Shabda, aka: Śabda; 18 Definition(s)


Shabda 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.

The Sanskrit term Śabda can be transliterated into English as Sabda or Shabda, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism


Śabda (शब्द).—The guṇa of ākāśa; swallowed by Bhūta and others.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 102. 17.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
context information

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.

Vaiśeṣika (school of philosophy)

Śabda (शब्द, “sound”) is one of the additional guṇas (‘qualities’) added by Praśastapāda, on top of the seventeen guṇas in the Vaiśeṣika-sūtras. These guṇas are considered as a category of padārtha (“metaphysical correlate”). These padārthas represent everything that exists which can be cognized and named. Together with their subdivisions, they attempt to explain the nature of the universe and the existence of living beings.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vaiśeṣika
Vaiśeṣika book cover
context information

Vaiśeṣika (वैशेषिक, vaisheshika) refers to a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy (āstika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upaniṣads. Vaiśeṣika deals with subjects such as logic, epistemology, philosophy and expounds concepts similair to Buddhism in nature

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Śabda (शब्द, “sound”) refers to an aspect of the representation of objects and senses, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 24. Accordingly, “by making a side-long glance, bending the hand sideways and putting a hand near the ear, one should represent the sound (śabda)”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Śabda (शब्द, “sound”) refers to an aspect of the representation of objects and senses;— By making a side-long glance, bending the hand sideways and putting a hand near the ear, one should represent the sound (śabda).

(Source): Natya Shastra
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
context information

Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (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 (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).

Mīmāṃsā (school of philosophy)

Śabda (शब्द, “verbal testimony”).—According to Jaimini, Knowledge of Dharma can be obtained only by Verbal Testimony (śabda /āgama = Veda) in other words through the medium of language. Mīmāṃsā affirms that verbal testimony (śabda) is the only means of Right Knowledge that can be used to know the nature of the invisible effects of action, and that all other means of Right Knowledge are necessary only to refute opponents.

(Source): Srimatham: Mīmāṃsa: The Study of Hindu Exegesis
context information

Mīmāṃsā (मीमांसा, mimamsa) refers to one of the six orthodox Hindu schools of philosophy, emphasizing the nature of dharma and the philosophy of language. The literature in this school is also known for its in-depth study of ritual actions and social duties.

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Śabda (शब्द) or Śabdāgama refers to one of upāgamas (supplementary scriptures) of the Dīptāgama which is one of the twenty-eight Siddhāntāgama: a classification of the Śaiva division of Śaivāgamas. The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu. The purpose of revealing upāgamas (eg., Śabda Āgama) is to explain more elaborately than that of mūlāgamas (eg., Dīpta-āgama) and to include any new idea if not dealt in mūlāgamas.

(Source): Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva

Śabda (शब्द, “sound”) (or rāva, resonance) is of ten kinds according to Jayaratha (author of the 13th century commentary Tantrālokaviveka on Abhinavagupta’s Tantrāloka).—Jayaratha cites the Brahmayāmala passage giving this order of the ten sounds (the term used is śabda):

  1. the sound cinī,
  2. the sound ciñcinī,
  3. the sounds of a cricket (cīravākī),
  4. the sounds of a conch- shell (śaṅkhaśabda),
  5. the sounds of a stick-zither (tantrīghoṣa),
  6. the sounds of a flute/wind in hollow bamboo (vaṃśarāva),
  7. the sounds of cymbals (kāṃsyatāla),
  8. the sounds of a thundercloud (meghaśabda),
  9. the sounds of a forest-fire (dāvanirghoṣa),
  10. the sounds of a kettle-drum (dundubhisvana).

An identical list of ten sounds is also found in the Kubjikāmata, where they are derived from Unstruck Resonance (anāhatā). The Yogin is advised to reject the first nine and cultivate only the liberating tenth.  Another very similar list is also found in an anonymous quotation in Rāghavabhaṭṭa’s Padārthādarśā commentary on the Śāradātilaka. Related are also the ten sounds taught in the Haṃsopaniṣad. The Yogin is again instructed to reject the first nine sounds and practise only the tenth.

The Dīkṣottara uses the term śabda instead of dhvani. The Resonance is correlated with the three main channels of subtle yogic physiognomy. The left channel, known as iḍā, resonates with the ciñcinī sound, the right channel, called piṅgalā with the sound of a cricket (cīra) and the central suṣumnā channel reverberates like a bell. When the bell-like resonance in the central channel dies down the Yogin attains the silent, liberated state of Śiva.

(Source): The Yoga of the Mālinīvijayottaratantra
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.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Śabda (शब्द, “verbal testimony”) means relying on word, testimony of past or present reliable experts. Hiriyanna explains Sabda-pramana as a concept which means reliable expert testimony.

Śabda is defined as the statement of a trustworthy person (āptavākya), and consists in understanding its meaning. It can be of two types,

  1. Vaidika (Vedic), which are the words of the four sacred Vedas, and are described as the Word of God, having been composed by God,
  2. and Laukika, or words and writings of trustworthy human beings.

Vaidika testimony is preferred as the infallible word of God, and Laukika testimony must by its nature be questioned and overruled by more trustworthy knowledge if such becomes available.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Śabda (sound) is the tanmatra (subtle attribute) of mahābhuta (primal element) ākasa (space). And through śabda one tries to turn his vision inwards from ākasa to daharākāsa, through chanting the mantra, by producing sound to slowly listening the anāhata sound without producing it. Eventually when mantra yoga is achieved, one achieves laya yoga also, since his consciousness is directed to daharākāsa where his devata resides.

(Source): Hindupedia: The Hindu Encyclopedia

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Śabda (शब्द, “sound”) according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVIII). Accordingly, “why condemn sounds (śabda)? The nature of sounds is instability; once heard, they vanish. The madman (mūḍha) who does not know that sound is characterized by impermanence (anityatva), change (pariṇamatva) and disappearance (hāni), finds a futile pleasure in sounds (ghoṣa) and, when the sound has disappeared, he remembers it and is attached to it”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
context information

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.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Śabda (शब्द, “sound”) or śabdāyatana refers to one of the “twelve sense spheres” (āyatana) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 24). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., śabda). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Śabda also represents one of the “eighteen elements” (dhātu) as well as one of the “eleven form components” (rūpaskandha).

Śabda also refers to one of the “six spheres” (ṣaḍviṣaya) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 33).

Śabda also refers to the “five qualities” (pāñcabhautika) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 40).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Śabda (sound). There is a great difference between the esoteric conception of sound and scientific concept of sound. The sound of physics is really the shadow of original sound. All empirical knowledge is inferential. Knowledge is nothing but the subjectivization of external objkectivity. What we subjectivise is not real object but the different waves and vibrations. We subjectivise them with the help of our sensory organs. Physics deals with this ‘shadow of sound’ and not the original sound.

Swami Pratyagātmānanda says:

“The real sounds or the sound as it is can be heard only by an absolute ear. ‘The sound as it is’ is the original sound. The sound which you, I, scientists and yogis hear is the distortion of the original form”

(Source): Google Books: Buddhist Tantra: A Philosophical Reflection and Religious Investigation

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Śabda (शब्द, “literal”) refers to one of the seven types of naya (standpoint), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 1.33.—To cognize an entity by looking at its attributes as primary and secondary depending on the intentions of the speaker or listener is called naya (standpoint/viewpoint).

What is meant by literal viewpoint? The viewpoint which discriminates between numbers, gender etc of the entity e.g. saying ‘he is a maidservant’ is wrong.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 1

Śabda (शब्द, “sound”) refers to the object of śrotas (ear/hearing), which represents one of the “five sense-organs” (pañcendriya), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 2.19. Cognition which results by hearing the object of knowledge is called sound (śabda). How many types of sound are there? There is only one type of sound but they can broadly classified as of seven types namely Do, Re, Me, far, sew, la and tee or sā, re gā , mā , pā, dhā, ni and sā in Hindi. What is form of ear sense organ? It is of the form of barley tube (jau-nalī).

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 2: the Category of the living

Śabda (शब्द, “sound”) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 5.24.—“Sound (śabda), union (bandha), fineness (saukṣmya), grossness (sthaulya), shape (saṃsthāna), division (bheda), darkness (tamas or andhakāra), image (chāya or chāyā), warm light (sunshine) (ātapa) and cool light (moonlight) (udyota) also (are forms of matter)”.

What is meant by sound (śabda)? The transformation of bhāṣāvargaṇās (matter particles capable of transforming into sound) as a result of colliding with matter, into sound is called sound. How many types of sound (śabda) are there? Sound is of two types namely; one which partakes of the nature of languages (bhāṣātmaka) and the other type which does not. How many types of bhāṣātmaka sound are there? It is of two types namely; expressed (akṣara) and not expressed (anakṣara).

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 5: The category of the non-living
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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

śabda (शब्द).—m (S) Sound, any sound, or any voice or utterance. 2 A word. 3 In grammar. A declinable word. 4 Reproof, censure, blame. v lāga, yē, ṭhēva, lāva, āṇa. śabda ṭākaṇēṃ To speak a word (as in recommendation or intercession).

--- OR ---

śābda (शाब्द) [or शाब्दिक, śābdika].—a S Verbal, vocal, relating to words or to the voice. 2 Relating to sounds. 3 Nominal;--used of inflection.

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

śabda (शब्द).—m Sound, any voice. A word. Reproof. śabda ṭākaṇēṃ Speak a word (as in recommendation).

--- OR ---

śābda (शाब्द) [or śābdika, or शाब्दिक].—a Verbal, vocal. Nomi- nal-used of inflection.

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

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.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Śabda (शब्द).—[śabd-ghañ]

1) Sound (the object of the sense of hearing and property of ākāśa); अथात्मनः शब्दगुणं गुणज्ञः पदं विमानेन विगाहमानः (athātmanaḥ śabdaguṇaṃ guṇajñaḥ padaṃ vimānena vigāhamānaḥ) R.13.1.

2) Sound, note (of birds; men &c.), noise in general; विश्वासोपगमादभिन्नगतयः शब्दं सहन्ते मृगाः (viśvāsopagamādabhinnagatayaḥ śabdaṃ sahante mṛgāḥ) Ś.1.14; स शब्दस्तुमुलोऽभवत् (sa śabdastumulo'bhavat) Bg.1.13; Ś.3.1; Ms.4.31; Ku.1.45.

3) The sound of a musical instrument; वाद्यशब्दः (vādyaśabdaḥ) Pt.2; Ku.1.45.

4) A word, sound, significant word (for def. &c. see Mbh. introduction); एकः शब्दः सम्यगधीतः सम्यक् प्रयुक्तः स्वर्गे लोके कामधुग्भवति (ekaḥ śabdaḥ samyagadhītaḥ samyak prayuktaḥ svarge loke kāmadhugbhavati); so शब्दार्थौ (śabdārthau).

5) A declinable word, a noun, substantive.

6) A title, an epithet; यस्यार्थुक्तं गिरिराज- शब्दं कुर्वन्ति बालव्यजनैश्चमर्यः (yasyārthuktaṃ girirāja- śabdaṃ kurvanti bālavyajanaiścamaryaḥ) Ku.1.13; Ś.2.15; नृपेण चक्रे युवराजशब्दभाक् (nṛpeṇa cakre yuvarājaśabdabhāk) R.3.35;2.53,64;3.49;5.22;18.42; V.1.1.

7) The name, mere name as in शब्दपति (śabdapati) q. v.

3) Verbal authority (regarded by the Naiyāyikas as a Pramāṇa.

9) Grammar; Dk.1.1.

1) Fame; labdhaśabdena kausalye kumāreṇa dhanuṣmatā Rām.2.63.11; svargāya śabdaṃ divamātmahetordharmārthamātmaṃsthitimācakāṅkṣa Bu. Ch.2.53; (cf. also 'śabdo'kṣare yaśogītyoḥ' -haimaḥ).

11) The sacred syllable ओम् (om).

12) A technical term.

Derivable forms: śabdaḥ (शब्दः).

--- OR ---

Śābda (शाब्द).—a. (-bdī f.) [शब्द-अण् (śabda-aṇ)]

1) Relating to or derived from a word.

2) Relating to or depending on sound (opp. ārtha).

3) Verbal, oral.

4) Sounding, sonorous.

5) Nominal (as inflection).

-bdaḥ A philologist, grammarian.

-bdī Name of Sarasvatī.

(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.

Relevant definitions

Search found 241 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Śabdabodha (शब्दबोध).—knowledge derived from verbal testimony. Derivable forms: śabdabodhaḥ (शब...
Pratiśabda (प्रतिशब्द).—1) echo, reverberation; वसुधाधरकन्दराभिसर्पी प्रतिशब्दोऽपि हरेर्भिनत्ति...
Śabdānuśāsana (शब्दानुशासन).—the science of words; i. e. grammar. Derivable forms: śabdānuśāsan...
Śabdapramāṇa (शब्दप्रमाण).—verbal or oral evidence. Derivable forms: śabdapramāṇam (शब्दप्रमाणम...
śabdārtha (शब्दार्थ).—m The sense or meaning of a word.
Śabdaśāstra (शब्दशास्त्र).—the science of words; i. e. grammar; अनन्तपारं किल शब्द- शास्त्रम् (...
Śabdendriya (शब्देन्द्रिय).—the ear. Derivable forms: śabdendriyam (शब्देन्द्रियम्).Śabdendriya...
cakāra-śabda (चकार-शब्द).—m A word, a syllable, any articulate utterance.
Śabdayoni (शब्दयोनि).—f. a root, radical word. Derivable forms: śabdayoniḥ (शब्दयोनिः).Śabdayon...
Śabdaguṇa (शब्दगुण).—a. having sound for its quality; अथात्मनः शब्दगुणं गुणज्ञः (athātmanaḥ śab...
Mahāśabda (महाशब्द).—a. making a loud sound, very noisy, boisterous. Mahāśabda is a Sanskrit co...
Śabdaśakti (शब्दशक्ति).—f. the force or expressive power of a word; signification of a word; se...
Śabdacāturya (शब्दचातुर्य).—cleverness of style, eloquence. Derivable forms: śabdacāturyam (शब्...
śabdadōṣa (शब्ददोष).—m (S) A blemish or an imperfection in words or a word (not as inherent or ...
Śabdātīta (शब्दातीत).—a. beyond the power or reach of words, indescribable. Śabdātīta is a Sans...

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