Manusamhita
  • Acharya

    The greatest epithet of a teacher is Ācārya. In course of writing on several sūtra (sutra; formulae) of Pāṇini (Panini), Patañjali (Patanjali), the author of Mahābhāṣya(Mahabhashya) has mentioned four types of teachers — Ācārya (Acharya), Upādhyāya (Upadhyaya), Śikṣaka (Sikshaka) and Guru. Amongst these, Guru is the most common epithet, and Ācārya is the highest. Patañjali himself […]

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  • Agrayana – 1

    – ‘Agre’ means ‘in the beginning’. And the meaning of Ayana is motion or journey, shelter or the way of duty. Yajña is another meaning of ‘Ayana’. So, the yajña (yajna)performed before the cultivation of crops, is called Āgrayana (Agrayana). In his dictionary , Pandit Haricharan Bandyopadhyay has said that this yāga(ritual) is performed in […]

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  • Akshamala – 4

    One of the wives of Vaśiṣṭha (Vashishtha)— vaśiṣṭhaścakṣamālayā. Many have identified Akṣamālā (Akshamala) with Vaśiṣṭha’s famous wife Arundhatī (Arundhati). But Arundhatī was born of Prajāpati (Prajapati) Kardama to Devahūti (Devahuti), and was hence, of a much nobler birth. On the other hand, Manu records that though Akṣamālā was born to a woman of inferior descent, […]

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  • Amvastha

    According to Mahābhārata (Mahabharata)and Manu, Amvaṣṭha (Amvashtha) is the hybrid child born of the womb of a Vaiśya(vaisya) woman, and sired by a Brāhmaṇa (Brahmana) man – brāhmaṇād vaiśyakanyāyāmvaṣṭho nāma jāyate. They are quite ancient as a jāti (jati), since they are mentioned in Aitareya Brāhmaṇa (Aitareya Brahmana). Maharṣi (Maharshi; Great Sage)Parvata and Devarṣi (Devarshi; […]

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  • Anasuya – 1

    Primarily, anasūyā (anasuya) is an inherent quality. Mahābhārata (Mahabharata) has equated this quality with courteousness and virtuosity. The great affliction felt within by one at witnessing the abundance of another’s material prosperity is called asūyā (asuya). The principle of not entertaining the feeling of asūyā is defined as anasūyā— dhanādyairadhikaṃ dṛṣṭvā bhṛśaṃ manasi tāpanam. asūyā kīrtitā sadbhistadayoge’nasūyatā. […]

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  • Anda

    Commonly the term aṇḍa (anda) means ‘egg’ or ‘a bird’s egg’ to be specific. In a famous verse in Ṛgveda (Rigveda) we find a figure of speech based on comparison: “As a bird brings out its progeny breaking the egg…” — āṇḍeva bhitvā śakunasya garbham. This comparison considers the egg  or aṇḍa as another womb of the bird. In a […]

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  • Angushtha – 1

    It is imagined in the Mahabharata that the all-pervasive entity (puruṣa) resides in each body bearing the size of a thumb. Prādesamatra Purusa having taken shelter in subtle body transmigrates. Highly elevated yogis only can see the self (Pratyagatma) — Aṅguṣṭhamātraḥ puruṣo’ntarātmā Liṅgasya yogena sa yāti nityam. Tamīśamīḍymanukalpamādyaṃ Paśyanti mūḍā na virajamānam. Yoginastaṃ prapaśyanti bhagavantaṃ […]

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  • Antyaja

    The term Antyaja generally mean people who are born as hybrids from the so-called lower-varṇa(s) (varna; caste) such as the Śūdra (Sudra). In Mahābhārata (Mahabharata), there are mentions of soldiers belonging to Antyaja varṇaand Nīlakaṇṭha, the commentator has said that the communities like Kaivarta and Bhilla, who dwell at the peripherry of a state, are […]

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  • Apyayana – 2

    Prior to the performance of a Vedic yāga (yaga ; a holy fire-ritual) called ‘Upasat’, the Somalatā (the creeper named Soma, sacred to the Vedic rituals) is sprinkled with water in order to keep it alive. This act is called the āpyāyana (apyayana; gesture of greeting) of Soma. This act is performed for three days, […]

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  • Asuravivaha

    Āsuravivāha(Asuravivaha) is one of the eight types of marriages mentioned in Mahābhārata(Mahabharata) and the Purāṇas (Purana; Mythical Scriptures). In Manusaṁhitā (Manusamhita) it is said that in this marriage, the groom, out of his own will, offers dowry to the bride or her father. After this, the bride’s father gives her away. In Mahābhārata, however, alongside […]

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  • Asuya

    Asūyā (Asuya) is one of the sons of Mṛtyu (Meitya; Death). He is born in the genealogical line of Adhamra (the non-righteous, Sin) and Hiṁsā (Himsa; envy or malice). The evil and negative aspects of the human nature are perhaps conceptualised here as personified beings. In Manusaṁhitā (Manusamhita), while explaining the eight kinds of human […]

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  • Atikrichchha

    Atikṛccha (atikrichchha) is the name of a (purifying) ritual or vow (vrata) which requires to be observed over a stretch of twelve days. In order to observe this vow, the performer must obey certain rules of eating throughout the twelve-day long phase. For the first three days he should not eat anything but three handfuls […]

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  • Atithi – 1

    Since the Ṛgvedic (Rigvedic) period, Indian culture has conceived of the guest (atithi) as one who must be treated with respectful and humble hospitality and offered food and shelter. The host should do everything within his power to please the guest. Any yajña (yajna) would require fire (agni; imagined as the Fire-god), therefore fire has been […]

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  • Atreyi – 2

    The dictionary-meaning of the word Ātreyī(Atreyi) is a ‘woman who has taken her menstrual bath’.. However, Nīlakaṇṭha (Nilakantha), the commentator of Mahābhārata (Mahabharata), takes this word as synonymous with ‘a pregnant woman’ . In Śāntiparva of Mahābhārata, it is mentioned that one who kills a woman who is Ātreyī, will commit a sin that is […]

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  • Atri – 1

    Atri was one of the six supreme patriarch ṛṣi (rishi; sage) — like Marīci (Marichi) and Aṅgirā (Angira) — who were born at the onset of the Creation. Many legends are associated with the birth of these six prime sages, and the great sage Atri is no exception. The foremost of these legends is that all […]

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  • Udasina

    A gṛhastha (grihastha; householder) is of two kinds . One who becomes a householder and takes the responsibility of the relatives, after practicing brahmacarya (celibacy), is called a sādhaka (sadhaka). And the one, who, after paying three kinds of ‘debts’ due in the life of a householder, goes away from his wife, children and property, […]

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  • Upamsu- japa

    The main and general meaning of Upāṁśu (Upamsu) indicates a kind of Mantrajapa (chanting of mantras or hymns). Upāṁśu (Upamsu) is also used as a conjunction to mean serenity- Upāṁśujarpabhede (Upamsujarpabhede) syād (syad) upāṁśu (upamsu) vijane’vyayam| In the Agni Purāṇa (Purana), it was said in the Mantraparibhāṣā (the text about the mantra or chants) that […]

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