gardabha गर्दभ

Definition: The ass,’ is mentioned in the Rigveda as inferior to the horse. In the Taittirīya Samhitā he again appears as inferior to the horse, but at the same time as the best bearer of burdens (bhāra-bhāritama) among animals. The same authority styles the ass dvi-retas, ‘having double seed,’ in allusion to his breeding with the mare as well as the she-ass. The smallness of the young of the ass, and his capacity for eating, are both referred to. The disagreeable cry of the animal is mentioned in the Atharvaveda, and in allusion to this the term ‘ ass ’ is applied opprobriously to a singer in the Rigveda. A hundred asses are spoken of as a gift to a singer in a Vālakhilya hymn. The mule (aśvatara) is the offspring of an ass and a mare, the latter, like the ass, being called dvi- retas, ‘ receiving double seed,’ for similar reasons. The male ass is often also termed Rāsabha. The female ass, Gardabhī, is mentioned in the Atharvaveda and the Brhadāranyaka Upanisad.


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