Nartaka: 12 definitions



Nartaka means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi, Hindi. 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Nartak.

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Nartaka (नर्तक) refers to an “actor” who can be assigned the role of an assesor (prāśnika) of dramatic plays (nāṭaka) according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 27. These assessors (e.g., the nartakas) are to point out the faults of a dramatic performance (nāṭaka) as well as the merits of actors (nartaka) whenever a controversy (saṃgharṣa) arises among persons ignorant of the nāṭyaśāstra.

Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, 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 (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Arthashastra (politics and welfare)

Source: Shodhganga: Kakati Ganapatideva and his times (artha)

Nartaka (नर्तक, “dancer”) is an official title designating one of the seventy-two officers (niyoga) of the Bāhattaraniyogādhipati circle, according to the Inscriptional glossary of Andhra Pradesh (Śāsana-śabdakośāmu). The bāhattaraniyoga-adhipati is the highest executive officer of this circle (including a Nartaka). For example: During the reign of Gaṇapatideva, the area extending between Pānagal to Mārjavāḍi was entrusted to Gaṇḍapeṇḍāru Gangayasāhiṇi as Bāhattaraniyogādhipati. Later on, this office was entrusted to Kāyastha Jannigadeva.

Arthashastra book cover
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Arthashastra (अर्थशास्त्र, arthaśāstra) literature concerns itself with the teachings (shastra) of economic prosperity (artha) statecraft, politics and military tactics. The term arthashastra refers to both the name of these scientific teachings, as well as the name of a Sanskrit work included in such literature. This book was written (3rd century BCE) by by Kautilya, who flourished in the 4th century BCE.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

Nartaka (नर्तक, “dancers”) refers to one of the sub-castes that once existed in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) as mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.

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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: Shodhganga: Temple management in the Āgamas

Nartaka (नर्तक) refers to one of the Pañcācārya, representing members of the dance troupe employed in Śiva temples.—Performance of śuddhanṛtta or classical dance by Rudrakanyā accompanied by Pañcācārya [viz., Nartaka] is known as saukhyakarma. This is recommended to be performed as part of nityotsava, sthāpana, prokṣana, prāyaścitta, adbhutaśānti, utsava, snapana, māsapūjā, homakarma, dhvajārohaṇa and other kāmya-karma. The Pañcācāryas are Nartaka, Mardaka, Gāyaka, Vāṃśika and Mauravika. All those who have bhāvanā, who know music and dance, play musical instruments, and understand nāṭyarasa are said to be śivabhaktas. Highest among them are those who know the science of dance, proficient in dancing and also in counting mātrā. They are called Nartaka.

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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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Tibetan Buddhism

Nartaka (नर्तक) refers to one of the various Grahas and Mahāgrahas mentioned as attending the teachings in the 6th century Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa: one of the largest Kriyā Tantras devoted to Mañjuśrī (the Bodhisattva of wisdom) representing an encyclopedia of knowledge primarily concerned with ritualistic elements in Buddhism. The teachings in this text originate from Mañjuśrī and were taught to and by Buddha Śākyamuni in the presence of a large audience (including Nartaka).

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

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

nartaka (नर्तक).—a A tumbler, player, actor.

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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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Nartaka (नर्तक).—[nṛt-kartari ṣvun]

1) A dancer; sometimes a dancing preceptor.

2) An actor, mime, mummer; नाराजके जनपदे प्रहृष्टनटनर्तकः (nārājake janapade prahṛṣṭanaṭanartakaḥ) Rām.2.67.15.

3) A bard, herald.

4) An elephant.

5) A king.

6) A peacock.

7) An epithet of Śiva.

8) Name of a mixed tribe (veśyāyāṃ rajakājjāto nartako gāyako bhavet).

-kī 1 A female dancer, a singing girl, an actress; रङ्गस्य दर्शयित्वा निवर्तते नर्तकी यथा नृत्यात् (raṅgasya darśayitvā nivartate nartakī yathā nṛtyāt) Sāṅ. K.59; Ki.1.41; R.19.14,19.

2) A female elephant.

3) A pea-hen. (Mar. lāṃḍora).

Derivable forms: nartakaḥ (नर्तकः).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Nartaka (नर्तक).—i. e. nṛt + aka, I. m. 1. A dancer, [Rāmāyaṇa] 1, 12, 7. 2. A dancing-master, Mahābhārata 4, 305. Ii. f. , A female dancer, [Raghuvaṃśa, (ed. Stenzler.)] 19, 14. Iii. adj. Causing to dance, Sāh. D. 74, 17.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Nartaka (नर्तक).—[adjective] causing to dance; [masculine] & [feminine] ī dancer.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Nartaka (नर्तक):—[from narta] a mfn. causing to dance ([from] [Causal]), Sāh

2) [v.s. ...] m. dancer, singer, actor (often with naṭa), [Mahābhārata; Varāha-mihira; Kāvya literature; Purāṇa] etc.

3) [v.s. ...] a dancing-master ([from] [Causal]), [Mahābhārata]

4) [v.s. ...] a bard, herald, [Horace H. Wilson]

5) [v.s. ...] an elephant, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

6) [v.s. ...] a peacock, [Horace H. Wilson]

7) [v.s. ...] a kind of reed, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

8) [from narta] n. a [particular] [mythology] weapon, [Mahābhārata]

9) [from nṛt] b etc. See sub voce

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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