Kapala, aka: Kapāla, Kāpāla; 18 Definition(s)

Introduction

Kapala 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.

In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Kapāla (कपाल):—First of the nine male deities, presiding over the Dūtīcakra, according to the Kubjikāmata-tantra. They originated from Ananta (presiding deity of the Dūtīcakra), who multiplies himself nine times. These nine deities divide themself each nine times, resulting in the eighty-one Dūtīs.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra
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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Ayurveda (science of life)

Kapāla (कपाल):—One of the eighteen types of Kuṣṭha (“skin disease”), according to the Caraka-saṃhitā (cikitsāsthāna), which is an important Sanskrit work dealing with Āyurveda. This condition of the skin (kuṣṭha) is caused by the corruption of the three doṣas (tridoṣa: vāta, pitta and kapha) which in turn corrupts the skin, blood, muscle and lymph. Kapāla-kuṣṭha is exceedingly painful and difficult to cure. Kapāla is caused by a preponderance of Vāta-doṣa (‘bodily air’).

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany
Ayurveda book cover
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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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Kapāla (कपाल, “skull”):—In Hindu iconology (śilpaśāstra), this symbol represents the mind (purified thought), or, the will to enlightenment. It is also one of the items Īśāṇa is displayed carrying, who is a Vedic deity and represents the embodiment of all learning.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śilpa-śāstra

Kāpāla (कापाल) is the Sanskrit name of a form of Bhairava. According to the Rudrayāmala, there are eight main forms of Bhairava who control the eight directions of this universe. The term is used throughout Śilpaśāstra literature.

Kāpāla has the following eight manifestations:

  1. Kāpāla,
  2. Śaśibhūṣaṇa,
  3. Hasticarmāmbaradhara,
  4. Yogīśa,
  5. Brahmarākṣasa,
  6. Sarvajña,
  7. Sarvadeveśa,
  8. Sarvabhūtahṛdisthita.

All these have a yellow color and should carry in their hands the kuṇḍa, the kheṭaka, the parigha (a kind of club) and bhiṇḍipāla.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śilpa-śāstra

Kapāla (कपाल) denotes the human skull. It is used by Śiva as a receptacle for food and drunk. Later on the word came to mean the cut half of an earthen pot, and then a basin or a bowl. In sculpture the kapāla occurs as a common spherical or oval bowl.

Source: Google Books: Elements of Hindu iconography

Kapāla (कपाल, “skull”) 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.—The śilpa texts have classified the various accessories under the broad heading of āyudha or karuvi (implement), including even flowers, animals, and musical instruments. The other miscellaneous articles found as attributes in the hands of the deities are, for example, Kapāla.

Kapāla denotes the human skull. Śiva uses it as a receptacle for food and drink. Later on the word came to mean the cut-half of an earthen pot, and then a basin or a bowl. In sculpture the kapala occurs as a common spherical or oval bowl.

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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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

The Kapāla represents our Ahaṃkāra concept-of-self — the ego. It is the concept of ourselves as separate and unique individuals which is the foundation upon which the edifice of ignorance and delusion is built. It is the pivot of our assumptive personal universes.

Source: Red Zambala: The 10 Great Wisdom Goddesses

Kapāla (कपाल) or Kapālatantra refers to one of the thirty-three Dakṣiṇatantras, belonging to the Śāktāgama (or Śāktatantra) division of the Āgama tradition. The Śāktāgamas represent the wisdom imparted by Devī to Īśvara and convey the idea that the worship of Śakti is the means to attain liberation. According to the Pratiṣṭhālakṣaṇasamuccaya of Vairocana, the Śāktatantras are divided into to four parts, the Kapāla-tantra belonging to the Dakṣiṇa class.

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva (shaktism)
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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Kapala in Purana glossary... « previous · [K] · next »

Kapāla (कपाल).—See under Brahmā, 5th Para.

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Kapāla (कपाल).—One of the eleven Rudras.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 66. 70.

1b) Śiva's begging bowl; shattered into 1000 pieces at Benares by Hari's grace.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 183. 91-100.
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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General definition (in Hinduism)

The Kapāla (कपाल, “head”) is one of the objects Kālī is displayed as holding in one of her hands. It represents our Ahaṃkāra concept-of-self (the ego).

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

The blood-filled skull (kapāla) represents the prāṇa of the transmuted essence of the defiled mind. It offers the amṛtā of revelatory images that overcome the illusions gained through excessive materialistic focus.

Source: Google Books: An Esoteric Exposition of the Bardo Thodol

Kapāla (कपाल).—The skull bowl (kapāla) is held aloft in Vajravārāhī’s left hand, and she drinks the stream of blood that flows from it, fixing her gaze upon it as she drinks. The vajra and skull bowl are attributes adapted from the iconography of Vajravārāhī as consort to Cakrasaṃvara, but when the deities are in embrace, it is Cakrasaṃvara who drinks the blood as Vajravārāhī pours it down into her lord’s open mouth, “causing him to drink”. The skull bowl itself is formed of a severed head, part of the standard insignia of kāpālika praxis, while the blood within it is often said to be that of the four wicked māras, or of other evils; in the Abhisamayamañjarī, however, it has the taste of great bliss and great compassion.

Source: Google Books: 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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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Kapala in Pali glossary... « previous · [K] · next »

kapāla : (m.) 1. a shell (like that of a tortoise); 2. a frying pan; pan. 3. beggar's bowl.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Kapāla, (nt.) (Sk. kapāla, see kapalla) — 1. a tortoiseor turtle-shell S. I, 7=Miln. 371; S. IV, 179; as ornament at DA. I, 89.—2. the skull, cp. kaṭāha in sīsakaṭāha. ‹-› 3. a frying pan (usually as ayo°, of iron, e.g. A. IV, 70; Nd2 304III; VvA. 335) J. II, 352; Vv 845; DhA. I, 148 (v. l. °kapalla); Bdhd 100 (in simile).—4. a begging bowl, used by certain ascetics S. IV, 190; V, 53, 301; A. I, 36; III, 225; J. I, 89; PvA. 3.—5. a potsherd J. II, 301.

—ābhata the food collected in a bowl A. I, 36; —khaṇḍa a bit of potsherd J. II, 301; —hattha “with a bowl in his hand, ” begging, or a beggar, Th. 1, 1118; J. I, 89; III, 32; V, 468; PvA. 3. (Page 186)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
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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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Marathi-English dictionary

kapaḷā (कपळा).—m A large shaving or chip or detached piece (of wood, stone, plaster &c.)

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kapāla (कपाल).—n S pop. kapāḷa n The skull or cranium: also the sinciput. 2 A half of a pitcher or water-pot. 3 The forehead. 4 (Because man's fortunes are supposed to be written on his forehead.) Fate, fortune, destiny: also the writing declaring one's destinies apparent on the forehead. 5 kapāla S is further Scapula or shoulder-blade: also thighblade: also a hemisphere lying on the side (east or west) of any meridian. 6 This word is ever and anon uttered as an ejaculation importing downright denial or disallowal of some pretension or affirmation. The implication is, Such a matter is altogether out of the destiny or lot of. ka0 uṭhaṇēṃ or caḍhaṇēṃ g. of s. To get a head-ache. Ex. bhajana karitō sarvakāḷa || uṭhatēṃ ka0 āmucēṃ || ka0 kāḍhaṇēṃ To make one's fortune propitious; to strike out good luck. ka0 ṭēkaṇēṃ To rest or repose upon (figuratively); to cast one's self and hopes and wishes upon. ka0 dhuvūna pāhaṇēṃ To find out or determine the secret writing of one's destinies; to read the book of the fate of. Gen. neg. con. ka0 phuṭaṇēṃ g. of s. To have one's fortunes take an evil turn; to become unfortunate. ka0 bhara kuṅkūṃ hāta bhara bāṅgaḍayā A phrase used by a woman of her husband when she values him only on the ground of his enabling her to adorn herself with pigments and trinkets. For on her widowhood she would be deprived of this competency. ka0 cēṃ kātaḍēṃ nēṇēṃ To blast one's fortunes; to mar all one's luck: also ka0 jāṇēṃ g. of s. To lose all luck or good fortune. kapāḷācī rēgha or rēṣā ughaḍaṇēṃ or upaṭaṇēṃ g. of s. To have one's fortunes turn propitious. kapāḷālā kēsa ugavaṇēṃ Said in remarking upon some most improbable occurrence, or in disallowing some declaration about the future. (So the "Hair sprouting on the palm"--the Parthian's taunt to Crassus.) kapāḷāvara or kapāḷīṃ hāta māraṇēṃ To express astonishment, sorrow, or concern. kapāḷāśīṃ ka0 ghāsa- ṇēṃ To keep company with (as with a prosperous or lucky person, in the hope of sharing his fortunes). 2 To dangle after; to hang about; to copy with servile emulation. kapāḷāsa apakīrtti- -apayaśa-dāridrya-āpatti &c. yēṇēṃ g. of s. To fall into dishonor, poverty, misfortune &c. kapāḷīṃ kāṇṭī ghēūna jāṇēṃ To take one's self off; to make one's self scarce; to go away. kapāḷīṃ ḍāga lāgaṇēṃ g. of s. To be branded in the forehead; to be stigmatized. kapāḷīṃ bhadrā asaṇēṃ g. of s. To be fixed fast in poverty and wretchedness through evil stars.

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kāpalā (कापला).—( A) A caravan (of pilgrims, horse-dealers &c.)

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kāpaḷā (कापळा).—m C (kāpaṇēṃ) Slices of the pulp of uṇḍa (fruit of Oilnut-tree).

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

kapaḷā (कपळा).—m A large shaving or chip (of wood &c.).

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kapāla (कपाल) [-ḷa, -ळ].—n The skull or cranium. The foreshead. Fate. kapāḷa uṭhaṇēṃ Get a head- ache. kapāḷīṃ kāṇṭī ghēūna jāṇēṃ Take one's self off. kapāḷīṃ hāta māraṇēṃ Express aston- ishment, sorrow, or concern. kapāḷa ṭharaṇēṃ To have it in one's destiny preordain- ed. kapāḷa phuṭhaṇēṃ To become unfortunate. kapāḷamōkṣa hōṇēṃ To have one's head broken. kapāḷācēṃ kātaḍēṃ nēṇēṃ To blast one's fortunes, kapāḷāśī kapāḷa ghāsaṇēṃ To hang about.

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kāpalā (कापला).—m A caravan. kāpalā tarī āpalā Beat and half-kill one's own, still it is one's own (child &c.).

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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kapala (कपल).—Ved. A half, a part.

Derivable forms: kapalam (कपलम्).

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Kapāla (कपाल).—[kaṃ śiro jalaṃ vā pālayati]

1) The skull, skull bone; चूडापीडकपालसंकुलगलन्मन्दाकिनीवारयः (cūḍāpīḍakapālasaṃkulagalanmandākinīvārayaḥ) Māl 1.2; रुद्रो येन कपालपाणिपुटके भिक्षाटनं कारितः (rudro yena kapālapāṇipuṭake bhikṣāṭanaṃ kāritaḥ) Bh.2.95.

2) A piece of a broken jar; potsherd; कपालेन भिक्षार्थी (kapālena bhikṣārthī) Ms.8.93.

3) A multitude, collection.

4) A beggar's bowl; Ms.6.44.

5) A cup, jar in general; पञ्चकपाल (pañcakapāla).

6) A cover or lid.

7) A treaty of peace on equal terms; H.4.17; Kām.9.2.

-lam 1 The shell of an egg.

2) The cotyla of the leg of a man, any flat bone.

3) A kind of Leprosy.

-lī A beggar's bowl [cf. L. caput; Gr. Kephale].

Derivable forms: kapālaḥ (कपालः), kapālam (कपालम्).

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Kāpāla (कापाल).—a. [kapāla-aṇ-ṭhak-vā]

1) Relating to skulls; कङ्कालं मुसलं घोरं कापालमथ किङ्किणीम् (kaṅkālaṃ musalaṃ ghoraṃ kāpālamatha kiṅkiṇīm) Rām.1.27.12.

2) like a beggar; of a beggar कापाली नृप पापिष्ठां वृत्ति- मासाद्य जीवितः (kāpālī nṛpa pāpiṣṭhāṃ vṛtti- māsādya jīvitaḥ) Mb.12.8.7.

-laḥ, -likaḥ A follower of a certain Śaiva sect (the left-hand order) characterized by carrying skulls of men in the form of garlands and eating and drinking from them; भस्मा- स्थिशकलकीर्णा कापालमिव व्रतं धत्ते (bhasmā- sthiśakalakīrṇā kāpālamiva vrataṃ dhatte) Pt.1.212.

-lam A kind of leprosy.

-lī 1 A wreath of skulls; कापालीमुद्वहन्ती स्रजमिव धवलां कौमुदीम् (kāpālīmudvahantī srajamiva dhavalāṃ kaumudīm) Mu.3.2.

2) A clever woman.

3) The Embelia Ribes (Mar. vāvaḍiṃga).

See also (synonyms): kāpālika.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

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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Relevant definitions

Search found 105 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Kapalabhrit
Kapālabhṛt (कपालभृत्).—m. (-bhṛt) A name of Mahadeva. E. kapāla a skull, and bhṛt who cherishes...
Kapalatantra
Kapālatantra (कपालतन्त्र) or simply Kapāla refers to one of the thirty-one Dakṣiṇatantras, belo...
Kumbhakarnakapala
Kumbhakarṇakapāla (कुम्भकर्णकपाल).—According to Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Madya-lila 9.78, “At K...
Pancakapala
Pāñcakapāla (पाञ्चकपाल).—a. (-lī f.) Relating to an oblation offered in five cups (kapāla); P.I...
Kapalasana
Kapālāsana (कपालासन) is a type of posture (āsana), according to verse 31 of the Śrītattvanidhi....
Kapalashiras
Kapālaśiras (कपालशिरस्).—m. epithet of Śiva; तपसा दिवमारूढाः कपालशिरसा सह (tapasā divamārūḍhāḥ ...
Kapalagama
Kāpālāgama (कापालागम) refers to one of the four classifications of the Bhairava division of the...
Ekakapala
Ekakapāla (एककपाल).—a. consisting of or contained in one cup. Ekakapāla is a Sanskrit compound ...
Navakapala
Navakapāla (नवकपाल).—(navakapāleṣu saṃskṛtaḥ) a cake-offering prepared and presented on nine po...
Kapalanalika
Kapālanalikā (कपालनलिका).—A sort of pin or spindle for winding cotton &c. Kapālanalikā is a San...
Ashtakapala
Aṣṭakapāla (अष्टकपाल).—a. (°ṣṭā°) prepared or offered in 'eight' pans. -laḥ a sacrifice in whic...
Pitharakakapala
Piṭharakakapāla (पिठरककपाल).—a pot-sherd.Derivable forms: piṭharakakapālaḥ (पिठरककपालः), piṭhar...
Kapalasamdhi
Kapālasaṃdhi (कपालसंधि).—a peace on equal terms. कपालसंधिर्विज्ञेयः केवलं समसंधितः (kapālasaṃdh...
Parosem Kapala
pārōsēṃ kapāḷa (पारोसें कपाळ).—n A forehead bearing still its gandha of-yesterday.
Kapalapani
Kapālapāṇi (कपालपाणि).—m. epithet of Śiva; तपसा दिवमारूढाः कपालशिरसा सह (tapasā divamārūḍhāḥ ka...

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