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Dhanus, 6 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
context information

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
context information

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
context information

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 DictionaryPali book cover
context information

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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