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Acarya-the spiritual master who sets the proper standard by his own example.
Acyuta—The Supreme Being who never falls down from His position.
Acintya-bhedabheda-tattva-simultaneously one and different. The doctrine Lord Sri Caitanya taught referring to the Absolute as being both personal and impersonal.
Advaita-nondual, meaning that the Absolute is one with the infinitesimal souls with no individuality between them. The philosophy of Sankaracharya. Agni-fue, or Agni the demigod of fire. Agnihotra-the Vedic sacrifice in which offerings were made to the fire, such as ghee, milk, sesame seeds, grains, etc. The demigod Agni would deliver the offerings to the demigods that were referred to in the ritual.
Ahankara—false ego, identification with matter,
Akrma~actions which cause no karmic reactions.
Akasha-the ether, or etheric plane; a subtle material element in which sound travels.
Ananta-Sesha~the Lord's incarnation as the thousand-headed serpent whose coiled body serves as the bed of Vishnu. He also sustains the planets of the universe on His heads. He is also known as the "Endless or Infinite One." The many coils of His body symbolize endless time. From His mouth comes the fire of universal annihilation and from between His eyebrows comes Lord Rudra who does his dance of dissolution which creates the clouds which create the universal flood.
Apara-prakrti-the material energy of the Lord.
Apsaras—the dancing girls of heaven.
Aranyakasacred writings that are supposed to frame the essence of the Upanishads.
Arati-the ceremony of worship when incense and ghee lamps are offered to the Deities.
Arca-vigraha—the worshipable Deity form of the Lord made of stone, wood, etc.
Atharva Veda—one of the four Vedas, the original revealed scriptures spoken by the Lord Himself.
Aryan~a noble person, one who is on the path of spiritual advancement.
Asana--postures for meditation, or exercises for developing the body into a fit instrument for spiritual advancement.
Asat-that which is temporary.
Ashrama~one of the four orders of spiritual life, such as brahmacari (celibate student), grihastha (married householder), vanaprastha (retired stage), and sannyasa (renunciate); or the abode of a spiritual teacher or sadhu.
Astanga-yoga-the eightfold path of mystic yoga.
Asura—orie who is ungodly or a demon.
Atma-the self or soul. Sometimes means the body, mind, and senses.
Atman-usaally referred to as the Supreme Self.
Avatara—an incarnation of the Lord who descends from the spiritual world.
Avidya--ignorance or nescience.
Ayodhya—the town of Lord Rama in East India.
Ayurveda-the original wholistic form of medicine as described in the Vedic literature.
Babaji—wandering mendicant holy man.
Badrinatha-one of the holy places of pilgrimage in the Himalayas, and home of the Deity Sri Badrinatha along with many sages and hermits.
Balarama or Baladeva~the first plenary expansion of Lord Krishna, and His brother who appeared as the son of Rohini.
Bhagavad-gita-the Song of God, the conversation between Lord Krishna and His devotee Arjuna, which was one of the chapters in the Mahabharata.
Betel-a mildly intoxicating nut.
Bhagavan-one who possesses all opulences, God.
Bhajan-song of worship.
Bhajan kutir-a small dwelling used for one's worship and meditation.
Bhakta—a devotee of the Lord who is engaged in bhakti-yoga,
Bhakti-Aove and devotion for God.
Bhakti-yoga-the path of offering pure devotional service to the Supreme.
Bhang~pronounced bong, a sweet mixed with hashish.
Bhava-preliminary stage of love of God.
Bidi~an Indian cigarette. Brahma-the demigod of creation who was born from Lord Vishnu, the first created living being and the engineer of the secondary stage of creation of the universe when all the living entities were manifested.
Brahmacari-a celebate student who is trained by the spiritual master. One of the four divisions or ashramas of spiritual life.
Brahmajyoti-the great white light or effulgence which emanates from the body of the Lord.
Brahmaloka-the highest planet or plane of existence in the universe; the planet where Lord Brahma lives.
Brahman--the spiritual energy; the all-pervading impersonal aspect of the Lord; or the Supreme Lord Himself.
Brahmana or brahmin-one of the four orders of society; the intellectual class of men who have been trained in the knowledge of the Vedas and initiated by a spiritual master.
Brahmana-the supplemental books of the four primary Vedas. They usually contained instructions for performing Vedic agnihotras, chanting the mantras, the purpose of the rituals, etc. The Aitareya and Kaushitaki Brahmanas belong to the Rig-veda, the Satapatha Brahmana belongs to the White Yajur-veda, and the Taittiriya Brahmana belongs to the Black Yajur-veda. The Praudha and Shadvinsa Brahmanas are two of the eight Brahmanas belonging to the Atharva-veda.
Brahmastra—a nuclear weapon that is produced and controlled by mantra.
Brahminical-to be clean and upstanding, both outwardly and inwardly, like a brahmana should be.
Brijbasi—a resident of Vraja, Vrindavan.
Buddha-Lord Buddha or a learned man.
Caitanya-caritamrta-the scripture by Krishnadasa Kaviraja which explains the teachings and pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu-the most recent incarnation of the Lord who appeared in the 15th century in Bengal and who originally started the sankirtana movement, based on congregational chanting of the holy names.
Canakya Pandit-the prime minister of King Candragupta whose aphorisms are noted for their logic and which is still famous throughout India.
Caranamrita-the water that has been used to bathe the Deity and is offered in small spoonfuls to visitors in in the temple.
Chakra~a wheel, disk, or psychic energy center situated along the spinal column in the subtle body of the physical shell.
Candala—a person in the lowest class, or dog-eater. Causal Ocean or Karana Ocean-is the corner of the spiritual sky where Maha-
Vishnu lies down to create the material manifestation. Cit—eternal knowledge. Chhandas—sacred hymns of the Atharva-veda.
Darshan-the devotional act of seeing and being seen by the Deity in the temple.
Deity—the arca-vigraha, or worshipful form of the Supreme in the temple, or deity as the worshipful image of the demigod. A capital D is used in refering to Krishna or one of His expansions, while a small d is used when refering to a demigod or lesser personality.
Devas—demigods or heavenly beings from higher levels of material existence, or a godly person.
Devaloka—the higher planets or planes of existence of the devas.
Devaki~the devotee who acted as Lord Krishna's mother.
Dham—a holy place.
Dharma—the essential, spiritual nature or duty of the living being.
Dharmashala-a shelter or guesthouse for pilgrims at temples or holy towns.
Diksha—spiritual initiation. Dualism~as related in this book refers to the Supreme as both an impersonal force as well as a person.
Durga—the form of Parvati, Shiva's wife, as a warrior goddess known by many names according to her deeds, such as Simhavahini when riding her lion, Mahishasuramardini for killing the demon Mahishasura, Jagaddhatri as the mother of the universe, Kali when she killed the demon Raktavija, Tara when killing Shumba, etc.
Dvapara-yuga~the third age which lasts 864,000 years.
Dvaraka~the island kingdom of Lord Krishna that was off the coast of Gujarat 5,000 years ago.
Dwaita-dualism, the principle that the Absolute Truth consists of the infinite Supreme Being and the infinitesimal individual souls.
Ekadasi-a fast day on the eleventh day of the waxing and waning moon.
Gandharvas-ihe celestial angel-like beings who have beautiful forms and voices, and are expert in dance and music, capable of becoming invisible and can help souls on the earthly plane.
Ganesh-a son of Shiva, said to destroy obstacles (as Vinayaka) and offer good luck to those who petition him.
Ganga-another name for the Ganges River.
Ganga Devi~the personified form of the Ganges River.
Ganges~the sacred and spiritual river which, according to the Vedas, runs throughout the universe, a portion of which is seen in India. The reason the river is considered holy is that it is said to be a drop of the Karana Ocean that leaked in when Lord Vishnu, in His incarnation as Vamanadeva, kicked a small hole in the universal shell with His toe. Thus, the water is spiritual as well as being purified by the touch of Lord Vishnu.
Gangapuja—the arati ceremony for worshiping the Ganges.
Gangotri~the source of the Ganges River in the Himalayas.
Garbhodakasayi Vishnu—the expansion of Lord Vishnu who enters into each universe.
Gaudiya-a part of India sometimes called Aryavarta or land of the Aryans, located south of the Himalayas and north of the Vindhya Hills.
Gaudiya sampradaya-the school of Vaishnavism founded by Sri Caitanya.
Gayatri-the spiritual vibration or mantra from which the other Vedas were expanded and which is chanted by those who are initiated as brahmanas and given the spiritual understanding of Vedic philosophy.
Ghat-a bathing place along a river or lake with steps leading down to the water.
Godasa—one who serves the senses.
Goloka Vrindavana~the name of Lord Krishna's spiritual planet.
Gopuram-the tall ornate towers that mark the gates to the temples, often found in south India.
Gosvami—one who is master of the senses.
Govinda~a name of Krishna which means one who gives pleasure to the cows and senses.
Grihastha—the householder order of life. One of the four ashramas in spiritual life.
Gunas-the modes of material nature of which there is sattva (goodness), rajas (passion), and tamas (ignorance).
Guru-a spiritual master.
Hare-the Lord's pleasure potency, Radharani, who is approached for
accessibility to the Lord.
Hare Krishna mantra-Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare
Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Hari~a name of Krishna as the one who takes away one's obstacles on the
spiritual path. Haribol—a word that means to chant the name of the Lord, Hari. Hari-kirtana-the chanting of the names of Lord Krishna. Harinam—refers to the name of the Lord, Hari. Har Ki Pauri-the holy bathing ghats in Hardwar where the Ganges leaves the
mountains and enters the plains. It is at this spot where the Kumbha
Mela is held every twelve years. Hatha-yoga-a part of the yoga system which stresses various sitting postures and
exercises. Hiranyagarbha-another name of Brahma who was born of Vishnu in the
primordial waters within the egg of the universe.
Holi—the festival that marks the end of winter, and is celebrated by throwing of colored dyes on all participants. The night before holi, bonfires are sometimes set to celebrate the destruction of Holika, the demoness who was the sister of the demon Hiranyakasipu. She tried to help her brother kill his son, Prahlada. She was immune from being burned and held Prahlada in a fire, but the power of his devotion to Vishnu, in the form of Narasimhadeva, was so great that she was burned to death while Prahlada was unharmed.
Hrishikesa~a name for Krishna which means the master of the senses.
Ikshvaku-the son of Manu who was king of the earth in ancient times and to whom Manu spoke Bhagavad-gita.
Impersonalism-the view that God has no personality or form, but is only an impersonal force.
Impersonalist-those who believe God has no personality or form.
Incarnation~the taking on of a body or form.
Indra-the King of heaven and controller of rain, who by his great power conquers the forces of darkness.
ISKCON-International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Jai or Jaya—a term meaning victory, all glories.
Japa-the chanting one performs, usually softly, for one's own meditation.
Japa-mala-the string of beads one uses for chanting.
Jiva-the individual soul or living being.
Jivanmukta-a liberated soul, though still in the material body and universe.
Jiva-shakti—the living force.
Jnana—knowledge which may be material or spiritual.
Jnana-kanda-the portion of the Vedas which stresses empirical speculation for understanding truth.
Jnana-yoga-the process of linking with the Supreme through empirical knowledge and mental speculation.
Jnani-one engaged in jnana-yoga, or the process of cultivating knowledge to understand the Absolute.
Kali~the demigoddess who is the fierce form of the wife of Lord Shiva. The word kali comes from kala, the Sanskrit word for time: the power that dissolves or destroys everything.
Kali-yuga~the fourth and present age, the age of quarrel and confusion, which lasts 432,000 years and began 5,000 years ago.
Kalki~the incarnation of the Supreme who annihilates all of the miscreants andestablishes the next age of Satya-yuga. Kalpa-a day in the life of Lord Brahma which lasts a thousand cycles of the four yugas.
Kama—lust or inordinate desire. Kama sutra-a treatise on sex enjoyment.
Kapila-an incarnation of Lord Krishna who propagated the Sankhya philosophy. Karanodakasayi Vishnu (Maha-Vishnu)--the expansion of Lord Krishna who created all the material universes.
Karma—material actions performed in regard to developing one's position or for future results which produce karmic reactions. It is also the reactions one endures from such fruitive activities. Karma-kanda—the portion of the Vedas which primarily deals with recommended fruitive activities for various results.
Karma-yoga—the system of yoga for dovetailing one's activities for spiritual advancement.
Karmi—the fruitive worker, one who accumulates more karma.
Kirtana-chanting or singing the glories of the Lord.
Krishna-the name of the original Supreme Personality of Godhead which means the most attractive and greatest pleasure. He is the source of all other incarnations, such as Vishnu, Rama, Narasimha, Narayana, Buddha, Parashurama, Vamanadeva, Kalki at the end of Kali-yuga, etc.
Krishnaloka~the spiritual planet where Lord Krishna resides.
Kshatriya—the second class of varna of society, or occupation of administrative or protective service, such as warrior or military personel.
Ksirodakasayi Vishnu-the Supersoul expansion of the Lord who enters into each atom and the heart of each individual.
Kumbha Mela—the holy festival in which millions of pilgrims and sages gather to bathe in the holy and purifying rivers for liberation at particular auspicious times that are calculated astrologically. The Kumbha Mela festivals take place every three years alternating between Allahabad, Nasik, Ujjain, and Hardwar.
Kuruksetra~the place of battle 5,000 years ago between the Pandavas and the Kauravas ninety miles north of New Delhi, where Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita.
Kurus—the family of Dhritarashtra who were the enemies of the Pandavas.
Lakshmi~the goddess of fortune and wife of Lord Vishnu.
Lilavataras—the many incarnations of God who appear to display various spiritual pastimes to attract the conditioned souls in the material world.
Linga—the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva.
Mahabhagavata—a great devotee of the Lord.
Mahabharata—the great epic of the Pandavas, which includes the Bhagavad-gita, by Vyasadeva.
Maha-mantra—the best mantra for self-realization in this age, called the Hare
Krishna mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare
Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Mahatma-a great soul or devotee.
Mahat-tattva—the total material energy.
Maha-Vishnu or Karanodakasayi Vishnu~the Vishnu expansion of Lord Krishna
from whom all the material universes emanate.
Mantra—a sound vibration which prepares the mind for spiritual realization and delivers the mind from material inclina tions. In some cases a mantra is
chanted for specific material benefits.
Manu~a demigod son of Brahma who is the forefather and lawgiver of the human race. A succession of 14 Manus exist during each day of Brahma.
Martya-loka~the earth planet, the place of death.
Maya—illusion, or anything that appears to not be connected with the eternal Absolute Truth.
Mayavadi-the impersonalist or voidist who believes that the Supreme has no form.
Mitra~the deity controlling the sun, and who gives life to earth.
Mleccha—a derogatory name for a low-born, uncivilized person, a meat eater, or
those outside of Vedic society. Mokshaa~liberation from material existence.
Murti-a Deity of the Lord or spiritual master that is worshiped.
Murugan-means the divine child, the Tamil name for Subramaniya, one of the sons of Shiva and Parvati, especially worshiped in South India.
Narada Muni-the universal sage and devotee of the Lord who travels throughout the universe in his eternal body. He is the spiritual master of Vyasadeva and many other devotees.
Narasimha~the incarnation of the Lord who appears as half-man, half-lion to display His anger toward the demons and provide protection to His devotees.
Narayana~the four-handed form of the Supreme Lord.
Nirguna—without material qualities. Nirvana-the state of no material miseries, usually the goal of the Buddhists or voidists.
Om or Omkara-pranava, the transcendental om mantra, generally referring to the attributeless or impersonal aspects of the Absolute.
Pan-a concoction of ground betel nut and spices that acts as a mild stimulant or intoxicant. It is very popular and often leaves the teeth stained red.
Pandal—a large tent where religious gatherings are held.
Paramahamsa-the highest level of self-realized devotees of the Lord. Paramatma~the Supersoul, or localized expansion of the Lord.
Parampara—the system of disciplic succession through which transcendental knowledge descends.
Parvati—Lord Shiva's spouse, daughter of Parvata. Parvata is the personification of the Himalayas. She is also called Gauri for her golden complexion, Candi, Bhairavi (as the wife of Bhairava, Shiva), Durga, Ambika, and Shakti.
Patanjali~the authority on the astanga-yoga system. Pradhana—the total material energy in its unmanifest state. Prajapati-deity presiding over procreation. Prakriti--matter in its primordial state, the material nature.
Prana—the life air or cosmic energy.
Pranayama—control of the breathing process as in astanga or raja-yoga. Pranava—same as omkara. Prasada—food or other articles that have been offered to the Deity in the temple
and then distributed amongst people as the blessings or mercy of the Deity.
Prema—matured love for Krishna. Puja-the worship offered to the Deity. Pujari-the priest who performs worship, puja, to the Deity. Purusha or Purusham—the supreme enjoyer.
Raja-yoga—the eightfold yoga system.
Rajo-guna--the material mode of passion.
Ramachandra~an incarnation of Krishna as He appeared as the greatest of kings.
Ramayana-the great epic of the incarnation of Lord Ramachandra.
Rasa—an enjoyable taste or feeling, a relationship with God.
Rig Veda—one of the four Vedas, original scriptures spoken by the lord.
Rishi—saintly person who knows the Vedic knowledge.
Sacrifice-in this book it in no way pertains to human sacrifice, as many people tend to think when this word is used. But it means to engage in an austerity of some kind for a higher, spiritual purpose. Sama Veda-one of the four original samhitas, consisting of Vedic hymns that were set to music.
Shabda-brahma-the original spiritual vibration or energy of which the Vedas are composed.
Sac-cid-ananda-vigraha-the transcendental form of the Lord or of the living entity which is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss.
Sadhana—a specific practice or discipline for attaining God realization.
Sadhu-lndian holy man or devotee.
Saguna Brahman~the aspect of the Absolute with form and qualities.
Samadhi-trance, the perfection of being absorbed in the Absolute.
Samsara—rounds of life; cycles of birth and death; reincarnation. Sanatana-dharma--the eternal nature of the living being, to love and render
service to the supreme lovable object, the Lord.
Sangam--the confluence of two or more rivers.
Sankarshana-one of the four original expansions of Lord Krishna in the spiritual
world, and another name of Balarama who is also Krishna's brother.
Sankhya-analytical understanding of material nature, the body, and the soul.
Sankirtana-yajna-the prescribed sacrifice for this age: congregational chanting of the holy names of God.
Sannyasa—the renounced order of life, the highest of the four ashramas on the spiritual path.
Sarasvati~the goddess of knowledge and intelligence.
Sattva-guna—the material mode of goodness.
Satya-yuga~the first of the four ages which lasts 1,728,000 years. Shaivites-worshipers of Lord Shiva.
Shakti—energy, potency or power, the active principle in creation. Also the active power or wife of a deity, such as Shiva/Shakti.
Shastra—the authentic revealed scripture.
Shiva-the benevolent one, the demigod who is in charge of the material mode of ignorance and the destruction of the universe. Part of the triad of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva who continually create, maintain, and destroy the universe. He is known as Rudra when displaying his destructive aspect.
Sikha-a tuft of hair on the back of the head signifying that one is a Vaishnava.
Smaranam—remembering the Lord.
Smriti-the traditional Vedic knowledge "that is remembered" from what was directly heard by or revealed to the rishis.
Sravanam-heaxing about the Lord.
Srimad-Bhagavatam-the most ripened fruit of the tree of Vedic knowledge compiled by Vyasadeva.
Sruti'-scriptures that were received directly from God and transmitted orally by brahmanas or nshts down through succeeding generations. Traditionally, it is considered the four primary Vedas.
Sudra-the working class of society, the fourth of the varnas.
Svami—one who can control his mind and senses.
Tamo-guna—the material mode of ignorance.
Tapasya--voluntary austerity for spiritual advancement.
Tilok-the clay markings that signify a person's body as a temple, and the sect or school of thought of the person.
Tirtha—a holy place of pilgrimage.
Tirthankaras-the person who is the spiritual guide or teacher in Jainism.
Treta-yuga--the second of the four ages which lasts 1,296,000 years.
Tulasi-the small tree that grows where worship to Krishna is found. It is called the embodiment of devotion, and the incarnation of Vrinda-devi.
Upanishads-the portions of the Vedas which primarily explain philosophically the Absolute Truth. It is knowledge of Brahman which releases one from the world and allows one to attain self-realization when received from a qualified teacher. Except for the Isa Upanishad, which is the 40th chapter of the Vajasaneyi Samhita of the Sukla (White) Yajur-veda, the Upanishads are connected to the four primary Vedas, generally found in the Brahmanas.
Vaikunthas—the planets located in the spiritual sky.
Vaishnava—a worshiper of the Supreme Lord Vishnu or Krishna and His expansions or incarnations.
Vaishnava-aparadha—an offense against a Vaisnava or devotee, which can negate all of one's spiritual progress.
Vaisya-the third class of society engaged in business or farming.
Vanaprastha-•the third of the four ashramas of spiritual life in which one retires from family life in preparation for the renounced order.
Varna--sometimes referred to as caste, a division of society, such as brahmana (a priestly intellectual), a kshatriya (ruler or manager), vaisya (a merchant, banker, or farmer), and sudra (common laborer).
Varnashrama—ihe system of four divisions of society, varnas, and four orders of spiritual life, ashramas. Varnas are the natural divisions of society, namely the shudras or laborer class, the vaisyas or farmers and merchants, the kshatriyas or warriors, military, and leaders, and the brahmanas or intellectual and priestly class. This is not the modern day caste system that is determined by family birth, which was inflicted on the people by the British to help cause dissension among the people and make it easier for the British to maintain control over them. But this is the natural tendencies, proclivities, and abilities that each individual has. When each individual is engaged in his natural tendencies and contributes to society that way, everyone is happy and appreciated. The ashramas are simply the divisions of life, consisting of brahmacari or celebate student life, the grihasthas of married life, the vanaprasthas or retired life, and the sannyasis or life of renunciation when one prepares for death by becoming as spiritually focused as possible.
Vedanta-sutras—the philosophical conclusion of the four Vedas.
Vedas—generally means the four primary samhitas; the Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva.
Vi karma—sinfal activities performed without scriptural authority and which produce sinful reactions.
Virajanadi or Viraja River—the space that separates the material creation from the spiritual sky.
Vishnu—the expansion of Lord Krishna who enters into the material energy to create and maintain the cosmic world.
Vishnu Purana~one of the eighteen major Puranas, Vedic historical scriptures.
Vrindavana~the place where Lord Krishna displayed His village pastimes 5,000 years ago, and is considered to be part of the spiritual abode..
Vyasadeva-the incarnation of God who appeared as the greatest philosopher who compiled all the Vedas into written form.
Yadu dynasty-the dynasty in which Lord Krishna appeared.
Yajna-a ritual or austerity that is done as a sacrifice for spiritual merit, or ritual worship of a demigod for good karmic reactions.
Yajur Veda-one of the four Vedas, original revealed scriptures spoken by the Lord Himself.
Yamaraja-the demigod and lord of death who directs the living entities to various punishments according to their activities. Yantra~a machine, instrument, or mystical diagram used in ritual worship. Yoga—linking up with the Absolute. Yoga-siddhi-mystic perfection.
Yogi-a transcendentalist striving for union with the Supreme.
Yuga-avataras—the incarnations of God who appear in each of the four yugas to explain the authorized system of self-realization in that age.