Kinnara, aka: Kiṃnara, Kinnarā; 14 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.
Itihasa (narrative history)
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
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’).
Kinnara (किन्नर).—A sect of Devas all of whom hold Vīṇās in their hands. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 51).(Source): archive.org: 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.
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.
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
Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)
Wife of Kandari, king of Benares. See Kandari Jataka.(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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).
Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)
Kiṃnara (किंनर) refers to “divine artists” depending on the gods according to the 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”.(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
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.
General definition (in Jainism)
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:
They are all black. Aśoka is the Caitya-tree of these gods.
According to Śvetāmbaras they are of ten kinds:
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)
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.
Languages of India and abroad
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 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.
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
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.
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
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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Search found 26 books and stories containing Kinnara, Kiṃnara or Kinnarā. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
The Jataka tales [English], Volume 1-6 (by Robert Chalmers)
Jataka 485: Canda-Kinnara-jātaka < [Volume 4]
Jataka 536: Kuṇāla-jātaka < [Volume 5]
Jataka 481: Takkāriya-jātaka < [Volume 4]
Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra (by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön)
Appendix 7 - The Legend of Druma (king of the Gandharvas) < [Chapter XV - The Arrival of the Bodhisattvas of the Ten Directions]
Story of druma’s action on the śrāvakas < [Part 5 - The virtue of meditation]
Appendix 9 - On the number of gatis or destinies < [Chapter XV - The Arrival of the Bodhisattvas of the Ten Directions]
Village Folk-tales of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), vol. 1-3 (by Henry Parker)
Story 34 - The Kinnara and the Parrots < [Part I - Stories told by the Cultivating Caste and Vaeddas]
Story 75 - The Crocodile And The Jackal < [Part II (e) - Stories of the Kinnaras]
Story 73 - Concerning A Monk And A Yaka < [Part II (e) - Stories of the Kinnaras]
Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra (by Helen M. Johnson)
Part 19: Dharmanātha’s śāsanadevatās (messenger-deities) < [Chapter V - Śrī Dharmanāthacaritra]
Part 19: The Vyantaras < [Chapter III - The initiation and omniscience of Ajita]
Part 3: Description of Aṣṭāpada < [Chapter VI]
List of Mahabharata people and places (by Laxman Burdak)