Ashtanga, Aṣṭāṅga, Ashtan-anga: 19 definitions


Ashtanga means something in Buddhism, Pali, 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)

[«previous next»] — Ashtanga in Yoga glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Yoga

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
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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Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: Google Books: Essentials of Ayurveda

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: Cultural Leaders of India - Scientists (Ayurveda)

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग) became a pupil of sage Bhāradvāja who taught him Āyurveda and Bheṣakriyā. Later, Dhanvantari is stated to have divided the entire range of Āyurveda into eight divisions (the Aṣṭāṅgas), each division representing a speciality.

These specialities are:

  1. Kāyacikitsā (internal medicine),
  2. Kaumārabhṛtya or Bālacikitsā (paediatrics),
  3. Bhūtavidyā or Grahacikitsā (psychiatry),
  4. Śālākyatantra (otto-rhino-laryngology and opthalmology),
  5. Śalyatantra (surgery—major and minor),
  6. Viṣatantra (toxicology),
  7. Rasāyanatantra (geriatrics),
  8. Vājīkaraṇatantra (therapy for male sterility)
Ayurveda book cover
context information

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)

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

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.

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)

[«previous next»] — Ashtanga in Purana glossary
Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

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: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

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

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 215. 34.
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)

Source: Wisdom Library: Rasa-śāstra

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग) or Aṣṭāṅgarasa is the name of an Ayurvedic recipe defined in the fourth volume of the Rasajalanidhi (chapter 5, arśas: piles). These remedies are classified as Iatrochemistry and form part of the ancient Indian science known as Rasaśāstra (medical alchemy). However, since it is an ayurveda treatment it should be taken with caution and in accordance with rules laid down in the texts.

Accordingly, when using such recipes (e.g., aṣṭāṅga-rasa): “the minerals (uparasa), poisons (viṣa), and other drugs (except herbs), referred to as ingredients of medicines, are to be duly purified and incinerated, as the case may be, in accordance with the processes laid out in the texts.” (see introduction to Iatro chemical medicines)

Rasashastra book cover
context information

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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Vedanta (school of philosophy)

Source: Shodhganga: Siva Gita A Critical Study

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग) or Aṣṭāṅgagītā refers to one of the sixty-four Gītās commonly referred to in Hindu scriptures.—Gītā is the name given to certain sacred writings in verse (often in the form of a dialogue) which are devoted to the exposition of particular religious and theosophical doctrines. Most of these Gītās [i.e., Aṣṭāṅga-gītā] originate from the Mahābhārata or the various Purāṇas.

Vedanta book cover
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Vedanta (वेदान्त, vedānta) refers to a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. There are a number of sub-schools of Vedanta, however all of them expound on the basic teaching of the ultimate reality (brahman) and liberation (moksha) of the individual soul (atman).

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: De Gruyter: A Buddhist Ritual Manual on Agriculture

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग) refers to a type of “fasting” [?], according to the 2nd-century Meghasūtra (“Cloud Sutra”) in those passages which contain ritual instructions.—Accordingly, “He who desires a mighty rain must perform this rite ‘the great-cloud-circle’ in an open space, overspread by a blue canopy, shaded by a blue banner, on a clear spot of earth; [being] a prophet of the Law, seated on a blue seat, fasting according to the aṣṭāṅga, with well-washed limbs, clad in pure raiment, anointed with fragrant odour, wearing the three white stripes, he must recite it for a day and night continuously facing the east; [...]”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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India history and geography

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

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.

India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, 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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

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: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग).—(Pali aṭṭhaṅga), (1) having 8 members or parts; so often of the 8-fold way, e.g. Mahāvastu iii.332.10 āryā- ṣṭāṅgo mārgo; Gaṇḍavyūha 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 Critical Pali Dictionary s.v.); probably this is meant by °ga-samanvāgataṃ vrataṃ Avadāna-śataka i.170.13 and °ga-samanvāgata upavāsa 339.7 ff.; (2) either alone, as [bahuvrīhi], or aṣṭāṅgopeta, having 8 (unspecified good) qualities, substantially = excellent, fine, supreme, so Pali aṭṭhaṅga (-samannāgata, etc.), said of food, fields, men, a voice; in [Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit] I have recorded it only of water (! with never any indication of any specific 8 qualities): Mahāvastu ii.365.7 aṣṭāṅga-jala (mss., confirmed by quotation Śikṣāsamuccaya 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; Avadāna-śataka ii.84.15 aṣṭāṅgopetaṃ pānīyaṃ; Śikṣāsamuccaya 350.8 aṣṭāṅgopetapānīya-; aṣṭāṅgopeta-, also of water, Kāraṇḍavvūha 8.1; 60.11; (Ārya-)Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa 105.20; Gaṇḍavyūha 100.25 (misprinted °pata); 163.10; 193.20; 202.20; Aṣṭasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā 363.5; Sukhāvatīvyūha 93.16; aṣṭāṅga-vāriparipūrṇā Kāraṇḍavvūha 12.20; aṣṭāṅga-saliladhārābhiḥ (Ārya-)Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa 444.3; aṣṭāṅga sad-vāri Gaṇḍavyūha 336.7 (verse); °ga-saṃmitam (mss. °mataṃ, read so ?) Mahāvastu iii.94.5 (verse), epithet of sopānīya(ṃ), q.v.

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

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग).—adj. consisting of eight parts.

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

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

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग).—eight parts of the body (°—); adj. consisting of eight parts or members.

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

1) Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग):—[=aṣ-ṭāṅga] [from aṣṭā > aṣṭan] a and °ṭā-daśa, See below

2) [from aṣṭa > aṣṭan] b mf(ā)n. consisting of eight parts or members (as medical science [Mahābhārata ii, 224 and 442] or a kingdom [Mahābhārata xv, 177] etc.)

3) [v.s. ...] (in [compound]) the eight parts (as of an army [Mahābhārata ii, 197]; or of a court, viz. the law, the judge, assessors, scribe, and astrologer, gold, fire, and water, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.])

4) [v.s. ...] all the perfections, [Divyāvadāna]

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

Aṣṭāṅga (अष्टाङ्ग) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Aṭṭhaṃga.

[Sanskrit to German]

Ashtanga 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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