Dhanus, Dhanush: 21 definitions

Introduction

Introduction:

Dhanus means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Hindi. 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

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

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.
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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Google Books: Elements of Hindu 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: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)

1) Dhanus (धनुस्, “bow”) refers to one of the several “attributes” (āyudha) or “accessories” of a detiy commonly seen depicted in Hindu iconography, defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—Dhanus is the bow. It has three different shapes. The first is like an arc of 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.

2) Dhanus (धनुस्) or Dhanurhasta refers to “bow-hold” and represents one of the twenty-four gestures with a single hand, as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—Accordingly, pratimā-lakṣaṇa (body postures of the icons) is comprised of hand gestures (hasta, mudrā or kai-amaiti), stances/poses (āsanas) and inflexions of the body (bhaṅgas). There are thirty-two types of hands [viz., dhanus-hasta] classified into two major groups known as tolirkai (functional and expressive gestures) and elirkai (graceful posture of the hand).

Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

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).

Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, 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 (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Dhanurveda (science of warfare)

Source: Wisdom Library: Dhanurveda

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.

Dhanurveda 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.

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Vastushastra (architecture)

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

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 (e.g., 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.

Vastushastra book cover
context information

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)

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

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.

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Tibetan Buddhism

Dhanus (धनुस्) is the name of a Rāśi (zodiac sign) mentioned as attending the teachings in the 6th century Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa: one of the largest Kriyā Tantras devoted to Mañjuśrī (the Bodhisattva of wisdom) representing an encyclopedia of knowledge primarily concerned with ritualistic elements in Buddhism. The teachings in this text originate from Mañjuśrī and were taught to and by Buddha Śākyamuni in the presence of a large audience (including Dhanus).

Source: academia.edu: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Dhanus (धनुस्) refers to a “bow” and represents one of the items held in the left hand of Heruka: one of the main deities of the Herukamaṇḍala described in the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Heruka is positioned in the Lotus (padma) at the center; He is the origin of all heroes; He has 17 faces (with three eyes on each) and 76 arms [holding, for example, dhanus]; He is half black and half green in color; He is dancing on a flaming sun placed on Bhairava and Kālarātrī.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

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: OpenEdition books: Vividhatīrthakalpaḥ

Dhanus (धनुस्) refers to a unity of measurement corresponding to 4 hasta (2 m.), and represents a Jaina technical term mentioned in the mentioned in the Vividhatīrthakalpa by Jinaprabhasūri (13th century A.D.): an ancient text devoted to various Jaina holy places (tīrthas).

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: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

dhanu : (nt.) a bow.

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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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Dhanus (धनुस्).—a. [dhan śabde-asi] Armed with a bow. n.

1) A bow; धनुर्वंशविशुद्धोऽपि निर्गुणः किं करिष्यति (dhanurvaṃśaviśuddho'pi nirguṇaḥ kiṃ kariṣyati) Subhāṣ. धनुष्यमोघं समधत्त बाणम् (dhanuṣyamoghaṃ samadhatta bāṇam) Ku.3.66; so इन्द्रधनुः (indradhanuḥ) &c. (At the end of Bahu. comp. dhanus is changed to dhanvan; adhijyadhanvā vicacāra dāvam R.2.8.).

2) A measure of length equal to four hastas; धनुःशतं परीणाहो ग्रामे क्षेत्रान्तरं भवेत् (dhanuḥśataṃ parīṇāho grāme kṣetrāntaraṃ bhavet) Y.2.167; Ms. 8.237.

3) An arc of a circle.

4) The sign Sagittarius of the zodiac.

5) A desert; cf. धन्वन् (dhanvan) -m. Name of Śiva.

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

Dhanus (धनुस्).—mfn. (-nuḥ-nuḥ-nu) Armed with a bow. mn. (-nuḥ-nu) 1. A. bow. 2. Sagittarius, the sign. m.

(-nuḥ) The piyal tree, (Buchanania latifolia, Rox.) E. dhana to produce, (as grain,) to throw forth, (darts, &c.) Unadi affix usi; also with u affix dhanu, and with ū affix, dhanū.

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

Dhanus (धनुस्).— i. e. probably han + vant (akin to dhanvan), I. adj. Armed with a bow, Mahābhārata 7, 9536. Ii. n. 1. A bow, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 3, 160. 2. A measure of length, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 8, 237. 3. The sign Sagittarius. 4. A desert, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 7, 70 (cf. dhanvan).

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

Dhanus (धनुस्).—[neuter] bow or a bow’s length (a cert. measure).

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

1) Dhanuṣ (धनुष्):—[from dhanu] in [compound] for nus.

2) Dhanus (धनुस्):—[from dhanu] n. (m. [gana] ardharcādi; cf. dhanu) a bow, [Ṛg-veda] etc. etc.

3) [v.s. ...] a measure of length = 4 Hastas or 1/2000 Gavyūti, [Manu-smṛti; Yājñavalkya] etc.

4) [v.s. ...] ([geometry]) an arc or part of a circle

5) [v.s. ...] ([astronomy]) an arc or quadrant for ascertaining the sun’s altitude and zenith-distance

6) [v.s. ...] a fiddlestick

7) [v.s. ...] the sign of the zodiac Sagittarius, [Sūryasiddhānta; Varāha-mihira]

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

9) [v.s. ...] Name of Śiva, [Mahābhārata vii, 9536] (armed with a bow, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.], or = dhanuḥsvarūpa, [Nīlakaṇṭha])

10) [v.s. ...] a desert, arid land (cf. nur-aur. ga).

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

Dhanus (धनुस्):—[(nuḥ-nuḥ)] 5. m. n. A bow; Sagittarius. m. The Piyāl tree. a. Armed with a bow.

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

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

[Sanskrit to German]

Dhanus in German

context information

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

Dhanush in Hindi refers in English to:—(nm) a bow, an arch..—dhanush (धनुष) is alternatively transliterated as Dhanuṣa.

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