Vanara, aka: Vānara; 10 Definition(s)


Vanara means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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


Vānara (वानर) falls under the category of wild beasts (āraṇya-paśu) according to the Vāyu Purāṇa.

(Source): Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

Vānara (वानर).—(also Haris)—born of Harī and Pulaha: eleven groups distinguished: Dvīpins, Śarabhas, Simhas Vyāghras, Nīlas, Salyakas, Ṛkṣas, Mārjāras, Lohāsas, Vānaras, and Māyavas. Vāli was their Lord: Belong to the line of Krodhavaśa;1 should not see the Śrāddha food.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 176 and 320: 8. 71.
  • 2) Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 16. 12.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Ayurveda (science of life)

Vānara (वानर) is a Sanskrit word referring to the animal “monkey”. The meat of this animal is part of the māṃsavarga (‘group of flesh’), which is used throughout Āyurvedic literature. The animal Vānara is part of the sub-group named prasaha, refering to animals “who take their food by snatching”. It was classified by Caraka in his Carakasaṃhitā sūtrasthāna (chapter 27), a classical Āyurvedic work. Caraka defined such groups (vargas) based on the dietic properties of the substance.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Vānara (वानर)—Sanskrit word for an animal corresponding to “monkey”. This animal is from the group called Parṇa-mṛga (‘tree dwellers’ or ‘tree-dwelling arboreal animals’). Parṇa-mṛga itself is a sub-group of the group of animals known as Jāṅghala (living in high ground and in a jungle).

(Source): Sushruta samhita, Volume I
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.

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Vānara (वानर).—Description of a women of monkey (vānara) type;—A woman who has a compact and small body, is impudent, has tawny hairs, is fond of fruits, talkative, fickle, and energetic, loves trees, gardens and forests, cherishes highly even a small kind act done to her and forces sexual act, is said to have the nature of a monkey (vānara).

(Source): Natya Shastra
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
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Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (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 (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).

Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Vānara (वानर) refers to one of the 23 types of dohā metres (a part of mātrā type) described in the 1st chapter of the Vṛttamauktika by Candraśekhara (C. 17th century): author of many metrical compositions and the son of Lakṣmīnātha Bhaṭṭa and Lopāmudrā.

(Source): Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

In Buddhism


vānara : (m.) a monkey.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Vānara, (fr. vana) monkey, lit. “forester” Th. 1, 399= Dh. 334; Th. 1, 454; J. II, 78 (Senaka), 199 sq. (Nandiya); III, 429; IV, 308; V, 445; Miln. 201; DhA. II, 22.

—inda monkey king J. I, 279; II, 159. (Page 608)

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

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

vānara (वानर).—m n (S) The black-faced and long-tailed monkey, Semnipethicus Entellus.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

vānara (वानर).—m n An ape, monkey.

(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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