From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Doṣa literally means ‘that which contaminates’, defect.


The word is derived from the root ‘duṣ’ which means ‘to contaminate,’ or ‘to spoil’.


The word ‘doṣa’ has several synonyms such as:

  1. Fault
  2. Sin
  3. Vice
  4. Crime
  5. Disrespect
  6. Abuse
  7. Evil
  8. Deficiency

However, it is also used in a technical sense in certain fields of knowledge.


In Literary Compositions[edit]

In literary compositions doṣa can be of five types. They are:

  1. Padadoṣa - pertaining to the use of the word
  2. Padāmśadoṣa - pertaining to the use of the a part of the word
  3. Vākyadoṣa - pertaining to the use of the sentence
  4. Arthadoṣa - pertaining to the use of the meaning
  5. Rasadoṣa - pertaining to the use of the sentiment

These defects are sometimes raised to ten or even more.

In Logic[edit]

In tarka or logic, the dosas are broadly categorized in two ways. They are:

  1. Lakṣaṇadoṣa - defect in implication meaning
  2. Hetudoṣa - defect in the enumeration of causes

In Ayurveda[edit]

In the Ayurveda, the main constituents of health are the three doṣas or humors:

  1. Kapha - phlegm
  2. Vāta - wind
  3. Pitta - bile

If they are in a balanced state, health will be maintained. Disease results on them being disturbed or imbalanced.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore