Last Updated: March 25, 2017

Definition - What does Gandha mean?

Gandha is a Sanskrit word that means “smell,” “odor” or scent.” In the context of Hindu philosophy, it refers to one of the tattvas, which are the aspects or elements of reality. In the Saivism school of Hinduism, there are 36 tattvas. Gandha is one of the 24 impure or ashuddha tattvas, consisting of aspects of mental, action, perception, sensory and material realities.

Tattvas are also divided into the five pure (Shiva or shuddha) tattvas and the seven pure-impure (shuddha-ashuddha) tattvas.

Yogapedia explains Gandha

Gandha refers to the sense of smell, which provides one aspect of the soul's external experiences. One of the five sensations (tanmatras) that form a category of impure tattvas, gandha provides sensory data along with rasa (taste), rupa (form), sparsa (touch) and sabda (sound).

Although, not as common a usage, gandha also refers to an ancient meditative ritual that uses fragrances. Yogis who practice this technique believe that the sense of smell transcends the thinking mind, calming it and helping the yogi enter a deeper state of consciousness. Continued use of such fragrances helps the yogi recall the meditative state and enter into it more quickly.

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