Vaishya, Vaiṣya, Vaisya, Vaiśya, Vaiśyā: 18 definitions

Introduction

Vaishya 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.

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

In Hinduism

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.

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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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: archive.org: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)

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

Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, 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 (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia

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

Source: archive.org: 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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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: academia.edu: 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
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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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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 geogprahy

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 (eg., 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
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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

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-English 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.

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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