Samjna, aka: Saṃjñā, Saṃjña; 10 Definition(s)


Samjna means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. 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

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Saṃjñā (संज्ञा) refers to a “suggestive sign ”; it is a Sanskrit technical term defined in the Nāṭyaśāstra.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
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).


1a) Saṃjñā (संज्ञा).—Daughter of Viśvakarman (Tvaṣṭ(r)a, Matsya-purāṇa and Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa); consort of Sūrya (Vivasvat, Bhāgavata-purāṇa) gave birth to Manu, Yama and Yamī; unable to bear the effulgence of her husband, she engaged Chāyā, her servant maid, to take her place, and left for penance; to Chāyā were born Śanaiścara, Manu (Sāvarṇi), Tapatī; finding fault with Yama once the Sun god discovered Chāyā's identity and after a search found Samjñā doing penance as a mare in the plains of Uttarakuru;1 he became a horse in turn and Samjñā as a mare gave birth to three more children; the two Aśvins and Revanta; Viśvakarma filed off the Vaiṣṇava effulgence and out of this he crafted the discus of Viṣṇu, the trident of Śiva, the Puṣpakavimāna of Kubera the lance (Śakti) of Kārtikeya and others.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 13. 8-9: VI. 6. 40: IX. 1. 11: Matsya-purāṇa 11. 2 and 24-37; Vā 84. 21; 100. 31.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 24. 90: III. 59. 22-3; IV. 1. 28: Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 2. 2-12.

1b) A Śakti.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 44. 87.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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.

Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Saṃjñā (संज्ञा).—A technical term; a short wording to convey ample sense; a term to know the general nature cf things; convention; cf. वृद्धिशब्दः संज्ञा (vṛddhiśabdaḥ saṃjñā); आदेचः संज्ञिनः (ādecaḥ saṃjñinaḥ) M.Bh. on P.1-1.1. There are two main divisions of संज्ञा-कृत्रिमसंज्ञा (saṃjñā-kṛtrimasaṃjñā) or an artificial term such as टि, घु (ṭi, ghu), or भ (bha) which is merely conventional, and अकृत्रिमसंज्ञा (akṛtrimasaṃjñā) which refers to the literal sense conveyed by the word such as अव्यय, सर्वनाम (avyaya, sarvanāma) and the like. Some grammar works such as the Candra avoid purely conventional terms. These samjnas are necessary for every scientific treatise. In Panini's grammar, there are the first two chapters giving and explaining the technical terms whose number exceeds well-nigh a hundred.

(Source): Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
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Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Saṃjñā (संज्ञा), disatisfied with the appearance of her husband, the sun (i.e. Vivasvat), secretly leaves him, arranging for a lookalike to take her place. She goes back to her father, but he tells her to go back to her husband, so she goes out to grass. Vivasvat does not notice the switch of wives until one of his earlier children points out that the mother treats the latest child preferentially. Vivasvat then goes to his father-in-law, who gives him a visual makeover and tells him where his wife is. She receives him favourably, and they are reunited (See the Harivaṃśa 8.6–40).

(Source): Cardiff University Blogs: Who’s who in ancient India?

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

Saṃjñā (संज्ञा) is the forty-sixth of sixty digits (decimal place) in an special enumeration system mentioned by Vasubandhu in his Abhidharmakośa (“treasury of knowledge”). The explanations of the measure of years, eons, and so forth must be comprehended through calculation based on a numerical system. Enumeration begins from one and increases by a factor of ten for each shift in decimal place. The sixtieth number in this series is called “countless”.

Among these decimal positions (eg., saṃjñā), the first nine positions from one to one hundred million are called ‘single set enumeration’. From a billion up to, but not including countless is “the enumeration of the great companion” and is called the ‘recurring enumeration’.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Buddhism

Saṃjñā (संज्ञा, “perceptions”) refers to the third of the “five components” (pañcaskandha) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 22). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., saṃjñā). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Saṃjñā (“perceptions”) also refers to one of the fourty “conditions” (saṃskāra) that are “associated with mind” (citta-samprayukta) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 30).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Saṃjñā (संज्ञा, “idea, concept”):—(Skt.; Pāli, saññā). The third of the five aggregates (skandha), Saṃjñā is the psychological faculty of perception or discernment. Saṃjñā is said to recognize the distinctive characteristics of things, for example, by identifying different colours. It is sixfold, with respect to perception of the objects of the five senses plus the ideas perceived by the mind.

(Source): Oxford Reference: A Dictionary of Buddhism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Saṃjñā (संज्ञा, “recognition”).—What is the meaning of saṃjñā (recognition)? Cognition by comparison is recognition e.g. ‘this is like that (known earlier)’ is recognition. What is the function of recognition? To recollect something seen earlier and then to compare it to something being seen now is the function of recognition e.g. this house is like the one I saw earlier.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 1
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

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Saṃjñā (संज्ञा).—9 Ā.

1) To know, understand, be aware of.

2) To recognize.

3) To live in harmony, agree together (with acc. or instr.); पित्रा पितरं वा संजानीते (pitrā pitaraṃ vā saṃjānīte) Sk.

4) To watch, be on the alert; संजानानान् परिहरन् रावणानुचरान् बहून् (saṃjānānān pariharan rāvaṇānucarān bahūn) Bk.8.27.

5) To accede or agree to.

6) To remember, think of (Paras); मातुः मातरं वा संजानाति (mātuḥ mātaraṃ vā saṃjānāti) Sk.

7) To direct, appoint. Caus.

1) To inform.

2) To appease, gratify, console.

3) (a) To quiet, pacify (a sacrificial animal). (b) To kill.

4) To command, enjoin.

5) To animate.

6) To make intelligible, cause to be understood, inform.

7) To make a sign to (any one), communicate by signs.

--- OR ---

Saṃjña (संज्ञ).—a.

1) Knock-kneed.

2) Being conscious.

3) Named, called; see संज्ञा (saṃjñā) below.

-jñam A yellow fragrant wood.

--- OR ---

Saṃjñā (संज्ञा).—1 Consciousness, अकरुण पुनः संज्ञाव्याधिं विधाय किमीहसे (akaruṇa punaḥ saṃjñāvyādhiṃ vidhāya kimīhase) Māl.9.42; रतिखेदसमुत्पन्ना निद्रा संज्ञाविपर्ययः (ratikhedasamutpannā nidrā saṃjñāviparyayaḥ) Ku.6.44. संज्ञा लभ्, आपद् (saṃjñā labh, āpad) or प्रतिपद् (pratipad) 'to regain or recover one's consciousness, come to one's senses'.

2) Knowledge, understanding; नायका मम सैन्यस्य संज्ञार्थं तान् व्रवीमि ते (nāyakā mama sainyasya saṃjñārthaṃ tān vravīmi te) Bg.1.7; Mb.12.153.63.

3) Intellect, mind; लोकतन्त्रं हि संज्ञाश्च सर्वमन्ने प्रतिष्ठितम् (lokatantraṃ hi saṃjñāśca sarvamanne pratiṣṭhitam) Mb.13.63.5.

4) A hint, sign, token, gesture; मुखापिंतैकाङ्गुलिसंज्ञयैव मा चापलायेति गणान् व्यनैषीत् (mukhāpiṃtaikāṅgulisaṃjñayaiva mā cāpalāyeti gaṇān vyanaiṣīt) Ku.3.41; उपलभ्य ततश्च धर्मसंज्ञाम् (upalabhya tataśca dharmasaṃjñām) Bu. Ch.5.21; Bhāg. 6.7.17.

5) A name, designation, an appellation; oft. at the end of comp. in this sense; द्वन्द्वैर्विमुक्ताः सुखदुःखसंज्ञैः (dvandvairvimuktāḥ sukhaduḥkhasaṃjñaiḥ) Bg.15.5.

6) (In gram.) Any name or noun having a special meaning, a proper name.

7) The technical name for an affix.

8) The Gāyatrī Mantra; see गायत्री (gāyatrī).

9) A track, footstep.

1) Direction.

11) A technical term.

12) Name of the daughter of Viśvakarman and wife of the sun, and mother of Yama, Yamī, and the two Aśvins. [A legend relates that संज्ञा (saṃjñā) on one occasion wished to go to her father's house and asked her husband's permission, which was not granted. Resolved to carry out her purpose, she created, by means of her superhuman power, a woman exactly like herself --who was, as it were, her own shadow (and was therefore called Chhāyā), --and putting her in her own place, went away without the knowledge of the sun. Chhāya bore to the sun three children (see chāyā), and lived quite happily with him, so that when Saṁjñā returned, he would not admit her. Thus repudiated and disappointed, she assumed the form of a mare and roamed over the earth. The sun, however, in course of time, came to know the real state of things, and discovered that his wife had assumed the form of a mare. He accordingly assumed the form of a horse, and was united with his wife, who bore to him, two sons--the Aśvinīkumāras or Aśvins q. v.]

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

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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