Yavana, Yāvana: 22 definitions

Introduction

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

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia

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: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

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

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: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

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.

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.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

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).

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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Kavya (poetry)

Source: Wisdom Library: Kavya

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: Shodhganga: The Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara

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.

context information

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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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: Pure Bhakti: Bhagavad-gita (4th edition)

Yavana (यवन) refers to “barbarian, i.e. one who does not follow a pure lifestyle”. (cf. Glossary page from Śrīmad-Bhagavad-Gītā).

Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: archive.org: Indian Historical Quarterly Vol. 7

Yavana (यवन) is the name of a country (possibly identified with the Greek), classified as Hādi (a type of Tantrik division), according to the 13th century Sammoha-tantra (fol. 7).—There are ample evidences to prove that the zone of heterodox Tantras went far beyond the natural limits of India. [...] The zones in the Sammoha-tantra [viz., Yavana] are here fixed according to two different Tantrik modes, known as Kādi and Hādi.

India history and geogprahy

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

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

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 Yona or Yavana Kings of the time of the Legendary King Ashoka

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: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Yavana.—(EI 26; CII 1), originally, an Ionian Greek; then, people of Greek nationality; ultimately, any foreigner. Note: yavana 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 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

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 Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

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

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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Yavana (यवन).—[yu-yuc]

1) A Greek, an Ionian.

2) Any foreigner, or barbarian; Ms.1.44; (the word is applied at present to a Mahomedan or a European also).

3) A carrot.

4) Olibanum.

5) A courser or swift horse.

6) Speed.

7) Wheat.

8) A kind of grass.

-nāḥ (m. pl.)

1) The Ionians or Greeks.

2) The Greek astrologers.

-nam Mixing, mingling (esp. with water).

Derivable forms: yavanaḥ (यवनः).

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Yāvana (यावन).—a. (- f.) [यवन-अण्, युणिच् ल्यु वा (yavana-aṇ, yuṇic lyu vā)] Belonging to the Yavanas; न वदेद् यावनीं भाषां प्राणैः कण्ठगतैरपि (na vaded yāvanīṃ bhāṣāṃ prāṇaiḥ kaṇṭhagatairapi) Subhāṣ.

-naḥ Incense.

-nam Mixing, mingling.

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

Yāvana (यावन).—[ (in Sanskrit recorded only as adj.) = Sanskrit yavana, a barbarian people (Greek, or western): śaka- yāvana-cīṇa-ramaṭha- etc. Mahāvastu i.171.14 (verse), so Senart, by em. But nearer to mss. would be śaka-yavana-cīṇa- ramaṭhā, which is also better metrically; read so.]

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

Yavana (यवन).—m.

(-naḥ) 1. A Country; probably Bactria, or it may be extended from that colony to Ionia, (to which word it bears some resemblance,) or still further to Greece: by late Hindu writers, it is most commonly applied to Arabia. 2. A Yavana, apparently originally a Greek, but since applied to both the Mohammedan and European invaders of India, and often used as a general term for any foreign or barbarous race. 3. Speed, velocity. 4. A swift horse. 5. Wheat. 6. A carrot. f. (-nī) The wife of a Yavana. E. yu to mix, aff. yuc; or ju to be swift, and the consonant changed to its analogous semi-vowel; or yoni the womb, (of the cow of Vasish- T'Ha,) and aṇ aff.; being born for the purpose of opposing the armies of Viswamitra.

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Yavāna (यवान).—mfn.

(-naḥ-nī-naṃ) Swift, fleet. f. (-nī) 1. A plant, (Ligusticum ajwaen.) 2. Bad barley. E. yava speed, to possess, prefix añ, and aff. ḍa; also with kan added, fem. form yavānikā .

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Yāvana (यावन).—mfn.

(-naḥ-nī-naṃ) Belonging or relating to a Yavana, lonian, &c. m.

(-naḥ) Incense. E. yavana the country of the Yavanas, aṇ aff.

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

Yavana (यवन).—1. [adjective] keeping off (—°).

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Yavana (यवन).—2. [masculine] a Greek or Muhammedan ([feminine] ī), i.[grammar] a foreigner.

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Yāvana (यावन).—1. [adjective] born among the Yavanas; [masculine] *incense.

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Yāvana (यावन).—2. [neuter] removing, keeping off.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Aufrecht Catalogus Catalogorum

1) Yavana (यवन) as mentioned in Aufrecht’s Catalogus Catalogorum:—Nakṣatracūḍāmaṇi.

2) Yavanā (यवना):—yavanāḥ foreign (or greek) astronomers. Quoted by Varāhamihira in Bṛhajjātaka Oxf. 329^a, by Keśavārka Bhr. p. 30, by his commentator Viśvanātha Oxf. 338^a.

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

1) Yavana (यवन):—1. yavana mfn. (√1. yu) keeping away, averting (See dveṣo-yavana).

2) 2. yavana n. (√2. yu) mixing, mingling ([especially] with water), [Nyāyamālā-vistara]

3) 3. yavana mfn. quick, swift

4) m. a swift horse, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.] ([probably] [wrong reading] for javana).

5) Yavāna (यवान):—[from yavana] a mfn. quick, swift, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.] ([probably] [wrong reading] for javāna).

6) Yavana (यवन):—4. yavana [wrong reading] for paijavana, [Manu-smṛti vii, 41.]

7) 5. yavana m. an Ionian, Greek (or a king of the Greeks [gana] kambojādi; in later times also a Muhammadan or European, any foreigner or barbarian), [Manu-smṛti; Mahābhārata] etc.

8) Name of a caste, [Gautama-dharma-śāstra] ([according to] to [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.] ‘the legitimate son of a Kṣatriya and a Vaiśyā’ or ‘an Ugra who is an elephant catcher’) of a country (= yavana-deśa, sometimes applied to Ionia, Greece, Bactria, and more recently to Arabia), [Horace H. Wilson]

9) wheat, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

10) a carrot, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

11) olibanum, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

12) [plural] the Ionians, Greeks ([especially] the Greek astrologers), [Mahābhārata; Varāha-mihira’s Bṛhat-saṃhitā] etc.

13) Name of a dynasty, [Purāṇa]

14) n. salt from saline soil, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

15) Yavāna (यवान):—b See above.

16) Yāvana (यावन):—1. yāvana mf(ī)n. ([from] yavana; for 2. and 3. See p. 853, col. 1) born or produced in the land of the Yavanas, [Prāyaścitta-tattva]

17) m. olibanum, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

18) [from yu] 2. yāvana n. ([from] [Causal]; for 1. See p. 852, col. 3; for 3. below) keeping off, removing, [Nirukta, by Yāska; Sāyaṇa]

19) [from yu] 3. yāvana n. ([from] [Causal]) uniting, joining, mixing (See a-y).

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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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