Shankara, aka: Saṅkāra, Saṅkara, Śāṃkara, Śaṅkara, Śaṃkara, Śāṅkara, Saṃkāra, Saṃkara, Sham-kara; 23 Definition(s)


Shankara 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 Śāṃkara and Śaṅkara and Śaṃkara and Śāṅkara can be transliterated into English as Samkara or Shamkara or Sankara or Shankara, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Vedanta (school of philosophy)

Shankara in Vedanta glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

Born in Kāladi in C. 788 A.D., Śaṅkara was a “child-prodigy”. Son of Śivaguru and Āryāmbā (or Satī Mādhavīyā or Viśiṣṭā), Śaṅkara not only performed miracles in his early age, but even used his charisma to influence his mother to allow him to take sudden renunciation i.e., āpat-saṃnyāsa’, at the early age of six or seven, to become a pupil of Govindapāda. This early phase of his life culminated in the composition by him (at the age of twelve) of his famous commentary on the Brahma-Sūtra, the Śārīraka-bhāṣya or Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya, which continues till date to pose a challenge even to the most articulate among the intellectuals of the world over.

Source: Google Books: Bhāmatī and Vivaraṇa Schools of Advaita Vedānta

Śrī Śaṅkara, the greatest expounder of Advaita Vedanta is reputed to have flourished between 788 and 820 A.D. This date cannot be regarded as finally settled and a large number of Indian scholars bring down his date to the first or second century A.D. or B.C. However, the latter part of the eighth century has been accepted by thinkers as the most probable date.

Source: Preceptors of Advaita
context information

Vedanta (वेदान्त, vedānta) refers to a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. There are a number of sub-schools of Vedanta, however all of them expound on the basic teaching of the ultimate reality (brahman) and liberation (moksha) of the individual soul (atman).

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Śaṅkara (शङ्कर):—Third of the eleven emanations of Rudra (ekādaśa-rudra), according to the Aṃśumadbhedāgama and the Śilparatna. The images of this aspects of Śiva should have three eyes, four arms, jaṭāmakuṭas and be of white colour. It should be draped also in white clothes and be standing erect (samabhaṅga) on a padmapīṭha. It should be adorned with all ornaments and with garlands composed of all flowers and it should keep their front right hand in the abhaya and the front left hand in the varada poses, while it should carry in the back right hand the paraśu and in the back left hand the mṛga.

Source: Wisdom Library: Elements of Hindu Iconograpy

Śaṅkara (शङ्कर) is a Sanskrit name referring to one of the eight manifestations of Unmatta, who is a form of Bhairava. According to the Rudrayāmala, there are eight main forms of Bhairava who control the eight directions of this universe. Each form (eg., Unmatta) has a further eight sub-manifestations (eg., Śaṅkara), thus resulting in a total of 64 Bhairavas.

When depicting Śaṅkara according to traditional iconographic rules (śilpaśāstra), one should depcit him (and other forms of Unmatta) having a white color and good looks; he should carry in his hands the kuṇḍa, the kheṭaka, the parigha (a kind of club) and bhiṇḍipāla. The word Śilpaśāstra refers to an ancient Hindu science of arts and crafts, dealing with subjects such as painting, sculpture and iconography.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śilpa-śāstra
Shilpashastra book cover
context information

Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Śaṅkara (शङ्कर) is a Sanskrit word referring to a deity. Acording to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.88-93, when Brahmā, Indra and all other gods went to inspect the playhouse (nāṭyamaṇḍapa) designed by Viśvakarmā, he assigned different deities for the protection of the playhouse itself, as well as for the objects relating to dramatic performance (prayoga).

As such, Brahmā assigned Śaṅkara to the second section (joint/knot, parva) of the Jarjara (Indra’s banner staf). The protection of the playhouse was enacted because of the jealous Vighnas (malevolent spirits), who began to create terror for the actors.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
context information

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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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

1) Śaṅkara (शङ्कर).—A synonym of Śiva.

2) Śaṅkara (शङ्कर).—A simpleton, who was killed by his wife. This brahmin had a very mean wife called Kalipriyā. After killing her husband she left the place with her paramour. But, wild animals killed him on their way in the forest. In all repentance Kalipriyā returned home and after worshipping the corpse of her husband she observed Kārttika vrata at the instance of certain women. Thereby she got absolution from sin and attained heaven. (Padma Purāṇa, Brahmakhaṇḍa, Chapter 10).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Śaṅkara (शङ्कर).—A name of Śiva; four kalās of;1 also Śambhu, Umāpati, Sūlapāṇi, Vṛṣabhadhvaja and Hara; fight of, with Kṛṣṇa for Bāṇa; bound by Jṛmbāstra he became disabled; asked Kṛṣṇa to spare the life of Bāṇa.2 Also (Śaṃkara)—an epithet of Mahādeva;3 the āśrama of;4 approached Vāsudeva to aid him to put down the Asura Andhakas;5 remembered Nṛsimha to vanquish the mātṛgaṇa.6

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 4. 19; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 9. 90; 13. 62; IV. 35. 97; Vāyu-purāṇa 21. 10; 24. 62. 43. 38; 54. 48; 112. 35; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 9. 2; V. 34. 29.
  • 2) Ib. V. 32. 8; 33. 21.
  • 3) Matsya-purāṇa 154. 235.
  • 4) Ib. 154. 381.
  • 5) Ib. 154. 437, 514; 179. 35.
  • 6) Ib. 179. 54; 180. 20.

1b) A son of Danu.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 21. 4.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Śaṃkara (शंकर) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. XIV.8.14, XIV.8, XIV.8.27, XIV.8) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Śaṃkara) 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
Purana book cover
context information

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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Shankara in Shaivism glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

Śaṅkara (शङ्कर) is the Sanskrit name of a deity presiding over Kurucandra, one of the sixty-eight places hosting a svāyambhuvaliṅga, which is one of the most sacred of liṅgas according to the Śaivāgamas. The list of sixty-eight svāyambhuvaliṅgas and presiding deities (eg., Śaṅkara) is found in the commentary on the Jirṇoddhāra-daśaka by Nigamajñānadeva. The word liṅga refers to a symbol used in the worship of Śiva and is used thoughout Śaiva literature, such as the sacred Āgamas.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Śaṅkara (शङ्कर) or Śaṅkarāgama refers to one of upāgamas (supplementary scriptures) of the Santānāgama 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., Śaṅkara Āgama) is to explain more elaborately than that of mūlāgamas (eg., Santāna-āgama) and to include any new idea if not dealt in mūlāgamas.

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva
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.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Shankara in Hinduism glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

Adi Shankara (788 CE - 820 CE) was an Indian philosopher from Kalady (Kerala) who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedānta. His teachings are based on the unity of the ātman and brahman— non-dual brahman, in which brahman is viewed as nirguna brahman, brahman without attributes.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Śaṅkara (traditionally 788-820 CE) was the key figure in the Advaita Vedānta school, one of the most influential schools of Indian thought. He adopted much of Nāgārjuna's deconstructive approach, according to which the world as it appears to us is illusion, but took it out of a Buddhist context, instead using it to support the worldview of the Upaniṣads.

Source: World Philosophy: Hinduism

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

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During the time of Dharmakirti, Adi Shankara (569-537 BCE) defeated Buddhists in the debate. Taranatha writes; “Inflated with vanity, they entered into debate with Shankaracharya. In this the Buddhists were defeated and, as a result everything belonging to the twenty-five centers of the Doctrine was lost to Tirthikas (Brahmana philosophers) and the centers were deserted. About five hundred Upāsakas (Buddhists) had to enter the path of Tirthikas.”

Source: The Chronological History of Buddhism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

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Saṃkara (संकर, “intermixing”) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 5.38.—What is the meaning of saṃkara-vyatikara? Intermixing is called saṃkara and becoming one after intermixing is called vyatikara.

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.

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India history and geogprahy

Śaṃkara (शंकर) is an example of a Śaivite name mentioned in the Gupta inscriptions. Classification of personal names according to deities (eg., from Śaivism) were sometimes used by more than one person and somehow seem to have been popular. The Gupta empire (r. 3rd-century CE), founded by Śrī Gupta, covered much of ancient India and embraced the Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Derivation of personal names (eg., Śaṃkara) during the rule of the Guptas followed patterns such as tribes, places, rivers and mountains.

Śaṃkara is an example of a name based on some sect (eg., Buddhist or Jain) mentioned in the Gupta inscriptions.

Source: Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions
India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as 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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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

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

saṅkara : (adj.) blissful. (m.) blending; mixing. || saṅkāra (m.) rubbish.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

1) Saṅkāra, (fr. saṃ+kṛ) rubbish Vin. I, 48; IV, 265; J. I, 315; II, 196.

2) Saṅkara, 2 (adj.) (cp. Sk. śaṅkara) blissful Mhbv 4 (sabba°). (Page 662)

3) Saṅkara, 1 (fight, confusion) wrongly for saṅgara Nett 149, in quot. fr. M. III, 187. (Page 662)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

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

Shankara in Marathi glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

śaṅkara (शंकर).—m (S Maker or conferrer of śa or prosperity. ) A name of Shiva. 2 The famous teacher popularly designated śaṅkarācārya q. v.

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śaṅkara (शंकर).—a S Auspicious, propitious, conferring happiness or weal.

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śaṅkarā (शंकरा) [or शंकराभरण, śaṅkarābharaṇa].—m (S) A mode of music. See rāga.

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saṅkara (संकर).—m (S) Confusedly mixing or mingling. 2 Tumultuous intermixture; a medley, farrago, hotchpotch. 3 also saṅkarajāti f (S) A mixed caste or race; a caste proceeding from the promiscuous sexual intercourse of the four tribes in the first instance, and again from their commerce with the descendants of such a connection, or the indiscriminate cohabitation of those descendants amongst one another.

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saṅkarā (संकरा).—m (Or śaṅkarā) A Rag or mode of music. See rāga.

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sāṅkara (सांकर).—m R Straws, sticks, leaves, mud &c. as blocking up any watercourse: also rubbish as deposited or gathered by a stream, alluvium. 2 Phlegm collected in the throat and impeding the voice or utterance.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

śaṅkara (शंकर).—m A name of śiva, the famous teacher popularly designated śaṅkarā- cārya. a Auspicious.

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saṅkara (संकर).—m Confusedly mixing. Tumultuous intermixture, a medley, a hotchpotch.

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saṅkara (संकर).—m saṅkarajāti f A mixed caste or race.

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.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Shankara in Sanskrit glossary... « previous · [S] · next »

Śaṃkara (शंकर).—a. (-rā-rī f.) [शं सुखं करोति कृ-अच् (śaṃ sukhaṃ karoti kṛ-ac)] Conferring happiness or prosperity, auspicious, propitious; भीताः शितशराभीताः शंकरं तत्र शंकरम् (bhītāḥ śitaśarābhītāḥ śaṃkaraṃ tatra śaṃkaram) (menire) Ki.15.31.

-raḥ 1 Name of Śiva.

2) Name of a celebrated teacher and author (śaṃkarācārya).

-rī 1 Name of Pārvatī, wife of Śiva.

2) Bengal madder.

3) The Śamī tree.

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Śāṅkara (शाङ्कर).—

1) A bull.

2) A Śaivaite, a devotee of Śaṃkara; प्रतोषिताश्च शाङ्कराः (pratoṣitāśca śāṅkarāḥ) Cholachampu p.24, verse 59.

3) A follower of Śaṃkarāchārya.

Derivable forms: śāṅkaraḥ (शाङ्करः).

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Saṃkāra (संकार).—

1) Dust, sweepings.

2) The crackling of flames.

Derivable forms: saṃkāraḥ (संकारः).

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Saṃkara (संकर).—

1) Commingling, mixture, intermixture; पत्रसंकर (patrasaṃkara) Ś.2.

2) Blending together, union.

3) Confusion or mixture (of castes); unlawful intermarriage resulting in mixed castes; चित्रेषु वर्णसंकरः (citreṣu varṇasaṃkaraḥ) K.; संकरो नरकायैव कुलध्नानां कुलस्य च (saṃkaro narakāyaiva kuladhnānāṃ kulasya ca) Bg.1.42; Ms.1.4.

4) (In Rhet.) The combination of two or more dependent figures of speech in one and the same passage (opp. saṃsṛṣṭi where the figures are independent); अविश्रान्तिजुषामात्मन्यङ्गाङ्गित्वे तु संकरः (aviśrāntijuṣāmātmanyaṅgāṅgitve tu saṃkaraḥ) K.P.1; or अङ्गाङ्गित्वेऽलंकृतीनां तद्वदेकाश्रयस्थितौ । संदिग्धत्वे च भवति संकरस्त्रिविधः पुनः (aṅgāṅgitve'laṃkṛtīnāṃ tadvadekāśrayasthitau | saṃdigdhatve ca bhavati saṃkarastrividhaḥ punaḥ) S. D.757.

5) The crackling of flames जागर्त्येव हि दुष्टात्मा संकरेऽग्निरिवोत्थितः (jāgartyeva hi duṣṭātmā saṃkare'gnirivotthitaḥ) Mb.12.13.12.

6) Dust, sweepings.

7) Dung.

Derivable forms: saṃkaraḥ (संकरः).

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Saṃkāra (संकार).—

1) Dust, sweepings.

2) Crackling of flames.

Derivable forms: saṃkāraḥ (संकारः).

--- OR ---

Śaṃkara (शंकर).—s. v.

Śaṃkara is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms śam and kara (कर).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Śaṅkara (शङ्कर).—mfn.

(-raḥ-rā-raṃ) Auspicious, propitious, conferring happiness or good fortune. m.

(-raḥ) 1. Siva. 2. The name of a celebrated teacher of the Vedanta philosophy. f. (-rī) 1. Parvati, the wife of Siva. 2. The Sami-tree. 3. Bengal madder. E. śaṃ good fortune, kara making.

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Śaṅkara (शङ्कर).—mfn.

(-raḥ-rā-raṃ) Formidable, fearful, frightful. E. śaṅku fear, to give or cause, aff. ḍa .

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Śāṅkara (शाङ्कर).—m.

(-raḥ) A bull. n.

(-raṃ) A form of metre. E. śaṅkara Siva, and aṇ aff.; also read śākkara .

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Saṅkara (सङ्कर).—m.

(-raḥ) 1. Mixing, blending, confounding. 2. A mixed caste or race, one proceeding from the promiscuous intercourse of the four tribes in the first instance, and again from their commerce with the descendants of such a connection, or the indiscriminate cohabitation of those descendants amongst one another; most Hindus of the present age are of one of the many branches of this race, the highest of which is impure and inferior to the Sudra: under this term two kinds of men are included according to the Ramayana; the one denominated yonisaṅkara, mixed or degraded by birth and the other ācārasaṅkara degraded by conduct. 3. The mixing together of two or more dependent figures of speech in the same passage. 4. Dust, sweepings. 5. The crackling of flame. f. (-rī) A new bride. E. sam before kṝ to scatter, or kṛ to make, aff. ap.

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Saṅkāra (सङ्कार).—m.

(-raḥ) 1. Dust, sweepings. 2. The crackling of flame. f. (-rī) A girl recently deflowered, a new bride, &c. E. sam, kṛ to make, ghañ aff.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara 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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