Garbha, aka: Garbhā, Gārbha; 14 Definition(s)


Garbha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, 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

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Garbha (गर्भ, “development”) refers to one of the “five segments” of the plot (itivṛtta or vastu) of a dramatic play (nāṭaka), according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 21. These five segments are assigned to the principal plot (ādhikārika).

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Garbha (गर्भ).—One of the five segments (sandhi) of a dramatic play;—The sprouting of the Seed, its attainment or nonattainment and search for it, is called the Development (garbha).

Source: Natya Shastra
Natyashastra book cover
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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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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Garbhā (गर्भा):—One of the nine Dūtī presided over by one of the nine bhaivaravas named Ananta (emanation of Ananta himself, who is the central presiding deity of Dūtīcakra), according to the Kubjikāmata-tantra and the Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra
Shaivism book cover
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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.

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Garbha in Purana glossary... « previous · [G] · next »

1) Garbha (गर्भ).—A son of Bharata, the son of Duṣyanta. Suhotra, Suhotā, Gaya, Garbha and Suketu were the five sons of Bharata. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 278). (See full article at Story of Garbha from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

2) Garbha (गर्भ).—The Purāṇas have described the views of sages about the origin of ātman in woman’s womb. Asitamahāmuni stated the following about the birth of a child to King Janaka. (Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa. Chapter

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Garbha (गर्भ).—A son of Turvasu.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 48. 1.

1b) The child in embryo;1 a union of Śukra— springing from majja which is from bone which is due to medas, which again results from flesh, that is due to śoṇita, emerging from Rasa or waters, Śukra constitutes of Soma and soṇitam of Agnī. The former resides in Kaphavarga and the latter in Pittavarga. The place of kapha is heart, and that of pitta is the navel region. Stages in the garbha and formation described.2

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa III. 31. 1-10. Vāyu-purāṇa 97. 46-57.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 72. 45-57. Vāyu-purāṇa 14. 18-26.

1c) The four central parts out of 16, into which a site (of a temple to be built) is divided; measurements of its foundations, walls, doorways, etc.; likewise other parts of temple bear specific relation to the garbha.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 269. 1-8.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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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Nirukta (Sanskrit etymology)

Garbha (गर्भ, “womb”) is synonymous to womb, foetus, embryo, inner apartment, interior chamber, hole, and hollow. Its root is also traced in grabha, which means to conceive, womb, having in the interior, containing, filled with, inner apartment, sleeping room, interior chamber, adytum, sanctuary of a temple, and the inside, middle, or interior of anything. What garbha is to the human body gṛha and guhā are to the world of habitation.

Source: Shodhganga: Ajanta’s antiquity (nirukta)
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Nirukta (निरुक्त) or “etymology” refers to the linguistic analysis of the Sanskrit language. This branch studies the interpretation of common and ancient words and explains them in their proper context. Nirukta is one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

The fertility aspect of garbhanyāsa is reflected in the very term by which the ritual is referred to, which means ‘the depositing (nyāsa) of the embryo (garbha)’.

According to the majority of the texts, the garbha should be installed at night, for – as formulated by one work – if done du ring daytime it will be destroyed. The Kāśyapaśilpa, moreover, warns that one should not stay in a house without a garbha and assures that no god will ever commit such a deed.

Apart from the association with an embryo, the texts provide other hints as to the nature of the garbha, all of them, however, emphasising the life-giving character of the deposit. In certain works the deposit is equated with earth or the earth is invoked to enter the deposit casket. The invocation is pronounced before the final act of placing the casket in the pr escribed location. This is not surprising considering that the contents of the deposit casket chiefly consist of the ‘riches of the earth’, such as minerals, metals, grains, herbs and soil taken from various locations (from a river, a marsh or a mountain), which represent the totality of the earth.

Source: Leiden Repository: Chapter 6 The function and meaning of the garbhanyāsa

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

The Sanskrit word garbha can mean a variety of things, “womb” or “a germ” (of a seed) where something is created or grows out of. This was translated by Takasaki as “matrix” because matrix in Latin means “womb,” and is “something within which something else originates or develops ” (Merriam-Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary). The word garbha also means the “essence” or the “essential nature” which gives us the phrase “Buddha-essence” or essence of the Buddha.

Source: Thrangu Rinpoche: Uttaratantra as taught at Shambhala

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Garbha (गर्भ, “womb”) refers to the uterus or womb and represents one of the three types of birth (janman, method of getting born), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 2.31. What is the meaning of uterus birth (garbha)? The birth that occur due to the union of the sperm of the father and the egg of the mother in the womb of the mother is called uterus birth e.g. of human beings.

Which living beings have the uterine birth (garbha, birth from the uterus)? The living beings with placenta (jarāyuja), egg (aṇḍaja) and without placenta (potaja) have uterine birth.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 2: the Category of the living
General definition book cover
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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

Marathi-English dictionary

garbha (गर्भ).—m (S) A fœtus or an embryo. 2 Pulp, pith, kernel, marrow, heart, interior portion gen.: the essence, moral, sum, substance, figuratively. 3 Surface or space included, area. 4 The middle, the exact centre. 5 Meaning or import; as grantha- garbha, ślōkagarbha, vākyagarbha. 6 The interior or inside: e. g. the womb; the belly; an inner apartment; a lying-in-chamber; the adytum of a temple. Arbitrary or occasional compounds occur; as garbha- kavi-gāyaka-bṛhaspati A poet, singer, orator from birth. garbha sambhavaṇēṃ-samāvaṇēṃ-rāhaṇēṃ in. con. To conceive in the womb. garbhācēṃ karaṇēṃ or, with g. of s., hōṇēṃ To dine, esp. to dine luxuriously; to fill out one's bags. garbhīṃ Whilst in the womb; whilst as yet unborn; e. g. garbhīṃ andhaḷā-rōgī-śāhaṇā-jñānī-śrīmanta Blind, sickly, clever, wise, rich from the very birth; garbhīṃ rōga-rājya-vairāgya Sickness, kingly rule, holy affections obtained at birth. garbhīṃ rōjamurā Provision made for the unborn offspring of.

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garbhā (गर्भा).—m (garbha Womb.) A rite amongst Gujarathi women and girls, pregnant and hopeful of pregnancy, in propitiation of Devi. It consists in running round in a ring vociferously singing; and it is observed from the light tenth to the day of full moon of āśvina. Also the piece sung on the occasion. Also similar merry worship performed and the merry piece sung during the navarātra of āśvina, or through the whole of the bright fortnight of āśvina.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

garbha (गर्भ).—m A fœtus or an embryo. Pulp, ker- nel, marrow; heart, interior portion. Fig. The essence, moral, substance. The middle, the exact centre. The interior or inside, e. g., the womb, an inner apartment, the adytum of a temple. garbha sambhavaṇēṃ,-samāvaṇēṃ-rāhaṇēṃ Conceive in the womb.

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.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Garbha (गर्भ).—[gṝ-bhan Uṇ.3.152]

1) The womb, the belly; गर्भेषु वसतिः (garbheṣu vasatiḥ) Pt.1; पुनर्गर्भे च संभवम् (punargarbhe ca saṃbhavam) Ms.6.63.

2) A fœtus, embryo; act of conception, pregnancy; conception; नरपतिकुलभूत्यै गर्भमाधत्त राज्ञी (narapatikulabhūtyai garbhamādhatta rājñī) P.2.75; गर्भोऽभवद्भूधरराज- पत्न्याः (garbho'bhavadbhūdhararāja- patnyāḥ) Ku.1.19; गर्भं वहति (garbhaṃ vahati) Pt.1.3 bears a child in the womb.

3) The time of conception; गर्भाष्टमेऽब्दे कुर्वित ब्राह्मणस्योपनायनम् (garbhāṣṭame'bde kurvita brāhmaṇasyopanāyanam) Ms.2.36.

4) The child (in the womb); Ś.6; ततः कुमारं सुरगर्भकल्पम् (tataḥ kumāraṃ suragarbhakalpam) Bu. Ch.2.19; cf. 'गर्भो भ्रूणेऽ- र्भके कुक्षौ (garbho bhrūṇe'- rbhake kukṣau)' Medinī.

5) A child, brood or offspring of birds.

6) The inside, middle, or interior of anything (in comp. in this sense and translated by 'full of', 'filled with', 'containing' &c); हिमगर्भैर्मयूखैः (himagarbhairmayūkhaiḥ) Ś.3.4; शुक° कोटर (śuka° koṭara) 1.14;7.7; °पत्रम् (patram) U.3.5. inwardly situated; अग्निगर्भां शमीमिव (agnigarbhāṃ śamīmiva) Ś.4.4; R.3.9;5.17;9.55; Śi.9.62; Māl.3.12; Mu.1.12.

7) The offspring of the sky, i. e. the vapours and fogs drawn upwards by the rays of the sun during 8 months and sent down again in the rainy season; cf. Ms.9.35; नवमासधृतं गर्भं भास्करस्य गभस्तिभिः (navamāsadhṛtaṃ garbhaṃ bhāskarasya gabhastibhiḥ) Rām.4.28.3.

8) An inner apartment, a lying-in-chamber.

9) Any interior chamber.

1) A hole.

11) Fire.

12) Food.

13) The rough coat of the jack-fruit (panasakaṇṭaka).

14) the bed of a river, especially of the Ganges on the fourteenth day of the dark half of Bhādrapada or in the very height of the rains when the river is fullest.

15) The fruit (of plants).

16) Joining, union.

17) The calyx of the lotus.

18) (In dramas) One of the Sandhis q. v.

Derivable forms: garbhaḥ (गर्भः).

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Gārbha (गार्भ).—a. (-rbhī f.) [गर्भे साधु अण् (garbhe sādhu aṇ)],

-gārbhika (- f.) a.

1) Uterine, fetal; Bhāg.3.7.27.

2) Relating to gestation; Ms.2.27.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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