Katyayana, aka: Kātyāyana; 10 Definition(s)


Katyayana 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.

In Hinduism

Kathā (narrative stories)

Kātyāyana (कात्यायन) is another name of Vararuci, an incarnation of Puṣpadanta who is a subordinate of Śiva. Puṣpadanta was cursed by Pārvatī after overhearing Śiva narrating the adventures of the seven Vidyādharas, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara. Pārvatī cursed Puṣpadanta together with Mālyavān (a gaṇa, who intervened and recommended for mercy) to become mortals.

When asked by Pārvatī what happened to these cursed gaṇas (servants), Śiva answered: “My beloved, Puṣpadanta has been born under the name of Vararuci in that great city which is called Kauśāmbī. Moreover Mālyavān also has been born in the splendid city called Supratiṣṭhita under the name of Guṇāḍhya. This, O goddess, is what has befallen them.”

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Kātyāyana, 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.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Kathā book cover
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Kathās (कथा) are special kind of Sanskrit literature: they are a kind of a mix between Itihāsa (historical legends) and Mahākāvya (epic poetry). Some Kathās reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of the historical deeds of the Gods, sages and heroes.


1a) Kātyāyana (कात्यायन).—A ṛtvik at Brahmā's yajña.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 106. 37.

1b) A Pravara.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 192. 10; 196. 33.

1c) Kaśyapa gotrakaras.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 199. 4.
(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.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Kātyāyana (c. 3rd century BC) was a Sanskrit grammarian, mathematician and Vedic priest who lived in ancient India.

He is known for two works:

  1. The Varttika, an elaboration on Pāṇini grammar. Along with the Mahābhāsya of Patañjali, this text became a core part of the Vyākarana (grammar) canon.
  2. He also composed one of the later Sulba Sutras, a series of nine texts on the geometry of altar constructions, dealing with rectangles, right-sided triangles, rhombuses, etc.

Kātyāyana's views on the word-meaning connection tended towards naturalism. Kātyāyana believed, like Plato, that the word-meaning relationship was not a result of human convention. For Kātyāyana, word-meaning relations were siddha, given to us, eternal. Though the object a word is referring to is non-eternal, the substance of its meaning, like a lump of gold used to make different ornaments, remains undistorted, and is therefore permanent.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

1) Kātyāyana (कात्यायन) or Mahākātyāyana was one of the great disciples of the Buddha, the foremost of those who explain at length the brief aphorisms of the Buddha. He was originally from Ujjayinī and was the disciple of Avanti. According to concordant information, he may have been the author of the Peṭakopadesa: the Gandhavaṃsa, p. 59, attributes this work to him.

The Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra says: “Mahākātyāyana, during the lifetime of the Buddha, explained the words of the Buddha and made a Pi le (Peṭaka), ‘box-collection’ in the Ts’in language (Chinee), which, until today, is used in southern India.” Paramārtha says: “In the time when the Buddha was in the world, Mahākātyāyana expounded a śāstra to explain the Āgama sūtras of the Buddha.” (This again concerns the Peṭakopadesa and the Abhidharmajñānaprasthāna).

2) Kātyāyāyana (कात्यायायन), author of the Jñānaprasthāna.—The Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra tells us that after the Council of Aśoka (therefore, according to its accounting, in the 200th year after the nirvāṇa. Kātyāyana composed the Jñānaprasthāna. This date was confirmed by Paramārtha who informs us “that in the 200 years, Katyāyāna left Lake Anavatapta, came to the country of Magadha into the Mahāsāṃghika school, where he established distinctions related to the holy teaching of the Tripiṭaka…; those who accepted his teachings formed a separate school called ‘the school that enunciates distinctions’; these were the disciples of Mahākātyana.” Actually, Kātyāyana was not a Mahāsāṃghika, but a pure Sarvāstivādin. Paramārtha later corrects himself in associating Kātyāyana with the beginnings of the Sarvāstivādin school which was formed at the beginning of the 3rd century after the nirvāṇa.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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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)

Kātyāyana was a disciple of Gautama Buddha. He was born in a Brahmin family at Ujjayini (Ujjain) and received a classical Brahminical education studying the Vedas. Tradition attributes to Katyāyana the authorship of two late Pāli canonical texts Nettipakarana, a commentary on Buddhist doctrine; and peṭakopadesa, a treatise on exegetical methodology.

In Sanskrit his name is Kātyāyana (कात्यायन) or Mahākātyāyana (महाकात्यायन); in Pāli Kaccāna (or Kaccāyana), or Mahākaccāna; and in Japanese 迦旃延 Kasennen.

(Source): WikiPedia: Buddhism

Katyayana or Vararuchi I (1690-1600 BCE).—Vararuchi or Katyayana was the minister of Mahapadma Nanda. Katyayana wrote vartikas on Panini sutras. He also wrote “Prakrita - Prakasha”, the first grammar book of Prakrit language. Katyayana probably knew the Paishachi language and salvaged “Brihatkatha” the lost work of Gunadhya I. He rewrote Brihatkatha of Gunadhya I in Prakrit language. It appears that Katyayana became Buddhist and founded the school of Mulasarvastivada. Buddhist sources clearly record that Katyayana was the first Sarvastivadin.

(Source): academia.edu: The Chronological History of Buddhism

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

kātyāyana (कात्यायन).—n Killing or beating; ruining, destroying, or damaging gen. v kara or kāḍha g.of o.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

kātyāyana (कात्यायन).—n Killing or beating. Ruining, destroying.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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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.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kātyāyana (कात्यायन).—

1) Name of a celebrated writer on grammar who wrote Vārtikas to supplement the Sūtras of Pāṇini; न स्म पुराद्यतन इति ब्रुवता कात्यायनेनेह (na sma purādyatana iti bruvatā kātyāyaneneha) Mbh. on P. III.2.118; Rām.2.67.3.

2) Name of a sage who is a writer on civil and religious law; Y.1.4.

Derivable forms: kātyāyanaḥ (कात्यायनः).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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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