Upaya, aka: Ūpāya, Upāyā, Upāya, Upayā; 12 Definition(s)


Upaya means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, 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

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Upāyas: Means. The soul needs the means to get rid of the Malas, obtain Anugraha or Grace of Siva and gain an entry into the Universal Siva Consciousness from the state of limited individual consciousness. Spiritual discipline is the centerpiece of this effort. It is also called Avesa (absorption in Siva). Abhi is of the opinion that an individual to should try and use Sambhavopaya the highest means first for realizing God Consciousness. Barring its success, one should proceed to the next best and so on. This list I have given goes from the lowest to the highest with Anupaya being in the epicenter of God realization. This entry is Samvesa.

There are four upayas or means: There are actually four entities that one can meditate on: the individual Body, the evolutes of Sakti, Siva Himself and Null means. They are respectively

  1. Anavopaya,
  2. Saktopaya,
  3. Sambhovopaya,
  4. Anupaya.

Progression from the first to the third is pAramparika.

Source: bhagavadgitausa.com: Kashmir Saivism
Shaivism book cover
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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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Ayurveda (science of life)

Upaya (उपय) has been defined by Charaka as vidhi or methodology of chikitsa is Upaya. In the context of dashavidha-parikshya-bhavas Charaka has defined upaya in context of supremacy of bhishak. Dictionary meanings of Upaya are excellence, goodness, suppleness or extreme skilfulness.

Upaya is excellence of physician and pharmacist etc. and their proper arrangement, it is characterized by (physicians etc.). endowed with their respective qualities and proper application of the therapy along with (the consideration) of place, time, dose, suitability, processing etc. which are the factors leading to success.

Source: Shodhganga: Ayurveda siddhanta evam darshana
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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Upāya (उपाय).—See under Caturupāya.

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1) Upaya (उपय).—Śveta Parāśara group.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 201. 36.

2) Upāyā (उपाया).—Seven in number: sāma, bheda, daṇḍa, dāna, upekṣā, māyā and indrajāla Acts done with upāyās become fruitful.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 222. 1-3; Vāyu-purāṇa 62. 158.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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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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General definition (in Hinduism)

Upāyas are stratagems for worldly success and achieving one’s goals or self-initiated methods for attaining Liberation recommended by the Scriptures such as Bhakti, Jñana and Karma Yoga, pilgrimages, austerities, and other spiritual practices.

Source: Red Zambala: On the Salvific Activities of God

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

1) Upāya (उपाय, “skilful means”) or upāyapāramitā represents the seventh of the “ten perferctions” (daśapāramitā) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 18). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., daśa-pāramitā and upāya). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

2) Upāya (उपाय) also refers to the “manifold means” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 111):

  1. sarva-sattvāvabodhaka (that which understands all beings),
  2. sattvārthābhāvaka (that which develops the welfare of beings),
  3. kṣipra-sukhābhisambodhi (that which awakens quickly and pleasantly).
Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

India history and geogprahy

Upāya.—(EI 6, 25), four in number; ‘four’. Cf. catur-upāya (SII 1). (SITI), probably, minor taxes. Note: upāya is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Upaya in Pali glossary... « previous · [U] · next »

upaya : (m.) attachment. || upāya (m.), way; means; resource.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Upāya, (fr. upa + i, cp. upaya) approach; fig. way, means, expedient, stratagem S. III, 53 sq. , 58; D. III, 220 (°kosalla); Sn. 321 (°ññū); J. I, 256; Nd2 570 (for upaya); PvA. 20, 31, 39, 45, 104, 161; Sdhp. 10, 12. 350, 385.—Cases adverbially; Instr. upāyena by artifice or means of a trick PvA. 93; yena kenaci u. PvA. 113.—Abl. upāyaso by some means, somehow J. III, 443; V, 401 (= upāyena C.). ‹-› anupāya wrong means J. I, 256; Sdhp. 405; without going near, without having a propensity for S. I, 181; M. III, 25.

—kusala clever in resource J. I, 98; Nett 20; SnA 274. (Page 149)

— or —

Upaya, (fr. upa + i, cp. upāya) approach, undertaking, taking up; clinging to, attachment, only as adj. (-°) in an° (anûpaya metri causā) not going near, aloof, unattached S. I, 141, 181; II, 284; Sn. 786, 787, 897 (cp. SnA 558); and in rūpûpaya (vv. ll. rūpupaya & rūpupāya) “clinging to form” (etc.) S. III, 53 = Nd1 25 = Nd2 570 (+ rup’ārammaṇa). (Page 145)

— or —

Ūpāya, at DhA. II, 93 stands for upāya. (Page 158)

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

upāya (उपाय).—m (S) A remedy, a resource, a measure: also a scheme, contrivance, expedient, device, stratagem.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

upāya (उपाय) [-va, -व].—m A remedy, a resource. A scheme.

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

Upaya (उपय).—1 U.

1) To marry, take a wife (Ā. in this sense); भवान् मिथः समयादिमामुपायंस्त (bhavān mithaḥ samayādimāmupāyaṃsta) Ś.5; आत्मानुरूपां विधिनोपयेमे (ātmānurūpāṃ vidhinopayeme) Ku.1.18; R.14.87; Śi.15.27; Ms.3.11; Bk.4.2, 28;7.11.

2) (a) To seize, hold; उपयच्छ शूर्पम् (upayaccha śūrpam) Av.; उपायंस्त महास्त्राणि (upāyaṃsta mahāstrāṇi) Bk.15.21; शस्त्राण्युपायंसत जित्वराणि (śastrāṇyupāyaṃsata jitvarāṇi) 1.16. (b) To take, receive, accept; कोपात्काश्चित्प्रियैः प्रत्तमुपायंसत नासवम् (kopātkāścitpriyaiḥ prattamupāyaṃsata nāsavam) Bk.8.33.

3) To show, indicate (sūc); मोपयध्वं भयम् (mopayadhvaṃ bhayam) Bk.7.11.

4) To lie under, support, prop up (Ved.).

5) To go to (a woman); एतास्तिस्रस्तु भार्यार्थे नोपयच्छेत्तु बुद्धिमान् (etāstisrastu bhāryārthe nopayacchettu buddhimān) Ms.11.172.

6) To curb, restrain.

Derivable forms: upayam (उपयम्).

--- OR ---

Upayā (उपया).—2 P.

1) To approach, go towards, reach; उपयामगृहीतोऽसि (upayāmagṛhīto'si) Ts.1.4.15. येन मामुपयान्तिते (yena māmupayāntite) Bg.1.1. so पुरम्, गतिम्, नयनम्, पदवीम् (puram, gatim, nayanam, padavīm); दुर्मन्त्रिणं कमुपयान्ति न नीतिदोषाः (durmantriṇaṃ kamupayānti na nītidoṣāḥ) H.3.11.

2) To attain to a particular state, meet with &c.; तनुताम्, मृत्युम्, रुजम्, पाकम्, प्रसादम् (tanutām, mṛtyum, rujam, pākam, prasādam) &c.

--- OR ---

Upāya (उपाय).—See under उपे (upe).

Derivable forms: upāyaḥ (उपायः).

See also (synonyms): upāyana.

--- OR ---

Upāya (उपाय).—(a)

1) Means, an expedient, remedy; शक्योवाप्तुमुपायतः (śakyovāptumupāyataḥ) Bg.6.36. उपायं चिन्तयेत्प्राज्ञस्तथापायं च चिन्तयेत् (upāyaṃ cintayetprājñastathāpāyaṃ ca cintayet) Pt.1.46; मयि क्षीणोपाये प्रणिपतनमात्रैकशरणे (mayi kṣīṇopāye praṇipatanamātraikaśaraṇe) Amaru.25; Bhāg.1.48.2; Ms.8.48,7.177. (b) A plan, contrivance; °निलया (nilayā) Mu.1.5. (c) A mode, way, stratagem. उपायेन तु यच्छक्यं न तच्छक्यं पराक्रमैः (upāyena tu yacchakyaṃ na tacchakyaṃ parākramaiḥ) | H.

2) A fact, circumstance; U.7.

3) Beginning, commencement.

4) Effort, exertion; वश्यात्मना तु यतता शक्योऽवाप्तुमुपायतः (vaśyātmanā tu yatatā śakyo'vāptumupāyataḥ) (yogaḥ) Bg.6.36; Ms.9.248;1.2.

5) A means of success against an enemy; (these are four:sāman conciliation or negotiation, dānam bribery; bhedaḥ sowing dissensions; and daṇḍaḥ punishment (open attack); some authorities add three more :माया (māyā) deceit; उपेक्षा (upekṣā) trick, deceit or neglect; इन्द्रजाल (indrajāla) conjuring, thus making the total number 7); चतुर्थोपायसाध्ये तु रिपौ सान्त्वमपक्रिया (caturthopāyasādhye tu ripau sāntvamapakriyā) Śi.2.54; सामादीना- मुपायानां चतुर्णामपि पण्डिताः (sāmādīnā- mupāyānāṃ caturṇāmapi paṇḍitāḥ) Ms.7.19.

6) Joining (as in singing).

7) Approach.

8) Initiation, thread ceremony (= upanayana); अपि वा वेदतुल्यत्वाद् उपायेन प्रवर्तेरन् (api vā vedatulyatvād upāyena pravarteran) MS.6.2.22 (where śabara explains upāyena pravarteran as upa- nayanena saha pravarteran |).

Derivable forms: upāyaḥ (उपायः).

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

Mokṣopāya (मोक्षोपाय).—a means of obtaining final emancipation. Derivable forms: mokṣopāyaḥ (मो...
Nirupāya (निरुपाय).—a. 1) without expedients, helpless. 2) unsuccessful. Nirupāya is a Sanskrit...
Jīvanopāya (जीवनोपाय).—livelihood. Derivable forms: jīvanopāyaḥ (जीवनोपायः).Jīvanopāya is a San...
Upāyacatuṣṭaya (उपायचतुष्टय).—the four expedients against an enemy; see above (5). Derivable fo...
Sāmopāya (सामोपाय).—mild or conciliatory means, gentle or pacific measures. Derivable forms: sā...
Upaya Sutta
Upāya, (fr. upa + i, cp. upaya) approach; fig. way, means, expedient, stratagem S. III, 53 sq....
Upāyapāramitā (उपायपारमिता) or simply upāya refers to the “perfection of skilful means” and rep...
Tīkṣṇopāya (तीक्ष्णोपाय).—a forcible means, strong measure. Derivable forms: tīkṣṇopāyaḥ (तीक्ष...
Upāyaturīya (उपायतुरीय).—the 4th expedient, i. e. दण्ड (daṇḍa) or punishment. Derivable forms: ...
Vadhopāya (वधोपाय).—a means of killing; हन्या- च्चित्रैर्वधोपायैः (hanyā- ccitrairvadhopāyaiḥ) ...
rākṣasī-upāya (राक्षसी-उपाय) [-upacāra, -उपचार].—m A term for any violent remedy or measure.
Bahyupāya (बह्युपाय).—a. effective. Bahyupāya is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms ba...
Upāyajña (उपायज्ञ).—a. fertile in expedients. Upāyajña is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the...
Mukhyopāyā (मुख्योपाया).—the four chief stratagems (sāma, dāna, bheda and daṇḍa). Derivable for...
Upāyākṣepa (उपायाक्षेप).—(In Rhet.) Deprecatory speech making mention of the remedy; Kāv..2.151...

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