Upapitha, Upapīṭha, Upa-pitha: 7 definitions


Upapitha 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.

In Hinduism

Vastushastra (architecture)

Source: Shodhganga: Development of temple architecture in Southern Karnataka

Upapīṭha (उपपीठ) is a sub structure or member constructed beneath the adhiṣṭhāna. The term is formed by combining two Sanskrit words namely upa and pīṭha. Upapīṭha serves three important functions. They are,

  1. Upapīṭha contributes to the stability (rakṣārtha),
  2. Upapīṭha increases the height of the building (unnatārtha),
  3. Upapīṭha enhaces the beauty (śobhārha).

Upapīṭha also symbolically conveys the form of a trivarga structure. Adhiṣṭhāna, bhitti and prastara forms the trivarga of this structure. In the Upapīṭha, the lowest moulding, i.e., upāna, represents the plinth. The gala represents the wall and the kapota or paṭṭikā represents the prastara. The presence of these three parts in the Upapīṭha makes it look like a miniature structure or shrine.

Mayamata mentions three types of Upapīṭhas. They are:

  1. vedibhadra,
  2. pratibhadra,
  3. subhadra.

Mānasāra also mentions three types of Upapīṭhas. They are:

  1. vedibhadra,
  2. pratibhadra,
  3. mañcabhadra.
Source: OpenEdition books: Architectural terms contained in Ajitāgama and Rauravāgama

Upapīṭha (उपपीठ) refers to “plinth (placed under the plinth of a building or under a mahāpīṭha ) §§ 3.1, 11, 12, 13, 37; 4.6-9, 16, 31; 5.11.”.—(For paragraphs cf. Les enseignements architecturaux de l'Ajitāgama et du Rauravāgama by Bruno Dagens)

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.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Upapīṭha (उपपीठ) refers to “secondary seats”, according to the Śrīmatottara.—The four sacred mountains are Śrīśaila along with Māhendra, Arbuda and Kailāśa, which are considered to be the secondary seats (upapīṭha) generated by the goddess’s gaze. The Ciñcinīmatasārasamuccaya substitutes Arbuda with the Island of the Moon (Candradvīpa) and calls them Śivapīthas. Moreover, it locates the residences of the six disciples of Matsyandra who founded Kaula lineages in relation to Śrīśaila.

The Upapīṭhas are Śrījayantī, Kulutā, along with Mālava and Mahaujas, Kāṃcīpura, Kurukṣetra, Barbara, and Sāṃvara.—(cf. Śrīmatottara verse 3.135-138).

Note: Upapīṭha refers to “secondary sacred seats” (cf. Pīṭha), according to the Śrīmatottara-tantra, an expansion of the Kubjikāmatatantra: the earliest popular and most authoritative Tantra of the Kubjikā cult.—The Śrīmatottara adds standard categories of sacred sites.  According to the Śrīmatottara these are: 1) the sacred seats, primary and secondary—pīṭha and upapīṭha; 2) Sacred fields, primary and secondary—kṣetra and upakṣetra; 3) meeting grounds, the primary saṃdoha. The Śrīmatottara omits the secondary sacred grounds—upasaṃdoha. In addition to these types of sacred sites the Śrīmatottara prefixes four holy mountains and lists the goddesses who reside and are worshipped on them.

Shaktism book cover
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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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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram (tantric buddhism)

Upapīṭha (उपपीठ) refers to a “nearby seat” and represents one of the various classes of sacred sites, according to the Netravibhaṅga, a commentary on the Hevajratantra by Dharmakīrti.—Accordingly, “It is called a ‘seat’ (pīṭha) because one always stays there and performs the practice, also because the yogis stay there. Because it is near to that place, it is called ‘nearby seat’ (upapīṭha). It is called ‘field’ (kṣetra), because it produces good qualities, also because the mother-goddesses stay there. Because it is near to there, it is called ‘near-by field’ (upakṣetra). Because one desires and yearns, it is called Chando. Because it is near there, it is called ‘near-by Chando’. It is called ‘meeting place’ (melāpaka) because it is the site of a place, [for example] Magadha and Aṅgamagadha. It is called ‘near-by meeting place’ because it is near there. It is called ‘cemetery’ (śmaśāna) because no discriminating thought (vikalpa) arises and because there are many corpses. It is called ‘near-by cemetery’, because it is near to there”.

Source: academia.edu: A Critical Study of the Vajraḍākamahātantrarāja (II)

Upapīṭha (उपपीठ) is one of the Pīṭhādis (group of districts) present within the Cittacakra (‘circle of mid’) which is associated with the Ḍākinī named Khecarī (‘a woman going in the sky’), according to the 9th-centruy Vajraḍākatantra.

The Pīṭhādi named Upapīṭha within the Cittacakra contains the following four districts or seats:

  1. Godāvarī,
  2. Rāmeśvara,
  3. Devīkoṭa,
  4. Mālava.
Source: 84000: Sampuṭodbhava Tantra (Emergence from Sampuṭa)

Upapīṭha (उपपीठ) refers to “Auxiliary Pīṭhas” (i.e., a type of power place where Yogins and Yoginīs congregate), according to the Sampuṭodbhavatantra chapter 5.—Accordingly, “[Vajragarbha asked:]—‘Blessed One, what places are places of gatherings?’ [The Blessed One said:]—‘There are pīṭhas and auxiliary pīṭhas [e.g., upapīṭha], And likewise, kṣetras and auxiliary kṣetras. There are also chandohas and auxiliary chandohas, melāpakas and auxiliary melāpakas. There are charnel grounds and auxiliary charnel grounds, pīlavas and auxiliary pīlavas. These are the twelve types of meeting places. The lord of the ten bhūmis has not specified Any places other than these twelve’. [...]”.

Upapīṭha in Tibetan:ཉེ་བའི་གནས། [nye ba’i gnas].

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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India history and geography

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Upapīṭha.—(SII 2), a lower pedestal; cf. pīṭha; also upa- pīṭhattukaṇḍappaḍai, the lower tier of the basement of a temple. Note: upapīṭha is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

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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