Kinnara, aka: Kiṃnara, Kinnarā; 15 Definition(s)


Kinnara 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

Itihasa (narrative history)

Kinnara in Itihasa glossary... « previous · [K] · next »

Kiṃnara (किंनर) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.60.7) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Kiṃnara) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
context information

Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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Kinnara in Purana glossary... « previous · [K] · next »

Kinnara (किन्नर).—A sect of Devas all of whom hold Vīṇās in their hands. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 51).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Kinnara (किन्नर).—The son of Sunakṣatra, and father of Antarikṣa.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 285; IV. 22. 4-5.

1b) A group of divine singers.1 Born of Brahmā's shadow; these frequent Kailāsa;2 celebrate Puruṣa, Indra and Hari.3 Went to Dvārakā to see Kṛṣṇa,4 and learnt the dharma from the seven sages;5 worship pitṛs.6

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 10. 38.
  • 2) Ib. III. 20. 45; IV. 6. 9; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 25. 28; III. 7. 176; 8. 71.
  • 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IV. 30. 6; VI. 7. 4; VII. 8. 38; X. 3. 6; 4. 11.
  • 4) Ib. XI. 6. 3.
  • 5) Ib. XI. 14. 6; 31-2.
  • 6) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 10. 38 and 111; 22. 59; 37. 19; IV. 20. 49; 33. 27; 39. 56.

1c) Born of Ariṣṭā and Kaśyapa: Citraratha is their overlord. Live in Himālayas; help Indra; kingdom of.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 6. 45; 8. 6; 13. 16; 23. 39; 117. 8; 121. 48; 148. 92.

1d) Sons of Aśvamukhas; had a number of gaṇas, horse-faced and human-faced; famous for dancing and music;1 servants in Śivapura;2 live in the Mahānīla hill;3 hundred cities of, in Kailāsa.4

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 31. 36-7.
  • 2) Ib. 101. 252.
  • 3) Ib. 9. 56; 38. 5; 39. 32; 47. 47.
  • 4) Ib. 46. 41.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
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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General definition (in Hinduism)

1) In Buddhist mythology and Hindu mythology, a kinnara is a paradigmatic lover, a celestial musician, half-human and half-horse (India) or half-bird (south-east Asia). Their character is clarified in the Adi parva of the Mahabharata, where they say:

We are everlasting lover and beloved. We never separate. We are eternally husband and wife; never do we become mother and father. No offspring is seen in our lap. We are lover and beloved ever-embracing. In between us we do not permit any third creature demanding affection. Our life is a life of perpetual pleasure.

They are also featured in a number of Buddhist texts, including the Lotus Sutra. An ancient Indian string instrument is known as the Kinnari Veena.

2) In Southeast Asian mythology, Kinnaris, the female counterpart of Kinnaras, are depicted as half-bird, half-woman creatures. One of the many creatures that inhabit the mythical Himavanta. Kinnaris have the head, torso, and arms of a woman and the wings, tail and feet of a swan. She is renowned for her dance, song and poetry, and is a traditional symbol of feminine beauty, grace and accomplishment.

3) In Cambodia, the kinnaras are known in the Khmer language as kenar. The female counterpart, the kinnari, are depicted in Cambodian art and literature more often than the male counterparts.

4) In Tibet the Kinnara is known as the 'shang-shang' (ཤང་ཤང; Sanskrit: civacivaka). This chimera is depicted either with just the head or including the whole torso of a human including the arms with the lower body as that of a winged bird. In Nyingma Mantrayana traditions of Mahayoga Buddhadharma, the shang-shang symbolizes 'enlightened activity' (Wylie: phrin las).

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Wife of Kandari, king of Benares. See Kandari Jataka.

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).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Kiṃnara (किंनर) refers to “divine artists” depending on the gods according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XV). Accordingly, “The Kiṃnaras also are divine artists who depend on the gods. Gandharvas and Kiṃnaras habitually reside in two places: their usual residence is on the Ten-Jewel Mountain (daśaratnagiri); but sometimes in the heavens, they play music for the gods. These two types of beings are not subject to the alternations of high and low”.

Kiṃnaras, together with other deities constitute the Asuras, according to chapter XLVI.—Accordingly, “great gods such as the Asuras, Kiṃnaras, Gandharvas, Kumbhāndas, Yakṣas, Rakṣasas, Bhūtas, etc., are Asuras, and when their troops increase, those of the Devas decrease. Their power (anubhāva) and their transformations (nirmāṇa) were exercised at will. The Asura destiny is called thus because the Asuras appear at the head of a list; the others, namely, the Kiṃnaras, Gandharvas, Kuṃbhāṇḍas, Yakṣas, Bhūtas, etc. constitute one and the same destiny with them”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
context information

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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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Kinnara in Jainism glossary... « previous · [K] · next »

Kiṃnara (किंनर).—The kiṃnaras (or, kinnaras) are a group of deities categorised as belonging to the vyantara class of Gods (devas). The vyantaras represent a class of Gods (devas) comprising eight groups of deities that wander about the three worlds (adhaloka, madhyaloka and ūrdhvaloka).

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

Kinnara (किन्नर).—A class of vyantara gods;—According to the Tiloyapaṇṇatti they are divided into nine classes:

  1. Kinnara,
  2. Kimpuruṣa,
  3. Hṛdayaṅgama,
  4. Rūpapāli,
  5. Kinnarakinnara,
  6. Anindita,
  7. Manorama,
  8. Kinnarottama,
  9. Ratipriya.

They are all black. Aśoka is the Caitya-tree of these gods.

According to Śvetāmbaras they are of ten kinds:

  1. Kinnara,
  2. Kimpuruṣa,
  3. Kimpuruṣottama,
  4. Kinnarottama,
  5. Hṛdayaṅgama,
  6. Rūpaśāli,
  7. Anindita,
  8. Manorama,
  9. Ratipriya,
  10. Ratiśreṣṭha.

Black in complexion, they have especially charming faces, they wear crowns and have a peaceful appearance. Aśoka tree is their flag mark.

Source: Google Books: Jaina Iconography

Kinnara (किन्नर) refers to the “music-obsessed” class of “peripatetic celestial beings” (vyantara), itself a category of devas (celestial beings), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 4.10. Who are the lords amongst the music-obsessed (kinnara) class of peripatetic (forest) celestial beings? Kinnara and Kimpuruṣa are the two lords in the music obsessed peripatetic celestial beings.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 4: The celestial beings (deva)
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

Pali-English dictionary

Kinnara in Pali glossary... « previous · [K] · next »

kinnara : (m.) a bird with a human head; name of a forest dwelling nation.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Kinnara, (kiṃ+nara, lit. what-man, see kiṃ 3) a little bird with a head like a man’s) J. IV, 106, 254, 438, V. 47, 456; Mil 267. Canda kinnara Np. J. I, 91, VI, 283, VI, 74. ‹-› f. kinnarā Np. of a queen J. V, 437 sq. , and kinnarī Th. 2, 381 (cp. ThA. 255), J. II, 121 (matta-kinnarī viya), 230; IV, 432 sq. Cp. kimpurisa. (Page 215)

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.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Kinnara in Marathi glossary... « previous · [K] · next »

kinnara (किन्नर).—m S A celestial chorister or musician.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

kinnara (किन्नर).—m A celestial musician.

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

Kinnara (किन्नर).—See under किम् (kim). 1 kim ind. Used for कु (ku) only at the beginning of comp. to convey the senses of 'badness', 'deterioration', 'defect', 'blame' or 'censure'; e. g. किंसखा (kiṃsakhā) a bad friend; किन्नरः (kinnaraḥ) a bad or deformed man &c.; see comp. below.

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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Relevant definitions

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