Arka, aka: Ārka; 21 Definition(s)


Arka 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.

In Hinduism

Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Arka (अर्क).—According to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, the gopīs' desperation to find Kṛṣṇa is clearly shown by the fact that they approached the insignificant arka plant. (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.30.9). Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī gives the following information about Vṛndāvana's trees: Even though the arka plant is very insignificant, it always grows near Lord Gopīśvara [the Śiva deity in Vṛndāvana forest] because it is dear to him.

Source: VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam
Vaishnavism book cover
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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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Arka (अर्क):—The consequences of using various flowers in worship, (eg. arka flowers) leads to the blessings of the Lord Sun, according to the Bhaviṣya-purāṇa (brahmaparva, 197:1-11)

Source: Wisdom Library: Bhavishya-purana

Arka (अर्क, “life-force”) refers to one of the fifty-six vināyakas located at Kāśī (Vārāṇasī), and forms part of a sacred pilgrimage (yātrā), described in the Kāśīkhaṇḍa (Skanda-purāṇa 4.2.57). He is also known as Arkavināyaka, Arkagaṇeśa and Arkavighneśa. These fifty-six vināyakas are positioned at the eight cardinal points in seven concentric circles (8x7). They center around a deity named Ḍhuṇḍhirāja (or Ḍhuṇḍhi-vināyaka) positioned near the Viśvanātha temple, which lies at the heart of Kāśī, near the Gaṅges. This arrangement symbolises the interconnecting relationship of the macrocosmos, the mesocosmos and the microcosmos.

Arka is positioned in the South-Eastern corner of the first circle of the kāśī-maṇḍala. According to Rana Singh (source), his shrine is located at “Lolarka Kund, near House No. B 2 / 17”. Worshippers of Arka will benefit from his quality, which is defined as “the remover of all types of trouble”. His coordinates are: Lat. 25.17510, Lon. 83.00387 (or, 25°10'30.4"N, 83°00'13.9"E) (Google maps)

Kāśī (Vārāṇasī) is a holy city in India and represents the personified form of the universe deluded by the Māyā of Viṣṇu. It is described as a fascinating city which is beyond the range of vision of Giriśa (Śiva) having both the power to destroy great delusion, as well as creating it.

Arka, and the other vināyakas, are described in the Skandapurāṇa (the largest of the eighteen mahāpurāṇas). This book narrates the details and legends surrounding numerous holy pilgrimages (tīrtha-māhātmya) throughout India. It is composed of over 81,000 metrical verses with the core text dating from the before the 4th-century CE.

Source: Wisdom Library: Skanda-purāṇa

Arka (अर्क):—Son of Puruja (son of Suśānti). He had a son named Bharmyāśva. (see Bhāgavata Purāṇa 9.21.31)

Source: Wisdom Library: Bhagavata Purana

1a) Arka (अर्क).—A son of Vasu, and a Vasu. Wife Vāsanā. Sons Tarṣa and others.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa III. 21. 51; VI. 3. 14; 6. 11 and 13.

1b) The son of Puruja, and father of Bharmyāśva.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 21. 31.

1c) The son of Vivici Agni; see vividha; he had a number of sons like Anīkavān, etc.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 1. 145; 29. 40; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 12. 42.
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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Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)

1) Arka (ऋति) is the Sanskrit word translating to “copper”, a pure metal commonly found in nature. It is used throughout Rasaśāstra literature, such as the Rasaprakāśasudhākara.

2) Arka (अर्क).—The name of a plant, possibly identified with Calotropis gigantea. It is used in various alchemical processess related to mercury (rasa or liṅga), according to the Rasārṇavakalpa (11th-century work dealing with Rasaśāstra).

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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Ayurveda (science of life)

Arka (अर्क):—A Sanskrit word referring to the “Milkweed” plant and is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. Its official botanical name is Calotropis gigantea and is commonly known in English as “White arka”, “Giant milkweed”, “Giant calotrope”, “Swallow wort”, and others. It is a large shrub and gows on a variety of soils in different climates

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Arka (अर्क) is the name of a tree (Madāra) that is associated with the Nakṣatra (celestial star) named Śravaṇa, according to the second chapter (dharaṇyādi-varga) of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu (an Ayurvedic encyclopedia). Accordingly, “these [trees] are propounded in Śāstras, the secret scriptures (śāstrāgama). These pious trees [viz, Arka], if grown and protected, promote long life”. These twenty-seven trees related to the twenty-seven Nakṣatras are supposed to be Deva-vṛkṣas or Nakṣatra-vṛkṣas.

Source: Wisdom Library: Raj Nighantu

Sanskrit Arka (Calotropis gigantea) means Sun from cuneiform shape of leaf, smooth on the upper surface, clothed with wooly down on the under side, flowering all year. The juice mixed with uppu (common salt) is given in tooth-ache; the juice of the young buds is given in ear-ache; the leaves warmed and moistened with oil are applied as a dry fomentation in abdominal pains.

This is a large shrub, common all over India; it is commonly to be found in waste ground among rubbish, ruins, and such like places, flowers rose colour and purple mixed. (There is a white variety also to which great religious importance is attached). Of late years this plant has attracted much attention from the many useful and important purposes to which its several properties can be applied. An acrid milky juice flows from every part of the shrub when wounded; and this the natives apply to medicinal purposes in many different ways, besides preparations of the plant itself in epilepsy, paralysis, bites of poisonous animals, as a vermifuge, etc. In almost all cutaneous affections, especially in leprosy, it is frequently employed, and much attention has lately been bestowed upon its virtues in the cure of the latter dreadful complaint. The root, bark, and inspissated juice are used as powerful alteratives and purgatives. Its activity is said to be owing to a principle called Mudarine, discovered by the late Doctor Duncan of Edinburgh, which he found to possess the singular propeny of congealing by heat and becoming again fluid onexposure to cold. The root is used in the manufacture of gun-powder charcoal.

Source: South Indian Festivities (ayurveda)

Arka (अर्क) refers to a liquid preparation obtained by distillation technique. It was taken from the unāni system of medicine. Arkaprakāśa, glory of arka, is an important ayurvedic treatise in Telugu of this period. Arka technique is useful to prepare the medicine from the plants containing volatile substances. In Āyurvēda pharmacopoeia, the ratio of volatile herbs is very low. With the entry of this technique utility of some plants like camphor became popular. Ajāmodārka, distilled fruits of ajāmoda (Apium leptophyllum) is used in the digestive disorders. The Arkaprakāṣa tries to extract distillations even from non-aromatic plants. However, the number of arkas is very less in number in today’s Āyurvēda pharmacopoeia.

Source: Ayurveda and Pharmaceutics
Ayurveda book cover
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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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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Arka (अर्क) is a Sanskrit word, identified with Calotropis gigantea (crown flower) by various scholars in their translation of the Śukranīti. This tree is mentioned as having thorns, and should therefore be considered as wild. The King shoud place such trees in forests (not in or near villages). He should nourish them by stoole of goats, sheep and cows, water as well as meat.

The following is an ancient Indian horticultural recipe for the nourishment of such trees:

According to Śukranīti 4.4.110-112: “The powder of the dungs of goats and sheep, the powder of Yava (barley), Tila (seeds), beef as well as water should be kept together (undisturbed) for seven nights. The application of this water leads very much to the growth in flowers and fruits of all trees (such as arka).”

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Arka (अर्क).—The strong blowing of air from the mouth at the time of the utterance of the surd consonants; cf Vāj. Śikṣā. 280.

Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
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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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General definition (in Hinduism)

The Arka plant is considered very special to Lord Ganesha. The leaves and the flowers are offered to the deity, especially during Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganapathi carved from the Arka, also known as Arka-Ganapathi is worshipped by some Hindu households. The plant is closely associated with Suryadeva (Hindu Sun God). In fact, ‘Arka’ is one of the 108 names of the Sun God. According to the some ancient scriptures, the Gods were performing a sacrificial ritual to the Sun God, when they spilled milk. From this emerged a plant, which the Gods named ‘Arka’, after Lord Surya. On Rathasapthami, (traditionally regarded as the day when the chariot of Suryadeva is turned to North by his charioteer, Aruna), devout Hindus place arka leaves on their head while taking snanam, (sacred bath).

Source: ENVIS: Giant Milkweed

Arka means “ray of light” in Sanskrit and the Arka plant is native to India and grows in dry wastelands. Pooja to Lord Hanuman is incomplete without the offering of a garland made with Arka flowers or Arka leaves. Hindus worship the plant and the leaves are used while having a bath on Rathasapthami/festival of Sun god. In the ancient scripts of Ayurveda, Arka is mentioned as a healing herb.

Source: Its Life: Arka

India history and geogprahy

Arka is the name of a herb (oshadhi) mentioned in the Kathasaritsagara by Somadeva (10th century A.D). Arka and Shani plants are also mentioned as being auspicious plants.

Somadeva mentions many rich forests, gardens, various trees, creepers medicinal and flowering plants (eg., Arka) and fruit-bearing trees in the Kathasaritsagara. Gardens of herbs were specially maintained in big cities. Somadeva’s writing more or less reflects the life of the people of Northern India during the 11th century. His Kathasaritsagara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Arka, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravahanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyadharas (celestial beings).

Source: Shodhganga: Cultural history as g leaned from kathasaritsagara

Arka (“sun”) or Surya is one of the exogamous septs (divisions) among the Komatis (a trading caste of the Madras Presidency). The Komatis are said to have originally lived, and still live in large numbers on the banks of the Godavari river. One of the local names thereof is Gomati or Gomti, and the Sanskrit Gomati would, in Telugu, become corrupted into Komati. The sub-divisions are split up into septs (viz., Arka), which are of a strictly exogamous character.

Source: Project Gutenberg: Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Volume 1
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

arka (अर्क).—m (S) Spirit or essence; extract, essential oil, spirituous liquor. 2 The sun. 3 Gigantic swallowwort, Asclepias or Calotropis gigantea. 4 Quintessence or sublimation. In a bad sense. As hā labāḍācā a0 cōrācā-sōdyācā a0. Also arka-cōra-sōdā-labāḍa &c. 5 n (Portuguese.) An arch.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

arka (अर्क).—m Essence, spirit. The sun, Quint- essence, sublimation. arka kā़ḍhaṇēṃ Distil

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

Arka (अर्क).—a. [arc-ghañ-kutvam Uṇ.3.4.]. Fit to be worshipped (arcanīya).

-rkaḥ 1 A ray of light, a flash of lightning (Ved.).

2) The sun; आविष्कृतारुणपुरःसर एकतोऽर्कः (āviṣkṛtāruṇapuraḥsara ekato'rkaḥ) Ś.4.2.

3) Fire. य एवमेतदर्कस्यार्कत्वं वेद (ya evametadarkasyārkatvaṃ veda) Bṛ. Up. 1.2.1.

4) A crystal; पुष्पार्ककेतकाभाश्च (puṣpārkaketakābhāśca) Rām.2.94.6.

5) Copper.

6) Sunday.

7) Membrum virile. एवा ते शेपः सहसायमर्कोऽङ्गेनाङ्गं संसमकं कृणोतु (evā te śepaḥ sahasāyamarko'ṅgenāṅgaṃ saṃsamakaṃ kṛṇotu) Av.6.72.1.

8) Name of the sun-plant, Calatropis Gigantea (Mar. ruī), a small tree with medicinal sap and rind; अर्कस्योपरि शिथिलं च्युतमिव नवमल्लिकाकुसुमम् (arkasyopari śithilaṃ cyutamiva navamallikākusumam) Ś.2.9; यमाश्रित्य न विश्रामं क्षुधार्ता यान्ति सेवकाः । सोऽर्कवन्नृपतिस्त्याज्यः सदापुष्पफलोऽपि सन् (yamāśritya na viśrāmaṃ kṣudhārtā yānti sevakāḥ | so'rkavannṛpatistyājyaḥ sadāpuṣpaphalo'pi san) Pt.1.51. अर्के चेन्मधु विन्देत (arke cenmadhu vindeta) ŚB. on MS.

9) Name of Indra.

1) A sort of religious ceremony.

11) Praise, hymn; praising, extolling, song of praise.

12) A singer (Ved. in these two senses).

13) A learned man.

14) An elder brother.

15) Food (arkam also).

16) Name of Viṣṇu.

17) A kind of decoction.

18) The seventh day of a month.

19) The उत्तरा- फल्गुनी (uttarā- phalgunī) asterism.

2) The number 12.

21) The sunstone (sūryakānta); मसारगल्वर्कमयैर्विभङ्गैर्विभूषितं हेमनिबद्धचक्रम् (masāragalvarkamayairvibhaṅgairvibhūṣitaṃ hemanibaddhacakram) Mb.12.46.33. cf. अर्कोऽर्कपर्णे स्फटिके ताम्रे सूर्ये दिवस्पतौ । ज्येष्ठभ्रातरि शुक्लेऽर्कपादपे च पुमान् भवेत् (arko'rkaparṇe sphaṭike tāmre sūrye divaspatau | jyeṣṭhabhrātari śukle'rkapādape ca pumān bhavet) || Nm.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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 152 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Arkavivāha (अर्कविवाह).—marriage with the arka plant (enjoined to be performed before a man mar...
Arkaparṇa (अर्कपर्ण) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.59.42, I.65) and represents...
Bālārka (बालार्क).—the newly-risen sun; R.12.1. Derivable forms: bālārkaḥ (बालार्कः).Bālārka is...
Arkādi (अर्कादि) is the Sanskrit name for a group of medicinal plants, classified as acting ...
Arkaja (अर्कज).—epithet of Karṇa, Yama, Sugrīva. -jau the two Aśvins regarded as the physicians...
Arkavrata (अर्कव्रत).—1) a vow performed on माघशुक्लसप्तमी (māghaśuklasaptamī). 2) the law or m...
Nimbārka (निम्बार्क).—Name of the founder of a Vaiṣṇava sect. Derivable forms: nimbārkaḥ (निम्ब...
Candra-arka-sthiti-kālaṃ-yāvat.—‘as long as the moon and sun endure (Ep. Ind., Vol. XXXV, p. 13...
Arkapatra (अर्कपत्र).—Name of the plant अर्क (arka). -trā a kind of birthwort (sunandā, arkamūl...
Arkavighneśa (अर्कविघ्नेश) is short for Arka (life-force), one of the fifty-six vināyakas accor...
Arkanāman (अर्कनामन्).—m. the red arka tree. Arkanāman is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the...
Arkagaṇeśa (अर्कगणेश) is short for Arka (life-force), one of the fifty-six vināyakas according ...
Arkadugdha (अर्कदुग्ध).—milky sap or exudation of Arka. Derivable forms: arkadugdham (अर्कदुग्ध...
Arkacikitsā (अर्कचिकित्सा).—Arka's work on medical science. Arkacikitsā is a Sanskrit compound ...
Ā-candra-arka-kṣiti-sama-kālam.—‘as long as the moon, the sun and the earth exist’ (i. e. perma...

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