Yavana, aka: Yāvana; 13 Definition(s)


Yavana means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, 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


Yavana in Purana glossary... « previous · [Y] · next »

Yavana (यवन).—General. There are many references to Yavanas and the land of Yavanas in the Purāṇas. There is a statement in Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva, Chapter 85, Verse 34, that the Yavana rase takes its source from Turvasu, the son of Yayāti. There is another version in Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva, Chapter 174, Verse 36, that Yavanas were born from the womb and the sides of Nandinī. Other details.

(i) Arjuna’s brother Sahadeva once conquered the Yavana land. (Mahābhārata Sabhā Parva, Chapter 31, Verse 73).

(ii) Mahābhārata, Sabhā Parva, Chapter 32, Verse 17, mentions that on another occasion, Nakula defeated the Yavanas.

(iii) According to Mahābhārata, Vana Parva, Chapter 188, Verse 35, the world will be filled with Yavanas and other Mleccha (low class) kings.

(iv) In the course of his conquests, Karṇa once subdued the Yavanas. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 254, Verse 8).

(v) Mahābhārata, Udyoga Parva, Chapter 19, Verse 21, mentions that king Sudakṣiṇa of Kāmboja approached Duryodhana with an "Akṣauhiṇī" along with the Yavanas, to take part in Bhārata Yuddha.

(vi) Mahābhārata, Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 9, Verse 65 states that at the time of Mahābhārata, Yavana land was part of India.

(vii) Originally Yavanas were Kṣatriyas. But they became Śūdras by the curse of Brāhmaṇas. (Mahābhārata Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 35, Verse 18).

(viii) Once there was a duel between a Yavana king and Mucukunda. (For further details, see under Mucukunda). (See full article at Story of Yavana from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Yavana (यवन).—An asura who, induced by Nārada besieged Mathurā with three crores of mlecchas; saw Kṛṣṇa and ran towards him when he fled to a cave. Yavana followed him and in the cave saw somebody sleeping; thought it was Kṛṣṇa and kicked him, when he woke up and burnt the asura to ashes by his energy. The sleeping person was Mucukunda (s.v.).1 Thus he was vanquished by Kṛṣṇa.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 50. 44; 51. 1-23, 42.
  • 2) Ib. II. 7. 34; X. 37. 16; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 73. 102; Vāyu-purāṇa 98. 102.

1b) A tribe on the west of India; a northern kingdom west of Bhāratavarṣa noted for horses;1 attacked Bāhu and was defeated by Sagara; escaped with their moustaches (heads Viṣṇu-purāṇa) shaved and lived in hills and caves; vanquished by Bharata; unsympathetic false and unrighteous; no right for abhiṣeka; eight kings ruled for eighty years2 after the Śakas;3 purified of sin by devotion to Hari;4 originated from Turvasu a son of Yayāti.5

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 16. 12 and 47; 18. 44; 31. 83; IV. 16. 17; 29. 131. Matsya-purāṇa 114. 11. 41; 121. 43; 144. 57; Vāyu-purāṇa 88. 122; 45. 82, 116; 47. 42; 58. 82; 98. 107; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 3. 8.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 8. 5; 20. 30; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 48. 23-6, 44-9; 63. 120-134.
  • 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 1. 30; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 74. 172-5, 200; Matsya-purāṇa 273. 19-20, 25; Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 268, 360, 362, 388; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 3. 42, 47-8.
  • 4) Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 4. 18; IV. 27. 27; 28. 4-5; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 24. 53.
  • 5) Matsya-purāṇa 34. 30; 50. 76.
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.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Yavana (यवन) is the name of a tribe, usually to be represented by a reddish-yellow (gaura) color when painting the limbs (aṅgaracanā), according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 23. The painting is a component of nepathya (costumes and make-up) and is to be done in accordance with the science of āhāryābhinaya (extraneous representation).

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
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).

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Itihasa (narrative history)

Yavanas in Ramayana era.—Evidently, Yavanas established themselves as a community in Afghanistan close to Kabul river at least 1000 years before the Ramayana era. It is mentioned in Balakanda of Ramayana that Vasishtha allied with Kambojas, Pahlavas, Yavanas and Sakas to counter King Vishvamitra.

Yavanas in Mahabharata Era.—In Adi Parva, it is mentioned that a Yavana king was also present in Svayamvara of Panchali. Sabha Parva records that Nakula subjugated Yavanas, Sakas, Pahlavas, Kiratas etc. and made all of them pay tributes. Evidently, Mahabharata generally groups Yavanas with the Kambojas, Sakas and Pahlavas and indicates them to be Mlechchas. Shanti Parva and Anushasana Parva also mentions Yavana kings. Udyoga Parva records that Yavanas, Kambojas and Sakas supported Kauravas in Mahabharata war under the leadership of Kamboja King Saddakshina.

Source: academia.edu: The Yona or Yavana Kings of the time of the Legendary King Ashoka (itihasa)

Yavana (यवन) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.80.26, II.13.13, II.28.49, II.47.12, III.48.20, V.19.21, VI.10.64, VI.20.13, VI.47.7, VI.83.10, VIII.30.80, VIII.51.18) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Yavana) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
context information

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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Kavya (poetry)

Yavana in Kavya glossary... « previous · [Y] · next »

Yavana refers to an ancient district or cultural territory, as mentioned in the 7th-century Mudrārākṣasa written by Viśākhadeva. Yavana corresponds to the Greeks or any Hellenised people.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kavya

Yavana (यवन) is the name a locality mentioned in Rājaśekhara’s 10th-century Kāvyamīmāṃsā.—It is a country of western India by the concepts of Rājaśekhara. It is popularly well-known that the Yavanas were foreigners and they were originally living in countries beyond the Indus. It the Mālavikāgnimitra, Kālidāsa mentions, Yavanas were ruling in the western bank of the river Sindhu. Most possibly the south-eastern part of at Baluchistan may represent the Yavana country which is mention by Rājaśekhar.

Source: Shodhganga: The Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara
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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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India history and geogprahy

Yavana (यवन) is the name of a tribe mentioned as inhabiting the region around ancient Kaśmīra (Kashmir valley) according to the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—By mentioning a Nāga Yavanapriya the Nīlamata refers to the Yavanas—the most esteemed of the foreign people. Mentioned many a time in ancient Indian literature they are grouped with other peoples of Uttarāpatha and have been identified with the Ionians.

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

Yavanas = Ionians: I have already explained the origin of Yavanas in my article titled “The Yona or Yavana kings of the time of the legendary King Ashoka”. A large group of Yavanas migrated to western Anatolia and Greece around 3100-3000 BCE. Evidently, Yavanas or Ionians were the later entrants of Greece. There is no record of Ionians in ancient Greece. The trail of the Ionians begins only in the Mycenaean Greek records of Crete. Greek sources say that Ion, the progenitor of Ionians was the illegitimate son of Xuthus and the brother of Achaeus. Probably, Greek “Xuthus” was identical with Indian “Turvasu”. According to Puranic sources, Yavanas were the cursed sons of King Turvasu, the son of Chandravamsi King Yayati.

Source: academia.edu: The Chronology of Ancient Gandhara and Bactria

The Origin of Yavanas.—According to ancient Indian Puranic literature, Yavanas were the cursed sons of Turvasu, the son of Yayati. King Yayati was the son of Nahusha of the lunar dynasty. Thus, Yavanas originally belonged to the Chandra Vamsa or Lunar Dynasty. King Yayati married Devayani, daughter of Sukracharya, the teacher of Assuras (Ancient Assyrians). He also married Sharmishtha, daughter of Danava king Vrishaparva. Yadu and Turvasu were the sons of Devayani and Yayati. The descendants of Yadu were the Yadavas whereas the descendants of Turvasu were the Yavanas.

Source: academia.edu: The Yona or Yavana Kings of the time of the Legendary King Ashoka
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 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

yavana (यवन).—m (S) An Ionian or Greek; but now applied to a Muhammadan, and to an individual of a foreign race generally.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

yavana (यवन).—m A Mohammedan. An individual of a foreign race.

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.

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