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Bhava, aka: Bhāva; 20 Definition(s)


Bhava means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article.

In Hinduism

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

Bhava (भव) refers to a type of temple (prāsāda) classified under the group named Puṣpaka, according to Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra chapter 49. The Puṣpaka group contains ten out of a sixty-four total prāsādas (temples) classified under five prime vimānas (aerial car/palace), which were created by Brahmā for as many gods (including himself). This group represents temples (eg. Bhava) that are to be square and rectangular or oblong in shape. The prāsādas, or ‘temples’, represent the dwelling place of God and are to be built in towns. The Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra is an 11th-century encyclopedia dealing with various topics from the Vāstuśāstra.

Bhava is mentioned in another list from the Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhāra chapter 56, being part of the group named Lalita, containing 25 unique temple varieties.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

about this context:

Vāstuśāstra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vastu-shastra) refers to the knowledge of architecture. It is a branch of ancient Indian science dealing with topics such architecture, construction, sculpture and their relation with the cosmic universe.


1a) Bhava (भव).—(Girīśa, Śankara, Maheśvara); one who first appeared himself; an epithet of Śiva; other names of; presiding deity of the waters; a resident of the Aruna hill; wife*

  • * Oṣā; son Uśana; made the Rudrakunṭasaras in the Kuru country; 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 1. 49; Matsya-purāṇa 11. 16; 129. 3; 132. 18, 21; 156. 10; 184. 4, 7, 12; 185. 12; 250. 51; 265. 41; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 18. 19, 21, 32 ff and 72; Vāyu-purāṇa 4. 43; 21. 7; 27. 8; 100. 43; 111. 29. the tāmasi aspect of Svayambhu; destroyer; 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 1. 15; 3. 85. ordered Indra and Hari to take up the first lead in Tripuram; his part in the war; burnt the God of Love; 3) Matsya-purāṇa 137. 36; 138. 39-41; 154. 251. worshipped by the Bhūtas; 4) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 372-3. favoured Jambha with the boon of immunity from being hurt by weapons; 5) Ib. III. 42. 17; 65. 31; 72. 80; IV. 2. 247; 1. 40. ety. hence waters to be kept pure; 6) Ib. II. 10. 8, 30 ff; 13. 42 and 136. married Satī, Dakṣa's daughter; was disobedient to his father-in-law; 7) Ib. II. 9. 54; Vāyu-purāṇa 30. 38. cursed the seven ṛṣis, who spoke on behalf of Satī, daughter of Dakṣa. 8) Ib. 65. 20.

1b) A Rudra; the son of Bhūta and Sarūpā; wife Satī.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 6. 17; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 34. 26; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 7. 26; 8. 6-7.

1c) A son of Raucya Manu.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 1. 104; Vāyu-purāṇa 100. 108.

1d) A son of Vasudeva.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 46. 22.

1e) A Sādhya.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 171. 43.

1f) The first kalpa where Bhagavān is known as Ānanda.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 21. 28.

1g) The fourth kalpa.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 21. 30.

1h) The son of Pratihartā.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 1. 37.

1i) A son of Dhruva, a Vasu.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 66. 20.

1j) An Apsarasa clan from the earth.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 57.

2) Bhāva (भाव).—(Darśa)—the 27th kalpa; Agni became Maṇḍali and shone over bhuva and deva; after the end of 1000 years came the Sūrya maṇḍala.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 21. 61-7.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

about this context:

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.

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Bhava (भव):—One of the eight names of Rudra, given to him by Brahmā, according to the Pādma-purāṇa. This aspect became the presiding deity over the sun. The corresponding name of the consort is Suvarchalā. His son is called Sanaiśchara.

Source: Wisdom Library: Elements of Hindu Iconograpy

about this context:

Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Bhāva (मुख, “mood/state”) refers to “psychological states” (eg. permanent, involuntary, transitory), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 7.

There are three kinds of states (bhāva) defined:

  1. sthāyibhāva (durable psychological states),
  2. vyabhicāribhāva (complementary psychological states), 
  3. sāttvika (involuntary states).

2) Bhāva (भाव, “honoured sir”) refers to a specific “mode of address” (nāman) used in drama (nāṭya), according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 19. Bhāva is used to address respected persons.

3) Bhāva (भाव) refers to one of the twelve types of lāsya, or “gentle form of dance” according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 20. It is also known by the name Bhāvita. These various lāsya are presented as a specific type of dramatic play (nāṭya) similar to that of the Bhāṇa type.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

1) Bhāva (भाव, “psychological states”, lit. “feelings”).—Bhāvas are so called, because through Words, Gestures and Representation of the Sattva they bhāvayanti (infuse) the meaning of the play into the spectators.

The three varieties of the “psychological states” (bhāva):

  1. Durable psychological states (sthāyibhāva),
  2. Complementary psychological states (vyabhicāribhāva),
  3. Involuntary states (sāttvikabhāva).

Bhāva is an ‘instrument,’ of causation; for words, such as bhāvita, vāsita and kṛta are synonymous. An expression like, ‘O, all these things are bhāvita (pervaded) by one another’s smell or moistened by one another’s juice,’ is current even amongst the common people. Hence the root bhāvaya means ‘to cause to pervade.’

A.B. Keith translates this word as ‘feeling’ or ‘emotion.’ See Skt. Drama, p. 319, A. K. Coomaraswamy and others translate it as “mood” (loc. cit.). Haas translates it as ‘State.’ See DR. p. 108.

2) Bhāva (भाव, “feeling”), its expressions ordinary or graceful, arising from one another being different aspects of sattva, is connected with the physical nature. Bhāva is so called because of its representing (bhāvayan) the inner feeling of the play-wright by means of expression coming from speech, limbs, face and sattva.

Source: archive.org: Natya Shastra

Bhāva is the first touch of emotion in a mind previously at rest; when the emotion becomes more intense, and finds expression in movements of the eyes, eyebrows, etc., it is called hāva.

Strictly speaking, bhāva is mood or feeling unexpressed, hāva is the emotion which finds expression, ceṣṭā the gesture that expresses it.

Source: archive.org: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)

about this context:

Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (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 (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).

Jyotiṣa (astronomy and astrology)

The Hindu Jātaka, or Birth Chart, is the Bhāva (Sanskrit: 'division') Cakra (Sanskrit: 'wheel'), the complete 360° circle of life, divided into houses, and represents our way of enacting the influences in the wheel. Each house has associated kāraka (Sanskrit: 'significator') planets that can alter the interpretation of a particular house.

Each Bhāva spans an arc of 30 degrees and therefore there are twelve Bhāvas in any chart of the horoscope. These are a crucial part of any horoscopic study since the Bhāvas, understood as 'state of being' personalize the Rāśis/ Rashis to the native and each Rāśi/ Rashi apart from indicating its true nature reveals its impact on the person based on the Bhāva occupied. The best way to study the various facets of Jyotiṣa is to see their role in chart evaluation of actual persons and how these are construed.

Source: WikiPedia: Hindu Astrology

about this context:

Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or ‘astrology’. It is 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.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Bhava (भव)—One of the eleven other names of Rudra, according to the Bhāgavata Purāṇa 3.12.12.

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

The term "bhāva" ('status of being, a subjective becoming, states of mind', from भू bhū, 'to become') is often translated as 'feeling, emotion, mood, devotional state of mind'. In Buddhist thought, bhāva denotes the continuity of life and death, including reincarnation, and the maturation arising therefrom. In the bhakti traditions, bhāva denotes the mood of ecstasy, self-surrender, and channelling of emotional energies that is induced by the maturation of devotion to one's ishtadeva (object of devotion).

In Buddhism, bhāva is the continuity of life and death, conditioned upon "grasping" (upādāna), the desire for further life and sensation. This bhāva is the condition for the arising of living beings in particular forms, through the process of birth (jāti). Bhāva is listed as the tenth of the Twelve Nidānas, the links in the cycle of pratītyasamutpāda or dependent origination. In the Jātakas, in which the Buddha didactically reminds various followers of experiences they shared with him in a past life, the hearers are said not to remember them due to bhāva, i.e. to having been reborn.

In bhakti traditions; Swami Sivananda stated that bhava means mental attitude or mental disposition. He explains bhava as an "internal feeling". For the bhakta (भक्त, devotee), bhāva is the fruit of devotion to one's ishtadeva, which culminates in bhāvasamādhi. In bhaktiyoga (work of devotion), "bhāva is neither controlled nor suppressed, but is transformed into devotion and channelled to the Lord." This channeling may be pursued by means of devotional practices found to evoke and develop bhāva. Such devotional practices are not themselves essential: how and whether to practice them is thought to depend on the temperament of the bhakta.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism


Bhāva, (fr. bhū, cp. Vedic bhāva) 1. being, becoming, condition, nature; very rarely by itself (only in later & C. literature, as e.g. J. I, 295 thīnaṃ bhāvo, perhaps best to be translated as “women’s character, " taking bhāva=attabhāva); usually —°, denoting state or condition of, and representing an abstr. der. from the first part of the cpd. e.g. gadrabha° “asininity" J. II, 109. Thus in connection with (a) adjectives: atthika° state of need PvA. 120; ūna° depletion SnA 463; ekī° loneliness Vism. 34; sithill° (for sithila° in conn. with kṛ & bhū) relaxation Vism. 502.—(b) adverbs. upari° high condition M. I, 45; pātu° appearance Sn. 560; vinā° difference Sn. 588. (c) nouns & noun-derivations: atta° individual state, life, character Sn. 388 (=citta SnA 374); asaraṇa° state of not remembering DhA. III, 121; samaṇa° condition of a recluse Sn. 551.—(d) forms of verbs: nibbatta° fact of being reborn DhA. III, 121; magg’ārūḷha° the condition of having started on one’s way VvA. 64; baddha° that he was bound; suhita° that they were well J. IV, 279. The translation can give either a full sentence with “that it was" etc. (VvA. 64: “that he had started on his way"), or a phrase like “the fact or state of, " or use as an English abstract noun ending in —ness (atthika-bhāva needfulness, eki° loneliness), —ion (ūna° depletion, pātu° manifestation).—hood (atta° selfhood), or —ship (samaṇa° recluseship). ‹-› Similarly in Com. style: sampayutta-bhāvo (m.) DhA. III, 94, for *sampayuttattaṃ (abstr.); bhākuṭikassa bhāvo=bhakuṭiyaṃ Vism. 26; sovacassassa bhāvo= sovacassatā KhA 148; mittassa bh. =mettaṃ KhA 248. Here sometimes bhava for bhāva.—2. (in pregnant, specifically Buddhistic sense) cultivation or production by thought, mental condition, esp. a set mental condition (see der. bhāvanā). Sometimes (restricted to Vin & J) in sense “thinking of someone, " i.e. affection, love, sentiment.—(a) in combn khanti, diṭṭhi, ruci, bhāva at Vin. II, 205; III, 93; IV, 3, 4.—(b) in Jātaka passages: J. V, 237; VI, 293 (bhāvaṃ karoti, with Loc. , to love).—abhāva (late, only in C. style) not being, absence, want PvA. 25; Abl. abhāvato through not being, in want of PvA. 9, 17.—sabhāva (sva+bhāva) see sep. (Page 502)

— or —

Bhava, (cp. Sk. bhava, as philosophical term late, but as N. of a deity Vedic; of bhū, see bhavati) “becoming, " (form of) rebirth, (state of) existence, a “life. " There are 3 states of existence conventionally enumd as kāma°, rūpa°, arūpa° or sensual existence, deva-corporeal, & formless existence (cp. rūpa) D. II, 57; III, 216; S. II, 3; IV, 258; A. II, 223; III, 444; Nd1 48; Nd2 s. v. dhātu B. ; Vism. 210=DA. I, 34; Vism. 529; VbhA. 204.—Another view is represented by the division of bhava into kamma° and upapatti° (uppatti°), or the active functioning of a life in relation to the fruitional, or resultant way of the next life (cp. Cpd. 43) Vbh. 137; Vism. 571; VbhA. 183; also in def. of bhava at Nd2 471 (kamma° and paṭisandhika punabbhava).—In the “causal chain" (Paṭicca-samuppāda, q. v.) bhava is represented as condition of birth (jāti), or resultant force for new birth.—See Sn. 361, 514, 742, 839, 923, 1055, 1133; Dh. 348; Nd1 274; Vbh. 294, 358; Vism. 556 sq. ; DhA. IV, 221; Sdhp. 33, 333, 335.—On itibhav’‹-› âbhava see iti, and add ref. Vbh. 375.—A remarkable use of bhava as nt. (obstr.) to bhū (in cpd.) is to be noted in the def. given by Bdhgh. of divya=divi bhavaṃ (for divi-bhū) KhA 227; SnA 199; and mānasaṃ=manasi bhavaṃ (for manasi-bhū) KhA 248, cp. Pāṇini IV. 3, 53. Similarly āroga bhava health DhA. I, 328 for °bhava.—Cp. anu°, vi°, sam°.

—agga the best (state of) existence, the highest point of existence (among the gods) J. III, 84; Vbh. 426; Miln. 132; KhA 179, 249; SnA 17, 41, 507; often as highest “heaven" as opposed to Avīci, the lowest hell; thus at J. IV, 182; VI, 354; Miln. 336. —aṅga constituent of becoming, function of being, functional state of subconsciousness, i.e. subliminal consciousness or subconscious life-continuum, the vital continuum in the absence of any process (of mind, or attention) (thus Mrs. Rh. D. in Expos. 185 n.), subconscious individual life. See on term Cpd. 26 sq. , 265—267; & cp. Dhs. trsl. 134.—J. VI, 82; Miln. 299 sq. ; Vism. 164, 676; DhsA. 72, 140, 269; DhA. I, 23; VbhA. 81, 156 sq. , 406. —antaga “gone to the ends of existence, " past existence, Ep. of the Bhagavan Buddha Vism. 210. —antara an existence interval, i.e. transition fr. one life to another, a previous or subsequent life Vism. 553 sq. —âbhava this or that life, any form of existence some sort of existence Sn. 1060, 1068; Nd1 48, 109, 284; Nd2 472, 664 A; Th. 1, 784 (ThA. mahantāmahanta bh.) ThA. 71 (Ap. v. 30); VbhA. 501. —āsava the intoxicant of existence D. III, 216; Vbh. 364, 373. —uppatti coming into (a new) ex.—Four such bh. -uppattis lead to rebirth among the foll. gods: the paritt’—ābhā devā, the appamāṇ’ābhā d. , the saṃkiliṭṭh’—ābhā d. , the parisuddh’—ābhā d. M. III, 147. —esanā longing for rebirth D. III, 216, 270. —ogha the flood of rebirth (see ogha) Nd1 57, 159; Vism. 480. —cakka the wheel or round of rebirth, equivalent to the Paṭicca-samuppāda Vism. 529, 576 sq. ; in the same context at VbhA. 138, 194 sq. —carimakā the last rebirth Vism. 291. —taṇhā craving for rebirth D. III, 212, 216, 274; S. V, 432; Sn. 746; Vbh. 101, 358, 365; Th. 2, 458; ThA. 282; VbhA. III, 133. —netti (cp. BSk. bhava-netrī M. Vastu II. 307; °netrika III, 337) leader to renewed ex. , guide to ex. Vin. I, 231; It. 38; Dhs. 1059≈ (cp. DhsA. 364=bhava-rajju). —saṃyojana the fetter of rebirth: see arahant II. C. —salla the sting or dart of rebirth Dh. 351 (=sabbāni bhavagāmīni sallāni DhA. IV, 70). —sāta (pl. sātāni) the pleasures of ex. , variously enumd in sets of from one to six at Nd1 30. —ssita at J. V, 371 read with v. l. as ghaṭa-ssita. (Page 499)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

bhava : (m.) the state of existence. || bhāva (m.) condition; nature; becoming.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

about this context:

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)

'becoming', 'process of existence', consists of 3 planes:

  • sensuous existence (kāma-bhava),

  • fine-material existence (rūpa-bhava),

  • immaterial existence (arūpa-bhava). Cf. loka.

The whole process of existence may be divided into two aspects:

(1) Karma-process (kamma-bhava), i.e. the karmically active side of existence, being the cause of rebirth and consisting in wholesome and unwholesome volitional actions. See Karma, paticca-samuppāda (IX).

(2) Karma-produced rebirth, or regenerating process (uppattibhava), i.e. the karmically passive side of existence consisting in the arising and developing of the karma-produced and therefore morally neutral mental and bodily phenomena of existence. Cf. Tab. - (App.).

-- or --

(feminine and masculine) 'nature',

refers to the sexual characteristics of the body, and belongs to the group of corporeality (s. khandha).

It is a commentarial term for the faculties of femininity and masculinity (s. indriya 7, 8). (App.).

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

Bhava (“existence”). - The 5 groups of e.: khandha - The 4 substrata of e.: upadhi. - Courses of e.: gati. - Wheel of e.: samsāra. - Craving for e.: bhava-tanhā; s. tanhā; - The 3 characteristics of e.: ti-lakkhana.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

(Virility) s. bhāva.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

Bhava means nature;

Source: Buddhist Information: A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas

Upadana leads to bhava (becoming). There are two kinds of bhava, viz., kammabhava and upapattibhava.

Source: Buddhist Information: A Discourse on Paticcasamuppada

Bhava is the Sanskrit and Pali word for "becoming" in the sense of ongoing worldly existence, from the root bhu "to become".

Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

N (Life). Existence. Becoming.

Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary


Source: Journey to Nibbana: Patthana DhamaBecoming. States of being that develop first in the mind and can then be experienced as internal worlds and/or as worlds on an external level. There are three levels of becoming: on the sensual level, the level of form, and the level of formlessness.Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

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