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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Pāśa literally means ‘that which binds’, ‘noose’.

Though the word ‘pāśa’ stands for anything that binds,[1] it is used more in a technical sense to indicate the lasso or a long rope with a noose, shown in the hands of certain deities like Yama[2] and Varuṇa.[3] Many other deities like Gaṇapati and some aspects of the Devī are also shown with it.

Pāśa invariably goes with aṅkuśa,[4] the deities holding both. Generally the añkuśa is held in the right hand and the pāśa in the left. These two signify the controlling and the binding power of the deity. Iconographical works show them in a variety of ways. Symbolically, pāśa stands for attachment or desire and añkuśa for anger.


  1. It includes the emotional attachments.
  2. Yama is the god of death.
  3. Varuṇa is the god of fate and punishment.
  4. Aṅkuśa means goad.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore