Bahu, aka: Bāhu; 16 Definition(s)


Bahu means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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


The Taittirīya Saṃhitā emntions another measure of distance, namely, ‘Bāhu’ which is often mentioned in the Sūtras. This ‘Bāhu’ may be the same as ‘Hasta’.

(Source): Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

1) Bāhu (बाहु).—A king of the Sūrya-vaṃśa (solar dynasty). He was the father of Sagara. He is known by the name Subāhu also. This king was once defeated in a battle and being weary and sad he entered the hermitage of Aurva. His queen was given poison by another wife of the King. But the child in her womb did not die. The queen wanted to jump into the fire in which the body of her husband was to be burned. But Aurva told her that her son would become a famous king and that she should not commit suicide. Thus she desisted from committing suicide. A son was born to her. As she had been poisoned when the child was in her womb the son was given the name Sagara (with poison). It is said in Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva that this prince became a famous king later.

2) Bāhu (बाहु).—Mention is made in Mahābhārata, Udyoga Parva, Chapter 4, Stanza 22, that the Pāṇḍavas thought of sending an invitation to a king named Bāhu for the battle between the Kurus and themselves.

3) Bāhu (बाहु).—A king of the Sundara dynasty. Mention is made about this king in Mahābhārata, Udyoga Parva, Chapter 74.

(Source): Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Bāhu (बाहु).—Son of Vṛka; driven away from his kingdom; retired with his wife to the forest; gave birth to Sagara.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 8. 2-4; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 63. 119. Matsya-purāṇa 12. 38.

1b) A son of Dhṛtaka (Vṛka, Viṣṇu-purāṇa); was attacked and deprived of his kingdom by the Haihayas and the Tālajanghas with the help of the Śakas, Yavanas, Kāmbojas, Pāradas, and Palhavas, the five tribes; hence the king abdicated and took to a life of penance with his wife in the forest as an old man. Once he went to bring water when he slipped into the waters and died; his wife Yādavī followed him though she was in the family way; she had been poisoned by her co-wife to prevent pregnancy; she got into the funeral pyre. Aurva, the Bhārgava withdrew her from the fire; she was in his āśrama and brought forth Sagara (Saha Gara).*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 88. 121-33; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 3. 25-35.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
context information

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.

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Bāhu (बाहु) refers to the “arms”. It is one of the parts of the human body with which gestures (āṅgika) are performaned, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 8. These gestures form a part of the histrionic representation (abhinaya).

There are ten kinds of ‘movements of the arms’ (bāhu) defined:

  1. tiryak,
  2. ūrdhvagata,
  3. adhomukha,
  4. āviddha,
  5. apaviddha,
  6. maṇḍala,
  7. svastika,
  8. añcita,
  9. kuñcita,
  10. pṛṣṭhaga
(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Bahu (बहु).—Plural, many, the word is used in the sense of abundance also; cf. बहुषु बहुवचनम् (bahuṣu bahuvacanam) P. I.4.21 and बहोलोपो भू च बहोः (baholopo bhū ca bahoḥ) VI. 4.158.

(Source): Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
context information

Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Bāhu (बाहु).—1. The base of a right angled triangle. 2. The bāhu (or bhūja) corresponding to a planet's anomaly or to any arc/angle. Note: Bāhu is a Sanskrit technical term used in ancient Indian sciences such as Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry.

(Source): Wikibooks (hi): Sanskrit Technical Terms
Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha or jyotish) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

Itihasa (narrative history)

Bāhu (बाहु) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. V.72.15) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Bāhu) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

(Source): JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
context information

Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

General definition (in Hinduism)

Bahu (बाहु): A king of the Solar race. who was vanquished and driven out of his country by the tribes of Haihayas and TaIajanghas. He was father of Sagara.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Bāhu (बाहु, “arm”) refers to that part of the human body from which the Buddha emitted numerous rays when he smiled with his whole body after contemplating the entire universe, according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XIV).—Accordingly, having himself arranged the lion-seat, the Bhagavat sat down cross-legged; holding his body upright and fixing his attention, he entered into the samādhirājasamādhi. Then, having tranquilly come out of this samādhi and having contemplated the entire universe with his divine eye (divyacakṣus), the Bhagavat smiled with his whole body. Wheels with a thousand spokes imprinted on the soles of his feet (pādatala) shoot out six hundred prabhedakoṭi of rays. In the same way, beams of six hundred prabhedakoṭi of rays are emitted from his arms (bāhu).

(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.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Bāhu (बाहु) was one of the four friends and brother of Vajranābha: Vṛṣabhanātha’s eleventh incarnation (bhava).—After completing his life as a deva Jīvānanda was born in Puṣkalāvatī to the wife of king Vajrasena, Dharaṇī. At the time of conception the mother saw 14 great dreams. Vajrasena named his son Vajranābha, who went on to become a cakravartī (emperor). His four friends were born as his brothers Bāhu, Subāhu, Pīṭha and Mahāpīṭha and became provincial kings. When his father, Tīrthaṅkara Vajrasena, after attaining omniscience (kevalī), started delivering his religious sermons, the cakravartī Vajranābha (due to his past good merits) too accepted initiation (renounced the world).

(Source): HereNow4u: Lord Vṛṣabhanātha

Bahu (बहु, “more”).—What is the meaning of more (bahu)? The meaning of bahu is many (number or quantity). This is an indicator of numerous.

The opposite (setara) of bahu is eka (one).—Knowledge of a small part or one in number of an object is called eka.

according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 1.16, “The subdivisions of each of these (kinds of mati, or ‘mind-based knowledge’) are: more (bahu), many kinds, quick, hidden, unexpressed, lasting, and their opposites”.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 1
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

bahu : (adj.) much; many; plenty; abundant. (plu.) many persons. || bāhu (m.) the arm.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Bāhu, (cp. Vedic bāhu, prob. to bahati2; cp. Gr. ph_xus in same meaning, Ohg. buoc. It seems that bāhu is more frequent in later literature, whereas the by-form bāhā belongs to the older period) the arm J. III, 271 (bāhumā bāhuṃ pīḷentā shoulder to shoulder); Vism. 192.—°ṃ pasāreti to stretch out the arm (cp. bāhaṃ) PvA. 112; pacchā-bāhuṃ (cp. bāhaṃ) PvA. 4 (gāḷha-bandhanaṃ bandhāpetvā).—(p)pacālakaṃ (adv.) after the manner of one who swings his arms about Vin. II, 213 (see expln at Vin. IV, 188). (Page 486)

— or —

Bahu, (adj.) (Vedic bahu, doubtful whether to Gr. paxQs; fr. bṛh2 to strengthen, cp. upabrūhana, paribbūḷha) much, many, large, abundant; plenty; in compn also: very, greatly (°-) Instr. sg. bahunā Dh. 166; Nom. pl. bahavo Vin. III, 90; Dh. 307, & bahū Dh. 53; J. IV, 366; V, 40; VI, 472; Bu 2, 47; Pv IV. 14; Mhvs 35, 98; PvA. 67; nt. pl. bahūni Sn. 665, 885; Gen. Dat. bahunnaṃ S. I, 196; Sn. 503, 957, & bahūnaṃ J. V, 446; Kvu 528 (where id. p. M. I, 447 reads bahunnaṃ); Instr. bahūhi PvA. 241; Loc. bahūsu PvA. 58.—nt. Nom. bahu Dh. 258; bahuṃ PvA. 166, & bahud in compn bahud-eva (d may be euphonic) J. I, 170; Bu 20, 32. As nt. n. bahuṃ a large quantity A. II, 183 (opp. appaṃ); Abl. bahumhā J. V, 387. As adv. bahu so much Pv. II, 1311.—Compar. bahutara greater, more, in greater number A. I, 36 (pl. bahutarā, opp. appakā); II, 183; S. V, 457, 466; J. II, 293; VI, 472; Pv. II, 117; Miln. 84; PvA. 38, 76.—In composition with words beginning with a vowel (in sandhi) bahu as a rule appears as bavh° (for bahv°, see Geiger, P. Gr. § 49, 1), but the hiatus form bahu is also found, as in bahu-itthiyo J. I, 398 (besides bahutthika); bahuamaccā J. I, 125; bahu-āyāsa (see below). Besides we have the contracted form bahû as in bahûpakāra, etc.).—ābādha (bavh°) great suffering or illness, adj. full of sickness, ailing much M. II, 94; A. I, 107; II, 75, 85; Miln. 65; Sdhp. 89 (cp. 77).—āyāsa (bahu°) great trouble Th. 2, 343.—(i)tthika (bahutthika) having many women Vin. II, 256; S. II, 264.—ûdaka containing much water J. III, 430 (f. bahūdikā & bahodikā).—ûpakāra of great service, very helpful, very useful S. IV, 295; V, 32; M. III, 253; It. 9; Vin. V, 191; J. I, 121; Pv IV. 156; PvA. 114.—odaka (bavh°)=°ûdaka Th. 1, 390.—kata (a.) benevolent, doing service Vin. IV, 57, 212. (b) much moved or impressed by (Instr.), paying much attention to Vin. I, 247.—karaṇīya having much to do, busy D. II, 76; Vin. I, 71; S. II, 215; A. III, 116; DA. I, 237.—kāra (a) favour Dāvs. IV, 39 (b) doing much, of great service, very helpful M. I, 43, 170; A. I, 123, 132; II, 126; S. V, 67; Pv. II, 1219; J. IV, 422; Miln. 264.—kāratta service, usefulness KhA 91.—kicca having many duties, very busy Vin. I, 71; D. I, 106; II, 76; S. II, 215; A. III, 116; DA. I, 237.—khāra a kind of alkali (product of vegetable ash) J. VI, 454.—jañña see bāhu°.—jana a mass of people, a great multitude, a crowd, a great many people D. I, 4; It. 78; J. VI, 358; Pug. 30, 57; Pv. II, 77; PvA. 30. At some passages interpreted by Bdhgh as “the unconverted, the masses, " e.g. D. I, 47, expld at DA. I, 143 by “assutavā andha-bāla puthujjana"; Dh. 320 (bahujjana), expld at DhA. IV, 3 by “lokiya-mahājana. " —jāgara very watchful Dh. 29 (=mahante sativepulle jāgariye ṭhita DhA. I, 262); Sn. 972 (cp. Nd1 501).—jāta growing much, abundant J. VI, 536.—ṭhāna (-cintin) of far-reaching knowledge, whose thoughts embrace many subjects J. III, 306; IV, 467; V, 176.—dhana with many riches PvA. 97.—patta having obtained much, loaded with gifts Vin. IV, 243.—pada many-footed, a certain order of creatures, such as centipedes, etc. Vin. II, 110; III, 52; A. II, 34; It. 87.—(p)phala rich in fruit Sn. 1134, cp. Nd2 456.—(b)bīhi t. t. g. , name of cpds. with adj. sense, indicating possession.—bhaṇḍa having an abundance of goods, well-to-do Vin. III, 138; KhA 241.—bhāṇika=°bhāṇin PvA. 283.—bhāṇitā garrulousness PvA 283.—bhāṇin garrulous A. III, 254, 257; Dh. 227.—bhāva largeness, richness, abundance DhA. II, 175.—bherava very terrible A. II, 55.—maccha rich in fish J. III, 430.—mata much esteemed, venerable Cp. VI, 7; PvA. 117.—manta very tricky DhA. II, 4 (v. l. māya).—māna respect, esteem, veneration J. I, 90; PvA. 50, 155, 274.—māya full of deceit, full of tricks J. V, 357 (cp. °manta).—vacana (tt. g.) the plural number J. IV, 173; PvA. 163.—vāraka the tree Cordia myxa Abhp 558.—vighāta fraught with great pain Th. 2, 450.—vidha various, multiform Cp. XV. 7; Pgdp 37.—sacca see bāhu°.—(s)suta having great knowledge, very learned, welltaught D. I, 93, 137; III, 252, 282; J. I, 199; IV, 244; A. I, 24; II, 22, 147, 170, 178; III, 114; Sn. 58 (see Nd2 457); It. 60, 80; Th. 1, 1026; Dh. 208; Vin. II, 95; J. I, 93; Miln. 19; ThA. 274, 281; SnA 109, 110.—(s)sutaka of great knowledge (ironical) D. I, 107 (see Dial. I. 132). (Page 484)

(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.

Marathi-English dictionary

bahu (बहु).—a (S) Many or much. Used esp. in comp. as bahupāda Many-footed; bahubhuja That has many arms; bahupriya Dear to many; bahubhakṣa Gluttonous; bahugandha, bahuguṇa, bahutantrī, bahuparṇa, bahupatra &c.; and answers to the English Many- Multi- Poly-.

--- OR ---

bāhu (बाहु).—m (S) The whole arm. 2 The upper arm. 3 See bhuja Sig. V. The sine of the arc &c. 4 A side of a polygon. 5 The base of a right-angled triangle.

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

bahu (बहु).—a Many or much.

(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.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Bahu (बहु).—a. ([hu] or [hī] f.; compar. bhūyas; super. bhūyiṣṭha)

1) Much, plentiful, abundant, great; तस्मिन् बहु एतदपि (tasmin bahu etadapi) Ś.4. 'even this was much for him' (was too much to be expected of him); बहु प्रष्टव्यमत्र (bahu praṣṭavyamatra) Mu.3; अल्पस्य हेतोर्बहु हातुमिच्छन् (alpasya hetorbahu hātumicchan) R.2.47.

2) Many, numerous; as in बह्वक्षर, बहुप्रकार (bahvakṣara, bahuprakāra).

2) Frequented, repeated.

4) Large, great.

5) Abounding or rich in (as first member of comp.); बहुकण्टको देशः (bahukaṇṭako deśaḥ) &c. ind.

1) Much, abundantly, very much, exceedingly, greatly, in a high degree.

2) Somewhat, nearly, almost; as in बहुतृण (bahutṛṇa). (kiṃ bahuna 'why say much', 'in short'; bahu man to think or esteem highly, rate high, prize, value; tvatsaṃbhāvitamātmānaṃ bahu manyāmahe vayam Ku.6.2; yayāteriva śarmiṣṭhā bharturbahumatā bhava Ś.4.7;7. 1; R.12.89; yeṣāṃ ca tvaṃ bahumato bhūtvā yāsyasi lāghavam Bg.2. 35; Bk.3.53;5.84;8.12.)

See also (synonyms): bahī.

Bāhu (बाहु).—[bādh ku dhasya haḥ Tv.]

1) The arm; शान्तमिदमाश्रमपदं स्फुरति च बाहुः कुतः फलमिहास्य (śāntamidamāśramapadaṃ sphurati ca bāhuḥ kutaḥ phalamihāsya) Ś.1.16; so महाबाहुः (mahābāhuḥ) &c.

2) The fore-arm.

3) The fore-foot of an animal.

4) A door-post.

5) The base of a right-angled triangle (in geom.).

6) (In medic.) The whole upper extremity of the body (opp. sakthi).

8) The bar of a chariotpole.

9) The shadow of the gnomon on a sun-dial.

1) The arm as a measure of length (= 12 Aṅgulas).

11) The limb of a bow.

-hū (du.) The lunar mansion Ārdrā.

Derivable forms: bāhuḥ (बाहुः).

(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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