Vanara, aka: Vānara; 14 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


[Vanara in Purana glossaries]

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).—(monkey) Monkeys are given a prominent place in the Purāṇas. Considering them as born in the family of Hanūmān, an ardent devotee of Śrī Rāma, some worship monkeys. It is mentioned in Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa that the monkeys got a prominent place first among the gods and spirits. It is stated in Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Kiṣkindhā Kāṇḍa, Sarga 33, that the leaders of the monkeys were Bāli, Sugrīva, Aṅgada, Mainda, Gavaya, Dvivida, Gavākṣa, Gaja, Śarabha, Sūryākṣa, Hanūmān, Vidyunmālī, Vīrabāhu, Subāhu, Nala, Kumuda, Jāmbavān, Tāra, Supāṭala, Sunetra, Nīla and Dadhivaktra.

The social life of the monkeys, is described as follows in the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Kiṣkindhā Kāṇḍa, Sarga 33. "Mahendra mountain, the Himālayas, the Vindhya mountain, the peaks of Kailāsa and Śveta mountain, Mandara mountain etc. are the places mostly inhabited by monkeys. On the mountains shining like the rising sun, on the east of the western ocean also monkeys live. The Monkeys which inhabit black soil are blue in colour. Monkeys which live in red arsenic caves are yellow in colour. Those which live in Mahā Meru and Dhūmra (smoky) mountain have the colour of the rising sun and are drunkards."

(Source): Puranic Encyclopaedia

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
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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Ayurveda (science of life)

[Vanara in Ayurveda glossaries]

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.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

[Vanara in Natyashastra glossaries]

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
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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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

[Vanara in Chandas glossaries]

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 (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.

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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[Vanara in Mahayana glossaries]

Vānara (वानर) refers to a “long-tailed monkey” represents an incarnation destination of the tiryaggati (animal realm) according to the “world of transmigration” section in the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXVII).—The Bodhisattva sees the animals (tiryak) undergoing all the torments: they are made to gallop by blows of the whip or stick; they are made to make long journeys carrying burdens; their harness is damaged; they are branded with hot iron. As a result of greed (mātsarya), envy (īrṣyā), impulsiveness and haste, they take the form of [for example], a long-tailed monkey (vānara).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[Vanara in Pali glossaries]

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.

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Marathi-English dictionary

[Vanara in Marathi glossaries]

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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

[Vanara in Sanskrit glossaries]

Vanara (वनर).—(= vānaraḥ); L. D. B.

Derivable forms: vanaraḥ (वनरः).

--- OR ---

Vānara (वानर).—[vānaṃ vanasaṃbandhi phalādikaṃ rāti-gṛhṇāti rā-ka; vā vikalpena naro vā]

1) A monkey, an ape.

2) A kind of incense.

-rī A female monkey. -a. Belonging or relating to monkey; अन्यां योनिं समापन्नौ शार्गालीं वानरीं तथा (anyāṃ yoniṃ samāpannau śārgālīṃ vānarīṃ tathā) Mb.13.9.9.

Derivable forms: vānaraḥ (वानरः).

(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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