Gandha, aka: Gandhā; 19 Definition(s)


Gandha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

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
context information

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.

Shaivism (Shaiva 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

Gandha (गन्ध) refers to the city of Vāyu, situated on the north-western lower slope of mount Meru, according to Parākhyatantra 5.66. Meru is the name of a golden mountained situated in the middle of nine landmasses (navakhaṇḍa): Bhārata, Hari, Kimpuruṣa, Ramyaka, Ramaṇa, Kuru, Bhadrāśva, Ketumāla and Ilāvṛta. Together these khaṇḍas make up the continent known as Jambūdvīpa.

Gandha is also known by the name Gandhavatī or Gandhavahā and is mentioned in various other sources, eg., the Svacchanda-tantra 10.132-136, Kiraṇa-āgama 8.51-54, Mṛgendra-āgama vidyāpāda 13.47-54, Sarvajñānottara-tantra adhvaprakaraṇa 34-36 and Mataṅga-āgama vidyāpāda 23.60-63

The Parākhyatantra is an old Śaiva-siddhānta tantra dating from before the 10th century.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śaivism
Shaivism book cover
context information

Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

Ayurveda (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
Ayurveda book cover
context information

Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.


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
Purāṇa book cover
context information

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.

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
Vaiśeṣika book cover
context information

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
Nāṭyaśāstra book cover
context information

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).

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

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
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).



(Source): Journey to Nibbana: Patthana Dhama

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

(Source): Pali Kanon: Introducing Buddhist Abhidhamma
Abhidhamma book cover
context information

Abhidhamma (अभिधम्म) usually refers to the last section (piṭaka) of the Pali canon and includes schematic classifications of scholastic literature dealing with Theravāda Buddhism. Primary topics include psychology, philosophy, methodology and metaphysics which are rendered into exhaustive enumerations and commentaries.


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

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

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
Pali book cover
context information

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)

1) Gandha (गन्ध, “smell”) or gandhāyatana refers to one of the “twelve sense spheres” (āyatana) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 24). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., gandha). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Gandha also represents one of the “eighteen elements” (dhātu) as well as one of the “eleven form components” (rūpaskandha).

Gandha also refers to one of the “six spheres” (ṣaḍviṣaya) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 33).

Gandha also refers to the “five qualities” (pāñcabhautika) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 40).

2) Gandha (गन्ध, “smell”) or Caturgandha refers to the “four smells” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 37):

  1. sugandha (pleasant smell),
  2. durgandha (unpleasant smell),
  3. samagandho (neutral smell),
  4. viṣamagandha (mixed smell).
(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

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

(Source): China Buddhism Encyclopedia: Buddhism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Gandha (गन्ध, “odour”) refers to the object of ghrāṇa (smelling), which represents one of the “five sense-organs” (pañcendriya), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 2.19. Cognition which results by smelling the object of knowledge is called smell/odour (gandha). How many types of odour /smell are there? There are two types of smell namely fragrant and foul. What is the form of smell sense organ? It is in form of a sesamum flower.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 2: the Category of the living

Gandha (गन्ध, “smell”) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 5.23.—“The forms of matter (pudgala) are characterized by touch (sparśa), taste (rasa), smell (gandha) and colour (varṇa)”. What is the meaning of smell (gandha)? what is smelt or just smelling is smell. How many types of smell are there? There are two types of smell namely pleasant and unpleasant.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 5: The category of the non-living
General definition book cover
context information

Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

gandha (गंध).—m (S) Smell or odor, good or bad. 2 A fragrance or a fragrant substance. 3 m n A pigment for the forehead or body (of sandal wood, turmeric, aloe-wood, saffron &c.) gandha nasaṇēṃ g. of s. (Not to be even in smell.) To be null or non-existent. tāmbaḍā gandha lāvaṇēṃ To trick one's self out; to dress for a party.

--- OR ---

gandhā (गंधा).—a ( P) Foul, fetid, stinking. Little known except in gandhānālā m Sewer or drain; and in gandhēṃ pāṇī n Dirty water.

--- OR ---

gāndha (गांध).—f A blind tumor or bump;--as from a bite. 2 A gadfly or other fly of which the bite occasions a bump.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

gandha (गंध).—m Smell. Fragrance. m n A pigment for the forehead. gandha nasaṇē (Not to be even in smell.) To be null or non-existent.

--- OR ---

gāndha (गांध).—f A blind tumour or bump–as from a bite. A gadfly or other fly of which the bites occasion a bump.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

Relevant definitions

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Gandhakuṭī (गन्धकुटी).—1) a kind of perfume. (-ṭiḥ, -ṭī) -2 The Buddhist temple, any chamber us...
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gandharāja (गंधराज).—m A flowering shrub, Gardenia florida. Grah.
ugragandha (उग्रगंध).—a (S) Strong-smelling.
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Duboti Gandha
dubōṭī gandha (दुबोटी गंध).—m gandha or the pigment for the forehead drawn along by two fingers...
Gandhāyatana (गन्धायतन) or simply gandha refers to the “sense sphere of smell” and represents o...
Gandhadhātu (गन्धधातु) or simply gandha refers to the “smell element” and represents one of the...
Gandharūpaskandha (गन्धरूपस्कन्ध) or simply gandha refers to the “smell form component” and rep...
Caturgandha (चतुर्गन्ध) or simply Gandha refers to the “four smells” as defined in the Dharma-s...

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