In Hinduism

In Hinduism, the Gandharvas (Sanskrit: गंधर्व, "gandharva") are male nature spirits, husbands of the Apsaras. Some are part animal, usually a bird or horse. They have superb musical skills. They guarded the Soma and made beautiful music for the gods in their palaces. A connection between their name and that of the Greek centaurs was proposed in the 19th century, but has met with strong opposition from some Indo-Europeanists.Fact|date=July 2007

In Hindu theology, Gandharvas act as messengers between the gods and humans. In Hindu law, a Gandharva marriage is one contracted by mutual consent and without formal rituals.

Gandharvas are mentioned extensively in the epic Mahabharata as associated with the Devas (as dancers and singers) and with the Yakshas, as formidable warriors. They are mentioned as spread across various territories.

In Buddhism

A Gandharva (Sanskrit) or Gandhabba (Pāli) is one of the lowest-ranking devas in Buddhist theology. They are classed among the Cāturmahārājikakāyika devas, and are subject to the Great King IAST|Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Guardian of the East. Beings are reborn among the Gandharvas as a consequence of having practiced the most basic form of ethics (Janavasabha-sutta, DN.18). It was considered embarrassing for a monk to be born in no better birth than that of a gandharva.

Gandharvas can fly through the air, and are known for their skill as musicians. They are connected with trees and flowers, and are described as dwelling in the scents of bark, sap, and blossom. They are among the beings of the wilderness that might disturb a monk meditating alone.

The terms gandharva and IAST|yakṣa are sometimes used for the same person; IAST|yakṣa in these cases is the more general term, including a variety of lower deities.

Among the notable gandharvas are mentioned (in DN.20 and DN.32) Panāda, Opamañña, IAST|Naḷa, Cittasena, Rājā. Janesabha is probably the same as Janavasabha, a rebirth of King Bimbisāra of Magadha. Mātali the Gandharva is the charioteer for Śakra.

Timbarū was a chieftain of the gandharvas. There is a romantic story told about the love between his daughter Bhaddā Suriyavaccasā (Sanskrit: Bhadrā Sūryavarcasā) and another gandharva, Pañcasikha (Sanskrit: Pañcaśikha). Pañcasikha fell in love with Suriyavaccasā when he saw her dancing before Śakra, but she was then in love with Sikhandī (or Sikhaddi), son of Mātali the charioteer. Pañcasikha then went to Timbarū's home and played a melody on his lute of "beluva"-wood, on which he had great skill, and sang a love-song in which he interwove themes about the Buddha and his Arhats.

Later, Śakra prevailed upon Pañcasikha to intercede with the Buddha so that Śakra might have an audience with him. As a reward for Pañcasikha's services, Śakra was able to get Suriyavaccasā, already pleased with Pañcasikha's display of skill and devotion, to agree to marry Pañcasikha.

Pañcasikha also acts as a messenger for the Four Heavenly Kings, conveying news from them to Mātali, the latter representing Śakra and the IAST|Trāyastriṃśa devas.

"Gandharva" or "gandhabba" is also used in a completely different sense, referring to a being (or, strictly speaking, part of the causal continuum of consciousness) in a liminal state between birth and death.


There is a belief that these gandharvas will occasionally visit earth and persuade young unmarried women and vanish after making them pregnant and leaving the life of these women in grief,they are absolutely charming and are loved by women on this earth.

In Indian Classical Music

There are many singers who were popularly known as Gandharvas for their mastery of Indian Classical Music. All of them, at one time or another, were theater personalities who acted in various musicals. Their style of Music is known as Natya Sangeet in Marathi Language, literally meaning Dramatic Music. They were not related to each other in any way except that the vast majority of the general population, dominantly in the State of Maharashtra of India, regarded them as the masters of the Indian Classical Music. Refimprove|date=April 2007

See also

*Gan Gangharva Yesudas (concerning a musician who goes by the name "Gandharva")
* Gandharva Kingdom

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • gandharva — [gɑ̃daʀva] n. m. ÉTYM. 1878, in P. Larousse; sanskrit gandharva . ❖ ♦ Didact. Génie masculin du panthéon védique. 0 Les gandharvas, les musiciens célestes, ainsi que les apsaras, les danseuses célestes, qui sont leur contre partie féminine,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Gandharva — Gandharva, in der ind. Mythologie eine Klasse niederer Götter, hieß im Veda, wie es scheint, ursprünglich im Luft und Lichtreich heimische Genien, Behüter des Göttertrankes Soma, Gefährten der Apsaras (s.d.). Sie walten vielfach über dem… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • gandharva — gandhàrva m DEFINICIJA mit. polubožanstvo stare hinduističke i budističke mitologije ETIMOLOGIJA skr …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Gandharva — Para otros usos de este término, véase Gandharva (desambiguación). Los gandharvas son un tipo de deidades en el budismo y el hinduismo. Contenido 1 En el hinduismo 2 En el budismo 3 Otros usos …   Wikipedia Español

  • Gandharva — Ein Gandharva (Sanskrit, m., गन्घर्व, gandharva) ist in den hinduistischen Veden eine Gottheit, die die Geheimnisse des Himmels und der göttlichen Wahrheit kennt und offenbart. Er ist eine Personifizierung des Lichts der Sonne. Seine Aufgabe ist… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gandharva — Catégorie de divinités secondaires de l hindouisme, les gandharva sont les musiciens célestes. Portail de la mythologie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • gandharvá — गन्धर्व …   Indonesian dictionary

  • gāndharvá — गान्धर्व …   Indonesian dictionary

  • gandharva — celestial being situated in the higher planets who are especially noted for their expertise in singing and music …   The Bhaktivedanta encyclopedia

  • Gandharva — …   Useful english dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.