Ishana, aka: Īśāna, Isana, Īsāna, Īṣaṇa; 20 Definition(s)


Ishana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. 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.

The Sanskrit terms Īśāna and Īṣaṇa can be transliterated into English as Isana or Ishana, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Author of the Advaita Prakāśa. Īśāna Nāgara described himself as a young brahmin orphan, a servant in Advaita’s household and therefore someone who participated in the daily life of the family; he was initmately position to observe and report on what went on there. Īśāna has demonstrated that Advaita, as the embodiment of Mahāviṣṇu and Śiva, is divine. He has also shown that Sītā, like Rāma’s Sītā not born from a mortal womb, is Lakṣmī herself, the lotus-born goddess, whereas Śrī was born in the usual manner and is entirely human.

Source: Google Books: The Fading Light of Advaita Acarya
Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

1) Īśāna:—One of the five aspects of Śiva, known collectively as the Pañchabrahmās. They are emanations from the niṣkala-Śiva. Īśāna, according to the Rūpamaṇḍana, should have the colour as pure as that of the crystal; his head should be adorned with a jaṭāmakuṭa ornamented with the crescent moon and his hnads should have the akṣamālā, triśūla, kapāla and abhaya.

The Śrītatvanidhi gives somewhat different description. Īśāna should have, according to this work, five faces; each of these faces should have three eyes; the colour of Īśāna, should be white. This face ought to point to the top. Īśāna should have in his hands abhaya, varada (?) (iṣṭa in the original), aṅkuśa, pāśa, ṭaṅkā, kapāla, ḍhakka (a musical instrument), akṣamāla and śūla.

2) The deity Īśāna representing the Karmasāda has a perfectly white body resembling the flower of the kunda (a kind of jasmine) or the full moon; having five heads adorned with jaṭā-makuṭas; bearing on each face three eyes, ten arms and two legs. He is standing on a padmāsana and keeps in his right hands the śūla, paraśu, khaḍga, vajra and abhaya and in the left ones the nāga, pāśa, aṅkuśa, ghaṇṭa, and agni. He is beatiful adorned with all ornaments, draped in fine clothes and is with a smiling countenance full of peacefulness.

3) Īśāna (ईशान):—One of the eight names of Rudra, given to him by Brahmā, according to the Pādma-purāṇa. This aspect became the presiding deity over the fire. The corresponding name of the consort is Vikeśī. His son is called Lohitāṅga (Mars).

4) Īśāna (ईशान):—Fifth of the eleven emanations of Rudra (ekādaśa-rudra), according to the Aṃśumadbhedāgama and the Śilparatna. The images of this aspects of Śiva should have three eyes, four arms, jaṭāmakuṭas and be of white colour. It should be draped also in white clothes and be standing erect (samabhaṅga) on a padmapīṭha. It should be adorned with all ornaments and with garlands composed of all flowers and it should keep their front right hand in the abhaya and the front left hand in the varada poses, while it should carry in the back right hand the paraśu and in the back left hand the mṛga.

5) Īśāna (ईशान):—Third of the twelve emanations of Rudra, according to the Rūpamaṇḍana.

Source: Wisdom Library: Elements of Hindu Iconograpy

Īśāna (ईशान) is one of the Aṣṭadikpālaka (“eight guardians of the directions”), as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—In dance, when the right hand of the dancer assumes arāla-hasta and the left hand of the dancer assumes ardhapatāka-hasta, it is vāyu-hasta. In dance the īśāna-hasta is found in śaiva-sthānaka posture with the right hand in tripatāka-hasta and the left hand muṣṭi-hasta obliquely (across). In images, Īśāna is found with a trident and a drum in the right and the left hands respectively. This posture of the hand in dancing and in the image is somewhat similar. The tripatāka-hasta / kartarīmukha-mudrā used in dance can depict holding the trident and the muṣṭi-mudrā can depict as if holding the drum. Hence, there is similarity in dance and image while depicting Īśāna.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
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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Ishana in Purana glossary... « previous · [I] · next »

1a) Īśāna (ईशान).—A boundary hill of Śākadvīpa.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 20. 26.

1b) (Īśa)—a name of Śiva;1 lord of the N. E.;2 the fourth body of Vāyu or the five vital airs; wife Śivā; son, Manojava and Avijñānagati.3

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 24. 4; 73. 1; IV. 20. 51; 34. 91; 41. 6; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 8. 6.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 108, 32.
  • 3) Vāyu-purāṇa 27. 12, 32, 52; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 10. 11, 41 and 79.

1c) The name of the tenth Kalpa.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 290. 5.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Īśana (ईशन) is the Sanskrit name of a deity presiding over Kedāra, one of the sixty-eight places hosting a svāyambhuvaliṅga, which is one of the most sacred of liṅgas according to the Śaivāgamas. The list of sixty-eight svāyambhuvaliṅgas and presiding deities (eg., Īśana) is found in the commentary on the Jirṇoddhāra-daśaka by Nigamajñānadeva. The word liṅga refers to a symbol used in the worship of Śiva and is used thoughout Śaiva literature, such as the sacred Āgamas.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Īśāna (ईशान) refers to one of the five faces of Sadāśiva that revealed the Āgamas (sacred texts).—According to the sṛṣṭikrama method mentioned in the Uttarakāmikāgama, “Kāmikāgama, Yogajāgama, Cintyāgama, Kāraṇāgama and Ajitāgama are emanated from the Īśāna face of Sadāśiva”. According to the saṃhārakrama mentioned in the Pūrvakāraṇāgama, “Prodgītāgama, Lalitāgama, Siddhāgama, Santānāgama, Śarvoktāgama, Pārameśvarāgama, Kiraṇāgama and Vātulāgama are from the face called Īśāna”.

According to the Ajitāgama and Rauravāgama, “Kāmika, Yogaja, Cintya, Karaṇa, Ajita, Dīpta, Sūkṣma, Sahasra and Suprabheda are emanated from the Īśāna face of Śiva”. Addionally, according to the Ajitāgama, “Their Upāgamas and the four Vedas along with the Vedāṅgas are emanated from the Urdhva (Īśāna) face of Śiva”.

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva
Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Īśāna (ईशान) refers to one of the 53 gods to be worshipped in the eastern quarter and given pāyasa (rice boiled in milk) according to the Vāstuyāga rite in Śaktism (cf. Śāradātilaka-tantra III-V). The worship of these 53 gods happens after assigning them to one of the 64 compartment while constructing a Balimaṇḍapa. Vāstu is the name of a prodigious demon, who was killed by 53 gods (eg., Īśāna).

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism
Shaktism book cover
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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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Itihasa (narrative history)

Īśāna (ईशान) refers to the name of a Tīrtha (pilgrim’s destination) mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. III.83.25, XIV.8.27, XIV.8). Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Īśāna) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Īśāna (ईशान, “the ruler”):—In Vedic hinduism, he is the regent of the north-eastern direction and represents the embodiment of all learning and the master of all knowledge.

According to Vāstuśāstra, the north-eastern direction is the most important of all directs being ruled by Lord Śiva in the form of Īśāṇa. Prāṇa enters into the house from the Īśāna corner and exits via Nirṛti (south western) corner. 

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Ishana (ईशान) is one of the Lokapalas, and guards the north-eastern hemisphere, which duty he inherited from Soma. He is considered an incarnation of Lord Shiva, and is also known as Sthanu (स्थाणु), and Jishnu (जिष्णु).

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Īshāna is the upper or skyward face. It is the Citta Shaktī or power of the individual consciousness to realize the universal consciousness. This form is associated with Akasha or ether, and the Vishuddha chakra. This is the total energy of Shiva encompassing all attributes of Shiva. This is the face of Shiva that is the revealing power and is associated with the Anandamaya kosha.

Source: Universal Yoga: The Five Faces of Shiva

1) Īśāna: Represents the Citta Śaktī of Śiva. Sāmbā Pīṭham. Represents Space. Starts from your Mūlādhāra to Anahata to Ajna to Sahasrara leading to Brahma Randra in your body. One billion (100,00,000) mantras are trying to describe this face of Śiva. Ākāśa (Ether) Tattva. The individual is from very less to not at all receptive to social structures. Possesses excellent qualities of controlling mortal and divine beings with ease. The individual has reduced his ego to ashes signifying absolute love for the universe and has been freed from cosmic law.

2) (fifth face of Shiva) - Īśāna - Revealing Grace. North-east. Ether (Ākāśa).

According to Śaiva Agama, Lord Shiva performs five actions - creation, preservation, dissolution, concealing grace, and revealing grace. Each of the five actions corresponds to a name and form of Shiva with varying attributes.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

One of the chief devas.

In the Tevijja Sutta (D.i.244) he is mentioned with Indra, Soma, Varuna, Pajapati and Brahma, as being invoked by the brahmins.

He was in the battle of the devas against the Asuras and led a section of the deva host. Indra tells the devas that if, during the struggle, they felt faint hearted, they should look at the crest of his own banner or at that of Pajapati, Varuna or Isana, and their fear would disappear (S.i.219).

In the assembly of the gods, Isana gets the fourth seat next to Varuna. He is in beauty and longevity equal to Indra (SA.i.262).

Isana is an older name for Rudra (Siva) (Bothlinck and Roth: Worterbuch). The conception of him had so far changed by the time of Buddhaghosa that in Buddhaghosas accounts he is given a seat near Sakka and inferior to his. Perhaps he was one of the thirty three gods of Tavatimsa (KS.i.281, n.4).

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Īśāna (ईशान).—Protector deity of the north-eastern cremation ground.—The northeast (aiśānī) is associated with Śiva, hence Īśāna also appears as Nīlalohita (Guhyasamayasādhanamālā 34), a synonym of Śiva in epic and Purāṇic tales, and Kapālīśa (Śmaśānavidhi 12). He is described as white, carrying a trident (śūlī), mounted on a bull, and wearing a tiger-skin.

Source: Google Books: Vajrayogini

Īśana (ईशन) is the name of the protector (dikpati) associated with Aṭṭaṭṭahāsa: the north-eastern cremation ground (śmaśāna) according to the Vajravārāhī-sādhana by Umāpatideva as found in te Guhyasamayasādhanamālā. As a part of this sādhana, the practicioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the circle of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.

These protectors (eg., Īśana) are variously known as dikpati, dikpāla and lokāpala and can be traced to purāṇic legends where eight protectors are assigned to each direction by Brahmā. According to the Śmaśānavidhi verse 20, these protectors are in union with their wives and have four arms, two of which make the añjali gesture of obeisance, while the second pair usually holds a skull bowl and a tantric weapon. They are variously depicted upon their respective mounts, or sitting at the base of the tree.

The Guhyasamayasādhanamālā by Umāptideva is a 12th century ritualistic manual including forty-six Buddhist tantric sādhanas. The term sādhana refers to “rites” for the contemplation of a divinity.

Source: Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini
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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General definition (in Buddhism)

Īśāna (ईशान) refers to the fifth of the “eight world protectors” (aṣṭalokapāla) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 8). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., aṣṭalokapāla and Īśāna). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Īśāna is, besides one of the “eight world protectors” (aṣṭalokapāla), one of the “ten world protectors” (daśalokapāla) and one of the “fourteen world protectors” (caturdaśalokapāla).

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

īṣaṇā (ईषणा).—f (S) Wish, desire, regard; care or concern about; anxiety or earnestness for. Ex. of comp. lōkēṣaṇā, putrēṣaṇā, vittēṣaṇā, dārēṣaṇā.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Īśana (ईशन).—[īś-lyuṭ]

1) Commanding, reigning &c.

2) Greatness, glory; एतदीशनमीशस्य प्रकृतिस्थोऽपि तद्गुणैः (etadīśanamīśasya prakṛtistho'pi tadguṇaiḥ) Bhāg.1.11.38.

Derivable forms: īśanam (ईशनम्).

--- OR ---

Īśāna (ईशान).—a. [īś tācchīlye cānaś]

1) Owning, possessing, master or lord.

2) Reigning, ruling.

3) Wealthy, rich.

-naḥ 1 A ruler, master, lord; ईशानो भूतभव्यस्य (īśāno bhūtabhavyasya) Kaṭh. Up.4.12.

2) Name of Śiva; ईशानसंदर्शनलालसानाम् (īśānasaṃdarśanalālasānām) Ku.7.56; K.1.

3) The Ārdrā Nakṣtra.

4) One of the Rudras.

5) The number 'eleven'.

6) The sun as a form of Śiva. पर्जन्यो यमो मृत्युरीशानः (parjanyo yamo mṛtyurīśānaḥ) Bṛ. Up.1. 4.11.

7) A Sādhya.

8) Name of Viṣṇu.

-nī Name of Durgā.

-nī, -naḥ The silk-cotton tree (śālmalī; Mar. sāṃvarī).

-nam Light, splendour.

--- OR ---

Īṣaṇa (ईषण).—a. Hastening.

-ṇā Haste, speed.

See also (synonyms): iṣāṇan.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. 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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