Abhaya, aka: Abhayā; 17 Definition(s)


Abhaya means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Ayurveda (science of life)

Abhayā (अभया):—One of the seven varieties of Harītakī (‘yellow myrobalan tree’), a tree from the Combretaceae family, which is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. It is available throughout Champa (Bhagalpur area). Its official botanical name is Terminalia chebula and is commonly known in English as “chebulic myrobalan”. It has nut-like fleshy fruits, the seed of which is used in Āyurveda and Tibetan medicine as a universal panacea (remedy). The word Abhayā is derived from the Sanskrit abhaya, literally translating to “fearless, not dangerous, secure”

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

The Abhayā (Chebulic Myrobalans) proves curative in cases of ulcers, is heat-making (in its potency), and acts as a purgative, tends to reduce corpulency and subdues the deranged humours. It is appetising and invigorating to the eye-sight, has an acid and astringent taste, and proves curative in œdema and cutaneous affections. 

Source: archive.org: Sushruta samhita, Volume I
Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Abhaya in Purana glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

Abhaya (अभय) was one of the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He was killed by Bhīmasena. (Mahābhārata Ādi Parva, Chapter 67, Verse 104; Droṇa Parva, Chapter 127, Verse 62).

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Abhaya (अभय).—Son of Dharma and Dayā: a sage.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 1. 50; Matsya-purāṇa 198. 3.

1b) One of the seven continents of Plakṣadvīpa. (Jambūdvīpa—Burnouf).*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 20. 3.

1c) A R. of Krauñcadvīpa.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 20. 21.

2) Abhayā (अभया).—The goddess enshrined in Uṣṇatīrtha.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 13. 42.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Vastushastra (architecture)

Abhaya (अभय, “absence of fear”) refers to the seventh of nine aṃśa (part), according to the Mānasāra. Aṃśa is the alternative sixth of the āyādiṣaḍvarga, or “six principles” that constitute the “horoscope” of an architectural or iconographic object. Their application is intended to “verify” the measurements of the architectural and iconographic object against the dictates of astrology that lay out the conditions of auspiciousness.

The particular aṃśa (eg., abhaya) of all architectural and iconographic objects (settlement, building, image) must be calculated and ascertained. This process is based on the principle of the remainder. An arithmetical formula to be used in each case is stipulated, which engages one of the basic dimensions of the object (breadth, length, or perimeter/circumference). Among the nine taskara, the ones named ṣaṇḍa and vipat are inauspicious, and should therefore be avoided.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra
Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

1) Abhaya (अभय) represents “peraruludaimai” (benevolence), referring to one of the attributes of Lord Śiva, commonly seen depicted in Hindu iconography, defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—The śilpa texts have classified the various accessories under the broad heading of āyudha or karuvi (implement), including even flowers, animals, and musical instruments. The accessories should be made of the same material with which the main image has been fashioned. Each of these accessories denotes the attributes of the images while in certain circumstances they denote particular divinity or character by themselves. Abhaya, for example, signifies the attributes of Lord Śiva.

2) Abhaya (अभय) or Abhayahasta refers to “fear not” and represents one of the twenty-four gestures with a single hand, as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—Accordingly, pratimā-lakṣaṇa (body postures of the icons) is comprised of hand gestures (hasta, mudrā or kai-amaiti), stances/poses (āsanas) and inflexions of the body (bhaṅgas). There are thirty-two types of hands [viz., abhaya-hasta] classified into two major groups known as tolirkai (functional and expressive gestures) and elirkai (graceful posture of the hand).

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Abhayā (अभया):—Sanskrit word which could stand for the Yellow myrobalan tree (Terminalia Chebula).

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

1. Abhaya Thera - An arahant. He was a Brahmin of Savatthi who, having heard the Buddha preach, entered the Order. One day, while going to the village for alms, he was disturbed in mind by an attractively dressed woman, but he recollected himself and developed insight (Thag.v.98; ThagA.i.201-2).

In a former birth he had met Sumedha Buddha in the forest and had offered him a wreath of salala flowers. Nineteen kappas ago he was born sixteen times as king, his name being Nimmita. He is probably to be identified with the Thera Vatamsakiya of the Apadana (i.174).

2. Abhaya - Commonly called Abhayarajakumara.

He was the son of King Bimbisara and of Padumavati, the belle of Ujjeni. When the boy was seven years old, his mother sent him to the king and he grew up with the boys of the court. He first came under the influence of the Nigantha Nataputta, who taught him a dilemma to set the Samana Gotama. In the Buddhas reply, the prince recognised the defeat of the Nigantha and the supreme Enlightenment of the Exalted One, whose disciple he then became. Later, when the king died, Abhaya was disturbed in mind, and entered the Order. On the occasion of the preaching of the Talacchiggalupama Sutta (probably the same as S.v.455 and M.iii.169), he became a Stream enterer and afterwards attained arahantship (Thag.26; ThagA.i.83-4 also ThagA.39. In ThagA. his mothers name does not appear). The Abhayarajakumara Sutta (M.i.392ff ) contains the dilemma episode. It also mentions that at the time the prince had a little son of whom he was evidently very fond.

In the Samyutta Nikaya (S.v.126-8) he is stated as having visited the Buddha at Gijjhakuta and discussed with him the views of Purana Kassapa. The Buddha teaches him about the seven bojjhangas.

In the Vinaya (i.269), Abhaya is mentioned as having discovered Jivaka Komarabhacca lying on a dung heap (cast there by the orders of his mother, the courtesan Salavati), and having brought him up.

The Anguttara Commentary (i.216), on the other hand, says that Abhaya was Jivakas natural father.

As a reward for quelling a disturbance on the frontier, Abhaya was given a skilled nautch girl by his father, Bimbisara. For seven days he enjoyed her company to the exclusion of all else, but on the seventh day she died. Disconsolate, he sought comfort from the Buddha, who assuaged his grief (DhA.iii.166-67; cf. the story of Santati).

The Apadana (ii.502-4) gives the story of his past. He had been a brahmin of Hamsavati, skilled in the Vedas; having heard the Buddha Padumuttara preach, he was converted and joined the Order, where he spent his time singing the greatness of the Buddha.

The Theragatha Commentary (i.83-4) quotes, in his story, some verses in the Apadana, which in the Apadana itself are ascribed to a Thera Ketakapupphiya.

-- or --

A Theri.Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Abhaya (अभय) is the son of king Bimbisāra and Āmrapāli according to the Sarvāstivādin Vinaya mentioned in a note at the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVIII).—According to the Sarvāstivādin Vinaya, the son of Bimbisāra and Āmrapālī was called Abhaya (Gilgit Manuscripts, III, 2, p. 22), while Jīvaka was the son of Bimbisāra and the wife of a merchant whose name is not given. In the Pāli sources, Vimala-Kondañña is given as the son of Bimbisāra and Āmrapālī (Theragāthā Comm., I, p. 146): Jīvaka’s father was Abhaya-Rājakumāra—one of Bimbisāra’s sons—and his mother, a courtesan of Rājagṛha called Sālavati.

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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India history and geogprahy

Abhaya is the name of a convent (monastary for bhikkuṇis) built by Mahāsena (275-301) in the Citadel (inner city) of Anurādhapura.—It is likely that the Abhaya and Uttara convents were in the Abhayagiri Entourage. The cital (inner city) of Anurādhapura was included in Paṇḍukābhaya’s 4th-century layout of this town and featured gates on the cardinal faces. The town also included buildings such as the Abhaya.

Source: archive.org: Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 1963
India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Abhaya in Pali glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

abhaya : (adj.) safe; fearless. (nt.), safety. || abhayā (f.), yellow myrobalan.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Abhaya, (adj.) (a + bhaya) free from fear or danger, fearless, safe Dh.258. — nt. abhayaṃ confidence, safety Dh.317, cp. DhA.III, 491. For further refs. see bhaya. (Page 61)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

abhaya (अभय).—n An assurance of security or im- punity. a Fearless.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Abhaya (अभय).—a. [na. ba.] Free from fear or danger, secure, safe; वैराग्यमेवाभयम् (vairāgyamevābhayam) Bh.3.35.

-yaḥ [na bhayaṃ yasmāt]

1) An epithet of the Supreme Being, or knowledge concerning that being.

2) Name of Śiva.

3) One devoid of all worldly possessions.

4) One who fearlessly executes scriptural commandments.

5) Name of a Yoga (conjunture or time) favourable to a march or expedition.

6) A refugeoffering pose of the hand of an image; Māna.12. 12-21. See अभयमुद्रा (abhayamudrā).

-yā 1 Name of a plant (harītakī), Mar. हिरडा (hiraḍā)).

2) A form of the goddess Durgā.

-yam 1 Absence or removal of fear.

2) Security, safety, protection from fear or danger. मया तस्याभयं दत्तम् (mayā tasyābhayaṃ dattam) Pt.1; अभयस्य हि यो दाता (abhayasya hi yo dātā) Ms.8.33; Ś.2.17.

2) Name of a sacrificial hymn.

3) The root of a fragrant grass (vīraṇamūlam, uśīram).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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