Jnana, aka: Jñāna; 13 Definition(s)


Jnana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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.

In Hinduism

Pāñcarātra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

First of the six Gunas (ṣaḍguṇa); jñānam (Knowledge, omniscience) this is the essential attribute of the Supreme Being.

(Source): SriMatham: Vaiṣṇava Iconology based on Pañcarātra Āgama
Pāñcarātra book cover
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Pāñcarātra (पाञ्चरात्र, pancaratra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Nārāyaṇa is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaiṣnavism, the Pāñcarātra literature includes various Āgamas and tantras incorporating many Vaiṣnava philosophies.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Jñāna is one of the saṃyutta-hastāni (Twenty-seven combined Hands).

(Source): archive.org: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
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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).


Jñāna (ज्ञान, “wisdom”) refers to one of the fifty-six vināyakas located at Kāśī (Vārāṇasī), and forms part of a sacred pilgrimage (yātrā), described in the Kāśīkhaṇḍa (Skanda-purāṇa 4.2.57). He is also known as Jñānavināyaka, Jñānagaṇeśa and Jñānavighneśa. These fifty-six vināyakas are positioned at the eight cardinal points in seven concentric circles (8x7). They center around a deity named Ḍhuṇḍhirāja (or Ḍhuṇḍhi-vināyaka) positioned near the Viśvanātha temple, which lies at the heart of Kāśī, near the Gaṅges. This arrangement symbolises the interconnecting relationship of the macrocosmos, the mesocosmos and the microcosmos.

Jñāna is positioned in the Northern corner of the seventh circle of the kāśī-maṇḍala. According to Rana Singh (source), his shrine is located at “Near the Jnanavapi Kupa, Jnanavapi”. Worshippers of Jñāna will benefit from his quality, which is defined as “the giver of wisdom and knowledge”. His coordinates are: Lat. 25.18647, Lon. 83.00594 (or, 25°11'11.3"N 83°00'21.4"E) (Google maps)

Kāśī (Vārāṇasī) is a holy city in India and represents the personified form of the universe deluded by the Māyā of Viṣṇu. It is described as a fascinating city which is beyond the range of vision of Giriśa (Śiva) having both the power to destroy great delusion, as well as creating it.

Jñāna, and the other vināyakas, are described in the Skandapurāṇa (the largest of the eighteen mahāpurāṇas). This book narrates the details and legends surrounding numerous holy pilgrimages (tīrtha-māhātmya) throughout India. It is composed of over 81,000 metrical verses with the core text dating from the before the 4th-century CE.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Skanda-purāṇa

Jñāna (ज्ञान).—Nature and value of;1 superior to sannyāsa;2 two-fold;2 freedom from desire and enmity; leads to renunciation or tyāga; leads to yoga;3 fourteen-fold; the eleven of guṇaśarīra and buddhi, citta, and ahaṅkāra; does not see separately; knows himself; there is, or there is not.4 difficulties to attain;5 the path of.6

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XI. 19. 1-27.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 91. 114-15.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 3. 40, 55; 5. 27.
  • 4) Vāyu-purāṇa 102. 61, 75, 107, 123. Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 22. 46-9. II. 12. 43-4.
  • 5) Vāyu-purāṇa 58. 21; 59. 54.
  • 6) Ib. 104. 15.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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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.

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Jñāna (ज्ञान) refers to “realization through understanding”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Jñāna (ज्ञान, “theology”) or jñānapada refers to the fourth division of the āgamas.—The four classes of devotees (bhakta) or the states of spiritual life somewhat correspond to the four divisions of the Āgamas and the four modes of sādhana, spiritual practice, they entail. Thus, sālokya corresponds to carya, ritual and moral conduct, sāmīpya to kriyā, architectural and iconographic making, sārūpya to yoga, meditation, and sāyūjya ta jñāna, theology and gnosis.

Jñāna (or, Jñānapada) is also known as Uttara (or, Uttarapada).

(Source): McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra (shaivism)
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.

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

Kriyā (ज्ञान).—This jñāna is specifically architectural knowledge, which in turn can be distinguished as skills of the craft (the “how”) and its theoretical principles (the “what”). These are learned by the sthapati in his young age (that is, before he ean be called sthapati) through apprenticeship at the workshop and the work-site.

(Source): McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra
Vāstuśāstra book cover
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Vāstuśāstra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vastu-shastra) refers to the knowledge of architecture. It is a branch of ancient Indian science dealing with topics such architecture, construction, sculpture and their relation with the cosmic universe.

General definition (in Hinduism)

1) Jnana (ज्ञान): Knowledge of the eternal and real

2) Jñāna is a Sanskrit word that means knowledge. It has various nuances of meaning depending on the context, and is used in a number of different Indian religions. The idea of jnana centers around a cognitive event which is recognized when experienced. It is knowledge inseparable from the total experience of reality, especially a total reality, or supreme being within Mahesha-dhama (and/or material world) such as Siva-Sakti.

etymology: Jñāna or gñāna (/dʒəˈnɑːnə/,[1] Sanskrit; Pali: ñāṇa)

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

1) Jñāna (ज्ञान, “knowledge”) or jñānapāramitā represents the last of the “ten perferctions” (daśapāramitā) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 18). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., daśa-pāramitā and jñāna). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Jñāna or Jñānavaśitā refers to the “mastery of aspiration” and represents one of the “ten masteries of the Bodhisattvas” (vaśitā) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 74).

Jñāna or Jñānabala refers to the “the strength of knowledge” and represents one of the “ten strengths of the Bodhisattvas” (bala) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 75).

2) Jñāna or Daśajñāna refers to the “ten knowledges” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 93):

  1. duḥkha-jñāna (knowledge of suffering),
  2. samudaya-jñāna (knowledge of arising),
  3. nirodha-jñāna (knowledge of cessation),
  4. mārga-jñāna (knowledge of path),
  5. dharma-jñānam (knowledge of dharma),
  6. anvaya-jñāna (knowledge of conformity),
  7. saṃvṛti-jñāna (knowledge of the concealed),
  8. paracitta-jñāna (knowledge of others’ minds),
  9. kṣaya-jñāna (knowledge of destruction),
  10. anutpāda-jñāna (and knowledge of non-production).

3) Jñāna or Pañcajñāna also refers to the “five knowledges” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 94):

  1. ādarśana-jñāna (mirror-like knowledge),
  2. samatā-jñāna (knowledge of equality),
  3. pratyavekṣaṇā-jñāna (knowledge of reflection),
  4. kṛtyānuṣṭhāna-jñāna (knowledge of performance),
  5. suviśuddha-dharma-dhātu-jñāna (knowledge of the very pure dharma element).

4) Jñāna or Trijñāna also refers to “three kinds of knowledge” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 114):

  1. avikalpaka (undoubting),
  2. vikalpa-samabhāva-bodhaka (awakening from the nature of doubt),
  3. satyārthopāya-parokṣa (a secret means to truth and welfare).
(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Jñāna (ज्ञान, “knowledge”) as in jñāna-mada refers to “pride in one’s knowledge” and represents one of the eight forms of vainglory (mada), according to Samantabhadra in his Ratna-Karaṇḍa-śrāvakācāra (with commentary of Prabhācandra). These eight madas are included in the twenty-five blemishes (dṛg-doṣas), which are generally held to be the eight madas, the three mūḍhatās, the six anāyatanas, and the eight doṣas.

(Source): archive.org: Jaina Yoga

Jñāna (ज्ञान, “knowledge”).—How many types of knowledge (jñāna) are there? Knowledge is of five types namely: mind-based / empirical (mati), verbal / scriptural (śruta), clairvoyance (avadhi), mental modes / telepathy (manaḥparyaya) and omniscience (kevala).

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 1
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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

jñāna (ज्ञान).—n (S) Knowledge in general; any science or objective matter appropriate to the exercise of the understanding or mind. 2 Knowledge of a specific and religious kind,--that which is derived from meditation and the study of philosophy; which teaches man the divine origin and nature of his immaterial portion, and the unreality of corporal enjoyments, sufferings, and experiences, and the illusoriness of the external and objective universe; and which, sanctifying him during life from earthly attachments and fleshly affections, accomplishes for him after death emancipation from individual existence and reunion with the universal spirit. 3 Understanding; i.e. the intellectual percipience or faculty, or the product of the application and exercise of it--sense, sapience, judgment, intelligence, information, or knowledge. 4 An impression upon the understanding; an apprehension or a conviction of; an understanding or a conception of.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

jñāna (ज्ञान).—Understanding. Knowledge. Knowledge of a religious kind.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

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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Jñānavighneśa (ज्ञानविघ्नेश) is short for Jñāna (wisdom), one of the fifty-six vināyakas accord...
Saṃvṛtijñāna (संवृतिज्ञान) or simply Saṃvṛti refers to the “knowledge of the concealed” and rep...
Mārgajñāna (मार्गज्ञान) or simply Mārga refers to the “knowledge of path” and represents the fo...
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