Vrata, aka: Vrāta; 11 Definition(s)


Vrata 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.

In Hinduism


Vrata (व्रत) refers to certain “religious practices” once prevalent in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) as mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—The term vrata means here a religious observance, a sacred undertaking regarding some restriction on behaviour or food. These vratas may be classified as purificatory and devotional with reference to their purpose and as Śaiva, Vaiṣṇava, Śākta, Saura etc. with reference to the deities presiding over them. Similarly, the festivals may be seasonal, historical and religious—the last group further divisible into Śaiva, Vaiṣṇava etc.

(Source): archive.org: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

Vrata (व्रत).—Controls ordained by Vedic Saṃhitās are called Vratas. It is known as tapas (penance) also. Vratas are Avadama etc. When it involves mortifications of the body (tapas) it is called tapas or penance. Controlling the organs of sense is called niyama (control). Vrata, fast and restraining or control are always good. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 175).

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Vrata (व्रत).—A son of Cākṣuṣa Manu.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 13. 16.

1b) A god of the Ābhūtaraya group.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 36. 56.

1c) Vows enumerated.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa Ch. 101 (whole).

2) Vrāta (व्रात).—A son of Kṛtamjaya.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 287.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
context information

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.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Vrata (व्रत) or Vratapratimā represents the second of eleven pratimā (stages) laid down for Jain laymen. Vrata-pratimā refers to “keeping up the twelve vows and the extra vow of Sallekhanā.” according to J. L. Jaini in his “outlines of Jainism” (pp. 67-70).

These pratimās (eg., vrata) form a series of duties and performances, the standard and duration of which rises periodically and which finally culminates in an attitude resembling monkhood. Thus the pratimās rise by degrees and every stage includes all the virtues practised in those preceeding it. The conception of eleven pratimās appears to be the best way of exhibiting the rules of conduct prescribved for the Jaina laymen.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Vrata (व्रत, “vow”).—Jainism gives a long list of actions constituting the right conduct for a householder and for a monk separately. However, the five vows mentioned below constitute the necessary ingredients of the behaviour of everyone, wether he be a householder or a monk. These five vows are known as Pañcamahāvrata (Panchamahavrata):

  1. Ahiṃsā (non-violence),
  2. Satya (truthfulness),
  3. Asteya (non-stealing),
  4. Brahmacarya (celibacy),
  5. Aparigraha (non-possession or non-attachment).

Besides these Mahāvratas (great vows) Jainism prescribes manyu more Aṇuvratas (supplementary vows) for a householder and still more for a monk. The chief supplementary vows for a householder are divided into (i) Guṇavrata and (ii) Śikṣāvrata.

The former (guṇavrata) again are divided into

  1. Digvrata,
  2. Desāvakāśikavrata,
  3. Ānarthadanadavrata.

(The Śvetāmbara tradition replaced deśāvakāśikavrata by bhogopabhoga-vrata).

The latter (śikṣāvrata) are sub-divided into:

  1. Sāmāyika-vrata,
  2. Proṣadhopavāsa-vrata,
  3. Bhogopabhoga-vrata,
  4. Atihisaṃvighāga-vrata.

(As the Śvetāmbara tradition includes bhogopabhoga in the Guṇavratas, so it replaces it here by deśāvakāsika-vrata).

(Source): Google Books: Comparative Religion (Jainism)

Vrata (व्रत).—Five aṇu-vratas, three guṇa-vratas, and four śikṣā-vratas, makinga total of twelve, are listed in the Upāsaka-daśāḥ, together with the supplementary, and by its nature non-obligatory, sallekhanā-vrata. The aṇu-vratas are of course closely parallel to the mahā-vratas of an ascetic; and it is therefore not surprising that some writers have imitated the Daśa-vaikālika-sūtra which counts a sixth mahā-vrata—that of a-rātri-bhojana—in the aṇu-vratas.

It is possible to discern in the treatment of the vratas and their aticāras a number of different traditions: (for example) The orthodox Śvetāmbara tradition rigidly faithful to the Upāsaka-daśāḥ. The Digambara tradition based on the Tattvārtha-sūtra. One significant writer—Somadeva—who alone has not respected the tradition of five aticāras for each vrata.

(Source): archive.org: Jaina Yoga

Vrata (व्रत) refers to one of the eleven pratimās (eleven stages for becoming excellent śrāvaka).—The second stage is called Vrata-pratimā. This second rung of the ladder of the householder’s evolution of conduct comprises the scrupulous observance of Aṇūvratas, Gūṇavratas and Śikṣāvratas. We have already dwelt upon the nature of these vratas, so need not turn to them again.

(Source): HereNow4U: Śrāvakācāra (Ethics of the Householder)

Vrata (व्रत, “vow”) refers to the “fivefold vow” according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 7.1.—“Desisting from injury (hiṃsā), falsehood (asatya), stealing (steya or corikā), un-chastity (abrahma) and attachment (parigraha) is the (fivefold) vow (vrata)”. Non-violence (ahiṃsā) is mentioned first as it is the primary or most important vow. Just as the surrounding fence protects the cereals in the field, similarly non-violence safeguards the truth etc.

What is the purpose of describing these vows (vrata) by the preceptors? The purpose is to describe the path of spiritual purification so that the living beings can attain liberation from the cycle of transmigression. Liberation is free from both abstinence and indulgence and is the eternal existence in the nature of the self. Vows here are described more for indulgence in auspicious activities rather than abstinence in nature.

What is the benefit of the five contemplations of non-violence vow (vrata)? They cause purification of the psychical thoughts and result in innumerably faster dissociation of karmas.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 7: The Five Vows
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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

vrata (व्रत).—n (S) Any self-imposed religious observance or obligation to hold it; a course imposed of works or sufferings; or a vow made to do or bear. māsavrata An observance occupying a month: varṣavrata....a year.

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

vrata (व्रत).—n A religious observance. A vow.

(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

Vrata (व्रत).—[vraj-gha jasya taḥ]

1) A religious act of devotion or austerity, vowed observance, a vow in general; अभ्यस्यतीव व्रतमासिधारम् (abhyasyatīva vratamāsidhāram) R.13.67;2.4,25; (there are several vratas enjoined in the different Purāṇas; but their number cannot be said to be fixed, as new ones, e. g. satyanārāṃyaṇavrata, are being added every day).

2) A vow, promise, resolve; सोऽभूद् भग्नव्रतः शत्रूनुद्धृत्य प्रतिरोपयन् (so'bhūd bhagnavrataḥ śatrūnuddhṛtya pratiropayan) R.17.42; so सत्यव्रत, पुण्यव्रत, दृढव्रत (satyavrata, puṇyavrata, dṛḍhavrata) &c.

3) Object of devotion or faith, devotion; as in पतिव्रताः (pativratāḥ) (patirvrataṃ yasyāḥ sā); यान्ति देवव्रता देवान् पितॄन् यान्ति पितृव्रताः (yānti devavratā devān pitṝn yānti pitṛvratāḥ) Bg.9.25.

4) A rite, an observance, practice, as in अर्कव्रत (arkavrata) q. v; Śabaraswāmin difines it as पुरुषाणां क्रियार्थानां शरीरधारणार्थो बलकरणार्थश्चायं संस्कारो व्रतं नाम (puruṣāṇāṃ kriyārthānāṃ śarīradhāraṇārtho balakaraṇārthaścāyaṃ saṃskāro vrataṃ nāma) ŚB. on MS.4.3.8.

5) Mode of life, course of conduct; अथ तु वेत्सि शुचि व्रतमात्मनः (atha tu vetsi śuci vratamātmanaḥ) Ś.5.27.

6) An ordinance, a law, rule.

7) Sacrifice.

8) An act, deed, work.

9) A design, plan.

1) Mental activity; व्रतमिति च मानसं कर्म उच्यते (vratamiti ca mānasaṃ karma ucyate) ŚB. on MS.6.2.2.

11) Celibacy; व्रतलोपनम् (vratalopanam) Ms.11.61 (com. brahmacāriṇo maithunam); Mb.12.11.22. (com. vrataṃ brahmacaryādyupetamadhyayanam).

Derivable forms: vrataḥ (व्रतः), vratam (व्रतम्).

--- OR ---

Vrāta (व्रात).—A multitude, group, flock, an assemblage; श्वपाकानां व्रातैः (śvapākānāṃ vrātaiḥ) G. L.29; R.12.94; Śi.4.35.

-tam 1 Bodily or manual labour.

2) Day-labour.

3) Casual employment.

4) The company or attendants at a marriage feast.

Derivable forms: vrātaḥ (व्रातः).

(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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