Gandharva

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Gandharva is a name used for distinct mythological beings in Hinduism and Buddhism; it is also a term for skilled singers in Indian classical music.

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In Hinduism

In Hinduism, the Gandharvas (Sanskrit: गन्धर्व, gandharva) are male nature spirits, husbands of the Apsaras. Some are part animal, usually a bird or horse. They have superb musical skills. They guarded the Soma and made beautiful music for the gods in their palaces. A gandharva means a singer in court of Gods. A connection between their name and that of the Greek centaurs was proposed in the 19th century, but has met with strong opposition from some Indo-Europeanists.[citation needed]

In Hindu theology, Gandharvas act as messengers between the gods and humans. In Hindu law, a Gandharva marriage is one contracted by mutual consent and without formal rituals.

Gandharvas are mentioned extensively in the epic Mahabharata as associated with the Devas (as dancers and singers) and with the Yakshas, as formidable warriors. They are mentioned as spread across various territories.

Parentage of the Gandharvas

Various parentage is given for the Gandharvas. They are called the creatures of Prajapati or of Brahma or of Kasyapa or of the Munis or of Arishta or of Vāc. [1]

In Buddhism

A Gandharva (Sanskrit) or Gandhabba (Pāli) is one of the lowest-ranking devas in Buddhist cosmology. They are classed among the Cāturmahārājikakāyika devas, and are subject to the Great King Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Guardian of the East. Beings are reborn among the Gandharvas as a consequence of having practiced the most basic form of ethics (Janavasabha-sutta, DN.18). It was considered embarrassing for a monk to be born in no better birth than that of a gandharva.

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