Skanda, Skānda: 20 definitions


Skanda means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. 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.

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In Hinduism

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam

Skanda (स्कन्द):—One of the persons joining Śiva during the preparations of the war between Śankhacūḍa and the Devas, according to the Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa (9.20.22-53). All persons attending were remained seated on beautiful aerial cars, built of jewels and gems. The war was initiated by Puṣpadanta (messenger of Śiva) who was ordered to restore the rights of the Devas. .

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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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Wisdom Library: Elements of Hindu Iconograpy

Skanda (one of the aspects of Subrahmaṇya, according to the Kumāra-tantra). This aspect should be represented with one face and two arms and should be of the colour of the lotus. The loins are to be bound by a broad belt and the only clothing which this figure should possess is the kaupnaī. The right hand should keep a daṇḍa while the left one should rest upon the hip (kaṭyavalambita). This aspect of Subrahmaṇya is popularly known as the Paḻaniyāṇḍavar.

This is the description which is given in the Śrītatvanidhi for Velāyudha-Subrahmaṇya. This latter work, however, gives quite a different description of Skanda which is as follows. This aspect of Subrahmaṇya is required to possess, as in the previous one, one face set with two eyes, and four arms. He should be seated upon a lotus flower (padmāsana) His head is to be surrounded by a prabhā-maṇḍala; on the head there should be the usual karaṇḍa-makuṭa adorned with a wreath of flowers; there must also be ornaments made of rubies and on the waist a broad girdle of fine workmanship. The front two hands should be kept in the varada and abhaya poses while the back hands should carry the kukkuṭa and the vajra. The colour of this aspect of the deity is said to be that of smoke.

Source: Red Zambala: Hindu Icons and Symbols | Inner Circle IV

As Skanda (or Kumāra) Murugan is the embodiment of chastity (brahmacārya) and conservation of the vital essence (retas) considered as essential for spiritual practice. In this form he appears as a young lad, a religious student clad only in a loin-cloth (kaupinam) and carry his spear.

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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Skanda (स्कन्द) 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 Skanda to the fourth 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: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (natya)

Skanda (स्कन्द, “shoulder”) refers to one of the nine “minor limbs” (pratyaṅga), 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. Pratyaṅgas or the minor limbs consist of shoulders [viz., Skanda], shoulder blades, arms, back, thighs and calves; at times the wrists, knees and elbows are also counted among minor limbs.

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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Wisdom Library: Skanda-purana

Skanda (स्कन्द) 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 Skanda 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: Puranic Encyclopedia

Skanda (स्कन्द).—Subrahmaṇya. (For further details see under Subrahmaṇya).

Source: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

Skanda (स्कन्द) refers to the presiding deity of cildren in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) as mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—Playing with toys must have been a form of entertainment for children. Toy has been mentioned once in the Nīlamata in connection with the worship of Skanda—the presiding deity of the children. Playing with birds tied to strings was another amusement for children.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Skanda (स्कन्द).—A son of Agni and Kṛttikas; father of Niśākha and others;1 the presiding deity for the Angārakagraha;2 in the Tripuram battle;3 spoke in praise of Benares;4 in praise of;5 a commander of gods;6 ety.7 also known Kumāra, Kārtikeya;8 Lord of Naiṛṛtas.9

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 6. 14; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 8. 11.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 93. 13; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 74. 48; 26. 33.
  • 3) Matsya-purāṇa 138. 24: 181. 32.
  • 4) Ib. 182. 1; 184. 74.
  • 5) Ib. 185. 2-4; 192. 6.
  • 6) Ib. 230. 7; 266. 45.
  • 7) Ib. 159. 1-3.
  • 8) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 10. 43 and 51; 32. 54, 59, IV. 14. 8; 30. 105.
  • 9) Ib. III. 41. 17 and 52; 59. 14.

1b) A son of Paśupati and Svāhā.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 10. 81; Vāyu-purāṇa 27. 53.

1c) A son of Āyu.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 3. 24.

1d) (Pārvatīya) a sage of the Rohita epoch.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 1. 62.
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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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Google Books: One God, Two Goddesses, Three Studies of South Indian Cosmology

Skanda is called Murugan (Murukaṉ), which denotes his more transcendent configuration, as opposes to Ṣaṇmukha ('the Six-headed', also: Shanmugan, Caṇmukaṉ, Āṟumukaṉ), to denote his more immanent condition. Shiva created Shanmugan (Murugan), the deity, to destroy the asuras. Shanmugan was a playful, capricious child of great force. Shiva's consort, Parvati, rejoined him and tended to the child.

Shanmugan, after slaying the asuras, married Devayanai (Tēyvayāṉai; Sanskrit Devasenā), the daughter of Indra, the king of the gods, and the couple lived regally in the abode of the gods. In the meantime, in the hill country, the glance of a sage, Shivamuni, impregnated a doe who gave birth to a daughter. She was adopted by simple hunters and given the name Vaḷḷi. Hearing of the girl’s beauty, the deity journeyed to see her. Smitter, he courted and won her love. They married and returned to Devayanai in the abode of the gods, where the trio lived thereafter in harmony.

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Skanda is the son of Shiva and Parvati. He is also considered by some to be the son of Agni and the Krittikas (pleiades), or of Agni and Swaha. An Asura named Taraka had obtained a boon that he could not be slain by anyone except a seven year old child. Armed by this boon, he defeated all the celestials. Only a child born to Shiva could kill him. However, Shiva had become a recluse after the death of his wife Sati. With the help of Kama, the Gods ensured that he married Parvati, a re-incarnation of his wife Sati. Skanda was born of this union. The story of his birth is told here.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

1) Skanda, a Hindu deity also known as Kartikeya and Murugan and Subhramanya

2) Skanda (Buddhism), a popular Deva and/or Bodhisattva popular in Chinese Buddhism

3) Skanda Purana, a Hindu Purana (Scripture) dedicated to the Deity

4) Skanda can also be confused with Skandha, which in Buddhist phenomenology and soteriology, are the five "aggregates" which categorize all individual experience.

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

Skanda, also known as Wei Tuo, is a Mahayana bodhisattva regarded as a devoted guardian of Buddhist monasteries who guards the Buddhist teachings. He is also sometimes called in the Chinese tradition "Hufa Weituo Zuntian Pusa", meaning "Honored Dharma Protector Skanda Bodhisattva", because he is the leader of the twenty-four celestial guardian deities mentioned in the Golden Light Sutra.

According to legends, Skanda was the son of a virtuous king who had complete faith in Buddha's teachings. When the Buddha entered nirvana, the Buddha instructed Skanda to guard the Dharma. It was his duty to protect members of the sangha when they are disturbed by Mara, the tempter, and also to resolve conflicts amongst members of the sangha. A few days after the Buddha's passing and cremation, evil demons robbed his relics. Skanda's vow of protecting the faith and Dharma was proven when he managed to defeat the evil demons and returned the relics.

Skanda is described as a young man fully clad in the armor and headgear of a Chinese general, and is usually leaning on a vajra staff. Some suggest that Skanda may have come from Hinduism as the war deity Kartikeya / Muruga (Tamil), who bears the title Skanda. Others point out that Skanda might also be a manifestation of Vajrapani, a bodhisattva who bears some relations to Skanda because they both wield vajras as weapons, are portrayed with flaming halos, and are both heavenly protectors of Buddhism. Skanda may be connected through Vajrapani through a theory to his connection to Greco-Buddhism, as Wei Tuo's image is reminiscent of the Heracles depiction of Vajrapani.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

Skanda (स्कन्द) refers to a class of bhūta deities according to the Śvetāmbara tradition of Jainism, while Digambara does not recognize this class. The bhūtas refer to a category of vyantaras gods which represents one of the four classes of celestial beings (devas).

The deities such as the Skandas are defined in ancient Jain cosmological texts such as the Saṃgrahaṇīratna in the Śvetāmbara tradition or the Tiloyapaṇṇati by Yativṛṣabha (5th century) in the Digambara tradition.

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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

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Skanda (स्कन्द).—[skand-ac]

1) Leaping.

2) Quicksilver.

3) Name of Kārtikeya; सेनानीनामहं स्कन्दः (senānīnāmahaṃ skandaḥ) Bg.1.24; R.2. 36;7.1; Me.45.

4) Name of Śiva.

5) The body.

6) A king.

7) The bank of a river.

8) A clever man.

9) A kind of disease common to children.

1) Effusion, spilling.

11) Perishing, destruction.

Derivable forms: skandaḥ (स्कन्दः).

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Skānda (स्कान्द).—a.

1) (-ndī f.) [स्कन्द-अण् (skanda-aṇ)] Relating to Skanda.

2) Relating to Śiva.

-ndam The Skanda Purāṇa.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Skanda (स्कन्द).—name of an evil being: Mahāvyutpatti 4761 = Tibetan skem byed, a demon that causes drought. It is possible, but far from certain, that this is to be identified with the Sanskrit god Skanda, who is said to cause diseases in children.

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

Skanda (स्कन्द).—m.

(-ndaḥ) 1. Skanda, or Kartikeya, the son of Siva, and military deity of the Hindus. 2. A king, a prince. 3. The body. 4. The bank of a river. 5. A clever or learned man. E. skand to go, (to fly before whom; the enemies of the gods,) and ac aff.

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Skānda (स्कान्द).—f. (-ndī) Adj. 1. Relating to Skanda. 2. Relating to Siva. n.

(-ndaṃ) The Skanda-Purana.

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

Skanda (स्कन्द).—[skand + a] 1., m. 1. Skanda or Kārttikeya, the god of war, [Meghadūta, (ed. Gildemeister.)] 44. 2. A king. 3. The body. 4. The bank of a river. 5. A clever man (cf. skandha). 6. A proper name, [Rājataraṅgiṇī] 5, 417 (or Ghrāṇaskanda).

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

Skanda (स्कन्द).—[masculine] hopper, jumper; aggressor, assailant; [Name] of the god of war.

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

1) Skanda (स्कन्द):—[from skand] m. anything which jumps or hops (in tṛṇa-skanda, ‘grasshopper’, Name of a man), [Ṛg-veda]

2) [v.s. ...] spurting, effusing, effusion, spilling, shedding (cf. a and ghraṇa-sk)

3) [v.s. ...] perishing, destruction, [Gīta-govinda]

4) [v.s. ...] quick-silver, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

5) [v.s. ...] ‘Attacker’, Name of Kārttikeya (q.v., son of Śiva or of Agni; he is called god of war as leader of Śiva’s hosts against the enemies of the gods ; he is also leader of the demons of illness that attack children cf. -graha, also god of burglars and thieves; cf. -putra and, [Indian Wisdom, by Sir M. Monier-Williams 427 n. 1]), [Maitrāyaṇī-saṃhitā; Mahābhārata] etc.

6) [v.s. ...] Name of Śiva, [Mahābhārata]

7) [v.s. ...] a king prince, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

8) [v.s. ...] a clever or learned man (cf. skandha), [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

9) [v.s. ...] the body, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

10) [v.s. ...] the jādi ([plural] [Saṃskārakaustubha])

11) Skānda (स्कान्द):—[from skand] mfn. relating to Skanda etc., [Sarvadarśana-saṃgraha]

12) [v.s. ...] composed by Skanda-svāmin (-bhāṣya n. Name of a Commentary)

13) [v.s. ...] n. (with or [scilicet] purāṇa) Name of the Skanda-purāṇa.

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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