Svabhava, Svabhāva, Sva-bhava: 30 definitions


Svabhava means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi, Hindi. 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.

Alternative spellings of this word include Swabhav.

In Hinduism

Mīmāṃsā (school of philosophy)

Source: Srimatham: Mīmāṃsa: The Study of Hindu Exegesis

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) refers to “one’s disposition” and is one of the six factors through which positive ethical precepts (regarding Dharma) are conditioned. The discerning student is required to distinguish between grades of vidhi or to compare their levels of authority or applicability. The primary distinction is derived from their motivation and goals, thus producing the concepts of puruṣārtha and kratvārtha.

Mimamsa book cover
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Mimamsa (मीमांसा, mīmāṃsā) 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.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Nighantu (Synonyms and Characteristics of Drugs and technical terms)

Source: Wisdom Library: Raj Nighantu

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) or Svabhāvata refers to the classification of medicinal drugs (auṣadhi) and substances (dravy) according to “natural properties” (or the state of a thing as such), as defined in the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu (an Ayurvedic encyclopedia). Accordingly, “these seven [eg., Svabhāva] are the everlasting sources of the names i.e. names spoken in different regions or countries such as Kāśmīraja, Kāmbojī, Magadhodbhavā or Vālhikā”.

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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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhagavad-gita (4th edition)

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) refers to “one’s nature, disposition”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).

Source: Pure Bhakti: Brhad Bhagavatamrtam

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) refers to:—One’s nature; natural, spiritual sentiments; the true nature of a thing. (cf. Glossary page from Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta).

Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) refers to “one’s own nature”, according to the Jayadrathayāmala: one of the earliest and most extensive Tantric sources of the Kālīkrama system.—Accordingly, as Bhairava teaches the Goddess about his inner state: “[...] Then that supreme goddess who devours time issued forth, absorbed in the bliss of her own (innate) bliss, powerful with the contemplation of (her) own nature [i.e., svabhāva-bhāvana-utkaṭā]. Established on the plane of consciousness and the unconscious, she is between the plane of consciousness and the unconscious. (She is) the goddess who is the Great Void, the Transmental who devours time”.—(cf. Kandacakra)

Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Svabhava in Purana glossary
Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) refers to “one’s (own) nature”, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.3.18 (“Description of the perturbation caused by Kāma”).—Accordingly, as Brahmā narrated: “[...] As was her usual practice she approached Śiva, bowed to Him, worshipped Him and stood in front of Him (awaiting further instructions). Pārvatī was stared at by lord Śiva, while she was laying bare some of the limbs bashfully, as is natural to women [i.e., strī-svabhāva] in such circumstances. Remembering the boon granted to her by Brahmā formerly, O sage, lord Śiva began to describe her limbs joyfully. [...]”.

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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: SOAS University of London: Protective Rites in the Netra Tantra

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) refers to “(having) an inherent nature” and is used to describe Amṛteśa, according to the Netratantra of Kṣemarāja: a Śaiva text from the 9th century in which Śiva (Bhairava) teaches Pārvatī topics such as metaphysics, cosmology, and soteriology.—Accordingly, [verse 9.5-11, while explaining the universality of Amṛteśa]—“Amṛteśa is supreme. He is free of disease. His nature is inherent (svabhāva), fully enumerated, constant, eternal, and immovable. [He has] no form or color, and is the highest truth. Because of that, he is omnipresent. The splendid Deva delights in all āgamas, pervades all mantras, and grants all siddhis. In this way, he is like a transparent crystal sewn onto a colored thread, always reflected with its color, [and] seeking [to] look like this and that. [...]”.

Shaivism book cover
context information

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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Shodhganga: Elements of Art and Architecture in the Trtiyakhanda of the Visnudharmottarapurana (natya)

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) or   Svabhāvavarṇa (“natural colour”) is associated with Śānta or the “quiet sentiment”, which represents one of the nine kinds of Rasa (“soul of Drama”), according to the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, an ancient Sanskrit text which (being encyclopedic in nature) deals with a variety of cultural topics such as arts, architecture, music, grammar and astronomy.— Śama is the sthāyibhāva of śānta-rasa. According to the Viṣṇudharmottarapurāṇa, the colour of śānta-rasa is recognized as svabhāva-varṇa i.e., natural colour. Paraḥ purūṣa is regarded as the god of this sentiment. But according to the Sāhityadarpaṇa, Śrīnārāyaṇa is the god of this sentiment.

Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (shastra) of performing arts, (natya—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), construction and performance of Theater, and Poetic works (kavya).

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Yoga (school of philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Svabhava in Yoga glossary
Source: ORA: Amanaska (king of all yogas): A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation by Jason Birch

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) refers to “one’s own (inner) state”, according to the Sarvajñānottara verse 20.34-39.—Accordingly, while discussing the culmination of detachment (for the process of attaining the no-mind state): “Having abandoned those feelings connected with his region, caste, his caste-class and religious disciplines, the wise should meditate on his own [inner] state (svabhāvasvaṃ bhāvaṃ bhāvayed). Abandoning all such feelings as ‘this is [my] mantra’, ‘this is [my] deity’, ‘this is [my] meditation’ [or] ‘this is [my] austerity’, he should meditate on his own [inner] state. [...]”.

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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In Buddhism

Buddhist philosophy

Source: Google Books: The Treasury of Knowledge: Book six, parts one and two (philosophy)

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) refers to “(imaginations of) inherent existence” and represents one of the ten aspects of distracting false imagination (daśa-vikṣepa-vikalpa), according to Khewang Yeshe Gyatso, Exegetical Memorandum chapter 5 (Cf. Mahāyānasūtrālaṃkārakārikā, chapter 11). These [e.g., Svabhāva] are related to the imaginary nature (parikalpita). These ten are enumerated as aspects of false imagination which may be imputed in all sorts of contexts, and it is on this basis that the process of reification actually comes to partake of the imaginary nature.

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

1) Svabhāva (स्वभाव) or Svabhāvāśuci refers to the “impurity of intrinsic nature” and represents one of the five “impurities of the body” (kāyāśuci), contemplating on which, the Yogin can obtain the four “foundations of mindfulness” (smṛtyupasthāna), forming part of the thirty-seven auxiliaries to enlightenment (bodhipākṣika), according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter XXXI.

Accordingly, the impurity of Svabhāva is described as follows: “from head to toe and on all four sides, the body is a lowly rag. Everything in it is full of impurities. Decorate it with garments, bathe it with perfumed water, nourish it with the best dishes and food of many flavors, at the end of one night all of it will be impure. Even if that you clothe it in celestial garments and feed it with celestial food, because of the body itself, all of it will become impure. Then what can be said if you give it only human garments and human clothes?... That is what is called the impurity of intrinsic nature (svabhāva-aśuci).”.

2) Svabhāva refers to the “mindfulness (smṛtyupasthāna) in itself (svabhāva)”.—The wisdom (prajñā) that considers the body is mindfulness of the body.—The wisdom that considers the feelings (vedanā) is mindfulness of feelings.—The wisdom that considers the mind (citta) is mindfulness of mind.—The wisdom that considers dharmas is mindfulness of dharmas. This is mindfulness in itself (svabhāva).

Source: A Study and Translation of the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) refers to “(the essential character of) proper being”, according to the Gaganagañjaparipṛcchā: the eighth chapter of the Mahāsaṃnipāta (a collection of Mahāyāna Buddhist Sūtras).—Accordingly as The Lord said: “Śāriputra, the Tathāgata Ekaratnavyūha, seating in the lion’s throne thus, explained the dharma-seal called Gaganapariśuddhi to these Bodhisattvas, which has thirty-two aspects of entrance. What is this Dharma-seal (dharmamudrā) called Gaganapariśuddhi which has thirty-two aspects of entrance? [...] 7) all dharmas are without duality because of their homogeneity (asaṃbheda); 8) all dharmas are without difference as they can be approached with one principle (ekanaya-praveśa); 9) all dharmas can be approached with one principle since they have no essential character of proper being (svabhāva-lakṣaṇa); [...]”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

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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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: OSU Press: Cakrasamvara Samadhi

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) or Svabhāvapūjā refers to “worship of one’s own state of being” which (as a subsection of the Gurumaṇḍala) refers to one of the various rituals typically performed as a part of the larger rites, according to Buddhist teachings followed by the Newah in Nepal, Kathmandu Valley (whose roots can be traced to the Licchavi period, 300-879 CE).—[...] Within the gurumaṇḍala there are two significant subsections. [...] Svabhāvapūjā, which literally means “worship of one’s own state of being”, is where the specific deities of the rite are invoked. This section begins near the beginning of the gurumaṇḍala after the śaṅkha worship. First one’s individualized practices as received from their guru are performed, which are nyāsa, placement of deities on the body, and jāpa, recitation of mantras. [...]

Source: MDPI Books: The Ocean of Heroes

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) refers to the “nature (of the mind)”, according to the 10th-century Ḍākārṇava-tantra: one of the last Tibetan Tantric scriptures belonging to the Buddhist Saṃvara tradition consisting of 51 chapters.—Accordingly, while explaining the mind-circle: “[...] [Every Yoginī] is known as having the nature of wisdom and means. In this regard, [the Mind] Circle is understood as [having the nature of] the upaśmaśāna (“near to the charnel ground”) [holy site], [the nature of] the Dharma-Cloud Level, and the purity of the nature (svabhāva) of the mind, and as all-pervading [like the mind]. [...]”.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Buddhism

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) is a name for Svayambhū (or Ādi-Buddha), according to the Svābhāvika, a popular buddhist sect in Nepal and China.

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) or svabhāvaśūnyatā refers to “emptiness of self-existence” one of the “twenty emptinesses” (śūnyatā) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 41). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (e.g., svabhāva). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

In Jainism

Jain philosophy

Source: International Journal of Jaina Studies: Haribhadra Sūri on Nyāya and Sāṃkhya

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) or Svabhāvavāda refers to “(the doctrine about) essence”.—The Śāstravārtāsamuccaya by Haribhadra Sūri’s is not a compendium of philosophical systems (darśana) but a comprehensive account (samuccaya) of doctrinal (śāstra) expositions (vārtā/vārttā) or simply doctrines (vāda). The Śāstravārtāsamuccaya (also, Śāstravārttāsamuccaya) is subdivided into stabakas, chapters or sections, for example: Kālavāda, Svabhāva-vāda, Niyativāda and Karmavāda—on the doctrines about the leading principle in the world: time, essence, faith or karma.

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General definition (in Jainism)

Source: The University of Sydney: A study of the Twelve Reflections

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) or Svabhāvatva refers to “one’s own nature”, according to the 11th century Jñānārṇava, a treatise on Jain Yoga in roughly 2200 Sanskrit verses composed by Śubhacandra.—Accordingly, “This self is, by nature (svabhāva), different from the body, etc., consisting of consciousness and bliss, pure and united with mundane bondage. In reality, there is no unity of the forms of matter and consciousness with regard to mundane bondage and the connection of these two is without a beginning like gold and a flaw in gold”.

General definition book cover
context information

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

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

svabhāva (स्वभाव).—m (S) Own or native state or quality; the nature or the natural temper, disposition, or constitution: also any natural property. Compounds at will; as puṇyasvabhāva, pāpasvabhāva, pōrasvabhāva, strīsvabhāva, puruṣasvabhāva. svabhāvānēṃ or svabhāvēṃ Naturally &c. See svabhāvataḥ or svābhāvika ad.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

svabhāva (स्वभाव).—m Own or native state or quality.

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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Svabhāva (स्वभाव).—

1) own state.

2) an essential or inherent property, natural constitution, innate or peculiar disposition, nature; स्वभावहेतुजा भावाः (svabhāvahetujā bhāvāḥ) Mahābhārata (Bombay) 12.211.3; पौरुषं कारणं केचिदाहुः कर्मसु मानवाः । दैवमेके प्रशंसन्ति स्वभावमपरे जनाः (pauruṣaṃ kāraṇaṃ kecidāhuḥ karmasu mānavāḥ | daivameke praśaṃsanti svabhāvamapare janāḥ) || 12.238.4; Bhagavadgītā (Bombay) 5.14; स्वभावो दुरतिक्रमः (svabhāvo duratikramaḥ) Subhāṣ.; so कुटिल°, शुद्ध°, मृदु°, चपल°, कठिन° (kuṭila°, śuddha°, mṛdu°, capala°, kaṭhina°) &c. °आत्मक (ātmaka) a. natural, inborn; स्वभावतः प्रवृत्तो यः प्राप्नोत्यर्थ न कारणात्। तत् स्वभावात्मकं विद्धि फलं पुरुष- सत्तम (svabhāvataḥ pravṛtto yaḥ prāpnotyartha na kāraṇāt| tat svabhāvātmakaṃ viddhi phalaṃ puruṣa- sattama) || Mahābhārata (Bombay) 3.32.19. °उक्तिः (uktiḥ) f.

1) spontaneous declaration.

2) (in Rhet.) a figure of speech which consists in describing a thing to the life, or with exact resemblance; स्वभावोक्तिस्तु डिम्भादेः स्वक्रियारूपवर्णनम् (svabhāvoktistu ḍimbhādeḥ svakriyārūpavarṇanam) K. P.1, or नानावस्थं पदार्थानां रूपं साक्षाद्विवृण्वती (nānāvasthaṃ padārthānāṃ rūpaṃ sākṣādvivṛṇvatī) Kāv.2.8. °ज (ja) a. innate, natural. °भावः (bhāvaḥ) natural disposition. °वादः (vādaḥ) the doctrine that the universe was produced and is sustained by the natural and necessary action of substances according to their inherent properties, (and not by the agency of a Supreme Being). °सिद्ध (siddha) a. natural, spontaneous, inborn.

Derivable forms: svabhāvaḥ (स्वभावः).

Svabhāva is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms sva and bhāva (भाव).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Svabhāva (स्वभाव).—(Sanskrit), nature; used in Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra in several peculiar ways: (1) saptavidho bhāva-svabhāvo bhavati, yad uta, samudaya-svabhāvo bhava-sv° lakṣaṇa-sv° mahā- bhūta-sv° hetu-sv° pratyaya-sv° niṣpatti-sv° Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra 39.9—11; these are not explained here or elsewhere, and Suzuki has no explanation; (2) three svabhāva, mentioned Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra 132.4; 227.10; 348.10; and listed 67.2 ff. as parikalpita, paratantra, and pariniṣpanna (qq.v.) sva°; compare Suzuki, Studies, 158 f.; in Mahāvyutpatti 1662—5 and Asaṅga (Mahāyāna-sūtrālaṃkāra) xi.38—41 the term is lakṣaṇa (3) instead of svabhāva; Lévi renders indice (imaginaire, du relatif, and absolu). For other uses of the term in Laṅkāvatāra-sūtra see Suzuki ibid. 455 ff.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Svabhāva (स्वभाव).—m.

(-vaḥ) 1. Nature, natural state, property or disposition. 2. Purpose, intention. E. sva own, and bhāva property.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Svabhāva (स्वभाव).—m. 1. nature, natural disposition, [Rāmāyaṇa] 3, 51, 33; [Hitopadeśa] i. [distich] 19, M. M. 2. purpose, [Johnson's Selections from the Mahābhārata.] 46, 76,

Svabhāva is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms sva and bhāva (भाव).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Svabhāva (स्वभाव).—[masculine] birth-place; (one’s own) inherent disposition or nature; °—, [ablative], & [instrumental] by nature, naturally, spontaneously.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Svabhāva (स्वभाव):—[=sva-bhāva] [from sva] m. (ifc. f(ā). ) native place, [Viṣṇu-smṛti, viṣṇu-sūtra, vaiṣṇava-dharma-śāstra]

2) [v.s. ...] own condition or state of being, natural state or constitution, innate or inherent disposition, nature, impulse, spontaneity

3) [v.s. ...] (vāt or vena or va-tas or [in the beginning of a compound]), (from natural disposition, by nature, naturally, by o°’s self, spontaneously), [Śvetāśvatara-upaniṣad; Manu-smṛti; Mahābhārata] etc.

4) Svābhāva (स्वाभाव):—[from sva] m. own non-existence, [Nīlakaṇṭha]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Svabhāva (स्वभाव):—[sva-bhāva] (vaḥ) 1. m. Nature; natural state or disposition; intention.

[Sanskrit to German]

Svabhava in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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Hindi dictionary

[«previous next»] — Svabhava in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Svabhāva (स्वभाव) [Also spelled swabhav]:—(nm) nature; temperament, disposition; habit; ~[ja/~janita] natural, innate; ~[ta:] naturally, by nature; ~[siddha] natural, innate.

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Svabhāva (ಸ್ವಭಾವ):—

1) [noun] own condition or state of being; natural state or constitution.

2) [noun] innate or inherent disposition, nature, impulse, etc.

3) [noun] (psych.) an inborn tendency to behave in a way characteristic of a species; natural, unlearned, predictable response to stimuli; an instinct.

4) [noun] (rhet.) a refined feeling that becomes intense, delicate and appeals to the emotions in literature or art.

5) [noun] (rhet.) a figure of speech that restricts itself to the exposition of the natural characteristic of an object.

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Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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