Darshana, aka: Darśana; 15 Definition(s)


Darshana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, 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)

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 glossary... « previous · [D] · next »

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

Darśana (दर्शन).—Philosophy is known as darśana or “vision of truth” in India. The word darśana is derived from the root √dṛś which means ‘vision’ and also the ‘instrument of vision’. It stands for the direct immediate and intuitive vision of truth. That from which we find real knowledge is known as darśana. The philosophical purpose in India is to observe the nature of the reality as a whole.

The origin of Indian Philosophy (darśana) is found in the Vedas. Among the Vedas mainly the Ṛgveda is the fountain head of it. We find that, from the earliest time of the Ṛgveda, Indian seers became involved in philosophical speculations and the result of their attempts are found embodied in the Puruṣasūkta, the Devīsūkta, the Nāsadīyasūkta etc. “The Puruṣasūkta and Devīsūkta contain the germ of Monistic Idealism while the Śūktas ascribed to Dirghatamas contain the germ of Dualistic Realism”.

Thus, six well-known systems of Indian philosophy [flourished], namely—

  1. Sāṃkhya,
  2. Yoga,
  3. Nyāya,
  4. Vaiśeṣika,
  5. Mīmāṃsā,
  6. Vedānta.

The root of some systems is Monistic Idealism others is Dualistic Realism. All these six systems are known as the āstika or the orthodox systems as they accept the authority of the Vedas. Some other systems of Indian Philosophy (darśana) do not accept the Vedic authority. These systems are called nāstika or heterodox systems, viz. the Bauddha, the Jaina and the Cārvāka.

Source: Shodhganga: A study of Nyāya-vaiśeṣika categories (h)

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

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Darśana (दर्शन) or Darśanabhūmi refers to “ground of seeing or of Srotaāpanna” and represents one of the ten grounds (bhūmi) shared by adepts of the three vehicles according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter 52.—Darśana-bhūmi (mthoṅ baḥi sa, kien or kiu kien) is 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
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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)

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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)
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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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India history and geogprahy

Darśana.—(IE 8-5; EI 32, 33), a levy; same as Persian nazrāna. Cf. Tamil tariśana-kāṇikkai (SITI), presents offered to a king or a chief when one meets him. (CII 1), used in the sense of pradarśana, ‘showing’. (IE 7-1-2), ‘six’; cf. dṛṣti, ‘two’. (IA 14), used in the sense of ‘a religious procession for the purpose of visiting a deity’. Note: darśana is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
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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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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Darshana in Marathi glossary... « previous · [D] · next »

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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Darshana in Sanskrit glossary... « previous · [D] · next »

Darśana (दर्शन).—&c. See under दृश् (dṛś).

See also (synonyms): darśa, darśaka.

--- OR ---

Darśana (दर्शन).—a. [dṛś-lyuṭ]

1) Seeing, looking at (at the end of comp.); देव°, धर्म° (deva°, dharma°), &c.

2) Showing, exhibiting.

3) Demonstrating, teaching; भागवतधर्मदर्शना नव महाभागवताः (bhāgavatadharmadarśanā nava mahābhāgavatāḥ) Bhāg.5.4.12.

-nam 1 Looking at, seeing, observing; अतीन्द्रियेष्वप्युपपन्नदर्शनो बभूव भावेषु दिलीपनन्दनः (atīndriyeṣvapyupapannadarśano babhūva bhāveṣu dilīpanandanaḥ) R.3.41.

2) Knowing, understanding, perceiving, foreseeing; प्रमदा- मनु संस्थितः शुचा नृपतिः सन्निति वाच्यदर्शनात् (pramadā- manu saṃsthitaḥ śucā nṛpatiḥ sanniti vācyadarśanāt) R.8.72.

3) Sight, vision; चिन्ताजडं दर्शनम् (cintājaḍaṃ darśanam) Ś.4.6.

4) The eye.

5) Inspection, examination; बलानां दर्शनं कृत्वा सेनान्या सह चिन्तयेत् (balānāṃ darśanaṃ kṛtvā senānyā saha cintayet) Y.1.329.

6) Showing, displaying, exhibition.

7) Becoming visible; रावणिः पितरं युद्धे दर्शनस्थोऽब्रवीदिदम् (rāvaṇiḥ pitaraṃ yuddhe darśanastho'bravīdidam) Rām.7.29.32.

8) Visiting, paying a visit, a visit; देवदर्शनम् (devadarśanam) Y.1.84.

9) (Hence) Going into the presence of, audience; मारीचस्ते दर्शनं वितरति (mārīcaste darśanaṃ vitarati) Ś.7; राजदर्शनं मे कारय (rājadarśanaṃ me kāraya) &c.

1) Colour, aspect, appearance, semblance, अनेकाद्भुतदर्शनम् (anekādbhutadarśanam) Bg.11.1; R.3.57.

11) Appearance, producing (in court); यो यस्य प्रतिभूस्तिष्ठेद्दर्शनायेह मानवः (yo yasya pratibhūstiṣṭheddarśanāyeha mānavaḥ) Ms.8.158,16.

12) A vision, dream, dream.

13) Discernment, understanding, intellect; सम्यग्दर्शन- संपन्नः कर्मभिर्न निबध्यते (samyagdarśana- saṃpannaḥ karmabhirna nibadhyate) Ms.6.74.

14) Judgment, apprehension.

15) Religious knowledge.

16) A doctrine or theory prescribed in a system.

17) A system of philosophy; as in सर्वदर्शनसंग्रह (sarvadarśanasaṃgraha).

18) A mirror.

19) Virtue, moral merit.

2) Opinion; अथानुजं भृशमनुशास्य दर्शनम् (athānujaṃ bhṛśamanuśāsya darśanam) Rām.2.21.64.

21) Intention.

22) Demonstration.

23) A sacrifice.

24) Mention, assertion; दर्शनादर्शन- योश्च दर्शनं प्रमाणम् (darśanādarśana- yośca darśanaṃ pramāṇam) ŚB. on MS.1.7.36.

25) Experiencing; भवतो दर्शनं यत्स्यादपुनर्भवदर्शनम् (bhavato darśanaṃ yatsyādapunarbhavadarśanam) Bhāg.8.25.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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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Relevant definitions

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Darśanāvaraṇa (दर्शनावरण) or Darśanāvaraṇīya refers to “perception obscuring (karmas)” and repr...
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