Veshya, Veśyā, Veśya, Veṣya, Veṣyā: 17 definitions


Veshya means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi, Hindi. 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 Veśyā and Veśya and Veṣya and Veṣyā can be transliterated into English as Vesya or Veshya, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Veśyā (वेश्या) refers to a “courtezan” who can be assigned the role of an assesor (prāśnika) of dramatic plays (nāṭaka) according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 27. These assessors (e.g., the veśyās) are to point out the faults of a dramatic performance (nāṭaka) as well as the merits of actors (nartaka) whenever a controversy (saṃgharṣa) arises among persons ignorant of the nāṭyaśāstra.

Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (shastra) of performing arts, (natya—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), construction and performance of Theater, and Poetic works (kavya).

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Kavya (poetry)

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara

Veśyā (वेश्या) refers to a “courtesan” (prostitute), as described in the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 57. Accordingly, as Yamajihvā instructed her daughter: “everyone is valued on account of wealth, a courtesan (veśyā) especially; and courtesans who fall in love do not obtain wealth, therefore a courtesan (veśyā) should abandon passion. For rosy red, love’s proper hue, is the harbinger of eclipse to the courtesan (veśyā) as to the evening twilight; a properly trained courtesan (veśyā) should exhibit love without sincerity, like a well-trained actress. With that she should gain a man’s affections, then she should extract from him all his wealth; when he is ruined, she should finally abandon him, but if he should recover his wealth, she should take him back into favour. A courtesan (veśyā), like a hermit (muni), is the same towards a young man, a child, an old man, a handsome man, and a deformed man, and so she always attains the principal object of existence”.

Kavya book cover
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Kavya (काव्य, kavya) 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 mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

1) Veśyā (वेश्या) refers to a “(female) prostitute” and is identified with the sacred site of Prayāga and the Mātṛkā named Brahmāṇī, according to the Manthānabhairavatantra, a vast sprawling work that belongs to a corpus of Tantric texts concerned with the worship of the goddess Kubjikā.—According to the Kubjikā Tantras, the eight major Kaula sacred sites each have a house occupied by a woman of low caste who is identified with a Mother (Mātṛkā).—[...] Prayāga is identified with (a) the class of prostitute (veśyā) [or sweeper (mātaṅgī)], (b) the Mātṛkā or ‘mother’ named Brahmāṇī, and (c) with the location of ‘navel’.

2) Veśyā (वेश्या) refers to one of the female servants associated with Jālandhara, one of the sacred seats (pīṭha), according to the Manthānabhairavatantra.—Nine of the twelve female servants [i.e., Veśyā] (three in each of the first four seats), are low-caste women who we find, in other contexts, embody the Mothers (mātṛkā). The maids (cellakā) are Yoginīs and the servants their male counterparts. These replace the spiritual ‘sons’ and ‘daughters’ the goddess generates and the guardians she appoints in the sacred seats listed in the ‘Kubjikāmatatantra’.

Shaktism book cover
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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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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Veśyā (वेश्या) refers to the “courtesans (of an harem)”, according to  the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter 1.—Accordingly: “After this oath, he grew up. He decided to leave his parents and left home in order to cultivate the unsurpassed path. In the middle of the night, he woke up and considered the ladies of honor and the courtesans (veśyā) of his harem: their bodies appeared like rotting corpses He ordered Tch’ö ni (Chaṇḍaka) to saddle his white horse. At midnight he passed through the ramparts, traveled twelve miles and came to the hermitage where the Ṛṣi Po k’ie p’o (Bhārgava) lived. [...]”

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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India history and geography

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Veśya.—(CII 4), explained as ‘situated in…’ Cf. prāveśya. Note: veśya is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

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 mythology, zoology, 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

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

vēśyā (वेश्या).—f (S) A dancing girl; a woman of whom the appointed profession is public dancing and harlotry: also a harlot or courtesan generally. Ex. vēśyāñcī saṅgata dharilī || naṭavyāñjavaḷī sadā baisē ||.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

vēśyā (वेश्या).—f A dancing girl; a harlot.

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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 dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Veśya (वेश्य).—[viś-ṇyat veśāya hitaṃ vā yat]

1) The habitation of harlots.

2) Ved. Abode, residence.

Derivable forms: veśyam (वेश्यम्).

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Veśyā (वेश्या).—A harlot, prostitute, courtezan, concubine; त्वं वापीव लतेव नौरिव जनं वेश्यासि सर्वं भज (tvaṃ vāpīva lateva nauriva janaṃ veśyāsi sarvaṃ bhaja) Mṛcchakaṭika 1.32; Meghadūta 37; Y.1.141; पतव्रता चैकपत्नी द्वितीये कुलटा स्मृता । तृतीये वृषली ज्ञेया चतुर्थे पुंश्चली स्मृता । वेश्या च पञ्चमे षष्ठे जुङ्गी च सप्तमेऽष्टमे (patavratā caikapatnī dvitīye kulaṭā smṛtā | tṛtīye vṛṣalī jñeyā caturthe puṃścalī smṛtā | veśyā ca pañcame ṣaṣṭhe juṅgī ca saptame'ṣṭame) | Brav. P.

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Veṣya (वेष्य).—[viṣeḥ paḥ Uṇādi-sūtra 3.23] Water.

Derivable forms: veṣyaḥ (वेष्यः).

See also (synonyms): veṣpa.

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Veṣyā (वेष्या).—See वेश्या (veśyā).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Veśya (वेश्य).—(1) (nt.), the occupation of a harlot (Sanskrit veśyā, compare Lex. veśya, defined Hurenhaus, [Boehtlingk and Roth]): mama duhitā veśyaṃ vāhayati Divyāvadāna 14.20, plies the…; (2) adj. with dharma, according to Tibetan groṅ paḥi, of the village, i.e. common, vulgar ? (compare grāmya): veśyāṃ dharmān samādāya bhikṣur bhavati na tāvatā Udānavarga xxxii.18(19); same verse in Pali, Dhammapada (Pali) 266, vissaṃ (commentary visamaṃ, compare Mahāvastu below, vissagandhaṃ vā kāyakammādikaṃ dhammaṃ; in Pali sg.); SN i.182.18 (text visaṃ, v.l. vissaṃ, dhammaṃ); Dutreuil B 26 viśpa, supporting the [Pali Text Society’s Pali-English Dictionary] theory that the Pali word = Sanskrit viśva; in Mahāvastu iii.422.13 same verse has viṣamāṃ (hypermetr.), compare Dhammapada (Pali) commentary above. Could veśya be a false Sanskritization of MIndic (AMg.) vesiya, from Sanskrit veṣa, of garb or external appearance (only)?

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Veṣya (वेष्य).—m.

(-ṣyaḥ) Water. E. viṣ to pervade, Unadi aff. ya .

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Veśyā (वेश्या).—see under viś.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Veśya (वेश्य).—[neuter] neighbourhood; bondage, dependence.

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Veśyā (वेश्या).—[feminine] whore, courtezan (intranda).

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Veṣya (वेष्य).—[masculine] head-band.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Veśya (वेश्य):—[from veśa] mfn. to be entered (ifc. [gana] vargyādi)

2) Veśyā (वेश्या):—[from veśya > veśa] a f. See below

3) Veśya (वेश्य):—[from veśa] n. neighbourhood, dependence, vassalage, [Ṛg-veda]

4) [v.s. ...] an adjacent or dependent territory, [ib.]

5) [v.s. ...] a house of prostitutes, house of ill fame, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

6) [v.s. ...] prostitution (veśyam with [Causal] of √vah, to be a prostitute), [Divyāvadāna]

7) Veśyā (वेश्या):—[from veśa] b f. ‘intranda’, a harlot, courtezan, prostitute, [Manu-smṛti; Mahābhārata] etc. (in [compound] also veśya; See [preceding])

8) [v.s. ...] Clypea Hernandifolia, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

9) [v.s. ...] a kind of metre, [Colebrooke]

10) Veṣya (वेष्य):—[from veṣa] a mfn. dressed, disguised, masked (as an actor), [Pāṇini 5-1, 100 [Scholiast or Commentator]]

11) [v.s. ...] m. ([probably]) a head-band, [Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā]

12) [v.s. ...] n. ([probably]) work, labour (See hastaveṣya).

13) b See under veṣa, [column]2.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Veśya (वेश्य):—(śyaṃ) 1. n. The habitation of harlots. 1. f. A harlot; a plant.

2) Veṣya (वेष्य):—(ṣyaḥ) 1. m. Water.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Veṣya (वेष्य) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit words: Vesa, Vessā.

[Sanskrit to German]

Veshya in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). 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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Hindi dictionary

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Veśyā (वेश्या):—(nf) a prostitute; ~[gamana] (act of) prostitution; ~[gāmī] one who indulges in prostitution; -[gṛha] a brothel; -[putra] son of a prostitute; -[vṛtti] (profession or institution of) prostitution.

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