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गन्धर्व (gandharvam

  1. a गन्धर्व [though in later times the गन्धर्वs are regarded as a class, yet in RV. rarely more than one is mentioned; he is designated as the heavenly गन्धर्व (दिव्य ग्°, and is also called विश्वा-वसु and वायु-केश; his habitation is the sky, or the region of the air and the heavenly waters; his especial duty is to guard the heavenly सोम, which the gods obtain through his intervention; it is obtained for the human race by इन्द्र, who conquers the गन्धर्व and takes it by force; the heavenly गन्धर्व is supposed to be a good physician, because the सोम is considered as the best medicine; possibly, however, the word सोम originally denoted not the beverage so called, but the moon, and the heavenly गन्धर्व may have been the genius or tutelary deity of the moon; in one passage the heavenly गन्धर्व and the सोम are identified; he is also regarded as one of the genii who regulate the course of the Sun's horses; he knows and makes known the secrets of heaven and divine truths generally; he is the parent of the first pair of human beings, यम and यमी, and has a peculiar mystical power over women and a right to possess them; for this reason he is invoked in marriage ceremonies; ecstatic states of mind and possession by evil spirits are supposed to be derived from the heavenly गन्धर्व (compare -गृहीत, -ग्रह); the गन्धर्वs as a class have the same characteristic features as the one गन्धर्व; they live in the sky, guard the सोम, are governed by वरुण (just as the आप्सरसs are governed by सोम), know the best medicines, regulate the course of the asterisms; hence twenty-seven are mentioned, follow after women and are desirous of intercourse with them; as soon as a girl becomes marriageable, she belongs to सोम, the गन्धर्वs, and अग्नि; the wives of the गन्धर्वs are the आप्सरसs (compare गन्धर्वाप्सरस्), and like them the गन्धर्वs are invoked in gambling with dice; they are also feared as evil beings together with the राक्षसs, किमीदिन्s, पिशाचs, etc., amulets being worn as a protection against them; they are said to have revealed the वेदs to वाच्, and are called the preceptors of the ऋषिs; पुरूरवस् is called among them; in epic poetry the गन्धर्वs are the celestial musicians or heavenly singers who form the orchestra at the banquets of the gods, and they belong together with the आप्सरसs to इन्द्र's heaven, sharing also in his battles; in the more systematic mythology the गन्धर्वs constitute one of the classes into which the higher creation is divided (i.e. gods, manes, गन्धर्वs; or gods, असुरs, गन्धर्वs, men; or gods, men, गन्धर्वs, आप्सरसs, सर्पs, and manes; for other enumerations; divine and human गन्धर्वs are distinguished; the divine or देव-गन्धर्वs are enumerated; another passage names 11 classes of गन्धर्वs; the chief or leader of the गन्धर्वs is named चित्र-रथ; they are called the creatures of प्रजापति or of ब्रह्मा or of कश्यप (11850) or of the मुनिs or of प्राधा (MBh. i, 2556) or of अरिष्टा or of वाच् (PadmaP.); with जैनs the गन्धर्वs constitute one of the eight classes of the व्यन्तरs]
  2. Name of the attendant of the 17th अर्हत् of the present अवसर्पिणी.
  3. a singer.
  4. the Koil or black cuckoo.
  5. a sage, pious man.
  6. a horse.
  7. the musk deer (derived fr. गन्ध).
  8. the soul after death and previous to its being born again (corresponding in some respects to the western notion of a ghost).
  9. Name of the 14th कल्प or period of the world.
  10. Name of the 21st मुहूर्त.
  11. Name of a स्वर or tone (for गान्धार?)
  12. (plural) the गन्धर्वs.
  13. Name of a people (named together with the गान्धारs).
  14. night.


  • Monier William's Sanskrit-English Dictionary, 2nd Ed. 1899