Skip to main content


Gandharva (Skt., imbiber of song).
1. In Hinduism, sometimes a single god, who is the guardian of soma. More often they are in the plural, described by the Atharva Veda as half-human, half-bird, and hairy. In later texts (e.g. Mahābhārata), they have become the musicians of the gods (with the apsarasas, the dancers) who also threaten to seduce ascetics when they rival the gods.

2. In Buddhism, (Pāli, gandhabba) they continue as heavenly musicians, but they also have a role in sustaining the karmically governed accumulation of consequence from a previous life, through death, into a new appearance. They thus covered, mythologically, the ‘gap’ between death and new birth.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gandharva." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . 16 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Gandharva." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . (February 16, 2019).

"Gandharva." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved February 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.