Murtyashtaka, Murti-ashtaka, Mūrtyaṣṭaka: 2 definitions


Murtyashtaka means something in 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.

The Sanskrit term Mūrtyaṣṭaka can be transliterated into English as Murtyastaka or Murtyashtaka, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Wisdom Library: Elements of Hindu Iconograpy

The eight forms of Śiva which go by the names of

  1. Bhava,
  2. Śarva,
  3. Īśāna,
  4. Paśupati,
  5. Ugra,
  6. Rudra,
  7. Bhīma and
  8. Mahādeva

are grouped under the collective name of the Mūrtyaṣṭaka. These names were received in succession by Śiva when he was first produced by Prajāpati and the eight aspects represented by the names given above became the lords of the various tatvas such as fire, air, earth, etc.

According to the Aṃśumadbhedāgama, Śarva should have the white colour of the śaṅkha or of the moon and be of a pacific appearance. On his head there should be the jaṭāmakuṭa in which is tied a crescent moon; the other parts of his body should be adorned with all the ornaments appropriate to them. In the back hands he should be carrying the khaḍga and the kheṭaka and his front hands should be in the varada and abhaya poses and he should be standing upon a padmapīṭha. Bhīma is the terrific aspect among the eight mūrtis of Śiva. His complexion is deep red; his appearance must be frightful and there should also be side tusks. He should be clothed in white garments, adorned with a jaṭā-makuṭa, and all other ornaments. His two hands must be carrying the śūla and the pāśa and the remaining two should be held in the varada and the abhaya poses. It is stated that Mahādeva should be shaped like Paśupati; Paśupati should be sculptured like Śarva and set up in a temple. And Bhava’s description is exactly similar to that of Bhīma, excepting that Bhava is a pacific aspect, and consequently has a calm, peaceful look and is without the side tusks, the criterion and concomitant of the ugra or terrific aspects; the descriptions of the other deities belonging to this group are not found in my copy of the Aṃśumadbhedāgama.

Also known as aṣṭa-mūrti (ashta-murti).

Shilpashastra book cover
context information

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.

Discover the meaning of murtyashtaka or murtyastaka in the context of Shilpashastra from relevant books on Exotic India

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Murtyashtaka in Shaivism glossary
Source: Kāpālikas

Mūrtyaṣṭaka (मूर्त्यष्टक) refers to the “eight embodiments of Śiva”, according to a copper-plate inscription found in Malhar, Chhattisgarh, written around 650 CE: “Śiva has eight embodiments (mūrtyaṣṭaka) [and eight] lords of divisions (vigraheśvara). The sixty-six Rudras are embodiments of Gahaneśa (“Lord of the Abyss”), they bestow liberation in a different form in each aeon”.

The eight embodiments (mūrtyaṣṭaka) are identical with the eight vidyeśvaras or lords of knowledge (e.g. Svacchandatantra 10.1161–1162):

  1. Ananta,
  2. Sūkṣma,
  3. Śivottama,
  4. Ekanetra,
  5. Ekarudra,
  6. Trinetra,
  7. Śrīkaṇṭha,
  8. Śikhaṇḍī.

In the Lākulas’ system, they are placed just under the two highest forms of Śiva, which are Dhruva and Tejīśa, in the pure section of the universe.

Shaivism book cover
context information

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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