Takshashila, Takṣaśilā: 16 definitions


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

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Takshashila in Purana glossary
Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia

Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला).—A place of Purāṇic celebrity situated in the north-west of Bhārata. Even from ancient times this was an educational and cultural centre. From the descriptions of the Chinese traveller Huen Tsang it is found that Nalandā and Takṣaśilā were two great universities before Christ. The famous Sarpasatra of Janamejaya was conducted at this place situated on the banks of the river Vitastā. The story of Mahābhārata was first told at this place and at the end of the narration Brahmins were given gifts. (Chapters 3 and 5, Ādi Parva).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला).—The capital of Takṣa, the son of Bharata.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 63. 191; Vāyu-purāṇa 88. 190.
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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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Education: Systems & Practices

Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला) or Taxila (c. 600 BCE–500 CE) near Rawalpindi in present-day Pakistan, was among the world’s first universities. Taxila University’s different Schools taught many subjects. Medicine was given special attention; there were also schools of painting, sculpture, image-making, handicrafts and astronomy. Tradition has it that the legendary Indian grammarian Pāṇini (7th-6th cent BCE) was a student there, as was Cāṇakya (c. 3rd cent BCE) the well-known exponent of statecraft. Jīvaka (5th BCE) one of the most renowned physicians in ancient India, is also said to have learnt medicine at Taxila.

Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Kavya (poetry)

[«previous next»] — Takshashila in Kavya glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara

Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला) is the name of a city on the banks of the Vitastā according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 27. Accordingly, “there was once a city named Takṣaśilā on the banks of the Vitastā, the reflection of whose long line of palaces gleamed in the waters of the river, as if it were the capital of the lower regions come to gaze at its splendour. In it there dwelt a king named Kaliṅgadatta, a distinguished Buddhist, all whose subjects were devoted to the great Buddha, the bridegroom of Tārā. His city [Takṣaśilā] shone with splendid Buddhist temples densely crowded together, as if with the horns of pride elevated because it had no rival upon earth.”

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Takṣaśilā, 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.

Kavya book cover
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Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

[«previous next»] — Takshashila in Jyotisha glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Brihat Samhita by Varahamihira

Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला) refers to a country belonging to “Uttaratas or Uttaradeśa (northern division)” classified under the constellations of Śatabhiṣaj, Pūrvabhādrapada and Uttarabhādrapada, according to the system of Kūrmavibhāga, according to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā (chapter 14), an encyclopedic Sanskrit work written by Varāhamihira mainly focusing on the science of ancient Indian astronomy astronomy (Jyotiṣa).—Accordingly, “The countries of the Earth beginning from the centre of Bhāratavarṣa and going round the east, south-east, south, etc., are divided into 9 divisions corresponding to the 27 lunar asterisms at the rate of 3 for each division and beginning from Kṛttikā. The constellations of Śatabhiṣaj, Pūrvabhādrapada and Uttarabhādrapada represent the northern division consisting of [i.e., Takṣaśilā] [...]”.

Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotisha (ज्योतिष, jyotiṣa or jyotish) refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents the fifth of the six Vedangas (additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas). Jyotisha concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Takshashila in Mahayana glossary
Source: archive.org: Bulletin of the French School of the Far East (volume 5)

Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला) (in Chinese: Tö-tch'a-che-lo) is the name of an ancient kingdom associated with Pūrvabhadrapadā (or Pūrvabhadrapadānakṣatra) and Uttarabhadrapadā (or Uttarabhadrapadānakṣatra), as mentioned in chapter 18 of the Candragarbha: the 55th section of the Mahāsaṃnipāta-sūtra, a large compilation of Sūtras (texts) in Mahāyāna Buddhism partly available in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese.—Chapter 18 deals with geographical astrology and, in conversation with Brahmarāja and others, Buddha explains how he entrusts the Nakṣatras [e.g., Pūrvabhadrapadā and Uttarabhadrapadā] with a group of kingdoms [e.g., Takṣaśilā] for the sake of protection and prosperity.

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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India history and geography

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra (history)

Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला) (the Greek Taxila, the actual Saraïkala, 26 miles northwest of Rawalpindi), was the capital of eastern Punjab. Its long history is mixed up with that of all of India.

Source: archive.org: Geography in Ancient Indian inscriptions

Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला).—The city of Takṣaśilā is identical with Taxila, now in West Pakistan, twenty-two miles north-west of Rawalpindi. The remains of Takṣaśilā lie immediately to the east and north-east of the Saraikala Railway junction in the valley of their Haro. These remains having three successive, but ancient sites, Bhir mound, Sirkap and Sirsukh, represent the ancient, Greek and Kushana phases of political history of this city. Cunningham says that the site of Taxila is found near Shah-Dheri, just a mileto the north-east of Kala-ka-Sarai in the extensive ruins of a fortified city around which at least fifty-five stūpas, twenty-eight monasteries and nine temples were found.

The city of Takṣaśilā figures prominently in the story regarding the recitation of the Mahābhārata. It was at this city that Janamejaya heard from Vaiśampāyana the famous story of the Mahābhārata. We find remarkable coincidence between the strī-parva of the Mahābhārata and the second part of the Besnagar inscription. It seems that Heliodoros of Taxila actually heard and utilised the teaching of the great Epic.

The city of Takṣaśilā was the capital of the Gandhāra country.

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Architecture (1): Early and Classical Architecture (h)

Takṣaśilā is an archaeologically important site dating to the Ganges civilization (1000 BCE).—Nearly a millennium after the Indus civilization had collapsed, the Ganges civilization arose in the first millennium BCE. But this urban development extended beyond the Ganges valley, as testified by, for example, Takṣaśilā (Taxila), today in northern Pakistan.

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

Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Takshashila in Sanskrit glossary
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला).—f.

(-lā) The name of a city, the Taxila of Ptolemy in the Punjab. E. takṣa paring, śilā stone, built of hewn stones.

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

Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला).—f. The name of a town, [Rāmāyaṇa] 4, 43, 23.

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

Takṣaśila (तक्षशिल).—[masculine] pl the inhabitants of T. (v. seq.).

--- OR ---

Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला).—[feminine] [Name] of a town; tas from T.

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

1) Takṣaśila (तक्षशिल):—[=takṣa-śila] [from takṣa > takṣ] m. [plural] the inhabitants of , [Varāha-mihira’s Bṛhat-saṃhitā x, 8 and] (in [compound]), [xvi, 26]

2) Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला):—[=takṣa-śilā] [from takṣa-śila > takṣa > takṣ] f. ([Pāṇini 4-3, 93]; [gana] varaṇādi) Τάξιλα city of the Gandhāras (residence of Takṣa, [Rāmāyaṇa vii, 101, 11]), [Mahābhārata; Rāmāyaṇa; Buddhist literature; Varāha-mihira’s Bṛhat-saṃhitā; Kathāsaritsāgara lxix]

3) Tākṣaśila (ताक्षशिल):—[from tākṣaṇya > tākṣaka] mf(ī)n. coming from Takṣa-śilā [gana] takṣaśilādi.

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

Takṣaśilā (तक्षशिला):—[takṣa-śilā] (lā) 1. f. The name of a city; Taxila in the Punjab.

[Sanskrit to German]

Takshashila 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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