Bija, Bīja: 30 definitions



Bija means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi, Hindi. 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Beej.

In Hinduism

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Bīja (बीज) or Bījākṣara refers to “sead-syllables”, according to Tantric texts such as the Kubjikāmata-tantra, the earliest popular and most authoritative Tantra of the Kubjikā cult.—The seed-syllable [i.e., bīja-akṣara] of the goddess, like that of any deity, is her sonic body. One might say it is her iconic form made of sound. Moreover, a deity’s seed-syllable is, in a sense, a condensed form of that deity’s mantra (or Vidyā if the deity is a goddess). Although the texts do not normally express themselves in this way, one could say that the Goddess’s Vidyā is her gross sonic body in relation to her seed-syllable, which is the subtle one.

Source: Manblunder: Pañcadaśi Mantra

A bīja need not be a single Sanskrit alphabet. It could be a combination of alphabets. For example, sa is a bīja and it is a single alphabet, whereas hṛīṃ is also a bīja but a combination of many alphabets. Each alphabet in Sanskrit has a meaning. If we take the first letter a in Sanskrit alphabet, it conveys many things. It is the origin of (OM); it also means unification, non-destruction, etc. The interpretation of meaning for such bīja's mostly depends on the context in which it is used.

Shaktism book cover
context information

Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Bīja (बीज, “seed”) refers to one of the “five elements of the plot” (arthaprakṛti), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 21. These five elements represents the five means of attaining objects of the Plot (itivṛtta or vastu).

The associated ‘stage of action’ (avasthā) of bīja is the prārambha (beginning). These stages represent a Hero’s striving towards the object in a dramatic playwright (nāṭaka).

Source: Natya Shastra

Bīja (बीज, “germ”).—One of the five elements of the plot (arthaprakṛti);—That which scattered in a small measure, expands itself in various ways and ends in fruition, is called the Seed of the Plot (bīja).

Natyashastra book cover
context information

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).

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Bīja (बीज).—From Īśvara and Yoni; from Prakṛti; from Nārāyaṇa.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 101. 228.
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.

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Vastushastra (architecture)

Source: McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra

Bīja (बीज).—The potency of the seed syllables (bīja) owes to the conceived undifferentiated unity of nāda and bindu in them. The bīja syllables, la, va., ra, ya, and ha. are the “sounds” of the five elements from earth to space respectively, and correspond to the five faces respectively of sadāśiva in the kartṛsadākhya mode. Mantras composed of these syllables are hṛllekha, “furrowed in the heart”, and their recital effects the enshrinement of the unmanifested deity in the he art, as well as the sublimation of elements.

Source: Bhoja’s Mechanical Garden (vastu)

Bīja (बीज, “seeds”) refers to the “four constituent elements” (earth, fire, water and wind), according to the Samarāṅganasūtradhāra.—The chapter on machines is to a great extent obscure. At one level, it presents a set of diverse taxonomies to classify and analyze different types of machines, breaking them down into particular combinations of the four constituent elements, or what it calls bījas (lit. “seeds”): earth, fire, water, and wind (31.5).

All machines, according to Bhoja, were composed of different combinations of these elements and their properties and could be classified on the basis of the predominance of one or other elemental bīja in action and composition—depending on whether, for example, they operated through weight and gravity, heat, forced air, or flowing water and what elements they were composed of (31.21–44).

Vastushastra book cover
context information

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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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Source: Wisdom Library: Brihat Samhita by Varahamihira

Bīja (बीज) [=Vīja] refers to “seeds”, according to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā (chapter 4), an encyclopedic Sanskrit work written by Varāhamihira mainly focusing on the science of ancient Indian astronomy astronomy (Jyotiṣa).—Accordingly, “If the moon should pass to the south of Jyeṣṭha (the 18th constellation), Mūla (the 19th constellation) and the two Āṣāḍhas (20th and 21st constellations) she destroys seeds, creatures in water and forests [i.e., vīja-jalacara-kānana-hā]; and there will also be fear from fire. If the moon should pass to the south of Viśākhā (the 16th constellation) and Anurādhā (the 17th constellation) she will bring on evil. If she should pass through the middle of Maghā (the 10th constellation) or of Viśākhā (the 16th constellation) she will bring on prosperity”.

Source: Wikibooks (hi): Sanskrit Technical Terms

Bīja (बीज).—1. Algebra. 2. A conversion constant to adjust astronomical parameters; (lit., seed). Note: Bīja is a Sanskrit technical term used in ancient Indian sciences such as Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry.

Jyotisha book cover
context information

Jyotisha (ज्योतिष, jyotiṣa or jyotish) refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents the fifth of the six Vedangas (additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas). Jyotisha concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Google Books: Tantra, Its Mystic and Scientific Basis

The concept of bīja-mantra is also found in Buddhist Tantra. It is a mono-syllabic mantra and stands for different manifestations commonly known as Devatā. A (अ) is the bīja mantra of creation which is represented in Buddhism by Vairocana. Ba (ब) is the bīja-mantra of Dharma which represents here Amitābha. Being the first letter and the bīja mantra of creation, A (अ) is said to be the representative of Śūnyatā or Prajñā. The letter A is an indeterminate letter. In the Mahāsukhaprakāśa of the Advaya-Vajra-Saṃgraha it has been said that the bīja proceeds from Śūnyatā knowledge, and from the bīja is produced the reflection or the form of particular gods and goddesses. Dr. Benayatosh Bhattacharya has given the history of bīja-mantra.

In the Mantra-paṭala of Hevajra Tantra we find that the bīja-mantra of Tathāgata is oṃ ḥa huṃ phaṭ svāhā ; that of the goddess, krūm aṃ jiṃ khaṃ huṃ, and that of Heruka, taṃ maṃ paṃ taṃ baṃ oṃ deva picuvajre huṃ huṃ huṃ phaṭ svāhā. According to Vasubandhu the real significance of a mantra lies in its being meaningless, the constant meditation of which brings the realisation of the absolute void or Śūnyatā. Here meaningless means non-understanding of the esoteric significance of the mantra, for the common man. But, for a Sādhaka mantras, which stand for the deeper and richer significance of Tantrism, are highly meaningful. Mere repetition of a mantra cannot bring any fruitful result.

Source: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

Bīja (बीज) denotes “seed”, the operation of sowing seed (vap) being several times referred to in the Ṛgveda and later. In a metaphorical sense the term is used in the Upaniṣads of the classes of beings according to origin, of which the Chāndogya Upaniṣad enumerates three, the Aitareya four. The former list includes aṇḍaja, “egg-born”, jīvaja, “born alive”, and udbhijja, “produced from sprouts”, “germinating”. while the latter adds svedaja, “sweat-born”—that is, “generated by hot moisture” an expression which is glossed to comprise flies, worms, etc. Cf. Kṛṣi.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Vajrayana Buddhism and Hinduism, the term bīja is used for mystical “seed syllables” contained within mantras. These seeds do not have precise meanings, but are thought to carry connections to spiritual principles. The best-known bīja syllable is Om, first found in the Hindu scriptures the Upanishads.

In some tantric traditions, the Bija of the 'Varnamala' (Sanskrit; English: "garland of letters"; which may be rendered as alphabet) are understood as aniconic representations and sound embodiments of the matrikas (a group of goddesses).

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: WikiPedia: Tibetan Buddhism

In Tibetan Buddhism the bīja (seed syllables) corresponding to the Three Vajras are: a white oṃ (enlightened body), a red āḥ (enlightened speech) and a blue hūṃ (enlightened mind). In the Bön tradition of Tibet, it's a little different: a white āḥ, a red oṃ and a blue hūṃ.

Bījas are often the vehicle of esoteric transmission of terma to a ‘terton’ (Tibetan; English: “revealer of terma”), such as that experienced by Dudjom Lingpa.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Bīja (बीज) or Bījāśuci refers to the “impurity of seed” and represents one of the five “impurities of the body” (kāyāśuci), contemplating on which, the Yogin can obtain the four “foundations of mindfulness” (smṛtyupasthāna), forming part of the thirty-seven auxiliaries to enlightenment (bodhipākṣika), according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter XXXI.

Accordingly, the impurity of Bīja is described as follows: “by means of the wind of deceptive concepts and wrong thoughts, the father and mother blow upon the fire of sexual desire; blood, marrow and fat escape, get hot and are changed into sperm. The seed-consciousness conditioned by previous actions settles in the blood and whitish sperm. That is what is called the seed of the body (kāyabīja)... That is what is called the impurity of the seed (bīja-aśuci)”.

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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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

Bīja (बीज, “seed”).—One of the ten kinds of “plant-bodies” (vanaspati) a soul (jīva) can be reborn as due to karma. Bīja and other plant-bodies are within the animal world (tiryag-gati) which is one of the four divisions of saṃsāra where souls are reborn.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 3: The Lower and middle worlds

Bīja (बीज, “seed”) refers to “seed intellect” and represents one of the eighteen types of extraordinary intellect (buddhi), which itself is a subclass of the eight ṛddhis (extraordinary powers). These powers can be obtained by the Ārya (civilized people) in order to produce worldly miracles. The Āryas represent one of the two classes of human beings according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 3.46, the other being Mleccha (barbarians).

What is meant by extraordinary seed intellect (bīja-buddhi-riddhi)? This is the intellect which understands the meaning of the entire scripture by reading just one of its aphorisms.

General definition book cover
context information

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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

bīja : (nt.) seed; germ; generating element.

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

Bīja, (nt.) (cp. Vedic bīja) 1. seed, germ, semen, spawn. Used very frequently in figurative sense: see on similes J. P. T. S. 1907, 116.—D. I, 135 (°bhatta seed-corn & food); III, 44 (the five kinds: see below under °gāma); M. I, 457; S. I, 21, 134, 172, 227; III, 54, 91; IV, 315; A. I, 32 (ucchu°), 135, 223, 229, 239; III, 404; IV, 237; V, 213 (ucchu°); Sn. 77 (saddhā bījaṃ tapo vuṭṭhi, cp. SnA 142 sq. , where a detailed discussion on bīja is found), 209, 235 (khīṇa° adj. fig.); J. I, 242 (tiṇa°-ādīni grass and other seeds), 281; Pv. I, 11; Vism. 555 (in simile); KhA 194 (on Sn. 235, in another comparison); Sdhp. 24, 270 sq. , 318. nibbatta° (or nivatta°) (adj.) that which has dropped its seed (hence a lawful food) Vin. I, 215, cp. II. 109; IV, 35.—2. element, in udaka° whose element is the water J. VI, 160.—gāma seed-group, seed-kingdom, seed-creation (opp. bhūta-gāma). There are 5 kinds of seeds usually enumd, e.g. at D. I, 5 (expld at DA. I, 77, trsln at Dial. I. 6 and passim), viz. mūla°, khandha°, phalu°, agga°, bija°, or plants propagated by roots, cuttings, joints, buddings, shoots, seeds (Dial. III, 40: tubers, shoots, berries, joints, seeds). The same set occurs at D. III, 44, 47; Vin. IV, 34; SnA 144.—Without ref. to the 5 kinds at M. III, 34; S. V, 46; Miln. 33.—jāta species of seed S. III, 54.—bīja one of the 5 groups of edible or useful plants, falling under bījagāma. It is expld at Vin. IV, 35 & DA. I, 81 by the terms pubbaṇṇa (i.e. the seven dhaññāni or grains, sāli, vīhi, yava, godhūma, kaṅgu, varaka, kudrūsa) and aparaṇṇa (i.e. beans and other leguminous plants, and gourds such as mugga, māsa, tila, kulattha, alābu, kumbhaṇḍa).—sakaṭa a cart (-load) of seeds SnA 137. (Page 488)

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.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

bīja (बीज).—f (dvitīyā S Bidz.) The second day of the waxing or the waning moon. 2 n (Bidz.) From the word below (Bij) q. v. in the five first senses.

--- OR ---

bīja (बीज).—n (S) Seed. Pr. yathā bīja tathā aṅkura: As the seed, so the shoot. 2 A seed. 3 Progeny, offspring, seed. 4 The originating or original point, matter, fact, act; the principle, root, source, spring, ground, occasion. 5 Deep purpose or purport; intention, import, or meaning at the bottom; as hēṃ tumhī mhaṇatāṃ hyānta bīja kāya? 6 Algebra. 7 A cabalistic letter,--the mystical letter which forms the essential part of the mantra of any deity. bhraṣṭa or bharjita bīja aṅkurata nāhīṃ; bharjita or bhraṣṭa bi- jāsa aṅkura nāhīṃ; bhājalēṃ bīja ugavata nāhīṃ; bhāja- lēlyā bijāsa mōḍa yēta nāhīṃ (A burned seed germinates not.) Mortified (i.e. disinterested, unselfish, purely spiritual, prompted by divine love) deeds bear no fruit (no product whether of good or evil in a future birth). That is,--they entitle or qualify the doer to the supreme bliss of mōkṣa.

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

bijā (बिजा).—Several times, frequently.

--- OR ---

bīja (बीज).—n Seed. Progeny. Root. Deep purpose, import, meaning. The second day of the waning moon.

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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Bīja (बीज).—1 Seed (fig. also), seedcorn, grain; अरण्यबीजाञ्जलिदानलालिताः (araṇyabījāñjalidānalālitāḥ) Ku.5.15; बीजाञ्जलिः पतति कीटमुखावलीढः (bījāñjaliḥ patati kīṭamukhāvalīḍhaḥ) Mk.1.9; R.19.57; Ms.9.33.

2) A germ, element.

3) Origin, source, cause; बीजप्रकृतिः (bījaprakṛtiḥ) Ś.1.1 (v. l.).

4) Semen virile; यदमोघमपामन्तरुप्तं बीजमज त्वया (yadamoghamapāmantaruptaṃ bījamaja tvayā) Ku.2.5,6.

5) The seed or germ of the plot of a play, story &c.; see S. D.318.

6) Marrow.

7) Algebra.

8) The mystical letter forming the essential part of the Mantra of a deity.

9) Truth, divine truth.

1) A receptacle, place of deposit.

11) Calculation of primary germs.

12) Analysis.

13) The position of the arms of a child at birth.

-jaḥ The citron tree. (bījākṛ means

1) To sow with seed; vyomani bījākurute Bv.1.98.

2) To plough over after sowing).

Derivable forms: bījam (बीजम्).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Bīja (बीज).—n.

(-jaṃ) See vīja .

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Bīja (बीज).—see vīja.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Bīja (बीज).—[neuter] seed (of plants and animals), seedcorn, grain, germ, element, origin, beginning, adj. caused by (—°).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Bīja (बीज):—n. (also written vīja, of doubtful origin; ifc. f(ā). ) seed (of plants), semen (of men and animals), seed-corn, grain, [Ṛg-veda] etc. etc.

2) a runner (of the Indian fig-tree), [Vikramāṅkadeva-carita, by Bilhaṇa]

3) any germ, element, primary cause or principle, source, origin (ifc. = caused or produced by, sprung from), [Chāndogya-upaniṣad; Mahābhārata; Kāvya literature] etc.

4) the germ or origin of any composition (as of a poem, of the plot of a drama, of a magical formula etc.), [Rāmāyaṇa; Bhāgavata-purāṇa; Daśarūpa; Pratāparudrīya]

5) calculation of original or primary germs, analysis, algebra, [Colebrooke]

6) truth (as the seed or cause of being), [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

7) anything serving as a receptacle or support (= ālambana), [Yogaś.]

8) the mystical letter or syllable which forms the essential part of the Mantra of any deity, [Religious Thought and Life in India 197 etc.]

9) the position of the arms of a child at birth, [Bhāgavata-purāṇa]

10) quicksilver (?), [Sūryasiddhānta]

11) marrow, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

12) m. = bijaka, the citron tree, [Āryabhaṭa]

13) Bījā (बीजा):—[from bīja] ind. by or with seed, sowing with seed, [Horace H. Wilson]

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Bīja (बीज) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Bīa.

[Sanskrit to German]

Bija in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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Hindi dictionary

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Bīja (बीज) [Also spelled beej]:—(nm) seed; pip; origin; beginning; germ; semen; cause; nucleus; -[āvaraṇa] seed-coat; ~[nāśaka] germicidal; -[patra] a seedlobe; ~[purūṣa] the primal man (of a clan, dynasty, etc.); ~[pūrṇa] seedy; ~[lekha] cryptogram; -[vapana] sowing (of the seed); -[saṃskāra] springization; —[ḍālanā] to sow the seed; to lay the foundation.

context information


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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Bija (ಬಿಜ):—[noun] = ಬಿಜಯ [bijaya].

--- OR ---

Bīja (ಬೀಜ):—

1) [noun] the part of a flowering plant that contains the embryo with food stored for its development into a new plant under the proper conditions; a seed.

2) [noun] a seed with edible flesh of some plants (as of pomegranate).

3) [noun] the source or generating point.

4) [noun] anything producing an effect or result; a cause.

5) [noun] the thick, whitish fluid secreted by the male reproductive organs and containing the spermatozoa; semen.

6) [noun] either of two oval sex glands in the male that are suspended in the scrotum and secrete spermatozoa; the testis.

7) [noun] a child or animal as related to its parent; an offspring.

8) [noun] the reason from which the main story, play, plot, etc. is evolved.

9) [noun] a mathematical system using symbols, esp. letters, to generalise certain arithmetical operations and relationships; algebra.

10) [noun] a sacred syllable that represents a hymn.

11) [noun] ಬೀಜದ ಗೂಳಿ [bijada guli] bījada gūḷi a bull that is not castrated; ಬೀಜಕ್ಕೆ ಬಿಟ್ಟ ಗೂಳಿ [bijakke bitta guli] bījakke biṭṭa gūḷi = ಬೀಜದ ಗೂಳಿ [bijada guli].

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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