Vajrasana, Vajra-asana, Vajrāsana: 15 definitions



Vajrasana means something in Buddhism, Pali, 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.

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In Hinduism

Yoga (school of philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Vajrasana in Yoga glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Yoga

Vajrāsana (वज्रासन) is one of the eighty-four āsanas (postures) taught by Śiva, according to the Haṭharatnāvalī 3.7-20. It is said that Ādinātha (Śiva) hand-picked 84 yoga postures from 84,00,000 living beings and taught them for the purpose of introducing physical health and well-being to the human body. The compound bhadrāsana consists of the words vajra (thunderbolt) and āsana (posture).

Source: Google Books: The Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Vajrāsana (वज्रासन) is another name for siddhāsana: an āsana (posture) taught by Śiva and one of the first four out of 84 total, thus one of the most essential, according to Haṭhayogapradīpikā I.37-45.—Accordingly, “Press firmly the heel of the left foot against the perineum, and the right heel above the male organ. With the chin pressing on the chest, one should sit calmly, having restrained the senses, and gaze steadily the space between the eyebrows. This is called the siddhāsana, the opener of the door of salvation”.

Also, “This siddhāsana is performed also by placing the left heel on Meḍhra (above the male organ), and then placing the right one on it. Some call this siddhāsana, some vajrāsana. Others call it muktāsana or guptāsana. Out of the 84 āsanas, siddhāsana should always be practised, because it cleanses the impurities of 72,000 nāḍīs”.

The 15th-century Haṭhayogapradīpikā by Svātmārāma is one of the oldest extant texts dealing with haṭhayoga: an ancient form of meditation founded by Matsyendranātha. The first chapter of this book describes various āsanas (e.g., vajra-āsana).

Source: Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace

Vajrāsana (वज्रासन) is a type of standing posture (āsana), according to verse 68 of the Śrītattvanidhi.—Accordingly, “Press the perineum with one heel and the penis with the other. This is vajrāsana, the diamond”.

The 19th-century Śrītattvanidhi is a sanskrit treatise describing 80 primary āsanas, or ‘posture’ (e.g., vajra-āsana) and several additional ones.

Suptavajrāsana is found in Iyengar but the base vajrāsana is not. These meditation āsanas are referred to in many texts and the descriptions vary somewhat. It appears that vajrāsana refers to the position where the legs are folded back and sat on or between. Iyengar seems to call this position vīrāsana and his book is not entirely clear as there are contrary indications when the variation nare considered. For example, his suptavajrāsana really appears to be a variation of matsyāsana. Even though he has the vīrāsana series as above, he has a laghuvajrāsana which does adopt the leg position and would awaken the expectation of a basic vajrāsana.

Yoga-mīmāṃsā III.2, p. 135 states:

“The name vajrāsana is often used for siddhāsana... When we remember the meaning of the word vajra in Yogic literature and also take into consideration that in siddhāsana one of the heels is set at the root of the penis, we can understand why... (siddhāsana)... is also called vajrāsana.”

Vajrāsana is described in Gheraṇḍasaṃhitā II.12 as having feet on either side of the buttocks. In Yogakuṇḍalinyupaniṣat the variation with a heel under the penis is described. According to Haṭhapradīpikā it is another name for siddhāsana.

Source: Gheranda Samhita

Vajrāsana (वज्रासन) is one of the thirty-two āsanas (postures) taught in the second chapter of the Gheraṇḍasaṃhitā: “Making the lower legs tight one should place the two feet on either side of the anus. This is called Vajrāsana. It brings success to the yogis”.

Vajrāsana is one of the selected 32 postures amongs 8,400,000 total mentioned by Śiva, according to Gheraṇḍasaṃhitā 2.1-2, “In all, there are as many Āsanas as species of animals. Eighty-four lacs of them are mentioned by Śiva. Out of them, 84 are regarded as important and among these 84, again 32 are good (enough) in this world of mortal beings”.

The 17th-century Gheraṇḍasaṃhitā (mentioning vajra-āsana) is one of the three classic texts of Haṭha-yoga: a major branch of Yoga, sharing similarities with the Yoga system taught by Patañjali, though claiming its own mythical founder known as Matsyendranātha. This gheraṇḍa-saṃhitā is an encyclopedic Sanskrit treatise describing thirty two such āsanas.

Yoga book cover
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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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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Vajrasana in Shaktism glossary
Source: The Śāradātilakatantra on Yoga

Vajrāsana (वज्रासन) refers to one of the five āsanas (postures) explained by Lakṣmaṇadeśika in his 11th-century Śaradātilaka verse 25.14cd-15ab.—“He should place both feet, one after the other, on both thighs; he should place both hands, his fingers turned towards [himself], on both knees. [This is] called the most excellent diamond posture (vajrāsana)”.

Shaktism book cover
context information

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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)

Vajrāsana (वज्रासन) or Paryaṅkāsana in the Buddhist tradition corresponds with Padmāsana or Kamalāsana: a type of Āsana (sitting poses), according to Ganapati Sthapati in his text Ciṟpa Cennūl, as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—An image sitting cross-legged, with the feet facing upwards and resting on the thighs, and the body held erect, is said to be in padmāsana or kamalāsana. This posture is also known as paryaṅkāsana or vajrāsana in the Buddhist tradition. When one leg is folded, with the other foot resting on its thigh, it is called ardhapadmāsana.

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.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: The Indian Buddhist Iconography

Vajrāsana (वज्रासन) (or Gautama) is another name for Śākyasiṃha: one of the seven mortal Buddhas (mānuṣī) whose names appear last in the list of thirty-two Buddhas in Mahāyāna Buddhism.—The last seven Tathāgatas are well-known, and are designated by the Mahāyānist as Mānuṣī or “Mortal Buddhas”. When represented, the last seven Mortal Buddhas appear all alike; they are of one colour and one form, usually sitting cross-legged,with the right hand disposed in the Bhūmisparśa-mudrā (earth-touching attitute), which is the mudrā peculiar to Akṣobhya. [...] In paintings, the Mortal Buddhas [viz., Vajrāsana] have usually a yellow or golden complexion. [...] Sometimes they are represented as standing, in which case the appear under a distinguishing Bodhi Tree and with a distinguishing mudrā.

Buddha Vajrāsana is descirbed in the Sādhanamālā as follows: “The worshipper should meditate himself as (Vajrāsana) who displays the Bhūṣparśa (Bhūsparśa) Mudrā in his right hand while the left rests on the lap. He is dressed in red garments and sits on the Vajra-marked double lotus placed on the four Māras of blue, white, red and green colour. He is peaceful in appearance and his body is endowed with all the major and minor auspicious marks. To the right of the God is Maitreya Bodhisattva who is white, two-armed, and wears the Jaṭāmukuṭa (crown of matted hair), and carries the chowrie-Jewel in the right hand, and the Nāgakeśara flower in the left. Similarly, to the left of the principal God is Lokeśvara of white complexion, carrying in his right hand the chowrie and the lotus in the left. These two gods should be meditated upon as looking towards the face of the (principal) god...... Here ends the Sādhana for Vajrāsana”.

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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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[«previous next»] — Vajrasana in Jainism glossary
Source: The Jaina Iconography

Vajrāsana (वज्रासन) refers to one of the various āsanas (postures) commonly depcited in Jain iconography.—It is well-known that the Indian Yogīs practise the various Āsanas to gain some control of the body, proceeding as they do, towards the Rāja-yoga or higher mental culture.

Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

Vajrāsana (वज्रासन) or simply Vajra is the name of a posture (āsana), according to chapter 2.1 [ajitanātha-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra (“lives of the 63 illustrious persons”): a Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three important persons in Jainism.

Accordingly, “the elephant of kings (i.e., Vimalavāhana) dismounted from the elephant’s shoulder and entered the garden, like a lion a mountain-cave. [...] He saw monks there, too, some in the [viz., vajrāsana-posture, ...] some engaged in kāyotsarga, and some in ukṣa-posture, indifferent to the body, who had carried out their vows in the midst of numerous attacks, like soldiers in battles, victorious over internal enemies, enduring trials, powerful from penance and meditation [...] The King, with devotion sprouted in the guise of horripilation, as it were, approached Ācārya Arindama and paid homage to him”.

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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India history and geography

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Vajrāsana.—(LL), name of the seat on which the Buddha sat for meditation for the attainment of supreme knowledge (bodhi). Note: vajrāsana 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 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

[«previous next»] — Vajrasana in Marathi glossary
Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

vajrāsana (वज्रासन).—n (S) A particular attitude or posture. 2 A firm seat (as on horseback). 3 fig. A firm tenure (of an office or an authority).

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

vajrāsana (वज्रासन).—n A firm seat (as on horse-back).

context information

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 dictionary

[«previous next»] — Vajrasana in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Vajrāsana (वज्रासन).—

1) a diamond-seat.

2) a particular posture in sitting (the hands being placed in the hollow between the body and the crossed feet).

Derivable forms: vajrāsanam (वज्रासनम्).

Vajrāsana is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms vajra and āsana (आसन).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Vajrāsana (वज्रासन):—[from vajra > vaj] n. a diamond seat, [Buddhist literature]

2) [v.s. ...] a [particular] posture in sitting (the hands being placed in the hollow between the body and the crossed feet), [Hemacandra’s Yoga-śāstra]

3) [v.s. ...] m. Name of Buddha, [Inscriptions]

[Sanskrit to German] (Deutsch Wörterbuch)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Böhtlingk and Roth Grosses Petersburger Wörterbuch

Vajrāsana (वज्रासन):—n.

1) ein diamantener Thron [Burnouf 387.] [Hiouen-Thsang I, 458. 460.] [Vie de Hiouen-Thsang 139. fg.] —

2) Bez. einer best. Art zu sitzen [Oxforder Handschriften 11,a, Nalopākhyāna 1. 102,b,13. 20. 234,a,21.]

--- OR ---

Vajrāsana (वज्रासन):—

2) [Hemacandra] [Yogaśāstra 4, 123. 126.]

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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