Shiksha

Definition - What does Shiksha mean?

Shiksha is a Sanskrit word that means “instruction,” “learning,” “lesson” and “study of skill.” It is one of the six auxiliary disciplines known as the Vedangas, which support the study of the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures.

Shiksha is the study of phonology, phonetics and pronunciation. The correct intonation, conjunction and disjunction of syllables are key components of shiksha. Shiksha also involves the study of Sanskrit letters and the way words are combined and expressed in a recitation.

Yogapedia explains Shiksha

The Vedas laid the foundation for both yoga and Hinduism. The study of shiksha was essential in ancient India as the Vedas were believed to be divine and inviolable; therefore, the correct pronunciation and tonal vibrations of the hymns was necessary to maintain ritual purity.

In general, the Vedangas provide insight into not only the meaning of the Vedas but also the meters, structure and language of the ancient text. They also provide understanding of other post-Vedic texts and aspects of Hindu and yogic philosophy.

In addition to shiksha, the Vedangas include:

  • Chhandas - The study of prosody, which looks at poetic meter. This includes analyzing the number of syllables per verse and any fixed patterns within them.
  • Vyarkarana - The analysis of grammar and linguistics in order to establish the precise way in which words and sentences were constructed to express ideas.
  • Nirukta - The study of etymology. It is concerned with proper interpretation of the Sanskrit words, given their context in the ancient texts.
  • Kalpa - The focus on ritual instructions, including for rites of passage. It also explores the concepts of individual duty and proper conduct.
  • Jyotisha - The study of timekeeping. It deals with the astrological and astronomical aspects of selecting the best dates and times to perform Vedic rituals and rites.

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