Gandharvanagara, Gandharva-nagara: 5 definitions


Gandharvanagara means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. 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

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous (G) next»] — Gandharvanagara in Purana glossary
Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Gandharvanagara (गन्धर्वनगर).—Vyāsa has compared munis disappearing from sight to the fading out of Gandharva nagara.

"After having thus spoken to the Kurus, and while they were looking on, the band of sages disappeared in a trice like the fading out of Gandharvanagara." (Ādi Parva, Chapter 126, Verses 35 and 36).

What is this Gandharvanagara? The following description occurs in Hindi Śabdasāgara. "Owing to different optical illusions (sight) of man, villages and cities may appear to exist in the sky and also on seas, rivers, etc. When during summer the air on the upper strata of deserts, seas etc. gets heated, expanded, and rises up, the light passing through it becomes multi-coloured and gives reflections in the sky in the form of village parts or cities. Also can be seen therein reflections of trees, boats etc. One such reflection may be cast on earth also. This is a mere optical illusion. This reflection immediately fades out also. This unreal city which is an optical illusion is Gandharvanagara.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Gandharvanagara (गन्धर्वनगर).—(Gandharvapura)—an imaginary city compared to this māyā-ridden universe; seen by the company of merchants (jīvas) wandering in saṃsāra.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 12. 15. V. 13. 3 and 7.
Purana book cover
context information

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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In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous (G) next»] — Gandharvanagara in Mahayana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Gandharvanagara (गन्धर्वनगर) refers to a “city of the Gandharvas” and represents one of the ten comparisons (upamāna) according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter 11. These upamānas represent a quality of the Bodhisattvas accompanying the Buddha at Rājagṛha on the Gṛdhrakūṭaparvata. They accepted that dharmas are like a “city of the Gandharvas” (gandharvanagara). When the sun rises, we see a city (nagara) of buildings with stories (kūṭāgāra), palaces (rājakula), with people coming in and going out. The higher the sun rises, the more indistinct this city becomes; it is just an optical illusion without any reality. This is what is called a city of the gandharvas. People who have never before seen it and who discover it some morning in the east believe in its reality and hurry towards it; but the closer they come, the more unclear it becomes and when the sun is high, it disappears.

Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

[«previous (G) next»] — Gandharvanagara in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Gandharvanagara (गन्धर्वनगर).—the city of the Gandharvas, an imaginary city in the sky, probably the result of some natural phenomenon, such as mirage; गन्धर्वनगराकारं तथैवान्तर्हितं पुनः (gandharvanagarākāraṃ tathaivāntarhitaṃ punaḥ) Mb.1.126.35.

Derivable forms: gandharvanagaram (गन्धर्वनगरम्).

Gandharvanagara is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms gandharva and nagara (नगर). See also (synonyms): gandharvapura.

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

1) Gandharvanagara (गन्धर्वनगर):—[=gandharva-nagara] [from gandharva] n. ‘Gandharva-city’, an imaginary town in the sky, [Mahābhārata ii, 1043; Harivaṃśa; Rāmāyaṇa v etc.]

2) [v.s. ...] Fata Morgana, [Pāṇini 4-1, 3; Kāraṇḍa-vyūha; Varāha-mihira’s Bṛhat-saṃhitā xxx]

3) [v.s. ...] [xxxvi, 4; Bhāgavata-purāṇa v, 14, 5; Kādambarī]

4) [v.s. ...] the city of the Gandharva people, [Rāmāyaṇa vii.]

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. 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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