Nayaka, Nāyaka: 27 definitions


Nayaka means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, the history of ancient India, 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

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Nāyaka (नायक).—An army leader; ten in Tāraka's army; their names, ensigns, chariots, etc., detailed.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 148. 43-56.
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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Arthashastra (politics and welfare)

Source: Shodhganga: Kakati Ganapatideva and his times (artha)

Nāyaka (नायक) literally means royal officer or a ruling chief or a local leader or a person of prominence. The term nāyaka is a general designation of power or warrior who was at tiroes associated with military enterprises of the king’s but who at all times was a territorial chief in his own right.

Arthashastra book cover
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Arthashastra (अर्थशास्त्र, arthaśāstra) literature concerns itself with the teachings (shastra) of economic prosperity (artha) statecraft, politics and military tactics. The term arthashastra refers to both the name of these scientific teachings, as well as the name of a Sanskrit work included in such literature. This book was written (3rd century BCE) by by Kautilya, who flourished in the 4th century BCE.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Nāyaka (नायक) refers to “heroes” of which there are four classes defined (according to their conduct), defined to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 34. Accordingly, “heroes (nāyaka) are known to be of four classes, and they belong to the superior and the middling types and have various characteristics”.

The four kinds of heroes (nāyaka) are as follows:

  1. the self-controlled and vehement (dhīroddhata),
  2. the self-controlled and light-hearted (dhīralalita),
  3. the self-controlled and exalted (dhīrodātta),
  4. the self-controlled and calm (dhīrapraśānta).

Gods are self-controlled and vehement, kings are self-controlled and light-hearted, ministers are self-controlled and exalted, and Brahmins and merchants are self-controlled and calm Heroes.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (natya)

Nāyaka (नायक) refers to the “hero” in a dramatic representation, as used within the classical tradition of Indian dance and performance, also known as Bharatanatyam.—In the depiction of any mood or sentiment, a dance performance or a dramatic representation takes the medium of the hero (nāyaka) and the heroine (nāyikās). Quite often, the hero’s role may be that of gods or divine personalities and the heroine’s role may be of goddesses or devotees of the gods and the goddesses. In a solo dance recital, an individual dancer depicts the roles of both the hero (nāyaka) and the heroine (nāyikās) and all the characters that are present in the song are also portrayed by the individual through his/her gestures, actions, emotions and the song.

The nāyakas (heroes) are classified into three types depending on their relationship with the nāyikās (heroines). They are:

  1. Patī (hero married to a woman),
  2. Upapatī (hero married to a woman and also attracting the attention of another woman),
  3. Vaiśika (hero who spends his money on women to buy love).

The heroes are again classified on the basis of their erotic sentiments into four types. They are:

  1. Anukūla (hero who is faithful and pleasing and is pleased only by his wife).
  2. Dakṣiṇa (hero who has several wives and treats each one equally without partiality).
  3. Śaṭha (hero who is cunning and lives openly with any number of women and does not keep any secret about himself),
  4. Dṛṣṭa (hero who is shameless and unfaithful to his beloved and secretly harms her).

The heroes are once again classified on the basis of their nature into four types. They are as follows:

  1. Dhīrodātta (hero who is passionate and ambitious; sāttvatī-vṛtti);
  2. Dhīroddhata (hero who is high-spirited, firm and balanced; ārabhaṭī-vṛtti);
  3. Dhīralalita (hero who is interested in fine arts and always happy and carefree; kaiśikī-vṛtti);
  4. Dhīraśānta (hero who is virtuous and kind; bhāratī and kaiśikī-vṛtti).

There is another classification of the heroes on the basis of their characters in the song or the play. They are three in number, namely (1) Uttama, (2) Madhyama, and (3) Adhama. The above three classifications of the heroes are very important as they form the main part in choreography. When a song is heard, the first analysis is whether the hero is uttama or madhyama or adhama. The next thought goes to his nature, then to his marital status and finally to his erotic sentimental type.

Natyashastra book cover
context information

Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, 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 (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhajana-rahasya - 2nd Edition

Nāyaka (नायक) refers to:—Hero; especially refers to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. (cf. Glossary page from Bhajana-Rahasya).

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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Kavya (poetry)

Source: Shodhganga: Bhismacaritam a critical study

Nāyaka (नायक, “Hero”) refers to one of the primary or the principal characteristics of a Mahākāvya (‘epic poem’).—He is called the Netā, Nāyaka, or the hero because the entire action of a drama or a mahākāvya culminates in his benefit and revolves round him, in the main. Due to numerous complexities of human-nature, the hero may be of as many different types as human-begins can possibly be, so the classification of the hero seems to be a difficult task. Still, the ancient scholars have tried to determine broadly the characteristics of different heroes as characters. In the first place, they have defined the personal merits of a hero.

The hero as the principal character is classified into four types and they are:

  1. dhīrodātta,
  2. dhīroddhata,
  3. dhīralalita,
  4. dhīrapraśānta.

These are the four popular types of heroes who lead other characters whether their action is directed towards success in love or any heroic exploit. Generally, a hero has his counter-part, who is known as the subsidiary hero or the anunāyaka. The leaders of the Episode (patākā;) or the Incident (prakarī;) are generally such characters. They are the principal supplementary to the hero in achieving his end. An anunāyaka is therefore a character whose part is comparatively much less important than that of the hero.

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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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Nāyaka (नायक) refers to the “leader” (viz., in the Kula liturgy) and is used to describe Bhairava, according to the second recension of the Yogakhaṇḍa of the Manthānabhairavatantra, a vast sprawling work that belongs to a corpus of Tantric texts concerned with the worship of the goddess Kubjikā.—Accordingly, as the Goddess said to Bhairava: “By virtue of (your intense) desire to achieve (this) in (our) friendship, I have given (you) the accomplishment of the Command. [...] Generate the fame (which is the energy called the) Nameless (Anāmā) and authority in the six sacred seats. O Siddhanātha, along with me, you are the leader (nāyaka) in the Kula liturgy. Now you will possess knowledge that has not been seen or heard (by the senses). It is the knowledge announced in the past and brought down (to earth) by Ādinātha. [...]”.

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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India history and geography

Source: The Chronological History of Ancient Sri Lanka

Total four Nayaka kings reigned in Kandy. The last Nayaka king Kannasamy surrendered to British in 1815. In fact, the cunning British started provoking Simhalese against Nayaka king Kannasamy. Simhalese saw Nayaka kings as Tamil. British cleverly made Nayaka king Kannasamy villainous. Finally, Kannasamy had no other option to sign the Kandy convention in 1815 and lived in exile in Vellore. Thus, Kandy became a princely state under British colonial rule of Sri Lanka. HMS Cornwalis brought Kannasamy and his family to Vellore in 1816. Kannasamy died in 1832 in Vellore. His descendants are still living in Tamilnadu.

Source: What is India: Inscriptions of the Śilāhāras

Nāyaka (commissioner) is the official title of a minister belonging of the administration of the state during, the rule of the Śilāhāra dynasty (r. 765-1215 A.D.).—The administration of the State was carried on with the help of Governors (rāṣṭrapati), Collectors (viṣayapatis) and village headmen (grāmapati). In some later records like the Dive Āgar plate of Mummuṇi, they are called sāmanta (Governor), nāyaka (the Commissioner of a division) and ṭhākura (the Collector of a district). The Governors of provinces were often military officers, who were called daṇḍādhīpati.

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Painting: A Survey (h)

Nayaka dynasty.—After the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565, the Nāyakas ruled from the 16th to the 18th century and left behind a prolific collection of mural and wall paintings whose best example is the painted ceiling of the Thiruvarur temple in Tamil Nadu, depicting the story of Mucukunda, a legendary Cola king.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Nāyaka.—(EI 33; CII 4), a royal officer or ruling chief. Cf. Ep. Ind., Vol. XXVII, p. 142, text line 35. (HD), explained as ‘the head of ten villages.’ See Artha- śāstra, I. 12; Śukra, I. 192. (EI 32; BL), title of a subordinate ruler. (ASLV), one who held lands from the Vijayanagara kings on the condition of offering military service (cf. Amara-nāyaka). (EI 7), a general. (Ep. Ind., Vol. IX, p. 313), head of a nāḍu or district. (IE 7-1-2), ‘one’. Note: nāyaka is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

nāyaka : (m.) leader; master.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Nāyaka, (BSk. nāyaka (cp. anāyaka without guide AvŚ I. 210); fr. neti; cp. naya) a leader, guide, lord, mostly as Ep. of the Buddha (loka° “Lord of the World”) Sn. 991 (loka°); Mhvs VII. 1 (id.); Sdhp. 491 (tilokassa); bala-nāyakā gang leaders J. I, 103. (Page 350)

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.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

nāyaka (नायक).—m (S) A chief, head, leader, conductor, commander; a head or principal gen. Ex. sēnā- nāyaka, grāmanāyaka, naṭanāyaka, nakṣatranāyaka. 2 In dramatic or amatory composition. The man; the husband or lover; as disting. from nāyikā The female or mistress. Ex. karuni vandana jānakī nāyakā. 3 The hero of a drama or poem. 4 The chief gem (of a necklace &c.) 5 See nāīka.

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

nāyaka (नायक).—m A chief, head, leader. In dra- matic or amatory composition. The man; the husband or lover; as disting. from nāyikā The female or mistress. The hero of a drama or poem.

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

Nayaka (नयक).—

1) A skilful manager.

2) One versed in policy, a statesman.

Derivable forms: nayakaḥ (नयकः).

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Nāyaka (नायक).—a. [nī-ṇvul] Guiding, leading, conducting.

-kaḥ 1 A guide, leader, conductor.

2) A chief, master, head, lord.

3) A pre-eminent or principal person, distinguished personage; सैन्यनायकः (sainyanāyakaḥ) &c.

4) A general, commander.

5) (In Rhet.) The hero of a poetic composition (a play or drama); (according to S. D. there are four main kinds of nāyaka:-- dhīrodātta, dhīroddhata, dhīralalita, and dhīrapraśānta, q. v.; these are again subdivided, the total number of kinds being 48; see S. D.64-75. The Rasamañjarī mentions 3 classes pati, upapati, and vaiśika; 95.11).

6) The central gem of a necklace; नायको नेतरि श्रेष्ठे हारमध्य- मणावपि (nāyako netari śreṣṭhe hāramadhya- maṇāvapi)' इति विश्वः (iti viśvaḥ).

7) A paradigm or leading example; दशैते स्त्रीषु नायकाः (daśaite strīṣu nāyakāḥ).

8) An epithet of Śākyamuni.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Nāyaka (नायक).—guide, very common epithet of Buddha, as in Pali: Mahāvyutpatti 20 = Tibetan ḥdren pa, guide; Lalitavistara 4.4, et passim.

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Nāyaka (नायक) or Nāyin.—but applied to a Bodhisattva (Mañjuśrī): bhāṣitā bodhisattvena Mañjughoṣeṇa nāyinā (Ārya-)Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa 32.18 (verse).

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

Nāyaka (नायक).—m.

(-kaḥ) 1. A guide, a leader, a conductor. 2. A chief, a head, pre-eminent, principal. 3. A general, a commander, 4. The central gem of a necklace. 5. (In Erotic poetry,) The man, the husband or lover. f.

(-yikā) 1. mistress, a wife, the female in the amatory poetry of the Hindus. 2. A sort of gooddess, an inferior form of Durga, and attendant upon her: there are eight Nayikas. E. ṇī to guide, ṇvul aff.

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

Nāyaka (नायक).—i. e. nī + aka, I. m. 1. A guide, [Rāmāyaṇa] 2, 64, 33. 2. A chief, [Bhāgavata-Purāṇa, (ed. Burnouf.)] 4, 7, 22. 3. A general, [Rāmāyaṇa] 3, 33, 14. 4. A husband, [Bhāgavata-Purāṇa, (ed. Burnouf.)] 4, 25, 20. 5. A lover, [Śākuntala, (ed. Böhtlingk.)] 15, 12. 6. The central gem of a necklace, Vāsav. 17, 1. 7. A proper name, [Rājataraṅgiṇī] 5, 158. Ii. f. yikā, A mistress, [Lassen, Anthologia Sanskritica.] 24, 17.

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

Nāyaka (नायक).—[masculine] (adj. —° ā) leader, guide ([abstract] tva [neuter]); chief, general (±sainyasya); lord, husband; lover, hero, [feminine] nāyikā ([drama]).

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

1) Nayaka (नयक):—[from naya] mfn. clever in policy, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

2) Nāyaka (नायक):—[from nāya] m. a guide, leader, chief, lord, principal, [Mahābhārata; Kāvya literature] etc. (with or [scilicet] sainyasya, a general, commander; ifc. f(akā). cf. a-nāyaka)

3) [v.s. ...] a husband, [Bhāgavata-purāṇa]

4) [v.s. ...] (in [dramatic language]) the lover or hero

5) [v.s. ...] the central gem of a necklace (implying also ‘a general’ cf. nāyakāya and mahā-nāyaka)

6) [v.s. ...] a paradigm or example (in gram.)

7) [v.s. ...] Name of Gautama Buddha, [Buddhist literature]

8) [v.s. ...] of a Brāhman, [Rājataraṅgiṇī]

9) [v.s. ...] of an author (also bhaṭṭa-n), [Catalogue(s)]

10) [v.s. ...] mn. a kind of musk, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.] (cf. nāyikā-cūrṇa)

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

Nāyaka (नायक):—(kaḥ) 1. m. A guide; a chief; a central gem; a lover. f. (yikā) A mistress; a sort of goddess.

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

Nāyaka (नायक) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Ṇāyaga.

[Sanskrit to German]

Nayaka 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

Nāyaka (नायक) [Also spelled nayak]:—(nm) a hero; leader, chief; a military official of a low rank; ~[tva] leadership; hegemony.

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Nāyaka (ನಾಯಕ):—

1) [noun] a man who leads; he who directs, commands or guides a group of people; a leader.

2) [noun] a male ruler of a state; a male sovereign or monarch.

3) [noun] the chief officer of a military unit; a commander.

4) [noun] a man with reference to the woman to whom he is married.

5) [noun] the main pearl placed, usu. at the centre of a necklace.

6) [noun] a guiding factor, thing or principle.

7) [noun] a surname of particular families.

8) [noun] any of the various castes the members of which usu. take this as their surname.

9) [noun] the central male character in a novel, play, poem, etc., usu. portrayed as courageous, noble, etc., with whom the reader or audience is supposed to sympathise; the hero.

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Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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