Niyama, aka: Niyāma; 14 Definition(s)


Niyama 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

Yoga (school of philosophy)

Self-disciplines; Second step of the Ashtanga;

In Yoga philosophy, these are 5 disciplinary rules meant for self-development.

The five niyamas are:

  1. Purity
  2. Contentment
  3. Self-control
  4. Self-study
  5. Devotion
(Source): Wisdom Library: Yoga

Niyama (नियम, “religious restraint”) is a Sanskrit word referring to “respect for yourself”. It is one of the eight brances of yoga, also known as the eightfold-path (aṣṭānga). Also see the fifth section of the Varāha-upaniṣad.

  1. tapas (persistence, perseverance in one’s purpose, penance austerity)
  2. santoṣa (contentment, acceptance of others and of one's circumstances as they are, joy)
  3. āstika (conviction in Vedas/Upaniṣads)
  4. dāna (generosity, charity, sharing with others)
  5. īśvarapūjana (worship of the Īśvara)
  6. siddhāntaśrāvaṇa (listening to the ancient scriptures, texts about ethics, values, and principles)
  7. hrī (remorse and acceptance of one's past, modesty, humility)
  8. mati (think and reflect to understand, reconcile conflicting ideas)
  9. japa (mantra repetition, reciting prayers or knowledge)
  10. vrata (keeping promises, fast rituals, observing pilgrimage and yajña)
(Source): Wisdom Library: Yoga
Yoga book cover
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Originally, Yoga is considered a branch of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).


1a) Niyama (नियम).—A son of Dhṛti.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 9. 59. 10. 34.

1b) A god of Ābhūtaraya group.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 36. 55.

1c) A mukhya clan.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 100. 19.

1d) A Sukha God.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 1. 19.
(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.

Mīmāṃsā (school of philosophy)

Niyama (नियम) refers to “restrictive injunction”. It is sub-division of vidhi (injunciton).—Niyama-vidhi means that the text lays down one mode of doing a thing that could be done in several ways. eg. “pound the corn to remove the husk”.

(Source): Srimatham: Mīmāṃsa: The Study of Hindu Exegesis
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Mīmāṃsā (मीमांसा, mimamsa) refers to one of the six orthodox Hindu schools of philosophy, emphasizing the nature of dharma and the philosophy of language. The literature in this school is also known for its in-depth study of ritual actions and social duties.

Vyākaraṇa (Sanskrit grammar)

1) Niyama (नियम).—Restriction; regulation; binding; the term is very frequently used by grammarians in connection with a restriction laid down with reference to the application of a grammatical rule generally on the strength of that rule, or a part of it, liable to become superfluous if the restriction has not been laid down; cf. M.Bh. on I. 1. 3, Kas. on I. 3.63, VI. 4.11; cf. also the frequently quoted dictum अनियमे नियमकारिणी परिभाषा (aniyame niyamakāriṇī paribhāṣā);

2) Niyama.—Limitation as contrasted with विकल्प (vikalpa) or कामचार (kāmacāra); cf. अनेकप्राप्तावेकस्य नियमो भवति शेषेष्वनियम (anekaprāptāvekasya niyamo bhavati śeṣeṣvaniyama); पटुमृदुशुक्लाः पटुशुक्लमृदव इति (paṭumṛduśuklāḥ paṭuśuklamṛdava iti); M. Bh. on II. 2. 34 Vart. 2;

3) Niyama.—A regulating rule; a restrictive rule, corresponding to the Parisamkhya statement of the Mimamsakas, e. g. the rule अनुदात्तङित आत्मनेपदम् (anudāttaṅita ātmanepadam) P. I.3.12; the grammarians generally take a rule as a positive injunction avoiding a restrictive sense as far as possible; cf. the dictum विधिनियमसंभवे विधिरेव ज्यायान् (vidhiniyamasaṃbhave vidhireva jyāyān). Par. Sek. Pari. 100; the commentators have given various kinds of restrictions,. such as प्रयोगनियम,अभिधेयनियम,अर्थनियम, प्रत्ययनियम, प्रकृतिनियम, संज्ञानियम (prayoganiyama, abhidheyaniyama, arthaniyama, pratyayaniyama, prakṛtiniyama, saṃjñāniyama) etc.etc.;

4) Niyama.—Grave accent or anudatta; cf. उदात्तपूर्वं नियतम् (udāttapūrvaṃ niyatam) R. Pr. III. 9; see नियत (niyata)

2) Niyama.—.

(Source): Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
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Vyākaraṇa (व्याकरण, vyakarana) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedāṅga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyākaraṇa concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

Śāktism (Śākta philosophy)

Niyama (नियम) is explained by Lakṣmaṇadeśika in his 11th-century Śaradātilaka.—While the Yogasūtras list five yamas and five niyamas (2.30, 2.32), the Śaradātilaka lists ten each (7–9ab). The ten niyamas are listed as austerity, contentment, acceptance of the Vedic tradition (āstikya), charity, worship of the deity, listening to the doctrines, modesty, discernment, repetition of the mantra, and offering of oblations in the fire. Lakṣmaṇadeśika’s lists are similar to the ones found in later texts, such as the Yogakāṇḍa of the Vasiṣṭha-saṃhitā, and in Yoga-upaniṣads (e.g. Darśana-upaniṣad 1.6 and 2.1, Śāṇḍilya-upaniṣad 1.4 and 2.1, Varāha-upaniṣad 5.12cd–14ab and Triśikhibrāhmaṇa-upaniṣad 2.32cd–34ab).

(Source): The Śāradātilakatantra on Yoga
Śāktism book cover
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Śākta (शाक्त, shakta) or Śāktism (shaktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devī) is revered and worshipped. Śākta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

A district in South India. Cv.lxxvii.15, 101.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

the 'fixedness of law' regarding all things; cf. tathatā. -

Pañca-niyāma is a commentarial term, signifying the 'fivefold lawfulness' or 'natural order' that governs:

  • (1) temperature, seasons and other physical events (utu-niyāma);

  • (2) the plant life (bīja-n.);

  • (3) karma (kamma-n.);

  • (4) the mind (citta-n.), e.g. the lawful sequence of the functions of consciousness (s. viññāna-kicca) in the process of cognition;

  • (5) certain events connected with the Dhamma (dhamma-n.), e.g. the typical events occurring in the lives of the Buddhas. (App.).

(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).


niyama : (m.) limitation; certainty; definition. || niyāma (m.), certainty; fixed method; regular order.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Niyama, (cp. Sk. niyama, ni+yam; often confused with niyāma) 1. restraint, constraint, training, self-control Miln. 116 (yama+); PvA. 98 (yama+).—2. definiteness, certainty, limitation DhA. III, 83 (catumagga°, v. l. niyāma); SnA 124 (niyāma); DhsA. 154; PvA. 166 (ayaṃ n. saṃsāren’atthi: law, necessity).—aniyama indefiniteness, choice, generality DhsA. 57; VvA. 16 (yaṃ kiñci=aniyame, i.e. in a general sense), 17 (same of ye keci); PvA. 175 (vā saddo aniyamattho=indefinite).—niyamena (Instr.) adv. by necessity, necessarily PvA. 287; niyamato (Abl.) id. DhsA. 145, 304 (so read). ‹-› 3. natural law, cosmic order; in Commentarial literature this was fivefold: utu-, bīja-, kamma-, ćitta-, dhammaDA. on D. II, 11; Dial. II. 8; DhsA. 272; trs. 360. (Page 368)

— or —

Niyāma, (Sk. niyama & niyāma) way, way to an end or aim, esp. to salvation, right way (sammatta°); method, manner, practice S. I, 196; III, 225 (sammatta°); A. I, 122; Sn. 371 (°dassin=sammatta-niyāmabhūtassa maggassa dassāvin SnA 365); Nd1 314 (°avakkanti); Nd2 358 (=cattāro maggā); Ps. II, 236 sq. (sammatta° okkamati); Pug. 13, 15; Vbh. 342.—niyāmena (Instr.) adv. in this way, by way of, according to J. I, 278; IV, 139, 414 (suta° as he had heard); DhA. I, 79; II, 9, 21; VvA. 4; PvA. 260; Kvu trs. 383.—aniyāmena (see also aniyāmena) without order, aimlessly, at random J. V, 337. (Page 368)

(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)

Niyāma (नियाम).—The term niyāma is difficult because the Sanskrit and Pāli texts spell it is three different ways: niyāma, niyama and nyāma, for which the Tibetan and Chinese versions propose distinct translations

1. Niyāma, position, determination, is a noun derived from the root ni-yam, and appears alone or in composition in many sources. Niyāma is given as ṅes par ḥgyur ba in Tibetan, as kiue-ting ‘determination, fixation’ in Chinese. Kumārajīva always gives samyaktvaniyāma – and undoubtedly also samyaktvanyāma – as tcheng-wei, ‘correct position’, whereas Hiuan-tsang, who carefully distinguishes it from samyaktvanyāma, gives it as tcheng-kiue-ting ‘position in uprightness’

2. Niyama, less frequent than niyāma, has exactly the same meaning and is also derived from the root ni-yam. It is usually rendered in Tibetan by ṅes pa, ‘determination’ and not by mi ḥgyur ba, ‘non-transformation’ as proposed by Mahāvyut., no. 6500. Niyama is just a grammatical variant of niyāma.

3. Nyāma (sometimes wrongly corrected to nyāya in the editions at our disposal) seems itself to be an erroneous spelling for niyāma or niyama. It occurs often in the Sanskrit texts

An imaginary etymology proposed by the Indian writers themselves has modified the meaning profoundly. According to them, nyāma would come from ni-āma and would mean ‘absence of coarseness’ in the proper sense and ‘absence of error’ in the figurative sense. Hence the Tibetan translation skyon med pa ‘absence of error’ and the Chinese translation li cheng ‘absence of coarseness’.

For the Sarvāstivādins, āma, ‘coarsenesses, defects’, are the passions to be abandoned by seeing (darśanaheyakleśa), the belief in the indiviual (satkāyadṛṣṭi), the quality of the worldly person (pṛthagjana), etc.; ny-āma, ‘rejection of coarsenesses’, is the path of seeing the truths (satyadarśanamārga) that makes one go beyond these coarsenesses, which transforms the pṛthagjana śrāvaka into an ārya and destines him for nirvāṇa

(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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

niyama (नियम).—m (S) A rule, law, ordinance, appointment, regulation, statute. 2 A regular practice or custom. 3 Established order or method. 4 Any religious observance voluntarily practised; as fasting, watching, pilgrimage &c., any act of supererogatory piety: also any obligatory religious observance. 5 An engagement; an appointment; a matter fixed or settled.

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

niyama (नियम).—m A rule, law. A regular practice Any religious observance voluntarily practised or obligatory.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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.

Relevant definitions

Search found 54 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Nityaniyama (नित्यनियम).—an invariable rule. Derivable forms: nityaniyamaḥ (नित्यनियमः).Nityani...
Niyamapatra (नियमपत्र).—a written agreement. Derivable forms: niyamapatram (नियमपत्रम्).Niyamap...
Van Niyama
vāṅ niyama (वाङ् नियम).—m S (vāk & niyama) vāṅ niścaya m S (vāk & niścaya) A rule imposed or fo...
īśrvarī-niyama (ईश्र्वरी-नियम) [-nēma-nēmānēma, -नेम-नेमानेम].—m A divine ordi- nance.
Niyamastha (नियमस्थ).—a. observing penance; Ku.5.13. Niyamastha is a Sanskrit compound consisti...
Yama (यम) refers to a deity that was once worshipped in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) according to ...
Yoga (योग) or Yogapāda refers to the fourth of four sections (pāda) of the the Pāñcarātra syste...
Cakra (चक्र) or Cakramudrā is the name of a mudrā described in the Īśvarasaṃhitā 33-34.—Accordi...
1) Dhamma, 3 (adj.) (Sk. dhanvan) having a bow: see daḷha°; also as dhammin in daḷha&de...
Vidhi (विधि).—[vidhā-ki] 1) Doing, performance, practice, an act or action; ब्रह्मध्यानाभ्यस...
Dhāraṇā (धारणा, “introspections ”) is dealt with in the Yogapāda section of the Mālinīvijayotta...
Dhṛti (धृति) is one of the twenty-six varieties of Sanskrit metres (chandas) mentioned in the C...
Nema (नेम).—a. (Nom. pl. neme-nemāḥ)1) Half.-maḥ 1 A part.2) A period, time, season.3) A bounda...
Niyāmaka (नियामक).—Limiting; limitative; cf. तुः क्रियते । स नियामको भविष्यति । अमेवापञ्चम्याः ...
Vrata (व्रत) refers to certain “religious practices” once prevalent in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra...

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