Vasudeva, aka: Vasu-deva, Vasudevā, Vāsudeva; 25 Definition(s)


Vasudeva means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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.

In Hinduism

Pāñcarātra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Vāsudeva (वासुदेव, “He who pervades and sports”):—One of the twenty-four forms of Viṣṇu through which Nārāyaṇa manifests himself. He is accompanied by a counterpart emanation of Lakṣmī (an aspect of Devī) who goes by the name Lakṣmī.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Pāñcarātra

The transition from absolute transcendence of the Godhead to physical manifestation begins with the Highest Brahman—Vāsudeva, whose nature consists of Existence (sat), Consciousness (cit) Bliss (ānanda), Eternality (ananta) and Impeccability (amalam). The six attributes (ṣaḍguṇa) together form the "body" of the Supreme Being who gets the name Vāsudeva.

(Source): SriMatham: Vaiṣṇava Iconology based on Pañcarātra Āgama
Pāñcarātra book cover
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Pāñcarātra (पाञ्चरात्र, pancaratra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Nārāyaṇa is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaiṣnavism, the Pāñcarātra literature includes various Āgamas and tantras incorporating many Vaiṣnava philosophies.

Śāktism (Śākta philosophy)

Vāsudeva (वासुदेव, “God of Gods”):—Another name for Viṣṇu, as in, one of the male offspring from Mahāsarasvatī (sattva-form of Mahādevī). Mahāsarasvatī is one of the three primary forms of Devī, the other two being Mahālakṣmī and Mahākālī. Not to be confused with Sarasvatī, she is a more powerful cosmic aspect (vyaṣṭi) of Devi and represents the guṇa (universal energy) named sattva. Also see the Devī Māhātmya, a Sanskrit work from the 5th century, incorporated into the Mārkaṇḍeya-Purāṇa.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śāktism
Śāktism book cover
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Śākta (शाक्त, shakta) or Śāktism (shaktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devī) is revered and worshipped. Śākta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.


1a) Vasudeva (वसुदेव).—Of the family of Yayāti; a son of Devamīḍha (also Śūra) and Māriṣā. He had a surname Ānakadundubhi because at his birth anakas and dundubhis were sounded as a sign of receiving Hari's grace. Married the seven daughters of Devaka; six other wives of:1 Father of Kṛṣṇa by Devakī; when marrying her he promised Kaṃsa, who drove the chariot and who heard a voice from air that her eighth son would kill him, to give him all sons born of Devakī to be killed by him. Took her first son to Kaṃsa who spared him; was thrown in prison with Devakī by Kaṃsa. Vasudeva's prayer to the new born Kṛṣṇa; took the babe to Nandagopa's house and exchanged him for the daughter, born to Yaśoda at that time, without anybody knowing it. Released by Kaṃsa;2 met Nanda who went to the capital for paying annual tribute and after enquiring of his welfare advised him to return home as he expected some trouble at the Vraja. Requested Garga to go to Vraja and perform saṃskāras to his sons.3 Visited by Nārada. Vasudeva enquired of bhāgavata dharma; listened to the traditional account of the talk between the nine sons of Ṛṣabha and Nimi and was pleased along with Devakī;4 met by Kṛṣṇa at Sudharmā sabhā painted by Citralekhā;5 joined the Yadus in defeating Pauṇḍraka Māyā.

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 24., 23-45; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 61. 23; 71. 146, 160-1, 174; Matsya-purāṇa 44. 72; Vāyu-purāṇa 86. 28; 96. 144, 159-161, 198; 98. 94; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 14. 19.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 1. 12; 2. 7; 8. 33; III. 2. 25; X. 26. 17; 1. 23 to the end; ch. 3 (whole); 4. 14 and 24; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 71. 210-35; Matsya-purāṇa 46. 1-2; 47. 2-6; Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 1. 5; 3. 15-23.
  • 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 5. 20-31; 8. 1.
  • 4) Ib. XI. 2. 3; 31. 15-22.
  • 5) Ib. X. [67 (v) 42, 47]; 62. 20.

1b) A Kaṇva and a minister of the Śunga king Devabhūti; (Matsya-purāṇa and Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa-Devabhūmi); killed his master and became king. Father of Bhūmitra; ruled for five years; began the line of Kāṇvāyanas.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 1. 19-20; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 74. 156; Matsya-purāṇa 272. 32; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 24. 39-40.

1c) A son of Cancu.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 3. 25.

2) Vasudevā (वसुदेवा).—A daughter of Gādinī.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 111.

3a) Vāsudeva (वासुदेव).—Another name for Kṛṣṇa (s.v.) equal to Nārāyaṇa in qualities; value of bhakti towards: His immanence in the Universe: worshipped in the Kaliyuga by the righteous;1 Manu takes the fish to be;2 requested by the gods to vanquish Hiraṇyakaśipu; created Śuṣkarevatī to vanquish the Asuras;3 the presiding deity of planets;4 as a son of Aditi;5 Incon of gifts pleasing to;6 eternal and real;7 numerous sons of;8 got the divine chariot.9

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 8. 14 and 19; I. 2. 7-34; XII. 2. 22 and 38. Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 2. 37; Vāyu-purāṇa 1. 148; 23. 218; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 12. 44-7; 15. 35; IV. 13. 105; V. 17. 15; 18. 58; 37. 28; 38. 9. VI. 3. 41; 5. 76, 80.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 1. 26; 2. 16; 45. 18; 52. 20-22; 69. 7; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 2. 12; 4. 18; 11. 55; 19. 24.
  • 3) Matsya-purāṇa 161. 29-31; 179. 35-6.
  • 4) Matsya-purāṇa 230. 9; 242. 16.
  • 5) Ib. 244. 35-42; 245. 20-36; 248. 46.
  • 6) Ib. 258. 9; 274. 5; 285. 16.
  • 7) Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 8. 24, 32; IV. 4. 80; VI. 7. 56.
  • 8) Matsya-purāṇa 47. 20-21; Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 45, 244; 111. 21.
  • 9) Ib. 93. 27.

3b) An author on architecture.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 252. 3.

3c) A Vaṃśavīra.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 97. 1.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
context information

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.

Kathā (narrative stories)

Vāsudeva (वासुदेव).—One of the incarnations of Viṣṇu.—As Vāsudeva, he rescued the people from the clutched of cruel Kaṃsa, Kaiṭahha, Madhu, Mura and others.

(Source): Shodhganga: A critical appreciation of soddhalas udayasundarikatha
Kathā book cover
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Kathās (कथा) are special kind of Sanskrit literature: they are a kind of a mix between Itihāsa (historical legends) and Mahākāvya (epic poetry). Some Kathās reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of the historical deeds of the Gods, sages and heroes.

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Vāsudeva (वासुदेव) refers to one of the many varieties of the Śālagrāma (ammonite fossil stones).—The Vāsudeva stone is round in shape, with two cakras at the opening, whitish in hue, even on all sides (sama), and bright-looking. Śālagrāma stones are very ancient geological specimens, rendered rounded and smooth by water-currents in a great length of time. They (eg., Vāsudeva stones) are distinguished by the ammonite (śālā, described as “vajra-kīṭa”, “adamantine worms”) which having entered into them for residence, are fossilized in course of time, leaving discus-like marks inside the stone.

(Source): Pratima Kosa Encyclopedia of Indian Iconography - Vol 6
Śilpaśāstra book cover
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Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

Kāvya (poetry)

Vasudeva (वसुदेव) is the name an important person (viz., an Ācārya or Kavi) mentioned in Rājaśekhara’s 10th-century Kāvyamīmāṃsā.—In the historical evidance, there are two well-known kings named were Vāsudeva. Butthey are flourished in different times. It cannot be certain that between them which one Rājaśekhara refer in his Kāvyamīmāṃsā.

(Source): Shodhganga: The Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara
context information

Kāvya (काव्य) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahākāvya, or ‘epic poetry’ and nāṭya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)

Vāsudeva (वासुदेव) or Vāsudevarasa is the name of an Ayurvedic recipe defined in the fourth volume of the Rasajalanidhi (chapter 3, grahaṇī: chronic diarrhoea). These remedies are classified as Iatrochemistry and form part of the ancient Indian science known as Rasaśāstra (medical alchemy). Meghanādā is an ayurveda treatment and should be taken with caution and in accordance with rules laid down in the texts.

Accordingly, when using such recipes (eg., vāsudeva-rasa): “the minerals (uparasa), poisons (viṣa), and other drugs (except herbs), referred to as ingredients of medicines, are to be duly purified and incinerated, as the case may be, in accordance with the processes laid out in the texts.” (see introduction to Iatro chemical medicines)

(Source): Wisdom Library: Rasa-śāstra
Rasashastra book cover
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Rasaśāstra (रसशास्त्र, rasashastra) is an important branch of Ayurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasashastra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.

Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Vāsudeva (वासुदेव) (18th century), the author of Vṛttagajendramokṣa belongs to Puruvana (a place near Trichur in Kerala state of India). Kunjunni Raja K. identifies this Vāsudeva of Vṛttagajendramokṣa as same with Vāsudeva of the famous Yamaka poem Yudhiṣṭhiravijaya. Hence it can be said that Vāsudeva was also inspired to compose this Gajendramokṣa by the blessings of his principal deity Bhūtanātha (Śāstṛ), son of Śiva and Viṣṇu. He identifies the time of Vāsudeva of Yudhiṣṭhiravijaya as 18th cent. Apart from the views of Kunjunni Raja, there are also other views regarding the authorship of Vāsudeva.

(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.

General definition (in Hinduism)

First of the four Vyūhas. He represents Brahman (the Absolute Godhead) and manifests as the supreme self. He possesses all six qualities (ṣaḍguṇa).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Vasudeva was the father of Krishna. To save the infant Krishna from being killed by his brother-in-law Kamsa, he had him brought up as a son of a Yadava chieftain.

(Source): Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Vasudeva (वसुदेव): Descendant of Yadu, husband of Rohini and Devaki. An epithet of Krishna. It means both son of Vasudeva and the supreme spirit that pervades the universe.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Vasudeva (वसुदेव).—The father of Kṛṣṇa, and the half-brother of Nanda Mahārāja

Vāsudeva (वासुदेव).—The Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva, and proprietor of everything, material and spiritual.

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

The eldest of the Andhakavenhudasaputta.

The Ghata Jataka (No. 454) relates how, when Vasudevas son died and Vasudeva gave himself up to despair, his brother Ghatapandita brought him to his senses by feigning madness.

Vasudevas minister was Rohineyya. Vasudeva is addressed (J.iv.84; he is called Kanha at as Kanha and again as Kesava. The scholiast explains (J.iv.84) that he is called Kanha because he belonged to the Kanhayanagotta, and Kesava because he had beautiful hair (kesasobhanataya). These names, however, give support to the theory (see Andhakavenhudasaputta, No.1) that the story of Vasudeva was associated with the legend of Krsna.

In the Mahaummagga Jataka ( it is stated that Jambavati, mother of King Sivi, was the consort of Vasudeva Kanha. The scholiast identifies this Vasudeva with the eldest of the Andhakavenhudasaputta, and says that Jambavati was a candali. Vasudeva fell in love with her because of her great beauty and married her in spite of her caste. Their son was Sivi, who later succeeded to his fathers throne at Dvaravati.

Vasudeva is identified with Sariputta. J.iv.89.

Vasudevavattika. Probably followers of Vasudeva (? Krsna); they are mentioned with Baladevavattika and others in a list of samanabrahmanavattasuddhika. Nid.i.89; cf. Vasudevaytana at DhSA., p.141.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).


vāsudeva : (m.) the God Vishnu.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise 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.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Vāsudeva (वासुदेव) is the father of Kṛṣṇa: the ninth Vāsudeva (“violent heroes”) according to both Śvetāmbara and Digambara sources. Since they enjoy half the power of a Cakravartin (universal monarch) they are also known as Ardhacakrins. Jain legends describe nine such Vāsudevas usually appearing together with their “gentler” twins known as the Baladevas. The legends of these twin-heroes usually involve their antagonistic counterpart known as the Prativāsudevas (anti-heroes).

The stories of king Vāsudeva, queen Devakī and their son, Kṛṣṇa are related in texts such as the Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacarita (“the lives of the sixty-three illustrious persons”), a twelfth-century Śvetāmbara work by Hemacandra.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Vāsudeva (वासुदेव).—Baladevas, Vāsudevas and the Prativāsudevas are three heroes who appear always simultaneously, and that too on the whole nine times in a world-period. Baladeva and Vāsudeva are half-brothers, sons of a king from different wives; the Prativāsudeva is their antagonist.

Vāsudeva (also called Nārāyaṇa or Viṣṇu) is a younger brother of Baladeva, but emerges more strongly mostly in the legend than Baladeva, for he is a powerful fighter, whereas Baladeva is of a gentler mind. His privileged position is seen from the fact that his mother sees seven (five according to Digambara) of the famous dreams. His body has a dark-blue shine; his robe is of yellow silk. Śrīvatsa-mark on the chest, a white sun-umbrella, fly whisk and garuḍa-banner are his insignias.

He has seven insignias:

  1. the conch, pañcajanya, which only he can blow,
  2. the discus sudarśana,
  3. the club kaumodakī,
  4. the bow śārṅga,
  5. the sword nandaka,
  6. the vanamālā, a wreath of flowers of the season
  7. and the precious stone kaustuba.

Insignias according to Digambaras are: bow, conch, discus, sword, scepter, śakti and club.

(Source): Google Books: Jainism: An Indian Religion of Salvation

Vāsudeva (वासुदेव).—Jaina mythology describes lives of nine Vāsudevas or Nārāyaṇas who are also called Ardhacakrins as they ruled over three parts of the earth and enjoyed half the power of the Cakravartins. The Samavāyāṅga-sūtra gives the following list of Vāsudevas along with names of their parents:

  1. Tripṛṣṭha, son of Prajāpati and Mṛgāvatī,
  2. Dvipṛṣṭha, son of Brahma and Umā,
  3. Svayambhū, son of Soma and Pṛthvī,
  4. Puruṣottama, son of Rudra and Sitā,
  5. Puruṣasiṃha or Nṛsiṃha, son of Śiva and Ammayā,
  6. Puruṣapuṇḍarīka, son of Mahāśiva and Lakṣmīvatī,
  7. Datta, son of Agniśikha and Śeṣavatī,
  8. Nārāyaṇa, son of Daśaratha and Kekayī,
  9. Kṛṣṇa, son of Vāsudeva and Devakī.

According to both the Digambara and Śvetāmbara, all the Vāsudevas are black and wear garments of yellow colour. The Vāsudevas has a chowrie-bearer attending upon him, while an umbrella is held over his head. On his banner is seen the mark of an eagle.

(Source): Google Books: Jaina Iconography
General definition book cover
context information

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.

India history and geogprahy

1) King Bazodeo or Vasudeva (945-880 BCE).—Vasudeva succeeded Kanishka II. He might have reigned for 65 years. Mathura image inscription is dated in the 64 th regnal year of Vasudeva. It appears that Vasudeva conquered back Punjab and Mathura from the kings of Chandra dynasty in the last years of his reign.

2) King Vasu Kushana or Vasudeva II (825-800 BCE).—A Brahmi inscription found in Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh dated in the 22 nd regnal year refers to a King named Vasu Kushana. The San Francisco museum Brahmi inscription dated in the year 170 of Yavana era (802 BCE) refers to King Vasu.

(Source): The Chronology of Ancient Gandhara and Bactria

1) Vāsudeva (वासुदेव) (fl. 1053 A.D.) is mentioned in the “Dive Agar plate of Mummuṇirāja”. Accordingly, “The illustrious King Mummuṇideva lays down the settlement for the learned Brāhmaṇas endowed with wisdom, who are prominent among the sixteen representatives (mahattarakas) residing at Āgara-dīpaka, in the presence of principal royal officers such as... the Purōhita (family-priest), the illustrious Vāsudeva...”.

2) Vāsudeva (fl. 1143 A.D.), disciple of Māghanandi, is mentioned in the “Kolhāpur stone inscription of Vijayāditya”. Accordingly, “... for offering food to the ascetics living there, in the temple (vasati) constructed by Vāsudeva, the dear disciple of the holy Māghanandi-siddhāntadeva, the head of the Pustaka Gaccha of the Deśīya Gaṇa of the Mūla Saṅgha, and the priest of the Jaina temple of Rūpanārāyaṇa at Kṣullakpura... ”.

(Source): What is India: Inscriptions of the Śilāhāras

Vāsudeva (वासुदेव) is the younger brother of Kumāramaṇi (1703 C.E.): an author of prosody who belonged to the family of Harivaṃśa, was the son of Harivallabha, grandson of Kaṇṭhamaṇi, and great grandson of Rudraṇa, great great grandson of Caturbhuja. Kumāramaṇi was also the cousin of Vedamaṇi and elder brother of Vāsudeva. He belonged to Śrīvatsagotra. He was also the disciple of Jayagovinda Vājapeyi and Puruṣottama Vājapeyi (both brothers), Kavicārāḍana, Mādhavapaṇḍitarāja, Rudraṇa (probably his great grand father), Madhusūdanakavipaṇḍita. Kumāramaṇi mentions about his family and preceptors in the beginning of his work.

(Source): Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature (history)
India history book cover
context information

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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

vāsudēva (वासुदेव).—m (S) A name of Krishn̤a or of Vishn̤u. 2 An order, or an individual of it, of religious mendicants. They wear caps of peacock's feathers &c.

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

vāsudēva (वासुदेव).—m A name of Krishna and Vishnu. An order of religious mendicants.

(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.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Vāsudeva (वासुदेव).—[vasudevasyāpatyam aṇ]

1) Any descendant of Vasudeva.

2) Particularly, Kṛṣṇa.

3) The sage Kapila; वासुदेवेति यं प्राहुः कपिलं मुनिपुङ्गवम् (vāsudeveti yaṃ prāhuḥ kapilaṃ munipuṅgavam) Mb.3.17.32.

-vī Asparagus Racemosus (Mar. śatāvarī).

Derivable forms: vāsudevaḥ (वासुदेवः).

--- OR ---

Vasudeva (वसुदेव).—Name of the father of Kṛṣṇa and son of Sūra, a descendant of Yadu. °भूः, -सुतः (bhūḥ, -sutaḥ) &c. epithets of Kṛṣṇa.

Derivable forms: vasudevaḥ (वसुदेवः).

Vasudeva is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms vasu and deva (देव).

(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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