Kanya, Kanyā: 22 definitions



Kanya means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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.

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In Hinduism

Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Rasa-śāstra

1) Kanyā (कन्या):—One of the sixty-eight Siddhauṣadhi, as per Rasaśāstra texts (rasa literature). These drugs give siddhi (success) in mercurial operations. Even so, they are more powerful than rasa (mercury) itself. These may perform all the kāryas (‘effects’) and grant dehasiddhi (‘perfection of body’) and lohasiddhi (‘transmutation of base metals’) both.

2) Kanyā (कन्या).—The name of a plant, possibly identified with Aloe indica. It is used in various alchemical processess related to mercury (rasa or liṅga), according to the Rasārṇavakalpa (11th-century work dealing with Rasaśāstra).

Rasashastra book cover
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Rasashastra (रसशास्त्र, rasaśāstra) is an important branch of Ayurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasashastra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism

Kanyā (कन्या, “the virgin”).—One of the names of the Goddess, Devī, who is regarded as the female principle of the divine; the embodiement of the energies of the Gods.

Shaktism book cover
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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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: archive.org: Shiva Purana - English Translation

1) Kanyā (कन्या) is the name of a sacred river as mentioned in the Śivapurāṇa 1.12, “somehow men must strive to find a residence in a holy centre. On the shores of the ocean in the confluence of hundreds of rivers there are many such holy centres (puṇyakṣetra or tīrtha) and temples. [...] By residing on the banks of the auspicious rivers Sarasvatī, Pampā, Kanyā and Śvetanadī one shall attain Indraloka”.

Note: The country situated on the bank of this river is sacred to Śiva. Cf Skanda-purāṇa i.iii u 2. 7-19.

2) Kanyā (कन्या) refers to a “daughter”, which is mentioned as obtainable through the worship of Śiva, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.1.14:—“[...] a person afflicted by ailments (rogagrasta) shall worship half that number [for details, see text]. A person desiring a daughter (kanya-kāma) shall worship half that number”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Kanyā (कन्या).—rāśi and month puraṭṭāśi.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 105. 47.

1b) Daughter of Kardama and wife of Priyavrata; mother of two daughters and ten sons.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 1. 5.

1c) Shrine of, south of Malaya {??}ills, visited by Balarāma.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 79. 17.
Purana book cover
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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: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

Kanyā (कन्या) corresponds with the Virgo zodiac sign and refers to the sixth of twelve rāśi (zodiacal sign), according to the Mānasāra. Rāśi is one of the three alternative principles, besides the six āyādiṣaḍvarga, used to constitute the “horoscope” of an architectural or iconographic object. Their application is intended to “verify” the measurements of the architectural and iconographic object against the dictates of astrology that lay out the conditions of auspiciousness.

The particular rāśi (e.g., kanyā) of all architectural and iconographic objects (settlement, building, image) must be calculated and ascertained. This process is based on the principle of the remainder. An arithmetical formula to be used in each case is stipulated, which engages one of the basic dimensions of the object (breadth, length, or perimeter/circumference). All twelve rāśis, except the eighth (vṛścika) are auspicious.

Vastushastra book cover
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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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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature

Kanyā (कन्या) refers to one of the 135 metres (chandas) mentioned by Nañjuṇḍa (1794-1868 C.E.) in his Vṛttaratnāvalī. Nañjuṇḍa was a poet of both Kannada and Sanskrit literature flourished in the court of the famous Kṛṣṇarāja Woḍeyar of Mysore. He introduces the names of these metres (e.g., Kanyā) in 20 verses.

While describing the metre kanyā, Hariśaṅkara (of Gauḍavaṃśa) in his Vṛttamuktāvalī defines the characteristics of the metre as: “where four ra’s (ra-gaṇas) are found in each pāda of a verse, that metre is called as kanyā.

Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: Shodhganga: Edition translation and critical study of yogasarasamgraha

Kanyā (कन्या) is another name for “Kumārī” and is dealt with in the 15th-century Yogasārasaṅgraha (Yogasara-saṅgraha) by Vāsudeva: an unpublished Keralite work representing an Ayurvedic compendium of medicinal recipes. The Yogasārasaṃgraha [mentioning kanyā] deals with entire recipes in the route of administration, and thus deals with the knowledge of pharmacy (bhaiṣajya-kalpanā) which is a branch of pharmacology (dravyaguṇa).

Source: WorldCat: Rāj nighaṇṭu

Kanyā (कन्या) is another name for Gṛhakanyā, a medicinal plant commonly identified with Aloe vera var. chinensis Baker from the Asphodelaceae family of flowering plants, according to verse 5.47-49 of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu. The fifth chapter (parpaṭādi-varga) of this book enumerates sixty varieties of smaller plants (kṣudra-kṣupa). Together with the names Kanyā and Gṛhakanyā, there are a total of twenty-one Sanskrit synonyms identified for this plant.

Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: Pure Bhakti: Arcana-dipika - 3rd Edition

Kanyā (कन्या) corresponds to “virgo” (mid September to mid October) and refers to one of the zodiac signs (rāśī) in the Vedic calendar.—Rāśī refers to the different signs of the zodiac through which the sun travels. For precise dates, please refer to a Vedic calendar. In accordance with the zodiac sign the sun is situated in, one would utter [for example, kanyā-rāśī sthite bhāskare]

Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Tibetan Buddhism

Kanyā (कन्या) is the name of a Rāśi (zodiac sign) mentioned as attending the teachings in the 6th century Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa: one of the largest Kriyā Tantras devoted to Mañjuśrī (the Bodhisattva of wisdom) representing an encyclopedia of knowledge primarily concerned with ritualistic elements in Buddhism. The teachings in this text originate from Mañjuśrī and were taught to and by Buddha Śākyamuni in the presence of a large audience (including Kanyā).

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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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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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

kanyā (कन्या).—f (S) An unmarried girl about eight years of age; a girl gen. 2 The sign Virgo.

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

kanyā (कन्या).—f A girl. kanyā f The small. zodiacal sign Virgo.

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

Kanyā (कन्या).—[Uṇ.4.111]

1) An unmarried girl or daughter; R.,3.33; Ms.1.8.

2) A girl ten years old.

3) A virgin, maiden; Ms.8.367,3.33.

4) A woman in general.

5) The sixth sign of the zodiac, i. e. Virgo.

6) Name of Durgā; Mb.3.

7) Large cardamoms.

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

Kanyā (कन्या).—f.

(-nyā) 1. A girl nine years old, a virgin. 2. A name of Durga. 3. The sign of the zodiac, Virgo. 4. The socotrine aloe (Aloes perfoliata.) 6. Large cardamoms. 7. A species of metre of four lines, with four syllables in each. 3. A parasite plant. E. kan to shine, Unadi affix yak, fem. ṭāp.

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

Kanyā (कन्या).— (akin to kanīyaṃs), f. 1. A girl, [Nala] 1, 8. 2. A virgin, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 8, 367. 3. A daughter, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 9, 71.

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

Kanya (कन्य).—[adjective] the smallest; [feminine] kanyā girl, maid, daughter, the Virgo in the zodiac.

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

1) Kanya (कन्य):—[from kana] a mf(ā)n. the smallest (opposed to uttama and madhyama), [Hemādri’s Caturvarga-cintāmaṇi i, 302, 8 ff.]

2) Kanyā (कन्या):—[from kanya > kana] a f. See kanyā below;

3) Kanya (कन्य):—[from kana] cf. [Zend] kainin; [Hibernian or Irish] cain, ‘chaste, undefiled.’

4) Kanyā (कन्या):—[from kana] b f. (√kan, [Uṇādi-sūtra iv, 111]), a girl, virgin, daughter, [Ṛg-veda; Atharva-veda] etc., [Mahābhārata] etc. (kanyāṃ or pra-√dā or pra-√yam or upa-√pad, [Causal] to give one’s daughter in marriage, [Manu-smṛti viii, ix]; kanyāṃ prati-√grah or √hṛ or √vah, to receive a girl in marriage, marry, [Manu-smṛti ix])

5) [v.s. ...] the sign of the zodiac Virgo, [Varāha-mihira’s Bṛhajjātaka] and, [Varāha-mihira’s Bṛhat-saṃhitā] etc.

6) [v.s. ...] the female of any animal, [Mṛcchakaṭikā]

7) [v.s. ...] Name of Durgā, [Mahābhārata iii, 8115]

8) [v.s. ...] Name of a tuberous plant growing in Kaśmīra, [Suśruta]

9) [v.s. ...] Aloe Perfoliata, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

10) [v.s. ...] several other plants, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

11) [v.s. ...] Name of a metre (of four lines, each of them containing four long syllables).

12) Kanya (कन्य):—b kanyaka, kanyā, etc. See p. 249, col. 1.

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

Kanyā (कन्या):—(nyā) 1. f. A girl nine years old; Durga; Virgo; an aloe; large cadamoms; a parasite.

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

Kanyā (कन्या) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit words: Kaṇṇa, Kaṇṇā, Kāṇiya, Jaṇhukannā.

[Sanskrit to German]

Kanya 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

Kanyā (कन्या):—(nf) a virgin; daughter; girl; ([rāśi]) virgo; ~[rāsī] possessing an effeminate disposition or temper; weakling; ~[dāna] giving away a daughter in marriage.

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