Vishesha, aka: Viśeṣa, Visesa; 14 Definition(s)


Vishesha means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Buddhism, Pali, 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 term Viśeṣa can be transliterated into English as Visesa or Vishesha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Vaisheshika (school of philosophy)

Viśeṣa (विशेष, “particularity”) is one of the seven accepted categories of padārtha (“metaphysical correlate”), according to the Vaiśeṣika-sūtras. These padārthas represent everything that exists which can be cognized and named. Together with their subdivisions, they attempt to explain the nature of the universe and the existence of living beings.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vaiśeṣika

Viśeṣa (विशेष, “particularity”): By means of viśeṣa, we are able to perceive substances as different from one another (according to the Vaiśeṣika school). As the ultimate atoms are innumerable so are the viśeṣas.

(Source): Wikipedia: Vaisheshika
Vaisheshika book cover
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Vaisheshika (वैशेषिक, vaiśeṣika) refers to a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. Vaisheshika deals with subjects such as logic, epistemology, philosophy and expounds concepts similar to Buddhism in nature

Ayurveda (science of life)

Viśeṣa (विशेष, “dissimilarity”):—One of the six padārtha (or ‘basic categories’) which should be known to every Physician if he wants to understand the science of life.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Viśeṣa (विशेष):—While sāmānya denotes similarity and as such brings unity and causes increase, Viśeṣa is opposite to that e.g. meaning dissimilarity causing discrimination and decrease. The physician looking to aggravation and diminution of doṣas etc., should administer dravy for their increase and decrease according to sāmānya nad viśeṣa.

(Source): Google Books: Essentials of Ayurveda
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.


Viśeṣa (विशेष).—Mahat and others; from them came the aṇḍa or universe; all water; from this came the fish (Puruṣa) with body. Hiraṇyagarbha with four faces.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 4. 75-8.
(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.

Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Viśeṣa (विशेष).—Specific nature causing a difference; difference; specific feature; cf. सामान्यग्रहणे विशेषानतिदेशः (sāmānyagrahaṇe viśeṣānatideśaḥ) (Paribhāṣā) cf. also यस्तु प्रयुङ्क्ते कुशलो विशेषे (yastu prayuṅkte kuśalo viśeṣe) etc. M. Bh. in Āhnika 1; cf. also क्रियावाचकमाख्यातमुपसर्गो विशेषकृत् (kriyāvācakamākhyātamupasargo viśeṣakṛt) Uvvaṭa on V.Pr.VIII.50.

(Source): Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
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Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Viśeṣa (विशेष).—The difference between diagonal and the side of a square, especially when expressed in terms of the side. Note: Viśeṣa is a Sanskrit technical term used in ancient Indian sciences such as Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry.

(Source): Wikibooks (hi): Sanskrit Technical Terms
Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha or jyotish) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Viśeṣa (विशेष) refers to one of the 93 alaṃkāras (“figures of speech”) mentioned by Cirañjīva Bhaṭṭācārya (fl. 17th century) in his Kāvyavilāsa and is listed as one of the 89 arthālaṃkāras (figure of speech determined by the sense, as opposed to sound).—Rudraṭa is the first Ālaṃkārika to admit viśeṣa as a separate alaṃkāra. Mammaṭa in his kāvyaprakāśa has treated this figure of speech (X/203) and its three fold varieties. Ruyyaka in his Ālaṃkāra-sarvasva has mentioned these three types following Mammaṭa.

Cirañjīva has defined viśeṣa as—“viśeṣaḥ khyātamādhāraṃ vinā’pyādheyavarṇane”.—“When a thing contained as deliniated as subsisting without its accepted container, it is the figure viśeṣa”. Cirañjīva’s definition is actually slightly modified form of the definition of Candrāloka (C.L. V/85) of Jayadeva and also the definition of Appayyadīkṣita’s Kuvalayānanda (Kuv. P. 227), which runs thus—“viśesaḥ khyātamādhāraṃ vināpyādheyavarṇanam”.

Example of the viśeṣa-alaṃkāra:—

astaṃ gate vijayasiṃhamahīmahendre mūnaṃ vibhānti bhuvaneṣu guṇāstadīyāḥ |
durīkṛte mṛgamade cirameva pātrā—dujjṛmbhate parimalo vimalaḥ sa ko’pi ||

“After the death of Vijaya Siṃha, the great ruler of earth his merits are shining verily in the world. Even after the removal of musk from a container forever some kind of pure fragrance continues to spread out”.

Notes: In this verse it has been said that Vijaya Siṃha the famous ruler of the earth has left the mortal abode but his merits are shining as before in this world. This may be compared to the fact that even after the removal of a musk from a container a sweet fragrance of the musk still spread out. Here the king Vijaya Siṃha is accepted as the container and his merits are contained. In the absence of the king Vijaya Siṃha i.e. the container the merits i.e. the contained is described to exist. So this is an example of viśeṣa.

(Source): Shodhganga: The Kavyavilasa of Ciranjiva Bhattacarya (natyashastra)
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).

Discover the meaning of vishesha or visesa in the context of Natyashastra from relevant books on Exotic India

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Viśeṣa (विशेष).—What is meant by viśeṣa or “specific” in the aphorism? Specific here implies the specificity of an object, e.g. specific commitment, specific commencement etc is added to each type of substrata (adhikaraṇa).

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 6: Influx of karmas
General definition book cover
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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.

Discover the meaning of vishesha or visesa in the context of General definition from relevant books on Exotic India

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

visesa : (m.) 1. distinction; difference; 2. attainment.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Visesa, (fr. vi+śiṣ, cp. Epic Sk. viśeṣa) 1. (mark of) distinction, characteristic, discrimination A. I, 267; S. IV, 210; J. II, 9; Miln. 29; VvA. 58, 131; PvA. 50, 60.—2. elegance, splendour, excellence J. V, 151; DhA. I, 399.—3. distinction, peculiar merit or advantage, eminence, excellence, extraordinary state D. I, 233 (so for vivesa all through?); A. III, 349 (opp. hāna); J. I, 435; VvA. 157 (puñña°); PvA. 71 (id.), 147 (sukha°).—4. difference, variety SnA 477, 504; VvA. 2; PvA. 37, 81, 135 (pl. = items). Abl. visesato, distinctively, altogether PvA. 1, 259.—5. specific idea (in meditation), attainment J. VI, 69: see & cp. Brethren 24, n. 1; 110.—Cp. paṭi°.

—âdhigama specific attainment A. IV, 22; M. II, 96; Nett 92; Miln. 412; DhA. I, 100. (Cp. BSk. viśeṣadhigama Divy 174). —gāmin reaching distinction, gaining merit A. II, 185; III, 349 sq.; S. V, 108. —gū reaching a higher state or attainment J. VI, 573. —paccaya ground for distinction VvA. 20. —bhāgiya participating in, or leading to distinction or progress (spiritually) D. III, 272 sq. 277, 282; Nett 77; Vism. 11, 88 (abstr. °bhāgiyatā). (Page 641)

(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.

Marathi-English dictionary

viśēṣa (विशेष).—m (S) A distinguishing or characteristic attribute, property, or mark; a particularity or speciality: also individuality or specific quality. 2 A particular thing; an individual; an object distinguished by some attribute or adjunct. 3 An exception. 4 In arithmetic. Difference.

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viśēṣa (विशेष).—m S The sap of Boswellia serrata, Olibanum or frankincense.

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viśēṣa (विशेष).—a (S) Extraordinary, singular, eminent, remarkable for some particular or point. Used popularly in the sense of Much, more, greater, exceeding, surpassing. 2 (Used as ad for viśēṣēṃ- karūna) Particularly or especially.

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

viśēṣa (विशेष).—m A distinguishing mark. A part- cular thing. An exception. Frank- incense. a Extraordinary.

(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

Viśeṣa (विशेष).—a.

1) Peculiar.

2) Copious, abundant; आसीद्विशेषा फलपुष्पवृष्टिः (āsīdviśeṣā phalapuṣpavṛṣṭiḥ) R.2.14.

-ṣaḥ 1 Discrimination, distinguishing between.

2) Distinction, difference; निर्विशेषो विशेषः (nirviśeṣo viśeṣaḥ) Bh.3.5.

3) Characteristic difference, peculiar mark, special property, speciality, differentia; oft. in comp. and translated by 'special', 'peculiar' &c.; विशेषं नाधिगच्छामो गायतो राघवस्य च (viśeṣaṃ nādhigacchāmo gāyato rāghavasya ca) Rām. 7.94.14; प्रत्यादिष्टविशेषमण्डनविधिः (pratyādiṣṭaviśeṣamaṇḍanavidhiḥ) Ś.6.5.

4) A favourable turn or crisis in sickness, a change for the better; अस्ति मे विशेषः (asti me viśeṣaḥ) Ś.3 'I feel better'.

5) A limb, member; पुपोष लावण्यमयान् विशेषान् (pupoṣa lāvaṇyamayān viśeṣān) Ku.1.25.

6) A species, sort, variety, kind, mode (usually at the end of comp.); पञ्चत्वाय विशेषाय कल्पते भुवनैः सह (pañcatvāya viśeṣāya kalpate bhuvanaiḥ saha) Bhāg.11.23.21; भूतविशेषः (bhūtaviśeṣaḥ) U.4; परिमलविशेषान् (parimalaviśeṣān) Pt.1; कदलीविशेषाः (kadalīviśeṣāḥ) Ku.1.36.

7) A different or various object, various particulars (pl.); प्रासादास्त्वां तुलयितुमलं यत्र तैस्तैर्विशेषैः (prāsādāstvāṃ tulayitumalaṃ yatra taistairviśeṣaiḥ) Me.66,59.

8) Excellence, superiority, distinction; usually at the end of comp. and translated by 'excellent', 'distinguished', 'pre-eminent', 'choice', &c.; अनुभावविशेषात्तु (anubhāvaviśeṣāttu) R.1.37; वपुर्विशेषेषु (vapurviśeṣeṣu) Ku.5.31; R.2.7;6.5; Ki.9.58; so आकृति- विशेषाः (ākṛti- viśeṣāḥ) 'excellent forms', अतिथिविशेषः (atithiviśeṣaḥ) 'a distinguished guest' &c.

9) A peculiar attribute, the eternal distinguishing nature of each of the nine dravyas; अयमस्माद् व्यावृत्त इति व्यावृत्तिबुद्धिमात्रहेतुर्विशेषः (ayamasmād vyāvṛtta iti vyāvṛttibuddhimātraheturviśeṣaḥ) Tarka K. (these viśeṣas are said to inhere in the atoms of the Earth, Water, Light, and Air and the five eternal substances, Ether, Time, Space, Soul and Mind.); पञ्च चैव विशेषा वै तथा पञ्चेन्द्रियाणि च (pañca caiva viśeṣā vai tathā pañcendriyāṇi ca) Mb.12.36.29; Bhāg.2.5.29.

1) (a) Individuality, particularity. (b) A particular instance; उक्तिरर्थान्तरन्यासः स्यात् सामान्यविशेषयोः (uktirarthāntaranyāsaḥ syāt sāmānyaviśeṣayoḥ)

11) A category, predicament.

12) A mark on the forehead with sandal, saffron &c.

13) A word which limits or qualifies the sense of another; see विशेषण (viśeṣaṇa).

14) Name of the mundane egg.

15) (In Rhet.) A figure of speech, said to be of three kinds; it is thus defined by Mammaṭa :- विना प्रसिद्धमाधारमाधेयस्य व्यवस्थितिः । एकात्मा युगपद्वृत्तिरेकस्यानेक- गोचरा । अन्यत् प्रकुर्वतः कार्यमशक्यान्यस्य वस्तुनः । तथैव करणं चेति विशेषस्त्रिविधः स्मृतः (vinā prasiddhamādhāramādheyasya vyavasthitiḥ | ekātmā yugapadvṛttirekasyāneka- gocarā | anyat prakurvataḥ kāryamaśakyānyasya vastunaḥ | tathaiva karaṇaṃ ceti viśeṣastrividhaḥ smṛtaḥ) || K. P.1.

16) (In geom.) The hypotenuse.

(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.

Relevant definitions

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