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abhidheya-tattva – process

abhimāna – self-conception

abhisāra – rendezvous or tryst with Śrī Kṛṣṇa

ācamana  – (1) a ritual of purification in which one places a few drops of water in the palm of the right hand, chants a particular name of Bhagavān and then sips that water; (2) the process of offering mouthwash to the deity

ācārya  – spiritual preceptor, one who teaches by example

acintya  – inconceivable

acintya-bhedābheda-tattva  – (1)  inconceivable distinction with nondistinction, (2) Fundamental truth of the Supreme Person, who is inconceivably non-different from (abheda) and different from (bheda) His potencies

acintya-śakti  – Śrī Bhagavān’s inconceivable potency

acintya-tattva – inconceivable Absolute Truth

Acyuta – Infallible (refers to the Lord)

ādhāra-śakti – all-accommodating potency

adharma – irreligion

adhibhautika – suffering caused by other living beings

adhidaivika – suffering caused by unseen forces and demigods

adhikāra – qualification

adhirūḍha-bhāva, adhirūḍha-mahābhāva – the highest state of mahābhāva, found only in the gopīs of Vraja. There are two types of adhirūḍha-bhāva: (1) modana and (2) mādana. (1) The adhirūḍha in which all the sāttvika-bhāvas of the nāyaka and nāyikā are aroused to a much greater extent than in the brightly burning (uddīpta) condition is called modana. Modana does not occur anywhere other than in Śrī Rādhā’s group. In some special conditions of separation, modana becomes mohana, and as an effect of this helpless condition of separation, all the sāttvika-bhāvas manifest in the blazing (sūddīpta) condition. (2) When mahābhāva increases even further it attains an extremely advanced condition. The paramount emotion in which it becomes jubilant due to the simultaneous manifestation of all types of transcendental emotions is called mādana. This mādana-bhāva is eternally and splendidly manifest only in Śrī Rādhā, and occurs only at the time of meeting. It is also referred to as mādanākhya-mahābhāva.

adhiṣṭhātṛa-devatā – presiding deity

ādhyātmika – suffering caused by one’s mind

ādi – beginning, first.

Adi-puruṣa  – Primeval personality (refers to the Lord)

Aditi – wife of Prajāpati Kaśyapa; mother of the twelve ādityas. Her eldest son was Indra and her youngest was Upendra, or Vāmanadeva, the dwarf incarnation of the Lord.

ādityas – the twelve sons of Aditi and Kaśyapa.

Advaita-jñāna – knowledge of non-duality. Although in the true sense this refers to the Supreme Absolute Personality of Godhead who is devoid of all duality, the Māyāvāda conception of advaita-jñāna is that the ultimate substance, brahman, is devoid of form, qualities, personality, and variegatedness

Advaita-vāda – the doctrine of non-dualism, monism – the doctrine that emphasises the absolute oneness of the living entities with God. This is often equated with the Māyāvāda theory that everything is ultimately one; that there is no distinction whatsoever between the Supreme Absolute and the individual living entities; that the Supreme is devoid of form, personality, qualities, and activities; and that perfection is to merge oneself into the all-pervading impersonal brahman. This doctrine was propagated by Śrī Śaṅkarācārya  

advaitavādī – follower of nondualism, or monism (advaitavāda), as propounded by Śrī Śaṅkara ācārya

Agni – presiding deity of fire and son of Brahmā

ahaitukī-bhakti – unalloyed devotion

ahaṅkāra – false ego

aikāntika – one-pointed, unflinching

aikāntikā-niṣṭhā – one-pointed faith

Airāvata – Lord Indra’s elephant carrier

aiśvarya – (1) majestic opulence, splendour, majesty or supremacy, sense of awe and reverence (2) derived from the word īśvara. In regard to bhakti, this refers to devotion that is inspired by the majesty of Bhagavān, rather than by His mādhurya (sweetness). It especially applies to His feature as Nārāyaṇa. Aiśvarya restricts the intimacy between Bhagavān and His devotees

aiśvarya-jñāna – awareness of the aspect of divinity

ajāta-rati-sādhaka – a sādhaka who has not attained the stage of bhāva

akiñcana – (1) without material possessions (2) one whose sole possession is service to Kṛṣṇa.

Aṁṣa – (1) Portion, or expansion, of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, (2) part and parcel.

Aṁṣavatāras – partial incarnations

anādi – beginningless

ananda – spiritual bliss, ecstasy, joy or happiness (see hlādinī-śakti)

ānanda-cinmaya-rasa  – blissful transcendental mellows

ānandamaya – the fifth stage of consciousness, awareness of service to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa (Krishna)

ananta-rūpa – unlimited forms

ananya – literally, ‘without another’; exclusive, one-pointed

ananyā-bhakti – exclusive devotion, unmixed with any other desire, in which one’s sole motivation is to please Bhagavān

ananya-yoga – bhakti unmixed with dependence on speculative knowledge, fruitive work or austerities

anartha – (an-artha = non-value) unwanted desires, activities or habits that impede one’s advancement in bhakti

anartha-nivṛtti – clearance of anarthas, the stage in the development of the creeper of devotion, which occurs by the influence of sādhu-saṅga and bhajana-kriyā

aṅga – (1) limb, division, part (2) the various practices of devotion such as hearing and chanting

aṇimā – (1) small like an atomic particle, (2) the mystic perfection of being able to become small like a particle

Antaryāmī – In-dwelling witness, the Supersoul, who guides the activities of all living entities

antya – last

anubhāvas – one of the five essential ingredients of rasa. The actions which display or reveal the spiritual emotions situated within the heart are called anubhāvas. They are thirteen in number

Anurāga – (1) attachment, affection or love; (2) an intensified stage of prema which comes just prior to mahābhāva. In Śrī (Shri) Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi (14.146) anurāga has been defined as follows: “Although one regularly meets with the beloved and is well-acquainted with the beloved, the ever-fresh sentiment of intense attachment causes the beloved to be newly experienced at every moment as if one has never before had any experience of such a person. The attachment which inspires such a feeling is known as anurāga.”

apāna – out-going breath

aparā – not transcendental, inert matter, material nature

aparādha – (1) that which undermines arādhana, or devotion (2) An offence, or an impediment to bhakti  (against the holy name, Vaiṣṇavas, the spiritual master, the scriptures, holy places or the deity). Arcana-dīpikā lists 64 sevā-aparādhas, 10 nāmā-aparādhas and 10 dhāmā-aparādhas to avoid

aprakaṭa – unmanifest

aprakaṭa-līlā – unmanifest pastimes

aprakaṭa-nitya-līlā – eternal unmanifest pastimes

Aprākṛta  – non-material, transcendental

aprākṛta-jagat – transcendental world

aprārabdha – not fructified; the action has been performed and its result, although not yet manifested, is gradually coming to fruition.

āptakāma – one whose desires have been fulfilled; a self-satisfied soul (usually refers to the Lord) 

ārādhana – worship

ārādhyadeva – personality who is to be worshipped by a mantra

ārati – the ceremony of offering a deity articles of worship, such as incense, lamp, flowers and fan, accompanied by chanting and bell-ringing.

ārati-kīrtana – glories of the Lord sung during the ārati ceremony

arcana – (1) worship of the deity; one of the nine primary processes of devotional service; (2) worship performed with 16, 12, 10 or 5 articles. Also referred to as pūjā

arghya – a combination of the ingredients water, milk, kuśa grass, yoghurt, unboiled paddy rice (aravā), sesame seeds, barley and white mustard seeds. A brief version can be made using only gandha, flowers and water, but it is often substituted with pure water from the pañca-pātra. For the worship of śrī viṣṇu-tattva, tulasī leaves are combined with the above-mentioned items. Arghya literally means ‘an offering’. The offering of arghya is symbolic of offering one’s own self

Arjuna – (1) Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s intimate friend and devotee to whom He spoke the Bhagavad-gītā (2) The Nara portion of the Nara-Nārāyaṇa sages, Śrī Kṛṣṇa being the Nārāyaṇa portion (3) An eternal liberated soul who always serves Śrī Kṛṣṇa out of love.

ārta – One who approaches Bhagavān in a mood of distress

artha – acquisition of wealth, economic development; one of the four goals of human life (puruṣārthas)

artha-śāstra – Scriptures on economic development

ārya-ṛṣis – ancient, most noble sages who have seen the Truth

āsakti – attachment; this especially refers to attachment for the Lord and His eternal associates. Āsakti occurs when one’s liking for bhajana leads to a direct and deep attachment for the personality who is the object of that bhajana. This is the sixth stage in the development of the creeper of devotion, and is awakened upon the maturing of one’s taste for bhajana

āsana – (1) seat or mat made out of kuśa grass, cotton, silk or wool (2) sitting posture for meditation

Āśrama – (1) stage of life, either student (brahmacārī), householder (gṛhastha), retired (vānaprastha) or renounced (sannyāsa) (2) hermitage

Āśraya – repository of love for Kṛṣṇa, i.e., His devotee

aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā – the pastimes that Śrī Kṛṣṇa performs with His associates during the eight periods of the day: (1) niśānta-līlā, pastimes at the end of night; (2) prātaḥ-līlā, pastimes at dawn; (3) pūrvāhna-līlā, morning pastimes; (4) madhyāhna-līlā, midday pastimes; (5) aparāhna-līlā, afternoon pastimes; (6) sāyaṁ-līlā, pastimes at dusk; (7) pradoṣa-līlā, evening pastimes; and (8) rātri-līlā, night pastimes

aṣṭāṅga-yoga – eightfold yoga process, consisting of yama (control of the mind and senses), niyama (following rules and regulations of yoga practice), āsana (bodily postures), prānāyama (breath control), pratyāhāra (withdrawal of the mind from sensory perception), dhāraṇā (steadying the mind), dhyāna (meditation) and samādhi (trance).

aṣṭa-sakhīs – Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s eight principal gopīs: Lalitā, Vīśākhā, Citrā, Indulekha, Campakalatā, Raṅga-devī, Sudevī and Tuṅgavidyā.

aṣṭa-sāttvika-bhāvas – see sāttvika-bhāvas

aśvamedha  – horse sacrifice.

aśvamedha-yajña – elaborate sacrifice performed by brāhmaṇas on behalf of powerful kings, wherein a horse is sacrificed into the sacred fire and then brought back to life

aśvinī-kumāras – physicians of the demigods.

ātmā – (1) soul (2) Supersoul (3) intelligence (4) mind (5) body (6) senses

ātma-tattva – categorical knowledge of the nature of the soul

ātmārāmatā – self-satisfaction

ātma-tattva – essential reality of the self

āvaraṇātmikā –the illusory energy’s function of covering real knowledge so the conditioned soul feels satisfied in any condition of life

avatāra – (1) (literally means ‘one who descends’) a partially or fully empowered incarnation of the Supreme Lord who is described in the scriptures. An avatāra descends from the spiritual world to the material universe with a particular mission; (2) Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself or His plenary portion who descends from the transcendental realm into this material creation for the deliverance of conditioned souls

āveśa-avatāras – empowered incarnations

avidyā – ignorance, spiritual ignorance, illusion. Ignorance is of four kinds: to mistake that which is impermanent to be permanent, that which is full of misery to be blissful, that which is impure to be pure, and that which is not the self to be the self. Avidyā is one of the five types of kleśa, or miseries, destroyed by bhakti.

avyabhicāra – unfailing; refers to pure devotion.

avyakta – (1) unmanifest (2) beyond the perception of the senses


bahiraṅgā – external

bahiraṅgā-śakti – the Lord’s external, or material, potency, also known as māyā. It is the medium by which the material world is created, as well as all affairs pertaining to it

Baladeva – the first plenary expansion of the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa; Kṛṣṇa’s elder brother

Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa  – chief disciple of Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Thākura and author of Govinda-bhāṣya, the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava commentary on Vedānta-sūtra. He is thus aptly named Gauḍīya-vedāntācārya.

bhaga – ‘opulence’

Bhagavān – the Supreme Lord; the Personality of Godhead. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (6.5.72-74)– “The word bhagavat is used to describe the Supreme brahman who possesses all opulences, who is completely pure, and who is the cause of all causes. In the word bhagavat, the syllable bha has two meanings: one who maintains all living entities and one who is the support of all living entities. Similarly, the syllable ga has two meanings: the creator, and one who causes all living entities to obtain the results of karma and jñāna. Complete opulence, religiosity, fame, beauty, knowledge, and renunciation are known as bhaga, or fortune.” (The suffix vat means possessing. Thus one who possesses these six fortunes is known as Bhagavān.)

bhagavad-rasa – mellows of transcendental service to Bhagavān

bhāgavatam – See Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 

bhāgavatāmṛtam – A book by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. Literally, ‘the nectarean essence of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam’

bhagavat-kathā – narrations of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or the instructions of Śrī Bhagavān, as in Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā 

Bhagavat-kathā – see Hari-kathā

bhagavat-prema – Love for the allopulent Personality of Godhead

bhagavat-tattva-jñāna – knowledge of the essential reality of the Supreme Personality

bhagavat-tattva – categorical knowledge of Bhagavān; the principles taught by Śrī Bhagavān

bhajana – (1) activities performed with the consciousness of being a servant of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, (2) in a general sense bhajana refers to the performance of spiritual practices, especially hearing, chanting and meditating upon Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, qualities and pastimes

bhajana – (1) service (2) spiritual practice, especially hearing, chanting, remembering and meditating on the holy name, form, qualities and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa 

bhajana-kriyā – taking up the practices of bhakti, such as hearing and chanting. This is the second stage in the development of the creeper of devotion, and it occurs by the influence of sādhu-saṅga

bhakta – a devotee; one devoted to bhakti-yoga and one’s worshipable deity

bhakta-vatsala – caring and affectionate to His devotees

bhakti -loving devotional service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Тhe word bhakti comes from the root bhaj, which means to serve. Therefore the primary meaning of the word bhakti is to render service. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī has described the intrinsic characteristics of bhakti in Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.11) as follows: anyābhilāṣita-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā – “Uttamā-bhakti, pure devotional service, is the cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively for the benefit of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, in other words, the uninterrupted flow of service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, performed through all endeavours of body, mind, and speech, and through expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhāvas). It is not covered by jñāna (knowledge of nirviśeṣa-brahman, aimed at impersonal liberation) and karma (reward-seeking activity), yoga or austerities; and it is completely free from all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”

Bhakti-devī – presiding deity of bhakti-yoga, devotion

bhakti-mārga – path of bhakti

bhakti-miśra-jñāna  – knowledge mixed with devotion, with knowledge predominating

Bhakti-Rasāmṛta-Sindhu  – A book by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī meaning ‘the nectarean ocean of the mellows of devotion’, which explains the science of bhakti-yoga

bhakti-tattva-jñāna  – knowledge of the essential reality of bhakti

bhakti-yoga – path of spiritual realization through devotional service to Bhagavān

bhāśya – commentary

bhauma – earthly

bhāva – (1) special manifestation of śuddha-sattva (2) the essence of the cognizance potency and the pleasuregiving potency (3) Eighth stage in the development of the creeper of bhakti; likened to the first rays of the sun of prema, the highest stage of love for Kṛṣṇa 

bhaya – fear

bheda – differentiation

Bhīṣma-parva – The eighteen chapters of the Mahābhārata that comprise Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā

bhoga – unoffered foodstuffs

bhoga-ārati – the ārati ceremony that follows the midday offering of bhoga to the Lord.

bhoga-ārati kīrtana – a song by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura that one sings while waiting for Śrī Kṛṣṇa  to complete His noontime meal

Bhṛgu (Bhrigu) – one of the seven sages, born from the mind of Lord Brahmā

bhūta-bhāvana – maintainer of all manifestations

brahma – (1) derived from bṛḥ meaning ‘expanded’, or ‘great’; the general meaning is spirit (2) the living entity (3) the mind (4) the Supersoul (5) the impersonal aspect of the Supreme Lord (6) Bhagavān Himself (6) Creator of the material universe who is presiding deity of the quality of passion. He is the original spiritual master of the Brahma-Mādhva sampradāya (7) the spiritual effulgence emanating from the Supreme Lord’s transcendental body

brahma-bhūta – Brahma realized; the state wherein one experiences bliss, free from hankering and lamentation

brahmacārī – a member of the first āśrama (stage of life) in the varṇāśrama system; a celibate, unmarried student

Brahmacarya  – Literally, ‘spiritual cultivation’; the first āśrama, or stage of life, in the varṇāśrama system; celibate student life

brahma-gāyatrī – a Vedic mantra chanted at the three junctures of the day by men only

brahma-jñāna  – knowledge of impersonal brahman; knowledge aiming at impersonal liberation

brahmajyoti – Bhagavan’s bodily effulgance. It is one aspect of the Supreme Absolute Truth, and is considered by monists to be the ultimate goal of self-realization

Brahma-loka – Abode of Lord Brahmā, which is within this material universe

brāhma-muhūrta – the auspicious period beginning approximately one-and-a-half hours before sunrise until fifty minutes before sunrise

Brahman – the spiritual effulgence emanating from the transcendental body of the Lord; the all-pervading, indistinct feature of the Absolute. Depending on the context, this may sometimes refer to the Supreme brahman, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the source of brahman

brāhmaṇa – one who realizes brahma; the highest of the four varṇas (casts), or social divisions, in the varṇāśrama system; priest or teacher

brahmānanda – bliss experienced by one situated in brahma

brahmāṇḍa – a single, egg-shaped material universe

brāhmaṇī – a female brāhmaṇa; the wife of a brāhmaṇa

brahmarṣi – sages situated in brahma realization

brahmāstra – The most powerful weapon in Vedic military science (superior to nuclear weapons). It is released by mantra and kills only the person whose name is uttered in conjunction with the mantra

Brahma-sūtra – (Also known as Vedānta-sūtra) The aphorisms of Vedānta offer a complete systematic exposition of Vedic revelation in the form of terse aphorisms (sūtras). Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, composed by Śrīla Vyāsadeva, is the natural commentary on Vedānta-sūtra

brahma-svarūpa – the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose bodily effulgence is the brahma-jyoti

brahma-tattva – categorical knowledge of brahma

brahmavāda – doctrine of impersonalism, the goal which is to merge into the Supreme Lord’s effulgence

Brahmavāda – the doctrine of indistinct nirviśeṣa-brahman which has as its goal the merging of the self into Kṛṣṇa’s effulgence

Brahmavādī – one who follows the doctrine of brahma-vāda

buddhi – (1) intelligence (2) ability to discern subtle meanings

Buddhism – Philosophy introduced by Śakyasiṁha Buddha that expounds voidist concepts of the Absolute Truth known as śūnyatā or śūnyavāda


Caitanya Mahāprabhu – Śrī Kṛṣṇa appearing in the mood of a bhakta. Also referred to as Śrī Caitanya, Śrīman Mahāprabhu, Gaura, Gauracandra, Gaura-Hari, Gaura-kiśora, Gaurāṅga, Gaurasundara, Gaura, Kṛṣṇa-Caitanya, Nimāi Paṇḍita, Śacīnandana, and Viśvambhara; the Supreme Lord who appeared approximately five hundred years ago (1486 A.D.) in Navadvīpa, West Bengal. Although He is identical to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, He appeared with the bhāva (internal mood) and kānti (bodily complexion) of Śrīmatī Rādhikā in order to taste the mellows of Her love for Kṛṣṇa. Assuming the mood of a devotee, He spread love for Kṛṣṇa through the chanting of śrī-hari-nāma; hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare.

Caitanya-Śikṣāmṛta – A book by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Öhākura, meaning ‘nectarean instructions of Śrī Caitanya’. It presents an elaborate description of the progression of bhakti.

Cakora bird – a bird that lives solely on moonlight.

cakra – the Lord’s disc, used as a weapon to subdue demons.

cakra-mudrā – a hand gesture representing a disc.

cāmara – a whisk made traditionally from a yak-tail.

caṇḍāla – dog-eater, outcaste

candana – sandalwood paste, known for its cooling properties, offered when the weather is hot.

Candra – Moon-god.

caraṇāmṛta – water that has been used to bathe the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa or His associates.

catuḥ-ślokī gītā – essence of Bhāgavad-gītā (10.8–11). The four verses that summarize the three Vedic divisions of sambandha (relationship), abhidheya (means) and prayojana (the ultimate goal).

cāturmāsya – the four months during the rainy season (August to November) in which the practice of certain prescribed austerities is very potent for spiritual development.


cinmaya – transcendental

cintāmaṇi – desire-fulfilling gem

cit – (1) spirit (2) consciousness (3) pure thought (4) knowledge

cit-jagat – all-conscious spiritual world.

Citraratha – chief among the Gandharvas and a representation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s opulence.

cit-śakti – potency that relates to the cognizant aspect of the Supreme Lord. By this śakti, He knows Himself and causes others to know Him. Knowledge of the Absolute Reality is only possible with the help of this potency.

citta – heart, thoughts, mind and consciousness.


dānavas – demons.

daṇḍa – a measurement of time; approximately 25–30 minutes; explained in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Third Canto, Chapter 11 and in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 3.387–390).

daṇḍavat-praṇāma – prostrated obeisances.

darśana – seeing, meeting, visiting with, beholding. This word is used primarily in reference to beholding the Deity or advanced devotees. Darśana also means doctrine or philosophical system, as in vedānta-darśana.

Daśa-mūla – ‘ten-roots’. In the āyur-veda, the science of herbal medicine, there are ten roots which, when combined together produce a tonic which sustains life and counteracts disease. Similarly, there are ten ontological principles. When these are properly understood and realised, they destroy the disease of material existence and give life to the soul. The first of these principles is known as pramāṇa, the evidence which establishes the existence of the fundamental truths. The other nine principles are known as prameya, the truths which are to be established. The pramāṇa refers to the Vedic literature and in particular to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The Bhāgavatam is the essence of all the Vedas; it reveals the most intimate loving feature of the Lord‚ as well as the soul’s potential to unite with the Lord and His eternal associates in their play of divine loving exchange. Of the nine prameyas, the first seven relate to sambandha-jñāna, knowledge of the inter-relationship between Śrī Bhagavān, His energies, and the living beings, both conditioned and liberated. The eighth prameya relates to abhidheya-jñāna, knowledge of the means by which the living entity can become established in an eternal loving relationship with Him. The ninth prameya relates to prayojana, the ultimate goal to be attained by pursuit of the transcendental path. That goal is known as kṛṣṇa-prema, and it takes on infinite varieties when manifest in the different bhaktas possessing variegated moods of divine love.

daśa-mūla-tattva – ten fundamental principles

dāsī – a maidservant.

dāsya – (1) the second of the five primary relationships with the Lord that is established in the stages of bhāva or prema ; love or attraction to Śrī Kṛṣṇa which is expressed in the mood of a servant; (2) the general relationship of practising devotees with Kṛṣṇa is known as kṛṣṇa-dāsya or bhagavad-dāsya. This means simply to recognise that one’s true identity is that of being Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s servant.

demigods – (1) Celestial deities (2) Godly beings situated in the higher planets who are endowed with great piety and who have tremendous life spans and whose mental and physical prowess is superior to humans. They are entrusted with specific powers for the purpose of universal administration.

deva – demigods.

deva-deva – god of gods.

Devakī-nandana – son of Devakī, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Devarṣi Nārada – Sage (ṛṣi) amongst the demigods (devas). Literally, nāra – ‘God’, dā – ‘giver’; a great devotee of Śrī Kṛṣṇa who spreads His glories throughout the universe.

devas- celestial deities; beings situated in the celestial planets who are endowed with great piety, tremendous lifespans, and superior mental and physical prowess. They are entrusted with specific powers for the purpose of universal administration.

devatās – same as devas.

devī – demigoddess.

dhāma – a holy place of pilgrimage; the abode of the Supreme Lord, where He appears and enacts His transcendental pastimes.

dhāma-aparādha – offences committed towards the dhāma.

dhanañjaya – A name awarded to Arjuna who accumulated great wealth while conquering the many kings of northern Bhārata (India) in preparation for the rājasūya-yajña of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Literally, ‘winner of wealth’.

dhāraṇā – Concentration of the mind, the sixth step in aṣṭāṅga-yoga.

dharma – from the verbal root dhṛ meaning ‘to sustain’; lit. that which sustains; 1) the natural, characteristic function of a thing; that which cannot be separated from its nature; 2) religion in general. 3) the socio-religious duties prescribed in śāstra for different classes of persons in the varṇāśrama system; one’s fixed occupation in relation to the highest ideals known to man. Dharma is aspired for by persons who not only desire enjoyment in this world, but who hanker for something more, like Svarga (heavenly planets). For this it is necessary to follow the religious codes outlined in śāstra. By following the religious duties prescribed according to varṇāśrama, one can enjoy happiness in this life and attain Svarga. The performance of dharmika duties is foremost for such people, and therefore their puruṣārtha (goal of life) is known as dharma. There are many types of dharma. Strī-dharma (a woman’s dharma) refers to the duties, behaviour etc., that sustain the proper nature of a woman. Similarly, dharmas such as puruṣa-dharma,brāhmana-dharma, śūdra-dharma; and sannyāsa-dharma, are described in dharma-śāstras. Ultimately, however, dharma means the natural attraction of the part for the whole, the jīva for Kṛṣṇa. All of these other dharmas are only related to this temporary body, therefore, in the midst of performing them, one must cultivate ātma-dharma, the soul’s eternal occupation as servant of Kṛṣṇa, so that one can reach the point, either now or tomorrow, of sarva-dharmān parityajya, giving up all secondary dharmas and taking full shelter of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.

dhīra-lalita-nāyaka – Śrī Kṛṣṇa as a hero who is expert in the sixty four arts and in amorous sports, always situated in fresh youth, expert at joking, devoid of anxiety and controlled by the divine love of His beloveds.

Dhṛtarāṣṭra – literally, ‘dhṛta – ‘holds on to’, rāṣṭra – ‘the kingdom’. He was the son of Ambikā and Vyāsadeva; brother of Pāṇḍu and Vidura. Dhṛtarāṣṭra, was born blind. His one hundred sons, headed by Duryodhana, led the armies that opposed the Pāṇḍavas.

dhyāna – meditation, the seventh stage of aṣṭāṅga-yoga.

dīkṣā – initiation from a spiritual master. In Bhakti-sandharbha (Anucceda 283) Śrīla Jiva Gosvāmī defines dīkṣā: learned exponents of the Absolute Truth declare that the process by which the guru imparts divya-jñāna to the disciple and eradicates all sins is known as dīkṣā.

dīkṣā-mantras – the mantras given by the guru at the time of initiation, to be remembered at the three junctures of the day.

dīpa – ghee lamp.

divyonmāda – a wonderful divine condition that resembles a state of utter confusion. It occurs in the stage of mohana-mahābhāva and has many different features such as udghūrṇā and citrajalpa. It is found virtually only in Śrīmatī Rādhikā.

Droṇa, Droṇācārya – commander of the Kaurava army.

Drupada – in the Mahābhārata War, Drupada was one of the commanders of the Pānḍava army and was killed by Droṇa. Dṛṣṭadyumna, Drupada’s son avenged his death.

Durgā – literally, dur – ‘difficult’, gā – ‘to get out’, i.e. a prison. The material world is like a prison for the rebellious conditioned souls. Durgā is mother nature, the goddess of material nature and consort of Mahādeva Śiva.

Duryodhana – literally, dur – ‘bad’, yodhana – ‘fighter’. In the Mahābhārata War, Duryodhana was the leader of the Kauravas. He is a partial incarnation of Kali.

Dvādaśī – the twelfth day of the waxing or waning moon; the day that follows Ekādaśī.

Dvāpara-yuga – One of the four ages, Satya, Treta, Dvāpara and Kali. In Dvāpara-yuga people attained perfection by performing excellent worship of the deity incarnation of the Lord.


ekādaśa-indriya – eleven senses

Ekādaśī – Eleventh day of the lunar fortnight (the waxing or waning moon). On that day, scripture prescribes fasting from grains, beans and other foodstuffs so that the sādhaka can totally immerse himself in activities of pure bhakti. Ekādaṣī is referred to as the mother of devotion.


Gadādhara – (1) A name of Kṛṣṇa which means “wielder of the club” or “one who plays sweetly upon His flute.” (2) Gadādhara Paṇḍita, one of the principle associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu

gandha – candana (sandalwood) to which karpūra (camphor) and aguru (liquid agarwood scent) are added in a particular ratio. Plain candana can also serve the same purpose as gandha.

Gandharvas – singers and musicians from the higher planets.

Gaṇeśa – elephant scribe of Vyāsadeva.

Gaṅgā – The Ganges, the river of divine water that falls from the spiritual sky to this universe.

Gargācārya – Guru of Kṛṣṇa’s father, Vasudeva. He performed Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name-giving ceremony in Gokula and wrote Garga-saṁhitā, a famous literature describing the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava – (1) any Vaiṣṇava who follows the teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; (2) a Vaiṣṇava born in Bengal.

Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas – prominent teachers in the line of Lord Caitanya.

Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya – the school of Vaiṣṇavism following in the line of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

gaura-gāyatrī – a twenty-three-and-a-half syllable mantra, given by the spiritual master at the time of initiation, for the purpose of worshipping Śrī Gaurāṅga.

gaura-mantra – a six syllable mantra given by the spiritual master at the time of initiation, for the purpose of worshipping Śrī Gaurāṅga.

gāyatrī – Literally, trī – ‘that which gives deliverance’, gāya – ‘through singing’. Gāyatrī is the mother of the Vedas. Brahma-saṁhitā states that Lord Brahmā first heard the flute-song of Kṛṣṇa through his eight ears as the syllable oṁ, then, when he chanted it himself, it became gāyatrī, by which he became enlightened. Thus he became initiated as a brāhmaṇa.

ghee – clarified butter

gītā – Literally, ‘song’. Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.

gītā-bhūṣaṇa – Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s Sanskrit commentary on Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. Literally, ‘a decoration of the Gītā’.

gopas  – the cowherd boys who serve Kṛṣṇa in the mood of intimate friends. This may also refer to the elderly gopas who serve Kṛṣṇa in the mood of parental affection.

gopī, gopikā –a cowherd girl or woman of Vraja.

gopī-bhāva – the mood of devotion for Sri Kṛṣṇa possessed by the cowherd women of Vraja.

gopī-candana – yellowish clay used for tilaka; the footdust of the gopīs.

gopīs  – The young cowherd maidens of Vraja, headed by Srimati Radhika, who serve Sri Kṛṣṇa in the mood of amorous love. This may also refer to the elderly gopis, headed by Mother Yasoda, who serve Kṛṣṇa in the mood of parental affection.

gosvāmī – (1) One who is the master of one’s senses, detached from material elements (2) One in the renounced order of life. This often refers to the renowned followers of Caitanya Mahāprabhu who adopted the lifestyle of mendicants.

gotra – seminal line from the prajāpatis and forefathers.

govardhana-śilā – one of the sacred stones that constitute Govardhana Hill.

grantha – book

gṛhastha – a member of the second stage of life (āśrama) in the varṇāśrama system; a householder.

guṇa – binding force. The three qualities of material nature bind the living entity. There are three guṇas: goodness (sattva), passion (rajas) and darkness, or ignorance (tamas) Literally, ‘rope’ (See Chapter 14).

guṇa-avatāras – The three primary presiding deities of the three binding forces. Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva are together known as tri-mūrti.

guñjā – a small, bright red seed with a black patch on the top. This seed is said to represent Śrīmatī Rādhikā.

guru – (1) spiritual master (2) Guru means ‘heavy with realization of divine knowledge’. By steadiness, the guru anchors the disciple’s restless mind from the turbulent waters of the material energy. Literally, gu – ‘ignorance’, ru – ‘he who dispels’. One who is guru will dispel all ignorance.

guru-dakṣiṇā – wealth or gifts offered to the guru by the disciple.

guru-gāyatrī – a twenty-four-and-a-half syllable mantra, given by the spiritual master at the time of initiation, for the purpose of worshipping śrī guru.

guru-mantra – a seven syllable mantra, given by the spiritual master at the time of initiation, for the purpose of worshipping śrī guru.

guru-paramparā – System of disciplic succession in which divine knowledge is transmitted from śrī guru to a fully surrendered disciple.


Hari – a name for Śrī Kṛṣṇa that means ‘one who takes away’.

Hari-bhakti-vilāsa – a book that describes many aspects of Vaiṣṇava life, beginning with guru and disciple, how to worship with mantra, and so forth. It was written by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī under the direct instruction of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and based on the writings and notes of Śrīla Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī.

Hari-kathā – narrations of the holy name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord.

Harināma – the chanting of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s holy name.  The names of Śrī Kṛṣṇa: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare, Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. These sixeen names destroy all the bad qualities of the age of Kali (Kali-santaraṇa Upaniṣad).

hatha-yoga – The yoga process of practising different bodily postures in order to render the body supple. It is the third portion of the process of aṣṭāṅga-yoga.

Hiraṇyagarbha – the Viṣṇu expansion called Hiraṇyagarbha or MahāBrahmā from whom Brahmā is manifest. When there is no jīva qualified for the post of Brahmā, sometimes Viṣṇu Himself becomes Brahmā, and sometimes Hiraṇyagarbha performs the functions of Brahmā

hlādinī-śakti – Bliss potency or the internal, spiritual potency (svarūpa-śakti), which is dominated by bliss, personified as Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī. Hlādinī is the śakti that arouses ānanda (bliss) in the heart of Śrī Śyāma. Although Kṛṣṇa Himself is the reservoir of all pleasure, through His hlādini potency, He relishes transcendental bliss.

Hṛṣīkeśa – Literally, īśa – ‘lord’; hṛṣīka – ‘of the senses’; a name for Kṛṣṇa meaning ‘one who turns the senses of His devotees towards Himself and those of the non-devotees away’.


icchā-śakti – desire potency

īkṣvāku – The son of Vivasvān the sungod; Earth’s first king.

Indra – King of heaven.

Īśa – Controller. Sometimes refers to Viṣṇu and other times to Rudra.

iṣṭadeva – worshipable deity

Īśvara – Supreme Controller, Bhagavān. Also a name for the Supersoul (15.15).

Īśvarī – queen, mistress or goddess.


jaḍa – Inert, dull.

jagad-guru – Universal guru.

jagat-pati – Master of the universe.

Jaimini – the founder of the pūrva-mīmāṁsā system of Indian philosophy, better known as the mīmāṁsā system. According to modern scholars he composed his pūrva-mīmāṁsa-sūtra around the 4th century BC. It deals with the investigation of the nature of dharma and lays down the principle interpretation of the Vedic texts on which the performance of sacrifices wholly depends. It describes the different sacrifices and their purposes. The mīmāṁsa-sūtra consists of twelve chapters, the first of which deals with the source of knowledge and the validity of the Vedas. It is recognised as the basic comprehensive work of the mīmāṁsa school of philosophy which gave rise to a host of commentaries and sub-commentaries.

jainism – A religious movement begun many hundreds of years ago by King Arhat. The strict followers of Jainism idealistically try to emulate Mahārāja Ṛṣabhadeva by practising non-violence and by not using vehicles. Ṛṣabha was an avatāra of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose history is described in the Fifth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

jaiva-dharma – eternal constitutional occupation of the living entity

jalpa – logical argument that utilizes continuous fault-finding of the opponent’s statements to establish one’s own opinion.

Jamadagni – A brāhmaṇa who possessed a wish-fulfilling cow. He was slain by a group of kṣatrīyas for the sake of the cow, and his son, Paraśurāma, an incarnation of the Lord, took revenge by slaying the kṣatrīya population of the world.

Janamejaya – The son of King Parīkṣit.

Janārdana – Name of Bhagavān meaning ‘one who thrills the hearts of mankind’.

Janas – one of the higher planetary systems situated above Maharloka. Also called Janoloka

japa – loud chanting or soft utterance of the holy name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa to oneself on a garland of 108 prayer beads.

jāta-rati-sādhaka – a sādhaka on the platform of bhāva.

jaya-dhvani – the resounding glorification of our objects of worship – the personalities, places, temples and auspicious days.

jīva – the eternal individual living entity who, in the conditioned state of material existence, assumes a material body in any of the innumerable species of life.

Jīva Gosvāmī – the son of Śrī Vallabha (Anupama), who was the brother of Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmīs. Even as a young boy he was deeply attracted Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He spent his time not in playing but in worshiping Bhagavān with flowers, sandalwood, and other articles. In his youth he went to Vārāṇasī to study Sanskrit under Madhusūdana Vācaspati, a disciple of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. After completing his studies he went to Vṛndāvana and took shelter of his uncles, Śrī Rūpa and Sanātana. After the disappearance of Rūpa and Sanātana, he became the leader amongst all of the Vaiṣnava followers of Śrīman Mahāprabhu. His numerous literary contributions, which include books such as Saṭ-sandarbha and Gopal-Campu, and commentaries on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, and Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, have lent support with śāstric evidence to the teachings of Śrī Caitanya. According to Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (194-207) he is Vilāsa Mañjarī in Kṛṣṇa-līlā.

jīva-śakti – (See taṭasthā-śakti).

jīva-tattva – Categorical knowledge of the living entity, his nature and his position.

jīvātmā – the spirit soul; (See jīva).

jñāna – (1) knowledge; that which helps one know something (18.18) (2) Knowledge that leads to impersonal liberation, which is based on the soul’s distinction from matter and its identity with brahma (3) Transcendental knowledge of one’s relationship with Kṛṣṇa.

jñāna-miśrā-bhakti – devotion mixed with knowledge, devotion predominating.

jñāna-yoga – path of spiritual realization through a philosophical search for truth.

jñānī – one who pursues the path of jñāna, knowledge directed towards impersonal liberation.


kaivalya – oneness, or mukti.

kājala – black eye-cosmetic

kāla – spiritual time which exists eternally in the present without any intervention of past or future.

Kali-yuga – present age of quarrel and hypocrisy. It lasts for 432,000 years, of which approximately five thousand have now passed (refer to ŚrīmadBhāgavatam Canto 12 Chapter 2).

kalpa – one day in the life of Lord Brahmā. It is equivalent to one thousand catur-yugas. Each catur-yuga is one cycle of the four yugas: Satya, Dvāpara, Tretā and Kali, totalling 4,320,000,000 years (8.17).

kalpa-vṛkṣa – desire-tree

kāma – (1) desire (2) sense enjoyment (3) the third of the four goals of human society. Those who have no desire other than for the satisfaction of the gross senses aspire for such pleasure. Their puruṣārtha is known as kāma (See dharma, ārta and mokṣa), (4) lust to gratify the urges of the material senses; (5) the gopīs’ transcendental desire to enjoy amorous pastimes with Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

kāmadhenu – a cow who can fulfil all desires.

kāma-gāyatrī – a twenty-four-and-a-half syllable mantra, given by the spiritual master at the time of initiation, for the purpose of worshipping the Divine Couple.

kāmya-karma – fruitive activities.

Kandarpa – Cupid, the indirect cause of the birth of living beings. Kandarpa is Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s representative as a progenitor (10.28).

kaniṣṭha-adhikārī – a neophyte practitioner of bhakti.

Kapiladeva – an avatāra of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who appeared as the son of Kardama Muni and Devahūti. He taught the true purport of the sāṅkhya philosophy to his mother. In this original sāṅkhya philosophy of Kapiladeva there are twenty?five principles. Beyond these there is the existence of Śrī Bhagavān, who is the source of the other principles. There was another Kapila who appeared later in the dynasty of Agni who taught an atheistic version of the sāṅkhya philosophy. The atheistic sāṅkhya accepts the twenty-five principles but denies the existence of God. The sāṅkhya of Kapiladeva ultimately culminates in bhakti.

kāraṇa – cause

Kāraṇodakaśāyī – Mahā-Viśṇu, who lies down on the waters of the Causal Ocean. See also Mahā-Viśṇu.

karatāla – small hand cymbols.

karma – (1) any activity performed in the course of material existence. (2) pious activities leading to material gain in this world or in the heavenly planets after death. (3) fate; former acts leading to inevitable results.

karma-cakra – wheel of fruitive activities

karma-kāṇḍa – a division of the Vedas that involves the performance of ceremonial acts and sacrificial rites directed towards material benefits or liberation.

karma-miśrā-bhakti – devotion mixed with the performance of prescribed duty, with devotion predominating.

karma-phala – the fruit of action

karma-yoga – path of spiritual realization in which the fruit of one’s work is offered to Bhagavān.

karmī – one who performs karma in accordance with Vedic injunctions or one who engages in pious activities, thinking they will lead to material gain in this world or in the heavenly planets after death.

Kauravas – descendants of King Kuru who fought on the one side at Kurukṣetra.

Kaustubha – the gem worn on the chest of Viṣṇu

kāya-vyūha – direct expansions of the personal form

Keśava – a name for Kṛṣṇa that means ‘the slayer of the Keśī demon’ or ‘one who has beautiful long hair’.

kevalā-bhakti – exclusive devotion in which one has no attachment to anyone but Bhagavān.

kila-kiñcita – bodily symptoms of ecstasy : pride, ambition, weeping, smiling, envy, fear and anger (see Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Śrī Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, Anubhāva-prakaraṇa 39). “Pride, ambition, weeping, smiling, envy, fear and anger are the seven ecstatic loving symptoms manifested by a jubilant shrinking away, and these symptoms are called kila-kiñcata-bhаvas.”

kiṅkarī – a maidservant.

kinnara – a kind of demigod who plays musical instruments and sings with the Gandharvas.

kīrtana – (1) congregational singing of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s holy name, (2) loud individual chanting of the holy name, the most important limb of the nine limbs of bhakti or (3) oral descriptions of the glories of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s names, forms, qualities, associates and pastimes.

Kiśora (Kiśorī) – an adolescent boy (girl).

kleśa-ghnī – literally, ‘destroyer of misery’.

kriyā – activity.

krodha – anger

Kṛṣṇa – Śrī Bhagavān, Svayam Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is avatārī, the source of all other avatāras. His partial manifestation is the Paramātmā and His bodily effulgence is the all-pervading brahman. His body is composed of sac-cid-ānanda – eternality, knowledge, and bliss. He is the personification of all spiritual mellows, raso vai sa. His father is Nanda Mahārāja, His mother is Yaśodā, His brother is Balarāma, and His eternal consort is Śrīmatī Rādhikā. He is a charming young cowherd boy with a complexion like that of a fresh monsoon raincloud. His wears a brilliant yellow dhotī, a peacock feather on His crown, and a garland of fresh forest flowers. He possesses sixty-four primary transcendental qualities, out of which four are unique to Him alone: venu-mādhurya, He attracts the entire world and especially the gopīs with the melodious sound of His flute; rūpa-mādhurya, He possesses extraordinary beauty which captivates the minds of all; prema-mādhurya, He is surrounded by intimate loving associates whose prema (divine love) is completely unbounded by reverence or formality; and līlā-mādhurya, He performs beautiful and enchanting pastimes, amongst which rāsa-līlā is the summit.

Kṛṣṇacandra – Śrī Kṛṣṇa whose transcendental body bears twenty-fourand-a-half moons.

Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja – the author of Śrī Caitanya-Caritāmṛta. He received the darśana of Nityānanda Prabhu in a dream and was ordered by Him to go to Vṛndāvana. At the repeated request of the Vaiṣṇavas, and after obtaining the blessings of the Madana-Gopāla Deity, he accepted the task of writing the biography of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He also wrote Govinda-līlāmṛta, a description of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s eight-fold daily pastimes, and a commentary known as Sāraṅga-raṅgadā on Bilvamaṅgala Öhākura’s famous book, Kṛṣṇa?karṇāmṛta. He is Kastūrī Mañjarī in kṛṣṇa-līlā.

kṛṣṇa-kathā – see Hari-kathā.

kṛṣṇa-mantra – the gopāla-mantra of which Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the predominating deity; received at the time of dīkṣā.

kṛṣṇa-prema – pure love for Kṛṣṇa.

kṛṣṇa-tattva – categorical knowledge about the unique position, qualities, etc., of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

kṣatriya – the second of the four castes (varṇas) in the varṇāśrama system, which refers to an administrator or a warrior. Literally, kṣi – ‘destruction’; tṛ – ‘deliverance’.

kṣetra – field of the body

kṣetra-jña – Knower of the field. The partial kṣetra-jña is the living entity; the complete kṣetra-jña is Paramātmā. (13.1…)

Kṣīrodakśāyī Viṣṇu – Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s Viṣṇu expansion who lies within an ocean of kṣīra (milk). As the Paramātmā, He enters within every atom and the heart of all beings as a witness, and gives remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.

Kumāra -the four Kumāras are called Sanaka, Sanātana, Sanandana and Sanat. Brahmā created them in the beginning of creation from his mind (manaḥ). That is why they are called Brahmā’s mānasa-putra (sons born of his mind). Because of their profound knowledge, they were completely detached from worldly attraction, and they did not give any assistance in their father’s task of creation, because they had developed an inclination for impersonal speculation (brahma-jñāna). Brahmā was extremely displeased with this, and he prayed to Bhagavān Śrī Hari for the welfare of his sons. Śrī Bhagavān was pleased by Brahmā’s prayers, and in His Haṁsa (swan) avatāra, He attracted their minds away from dry impersonal knowledge to the knowledge of pure devotional service on the absolute platform. Because of this, Śanaka Ṛṣi and his brothers are known as jñānī-bhaktas. They are the originators of the Nimbāditya disciplic succession.

kuṁkuma – a reddish powder.

kuñja – a grove or bower; a natural shady retreat with a roof and walls formed by trees, vines, creepers and other climbing plants.

kuṅkuma – a reddish powder or liquid used by married women to apply to the part in their hair

Kurukṣetra – ‘Field of the Kurus’, an ancient holy place where Paraśurāma performed penances of atonement. It is still visited to this day (especially when there is an eclipse), for shelter from inauspicious effects.

kuśa grass – a long pointed grass considered to be very pure, used in the worship of the Lord.

kūṭa-stha – firmly situated in one’s own transcendental position, free from any sensual agitation.

Kuvera – Treasurer of the demigods, god of wealth. 


laḍḍu – an Indian sweet made from chickpea flour.

līlā – divine sportive pastimes of the Supreme Lord or His eternal associates.

līlā-avatāra – Kṛṣṇa’s pastime manifestations eg. Nṛṣiṁha, Varāha and Kūrma.

līlā-puruṣottama – Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Person whose pastimes are unsurpassed by any of His other incarnations.

laghimā – the mystic perfection of making oneself lighter than a soft feather.

lālā – a Brajabhāṣā term of affectionate address for a young boy.

līlā-mādhurya – see Mādhurya.

loka – planet


mādana – highly advanced devotional ecstasy that is experienced when meeting with the object of one’s worship.

mādanākhya – see Adhirūḍha-mahābhāva.

madhura-bhāva – amorous love

mādhurya – (1) sweetness or beauty; (2) Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s four unique qualities: līlā-mādhurya – astonishing pastimes; prema-mādhurya – He is surrounded by devotees who possess incomparable mādhuryaprema; veṇu-mādhurya – the mellif luous sound of His flute; and rūpa-mādhurya – His extraordinary beauty;  with sweetness, or beauty. It refers to devotion inspired by attraction to Bhagavān’s sweet and intimate feature as a beautiful young cowherd boy and to the greatest exchange of love between Kṛṣṇa and His devotees.

Mādhurya-kādambinī – Book written by Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Öhākura, meaning ‘cloud-bank of sweetness’. It describes the eight progressive stages of bhakti, culminating in prema.

mādhurya-rasa – the mellow of amorous love, also known as śṛṅgārarasa. One of the five primary relationships with Kṛṣṇa established in the stage of bhava and prema; love or attachment towards Kṛṣṇa that is expressed in the mood of a lover. This mood is eternally present in the gopis of Vraja.

Madhva – The chief ācārya of the Brahmā sampradāya who established the doctrine of dvaita-vāda, which emphasizes the eternal distinction between the living entity and the Supreme Lord.

madhyāhna – midday.

madhyāhna-ārati – noontime ārati; also known as bhoga-ārati.

madhyāhna-bhoga – a noontime offering of foodstuffs to the Lord.

madhyāhna-bhoga-ārati – see madhyāhna-ārati.

madhyama-adhikārī – the practitioner of bhakti who has reached the intermediate stage of spiritual development.

mahā-bāho – O mighty-armed one.

mahā-bhāgavata – a pure devotee of Śrī Bhagavān in the highest stage of devotional life, who is expert in Vedic literature, has full faith in Śrī Kṛṣṇa and can deliver the whole world.

Mahābhārata – epic describing the ancient history of the world leading up to the battle of Kurukṣetra. It was composed by Śrīla Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsadeva for the benefit of the people of this age of Kali, who have no interest in philosophy. Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā is strategically placed in the midst of this epic.

mahābhāva – this highest stage of prema follows the stages of sneha, māna, pranaya, rāga and anurāga, and manifests when anurāga reaches a special state of intensity.

Mahā-Brahmā – another name for Hiraṇyagarbha, the Viśṇu expansion from whom Brahmā is manifest. See also Hiraṇyagarbha.

Mahādeva – a name for Lord Śiva; the great Lord or the chief among the devas (see Śiva). mahājana – Spiritual authority; one who truly understands religious principles;  a great personality who teaches the highest ideal and who by his conduct sets an example for others to follow; the twelve principal mahājanas are identified in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.3.20) as Lord Brahmā, Bhagavān Nārada, Śivajī, the four Kumāras, Kapiladeva, Svāyambhuva Manu, Prahlāda Mahārāja, Janaka Mahārāja, Grandsire Bhīṣma, Balī Mahārāja, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Yamarāja mahamaya – (See maya-sakti).

mahā-mantra – sixteen names of the Lord that contain the potency of all other mantras; also known as the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.

Mahāmāyā, Māyā-śakti – the illusion-generating potency which is responsible for the manifestation of the material world, time and material activities. (Also see Māyā.)

Mahāprabhu – the Supreme Lord, see Caitanya mahāprabhu

mahāpuruṣa – a great personality; one who is expert in the imports of the scriptures; liberated soul, specifically a great devotee, who is detached from the material world.

Mahar – one of the higher planetary systems, the residence of great sages. Also called Maharloka.

Maharṣi – a great sage.

maha-tattva (mahat-tattva) – the aggregate of five gross and three subtle material energies is called pradhana. When it is activated by the glance of Maha-Visnu it becomes known as maha-tattva.

mahatma – magnanimous person, or great soul. It is a title of respect offered to those elevated in spiritual consciousness.

Maha-Visnu – another name of Karanodakasayi Visnu, a plenary portion of Sri Krsna who creates the cosmic manifestion, consisting of countless universes.

maheśa-dhāma – the abode of Maheśa, Lord Śiva

maheśvara-tattva – Supreme Controller

Mahesvara – Supreme Controller; it sometimes refers to Sambhu Siva and sometimes to Bhagavan Sri Krsna.

mālya – a garland of fragrant flowers.

māna – the sentiment that prevents the lover and beloved from meeting freely and which gives rise to transient emotions like anger, despondency, doubt, restlessness, pride and jealousy. An intensified stage of prema; a stage in the development from prema up to mahabhava. It is described in Ujjvala-nilamani (14.96): “When sneha reaches exultation, thus causing one to experience the sweetness of the beloved in ever-new varieties, yet externally takes on a crooked feature, it is known as mana.”

manas – mind

mānasa-pūjā – worship performed within the mind.

mānasa-snāna – to purify oneself by the remembrance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and by performing kīrtana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s holy name. Also referred to as mantra-snāna.

mānasī-sevā – service performed within the mind.

maṅgala-ārati – the ārati performed after the auspicious waking ceremony of the Lord, performed in the early morning hours between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.

maṅgalācaraṇa – auspicious invocation.

mañjarī – a maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhikā in the category of nityasakhī or prāṇa-sakhī.

mantra – a mystical verse composed of the names of Śrī Bhagavān which addresses any individual deity. Mantras are given to a disciple by a guru at the time of dīkṣā. A spiritual sound vibration that delivers the mind from its material conditioning and illusion when repeated over and over; a Vedic hymn, prayer or chant. Literally, man – ‘mind’, tra – ‘delivering’.

mantra-japa – recitation of a mantra

mantra-snāna – to bath by meditation and mantra. Also referred to as mānasa-snāna.

manus – prajapatis (universal progenitors) delegated by Sri Bhagavan to generate human population. There are fourteen manus in one day of Brahma, the present manu being Vaivasavata Manu.

Manuṣya-loka – middle planetary systems, specifically this earth planet.

mārga-śīrṣa – November–December; the best of months because grains are collected from the field at this time.

Marīci – Controlling deity of the fifty kinds of winds in the universe.

maruts – wind-gods.

maṭha – A temple of the Lord with attached living quarters for brahmacārīs and sannyāsīs; a monastery.

māyā – illusion; Śrī Bhagavān’s external potency (illusory potency) which influences the living entities to accept the false egoism of being independent enjoyers of this material world. The potency that creates bewilderment, which is responsible for the manifestation of the material world, time, and material activities. Literally, mā – ‘not’, yā – ‘this’. In other words ‘that which is not’; (Also see Mahāmāyā, Māyā-śakti.)

māyā-śakti – external energy of Bhagavān, which influences the living entities to accept the false egoism of being independent enjoyers of this material world. There are three functions of māyā: pradhāna, which creates the illusory designations of the living entity; avidyā, which superimposes these designations; and vidyā, which removes them.

māyāvāda – doctrine of illusion. This theory, advocated by the impersonalist followers of aṅkarācārya, holds that Bhagavān’s form, this material world and the individual existence of the living entities are māyā, or false. This philosophy accepts the authority of Vedic texts but interprets them in such a way as to advance an impersonal conception of the Absolute and deny the personal feature of Godhead. It is known as covered Buddhism, since Buddhism is overtly atheistic.

Māyāvāda – the doctrine of illusion; a theory advocated by the impersonalist followers of Śaṅkarācārya which holds that the Lord’s form, this material world, and the individual existence of the living entitities are māyā or false.

Māyāvādī – one who advocates the doctrine of illusion, impersonalism (see māyāvāda).

mīmāṁsā – a philosophical doctrine that has two divisions: (1) pūrva, or karma-mīmāṁsā, founded by Jaiminī, which advocates that by carrying out the ritualistic duties given in the Vedas, one can attain the celestial planets, and (2) uttara-mīmāṁsā founded by Bādarāyaṇa Vyāsadeva, which deals with the nature of brahma, the Absolute Truth.

mīmāṁsaka – a philosopher. One who adheres to the mīmāṁsā philosophical doctrine of which there are two divisions. This usually refers to those who follow the karma-mīmāṁsā of Jaimini.

mleccha – derived from the sanskrit root mlech meaning to utter indistinctly (sanskrit) – a foreigner; non-āryan; a man of an outcaste race; any non-Sanskrit-speaking person who does not conform to the Vedic social and religious customs; barbarian

modana – highly advanced devotional ecstasy that is experienced when separated from the object of one’s worship.

moha – delusion

Mohana – see Adhirūḍha-mahābhāva.

mokṣa – liberation from material bondage.

mṛdaṅga – a clay drum, used traditionally by Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas during the performance of bhajana and kīrtana.

mudrā – hand gestures used in the worship of the Lord.

muhūrta – forty-eight minutes.

mukti – complete emancipation from the bondage of the material energy that is expressed by the false conceptions of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. There are five types of mukti: sārūpya – obtaining the same form as Bhagavān; sāmīpya – living in close proximity to Bhagavān; sālokya – living on the same planet as Bhagavān; sārṣṭi having the same opulence as Bhagavān; and sāyujya – becoming one with Bhagavān by merging with His bodily effulgence, the brahmajyoti. Of these five, sāyujya is rejected by the Vaiṣṇavas. Although the other four types of mukti are sometimes accepted by devotees as they are not entirely incompatible with bhakti, they are never accepted by those who are fixed on attaining unalloyed love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Vraja.

mūla-prakṛti – original potency

mumukṣā – the desire for liberation.

mumukṣu – a person who is seeking liberation.

muni – (1) a sage, ascetic, spiritual scholar or self-realised soul (2) one who endeavours to approach the Absolute Truth by dint of mental prowess.

Muralī – one of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s f lutes that is thirty-six inches long, has four holes on its body and a mouthpiece at the end, and produces a very enchanting sound.


nāga – divine serpent, a race of serpent-beings who inhabit planetary systems below the earthly plane. Vāsuki is chief of the nägas.

nāgara – hero

nāgarī – heroine

naimittika – occasional, causal, incidental.

naimittika-karma – occasional religious duties induced by specific circumstances, such as the worship of the forefathers and the demigods in the śrāddha ceremony. A person enters into the realm of exclusive devotion to Śrī Kṛṣṇa only when one completely abandons these activities.

naiṣkarmya – freedom from prescribed duty and its reaction; action performed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness for which one suffers no reaction.

nāma – (1) name (2) the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, which is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. Nāma is invested with all potencies, with incarnations of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, qualities, paraphernalia, entourage, pastimes, transcendental abode, and so forth, and it is chanted by the devotees in their practice of bhakti, chanted by bhaktas as the main limb of the practice of sādhana-bhakti

nāma-ābhāsa – a semblance of the holy name. The stage of chanting in which one is becoming cleared of sins and offences but has not yet attained pure chanting.

nāma-aparādha – offensive chanting of the holy name. Chanting of the holy name that is not accompanied by the attempt to give up sinful and offensive behaviour in one’s life.

nāma-aparādhī – one who chants offensively.

nāma-saṅkīrtana – the practice of chanting the holy name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, especially congregational chanting.

Nāmī – the Supreme Lord, Śrī Bhagavān; the person addressed by the holy name.

Nārada – a great sage among the devas; he is thus known as Devarṣi. He was born from the mind of Brahmā. He is a liberated associate of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who travels throughout the material and spiritual worlds broadcasting His glories. In Caitanya līlā he appears as Śrīvāsa Paṇḍit

Nārada-pañcarātra – a narrative in five parts: knowledge that gives the supreme truth; knowledge that awards mukti; knowledge that awards bhakti; knowledge that awards mystic perfection and knowledge in the mode of ignorance that is interspersed with numerous mantras, stotras and kavacas.

nara-līlā – human-like pastimes.

Nārāyaṇa – nāra–mankind, ayana–the shelter of. Means the shelter for mankind. An expansion of Kṛṣṇa; the four-armed expansion of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the allopulent Lord of Vaikuṇṭha. 

nārāyaṇa-śilā – a synonym for śālagrāma-śilā.

navayauvana-svarūpa – ever-fresh adolescent form

nava-yogendras – nine yogīs in the mellow of servitude who are the nine saintly sons of Ṛṣabhadeva.

nāyaka – hero; especially refers to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

nāyikā – heroine; especially refers to Śrīmatī Rādhikā and the other gopīs.

nikuñja – bower, grove; a solitary place for the meeting and enjoyment of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

Nimbāditya – also known as Nimbārkācārya; the head ācārya of the Kumāra sampradāya. He established the philosophical doctrine of dvaitādvaita-vāda, which delineates both the oneness and the distinction of all things with the Lord. He performed his bhajana at Dhruva-kṣetra near Govardhana. He wrote a commentary on Vedānta-sūtra named Vedānta-saurabha, as well as Vedānta?kāmadhenu-daśa-śloka, Kṛṣṇa-stavarāja, Guruparamparā, Vedānta-tattva-bodha, Vedānta-siddhānta-pradīpa, Svadharmādhva-bodha, Aitihya-tattva-siddhānta, Rādhāṣṭaka, and a commentary on Bhagavad-Gīta.

nimitta – instrument or immediate cause

nimitta-kāraṇa – instrumental cause. Creation involves an instrumental cause and an ingredient cause (upādāna). The instrumental cause activates the ingredient cause.

ninefold process of bhakti – hearing, chanting, remembering, serving the Lord’s lotus feet, worshipping, offering prayers, making friendship with the Lord and surrendering one’s very self to Him.

nirguṇa – devoid of material qualities; transcendental to the modes of nature. Refers to the impersonal Brahman.

nirguṇā-bhakti – devotion beyond the influence of the three modes.

nirguṇa-brahma – an erroneous conception of brahma in which it is supposed that the Supreme Absolute Reality is devoid of all qualities, Nirguṇa-brahma actually refers to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is free from all material qualities and yet is the master of them.

nirguṇā-śraddhā – faith unaffected by the modes of nature.

nirguṇa-tattva – scientific knowledge of transcendence.

nirvāṇa -a term the Buddhist consider the supreme destination and defined by them as indescribable, devoid of form, quality, diversity, desire and personality. A state of freedom from the shakles of māyā and her influence of pain and suffering. Sometimes mistakenly referred to as mokṣa or mukti. A state of loss of self that inexplicably is defined as “ineffable contentment”, especially as it raises the question, “who is it then that is content?” The ‘merging’ or loss of self into a state of nothingness. Ontological non-existence.

nirviśeṣa – devoid of variety, without distinction; featureless impersonal aspect of the Absolute.

nirviśeṣa-brahma – the featureless aspect of the Supreme Lord.

nirviśeṣa-svarūpa – indistinct aspect of Bhagavān; His effulgence.

niśānta – the end of the night just prior to dawn.

niṣkāma – without selfish desire.

niṣkāma-karma – performance of one’s prescribed duty without any desire for the fruits, performed by one who desires jñāna, or liberation.

niṣkāma-karma-yoga – selfless performance of one’s prescribed duty in which one unites (yoga) with the Supreme Lord by offering Him the fruit of that work. Although niṣkāmakarma-yoga is certainly conducive to pure devotion, it is not pure devotion in and of itself, because Kṛṣṇa’s happiness and well-being are not the exclusive consideration.

niṣkiñcana – free from all material possessions, entirely destitute; a renunciant.

niṣṭhā – firm faith; established devotional practice that does not waver at any time. The fourth stage in the development of the creeper of devotion.

nitya – (1) eternal (2) regulated.

nitya-karma – daily, or routine, obligatory duties.

nitya-parikaras – eternal associates

nitya-sevā – eternal service

Nityānanda Prabhu – the elder brother of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; He is non-different from Baladeva Prabhu.

nitya-sakhī – see Sakhī.

nitya-siddha-gopīs – eternally liberated gopīs.

niyama – one of the practices of aṣṭāṅga-yoga (see Aṣṭāṅga-yoga).

nyāya – the philosophy dealing with a logical analysis of reality, also known as nyāya-darśana. This system of philosophy was founded by Mahaṛṣi Gautama.

Nyāya-śāstra – the śāstras dealing with a logical analysis of reality. The precepts of nyāya are mostly explained through analogies drawn from an analysis of common objects such as a clay pot (ghaṭa) and a piece of cloth (paṭa), so these words are repeatedly encountered in discussions of nyāya.


oṁkāra – sound representation of para-tattva brahma.

oṁ tat sat – the three words indicating the Supreme Absolute Reality.


pada – line of Sanskrit verse; abode; a foot; that which gives evidence in establishing the Supreme Lord.

pāda-sevanam – service to the lotus feet of Śrī Bhagavān and His pure devotees; one of the nine limbs of bhakti.

padma – lotus.

Padma Purāṇa – one of the sāttvika Purāṇas.

pādya – water for foot bathing. Ingredients that can be used in pādya are dūrvā grass, śyāmā dhāna (grain) and tulasī leaves. One can also use water in which some fragrant flowers have been soaked or to which candana has been added.

pālya-dāsī – a maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. The word pālya means ‘to be nourished, cared for and protected’, and the word dāsī means ‘a maidservant’; thus, the pālya-dāsīs are maidservants under the affectionate care of Śrīmatī Rādhikā.

pañca-mahā-bhüta – five gross elements

Pāñcajanya – the conch shell of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who took it from the demon Pañcajana after He slayed him.

pañcāmṛta – an offering of five nectarean ingredients consisting of yoghurt, milk, ghee, honey and sugar used on special occasions for bathing śrī guru or the deity.

pañcāṅga-bhakti – the fivefold process of devotional service.

pañca-pātra – a receptacle of pure water; many pātras (small containers), each with their own spoon and specific ingredients, are used for offering various services to the deity. When one receptacle of pure water is used to substitute the various containers and their ingredients, that container is called a pañca-pātra. It is also referred to as the ācamana cup.

Pañcarātra – a section of the Vedic scriptures. There are many Pañcarātras. Those mostly referred to by the Gauḍīya sampradayā are Śrī Nārada-pañcarātra, Śrī Hayaśīrṣa-pañcarātra and Śrī Śāṇḍilya-pañcarātra.

pañcarātra – Group of devotional scriptures that assist in the practice of the principal limbs of bhakti; they cover five topics: (a)the process of cleansing the temple, (b) performing āratika with flowers, incense, etc., (c) worship, bathing, etc. of the deity of Śrī Viṣṇu (d) the performance of meditation on the holy name and on śrī gāyatrī, (e)recitation of verses and prayers, performance of nāma-kīrtana and study of scriptures such as Bhagavad-gītā and ŚrīmadBhāgavatam, which establish tattva-jñāna. The Pañcarātras are numerous, some of them being prominent in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava lineage: Śrī Nārada-pañcarātra, Śrī Hayaśīrṣa-pañcarātra and Śrī Śāṇḍilyapañcarātra.

Pañca-tattva – the Supreme Lord manifested in five features: (1) the original Supreme Lord as the embodiment of a devotee, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, (2) the Lord’s direct expansion as a devotee, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, (3) the Lord’s incarnation as a devotee, Śrī Advaita Prabhu, (4) the Lord’s liberated associate manifest as a devotee, Śrīvāsa and (5) the Lord’s internal potency manifest as a devotee, Śrī Gadādhara.

pañcopāsana – worship of the five deities – Sūrya, Gaṇeṣa, Śakti, Śiva, and Viṣṇu.

Pāṇḍava – (1) a name for Arjuna (2) a son of King Pāṇḍu.

paṇḍita – learned scholar.

Pāṇḍu – the great king of the Kuru dynasty and younger brother of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He died an untimely death and left his five sons, the Pāṇḍavas, under the care of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.

pāpa – sin.

parā-bhakti – transcendental bhakti.

Parabrahma – the Supreme Absolute Truth, Śrī Kṛṣṇa; the supreme brahma, the source of the brahman effulgence, Śrī Bhagavān. (See brahma).

para-dharma – the prescribed duty of another.

parakīya-bhāva – paramour love; an amorous relationship outside of marriage.

parama-dhāma – supreme abode.

Paramahaṁsa – a topmost, God-realised, ‘swan-like’ devotee of Śrī Bhagavān; the fourth and highest stage of sannyāsa.

parama-puruṣa – Śrī Bhagavān, the supreme enjoyer.

parama-tattva – the Supreme Absolute Truth, Śrī Bhagavān.

Paramātmā – Supersoul; He who is situated in the hearts of all living entities as a witness and the source of remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.

Parameśvara – Supreme controller.

parā-śakti – Śrī Bhagavān’s transcendental potency, which has three divisions: cit (spiritual), taṭastha (marginal) and māyā (material).

Paraśurāma – son of Jamadagni and Renukā and the sixth of the ten avatāras of Lord Viṣṇu mentioned in Śrī Daśāvatārastotram by Jayadeva Gosvāmī. He slew all the kṣatriyas of the world to give protection to the brāhmaṇas. Literally, rāma – ‘one who delights’, paraśu – ‘in fighting with the axe’.

para-tattva – science of understanding the highest truth, supreme, transcendental Reality

pariṇāma – transformation

parikara – associate

parikramā – (1) circumambulation; (2) the path that encircles a sacred tract of land, such as Vṛndāvana or Vraja.

parokṣa-vāda – that which remains hidden, or secret, being expressed in an indirect way.

pārṣada – see parikara

pārtha – ‘Son of Pṛthā’, Arjuna.

paugaṇḍa – boyhood; from age six to ten.

peacock fan – a fan made of peacock feathers only used for Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

phala-śruti – benediction for readers

piśāca – fiend.

pītāmbara – the brilliant golden-yellow cloth that Śrī Kṛṣṇa wears.

pitṛ-yāna – voyage on the path of the forefathers.

pīṭha – place of pastimes; seat

prabhu – master, lord or ruler.

Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī – the uncle of Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī. He was a resident of Raṅga-kṣetra and a sannyāsi of the Śrī Rāmānuja sampradāya. Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī received dīkṣā from him. Prabodhānanda was a worshiper of Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, but by the mercy of Śrī Gaurasundara he adopted the worship of Śrī Rādhā-Govinda. He wrote many books such as Śrī Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta, Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhānidhi, Śrī Caitanya-candrāmṛta, Saṅgīta-mādhava, āścarya-rāsa-prabandha, Śrī Vṛndāvana-śataka, Śrī Navadvīpa-śataka, Śruti-stuti-vyākhyā, Kāmabīja-Kāmagāyatrī-vyākhyāna, Gīta-Govinda-vyākhyāna, and Śrī Gaura?sudhākara-citrāṣṭaka. According to Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (163), in kṛṣṇa-līlā Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī is Tuṅgavidyā, one of the aṣṭa-sakhīs of Śrīmatī Rādhikā 

pradhāna – (See māyā-śakti).

pradhānī-bhūtā-bhakti – activities related to bhakti that are mixed with karma and jñāna, bhakti being prominent.

pradoṣa – evening.

prahara – (same as yāma) a three-hour time period in the 24-hour day. The first prahara starts at brahma-muhūrta.

prajāpati – a living entity empowered to create living beings (prajā) throughout the universe. The chief Prajāpati is Brahmā.

prakāśa – manifestation; illumination

prakāśikā-vṛtti – ‘Commentary that illuminates’.

prakaṭa – manifest

Prakaṭa-līlā – Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s manifest pastimes.

prakṛti – (1) nature, the material world, the power that creates and regulates the world. (2) matter as opposed to puruṣa, spirit. (3) the primordial female energy, a woman or womankind.

prāṇa – (1) life energy; life-air (2) the in-coming breath (4.27).

Prāṇakānta – the beloved of one’s life.

praṇāma – an obeisance.

prāṇamaya – the second of the five stages of consciousness in which one perceives life in terms of preservation (13.5).

Prāṇanātha, Prāṇeśvara – literally means ‘the lord of one’s life’, but it carries the sense of one who is infinitely dearer to one than one’s own life.

prāṇa-preṣṭha-sakhī – same as priya-narma-sakhī (see Sakhī).

prāṇa-priyatama – one who is dearer than one’s own life.

prāṇa-sakhī – see Sakhī.

praṇava – the syllable that gives life, derived from the Sanskrit verbal root praṇu, to make a reverberating humming the syllable oṁ (10.25).

prāṇa-vallabha – the beloved of one’s life.

pranaya – an intensified stage of prema; a stage in the development from prema up to mahabhava. It is described in Ujjvala-nilamani (14.108): “When mana assumes a feature of unrestrained intimacy known as viśrambha, learned authorities refer to it as pranaya.” The word viśrambha used in this verse means “complete confidence devoid of any restraint or formality”. This confidence causes one to consider one’s life, mind, intelligence, body and possessions to be one in all respects with the life, mind, intelligence and body of the beloved.

prāṇāyāma – yogic breathing.

prārabdha-karma – results of previous activities that have begun to bear fruit in the form of happiness and distress.

prasāda – (literally means ‘mercy’) the remnants of food or articles offered to the deity, such as incense, flowers, garlands and clothing.

prātaḥ – early morning, dawn.

pratibimba – a reflective semblance. This refers of an image which is disconnected from its object, and is therefore compared to a reflection.

pratiṣṭhā – support.

pratyāhāra – withdrawal of the senses from the sense objects; the fifth step in aṣṭāṅga-yoga.

pravāsa – one of the four divisions of vipralambha, separation; the separation, due to their being in different places, of lovers who were previously intimately associated. Pravāsa has two divisions: going out of sight (pravāsa) and going to a distant place (sudūra-pravāsa).

prema – (1) love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa which is extremely concentrated, which completely melts the heart and which gives rise to a deep sense of possessiveness (mamatā), in relation to Śrī Kṛṣṇa; (2) when bhāva becomes firmly rooted and unchecked by any obstacle it is known as prema.

prema-bhakti – a stage of bhakti which is characterised by the appearance of prema (see Prema); the perfectional stage of devotion; the eighth and fully blossomed state of the creeper of devotion.

Prema-devī – Goddess of love.

prema-mādhurya – see Mādhurya.

premānanda – bliss of pure, spiritual love

premī-bhakta – a devotee on the stage of prema.

priya-narma-sakhā – see Sakhā.

priya-narma-sakhī – see Sakhī.

priya-sakhī – intimate female companion. See Sakhī.

priyatama – dear most beloved.

pūjā – offering of worship

pūjā-pātra – a small dish that is placed in front of the bathing receptacle to receive articles that are offered to the deity.

pūjārī – a priest, or devotee who performs worship of the deity.

pūjyapāda – literally, ‘whose feet are to be revered’; an honorific title.

Purāṇas – eighteen major and eighteen minor supplements to the Vedas, written by Śrīla Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vedavyāsa.

Puru – son of of Mahārāja Yayāti who accepted his father’s request to exchange his old age for his youth (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 9.18–20).

Pürṇa-brahma – complete Brahman

Puruṣa – (1) the primeval being as the soul and original source of the universe, the Supreme Being or Soul of the universe. (2) the animating principle in living beings, the soul, spirit as opposed to prakṛti, or matter. (3) a male or mankind, (3) enjoyer; refers to either the living entity or the Supreme Lord.

puruṣa-avatāra – Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s three expansions that create the cosmic manifestation for the upliftment of the rebellious living entities: Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.3.1–3 and 2.6.39–42).

puruṣārtha – the goals of human attainment. In the Vedic śāstras these are classified into four categories: dharma, religious duty; artha, acquisition of wealth; kāma, satisfaction of material desires; and mokṣa, liberation from material existence. Beyond all of these is the development of unalloyed love for the Supreme Lord, who is the embodiment of spiritual bliss and transcendental rasa. This is known as parama-puruṣārtha, the supreme object of attainment

Puruṣottama – Supreme enjoyer

pūrvāhna – morning

pūrva-rāga – loving attraction for Śrī Kṛṣṇa prior to meeting.

puṣpa – flower.

puṣpāñjali – an offering of flowers from cupped hands to the Supreme Lord or His exalted devotee.


Rādhā – the eternal consort of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the embodiment of the hlādinī potency. She is known as mahābhāva-svarūpinī, the personification of the highest ecstacy of divine love. She is the source of all the gopīs, the queens of Dvārakā, and the Lakṣmīs of Vaikunṭha. Her father is Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja, Her mother is Kīrtidā, Her brother is Śrīdāma, and Her younger sister is Anaṅga Mañjarī. She has an effulgent, golden complexion and She wears blue garments. She is adorned with unlimited auspicious qualities and is the most dearly beloved of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

rāga – (1) deep attachment for Kṛṣṇa, permeated by spontaneous and intense absorption in the object of one’s affection (2) a deep and overpowering thirst for the object of one’s affection. (3) an intensified stage of prema; a stage in the development from prema up to mahabhava. It is described as follows in Ujjvala-nilamani (14.126): “When pranaya reaches exultation, thus causing even extreme misery to be experienced within the heart as happiness, it is known as raga.” In his commentary on this verse Jiva Gosvami explains that if by accepting some misery there is a chance of meeting with Kṛṣṇa, then that misery becomes a source of great happiness. And where happiness affords one no opportunity to meet with Kṛṣṇa, that happiness becomes the source of great distress. When such a state is experienced, it is known as raga. (4) a classical Indian melody.

rāgamārga – the path of rāga, spontaneous attachment (see Rāgānuga).

rāgānuga – bhakti that follows in the wake of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s eternal associates in Vraja.

rāgānuga-bhakta – a devotee on the path of spontaneous devotion.

rāgānuga-bhakti – an elevated stage of devotion that is motivated by spontaneous attraction or love

rāgātmikā – one in whose heart there naturally and eternally exists a deep spontaneous desire to love and serve Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This specifically refers to the eternal residents of Vraja.

rahasya – confidential, or secret.

rāja-sevā – a royal standard of worship; serving the deity with great opulence, as one would serve a king.

rajas – material mode of passion

rājasika – of the material mode of passion.

rājasūya – an elaborate fire sacrifice that establishes one as the emperor of the world.

rajo-guṇa – mode of passion.

rākṣasa – flesh-eating demon, generally endowed with mystic powers.

rākṣasī – man-eating demoness.

rāma – a līlā-avatāra or pastime avatāra of Śrī Kṛṣṇa; He is the famous hero of the Rāmāyaṇa. He is also known as Rāmacandra, Raghunātha, Dāśarathi-Rāma, and Rāghava-Rāma. His father was Mahārāja Daśaratha, His mother was Kausalyā, and His wife was Sītā. He had three brothers named Lakṣmaṇa, Bharata, and Śatrughna. The celebrated monkey Hanuman was His beloved servant and devotee. After killing the pernicious demon, Rāvaṇa, and rescuing Sītārānī with the help of the monkey army, Rāma returned to Ayodhyā and was crowned king.

Rāmacandra – incarnation of the Supreme Lord and the establisher of pure dharma, or religious principles.

ramaṇa – lover

Ramaṇī – a shy young girl who is expert in the various skills for awakening sweet emotions.

Rāmānuja – the celebrated Vaiṣṇava ācārya of the Śrī sampradāya who founded the Vedāntic school which taught the doctrine of viśiṣṭādvaitavāda, qualified non-dualism. He lived at Kāñcipuram and Śrī Raṅgam in South India in the 12th century. He is believed to have been an incarnation of Śeṣa and is known also as both Rāmānujācārya and Yatirāja. He wrote commentaries on Bhagavad-Gīta, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and Vedānta-sūtra.

Rāmānujācārya – ācārya of the Śrī sampradāya and propounder of qualified monism (viśiṣtādvaita-vāda) which states that although all of the energies of God are one, each maintain its speciality (vaiśiṣṭya).

rasa –  the exact English equivalent is untranslatable, but is herein rendered as ‘mellow quality’. (1) the spiritual transformation of the heart which takes place when the perfectional state of love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, known as rati is converted into ‘liquid’ emotions by combining with various types of transcendental ecstasies; (2) taste, flavour.

rāsa-līlā – Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s dance pastimes with the vraja-gopīs, which is a pure exchange of spiritual love between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs, His most confidential servitors.

rāsa-maṇḍala – a circular arena in which Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs perform their rāsa-līlā.

rasika – one who is expert at relishing the mellows of devotion (rasa); a connoisseur of rasa.

rasika-rañjana – lit, ‘that which pleases those who relish transcendental mellows’, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Öhākura’s Bengali translationcommentary of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.

Rasika-śekhara – a title of Śrī Kṛṣṇa meaning ‘the foremost enjoyer’ or ‘master of the mellows of love’, crown jewel of connoisseurs of ecstatic transcendental mellows

rati – (1) attachment, fondness for; (2) a stage in the development of bhakti which is synonymous with bhāva (see Bhāva).

rātri – night.

Ṛṣi – a great sage learned in the Vedas.

ṛtvik – priest who performs a sacrifice on someone’s behalf.

ruci – taste; ruci develops after one has acquired steadiness in bhajana. At this stage, with the awakening of actual taste, one’s attraction to spiritual matters, such as hearing and chanting, exceeds one’s attraction to any type of material activity; this is the fifth stage in the development of the creeper of devotion.

Rudra – one of the eleven expansions of Lord Śiva.

Rūpā Gosvāmī – the foremost follower of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. His mission was to show living entities the path to their highest auspiciousness, service to Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in the mood of the damsels of Vraja within whom the acme of spontaneous devotion resides eternally and inherently. The three commentators of this Gītā are purely in the line of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and dedicated to disseminating his teachings.

rūpa-mādhurya – see Mādhurya

rūpānuga-bhakta – a devotee who follows Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī on the path of spontaneous devotion.


śabda – Sound; word; noun.

śabda-brahma – (1) Imports of Vedic scripture (2) Sound incarnation of the Absolute Truth.

sabjī – cooked vegetable.

sac-cid-ānanda – that which is eternal, composed of spiritual consciousness and full of transcendental bliss.

sadācāra – appropriate conduct

sad-guru – Bona fide spiritual master; spiritual preceptor who follows sat (the pure path of the sādhus as described within scripture and as delivered through paramparā).

sādhaka – one who follows a spiritual discipline with the objective of achieving pure devotion for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and more specifically, for achieving bhāva-bhakti.

sādhana – (1)the stage of devotional life in which a spiritual discipline is performed for the purpose of bringing about the manifestation of ecstatic, pure love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa (bhаva) (2) Method, or practice adopted to accomplish a specific goal. Without sādhana one cannot obtain the goal. Sādhana corresponds to various goals: those who desire material enjoyment adopt the path of karma as their sādhana, those who desire liberation adopt the path of jñāna, and those who aspire for the eternal loving service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa adopt the path of bhakti, which involves the spiritual practices of hearing, chanting and so on.

sādhana-bhajana – spiritual cultivation, or practice, performed for the purpose of awakening pure spiritual emotion.

sādhana-bhakti – the engagement of the mind and senses in the limbs of devotion, for the purpose of attaining bhāva-bhakti.

sādhu – Highly advanced devotees who embody devotion to the Supreme Lord. In a general sense this refers to any saintly, or religious person.

sādhu-saṅga – association of highly advanced devotees; the first stage in the development of the creeper of devotion and the most important factor for advancement in bhakti.

sādhya – (1)the goal of one’s spiritual practice (2) Object, or goal, for which one undergoes a corresponding practice; (3) aim and object of life

sādhya-bhakti – accomplished devotion

sakāma – with desire.

sakāma-bhakti – devotion performed with material desires.

sakāma-karma – actions performed with a desire to taste the material result.

sakāma-karmī – one who accepts a regulated life but maintains material desires.

sakhā – a male friend, companion or attendant. There are four types of sakhās in Vraja: (1) suhṛda – those whose friendship is mixed with a scent of parental mood, who are slightly older than Kṛṣṇa, who bear a staff and other weapons and who always protect Kṛṣṇa from demons; e.g. Subhadra, Maṇḍalībhadra and Balabhadra; (2) sakhā – those whose friendship is mixed with a scent of servitorship, who are slightly younger than Kṛṣṇa and who are exclusively attached to the happiness of rendering service to Him; e.g. Viśāla, Vṛṣabha and Devaprastha; (3) priyasakhā – those who are of the same age as Kṛṣṇa and take the exclusive shelter of the attitude of friendship; e.g. Śrīdāma, Sudāma and Stoka-kṛṣṇa; and (4) priya-narma-sakhā – superior in every way to the three other types of sakhās; they are engaged in extremely confidential services and possess a very special mood, such as Subala, Ujjvala and Madhumaṅgala.

sakhī – a female friend, companion or attendant. Śrīmatī Rādhikā has five kinds of sakhīs: (1) Sakhī – Daniṣṭhā is an example. These sakhīs love and serve both Śrīmatī Rādhikā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa, but they are slightly more inclined towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa. (2) Nitya-sakhīs and (3) prāṇa-sakhīs – the only two kinds of sakhīs who are in the category of mañjarīs. These sakhīs serve both Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa, with a tendency to favour Śrīmatī Rādhikā. The prāṇa-sakhīs, like Rūpa Mañjarī and Rati Mañjarī, being even more intimately connected with Śrīmatī, are naturally the leaders of the nitya-sakhīs. (4) Priya-sakhīs and (5) priya-narmasakhīs – Lalitā and Viśākhā are examples.

sakhya – love or attachment for Śrī Kṛṣṇa that is expressed in the mood of a friend; one of the five primary relationships with Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

sakhya-bhāva – one of the five primary relationships with Kṛṣṇa that are established in the heart at the stage of bhаva or prema; love or attachment for the Lord that is expressed in the mood of a friend.

śakti – potency, or energy.

śaktimān – possessor of potency, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

śaktyāveśa-avatāra – empowered incarnation; a living entity who, in submission to Bhagavān, becomes empowered (āveṣa) by Him to act powerfully on His behalf.

śālagrāma-śilā – self-manifesting deities of Narayana, sacred stone that is non-different from Viṣṇu and worshipped by Vaiṣṇavas. It is black in colour, and contains sacred marks like the cakra. It is chiefly found in the sacred Gandakī River, in the Himalayas, Nepal.

sālokya – liberation of residing on the same planet as the Supreme Lord.

samādhi – concentration of the mind; meditation or deep trance, either on Paramātmā or Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes.

sambandha-jñāna – knowledge regarding sambandha-tattva, the mutual relationship between the Lord, the living entities and the material energy.

saṁhitā – a compilation of mantras. Mantra refers specifically to a verse that possesses extraordinary power. Not all verses are mantras, and therefore not all compilations of verses can be called saṁhitā

sāmīpya – the liberation of becoming a personal associate of Śrī Bhagavān.

sampradāya – (1) unbroken disciplic successive line transmitted from guru to disciple. Mantra is only effective when received in a bona fide sampradāya, of which there are four: Brahma, Śrī, Rudra and Sanaka, (2)a school of religious thought.

samprajñāta-samādhi – samādhi in which one is conscious of the difference between knowledge, the object of knowledge and the knower.

samsara – material existence

saṁskāra – (1) sacred, or sanctifying, ceremony (2) reformation or training of the mind (3) impression on the mind of any previous purificatory act in this or in prior births.

saṁvit – (1) the knowledge portion, cognisant aspect, of the Lord’s spiritual potency, (2) the potency that bestows transcendental knowledge of Śrī Bhagavān, (3) this refers to the internal potency (svarupa-śakti) that is predominated by saṁvit. It is the potency that relates to cit, the cognisant aspect of the Supreme Lord. Although the Supreme Lord is the embodiment of knowledge, saṁvitis the potency by which He knows Himself and causes others to know Him.

sanātana – eternal.

Sanātana Gosvāmī – one of the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana; elder brother of Rūpa Gosvāmī and author of numerous literatures, the most prominent of which are the Hari-bhaktivilāsa and Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta.

Sanātana-dharma – the eternal occupatin of man. Mans eternal constitutional position. See dharma

sañcāri-bhāvas – also known as vyabhicāri-bhāvas; thirty-three internal emotions which emerge from the nectarean ocean of sthāyibhāva, cause it to swell and then merge back into it. These include emotions such as despondency, jubilation, fear, anxiety and concealment of emotions.

sandhyā – (1) one of three particular junctures in a day: sunrise, midday or sunset; (2) the chanting of the dīkṣā-mantras.

sandhyā-ārati – the ārati ceremony of the Lord that is performed at sunset. Also known as gaura-ārati.

saṅga – association.

saṅkalpa – taking a vow before performing an auspicious activity, the mind’s function of acceptance and determination.

Śaṅkara – another name for Śiva (see Śiva). Sometimes Śaṅkara is used as a short name for Śaṅkarācārya.

śaṅkarācārya – A propagator of māyāvāda, or impersonalism, understood to be an incarnation of Lord Śiva.

śaṅkha – a conch; one type of conch is for bathing the Lord and should open to the right; another is a blowing conch.

sāṅkhya – (1) Analytically discriminating between spirit and matter (2) The path of bhakti practised by analyzing the twenty-four universal elements.

sāṅkhya-yoga – Yoga that gives analytical knowledge about scientific knowledge of the soul, the Supersoul and inert objects.

saṅkīrtana – congregational chanting of the names of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

saṅkīrtana-yajña – Congregational chanting of the Lord’s holy names; the yuga-dharma for the age of Kali.

sannyāsa – (1) Completely giving up the results of one’s activities (2) The fourth stage of life in the varṇāśrama system. There are four stages of sannyāsa: (a) Kūtīcaka. He resides in a hut (kūtīr) and accepts alms from a family or āśrama till his sādhana reaches maturity; (b) Bahūdaka. He then travels on pilgrimage and bathes in many (bahu) waters (udakas), practising detachment through dependence on Bhagavān; (c) Parivrājak. When transcendental knowledge arises in his heart, he preaches his realizations to everyone, in every village; (d) Paramahaṁsa. By full absorption in kṛṣṇa-kathā, kṛṣṇa-tattva and kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, he becomes fully mature and the swan (haṁsa) of his mind always dives and surfaces in Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s ever fresh pastimes. sannyāsī – (1) One in the renounced order of life, which is the highest order in the varṇāśrama-dharma system (2) One who renounces the fruits of one’s activity.

sannyāsa-danḍa – a stick carried by sannyāsīs, renunciants in the fourth stage of life according to the Vedic social system.

sannyāsī – a member of the renounced order, a renunciant.

śānta-rasa – Mellow of neutrality in which one appreciates the greatness of Śrī Bhagavān, just as a Paramātmarealized yogī does. It is one of the primary rasas.

śaraṇāgati – Surrender. The six symptoms of surrender (śaraṇa) are (a) acceptance of anything that fosters the growth of the creeper of devotion, (b) avoidance of anything that hinders that growth, (c) the firm faith that Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa will always extend the protective umbrella of Their lotus feet over Their devoted servants, (d) acceptance of Their Lordships as one’s exclusive guardians, (e) submissive offering of one’s full self at Their lotus feet and (f) always feeling one’s self lowly and humble; approaching for refuge or protection: (1) to accept that which is favourable for kṛṣṇa-bhakti; (2) to reject that which is unfavourable; (3) to have the strong faith ‘Bhagavān will protect me’; (4) to have dependence, thinking ‘Bhagavān will take care of me’; (5) to be fully self-surrendered (ātma-samarpaṇa); and (6) to be humble, feeling insignificant and very fallen.

sārārtha-varṣiṇī – Sāra means ‘essence’ or ‘cream’, artha means ‘meaning’, varṣiṇī means ‘shower’. Literally, ‘a shower of the essential meanings’.

sāri – a female parrot.

sarovara – lake, pool or tank.

sārṣṭi – in this liberation the opulence of the devotee is equal to the opulence of the Supreme Lord.

sārūpya – a liberation in which the bodily features of the devotee are exactly like those of the Supreme Lord, apart from two or three symptoms found only on the body of the Lord.

sarasvati – the goddess of speech and learning. She exists in a form in this mundane world, and is worshiped for success in learning and education. She also exists in a transcendental form in the

sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇa – cause of all causes

sarva-śaktimān – the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who possesses all potencies.

sarva-svarūpa – Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who manifests to the worshipper in whatever form the worshipper desires to see Him.

sarvāvatārī – source of all incarnations

sarveśvara – controller of all

śāstra – scripture, especially the Vedic scriptures,  derived from the Sanskrit verbal root śās – to govern, command.

sat – eternal, pure, godly. It is used to describe the Absolute Truth. Vrajendranandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the complete sat entity. It also refers to His abodes, incarnations, devotees, the bona fide guru, etc.

ṣaṭaka – literally, ‘a group of six’.

sattamaḥ – best of godly men.

sattva – existence; material mode of goodness

sattva-guṇa – mode of goodness. (See rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa).

sāttvika – of the mode of goodness.

sāttvika-bhāvas – one of the five essential ingredients of rasa (see Rasa); eight symptoms of spiritual ecstasy.

satya – truth, reality; demonstrated conclusion, the topmost planetary system within the material world, and the residence of Brahmājī. Also called Satyaloka and Brahmaloka.

Satya-saṅkalpa – name of Bhagavān meaning that His resolve (saṅkalpa) becomes fact (satya).

Śaunaka – the head of the great sages at Naimisāraṇya who were present when Śrīla Sūta Gosvāmī spoke Śrīmad Bhāgavatam to Parīkṣit Mahārāja.

saviśeṣa – with features and unique qualities.

sāyam – dusk.

śayana – rest.

sāyujya-mukti – the liberation of merging one’s existence with the effulgence of Bhagavān. Since there is no facility to render service to Kṛṣṇa in this liberation, it is never accepted by Vaiṣṇavas, even if offered by Śrī Bhagavān, Himself.

sevā – service, attendance on, reverence or devotion to.

sevā-aparādha – offences in devotional service.

sevā-pīṭha – service location

siddha – perfection

siddha-deha – perfected spiritual body, which is fit to serve Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.

siddhānta – philosophical doctrine or precept; demonstrated conclusion; established end; admitted truth.

siddhi – perfection. There are eight mystic siddhis achieved by aṣṭāṅga-yogīs.

śikhā – a tuft of hair situated on the top back part of the head.

śikṣā – instruction.

śikṣā-guru – the person from whom one receives instructions on how to progress on the path of bhajana; the instructing spiritual master.

siṁhāsana – throne

Śiśupāla – a demon in Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes.

śiṣya – disciple. It is derived from the verbal root śās – to command – indicating that a disciple must accept śrī guru’s order as his very life.

Śiva – (1) Auspicious (2) The destroyer of the material creation and the presiding deity of the mode of ignorance (3) a qualitative expansion of Śrī Kṛṣṇa who supervises the material mode of ignorance, and who annihilates the material cosmos; one of the five deities worshiped by the pañcopāsakas. His name literally means auspicious. In the Brahmā-saṁhita (5.45) it is described that Śrī Kṛṣṇa assumes the form of Lord Śiva for the purpose of carrying out the material creation. In the Śrīmad?Bhāgavatam (12.13.16) Śiva is described as the best of all Vaiṣṇavas: vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhu.

Skanda Purāṇa – Purāṇa written for those in the mode of passion.

śloka – a Sanskrit verse.

smaraṇa – remembrance of the names, forms, qualities and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa; one of the nine primary limbs of bhakti.

smārta – (1) one who rigidly adheres to the Smṛtis, being overly attached to external rituals without comprehending the underlying essence, or conclusion, of śāstra. (2) the brāhmaṇa followers of Śaṅkara.

Smṛti – (literally ‘that which is remembered’) the body of Vedic literature that is remembered, in contradistinction to Śruti, or that which is directly heard from or revealed by the great sages. Smṛti includes the six Vedāṅgas, the dharma-śāstras (such as Manusaṁhitā), the Purāṇas and the itihāsas;

snāna – bath.

snāna-pātra – bathing pot; a vessel in which offerings are placed while bathing the deity.

sneha – an intensified stage of prema; a stage in the development from prema up to mahābhāva. It is described in Ujjvala-nīlamaņi(14.79): “When prema ascends to its ultimate limit, intensifies one’s perception of the object of love, and melts the heart, it is known as sneha.”

soma-rasa – nectar drunk by the demigods that grants them relative immortality.

sphūrti – manifestation; realization

śraddhā – faith in the statements of scripture awakened when one has accumulated pious devotional activities over many births or by the association and mercy of a pure Vaiṣṇava; the first manifestation of the creeper of devotion. The inner essence of the seed of śraddhā is the conception implanted within the disciple’s heart to serve Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in a particular capacity; a ceremony in honour of and for the benefit of deceased relatives

śravaṇam – hearing the transcendental descriptions of Bhagavān’s names, forms, qualities, pastimes and associates from the mouths of advanced devotees. One of the nine most important limbs of bhakti.

śrī – (1) an honorific prefix to a name (2) beauty (3) Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune (4) Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.

Śrī Bhāṣya – The commentary which Reveals the Transcendental Beauty and Opulence of the Lord; a commentary on Vedānta-sūtra by Śrī Rāmānujācārya.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam – Crest jewel of Vedic literatures and the nectarean ripened fruit of the tree of Vedic knowledge. It is the spotless Purāṇa, which offers no fruitive motivation for the performance of pious deeds, since it only encourages unmotivated devotion (See Vedānta).

śrīvatsa – a curl of fine golden hair on the upper portion of the right side of Lord Viṣṇu’s or Kṛṣṇa’s chest.

śṛṅgāra-rasa – same as mādhurya-rasa, the amorous mellow.

Śruti – (1) That which is heard (2) Revelation, as distinguished from Smṛti (3) Infallible knowledge that descends in disciplic succession. It is the body of literature that was directly manifest by the Supreme Lord, in other words, the original four Vedas (also known as nigama) and the Upaniṣads.

stava-stuti – prayers and verses

sthāyibhāva – the permanent sentiment of love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa in one of five primary relationships of tranquillity (śānta), servitude (dāsya), friendship (sakhya), parental affection (vātsalya) or amorous love (mādhurya). This also refers to the dominant sentiment in the seven secondary mellows of laughter, wonder, heroism, compassion, anger, fear and disgust.

sthita-prajña – one whose intelligence is fixed in self-realization.

stuti – praise, or prayers, in glorification of Śrī Bhagavān.

Sudāmā Vipra – Brāhmaṇa friend of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Sudarśana (from capital letter) cakra – Invincible disc weapon of Śrī Bhagavān.

sūrya-pūjā – worship of Sūryadeva, the sun-god

śuṣka – dry

svabhāva – acquired nature

svajātīya – intimate; having the same mood

svakīya-bhava – wedded conjugal love

svāmśa – personal expansion

svarūpa – intrinsic form and nature

svarūpa-siddhi – the advanced stage of devotional life in which a devotee’s svarūpa, internal spiritual form and identity, becomes manifest. 

svayaṁ-rūpa – original personal form

śuddha-bhakti – Pure devotion.

śuddha-sattva – Pure, transcendental goodness (See viśuddha-sattva);  the state of unalloyed goodness; the quality of existence which is beyond the inf luence of material nature.

śūdra – the lowest of the four castes (varṇas) in the varṇāśrama system; artisans and labourers

su-durācāra – one who commits the most abominable actions (9.30).

śuka – a male parrot.

Śukadeva – the son of Bādarāyaṇa Vyāsadeva and speaker of the Śrīmad?Bhāgavatam to Mahārāja Parikṣit. In Goloka-dhāma, Kṛṣṇa’s eternal abode in the spiritual world, he is the parrot of Śrīmatī Rādhikā.

sukha – happiness.

Śukrācārya – guru of the demons.

sukṛti – piety, virtue; pious activity, spiritual merit. Sukṛti is of two types: eternal (nitya) and temporary (naimittika). The sukṛti by which one obtains sādhu-saṅga and bhakti is nitya-sukṛti because it produces eternal fruit.

Sumeru – the golden mountain on which the Ganges waters fall.

śūnyavāda – the doctrine of nihilism or voidism, which has as its goal complete annihilation of the self.

śūnyavādī – (1) voidist (2) follower of the teachings of Buddha.

sura – a god, divinity, deity, sage; this specifically refers to the devas situated in the celestial planets. The brāhmaṇas are known as bhū-sura, gods on earth, because they represent the Supreme Lord.

Sūrya – Sun-god.

Sūta Gosvāmī – the great sage who spoke Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in Naimisāraṇya.

sūtras – concise aphorisms, which contain compressed knowledge for easy learning and remembrance.

sva-bhāva – one’s nature, disposition.

sva-dharma – one’s prescribed duty; occupation according to one’s nature.

svāṁśa – Śrī Bhagavān’s plenary portions.

svarūpa – constitutional nature, inherent identity; the eternal constitutional nature and identity of the self which is realised at the stage of bhāva

svarūpa-śakti – internal potency of Śrī Bhagavān, superior to His marginal and external potencies. It has three divisions: sandhinī (existence), samvit (knowledge) and hlādinī (transcendental bliss).

svarūpa-siddhi – the stage in which a devotee’s internal spiritual form and identity (svarūpa) becomes manifest.

sva-saṁvedya – the word saṁvedya means ‘capable of being known or realised’; the word sva means ‘oneself ’; so the term svasaṁvedya literally means ‘that which has the power to be fully tasted or experienced by itself ’. When anurāga reaches the state where it becomes the object of its own experience it is known as sva-saṁvedya. (Also see Mahābhāva.

Svayam Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa – Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the original Personality of Godhead, from whom all His incarnations emanate.

svayaṁvara – contest to win the hand of a princess in marriage, wherein the princess herself (svayam) chooses (vara).


tāmasika – related to the material mode of ignorance.

tāmbūla – betel nut.

tamo-guṇa – material mode of ignorance, or darkness.

tantras – the verbal root tan means “to expand”, so tantra is that which expands the meaning of the Vedas. A class of Vedic literature dealing with a variety of spiritual topics and divided into three branches: the āgamas, Yāmala, and principal Tantras; a class of works teaching magical and mystical formularies, mostly in the form of dialogues between Śiva and Durgā. These are said to expound upon five subjects: (1) the creation, (2) the destruction of the world, (3) the worship of the gods, (4) the attainment of all objects, especially of six superhuman faculties, and (5) the four methods of union with the supreme spirit by meditation.

tāntrika – one who is completely versed in the mystical science of the Tantras.

tapa – austerity.

tapasvī – one who practises austerities as part of his spiritual path.

tapasyā – asceticism; austerity.

tapo-yajña – sacrifice of performing austerities.

tat – Supreme Spirit (brahma); the cause of the universe.

taṭastha-śakti – literally, taṭa – ‘marginally’, stha – ‘situated’, śakti – energy. In other words, it is the marginal energy of Śrī Bhagavān which manifests the living entities.

tattva – fundamental truth.

tattva – truths, reality, philosophical principles; the essence or substance of anything (e.g. the truths relating to bhakti are known as bhakti-tattva).

tattva-darśī – one who has realized the Absolute Reality.

tattva-jñāna – conclusive knowledge of fundamental truths.

tattva-vit – conversant with categorical knowledge of the Truth, such as guru-tattva, māyā-tattva and īśvara-tattva.

throw-out pot – an empty pot, dish or container used as a receptacle to receive water offered from the pañca-pātra and other articles.

ṭīkā – commentary.

tilaka – clay markings worn on the forehead and other parts of the body by Vaiṣṇavas, signifying their devotion to Śrī Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu and consecrating their body as the Lord’s temple.

tīrtha – holy place, place of pilgrimage.

Tretā-yuga – Second of the four yugas: Satya, Tretā, Dvāparā and Kali.

tridaṇḍa – a staff which is carried by the Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs. It consists of three rods symbolising engagement of body, mind, and words in the service of the Lord. These three rods may also signify the eternal existence of the servitor (the bhakta), the object of service (Bhagavān), and service, thus distinguishing Vaiṣṇava sannyāsa from the māyāvāda ekadaṇḍa sannyāsa.

Tulasī (with capital letter) – a sacred plant whose leaves and blossoms are used by Vaiṣṇavas in the worship of Śrī Kṛṣṇa; the wood is also used for chanting beads and neck beads.

tyāga – renunciation of possessiveness.


udbhāsvaras – the symptoms which reveal the spiritual emotions situated within the heart are called anubhāvas. When they manifest mostly as external actions, they are known as udbhāsvaras. Sāttvika-bhāvas are also known as anubhāvas because they also reveal the emotions of the heart. The term udbhāsvaras is used, therefore, to distinguish between anubhāvas arising spontaneously from sattva (sāttvika-bhāvas) and those which manifest as external actions involving some conscious intention.

Uddhava – advisor, minister and close friend of Sri Kṛṣṇa in Dvārakā; a disciple of Bṛhaspati; a jñāna-miśrabhakta.

udghūrṇā – a feature of divyonmāda (see Divyonmāda). A state in which many varieties of astounding and uncontrollable endeavours are manifest.

Upaniṣads – 108 principal philosophical treatises that appear within the Vedas.

upāsaka – worshipper.

upāsanā – spiritual practices.

upavīta – the sacred thread received by men at the time of dīkṣā; it is worn over the left shoulder and under the right arm.

ūrdhva-puṇḍra tilaka – (ūrdhva – vertical; puṇḍra – lines), the vertical clay markings of the Vaiṣṇavas that are worn on the forehead and other parts of the body to symbolize devotion to Lord Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu.

uttama-adhikārī – the topmost devotee, who has attained perfection in his devotion unto Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

uttama-bhāgavata – highest level of devotee.


Varāhadeva – the divine boar incarnation of the Lord.

vastra – cloth.

viṣṇu-mantras – mantras pertaining to viṣṇu-tattva, the original Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or His plenary expansions, given when receiving dīkṣā. Also known as dīkṣā-mantra.

viṣṇu-dīkṣā – initiation into the process of worship of the original Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or His plenary expansions.

viṣṇu-tattva – forms of Godhead.

viṣṇu-tilaka – see tilaka.

vairāgya – (1) detachment from this world (2) spiritual discipline involving voluntary austerities to achieve detachment from the objects of the senses.

vaiṣṇava – one in whose heart and mind only Śrī Viṣṇu, or Śrī Kṛṣṇa, resides; a devotee of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Literally, ‘belonging to Lord Viṣṇu’.

vaiśya – agriculturalists, cowherds, businessmen.

vāntāśī – one who returns to worldly sense enjoyment after taking sannyāsa. Literally, vānta – ‘vomit’, āśī – ‘eater’.

varṇa – occupational division, or caste, which is ascertained according to one’s nature.

varṇāśrama-dharma – the Vedic social system, which arranges society into four occupational divisions based on a person’s qualities and four stages (āśramas) of spiritual development. (See prescribed duty).

Varuṇa – god of the waters.

vastu-siddhi – the stage in which the vastu, or the substantive entity known as the jīva, is fully liberated from matter. After giving up the material body, the living entity who has already attained svarūpa-siddhi enters into Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s manifest pastimes, where or he or she receives the association of Kṛṣṇa and His eternal associates for the first time. There one receives further training from His eternal associates. When one becomes established in the mood of their prema and one’s eternal service to Kṛṣṇa, one gives up all connection with this world and enters His spiritual abode. At this point the jīva becomes situated in his pure identity as a vastu, and this is known as vastu-siddhi.

Vāsudeva – The son of Vasudeva, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Vasus – eight demigods.

vātsalya-bhāva – one of the five primary relationships with Kṛṣṇa that are established in the stages of bhāva or prema; love or attachment for the Lord expressed in the mood of a parent.

Veda – knowledge, or the four primary books of knowledge compiled by Śrīla Vyāsadeva: the Ṛg Veda, Sāma Veda, Atharva Veda and Yajur Veda.

vedāṅga – six auxiliary portions of the Vedas: (a) Śikṣā, proper pronunciation and articulation of Vedic Sanskrit, (b) chanda, rhythmic metres for chanting ślokas, (c) vyākaraṇa, grammar, (d) nirukta, an explanation of difficult Vedic words, (e) jyotiṣa, astrology, (f) kalpa, the ceremonial process of Vedic ceremonies for sacrifice.

Vedānta – literally, veda – ‘Vedic knowledge’, anta – ‘conclusion’. The Upaniṣads are the latter portion of the Vedas, and the Vedānta-sūtra summarizes the philosophy of the Upaniṣads in concise statements. Therefore the word ‘Vedānta’ especially refers to the Vedānta-sūtra.

Vedānta-ācārya – A most exalted teacher of Vedānta. The vedānta-ācārya in the Gauḍīya sampradāya is Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa

vibhinnāṁśa – separated parts of Bhagavān, the living entities.

vibhūti – Bhagavān’s divine opulences.

vibhūti-yoga – yoga through comprehending Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s divine glories.

vidyā – knowledge.

vijñāna – (1) realization of divine knowledge (2) realization of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mādhurya (sweetness).

vijñāna-maya– fourth of the five stages of consciousness in which one is conscious of the soul (13.5).

vikarma – action that disobeys Vedic injunction; sinful activity.

vipra – a learned brāhmaṇa.

vipralambha-bhāva – the loving mood that is felt when separated from one’s beloved.

Virocana – the demon the son of Prahlāda Mahārāja and the father of Bali Mahārāja.

vismaya-rasa – mellow of astonishment.

Viṣṇu – literally, viś – ‘pervading’, nu – ‘person’. One who is all-pervasive, the Supreme Lord of the cosmos who presides over the mode of goodness.

viṣṇu-tattva – categorical knowledge of the unlimited expansions of Viṣṇu.

viśuddhā-bhakti – exclusive, supremely pure devotion, in which one has no attachment to anyone but Bhagavān. 

viśuddha-sattva –  the state of unalloyed goodness; the quality of existence that is beyond the influence of material nature

Viśvanātha Cakravartī Thākura – A prominent ācārya of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism who authored many books and commentaries, including this Sārārtha-varṣiṇī commentary on Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā.

viśvarūpa – universal form.

viśvarūpa-upāsanā – worship of the universal form.

Vrajabhūmi – Vṛndāvana, Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s eternal abode.

Vrajendra-nandana – The son of the king of Vraja, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

vrata – vow undertaken for selfpurification and spiritual benefit.

Vṛṣṇis – kings of the Yadu dynasty.

Vyāsa – Vedavyāsa, the literary incarnation of the Lord and the compiler of Vedas, Purāṇas, Upaniṣads, Brahma-sūtra and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

vaiṣṇava – literally means one whose nature is ‘of Viṣṇu’ in other words, one in whose heart and mind only Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa resides. A bhakta of Śrī Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu.

vaiṣṇava-dharma – the constitutional function of the soul which has as its goal the attainment of love for Kṛṣṇa. This is also known as jaiva-dharma, the fundamental nature of living beings, and nitya-dharma, the eternal function of the soul.

Viṣṇu – the Supreme Lord of the cosmos who presides over the material mode of goodness; the supreme amongst the five deities worshiped by the pañcopāsakas.

Vyāsadeva – a great sage and empowered incarnation of the Lord. He was also known as Bādarāyaṇa, Dvaipāyana, and Veda-Vyāsa. His father was Parāśara and his mother was Satyavatī. He was the step-brother of Vicitravīrya and Bhīṣma. Because of the untimely death of Vicitravīrya, Satyavatī requested Vyāsa to become the husband of Vicitravīrya’s two childless widows. From the womb of Ambikā, Dhṛtarāṣṭra was born and from the womb of Ambālikā, Pāṇḍu was born. He was also the father of Vidura by a servant girl. In addition, by his wife Araṇi, Vyāsadeva was the father of the great sage Śrī Śukadeva, who spoke the Bhāgavata Purāṇa to Mahārāja Parīkṣit. Vyāsadeva compiled and arranged the Vedas, Vedāntasūtra, the Purāṇas, the Mahābhārata, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and he also established the uttara-mīmāṁsā system of philosophy.

vaidhī-bhakti – devotion prompted by the regulations of the scriptures.

vaijayantī-mālā – a garland made of five varieties of f lowers and which reaches the knees.

vaṁśī – one of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s f lutes that is about thirteen inches long and has nine holes on its body.

vānaprastha – a member of the third stage of life (āśrama) in the varṇāśrama system; retired life which entails freedom from family responsibilities and the acceptance of spiritual vows.

varṇa – class, occupational division, caste; the four varṇas are: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra.

varṇāśrama – the Vedic social system, which organises society into four occupational divisions and four stages of life (varṇas andāśramas).

vastu-siddhi – the stage in which the vastu, or substantive entity known as the jīva, is fully liberated from matter. After giving up the material body, the living entity who has already attained svarūpa-siddhi enters into Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s manifest pastimes, where he or she receives the association of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His eternal associates for the first time. There one receives further training from His eternal associates. When one becomes established in the mood of their prema and one’s eternal service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one gives up all connection with this world and enters His spiritual abode. At this point the living entity becomes situated in his pure identity as a vastu, and this is known as vastu-siddhi.

vātsalya-bhāva – one of the five primary relationships with Śrī Kṛṣṇa, namely, love or attachment for Him expressed in the mood of a parent.

Veda – the four primary books of knowledge compiled by Śrīla Vyāsadeva, namely, the Ṛg Veda, Sāma Veda, Atharva Veda and Yajur Veda.

Vedānta – ‘the conclusion of Vedic knowledge’. The Upaniṣads are the latter portion of the Vedas and the Vedānta-sūtra summarises the philosophy of the Upaniṣads in concise statements. Therefore, the word ‘Vedānta’ especially refers to the Vedānta-sūtra.

veṇu – (also called pāvika) one of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s f lutes that is very small, not more than nine inches long, with six holes on its body.

veṇu-mādhurya – see Mādhurya.

vibhāva – is defined in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (2.1.15) as follows: “That in which rati is tasted (ālambana) and that cause by which rati is tasted (uddīpana) is called vibhāva.”

vidhimārga – the path of bhakti which follows rules and regulations.

vikṣepātmikā –the illusory energy’s function of throwing the living entity into the ocean of material existence.

vilāsa – pastimes, especially the playful amorous pastimes of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.

vīṇā – a stringed musical instrument of melodious sound, the favourite instrument of Nārada Muni and of various other celestial personalities.

vipralambha-rasa – the mellow of separation.

viraha – separation (same as vipralambha).

viśuddha-sattva – see Śuddha-sattva.

vraja-devīs, vraja-ramaṇīs, vraja-sundarīs – the gopīs of Vraja.

Vrajavāsī – a resident of Vraja.

vyabhicāri-bhāvas – same as sañcāri-bhāvas (see Sañcāribhāvas).


Yādava – Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the best of the Yādu dynasty.

yajña – (1) sacrifice in which a deity is propitiated by the chanting of prayers and mantras and the offering of ghee into the sacred fire (2) Any kind of intense endeavour that is directed at achieving a particular goal.

yakṣa – ghost, or spirit.

yāma – (same as prahara) one of the eight periods of the day. Each yāma consists of approximately three hours.

Yaśodā-nandana – son of Yaśodā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

yavana – barbarian, i.e. one who does not follow a pure lifestyle.

yoga – (1) union, meeting, connection or combination; (2) spiritual discipline to link one with the Supreme; to stabilise the mind through karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga and bhakti-yoga, so that it is not disturbed by sense objects. Unless specified as such, the word yoga usually refers to the aṣṭāṅga-yoga system of Patañjali (see Aṣṭāṅga-yoga).

Yogamāyā – the internal potency of Bhagavān that arranges and enhances all His pastimes.

yoga-miśrā-bhakti – bhakti mixed with yoga, where bhakti predominates.

Yogeśvara – The supreme master of mystic power, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

yogī – (1) one whose heart remains connected with Śrī Bhagavān (2) One who endeavours for spiritual perfection (3) one who practices the yoga system with the goal of realisation of the Paramātmā or of merging into the Lord’s personal body 

yuga – one of the four ages described in the Vedas: Satya-yuga, Tretā-yuga, Dvāpara-yuga and Kali-yuga. The duration of each yuga is said to be, respectively: 1,728,000; 1,296,000; 864,000; and 432,000 years. The descending numbers represent a corresponding physical and moral deterioration of mankind in each age.

yuga-avatāra – Incarnations of the Lord who teach the particular religion for each yuga.

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