Nishada, aka: Niṣāda, Nisāda, Nisada, Nisha-ada; 13 Definition(s)


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

The Sanskrit term Niṣāda can be transliterated into English as Nisada or Nishada, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Dharmashastra (religious law)

Niṣāda (निषाद) is a Sanskrit word referring to a particular mixed caste. The word is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti. (also see the Manubhāṣya verse 4.215)

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra

Niṣāda (निषाद).—According to Nārada 12.103-113.—“The son called Niṣāda springs from the union of a Kṣatriya with a Śūdra woman. A Śūdra woman obtains from a Brāhmaṇa a son called Pāraśava, who is superior to the Niṣāda”.

Source: Google Books: Manusmṛti with the Manubhāṣya
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Niṣāda (निषाद) refers to the seventh of the seven “musical notes” (svara), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 6, chapter 19 and chapter 28. These seven notes are part of the ‘vocal representation’ (vācika), which is used in communicating the meaning of the drama and calling forth the sentiment (rasa). The seven notes (svara) are to be used in different sentiments (rasa). For example, gāndhāra and niṣāda are to be used in the pathetic (karuṇa) sentiment.

The presiding deity of the niṣāda musical note (svara) is defined by various sources:

Nāradīyā-śīkṣā 1.5.13-14 mentions that the niṣāda note is sung by Tumburu.
Bṛhaddeśī 75-76 mentions Bhānudeva as the presiding deity of niṣāda.
Saṅgītaratnākara 1.3.57-58 mentions Sahasrāṃśu (the sun, lit: ‘thousand-rayed’) as the presiding deity of niṣāda.
Saṃgītamakaranda 1.1.38, Idem.
Cf. Saṃgītarāja

The following animal sounds are associated with this note:

Nāradīyā-śīkṣā 1.5.3 assigns this note to the elephant (kuñjara).
Bṛhaddeśī 64, p13, 2.1-5 assigns this note to the elephant (gaja).
Saṃgītamakaranda 1.1.13, Idem.
Saṅgītaratnākara, Idem.
Cf. Saṃgītarāja

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
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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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Nishada in Purana glossary... « previous · [N] · next »

1) Niṣāda (निषाद).—A forest dweller. The grand sire of the niṣāda tribe living in forests was one Niṣāda. Those forestdwellers came to be known as niṣādas as they were the descendants of this Niṣāda. The Purāṇic story about the origin of Niṣāda is as follows:—

Once upon a time there lived a King called Vena. A very immoral ruler, he was hated by the people. As dharma declined in the country due to the misrule of Vena the maharṣis killed him with darbha grass sanctified by mantras. Then the maharṣis saw dust rising up everywhere and people told them that the poor people, in the absence of king, had turned into thieves and the dust was formed by the onrush of the thieves. To remedy the problem thus created the maharṣis churned the thigh of Vena, who had died childless, for a son, and from the thigh was born a male child, dark in colour, dwarfish and with a compressed face. Sadly he asked the brahmins (maharṣis) what he should do. They asked him to sit (niṣīda) and hence he became Niṣāda (forest-dweller). His descendants settled down on mount Vindhya and they by their sinful lives divested Vena of his sins. Vena was absolved of his sins through the Niṣādas, and thus the Niṣādas became responsible for the ending of Vena’s sins. (Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Part 1, Chapter 13).

2) Niṣāda (निषाद).—A particular region in ancient India. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 51).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Niṣāda (निषाद).—The black and dwarfish man who came out of the churning of the thigh of the dead Vena by the sages; the ancestor of the Naiṣadas, the Vindhyan tribe.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 14. 45-46; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 13. 35-6.

1b) A son of Vasudeva; the first bowman;1 hunter.2

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 184, 187.
  • 2) Ib. 47. 51.

1c) 20th kalpa; Prajāpati Niṣāda performed austerities controlling the senses for a thousand divine years; seeing the son getting wearied by penance Brahmā said: “refrain from it,” hence the name, Niṣāda. Out of him came niṣādavānsvara.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 21. 43.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Niṣāda (निषाद).—Illustration of the niṣāda-svara according to 15th century art.—The colour of the body of niṣāda-svara is variegated. His mouth is like an elephant and has four hands. He holds a lotus flower in his upper right hand and Bījapūraka (citron) in his left hand and Paraśu in his lower right hand and a trident in the left hand. His vehicle is a elephant. The colour of his scarf is green with a black design and the colour of his lower garment is rosy with the design of the same colour.

The illustrations (of, for example Niṣāda) are found scattered throughout ancient Jain manuscripts from Gujarat. The descriptions of these illustrations of this citrāvalī are based on the ślokas of Vācanācārya Gaṇi Sudhākalaśa’s Saṅgītopaniṣatsāroddhāra (14th century) and Śārṅgadeva’s Saṅgītaratnākara (13th century).

Source: Illustrations of Indian Music and Dance in Western Indian Style
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Arthashastra (politics and welfare)

Niṣāda (निषाद) or Pāraśava is the son of a Brāhmaṇa from a Śūdra woman according to the Arthaśāstra 3.7.21, but here the term may indicate a son from a lower-class woman, or simply a bastard (so Meyer). The meaning appears to be that the king can use such a son or a son the traitorous official has fathered on his female servant using the same technique as in the case of his brother.

Source: Google Books: King, Governance, and Law in Ancient India: Kautilya's Arthasastra
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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Itihasa (narrative history)

Nishada in Itihasa glossary... « previous · [N] · next »

Niṣāda (निषाद) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.28, I.61.48) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Niṣāda) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Nishada in Pali glossary... « previous · [N] · next »

nisada : (m.) a grindstone.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Nisada, & Nisadā (f.) (Sk. dṛṣad f.; for n: d cp. P. nijjuha= Sk. dātyūha etc. ) a grindstone, esp. the understone of a millstone Vin. I, 201; (°pota id.); Miln. 149; Vism. 252 (°pota, where KhA at id. p. reads °putta). Cp. ā°. (Page 373)

— or —

Nisāda, (cp. Sk. niṣāda, a Non-Aryan or barbarian) a robber J. IV, 364. Cp. nesāda. (Page 373)

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

Nishada in Marathi glossary... « previous · [N] · next »

niṣāda (निषाद).—m S The seventh of the musical notes. 2 A caste or an individual of it. Commonly kōḷī. 3 A degraded tribe or a man of it, esp. the son of a Brahman by a Shudra woman.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

niśāda (निशाद).—m The seventh of the musical notes. A caste or an individual of it. Commonly kōḷī.

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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Niśāda (निशाद).—A man of low caste; see निषाद (niṣāda). (niśādāputraḥ A pestle; so °śilā a mortar.)

Derivable forms: niśādaḥ (निशादः).

--- OR ---

Niṣāda (निषाद).—

1) Name of one of the wild aboriginal tribes in India, such as hunters, fishermen &c.; a mountaineer; मा निषाद प्रतिष्ठां त्वमगमः शाश्वतीः समा (mā niṣāda pratiṣṭhāṃ tvamagamaḥ śāśvatīḥ samā) Rām.1.2.15; R.14. 52,7; U.2.5.

2) A man of a degraded tribe in general, an outcast, a Chāṇḍāla.

3) Especially, the son of a Brāhmaṇa by a Sūdra woman. cf. ब्राह्मणाद्वैश्य- कन्यायामम्बष्ठो नाम जायते । निषादः शूद्रकन्यायां यः पारशव उच्यते (brāhmaṇādvaiśya- kanyāyāmambaṣṭho nāma jāyate | niṣādaḥ śūdrakanyāyāṃ yaḥ pāraśava ucyate) || Ms.1.8.

4) (In music) The first (more properly the last or seventh) note of the Hindu gamut; गीतकला- विन्यासमिव निषादानुगतम् (gītakalā- vinyāsamiva niṣādānugatam) K.31 (where it has sense 1 also).

5) Name of a Kalpa.

Derivable forms: niṣādaḥ (निषादः).

--- OR ---

Niśāda (निशाद).—= Niṣāda q. v.

Derivable forms: niśādaḥ (निशादः).

Niśāda is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms niśā and ada (अद).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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Relevant definitions

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