Gandharva - Encyclopedia




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GANDHARVA, in Hindu mythology, the term used to denote (I) in the Rig-Veda usually a minor deity; (2) in later writings a class of divine beings. As a unity Gandharva has no special attributes but many duties, and is in close relation with the great I gods. Thus he is director of the sun's horses; he is guardian of soma, the sacred liquor, and therefore is regarded as the heavenly physician, soma being a panacea. He is servant of Agni the god of light and of Varuna the divine judge. He is omnipresent: in the heavens, in the air and in the waters. He is the keeper of heaven's secrets and acts as messenger between gods and men. He is gorgeously clothed and carries shining weapons. For wife he has the spirit of the clouds and waters, Apsaras, and by her became father of the first mortals, Yama and Yami. He is the tutelary deity of women and presides over marriage ceremonies. In their collective capacity the Gandharva share the duties allotted to the single deity. They live in the house of Indra and with their wives, the Apsaras, beguile the time by singing, acting and dancing. Sometimes they are represented as numbering twelve, sometimes twenty-seven, or they are innumerable. In Hindu law a Gandharva marriage is one contracted by mutual consent and without formality.

Gandia, a seaport of eastern Spain, in the province of Valencia; on the Gandia-Alcoy and Alcira-Denia railways. Pop. (1900) 10,026. Gandia is on the left bank of the river Alcoy or Set-pis, which waters one of the richest and most populous plains of Valencia and enters the Mediterranean Sea at the small harbour of Gandia (El Grao), 3 m. N.E. The chief ancient buildings of Gandia are the Gothic church, the college, founded by San Francisco de Borgia, director-general of the order of Jesus (1510-1572), and the palace of the dukes of Gandia - a title held in the i 5th and 16th centuries by members of the princely house of Borgia or Borja. A Jesuit convent, the theatre, schools and the palace of the dukes of Osuna, are modern. Besides its manufactures of leather, silk, velvet and ribbons, Gandia has a thriving export trade in fruit, and imports coal, guano, timber and flour. In 1904, 400 vessels, of 200,000 tons, entered the harbour.

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