Sattva, aka: Sāttva; 12 Definition(s)

Introduction

Sattva 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

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Sattva (सत्त्व) refers to the “representation of the temperament”, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 24. There are eight aspects of the male’s sattva defined according to the science of sāmānyābhinaya, or “harmonious representation”.

  1. śobhā (brilliant character),
  2. vilāsa (graceful bearing),
  3. mādhurya (self-possession),
  4. sthairya (steadiness),
  5. gāmbhīrya (gravity),
  6. lalitā (sportiveness),
  7. audārya (nobility),
  8. tejas (spirit).
Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Sattva (सत्त्व) is something invisible; but it gives support to psychological states (bhāva) and Sentiments (rasa) by means of horripilation, tears and similar other sighs displayed in proper places and in harmony with the Sentiments to be produced. Sattva partakes of the nature of the body, and feeling (bhāva) arises from sattva, while its ordinary expression (hāva) from feeling, and its graceful expression (helā) from the ordinary one.

Sattva with excessive feeling (bhāva) manifests itself in relation to persons of the opposite sex. And the ordinary expression (hāva) should be marked as relating to its various conditions.

Source: archive.org: Natya Shastra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, 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 (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Sattva (सत्त्व, “psychic power”):—Sattva is of three types according to degree—superior, average and inferior which is decided on the basis of perseverance of the person.

Source: Google Books: Essentials of Ayurveda
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.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Sattva (सत्त्व).—One of the three guṇas, representing the quality of knowledge. These three qualities are to be seen as all-pervading and interpenetrating all beings. The Sanskrit word sattva is a technical term used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti.

According to the Manusmṛti XII.27: “Whenever one perceives in himself something full of bliss, calm and pure,—he should know it to be ‘sattva’”.

According to the Manusmṛti XII.31: “Vedic study, austerity, knowledge, purity, control over the organs, practice of virtue and meditation on the soul,—are the characteristics of the quality of ‘sattva’”.

According to the Manusmṛti XII.37: “When, however, the act is one which he wishes to understand in all its details, by doing which he does not feel ashamed, and by which his heart feels satisfied,—it is characterised by the quality of ‘sattva’”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra
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.

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Yoga (school of philosophy)

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Sattva (सत्त्व).—According to Yoga, God is the perfect Guru untouched by any defect whatsoever. Scriptures are the proof for this; and Scriptures have their proof in the perfect quality of God’s sattva (principle of light and harmony). Both Scriptures and perfection are present in God’s sattva, and there is an eternal relation between the two. God having resolved to instruct all beings in right knowledge and Dharma composed the Scriptures, which are the expressions of God’s perfect thought.

Source: Srimatham: Mīmāṃsa: The Study of Hindu Exegesis (yoga)
Yoga book cover
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Yoga is originally considered a branch of 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).

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Sattva (सत्त्व).—An accomplished object; one of the three elements constituting all objects. The state of the predominance of sattva consists in masculineness, according to the Grammarians.

Source: Shodhganga: Vaiyākaraṇabhūṣaṇasāra: a critical study

Sāttva (सात्त्व).—Of a substantive, belonging to the object; cf. सत्त्वस्य इदम् । अपि वा मेदसश्च पशोश्च सात्त्वं द्विवचनं स्यात् । (sattvasya idam | api vā medasaśca paśośca sāttvaṃ dvivacanaṃ syāt |) Nir. VI. 16.

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

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General definition (in Hinduism)

There are three kinds of morbid elements (doṣa) of the body, viz. vāta, pitta and śleṣman , and two morbid elements which affect the mind (sattva), viz. rajas and tamas. By the disorder of the first three the body becomes diseased, and by that of the second two the mind becomes affected.

Source: archive.org: A History of Indian Philosophy

1) In Vedic philosophy, sattva ("purity", "existence, reality"; adjectival sāttvika "pure") is the most rarefied of the three gunas in Samkhya, sāttvika "pure", rājasika "excitable", and tāmasika "indifferent". Importantly, no value judgement is entailed as all guna are indivisible and mutually qualifying.

2) Sattva encompasses qualities of goodness, light, and harmony. According to the Yoga Vasistha, people who are of a sattvic nature and whose activities are mainly based on sattva, will tend to seek answers regarding the origin and truth of material life. With proper support they are likely to reach liberation.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Sattva (सत्त्व) according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter VII).—“Bodhi is the path of the Buddhas (buddhamārga); Sattva is either a being or a great mind. The Bodhisattva is the being who is going to obtain the mind, indestructible (aheya) and infrangible (acyuta) like a diamond mountain (vajra-parvata), of the qualities (guṇa) of the path of the Buddhas. Such is the great mind”.

Furthermore, sat means to praise (stava) the holy Dharma, tva means the essential nature of the holy Dharma. The Bodhisattva is so called because his mind is beneficial to himself and to others, because he saves all beings, because he knows the true nature of all dharmas, because he travels the Path of supreme perfect enlightenment and because he is praised by all the Āryas.

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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

sattva (सत्त्व).—n The 1st of the three guṇa of created things-the property of goodness. Being, existence. reality. A substance, an entity. Cream, pith, marrow, essence. Vigour, spirit, strength. sattva ghēṇēṃ Try the goodness of, try the stuff or materials (of a thing, person). sattva sōḍaṇēṃ Drop, cast or lose its vigour, virtue, potency, &c sattvāsa jāgaṇēṃ Preserve in full lite and vigorours operation, one's virtue, spirit, moral goodness &c.

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

Sattva (सत्त्व).—[sato bhāvaḥ] (Said to be m. also in the first ten senses)

1) Being, existence, entity.

2) Nature, essence.

3) Natural character, inborn disposition; अच्योष्ट सत्त्वान्नृपतिश्च्युताशः (acyoṣṭa sattvānnṛpatiścyutāśaḥ) Bk.3.2.

4) Life, spirit, breath, vitality, principle of vitality; उद्गतानीव सत्त्वानि बभूवुरमनस्विनाम् (udgatānīva sattvāni babhūvuramanasvinām) Rām.2.48.2; चित्रे निवेश्य परिकल्पित- सत्त्वयोगा (citre niveśya parikalpita- sattvayogā) Ś.2.1.

5) Consciousness, mind, sense; वाक्च सत्वं च गोविन्द बुद्धौ संवेशितानि ते (vākca satvaṃ ca govinda buddhau saṃveśitāni te) Mb.12.46.4; Bg.16.1; Bhāg.7.15.41.

6) An embryo.

7) Substance, thing, wealth.

8) An elementary substance such as earth, air, fire &c.

9) (also m.) A living or sentient being, animal, beast; वन्यान् विनेष्यन्निव दुष्टसत्त्वान् (vanyān vineṣyanniva duṣṭasattvān) R.2.8;15.15; किं नोऽपत्यनिर्विशेषाणि सत्वानि विप्रकरोषि (kiṃ no'patyanirviśeṣāṇi satvāni viprakaroṣi) Ś7; Māl.9; यश्चासूनपि संत्यजेत् करुणया सत्त्वार्थमभ्युद्यतः (yaścāsūnapi saṃtyajet karuṇayā sattvārthamabhyudyataḥ) Nāg.2.1.

1) An evil spirit, a demon, ghost; अद्य नूनं दशरथः सत्त्वमाविश्य भाषते (adya nūnaṃ daśarathaḥ sattvamāviśya bhāṣate) Rām.2.33.1.

11) Goodness, virtue, excellence.

12) Truth, reality, certainty.

13) Strength, energy, courage, vigour, power, inherent power, the stuff of which a person is made; निजमेव सत्त्वमुपकारि साम् (nijameva sattvamupakāri sām) Ki.18. 14; Mb.12.313.17; क्रियासिद्धिः सत्त्वे भवति महतां नोपकरणे (kriyāsiddhiḥ sattve bhavati mahatāṃ nopakaraṇe) Subhāṣ.; R.5.31; Mu.3.22.

14) Wisdom, good sense.

15) The quality of goodness or purity regarded as the highest of the three Guṇas q. v.; (it is said to predominate most in gods and heavenly beings).

16) A natural property or quality, characteristic.

17) A noun, substantive.

18) Intellect (buddhi); अघ्राणमवितर्कं च सत्त्वं प्रविशते परम् (aghrāṇamavitarkaṃ ca sattvaṃ praviśate param) Mb.12.24.18.

19) The subtle body of individual soul (liṅgaśarīra); गृहाणीव हि मर्त्यानामाहुर्देहानि पण्डिताः । कालेन विनियुज्यन्ते सत्त्वमेकं तु शाश्वतम् (gṛhāṇīva hi martyānāmāhurdehāni paṇḍitāḥ | kālena viniyujyante sattvamekaṃ tu śāśvatam) || Mb.11.3.8.

Derivable forms: sattvam (सत्त्वम्).

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.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 296 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva (बोधिसत्त्व).—(= Pali °satta), person destined for enlightenment, Buddha-to-be, pas...
Mahasattva
Mahāsattva (महासत्त्व).—m. (1) ‘great Being’, standard ep. of Bodhisattvas: Mvy 626 et passim (...
Sattvastha
Sattvastha (सत्त्वस्थ).—a. 1) being in the nature of things. 2) inherent in animals. 3) animate...
Sattvasampanna
Sattvasaṃpanna (सत्त्वसंपन्न).—a. 1) endowed with goodness, virtuous. 2) equable, evenminded. S...
Sattvaguna
Sattvaguṇa (सत्त्वगुण).—the quality of purity or goodness. Derivable forms: sattvaguṇaḥ (सत्त्व...
Antahsattva
Antaḥsattvā (अन्तःसत्त्वा).—f. (-ttvā) 1. A pregnant woman. 2. Marking not, (Semecarpus anacard...
Sattvaloka
Sattvaloka (सत्त्वलोक).—a world of living beings. Derivable forms: sattvalokaḥ (सत्त्वलोकः).Sat...
Sattvasamplava
Sattvasaṃplava (सत्त्वसंप्लव).—m. (-vaḥ) 1. Universal destruction. 2. Loss of vigour.
Sattvakshanti
Sattvakṣānti (सत्त्वक्षान्ति) refers to “patience towards beings” and represents a type of kṣān...
Sattvanurupa
Sattvānurūpa (सत्त्वानुरूप).—a. 1) according to one's inborn disposition or inherent character;...
Alpasattva
Alpasattva (अल्पसत्त्व).—a. Having little strength or courage; Ks. Alpasattva is a Sanskrit com...
Sarvatrasattva
Sarvatrasattva (सर्वत्रसत्त्व).—omnipresence.Derivable forms: sarvatrasattvam (सर्वत्रसत्त्वम्)...
Sattvaviplava
Sattvaviplava (सत्त्वविप्लव).—loss of consciousness. Derivable forms: sattvaviplavaḥ (सत्त्वविप...
Sattvalakshana
Sattvalakṣaṇa (सत्त्वलक्षण).—signs of pregnancy; तत्कथमिमामभिव्यक्तसत्त्वलक्षणां (tatkathamimām...
Sattvotsaha
Sattvotsāha (सत्त्वोत्साह).—1) natural energy. 2) energy and courage. Derivable forms: sattvots...

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