Kumbhaka; 6 Definition(s)
Kumbhaka means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, 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.
Dharmashastra (religious law)
Kumbhaka (कुम्भक) refers to “total suspension” (of breath). It is one of the three types of ‘breath-suspension’ techniques, also known as prāṇāyāma. The word is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti. (See the Manubhāṣya verse 6.70)(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra
Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.
Yoga (school of philosophy)
Kumbhaka (कुम्भक, “holding”) is a Sanskrit word referring to one of the three major breaths on which prāṇāyāma is built.(Source): Wisdom Library: Yoga
Yoga is originally considered a branch of Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).
1) Kumbhaka (कुम्भक).—A warrior of Skanda. (Śalya Parva, Chapter 45, Verse 75).
2) Kumbhaka (कुम्भक).—(Nikumbhaka). A very reputed sage. If he visited any place at dusk he left it only after a thousand years. He visited Kāśī once when King Divodāsa was ruling the state after having killed the Rākṣasa called Kṣemaka, who had lived like a king there. Kumbhaka lived in a forest in Kāśī with his disciples. Prosperity reigned supreme within a radius of three Yojanas from where the sage lived. Neither wild beasts nor famine infested the area.
2) Once a fierce famine broke out in Kāśī, and the failure of rain caused great havoc. Finding it impossible to feed the cows their keepers went with their live-stock every morning to Kumbhaka’s place where summer had not yet even peeped in, and after feeding their cows there, they returned home in the evening. But, one evening they led back with them the cows used by the sage for his Pūjās. When the sun set, as usual the sage sat before the sacred fire for Pūjā. But, the cow had not come. With his divine vision he found out the reason for the absence of the cow. He cursed that the region where the keepers of the cows lived be turned into a desert, and the kingdom of Kāśī became a desert place, whereupon king Divodāsa went to the banks of the Gomatī and founded a new kingdom there. (Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa Chapter 2).(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia
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.
Languages of India and abroad
kumbhaka : (nt.) the mast (of a ship).(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
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.
kumbhaka (कुंभक).—m S Closing the nostrils and mouth so as to suspend breathing. A religious exercise.(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
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.
1) The base of a column (used especially in this sense frequently in inscription).
2) A religious exercise (in Yoga phil.), stopping the breath by closing the mouth and both nostrils with the fingers of the right hand; प्राणापानौ संनिरुन्ध्यात्पूरकुम्भकरेचकैः (prāṇāpānau saṃnirundhyātpūrakumbhakarecakaiḥ) Bhāg.7.15.32.
Derivable forms: kumbhakaḥ (कुम्भकः).(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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Search found 19 books and stories containing Kumbhaka. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
Yoga Vasistha [English], Volume 1-4 (by Vihari-Lala Mitra)
Chapter XXV - On samadhi < [Book VI - Nirvana prakarana part 1 (nirvana prakarana)]
Chapter VI - The different stages of yoga < [The yoga philosophy]
Chapter LIV - Quiescence of uddalaka < [Book V - Upasama khanda (upashama khanda)]
Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi (by Ganganatha Jha)
Verse 6.70 < [Section VII - Means of Removing Sin (kilbiṣa)]
Verse 11.248 < [Section XXXII - Expiation of Secret Sins]
Amritanada Upanishad of Krishna-Yajurveda (by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar)
The Garuda Purana (by Manmatha Nath Dutt)
Chapter XX - Mantra-cures (curative formulas) of snakebite as narrated by Shiva < [Agastya Samhita]
Chapter XLIX - Discourse on Yoga and acts of piety < [Agastya Samhita]
Chapter CCXXVII - Different names of the Ayurvedic Drugs < [Dhanvantari Samhita]
The Vishnu Purana (by Horace Hayman Wilson)