(3,572 words)

The Sanskrit word tapas is frequently translated as “austerity” or more broadly as “asceticism.” The word itself derives from the Sanskrit verb tap-, “to heat,” “to be hot.” Accordingly tapas can refer to a variety of practices aimed at the generation of a kind of “heat” as well as to the heat so generated. Though the term eventually comes to mean a specifically “ascetic,” often painful heat produced by the practice of austerities such as fasting, and with asceticism more generally, its core meaning of the production of hea…

Cite this page
David Carpenter, “Tapas”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 17 February 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2212-5019_beh_COM_2050300>
First published online: 2012

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