Nitya, aka: Nityā; 10 Definition(s)

Introduction

Nitya means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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

Purana

1a) Nitya (नित्य).—A brahmavādin.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 145. 106.

1b) (Śrāddham) nothing of arghya and āvāhana.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 16. 5.

2) Nityā (नित्या).—An Akṣara devī.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 19. 59.
(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.

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Nitya (नित्य) is one of the three types of rites ācāryas (“Śaiva preceptor”) are qualified to perform, according to Nigamajñāna (Śaiva teacher of the 16th century) in his Śaivāgamaparibhāṣāmañjarī. Nitya includes snāna, tarpaṇa, śivapūjā, agnikārya, etc

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Nitya (नित्य) or Nityāgama refers to one of upāgamas (supplementary scriptures) of the Vātulāgama which is one of the twenty-eight Siddhāntāgama: a classification of the Śaiva division of Śaivāgamas. The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu. The purpose of revealing upāgamas (eg., Nitya Āgama) is to explain more elaborately than that of mūlāgamas (eg., Vātula-āgama) and to include any new idea if not dealt in mūlāgamas.

(Source): Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva
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.

Samkhya (school of philosophy)

1) Nitya (नित्य, “eternal”).—Mūlaprakṛti or avyakta is eternal (nitya) because, it has no beginning (anādi) and it has no end (ananta). When the elements dissolve into their respective causes it is called destruction. But as prakṛti has no cause so it is unable to dissolve into any thing and for this reason it is the ultimate cause. As space and time are the derivative of avyakta, so avyakta is not bounded by space and time. As avyakta transcends time, so it is eternal (nitya).

2) Nitya (नित्य, “eternal”).—“na prakṛtirna vikṛtiḥ puruṣaḥ”—This is how Īśsvarakṛṣṇa describes puruṣa in the third kārikā. This means, puruṣa is neither caused, nor is itself a cause. That which is neither caused, nor is itself a cause is beyond any change. Whatever is beyond any change is eternal. As puruṣa is beyond any change, so it is eternal. Even during dissolution, puruṣa continues to witness prakṛti as an eternal conscious entity (nitya-tattva).

(Source): Shodhganga: Prakrti and purusa in Samkhyakarika an analytical review
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Samkhya (सांख्य, Sāṃkhya) is a dualistic school of Hindu philosophy (astika) and is closeley related to the Yoga school. Samkhya philosophy accepts three pramanas (‘proofs’) only as valid means of gaining knowledge. Another important concept is their theory of evolution, revolving around prakriti (matter) and purusha (consciousness).

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Nitya (नित्य, “eternal”).—According to Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XIV), there are people who claim that the great earth (mahāpṛthivī), the sun and the moon (sūryacandramas), Sumeru and the great ocean (mahāsamudra) are all eternal (nitya). This is why the Bhagavat shakes the earth six times and gives the reason (hetupratyaya) for it: Beings will know that it is not eternal.

(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.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Nitya (नित्य, “eternal”) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 5.4.—The substances (dravya) are eternal (nitya), fixed in number (avasthita) and colourless (arūpa, non-material). What is the meaning of eternal? It means indestructible i.e. the generic and specific attributes of each substance are never destroyed. Why are substances eternal? From substance view point, they are never destroyed and so are called as eternal.

According to Tattvārthasūtra 5.31, eternal (nitya) does not mean that an entity stays same (same state / mode) always or is not transforming continuously. But it implies that even while going through transformation it does not leave its intrinsic nature, else the entire universe will come to a standstill being eternal. Transformation is cognized by remembrance e.g. when we see a person after a long time, we still recollect him to be he same person whom we met a long time ago.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 5: The category of the non-living
General definition book cover
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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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

nitya (नित्य).—a (S) Everlasting, perpetual, continual. 2 Of regular and close recurrence. 3 Used as ad Always, ever, continually. Pr. nitya marē tyāsa kōṇa raḍē Who cares for troubles when they come thick and close (too thick to be cried for)? Also who can cry with one who is crying all the day long? Compounds are nitya-carcā-japa-naivēdya-maṅgala-pūjā-snāna -hōma &c. Others in order. nityākhālīṃ paḍaṇēṃ-yēṇēṃ To come under one's constant use, practice, observance &c. nityāntalā Of one's daily or constant use, exercise, experience &c.

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

nitya (नित्य).—a Everlasting, perpetual. Of regular recurrence. ad Always, ever. Pr. nitya marē tyāsa kōṇa raḍē Who cares for troubles when they come thick and close (too thick to be cried for)? Also who can cry with one who is crying all the day long? nityākhālīṃ pa़ḍaṇēṃ-yēṇēṃ To come under one's constant use, &c. nityāntala Of one's daily or constant use, &c.

(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

Nitya (नित्य).—a. [niyamena niyataṃ vā bhavaṃ ni-tya-p; cf. P.IV.2.14. Vārt.]

1) (a.) Continual, perpetual, constant, everlasting, eternal, uninterrupted; यथा त्वमसि दुर्धर्षो धर्मनित्यः प्रजाहितः (yathā tvamasi durdharṣo dharmanityaḥ prajāhitaḥ) Rām.7.37.8; यदि नित्यमनित्येन लभ्यते (yadi nityamanityena labhyate) H.1.48; नित्यज्योत्स्नाः प्रतिहततमोवृत्तिरम्याः प्रदोषाः (nityajyotsnāḥ pratihatatamovṛttiramyāḥ pradoṣāḥ) Me. (regarded by Malli. as an interpolation); Ms.2.26. (b) Imperishable, indestructible; पृथिवी द्विविधा नित्याऽनित्या च (pṛthivī dvividhā nityā'nityā ca) Tarka K.

2) Invariable, regular, fixed, not optional, regularly prescribed (opp. kāmya).

3) Necessary, obligatory, essential.

4) Ordinary, usual (opp. naumittika).

5) (At the end of comp.) Constantly dwelling in, perpetually engaged in or busy with; जाह्नवीतीर°, अरण्य°, आदान°, ध्यान° (jāhnavītīra°, araṇya°, ādāna°, dhyāna°) &c.

-tyaḥ The ocean.

-syā 1 An epithet of the goddess Durgā.

2) A plough-share.

-tyam An indispensable or inevitable act.

-tyam ind. Daily, constantly, always, ever, perpetually, enternally.

(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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