Sadhu, aka: Sādhu; 10 Definition(s)


Sadhu 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


Sādhu (साधु).—(Brahmacāri): He who has the means of vidyā; a Brahmacārin well disposed to a guru; (sādhugrahasta)—the means of doing the Karmas ordained (sādhu vaikhānasa)—by performing penance in the forest (sādhu yati) by endeavouring to apply himself to yoga.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 59. 23-4.
(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.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Sādhu (साधु, “blessed one”) refers to a specific “mode of address” (nāman) used in drama (nāṭya), according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 19. Sādhu is used to address certain ascetics, or persons who have attained praśānta (‘tranquillity’).

2) Sādhu (साधु) refers to the exclamation “excellent” and represents an element of a siddhi (success) expressed vocally (vāṅmayī), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 27. The siddhis in a dramatic production (nāṭaka) arise from words, sattva and gestures and relate to the various bhāva (psychological states) and rasa (sentiments). They can be broadly divided into divine (daivikī) and human (mānuṣī) which are made up of sattvas expressed vocally or physically.

Accodingly, “representation of deeds which relate to the practice of virtue and is endowed with excellence, should be greeted by the spectators with the word “excellent” (sādhu)”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
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Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (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 (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

"It is well"; an expression showing appreciation or agreement.(Source): Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

Interjection of satisfaction being often pronounced thrice at the end of a teaching or to acknowledge the benevolent character of an action being performed to the sake of dhamma.

(Source): Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary
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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).


sādhu : (adj.) good; virtuous; profitable. (adv.), well; thoroughly. (ind.), yes; alright.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Sādhu, (adj.) (Vedic sādhu, fr. sādh) 1. good, virtuous, pious Sn. 376, 393; J. I, 1; Mhvs 37, 119; PvA. 116, 132; asādhu bad, wicked Dh. 163, 223; DhA. III, 313.—2. good, profitable, proficient, meritorious Dh. 35, 206 (=sundara, bhaddaka DhA. III, 271); D. I, 88; Pv. II, 97; nt. adv. well, thoroughly Dh. 67; J. I, 1; Mhvs 36, 97; 37, 73. Very frequent as interjection, denoting (a) request (adhortative, with imper. : sādhu gaccha please go! Miln. 18; gacchatha VvA. 305), to be translated with “come on, welcome, please, ” or similar adverbs. Thus e.g. at Pv IV. 140 (=āyācane PvA. 232); J. I, 92; PvA. 6, 35, 272; VvA. 69;— (b) assent & approval in replies to a question “alright, yes” or similarly; usually with the verbs (in ger.) paṭisuṇitvā, vatvā, sampaṭicchitvā etc. Thus e.g. at J. V, 297; Vin. I, 56; Miln. 7; DhA. III, 13; VvA. 149; DA. I, 171; SnA 176 (=sampahaṃsane); PvA. 55, 78 and passim.

—kamyatā desire for proficiency VbhA. 477. —kāra saying “well, ” approval, cheering, applause J. I, 223; Miln. 13, 16, 18; VvA. 132; DhA. I, 390; III, 385. —kīḷana a festive play, a sacred festivity Mhvs 3, 11; sādhukīḷita the same Mhvs 20, 36; °-divasa Vin. III, 285; sādhu-kīḷā J. III, 434; V, 127; sādhu-kīḷikā J. III, 433. —jīvin leading a virtuous life It. 71. —phala having wholesome fruits J. I, 272 (read sādu°). —rūpa good, respectable Dh. 262. —sammata highly honoured D. I, 48; S. IV, 398; Sn. p. 90 sq.; Miln. 4, 21; DA. I, 143. —sīliya good character J. II, 137. (Page 703)

(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.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Sādhu (साधु).—All ascetics are sādhus. A Jaina sādhu has 28 chief qualities besides other subsidiary ones, according to Digambaras and 27 according to the Śvetāmbara lists.

(Source): Google Books: Jaina Iconography

Sādhu (साधु).—One of the ten types of ‘nursing services’ (vaiyāvrata)? Who is called the ‘long-time ascetic’ (sādhu)? An ascetic who had been initiated into monk-hood for quite some time is called ‘long-time ascetic’.

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

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

sāḍhū (साढू).—m (Commonly sāḍū) The husband of one's wife's sister.

--- OR ---

sādhu (साधु).—a or s m (S) A holy man; a saint or sage; one of subdued passions and contemplative habits. 2 a Right, proper, correct, excellent, virtuous, pious, good. Used largely of speech, composition, style, matter, actions, agents.

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

sādhu (साधु).—m A holy man; a saint. a Right, pious.

(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.

Relevant definitions

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Sādhu, (adj.) (Vedic sādhu, fr. sādh) 1. good, virtuous, pious Sn. 376, 393; J. I, 1; Mhvs 37...
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