Shula, aka: Śūlā, Śūla, Śūla, Sūla; 17 Definition(s)


Shula means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, 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 Śūlā and Śūla and Śūla can be transliterated into English as Sula or Shula, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

[Shula in Shilpashastra glossaries]

Śūla (शूल, ‘spear’) is a weapon (āyudha or bādhra) according to the Vāstusūtra Upaniṣad.

(Source): Google Books: The Theory of Citrasutras in Indian Painting

Śūla is the trident which is the favourite weapon of Śiva. It is represented in many forms; and the essential feature of all these is the triple metal pike ending in sharp points and mounted upon a long wooden handle.

(Source): Google Books: Elements of Hindu iconography

Śūla (शूल) is a Sanskrit technical term for one of the attributes held in the hands of the deities in sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses.—Śūla is the trident, which is the favourite weapon of Śiva. It is represented in many forms. The essential feature of all these is the triple metal pike ending in sharp points and mounted upon a long wooden handle.

(Source): Shodhganga: The significance of the Mula beras in the Hindu temples of Tamilnadu
Shilpashastra book cover
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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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[Shula in Purana glossaries]

Śūla (शूल) refers to “cholic” (muscular contractions of a hollow tube) and represents a type of Ādhyātmika pain of the bodily (śārīra) type, according to the Viṣṇu-purāṇa 6.5.1-6. Accordingly, “the wise man having investigated the three kinds of worldly pain, or mental and bodily affliction and the like, and having acquired true wisdom, and detachment from human objects, obtains final dissolution.”

Ādhyātmika and its subdivisions (eg., śūla) represents one of the three types of worldly pain (the other two being ādhibhautika and ādhidaivika) and correspond to three kinds of affliction described in the Sāṃkhyakārikā.

The Viṣṇupurāṇa is one of the eighteen Mahāpurāṇas which, according to tradition was composed of over 23,000 metrical verses dating from at least the 1st-millennium BCE. There are six chapters (aṃśas) containing typical puranic literature but the contents primarily revolve around Viṣṇu and his avatars.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Viṣṇu-purāṇa

Śūla (शूल, “spear”):—The śūla is almost always associated with Śiva in early Indian coins. The triśūla is found on the coins of the Pāñcāla king Rudragupta, on other early coins and on the coins of Vema Kadphises. The Vāyu-purāṇa associates śūla and triśūla with Śiva.

(Source): Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

1a) Śūla (शूल).—The trident, held by Gangā in worshipping Śiva in Meru.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 30. 92.

1b) A stake, mounting on; a punishment in hell.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa VI. 5. 47.
(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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

[Shula in Shaivism glossaries]

Śūlā (शूला):—One of the twelve guṇas associated with Kanda, the fifth seat of the Svādhiṣṭhāna-chakra. According to tantric sources such as the Śrīmatottara-tantra and the Gorakṣasaṃhitā (Kādiprakaraṇa), these twelve guṇas are represented as female deities. According to the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā however, they are explained as particular syllables. They (eg. Śūlā) only seem to play an minor role with regard to the interpretation of the Devīcakra (first of five chakras, as taught in the Kubjikāmata-tantra).

She is also known by the name Mūlā, according to the Gorakṣa-saṃhitā.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Ṣaṭsāhasra-saṃhitā
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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

[Shula in Natyashastra glossaries]

1) Śūla (शूल) is a Sanskrit word referring to the “spear”. Acording to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.82-88, 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 Śūla to the top of the door. The protection of the playhouse was enacted because of the jealous Vighnas (malevolent spirits), who began to create terror for the actors.

2) Śūla (शूल) refers to the “spike”, a weapon which should measure should measure eight tālas (unit of measurement), according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 23. In dramatic plays, weapons such as śūla should be made by experts using proper measurements and given to persons engaged in a fight, angry conflict or siege. It forms a component of āhāryābhinaya (extraneous 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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Ayurveda (science of life)

[Shula in Ayurveda glossaries]

Śūla (शूल) refers to “colic” (a form of abdominal pain ). The term is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Suśruta-saṃhitā and the Caraka-saṃhitā.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Śūla (शूल) refers to “colic pain”. Medicinal formulations in the management of this condition include 58 references of Vatsanābha usages. Guṭikā is maximum (50) dosage form in the management of Śūla. Vatsanābha (Aconitum ferox), although categorized as sthāvara-viṣa (vegetable poisons), has been extensively used in ayurvedic pharmacopoeia.

(Source): Research Gate: Internal applications of Vatsanabha (Aconitum ferox wall)
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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Dhanurveda (science of warfare)

[Shula in Dhanurveda glossaries]

Śūla (शूल) refers to a kind of weapon (pointed dart, lance, pike, spear). It is a Sanskrit word defined in the Dhanurveda-saṃhitā, which contains a list of no less than 117 weapons. The Dhanurveda-saṃhitā is said to have been composed by the sage Vasiṣṭha, who in turn transmitted it trough a tradition of sages, which can eventually be traced to Śiva and Brahmā.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dhanurveda
Dhanurveda book cover
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Dhanurveda (धनुर्वेद) refers to the “knowledge of warfare” and, as an upaveda, is associated with the Ṛgveda. It contains instructions on warfare, archery and ancient Indian martial arts, dating back to the 2nd-3rd millennium BCE.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Shula in Hinduism glossaries]

1) Śūla (pain in the cervical region) is a medical symptom in classical Ayurveda.

2) Śūla (pain).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[Shula in Pali glossaries]

sūla : (nt.) stake; pike.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Sūla, (cp. Vedic śūla) (m. and nt.) 1. a sharp-pointed instrument, a stake Th. 2, 488; S. V, 411; Pv IV. 16; Vism. 489 (in compar.), 646 (khadira°, ayo°, suvaṇṇa°); ThA. 288; J. I, 143, 326; sūle uttāseti to impale A. I, 48; J. I, 326; II, 443; IV, 29; appeti the same J. III, 34; VI, 17, or āropeti PvA. 220. ayasūla an iron stake J. IV, 29; Sn. 667; cp. asi° & satti°.—2. a spit J. I, 211; roasted on a spit, roasted meat J. III, 220; maṃsa° the same, or perhaps a spit with roasted meat J. III, 52, 220.—3. an acute, sharp pain DhsA. 397; sūlā (f.) the same A. V, 1105. Cp. defn of sūl as “rujā” at Dhtp 272.

—āropana impaling, execution Miln. 197, 290. —koṭi the point of the stake DhA. II, 240. (Page 722)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
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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Marathi-English dictionary

[Shula in Marathi glossaries]

śūla (शूल).—m (S) pop. śūḷa m A weapon, a sort of pike. 2 An impaling stake. Pr. cōrāsa sōḍūna sannyāśāsa śūla Descriptive of a tyrant or a boobyruler. 3 Sharp pain in general (in the belly, head, joints): also the disorder from which it proceeds; as colic, gout, rheumatism. 4 An iron spit, spike, or pin. 5 The ninth of the astronomical Yogas.

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suḷā (सुळा).—m (sūḷa) A pointed tooth, tusk, or fang; as the dens caninus or eye-tooth of man; the corresponding tooth of tigers, cats &c.; the tusk or fang of the elephant, boar, serpent &c.; any snag or sharp stump or stub; a little and acuminated stake or peg as rising out of the ground &c. 2 A roasting spit. 3 A seed of the grass called kasaī or kaśēṭa (Scirpus kysoor). 4 A creature of the tick kind, infesting cattle. 5 A common term for the two inclined posts of a draw-well, supporting the beam in which is fixed the bucketroller; also for upright supports generally of a transverse beam.

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sūḷa (सूळ).—m (śūla S) A stake on which criminals are impaled. 2 Applied to an exceedingly steep and straight hill, tree &c. difficult to climb; also to the steep portion of the ascent of a mountain after the ḍāga the long introductory rising ground. 3 Sharp pain generally (in the belly, head, joints): also the disorder from which it proceeds, as colic, gout, rheumatism. 4 A weapon,--a sort of pike: also an iron spit, spike, stake, or pin. suḷīṃ dyāyācī vēḷa (The time of fixing upon the impaling stake.) A term for noon.

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

sūḷa (सूळ).—or-sūḷa m Gripes, colic.

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śūla (शूल) [-ḷa, -ळ].—m A sort of pike. An impelling stake. Sharp pain. An iron spit.

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suḷā (सुळा).—m A pointed tooth, tusk. A roasting spit.

--- OR ---

sūḷa (सूळ).—m A stake on which criminals are impaled. An exceedingly steep and straight hill, &c., difficult to climb. Sharp pain. suḷīṃ dyāvayācīvēḷa A term for noon.

(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

[Shula in Sanskrit glossaries]

Śūla (शूल).—[śūl-ka]

1) A sharp or pointed weapon, pike, dart, spear, lance.

2) The trident of Śiva.

3) An iron-spit (for roasting meat upon); शूले संस्कृतं शूल्यम् (śūle saṃskṛtaṃ śūlyam) cf. अयःशूल (ayaḥśūla).

4) A stake for impaling criminals; (bibhrat) स्कन्धेन शूलं हृदयेन शोकम् (skandhena śūlaṃ hṛdayena śokam) Mk.1.21; Ku.5.73.

5) Any acute or sharp pain.

6) Colic.

7) Gout, rheumatism.

8) Death.

9) A banner, an ensign.

1) Selling; selling or salable object; 'अट्टमन्नं शिवो वेदः शूलो विक्रय उच्यते (aṭṭamannaṃ śivo vedaḥ śūlo vikraya ucyate)' इति कोशः (iti kośaḥ); अट्टशूला जनपदाः शिवशूलाश्चतुष्पथाः । केशशूलाः स्त्रियो राजन् भविष्यन्ति युगक्षये (aṭṭaśūlā janapadāḥ śivaśūlāścatuṣpathāḥ | keśaśūlāḥ striyo rājan bhaviṣyanti yugakṣaye) || Mb.3.188.42; अट्टशूलाः कतिपये पट्टनेऽस्मिन् प्रतिष्ठिताः (aṭṭaśūlāḥ katipaye paṭṭane'smin pratiṣṭhitāḥ) Viś. Guṇa.438. (śūlākṛ 'to roast on an iron-spit'.)

Derivable forms: śūlaḥ (शूलः), śūlam (शूलम्).

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Śūlā (शूला).—

1) A stake for impaling criminals.

2) A harlot.

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

Triśūla (त्रिशूल).—A weapon of Śiva with the Vaiṣṇava tejas (brilliance of Viṣṇu) obtained by c...
Karṇaśūla (कर्णशूल).—ear-ache. Derivable forms: karṇaśūlaḥ (कर्णशूलः), karṇaśūlam (कर्णशूलम्).K...
Āmaśūla (आमशूल).—pain of indigestion, colic. Derivable forms: āmaśūlaḥ (आमशूलः).Āmaśūla is a Sa...
Pariṇāmaśūla (परिणामशूल) or Parīṇāmaśūla (परीणामशूल).—violent or painful indigestion, colic, fl...
Śūlāropaṇa (शूलारोपण).—impalement. Derivable forms: śūlāropaṇam (शूलारोपणम्).Śūlāropaṇa is a Sa...
Vātaśūla (वातशूल).—colic with flatulence. Derivable forms: vātaśūlam (वातशूलम्).Vātaśūla is a S...
Śūlapāṇi (शूलपाणि).—m. epithets of Śiva; अधिगतधवलिम्नः शूलपाणेरभिख्याम् (adhigatadhavalimnaḥ śū...
Śūlanadī (शूलनदी) is the name of a locality mentioned in the Nagardhan plates of Svamiraja.—The...
Ayaḥśūla (अयःशूल).—1) an iron lance. 2) a forcible means, a violent proceeding (tīkṣṇaḥ upāyaḥ ...
Śūlaghna (शूलघ्न).—a. a sedative, anodyne. Śūlaghna is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the te...
Pārśvaśūla (पार्श्वशूल).—1) a shooting pain in the side. 2) pleurisy. Derivable forms: pārśvaśū...
Śūlabhṛt (शूलभृत्).—m. epithets of Śiva; अधिगतधवलिम्नः शूलपाणेरभिख्याम् (adhigatadhavalimnaḥ śū...
Keśaśūlā (केशशूला).—a harlot (veśyā); केशशूलाः स्त्रियश्चापि भविष्यन्ति युगक्षये (keśaśūlāḥ str...
Śūlāvataṃsita (शूलावतंसित).—a. impaled on a Śūla; पश्यतु पिमद्यैव शूलावतंसितम् (paśyatu pimadya...
Śūlaghātana (शूलघातन).—iron-filings. Derivable forms: śūlaghātanam (शूलघातनम्).Śūlaghātana is a...

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