yaksha
(fem. yakshi)
   In the VEDA a yaksha was a deity or divinity. Later the term designated certain semidivine beings. These yakshas could change form at will; they lived in caves, mountains, forests, trees, bodies of water, and even magic cities in the sky. They are roughly analogous to gnomes, fairies, or sprites in the European tradition. Yakshas or yakshis were often associated with sacred trees in villages. Indian temple iconography often depicts trees with beautiful yakshis sensuously entwined.
   Such yakshas and yakshis turn up in the MAHAB-HARATA and the RAMAYANA, and in greater numbers in the PURANAS and in the works of such great SAN-SKRIT poets as KALIDASA and BHAVABHUTI. The earliest Indian sculptures, which tend to be Buddhist (c. 200 B.C.E.), are replete with yaksas and yakshis; they are well known in Buddhist literature as well.
   Yakshas also appear in Jain sculpture and literature (see JAINISM). Some Jain temples show yakshis particularly in subsidiary shrines. Finally, in the Hindu puranas, yakshas are also frequently encountered. In physical form they tend to be very handsome or beautiful, and they are very prosperous as well. KUBERA, the god of wealth, is always depicted as attended by yaksas.
   Further reading: Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Yakshas (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 2001); Ram Nath Misra, Yaksha Cult and Iconography (New Delhi: Mun-shiram Manoharlal, 1981).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Yaksha — (Sanskrit यक्ष, IAST|yakṣa , yakkha in Pāli ) is the name of a broad class of nature spirits, usually benevolent, who are caretakers of the natural treasures hidden in the earth and tree roots.cite web url=http://www.britannica.com/eb/article… …   Wikipedia

  • Yaksha — aus Mathura, 1. 2. Jhd. n. Chr. Yaksha (Sanskrit: Yakṣa; Pali: Yakkha) ist die Bezeichnung einer weitläufigen Klasse von Naturgeistern oder Göttern niederen Ranges im Hinduismus und Buddhismus. Die weibliche Form dieser Wesen wird Yakṣī/Yakkhī… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Yaksha — Yak sha, n. [Skr.] (Hindoo Myth.) A kind of demigod attendant on Kuvera, the god of wealth. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Yaksha —   [ jakʃa; Sanskrit »Gestalt«, »Gespenst«] der, / s oder Yak|shini, weibliche Form Yạkshi, schon in vorvedischer Zeit im alten Indien verehrte volkstümliche Berg oder Baumgottheit, Fruchtbarkeitsdämon, Schutzgeist. Im Hinduismus sind die Yakshas …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Yaksha — Rouleau grec soutenu par un Yaksha indien, Amaravati, IIIe siècle, Musée national de Tōkyō. Yaksha (Sanskrit यक्ष, yakṣa , yakkha en Pāli) est le nom d’une grande classe d’esprits de la nature, habituellement bienveillants, qui sont les… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • yaksha — ▪ Hindu mythology also spelled  Yaksa,  Sanskrit  masculine singular Yakṣa, feminine  singular  Yakṣī, or Yakṣinī,        in the mythology of India, a class of generally benevolent nature spirits who are the custodians of treasures that are… …   Universalium

  • YAKSHA —    a species of gnome in the Hindoo mythology …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • yakshá — यक्ष …   Indonesian dictionary

  • yāksha — याक्ष …   Indonesian dictionary

  • yaksha — yak·sha …   English syllables

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