Horse: 8 definitions


Horse means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India. 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

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions (shaktism)

Worship of horses formed a part of the Navarātra Tantric ritual (an autumnal festival of the warrior goddess Caṇḍikā).—The first seven days involve: kalaśapūjā (worship of deities including the goddess, the Mothers and waters from the sacred fords in a vase); a king bathing in the sanctified waters from the kalaśapūjā; fasting, worshiping Śiva thrice daily, animal sacrifice (paśubali); daily worship of the royal horses; fire oblations and feeding a maiden.—Various 8th century sources refer to rituals such as the worship of Horses, for example: Devīpurāṇa, Kālikāpurāṇa, Kṛtyakalpataru, Durgābhaktitaraṅgiṇī, Durgāpūjātattva, Durgāpūjāviveka, Bhadrakālīmantravidhiprakaraṇa in Sanderson (2007); account of the Durgā Pūjā in Kelomal, West Bengal (Nicholas 2013).

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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: Asian Agri-History: Paśu Āyurvēda (Veterinary Medicine) in Garuḍapurāṇa

Horses In ancient India were used the for rapid transportation, riding, chariot, and war, race, and even in agriculture activities like plowing etc. The horses were frequently mentioned in the Vedic age (1500-1000 BC). In the later Vedic period (1000-600 BC), Buddhist period (600 BC), and Mauryan period (400 BC), the use of horses was well documented. [...] Veterinary doctors and horse trainers were assigned free endowment. In the Gupta dynasty (300-550 AD), horses were given more importance than elephants in Samudragupta’s army because of their speed and easy maneuverability. [...] The treatment pertains to horses was described in detail in Garuḍapuraāṇa Ācārakhaṇḍa the chapter entitled Gajāśvāyurveda.

Source: Shodhganga: Kasyapa Samhita—Text on Visha Chikitsa

The study of Horses (habitat, infections and treatment) is dealt with in the Kāśyapa Saṃhitā: an ancient Sanskrit text from the Pāñcarātra tradition dealing with both Tantra and Viṣacikitsā—an important topic from Āyurveda which deals with the study of Toxicology (Viṣavidyā or Sarpavidyā).—The twelfth adhyāya of the Kāśyapasaṃhitā consisting sixty-six verses dwells upon twenty kinds of venom and the treatment administered therein. Verses (1-42) discuss at length, various species like [e.g., horses], their sub-varieties, the infection caused by their bite or sting and the appropriate eight types of effective medication like treating thirst, incision, removal of excess water content, ablutions, medicated drinks, liniments and nasal sprays to be administered for curing the same

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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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Shodhganga: Elements of Art and Architecture in the Trtiyakhanda of the Visnudharmottarapurana (natya)

The Gait of the Horse is denoted by the Sanskrit term Turaṅgagati, and represents one of the various Gatis (“way of walking”) (in Indian Dramas), according to the Abhinayadarpaṇa.—Accordingly, gaits (gatis) are explained along with some particular hand gestures. It shows that footsteps are to be followed by some hand postures. According to the Abhinayadarpaṇa, in the gait of turaṅga i.e horse, the śikhara and patāka hands should be hold with left and right hands respectively.

Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (shastra) of performing arts, (natya—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), construction and performance of Theater, and Poetic works (kavya).

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Shodhganga: Elements of Art and Architecture in the Trtiyakhanda of the Visnudharmottarapurana (shilpa)

Horses are associated with Kinnaras, which follows specific guidelines in the tradition of ancient Indian Painting (citra), according to the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, an ancient Sanskrit text which (being encyclopedic in nature) deals with a variety of cultural topics such as arts, architecture, music, grammar and astronomy.—The Yakṣas and the Kinnaras presuppose a divine connection in their birth. In the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, the reference of two kinds of Kinnaras are found. Some have the faces of human and the bodies of horse and some are totally opposite of it.

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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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: ORA: Amanaska (king of all yogas): (Tibetan Buddhism)

Horses (in Sanskrit: Vājin) can be controlled by one having the Siddhi (power) of Speech, according to verse 14.24bd-27 of the Laghuśaṃvara, an ancient Buddhist Yoginī Tantra.—Accordingly: “The Sādhaka [who has] the Siddhi of speech can certainly attract a king or queen by [merely] thinking [it]. [...] And he can stop a river, a cart, a machine [like a water-wheel,] the ocean, elephants and horses (vājin), clouds, a man or bird merely by means of his speech. He achieves everything which he desires by his speech”.

Source: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

1) The Horse is associated with the Yoginī (female deity) named Guhā, being situated in the Medinīcakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava-tantra: one of the last Tibetan Tantric scriptures belonging to the Buddhist Saṃvara tradition consisting of 51 chapters.—Accordingly, the medinīcakra refers to one of the three divisions of the dharma-puṭa (‘dharma layer’), situated in the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs [viz., Guhā] and Vīras are yellow in color; the shapes of their faces are in accordance with their names [e.g., Horse]; they have four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife.

2) The Horse is also associated with the Yoginī named Guhā.

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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India history and geography

Source: Singhi Jain Series: Ratnaprabha-suri’s Kuvalayamala-katha (history)

1) Horses in ancient India were divided into eighteen kinds, according to Uddyotanasūri in his 8th-century Kuvalayamālā (a Prakrit Campū, similar to Kāvya poetry).—The Kuvalayamala (779 A.D.) is full of cultural material which gains in value because of the firm date of its composition. [...]

At page 23.22 there is an enumeration of 18 kinds of horses, e.g.,

  1. Mālā,
  2. Hāyaṇā,
  3. Kalayā,
  4. Khasā,
  5. Kakkasā,
  6. Ṭaṃkā,
  7. Ṭaṃkaṇā,
  8. Sārīrā,
  9. Sahajāṇā,
  10. Hūṇā,
  11. Seṃdhavā,
  12. Cittacalā,
  13. Caṃcalā,
  14. Pārā,
  15. Pārāvayā,
  16. Haṃsā,
  17. Haṃsagamaṇā, and
  18. Vatthavvayā.

Further, there is a very important reference of three kinds of horses named Vollāha, Kayāha and Serāha. These were Arabic names of horses introduced by Arab Horse-Traders. The first mention of Vollāha is found in the Samarāīccackahā of Haribhadrasūri in the beginning of the 8th century A.D.

2) Horses often formed part of a Caravan traveling from city city in ancient India, according to the Kuvalayamālā.—Page 134.32-33 f.: There is a description of a caravan with a large number of camels, bullocks, horses and donkeys. It had come from Vindhyāpurī and was going to Kāñcīpuri.

India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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