Upamana, aka: Upamāna; 11 Definition(s)


Upamana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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

Vastushastra (architecture)

Upamāna (उपमान):—One of the “six iconographic measurements”, according to the Mānasāra (sanskrit literary treatise on vāstu-śāstra, or, ‘architectural science’). The measurement unit is used in the process of procuring/securing the height of the principal image and secondary images. Breadth, circumference, and other dimensions are derived from the height using rules of proportion.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

Shilpashastra (iconography)

Upamāna (one of the six types of measurement (māna)) is the meassurement of the inter-spaces, that is the width of the navel, the interval between the two thighs or the two big toes.

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

Arthashastra (politics and welfare)

Upamāna (उपमान) refers to “simile” and is the name of a yukti, or ‘technical division’, according to which the contents of the Arthaśāstra by Cāṇakya are grouped. Cāṇakya (4th-century BCE), aka Kauṭilya, was the chief minister of Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the famous Maurya Empire.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Arthaśāstra
Arthashastra book cover
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Arthashastra (अर्थशास्त्र, arthaśāstra) literature concerns itself with the teachings (shastra) of economic prosperity (artha) statecraft, politics and military tactics. The term arthashastra refers to both the name of these scientific teachings, as well as the name of a Sanskrit work included in such literature. This book was written (3rd century BCE) by by Kautilya, who flourished in the 4th century BCE.

Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Upamāna (उपमान).—Standard of comparison. The word is found in the Pāṇinisūtra उपमानानि सामान्यवचनैः (upamānāni sāmānyavacanaiḥ) P.II.I.55 where the Kāśikāvṛtti explains it as उपमीयतेऽनेनेत्युपमानम् । (upamīyate'nenetyupamānam |)

(Source): Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
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Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Upamāna (उपमान, “comparison”), which can be roughly translated as comparison is the knowledge of the relationship between a word and the object denoted by the word. It is produced by the knowledge of resemblance or similarity, given some pre-description of the new object beforehand.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Upamāna (उपमान, “metamorphosis”) represents a set of ten observances that form part of the 19th quality of the Bodhisattvas accompanying the Buddha at Rājagṛha on the Gṛdhrakūṭaparvata. They accepted the non-existence of dharmas according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter 11.

Accordingly, these Bodhisattvas accept that dharmas are like:

  1. A magic show (māyā)
  2. A a mirage (marīci)
  3. The moon reflected in water (udakacandra)
  4. Space (ākāśa)
  5. An echo (pratiśrutkā)
  6. A city of the Gandharvas
  7. A dream (svapna)
  8. A shadow (chāyā)
  9. A reflection (bimba) in a mirror (ādarśa)
  10. A metamorphosis (nirmāṇa)
(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
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.

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

upamāna : (nt.) simile; parable; comparison.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Upamāna, (nt.) (fr. upa + ) comparison, the 2nd part of the comparison J. V, 341; VvA. 13. (Page 145)

(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.

Marathi-English dictionary

upamāna (उपमान).—n (S) An illustration; an object or a matter adduced in illustration. 2 One of the four kinds of evidence;--that of analogy.

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

upamāna (उपमान).—n An illustration. An object advanced in illustration.

(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.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Upamāna (उपमान).—

1) Comparison, resemblance; जातास्तदूर्वोरुपमानबाह्याः (jātāstadūrvorupamānabāhyāḥ) Ku.1.36.

2) The standard of comparison, that with which anything is compared; one of the four requisites of an उपमा (upamā); उपमानममूद्विलासिनां (upamānamamūdvilāsināṃ) Ku.4.5; उपमानस्यापि सखे प्रत्युपमानं वपुस्तस्याः (upamānasyāpi sakhe pratyupamānaṃ vapustasyāḥ) V.2.3; Śi.2.49.

3) (In Nyāya Phil.) Analogy, recognition of likeness, considered as one of the four kinds of pramāṇas or means of arriving at correct knowledge. It is defined as प्रसिद्धसाधर्म्यात् साध्यसाधनम् (prasiddhasādharmyāt sādhyasādhanam); or उपमितिकरण- मुपमानं तच्च सादृश्यज्ञानात्मकम् (upamitikaraṇa- mupamānaṃ tacca sādṛśyajñānātmakam) Tarka. K. तन्न विश्वसनीयं वो राक्षसानां रणाजिरे । एतेनैवोपमानेन नित्यं जिह्मा हि राक्षसाः (tanna viśvasanīyaṃ vo rākṣasānāṃ raṇājire | etenaivopamānena nityaṃ jihmā hi rākṣasāḥ) || Rām.6. 5.54.

4) A particle of comparison.

Derivable forms: upamānam (उपमानम्).

(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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