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Karana, aka: Karaṇa, Kāraṇa; 8 Definition(s)


Karana 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

Jyotiṣa (astronomy and astrology)

Karaṇa (करण) refers to half a tithi (lunar day), therefore, there are 60 karaṇas in a lunar month of 30 tithis. The term is used throughout Jyotiṣa literature.

Source: Wisdom Library: Jyotiṣa
context information

Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or ‘astrology’. It is one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1a) Karaṇa (करण) refers to “minor dance figure”, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 4. It is a specific kind of configurating consisting of sthāna (standing position), cārī (foot and leg movement) and nṛttahasta (hands in dancing position). Two karaṇas will make one mātṛkā. A combination of two, three, or four mātṛkās will make up one aṅgahāra (major dance figure). Eventually, an arranged sequence of aṅgahāras constitutes a dance.

1b) Karaṇa (करण, “activity”) refers to the ‘the initial enactment’ of the plot. Karaṇa represents one of the twelve mukhasandhi, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 21. Mukhasandhi refers to the “segments (sandhi) of the opening part (mukha)” and represents one of the five segments of the plot (itivṛtta or vastu) of a dramatic composition (nāṭaka).

1c) Karaṇa (करण, “production”) refers to one of the four classes of dhātu (stroke), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 29. The four dhūtas relate to different aspects of strokes in playing stringed instruments (tata).

In the playing of the viṇā the five kinds of the karaṇa-dhātu are:

  1. ribhita,
  2. uccaya,
  3. nīraṭita,
  4. hrāda,
  5. anubandha.

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra, “the karaṇa-dhātus will consist respectively of three, five, seven and nine light strokes, and the being combined and all ending in a heavy stroke”.

2) Kāraṇa (कारण) is another name (synonym) for vibhāva, referring to “determinants”, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 6.31 and chapter 7.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Karaṇa (करण).—One of the twelve elements of the ‘introduction segment’ (mukhasandhi);—(Description:) Taking up the matter in question is called Activity (karaṇa).

Source: archive.org: Natya ShastraNāṭyaśāstra 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).


1a) Kāraṇa (कारण).—The lord who is nirguṇa and Brahmā becomes karṇātmā after its conjunction with prakṛti and a saguṇa.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 49. 151. etc.

1b) A term for jīva or prāṇa.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 102. 101.

1c) A name for avyakta.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 2. 19.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana IndexPurāṇa 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.

General definition (in Hinduism)

The Karaṇa (करण) is not even a mere linking of many poses. It is a coordinated movement of the hands and feet, the action of which is thoroughly based on cogency. The movement should be aesthetically appealing to give it the status of dance. From the etymological point of view, the word karaṇa has its root in kṛñ meaning a doer, maker, causer, doing, making, causing, producing, helping, promoting, the act of doing and the doer. The work karaṇa also has all the above meanings. The word karaṇa also suggests the idea of being an instrument, an element, an aṅga or part of something, and in dance it is a unit of action.

Karaṇa is that which causes and also effects. In dance it causes and effects the aṅgahāra (a dance sequence). It is a helper or companion and hence instrumental in effecting action. In dance, it is a contributory factor. It suggests motion and hence it is no wonder that it is the very name of a treatise on the motion of planets by Varāhamihira. In short, a karaṇa in dance is to be understood as a basic unit of dance, of a dynamic and not merely static nature.

Source: Academia.edu: Some Pearls from the Fourth Chapter of Abhinavabhāratī Table of Contents

Karaṇa (करण) is half of a tithi. Hence there are 60 karaṇas in a lunar month of 30 tithis. The karaṇas are only of astrological use and have been given different names which are eleven in number. It can be further classified as the following:

The seven carakaraṇas are:

  1. Bava,
  2. Bālava,
  3. Kaulava,
  4. Taitila,
  5. Gara,
  6. Vaṇija,
  7. Viṣṭi,

The four sthirakaraṇas are:

  1. Śakuni,
  2. Catuṣpāda,
  3. Nāga,
  4. Kimstughna,
Source: Hindupedia: Pañcāṅga

In Buddhism


karaṇa : (nt.) 1. doing; making; 2. production. || kāraṇa (nt.), reason; cause. kāraṇā (abl.) by means of; through; by. (f.), torture; bodily punishment.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Karaṇa, (fr. kṛ, cp. Vedic karaṇa) 1. adj. (f. ī) (-°) doing, making, causing, producing; as cakkhu° ñāṇa° (leading to clear knowledge) S. IV, 331; V, 97; It. 83; and acakkhu° etc. S. V, 97; nāthā °ā dhammā A. V, 23 (cp. V. 89) and thera° A. II, 22; dubbaṇṇa° S. V, 217; see also D. I, 245; M. I. 15; S. V, 96, 115; A. IV, 94; V, 268; Miln. 289. ‹-› 2. (nt.) (-°) the making, producing of; the doing, performance of (=kamma), as bali° offering of food =bali kamma) PvA. 81; gabbha° Sn. 927; pānujja° Sn. 256. 3. (abs.) (a) the doing up, preparing J. V, 400, VI, 270 (of a building: the construction) (b) the doing, performance of, as pāṇâtipātassa k° and ak° (“commission and omission”); DhA. I, 214; means of action J. III, 92. (c) ttg. the instrumental case (with or without °vacana) PvA. 33; VvA. 25, 53, 162, 174. —°atthe in the sense of, with the meaning of the instrumental case J. III, 98; V, 444; PvA. 35; VvA. 304; DhsA. 48; Kacc 157.—4. (-°) state, condition; in noun-abstract function= °ttaṃ (cp. kamma I. 2) as nānā° (=nānattaṃ) difference M. II, 128; S. IV, 294; Bdhd 94; kasi° ploughing PvA. 66; kattabba° (=kattabbattaṃ) “what is to be done, ” i.e. duty PvA. 30; pūjā° veneration PvA. 30. sakkāra° reverence, devotion SnA 284.

Note: in massu° and kamma° some grammarians have tried to derive k° from a root kṛ, to hurt, cut, torture (see Morris J. P. T. S. 1893, 15), which is however quite unnecessary (see kamma 3 A (b), kataII 1 (b)). Karaṇa here stands for kamma, as clearly indicated by semantic grounds as well as by J. VI, 270 where it explains kappita-kesa-massu, and J. V, 309 & DhA. I, 253 where massukamma takes the place of °karaṇa, and J. III, 314, where it is represented by massu-kutti (C. : massukiriya). Cp. also DA. I, 137. a° Negative in all meanings of the positive, i.e. the non-performing J. I, 131; V, 222; Nett 81; PvA. 59; DhsA. 127; non-undertaking (of business) J. I, 229; noncommission M. I, 93; abstaining from Dhs. 299. Cpd. —uttariya (nt.) angry rejoinder, vehement defence DhA. I, 44. (Page 196)

— or —

Kāraṇa, (nt.) (in meaning 1 represented in later Sk. by kāraṇā f. , in meaning 2=Sk. kāraṇa nt. , equivalent to prakṛti, natural form, constituent, reason, cause). 1.—(a) a deed, action, performance, esp. an act imposed or inflicted upon somebody by a higher authority (by the king as representative of justice or by kamma: M. III, 181; see kamma 11 3. A b.) as an ordeal, a feat or punishment: a labour or task in the sense of the 12 labours of Heracles or the labours of Hades. kāraṇaṃ kārāpeti “he makes somebody perform the task. ” Pass, kāraṇaṃ or kāraṇā karīyati. Thus as a set of five tasks or purgatory obligations under the name of pañcavidha-bandhana “the group of five” (not, as Warren trsl. p. 257 “inflict on him the torture called the fivefold pinion”), a means of punishment in Niraya (q. v. under pañca). Not primarily torture (Rh. Davids, Miln. trsl. I. 254, and others with wrong derivation from kṛṇtati). At DhA. III, 70 these punishments are comprehended under the term dasa-dukkhakāraṇāni (the ten punishments in misery); the meaning “punishment” also at J. IV, 87 (tantarajjukaṃ k°ṃ katvā), whereas at J. VI, 416 k. is directly paraphrased by “maraṇa, ” as much as “killing. ” Often spelt karaṇa, q. v.; the spelling kāraṇā (as f.) at Miln. 185 seems to be a later spelling for kāraṇaṃ. See karaṇa for further reference.—Kiṃ kāraṇaṃ ajja kāressati “what task will he impose on me to-day?” A. V, 324; as pañcavidhabandhana K° A. I, 141, PvA. 251, Nd2 304III, — As adj. °kāraṇa in dāruṇa° “being obliged to go through the dreadful trial” PvA. 221.—(b) duty obligation, in kāraṇ’âkāraṇā (pl.) duties great and small DhA. I, 385. Cp. also kāraṇaṃ karoti to try M. I, 444.—(c) a trick (i.e. a duty imposed by a higher authority through training) J. II, 325 (ānañja°); Miln. 201 (ākāsa-gamana°). 2.—(a) acting, action as (material) cause: k°-bhūta being the cause of ... PvA. 15;—(b) (intellectual) cause, reason Miln. 150; DhA. I, 389; esp. as —°: arodana° the reason for not crying PvA. 63; asocana° same, ibid. 62; āgamana° the reason for coming (here) ibid. 81, 106. =pariyatti, DhA. 36. =attha, SA on I. 215, SnA. I. 238—Instr. kāraṇena by necessity, needs PvA. 195; tena k° therefore ibid. 40 — Abl. kāranā by means of, through, by (=hetu or nissāya) PvA. 27; imasmā k° therefore PvA. 40; kāraṇaṭṭhā (expl. as attha-kāraṇā Nd2) for the purpose of some object or advantage Sn. 75; opp. nikkāraṇā from unselfishness ibid. -sakāraṇa (adj.) with good reason (of vacana) PvA. 109. (Page 210)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's 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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