Gandhari, Gāndhārī, Gandhārī, Gāndhāri: 21 definitions



Gandhari means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. 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

Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

Gāndhārī (गान्धारी).—The saintly and faithful wife of King Dhṛtarāṣṭra and mother of one hundred sons. The daughter of King Subala of Gāndhāra. She was a great devotee of Lord Śiva from her childhood. Lord Śiva blessed her with a benediction she could have one hundred sons. Śrīla Vyāsadeva also blessed her with the same benediction. She was married to Dhṛtarāṣṭra, who was blind. When she found out that her future husband was blind, she voluntarily blindfolded herself for the rest of her life. She is considered one of the most chaste women of all time.

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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Gandhari in Purana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Bhagavata Purana

Gāndhārī (गान्धारी):—The wife of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. She gave birth to one hundred sons and one daughter. The oldest son was named Duryodhana and the daughter was called Duḥśalā. (see Bhāgavata Purāṇa 9.22.25-26)

Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

1) Gāndhārī (गान्धारी).—Wife of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. Birth. There was a King called Subala in the family of Turvasu, brother of Yadu. (For genealogy see under Subala). Subala became the King of the land of Gāndhāra. This land extended from the river Sindhu to Kābul. Gāndhārī was the daughter of Subala. (Chapter 111, Ādi Parva). (See full article at Story of Gāndhārī from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

2) Gāndhārī (गान्धारी).—Another Gāndhārī, wife of Ajamīḍha, one of the great Kings of the Pūru dynasty. (Śloka 37, Chapter 95, Ādi Parva).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Gāndhāri (गान्धारि).—The wife of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and mother of hundred sons—Duryodhana and others.1 Daughter of Subala.2 Met by Kṛṣṇa and Rāma after the burning of lac house.3 Heard of Kṛṣṇa's marriage from his wives and was lost in wonder.4 Her grief at Bhīṣma's death; was consoled by Yudhiṣṭhira.5 Felt keenly Kṛṣṇa's separation. Welcomed Vidura to Hastināpura.6 Approved of the anointing of Yudhiṣṭhira.7 Went with her daughter to Syamantapañcaka for solar eclipse, and there met Kṛṣṇa and Vṛṣṇis.8 Settled on the banks of the Ganges with Dhṛtarāṣṭra, following him to the Himalayas. As a chaste queen she ascended his funeral pyre.9

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 22. 26. Matsya-purāṇa 50. 47-8. Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 242. Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 20. 39.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 84. 1.
  • 3) Ib. 57. 2.
  • 4) Ib. X. 84. 1.
  • 5) Ib. I. 9. 48.
  • 6) Ib. 10. 9; 13. 4.
  • 7) Ib. X. 80[5].
  • 8) Ib. 82. 24.
  • 9) Ib. I. 8. 3; 13. 29 and 57.

1b) One of the wives of Dhṛṣṭi. Father of Sumitra.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 71. 18-19.

1c) A daughter of Surabhi and Kaśyapa.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 66. 71.

2a) Gāndhārī (गान्धारी).—The wife of Vṛṣṇi; gave birth to Sumitra.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 45. 1: Vāyu-purāṇa 96. 17.

2b) A queen of Kṛṣṇa.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 47. 13.
Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

Gāndhārī (गान्धारी) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.90.39) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Gāndhārī) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

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

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Gāndhārī (गान्धारी) refers to one of the jātis (melodic class) related to the madhyama-grāma, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 28. It is therefore also known as gāndhārījāti. Jāti refers to a recognized melody-type and can be seen as a precursor to rāgas which replaced them.

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra 28.121-123, “in the gāndhārī-jāti the aṃśa (key note) will be the five notes of the grāma (musical scale) dhaivata and ṛṣabha being excluded, and its apanyāsa (semi-terminal note) is ṣaḍja and pañcama, and the nyāsa (terminal note) is gāndhāra. Its hexatonic treatment (ṣāḍava / ṣāḍavita) excludes ṛṣabha, and the pentatonic treatment (auḍava / auḍavita) excludes ṛṣabha and dhaivata. Besides these they (i.e., ṛṣabha and dhaivata) should be skipped over and ṛṣabha should always go to dhaivata, and ṣaḍja and madhyama should be amplified (bahutva) in it”.

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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, 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 (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: WorldCat: Rāj nighaṇṭu

Gāndhārī (गान्धारी) is another name for Yavāsa, a medicinal plant identified with Alhagi pseudalhagi, synonym of Alhagi maurorum (“camelthorn”) from the Fabaceae or legume family of flowering plants, according to verse 4.44-46 of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu. The fourth chapter (śatāhvādi-varga) of this book enumerates eighty varieties of small plants (pṛthu-kṣupa). Together with the names Gāndhārī and Yavāsa, there are a total of twenty-two Sanskrit synonyms identified for this plant.

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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.

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Gāndhārī (गान्धारी) is an epithet for the Goddess according to the Bhairavīstotra in the Śrīmatottara-tantra, an expansion of the Kubjikāmatatantra: the earliest popular and most authoritative Tantra of the Kubjikā cult.—Accordingly, “Victory! Victory (to you) O goddess (bhagavatī)! [...] You are illusion destroyed! You who bestow the delights of the liturgy (krama) of the sixty-four (Bhairavas and Yoginīs)! Beautiful with intense radiant energy (tejas)! Mistress of the gods! Gāndhārī! Gāyatrī! Praised by the Siddhas! [...]”.

Note: Gāndhārī was the wife of the epic king Dhṛtarāṣṭra. As her husband was blind, out of sympathy and because she was ready to share everything with her husband, she kept her eyes covered with a blindfold.

Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Gandhari is the wife of Dhritarashtra. Parents of the Kauravas (who, eventually fought the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war). Even though Gandhari's sons (the Kauravas) were portrayed evil in the Mahabharata, Gandhari was regarded good as she tried to convince her sons to make peache with the Pandavas.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Gāndhārī (गांधारी): Dhritarashtra's wife and queen mother of the Kauravas.

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Gandhārī (गन्धारी) or Gandharvī is the name of a Ḍākinī who, together with the Vīra (hero) named Gandhahara forms one of the 36 pairs situated in the Ākāśacakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the ākāśacakra refers to one of the three divisions of the dharma-puṭa (‘dharma layer’), situated in the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs [viz., Gandhārī] and Vīras are dark blue in color; they each have one face and four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife. Alternatively, the Ḍākinīs have their own marks and motions according to the taste instead of a small drum and a skull staff.

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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: The Jaina Iconography

1) Gāndhārī (गान्धारी) (or Caṇḍā, Pracaṇḍā) is the name of the Yakṣiṇī accompanying Vāsupūjya: the twelfth of twenty-four Tīrthaṃkaras or Jinas, commonly depicted in Jaina iconography.—[...] Caṇḍā or Pracaṇḍā, as she is also called by the Śvetāmbaras, has a horse for her riding animal, and carries the symbols of Varada, spear, flower and club. The Digambara form of the same deity is represented as riding on a crocodile and having the hands equipped with a club, two lotuses and Varada-mudrā. Like the previous one, this Yakṣiṇī, too, lakes her part as a Vidyādevī. As such, the name borne by her is Gāndhārī. There is some essential connection between the Yakṣiṇī Gāndhāri’s animal of a crocodile and the Vidyadevī Gāndhārī’s animal of a tortoise, Caṇḍā or Pracaṇḍā seems to be, as the name indicates, a Jaina prototype of the Brahmanic Caṇḍā or Durgā.

2) Gandhārī (गन्धारी) (or Gāndhārī, Cāmuṇḍī) is the name of the Yakṣiṇī accompanying Naminātha: the twenty-first of twenty-four Tīrthaṃkaras or Jinas.—[...] The Śvetāmbara sectarian Yakṣiṇī, Gāndhārī by name, hasbeen described as riding a swan and furnished with four hands, which hold, in turn, Varada-mudrā, sword. citron and spear (kunta). The Cāmuṇḍā or Digambara form of the same Yakṣiṇī is represented in their way as riding on a dolphin and carrying in her hands a rosary, staff, shield and sword.

This pair of names (viz. Gāndhārī and Cāmuṇḍā ) has already occurred in connexion with the Yakṣiṇī of Vāsūpūjya. There seems to have been some mysterious transposition of these deities. In the case of Vāsūpūjya Caṇḍā is Śvetāmbara Yakṣiṇī, whereas Gāndhārī, who is Śvetāmbara here was Digambara there. Gāndhārī there rides a dolphin as Cāmuṇḍā rides thesame animal in the present case. The Yakṣiṇī Gāndhārī we describe now, assumes such symbols (for instance swan, Varada, citron) as would make her partly a Vidyādevī and partly a Yakṣiṇī. Her Digambara counterpart Cāmuṇḍā is also called Kusumamālinī and as such, her dolphin symbol may be justified because Kusumamālī or kāma has the same symbolical mark (Makara-ketana [?]).

3) Gandhārī (गन्धारी) also refers to one of the sixteen Vidyādevīs (goddesses of learning).—The Śvetāmbara Gāndhārī is to be represented either asseated on a lotus and holding a staff and vajra or Varada, staff, Abhaya and Vajra. Digambara goddess rides a tortoise and holds a disc and sword. We meet with the Śvetāmbara Yakṣiṇī of the like name, who belonged to Nami. Her swan vehicle gave her the character of Sarasvatī. The Yakṣiṇī Gāndhārī of the Digambaras rides a crocodile but the Vidyādevī Gāndhārī rides a tortoise. This latter point leads us to connect her with Yamunā, as the preceding Vidyādevī was suggested to be associated with Gaṅgā.

Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

1) Gāndhārī (गान्धारी) is the name of a Vidyā (Mantra).—The Kalpasūtra 1.212 (cf. ‘Die Kosmographie der Inder’ p. 153a) gives the number as 48 only, but does not give the names, except of 4 mahāvidyās, Gaurī, Gāndhārī, Rohiṇī, Prajñapti.

2) Gāndhārī (गान्धारी) or Gandhārīvidyā refers to one of the sixteen Vidyās from which are derived the respective classes of Vidyādharas (in this case, Gāndhāra), according to chapter 1.3 [ādīśvara-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra (“lives of the 63 illustrious persons”): a Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three important persons in Jainism.


“[...] After making [the two rows of Vidyādhara-cities], many villages and suburbs, they established communities [viz., the Gāndhāras] according to the suitability of place. [...] Dharaṇendra instructed them about the law as follows: ‘If any insolent persons show disrespect or do injury to the Jinas, or the Jinas’ shrines, or to those who will attain mokṣa in this birth, or to any ascetics engaged in pratimā, the Vidyās [viz., Gandhārīs] will abandon them at once, just as wealth abandons lazy people. Whoever kills a man with his wife, or enjoys women against their will, the Vidyās will abandon him at once’.”

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.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Gandhari in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

gandhārī : (f.) (a magical charm) belonging to Gandhāra.

Pali book cover
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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.

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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Gāndhāri (गान्धारि).—

1) An epithet of Śakuni, Duryodhana's maternal uncle.

2) An epithet of Duryodhana; Mb.1.22.13.

Derivable forms: gāndhāriḥ (गान्धारिः).

--- OR ---

Gāndhārī (गान्धारी).—1 An [गान्धारस्यापत्यं इञ् (gāndhārasyāpatyaṃ iñ)]

1) Name of the daughter of Subala, king of the Gāndhāras and wife of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. [She bore to her husband 1 sons-- Duryodhana and his 99 brothers. As her husband was blind she always wore a scarf over her face (probably to reduce herself to his state). After the destruction of all the Kauravas, she and her husband lived with their nephew Yudhiṣṭhira].

2) A kind of intoxicant; L. D. B.

3) A particular vein in the left eye; Gorakṣa Śataka 26.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Gandhārī (गन्धारी).—name of a rākṣasī: Mahā-Māyūrī 243.17.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Gāndhāri (गान्धारि).—1. m. pl. The name of a people, Mahābhārata 8, 2135. 2. i. e. gāndhārī + i, metronym. The sor of Gāndhārī, Mahābhārata 2, 1791.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Gandhāri (गन्धारि).—[masculine] [plural] [Name] of a people.

--- OR ---

Gāndhāri (गान्धारि).—[masculine] [plural] [Name] of a people.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Gandhārī (गन्धारी):—[from gandhāra] f. for gāndh (Name of a Vidyā-devī), [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

2) Gandhāri (गन्धारि):—[from gandhāra] m. [plural] Name of a people, [Ṛg-veda i, 126, 7; Atharva-veda v, 22, 14] (cf. gāndh.)

3) Gāndhārī (गान्धारी):—[from gāndhāra] f. ([Pāṇini 4-1, 14], [vArttika] 4, [Patañjali]) a princess of the Gāndhāris ([especially] the wife of Dhṛta-rāṣṭra), [Mahābhārata; Harivaṃśa; Bhāgavata-purāṇa i, ix]

4) [v.s. ...] Name of a Vidyā-devī, [Mahābhārata iii, 14562]

5) [v.s. ...] (fulfilling the commands of the twenty-first Arhat of the present Avasarpiṇī, [Jaina literature])

6) [v.s. ...] (in music) Name of a Rāgiṇī

7) [v.s. ...] Alhagi Maurorum, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

8) [v.s. ...] a particular vein in the left eye, [Gorakṣa-śataka 26]

9) [v.s. ...] a kind of fly, [Demetrius Galanos’s Lexiko: sanskritikes, anglikes, hellenikes]

10) Gāndhāri (गान्धारि):—[from gāndhāra] m. = reya, [Mahābhārata ii f.; v, vii, 3457]

11) [v.s. ...] m. [plural] ([Pāṇini 4-1, 169; 4-2, 52], [vArttika] 2) Name of a people (also called Gandhāras or Gāndhāras), [Mahābhārata viii, 2135.]

[Sanskrit to German] (Deutsch Wörterbuch)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Böhtlingk and Roth Grosses Petersburger Wörterbuch

Gandhāri (गन्धारि):—m. pl. Nomen proprium eines Volkes [Atharvavedasaṃhitā 5, 22, 14.] ga.dhārīṇāmivāvi.ā [Ṛgveda 1, 126, 7.] — Vgl. gāndhāri .

--- OR ---

Gāndhāri (गान्धारि):—[Pāṇini’s acht Bücher 6, 2, 12,] [Scholiast]

1) m. pl. Nomen proprium eines Volkes (vgl. gandhāri, gandhāra, gāndhāra) [Pāṇini’s acht Bücher 4, 1, 169. 2, 52, Vārttika von Kātyāyana. 2.] [Mahābhārata 8, 2135.] gāndhārisaptasamaḥ [Pāṇini’s acht Bücher 6, 2, 12,] [Scholiast] —

2) m. sg. metron. (von gāndhārī) des Duryodhona (vgl. gāndhāreya) [Mahābhārata 2, 1791. 3, 14842. 5, 190. 1838. 7, 3457.] [Benfey’ Chrestomathie aus Sanskritwerken 27, 5.]

--- OR ---

Gāndhāri (गान्धारि):—

2) lies Duryodhana.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Sanskrit-Wörterbuch in kürzerer Fassung

Gandhāri (गन्धारि):—m. Pl. Nomen proprium eines Volkes.

--- OR ---

Gāndhāri (गान्धारि):—m.

1) Pl. Nomen proprium eines Volkes. —

2) Metron. Duryodhana's.

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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