Pancaprakara, Pañcaprakāra, Panca-prakara: 2 definitions


Pancaprakara means something in Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India. 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 Panchaprakara.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[«previous next»] — Pancaprakara in Jainism glossary
Source: The University of Sydney: A study of the Twelve Reflections

Pañcaprakāra (पञ्चप्रकार) or Pañcaprakāratva refers to a “nature of five modes”, according to the 11th century Jñānārṇava, a treatise on Jain Yoga in roughly 2200 Sanskrit verses composed by Śubhacandra.—Accordingly, “Sentient beings, inflamed by very intense pleasure [and] unsteady from affliction by wrong faith, wander about in a five-fold [com.—with a nature of five modes (pañcaprakāratvena)] life that is difficult to be traversed. It has been stated at length that the cycle of rebirth which is full of suffering is five-fold on account of combining substance, place, right time, life and intention”.

General definition book cover
context information

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.

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India history and geography

Source: Yale Journal of Music & Religion: Ritual Music in Contemporary Brahmanical Tantric Temples of Kerala

Pañcaprākāra (पञ्चप्राकार) refers to the “five successive enclosures” surrounding the shrine (=śrīkōvil) of certain temples from Kerala—The earliest Brahmanical temples date from the 9th century, but the architectural design evolved over several centuries and culminated in the systematization of a typical style sanctioned by the Tantrasamuccaya. Such temples, alternatively called kṣetras or ambalams, consist of six parts: (1) the shrine, or śrīkōvil, and (2) the pañcaprākāras, the five successive enclosures surrounding it.

The five Pañcaprākāras are:

  1. antarmaṇḍala—the innermost enclosure surrounding the śrīkōvil (shrine);
  2. antahāra—a colonnade including many functional chambers like the kitchen;
  3. madhyahāra—attached to a structure of poles with lamps affixed on it;
  4. bāhyahāra—the courtyard around the madhyahāra and includes various structures;
  5. maryāda—consists of the compound wall with gōpura and a dining hall.

The Pañcaprākāra (five enclosures) of the Temple also correspond to the Pañcakośa or “five sheaths” of the Human Body. These are: the physical sheath (annamayakośa), the vital body sheath (prāṇamayakośa), the mental sheath (manomayakośa), the intellectual sheath (vijñānamayaośa), and the bliss sheath (anandamayakośa). These five sheaths represent the physical body of the deity on the horizontal plane.

According to Kerala Brahmanical temple tradition, the five enclosures (pañcaprākāras) are also connected with the five elements (pañcabhūtas) that constitute the universe. The pañcabhūta theory maintains that the universe consists of five elements: ether (ākāśa), air (vāyu), fire (tejas), water (jala), and earth (pṛthivī). They are associated respectively with the qualities of sound, touch, form, taste, and smell. Each one of them is generated by the previous one and absorbs its qualities.

India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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