Puṇya, aka: Puṇyā, Punya; 14 Definition(s)


Puṇya 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

Dharmashastra (religious law)

‘Puṇya,’ ‘merit,’ is excellence. Since Smṛtis are based upon the Veda, what is mentioned in the Smṛtis is also called ‘Veda-merit,’ which last expression stands for the ‘merit of the Veda.’ What is the merit of the Veda? That (merit) which is expounded by the Veda. The merit that results from the Veda being recited may also be called ‘the merit of the Veda’; but by virtue of the specific relationship, it is what is expounded by the Veda,—and what is produced by it—that should be spoken of as ‘merit of the Veda.’ As for the producing of merit, this is done by other things also, such as sacrificial performances and the like; while the expounding of it is done by the Veda only. (Manubhāṣya, II.78)

(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.

Ayurveda (science of life)

Puṇyā (पुण्या) is another name for Tulasī, which is a Sanskrit word referring to Ocimum tenuiflorum (holy basil), from the Lamiaceae family. It is classified as a medicinal plant in the system of Āyurveda (science of Indian medicine) and is used throughout literature such as the Suśrutasaṃhita and the Carakasaṃhitā. The synonym was identified in the Rājanighaṇṭu (verses 10.148-149), which is a 13th-century medicinal thesaurus.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany
Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.


1) Puṇya (पुण्य).—A king (see Puṇyavān).*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 50. 30.

2) Puṇyā (पुण्या).—A daughter of Kratu and Sannati and daughterin-law of Parvaśa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 11. 38; Vāyu-purāṇa 28. 33.
(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.

Shilpashastra (iconography)

Puṇya (पुण्य) refers to one of the forty-seven tānas (tone) used in Indian music.—The illustration of Puṇya (as a deity) according to 15th-century Indian art is as follows.—The colour of his body is yellow. His face is similar to the face of an elephant. His right hand is in Pravacana-Mudrā and a viṇā in his left hand.

The illustrations (of, for example Puṇya) 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): archive.org: 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.

Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Puṇya (पुण्य) is the name of a Sanskrit metre (chandas) defined by Bharata, to which Hemacandra (1088-1173 C.E.) assigned the alternative name of Samṛddhi in his auto-commentary on the second chapter of the Chandonuśāsana. Hemacandra gives these alternative names for the metres by other authorities (like Bharata), even though the number of gaṇas or letters do not differ.

Puṇya is also the name of a Sanskrit metre (chandas) to which Hemacandra (1088-1173 C.E.) assigned the alternative name of Mada.

(Source): Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

General definition (in Hinduism)

(Punyah).—One of the 108 names of Krishna; Meaning: "Supremely Pure"

(Source): humindian: 108 names of Lord Krishna

Puṇya (पुण्य).—Karma-pious activities, which help to liberate one from the cycle of birth and death in the material world.

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

Puṇya (पुण्य, “merit”) or Puṇyabala refers to the “the strength of merit” and represents one of the “ten strengths of the Bodhisattvas” (bala) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 75). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., puṇya). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D. Pratisaṃkhyāna can also be spelled as Pratisaṅkhyāna.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Puṇya (पुण्य).—What is meant by ‘merit’ (puṇya)? That which purifies the soul or by which the soul is purified is called merit. It also produces happy feelings. Virtuous activity is the cause of merit (puṇya).

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 6: Influx of karmas

Puṇya (पुण्य, “merit”) as opposed to pāpa (demerit).—According to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra chapter 8, “the good variety of feeling-producing karmas and the auspicious life, name and status-determining karmas constitute merit (puṇya).”.—Which karma species constitute merit (punya)? The good variety of feeling producing karmas and auspicious life, name and status determining karmas constitute merit. 

Which sub species of karmas constitute merit (puṇya)? These are 42 namely: pleasant feeling producing, the three life karmas in heaven, human and sub human destinies and high status determining karmas along with 37 of name karma (without discriminating) or 63 with discrimination namely: human and celestial destinies, the class of beings with five senses, the five bodies, the three major and minor limbs, the symmetrical structure of the body, the utmost firmness of the joints, pleasant colour-taste-odour-touch, two ānūpūrvi which tend to move the soul towards celestial birth, neither heavy nor light, liability of getting injured by others, capacity for breathing, emitting a warm splendour, emitting a cold luster, graceful gait, moveable body, gross body, complete development of organs and the faculties of the body, possession of an individual body, firmness of the bodily frame, beauty of the body, melodious voice, lustrous body, glory and renown, the formation of the body with parts in their right place, fordmaker status, high status and pleasant feeling.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 8: Bondage of karmas
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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

puṇya (पुण्य).—n (S) Moral or religious merit: also a meritorious act or deed. Note. This word bears not the feeblest implication of Holiness, godliness, or purity of spirit. See the notice under pāpa. Compounds are numerous; as puṇyakarma, puṇyakṛtya, puṇyakṛti, puṇyakṣaya, puṇyavṛddhi, puṇyapatha, puṇyavarddhana, puṇyakṣaraṇa, puṇya- sampādana, puṇyadivasa, puṇyaghaṭikā, puṇyaprasaṅga, puṇyamuhūrtta, puṇyasthāna. Others needing explanation follow in order. puṇya kharacaṇēṃ (To expend merit--a portion of one's stock.) To do or to be engaged about some evil action. puṇyācā Assumed, supposed, or conceived in a religious point of view (to be one's father, mother, brother, sister, son &c.); as puṇyācā bāpa puṇyācī āī &c. The word differs little from dharmācā. puṇyācyā pārīṃ or puṇyadvārīṃ basaṇēṃ, puṇyācā pāra bāndhaṇēṃ To be constantly occupied in deeds of philanthropy or in the offices of religion--i. e. in services and exercises involving meritoriousness.

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

puṇya (पुण्य).—n Moral or religious merit. A me- ritorious act. puṇya kharacaṇēṃ To do or to be engaged about some evil action. puṇyācyā pārīṃ or puṇyadvārīṃ basaṇēṃ, puṇyācā pāra bāndhaṇēṃ To be constantly occupied in deeds of philanthropy or in the offices of religion.

(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

Puṇya (पुण्य).—a. [Uṇ.5.15.]

1) Holy, sacred, pure; जनकतनयास्नानपुण्योदकेषु आश्रमेषु (janakatanayāsnānapuṇyodakeṣu āśrameṣu) Me.1; पुण्यं धाम चण्डीश्वरस्य (puṇyaṃ dhāma caṇḍīśvarasya) Me.35; पुण्यानि हि नामग्रहणान्यपि महामुनीनां किं पुनर्दर्शनानि (puṇyāni hi nāmagrahaṇānyapi mahāmunīnāṃ kiṃ punardarśanāni) K.41; Ś.2.14; Ms.2.68.

2) Good, meritorious, virtuous, righteous, just.

3) Auspicious, propitious, lucky, favourable (as a day); Ms.2.26,3.

4) Agreeable, pleasing, lovely, beautiful; प्रकृत्या पुण्यलक्ष्मीकौ (prakṛtyā puṇyalakṣmīkau) Mv. 1.16,24; U.4.19; Ku.5.73; so पुण्यदर्शनः (puṇyadarśanaḥ) &c.

5) Sweet, fragrant (as odour).

6) Solemn, festive,

-ṇyam 1 Virtue, religious or moral merit; अत्युत्कटैः पापपुण्यैरिहैव फलमश्नुते (atyutkaṭaiḥ pāpapuṇyairihaiva phalamaśnute) H.1.8; महतः पुण्यपण्येन क्रीतेयं कायनौ- स्त्वया (mahataḥ puṇyapaṇyena krīteyaṃ kāyanau- stvayā) Śānti.3.1; R.1.69; N.3.87.

2) A virtuous or meritorious act, good or virtuous works.

3) Purity, purification.

4) A trough for watering cattle.

5) A religious ceremony, especially one performed by a wife to retain her husband's affection and to obtain a son.

6) (Astrol.) the seventh mansion from जन्मलग्न (janmalagna).

7) the union of मेष, कर्क, तुला (meṣa, karka, tulā) and मकर (makara).

-ṇyā 1 The holy basil.

2) The Ganges.

(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.

Relevant definitions

Search found 103 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Puṇyāha (पुण्याह).—(for ahan) a happy or auspicious day; पुण्याहं भवन्तो ब्रुवन्तु । अस्तु पुण्...
Puṇyapratāpa (पुण्यप्रताप).—the efficacy of virtue or moral merit. Derivable forms: puṇyapratā...
Puṇyaśīla (पुण्यशील).—a. of a virtuous disposition, inclined to pious acts, virtuous, pious, ri...
Puṇyapuruṣa (पुण्यपुरुष).—a man rich in moral merit, a pious man. Derivable forms: puṇyapuruṣaḥ...
Puṇyakṣetra (पुण्यक्षेत्र).—1) a holy place, place of pilgrimage; अन्यक्षेत्रे कृतं पापं पुण्यक...
Puṇyaphala (पुण्यफल).—the reward of good works; यत् पुण्यफलमाप्नोति गां दत्त्वा विधिवद् गुरोः ।...
Puṇyodaya (पुण्योदय).—the dawn or resulting of good fortune. Derivable forms: puṇyodayaḥ (पुण्य...
Puṇyajana (पुण्यजन).—1) a virtuous man. 2) a demon, goblin; वियति प्रसमीक्ष्य कालमेघमप्रतिमं पु...
Puṇyakṛt (पुण्यकृत्).—A Viśvadeva. (Śloka 30, Chapter 91, Anuśāsana Parva).
Kṣīṇapuṇya (क्षीणपुण्य).—a. one who has enjoyed all his stock of merit, and must work to acquir...
Puṇyatāna (पुण्यतान) is another name for puṇya: one of the forty-seven tānas (tone) used in Ind...
Puṇyabala (पुण्यबल) or simply Puṇya refers to the “strength of merit” and represents one of the...
Puṇyodyāna (पुण्योद्यान).—a. having lovely gardens. Puṇyodyāna is a Sanskrit compound consistin...
Puṇyakartṛ (पुण्यकर्तृ).—m. a meritorious or virtuous man. Puṇyakartṛ is a Sanskrit compound co...
pauna:punya (पौन:पुन्य).—n Reiteration or repetition.

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