Shiras, Śiras, Siro, Shirash: 23 definitions


Shiras means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, biology. 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 Śiras can be transliterated into English as Siras or Shiras, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

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In Hinduism

Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: Cogprints: Concepts of Human Physiology in Ayurveda

Śiras (शिरस्, “head”) is the region where all ‘Prāṇas’ (most vital entities) are situated and all sensory and motor activities are controlled from. That is why ‘Head’ is called the ‘Most important organ’ among all parts of the body (Caraka-saṃhitā Sūtrasthāna. 17/12). It is described that all sensory and motor organs along with their ‘Prāṇavaha Srotāṃsi’, are connected to the brain in a fashion that is similar to the connections between the sunrays and the Sun. (Ca. Si. 9/4). Bhela has explained that the mind is situated in between the head and palate. The efficiency of mind is beyond any other sensory or motor organ (Bh. Ci. 8/2-3).

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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

1) Śiras (शिरस्) refers to “head”. It is one of the six major limbs (aṅga) used in dramatic performance, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 8. With these limbs are made the various gestures (āṅgika), which form a part of the histrionic representation (abhinaya).

There are thirteen different ‘movements of the head (śiras)’ defined:

  1. Ākampita,
  2. Kampita,
  3. Dhuta,
  4. Vidhuta,
  5. Parivāhita,
  6. Udvāhita,
  7. Avadhuta,
  8. Añcita,
  9. Nihañcita,
  10. Parāvṛtta,
  11. Utkṣipta,
  12. Adhogata,
  13. Lolita.

2) According to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 19, śiras, as the “head register”, refers to a type of ‘vocal representation’ (vācika), which is used in communicating the meaning of the drama and calling forth the sentiment (rasa). Accordingly, to call a person staying at a distance, the voice should proceed from the head register (śiras).

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (natya)

Śiras (शिरस्, “head”) refers to one of the seven “major limbs” (aṅga), which represents a division of Āṅgikābhinaya (gesture language of the limbs) as used within the classical tradition of Indian dance and performance, also known as Bharatanatyam.—Āṅgika-abhinaya is the gesture language of the limbs. Dance is an art that expresses itself through the medium of body, and therefore, āṅgikābhinaya is essential for any dance and especially for any classical dance of India. Aṅgas or major limbs include the head (viz., Śiras), hands, chest, sides, waist, and feet; at times the neck is also used as a separate limb.

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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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Source: Isvara Samhita Vol 5

Śiras (शिरस्) or Śiromudrā is the name of a mudrā described in the Īśvarasaṃhitā 24.21-23.—Accordingly, “Two fingers beginning with the thumb and ending with the little finger, when formed separately into a casket with space in between, shall be in the small finger and other would respectively be the mudrās of śiras, śikhā, kavaca, (tanutrāt), protecting the body, astra and netra)”. Mūdra (e.g., Śiras-mudra) is so called as it gives joy to the tattvas in the form of karman for those who offer spotless worship, drive out the defects which move about within and without and sealing up of what is done.

Pancaratra book cover
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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Vastushastra (architecture)

Source: OpenEdition books: Architectural terms contained in Ajitāgama and Rauravāgama

Śiras (शिरस्) refers to “- 1. roof (= śikhara) §§ 3.27; 4.18. - 2. coping of a wall (Rau) § 5.8. - 3. crowning of an arch (Aj) § 3.28. - 4. head of a stone (Aj) § 2.II.”.—(For paragraphs cf. Les enseignements architecturaux de l'Ajitāgama et du Rauravāgama by Bruno Dagens)

Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Śiras (शिरस्) refers to one of the eight sacred fields (kṣetra), according to the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā, an expansion of the Kubjikāmatatantra: the earliest popular and most authoritative Tantra of the Kubjikā cult.—Accordingly, “The man of knowledge should mark the sacred fields located in the towns. [...] Now listen (to how it is) in the home. [...] Starting with the dish in due order, one should not touch these with one's feet, if one wants the best for oneself. One should stay far away from a broom and the wind produced by a winnowing fan. Obstacles (vighna), Siddhas and Yoginīs that have penetrated the wind enter the adept having identified (his) weak spot, and lay hold of the best (within him) for no reason. (The adept) abides in (each) place in the (eight) sacred fields, (namely) Gaṇikā, Śiras, Kālī, Kāla, Ālaya, Śiva, Kāliñjara, and Mahākāla”.

Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: SOAS University of London: Protective Rites in the Netra Tantra

Śiras (शिरस्) refers to the “summit”, according to the Netratantra of Kṣemarāja: a Śaiva text from the 9th century in which Śiva (Bhairava) teaches Pārvatī topics such as metaphysics, cosmology, and soteriology.—Accordingly, [verse 2.28cd-33]—“Now, I shall explain the limbs of the mantra, with which, tied together, he achieves perfection. The hṛdayamantra, [which] confers all perfections, is the letter that terminates in the middle [j], followed by the fifth sovereign vowel [u], and summits with the conclusion of wind (prabhañjana-anta-śiras) []. The śiras is terminal soma [v] joined with that from anala [y] and yoked with oṃ. [...]”.

Shaivism book cover
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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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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Śiras (शिरस्) refers to the “head”, according to Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter 41).—Accordingly, “[The eighteen āveṇika-dharmas (‘special attributes’)]— [...] (10). The Buddha has no loss of wisdom.—He has no loss of wisdom.—[...] Moreover, since his first production of the mind of awakening (prathama-cittotpāda) and for innumerable and incalculable periods (asaṃkhyeyakalpa), the Buddha has accumulated all the wisdoms and, in accordance with his high resolution (adhyāśaya), he has sacrificed his head (śiras), his eyes (nayana), his marrow (majjā) and his skull (mastaka), he has given all his inner and outer possessions, he has entered into fire, he has thrown himself down from mountains, he has flayed his skin, he has nailed his body, etc.; there is no suffering that he has not endured, careful to accumulate wisdom. This is why he has no loss of wisdom. [...]”.

Mahayana book cover
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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.

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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions (tantric Buddhism)

Śiras (शिरस्) refers to the “head”, according to Kuladatta’s Kriyāsaṃgrahapañjikā, a text within Tantric Buddhism representing a construction manual for monasteries.—Accordingly, [nimittokti section of chapter 3]—“If someone, either the Tantric officiant, a craftsman [involved in the rite], the donor or his officials scratches his head (śiras-kaṇḍūyamāna) [in the site for a monastery etc.], then there is an extraneous thing [that causes a calamity at a depth of] the full height of a man underground”.

Source: OSU Press: Cakrasamvara Samadhi

Śiras (शिरस्) refers to the “head” and is associated with the syllable puṃ, according to the Cakrasaṃvara Samādhi [i.e., Cakrasamvara Meditation] ritual often performed in combination with the Cakrasaṃvara Samādhi, which refers to the primary pūjā and sādhanā practice of Newah Mahāyāna-Vajrayāna Buddhists in Nepal.—Accordingly, “[Do caturviṃśati-aṅga nyāsa; Touch twenty-one parts of one’s body with right middle finger, and recite seed syllables] ... Puṃ on the head (puṃ śirasi)”.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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India history and geography

Source: Shodhganga: A translation of Jhaverchand Meghanis non translated folk tales

Shiro refers to “A sweet item of food made of wheat flour, ghee and sugar”.—It is defined in the glossary attached to the study dealing with Gujarat Folk tales composed by Gujarati poet Jhaverchand Meghani (1896-1947)

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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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

siro : is the form taken by sira in cpds.

Pali book cover
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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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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Śiras (शिरस्).—n. [śṝ-asun nipātaḥ Uṇādi-sūtra 4.193]

1) The head; शिरसा श्लाघते पूर्वं (śirasā ślāghate pūrvaṃ) (guṇaṃ) परं (paraṃ) (doṣaṃ) कण्ठे नियच्छति (kaṇṭhe niyacchati) Subhās.

2) Skull.

3) A peak, summit, top (as of a mountain); हिमगौरैरचलाधिपः शिरोभिः (himagaurairacalādhipaḥ śirobhiḥ) Kirātārjunīya 5.17; Śiśupālavadha 4.54.

4) The top of a tree.

5) The head or top of anything; तेनाहृतो महातालो वेपमानो बृहच्छिराः (tenāhṛto mahātālo vepamāno bṛhacchirāḥ) Bhāgavata 1.15.33; शिरसि मसीपटलं दधाति दीपः (śirasi masīpaṭalaṃ dadhāti dīpaḥ) Bv.1.74.

6) Pinnacle, acme, highest point.

7) Front, forepart, van (as of an army); पुत्रस्य ते रणशिरस्ययमग्रयायी (putrasya te raṇaśirasyayamagrayāyī) Ś.7.26; Uttararāmacarita 5.3.

8) Chief, principal, head (usually at the end of comp.).

9) Name of the verse in the गायत्री (gāyatrī) (from āpo jyotiḥ to svarom); cf. T. Ar.1.27; Bhāg 5.9.5.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Śiras (शिरस्).—n.

(-raḥ) 1. The head. 2. The skull. 3. The top of a tree. 4. A summit, a peak. 5. The van of an army. 6. Chief, principal, head. E. śri to honour, in the passive form, to be honoured, (by the other members,) asun Unadi aff., and the form irr.; or śṝasun ni0 .

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Śiras (शिरस्).— (for original śaras, cf. Zend. śara, and śīrṣa), n. (the base of some cases is optionally śīrṣan, i. e. śiras + an), 1. The head, [Pañcatantra] iii. [distich] 193; śirasā pra-ṇi-pat, To reverence by inclining one’s head, [Vikramorvaśī, (ed. Bollensen.)] 3, 12; śirasā kṛ, To bear on one’s head, Böhtl. Ind. Spr. 1847. 2. The top of a mountain, [Kirātārjunīya] 5, 17; of a tree. 3. Chief, principal.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Śiras (शिरस्).—[neuter] head, top, point, summit, fore-part, front; yuddhasya an. — Instr. [with] kṛ, dhṛ, etc. bear on the head i.e. esteem highly, honour, respect.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Śiras (शिरस्):—n. ([probably] originally śaras = karas; and connected with karaṅka q.v.) the head, skull ([accusative] with √, ‘to give up one’s head id est. life’; with √dhṛ, or √vah, ‘to hold up one’s head, be proud’; with [Causal] of √vṛt or with upa-√sthā, ‘to hold out the head’, ‘acknowledge one’s self guilty’ See śiropasthāyin; [instrumental case] with √grah, √dhā, √dhṛ, vi-√dhṛ, √bhṛ, √vah, or √kṛ, ‘to hold or carry or place on the head, receive deferentially’; [instrumental case] with √gam, abhi-√gam, pra-√grah, √, pra-ṇam [√nam], ni-√pat, pra-ṇi-√pat, ‘to touch with the head, bow or fall down before’; [locative case] with √kṛ or ni-√dhā, ‘to place on one’s head’; [locative case] with √sthā, ‘to be on or stand over a person’s head, stand far above [gen.]’), [Ṛg-veda] etc. etc.

2) the upper end or highest part of anything, top, peak, summit, pinnacle, acme, [Mahābhārata; Kāvya literature] etc.

3) the forepart or van (of an army), [Śiśupāla-vadha]

4) the beginning (of a verse), [Varāha-mihira’s Bṛhat-saṃhitā]

5) (ifc.) the head, leader, chief, foremost, first (of a class), [Bhāgavata-purāṇa]

6) Name of the verse āpo jyotir āpo mṛtam, [Baudhāyana-dharma-śāstra; Viṣṇu-smṛti, viṣṇu-sūtra, vaiṣṇava-dharma-śāstra] etc.

7) of a Sāman (also with indrasya), [Ārṣeya-brāhmaṇa; Lāṭyāyana]

8) of a mountain, [Buddhist literature]

9) cf. śīrṣan; [Greek] κέρας, κάρη etc.; [Latin] cerebrum for ceresrum, cornu; [German] hirni, Hirn; [English] horn.

10) Śiraś (शिरश्):—[from śiras] in [compound] for śiras.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Śiraḥ (शिरः):—[from śiras] in [compound] for śiras.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Śiro (शिरो):—[from śiras] in [compound] for śiras.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Śiras (शिरस्):—(raḥ) 5. n. The head; top of a tree; van of an army; a chief.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Śiras (शिरस्) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Sira.

[Sanskrit to German]

Shiras in German

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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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