Skip to main content


Bhāva (Skt.).
1. In Sāṃkhya, a set of psychological predispositions either eight or fifty in number. The more concise numbering renders them as virtue (dharma), vice (adharma), knowledge (jñāna), ignorance (ajńāna), non-attachment (vīrāga), attachment (rāga), power (aiśvarya), and impotence (anaiśvarya).

These dispositions are an inherent part of human nature. They create the environment in which karma is accumulated or overcome.

2. The emotional dispositions in Hinduism of the bhakta (one engaged in bhakti) to the chosen deity (iṣṭadeva): (i) śanta, peace; (ii) dāsya, servant to master; (iii) sākhya, friend to friend; (iv) vātsalya, parent to child; (v) madhura, wife to husband, lover to beloved.

3. In Buddhism, ‘being’, every kind of manifestation in the three domains of appearance (triloka: see LOKA). It is also the tenth link in chain of conditioned-arising (paticca-samup-pāda).

4. For Jains, bhāva, with dravya, enters deeply into the dynamic of lay and ascetic life. In the quest to disentangle jīva from karma, bhāva represents the spiritual elements whose priority must be secured over against the physical constituents of material appearance (dravya).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Bhāva." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . 19 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Bhāva." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . (February 19, 2019).

"Bhāva." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved February 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.