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Dhanus, 7 Definition(s)


Dhanus means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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


Dhanu (धनु): A unit of measurement of distance, according to the Vāyu Purāṇa (वायु पुराण). The following table gives some idea about their relations to each other:

8 Aṅgulas = Prādeśa (?);
21 Aṅgulas = Ratni;
24 Aṅgulas = Hasta;
2000 Dhanus = Gavyūti;
12 Aṅgulas = Vitasti;
2 Ratnis or 42 Aṅgulas = Kiṣku;
4 hastas = Dhanus;
8000 Dhanus = Yojana.
Source: Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu PurānaPurāṇa 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.

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Dhanus is the bow. It has three different shapes. The first is like an arc of a circle, with the ends joined by a string or thong taking the place of the chord. In the second variety, it has three bends, the top and bottom bends being smaller and turned in a direction opposite to that of the middle bend which is the larger one. The third variety has five bends and belongs to a much later period in the evolution of this weapon.

Source: Google Books: Elements of Hindu iconographyŚilpaśāstra book cover
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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.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Dhanus (धनुस्, “bow”).—There are four acts related to the (use of the) bow, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 11.

  1. parimārjana (preparing),
  2. ādāna (taking an arrow),
  3. sandhāna (taking an aim),
  4. mokṣaṇa (shooting).

The dhanus (“bow”) should measure should measure eight tālas (unit of measurement) and the distance between the bow and the string at the time of shooting should be 2 hastakas, according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 23. In dramatic plays, weapons such as dhanus 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)

Dhanus (धनुस्) refers to a weapon (“bow”). 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
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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.

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

Dhanus (धनुस्) corresponds with the Sagittarius zodiac sign and refers to the ninth of twelve rāśi (zodiacal sign), according to the Mānasāra. Rāśi is one of the three alternative principles, besides the six āyādiṣaḍvarga, used to constitute the “horoscope” of an architectural or iconographic object. Their application is intended to “verify” the measurements of the architectural and iconographic object against the dictates of astrology that lay out the conditions of auspiciousness.

The particular rāśi (eg., dhanus) of all architectural and iconographic objects (settlement, building, image) must be calculated and ascertained. This process is based on the principle of the remainder. An arithmetical formula to be used in each case is stipulated, which engages one of the basic dimensions of the object (breadth, length, or perimeter/circumference). All twelve rāśis, except the eighth (vṛścika) are auspicious.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstraVāstuśāstra book cover
context information

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.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Dhanus (धनुस्, the ‘bow’), frequently mentioned in the Rigveda and later, was the chief weapon of the Vedic Indian. The last act of the funeral rite included the removal of the bow from the right hand of the dead man. The weapon was composed of a stout staff bent into a curved shape (vakra),5 and of a bowstring (Jyā) made of a strip of cowhide6 which joined the ends. The tips of the bow, when the string was fastened, were called Ārtnī. Relaxed when not in actual use, the bow was specially strung up when needed for shooting. The stages of the process are given in detail in the Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā: the stringing (ātan) of the bow, the placing (pratidhā) of the arrow, the bending (āyam) of the bow, and the shooting (as). The arrow was discharged from the ear, and is hence called karṇa-yoni, ‘having the ear as its point of origin’. The making of bows was a regular profession (dhanuṣkāra, dhanuṣkṛt). For the arrow see Iṣu, and for the handguard Hastaghna.

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

In Buddhism


dhanu : (nt.) a bow.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English DictionaryPali 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.

Relevant definitions

Search found 73 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

dhanu (धनु).—m A bow. f The sign Sagittarius. An arc.
Dhanurāsana (धनुरासन) is one of the thirty-two āsanas (postures) taught in the second chapter o...
Dhanustīrtha (धनुस्तीर्थ).—According to Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Madya-lila 9.199, “Śrī Caitany...
Dhanvadurga (धन्वदुर्ग) is ‘the fortification in the midst of a desert’, called ‘durga’, bec...
Ūrdhvadhanurāsana (ऊर्ध्वधनुरासन, “upward bow posture”) is a Sanskrit word refer...
Ākarṇadhanurāsana (आकर्णधनुरासन, “towards-ear-bow posture”) is a Sanskrit word r...
Ekapādordhvadhanurāsana (एकपादोर्ध्वधनुरासन, “one-legged upward-facing bow posture&rdq...
Pādāṅguṣṭhadhanurāsana (पादाङ्गुष्ठधनुरासन, “foot to fingers bow posture”) is a ...
Ardhadhanurāsana (अर्धधनुरासन, “half-bow posture”) is a Sanskrit word referring ...
Pārśvadhanurāsana (पार्श्वधनुरासन, “side-bow posture”) is a Sanskrit word referr...
Dhanurmuṣṭi (धनुर्मुष्टि) is the Sanskrit name for a unit of measurement, used in Vāstu...
Dhanurgraha (धनुर्ग्रह) is the Sanskrit name for a unit of measurement, used in Vāstuśāstra ...
Angula refers to “ a finger’s breadth”. (see Bhudeb Mookerji and his Rasajalanidhi)
Grāma (village) refers to administrative divsions of viṣayas and khollas of during the rule of ...
hasta (हस्त).—m A hand. The 13th lunar asterism. An elephant's trunk.

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