Vāhanas
(6,796 words)

The word vāhana means “that which carries, that which pulls, vehicle, bearer.” This term is primarily used by historians of Indian art and religions to refer to the animals that regularly appear alongside the image of the deities “and/or to creatures invariably imagined in company of specific divinities during dhyana-meditations” (Smith, 1981, 12). According to H. Zimmer, this concept did not originate in India but was imported early on from Mesopotamia. The vāhana  "represents and embod…

Cite this page
Anna L. Dallapiccola, “Vāhanas”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 27 April 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2212-5019_beh_COM_000348>
First published online: 2012



▲   Back to top   ▲