Wisdom Library Logo

Dhanus, 6 Definition(s)


Dhanus means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article.

In Hinduism

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-śāstra

about this context:

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).


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 Purāna

about this context:

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 iconography

about this context:

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.

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: Dhanurveda

about this context:

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.

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 Dictionary

about this context:

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

Dhanu (धनु).— The dhanus are a group of celestial beings living in the lower regions of adholok...
Dhanvadurga (धन्वदुर्ग) is ‘the fortification in the midst of a desert’, called ...
Ūrdhvadhanurāsana (ऊर्ध्वधनुरासन, “upward bow posture”) is a Sanskrit word refer...
Ekapādordhvadhanurāsana (एकपादोर्ध्वधनुरासन, “one-legged upward-facing bow posture&rdq...
Pārśvadhanurāsana (पार्श्वधनुरासन, “side-bow posture”) is a Sanskrit word referr...
Ardhadhanurāsana (अर्धधनुरासन, “half-bow posture”) is a Sanskrit word referring ...
Ākarṇadhanurāsana (आकर्णधनुरासन, “towards-ear-bow posture”) is a Sanskrit word r...
Pādāṅguṣṭhadhanurāsana (पादाङ्गुष्ठधनुरासन, “foot to fingers bow posture”) is a ...
Dhanurāsana (धनुरासन, “bow posture”) is a Sanskrit word referring to a type of p...
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 ...
Aṅgula (अङ्गुल, “the finger-measure”).—The basic Jaina units of measuring lengths is aṅgula or ...
Hasta (हस्त) refers to “hands”. It is one of the six major limbs (aṅga) used in ...
Grāma (ग्राम).—The word grāma has three meanings.—1. Village, 2. Shelter, 3. Group. In this cit...
Mārga (मार्ग).—One of the thirteen elements of the ‘development segment’ (garbhasandhi);—(Descr...

Relevant text

Search found 16 books containing Dhanus. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the 20 most relevant articles:

- Was this explanation helpufll? Leave a comment:

Make this page a better place for research and define the term yourself in your own words.

You have to be a member in order to post comments. Click here to login or click here to become a member.