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Part of the Encyclopedia of Indian Religions book series (EIR)


“Competence” or “jurisdiction” or even “authority” to accomplish a certain ritual act, to study a specific subject matter, to exercise a particular activity, to enjoy the fruits of moral acts.


The Sanskrit term adhikāra derives from the root kṛ “to make” with the preverb adhi “over, above, concerning.” The general meaning of the root modified by the preverb is “to superintend, be at the head of,” “to be entitled to.” Terms connected with adhikāra from the semantic point of view are adhikaraṇa (originally and from the grammatical point of view, “location,” subsequently and from the juridical point of view, “court of justice”), meaning a topic in a treatise; adhikārin “possessing competence or authority, entitled to, fit for,” and in the juridical acceptation “superintendent.” The term adhikārahas different fields of use: in the ritual sphere it indicates the competence to accomplish a certain ritual or sacrificial act; in the domain of law it denotes the...


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Pelissero, A. (2018). Adhikāra. In: Jain, P., Sherma, R., Khanna, M. (eds) Hinduism and Tribal Religions. Encyclopedia of Indian Religions. Springer, Dordrecht.

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