1. Vetaraṇī.– A river in the great hell (Mahā niraya) (S.i.21; SN. vs. 674).
Buddhaghosa explains (SNA.ii.482) that this is the name of the great caustic river (mahatā khāraodikā nadī) referred to in the Devadatta Sutta (M.iii.185). Its waters are sharp and bitter (tinhadhārā, khuradhārā) (SN. vs. 674; cf. J.v.269), and the river flows by the Asipattavana. When beings enter it to bathe and drink (because it looks like a sheet of water) they are hacked by swords and other sharp weapons that stand concealed along the river bank. Sometimes Vetaraṇī is used in a general way to indicate hell. (As “desanāsīsa” — e.g. J.iii.473; SA.i.48; cf. J.iv.273). Those guilty of abortion are reborn in the Vetaraṇī-