Darshana, aka: Darśana; 11 Definition(s)


Darshana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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 Darśana can be transliterated into English as Darsana or Darshana, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Vastushastra (architecture)

[Darshana in Vastushastra glossaries]

Darśana (दर्शन) refers to “auspicious sight”, to be granted by an image of Śiva to the devotee after performing the ritual of “opening of the eyes”, according to Mānasāra chapter 70.—Just as fire could be bath benign and malignant, it was thought that the gaze of the divine could also potentially have malignant effects if encountered before appeasement through worship. The subsequent rituals (during the “opening of the yes”, see Mānasāra chapter 70) aim at transference of Śiva and his propitiation in the image so that he is placated and his gaze turns entirely benevolent at the instance when the eyes are uncovered, thus granting darśana, “auspicious sight”, to the devotee.

When the enlivening of the image is complete with the deity “transferred” from the main waterpitcher to the image, the cloth is removed so that he offers darśana, “auspicious sight”, to the devotee. The light of divine manifestation shines forth through the eyes of the image, and is received into the heart of the devotee through his own eyes, dispelling the darkness therein, as when the sun rises and spreads its myriad rays around, dispelling the night.

Darśana marks the culmination of devotional worship in Śaivism. The singular intent of the sthapati in his making the temple and image is to realize this sacred program: to manifest the divine and thus facilitate darśana. In this, his whole approach is one of devotion, and from it proceed the perceptual, conceptual and meditative exercises of seeing.

(Source): McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra
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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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Darshana in Hinduism glossaries]

Darśana (दर्शन).—What does a devotee do in a Hindu temple? He/she comes to have darśana–to see and be seen by the Lord, to be in the presence of the Lord and partake of the Divine Energy.

(Source): ruthaavaree: Overview of Śaivāgamas in Temple Worship

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[Darshana in Mahayana glossaries]

Darśana-bhūmi (दर्शन):—One of the ten grounds shared by adepts of the three Vehicles (sādhāraṇabhūmi). [For the śrāvaka], this is the obtaining for the first time of a fruit of sainthood (āryaphala), namely, srotaāpanna. – For the bodhisattva, it is the bodhisattva ground of non-regressing (avaivartika). [It coincides with the shared ground no. 8, the Acalā).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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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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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Darshana in Jainism glossaries]

Darśana (दर्शन) refers to “to see beautiful things” and is one of the twenty-four activities (kriyā) of sāmparāyika (transmigression-extending influx). Sāmparāyika is one two types of āsrava (influx) which represents the flow of karma particles towards the soul, which is due to the three activities: manoyoga ( activities of mind), kāyayoga ( activities of body) and vacanayoga (activities of speech).

Kriyā (‘activities’, such as darśana) is a Sanskrit technical term defined in the Tattvārthasūtra (ancient authorative Jain scripture) from the 2nd century, which contains aphorisms dealing with philosophy and the nature of reality.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Darśana (दर्शन) or Darśanapratimā represents the first of eleven pratimā (stages) laid down for Jain laymen. Darśana-pratimā refers to “possessing the perfect, intelligent and well-reasoned faith in Jainism, that is, having a sound knowledge of its doctrines and their applications in life” according to J. L. Jaini in his “outlines of Jainism” (pp. 67-70).

These pratimās (eg., darśana) form a series of duties and performances, the standard and duration of which rises periodically and which finally culminates in an attitude resembling monkhood. Thus the pratimās rise by degrees and every stage includes all the virtues practised in those preceeding it. The conception of eleven pratimās appears to be the best way of exhibiting the rules of conduct prescribved for the Jaina laymen.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Darśana is a pramāṇa (instrument of knowledge), because it is not contradicted, the appearance (pratibhāsa) is both a pramāṇa and not a pramāṇa, because one perceives the form of both contradiction and non-contradiction. Or [in other words] the function/activity (vṛtti) of seeing/looking is darśana.

(Source): Google Books: Jaina Scriptures and Philosophy

Darśana (दर्शन, “look”).—What is the meaning of darśana? Literal meaning of darśana are to look / to be seen/ to visualize/ viewpoint and also philosophy. However when prefixed by the word right (samyak), it convey the meaning ‘faith’.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 1

Darśana (दर्शन) refers to one of the eleven pratimās (eleven stages for becoming excellent śrāvaka).—The fist stage is Darśana-pratimā. After the attainment of Samyagdarśana the aspirant who should be styled Dārśanika-śrāvaka resolutely forsakes the use of odious things such as meat, wine and the like, and becomes indifferent to worldly and heavenly pleasures, and nourishes the spirit of detachment. If we subtract the attainment of Samyagdarśana from this stage we shall get the eleven stages of moral advancement in contradistinction to the eleven stages of spiritual advancement owing to Samyagdarśana.

(Source): HereNow4U: Śrāvakācāra (Ethics of the Householder)
General definition book cover
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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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[Darshana in Marathi glossaries]

darśana (दर्शन).—n (S) Sight or seeing: also looking. 2 A dream or vision. 3 A common term for six religious or philosophical systems. 4 Visiting any idol or sacred shrine.

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

darśana (दर्शन).—n Sight; or seeing, looking. Visit- ing any idol or sacred shrine. A visit gen. A dream or vision.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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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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Relevant definitions

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