abhimāna—False identification with a material body.
Abhimanyu—The only son of Arjuna and Subhadrā. He was a promising heir to the Kuru dynasty but died in the Battle of Kurukṣetra
while still in his teens. He left his widow, Uttarā, pregnant with Parīkṣit.
* Abhimanyu—the heroic son Arjuna and Subhadrā. He was killed by the Son of Duḥśāsana. (Droṇa Parva
abhiras—A degraded tribe of nomadic cowherds. The gopas of Vraja are sometimes disparagingly called Abhiras even though they
are actually proper vaiśyas.
abhiṣeka—A ceremonial bath performed in the worship of a Deity or the coronation of a king.
* abhiṣeka—a bathing ceremony, particularly for the coronation of a king or the installation of the Lord's Deity form.
* Adhiratha—foster father of Karṇa. He was a charioteer by profession. He one day found the child Karṇa floating in
the Ganges in a basket. His wife was barren and happily he took the child home and gave it to his wife.
* adhirūḍha—an advanced symptom of mahā-bhāva found only in the gopīs.
* Adhiyaj˝a—the Supersoul, the plenary expansion of the Lord in the heart of every living being.
adhokṣaja—A name of Lord Viṣṇu, meaning “He who is beyond the reach of the material senses.”
* Adhokṣaja—a name for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is beyond material sense perception, who is not perceivable by impure
adhyātmic—Anglicized derivative of the Sanskrit word adhyātmika, “miseries caused by one’s own body and mind.”
adhyātmika—(-kleśa) Miseries caused by one’s own body and mind.
* ādhyātmika—miseries arising from one’s own body and mind.
* adhyātmika—(misery) caused by one’s own body and mind.
ādi-guru—The first spiritual master of a disciplic succession.
ādi-līla—Initial pastimes, such as the first twenty-four years of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes; the portion of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta
recounting those pastimes.
* Ādi-līlā—the first twenty-four years of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes.
* Ādi-puruṣa—the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, the original person.
Aditi—Dakṣa’s oldest daughter, a wife of Kaśyapa. She gave birth to twelve sons, including the eleven principal
demigods (such as Sūrya, Varuṇa, and Indra) and the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Vāmana.
Ādityas—Aditi’s twelve sons: Sūrya, Aryamā, Pūṣā, Tvaṣṭā, Savitā, Bhaga,
Dhātā, Vidhātā, Varuṇa, Mitra, Indra, and Lord Vamana. They rule the universe as the principal demigods
during the period of the current Manu, Vaivasvata.
* Ādityas—the demigods who are descendants of Kaśyapa Muni’s wife, Aditi.
* advaita-siddhānta—the conclusion of the monists, namely, that the Absolute Truth and the individual living entity are separate in the
material state, but that when they are spiritually situated there is no difference between them.
* advaita-vāda—the philosophy of absolute oneness taught by Śaṅkarācārya, and whose conclusion is advaita-siddhānta.
Advaita-vādīs—Proponents of the impersonal philosophy of “oneness,” which claims that the Absolute Truth, one without
a second, is ultimately formless and that whatever has name and form is an illusion falsely imposed on that impersonal Absolute
Truth. See Māyāvādīs.
* Advaita-vādīs—atheistic philosophers who say all distinctions are but material illusions. See also: Māyāvādīs
* Advaitācārya—an incarnation of Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu, who appeared as one of the four principal associates of Lord Caitanya
* Āgamas—authorized Vedic literatures; also, specifically the Pa˝carātras.
* Agastya Muni—a great sage who authored many Vedic hymns and writings on Āyurvedic medicine. The son of Mitra and Varuṇa,
he was born from a water jar. Once he swallowed the ocean and forced the Vindhya mountain range to prostrate itself before
* Agni—the demigod who controls fire. He took the form of a brāhmaṇa and begged charity from Lord Kṛṣṇa
and Arjuna. He then consumed the Khāṇḍava forest.
agnihotra—The first and simplest Vedic fire sacrifice, to be performed daily at sunrise and sunset by initiated brāhmaṇas.
It is also a subsidiary ritual within each of the more complex sacrifices (yaj˝as). Often the term agnihotra
is used to indicate fire sacrifices in general.
* Agnihotra-yaj˝a—the ceremonial fire sacrifice offered to the demigod Agni performed in Vedic rituals.
* Agnistoma—a sacrifice performed by a person who wants go to heaven. A minimum of sixteen priests are required for this sacrifice,
which lasts five days.
* Agrahāyaṇa—a name for the month of Mārgaśirṣa (November/December). In contemporary Vaiṣṇavism it is
known as themonth of Keśava.
aguru—Aquilaia agallocha, a large evergreen tree with fragrant wood. An auspicious fragrance derived from the wood
of the aloe tree (not the same as Aloe vera).
Ajāmila—A brāhmaṇa whose attraction to a prostitute led him into sinful life but who was saved by his deathbed
cries for his son Nārāyaṇa, cries that brought the messengers of Lord Nārāyaṇa to stop those
of Yamarāja from dragging him to hell.
* Ajāmila—a fallen brāhmaṇa who was saved from hell by unintentionally chanting the Lord’s name at the
time of death.
* Aj˝a—a description of Kṛṣṇa indicating that nothing is unknown to Him.
* aj˝āta-sukṛti—pious or devotional activity performed accidentally, without knowledge of its effect.
* ajowan seeds—tiny, light-brown spice seeds closely related to caraway and cumin with a very strong, thyme and oregano flavour. Ajowan,
Carum ajowan is used in many North Indian savoury dishes, especially in fried snacks. Ajowan aids digestion and is
to relieve stomach problems. The seeds keep indefinitely are available from Indian Middle Eastern grocers.
* akāma-bhakta—one who serves the Lord without material motive.
* akarma (naiskarma)—action for which one suffers no reaction because it is performed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; free
from material desire; one who is desireless.
* Alāyudha—a Rākṣasa who fought on the side of Duryodhana. He was killed by Ghaṭotkaca. (Droṇa Parva in
* alfalfa sprouts—the nutritional content of the seeds of the perennial plant Medicado sativa, alfalfa, is increased dramatically
when they are sprouted. Alfalfa sprouts contain 40% protein and are very high in vitamins A, B, and C, as well as B vitamins,
and the vitamins K and U. Alfalfa sprouts also contain good amounts of sodium, potassium, sulphur, phosphorus, and magnesium.
The high nutrition, as well as the mild, slightly sweet flavour of alfalfa sprouts make them a popular salad ingredient.
* Alolupa—a son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He was killed by Bhīma. (Droṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)
* Amāvasyā—the dark-moon night, or the night of the new moon, when various sacrifices are offered to both demigods and demons.
* Ambā—Older sister of Ambikā and Ambālikā and daughter of the King of Kāśi. She was abducted by
Bhīṣma during her svayaṁvara, but she wanted to marry Śālva. She did penance to please Lord
Śiva and she received a benediction she could take birth in her next life as a son of King Drupada. (Ādi Parva in
* Ambālikā—Youngest of the daughters of the King of Kāśi. She was married to Vicitravīrya. When Vicitravīrya
died early, she begot Pāṇḍu by the great sage Vyāsa. (Ādi Parva in Mahābhārata)
* Ambarīṣa Mahārāja—a great devotee-king who perfectly executed all nine devotional practices (hearing, chanting, etc.).
Ambarīṣa—A saintly Vaiṣṇava king famous for using all his resources and bodily activities in devotional service
to the Supreme Lord. Angered by a minor accidental fault of the king’s, the sage Durvāsā tried to kill him,
but Lord Viṣṇu sent the Sudarśana disc to attack Durvāsā, who finally had to beg the king’s
* Ambikā—Second daughter of the King of Kāśi. She married Vicitravīrya. Later when Vicitravīrya died, she
begot Dhṛtarāṣṭra by the great sage Vyāsa. (Ādi Parva in Mahābhārata)
* amchoor—a tan coloured powder made from grinding small sun-dried green mangoes. Amchoor is used in North Indian dishes to give
a slightly sour, pungent taste. It is a predominant flavour in the spice blend called chat masala and is available
at all Indian grocery stores.
amṛta—The “nectar of immortality” that demigods in Svarga drink to give them fabulously long lives.
* Ānandamaya—full of bliss in spiritual realization; Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Ananta—(Ananta Śeṣa, Śeṣa Nāga) 1. An expansion of God who appears as a serpent with thousands
of heads and who serves as the bed of Lord Viṣṇu. Ananta Śeṣa holds all the planets of the universe
on His hoods and constantly sings the glories of Viṣṇu from all His mouths. 2. Unlimited.
aṇimā-siddhi—The yogic perfection of making oneself smaller than an atom.
* aṇimā-siddhi—mystic power by which one can become as small as an atom so that he can enter into stone.
Aniruddha—A son of Pradyumna and grandson of Kṛṣṇa. Aniruddha’s eternal consort, Ūṣā,
sequestered him in the palace of her father, Bāṇa, where Aniruddha was captured and had to be rescued by Kṛṣṇa,
Balarāma, and the Yādava army. He appears in Dvārakā and Mathurā as the fourth of the original quadruple
vyūha expansions of the Supreme Lord, and He again expands from Lord Nārāyaṇa in Vaikuṇṭha,
in the second quadruple, as the ruler of intelligence.
* Aniruddha—a grandson of Lord Kṛṣṇa; also one of the four original expansions of Lord Kṛṣṇa
in the spiritual world.
* anise seeds—the highly aromatic seeds of the annual herb Pimpinella anisum. These greenish-gray, slightly crescent-shaped
seeds have a very strong licorice-like flavour and odour, although they are not related to the perennial plant of the pea
family whose sweet roots are the source of true licorice. Although anise is generally used as a flavouring for drinks, sweets,
and creams, it is delicious sauteed in ghee or oil and cooked in vegetable dishes such as Cabbage, Potato
and YogurtwithAnise. Anise seeds are available at supermarkets and specialty stores.
* Antaryāmī—the expansion of the Supreme Lord situated ineveryone’s heart as Supersoul, the indwelling controller.
* antipasto—a light starter or an appetizer served before an Italian meal. It can also be used as a light snack. Vegetables and
salads (served raw or lightly cooked), make delicious antipasto, as do simple hot dishes, fried breads (crostini),
or miniature pizzas.
antya-līlā—The last eighteen years of Lord Caitanya’s manifest pastimes; the portion of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta
recounting those pastimes.
* Antya-līlā—the last eighteen years of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes.
* anusūyā—the wig of Atri Muni, the sage among the demigods. She is the mother of three-headed Lord Dattātreya.
* Anuvinda—a King of Avanti. He and his brother, Vinda, were the brothers of Mitravindā, who was married to Lord Śrī
Kṛṣṇa. Both brothers were inimical to Lord Kṛṣṇa and were killed by Arjuna. (Droṇa
Parva in Mahābhārata)
anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam—Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī’s definition of pure devotional service as being free from any other
desire than the desire to server Kṛṣṇa.
* apāna-vāyu—one of the internal bodily airs which is controlled by the aṣṭāṅga-yoga system.
The apāna-vāyu travels downwards.
aprakaṭa-līlā—Kṛṣṇa’s “unmanifest pastimes,” which go on eternally in His abodes, all simultaneously,
but are invisible except to rare, fortunate souls. In contrast, His prakaṭa, or “manifest,” pastimes
are visible to the public but only at specific times in a linear sequence of events.
* Apsarā—a heavenly courtesan. The most beautiful women in the heavenly planets, who are expert at dancing.
Apsarās—The dancing girls of heaven, wives of Gandharvas, sometimes engaged by Indra to distract yogis from their meditations.
Āraṇyakas—The parts of the original Vedas that give more esoteric explanations than do the Brāhmaṇas.
The Āraṇyakas are meant for renunciants to study in the forest (araṇya). The Upaniṣads
are chapters of the Āraṇyakas that explain the philosophical essence of the Vedas.
ārati—A standard ceremony of worship with offerings of lamps, fans, incense, fiowers, bathing water, and other items. Its
origin is the custom of greeting a guest to one’s home at night (ā-rātrikam) with a lamp.
* ārati—a ceremony in which one greets and worships the Lord in the Deity form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by offering
Him incense, a flame in a lamp with ghee-soaked wicks, a flame in a lamp containing camphor, water in a conchshell, a fine
cloth, a fragrant flower, a peacock-feather, and yak-tail wisk, accompanied by bell-ringing and chanting.
aravinda—A species of lotus that blooms during the day and closes at night.
* Aravindakṣa—a name of the Lord meaning one whose eyes are as beautiful as lotus petals.
* arbuda-arbuda—various types of śravaṇa and kīrtana of the Supreme Lord’s name, quality, form and so
* Arcā-vigraha—an authorized form of God manifested through material elements, as in a painting or statue of Kṛṣṇa
worshiped in a temple or home. Actually present in this form, the Lord accepts worship from His devotees.
Ariṣṭa—A demon who assumed the form of a bull, attacked Vraja, and was killed by Kṛṣṇa.
* Ariṣṭāsura—a demon who took the form of a bull and tried to kill Lord Kṛṣṇa.
* Arjama—the demigod in charge of Pitṛloka, the planet were qualified departed ancestors reside.
* Ārjava—a brother of Śakuni who was killed by Irāvān. (Bhīṣma Parva in Mahābhārata)
arjuna trees—Two trees of the arjuna species that stood in the courtyard of Nanda Mahārāja until Kṛṣṇa
uprooted them. Formerly sons of Kuvera, they had been cursed to stand as trees until delivered by Kṛṣṇa.
Arjuna—The third of the five Pāṇḍava brothers. A great bowman, he figured prominently in winning the Kurukṣetra
battle, with Kṛṣṇa driving his chariot. It was to Arjuna that Kṛṣṇa spoke the Bhagavad-gītā
just before the battle.
* Arjuna—the third son of Pāṇḍu and intimate friend of Lord Kṛṣṇa. After Pāṇḍu
was cursed by a sage, Kuntī used a special mantra to beget children and called for the demigod Indra. By the union
of Indra and Kuntī, Arjuna was born. In his previous life he was Nara, the eternal associate of Lord Nārāyaṇa.
Kṛṣṇa became his chariot driver and spoke the Bhagavad-gītā to him on the battlefield of
arka—A large-leafed plant whose leaves are used in sacred rituals.
* arrowroot—a very fine white starch derived from the rootstock of the South American tropical plant Maranta arundinacea.
Arrowroot is used much like cornflour in sauces, except that it is a non-grain flour and thickens at a lower temperature.
It is also used as a binding agent. It is available at most supermarkets or grocers.
Ārṣṭiṣeṇa—The chief among the citizens of Kimpuruṣa-varṣa, who have bodies half human and half animal.
artha—Economic development, one of the four standard goals of human life.
artha-vāda—The statements of śruti that praise, encourage, or explain rather than enjoin ritual duties. The term is
sometimes used perjoratively to indicate flowery praise that cannot be taken literally.
ārya—A civilized human being, one who lives according to the standards of the Vedic culture.
Aryamā—The chief of the departed forefathers residing in Pitaloka. He sometimes stands in for Yamarāja, the judge of
* Aryamā—the demigod in charge of Pitṛloka, the planet where qualified departed ancestors reside.
* Aryan—a follower of Vedic culture. A person whose goal is spiritual advancement. He truly knows the value of life and has
a civilization based on spiritual realization.
Āryans—Persons living according to the cultured standards of Vedic civilization.
Āryāvarta—The “home of the Āryans,” comprising the part of India bounded by seas on the west and east, by the
Himalaya Mountains on the north, and by the Vindhya Mountains on the south.
* asafoetida—the aromatic resin from the root of the giant fennel, Ferula asafoetida. Asafoetida (also known as hing) is
extracted from the stems of these giant perennial plants that grow wild in Central Asia. In the spring, when the plant is
about to bloom, the stems and roots are cut. Milky resin exudes from the cut surface and is scraped off. More exudes as successive
slices of root are removed over a period of 3 months. The gummy resin is sun-dried into a solid mass that is then sold in
solid, wax-like pieces, or more conveniently, in powdered form. Due to the presence of sulphur compounds, asafoetida has a
distinctive pungent flavour reminiscent of shallots or garlic. Used in minute quantities, it adds a delicious flavour to various
savoury dishes. Use the mild Vandevi brand of yellow asafetida powder and not the grey variety. Asafoetida is available at
aśoka grove—The garden where Rāvaṇa kept Sītādevī captive, guarded by Rākṣasīs.
aśoka—Saraca indica. Blooming in early March, aśoka flowers are crimson and blossom in bunches. It is
said to flower upon being touched by a beautiful woman’s feet.
* aśoka—a tree with long, pointed leaves. Goddess Sītā was placed under an aśoka tree after being kidnapped
āśrama—1. The hermitage of a sage or teacher. 2. One of the four stages of spiritual development in the varṇāśrama
social system: brahmācarya (celibate student life), gṛhastha (marriage), vānaprastha
(retirement), and sannyāsa (the renounced order).
* Āśrama—one of the four spiritual orders of life—brahmacārī-āśrama, or student life;
Gṛhasta-āśrama, or married life; vānaprastha, or retired life; and sannyāsa-āśrama,
or the renounced order of life; the home of the spiritual master, a place where spiritual practices are executed.
aṣṭāṅga-yoga—The eight-phase system of yoga practice taught by the sage Pata˝jali in his Yoga-sūtras.
* aṣṭāṅga-yoga—the eightfold system of mystic yoga, propounded by Pata˝jali, meant for realizing the presence of Paramātmā,
the Lord in the heart.
* aṣṭānga-yoga—(aṣṭa=eight + aṅga=part) a mystic yoga system propounded by Pata˝jali in his Yoga-sūtras
and consisting of eight parts—yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra,
dhāraṇā, dhyāna and samādhi, progressing from moral practices to deep meditation on God.
* Aṣṭāvakra—the founder of Māyāvāda philosophy, which declares that the spiritual effulgence (Brahman) is the cause
of all causes.
* Aṣtavakra—a boy sage who won a debate in the court of King Janaka.
asura—Demon or ungodly person, who oppose the demigods and the service of the Lord.
* asura—demon, one who does not follow the principles of scripture, atheist, gross materialist. One who is envious of God,
and is averse to the supremacy and service of the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu.
* aśvamedha-yaj˝a—a Vedic horse sacrifice. One of eight recommended in the Vedic scriptures, it is performed by kings.
Aśvatthāmā—The son of Droṇācārya who fought against the Pāṇḍavas at Kurukṣetra. In a desperate
act of revenge at the end of the battle, he killed the five young sons of the Pāṇḍavas in their sleep and
tried to kill the last remaining heir, Parīkṣit, in his mother’s womb.
* Aṣvatthāmā—the son of Droṇa. He was a friend of Duryodhana and fought on his side during the Kurukṣetra battle. He
lived through the battle of Kurukṣetra, but was cursed by Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He killed the
five sons of Draupadī when they were awakening from sleep and attempted to kill Parīkṣit when he was in the
womb of Uttarā.
* Āśvina—the third month of the four-month Cāturmāsya fast.
* Aśvinī deities—demigods in charge of the nostrils and sense of smell.
* Aśvinīkumāras—Demigods who begot Nakula and Sahadeva in the womb of Mādrī, the wife of Pāṇḍu.
atasī flower—linum usitatissimum, flax, a plant with lance-shaped leaves that produces pretty sky blue or violet-blue flowers
each spring and summer.
* atattva-j˝a—one who has no knowledge of the Absolute Truth.
* Atharva Veda—one of the four Vedas, the original revealed scriptures spoken by the Lord Himself, consisting primarily of
formulas and chants designed to counteract the effects of disease and calamity.
* Atibāri-sampradāya—bogus disciplic succession coming from an Orissan named Jagannātha dāsa, who was a contemporary of Lord Caitanya.
Initially, he was a follower of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, but he later rejected him.
ātmarāma—Those who find their pleasure in experiencing the self.
* ātmārāma—one who is self-satisfied, free from external, material desires.
* Atri Ṛṣi—one of the seven great sages born directly from Brahmā;. He is the husband of Anusūyā and father of
the Lord’s incarnation Dattātreya. He contributed to the knowledge of astronomy.
Atri—A Vedic sage, born of the mind of Brahma. When Atri prayed to the Supreme for a son like Him, but without a clear idea
of who the Supreme is, the Lords Viṣṇu, Brahmā, and Śiva all agreed to become his sons as Dattātreya,
Soma, and Durvāsā.
* atta flour—also known as chapati flour, this low-gluten flour is derived from a strain of soft wheat popular throughout
India. The entire wheat kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm, is ground very finely making a nutritious flour.
Atta flour is suitable for all Indian flatbreads, such as pooris, chapatis, and parathas. Doughs made with atta
flour are velvety smooth, knead readily, and respond easily to shaping and rolling. Atta flour is available from Indian and
Asian grocery stores.
Avanti—One of the seven sacred cities that can bestow liberation. Kṛṣṇa’s spiritual master, Sāndīpani
Muni, resided there, and Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma lived there as students in his āśrama.
Avanti has become the modern city of Ujjain, in the western part of Madhya Pradesh.
* Āvaraṇātmikā—māyā’s “covering” power, by which a conditioned soul feels satisfied in any condition
* avaroha-panthā—the descending process of receiving revealed knowledge.
avatāra—A “descent” of the Supreme Lord to the material world in one of His many forms.
* avatāra—literally means “one who descends.” A partially or fully empowered incarnation of the Lord who descends
from the spiritual sky to the material universe with a particular mission described in scriptures.
avatārī—The original Supreme Lord, from whom all avatāras expand.
* avyakta—unmanifested; the material creation when it is not yet manifested from the mahat-tattva.
Ayodhyā—The capital of the Kośala kingdom, inherited by Lord Rāmacandra from His ancestors. It is located in south-central
Uttar Pradesh. The original Ayodhyā in the eternal kingdom of God lies above the other Vaikuṇṭha worlds and
below Goloka Vṛndāvana.
* Ayodya—a city in North India, capital of the kings of the Ikavaku (solar) dynasty. Today, it is till the chief Holy City of
Lord Rama's devotees.
* Ayukta—the ecstatic condition of not having yet met one’s lover.
* āyurveda—the section of the Vedas which expounds the Vedic science of medicine delivered by Lord Dhanvantari, the incarnation
of the Supreme Lord as a physician. He was born out of the ocean of milk when it was churned by the demons and demigods in
the Satya-yuga. He expounded on the three categories of medicine.
(Kṛṣṇa’s mercy!) This glossary contains
3732 entries! It is the result of merging the VedaBase« glossary with a glossary obtained from krishna.com. It uses Sanskrit diacritics with no special font required. It uses the “Lucida Sans Unicode” font. Lucida Sans
Unicode is a standard font common to all later model Microsoft Windows Internet computers. It is capable of doing a fairly
good job of displaying most of the 31 standard ISKCON Sanskrit diacritic characters. To get enhanced versions of the Lucida
Sans Unicode font, the Microsoft Sans Serif font, and the Tahoma font which each display all 31 diacritic characters correctly,
download and install “fonts.zip” (702 KB - Updated August 3, 2006 - You will only see an improvement if you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer,
because, as far as I know, it’s the only web browser which is capable of doing automatic character substitution). To
compare the way the fonts should look to the way they look with your particular computer / web browser, click here.