. 1. worship; adoration; 2. homage;

2) Arcanā (अर्चना):—n. 1. worship; adoration; 2. homage;

context information

Nepali is the primary language of the Nepalese people counting almost 20 million native speakers. The country of Nepal is situated in the Himalaya mountain range to the north of India.

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