Devadasa, Deva-dasa, Devadāsa: 5 definitions


Devadasa means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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

Kavya (poetry)

[«previous (D) next»] — Devadasa in Kavya glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara

1) Devadāsa (देवदास) is the name of a rich merchant from Pāṭaliputra, who became addicted to gambling, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 19. His story was told by Yaugandharāyaṇa to king Udayana in order to demonstrate that when prosperity is acquired by a king’s own virtues it remains fixed in his family.

2) Devadāsa (देवदास) was the husband of the previous incarnation of Nāgaśrī: wife of Dharmadatta: king of Kośala, according to a story in the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 27. Accordingly, as Nāgaśrī said to king Dharmadatta: “in my former birth I [Nāgaśrī] was a well-conducted female slave in this very land, in the house of a certain Brāhman named Mādhava. And in that birth I had a husband named Devadāsa, an excellent hired servant in the house of a certain merchant. And so we two dwelled there, having built a house that suited us, living on the cooked rice brought from the houses of our respective masters”.

The story of Devadāsa and Nāgaśrī was narrated to king Kaliṅgadatta by his wife Tārādattā in order to demonstrate that “actions, good and bad, have a wonderful power, producing the perception of joy and sorrow”.

3) Devadāsa (देवदास) is the name of a householder, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 58. Accordingly, “... of old time there lived in a village a householder named Devadāsa, and he had a wife named with good cause Duḥśīlā. And the neighbours knew that she was in love with another man”.

The story of Devadāsa was narrated by Hariśikha to Naravāhanadatta in order to demonstrate that “a woman whose heart is fixed on another man infallibly kills like the snake”.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Devadāsa, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

context information

Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous (D) next»] — Devadasa in Purana glossary
Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Devadāsa (देवदास).—A rich Vaiśya extolled much in the Kathāsaritsāgara. He lived in Pātalipuṭra and had married the daughter of a very rich Vaiśya of Pauṇḍravardhana. After his father’s death Devadāsa lost all his wealth in gambling, and his wife foresook her impecunious husband and returned home.

After roaming about for some time the helpless Devadāsa decided to go to his wife’s house, and one mid-night he went there. While hiding himself there in the darkness he heard his wife telling her paramour the following: "In the four corners of Devadāsa’s house are hidden four treasures. But he does not know about the treasures hidden thus by one of his fore-fathers. I got the information from his mother. You should purchase the property for a small price."

No sooner did Devadāsa hear the above than he hurried back to his house and dug up the treasure and thus became wealthy again. The paramour of his wife went to him a few days later and purchased the property at a heavy price. But, when he dug up the place no treasure was found. Then he wanted to sell back the property to Devadāsa himself, but he refused to purchase it. The case was taken before the King when Devadāsa detailed the whole story. And, as ordered by the King, Devadāsa disfigured his wife and wedded another wife. (Kathāsaritsāgara, Lāvāṇakalaṃbakam, Taraṅga 5).

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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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Devadāsa (देवदास).—a servant or attendant upon a temple. (-) 1 a female in the service of gods or a temple.

2) a courtezan (employed as a dancer in a temple).

3) the wild citron tree.

Derivable forms: devadāsaḥ (देवदासः).

Devadāsa is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms deva and dāsa (दास).

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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