Vidyadhara, aka: Vidyādhara, Vidyādhāra, Vidya-adhara, Vidya-dhara; 14 Definition(s)


Vidyadhara means something in 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

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Vidyadhara in Purana glossary... « previous · [V] · next »

Vidyādhara (विद्याधर).—A group of semi-gods. Vidyādharas, Apsarases (celestial maids), Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras and so on are semigods. Of these Kinnaras are lute-players, and Vidyādharas wear garlands, and all these groups live in the sky. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 51). It is mentioned in Mahābhārata, Ādi Parva, Chapter 56, Stanza 8, that when attracted by spells and incantations, Indra went to the Sarpasatra (serpent sacrifice) of Janamejaya, the Vidyādharas walked behind him (Indra).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Vidyādhara (विद्याधर).—Identified with Bhagavān.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 20. 31.

1b) Semi celestial beings: their creation;1 adore Indra;2 Cītraketu (Citraratha, Matsya-purāṇa) their chief;3 came to Dvārakā to see Kṛṣṇa;4 Sudarśana, a chief of;5 country of, watered by Nalinī;6 the path of.7 The performer of saubhāgyaśayana is born as a Vidyādhara.8

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa II. 1. 36. 6. 14; III. 20. 44; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 10. 38; 31. 23; IV. 20. 49; 39. 56.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 7. 4.
  • 3) Ib. VI. 17. 1 and 3; VII. 8. 37; X. 3. 6; 34. 9; 62. 19; 85. 4; Matsya-purāṇa 4. 20; 8. 6; 80. 13.
  • 4) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XI. 6. 3; 12. 4; 14. 5; 31. 2.
  • 5) Ib. XI. 16. 29.
  • 6) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 18. 60; Matsya-purāṇa 121. 48; Vāyu-purāṇa 47. 47.
  • 7) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 6. 13. and 22.
  • 8) Matsya-purāṇa 60. 48.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Vidyādhara (विद्याधर) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. IX.36.21, IX.44.8) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Vidyādhara) 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
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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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Katha (narrative stories)

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Vidyādhara (विद्याधर) is a Sanskrit name referring to a group of deities, attending Maheśvara at his dwelling place, which is the mountain-peak Kailāsa (located within Himavat), according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 1. Accordingly, “There (Kailāsa) dwells Maheśvara the beloved of Pārvatī, the chief of things animate and inanimate, attended upon by Gaṇas, Vidyādharas and Siddhas.”

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Vidyādhara, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

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Vidyādhara (विद्याधर) refers to a group of deities whose beard (śmaśru) should be represented as vicitra (smartly done), according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 23. Providing the beard is a component of nepathya (costumes and make-up) and is to be done in accordance with the science of āhāryābhinaya (extraneous representation).

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
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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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Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)

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Vidyādhara (विद्याधर) or Vidyādhararasa is the name of an Ayurvedic recipe defined in the fourth volume of the Rasajalanidhi (chapter 2, dealing with jvara: fever). These remedies are classified as Iatrochemistry and form part of the ancient Indian science known as Rasaśāstra (medical alchemy). Pārvatīśaṅkara is an ayurveda treatment and should be taken with caution and in accordance with rules laid down in the texts.

Accordingly, when using such recipes (eg., vidyādhara-rasa): “the minerals (uparasa), poisons (viṣa), and other drugs (except herbs), referred to as ingredients of medicines, are to be duly purified and incinerated, as the case may be, in accordance with the processes laid out in the texts.” (see introduction to Iatro chemical medicines)

Source: Wisdom Library: Rasa-śāstra
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Rasashastra (रसशास्त्र, rasaśāstra) is an important branch of Ayurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasashastra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.

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Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

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Vidyādhāra (विद्याधार) refers to one of the 130 varṇavṛttas (syllabo-quantitative verse) dealt with in the second chapter of the Vṛttamuktāvalī, ascribed to Durgādatta (19th century), author of eight Sanskrit work and patronised by Hindupati: an ancient king of the Bundela tribe (presently Bundelkhand of Uttar Pradesh). A Varṇavṛtta (eg., vidyādhāra) refers to a type of classical Sanskrit metre depending on syllable count where the light-heavy patterns are fixed.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Vidyadhara in Hinduism glossary... « previous · [V] · next »

The vidyadharas and humans deal with each other, and many humans married Vidhyadhara damsels. The Vidyadharas are essentially neutral – they cooperate with the universal hierarchy, but they neither favor nor oppose the human race.

In other Sanskrit works too , the Vidyadharas are bearers of wisdom and resemble humans in most aspects except that they are all beautiful to look at and can change forms at will. They mingle with humans and intermarry. Vidyadharas are mentioned also in the Buddhist and Jain tales .

Source: Sreenivasarao's blog: Vidhyadharas and Nagas

Vidyādhara (विद्याधर, “wisdom-holders”):—Vidyadharas are a group of supernatural beings in Hindu mythology. They possess magical powers and dwell in the Himalayas. They also attend God Shiva, who lives in the Himalayas. They are considered as Upa-devas, semi-gods. Vidyadharas also appear in buddhist sources.

In Hinduism: In the Hindu epics, Vidyadharas are described as essentially spirits of the air. They are described as doing different activities in the epics like gazing at human prowess with astonishment, strewing flowers watching a combat, rejoicing with music and laughter, crowned with wreaths and fleeing with their wives from danger. They possess great magical powers like the ability to diminish their size. They are endowed with epithets describing them as "doers of good and devoted to joy".

In Mahabharata: In the epic Mahabharata, Vidyadharas are described as following Indra with other semi-divine beings to the serpent-sacrifice of Janamejaya. In the epics, the women of the Vidyadharas, called Vidyadharis are described to possess great beauty, and were victims of kidnapping by demons like Ravana.

In Rāmāyaṇa: In Valmiki Ramayana, Sundarkanda Verses 1.22 to 1.26 describe the plight of Vidyadharas and their women following the pressure exerted on Mount Mahendra by Hanuman while taking his position in his attempt to leapcross the ocean.

In Agni Purana, they are described as wearing garlands in the sky and mentioned with other semi-divine beings like Yakshas and Gandharvas.

In the Bhagavata Purana, Citraketu is described as the king of Vidyadharas. It also tells about a cursed Vidyadhara called Sudarshana. In various references in the Purana, they are coupled with other semi-divine beings, who pray to god Vishnu for help or enumerated among the many creations of God.

In Jainism: Jain legends describe Vidyadharas as evil beings and Vipracitti is described as a demon. A third leader of the Vidyadharas is described to the wise Jambavan.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

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Vidyādhara (विद्याधर) is the collective name of those human beings born on the Vijayārdha mountain, according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 3.10. The Vijayārdha mountain stands in the middle of the Bharata-varṣa, which is a region of Jambūdvīpa: the first continent of the Madhya-loka (middle-word). What is the means of livelihood of Vidyādhara? Their occupations for livelihood are the six occupations instructed by Lord Adinātha as defense (asi), distribution and accounting (masi), agriculture (kṛṣi), education (vidyā), trade (vāṇijya) and crafts (śilpa) with the human beings called mānava.

Jambūdvīpa (where are born Vijayārdhas) is in the centre of all continents and oceans; all continents and oceans are concentric circles with Jambūdvīpa in the centre. Like the navel is in the centre of the body, Jambūdvīpa is in the centre of all continents and oceans. Sumeru Mount is in the centre of Jambūdvīpa. It is also called Mount Sudarśana.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 3: The Lower and middle worlds
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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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India history and geogprahy

Vidyādhara is one of the Brāhmaṇa donees mentioned in the “Asankhali plates of Narasiṃha II” (1302 A.D.). When a grant was made to a large number of Brāhmaṇas, the chief amongst the donees seems to have been called Pānīyagrāhin especially. In the present record, though all the donees (eg., Vidyādhara) are referred to as Pāṇigrāhi-mahājana, their list is headed by a Brāhmaṇa with Pāṇigrahī as his surname.

These copper plates (mentioning Vidyādhara) were discovered from the house of a Santal inhabitant of Pargana Asankhali in the Mayurbhanj State (Orissa). It was made when king Vīra-Narasiṃhadeva was staying at the Bhairavapura-kaṭaka (city, camp or residence).

Source: What is India: Epigraphia Indica volume XXXI (1955-56)
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

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vidyādhara (विद्याधर).—m S A demigod or spirit of a certain order in Swarg.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
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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

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Vidyādhāra (विद्याधार).—a receptacle of learning; असौ विद्याधारः शिशुरपि विनिर्गत्य भवनात् (asau vidyādhāraḥ śiśurapi vinirgatya bhavanāt) Māl.2.11.

Derivable forms: vidyādhāraḥ (विद्याधारः).

Vidyādhāra is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms vidyā and ādhāra (आधार).

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Vidyādhara (विद्याधर).—,

- f.) a class of demigods or semi-divine beings; विद्याधराध्युषितचारुशिलातलानि स्थानानि (vidyādharādhyuṣitacāruśilātalāni sthānāni) Bh.3.7. °यन्त्रम् (yantram) an apparatus for sublimating quicksilver.

Derivable forms: vidyādharaḥ (विद्याधरः).

Vidyādhara is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms vidyā and dhara (धर).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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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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