Asava, aka: Āsava, Āśava, Ashava; 13 Definition(s)


Asava means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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.

The Sanskrit term Āśava can be transliterated into English as Asava or Ashava, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Āyurveda (science of life)

1) Āśava (आशव) refers to a wood-apple (kapittha) liqueur (a medicated wine). It is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Suśruta-saṃhitā and the Caraka-saṃhitā. The literal translation of Āśava is “quickness, rapidity”.

2) Āsava (आसव) refers to a medicated spirituous liquid, and is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā and the Suśruta-saṃhitā. The substance is prepared from honey and treacle, with the addition of various medicinal substances. Next, the substance is being steeped in water and will be laid aside in earthen jars for various fermentations. Āsava is prepared using raw vegetables for fermentation, as opposed to Ariṣṭa, which uses a decoction of drugs.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Āsava and Ariṣṭa (Medicated wines): These forms of medicines are produced by fermentation process. Āsavas are made with juices of medicinal herbs soaked in solution of sugar or jaggery. Ariṣṭas are prepared by decoction mixed with solution of sugar or jaggery. Both āsava and ariṣṭa are in liquid form, have sweet taste and acquire strength with passing of time. Example: Drakshāsava and Dasamūlāriṣṭa. Āsavas are mostly used in respiratory diseases and ariṣṭas are meant for general disorders like arthritis, allergy and anemia. The absorption of medicines from the gut is faster because the self-generated alcohol acts like carrier.

(Source): Ayurveda and Pharmaceutics
Āyurveda book cover
context information

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.


Āsava (आसव).—Also pāna; different kinds of; forbidden to Brāhmaṇas, widows and girls.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 7. 63.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Rasaśāstra (chemistry and alchemy)

Asava is a liquid obtained by fermentation of prescribed materials immersed in water for a month in a jar, closely covered. (see Bhudeb Mookerji and his Rasajalanidhi)

(Source): Rasa-Jala-Nidhi: Or Ocean of indian chemistry and alchemy
Rasaśāstra book cover
context information

Rasaśāstra (रसशास्त्र, rasa-shastra) is an important branch of Āyurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasaśāstra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Mental effluent, pollutant, or fermentation. Four qualities - sensuality, views, becoming, and ignorance - that "flow out" of the mind and create the flood of the round of death and rebirth.(Source): Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

M (That which does unceasingly appear). Mental impurities. The four asavas are:

  1. (kamasava)
  2. (bhavasava)
  3. (ditthasava)
  4. (avijjasava)

(Source): Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

(lit: influxes), 'cankers', taints, corruption's, intoxicant biases.

There is a list of four (as in D. 16, Pts.M., Vibh.):

  • the canker of sense-desire (kāmāsava)
  • of (desiring eternal) existence (bhavāsava)
  • of (wrong) views (ditthāsava)
  • of ignorance (avijjāsava)

A list of three, omitting the canker of views, is possibly older and is more frequent in the Suttas, e.g. in M.2, M.9, D.33; A.III.59, 67; A.VI.63.

In Vibh. (Khuddakavatthu Vibh.) both the 3-fold and 4-fold division are mentioned. The fourfold division also occurs under the name of 'floods' (ogha) and 'yokes' (yoga).

Through the path of Stream-Entry, the canker of views is destroyed; through the path of Non-Returning, the canker of sense-desire; through the path of Arahantship, the cankers of existence and ignorance. M. 2 shows how to overcome the cankers, namely, through insight, sense-control, avoidance, wise use of the necessities of life, etc. For a commentarial exposition, see Atthasālini Tr. I, p. 63f: II, pp. 475ff.

Khīnāsava, 'one whose cankers are destroyed', or 'one who is canker-free', is a name for the Arahat or Holy One. The state of Arahantship is frequently called āsavakkhaya, 'the destruction of the cankers'. Suttas concluding with the attainment of Arahantship by the listeners, often end with the words: "During this utterance, the hearts of the Bhikkhus were freed from the cankers through clinging no more" (anupādāya āsavehi cittāni vimuccimsū'ti).

(Source): Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
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).


One of the groups of defilements; Asava can be translated as canker, poison or intoxicant.

There are four asavas (Dhammasangani 1096-1100):

  1. the canker of sensuous desire, kamasava
  2. the canker of becoming, bhavasava
  3. the canker of wrong view, ditthasava
  4. the canker of ignorance, avijjasava
(Source): Dhamma Study: Cetasikas
Abhidhamma book cover
context information

Abhidhamma (अभिधम्म) usually refers to the last section (piṭaka) of the Pali canon and includes schematic classifications of scholastic literature dealing with Theravāda Buddhism. Primary topics include psychology, philosophy, methodology and metaphysics which are rendered into exhaustive enumerations and commentaries.


āsava : (m.) 1. that which flows; 2. spirit; 3. discharge from a sore; 4. ideas which intoxicate the mind.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Āsava, (fr. ā + sru, would corresp. to a Sk. *āsrava, cp. Sk. āsrāva. The BSk. āśrava is a (wrong) sankritisation of the Pāli āsava, cp. Divy 391 & kṣīnāśrava) that which flows (out or on to) outflow & influx. 1. spirit, the intoxicating extract or secretion of a tree or flower, O. C. in Vin. IV, 110 (four kinds); B. on D. III, 182 (five kinds) DhsA. 48; KhA 26; J. IV, 222; VI, 9.—2. discharge from a sore, A. I, 124, 127 = Pug. 30.—3. in psychology, t. t. for certain specified ideas which intoxicate the mind (bemuddle it, befoozle it, so that it cannot rise to higher things). Freedom from the “Āsavas" constitutes Arahantship, & the fight for the extinction of these āsavas forms one of the main duties of man. On the difficulty of translating the term see Cpd. 227. See also discussion of term āsava (= āsavantī ti āsavā) at DhsA. 48 (cp. Expositor pp. 63 sq). See also Cpd. 227 sq. , & especially Dhs. trsl. 291 sq.—The 4 āsavas are kām°, bhav°, diṭṭh°, avijj°, i.e. sensuality, rebirth (lust of life), speculation and ignorance.—They are mentioned as such at D. II, 81, 84, 91, 94, 98, 123, 126; A. I, 165 sq. , 196; II, 211; III, 93, 414; IV, 79; Ps. I, 94, 117; Dhs. 1099, 1448; Nd2 134; Nett 31, 114 sq.—The set of 3, which is probably older (kāma°, bhava°, avijjā°) occurs at M. I, 55; A. I, 165; III, 414; S. IV, 256; V, 56, 189; It. 49; Vbh. 364. For other connections see Vin. I, 14 (anupādāya āsavehi cittani vimucciṃsu), 17, 20, 182; II, 202; III, 5 (°samudaya, °nirodha etc.); D. I, 83, 167; III, 78, 108, 130, 220, 223, 230, 240, 283; M. I, 7 sq. , 23, 35, 76, 219, 279, 445 (°ṭhāniya); II, 22; III, 72, 277; S. II, 187 sq. (°ehi cittaṃ vimucci); III, 45 (id.); IV, 107 (id.), 20; V, 8, 28, 410; A. I, 85 sq. (vaḍḍhanti), 98, 165 (°samudaya, °nirodha etc.), 187; II, 154 (°ehi cittaṃ vimuttaṃ), 196; III, 21, 93 (°samudaya, °nirodha etc.), 245, 387 sq. , 410, 414; IV, 13, 146 (°pariyādāna end of the ā.), 161 (°vighāta-pariḷāha); V, 70, 237; Th. 2, 4, 99, 101 (pahāsi āsave sabbe); Sn. 162, 374, 535 (pl. āsavāni), 546, 749, 915, 1100; Dh. 93, 253, 292; Nd1 331 (pubb°); Vbh. 42, 64, 426; Pug. 11, 13, 27, 30 sq. ; Miln. 419; DhsA. 48; ThA. 94, 173; KhA 26; DA. I, 224; Sdhp. 1; Pgdp 65 (piyāsava-surā, meaning?).

Referring specially to the extinction (khaya) of the āsavas & to Arahantship following as a result are the foll. passages: (1) āsavānaṃ khaya D. I, 156; S. II, 29, 214; III 57, 96 sq, 152 sq; IV, 105, 175; V, 92, 203, 220, 271, 284; A. I, 107 sq. , 123 sq. , 232 sq. , 273, 291; II, 6, 36, 44 sq. , 149 sq. , 214; III 69, 114, 131, 202, 306, 319 sq. ; IV, 83 sq. , 119, 140 sq. , 314 sq. ; V, 10 sq. , 36, 69, 94 sq, 105, 132, 174 sq. , 343 sq. ; It. 49; Pug. 27, 62; Vbh. 334, 344; Vism. 9; DA. I, 224; cp. °parikkhaya A V 343 sq. See also arahatta formula C.—(2) khīṇāsava (adj.) one whose Āsavas are destroyed (see khīṇa) S. I, 13, 48, 53, 146; II 83, 239; III, 199, 128, 178; IV, 217; A I 77, 109, 241, 266; IV, 120, 224, 370 sq. ; V 40, 253 sq. ; Ps. II 173; cp. parikkhīṇā āsavā A. IV, 418, 434, 451 sq. ; āsavakhīṇa Sn. 370.—(3) anāsava (adj.) one who is free from the āsavas, an Arahant Vin. II, 148 = 164; D. III, 112; S I 130; II, 214, 222; III, 83; IV, 128; A. I, 81, 107 sq, 123 sq. , 273, 291; II, 6, 36, 87, 146; III, 19, 29, 114, 166; IV, 98, 140 sq. , 314 sq. , 400; A. V, 10 sqQ, 36, 242, 340; Sn. 1105, 1133; Dh. 94, 126, 386; Th. I, 100; It. 75; Nd2 44; Pv. II, 615; Pug. 27; Vbh. 426; Dhs. 1101, 1451; VvA. 9Q Cp. nirāsava ThA. 148.—Opp. sāsava S III 47; V, 232; A. I, 81 V. 242; Dhs. 990; Nett 10; Vism. 13, 438. (Page 114)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

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.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Āsava is used in Buddhist scripture, philosophy, and psychology. The glossary of the Companion Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy definies āsava/āśrava as:

inflow, influx, influence; mental bias or canker, cankers that keep one bound to the world of samsāra; used particularly in Jainism and Buddhism.

Āsava is a Pali term (Sanskrit: Āśrava);

For the philosophical term in Jainism, see Asrava.

(Source): WikiPedia: Buddhism

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

āsava (आसव).—m S Spirit distilled from sugar or molasses: also spirituous liquor gen. 2 A bolus prepared from herbs, sugar, spices, and various medicaments.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
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.

Relevant definitions

Search found 87 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Asava Sutta
Āsava, (fr. ā + sru, would corresp. to a Sk. *āsrava, cp. Sk. āsrāva. The BSk. āśrava is a (wro...
Āsavadruma (आसवद्रुम) is another name (synonym) for Tāla, which is a Sanskrit name for the p...
kama (कम).—a Less, wanting, short of.--- OR --- kāma (काम).—n An action. A work. Use. Need of. ...
avidyā (अविद्या).—f S Erroneous apprehension through the illusiveness of the material world; ad...
Nibbāna, (nt.).—I. Etymology. Although nir+vā “to blow”. (cp. BSk. nirvāṇa...
Bhāva (भाव) or Bhāvatattva is the preliminary condition which heralds the stage of perfection (...
Diṭṭhi, (f.) (Sk. dṛṣṭi; cp. dassana) view, belief, dogma, theory, speculation, esp. false the...
Indriya (इन्द्रिय, “sense organs”).—What is meant by the sense organs (indriya)? An instrument ...
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ariṣṭa (अरिष्ट).—n Calamity, evil, distress, wretch- edness. Injurious excess or vehe- mence (a...
gaḍa (गड).—m ( H) A small fort, esp. a hill-fort. Pr. gaḍa bāṅkā nasāvā paṇa gaḍapati bāṅkā asā...
phala (फल).—n (S) Fruit or a fruit. 2 Fruit metaphorically, viz. offspring or progeny; advantag...
Dukkha, (adj.-n.) (Sk. duḥkha fr. duḥ-ka, an adj. formation fr. prefix duḥ (see du). According ...
Anāsava, (adj.) (an + āsava) free from the 4 intoxications (see āsava) Vin.II, 148 = 164; D.II...
klēśa (क्लेश).—m (S) Affliction or distress: also pains, labor, trouble. Gen. in pl.

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