Kumbhanda, aka: Kumbhāṇḍa, Kumbhaṇḍa, Kumbhandā, Kumbhānda; 7 Definition(s)


Kumbhanda 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


1a) Kumbhāṇḍa (कुम्भाण्ड).—A minister of Bāṇa. His daughter Citralekhā, was a companion of Ūṣā, Bāṇa's daughter;1 was attacked by Balarāma in the siege of Śoṇitapura; defeated, ran away.2 Sent to Mathurā for Jarāsandha's help. Kṛṣṇa overcame his illusory warfare by vijñānāstra. Defeated by Sātyaki, he fell unconscious; was taken from the field in a chariot back to his city.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 62. 14; Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 32. 17.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 63, 8 and 16.
  • 3) Ib. X. [51 (V) 18], [28-30, 59-63, 65].

1b) A commander of Bhaṇḍa.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 21. 89.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

1. Kumbhanda - A Nigantha for whom Pandukabhaya built a hermitage, named after him, near the Gamani Tank. Mhv.x.99.

2. Kumbhanda - A class of spirits mentioned with Yakkhas, Asuras and Nagas. They live in the South and Virulha is their king (D.ii.257; D.iii.198). In the Vidhurapandita Jataka (J.vi.272), Kumbhira (q.v.) is mentioned as one of their chiefs. They had huge stomachs, and their genital organs were as big as pots, hence their name. DA.iii.964.

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A class of beings (fairies or gnomes) grouped with Yakkhas, Rakkhasas, Asuras and others. Virulha is their king. They have large bellies (kumbhanda = gourd), and their genitals are also large like pots (kumbho viya), hence their name. D.iii.198; DA.iii.964.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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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).


kumbhaṇḍa : (m.) pumpkin; a kind of celestial beings.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Kumbhaṇḍa, 1. m. a class of fairies or genii grouped with Yakkhas, Rakkhasas and Asuras S. II, 258 (k° puriso vehāsaṃ gacchanto); J. I, 204; III, 147 (with def.); Miln. 267; DhA. I, 280; Pgdp 60.—2. nt. a kind of gourd J. I, 411 (lābu°); V, 37; (elāḷuka-lābuka°); DA. I, 73= DhA. I, 309 (placed on the back of a horse, as symbol of instability); the same as f. kumbhaṇḍī Vism. 183 (lābu+). (Page 222)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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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.

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Kumbhāṇḍa (कुम्भाण्ड) is the name of an Asura (demon) according to the Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XX). Accordingly, “When the Bodhisattva cultivates generosity (dāna),... He knows that a minister (amātya) who wrings money out of people and plunders them of their goods illegally, but one who practices generosity, is reborn among the Kouei chen (asura) where he is the demon Kieou p’an tch’a (Kumbhāṇḍa), who enjoys himself by carrying out multiple transformations (pariṇāma) on the five outer objects (pañca-bāhyāyatana)”.

Note: Kumbhāṇḍa refers to a class of demons listed along with the Yakṣas, Asuras and Nāgas. They live in the south and their king is Virūdha (Dīgha II, p. 257; III, p. 198). They are so called because their genitals (aṇḍa) are as large as pots (kumbha) (cf. Sumaṅgala III, p. 964).

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
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.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Kumbhāṇḍa (कुम्भाण्ड).—One of a class of evil spirits who, as their name would indicate, had “testicles” (aṇḍa) as big as “pots” (kumbha). Virūḍhaka, one of the four great kings, is their lord.

(Source): Google Books: Divine Stories: Divyavadana

A Kumbhāṇḍa is one of a group of dwarfish, misshapen spirits among the lesser deities of Buddhist mythology. They are classed among the Cāturmahārājikakāyika deities, and are subject to the Great King Virūḷhaka, Guardian of the South. One of their chiefs is called Kumbhīra.

Kumbhāṇḍa was a dialectal form for "gourd", so they may get their name from being thought to resemble gourds in some way, e.g. in having big stomachs. But kumbhāṇḍa can also be interpreted as "pot-egg"; since "egg" (aṇḍa) was a common euphemism for "testicle", the kumbhāṇḍas were imagined having testicles "as big as pots".

(Source): WikiPedia: Buddhism

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