Ashvattha, aka: Aśvattha, Āśvattha; 14 Definition(s)
Ashvattha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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 terms Aśvattha and Āśvattha can be transliterated into English as Asvattha or Ashvattha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).
Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)
One of the Hands indicating Trees.—Aśvattha (pipal), the Alapadma hand, waving the fingersSource: archive.org: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).
Ayurveda (science of life)
Aśvattha (अश्वत्थ) is a Sanskrit word referring to Ficus religiosa (bodhi tree), in the Moraceae family. Certain plant parts of Aśvattha are eaten as a vegetable (śāka), according to Caraka in his Carakasaṃhitā sūtrasthāna (chapter 27), a classical Āyurvedic work. The plant is therefore part of the Śākavarga group of medicinal plants, referring to the “group of vegetables/pot-herbs”. Caraka defined such groups (vargas) based on the dietic value of the plant.Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany
Aśvattha (अश्वत्थ) is the name of a tree (Pīpala tree) that is associated with the Nakṣatra (celestial star) named Puṣya, 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, Aśvattha], 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
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.
Dharmashastra (religious law)
Aśvattha (अश्वत्थ) is a Sanskrit word, identified with Ficus religiosa (the holy fig tree) by various scholars in their translation of the Śukranīti. This tree is mentioned as bearing good fruits. The King should plant such domestic plants in and near villages. He should nourish them by stoole of goats, sheep and cows, water as well as meat.
The following is an ancient Indian recipe for such nourishment of trees:
According to Śukranīti 4.4.105-109: “The trees (such as aśvattha) are to be watered in the morning and evening in summer, every alternate day in winter, in the fifth part of the day (i.e., afternoon) in spring, never in the rainy season. If trees have their fruits destroyed, the pouring of cold water after being cooked together with Kulutha, Māṣa (seeds), Mudga (pulse), Yava (barley) and Tila (oil seed) would lead to the growth of flowers and fruits. Growth of trees can be helped by the application of water with which fishes are washed and cleansed.”Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra
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.
1a) Aśvattha (अश्वत्थ).—The sacred tree under which Kṛṣṇa is said to have sat in contemplation on the eve of his departure to Heaven.1 Growing out of Śami tree; by attrition Purūravas created fire and made it threefold for sacrificial purposes.2
- 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa III. 4. 3 & 8; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 11. 35 & 109; 13. 29; IV. 43. 17; Vāyu-purāṇa 35. 33; 91. 44.
- 2) Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 6. 85-94.
1b) The tīrtha sacred to Vandanīya.*
- * Matsya-purāṇa 13. 51.
1c) A follower of Māyā.*
- * Matsya-purāṇa 179. 69.
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.
Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)
Aśvattha (अश्वत्थ).—Another name for Pippala, which is the name of a plant, possibly identified with the peepal tree, or, Ficus religiosa. 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 (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.
Itihasa (narrative history)
Aśvattha (अश्वत्थ) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. XIII.4.27, XIII.4) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Aśvattha) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).
General definition (in Hinduism)
Aśvattha (अश्वत्थ)—Sanskrit word for the plant “pīpal fig tree” (Ficus religiosa).Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism
Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)
Aśvattha (अश्वत्थ) is the name of the tree (vṛkṣa) associated with Gahvara: the northern cremation ground (śmaśāna) according to the Saṃvarodayatantra 17.38 and the Śmaśānavidhi 6. The tree associated with the north is sometimes given as Bodhi. As a part of this sādhana, the practicioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the circle of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.
These trees (eg., Aśvattha ) that are associated with the cremation grounds are often equated with the eight bodhi-trees of the Buddhas (the current buddha plus the seven previous one). According to the Śmaśānavidhi each tree has a secondary tree (upavṛkṣa) that is depicted as lovely and covered in vaṅga flowers and fruit. In each tree lives a naked rākṣasa who is wrathful in form, who eats human flesh and who has the animal face or the mount of the dikpati in his cremation ground.Source: Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini
Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.
General definition (in Jainism)
Aśvattha (अश्वत्थ) is the name of the caitya-tree under which the parents of Ananta are often depicted in Jaina iconography, according to both the Śvetāmbara and Digambara tradition. The term caitya refers to “sacred shrine”, an important place of pelgrimage and meditation in Jainism. Sculptures with such caitya-trees generally shows a male and a female couple seated under a tree with the female having a child on her lap. Usually there is a seated Jina figure on top of the tree.
Ananta is the fourteenth of twenty-four tīrthaṅkaras: enlightened beings who, having conquered saṃsāra (cycle of birth and death), leave a path behind for others to follow. His father is Siṃhasena and his mother is Suyaśā according to Śvetāmbara or Sarvayaśā according to Digambara, according to the Ācāradinakara (14th century work on Jain conduct written by Vardhamāna Sūri).Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism
Aśvattha (अश्वत्थ) refers to a kind of tree (vṛkṣa) commonly found in the forests (vaṇa) of ancient India, mentioned in the Jñātādharmakathāṅga-sūtra. Forests have been a significant part of the Indian economy since ancient days. They have been considered essential for economic development in as much as, besides bestowing many geographical advantages, they provide basic materials for building, furniture and various industries. The most important forest products are wood and timber which have been used by the mankind to fulfil his various needs—domestic, agricultural and industrial.
Different kinds of trees (eg., the Aśvattha tree) provided firewood and timber. The latter was used for furniture, building materials, enclosures, staircases, pillars, agricultural purposes, e. g. for making ploughs, transportation e. g. for making carts, chariots, boats, ships, and for various industrial needs. Vaṇa-kamma was an occupation dealing in wood and in various otherforest products. Iṅgāla-kamma was another occupation which was concerned with preparing charcoal from firewood.Source: archive.org: Economic Life In Ancient India (as depicted in Jain canonical literature)
1) Aśvattha (अश्वत्थ) or pippala refers to a “Ficus religiosa Linn.”: one of the five udumbara fruits considered forbidden to eat for Jain laymen, as listed under the khādima category of forbidden food (āhāra), according to Amitagati in his 11th century Śrāvakācāra (v6.96-97). The udumbaras, perhaps because they live long and have nutritive fruits, perhaps because of their milky latex, have been identified with the source of all fertility, and possibly owing to the ceaseless rustling of their leaves have been regarded as homes of the spirits of the dead.
2) Aśvattha (अश्वत्थ) refers to the caityavṛkṣa (sacred-tree) associated with the Asura or Asurakumāra class of the bhavanavāsin species of Devas (gods), according to Jain cosmology. They are defined according to the cosmological texts, such as the Saṃgrahaṇīratna in the Śvetāmbara tradition, or the Trilokasāra in the Digambara tradition.Source: archive.org: Jaina Yoga
Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.
India history and geogprahy
Ashvattha is the name of a tree mentioned in the Kathasaritsagara by Somadeva (10th century A.D).—Fig-trees are always mentioned in the forests on the Vindhya mountain.
Somadeva mentions many rich forests, gardens, various trees (eg., Ashvattha), creepers medicinal and flowering plants and fruit-bearing trees in the Kathasaritsagara. Travel through the thick, high, impregnable and extensive Vindhya forest is a typical feature of many travel-stories. 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 Ashvattha, 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
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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Search found 53 books and stories containing Ashvattha, Aśvattha or Āśvattha. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
The Gautami Mahatmya (by G. P. Bhatt)
Rasa Jala Nidhi, vol 3: Metals, Gems and other substances (by Bhudeb Mookerjee)
Part 3 - Incineration of White Diamonds < [Chapter XIII - Gems (1): Vajra or Hiraka (diamond)]
Part 9 - Tuber Poison (9): Kala-kuta < [Chapter XXX - Visha (poisons)]
Part 21 - Treatment of poison < [Chapter XXX - Visha (poisons)]
Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī)
Verse 1.2.110 < [Part 2 - Devotional Service in Practice (sādhana-bhakti)]
Verse 3.3.63 < [Part 3 - Fraternal Devotion (sakhya-rasa)]
Verse 1.2.76 < [Part 2 - Devotional Service in Practice (sādhana-bhakti)]
Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi (by Ganganatha Jha)
Verse 2.45 < [Section XIII - Initiation (upanayana)]
Verse 6.53 < [Section VI - Procedure of going forth as a Wandering Mendicant]
Verse 8.246 < [Section XL - Disputes regarding Boundaries]
Brihad Bhagavatamrita (by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī)