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Gandhā, aka: Gandha; 12 Definition(s)


Gandhā means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article.

The Sanskrit term Gandhā can be transliterated into English as Gandha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Vaiśeṣika (school of philosophy)

Gandha (गन्ध, “smell”) is one of the seventeen guṇas (‘qualities’), according to the Vaiśeṣika-sūtras. These guṇas are considered as a category of padārtha (“metaphysical correlate”). These padārthas represent everything that exists which can be cognized and named. Together with their subdivisions, they attempt to explain the nature of the universe and the existence of living beings.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vaiśeṣika

about this context:

Vaiśeṣika (वैशेषिक, vaisheshika) refers to a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy (āstika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upaniṣads. Vaiśeṣika deals with subjects such as logic, epistemology, philosophy and expounds concepts similair to Buddhism in nature

Nāṭyaśāstra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Gandha (गन्ध, “smell”) refers to an aspect of the representation of objects and senses, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 24. Accordingly, “by slightly narrowing down the eyes and expanding the nostrils and in the same breath, the wise one is to represent the agreeable taste (rasa) and the smell (gandha)”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

about this context:

Nāṭyaśāstra (नाट्यशास्त्र, natya-shastra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition of performing arts, (e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nāṭya) and poetic works (kāvya).


1a) Gandha (गन्ध).—A son of Upamadga (see gandhamodavaha). (Cal. Edn.).*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 14. 9.

1b) Said to be essence milked from cow-earth by the Gandharvas.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 7. 14: 10. 24: 16. 26.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

about this context:

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Āyurveda (science of life)

Gandhā (गन्धा) is another name (synonym) for Śaṭī, which is a Sanskrit name for the plant Hedychium spicatum (spiked ginger lily). This synonym was identified by Narahari in his 13th-century Rājanighaṇṭu (verses 6.226-227), which is an Āyurvedic medicinal thesaurus.

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Hindu science dealing with subjects such as health, medicine, anatomy, etc. and has been in use throughout India since ancient times.

Śaivism (Śaiva philosophy)

Gandhā (त्वची, “Smell”):—Mentioned as a mātṛ in relation with Calanī, according to the Kubjikāmata-tantra. She is however, not usually part of the eight Mātṛs born from the body of Calanī. These eight sub-manifestations (mātṛ) symbolize a relation to the wind. They are presided over by the Bhairava Asitāṅga. Calanī is the fifth of the Eight Mahāmātṛs, residing within the Mātṛcakra (third of the five cakras) and represents wind.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra

about this context:

Śaiva (शैव, shaiva) or Śaivism (shaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Śiva as the supreme being. Closeley related to Śāktism, Śaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

Gandhaśāstra (cosmetics and perfumery)

There are nine kinds of scent (gandha), according to the Mahābhārata (12.177.28; Bhṛgu’s discourse):

  1. Agreeable (iṣṭa),
  2. Disagreeable (aniṣṭa),
  3. Sweet (madhu),
  4. Pungent (kaṭu),
  5. Stale (nirhārin),
  6. Compound (saṃhata),
  7. Soft (snigdha),
  8. Astringent (rūkṣa)
  9. and tender (viśada).

All these nine kinds of scent are founded upon the earth-element (pārthiva or pṛthivī).

Source: Tieteelliset verkkolehdet: A note on Sanskrit Gandha

about this context:

Gandhaśāstra (गन्धशास्त्र, gandha-shastra) deals with the ancient Indian science of cosmetics and perfumery. It explains how to process aromatic ingredients and manufecture them into cosmetics and perfumes. Such perfected scents are often used during the worship of deities.

In Buddhism


Gandha, (Vedic gandha, from ghrā ghrāti to smell, ghrāna smell, & see P. ghāna. Possibly conn. w. Lat. fragro= E. fragrant) smell, viz.-1. odour, smell, scent in Gen. J.III, 189; Dh.54—56=Miln.333; Dhs.605 under ghānâyatanāni); āma° smell of raw flesh A.I, 280; D.II, 242; Sn.241 sq; maccha° the scent of fish J.III, 52; muttakarīsa° the smell of fæces and urine A.III, 158; catujāti° four kinds of scent J.I, 265; PvA.127; dibba-g°puppha a flower of heavenly odour J.I, 289.—2. odour, smell in particular: enumerated as mūla°, sāra°, puppha°, etc., S.III, 156=V.44=A.V, 22; Dhs.625 (under ghandāyatanāni, sphere of odours). Specified as māla°, sāra°, puppha° under tīṇi gandhajātāni A.I, 225;— puppha° Dh.54=A.I, 226.—3. smell as olfactory sensation, belonging to the sphere (āyatanāni) of sense-impressions and sensory objects & enum. in set of the 12 ajjhatta-bāhirāni āyatanāni (see under rūpa) with ghānena gandhaṃ ghāyitvā “sensing smell by means of the olfactory organ” D.III, 102; 244=250= 269=Nd2 on rūpa; M.III, 55, 267; S.IV, 71; Vin.I, 35; Defined at Vism.447. Also as gandhā ghānaviññeyya under kāmaguṇā M.II, 42; D.III, 234, etc. In series of 10 attributes of physical quality (-rūpa, etc.) as characteristic of devas D.III, 146; Pv.II, 958; as sāra°, pheggu°, taca°, etc. (nine qualities in all) in definition of Gandhabba-kāyikā devā S.III, 250 sq.—In the same sense & similar connections: vaṇṇa-g°-ras’ûpeto Dh.49; J.II, 106; gandhānaṃ khamo & akkhamo (of king’s elephant) A.III, 158 sq.; itthi°, purisa° A.I, 1, 2; III, 68; in combn w. other four senses Sn.387, 759, 974. ‹-› 4. perfume, prepared odorific substance used as a toilet requisite, either in form of an unguent or a powder. Abstinence from the use of kallæsthetics is stated in the Sīlas (D.I, 8) as characteristic of certain Wanderers and Brahmins. Here gandha is mentioned together with mālā (flowers, garlands): D.I, 5=Kh II; D.I, 7 (°kathā); Vin.II, 123; Sn.401; J.I, 50, 291; PvA.62. The use of scented ointment (-vilepana & ālepa, see cpds.) is allowed to the Buddhist bhikkhus (Vin.I, 206); and the giving of this, together with other commodities, is included in the second part of the deyyadhamma (the list of meritorious gifts to the Saṅgha), under Nos. 5—14 (anna-pāna-vattha-yānamālā-gandhā-vilepana-seyy-âvasatha-padīpeyya): S.III, 252; Nd2 523=It.65. Out of this enumeration: g°-m°-v°-Pv.II, 316; chatta-g°-m°-upāhanā Pv.II, 49; II, 936; m°-g°-v° kappūra-kaṭukapphalāni J.II, 416. ‹-› The application of scented ointment (gandhena or gandhehi vilimpati) is customary after a bath, e.g. PvA.50 (on Pv.I, 106); J.I, 254, 265; III, 277. Var. kinds of perfumes or scented substances are given as g°dhūpa-cuṇṇa-kappūra (incense, powder, camphor) J.I, 290; vāsa-cuṇṇa-dhūpanādi g° KhA 37. See also cpds.—5. occurs as v. l. for gantha (book).

duggandha a disagreeable smell Dhs.625; °ṃ vāyati to emit a nasty odour PvA.14; as adj. having a bad smell, putrid Sn.205; PvA.15 (=pūtigandha), f.—ā: duggandhā pūti vāyasi “you emit a bad odour”) Pv.I, 61 (=aniṭṭha°). —sugandha an agreeable smell Dhs.625; as adj. of pleasant smell J.III, 277; Sdhp. 246.

—āpaṇa a perfumery shop J.I, 290; °ika perfume seller Miln.344; —āyatana an olfactory sense-relation, belonging to the six bāhirāni āyatanāni, the objective sensations D.III, 243, 290; Dhs.585, 625, 655; —ārammaṇa bearing on smell, having smell as its object Dhs.147, 157, 365, 410, 556, 608; —ālepa (nt.) anointing with perfumes Vin.I, 206; —āsā “hunger for odours, ” craving for olfactory sensations Dhs.1059; —odaka scented water J.I, 50; II, 106; III, 189; —karaṇḍaka a perfume-box S.III, 131; V, 351; Pug.34; —kuṭī (f.) a perfumed cabin, name of a room or hut occupied by the Buddha, esp. that made for him by Anāthapiṇḍika in Jetavana (J.I, 92). Gotamassa g° J.II, 416, cp. Av. Ś II.401; DhA.IV, 203, 206; —cuṇṇa scented (bath-) powder J.III, 277; —jāta (nt.) odour, perfume (“consisting of smell”). Three kinds at A.I, 225 (māla°, sāra°, puppha°); enum. as candanādi DhA.I, 423; in defin. of gandha DA.I, 77;— Dh.55; —taṇhā thirst or craving for odours (cp. g°-āsā) Dhs.1059=Nd2 on jappā; —tela scented oil (for a lamp) J.I, 61; II, 104; DhA.I, 205; —tthena a perfume-thief S.I, 204; —dhātu the (sensory) element of smell Dhs.585; 625. 707 (in conn. w. °āyatana); —pañcaṅgulika see sep.; —sañcetanā the olfactory sensation; together with °saññā perception of odours D.III, 244; A.IV, 147; V, 359; —sannidhi the storing up of scented unguents D.I, 6 (=DA.I, 82). (Page 244)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

gandha : (m.) odour; smell; scent.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

about this context:

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Goddess of Perfume (Skt. Gandhā; Tib. Drichabma; Wyl. dri chab ma) the consort of Mañjushri.

Source: China Buddhism Encyclopedia: Buddhism

lit: 'smell'; Property of matter (rupa).

Source: Pali Kanon: Introducing Buddhist Abhidhamma


Source: Journey to Nibbana: Patthana Dhama

1. Gandha - The name of a family of elephants; each elephant has the strength of one million men. VibhA.397; AA.ii.822; UdA.403, etc.

2. Gandha - A setthi of Benares. On realising that his ancestors had died leaving immense wealth, which they had failed to enjoy, he started to spend large sums of money on luxuries, and one full moon day he decorated the city and invited the people to watch him taking a meal. Among the assembled multitude was a villager, who felt that he would die unless he could obtain a morsel of Gandhas rice. When this was told to Gandha he suggested that the man should work for him for three years, taking in payment a bowl of his rice. The villager agreed and henceforth became known as Bhattabhatika. At the end of the three years Gandha kept his promise and gave orders that Bhattabhatika should enjoy all his masters own splendours for one day, and asked all the members of his household, except his wife Cintamani, to wait on him. When Bhattabhatika sat down to eat, a Pacceka Buddha appeared before him; Bhattabhatika gave his food to the Pacceka Buddha who, in sight of all those that had gathered to watch Bhattabhatikas splendour, went through the air to Gandhamadana. When Gandha heard of what bad happened, he gave one half of all his possessions to Bhattabhatika in return for a share of the merit he had gained. DhA.iii.87ff.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

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