Tapas, aka: Tāpas; 8 Definition(s)


Tapas 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.

In Hinduism

Ayurveda (science of life)

Tapas (तपस्).—According to the Suśruta-saṃhitā sūtrasthāna chapter 5.—The two months known as Tapas and Tapasya (Magha and Phalguna) constitute the season of winter.

Source: archive.org: Sushruta samhita, Volume I
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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General definition (in Hinduism)

Tapas (तपस्) means deep meditation, effort to achieve self-realization, sometimes involving solitude, hermitism or asceticism; it is derived from the word root tap (तप् or ताप) which depending on context means "heat" from fire or weather, or blaze, burn, shine, penance, pain, suffering, mortification.

In vedic literature of Hinduism, fusion words based on tapas are widely used to expound several spiritual concepts that develop through heat or inner energy, such as meditation, any process to reach special observations and insights, the spiritual ecstasy of a yogin or tāpasa (a Vriddhi derivative meaning "a practitioner of austerities, an ascetic"), even warmth of sexual intimacy.

In the yogic tradition it is the fire that burns within that is needed for the sanyasi to achieve the very difficult goal of enlightenment, to foster self-control, one mindedness and focus, simplicity, wisdom, integrity. It is used to develop and discipline the body, mind and character; control of mind; satisfaction of all desires - through discipline of body, correct speech, telling only the truth, correct thought, non violence, correct action, love for all, devotion to God, developing the ability to remain tranquil and balanced in every situation, act without any selfish motive or thought of reward, with an unshakable faith in God.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

The purifying "heat" of meditative practice.Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms
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Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Tapas (तपस्, “penance”) represents one of the seven types of prāyaścitta (‘expiation’). Prāyaścitta means ‘purification’ of from the flaws or transmigressions.

Tapas is a Sanskrit technical term defined in the Tattvārthasūtra (ancient authorative Jain scripture) from the 2nd century, which contains aphorisms dealing with philosophy and the nature of reality.

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

Tapas (तपस्, “ascetic practices”) as in tapas-mada refers to “pride in one’s ascetic practices” and represents one of the eight forms of vainglory (mada), according to Samantabhadra in his Ratna-Karaṇḍa-śrāvakācāra (with commentary of Prabhācandra). These eight madas are included in the twenty-five blemishes (dṛg-doṣas), which are generally held to be the eight madas, the three mūḍhatās, the six anāyatanas, and the eight doṣas.

Source: archive.org: Jaina Yoga

Tapas (तपस्).—What is meant by penance-expiation (tapas-prāyaścitta)? Observing fast and other types of external austerities for purification of the flaws committed is called penance-expiation.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 9: Influx of karmas

Tapas (तपस्, “austerity”) or Tapariddhi refers to “the capability to observe hard and difficult penances” and represents one of the eight types of ṛddhi (extraordinary powers), that can be obtained by the Ārya (civilized people): one of the two classes of human beings, according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 3.46.—Some ascetics attain extraordinary powers to produce worldly miracles. Such attainments are called ṛddhi. There are eight types of such extraordinary powers (eg., Tapas).

Tapas-ṛddhi (extraordinary power of austerity) is of seven types namely:

  1. conquering afflictions (ghora-riddhi),
  2. observing long fasts (mahat-riddhi),
  3. severe penance (ugratapa-riddhi),
  4. retaining aura (dīptī-riddhi),
  5. digestive (atapa-riddhi),
  6. extreme penance (ghoraguṇa-riddhi),
  7. severe celibacy (ghorabrahmacarya-riddhi).
Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 3: The Lower and middle worlds
General definition book cover
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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

Tapas (तपस्).—n. [tap-asun]

1) Warmth, heat, fire, light; एकः सूर्यस्तपसो योनिरेका (ekaḥ sūryastapaso yonirekā) Mb.12.351.1.

2) Pain, suffering; न तपः कुतश्चन (na tapaḥ kutaścana) Rv.7.82.7.

3) Penance, religious austerity, mortification; तपः किलेदं तदवाप्तिसाधनम् (tapaḥ kiledaṃ tadavāptisādhanam) Ku.5.64.

4) Meditation connected with the practice of personal self-denial or bodily mortification; गीरा वाऽऽशंसामि तपसा ह्यनन्तौ (gīrā vā''śaṃsāmi tapasā hyanantau) Mb.1.3.57.; Bhāg.12.11.24.

5) Moral virtue, merit.

6) Special duty or observance (of any particular caste); यत्सप्तान्नानि मेधया तपसाजनयत्पिता (yatsaptānnāni medhayā tapasājanayatpitā) Bṛ. Up. 1.5.1.

7) One of the seven worlds; i. e. the region above the world called जनस् (janas).

8) The month of religious austerities.

9) A long period of time, Kalpa.

1) (In astrol.) The ninth lunar mansion.

11) Chastisement (daṇḍa); आयुः शक्तिं च कालं च निर्दिश्य तप आदिशेत् (āyuḥ śaktiṃ ca kālaṃ ca nirdiśya tapa ādiśet) Mb. 12.267.35. -m.

1) The month of Māgha; तपसि मन्द- गभस्तिरभीषुमान् (tapasi manda- gabhastirabhīṣumān) Śi.6.63.

2) An epithet of Agni. -m., -n.

1) The cold season (śiśira).

2) The winter (hemanta).

3) The hot season (grīṣma).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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. 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

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Tapaḥkṛśa (तपःकृश).—mfn. (-śaḥ-śā-śaṃ) Emaciated by austerities. E. tapas, and kṛśa lean.
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