Ashtanga, aka: Aṣṭāṅga, Ashtan-anga; 9 Definition(s)


Ashtanga means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India. 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 Aṣṭāṅga can be transliterated into English as Astanga or Ashtanga, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Yoga (school of philosophy)

Ashtanga in Yoga glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

lit: Eight limbs; The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali provides an eight-fold path called ashtanga. These eight steps are basic guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life.

The "eight limbs" are:

  1. Yama
  2. Niyama
  3. Asana
  4. Pranayama
  5. Pratyahara
  6. Dharana
  7. Dhyana
  8. Samadhi
Source: Wisdom Library: Yoga
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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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Ayurveda (science of life)

Ashtanga in Ayurveda glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग, “eight parts”).—Traditionally the following eight aṅgas (parts or speciailities) of Āyurveda are accepted:

  1. Kāyacikitsā (‘general medicine’),
  2. Kaumārabhṛtya (‘pediatrics’),
  3. Agadatantra (‘toxicology’),
  4. Śalyatantra (‘surgery’),
  5. Śālākyatantra (‘medico-surgery dealing with supraclavicular diseases’),
  6. Rasāyana (‘promotive therapy’),
  7. Vājīkaraṇa (‘dealing with aphrodisiacs’)
  8. and Bhūtavidyā (‘dealing with invisible agents’).

The Aṣṭāṅgahṛdaya of Vāgbhaṭa is the text upholding this notion of ‘Aṣṭāṅga Āyurveda’ which continued even to the modern age.

Source: Google Books: Essentials of Ayurveda
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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Vastushastra (architecture)

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग):—The Sanskrit name for a classification of a ‘temple’, according to the Īśānaśivagurudevapaddhati which features a list of 52 temple types. This list represents the classification of temples in South-India.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग) refers to “eight limbs”, used in the worship of Śiva, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.1.13:—“[...] the deity Śiva shall be eulogised lovingly with various hymns. Then the devotee shall circumambulate around Śiva by and by. Then he shall perform prostration with the eight limbs (aṣṭāṅga) touching the ground many times. He shall then offer handfuls of flowers with great devotion repeating the following mantra”.

Source: Siva Purana - English Translation

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग).—The name of a book on medical science.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 215. 34.
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

Aṣṭāṅga.—(CITD), the eight constituents of yoga consisting of (1) niyama (restraint of the mind), (2) āsana (a parti- cular posture or mode of sitting), (3) prāṇāyāma (restraining or suspending the breath during the mental recitation of the names or attributes of a deity), (4) yama (self-control), (5) pratyā- hāra (restraining the organs), (6) dhāraṇa (the faculty of retaining in the mind, steady abstraction of mind), (7) dhyāna (abstract contemplation, religious meditation), and (8) samādhi (perfect absorption of thought in the one object of meditation, i. e. the Supreme Spirit); mentioned in connec- tion with obeisance, it means the 8 parts of the body, viz., the two hands, chest, forehead, two knees and two feet (cf. aṣṭāṅga- namaskāra). Note: aṣṭāṅga is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
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

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Ashtanga in Sanskrit glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग).—a. consisting of eight parts or members. (-ṅgam) 1 the eight parts of the body with which a very low obeisance is performed; °पातः, -प्रणामः, साष्टाङ्गनमस्कारः (pātaḥ, -praṇāmaḥ, sāṣṭāṅganamaskāraḥ) a respectful obeisance made by the prostration of the eight limbs of the body; साष्टाङ्गपातं प्रणनाम (sāṣṭāṅgapātaṃ praṇanāma) fell prostrate on the ground in reverence; (jānubhyāṃ ca tathā padbhyāṃ pāṇibhyāmurasā dhiyā | śirasā vacasā dṛṣṭayā praṇāmo'- ṣṭāṅga īritaḥ). cf. also उरसा शिरसा दृष्टया वचसा मनसा तथा । पद्भ्यां कराभ्यां जानुभ्यां प्रणामोऽष्टाङ्ग उच्यते (urasā śirasā dṛṣṭayā vacasā manasā tathā | padbhyāṃ karābhyāṃ jānubhyāṃ praṇāmo'ṣṭāṅga ucyate) || The eight limbs of the body in नमस्कार (namaskāra).

2) the 8 parts of yoga or concentration; यमो नियमश्चासनं च प्राणायामस्ततः परम् । प्रत्याहारो धारणा च घ्यानं सार्धं समाधिना । अष्टाङ्गान्याहुरेतानि योगिनां योगसिद्धये (yamo niyamaścāsanaṃ ca prāṇāyāmastataḥ param | pratyāhāro dhāraṇā ca ghyānaṃ sārdhaṃ samādhinā | aṣṭāṅgānyāhuretāni yogināṃ yogasiddhaye) ||

3) materials of worship taken collectively, namely, water, milk, ghee, curds, दर्भ (darbha), rice, barley, mustard seed.

4) the eight parts of every medical science; (they are :-śalyam, śālākyam, kāyacikitsā, bhūtavidyā, kaumārabhṛtyam, agadatantram, rasāyanatantram, and vājīkaraṇatantram.)

5) the eight parts of a court; 1 the law, 2 the judge, 3 assessors, 4 scribe, 5 astrologer, 6 gold, 7 fire, and 8 water.

6) any whole consisting of eight parts.

7) a die, dice.

8) The eight functions of intellect (buddhi) are शुश्रूषा, श्रवण, ग्रहण, धारणा, चिन्तन, ऊहापोह, अर्थविज्ञान (śuśrūṣā, śravaṇa, grahaṇa, dhāraṇā, cintana, ūhāpoha, arthavijñāna) and तत्त्वज्ञान (tattvajñāna); बुद्धया ह्यष्टाङ्गया युक्तं त्वमेवार्हसि भाषितुम् (buddhayā hyaṣṭāṅgayā yuktaṃ tvamevārhasi bhāṣitum) Rām.6.113.24. °अर्घ्यम् (arghyam) an offering of eight articles. °धूपः (dhūpaḥ) a sort of medical incense removing fever. °मैथुनम् (maithunam) sexual enjoyment of 8 kinds'; the eight stages in the progress of a love suit; स्मरणं कीर्तनं केलिः प्रेक्षणं गुह्यभाषणम् । संकल्पोऽध्यवसायश्च क्रियानिष्पत्तिरेव च (smaraṇaṃ kīrtanaṃ keliḥ prekṣaṇaṃ guhyabhāṣaṇam | saṃkalpo'dhyavasāyaśca kriyāniṣpattireva ca) || °vaidyakam It is constituted of द्रव्याभिधान, गदनिश्चय, काय- सौख्य, शल्यादि, भूतनिग्रह, विषनिग्रह, बालवैद्यक (dravyābhidhāna, gadaniścaya, kāya- saukhya, śalyādi, bhūtanigraha, viṣanigraha, bālavaidyaka), and रसायन (rasāyana). °हृदयम् (hṛdayam) Name of a medical work.

Aṣṭāṅga is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms aṣṭan and aṅga (अङ्ग).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग).—(Pali aṭṭhaṅga), (1) having 8 members or parts; so often of the 8-fold way, e.g. Mv iii.332.10 āryā- ṣṭāṅgo mārgo; Gv 521.5 aṣṭāṅga-poṣadhe (see poṣadha; [Page082-a+ 71] Pali aṭṭhaṅguposatha; = observance of the sabbath main- taining the 8 [first of the 10] precepts, sīla, see CPD s.v.); probably this is meant by °ga-samanvāgataṃ vrataṃ Av i.170.13 and °ga-samanvāgata upavāsa 339.7 ff.; (2) either alone, as Bhvr., or aṣṭāṅgopeta, having 8 (unspecified good) qualities, substantially = excellent, fine, supreme, so Pali aṭṭhaṅga (-samannāgata, etc.), said of food, fields, men, a voice; in BHS I have recorded it only of water (! with never any indication of any specific 8 qualities): Mv ii.365.7 aṣṭāṅga-jala (mss., confirmed by quotation Śikṣ 299.13); 386.20 (verse) aṣṭāṅgupetāṃ (but probably read with v.l. °taṃ, and jala as separate word) jala (text cpds. with next) śobhamānāṃ…puṣkiriṇyo; Av ii.84.15 aṣṭāṅgopetaṃ pānīyaṃ; Śikṣ 350.8 aṣṭāṅgopetapānīya-; aṣṭāṅgopeta-, also of water, Kv 8.1; 60.11; Mmk 105.20; Gv 100.25 (misprinted °pata); 163.10; 193.20; 202.20; AsP 363.5; Sukh 93.16; aṣṭāṅga-vāriparipūrṇā Kv 12.20; aṣṭāṅga-saliladhārābhiḥ Mmk 444.3; aṣṭāṅga sad-vāri Gv 336.7 (verse); °ga-saṃmitam (mss. °mataṃ, read so ?) Mv iii.94.5 (verse), ep. of sopānīya(ṃ), q.v.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग).—n.

(-ṅgaṃ) 1. Eight parts of the body, the hands, breast, forehead, eyes, throat and middle of the back; or four first, with the kness and feet; or these six, with the words and mind. 2. Any whole consisting of eight parts or members. 3. The eight parts of a court, or the law, the judge, assessors, scribe and astrologer, gold, fire and water. 4. A die, dice. E. aṣṭa eight, and aṅga a limb.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara 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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