Tattva; 13 Definition(s)

Introduction

Tattva means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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.

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

According to the Śaiva-siddhāntins there are three tatvas (realities) called Śiva, Sadāśiva and Maheśa and these are said to be respectively the niṣkalā, the sakalā-niṣkala and the sakalā aspects of god: the word kalā is often used in philosophy to imply the idea of limbs, members or form; we have to understand, for instance, the term niṣkalā to mean that which has no form or limbs; in other words, an undifferentiated formless entity.

Source: Wisdom Library: Elements of Hindu Iconograpy
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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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Tattva (कन्द, “principle-essence”):—Seventh seat of the Svādhiṣṭhāna (2nd chakra), according to the Kubjikāmata-tantra. It is identified with the last of the seven worlds, named satyaloka. Together, these seven seatsthey form the Brahmāṇḍa (cosmic egg). The Tattva seat refers to the inner triangle. This seat is also known as Piṇḍa (पिण्ड).

The associated dhātu (constituents of the physical body) is the Semen (retas).

Source: Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra
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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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Yoga (school of philosophy)

Tattva in Yoga glossary... « previous · [T] · next »

Ballāla mentions four systems of tattvas (तत्त्व):

  1. that described in the Nārāyaṇayogasūtravṛtti in which there are two types of tattva, jaḍa and ajaḍa, corresponding to the prakṛti and puruṣa of Sāṃkhya;
  2. a śākta system of twenty-five tattvas;
  3. a system said to be found in the Śaivāgamas comprising fifty tattvas, including the twenty-five just mentioned;
  4. and the (presumably twenty-five) tattvas described by Kapila in the Bhāgavatapurāṇa.

Ballāla adds that the system of fifty tattvas found in the Śaivāgamas has been described by him in the Yogaratnākaragrantha.

Source: Google Books: The Khecarividya of Adinatha
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Yoga is originally considered a branch of Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Tattva (तत्त्व) refers to a variety of music to be produced from the vīṇā (musical instrument), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 29. The vīṇā refers to a musical instrument, inhibiting various dhātus (finger techniques).

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra, “the music which expresses properly the tempo, time-measure, varṇa, pada, yati, and syllables of the song, is called the tattva. The rule in the playing of musical instruments, is that the tattva is to be applied in a slow tempo. The experts in observing tempo and time-measure, should apply the tattva in the first song to be sound during a performance”.

2) Tattva (तत्त्व) refers to one of the three gatas: rules used in the playing of drums (puṣkara) [with reference to Mṛdaṅga, Paṇava and Dardura] according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 33. Accordingly, “in the tattva playing of drums there should be strokes similar to recognised syllables, distinctly expressing words and syllables, conforming to the metre of songs, and well-divided in karaṇas”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
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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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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Tattva (तत्त्व) or Tattvādhvā refers to one of the six adhvans being purified during the Kriyāvatī-dīkṣā: an important Śākta ritual described Śāradātilaka-tantra, chapters III-V.—“... Looking with the divine eye he transfers the caitanya of his disciple into himself and unites it with that of his own, thereby effecting a purification of the six adhvans namely: kalā, tattva, bhavana, varṇa, pada, and mantra”.

The word adhvā means ‘path’, and when the above six adhvans (viz. tattva) are purified they lead to Brahman-experience. Dīkṣā is one of the most important rituals of the Śāktas and so called because it imparts divine knowledge and destroys evil.

The tattvas are 36 according to the Śaivas, 32 according to Vaiṣṇavas and 24 according to Maitras.

Source: JSTOR: Tāntric Dīkṣā by Surya Kanta
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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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Tattva in Purana glossary... « previous · [T] · next »

Tattva (तत्त्व) refers to the “principles” that evolved out of the Mahātma (great soul), according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.1.6, while explaining the greatness of Rudrākṣa:—“[...] Viṣṇu, the weary person went to sleep amidst the waters. He was in that blissful state of delusion for a long time.54. As approved in the Vedas, his name came to be established as Nārāyaṇa (Having water as abode). Excepting for that Primordial Being there was nothing then. In the meantime, the Principles (tattva) too were evolved out of the Great soul (Mahātma)”.

From Prakṛti came into being the Mahat (cosmic Intellect), from Mahat the three Guṇas. Ahaṃkāra (the cosmic ego) arose therefrom in three forms according to the three Guṇas. The Essences, the five elements, the senses of knowledge and action too came into being then. [...] All these principles originating from Prakṛti are insentient. but not the Puruṣa. These principles are twenty-four in number.

Source: archive.org: Siva Purana - English Translation
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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)

Tattva (Sanskrit: "Truth, Reality or True Essence") from tad, that which is strictly speaking, there is only One Reality. That Reality is Brahman (the Supreme Being and Highest Truth), the Para-Tattva. This is the original teaching of all true Scriptures.

Tattvas are the primary principles, elements, states or categories of existence, the building blocks of the universe. The entire Universe consists of various manifestations of Brahman (the Universal Consciousness) which together form the basis of all our experiences. As these are just forms of Brahman (the Ultimate Reality), they are themselves called Primary Realities, Principles or Categories of Existence. In short, Tattvas.

Source: Veda (wikidot): Hinduism

A tattva is commonly translated into English as “element”.  However, the concept of tattva is better understood as a “state of being” or as a state of energy/experience.  These “states” are not independent realities or material, objective entities.  Tattva models attempt to describe and organize all that exists in our universe of matter/energy/consciousness. The number of tattvas is very flexible as they are all dependent on the first or Śiva.

The most commonly accepted models utilize a 36 tattva schema which is the re-interpreted samkhya 25 tattva model plus 11 more.  It is important to remember that the sages of Kashmir weren’t trying to say that the model is the reality it describes.  They were merely attempting to give the intellect a way to grasp reality beyond mind (meditation instructions).

Source: Dharma Inc: The 36 Tattvas of Śakta-Śaiva Dharma

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Tattva (तत्त्व).—What is the meaning of tattva in Jainsm? The nature (bhāva) of a substance is tattva. The categories of truth are also defined as tattva.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 1
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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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India history and geogprahy

Tattva.—(IE 7-1-2; EI 8), ‘twentyfive’; rarely also used to indicate ‘five.’ Note: tattva is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as 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

Marathi-English dictionary

tattva (तत्त्व).—n Truth. Cream. Essential nature. tatvamasīśīṃ gāṇṭha ghālaṇēṃ To have an eye to the main chance.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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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

Tattva (तत्त्व).—(Sometimes written as tatvam)

1) True state or condition, fact; वयं तत्त्वान्वेषान्मधुकर हतास्त्वं खलु कृती (vayaṃ tattvānveṣānmadhukara hatāstvaṃ khalu kṛtī) Ś.1. 23.

2) Truth, reality; न तु मामभिजानन्ति तत्त्वेनातश्च्यवन्ति ते (na tu māmabhijānanti tattvenātaścyavanti te) Bg.9.24.

3) True or essential nature; संन्यासस्य महाबाहो तत्त्वमिच्छामि वेदितुम् (saṃnyāsasya mahābāho tattvamicchāmi veditum) Bg.18.1;3.28; Ms.1.3;3.96; 5.42.

4) The real nature of the human soul or the material world as being identical with the Supreme Spirit pervading the universe.

5) A true or first principle.

6) An element, a primary substance; तत्त्वान्य- बुद्धाः प्रतनूनि येन, ध्यानं नृपस्तच्छिवमित्यवादीत् (tattvānya- buddhāḥ pratanūni yena, dhyānaṃ nṛpastacchivamityavādīt) Bk.1.18.

7) The mind.

8) Sum and substance.

9) Slow time in music.

1) An element or elementary property.

11) The Supreme Being.

12) A kind of dance.

13) The three qualities or constituents of every thing in nature (sattva, rajas and tamas).

14) The body; तत्त्वाभेदेन यच्छास्त्रं तत्कार्यं नान्यथाविधम् (tattvābhedena yacchāstraṃ tatkāryaṃ nānyathāvidham) Mb.12.267.9.

Derivable forms: tattvam (तत्त्वम्).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Tattva (तत्त्व).—n.

(-ttvaṃ) 1. Essential nature, the real nature of the human soul, considered as one and the same with the divine spirit animating the universe: the philosophical etymology of this word best explains its meaning, tad that, that divine being, and tva thou, that very God art thou. 2. The Supreme being, or Bramha. 3. Truth, reality, substance, opposed to what is illusory or fallacious. 4. An element or elementary property, differently enumerated in different system from the three which are the same with the three Gunas, to twenty-seven, which include the elements, organs, faculties, matter, spirit, life, and God. 5. A first principle, an axiom. 6. Mind, intellect. 7. Slow time in music. 8. A musical instrument. E. As above, or tad that, then &c. affix tva; the word is properly, therefore, written tattva, but in books one ta is commonly rejected.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara 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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