Svapna, aka: Svāpna; 9 Definition(s)


Svapna 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

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Svapna (स्वप्न, “dream”) refers to one of the twenty-one sandhyantara, or “distinct characteristics of segments (sandhi)” according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 21. The segments are divisions of the plot (itivṛtta or vastu) of a dramatic play (nāṭaka) and consist of sixty-four limbs, known collectively as the sandhyaṅga.

(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).


Svapna (स्वप्न).—Dreams, bad and good; ceremonies must be performed for bad ones; after a bad dream, one must try to sleep for sometime; after a good dream one must try to be awake lest it should be followed by a bad one for the latter will generally come true. Dream had in the first of the four divisions of the night will come true in a year; that had in the second will come true in six months; that had in the third, will come true in three months and that had early in the morning will come true in 10 days.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 242. 1-19.
(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.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Svapna is sanskrit for 'dream'.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Svapna (स्वप्न, ‘dream’) is referred to in the Rigveda and later. Evil dreams are often mentioned. The Āraṇyakas of the Rigveda contain a list of dreams with their signification, as well as of pratyakṣa-darśanāni, ‘sights seen with one’s own eyes’.

(Source): Vedic index of Names and Subjects

The word ‘svapna’ has two meanings in Sanskrit: sleep and dream. Svapna (as sleep) is one of the three sub-pillars of life and detailed descriptions of it have been made in the Classics. Svapna (as dream) is a series of happenings which evolve in various stages of sleep. It is used as a diagnostic and prognostic tool in Āyurveda. A clinical analysis of dream, in Āyurvedic and classical literature, is the subject matter of this article.

The primary meaning of the word svapna is sleep. Nidrā, śayana, svāpa, svapna, sṃaveśa are synonyms. The word svapna has been used in the ‘sleep’ sense in different places in various texts . Its secondary meaning is ‘the subject’s’ experience in the different state of sleep, which is mentioned in various contexts and instances in the Caraka saṃhitā 

(Source): Namah, the Journal of Integral Health: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Svapna (स्वप्न, “dream”) refers to one of the ten comparisons (upamāna) according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter 11. These upamānas represent a quality of the Bodhisattvas accompanying the Buddha at Rājagṛha on the Gṛdhrakūṭaparvata. They accepted that dharmas are like a dream (svapna). There is no reality in a dream but nevertheless we believe in the reality of the things seen in a dream. After waking up, we recognize the falsity of the dream and we smile at ourselves. In the same way, the person deep in the sleep of the fetters (saṃyojana-nidra) clings to the things that do not exist; but when he has found the Path, at the moment of enlightenment, he understands that there is no reality and laughs at himself. This is why it is said: like in a dream (svapna).

There are five types of dreams:

i) In the case of physical unbalance (kāyavaiṣamya), when the hot vapors predominate, one dreams a lot, one sees fire (tejas), yellow (pīta) and red (lohita);

ii) when the cold vapors predominate, one sees especially water (ap-) and white (avadāta);

iii) when the windy vapors predominate, one sees particularly flights of birds and black (kṛṣṇa);

iv) when one has thought a lot during the day and reflected well on what one has seen and heard (dṛṣṭaśruta), one sees all of that again in dream;

v) finally, the gods send dreams to teach about future events.

These five types of dreams are all without reality; they are false visions.

It is the same for people who are awake: beings who are in the five destinies (gati) see the ātman in four ways because of their material visions:

  1. the form aggregate (rūpaskandha) is the ātman;
  2. form (rūpa) belongs to the self, to the ‘me’ (ātmīya);
  3. in the ātman, there is rūpa.
  4. in rūpa, there is ātman.
(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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

svapna (स्वप्न).—n m (S) Dreaming or a dream; the state of dreaming or the visions appearing. Pr. manīṃ vasē tēṃ svapnīṃ disēṃ. svapna nasaṇēṃ g. of s. (Not to be even a dream of it.) To have no existence; to be chimerical. svapna pāhūna jāgā hōṇēṃ To learn from experience or observation; to acquire knowledge or prudence from results or occurrences. svapnācēṃ bhākīta sāṅgaṇēṃ To interpret a vision or dream. svapnīṃ nāhīṃ Not even in a dream, i. e. not at all; as hyāsīṃ svapnīṃ nāhīṃ mṛtyu ||. svapnīṃ nēṇaṇēṃ (To be ignorant of in one's dreams or sleep--not even to dream of.) To know not absolutely and utterly. Ex. kapaṭa- bhāva kōṇhācē manīṃ || hēṃ tō sarvathā nēṇē svapnīṃ ||. svapnīṃ puṛyā or māṇḍē khāṇēṃ To build castles in the air.

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

svapna (स्वप्न).—n m A dream svapnācēṃ bhākīta sāṅgaṇēṃ Inter- prete a vision or dream. svapnīṃ nāhīṃ Not 2at all. svapnīṃ māṇḍē khāṇēṃ Build castles in the air.

(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

Svapna (स्वप्न).—[svap-bhāve nak]

1) Sleeping, sleep; अकाले बोधितो भ्रात्रा प्रियस्वप्नो वृथा भवान् (akāle bodhito bhrātrā priyasvapno vṛthā bhavān) R.12.81;7.61;12.7; Ku. 2.8.

2) A dream, dreaming; स्वप्नेन्द्रजालसदृशः खलु जीवलोकः (svapnendrajālasadṛśaḥ khalu jīvalokaḥ) Śānti.2.2; स्वप्नो नु भाया नु मतिभ्रमो नु (svapno nu bhāyā nu matibhramo nu) Ś.6.1; R.1.6.

3) Sloth, indolence, sleepiness; Ms.9.13;12.33.

4) The state of ignorance (?); भावाद्वैतं क्रियाद्वैतं तथात्मनः । वर्तयन् स्वानुभूत्येह त्रीन् स्वप्नान् धुनुते मुनिः (bhāvādvaitaṃ kriyādvaitaṃ tathātmanaḥ | vartayan svānubhūtyeha trīn svapnān dhunute muniḥ) || Baāg.7.15.62.

Derivable forms: svapnaḥ (स्वप्नः).

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Svāpna (स्वाप्न).—a.

1) Relating to sleep or dream.

2) Dreamy; तं सप्रपञ्चमधिरूढसमाधियोगः स्वाप्नं पुनर्न भजते प्रतिबुद्धवस्तुः (taṃ saprapañcamadhirūḍhasamādhiyogaḥ svāpnaṃ punarna bhajate pratibuddhavastuḥ) Bhāg. 11.13.37.

(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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