Tapas (Indian religions)
Tapas is a variety of austere spiritual practices in Indian religions. In
Tapas is based on the root Tap (तप्) meaning "to heat, to give out warmth, to shine, to burn". The term evolves to also mean "to suffer, to mortify the body, undergo penance" in order to "burn away past karma" and liberate oneself. The term Tapas means "warmth, heat, fire".
The meaning of the word evolves in ancient Indian literature. The earliest discussions of tapas, and compound words from the root tap relate to the heat necessary for biological birth. Its conceptual origin is traced to the natural wait, motherly warmth and physical "brooding" provided by birds such as a hen upon her eggs - a process that is essential to hatching and birth; the Vedic scholars used mother nature's example to explain and extend this concept to hatching of knowledge and spiritual rebirth.
Some of the earliest reference of tapas, and compound words from the root tap is found in many ancient Hindu scriptures, including the Ŗg Veda (10.154.5), Satapatha Brahmana (5.3 - 5.17), and Atharva Veda (4.34.1, 6.61.1, 11.1.26). In these texts, tapas is described as the process that led to the spiritual birth of