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Gandharvas and Apsarases
(4,400 words)

Gandharvas and apsarases, often mentioned as being closely associated as either lovers or married couples (AVŚ. 2.2.5; 4.37.7, 12; AVP. 1.89.2), have been conceived of as a class of semidivine beings throughout the history of Hinduism. According to the Aitareyabrāhmaṇa (3.31), they form a group besides “gods and men, serpents and fathers” (see also JaiUBr. 1.41.1). They are supposed to associate with human beings, but not always without danger fo…

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Oberlies, Thomas, “Gandharvas and Apsarases”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 30 May 2020 <>
First published online: 2018

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