Yoni; 11 Definition(s)


Yoni means something in Buddhism, Pali, 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

Āyurveda (science of life)

The Yoni (योनि, “female gential tract”) consists of three folds. In its last fold is situated the uterus lying between urinary bladder and rectum.

(Source): Google Books: Essentials of Ayurveda
Āyurveda 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.


1a) Yoni (योनि).—Same as Dhūtapāpā: a river in Kuśadvīpa.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 122. 71.

1b) The sacrificial fire-place, a vitasti in measurement and in appearance like the lips of an elephant.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 265. 34.

1c) From Prakṛti.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 101. 228.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

Yoni (योनि, “womb”) refers to the fourth of āyādiṣaḍvarga, six principles that constitute the “horoscope” of an architectural or iconographic object, according to the Mānasāra. Their application is intended to “verify” the measurements of the architectural and iconographic object against the dictates of astrology that lay out the conditions of auspiciousness.

Yoni is “womb, receptacle” (or “matrix”, as Dagens translates it), and is eight in number. In order from one to eight, they are:

  1. dhvajā or aśvā, mare;
  2. dhūmā, she-buffalo (literally, “smoke”);
  3. siṃhā, lioness;
  4. śunakā, bitch;
  5. vṛṣabhā, cow;
  6. gardabhā, female donkey;
  7. gajā or dantī, elephant;
  8. kākā, female crow.

Among these, the first, third, fifth and seventh yonis are considered auspicious and therefore to be preferred, and the rest, inauspicious and to be avoided.

(Source): McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra
Vāstuśāstra book cover
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Vāstuśāstra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vastu-shastra) refers to the knowledge of architecture. It is a branch of ancient Indian science dealing with topics such architecture, construction, sculpture and their relation with the cosmic universe.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

'modes of generation.' There are 4 generation from the egg, from the mother's womb, from moisture, and spontaneous rebirth (opapātika) in heaven, hell, etc. Explained in M.12.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
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Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).


yoni : (f.) origin; realm of existence; the female organ; knowledge; species.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Yoni, (f.) (Vedic yoni) 1. the womb.—2. origin, way of birth, place of birth, realm of existence; nature, matrix. There are four yonis or ways of being born or generation, viz. aṇḍaja oviparous creation, jalābuja viviparous, saṃsedaja moisture-sprung, opapātika spontaneous: M. I, 73; D. III, 230; Miln. 146; Vism. 552, 557 sq.; cp. VbhA. 203 sq.—Freq. in foll. combns: tiracchāna° the class of animals, the brute creation A. I, 37, 60; V, 269; It. 92; Pv IV. 111; Vism. 103, 427; PvA. 27, 166; nāga° birth among the Nāgas S. III, 240 sq. (in ref. to which the 4 kinds of birth, as mentioned above, are also applied); Vism. 102 (niraya-nāga-yoni); pasu°=tiracchāna° Pv. II, 1312; pisāca° world of the Pisācas S. I, 209; peta° the realm of the Petas PvA. 68 (cp. peta).—kamma° K. as origin A. III, 186.—yoni upaparikkhitabba (=kiṃjātikā etc.) S. III, 42.—ayoni unclean origin Th. 1, 219.—3. thoroughness, knowledge, insight Nett 40.—ayoni superficiality in thought S. I, 203 (“muddled ways” Mrs. Rh. D.).—yoniso (Abl.) “down to its origin or foundation, ” i.e. thoroughly, orderly, wisely, properly, judiciously S. I, 203 (“in ordered governance” K. S. I. 259); D. I, 118 (wisely); It. 30 (āraddha āsavānaṃ khayāya); Pug. 25; Vism. 30, 132, 599; PpA 31. Opp. ayoniso disorderly improperly Pug. 21; DhA. I, 327; PvA. 113, 278.—Esp. frequent in phrase yoniso manasikāra “fixing one’s attention with a purpose or thoroughly, ” proper attention, “having thorough method in one’s thought” (K. S. I. 259) Ps. I, 85 sq.; It. 9; J. I, 116; Miln. 32; Nett 8, 40, 50, 127; Vism. 132; PvA. 63. See also manasikāra.—Opp. ayoniso manasikāra disorderly or distracted attention D. III, 273; VbhA. 148; ThA. 79. In BSk. the same phrase: yoniśo manasikāraḥ Divy 488; AvŚ I. 122; II, 112 (Speyer: “the right & true insight, as the object of consideration really is”). See further on term Dial. III, 218 (“systematized attention”); K. S. I. 131; II, 6 (“radical grasp”).

—ja born from the womb Sn. 620; Dh. 396. —pamukha principal sort of birth D. I, 54; M. I, 517. (Page 559)

(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.

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Yoni (योनि, “womb”) refers to four different kind of “births” among men and animals, according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XIV).—Men (manuṣya) and animals (tiryagyoni) are of four kinds: born from an egg (aṇḍaja), born from exudation (saṃsvedaja), apparitional (upapāduka) or born from a placenta (jarāyuja). These are the four “wombs’ or yoni which are listed in Dīgha, III, p. 230; Majjhima, I, p. 73; etc. To illustrate these four types of birth, the Kāraṇaprajñapti in Tibetan, Vibhāṣā and Kośa (III, p. 28) have gathered a long series of examples. The Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra mentions the cases of Viśākhā, Āmrapāli and Ārāmavāsā.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
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.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Yoni (योनि) or Caturyoni refers to the “four wombs” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 90):

  1. aṇḍaja (egg-born)
  2. saṃsvedaja (moisture-born),
  3. jarāyuja (viviparous),
  4. upapāduka (spontaneously-born).

The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., yoni). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Yoni (योनि).—What is the meaning of nuclei (yoni)? The place of birth of a living being is called nucleus (nuclei is the plural). The nucleus is like a container. What is the difference between birth (janman) and nucleus? Nucleus is the container and birth is like what is contained in it. It can also be said that nucleus is like the foundation and birth is the structure built on the foundation.

How many nuclei (yoni) of birth are there and which are they? There are nine namely living matter (sacitta), cold (śita), covered (saṃvṛta), non living beings (acitta), hot (uṣṇa), exposed (vivṛta), mixed (living and non living being), Hot and cold (śītoṣṇa) and covered-uncovered (saṃvṛta-vivṛta).

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 2: the Category of the living
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.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

yōni (योनि).—f (S) Pundendum muliebre or vulva. Hence 2 Place or seat of birth or production; spring, source, fountain, origin. 3 A form or modification of being; a class or nature of created existence, animate or inanimate. 84,00000 are enumerated. Ex. cauṛyāṃyaśī lakṣa yōni bhōgāvyā tēvhāṃ naradēhācī prāpti. The yōni bearing speciality are manuṣyayōni, paśuyōni, pakṣīyōni, jalajajīvayōni, kīṭakayōni or jīvayōni; then vṛkṣayōni, dhātuyōni &c. The vegetable kingdom, the mineral kingdom &c.

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

yōni (योनि).—f Spring or origin. A form of being.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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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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Caturyoni (चतुर्योनि) or simply Yoni refers to the “four wombs” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgra...
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dhvaja (ध्वज).—m dhvajā f A flag, an ensign, a ban- ner. dhvaja lāvaṇēṃ To signalize one's self...
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Agni (अग्नि) refers to a name-ending for place-names according to Pāṇini VI.2.126. Pāṇini also ...
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