Pashu, aka: Paśu, Pasu; 12 Definition(s)


Pashu means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, the history of ancient India, 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 Paśu can be transliterated into English as Pasu or Pashu, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Pasu: It is the individual soul. Before the soul stepped into this mundane world sporting a body, it was in Kevala state (Kevala-k-kitai), which is disembodied inactive condition of the soul mired in Anava (I-ness, Mineness, spiritual darkness). Vaishnava ThAkura calls them, Ahamta (mineness) and Mamata --possessiveness (example of Ahamta: I am a doctor; example of Mamata: This is my house.) Mala, the inherent darkness of the soul. It was solitary (Kevala) and of low status, pining all the time for Bliss. It was wilted, with no iccha, Jnana and Kriya (desire, knowledge and action)-- a case of deep depression and darkness. Kevala state is a dormant state of the soul suspended in time between destruction and creation of the universe. It is a time of sleep for the soul because there is no world to speak of, and Maya and karma exist in a potential but inactive state. This is the interphase for the soul and the world, when there is no kinesis; the inactive soul keeps company with Anava Mala. (you may draw some parallels between the interphase of the soul and that of the cell physiology.)

Source: Kashmir Saivism
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.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

The paśus (embodied souls) are divided into three classes: viz., the vijñānakalas, the pralayākalas and the sakalas. Those that are enveloped by that kind of ignorance known as mala only are called the vijñānakalas; those with mala and māyā are called the pralayākalas and those with all three kinds of ignorance, mala, māyā and karma are called the sakalas.

Source: Wisdom Library: Elements of Hindu Iconograpy
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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Paśu (पशु, “animal”)— Dakṣa is said to have created the animals, such as the bipeds and quadrupeds. This was the history of animals in the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara and in this Vaivasvata Manvantara they are born as the progeny of Kaśyapa who is also the ancestor fo the Devas, Asuras, Gandharvas, etc. and the plant-world. (Vāyu Purāṇa, 69.290 ff)

Classification of Animals: The four-fold classification, viz.,

  1. aṇḍaja,
  2. udbhija,
  3. svedaja
  4. and jarāyuja

is frequently alluded to in the (Vāyu) Purāṇa. We are informed that at the sacrifice of Dakṣa all the creatures of the world such as jarāyujas, svedajas, and udbhijjakas—were invited to attend the session. We have also a list of svedaja creatures.

Source: Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

Paśu (पशु).—Born of Savitā: grāmya and āraṇya; killing of except in yajñas considered as hiṃsā; sacrifice of, for preta, bhūta, and gaṇas irreligious and sinful;1 the sages finding many heads of cattle for sacrificial purposes by Indra complained about the hiṃsā and said that hiṃsā must be removed from the sacrifices and that they could be performed only with seeds and corns; there was a difference of opinion and the sages referred the question to king Vasu; he called it hiṃsā and was punished; final conclusion that in killing Paśu in a yajña there was no hiṃsā;2 fourteen kinds distinguished.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 18. 1; VII. 15. 7-10; XI. 10. 28; 21. 29-30; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 5. 51-2.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 57. 92-114.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 6. 54; II. 32. 11-2, 16.
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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Samkhya (school of philosophy)

Paśu (पशु) refers to “domestic animals” such as cows donkeys, and represents a division of the animal world (tairyaksarga) according to the Sāṃkhyakārikā. The tairyaksarga is one of the three types of elemental creation, also known as bhautikasarga.

The Sāṃkhyakārikā by Iśvarakṛṣṇa is the earliest extant text of the Sāṃkhya school of philosophy and dates from the 4th century CE. It contains 72 Sanskrit verses and contents include epistemology and the theory of causation.

Source: Wisdom Library: Sāṃkhya philosophy
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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).

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Paśu (पशु) means ‘animal’ generally, including man. There is frequent mention of the five sacrificial animals—the horse, the cow, the sheep, the goat, and man. Seven such domestic animals are spoken of in the Atharvaveda and later; probably, as Whitney observes, merely as a sacred mystic number, not, as the commentator explains, the usual five with the ass and the camel added.

Of animals apart from man a threefold division is offered in the Rigveda—

  1. into those of the air (vāyavya),
  2. those of the jungle (āraṇya),
  3. and those of the village (grāmya), or tame animals.
Source: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

India history and geogprahy

Paśu.—(EI 8), animal sacrifice. Cf. a-paśu-medhya (IE 8-5), ‘free from the obligation of supplying animals for sacrifices.’ (CII 4), the individual soul. Note: paśu is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
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

Pashu in Pali glossary... « previous · [P] · next »

pasu : (m.) a beast; quadruped.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Pasu, (Vedic paśu, cp. Lat. pecu & pecunia, Gr. pέkos fleece, Goth. vieh, E. fee) cattle M. I, 79; J. V, 105; Pv. II, 1312 (°yoni); Miln. 100; PvA. 166 (°bhāva); n. pl. pasavo S. I, 69; Sn. 858; Gen. pl. pasūnaṃ Sn. 311; Pv. II, 25.—dupasu bad cattle Th. 1, 446. (Page 447)

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

paśu (पशु).—m (S) A beast, a brute, a quadruped.

--- OR ---

pasū (पसू).—f (pasaviṇēṃ) A mare kept for breeding.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

paśu (पशु).—m Beast, a brute, a quadruped.

--- OR ---

pasū (पसू).—f A mare kept for breeding.

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.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Paśu (पशु).—ind. Behold ! How good !

--- OR ---

Paśu (पशु).—[sarvamaviśeṣeṇa paśyati, dṛś-ku paśādeśaḥ]

1) Cattle (both singly and collectively); प्रजापतिर्हि वैश्याय सृष्ट्वा परिददे पशून् (prajāpatirhi vaiśyāya sṛṣṭvā paridade paśūn) Ms.9.327,331.

2) An animal in general; a being; सर्वथा यत् पशून् पाति तैश्च यद् रमते पुनः तेषामधिपतिर्यच्च तस्मात् पशुपतिः स्मृतः (sarvathā yat paśūn pāti taiśca yad ramate punaḥ teṣāmadhipatiryacca tasmāt paśupatiḥ smṛtaḥ) || Mb.7.22.123.

3) A sacrificial animal, such as a goat; an oblation, a victim.

4) A brute, beast; often added to words meaning 'man' to show contempt; a fool; भूतानि चात्मन्यपृथग्दिदृक्षतां प्रायेण रोषोऽभिभवेद् यथा पशुम् (bhūtāni cātmanyapṛthagdidṛkṣatāṃ prāyeṇa roṣo'bhibhaved yathā paśum) Bhāg.4.6.46; पुरुषपशोश्च पशोश्च को विशेषः (puruṣapaśośca paśośca ko viśeṣaḥ) H.1; cf. नृपशु, नरपशु (nṛpaśu, narapaśu) &c.

5) Name of a subordinate deity and one of Śiva's followers.

6) An uninitiated person.

7) The soul, the Supreme Spirit.

8) A sacrifice in which an animal is killed.

9) Fire.

Derivable forms: paśuḥ (पशुः).

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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