Padmasana, aka: Padma-asana, Padmāsana; 12 Definition(s)

Introduction

Padmasana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Padmasana (padma-asana)—The lotus position. The feet are crossed, the toes are placed in the groin. This is the position of deep meditation.

(Source): Google Books: The Book of Hindu Imagery: Gods, Manifestations and Their Meaning

In the Padmāsana (पद्मासन) the two legs are kept crossed so that the feet are brought to rest upon the thighs. When used as a pītha (seat or pedestal), this Āsana should be used as the seat for the image during the conduct of worship, according to the Suprabhedāgama. According to the Candrajñānāgama, the seat is of a circular shape. The height of the Padmāsana consists of sixteen parts, of which two form the thickness of the lowest layer, five make up the lower lotus, two the intervening neck, and four the pper lotus and two more the uppermost layer.

Padmāsana should always be circular or oval, but never rectangular. In the absence of authoritative information as to its length and breadth, it is left to the sculptor to choose them so as to suit his purpose.

(Source): Google Books: Elements of Hindu iconography

Padmāsana (पद्मासन).—Both legs crossed in Padmāsana (lotus posture) indicate a state of transcendence with a potential for manifestation.

(Source): Red Zambala: Hindu Icons and Symbols | Introduction
Śilpaśāstra book cover
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Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

Purāṇa

Padmāsana (पद्मासन).—A kind of āsana in yoga, once practised by Paraśurāma; of Kapila.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 24. 16; 53. 17.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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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.

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Padmāsana (पद्मासन) is one of five pedestals that makes up the Śivāsana, unto which Śiva is installed and invoked during the ritualistic process of śivārcana, according to the Sakalāgamasāra-saṃgraha. In the process of invocation (āvāhana) Lord Śiva is contemplated as seated on Yogāsana: “in the process of offering of flowers (arcana) he is meditated upon as seated on padmāsana”. This particular āsana is associated with the shape of a circle and is connected with the element Air.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śaivism
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.

Yoga (school of philosophy)

Padmāsana (पद्मासन) refers to an āsana (posture) taught by Śiva. It is one of the first four out of 84 total, thus one of the most essential, according to Haṭhayogapradīpikā I.46-51.—Accordingly, “Place the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh, and grasp the toes with the hands crossed over the back. Press the chin against the chest and gaze on the tip of the nose. This is called the padmāsana, the destroyer of the diseases of the yamīs”.

Also, “Place the feet on the thighs, with the soles upwards, and place the hands on the thighs, with the palms upwards. Gaze on the tip of the nose, keeping the tongue pressed against the root of the teeth of the upper jaw, and the chin against the chest, and raise the air up slowly, i.e., pull the apāna-vāyū gently upwards. This is called the padmāsana, the destroyer of all diseases. It is difficult of attainment by everybody, but can be learnt by intelligent people in this world”.

Also, “Having kept both the hands together in the lap, performing the padmāsana firmly, keeping the chin Fixed to the chest and contemplating on Him in the mind, by drawing the apāna-vāyū up (performing mūla-bandha) and pushing down the air after inhaling it, joining thus the prāṇaand apāna in the navel, one gets the highest intelligence by awakening the Śakti (kuṇḍalinī) thus. The Yogī who, sitting with padmāsana, can control breathing, there is no doubt, is free from bondage”.

The 15th-century Haṭhayogapradīpikā by Svātmārāma is one of the oldest extant texts dealing with haṭhayoga: an ancient form of meditation founded by Matsyendranātha. The first chapter of this book describes various āsanas (eg., padma-āsana).

(Source): Google Books: The Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Padmāsana (पद्मासन) is a type of standing posture (āsana), according to verse 79 of the Śrītattvanidhi.—Accordingly, “Put the right leg over the left thigh and the left leg over the right thigh. Cross the hands inversely and take hold of the big toe firmly. Place the chin firmly on the chest and look at the tip of the nose. This is padmāsana, the lotus”.

The 19th-century Śrītattvanidhi is a sanskrit treatise describing 80 primary āsanas, or ‘posture’ (eg., padma-āsana) and several additional ones.

Note: this āsana is listed in many places.

(Source): archive.org: Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace

Padmāsana (पद्मासन) is one of the thirty-two āsanas (postures) taught in the second chapter of the Gheraṇḍasaṃhitā: “placing the right foot on the left thigh and likewise the left on the right thigh; crossing the hands behind the back to hold the two big toes; placing the chin on the chest, one should turn the gaze to the tipof the nose. This is called Padmāsana which is capable of destroying all diseases”.

Padmāsana is one of the selected 32 postures amongs 8,400,000 total mentioned by Śiva, according to Gheraṇḍasaṃhitā 2.1-2, “In all, there are as many Āsanas as species of animals. Eighty-four lacs of them are mentioned by Śiva. Out of them, 84 are regarded as important and among these 84, again 32 are good (enough) in this world of mortal beings”.

The 17th-century Gheraṇḍasaṃhitā (mentioning padma-āsana) is one of the three classic texts of Haṭha-yoga: a major branch of Yoga, sharing similarities with the Yoga system taught by Patañjali, though claiming its own mythical founder known as Matsyendranātha. This gheraṇḍa-saṃhitā is an encyclopedic Sanskrit treatise describing thirty two such āsanas.

(Source): archive.org: Gheranda Samhita
Yoga book cover
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Originally, Yoga is considered a branch of orthodox 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).

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Padmāsana (पद्मासन).—The Buddha should be visualized as seated in padmāsana, “a position in which the legs are tightly folded with the soles of the feet turned upwards”. This lotus posture had always been utilized by the yogins of India and is still used by the sādhus.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Padmāsana (पद्मासन) or Padmāsanariddhi refers to the “powers to walk over flames of fire” and, classified under ākāśagāmini-ṛddhi (sky-faring powers), represents sub-type of extraordinary activity (kriyā-ṛddhi), which itself is a subclass of the eight ṛddhis (extraordinary powers). These powers can be obtained by the Ārya (civilized people) in order to produce worldly miracles. The Āryas represent one of the two classes of human beings according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 3.46, the other being Mleccha (barbarians).

What is meant by extraordinary power to moving in the sky in lotus posture (padmāsana-riddhi)? It is the extraordinary power by which its owner moves in the space even though he is meditating in lotus posture.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 3: The Lower and middle worlds
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

padmāsana (पद्मासन).—n (S) A posture in religious meditation;--that in which the bauddha statues are represented.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

padmāsana (पद्मासन).—n A posture in religious meditation.

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