Update: 2012-01-05 01:32 AM +0630


Sanskrit English Dictionary


from: Online Sanskrit Dictionary, February 12, 2003 . http://sanskritdocuments.org/dict/dictall.pdf  090907

Downloaded, set in HTML, and edited by U Kyaw Tun, M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL Computing and Language Centre, Yangon, Myanmar. Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone.

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{sha.} / {hya.}/ {rha.} श : includes {hyn}/ {rhn}
{sha.ka.} शक
{shak} शक् = श क ्
  / {shak-ta.} शक्त = श क ् त
{sha.da.} शद

Note to myself: My observation that {t~} in Pal-Myan becomes शक्  =  श क ्  / {shak~}/ . i.e. {shak~ti.} --> {t~ti.} needs to be rechecked - 110417


UKT notes
Shakti Shakuntala शकुन्तला Shankara aka Adi Shankara (788 CE - 820 CE) Shankha

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{sha.} {hya.}/ {rha.}
not entered in OnlineSktDict

शकन्  śakan
Skt: शकन्  śakan  n.  animal dung - SpkSkt
  शकपिण्ड śakapiṇḍa  m. lump of dung - SpkSkt
  शकृत्पिण्ड  śakṛtpiṇḍa  m. ball of cow-dung - SpkSkt
Pal: chakana n. the dung of animals - UPMT-PED093
Pal: {hsa.ka.na.} - - UHS-PMD0399

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शँसति (sha.Nsati)
Skt: शँसति (sha.Nsati) - (1 pp) to praise - OnlineSktDict
Pal: {n-a.ti.} - - UHS-PMD0933

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शंकर (sha.nkara)
Skt: शंकर (sha.nkara) - Shankara - OnlineSktDict

See my note on Shankara aka Adi Shankara (788 CE - 820 CE)

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शंका (sha.nkaa)
Skt: शंका (sha.nkaa) - fear - OnlineSktDict

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शंस (sha.nsa)
Skt: शंस (sha.nsa) - praise - OnlineSktDict

शंससि (sha.nsasi)
Skt: शंससि (sha.nsasi) - You are praising - OnlineSktDict

शस्त्र-पात   śastra-pāta  m.   cease fire  [ Mil. ] - SpkSkt
शामकयन्त्र   śāmakayantra  n.   fire engine - SpkSkt

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{sha.ka.} शक

शकुन्तला (shakuntalaa)
= श क ु न ् त ल ा
Skt: शकुन्तला (shakuntalaa) - the heroine of the play - OnlineSktDict

See my note on Shakuntala aka शकुन्तला, Śakuntalā
Pal: sakunta - m. a bird - UPMT-PED209

शकुन्तला (shakuntalaa)
Skt: शकुन्तला (shakuntalaa) - shakuntalA (the heroine of Drama ' AbhiGYAna shAkuntalam') - OnlineSktDict

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{shak} शक् = श क ्

शक्त (shakta) = श क ् त
Skt: शक्त (shakta) - strong - OnlineSktDict

शक्ताः (shaktaaH)
Skt: शक्ताः (shaktaaH) - capable - OnlineSktDict

शक्ति (shakti) = श क ्  / {shak~ti.}/
Skt: शक्ति (shakti) - strength - OnlineSktDict
*Pal: satti {t~ti.} - f. ability, power, spear, javelin - UPMT-PED216

See my notes on Shakti
Note to myself: My observation that {t~} in Pal-Myan becomes   शक्  =  श क ्  / {shak~}/ needs to be rechecked - 110417


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/ {shak-ta.} शक्त = श क ् त

शक्तिः (shaktiH) = श क ् त ि ः
Skt: शक्तिः (shaktiH) - power; might - OnlineSktDict

शक्तिचालनी (shaktichaalanii)
Skt: शक्तिचालनी (shaktichaalanii) - one of the mudras, involves contracting the rectum- OnlineSktDict

शक्तिचालिनी (shaktichaalinii)
Skt: शक्तिचालिनी (shaktichaalinii) - the nerve-power posture - OnlineSktDict

शक्तित्रयः (shaktitrayaH)
Skt: शक्तित्रयः (shaktitrayaH) - three powers of 'ichcha', 'kriya' and 'gyana' - OnlineSktDict

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शक्नवाम (shaknavaama)
Skt: शक्नवाम (shaknavaama) - I pl 'imperative' paras. of shak, be able - OnlineSktDict

शक्नोति (shaknoti)
Skt: शक्नोति (shaknoti) - (5 pp) to be able - OnlineSktDict

शक्नोमि (shaknomi)
Skt: शक्नोमि (shaknomi) - am I able - OnlineSktDict

शक्नोषि (shaknoshhi)
Skt: शक्नोषि (shaknoshhi) - you are able - OnlineSktDict

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शक्य (shakya)
= श क ् य
Skt: शक्य (shakya) - possible - OnlineSktDict

शक्यं (shakyaM)
Skt: शक्यं (shakyaM) - is able - OnlineSktDict

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शक्यः (shakyaH)
Skt: शक्यः (shakyaH) - practical - OnlineSktDict

शक्यत्त्वात् (shakyattvaat.h)
Skt: शक्यत्त्वात् (shakyattvaat.h) - from capability - OnlineSktDict

शक्यसे (shakyase)
Skt: शक्यसे (shakyase) - are able - OnlineSktDict

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शक्रस्य (shakrasya)
Skt: शक्रस्य (shakrasya) - (masc.poss.S) of God Indra - OnlineSktDict

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{shn~ka.} शङ्क
not entd in OnlineSktDict

शङ्क  śaṅka m. doubt, fear, bull - SpkSkt

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शङ्करः (sha.nkaraH)
Skt: शङ्करः (sha.nkaraH) - Lord Siva - OnlineSktDict

शङ्का (sha.nkaa)
Skt: शङ्का (sha.nkaa) - doubt - OnlineSktDict
Skt: शङ्का śaṅkā - f. doubt, uncertainty, supposition, care, danger, distrust,
  subject started in disputation, alarm, suspicion of, apprehension, belief, fear,
  presumption, hesitation - SpkSkt

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शङ्ख (sha.nkha) 
Skt: शङ्ख (sha.nkha) - conch shell - OnlineSktDict
Skt: शङ्ख śaṅkha - m.n. conch. adj. relating to or made of a conch or any shell.
  n. sound of a conch-shell - SpkSkt
Pal: saṅkha - mn. a shell, chank, conch - UPMT-PED210

See my note on Shankha .

शङ्खं (sha.nkhaM)
Skt: शङ्खं (sha.nkhaM) - conchshell - OnlineSktDict

शङ्खः (sha.nkhaH)
Skt: शङ्खः (sha.nkhaH) - (m) a conch - OnlineSktDict

शङ्खाः (sha.nkhaaH)
Skt: शङ्खाः (sha.nkhaaH) - conch shells - OnlineSktDict

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शङ्खान् (sha.nkhaan.h)
Skt: शङ्खान् (sha.nkhaan.h) - conch shells - OnlineSktDict

शङ्खौ (sha.nkhau)
Skt: शङ्खौ (sha.nkhau) - conch shells - OnlineSktDict

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शठ (shaTha)
Skt: शठ (shaTha) - rogue - OnlineSktDict

शठः (shaThaH)
Skt: शठः (shaThaH) - deceitful - OnlineSktDict

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{sha.da.} शद
not entd in OnlineSktDict

शद śada
Skt: शद śada - m. particular ekAha, produce, revenue, falling, any edible vegetable product - SpkSkt

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शड्बल (shaD.hbala)
Skt: शड्बल (shaD.hbala) - Six Strengths. A method of determining planetary powers - OnlineSktDict

शड्वर्ग (shaD.hvarga)
Skt: शड्वर्ग (shaD.hvarga) -The Six Harmonic Charts: Rashi, Hora, dreshhkaaNa, navaa.nsha, dvadasha.nsha and tri.nsha.nsha - OnlineSktDict

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शत (shata)
Skt: शत (shata) - Hundred - OnlineSktDict

शतं (shataM)
Skt: शतं (shataM) - a hundred - OnlineSktDict

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शतकोटि (shatakoTi)
Skt: शतकोटि (shatakoTi) - 100 koti or 1000 millions - OnlineSktDict

शततन्त्री (shatatantrii)
Skt: शततन्त्री (shatatantrii) - (f) santoor (shatatanrii viiNaa)- OnlineSktDict

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शततारका (shatataarakaa)
Skt: शततारका (shatataarakaa) - Twenty-fourth nakshatra, hundred minor stars - OnlineSktDict

शतपदी (shatapadii)
Skt: शतपदी (shatapadii) - (f) centipede - OnlineSktDict
Pal: satapadī - f. a centipede - UPMT-PED215

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शतशः (shatashaH)
Skt: शतशः (shatashaH) - hundreds - OnlineSktDict

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शताभिशक (shataabhishaka)
Skt: शताभिशक (shataabhishaka) - Twenty-fourth nakshatra (also shatataarakaa) - OnlineSktDict

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शतेन (shatena)
Skt: शतेन (shatena) - hundred - OnlineSktDict

शतैः (shataiH)
Skt: शतैः (shataiH) - by hundreds - OnlineSktDict

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शत्रु (shatru)
Skt: शत्रु (shatru) - enemy - OnlineSktDict
Pal: sattu - m. an enemy, flour, barley-meal (sp?) - UPMT-PED216

शत्रुभाव (shatrubhaava)
Skt: शत्रुभाव (shatrubhaava) - House of Enemies or 6th - OnlineSktDict

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शत्रुं (shatruM)
Skt: शत्रुं (shatruM) - the enemy - OnlineSktDict

शत्रुः (shatruH)
Skt: शत्रुः (shatruH) - because of enmity - OnlineSktDict

शत्रुत्वे (shatrutve)
Skt: शत्रुत्वे (shatrutve) - OnlineSktDict

शत्रुन् (shatrun.h)
Skt: शत्रुन् (shatrun.h) - enemies - OnlineSktDict

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शत्रुवत् (shatruvat.h)
Skt: शत्रुवत् (shatruvat.h) - as an enemy - OnlineSktDict

शत्रौ (shatrau)
Skt: शत्रौ (shatrau) - in (towards) the enemy - OnlineSktDict

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शनि (shani)
Skt: शनि (shani) - Saturn - OnlineSktDict

शनिवार (shanivaara)
Skt: शनिवार (shanivaara) - Saturday - OnlineSktDict

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शनैः (shanaiH)
Skt: शनैः (shanaiH) - slowly - OnlineSktDict

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शन्तिं (shantiM)
Skt: शन्तिं (shantiM) - perfect peace - OnlineSktDict
*Pal: santi - f. tranquility, peace - UPMT-PED217

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UKT notes


Excerpt from Tom Adams, Kundalini and Tibetan Buddhism, Eastern Healing Arts, http://easternhealingarts.com/Articles/KundaliniTibet.html 110417
Tom Adams is a spiritual healer and medical intuitive, based in New Milford, Connecticut, USA. - UKT

In Buddhism the prana and shakti energy moving through the body are called the winds. Buddhist teachings do not focus on manipulating the kundalini shakti and they are not as focused on the unchanging aspect of the chakras, and their objective content ie. the fixed seed syllables and their corresponding bija mantras and gods and goddesses, which one finds in the Hindu Yoga system. The Buddhist system is more focused on the functions of the energy centers and that which flows through them. " ie. , with the transformation of the cosmic or nature-energies into spiritual potentialities." In Buddhism the "seed mantras or primordial sounds" are associated with the continuous flow of energies and their interactions. The Buddha in his great wisdom taught his students to focus on, and work with the "prajna", the wisdom of the heart, because the wisdom of non-dual awareness tempers and brings harmony to the power of the kundalini shakti.

From: http://cultureishumanity.blogspot.com/2008_06_01_archive.html 110918

NAVARATRI:  By the end of September and in the beginning of October comes the nine day and nine nights' festivities called the Navaratri. This festival is celebrated for nine continuous days. These nine nights the people worship the Shakti and her forms. Temples are decorated and deities are worshipped. Some people also keep fast for nine days and some refrain from having non vegetarian food and alcoholic drinks. The festival is celebrated all around the country although in different ways and is termed differently; the basic reason remains the same. Actually India celebrates two Navaratris. This one is known as the Sharadiya or the Akalbodhan. Legend says that Goddess of Shakti is to be worshipped during the Vasant Navaratri. But Ram wanted to worship the Goddess at this time, a wrong time of the year, before his war with Ravan. So he invoked the Goddess and worshipped her. Since then this Navaratri has become more famous. More so as Ram won over the demon king Ravan on the tenth day.

UKT: More on other festivals in the article.

Go back shakti-note-b

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Shakuntala aka शकुन्तला, Śakuntalā

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakuntala 110416

In Hindu mythology Shakuntala (Skt: शकुन्तला, Śakuntalā) is the wife of Dushyanta and the mother of Emperor Bharata. Her story is told in the Mahabharata and dramatized by Kalidasa in his play Abhijānaśākuntalam (The Recognition of Shakuntala).

UKT: Background to the story of Shakuntala is the story of her mother seducing the rhisi who fathered Shakuntala.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menaka 110418

In Hindu mythology, Menaka (Skt: मेनका) is considered one of the most beautiful of the heavenly Apsaras.

She was sent by Indra, the king of the Devas, to break the severe penance undertaken by Vishwamitra. She successfully incited Vishwamitra's lust and passion when he saw her swimming naked in a lake near a waterfall. She succeeded in breaking the meditation of Vishwamitra and the two made love for many years. However, she fell in genuine love with him. When Vishwamitra realized that he had been tricked by Indra, he was enraged. But he merely cursed Menaka to be separated from him forever, for he loved her as well and knew that she had lost all devious intentions towards him long ago.

Later, Menaka is also said to have been the mother of Shakuntala, who was left at the hermitage of a Sage Kanva when she was a baby. Later Shakuntala became the love of King Dushyanta and gave birth to his son Bharata.
UKT: End of Wikipedia on Menaka.

UKT: Below are five modern paintings from Wikipedia. The artist has added bras and upper garments to the females which obviously is not true to the spirit of the story. To the ancients, bare female breasts are just the signs of fertility which are sometimes exploited by unscrupulous persons to harm another. - UKT 110417


Rishi Kanva found her in forest as a baby surrounded by Shakunta birds (Skt: शकुन्त, śakunta). Therefore he named her Shakuntala (Skt: शकुन्तला), meaning Shakunta-protected [1][2].

UKT: Shakunta birds are given as peacocks. http://www.worldgeneralknowledge.com/indian_mythology_2.html 110417

In the Adi Parva of Mahabharata, Kanva says:

निर्जने च वने यस्माचछकुन्तैः परिरक्षिता
शकुन्तळेति नामास्याः कृतं चापि ततो मया

nirjane ca vane yasmācchakuntaiḥ parirakṣitā
śakuntaleti nāmāsyāḥ kṛtaṃ cāpi tato mayā

She was surrounded in the solitude of the wilderness, by śakuntas,
therefore, hath she been named by me Shakuntala (Shakunta-protected).

Birth and childhood

Shakuntalā (शकुन्तला) was born of the sage Vishwāmitra विश्वामित्र and the Apsarā अप्सरा [named] Menakā मेनका. [UKT ]

UKT note of 110417
Apsarā अप्सरा = अ प ् स र ा . {ic~hsa.ra} - UHS-PMD0016
   Apsarā are not {d-wi}, the female form of {d-wa.}. Apsarā are dancers at Indra's court and belong to the Gandharva group: the males being musicians. They are court servants. See Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apsara 100212
   Differentiate from {i.kra:} a devout follower of the Buddha. Indra is the wrathful and vengeful God of Thunder of the Hindus. In the story, Indra being fearful that Vishwāmitra विश्वामित्र , the rhisi, had gained enough supernatural powers [through the practice of {a.ma.hta.} - not {wi.pa.a.na} (sp?)] to replace him, he [Indra] had sent the beautiful Apsarā to seduce him. He also sent the God of Wind behind her to disrobe her in the presence of the rhisi to arouse his sexual desire. According to the Theravada Buddhism, the practice of {a.ma.hta.} gives 'supernatural powers', but not the 'wisdom' which could only be gained through the practice of {wi.pa.a.na} (sp?).

Menakā had come at the behest of the King of the Gods, Indra इन्द्र , to distract [UKT: the correct form of the word is 'seduce'] the great sage Vishwāmitra (विश्वामित्र) from his deep meditations. She succeeded, and bore a child by him. Vishwāmitra (विश्वामित्र), angered by the loss of the virtue gained through his many hard years of strict ascetism, distanced himself from the child and mother to return to his work. Realizing that she could not leave the child with him, and having to return to the heavenly realms, Menakā left the newborn Shakuntalā in the forest. It was here that the new born child was found by Kanva Rishi (कण्व ऋषि) surrounded by Shakunta birds (शकुन्त, śakunta). He thus named her Shakuntalā. Kanva Rishi took the child to his ashram, on the banks of the Mālini River which rises in the Shivālik hills of Himālayas and lies about 10 km from the town of Kotdwāra in the state of Uttarākhand, India. This fact is corroborated by Kālidāsa in his famous epic Abhijānaśākuntalam (अभिज्ञानशाकुन्तलम्) in which he has described the ashram of the Kanva Rishi on the banks of river Mālini.

Meeting King Dushyanta

King Dushyanta first encountered Shakuntala while travelling through the forest with his army. Pursuing a male deer wounded by his arrow into the ashram (hermitage), he saw Shakuntala and fell in love with her beauty. He profusely begged her forgiveness for harming the deer and spent some time at the ashram. They fell in love and married right there in the ashram. Having to leave after some time due to unrest in the capital city, Dushyanta gave Shakuntala a royal ring as a sign of their love, promising her that he would return for her.

The curse

Shakuntala spent much time dreaming of her new husband and was often distracted by her daydreams. One day, a powerful rishi, Durvasa, came to the ashrama but, lost in her thoughts about Dushyanta, Shakuntala failed to greet him properly. Incensed by this slight, the rishi cursed Shakuntala, saying that the person she was dreaming of would forget about her altogether. As he departed in a rage, one of Shakuntala's friends quickly explained to him the reason for her friend's distraction. The rishi, realizing that his extreme wrath was not warranted, modified his curse saying that the person who had forgotten Shakuntala would remember everything again if she showed him a personal token that had been given to her.

Time passed, and Shakuntala, wondering why Dushyanta did not return for her, finally set out for the capital city with her father [ Kanva Rishi ?] and some of her companions. On the way, they had to cross a river by a canoe ferry and, seduced by the deep blue waters of the river, Shakuntala ran her fingers through the water. Her ring slipped off her finger without her realizing it.

Arriving at Dushyanta's court, Shakuntala was hurt and surprised when her husband did not recognize her, nor recollected anything about her. She tried to remind him that she was his wife but without the ring Dushyanta did not recognize her. Humiliated, she returned to the forests and, collecting her son, settled in a wild part of the forest by herself. Here she spent her days while Bharata, her son, grew older. Surrounded only by wild animals, Bharata grew to be a strong youth and made a sport of opening the mouths of tigers and lions and counting their teeth.

The recognition

Meanwhile, a fisherman was surprised to find a royal ring in the belly of a fish he had caught. Recognizing the royal seal, he took the ring to the palace and, upon seeing his ring, Dushyanta's memories of his lovely bride came rushing back to him. He immediately set out to find her and, arriving at her father's ashram, discovered that she was no longer there. He continued deeper into the forest to find his wife and came upon a surprising scene in the forest: a young boy had pried open the mouth of a lion and was busy counting its teeth. The king greeted the boy, amazed by his boldness and strength, and asked his name. He was surprised when the boy answered that he was Bharata, the son of King Dushyanta. The boy took him to Shakuntala, and thus the family was reunited.

An alternate narrative is that after Dushyanta failed to recognize Shakuntala, her mother Menaka took Shakuntala to Heaven where she gave birth to Bharata. Dushyanta was required to fight with the devas, from which he emerged victorious; his reward was to be reunited with his wife and son. He had a vision in which he saw a young boy counting the teeth of a lion. His kavach (arm band/armour) had fallen off his arm. Dushyanta was informed by the devas that only Bharata's mother or father could tie it back on his arm. Dushyanta successfully tied it on his arm. The confused Bharata took the king to his mother Shakuntala and told her that this man claimed to be his father. Upon which Shakuntala told Bharata that the king was indeed his father. Thus the family was reunnited in Heaven, and they returned to earth to rule for many years before the birth of the Pandava.

UKT: This story of Shakuntala has been made into plays and films. Continue reading in the original Wikipedia article.

Go back Shakuntala-note-b

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From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adi_Shankara 110409

Adi Shankara (Ādi Śaṅkara /aːd̪i ɕaŋkərə/, Skt: आदि शङ्करः, Malayalam: ആദി ശങ്കരന്‍ Ādi Śaṅkaran , (788 CE - 820 CE[1]), also known as Śaṅkara Bhagavatpādācārya and Ādi Śaṅkarācārya, was an Indian philosopher from Kalady of present day Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, a sub-school of Vedanta. His teachings are based on the unity of the Atman and Brahman non-dual Brahman, in which Brahman is viewed as without attributes.

Shankara travelled across India and other parts of South Asia to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers. He is reputed to have founded four Maṭhas (Skt: मठ 'monasteries') [UKT: Skt-Dev spelling copied from another part of the same Wiki article], which helped in the historical development, revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta. Adi Shankara is believed to be the organizer of the Dashanami monastic order and the founder of the Shanmata tradition of worship [UKT See below] .

The following is from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanmata 110416

Shanmata (Ṣaṇmata) is the system of worship, believed by the Smarta tradition to have been founded by Adi Shankara, the 8th century CE Hindu philosopher [1]. It centers around the worship of the six main deities of Hinduism, viz:

1. Shiva,
2. Vishnu,
3. Shakti शक्ति = श क ् त ि - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakti 110416
4. Ganesha गणेश  
5. Surya सूर्य
6. Skanda.

UKT: You will note that in the above six, the only female form depicted is Shakti. It makes me wonder if this representation was the original Mother Goddess of the ancient Tibeto-Burmans who were more partial towards the mother instead of the father as was the case with the Indo-Aryans. In Bur-Myan, we refer to the country we lived in as the "Mother land", instead of the "Father land" as is traditionally done in the West. I wait for input from my peers. - UKT110416

In this system, six major deities are worshipped. This is based on the belief in the essential oneness of all deities, the unity of Godhead, and their conceptualization of the myriad deities of India as various manifestations of the one divine power, Brahman.

Philosophically, all are seen by Smartas as equal reflections of the one Saguna Brahman, i.e., a personal God with form, rather than as distinct beings.[2]

Smartas accept and worship the six manifestations of God, (Ganesha, Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, Surya and Skanda) and the choice of the nature of God is up to the individual worshipper since different manifestations of God are held to be equivalent. It is believed that in Adi Shankara's time these deities had their own Hindu followers who quarrelled with each other claiming the superiority of their chosen deity. Adi Shankara is said to have synthesised these quarrelling sects by integrating the worship of all these deities in the Shanmata system.

His works in Sanskrit concern themselves with establishing the doctrine of Advaita (Nondualism). He also established the importance of monastic life as sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra, in a time when the Mimamsa school established strict ritualism and ridiculed monasticism. [UKT ]

UKT: As a child, I was told by my uncles from Chindwin area that Hamsas always came to visit the Chinwin river at certain times of the year. Later I had asked what those birds were called and I was told that they were the Brahminy ducks of yellow colour. I still have no idea of what the Bur-Myan Hamsa is. Whatever the case may be take note of  the webbed feet. -- 120104

Shankara represented his works as elaborating on ideas found in the Upanishads, and he wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic Canon (Brahma Sutra, Principal Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis. The main opponent in his work is the Mimamsa school of thought, though he also offers some arguments against the views of some other schools like Samkhya and certain schools of Buddhism that he was partly familiar with. However, he held firmly that only Brahmin caste males are eligible to attain the knowledge of Brahman.[2]


Traditional accounts of Adi Shankara's life can be found in the Shankara Vijayams, which are poetic works that contain a mix of biographical and legendary material, written in the epic style. The most important among these biographies are the Mādhavīya Śaṅkara Vijayaṃ (of Mādhava, c. 14th century), the Cidvilāsīya Śaṅkara Vijayaṃ (of Cidvilāsa, c. between 15th century and 17th century), and the Keraļīya Śaṅkara Vijayaṃ (of the Kerala region, extant from c. 17th century).[3][4]

Shankara was born in the Namboodiri Brahmin community to Sri Sivaguru and Aryamba in or near Kaladi in central present day Kerala. According to lore, it was after his parents, who had been childless for many years, prayed at the Vadakkunnathan temple, Thrissur that Sankara was born under the star Thiruvathira.[5][6]

His father died while Shankara was very young. By the time, Shankara didn't complete three years. Shankara's upanayanaṃ, the initiation into student-life, was performed at the age of five. As a child, Shankara showed remarkable scholarship, mastering the four Vedas by the age of eight.[7]

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From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shankha 100214

Shankha (Sanskrit: शंख, Śaṇkha), also spelled and pronounced as Shankh and Sankha, is a ritual object, a religious object consisting of a conch shell, a kind of large sea shell. It is the shell of a large sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc from the Indian Ocean. The species has the the scientific name Turbinella pyrum within the family Turbinellidae.

In Hinduism the Shankha is a sacred emblem of the Hindu preserver god Vishnu. The shankha is still used as a trumpet in Hindu ritual, and was used as a war trumpet in the past. The Shankha is praised in Hindu scriptures as a giver of fame, longevity and prosperity, the cleanser of sin and the abode of Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth and consort of Vishnu.

The Shankha is displayed in Hindu art in association with Vishnu. As a symbol of water, it is associated with female fertility and serpents (Nāgas).

The Shankha is included in the list of the eight Buddhist auspicious symbols, the the Ashtamangala. In Tibetan Buddhism it is known as "tung".

A powder derived from the Shankha is used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, primarily as a cure for stomach ailments and for increasing beauty and strength.

In the Western world in the English language, the shell of this species is known as the "divine conch" or the "sacred chank". It may also be simply called a "chank" or conch.

The word shankha is spelt differently in India from one region to another according to the language used there. It is spelled Shankha in Sanskrit, Kannada and Marathi. In English it is usually known as a conch or conch shell, but also as a "chank" shell. In Gujarati it is known as Du-sukk, Sanka and Sangu in Tamil, Senkham in Telugu and Sankh in Bengali.[1]


Shankha's scientific name is Turbinella pyrum and it is a porcelaneous shell (i.e. the surface of the shell is strong, hard, shiny, and somewhat translucent, like porcelain). The sea snail which forms the shell is found in the Indian Ocean and surrounding seas.

The overall shape of the main body of the shell is oblong or conical. In the oblong form, it has a protuberance in the middle but tapers at each end. In the conical variety, the upper portion is corkscrew shaped, while the lower end is twisted and tapering. The shell has a broad base. Its colour is dull, and the surface is hard, brittle and translucent. Like all snail shells, the interior is hollow. The inner surfaces of the shell are very shiny, but the outer surface exhibits high tuberculation.[1] In Hinduism, the shankha that is shiny, white, soft with pointed ends and heavy is sought after.[2]

Based on its direction of coiling, Shankha has two varieties. These are:[3][4]

In Hinduism, a Dakshinavarta shankha symbolizes infinite space and is associated with Vishnu. The Vamavarta shankha represents the reversal of the laws of nature and is linked with Shiva.[5]

Dakshinavarta shankha is believed to be the abode of the wealth goddess Lakshmi - the consort of Vishnu, and hence this type of shankha is considered ideal for medicinal use. It is a very rare variety from the Indian Ocean. This type of shankha has 3 to 7 ridges visible on the edge of the aperture and on the columella and has a special internal structure. The right spiral of this type reflects the motion of the planets. It is also compared with the hair whorls on the Buddha's head that spiral to the right. The long white curl between Buddha's eyebrows and the conch-like swirl of his navel are also akin to this shankha.[4][6]

The Varaha Purana tells that bathing with the Dakshinavarta shankha frees one from sin. Skanda Purana narrates that bathing Vishnu with this shankha grants freedom from sins of seven previous lives. A Dakshinavarta shankha is considered to be a rare "jewel" or ratna and is adorned with great virtues. It is also believed to grant longevity, fame and wealth proportional to its shine, whiteness and largeness. Even if such a shankha has a defect, mounting it in gold is believed to restore the virtues of the shankha.[2]

In its earliest references, Shankha is mentioned as a trumpet and it is in this form that it became an emblem of Vishnu. Simultaneously, it was used as a votive offering and as a charm to keep away the dangers of the sea. It was the earliest known sound-producing agency as manifestation of sound, and the other elements came later, hence it is regarded as the original of the elements. It is identified with the elements themselves. Its use existed among the aboriginal tribes of India long before the Aryans arrived in India.[7] [8]

As a trumpet or wind instrument, a hole is drilled at base of the shankha. When air is blown through the hole, it travels through the whorls of the shankha, producing a loud, sharp, shrill sound. This sound is the reason that the shankha was used as a war trumpet, to collect helpers and friends. Shanka continued to be used in battles for a long time. The sound it produced was called shankanad.

Nowadays, the shankha is blown at the time of worship in Hindu temples and homes, especially in the ritual of the Hindu arati, when light is offered to the deities. The shankha is also used to bathe images of deities, especially Vishnu, and for ritual purification. No hole is drilled for these purposes, though the aperture is cut clean or rarely the whorls are cut to represent five consecutive shells with five mouths.[9][10]

Shankha is used as a material for making bangles, bracelets and other objects.[9] Due to its aquatic origin and resemblance to the vulva it has become an integral part of the Tantric rites. In view of this, its symbolism is also said to represent female fertility. Since water itself is a fertility symbol, shankha, which is an aquatic product is recognised as symbolic of female fertility. It is mentioned that in ancient Greece shells along with pearls denoted sexual love and marriage and also Mother goddesses.[7]

Different magic and sorcery items are also closely connected with this trumpet. This type of device existed long before the Buddhist era.

Shankha is used in Ayurvedic medicinal formulations to treat many ailments. It is prepared as conch shell ash, known in Sanskrit as Shankha bhasma. Its chemical form is silicate of magnesia. Shankha bhasma is prepared by soaking the shell in lime juice and calcinating in covered crucibles, ten to twelve times, and finally reducing it to powder ash.[1] Shankha bhasma contains calcium, iron and magnesium and is used to possess antacid and digestive properties.[11]

A compound pill called Shankavati is also prepared for use in dyspepsia. In this case, the procedure followed is to mix Shankha bhasma with tamarind seed ash, five salts (panchlavana), asafoetida, ammonium chloride, pepper, carui, caraway, ginger, long pepper, purified mercury and aconite in specified proportions. It is then triturated in juices of lemon and made into a pill-mass.[1] It is prescribed for vata (wind/air) and pitta (bile) ailments as well as for beauty and strength.[2]

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