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Danda, aka: Daṇḍa, Daṇḍā; 17 Definition(s)


Danda means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. 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.

In Hinduism

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Daṇḍa (दण्ड, ‘rod’) is a weapon (āyudha or bādhra) according to the Vāstusūtra Upaniṣad.

Source: Google Books: The Theory of Citrasutras in Indian PaintingŚilpaśāstra book cover
context information

Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

1) Daṇḍa (दण्ड) refers to the “measuring rod (yard-stick)” a type of physical instrument used during architectural measurement. It is used throughout Vāstuśāstra literature such as the Mānasāra, which is a 5th-century Sanskrit treatise on architectural practice.

2) Daṇḍa (दण्ड, “rod”) is the Sanskrit name for a unit of measurement, used in Vāstuśāstra literature, according to the Mānasāra II.40-53. A single Daṇḍa unit corresponds to 4 Dhanurmuṣṭi units. It takes 8 Daṇḍa units to make a single Rajju unit.

Below follows a table of the different units of measurement in relation to one another:

  • 8 Paramāṇu = 1 Rathadhūli, chariot-dust
  • 8 Rathadhūli = 1 Vālāgra, hair-end
  • 8 Vālāgra = 1 Likṣā, nit,
  • 8 Likṣā = 1 Yūka, louse
  • 8 Yūka = 1 Yava, barley-corn,
  • 8 Yava = 1 Aṅgula, digit (finger-breadth),
  • 12 Aṅgula = 1 Vitasti, span,
  • 2 Vitasti (24 aṅgulas) = 1 Kiṣku, cubit,
  • 4 Dhanurmuṣṭi (26 aṅgulas) = 1 Daṇḍa, rod,
  • 8 Daṇḍa = 1 Rajju, rope

The smallest unit, which is paramāṇu, atom is stated ta be perceived (only) by the sages. For all practical purposes, aṅgula is the smallest unit of measurement. For this reason, it is seen to be treated in a special way in the text with regards to its universality that significantly downplays its semantic reference to the body.

3) Daṇḍa (दण्ड) refers to “monolithic shaft”. It is sculptured as a part of the pillar (stambha).

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

Daṇḍa (दण्ड, “shaft”).—Part of the pillar (stambha);—The shaft is the member of the pillar between the pedestal and capital or bracket in the absence of the capital. It may be decorated variedly from bottom to top. Depending upon the nature of its carving, the shaft is divided into two parts. They are, 1) The base, 2) The Shaft.

Source: Shodhganga: Temples of Salem region Up to 1336 ADVāstuśāstra book cover
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Vāstuśāstra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vastu-shastra) refers to the knowledge of architecture. It is a branch of ancient Indian science dealing with topics such architecture, construction, sculpture and their relation with the cosmic universe.

Dharmaśāstra (religious law)

Daṇḍa (दण्ड) refers to “administration (of justice)”, but can also refer to “punishment”. It is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti and the Baudhāyana-dharmasūtra.

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra

Daṇḍa (दण्ड):—The technical term for this is Daṇḍa i.e. rod which is viewed as having divine origin. It aims at the help of king. It is stated that for the achievement of king’s end, the lord created, out of his essence an d then has given its idea. It is conceived as the son of the creator. The punishing rod of sovereignty provides protection of all creatures. Generally a guiltless man is hard to find in the world. It is also very rare to find a man who is moral for the sake of morality. The character of man possesses the quality of evil, human and divine. So, among these the quality of evil is always destroyed by the fear of punishment. So Daṇḍa controls the whole world. Punishment itself is the king in the true sense. It is considered as very powerful. Hence it is eulogized as the real man, the ruler and the manager of all affairs.

The king holds Daṇḍa and become powerful. He must inflict proper punishment on an offender in due consideration of the time, place, knowledge and specific nature of his offence. Out of the fear of this Daṇḍa, all the created beings including both movable and i mmovable are able for their respective enjoyments. Moreover subjects do not deviate from their specific duties of life out of fear.

Source: Shodhganga: Facts of society in the Manusamhita

According to Manu, the Danda which was above the king (raja/ rajan) would surely destroy the autocratic and oppressive king (VII, p. 27). The king was to follow the rules of Danda Niti. He could not thus be above Law.

Source: Triveni: Journal (dharmashastra)
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Dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharma-shastra) is a category of Hindu literature containing important instructions regarding religious law, ethics, economics, jurisprudence and more. It is categorised as smṛti, an important and authorative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.


1a) Daṇḍa (दण्ड).—One of the elder sons of Ikṣvāku.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 6. 4. Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 63. 9; Vāyu-purāṇa 88. 9; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 2. 12.

1b) (see also daṇḍanīti): the rod of punishment, unknown in Śākadvīpa;1 in Puṣkaradvīpa;2 the duty of a Kṣatriya;3 one of the upāyas of a king; to be used if the first three fail; illegal punishments lead the king to hell; to be used according to time and the considered advice of men learned in ancient lore.4

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 19. 106; Vāyu-purāṇa 49. 103.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 19. 120.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 7. 161 and 168; III. 28. 56.
  • 4) Matsya-purāṇa 122. 44; 148. 66 and 76; 222. 2; 225. 1-18. 227. 217.

1c) A Bhairava in Lalitā's army.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 17. 4.

1d) A son of Āpa.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 5. 22.

1e) A son of Kuvalāśva.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 12. 32.

1f) A son of Kriyā.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 10. 35.

2) Daṇḍā (दण्डा).—A R. of the Ketumāla country.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 44. 22.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana IndexPurāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Daṇḍā (दण्डा) refers to a one of the thirty-two cārīs, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 11. The Daṇḍā-cārī is classified as a ākāśikī, or “aerial”, of which there are sixteen in total. The term cārī  refers to a “dance-step” and refers to the simultaneous movement of the feet (pāda), shanks (jaṅghā) and the hip (ūru). From these cārīs proceed dance as well as movements in general.

2) Daṇḍa (दण्ड, “chastisement”) refers to one of the twenty-one sandhyantara, or “distinct characteristics of segments (sandhi)” according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 21. The segments are divisions of the plot (itivṛtta or vastu) of a dramatic play (nāṭaka) and consist of sixty-four limbs, known collectively as the sandhyaṅga.

3) Daṇḍa (दण्ड) refers to the “rod”,  a weapon which should measure should measure twenty aṅguli (unit of measurement), according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 23. In dramatic plays, weapons such as daṇḍa should be made by experts using proper measurements and given to persons engaged in a fight, angry conflict or siege. It forms a component of āhāryābhinaya (extraneous representation).

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstraNāṭyaśāstra book cover
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Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (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 (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).

Dhanurveda (science of warfare)

Daṇḍa (दण्ड) refers to a weapon (“stick”, “staff”). It is a Sanskrit word defined in the Dhanurveda-saṃhitā, which contains a list of no less than 117 weapons. The Dhanurveda-saṃhitā is said to have been composed by the sage Vasiṣṭha, who in turn transmitted it trough a tradition of sages, which can eventually be traced to Śiva and Brahmā.

Source: Wisdom Library: DhanurvedaDhanurveda book cover
context information

Dhanurveda (धनुर्वेद) refers to the “knowledge of warfare” and, as an upaveda, is associated with the Ṛgveda. It contains instructions on warfare, archery and ancient Indian martial arts, dating back to the 2nd-3rd millennium BCE.

Āyurveda (science of life)

Daṇḍa (दण्ड) refers to a type fish, also known as daṇḍamatsya, according to the Dhanvantari-nighaṇṭu. In the science of Āyurveda (ancient Indian healthcare), the meat of a fish (matsya) is used and prepared in balanced diets. The flesh of the daṇḍa fish is bitter in taste. It reduces the mucus and acidity, while it increases gases and strengthness.The Dhanvantarinighaṇṭu is a 10th-century medicinal thesaurus (nighaṇṭu) containing characteristics and synonyms of various herbal plants and minerals.

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany
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.

General definition (in Hinduism)

1) Daṇḍa (दण्ड)—Sanskrit term corresponding to the english “stick”.

2) Daṇḍa (दण्ड, “punishment”):—One of the epiteths of Yama, the vedic God of death, who is the embodiment of Dharma. Yama rules over the kingdom of the dead and binds humankind according to the fruits of their karma. Daṇḍa also means “staff” which is one of the objects that Yama is displayed carrying.

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Daṇḍa (दण्ड, ‘staff’).—(a) This word is often mentioned in the ordinary sense; for example, when used for driving cattle (go-ajanāsaḥ), or as a weapon. A staff was given to a man on consecration for driving away demons, according to the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa. The staff also played a part in the initiation (upanayana) of a youth on attaining manhood. In a modified sense the word is used to denote the handle of a ladle or similar implement.

(b) The ‘staff’ as the symbol of temporal power, implying punishment, is applied by the king (rāja-preṣito daṇḍaḥ). The king, in modern phraseology, was the source of criminal law; and he clearly retained this branch of law in his own hands even in later times. The punishment of the non-guilty (a-daṇḍya) is given as one of the characteristics of the non-Brahminical Vrātyas in the Pañcaviṃśa-brāhmaṇa. See also Dharma.

Source: archive.org: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

Daṇḍa (दण्ड, “open attack”) is of three types—

  1. forcibly taking away the enemy’s wealth,
  2. torture
  3. and physical affliction,

These are the types of daṇḍa that are well known. (see the Nītiprakāśikā 8.79)

Source: Exotic India: Nitiprakasika of Vaisampayana (A Critical Edition)

Daṇḍa (दण्ड).—A staff carried by those in the renounced order of life, sannyāsīs.

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Buddhism


daṇḍa : (m.) 1. a stem, stick, cudgel, walking stick, timber (in general), 2. a fine, punishment.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Daṇḍa, (Vedic daṇḍa, dial.=*dal(d)ra; (on ṇ: l cp. guṇa: guḷa etc.) to *del as in Sk. dala, dalati. Cp. Lat. dolare to cut, split, work in wood; delere to destroy; Gr. Qai/dalon work of art; Mhg. zelge twig; zol a stick. Possibly also fr. *dan(d)ra (r=l freq., ṇ: l as tulā: tūṇa; veṇu: veḷu, etc. cp. aṇḍa, caṇḍa), then it would equal Gr. dέndron tree, wood, & be connected with Sk. dāru) 1. stem of a tree, wood, wood worked into something, e.g. a handle, etc. J.II, 102; 405 (v. l. dabba); Vism.313; PvA.220 (nimbarukkhassa daṇḍena (v. l. dabbena) katasūla). tidaṇḍa a tripod.—2. a stick, staff, rod, to lean on, & as support in walking; the walking-stick of a Wanderer Vin.II, 132 (na sakkoti vinā daṇḍena āhiṇḍituṃ), 196; S.I, 176; A.I, 138, 206; Sn.688 (suvaṇṇa°); J.III, 395; V, 47 (loha°); Sdhp.399 (eka°, °dvaya, ti°). daṇḍaṃ olubbha leaning on the st. M.I, 108; A.III, 298; Th.2, 27.—3. a stick as means of punishment. a blow, a thrashing: daṇḍehi aññamaññaṃ upakkamanti “they go for each other with sticks” M.I, 86=Nd2 199; °ṃ dadāti to give a thrashing J.IV, 382; V, 442; daṇḍena pahāraṃ dadāti to hit with a stick S.IV, 62; brahma° a certain kind of punishment D.II, 154, cp. Vin.II, 290 & Kern, Manual p. 87; pañca satāni daṇḍo a fine of 500 pieces Vin.I, 247; paṇīta° receiving ample p. Pv IV.166; purisa-vadha° J.II, 417; rāja-daṇḍaṃ karoti (c. Loc.) to execute the royal beating PvA.216. See also Dh.129, 131, 310, 405 — 4. a stick as a weapon in general, only in cert. phrases & usually in combn w. sattha, sword. daṇḍaṃ ādiyati to take up the stick, to use violence: attadaṇḍa (atta=ā-dā) violent Sn.935; attadaṇḍesu nibbuta Dh.406=Sn.630; a.+kodhâbhibhūta S.IV, 117: ādinna-daṇḍa ādinnasattha Vin.I, 349; opp. daṇḍaṃ nidahati to lay down the stick, to be peaceful: sabbesu bhūtesu nidhāya daṇḍaṃ Sn.35, 394, 629; nihita-d. nihita-sattha using neither stick nor sword, of the Dhamma D.I, 4, 63; M.I, 287; A.I, 211; II, 208; IV, 249; V, 204. daṇḍaṃ nikkhipati id. A.I, 206. d.-sattha parāmasana Nd2 576. daṇḍa-sattha-abbhukkirana & daṇḍa-sattha-abhinipātana Nd2 5764. Cp. paṭidaṇḍa retribution Dh.133. ‹-› 5. (fig.) a means of frightening, frightfulness, violence, teasing. In this meaning used as nt. as M.I, 372; tīṇi daṇḍāni pāpassa kammassa kiriyāya: kāyadaṇḍaṃ vacī°, mano°; in the same sense as m. at Nd2 293 (as expld to Sn.35).—6. a fine, a penalty, penance in general: daṇḍena nikkiṇāti to redeem w. a penalty J.VI, 576 (dhanaṃ datvā Com.); daṇḍaṃ dhāreti to inflict a fine Miln.171, 193; daṇḍaṃ paṇeti id. Dh.310 (cp. DhA.III, 482); DhA.II, 71; aṭṭha-kahāpaṇo daṇḍo a fine of 8 k. VvA.76.—adaṇḍa without a stick, i.e. without force or violence, usually in phrase adaṇḍena asatthena (see above 4): Vin.II, 196 (ad. as. nāgo danto mahesinā; thus of a Cakkavattin who rules the world peacefully: paṭhaviṃ ad. as. dhammena abhivijiya ajjhāvasati D.I, 89=A.IV, 89, 105, or dhammena-manusāsati Sn.1002=S.I, 236.

—âbhighata slaying w. cudgels PvA.58; —âraha (adj.) deserving punishment J.V, 442; VvA.23; —ādāna taking up a stick (weapon) (cp. above 4), combd with satth’ādāna M.I, 110, 113, 410; D.III, 92, 93, 289; A.IV, 400; Vism.326. —kaṭhina k. cloth stretched on a stick (for the purpose of measuring) Vin.II, 116; —kathālikā a large kettle with a handle Vin.I, 286; —kamma punishment by beating, penalty, penance, atonement J.III, 276, 527; V, 89; Miln.8; °ṃ karoti to punish, to inflict a fine Vin.I, 75, 76, 84; II, 262; —koṭi the tip of a branch or stick DhA.I, 60; —dīpikā a torch J.VI, 398; Vism.39; DhA.I, 220, 399; —ppatta liable to punishment Miln.46; —paduma N. of a plant (cp. Sk. daṇḍotphala=sahadevā, Halāyudha) J.I, 51; —parāyana supported by or leaning on a stick (of old people) M.I, 88; A.I, 138; Miln.282; —parissāvana a strainer with a handle Vin.II, 119; —pahāra a blow with a stick D.I, 144; —pāṇin carrying a staff, “staff in hand” M.I, 108; —bali (-ādi) fines & taxes, etc. DhA.I, 251; —bhaya fear of punishment A.II, 121 sq.=Nd2 470=Miln.196; —(m)antara among the sticks D.I, 166=A.I, 295=II.206=M.I, 77, 238, 307, 342= Pug.55; see note at Dial. I.228; —yuddha a club-fight D.I, 6; J.III, 541; —lakkhaṇa fortune-telling from sticks D.I, 9; —vākarā a net on a stick, as a snare, M.I, 153; —veḷupesikā a bamboo stick J.IV, 382; —sikkā a rope slung round the walking-staff Vin.II, 131; —hattha with a stick in his hand J.I, 59. (Page 312)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English DictionaryPali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Daṇḍa (दण्ड, “staff”).—One of the fourteen gems (ratna) serving the Cakravartin;—The daṇḍa is a splendid staff with which the earth can be bored into its depths, but which also alliviates the pain and misery by its touch.

Source: Google Books: Jainism: An Indian Religion of Salvation

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