Definition - What does Asraya mean?

Asraya is a Sanskrit word meaning “refuge,” “base,” “shelter” or “protection.” In Hindu philosophy, it can refer to a specific deity that is worshiped by a devotee, rather than Brahman as a whole. Within Buddhist philosophy, asraya can mean “one who offers,” or is sometimes used in reference to the physical body or can be equated with the six senses.

Yogapedia explains Asraya

Within Hinduism, there is a belief that the jiva, or individual soul, is considered the asraya for the situations of experience in the life of an individual soul. In other words, as a soul goes through the different states of existence, it lives and experiences at different asrayas, or bases. In addition, in respect to Hindu astrology, asraya yoga is a particular alignment of the planets where they are resting in common signs together.

In Buddhism, a bodhisatva can be considered an asraya of different attributes, such as charity, wisdom, goodness, etc. In this interpretation of the concept of asraya, an individual who has reached enlightenment can act as a source, or base, to offer virtues or teachings to others. In addition, asraya can be used to refer to the body (including the six sense organs) that shelters the soul on its journey.

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