Ghandarvas as Machine Elves


Represented as half-man and half-animal, Ghandarvas are said to have been born from Brahma, the creator deity, and Vac, the goddess of speech. Because of their use of musical resonance and entheogenic Soma communion they are believed to have healing powers and act as the physicians of the gods.

As Soma Guardians
The first Gandharva had knowledge of divine truths and was appointed by the Gods to prepare and be guardian of the celestial soma juice. This initial ancestor symbolized the fire of the sun. His descendants are the guardians of amrita (the Amanita Muscaria mushroom). They are famed for their prowess as healers and are proficient in medicine. Gandharvas are supposed to have splendid cities of their own somewhere in the universe but they are usually found in Indra’s heaven Svarga at the top of Mount Meru. There, together with the Apsaras (celestial nymphs), they sing and dance and play their musical instruments entertaining everyone.

As "Machine Elves"
The Gandharvas are believed to haunt the air, forests and mountains of the earth. They are mischievous and often fool people with their illusions which they work at the time of twilight. With a head of a bird and sometimes hindquarters of a horse or donkey, some scholars associate them with the Greek centaur. They are said to battle the Naga serpents who live in Meru.

This painting shows Tumburu, the chief Gandharva, who plays the Indian musical instrument known as the "veena" (named after Vena, the goddess of Venus).