Urdhvajanu, aka: Ūrdhvajānu, Urdhva-janu; 3 Definition(s)


Urdhvajanu means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Ūrdhvajānu (ऊर्ध्वजानु).—One of the 108 karaṇas (minor dance movement) mentioned in the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 4. The instructions for this ūrdhvajānu-karaṇa is as follows, “a Kuñcita foot to be thrown up, and the knee to be held up (lit. stretched) on a level with the chest, and the two hands to be in harmony with the dance.”.

A karaṇa represents a minor dance movements and combines sthāna (standing position), cārī (foot and leg movement) and nṛttahasta (hands in dancing position).

2) Ūrdhvajānu (ऊर्ध्वजानु) refers to a one of the thirty-two cārīs, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 11. The Ūrdhvajānu-cārī is classified as a ākāśikī, or “aerial”, of which there are sixteen in total. The term cārī  refers to a “dance-step” and refers to the simultaneous movement of the feet (pāda), shanks (jaṅghā) and the hip (ūru). From these cārīs proceed dance as well as movements in general.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Ūrdhvajānu (ऊर्ध्वजानु).—A type of aerial (ākāśikī) dance-step (cārī);—Instructions: throwing up a Kuñcita foot and its knee brought up to the level of the breast, and the remaining knee without movement, and then this second foot thrown up in the manner of the first, and the first foot kept motionless.

(Source): archive.org: Natya Shastra
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
context information

Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (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 (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Ūrdhvajānu (ऊर्ध्वजानु) refers to a pose of Śiva depicting another dance sequence of Śivatāṇdava and is found as a sculpture on the first pillar of the southern half of the maṇḍapa of the temple of Trailokyeśvara.—C. Sivaramamurti in his work on Natarāja in Art, Thought and Literature calls this image as Ūrdhvajānu Tāṇdava and interprets it in the following words: “It is almost a jump up with the right leg bent and the knee raised, as required in the description of the karaṇa. Śiva is in jovial mood. In one of the four arms, the main right arm, there is a snake, which he is offering to Pārvatī jokingly, so that she could adorn herself with the jewel, specially as she is admiring her beauty in a mirror she holds in her hand. A Gaṇa and Gaṇapati, to the right and left of Śiva and Pārvatī respectively, appreciate this joke and witness the scene with chuckle.

What looks like a mouse, the vehicle of Gaṇeśa himself, enjoys the fun and jumps at Pārvatī almost in the vein of the nursery rhyme, ‘the cow jumped over the moon’. It can also be seen that Pārvatī is little scared at a snake being brought so close to her and one cannot but be reminded of the verse, which talks of the incongruity of the fearful snake, the jewel of Śiva, in the vicinity of the delicate princess of the mountain kingdom.”

(Source): Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (śilpa)
Śilpaśāstra book cover
context information

Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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