Yoni, aka: Yonī; 16 Definition(s)


Yoni means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, 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

Ayurveda (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
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.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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
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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Vastushastra (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
Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Yoni (योनि).—Place of origin: cf. तपः श्रुतं च योनिश्च एतद् ब्राह्मणकारणम् (tapaḥ śrutaṃ ca yoniśca etad brāhmaṇakāraṇam), M. Bh. on P. V.1.115: cf. also M.Bh. on P.IV.1. 48 Vart. 9; cf. also ओष्ठयोनिरोष्ठयः (oṣṭhayoniroṣṭhayaḥ).

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.

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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Yoni (योनि) refers to a specific part of the kuṇḍas “fire-pit” described in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Īśvarasaṃhitā, dealing with the classification of the places for building the fire-pits.  Accordingly, “two parts each are to be marked for yoni like a semi-circle so as n would stay on the western part of the two sides of the string in the middle. Making into two strings reach the two curved edges of the elevated part, it shall be stretched upto the region of the earth dug (for the purpose) from its base to resemble the banyan leaf. Thus is formed the auspicious yoni for all fire pits”.

Source: archive.org: Isvara Samhita Vol 5
Pancaratra book cover
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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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).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Yoni (योनि, “womb”) refers to four different kind of “births” among men and animals, according to the 2nd century 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.

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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 Nagarjuna 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.

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India history and geogprahy

Yoni (“female generative organs”) refers to a factor taken into consideration, by consulting an astrologer, before marriage among the Agamudaiyans (a cultivating case foundin all the Tamil districts).—The asterisms are supposed to belong to several animals. An [11]individual belongs to the animal to which the asterism under which he was born belongs. For example, a man is a horse if his asterism is Aswini, a cow if his asterism is Uththirattadhi, and so on. The animals of husband and wife must be on friendly terms, and not enemies. The elephant and man, horse and cow, dog and monkey, cat and mouse, are enemies. The animals of man and wife should not both be males. Nor should the man be a female, or the wife a male animal.

Source: Project Gutenberg: Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Volume 1
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

Pali-English dictionary

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.—frequent in foll. combinations: 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”).

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.

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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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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Yoni (योनि).—m. f. [yu-ni Uṇ.4.51]

1) Womb, uterus, vulva, the female organ of generation.

2) Any place of birth or origin, generating cause, spring, fountain; स्वासु योनिषु शाम्यति (svāsu yoniṣu śāmyati) Ms.9.321; सा योनिः सर्ववैराणां सा हि लोकस्य निर्ऋतिः (sā yoniḥ sarvavairāṇāṃ sā hi lokasya nirṛtiḥ) U.5.3; जगद्योनिरयोनिस्त्वम् (jagadyonirayonistvam) Ku.2.9;4.43; oft. at the end of comp. in the sense of 'sprung or produced from'; ये हि संस्पर्शजा भोगा दुःखयोनय एव ते (ye hi saṃsparśajā bhogā duḥkhayonaya eva te) Bg. 5.22.

3) A mine.

4) An abode, a place, repository, seat, receptacle.

5) Home, lair.

6) A family, stock, race, birth, form of existence; as मनुष्ययोनि, पक्षि°, पशु° (manuṣyayoni, pakṣi°, paśu°) &c.

7) The asterism पूर्वफल्गुनी (pūrvaphalgunī).

8) Water.

9) The base (of a sāman) i. e. the ऋक् (ṛk) which is set to music and sung as सामन् (sāman); योनिश्चासौ शस्या च योनिशस्या (yoniścāsau śasyā ca yoniśasyā) ŚB. on MS. 7.2.17.

1) Copper; L. D. B.

11) The primary cause; कला पञ्चदशी योनिस्तद्धाम प्रतिबुध्यते (kalā pañcadaśī yonistaddhāma pratibudhyate) Mb.12.34.4.

12) The source of understanding; एषा धर्मस्य वो योनिः समासेन प्रकीर्तिता (eṣā dharmasya vo yoniḥ samāsena prakīrtitā) Ms.2.25 (com. yonirjñaptikāraṇaṃ 'vedo'khilo dharmamūlam' ityā- dinoktamityarthaḥ).

13) Longing for, desire (vāsanā); संसार- सागरगमां योनिपातालदुस्तराम् (saṃsāra- sāgaragamāṃ yonipātāladustarām) Mb.12.25.15.

14) Seed, grain. °पोषणम् (poṣaṇam) the growing of seed.

Derivable forms: yoniḥ (योनिः).

--- OR ---

Yonī (योनी).—See योनि (yoni).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Yoni (योनि).—mfn. (-niḥ-niḥ or -nī) 1. The vulva. 2. A mine. 3. Cause, origin. 4. Water. 5. Place or site of birth or production in general. 6. A repository, a seat. 7. Home, abode, nest. 8. A form of existence, race, birth, as in “devayoni,” &c. E. yu to join or mix, Unadi aff. ni .

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