āvaraṇa

(‘veil, cover’)

Derived from the root ‘vṛ’ and with a prefix ‘ā,’ the word ‘āvaraṇa’ means anything which covers or surrounds. In the Advaita Vedānta it refers to the veiling power of māyā/avidyā. (See ĀVARAṆA-ŚAKTI.)

In temple architecture, it refers to the enclosures or prākāras, surrounding the main shrine, wherein the āvaraṇa-devatās (minor deities, the attendants of the chief deity) are housed, as also the utsavamūrti (procession deity) and other paraphernalia.

In Vīraśaivism the word is used for a protective covering, in the spiritual sense. There are eight such āvaraṇas. (See AṢṬĀVARAṆAS.)