Vasishtha, aka: Vashishtha, Vasiṣṭha, Vāsiṣṭha; 14 Definition(s)


Vasishtha means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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 Vasiṣṭha and Vāsiṣṭha can be transliterated into English as Vasistha or Vasishtha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

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Vaśiṣṭha (वशिष्ठ):—One of the mind-born sons of Brahmā, according to the Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa (chapter on the Devī-yajña). They were created by the sheer power of mind.

Source: Wisdom Library: Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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

1) Vasiṣṭha (वसिष्ठ).—A hermit who was the son of Brahmā. The three births of Vasiṣṭha. Vasiṣṭha with the radiance of Brahmā, is very famous in the Purāṇas. He had three births. (See full article at Story of Vasiṣṭha from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

2) Vāsiṣṭha (वासिष्ठ).—An Agni (fire). (Mahābhārata, Vana Parva, Chapter 220, Stanza 1).

3) Vāsiṣṭha (वासिष्ठ).—Vasiṣṭha tīrtha. It is mentioned in Mahābhārata, Vana Parva, Chapter 84, that he who bathes in this tīrtha would become a Brahmin.

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Vasiṣṭha (वसिष्ठ).—A sage who called on Bhīṣma lying on his death-bed; also called on Parikṣit practising prāyopaveśa;1 was invited for Yudhiṣṭhira's Rājasūya;2 came to see Kṛṣṇa at Syamantapañcaka;3 one of the sages who left for Piṇḍāraka.4

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 9. 7; 19. 9.
  • 2) Ib. X. 74. 7.
  • 3) Ib. X. 84. 4.
  • 4) Ib. XI. 1. 12.

1b) A son of Brahmā, born of his breath; married Kardama's daughter, Arundhatī. Father of seven sons, all Brahmaṛṣis; cursed the fires Pāvaka, Pavamāna and Śuci who were born sons of Vijitāśva;1 when invited to be Nimi's ṛtvik, he went away to Indra's yajña to which he had been called earlier and asked Nimi to wait till his return. On Nimi continuing his sacrifice with the help of other ṛtviks, Vasiṣṭha cursed him and was in turn cursed to be born of Ūrvaśī and Mitrāvaruṇa.2 A sage of the Kṛtayuga: Heard the Nīlakaṇṭha legend from Kārtikeya; present at Rati's marriage;3 suggested to Diti the observance of the madanadvādaśīvrata.4

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa III. 12. 22-3; 24. 23; IV. 1. 40; 24. 4; 29. 43; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 32. 96 and 115; III. 8, 82; Matsya-purāṇa 187. 45.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 18. 5; IX. 13. 1-6.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 25. 15; 27. 103; IV. 40. 48; Matsya-purāṇa 201. 1, 14-6.
  • 4) Matsya-purāṇa 3. 7 and 34; 7. 5, 9.

1c) A siddha;1 the ācārya of Śrāddha deva. Finding no issue to him. Vasiṣṭha offered a sacrifice to Mitra and Varuṇa. At this time Śrāddhā, the king's wife desired to have a daughter and expressed it to the Hotā who uttered the mantra in such a way as to get a daughter. Ilā was born; but Śrāddhadeva was not pleased. So Vasiṣṭha converted Ilā into a male by name Sudyumna;2 was present at Ambarīṣa's asvamedha;3 the ideal Purohīta.4

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 15. 13.
  • 2) Ib. IX. 1. 13-22, 36-7; Matsya-purāṇa 245. 86.
  • 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 4. 22.
  • 4) Ib. XI. 16. 22.

1d) A sage of the Vaivasvata epoch; his sons Mānasa pitṛs; fought in the form of a bird for years a battle with Viśvāmitra concerning Hariścandra;1 acted as Sāmaga in his Puruṣamedha;2 cursed Saudāsa to become a Rākṣasa; with the king's assent, Vasiṣṭha begot Aśmaka on Madayantī.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 13. 5; 1. 24; Matsya-purāṇa 9. 27; 12. 4-5; 15. 12; Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 1. 32.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 7. and 23.
  • 3) Ib. IX. 9. 18-23, 38.

1e) The sage presiding over the months of Śuci (Āṣāḍha) and Śukra;1 in the Viśvacakra.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 11. 36; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 23. 6.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 285. 6.

1f) The eighth Veda Vyāsa. Heard the brahmāṇḍa purāṇa from Indra and narrated it to Sārasvata;1 āśrama of, on the Ūrjjanta hill.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 35. 118; IV. 2. 47; 4. 60.
  • 2) Ib. III. 13. 53 and 74.

1g) Born in the vāruṇi-yajña from the centre of Vasu (sacrificial fire), and hence Vasumat; progenitor of Pitṛs, Sukātas.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 1. 21 and 46; 10. 96; Matsya-purāṇa 195. 11; 200. 1.

1h) Cursed Haihaya to be ruined; of madhyama bhakti;1 a mahaṛṣi and a Brahmavādin.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 30. 70; 34. 40.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 145. 90 and 109; 171. 27.

1i) A contemporary of Sagara; the kulaguru of the Ikṣvākus; narrated Paraśurāma's story to Sagara; blessed Sagara who enjoyed rule after world conquest; consoled him on the death of Sāgaras; agreed to anointing Aṃśumat as yuvarāja.1 Gave Prathiṣṭhāna to Sudyumna.2 Took Ikṣvāku to task for getting hare's flesh already tasted by Vikukṣi; was in charge of the kingdom when Trayyāruṇi went to the forest; met Kalmāṣapāda's queen for Aśmaka's birth;3 Purohita of Daśaratha and Rāma.4 Observed ādityaśayanavrata.5

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 31. 1; 47. 99; 48. 29; 49. 1 and 38; 54. 20-22.
  • 2) Ib. III. 60. 21.
  • 3) Ib. III. 63. 15, 82-93, 177; 64. 4; 73. 91.
  • 4) Ib. IV. 15. 40; 20. 103; 40. 48 and 89; Matsya-purāṇa 47. 245; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 4. 99.
  • 5) Matsya-purāṇa 55. 32.

1j) Another name for Āpava sage.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 69. 44.

1k) (Dvaipāyana) a sage of the first epoch of Sāvarṇa Manu;1 father's father of Parāśara; on the evils of anger.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 1. 11.
  • 2) Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 1. 12-16.

1l) The younger brother of Agastya cursed Nimi to become bodyless, a purohita of Nimi.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 61. 19, 32-33; 201. 14-16.

1m) The purohita of Dharmamūrti of Bṛhatkalpa;1 praised Śiva out to burn Tripuram2

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 92. 21; 102. 19; 126. 7.
  • 2) Ib. 133. 67.

1n) A master of the science of architecture.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 252. 2.

1o) A son of Vāli the avatār of the Lord.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 23. 160.

1p) A resident of Brahmakṣetra.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 59. 105.

1q) (Hiraṇyanābha Kauśalya). a disciple of Jaimini who taught him 500 saṃhitas; he in his turn taught them to Yājñavalkya.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 88. 207; 98. 92.

1r) See Vāsiṣṭhas; to them the Pravara is Ekārṣeya.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 200. 2.

2a) Vāsiṣṭha (वासिष्ठ).—A deva gaṇa of eleven groups.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 35. 64; III. 1. 50; 8. 100; IV. 39. 55.

2b) Had seven sons by Urjā: they are Raja, Putra, Ardhabāhu, Savana, Ādhana, Sutapa and Śukla; also daughter Puṇḍarīkā; according to the Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa the seven are Rakṣa, Garta, Urdhvabāhu, Savana, Pavana, Sutapa and Śamku.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 28. 34-6; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 11. 41-2.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Vasiṣṭha (वसिष्ठ) is mentioned as one of the seven mind-born sons of Brahmā, also known as the seven prajāpatis, or the seven brahmās, according to the first chapter of the Brahma-purāṇa (on the origin of Devas and Asuras). Accordingly, “Desirous of evolving creation befitting these, he created Prajāpatis (Lords of subjects) viz. Marīci, Atri, Aṅgiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vasiṣṭha. Thus the lord of great refulgence created seven mental sons. In the Purāṇas these are known as the seven Brahmās”.

The Brahmapurāṇa (mentioning Atri) is one the eighteen mahāpurāṇas originally composed of over 10,000 verses. The first three books of the extant edition contains a diverse amount of topics such as creation theory, cosmology, mythology, philosophy and genealogy. The fourth and last part represents pilgrimage’s travel guide (māhātmya) and narrates the legends surrounding numerous holy spots (tīrtha) around the Godāvarī region in India.

Source: Wisdomlib Libary: Brahma Purana
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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Dhanurveda (science of warfare)

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Vasiṣṭha (वसिष्ठ) was one of the seven great sages (Sapta Ṛṣis) whose activities can be traced from the Vedas down to 10th century A.D, inscriptions. He is first noticed in the Ṛgvedas and later in the Aitareya Brāhmaṇa. He wasa great teacher. He taught many disciples the Vedas and the Vedāṅgas.

Source: Dhanurveda
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Dhanurveda (धनुर्वेद) refers to the “knowledge of warfare” and, as an upaveda, is associated with the Ṛgveda. It contains instructions on warfare, archery and ancient Indian martial arts, dating back to the 2nd-3rd millennium BCE.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Vasiṣṭha (वसिष्ठ) is the name of a sage who was in the company of Bharata when he recited the Nāṭyaveda them, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 35. Accordingly, they asked the following questions, “O the best Brahmin (lit. the bull of the twice-born), tell us about the character of the god who appears in the Preliminaries (pūrvaraṅga). Why is the sound [of musical instruments] applied there? What purpose does it serve when applied? What god is pleased with this, and what does he do on being pleased? Why does the Director being himself clean, perform ablution again on the stage? How, O sir, the drama has come (lit. dropped) down to the earth from heaven? Why have your descendants come to be known as Śūdras?”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
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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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Itihasa (narrative history)

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Vasiṣṭha (वसिष्ठ) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.61.68) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Vasiṣṭha) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Vāsiṣṭha also refers to the name of a Tīrtha (pilgrim’s destination) mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. III.82.43).

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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

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Vāśiṣṭha (वाशिष्ठ) or Vāśiṣṭhāgama refers to one of upāgamas (supplementary scriptures) of the Aṃśumāgama which is one of the twenty-eight Siddhāntāgama: a classification of the Śaiva division of Śaivāgamas. The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu. The purpose of revealing upāgamas (eg., Vāśiṣṭha Āgama) is to explain more elaborately than that of mūlāgamas (eg., Aṃśumān-āgama) and to include any new idea if not dealt in mūlāgamas.

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva
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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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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

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Vāsiṣṭha (वासिष्ठ) or Vāsiṣṭhasaṃhitā is the name of a Vaiṣṇava Āgama scripture, classified as a sāttvika type of the Muniprokta group of Pāñcarātra Āgamas. The vaiṣṇavāgamas represent one of the three classes of āgamas (traditionally communicated wisdom).—Texts of the Pāñcara Āgamas are divided in to two sects. It is believed that Lord Vāsudeva revealed the first group of texts which are called Divya and the next group is called Muniprokta which are further divided in to three viz. a. Sāttvika (eg., Vāsiṣṭha-saṃhitā). b. Rājasa. c. Tāmasa.

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva (pancaratra)
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

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Vashistha is one of the Saptarishis (seven great Rishis) in the seventh, i.e. the present Manvantara, or age of Manu. Vashista is a manasputra of God Brahma. He had in his possession the divine cow Kamadhenu, and Nandini her child, who could grant anything to their owners. Arundhuti is the name of the wife of Vashista. RigVeda 7:33 mentions Vashistha rishi as son of MitraVaruṇa and Urvasi.

Vashistha, as one of 9 Prajapatis, is credited as the chief author of Mandala 7 of the Rigveda. Vashistha and his family are glorified in RV 7.33, extolling their role in the Battle of the Ten Kings, making him the only mortal besides Bhava to have a Rigvedic hymn dedicated to him. Another treatise attributed to him is "Vashistha Samhita" - a book on the Vedic system of electional astrology.

In the Vinaya Pitaka of the Mahavagga (I.245)[6] section the Buddha pays respect to Vashistha by declaring that the Veda in its true form was declared to the Vedic rishis "Atthako, Vâmako, Vâmadevo, Vessâmitto, Yamataggi, Angiraso, Bhâradvâjo, Vâsettho, Kassapo, and Bhagu" and because that true Veda was altered by some priests he refused to pay homage to the altered version.

etymology: Vashistha (Sanskrit: वशिष्ठ, वसिष्ठ, Thai: Vasit, Tamil: வசிஷ்டர்)

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

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Vasiṣṭha (वसिष्ठ).—He was the Lord’s third Gaṇadhara. He was the son of the king Mahendra of Kampilapura. He came to the Lord’s first Samavaśaraṇa and being initiated there, became the third Gaṇadhara.

Source: HereNow4U: Lord Śrī Pārśvanātha

Vasiṣṭha (वसिष्ठ) refers to one of the two Indras (lords) of the Dvīpakumāra (island youths) class of “residential celestial beings” (bhavanavāsin), itself a main division of devas (celestial beings) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 4.3. The Dvīpakumāras perform miraculous activities in the continents. Pūrṇa and Vaśiṣṭa (Vasiṣṭha?) are the two lords in the Fiendish-youths residential celestial beings.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 4: The celestial beings (deva)
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

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vaśiṣṭha (वशिष्ठ).—m S The name of an eminent Rishi or saint. Used, appellatively, of a man carefully observant of all commanded or established rites and usages. Also vaśiṣṭha vāmadēva A name applied to a person both practical and contemplative.

--- OR ---

vāśiṣṭha (वाशिष्ठ).—m A tribe, or an individual of it, of Brahmans in S. Konkan̤.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
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

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Vaśiṣṭha (वशिष्ठ).—See वसिष्ठ (vasiṣṭha).

--- OR ---

Vasiṣṭha (वसिष्ठ).—(also written vaśiṣṭha)

1) Name of a celebrated sage, the family priest of the solar race of kings, and author of several Vedic hymns, particularly of the seventh Maṇḍala of the Rigveda. He was the typical representative of true Brāhmanic dignity and power, and the efforts of Viśvāmitra to rise to his level from the subject of many legends; cf. विश्वामित्र (viśvāmitra).

2) Name of the author of a Smṛti (sometimes ascribed to the sage himself).

-ṣṭham Flesh.

Derivable forms: vasiṣṭhaḥ (वसिष्ठः).

--- OR ---

Vāsiṣṭha (वासिष्ठ).—a. (-ṣṭhī f.) [वसि-शिष्ठ-अण् (vasi-śiṣṭha-aṇ)] Belonging to or composed by (rather revealed to) Vasiṣṭha, as a Maṇḍala of the Ṛigveda.

-ṣṭhaḥ A descendant of Vasiṣṭha.

-ṣṭhī 1 The Gomatī river.

2) The north; काष्ठां चासाद्य वासिष्ठीम् (kāṣṭhāṃ cāsādya vāsiṣṭhīm) Mb.5.19.16.

See also (synonyms): vāśiṣṭha.

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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