Vaishya, Vaiṣya, Vaisya, Vaiśya, Vaiśyā: 32 definitions


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

The Sanskrit terms Vaiṣya and Vaiśya and Vaiśyā can be transliterated into English as Vaisya or Vaishya, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

Alternative spellings of this word include Vaishy.

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In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Vaiśya (वैश्य).—The Vaiśyas should always be represented by a deep blue (śyāma) color when painting the limbs (aṅgaracanā), according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 23. The painting is a component of nepathya (costumes and make-up) and is to be done in accordance with the science of āhāryābhinaya (extraneous representation).

Source: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)

One of the Hands denoting the Four Castes.—Vaiṣya: left hand–Haṃsāsya, right hand–Kaṭaka.

Natyashastra book cover
context information

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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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

Vaiśya (वैश्य).—Member of the mercantile or agricultural class, according to the system of four social orders and four spiritual orders.

Source: Prabhupada Books: Sri Caitanya Caritamrta

Vaiśya (वैश्य).—Those who tend to produce food by agricultural methods, protect cows and other animals and engage in trade are called vaiśyas, or merchants. The divisions of brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra are natural divisions within society. Indeed, everyone has a prescribed duty according to the varṇāśrama-dharma. Those who properly execute their prescribed duties live peacefully and are not disturbed by material conditions.

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

Vaiśya (वैश्य) refers to “agriculturalists, cowherds, businessmen”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhajana-rahasya - 2nd Edition

Vaiśya (वैश्य) refers to:—The third of the four castes (varṇas) in the varṇāśrama system; agriculturalists or businessmen. (cf. Glossary page from Bhajana-Rahasya).

Source: Pure Bhakti: Brhad Bhagavatamrtam

Vaiśya (वैश्य) refers to:—Agriculturalist or businessman; the third of the four varṇas (occupational orders of life) in the varṇāśrama system. (cf. Glossary page from Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta).

Vaishnavism book cover
context information

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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Vaiśya (वैश्य).—One of the four castes. (For further details see under Varṇa and Cāturvarṇya).

Source: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

Vaiśya (वैश्य) is the name of a caste (varṇa) mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—The Vaiśyas are described as engaged in ‘vṛtti’, the term denoting agriculture, cattle-rearing and trade.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Vaiśya (वैश्य).—Represents Dvāparayuga.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 78. 36.

1b) Created from the thighs of Brahmā; the less powerful, but are engaged in agriculture and commerce;1 for doing their svadharma they go to the abode of Vāyu.2 propitiate Ājyapa Pitṛs;3 selling and buying, their duties;4 protected by Yayāti;5 for the sake of 100 Vaiśyas one Brahman may be killed;6 profession originated in the time of Pṛthu;7 meditate on Devī's 108 names;8 observe 15 days' pollution for father's death;9 to be much in numbers in a State.10

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 30. 232; 34. 17; 45. 83 and 117; 54. 111; 57. 52; 78. 29; 93. 66; 100. 246; 101. 5 and 352; 104. 13; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 6. 6, 35.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 5. 108; 7. 157, 166; Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 8. 30-31, 39.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 10. 94; Matsya-purāṇa 15. 21.
  • 4) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 15. 51.
  • 5) Ib. III. 68. 67.
  • 6) Ib. IV. 6. 43.
  • 7) Ib. II. 37. 10.
  • 8) Matsya-purāṇa 13. 63.
  • 9) Ib. 18. 2.
  • 10) Ib. 114. 12; 217. 2.

2) Vaiśyā (वैश्या).—A wife of Vasudeva.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 46. 20.
Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

Vaiśya (वैश्य) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. VI.10.65, VIII.30.53) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Vaiśya) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

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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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Source: Shodhganga: The saurapurana - a critical study (dharma)

Vaiśya (वैश्य) refers to one of the “four castes” (varṇa) of ancient India, according to the 10th century Saurapurāṇa: one of the various Upapurāṇas depicting Śaivism.—In ancient India the society was divided into four principal castes, namely Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya and Śūdra; and the dharmaśāstras employ the term varṇa to designate these castes.—The first three varṇas [viz.
Vaiśya], who had the right to perform the upanayana and to study the Vedas, were called dvijas (twice-born).

Dharmashastra book cover
context information

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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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Source: Wisdom Library: Brihat Samhita by Varahamihira

Vaiśya (वैश्य) refers to a country belonging to “Apara or Aparadeśa (western divisions)” classified under the constellations of Jyeṣṭhā, Mūla and Pūrvāṣāḍha, according to the system of Kūrmavibhāga, according to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā (chapter 14), an encyclopedic Sanskrit work written by Varāhamihira mainly focusing on the science of ancient Indian astronomy astronomy (Jyotiṣa).—Accordingly, “The countries of the Earth beginning from the centre of Bhāratavarṣa and going round the east, south-east, south, etc., are divided into 9 divisions corresponding to the 27 lunar asterisms at the rate of 3 for each division and beginning from Kṛttikā. The constellations of Jyeṣṭhā, Mūla and Pūrvāṣāḍha represent the western divisions consisting of [i.e., Vaiśya] [...]”.

Jyotisha book cover
context information

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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

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

Vaiśya (वैश्य) is the name of a Caste considered of equal nature as any other caste, according to the Svacchanda-tantra.—Accordingly, [verse 4.539c-545]—“O fair-faced one, all those who have been initiated by this ritual are of equal nature, whether they be Brahmins, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas, Śūdras, or others [of lower castes]. [For] they have been brought into a state of fusion with the nature of Śiva. All are said to be [Śivas,] wearers of [his] braids, their bodies dusted [like his] with ash. All Samayins should sit in a single row. Putrakas, Sādhakas, and Cumbakas [Ācāryas] should do the same. They may not sit according to the divisions of their former castes [e.g., Vaiśyas]. [For] they are said to form but a single caste of Bhairava, auspicious and eternal. [...]”.

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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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Merchants and artisans are classified as Vaishyas according to the Varna system. They are the third among the four classes in the Varna classification. According to the Purusha-Suktha, they are said to have originated in the thighs of the primordial Purusha.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Vaishya (वैश्य): One of the four fundamental varnas (colours) in Hindu tradition comprising merchants, artisans, and landowners.

Source: India Facts: Exploring the World of Varna

A vaiśya (वैश्य) is a person with natural aptitude for managing money, trading, farming, and skilled labour.

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Vaiśya (वैश्य) is the name of a Vīra (hero) who, together with the Ḍākinī named Vaiśyī forms one of the 36 pairs situated in the Guṇacakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the guṇacakra refers to one of the four divisions of the sahaja-puṭa (‘innate layer’), situated within the padma (lotus) in the middle of the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs and Vīras [viz., Vaiśya] are whitish red in color; they each have one face and four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife.

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: Buddhist Door: GlossaryVaisya in Sanskrit, Vaishya in Pali. The third of the four Indian Castes at the time of Shakyamuni. They were merchant, entrepreneurs, traders, farmers, manufacturers, etc., but not well educated.

India history and geography

Source: Wisdom Library: India History

Vaishya (or, Vaiśya) refers to one of the 84 castes (gaccha) in the Jain community according to Prof. H. H. Wilson. The Jain caste and sub-caste system was a comparatively later development within their community, and it may have arisen from the ancient classification of Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya and Śūdra. Before distinction of these classes (such as Vaishya), the society was not divided into distinct separate sections, but all were considered as different ways of life and utmost importance was attached to individual chartacter and mode of behaviour.

According to Dr. Vilas Adinath Sangava, “Jainism does not recognise castes (viz., Vaishya) as such and at the same time the Jaina books do not specifically obstruct the observance of caste rules by the members of the Jaina community. The attitude of Jainism towards caste is that it is one of the social practices, unconnected with religion, observed by people; and it was none of its business to regulate the working of the caste system” (source).

The legendary account of the origin of these 84 Jain castes (e.g., Vaishya) relate that once a rich Jain invited members of the Jain community in order to establish a vaiśya-mahāsabhā (i.e. Central Association of Traders). In response, 84 representatives came from different places, and they were later seen as the progenitors of these castes. Various sources however mention differences in the list.

India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, 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

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

vaiśya (वैश्य).—m (S) The Vyshya, the agricultural and mercantile tribe, the third of the four grand divisions of the Hindu people. 2 An individual of it. 3 This word is prefixed to certain words signifying things of which there are varieties, in order to designate the tawny, dusky, or dim variety. And thus it designates the third order, as the word Brahman designates the first; e.g. Prefixed to hirā, it expresses A diamond of inferior lustre, not of the first water; to bhāṅga, sabajī, pimpaḷa &c., it expresses The yellow or tawny variety.

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

vaiśya (वैश्य).—m The agricultural and mercantile tribe.

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

Vaiśya (वैश्य).—A man of the third tribe, his business being trade and agriculture; a peasant; विशत्याशु पशुभ्यश्च कृष्यादावरुचिः शुचिः । वेदाध्ययनसंपन्नः स वैश्य इति संज्ञितः (viśatyāśu paśubhyaśca kṛṣyādāvaruciḥ śuciḥ | vedādhyayanasaṃpannaḥ sa vaiśya iti saṃjñitaḥ) || Padma Purāṇa. (He is supposed to have sprung from the thighs of Puruṣa;. cf. ūrū tadasya yadvaiśyaḥ Ṛv.1.9.)

Derivable forms: vaiśyaḥ (वैश्यः).

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

Vaiśya (वैश्य).—m.

(-śyaḥ) The Vaiśya or man of the third or agricultural and mercantile tribe. f.

(-śyā) A woman of the Vaiśya caste. E. viś to enter, (fields, &c.) kvip aff., yañ pleonasm added.

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

Vaiśya (वैश्य).—i. e. viś + ya, I. m. A man of the third caste, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 1, 116; [Hitopadeśa] iv. [distich] 21. Ii. f. , A woman of the Vaiśya caste.

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

Vaiśya (वैश्य).—1. [masculine] ā [feminine] a man & woman of the third caste; [neuter] vaiśya condition of a V., dependence.

--- OR ---

Vaiśya (वैश्य).—2. [adjective] relating to a Vaiśya (v. [preceding]).

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

1) Vaiśya (वैश्य):—m. ([from] 2. viś) ‘a man who settles on the soil’, a peasant, or ‘working man’, agriculturist, man of the third class or caste (whose business was trade as well as agriculture), [Ṛg-veda] etc. etc.

2) [plural] Name of a people, [Varāha-mihira’s Bṛhat-saṃhitā]

3) Vaiśyā (वैश्या):—[from vaiśya] a f. See below

4) Vaiśya (वैश्य):—n. vassalage, dependance, [Taittirīya-saṃhitā]

5) mfn. belonging to a man of the third caste, [Mahābhārata]

6) Vaiśyā (वैश्या):—[from vaiśya] b f. a woman of the Vaiśya caste, [Manu-smṛti; Yājñavalkya] etc.

7) [v.s. ...] Name of a deity, [Buddhist literature]

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

Vaiśya (वैश्य):—(śyaḥ) m. Man of the 3d class.

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

Vaiśya (वैश्य) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit words: Vaissa, Vesī.

[Sanskrit to German]

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

Vaiśya (वैश्य) [Also spelled vaishy]:—(nm) the third [varṇa] (caste) in the traditional Hindu hierarchical caste set-up with trade as its main profession; a trader; -[karma] trade, business.

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Vaiśya (ವೈಶ್ಯ):—[adjective] of or connectedwith trade and commerce.

--- OR ---

Vaiśya (ವೈಶ್ಯ):—

1) [noun] one of the four main social classes of the Hindu society, the members of which are engaged in trade and commerce; the merchant community.

2) [noun] a male member of this class.

3) [noun] a variety of gem.

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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