Vyantara; 3 Definition(s)


Vyantara means something in 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.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Vyantara (व्यन्तर).—The vyantaras represent a class of Gods (devas) comprising eight groups of deities that wander about the three worlds (adhaloka, madhyaloka and ūrdhvaloka).

The following are the eight groups of vyantaras:

  1. Piśāca,
  2. Bhūta,
  3. Yakṣa,
  4. Rākṣasa,
  5. Kiṃnara,
  6. Kiṃpuruṣa,
  7. Mahoraga,
  8. Gandharva.

Each group of deities is made up of different members and ruled over by two kings (indras), idintified by a colour, a symbol and a species of tree.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Jainism

Vyantara (व्यन्तर).—The Vyantaras or Vāṇamantaras living in the Ratnaprabhā earth are divided into eight chief classes by both the sects (Digambara and Śvetāmbara). They are:

  1. Piśācas,
  2. Bhūtas,
  3. Yakṣas,
  4. Rākṣasas,
  5. Kinnaras,
  6. Kimpuruṣas,
  7. Mahoragas,
  8. Gandharvas.

The Tiloyapannatti further says that vyantara cities of the jambūdvīpa have various types of gṛhas namely sāmānyagṛha, caityagṛha, kadalīgṛha, garbhagṛha, latāgṛha, nādagṛha and āsanagṛha. In the beautiful palaces of the city are various types of seats, of the shape of elephants, lions, parrots, peacocks, crocodiles, eagles, swans etc.

The Prajñāpanā describes the general appearance of all the Vānamantaras or Vyantaras. They are of an unsteady nature attached to dance and music, adorned with vanamālās of various flowers, wearing garments of different colours, and used to taking different shapes and forms, smiling or laughing. They like love-quarrels and adorn their bodies with various ornaments such as the aṅgada, kuṇḍala, karṇapīṭha etc., and with marks of sandal pastes. they carry sword, mudgara (club), śakti (dark) and kunta (spear) in their hands.

(Source): Google Books: Jaina Iconography

Vyantara (व्यन्तर) refers to “peripatetic (forest) celestial beings” and represents one of the four classes of Devas, according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 4.3. These celestial beings have transformable bodies. They generally live in the deserted places of the middle world. They normally intrude the bodies of human and subhuman beings to make them enjoy or suffer. They have large families and wealth.

The peripatetic gods (vyantara) have eight subclasses namely:

  1. Kinnara (music-obsessed),
  2. Kimpuruṣa, (sex-obsessed)
  3. Mahoraga (great serpent),
  4. Gandharva (musician),
  5. Yakṣa (treasure keeper),
  6. Rākṣasa (demon),
  7. Bhūta (devil),
  8. Piśāca (goblin).

Where do peripatetic celestial beings live? The dwelling places of the seven subclasses are in the upper hard khara part and demons reside in Paṅkabahula part of the first infernal region.

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

Relevant definitions

Search found 45 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Deva (देव).—There are three kinds of gods (deva): the metaphorical gods (saṃmatideva), ...
Yakṣa (यक्ष) refers to the “treasure-keeper” class of “peripatetic celestial beings” (vyantara)...
Bhūta (भूत) refers to the “devil” class of “peripatetic celestial beings” (vyantara), itself a ...
Gandharva (गन्धर्व) refers to the “musician” class of “peripatetic celestial beings” (vyantara)...
Rākṣasa (राक्षस) refers to the “demon” class of “peripatetic celestial beings” (vyantara), itse...
Piśāca (पिशाच) refers to the “goblin” class of “peripatetic celestial beings” (vyantara), itsel...
Kāla (काल) refers to one of the two Indras (lords) of the Piśāca class of “peripatetic celestia...
Indra (इन्द्र, “lord”) refers to refers to one of the ten grades (ranks) of celestial beings (d...
Kinnara (किन्नर) refers to the “music-obsessed” class of “peripatetic celestial beings” (vyanta...
Bhīma (भीम) refers to one of the two Indras (lords) of the Rākṣasa class of “peripatetic celest...
Mahoraga (महोरग) refers to the “great serpent” class of “peripatetic celestial beings” (vyantar...
Kimpuruṣa (किम्पुरुष) refers to the “sex-obsessed” class of “peripatetic celestial beings” (vya...
Lokapāla (लोकपाल, “custodian”) refers to one of the ten grades (ranks) of celestial beings (dev...
Maṇibhadra (मणिभद्र) refers to one of the two Indras (lords) of the Yakṣa class of “peripatetic...
Mahākāla (महाकाल) refers to one of the two Indras (lords) of the Piśāca class of “peripatetic c...

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