Vaishya, aka: Vaiṣya, Vaisya, Vaiśya, Vaiśyā; 16 Definition(s)


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


Vaishya in Purana glossary... « previous · [V] · next »

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: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

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

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

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: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

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: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

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

Source: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
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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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

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: Prabhupada Books: Sri Caitanya Caritamrta
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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Itihasa (narrative history)

Vaishya in Itihasa glossary... « previous · [V] · next »

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.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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General definition (in Hinduism)

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: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

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

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

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

Source: India Facts: Exploring the World of Varna

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

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

Vaisya 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.Source: Buddhist Door: Glossary

India history and geogprahy

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.

Source: Wisdom Library: India History
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

Vaishya in Marathi glossary... « previous · [V] · next »

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 Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

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

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

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: 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

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Vaiśyastambha (वैश्यस्तम्भ) is a Sanskrit word referring to “the vaiśya pillar”. During the ...
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