Ashtavakra, aka: Aṣṭāvakra, Ashtan-vakra; 12 Definition(s)

Introduction

Ashtavakra means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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.

The Sanskrit term Aṣṭāvakra can be transliterated into English as Astavakra or Ashtavakra, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Purana

[Ashtavakra in Purana glossaries]

Aṣṭāvakra (अष्टावक्र).—Birth. The sage Uddālaka had a disciple named Khagodara (Kahodara) and a daughter named Sujāṭā. Appreciating the devotion and good conduct of his disciple, Uddālaka gave his daughter Sujātā in marriage to him. Sujātā became pregnant. When once Khagodara was reciting from the Vedas the babe in the womb of Sujātā said, "I have learnt the mantra you are chanting but the way you chant it is wrong". (The vibrations of sound created by the utterance of each word is important). Khagodara was angry and he cursed his babe in the womb thus "Since your mind seems to be crooked let your body also be of that type, with curves all over". When Sujātā delivered the child it had eight bends and light curves and so the boy was named Aṣṭāvakra, meaning one with eight bends. (Chapter 132, Vana Parva, Mahābhārata). (See full article at Story of Aṣṭāvakra from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Aṣṭāvakra (अष्टावक्र).—A sage crooked in eight parts of the body; was performing penances with his body below the neck under waters. The nymphs who went to Merupṛṣṭa to see a festival beheld him and hymned him; pleased he asked them their wish. “Puruṣottama for husband” they said. He agreed and when he came out of waters, seeing his form they laughed at him. Insulted, he imprecated that they would be the wives first of Puruṣottama and then fall into the hands of robbers. They prayed fervently and he said that they would attain heaven afterwards.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 38. 71-84.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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.

Discover the meaning of ashtavakra or astavakra in the context of Purana from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Hinduism)

[Ashtavakra in Hinduism glossaries]

Aṣṭāvakra. As the name itself indicates, he was bent in eight places. The story goes that this youth was insulted and laughed at. But it did not disturb Aṣṭāvakra in the least, as he was never identified himself with the body.

(Source): Google Books: A Silent Journey - In Search of Oneself

Ashtavakra was the son of a Brahmana named Kahoda and Sujata, the daughter of the sage Uddalaka. His father Kahoda had been a disciple of Uddalaka, and after completing his studies, had been assisting his father-in-law with teaching.

While still in the womb, the child had obtained mastery over the Vedas, thanks to the fact that his mother was in the habit of sitting near the place where her father and her husband used to teach. Unfortunately, Kahoda lacked the skill of Uddalaka and was in the habit of making numerous mistakes in recitation. Unable to bear them, the child started correcting them, even from the womb! Insulted before his disciples, Kahoda cursed the unborn child to be born with eight deformities.

(Source): Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

1) Ashtavakra (अष्टावक्रः) is a sage mentioned in Hindu scriptures. He is described as one born with eight different deformities of the body (two feet, two knees, two hands, the chest and the head). In Sanskrit, Aṣṭāvakra means "one having eight bends". Ashta (Aṣṭa) means eight, while Vakra means bend or deformity. Aṣṭāvakra is the author of the work Aṣṭāvakra Gītā, also known as Aṣṭāvakra Saṃhitā, a treatise on the instruction by Aṣṭāvakra to Janaka about the Self. Aṣṭāvakra is the Guru of the king Janaka and the sage Yājñavalkya.

In the Vana Parva of the Mahābhārata, the legend of Aṣṭāvakra is described in greater detail. On losing the game of dice with the Kauravas, the five Pāṇḍava princes and Draupadi are exiled for twelve years. On their pilgrimage, they meet the sage Lomaśa, who shows the river Samanga to Yudhiṣṭhira. Lomaśa says that this is the same river, on bathing in which the deformed Aṣṭāvakra was cured of his eight deformities. On being asked by Yudhishthira, Lomaśa narrates to the Pāṇḍava princes the legend of Aṣṭāvakra, over three chapters of Vana Parva of the Mahābhārata.[3][4] Aṣṭāvakra's wisdom on various aspects of human existence is recited in the Mahābhārata.

Later Aṣṭāvakra grew into a spiritually advanced rishi and self-realised atman. He went again to Mithila and instructed King Janaka about the Self. These teachings form the content of the Aṣṭāvakra Gītā or Aṣṭāvakra Saṃhitā as it is sometimes called.

2) Aṣṭāvakra (Hindi: अष्टावक्र) (2010) is a Hindi epic poem (Mahakavya) composed by Jagadguru Rambhadracharya (1950–) in the year 2009. It consists of 864 verses in 8 cantos (sargas) of 108 verses each. The poem presents the narrative of the Ṛṣi Aṣṭāvakra which is found in the Hindu scriptures of the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

One of the great sages Aṣṭāvakra, was the son of the sage Kahola. While yet in the womb, the baby-sage is said to have laughed at the wrong intonation of the Vedas by his father. His angry father cursed him to be born with a body crooked in eight places. Hence he was named as ‘Aṣṭāvakra.’ He was the author of the Astā-vakragītā.

The work Astāvakragitā, also known as Astāvakra Samhitā, contains 298 verses in the simple anuṣṭubh meter, spread over 20 chapters. Most of the chapters are very small. The 18th chapter alone, however, contains 100 verses. The book, which often gives the description of the ātman in hyperbolic terms stresses that it can be realized here and now. Disciplines like renouncing the desires for the pleasures of life, cultivating virtues like forgiveness, kindness and truth are advocated in this Samhitā. There is a beautiful description of the man of knowledge in the 17th chapter. Supreme detachment is a special characteristic of his. But it is difficult to recognize him since he often lives like an ordinary person. Only another man of knowledge can recognize him.

(Source): Hindupedia: The Hindu Encyclopedia

Aṣṭāvakra is the author of the work Aṣṭāvakra Gītā, also known as Aṣṭāvakra Saṃhitā, a treatise on the instruction by Aṣṭāvakra to Janaka about the Self. Aṣṭāvakra is the Guru of the king Janaka and the sage Yājñavalkya.

(Source): Ancient India: Hinduism

Astavakra in Samskrta means-asta i.e. eight and vakra is crooked or curbed- with eight crooked(limbs). He was cursed by his father while still in his mother's womb. As a result of the curse, he developed eight deformities like hunch-backed, hump, knock-knees, bow-legs, flat-footed etc., and was therefore named Astavakra.

(Source): Exotic India: Astavakra (Ashtavakra) Gita

Aṣṭāvakra (अष्टावक्र).—The founder of Māyāvāda philosophy, which declares that the spiritual effulgence (Brahman) is the cause of all causes.

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[Ashtavakra in Marathi glossaries]

aṣṭāvakra (अष्टावक्र) [or अष्टवक्र, aṣṭavakra].—c (Proper name of a saint. He was crooked or deformed in eight places. Hence,) A term for any person or article of great deformity or remarkable unshapeliness.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

aṣṭavakra (अष्टवक्र).—n Very crooked or deformed.

(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

[Ashtavakra in Sanskrit glossaries]

Aṣṭāvakra (अष्टावक्र).—[aṣṭakṛtvaḥ aṣṭasu bhāgeṣu vā vakraḥ] Name of a celebrated Brāhmaṇa son of the great sage Kahoḍa. [Kahoḍa married a daughter of his preceptor Uddālaka, but he was so devoted to study that he generally neglected her. When once she was far advanced in pregnancy, the unborn son was provoked at his father's neglect of her and rebuked him for his absorption in study to the neglect even of his wife. The sage was very angry at this impertinence and condemned him to be born crooked; so he came forth with his eight (aṣṭa) limbs crooked (vakra); whence his name; यस्मात्कुक्षौ वर्तमानो ब्रवीषि तस्माद्वको भवितास्यष्टकृत्वः (yasmātkukṣau vartamāno bravīṣi tasmādvako bhavitāsyaṣṭakṛtvaḥ) Mb. when Kahoḍa was drowned into a river as the result of a wager in a dispute with a Buddhist, young Aṣṭavakra defeated the sage and delivered his father, who, being pleased, directed his son to bathe into the Samaṅgā river, on doing which the lad became perfectly straight, See Mb. Adhyāyas 132-34 of the Vanaparvan.]

Derivable forms: aṣṭāvakraḥ (अष्टावक्रः).

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Aṣṭavakra (अष्टवक्र).—(ṣṭā) See below.

Derivable forms: aṣṭavakraḥ (अष्टवक्रः).

Aṣṭavakra is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms aṣṭan and vakra (वक्र).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

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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