Leshya, Leśyā: 11 definitions


Leshya means something in Jainism, Prakrit, 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.

The Sanskrit term Leśyā can be transliterated into English as Lesya or Leshya, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: archive.org: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

Leśyā (लेश्या), a psychic color varying according to the karma of the soul. There are 6 of them: black, dark blue, gray, rose, yellow, and white. For a detailed account see Uttarādhyayana 34.

Source: Shodhganga: A cultural study on the jain western Indian illustrated manuscripts

Leśyā (लेश्या).—These are external appearance cast upon the soul by the individual’s karma. The soul is of course, not itself affected but the leśyās are like shadows or a reflection. They have names, colours, tastes, smells, touches, degrees, character, variety, duration, result and life but they are commonly distinguished by colour and are named black, blue, grey, red, yellow, and white. The first three of these are bad and last three are good.

The subject of the leśyās, is common Jain iconography and is generally represented by a rose-apple (jambu) tree, from which six men are trying to get the fruit.

These men are often shown by the colours of their representative leśyās.

  1. The black has an axe and endeavors to cut the tree down at its base.
  2. The blue is cutting off the branches.
  3. The gray is cutting off only the twigs with the fruit or the bunches.
  4. The red climbs the tree to pluck the fruit.
  5. The yellow pulls off what he can reach as he walks around.
  6. The white collects only what has fallen to the ground.


Source: HereNow4U: Philosophical Foundations Of Jainism (An Introduction)

Leśyā (लेश्या).—In leśyā (which is a meditational technique) colour visualization is used, since colour in its very subtle form is found in the Jīva, its (Kendras) and the -units. These colours have different effects on our body-physique and psyche.

Source: Prakrit Bharati Academy: Death with Equanimity

Leśyā (लेश्या).—Leśyā means spiritual glow or colour of the spirit. The spirit or the soul, in its natural form, is absolutely pure and free from any colouration. However, when it is influenced by passions it assumes a certain hue that depends on the type and intensity of passions colouring it at any point of time. Leśyā can be 1. Volitional colouration “bhāva-leśyā”, which is at the thought level and 2. Physical colouration “dravya-leśyā”, which is at the activity level.

The leśyās are six:

  1. Black “kṛṣṇaleśyā” that signifies most intense passionate state of the soul,
  2. Blue “nīlaleśyā” signifying highly passionate state of the soul,
  3. Grey “kāpotaleśyā”, which signifies a passionate state of the soul,
  4. Yellow “pītaleśyā” that signifies the lesser passionate state of the soul,
  5. Lotus “padmaleśyā”, which is the least passionate state of the soul and, finally,
  6. White “śuklaleśyā”, which is the passion–free state of the soul.

These spiritual hues reflect the psychic tendencies or propensities of people. The first three hues are destructuve in nature and can be termed as the worst, worse and bad while the other three are constructive and can be said to be good, better and the best.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 9: Influx of karmas

Leśyā (लेश्या, “colouration”).—One of the seven sub categories of ascetics (nirgrantha-muni);—What are the peculiarities amongst different kind of ascetics with reference to ‘the colouration’ (leśyā)?

The husk ascetics (pulāka) can have three auspicious colourations.

The tainted (bakuśa) and pratisevana-kuśīla ascetics can have all the six thought-colourations due to their infatuation with body and implements.

The kaṣāya-kuśīla ascetics can have four colourations except the black and blue.

The unbound (nirgrantha) and successful (snātaka) ascetics have only pure (śukla) colouration while the ayoga-kevalī does not have any colouration.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 2: the Category of the living

Leśyā (लेश्या, “colourations”) refers to a category of dispositions (bhāva) due to the rising of karmas (audayika), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 2.6. What is the meaning of thought-colourations (leśyā)? Manifestation of activities of mind, body and speech associated with passions is called thought-colouration. They also manifest as coloured layers of aura surrounding the body.

How many types of thought-colourations are there? There are six colourations (leśyās) namely black, blue, grey, yellow, pink and white.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 4: The celestial beings (deva)

Leśyā (लेश्या).—What is meant by thought-colouration (leśyā)? It is an energy by which a living being is active in meritorious and de-meritorious activities. The thought-colourations are of two types namely: psychic (bhāva) and physical (dravya). How many thought-colourations are there? There are six thought-colourations, namely black, blue, grey, yellow, pink and white. Black, blue and grey are said to be inauspicious. Yellow, pink and white are said to be auspicious.

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

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Leśyā (लेश्या).—Light.

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

Leśyā (लेश्या).—f.

(-śyā) Light.

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

Leśya (लेश्य):—[from liś] mfn. light, [Sūryaprajñapti]

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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