Shakha, aka: Sakha, Sākhā, Śākhā, Śākha, Sākha; 18 Definition(s)


Shakha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, 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 terms Śākhā and Śākha can be transliterated into English as Sakha or Shakha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Ayurveda (science of life)

Śākhā (शाखा):—A Sanskrit technical term referring to the branches or limbs of the human body, and is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā and the Suśruta-saṃhitā. Śākhā is said to be one of the three “pathways of diseases” (rogamārga). The branches or limbs (śākhā) refers to the bodily elements (dhātus), for example: blood (rakta), skin (tvac) and so on. This pathway is also called “the peripheral (bāhya) pathway of disease”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

1) Śākhā (शाखा) refers to the “branches sprouting out of a tree trunk”, as mentioned in the second chapter (dharaṇyādi-varga) of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu (an Ayurvedic encyclopedia). The Dharaṇyādi-varga covers the lands, soil, mountains, jungles and vegetation’s relations between trees [viz., Śākhā] and plants and substances, with their various kinds.

2) Śākhā (शाखा) also refers to the “fibrous roots” (of trees or plants), as mentioned in a list of five synonyms in the second chapter (dharaṇyādi-varga) verse 29b.

Source: Wisdom Library: Raj Nighantu
Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Shakha in Purana glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

Śākha (शाख) is the name of a gaṇa (attendant of Śiva), mentioned in the Skandapurāṇa 4.2.53. In this chapter, Śiva (Giriśa) summons his attendants (gaṇas) and ask them to venture towards the city Vārāṇasī (Kāśī) in order to find out what the yoginīs, the sun-god, Vidhi (Brahmā) were doing there.

While the gaṇas such as Śākha were staying at Kāśī, they were desirous but unable of finding a weakness in king Divodaśa who was ruling there. Kāśī is described as a fascinating place beyond the range of Giriśa’s vision, and as a place where yoginīs become ayoginīs, after having come in contact with it. Kāśī is described as having both the power to destroy great delusion, as well as creating it.

The Skandapurāṇa narrates the details and legends surrounding numerous holy pilgrimages (tīrtha-māhātmya) throughout India. It is the largest Mahāpurāṇa composed of over 81,000 metrical verses, with the core text dating from the before the 4th-century CE.

Source: Wisdom Library: Skanda-purāṇa

Śākha (शाख).—According to one view Śākha was the younger brother of Subrahmaṇya while there are others who maintain that he was Subrahmaṇya’s son. In verse 37, Chapter 44 of Śalya Parva it is stated that Śākha was the son of the Vasu Anala and the younger brother of Subrahmaṇya and that he had two brothers called Vaiśākha and Naigameya. It is stated in Chapter 15, part 1 of Viṣṇu Purāṇa as follows:— "Āpa, Dhruva, Soma, Dharma, Anila, Agni, Pratyūṣa and Prabhāsa are the aṣṭavasus. Vaitaṇḍa, Śrama, Śānta, and Dhvani were sons of Āpa. Kāla, who annihilates the entire world is the son of Dhruva and Varccas is Soma’s son. Varccas gives people the vital glow. Draviṇa, Hutahavyavaha, Śiśvara, Prāṇa and Varuṇa were the sons of Dharma by Manoharā. Anila’s wife was Śivā, and two sons, Manojava and Avijñatagati were born to the couple. Kumāra, son of Agni was born in Śarastamba and he had three brothers called Śākha, Viśākha and Naigameya."

The following story about the birth of Śākha is from Taraṅga 6, Lāvāṇakalambaka of Kathāsaritsāgara: Defeated in battle by Tārakāsura, Indra decided to have no more fight with him and retired to Mount Mahāmeru. Devas and maharṣis sought asylum with Subrahmaṇya, who gave them protection. Indra came to know of it and fought with Subrahmaṇya feeling that the latter had captured his kingdom. Two sons, Śākha and Viśākha were born from the face of Subrahmaṇya wounded by the Vajrāyudha of Indra.

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Śākha (शाख).—A son of Agni and brother of Kumāra,1 an aṃśa of Skanda.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 3. 25; Matsya-purāṇa 5. 26; Vāyu-purāṇa 66. 24; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 15. 115.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 101. 280.
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.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Śākhā (शाखा, “branch”) refers to ‘various movements of the hand’. It is one of the three aspects of abhinaya (“histrionic representation”), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 8. The term is used throughout nāṭyaśāstra literature.

2) Śākhā (शाखा) refers to one of the representations through which the body (śārīra) expresse itself, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 24. It is also known by the name Śākhābhinaya. These bodily expressions, or representations (abhinaya), are to be executed in accordance with the psychological states (bhāva) and sentiments (rasa) available in the dramatic play (nāṭya). It forms a part of sāmānyābhinaya, or “harmonious representation”.

The śākhā representation is meant to accompany recitatives (pāṭhya). According to the Nāṭyaśāstra, “the representation that is made in due order by the head, the face, shanks, thighs, hands and feet in the manner of branches, is known as the śākhā representation”.

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).

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Katha (narrative stories)

Shakha in Katha glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

Śākha (शाख) is one of the two mighty sons of Kārttikeya that sprung from his body after being struck by Indra’s thunderbolt, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 20. Kārttikeya is the name of Śiva’s son born for the purpose of slaying the asura Tāraka and to protect the realm of Indra.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Śākha, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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Itihasa (narrative history)

Śākha (शाख) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.60.23) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Śākha) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Śākhā (शाखा) in the Rigveda and later denotes the ‘branch’ of a tree. Vayā is more often used in this sense in the Rigveda.

Source: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

A shakha (Sanskrit śākhā, "branch" or "limb"), is a Hindu theological school that specializes in learning certain Vedic texts, or else the traditional texts followed by such a school. An individual follower of a particular school or recension is called a śākhin. The term is also used in Hindu philosophy to refer to an adherent of a particular orthodox system.

A related term caraṇa, ("conduct of life" or "behavior") is also used to refer to such a Vedic school: "although the words caraṇa and śākhā are sometimes used synonymously, yet caraṇa properly applies to the sect or collection of persons united in one school, and śākhā to the traditional text followed, as in the phrase śākhām adhite, ("he recites a particular version of the Veda")".

Source: Cyclopaedia: Hinduism

Śākhā (शाखा) literally means branch. It is the term used for the various movements of the hands (kara-varhana). All the gestures and movements of the hands are śākhā.

Source: Some Pearls from the Fourth Chapter of Abhinavabhāratī Table of Contents

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

1. A deer, a previous birth of Devadatta. See the Nigrodhamiga Jataka. J.i.149 ff.; cf. DhA.i.148; Mtu.i.359.

2. A setthiputta of Rajagaha, a former birth of Devadatta. For his story see the Nigrodha Jataka. J.iv.37ff.; cf. Mil.203.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Śākhā (शाखा, “branch”).—One of the ten kinds of “plant-bodies” (vanaspati) a soul (jīva) can be reborn as due to karma. Śākhā and other plant-bodies are within the animal world (tiryag-gati) which is one of the four divisions of saṃsāra where souls are reborn.

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism
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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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Shakha in Pali glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

sakha : (m.) a friend. || sākhā (f.), a branch.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Sākhā, (Vedic śākhā, cp. also śaṅku stick, & Goth. hōha plough) a branch Vin. I, 28; M. I, 135; A. I, 152; II, 165, 200 sq.; III, 19, 43 sq. , 200; IV, 99, 336; V, 314 sq.; Sn. 791; J. V, 393; J. II, 44; a spur of a hill A. I, 243; II, 140; Miln. 36; also sākha (nt.) Mhvs 1, 55; J. I, 52; IV, 350; J. I, 164 (? yāva aggasākhā).—the rib of a parasol Sn. 688. ‹-› adj. sīla-sākha-pasākha whose branches and boughs are like the virtues J. VI, 324. In cpds. sākha° & sākhā°.

—nagaraka “little town in the branches, ” i.e. a suburb, a small town D. II, 146; J. I, 391. —patta-palāsa branches and foliage A. III, 44; —patta-phal’upeta with branches, leaves & fruit A. III, 43. —palāsa id. M. I, 488; A. II, 200. —bhaṅga faggots J. I, 158; III, 407; DhA. II, 204; III, 375. —miga a monkey J. II, 73; —ssita living upon branches (i.e. monkey) J. V, 233. (Page 702)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

śākha (शाख).—f (śāka S) A pot-herb in general; any esculent leaf, flower, fruit, bean, seed, root &c.

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śākha (शाख).—f ē A mango plump and well-filled (upon the tree) and bordering upon ripeness. In this stage the flavor is considered as exquisite.

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śākhā (शाखा).—f (S) A branch or bough. 2 fig. A section or subdivision (of a subject, a book &c.), a branch. 3 A sect or party.

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sakha (सख).—m n (ṣaṭka S) An aggregate of six. See saka.

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sakha (सख).—m S The friend of. In comp. as indrasakha The friend of Indra, marutsakha, ētatsakha, tatsakha &c.

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sakhā (सखा).—m (S) A friend, a companion, an associate.

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sakhā (सखा).—& sakhāsōyarā Commonly sagā & sagāsōyarā.

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sākha (साख).—f (sākṣya S) Mercantile credit: also good repute or honorable character generally.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

śākhā (शाखा).—f A branch, bough. Fig. A section; a sect.

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sakhā (सखा).—m A friend, a companion, an associate. a Own, closely related

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sākha (साख).—f Mercantile credit; good repute.

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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Śākha (शाख).—Name of Kārtikeya.

Derivable forms: śākhaḥ (शाखः).

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Śākhā (शाखा).—

1) A branch (as of a tree); आवर्ज्य शाखाः (āvarjya śākhāḥ) R. 16.19.

2) An arm.

3) A party, section, faction.

4) A part of subdivision of a work.

5) A school, branch, sect.

6) A part or division of an animal.

7) A school or traditional recension of the Veda, the traditional text followed by a school; as in शाखलशाखा, आश्वलायनशाखा, बाष्कलशाखा (śākhalaśākhā, āśvalāyanaśākhā, bāṣkalaśākhā) &c.

8) A branch of any science.

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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Relevant definitions

Search found 234 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Śākhānagara (शाखानगर).—a suburb; प्रवेशयेच्च तान् सर्वान् शाखानगरकेष्वपि (praveśayecca tān sarv...
Śākhācaṅkramaṇa (शाखाचङ्क्रमण).—'leaping from branch to branch', irregular study. Derivable for...
Śataśākha (शतशाख).—a. 1) various, multiform. 2) having hundred, i. e. many branches. Śataśākha ...
Śākhācandranyāya (शाखाचन्द्रन्याय).—see under न्याय (nyāya). Derivable forms: śākhācandranyāyaḥ...
Dvāraśākhā (द्वारशाखा).—the leaf of a door. Dvāraśākhā is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the...
Śākhāmṛga (शाखामृग).—1) a monkey, an ape; एतां दृष्ट्वा स्त्रियो मेऽन्या यथा शाखामृगस्त्रियः (e...
Śākhāraṇḍa (शाखारण्ड).—'a traitor to his Śākhā', a Brāhmaṇa who has changed his own school of t...
Śākhāntaga (शाखान्तग).—a. one who has finished one शाखा (śākhā); Ms.3.145. Śākhāntaga is a Sans...
Madhuśākha (मधुशाख).—a kind of tree. Derivable forms: madhuśākhaḥ (मधुशाखः).Madhuśākha is a San...
Avākśākha (अवाक्शाख).—[avācyaḥ śākhā asya] 'having the branches turned downwards', epithet of t...
Agnisakha (अग्निसख).—1) the wind. 2) the wild pigeon (smokecoloured). 3) smoke. Derivable forms...
Narasakha (नरसख).—an epithet of Nārayaṇa; ऊरूद्भवा नरसखस्य मुनेः सुरस्त्री (ūrūdbhavā narasakha...
Bahuśākha (बहुशाख).—a. having many branches or ramifications. Bahuśākha is a Sanskrit compound ...
Caitrasakha (चैत्रसख).—an epithet of the god of love.Derivable forms: caitrasakhaḥ (चैत्रसखः).C...
Śākalaśākhā (शाकलशाखा).—the recension or traditional text of the Ṛigveda as represented by the ...

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