Chaya, aka: Chāyā; 9 Definition(s)


Chaya 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Chhaya.

In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Chāyā (छाया, “Shadow”):—First of the eight Mātṛs born from the body of Śaśinī, according to the Kubjikāmata-tantra. These eight sub-manifestations (mātṛ), including Chāyā, symbolize a connection to the moon. They are presided over by the Bhairava Krodha and his consort Vaiṣṇavī. Śaśinī is the third of the Eight Mahāmātṛs, residing within the Mātṛcakra (third of the five cakras) and represents the moon.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra
Shaivism book cover
context information

Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

Pāñcarātra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Chāyā (छाया, “shade”):—One of the four wifes of Sūrya (the personification of the Sun), according to the Pāñcarātra literature. The Sun is the direct manifestation of Brahman (the absolute) and is worshipped by all Hindus.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Pāñcarātra
Pāñcarātra book cover
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Pāñcarātra (पाञ्चरात्र, pancaratra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Nārāyaṇa is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaiṣnavism, the Pāñcarātra literature includes various Āgamas and tantras incorporating many Vaiṣnava philosophies.


1a) Chāyā (छाया).—A daughter of Viśvakarman,1 a servantmaid of Samjñā engaged by the latter for her husband. Hence wife of the sun God without his knowledge and mother of Śanaiścara and Tapatī during the absence of Samjñā as a horse. Her sons were Śrutaśrava and Śrutakarma or Sāvarṇi Manu and Saturn respectively; illtreated Samjñā's children. Yama protested and was cursed to lose his legs. He reported to his father who said that they would be restored after some time. Then he asked Chāyā why she showed difference between her sons and she spoke the truth. The sun God flew into a rage and demanded Tvaṣtā to give up his daughter. He showed the place where Sarvajñā was and Tvaṣtā reduced his tejas. On seeing her, Śukra came through his nostrils from which were born the Aśvins or Nāsatya and Dasra.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 13. 8 and 10. Matsya-purāṇa 11. 5-9; 248. 73; Vāyu-purāṇa 84. 39-77.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 59. 32-77; IV. 35. 47; Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 6. 41.

1b) The mind-born wife of Sṛṣṭi and mother of five sons.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 36. 97-98.

1c) The wife of Puṣṭi and mother of five sons, Prācīnagarbha, Vṛṣaka, Vṛka, Vṛkala and Dhṛti.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 62. 83.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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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.

In Buddhism


chāyā : (f.) shade; shadow.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Chāyā, (f.) (Vedic chāyā, light & shade, *skei (cp. (s)qait in ketu), cp. Sk. śyāva; Gr. skiά & skoiόs; Goth. skeinan. See note on kāla, vol. II. p. 382) shade, shadow S.I, 72, 93; M.II, 235; III, 164; A.II, 114; Sn.1014; Dh.2; J.II, 302; IV, 304; V, 445; Miln.90, 298; DhA.I, 35; PvA.12, 32, 45, 81, etc.—Yakkhas have none; J.V, 34; VI, 337. chāyā is frequent in similes: see J.P.T.S. 1907, 87. (Page 276)

(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.

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Chāyā (छाया, “shadow”) refers to one of the ten comparisons (upamāna) according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter 11. These upamānas represent a quality of the Bodhisattvas accompanying the Buddha at Rājagṛha on the Gṛdhrakūṭaparvata. They accepted that dharmas are like a shadow (chāyā). A shadow is visible but cannot be grasped. It is the same for dharmas: the organs (indriya) and the sense objects are seen (dṛṣṭa), heard (śruta), cognized (vijñāta) and felt (mata), but their reality is ungraspable.

Moreover, it is necessary that light be intercepted so that the shadow (chāyā) appears: without this interception, the shadow would be absent. In the same way, it is necessary that the fetters (saṃyojana) and the afflictions (kleśa) hide the light of correct seeing (saṃyagdṛṣṭi) so that the shadow of the ātman and of dharmas appear.

(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.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Chāyā (छाया, “shadowy”) refers to one of the “twenty form objects” (rūpa) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 34). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., chāyā). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

chāyā (छाया).—f (S) Shade. 2 Shadow, reflected image. 3 Shelter, skreen, cover, lit.: shelter, defence, protection, fig. 4 Indication, prognostic, mark, token, symptom (of a disease, an emotion &c.) Ex. ḍōḷē pivaḷē jhālē tasmāt paṇḍūcī chāyā disatī; mukhāvara krō- dhācī chāyā disatī. 5 A faint, indistinct appearance, a glimmering, a shadow: also an imperfect representation, an adumbration. Ex. hā śrlōka malā lāgata nāhīṃ parantu rājanītīcī chāyā disatī. 6 A slight likeness or resemblance. Ex. rāmājīpantācī chāyā hyājavara disatī tasmāt hā tyācā putra. 7 Look, countenance, general appearance. Ex. jhāḍāṃsa ēka mahinā pāṇī miḷatāñca tyāñcī chāyā pālaṭalī. 8 The explanatory Sanskrit words written over the gibberish of the demons or Pishach, when it is introduced into plays &c. 9 Virtuous reflection. See upādhi Sig. I. Ex. sphaṭikāvara jāsvanācī chāyā māra- tī mhaṇūna tāmbūsa disatō; hā labāḍāñcē chāyēnēṃ labāḍī karūṃ lāgalā. chāyā dharaṇēṃ-pāvasānēṃ-mēghānnīṃ-ābhāḷānēṃ &c. To overshadow or overspread (the heavens)--rain, clouds.

(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

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Hastinachāyā (हस्तिनछाया).—Is Kuñjara chāyā.** Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 16. 44.
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pācchāya (पाच्छाय).—Properly pādaśāhī &c.
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