Garbhagriha, aka: Garbhagṛha, Garbha-griha; 8 Definition(s)


Garbhagriha means something in 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.

The Sanskrit term Garbhagṛha can be transliterated into English as Garbhagrha or Garbhagriha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Vastushastra (architecture)

[Garbhagriha in Vastushastra glossaries]

Garbhagṛha (गर्भगृह) refers to the “sanctum” of a temple.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

Garbhagṛha (गर्भगृह, “sanctum”) is the nucleus of the temple. It is the place where the main deity of the temple is installed. The Canons prescribe that the shape of the garbhagṛha may be (on plan):

  1. caturaśra (square),
  2. āyata (rectangular),
  3. vṛtta (cicular),
  4. āyatavṛtta (elliptical)
  5. or vṛttāyata (ovoid).

The square and circular garbhagṛhas are constructed for the installation of the deities in sthāṇaka (standing) or āsīna (seated) postures. While in the other varieties, deities in śayana (reclining) posture or group of deities standing or sitting in a row are to be installed.

Mānasāra mentions that if the plan of the garbhagṛha is square or circular, it is called puruṣa (Male) and if it is rectangular it is called vanitā (Female). Male deities can be installed in a square, circular or rectangular garbhagṛha, while the female deity should always be installed in a rectangular garbhagṛha.

(Source): Shodhganga: Temples of Salem region Up to 1336 AD

Garbhagṛha (गर्भगृह, “womb-house”).—When combined the two words [garbha (womb) and gṛha (accommodation)] become garbhagṛha (womb-house). It denotes the sanctum sanctorum, or shrine of a sacred space, especially that of a Hindu temples. The sanctum sanctorum is the most central and fundamental component of any sacred architecture. What garbha (womb) is to the human body gṛha (accommodation) and guhā (cave) are to the world of habitation. What gṛha is to the world of habitation garbhagṛha is to the sacred architecture. In garbha resides the foetus, the genesis of a being. In gṛha, resides the gṛhastha, the family man—the microcosm, a unit, of which the multiples make a society, and which is opposed to the macrocosmic sphere of civilization. In the microcosmic sphere of the garbhagṛha, the God resides, who is referred to as the macrocosm in religions, the omnipresent, all-pervading entity.

(Source): Shodhganga: Ajanta’s antiquity (vastu)

Garbhagṛha (गर्भगृह) refers to the “sanctum sanctorum”, a common concept found in the ancient Indian “science of architecture” (vāstuvidyā).—Garbhagṛha is the sanctum sanctorum, where the presiding deity is installed.

(Source): Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Architecture (1): Early and Classical Architecture
Vastushastra book cover
context information

Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

Discover the meaning of garbhagriha or garbhagrha in the context of Vastushastra from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Hinduism)

[Garbhagriha in Hinduism glossaries]

Garbhagṛha (गर्भगृह).—Inner sanctuary or altar room that contains the main Deity of the temple. The literal meaning is “womb chamber.”

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

Garbhagṛha (गर्भगृह).—The garbhagṛha (the location in the temple where the primary form of a deity resides) is only the physical structure. It is transformed into sannidhi (Sanctum Sanctorum) after the invoking of the Lord. This explains why, in the Śaiva Siddhānta tradition, the temple is conceived as a space where the deity is a special guest invited to reside in the garbhagṛha .

(Source): ruthaavaree: Overview of Śaivāgamas in Temple Worship

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Garbhagriha in Jainism glossaries]

Garbhagṛha (गर्भगृह) refers to a type of gṛha located in the vyantara cities of Jambūdvīpa, according to Jain cosmological texts, such as the Tiloyapannatti. The vyantaras represent a class of Gods (devas) comprising eight groups of deities that wander about the three worlds (adhaloka, madhyaloka and ūrdhvaloka). Jambūdvīpa sits at the centre of madhyaloka (‘middle world’) is the most important of all continents and it is here where human beings reside.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism
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.

Discover the meaning of garbhagriha or garbhagrha in the context of General definition from relevant books on Exotic India

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

[Garbhagriha in Sanskrit glossaries]

Garbhagṛha (गर्भगृह).—n.

1) an inner apartment, the body of a house; Mb.5.118.19; R.19.42.

2) a lying-in-chamber.

3) the sanctuary or body of a temple; निर्गत्य गर्भभवनात् (nirgatya garbhabhavanāt) Māl.1.

Derivable forms: garbhagṛham (गर्भगृहम्).

Garbhagṛha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms garbha and gṛha (गृह). See also (synonyms): garbhabhavana, garbhaveśman.

(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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