From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Vesya, VeZyA, Veshyaa

Veśyā literally means ‘one who lives by selling her body’.

Veśyās, prostitutes and concubines, have existed from ancient times in all the societies of the world. While recognizing their existence as a necessary evil in the society, the dharmaśāstras have made some specific rules for their maintenance and protection. Prostitution seems to have been established as an institution even in the Mahābhārata[1] period.


  1. Mahābhārata Udyogaparva 151.58
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore