Moha, aka: Mohā; 20 Definition(s)


Moha 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

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

1) Mohā (मोहा, “Delusion”):—Third of the eight Mātṛs born from the body of Vahni, according to the Kubjikāmata-tantra. These eight sub-manifestations (mātṛ), including Mohā, symbolize mental dispositions or emotions and are considered as obstructing the attainment of liberating knowledge. They are presided over by the Bhairava Unmatta. Vahni is the fourth of the Eight Mahāmātṛs, residing within the Mātṛcakra (third of the five cakras) and represents fire.

2) Mohā (मोहा, “Dazzlement”):—Third of the eight Mātṛs born from the body of Bhānumatī, according to the Kubjikāmata-tantra. These eight sub-manifestations (mātṛ), including Mohā, embody several qualities expressive of the sun’s burning heat and glaring light. They are presided over by the Bhairava Ruru. Bhānumatī is the sixth of the Eight Mahāmātṛs, residing within the Mātṛcakra (third of the five cakras) and represents the sun.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra

Moha (मोह) refers to “bewildering enemies”. It is a siddhi (‘supernatural power’) described in chapter one of the Kakṣapuṭatantra (a manual of Tantric practice from the tenth century).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kakṣapuṭa-tantra
Shaivism book cover
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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.

Dharmaśāstra (religious law)

Moha (मोह) is a Sanskrit technical term, used in jurisdiction, referring to “wrong information”. It is mentioned as one of the causes for giving false evidence. The word is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti. (See the Manubhāṣya 8.120)

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra
Dharmaśāstra book cover
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Dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharma-shastra) is a category of Hindu literature containing important instructions regarding religious law, ethics, economics, jurisprudence and more. It is categorised as smṛti, an important and authorative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Moha (मोह, “distraction”).—One of the thirty-three ‘transitory states’ (vyabhicāribhāva), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 7. These ‘transitory states’ accompany the ‘permanent state’ in co-operation. The term is used throughout nāṭyaśāstra literature. (Also see the Daśarūpa 4.8-9)

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Moha (मोह, “distraction”) is caused by determinants (vibhāva) such as accidental injury, adversity, sickness, fear, agitation, remembering past enemity and the like. It is to be represented on the stage by consequents (anubhāva) such as want of movement, [excessive] movement of [a particular] limb, falling down, reeling, not seeing properly and the like.

(Source): Natya Shastra
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
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Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).


Moha (मोह) refers to “stupefaction” and represents a type of Ādhyātmika pain of the mental (mānasa) type, according to the Viṣṇu-purāṇa 6.5.1-6. Accordingly, “the wise man having investigated the three kinds of worldly pain, or mental and bodily affliction and the like, and having acquired true wisdom, and detachment from human objects, obtains final dissolution.”

Ādhyātmika and its subdivisions (eg., moha) represents one of the three types of worldly pain (the other two being ādhibhautika and ādhidaivika) and correspond to three kinds of affliction described in the Sāṃkhyakārikā.

The Viṣṇupurāṇa is one of the eighteen Mahāpurāṇas which, according to tradition was composed of over 23,000 metrical verses dating from at least the 1st-millennium BCE. There are six chapters (aṃśas) containing typical puranic literature but the contents primarily revolve around Viṣṇu and his avatars.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Viṣṇu-purāṇa

Moha (मोह).—Born from the buddhi of Brahmā.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 3. 11.
(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.

Sāṃkhya (school of philosophy)

Moha (मोह, “delusion”) is the second type of viparyaya (ignorance), according to the Sāṃkhya theory of evolution. Viparyaya refers to a category of pratyayasarga (intellectual products), which represents the first of two types of sarga (products) that come into being during tattvapariṇāma (elemental manifestations), which in turn, evolve out of the two types of pariṇāma (change, modification).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Sāṃkhya philosophy
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Sāṃkhya (सांख्य, samkhya) is a dualistic school of Hindu philosophy (āstika) and is closeley related to the Yoga school. Sāṃkhya philosophy accepts three pramāṇas (‘proofs’) only as valid means of gaining knowledge. Another important concept is their theory of evolution, revolving around prakṛti (matter) and puruṣa (consciousness).

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Delusion; ignorance (avijja).. One of three unwholesome roots (mula) in the mind.(Source): Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

M Ignorance. Failure regarding the knowledge of dhamma. Only an arahanta is no more affected by moha.

(Source): Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

Delusion (moha); also, avijjā.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

'delusion', is one of the 3 unwholesome roots (mūla). The best known synonym is avijjā.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
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Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).


Part of the Moha Team.


Moha is ignorance. It is delusion. It covers true nature of dhamma and it veils citta not to see realities and truths. It prevents pannas arising. Moha and panna are mutually exclusive in a citta. When moha arises, panna cannot arise and when panna arises moha has gone away.

(Source): Journey to Nibbana: Patthana Dhama

dullness; Moha is not the same as lack of worldly knowledge such as science or history, but it is ignorance of ultimate realities. There are many degrees of moha. Moha does not know the true nature of the object which is experienced and therefore its essence is, as stated by the Atthasalini non-penetration and its function "covering up" the intrinsic nature of the object.

Moha is ignorant of the true nature of realities. Moha is the root of all that is unprofitable.

(Source): Dhamma Study: Cetasikas
Abhidhamma book cover
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Abhidhamma (अभिधम्म) usually refers to the last section (piṭaka) of the Pali canon and includes schematic classifications of scholastic literature dealing with Theravāda Buddhism. Primary topics include psychology, philosophy, methodology and metaphysics which are rendered into exhaustive enumerations and commentaries.


moha : (m.) stupidity; delusion.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Moha, (fr. muh, see muyhati; cp. Sk. moha & Vedic mogha) stupidity, dullness of mind & soul, delusion, bewilderment, infatuation D. III, 146, 175, 182, 214, 270; Vin. IV, 144, 145; Sn. 56, 74, 160, 638, 847; Vbh. 208, 341, 391, 402; Pug. 16; Tikp 108, 122, 259.—Defd as “dukkhe aññāṇaṃ etc., moha pamoha, sammoha, avijj’ogha etc., ” by Nd2 99 & Vbh. 362; as “muyhanti tena, sayaṃ vā muyhati, muyhana-mattaṃ eva vā tan ti moho” and “cittassa andha-bhāva-lakkhaṇo, aññāṇalakkhaṇo vā” at Vism. 468.—Often coupled with rāga & dosa as one of the 3 cardinal affects of citta, making a man unable to grasp the higher truths and to enter the Path: see under rāga (& Nd2 p. 237, s. v. rāga where the wide range of application of this set is to be seen). Cp. the 3 fires: rāg-aggi, dos-aggi, moh-aggi It. 92; D. III, 217 also rāga-kkhaya, dosa°, moha° VbhA. 31 sq.—On combn with rāga, lobha & dosa see dosa2 and lobha.—On term see also Dhs. trsl. §§ 33, 362, 441; Cpd 16, 18, 41, 113, 146.—See further D. I, 80 (samoha-cittaṃ); Nd1 15, 16 (with lobha & dosa); VvA. 14; PvA. 3.—amoha absence of bewilderment Vbh. 210 (+alobha, adosa; as the 3 kusala-mūlāni: cp. mūla 3), 402 (id. , as kusala-hetu).—Cp. pa°, sam°.

—antara (personal) quality of bewilderment (lit. having m. inside) Sn. 478 (taken by C. as “cause of m. , ” i.e. °kāraṇa, °paccaya SnA 411; cp. antara= kāraṇa under antara I 2 b.). —ussada quality of dullness Nd1 72, 413. —kkhaya destruction of infatuation Vbh. 73; VbhA. 51. —carita one whose habit is infatuation Nett 90 (+rāgacarita & dosacarita). —tama the darkness of bewilderment MA 1. —dhamma anything that is bewildering or infatuating Sn. 276. —pāruta covered or obstructed by delusion Pv IV. 334. —magga being on the road of infatuation Sn. 347. —salla the sting of bewilderment Nd1 59. (Page 543)

(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)

Moha, (मोह, “delusion”):—One of the three poisons (triviṣa).—Delusion is of two kinds:

  1. bad delusion (mithyāmoha)
  2. and simple delusion.
(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)

Moha (मोह, “delusion”) refers to one of the fourty “conditions” (saṃskāra) that are “associated with mind” (citta-samprayukta) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 30). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., moha). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Moha also refers to the “three roots of unwholesomeness” (akuśalamūla) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 139).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

mōha (मोह).—m (S) Fascination, infatuation, bewitchment; whether the allurement of objects exciting love, affection, pity, sympathy &c.; or the state of being allured and engaged by. 2 Loss of consciousness or sense; fainting, forgetfulness, stupefaction. 3 Ignorance, folly, foolishness;--applied esp. to that spiritual ignorance which leads men to believe in the material reality of worldly objects, and to betake themselves to mundane or sensual enjoyments. 4 Affection, fondness. 5 A tree, Bassia latifolia. From the blossoms of it a spirituous liquor is distilled.

--- OR ---

mōha (मोह).—n m (Commonly mōhō) A bees' nest and comb.

--- OR ---

mōhā (मोहा).—m (mōha S through H) A tree, Bassia latifolia. From its blossoms a spirituous liquor is distilled.

--- OR ---

mōhā (मोहा).—a mōhācā a (mōha) Of enchanting or excellent quality;--used of a species of cocoanut and betelnut. Ex. mō0 nāraḷa-nāraḷī-māḍa-supārī.

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

mōha (मोह).—m Fascination. Ignorance. Fond- ness. Loss of sense. A tree. n m A bees' nest and comb.

--- OR ---

mōhā (मोहा).—m A kind of tree.

--- OR ---

mōhā (मोहा).—a Of enchanting or excellent quality.

(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.

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