Dhanu, Dhanū: 23 definitions


Dhanu means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi, Hindi, biology. 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.

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In Hinduism

Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Source: Wikibooks (hi): Sanskrit Technical Terms

Dhanu (धनु).—Arc. Note: Dhanu is a Sanskrit technical term used in ancient Indian sciences such as Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry.

Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotisha (ज्योतिष, jyotiṣa or jyotish) refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents the fifth of the six Vedangas (additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas). Jyotisha concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Dhanu (धनु).—A son of Sṛnjaya, brother of Vasudeva.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 71. 193.

1b) A son of Śamīka.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 46. 27.

1c) A pole from the term dhanurdaṇḍa, 96 angulas in measurement. Two of them measure one nāli, and 8000 one yojana.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 7. 96, 100; IV. 2. 124-6; Vāyu-purāṇa 101. 124.
Purana book cover
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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.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: Ancient Science of Life: Snake bite treatment in Prayoga samuccayam

Dhanu (धनु) refers to the month corresponding to December-January, during which time snakes are born with “strong and energetic” characteristics, according to the 20th century Prayogasamuccaya (one of the most popular and widely practised book in toxicology in Malayalam).—According to the month in which they hatch, their characters differ. In that, the snakes born in caitra month (March- April) will have evil habits, those in dhanu (Dec- Jan) month will be strong and energetic, the ones in makara (Jan- Feb) month will be more poisonous than others. Snakes open their eyes on the 7th day after hatching and take further five days more to gain consciousness and to teeth. In another 30 days, they become poisonous.

Ayurveda book cover
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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.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Dhanu; ancient Hindu unit of measurement of distance. 4 Hastas make 1 Dhanu, and 8000 Dhanus make up for a single Yojana.

If we consider a single Yojana to be 8 miles (~12.87km), one Dhanu would correspond to roughly 5.28 feet (~1.61m)

If we consider a single Yojana to be 5 miles (~8.04km), one Dhanu would correspond to roughly 3.31 feet (~1.01m)

Another conversion: 300 Dhanus is one Nalva.

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

Dhanu (धनु, ‘sandbank’) (fem.) occurs several times in the Rigveda, but only metaphorically of the clouds in the atmosphere. Dhanū is found in the Atharvaveda, where it seems to denote a sandbag used to prevent bleeding.

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: OSU Press: Cakrasamvara Samadhi

Dhanu (धनु) refers to a “bow”, according to the Cakrasaṃvara Samādhi [i.e., Cakrasamvara Meditation] ritual often performed in combination with the Cakrasaṃvara Samādhi, which refers to the primary pūjā and sādhanā practice of Newah Mahāyāna-Vajrayāna Buddhists in Nepal.—Accordingly, “By the form of a skull cup, and by the letter Māṃ, Vāruṇī, Eighteen arms, one face, red color, and three eyes, A sword, arrow and hook, on the right, a skull cup, ax and banner, Thus a mace, thus a bell, and in the ninth, granting wishes, A two-headed drum, a bow (dhanu) and noose, a staff and a water pot, A trident, hammer and lute, and thus a number, in the upper hand, A young adolescent beauty, a great beauty, a beautiful goddess”.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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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.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

Dhanu (धनु).— The dhanus are a group of celestial beings living in the lower regions of adholoka (lower world) according to Jaina cosmology. Adholoka is made up of seven regions and offers residence to the infernal beings existing within these lands.

Source: academia.edu: Tessitori Collection I

Dhanu (धनु) refers to one of the  fifteen Paramādhārmīs causing suffering in the hells (naraka), according to Rājasoma’s “Naraka ko coḍhālyo”, which is included in the collection of manuscripts at the ‘Vincenzo Joppi’ library, collected by Luigi Pio Tessitori during his visit to Rajasthan between 1914 and 1919.—No name of any source is given in the text but the three stages followed in the exposition correspond closely to those found in a handbook such as Nemicandrasūri’s Pravacanasāroddhāra, [e.g.,] 3) sufferings inflicted by the fifteen Paramādhārmīs [e.g., Dhanu]. [...] These gods (here Sūra or Deva) form a sub-class of the Asurakumāras and perform their tasks in the first, second and third hells.

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

Pali-English dictionary

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Dhanu, (nt.) (Sk. dhanus, to Ohg. tanna fir-tree, also oak, orig tree in general, cp. dāru) a bow M.I, 429; J.I, 50, 150; II, 88; IV, 327; PvA.285.

Pali book cover
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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.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

dhanu (धनु).—m (S) A bow. 2 The sign Sagittarius. 3 The bow for cleaning cotton. 4 A segment of a circle, an arc.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

dhanu (धनु).—m A bow. f The sign Sagittarius. An arc.

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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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Dhanu (धनु).—

1) A bow (perhaps for dhanus q. v.).

2) Name of the प्रियङ्गु (priyaṅgu) tree.

3) A measure of four hastas.

4) The sign Sagittarius of the zodiac.

5) An archer. -f. A sandy shore.

Derivable forms: dhanuḥ (धनुः).

--- OR ---

Dhanū (धनू).—f. A bow. -m. A store of grain.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Dhanu (धनु).—m.

(-nuḥ) 1. A bow. 2. The sign Sagittarius. 3. A tree: see piyāla. 4. A measure of four cubits. E. dhana here meaning to cast as an arrow, Unadi affix un also dhanus.

--- OR ---

Dhanū (धनू).—m.

(-nūḥ) A bow: see the last.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Dhanu (धनु).— (a curtailed form of dhanus), m. 1. A bow, [Hitopadeśa] pr. [distich] 22. 2. A measure of length, Mahābhārata 8, 4224.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Dhanu (धनु).—1. [masculine] bow.

--- OR ---

Dhanu (धनु).—2. & dhanū [feminine] sandbank, sandy shore, island ([figuratively] of a cloud).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Dhanū (धनू):—[from dhan] 1. dhanū m. a store of grain, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.] (for 2. See dhanu).

2) Dhanu (धनु):—m. or ([Uṇādi-sūtra i, 82]) 2. dhanū f. ([from] √2. dhan?) a bow, [Hitopadeśa; Śāntiśataka]

3) a measure of 4 Hastas or cubits, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.] (cf. dhanv-antara below)

4) the sign of the zodiac Sagittarius, [Priyadarśikā i, 5]

5) Buchanania Latifolia, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

6) Semecarpus Anacardium, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

7) [according to] to some also, ‘water, juice etc.’; cf.dhanv, dhanutṛ.

8) f. (dhanu, or dhanū) a dry sandbank, a sandy shore (cf. [English] bight, [German] Bucht), [Ṛg-veda; Atharva-veda i, 17] ([nominative case] nūs).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Dhanu (धनु):—(nuḥ) 2. m. A bow; Sagittarius; measure of four cubits; a tree.

2) Dhanū (धनू):—(nūḥ) 2. m. Idem.

[Sanskrit to German]

Dhanu in German

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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 (even English!). 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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Hindi dictionary

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Dhanu (धनु):—(nf) a bow.

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Prakrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary

1) Dhaṇu (धणु) in the Prakrit language is related to the Sanskrit word: Dhanuṣ.

2) Dhaṇu (धणु) also relates to the Sanskrit word: Dhanus.

context information

Prakrit is an ancient language closely associated with both Pali and Sanskrit. Jain literature is often composed in this language or sub-dialects, such as the Agamas and their commentaries which are written in Ardhamagadhi and Maharashtri Prakrit. The earliest extant texts can be dated to as early as the 4th century BCE although core portions might be older.

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