सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Tapa"







In General

Tapa means a repeated action(religious austerity). Repeated meditation, spiritual activities and even worldly activities are tapa. A repeated action require discipline. So tapa is a repeated mind body action. It may some time lead to boring and hence called suffering.

Dhana, dharma and tapa are the basic activities to be practiced at any cost by Sri Krishna. Krishna further divides tapa into three division satvic rajasic and tamasik in B.G. chapter 17. Satvik tapa is best of all and it is with good character and no personnel prejudice. Rajasik is with desire of honour and tamasik tapa with bad intention.

Word meaning is, 'consuming by heat'


Chandogya Upanishad use the word tapa in the sense of one’s duties and religious austerities. Similarly observing celibacy, speaking only truth, ahimsa are also called as tapa.


Purana use the word tapa in a slightly different way for the sake of storytelling. The puranic version of tapa is a savior austerity with a particular desire. Purana illustrate great tapa by good and bad people by inflicting body and in the end of tapa God appear and give the desired boon to the devotee. Daityas are great personalities who did great tapas spanned over thousands of years and in many cases gods are helpless not to appear before them. Although puranic story is meant for moral lesson many of the stories became interesting by the tapa and boon and the action that followed. In spite of all the boon Hiranyakasipu was killed. Bhasmasura who had the power to make anybody burned to ash was killed by his own boon. Hiranyaksha, Ravana were similarly killed even with their mighty power from boon.

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