Upavasa, Upavāsa: 25 definitions


Upavasa 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 Upvas.

In Hinduism

Dharmashastra (religious law)

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-śāstra

Upavāsa (उपवास) refers to “vasting”. It is used throughout Dharmaśāstra literature such as the Manusmṛti and the Baudhāyana-dharmasūtra.

Source: Sacred Texts: The Grihya Sutras, Part 2 (SBE30)

Upavāsa (उपवास) refers to “abstinence”, as mentioned in the Āpastamba-yajña-paribhāṣā-sūtras.—“Let a man observe that full-moon day [viz., Paurṇamāsī] as a day of abstinence [viz., Upavāsa] on which the moon [viz., Amāvāsyā] comes out full before. Or the day when one says, To-morrow it will be full”.

Abstinence, upavāsa, consists in abstaining from meat and from maithuna, in shaving beard and head, cutting the nails, and, what seems a curious provision, in speaking the truth. See Kāty.-Śrauta-sūtras II, I, 8-12.

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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia

Upavāsa (उपवास).—Upavāsa means going back from sin and leading a good life. (Upā (varta) = go back and Vāsa = A life). All actions which are not good, must be relinquished. Those who observe Upavāsa should abstain from using flesh, Masūra (pulse), caṇaka (a kind of gram), Varaku (a kind of grain), green leaves prepared), honey, rice etc. and from contact with women. He should not wear flowers, ornaments, or fashionable dress; should not inhale fragrant smoke, and fragrance of any sort. Cleaning the teeth and using collyrium also are prohibited. Instead of cleaning the teeth in the morning Pañcagavya (Milk, curd, ghee, urine and dung of cow) should be taken in. Drinking water several times, using betel leaves, sleeping in the day time and sexual act also should be avoided. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 175).

Source: archive.org: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Upavāsa (उपवास) or Upavāsadina refers to “days of fasting”, mentioned as a period when hot-water baths (Uṣṇavāri) are prohibited, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.1.13, while explaining the mode of worshipping Śiva:—“[...] hot water bath (uṣṇavāri-snāna) shall be avoided on sundays (ravidina), Śrāddha days, Saṅkrānti days, at the times of eclipse (grahaṇa), on days of Great Charity (mahādāna-dina) and fast (upavāsa-dina), in holy centres (tīrtha) and during the days of impurity due to death or birth in the family (aśauca). In the holy ponds and rivers one shall take bath facing the east with great devotion”.

Source: valmikiramayan.net: Srimad Valmiki Ramayana

Upavāsa (उपवास) refers to the act of “fasting” (viz., in the forest), according to the Rāmāyaṇa chapter 2.28. Accordingly:—“[...] soothening with kind words to Sītā, when eyes were blemished with tears, the virtuous Rāma spoke again as follows, for the purpose of waking her turn back: ‘[...] Oh, Sītā the princess of Mithila! Fasting (upavāsa) is to be done according to one’s stamina. Clothes of bark are to be worn and mass of matted hair has to be worn on the head’”.

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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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Source: Wisdom Library: Brihat Samhita by Varahamihira

Upavāsa (उपवास) refers to “fasting”, according to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā (chapter 2), an encyclopedic Sanskrit work written by Varāhamihira mainly focusing on the science of ancient Indian astronomy astronomy (Jyotiṣa).—Accordingly, “We shall now proceed to give a brief description of (the qualifications of) a jyotiṣaka. [...] He must be of cleanly habits, able, noble-minded, eloquent and of originality and imagination; must possess a knowledge of place and time; be meek and without nervousness, must be difficult of conquest by his fellow students; must be able and devoid of vices; must be learned in matters of expiatory ceremonies, of Hygiene, of Occult Magic and of ablutions; must be a worshipper of the Devas and an observer of fast [i.e., upavāsa] and penance; must be of remarkable genius and capable of solving any difficulties save in matters of direct divine interference; and finally, he must be learned in astronomy, natural astrology (Saṃhitā) and horoscopy”.

Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotisha (ज्योतिष, jyotiṣa or jyotish) refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents the fifth of the six Vedangas (additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas). Jyotisha concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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Yoga (school of philosophy)

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

Upavāsa (उपवास) refers to one of the ten Niyamas (restraint) prescribed for forest dwelling, as mentioned in the the Vaikhānasasmārtasūtra.—The Mānasollāsa verse 9.21-24ab lists thirty Yamas and Niyamas. The Vaikhānasasmārtasūtra (8.4), whose date has been estimated between the fourth and eighth centuries, is the earliest source for a list of twenty Yamas and Niyamas [e.g., upavāsa]. These were prescribed to a sage at the forest dwelling (vanāśrama) stage of life.

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

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Upavāsa (उपवास, “fast”) according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXII).—In agreement with the Sarvāstivādin-Vaibhāṣikas, the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra makes the fast or upavāsa, in the proper meaning of fast, consist of the renunciation of taking a meal outside of the proper time; the other eight renunciations are the members of the fast (upavāsāṅga). The Sautrāntikas do not hold this opinion for, they say, according to the sūtra, immediately after the renunciation of having a meal outside of the time, the person fasting should say: “By this eighth member, I am imitating the rule, I am conforming to the rule of the Arhats”. Cf. Kośa, IV, p. 68.

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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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: OSU Press: Cakrasamvara Samadhi

Upavāsa (उपवास) refers to “observe abstinence”, according to the Guru Mandala Worship (maṇḍalārcana) ritual often performed in combination with the Cakrasaṃvara Samādhi, which refers to the primary pūjā and sādhanā practice of Newah Mahāyāna-Vajrayāna Buddhists in Nepal.—Accordingly, “I raise the highest enlightened mind, I invite all beings to this place, Following the wisest conduct desired, becoming a Buddha for the world. Confessing all sins, and rejoicing in meritorious acts, I observe abstinence (upavāsa) (and taking) the Eight Precepts”.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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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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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

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

Upavāsa (उपवास) refers to “fasting”, according to the 11th century Jñānārṇava, a treatise on Jain Yoga in roughly 2200 Sanskrit verses composed by Śubhacandra.—Accordingly, “In that regard, external asceticism is declared to be of six kinds beginning with fasting (upavāsa) while internal [asceticism] is also of [six] kinds on account of the divisions beginning with atonement. Hardship of the limbs of the body is excellent in respect of the divisions beginning with fasting. Internal [asceticism] in the form of meditation is excellent in respect of the divisions beginning with atonement”.

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

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Upavasa in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

upavāsa : (m.) fasting; abstaining from enjoyments.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Upavāsa, (fr. upa + vas, see upavasati) keeping a prescribed day, fasting, self-denial, abstaining from enjoyments (Same as uposatha; used extensively in BSk. in meaning of uposatha, e.g. at Av. Ś I. 338, 339; Divy 398 in phrase aṣṭânga-samanvāgataṃ upavāsaṃ upavasati) A. V, 40 (? uncertain; vv. ll. upāsaka, ovāpavāssa, yopavāsa); J. VI, 508; SnA 199 (in expln. of uposatha). (Page 147)

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.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

upavāsa (उपवास).—m (S) Keeping a fast: also a fast. upavāsīṃ Without having eaten; with empty belly.

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

upavāsa (उपवास).—m A fast. upavāsī n Fasting.

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

Upavāsa (उपवास).—a. Staying near; तेषूपवासान्विबुधानुपोष्य (teṣūpavāsānvibudhānupoṣya) Mahābhārata (Bombay) 3.118.14.

-saḥ 1 A fast; सोपवासस्त्र्यहं वसेत् (sopavāsastryahaṃ vaset) Y.1.175,3.19; Manusmṛti 11.196 (a fast is a religious act and consists in abstaining from every kind of sensual gratification).

2) Kindling a sacred fire.

3) A fire-altar.

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

Upavāsa (उपवास).—m.

(-saḥ) 1. A fast, fasting: when observed as a religious act, it comprises abstinence from all sensual gratification, from perfumes, flowers, unguents, ornaments, betel, music and dancing, &c. 2. A fire-alter. E. upa before vas to abide, ghañ aff.

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

Upavāsa (उपवास).—i. e. upa-vas + a, m. and n. Fasting, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 2, 188.

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

Upavāsa (उपवास).—[masculine] fast.

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Upāvasā (उपावसा).—settle down near ([accusative]).

Upāvasā is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms upāva and (सा).

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

1) Upavāsa (उपवास):—[=upa-vāsa] [from upa-vas] m. (n., [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]) a fast, fasting (as a religious act comprising abstinence from all sensual gratification, from perfumes, flowers, unguents, ornaments, betel, music, dancing etc.), [Gautama-dharma-śāstra; Āśvalāyana-gṛhya-sūtra; Manu-smṛti ii, 183]

2) [v.s. ...] [xi, 195; 212; Yājñavalkya iii, 190; Mahābhārata] etc.

3) [v.s. ...] abstinence from food etc. in general, [Suśruta; Rāmāyaṇa; Pañcatantra] etc.

4) [v.s. ...] kindling a sacred fire

5) [v.s. ...] a fire altar, [Horace H. Wilson]

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

Upavāsa (उपवास):—[upa-vāsa] (saḥ) 1. m. Idem.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Upavāsa (उपवास) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit words: Uvavāsa, Ūāsa, Ovāsa.

[Sanskrit to German]

Upavasa 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»] — Upavasa in Hindi glossary
Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Upavāsa (उपवास) [Also spelled upvas]:—(nm) fast; ~[] one who observes a fast.

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Upavāsa (ಉಪವಾಸ):—

1) [noun] the act or an instance of abstaining from food; fast; fasting.

2) [noun] ಉಪವಾಸ ಕೆಡವು [upavasa kedavu] upavāsa keḍavu to deny another his/her food (as a punishment); ಉಪವಾಸಬೀಳು [upavasabilu] upavāsa bīḷu to suffer from hunger; ಉಪವಾಸಮಾಡು [upavasamadu] upavāsa māḍu to abstain from taking food; to fast; ಉಪವಾಸಮುಗಿಸು [upavasamugisu] upavāsa mugisu to break the fast, esp. the one taken as a vow or in protest against something; ಉಪವಾಸವಿರು [upavasaviru] upavāsaviru to be fasting.

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Upāvāsa (ಉಪಾವಾಸ):—[noun] the act or an instance of abstaining from food; fast; fasting.

context information

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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