Ashtabhuja, Ashta-bhuja, Aṣṭabhuja: 3 definitions



Ashtabhuja means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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 term Aṣṭabhuja can be transliterated into English as Astabhuja or Ashtabhuja, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

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In Hinduism

Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Source: SriMatham: Vaiṣṇava Iconology based on Pañcarātra Āgama

Aṣṭa-bhuja (‘Eight arms’): Some icons of the Lord or His manifestations are depicted as having 8 arms. This also represents the complete dominion over all the directions, as well as the eight preserving powers (shakti) of the Lord which are;

  1. health (ārogya),
  2. knowledge (jñāna),
  3. wealth (dhana),
  4. organization (sampādanam),
  5. cooperation (sahodyoga),
  6. fame (kīrti),
  7. courage (dhrti),
  8. truth (satyam).

They also symbolize the 8 attributes of the Supreme Being which are;

  1. sarva-jñatva—omniscience of universe, living entities and deeds. (loka, jiva & karma)
  2. sarveśvaratva—Supreme Lordship and Dominion over the entire creation.
  3. sarva-antaryāmitva—inner rulership and control of all entities.
  4. sarva-karaṇatva—Supreme Cause of all causes.
  5. sarva-niyantṛitva—Supreme controller of everything.
  6. sarva-kartṛitva—the original Performer of all actions.
  7. sarva-śaktimatva—omnipotence
  8. sva-tantratva—complete and absolute independence.
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)

Source: Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (śilpa)

Aṣṭabhuja (अष्टभुज) is found as a sculpture at the temple of Lokeśvara, western half of the north wall, northern façade.—Viṣṇu with eight hands, a rare depiction, is carved here with, atop, a scene of Śaṃkara Pārvatī where the god is carrying a Liṅga on his right shoulder.

While enumerating the attributes that are in the hands of the deity, T. A. G. Rao writes: “In the right hands, the gadā, the khaḍga, the bāṇa and the cakra; and in the left hands, the śaṅkha, the kheṭaka, the dhanus and the padma” (Elements … vol. I, pt. i. p. 256). He states further that this image of Vaikuṇṭhanātha should have four heads. But the sculpture at Paṭṭadakal has only one head and except the padma in one of his hands, the attribution of attributes, as given by T. A. G Rao, fits well.

Viṣṇu is well decorated with a tiara and hāra. Besides, he wears a sacred thread (yajñopavīta) which descends down to the right mid-hip and another hāra which goes below the knees. Probably, it is vaijayantī hāra. Śaṅkhanidhi and Padmanidhi are shown seated on either side of his feet. Both are figured plump with a bulging stomach, wearing kirīṭa. On the pilasters of the niche are depicted two seated images, which are difficult to identify.

Shilpashastra book cover
context information

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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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Ashtabhuja in Sanskrit glossary
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Aṣṭābhujā (अष्टाभुजा):—[=aṣṭā-bhujā] [from aṣṭā > aṣṭan] f. ‘having eighteen arms’, a Name of Durgā, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

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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