The Sri Sarada Mahila Samiti of Northern California would like to thank the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York for permission to use this Glossary which appears in the Gosple of Sri Ramakrishna



  • abhyasayoga
    Yoga or union with God, through practice.
  • acharya
    Religious teacher.
  • adharma
    Unrighteousness; the opposite of dharma.
  • Adhyatma Ramayana
    A book dealing with the life of Rama and harmonizing the ideals of jnana and bhakti.
  • Advaita Non-duality;
    a school of the Vedanta philosophy, declaring the oneness of God, soul, and universe.
  • Advaita Goswami
    An intimate companion of Sri Chaitanya.
  • Adyasakti
    The Primal Energy; an epithet of the Divine Mother.
  • agamani
    A class of songs invoking Durga, the Divine Mother.
  • Ahalya
    The wife of the sage Gautama. Because of her misconduct she was turned into a stone by the curse of her husband. The sage, however, said that the touch of Rama's feet would restore her human form.
  • ahamkara
    Ego or "I-consciousness". See four inner organs.
  • Ajna
    The sixth centre in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
  • ajnana
    Ignorance, individual or cosmic, which is responsible for the nonperception of Reality.
  • akasa
    Ether or space; the first of the five elements evolved from Brahman. It is the subtlest form of matter, into which all the elements are ultimately resolved.
  • Akbar
    The great Mogul Emperor of India (A.D. 1a42-160a).
  • akshara
    Unchanging; also a name of Brahman.
  • Alekh
    (Lit., the Incomprehensible One) A name of God.
  • Amrita
  • Anahata
    The fourth centre in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
  • Anahata Sabda
    Another name for Om.
  • Ananda
  • anandamayakosha
    The sheath of bliss. See kosha.
  • Anandamayi
    (Lit., Full of Bliss) An epithet of the Divine Mother.
  • anna
    A small Indian coin, one-sixteenth of a rupee.
  • annamayakosha
    The gross physical sheath. See kosha.
  • Annapurna
    A name of Divine Mother as the Giver of Food.
  • antaranga
    Belonging to the inner circle; generally used with reference to an intimate disciple.
  • arati
    Worship of the Deity accompanied by the waving of lights.
  • Arjuna
    A hero of the Mahabharata and the friend of Krishna. SeePandavas.
  • artha
    Wealth, one of the four ends of human pursuit. See four fruits.
  • asana
  • asat
  • ashtami
    The eighth day of either lunar fortnight.
  • Ashtavakra Samhita
    A standard book on Advaita Vedanta.
  • asrama
    Hermitage; also any one of the four stages of life: the celibate student stage, the married householder stage, the stage of retirement and contemplation, and the stage of religious mendicancy.
  • Assam
    A province in the northeast corner of India.
  • asti
    Is, or being.
  • asura
  • aswattha
    The peepal-tree.
  • Aswin
    The sixth month in the Hindu calendar, falling in the autumn season.
  • Atma
    Self, same as Atman.
  • Atman
    Self or Soul; denotes also the Supreme Soul, which, accrding to the Advaita Vedanta, is one with the individual soul.
  • Atmarama
    Satisfied in the Self.
  • Aum
    Same as Om.
  • Avadhuta
    A holy man of great renunciation mentioned in the Bhagavata.
  • Avatar
    Incarnation of God.
  • avidya
    Ignorance, cosmic or individual, which is responsible for the nonperception of Reality.
  • avidyamaya
    Maya, or illusion causing duality, has two aspects, namely, avidyamaya and vidyamaya. Avidyamaya, or the "maya of ignorance", consisting of anger, passion, and so on, entangles one in worldliness. Vidyamaya, or the "maya of knowledge", consisting of kindness, purity, unselfishness, and so on, leads one to liberation. Both belong to the relative world. See maya.
  • avidyasakti
    The power of ignorance.
  • Ayodhya
    The capital of Rama's kingdom in northern India; the modern Oudh.
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  • baba
    The Bengali word for father.
  • babaji
    A name by which holy men of the Vaishnava sect are called.
  • babla
    A tree, the Indian acacia.
  • babu
    Well-to-do gentleman; also equivalent to Mr. or Esq.
  • Balai
    Pet name of Balarama, Sri Krishna's brother.
  • Balarama
    Sri Krishna's elder brother.
  • Banga
  • Bankuvihari
    A name of Sri Krishna.
  • Baul
    (Lit., God-intoxicated devotee) Mendicant of a Vaishnava sect.
  • bel
    A tree whose leaves are sacred to Siva; also the fruit of the same tree.
  • Bhagavad Gita
    The well-known Hindu scripture.
  • Bhagavan
    (Lit., One endowed with the six attributes, viz. infinite treasures, strength, glory, splendour, knowledge, and renunciation) An epithet of the Godhead; also the Personal God of the devotee.
  • Bhagavata A sacred book of the Hindus, especially of the Vaishnavas, dealing with the life of Sri Krishna.
  • Bhagavati
    The Divine Mother.
  • bhairava
    An aspirant of the Tantrik sect; also denotes the God Siva, especially one of His eight frightful forms.
  • bhairavi
    A nun of the Tantrik sect.
  • bhajan
    Religious music.
  • bhajanananda
    The bliss derived from the worship of God.
  • bhakta
    A follower of the path of bhakti, divine love; a worshipper of the Personal God.
  • bhakti
    Love of God; single-minded devotion to one's Chosen Ideal.
  • bhaktiyoga
    The path of devotion, followed by dualistic worshippers.
  • Bharadvaja
    A sage mentioned in the Purana.
  • Bharata
    A name of Arjuna; also a name of India.
  • Bhaskarananda
    A saint contemporary with Sri Ramakrishna.
  • bhava
    Existence; feeling; emotion; ecstasy; samadhi; also denotes any one of the five attitudes that a dualistic worshipper assumes toward God. The first of these attitudes is that of peace; assuming the other four, the devotee regards God as the Master, Child, Friend, or Beloved.
  • bhavamukha
    An exalted state of spiritual experience, in which the aspirant keeps his mind on the border line between the Absolute and the Relative. From this position he can contemplate the ineffable and attributeless Brahman and also participate in the activities of the relative world, seeing in it the manifestation of God alone.
  • bhava samadhi
    Ecstasy in which the devotee retains his ego and enjoys communion with the Personal God.
  • Bhavatarini
    (Lit., the Saviour of the Universe) A name of the Divine Mother.
  • bheda
  • Bhil
    A savage tribe of India.
  • Bhishma
    One of the great heroes of the war of Kurukshetra, described in the Mahabharata.
  • bhoga
  • bhramara
    The black bee.
  • Bibhishana
    A brother of Ravana, the monster-king of Ceylon, whom he succeded; but, unlike him, a faithful devotee of Rama.
  • Bodha Consciousness;
    Absolute Knowledge.
  • Bodh-Gaya
    A place near Gaya, where Buddha attained illumination.
  • Brahma
    The name by which the Brahmos invoke God.
  • Brahma
    The Creator God; the First Person of the Hindu Trinity, the other two being Vishnu and Siva.
  • brahmachari
    A religious student devoted to the practice of spiritual discipline; a celibate belonging to the first stage of life. See four stages of life.
  • brahmacharya
    The first of the four stages of life: the life of an unmarried student. See four stages of life,
  • Brahmajnana
    The Knowledge of Brahman.
  • Brahmajnani
    A knower of Brahman. Sri Ramakrishna used the term "modern Brahmajnanis" to denote the members of the Brahmo Samaj.
  • Brahmamayi
    (Lit., the Embodiment of Brahman) A name of the Divine Mother.
  • Brahman
    The Absolute; the Supreme Reality of the Vedanta philosophy.
  • Brahmananda
    The bliss of communion with Brahman.
  • Brahmanda
    (Lit., the egg of Brahma) The universe.
  • Brahmani
    The Consort of Brahma.
  • Brahmani
    (Lit., brahmin woman) The brahmin woman who taught Sri Ramakrishna the Vaishnava and Tantra disciplines, also known as the Bhairavi Brahmani.
  • brahmarshi
    A rishi or holy man endowed with the Knowledge of Brahman.
  • brahmin
    The highest caste in Hindu society.
  • Brahmo
    Member of the Brahmo Samaj.
  • Brahmo Sabha
    The meeting of the Brahmos.
  • Brahmo Samaj
    A theistic organization of India, founded by Raja Rammohan Roy.
  • Braja
    Same as Vrindavan.
  • Brinde
    One of the gopis; also the name of a maidservant at the Dakshineswar temple garden.
  • Buddha
    (Lit., one who is enlightened) The founder of Buddhism.
  • Buddha-Gaya
    Same as Bodh-Gaya.
  • buddhi
    The intelligence or discriminating faculty. See four inner organs.
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  • Captain
    Colonel Viswanath Upadhyaya of Nepal, the Resident of the Nepalese Government in Calcutta, and a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna. The Master addressed Viswanath as "Captain".
  • causal body
    One of the three bodies or seats of the soul, the other two being the gross body and the subtle body. It is identical with deep sleep.
  • chaddar
    An upper garment.
  • Chaitanya
    Spiritual Consciousness; also the name of a prophet born in A.D. 148a, who lived at Navadvip, Bengal, and emphasized the path of divine love for the realization of God; he is also known as Gauranga, Gaur, Gora, or Nimai.
  • Chaitanyalila
    A play by Girish Chandra Ghosh depicting the life of Sri Chaitanya.
  • Chaitra
    The last month in the Hindu calendar, falling in the spring season.
  • chakka
    A vegetable curry.
  • chakora
    A species of bird.
  • chakra
    Any one of the six centres, or lotuses, in the Sushumna. through which the Kundalini rises. See Kundalini.
  • chamara
    A fan made of a yak tail, used in the temple service.
  • chanabara
    A Bengali sweetmeat of cheese, first fried in butter and then soaked in syrup.
  • chandala
    An untouchable.
  • Chandi
    A sacred book of the Hindus, in which the Divine Mother is described as the Ultimate Reality.
  • Chandidas
    The name of a Vaishnava saint.
  • chandni
    An open portico; the word is used in the text to denote the open portico at the Dakshineswar temple, with steps leading to the Ganges.
  • Chandravali
    One of the gopis of Vrindavan.
  • charanamrita
    The water in which the image of the Deity is bathed; it is considered very sacred.
  • chatak
    A species of bird.
  • chetana samadhi
    Communion with God in which the devotee retains "I-consciousness" and is aware of his relationship with God.
  • Chidakasa
    The Akasa, or Space, of Chit, Absolute Consciousness; the All-pervading Spirit.
  • Chidananda
    The bliss of God-Consciousness.
  • Chidatma
    The soul as embodiment of Intelligence and Consciousness.
  • Chinmaya
    The embodiment of Spirit.
  • Chintamani
    A mythical gem which has the power to grant its possessor whatever he may wish for; also a name of God.
  • Chit
  • Chitsakti
    The Supreme Spirit as Power.
  • chitta
    The mind-stuff. See four inner organs.
  • Chosen Ideal
    See Ishta.
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  • daitya
  • dal
    Lentils; also a soup made from lentils.
  • Damodara
    A name of Krishna.
  • dana
  • dandi
    A sect of sannayasis who always carry a staff.
  • dargah
    Burial place of a Mussalman saint, considered sacred.
  • darsanas,
    the six The six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy, namely, the Samkhya of Kapila, the Yoga of Patanjali, the Vaikshika of Kanada, the Nyaya of Gautama, the Purva Mimamsa of Jaimini, and the Vedanta or Uttara Mimamsa of Vyasa.
  • Dasahara
    A Hindu festival.
  • Dasaratha
    The father of Rama.
  • Dasarathi
    A mystic poet of Bengal.
  • dasya
    One of the five attitudes assumed by the dualistic worshipper toward his Chosen Ideal: the attitude of a servant toward his master.
  • Dattatreya
    The name of a great Hindu saint.
  • daya
  • Dayamaya
    The Compassionate One.
  • Dayananda
    The founder of the Arya Samaj (A.D. 1824-1883).
  • deva
    (Lit., shining one) A god.
  • Devaki
    The mother of Sri Krishna.
  • devarshi
    A godly person endowed with Supreme Knowledge; an epithet generally applied to Narada.
  • devata
    Deity or god.
  • Devendra(nath) Tagore
    A religious leader of Sri Ramakrishna's time; father of Rabindranath Tagore.
  • devotee
    The word is generally used in the text to denote one devoted to God, a worshipper of the Personal God, or a follower of the path of love. A devotee of Sri Ramakrishna is one who is devoted to Sri Ramakrishna and follows his teachings. The word "disciple", when used in connexion with the Master, refers to one who had been initiated into spiritual life by Sri Ramakrishna and who regarded Sri Ramakrishna as his guru.
  • dharma
    Righteousness, one of the four ends of human pursuit; generally translated as "religion", it signifies rather the inner principle of religion. See four fruits. The word is also loosely used to mean "duty".
  • dhoti
    A man's wearing-cloth.
  • Dhruva
    A saint in Hindu mythology.
  • Dhruva Ghat
    A bathing-place on the Jamuna river at Vrindavan.
  • Dolayatra
    The Hindu spring festival associated with Sri Krishna.
  • dome
    One of the lowest castes among the Hindus.
  • Draupadi
    The wife of the five Pandava brothers.
  • Drona
    One of the great military teachers in the Mahabharata.
  • Dulali
    One of the pet names of Radha.
  • Durga
    A name of the Divine Mother.
  • Durga Puja
    The worship of Durga.
  • durva grass
    Common grass, used in worship.
  • Durvasa
    A sage with a very angry disposition, described in the Purana.
  • Duryodhana
    One of the heroes of the Mahabharata, the chief rival of the Pandava brothers.
  • Dvaita
    The philosophy of Dualism.
  • Dwapara
    The third of the four yugas or world cycles. See yuga.
  • Dwaraka
    The capital of Krishna's kingdom, situated in western India; one of the four principal holy places of India, the other three being Kedarnath, Puri, and Rameswar.
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  • ego of Knowledge (of Devotion)
    The ego purified and illumined by the Knowledge (or Love) of God. Some souls, after realizing their oneness with Brahman in sainddhi, come down to the plane of relative consciousness. In this state they retain a very faint feeling of ego so that they may teach spiritual knowledge to others. This ego, called by Sri Ramakrishna the "ego of Knowledge", does not altogether efface their knowledge of oneness with Brahman even in the relative state of consciousness. The bhakta, the lover of God, coming down to the relative plane after having attained samadhi, retains the "I-consciousness" by which he feels himself to be a lover, a child, or a servant of God. Sri Ramakrishna called this the "devotee ego", the "child ego", or the "servant ego".
  • eight fetters
    Namely, hatred, shame, lineage, pride of good conduct, fear, secretiveness, caste, and grief.
  • eight siddhis or occult powers
    Namely, the ability to make oneself small as an atom, light as air, etc.
  • ekadasi
    The eleventh day after the full or new moon, which a devotee spends in full or partial fasting, prayer, and worship.
  • ektard
    A musical instrument with one string.
  • "Englishman"
    A term often used by Sri Ramakrishna in referring to men educated in English schcools or influenced by European ideas
  • esraj
    A stringed musical instrument.
  • ether
    Akasa or all-pervadining space.
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  • fakir
    Beggar; often a religious mendicant.
  • five cosmic principles
    Namely, ether (akasa), air (vayu), fire (agni), water (ap), and earth (kshiti).
  • five vital forces or pranas
    prana, apana, samana, vyana and udana. These five names denote the five functions of the vital force, such as breathing, digesting, evacuating, etc.
  • four fruits
    The four ends of human pursuit, namely, dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (fulfilment of desire), and moksha (liberation).
  • four inner organs
    The four inner organs of perception, namely, manas (mind), buddhi (the discriminating faculty), chitta (mind-stuff), and ahamkara ("I-consciousness").
  • four stages of life
    Namely, bramhacharya (life of unmarried student), garhasthya (life of married householder), vanaprastha (life of retired householder), and sannyas (life of monk).
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  • gandharva
    A class of demigods who are the musicians of heaven.
  • Ganesa
    The god with the elephant's head; the god of success, the son of Siva.
  • Ganga
    The Ganges.
  • Gangasagar
    The mouth of the Ganges at the Bay of Bengal, considered a sacred place by the Hindus.
  • ganga
    Indian hemp.
  • garden house
    A rich man's country house set in a garden.
  • garhasthya
    The second of the four stages of stages of life: the life of a married householder. See four stages of life.
  • Gaur
    Short for Gauranga.
  • Gauranga
    A name of Sri Chaitanya.
  • Gauri
    (Lit., of fair complexion) A name of the Divine Mother; also the name of a pundit devoted to Sri Ramakrishna.
  • Gaya
    A sacred place in northern India.
  • Gayatri
    A sacred verse of the Vedas recited daily by Hindus of the three upper castes after they have been invested with the sacred thread; also the presiding deity of the Gayatri.
  • gerrua
    (Lit., ochre) The ochre cloth of a monk.
  • ghat
    Bathing-place on a lake or river.
  • ghee
    Butter clarified by boiling.
  • Ghoshpara
    A Vaishnava sect, the members of which generally indulge in questionable religious practices.
  • Giri
    One of the ten denominations of monks belonging to the school of Sankara.
  • Girirani
    (Lit., the Queen of the Mountain) Consort of King Himalaya and mother of Uma.
  • Gita
    Same as the Bhagavad Gita.
  • Goloka
    The Celestial Abode of Vishnu.
  • golokdham
    A game in which the player tries to get to "heaven" by passing through different planes; on each false step he falls into a particular "hell".
  • Gopala
    The Baby Krishna.
  • gopas
    The cowherd boys of Vrindavan, playmates of Sri Krishna.
  • gopis
    The milkmaids of Vrindavan, companions and devotees of Sri Krishna.
  • Gora
    A name of Sri Chaitanya.
  • goswami
    Vaishnava priest.
  • Govardhan
    A hill near Vrindavan, which Sri Krishna lifted with His finger to protect the villagers from deluge of rain.
  • Govinda(ji)
    A name of Sri Krishna.
  • gram
    A kind of bean.
  • Great Cause
    The Ultimate Reality.
  • Guhaka
    An untouchable who was a friend of Rama.
  • guna
    According to the Samkhya philosophy, Prakriti (nature), in contrast with Purusha (soul), consists of three gunas (qualities or strands) known as sattva, rajas, and tamas. Tamas stands for inertia or dullness, rajas for activity or restlessness, and sattva for balance or wisdom.
  • guru(deva)
    Spiritual teacher.
  • Gurumaharaj
    A respectful way of referring to the guru.
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  • Haladhari
    A priest in the temple garden at Dakshineswar and a cousin of Sri Ramakrishna.
  • Haldarpukur
    A small lake at Kamarpukur.
  • halua
    A pudding made of farina.
  • Hanuman
    The great monkey devotee of Rama, mentioned in the Ramiiyana.
  • Hara
    A name of Siva.
  • Hardwar
    A sacred place on the bank of the Ganges at the foot of the Himalayas.
  • Hari
    God; a name of Vishnu, the Ideal Deity of the Vaishnavas.
  • Haridas
    A disciple of Sri Chaitanya.
  • Hari Om
    Sacred words by which God is often invoked.
  • hathayoga
    A school of yoga that aims chiefly at physical health and well-being.
  • hathayogi
    A student of hathayoga.
  • havishya
    Food consisting of boiled rice, butter, and milk, and considered very holy.
  • Hazra
    A devotee who lived at the Dakshineswar temple garden and was of a perverse disposition. Same as Pratap Hazra.
  • "hero"
    A religious aspirant described in the Tantra, who is permitted sexual intercourse under certain condiations.
  • hide-and-seek
    The Indian game of hide-and-seek, in which the leader, known as the "granny", bandages the 'eyes of the players and hides herself. The players are supposed to find her. If any player can touch her, the bandage is removed from his eyes and he is released from the game.
  • hinche
    A kind of aquatic plant eaten as greens.
  • Hiranyakasipu
    A demon king in Hindu mythology, the father of Prahldda.
  • Hiranyaksha
    A demon in Hindu mythology.
  • Holy Mother
    The name by which Sri Ramakrishna's wife was known among his devotees.
  • homa
    A Vedic sacrifice in which oblations are offered into a fire.
  • Hriday
    Sri Ramakrishna's nephew, who served as his attendant during the period of his spiritual discipline. Also called Hridu and Hride. He was expelled from the temple garden at Dakshineswar on account of certain of his actions which displeased the temple authorities.
  • Hrishikesh
    A village on the Ganges at the foot of the Himalayas, where sadhus practise austerities.
  • hubble-bubble
    A water-pipe for smoking.
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  • Ida
    A nerve in the spinal column. See Sushumna.
  • Indra
    The king of the gods.
  • Indrani
    The consort of Indra.
  • Ishan
    A name of Siva; also the name of a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna.
  • Ishta(deva)
    The Chosen Ideal, Spiritual Ideal, or Ideal Deity of the devotee.
  • Isvara
    The Personal God.
  • Isvarakoti
    A perfected soul born with a special spiritual message for humanity. "An Incarnation of God or one born with some of the characteristics of an Incarnation is called an Isvarakoti." (Sri Ramakrishna)
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  • Jadabharata
    A great saint in Hindu mythology.
  • jada samadhi
    Communion with God in which the aspirant appears lifeless, like an inert object.
  • Jagadambd
    (Lit., the Mother of the Universe) A name of the Divine Mother.
  • Jagai
    Jagai and Madhai were two ruffians redeemed by Gauranga.
  • Jagannath
    The Lord of the Universe; a name of Vishnu.
  • Jagannath temple
    The celebrated temple at Puri.
  • Jagaddhatri
    (Lit., the Bearer of the Universe) A name of the Divine Mother. In this form She is represented as riding a lion in the act of subduing an elephant.
  • jal
    The Bengali word for water.
  • Jamuna
    The sacred river Jamuna, a tributary of the Ganges.
  • Janaka, King
    One of the ideal kings in Hindu mythology and the father of Sita. Sri Ramakrishna often described him as the ideal householder, who combined yoga with enjoyment of the world.
  • japa
    Repetition of God's name.
  • Jatila and Kutila
    Two trouble-makers depicted in the Bhagavata, in the episode of Sri Krishna and the gopis of Vrindavan.
  • jilipi
    A kind of sweetmeat.
  • jiva
    The embodied soul; a living being; an ordinary man.
  • jivakoti
    An ordinary man.
  • jivanmukta
    One liberated from maya while living in the body.
  • jivatma
    The embodied soul.
  • jnana
    Knowledge of God arrived at through reasoning and discrimination; also denotes the process of resoning by which the Ultimate Truth is attained. The word is generally used to denote the knowledge by which one is aware of one's identity with Brahman.
  • Jnanayoga
    The path of knowledge, consisting of discrimination, renunciation, and other disciplines.
  • jnani
    One who follows the path of knowledge and discrimination to realize God; generally used to denote a non-dualist.
  • Jung Bahadur
    A high official of the Maharaja of Nepal.
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  • "ka"
    The first consonant of the Sanskrit alphabet.
  • Kabir
    A medieval religious reformer, mystic, and writer of songs. He lived during the last part of the fifteenth and the early part of the sixteenth century. Born in the low caste of the weavers, he became the founder of a religious sect. On account of the breadth and universality of his teachings, he was revered by the Mohammedans and the Hindus alike.
  • kadamba
    A favourite tree of Sri Krishna.
  • Kaikeyi
    One of the wives of King Dasaratha and the mother of Bharata; through her evil machinations the king banished Rama to the forest.
  • Kailas
    A peak of the Himalayas, regarded as the sacred Abode of Siva.
  • kaivarta
    The fisherman caste.
  • Kala
    A name of Siva; black; death; time.
  • Kali
    A name of the Divine Mother; the presiding Deity of the Dakshineswar temple. She is often referred to and addressed by Sri Ramakrishna as the Adydsakti, the Primal Energy.
  • kalia
    A rich preparation of fish or meat.
  • Ka1idasa
    The great Sanskrit poet and author of Sakuntala.
  • Ka1ighat
    A section of northern Calcutta, where is situated the famous temple of Kali.
  • Kaliya
    The name of a venomous snake subdued by Sri Krishna.
  • Kaliyadaman Ghat
    A bathing-place on the Jamuna at Vrindavan, where Sri Krishna subdued the snake Ka1iya.
  • Kaliyuga
    One of the four yugas or cycles. See yuga.
  • Kalki
    The name of the next and last Incarnation, according to the Purdna.
  • kalmi
    An aquatic creeper with numerous ramifications.
  • Kalpataru
    The Wish-fulfilling Tree; refers to God.
  • kama
    Fulfilment of desire, one of the four ends of human pursuit. See four fruits.
  • Kamalakanta
    A mystic poet of Bengal.
  • kamandalu
    The water-bowl of a monk.
  • Kamarpukur
    Sri Ramakrishna's birthplace.
  • kaminikanchan
    (Lit., "woman and gold") A term used by Sri Ramakrishna to refer to lust and greed.
  • Kamsa
    Sri Krishna's uncle, the personification of evil, whom Sri Krishna ultimately killed.
  • Kanai
    A pet name of the youthful Sri Krishna.
  • Kanchi
    A holy place in southern India.
  • Kapila
    A great sage in Hindu mythology, the reputed author of Samkhya philosophy.
  • karana
    Cause; also consecrated wine.
  • karma
    Action in general; duty; ritualistic worship.
  • karmayoga
    (Lit., union with God through action) The path by which the aspirant seeks to realize God through work without attachment; also the ritualistic worship prescribed in the scriptures for realizing God.
  • Karna
    A hero of the Mahabharata.
  • karta
    Doer; master.
  • Kartabhaja
    A minor Vaishnava sect which teaches that men and women should live together in the relationship of love and gradually idealize their love by looking on each other as divine.
  • Kartika
    A son of Siva; commander-in-chief of the army in heaven.
  • Kasi
  • kathak
    A professional reciter of stories from the Purana in an assembly.
  • Katyayani
    A name of the Divine Mother.
  • Kausalya
    The mother of Rama.
  • kaviraj
    Native physician of India.
  • kayastha
    One of the subsidiary castes in Bengal.
  • Kedar(nath)
    A high peak in the Himalayas; one of the four principle holy places of India, the other three being Dwaraka, Puri, and, Rameswar.
  • Kesava
    A name of Sri Krishna.
  • Keshab Bharati
    The monastic teacher of Sri Chaitanya.
  • Keshab (Chandra Sen)
    The celebrated Brahmo leader (A.D. 1838-1884).
  • Kha
    (Lit., akasa) A symbol of the All-pervading Consciousness.
  • khoka
  • kirtan
    Devotional music, often accompanied by dancing.
  • kirtani
    A professional woman singer of kirtan.
  • kosakusi
    Metal articles used in worship.
  • kosha
    (Lit., sheath or covering) The following are the five, koshas as described in the Vedanta philosophy: (1) the annamayakosha, or gross physical sheath, made of and sustained by food; (2) the pranamayakosha, or vital sheath, consisting of the five vital forces; (3) the manomayakosha, or mental sheath; (4) the vijnanamayakosha, or sheath of intelligence; and (5) the anandamayakosha, or sheath of bliss. These five sheaths, arranged one inside the other, cover the Soul, which is the innermost of all and untouched by the characteristics of the sheaths.
  • koul
    A worshipper of Kali who follows the "left-hand" rituals of the Tantra.
  • kripasiddha
    One who attains perfection through the grace of God and apparently without any effort.
  • Krishna
    One of the Ideal Deities of the Vaishnavas.
  • Krishnachaitanya
    A name of Sri Chaitanya.
  • Krishnayatra
    A theatrical performance depicting the life of Sri Krishna.
  • kshara
  • kshatriya
    The second or warrior caste in Hindu society.
  • kshir
    Milk thickened by boiling.
  • Kubir
    A Bengali mystic poet.
  • Kumara Sambhava
    A famous book by Kalidasa.
  • Kumari Puja
    (Lit., the worship of a virgin) A ritualistic worship prescribed by the Tantra, in which a virgin is worshipped as the manifestation of the Divine Mother of the Universe.
  • kumbhaka
    Retention of breath: a process in pranayama, or breath-control described in rajayoga and hatha-yoga.
  • Kumbhakarna
    A brother of Ravana mentioned in the Ramayana, who slept six months at a time. kumbhamela
    An assembly of monks held every three years in one of several holy places in India.
  • Kundalini
    (Lit., the Serpent Power) It is the spiritual energy lying dormant in all individuals. According to the Tantra there are six centers in the body, designated as Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha, and Ajna. These are the dynamic centres where the spiritual energy becomes vitalized and finds special expression with appropriate spiritual perception and mystic vision. These centres, placed in the Sushumna, form the ascending steps by which the Kundalini, or spiritual energy, passes from the foot of the spine to the cerebrum. When an easy pathway is formed along the Sushumna through these centres, and the Kundalini encounters no resistance in its movements upward and downward, then there is the Shatchakrabheda, which means, literally, the penetrating of the six chakras, or mystic centres. The Muladhara chakra, situated between the base of the sexual organ and the anus, is regarded as the seat of the Kundalini. The centres are metaphorically described as lotuses. The Muladhara is said to be a four-petalled lotus. The Svadhisthana chakra, situated at the base of the sexual organ, is six-petalled lotus. The Manipura, situated in the region of the navel, contains ten petals. The Anahata, placed in the region of the heart, is a twelve-petalled lotus. The Visuddha, at the lower end of the throat, has sixteen petals. The Ajna, situated in the space between the eyebrows, is a two-petalled lotus. In the cerebrum there is the Sahasrara, the thousand petalled lotus, the abode of Siva, which is as white as the silvery full moon, as bright as lightning, and as mild and serene as moonlight. This is the highest goal, and here the awakened spiritual energy manifests itself in its full glory and splendour.
  • kuthi
    The bungalow in the Dakshineswar temple garden, where the proprietors and their guests stayed while visiting Dakshineswar.
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  • Lakshmana
    The third brother of Rama.
  • Lakshmi
    The Consort of Vishnu and Goddess of Fortune.
  • lila
    The divine play; the Relative. The creation is often explained by the Vaishnavas as the Ma of God, a conception that introduces elements of spontaneity and freedom into the universe. As a philosophical term, the Lila (the Relative) is the correlative of the Nitya (the Absolute).
  • lotus
    Each of the six centres along the Susburrind is called a lotus, since they have a form like that of a lotus blossom. See Kundalini.
  • luchi
    A thin bread made of flour and fried in butter.
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  • M.
    Mahendranath Gupta, one of Sri Ramakrishna's foremost householder disciples and the recorder of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
  • Madan(a)
    The god of love in Hindu mythology; also a Bengali mystic and writer of songs.
  • Madhai
    See Jagai.
  • Madhava
    A name of Sri Krishna.
  • madhavi
    A creeper.
  • Madhu and Kaitabha
    Two demons killed by the Divine Mother; the story is narrated in the Chandi.
  • madhur
    one of the five attitudes cherished by the Vaishnava worshipper toward his Ideal Deity, Krishna: the attitude of a wife toward her husband or of a woman toward her paramour.
  • Madhusudan(a)
    (Lit., the Slayer of the demon Madhu) A name of Sri Krishna.
  • Mahabharata
    A famous Hindu epic.
  • mahabhava
    The most intense ecstatic love of God.
  • Mahadeva
    (Lit., the Great God) A name of Siva.
  • Maha-Kala
    Siva; the Absolute.
  • Maha-Kali
    A name of the Divine Mother.
  • Mahakarana
    (Lit., the Great Cause) The Transcendental Reality.
  • Mahakasa
    The space of Infinity.
  • Mahamaya
    The Great Illusionist; a name of Kali, the Divine Mother.
  • Mahanirvana
    The great Nirvana or samadhi.
  • Mahanirvana Tantra
    A standard book on Tantra philosophy.
  • Maharshi
    (Lit., a great rishi or seer of truth) An epithet often applied to Devendranath Tagore, the father of the poet Rabindranath.
  • Mahashtami
    The second day of the worship of Durga, the Divine Mother.
  • mahat
    The cosmic mind; a term used in the Samkhya philosophy, denoting the second category in the evolution of the universe.
  • mahatma
    A high-souled person.
  • Mahavayu
    Cosmic Consciousness or the Life Force. The word is also used to denote a current felt in the spinal column when the Kundalini is awakened.
  • Mahavir
    (Lit., great hero) A name of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Rama.
  • mahut
  • Maidan
    A great field in Calcutta.
  • Malaya breeze
    The fragrant breeze that blows from the Malaya (Western Ghat) Mountains.
  • manas
    Mind. See four inner organs.
  • Manasoravar
    A sacred lake in Tibet.
  • Mandodari
    Ravana's wife.
  • Manikarnika Ghat
    The famous cremation ground in Benares.
  • Manipura
    The third centre in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
  • mania
    A glue of barley and powdered glass with which kite-strings are given a sharp cutting-edge.
  • manomayakosha
    The mental sheath. See kosha.
  • mantra
    Holy Sanskrit text; also the sacred formula used in japa.
  • Manu
    The great Hindu lawgiver.
  • Manusamhita
    A book on Hindu law by Manu.
  • Marhatta
    A race inhabiting the province of Bombay.
  • Marwari
    An inhabitant of Marwdr, in Rajputana, in central India.
  • math
  • Mathur
    The son-in-law of Rani Rasmani, and a great devotee of Sri Ramakrishna, whom he provided with all the necessities of life at the temple garden.
  • maya
    Ignorance obscuring the vision of God; the Cosmic Illusion on account of which the One appears as many, the Absolute as the Relative; it is also used to denote attachment.
  • "maya of ignorance"
    See avidyamaya.
  • "maya of knowledge"
    See avidyamaya.
  • mayavadi
    A follower of the Maya theory of the Vedanta philosophy, according to which the world of names and forms is illusory, like a dream.
  • Mimamsaka
    A follower of the Purva Mimamsa, one of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy.
  • Mirabai
    A great medieval woman saint of the Vaishnava sect.
  • mlechchha
    A non-Hindu, a barbarian. This is a term of reproach applied by the orthodox Hindus to foreigners, who do not conform to the established usages of Hindu religion and society. The word corresponds to the "heathen" of the Christians and the "kafir" of the Mussalmans.
  • mohant
    The abbot of a monastery.
  • moksha
    Liberation or final emancipation, one of the four ends of human pursuit. See four fruits.
  • mridanga
    An earthen drum used in devotional music.
  • mukti
    Liberation from the bondage of the world, which is the goal of spiritual practice.
  • Muladhara
    The first and lowest in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
  • muni
    A holy man given to solitude and contemplation.
  • munsiff
    A judicial officer.
  • Mussalman
    A follower of Mohammed.
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  • Nada
    The Word-Brahman, 0m.
  • nahabat
    Music tower.
  • Naishadha
    A famous Sanskrit treatise by Sriharsha.
  • Nanak
    The founder of the Sikh religion and the first of the ten Gurus of the Sikhs. He was born in the Punjab in A.D. 1469 and died in 1538.
  • Nanda(ghosh) Sri Krishna's foster-father.
  • Nandi
    A follower of Siva.
  • Nangta
    (Lit., the Naked 0ne) By this name Sri Ramakrishna referred to Totapuri, the sannyasi who initiated him into monastic life and who went about naked.
  • Narada
    A great sage and lover of God in Hindu mythology.
  • Narada Pancharitra
    A scripture of the Bhakti cult.
  • Naralila
    God manifesting Himself as man.
  • Narayana
    A name of Vishnu.
  • Narayani
    The Consort of Narayana; a name of the Divine Mother.
  • Narendra(nath)
    A disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, subsequently world-famous as Swami Vivekananda.
  • Nareschandra
    A mystic poet of Bengal.
  • Narmada
    A river in central India flowing into the Arabian Sea.
  • natmandir
    A spacious hall supported by pillars in front of a temple. meant for devotional music, religious assemblies, and the like.
  • Navadvip
    A town in Bengal which was the birth-place of Sri Chaitanya.
  • Navavidhan
    (Lit., the New Dispensation) The name of the Brahmo Samaj organized by Keshab Chadra Sen after his disagreement with members of the Brahmo Samaj.
  • nax
    A card-game.
  • neem
    A tree with bitter leaves.
  • "Neti, neti"
    (Lit., "Not this, not this") The negative process of discrimination, advocated by the followers of the non-dualistic Vedanta.
  • New Dispensation
    See Navavidhan.
  • ni
    The seventh note in the Indian musical scale.
  • Nidhu Babu
    A composer of light melodies.
  • Nidhu Grove
    A sacred grove in Vrindavan, where Sri Krishna played with the gopis in His childhood.
  • Nidhuvan
    Same as Nidhu Grove.
  • Nikasha
    The mother of Ravana.
  • nikunja
  • Nimai
    A familiar name of Sri Chaitanya.
  • Nimai-sannyas
    "Chaitanya's Renunciation"; a play describing Sri Chaitanya's embracing of the monastic life.
  • Niranjan(a)
    (Lit., the Stainless One) A name of God; also one of the intimate disciples of Sri Ramakrishna.
  • nirguna
    Without attributes.
  • Nirguna Brahman
    (Lit., Brahman without attributes) A term used to describe the Absolute.
  • Nirvana
    Final absorption in Brahman, or the All-pervading Reality, by the annihilation of the individual ego.
  • nirvikalpa samadhi
    The highest state of samddhi, in which the aspirant realizes his total oneness with Brahman.
  • nishtha
    Single-minded devotion or love.
  • Nitai
    A pet name of Nityananda.
  • Nitya
    The Absolute.
  • Nitya-Kali
    A name of the Divine Mother.
  • nityakarma
    Religious ceremonies which a householder must perform every day, but which are not obligatory for a sannyasi.
  • Nityananda
    (Lit., Eternal Bliss) The name of a beloved disciple and companion of Sri Chaitanya.
  • nityasiddha
    (Lit., eternally perfect) A term used by Sri Ramakrishna to describe some of his young disciples endowed with great spiritual power.
  • Nrisimha
    (Lit., Man-lion) A Divine Incarnation mentioned in the Purana.
  • Nyaya
    Indian Logic, one of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy, founded by Gautama.
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  • Olcott, Col.
    One of the well-known leaders of the Theosophical Society.
  • Om
    The most sacred word of the Vedas; also written as Aum. It is a symbol of God and of Brahman.
  • ostad
    Teacher of music.
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  • Padmalochan
    A great pundit of Bengal, who recognized the true significance of Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual experiences.
  • pagli
    Mad woman.
  • pakhoaj
    A kind of double drum.
  • pana
    Aquatic plants like algae or water hyacinths, often found covering the surface of lakes in tropical countries.
  • Panchadasi
    The name of a book on Vedanta philosophy.
  • panchatapa
    (Lit., the austerity of five fires) While practising this discipline, the aspirant sits under the blazing sun, in the summer season, with four fires burning around him. Seated in the midst of these five fires he practises japa and meditation.
  • Panchavati
    A grove of five sacred trees planted by Sri Ramakrishna in the temple garden at Dakshineswar for his practice of spiritual discipline.
  • Pandava(s)
    The five sons of Pandu: King Yudhisthira, Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula, and Sahadeva. They are some of the chief heroes of the Mahabharata.
  • pani
  • Panini
    A well-known Sanskrit grammar composed by Panini.
  • Parabrahman
    The Supreme Brahman.
  • paramahamsa
    One belonging to the highest order of sannyasis.
  • Paramahamsa(deva)
    A name for Sri Ramakrishna.
  • Paramatman
    The Supreme Soul.
  • Parashurama
    A warrior sage in Hindu mythology, regarded as a Divine Incarnation.
  • Parikshit
    A king of the lunar race and grandson of Arjuna, mentioned in the Mahabharata.
  • Parvati
    Daughter of King Himalaya; the Consort of Siva, She is regarded as an Incarnation of the Divine Mother; one of Her names is Uma.
  • Patanjala
    One of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy, also known as the Yoga philosophy.
  • Pavhari Baba
    An ascetic and yogi of great distinction who was a contemporary of Sri Ramakrishna.
  • Phalgu
    A river in northern India which flows under a surface of sand.
  • pice
    An Indian coin, one fourth of an anna.
  • Pingala
    A nerve in the spinal column. See Sushunind.
  • Prabhas
    A holy place in Kathiawar, in western India, where Sri Krishna gave up His body.
  • Prahlada
    A great devotee of Vishnu, whose life is described in the Purana. While a boy, he was tortured for his piety by his father, the demon King Hiranyakasipu. The Lord, in His Incarnation as Man-lion, slew the father.
  • Prakriti
    Primordial Nature, which, in association with Purusha, creates the universe. It is one of the categories of the Samkhya philosophy.
  • prana
    The vital breath that sustains life in a physical body. See five vital forces.
  • pranamayakosha
    The vital sheath, consisting of the five pranas. See kosha.
  • Pranava
  • pranayarna
    Control of breath; one of the disciplines of yoga.
  • prarabdha karma
    The karma, or action, performed by a man is generally divided into three groups: sanchita, agami, and prarabdha. The sanchita karma is the vast store of accumulated actions done in the past, the fruits of which have not yet been reaped. The apini karma is the action that will be done by the individual in the future. The prarabdha karma is the action that has begun to fructify, the fruit of which is being reaped in this life. It is a part of the sanchita karma, inasmuch as this also is action done in the past. But the difference between the two is that, whereas the sanchita karma is not yet operative, the prarabdha has already begun to operate. According to the Hindus, the fruit of all karmas must be reaped by their doer, and the character and circumstances of the life of the individual are determined by his previous karmas. The prarabdha is the most effective of all karmas, because its consequences cannot be avoided in any way. The realization of God enables one to abstain from future action (agami karma) and to avoid the consequences of all ones accumulated action (sanchita karma) that has not yet begun to operate; but the prarabdha, which has already begun to bear fruit, must be reaped.
  • prasad
    Food or drink that has been offered to the Deity; also the leavings of a superior's meal. The name Prasad is short for Ramprasad, a mystic poet of Bengal.
  • pravartaka
    A beginner in religion.
  • prema
    Ecstatic love, divine love of most intense kind.
  • prema-bhakti
    Ecstatic love of God.
  • Premdas
    A writer of devotional songs.
  • puja
    Ritualistic worship.
  • puli
    A kind of cake.
  • Purana(s)
    Books of Hindu mythology.
  • purascharana
    The repetition of the name of a deity, attended with burnt offerings, oblations, and other rites prescribed in the Vedas.
  • Puri
    Situated in Orissa; it is one of the four principal holy places of India, the other three being Dwaraka, Kedarnath, and Rameswar; also one of the ten denominations of monks belonging to the school of Sankara.
  • purnajnani
    Perfect knower of Brahman.
  • Purusha
    (Lit., a man) A term of the Samkhya philosophy, denoting the eternal Conscious Principle; the universe evolves from the union of Prakriti and Purusha. The word also denotes the soul and the Absolute.
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  • Qualified Non-dualism
    A school of Vedanta founded by Ramanuja, according to which the soul and nature are the modes of Brahman, and the individual soul is a part of Brahman.
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  • Radha
    Sri Krishna's most intimate companion among the gopis of Vrindavan.
  • Radhakanta
    (Lit., the Consort of Radha) A name of Sri Krishna.
  • Radhakunda
    A place near Mathura associated with Krishna and Radha.
  • Radhika
    Same as Radha.
  • raga-bhakti
    Supreme love, making one attached only to God.
  • ragas and raginis
    Principal and subordinate modes in Hindu music.
  • Raghuvamsa
    The name of a Sanskrit treatise by Kalidasa.
  • Raghuvir
    A name of Rama; the Family Deity of Sri Ramakrishna.
  • Rahu
    A demon in Hindu mythology, said to cause the eclipse by devouring the sun and the moon.
  • Rajarajesvari
    (Lit., the Empress of kings) A name of the Divine Mother.
  • rajarshi
    A king who leads a saintly life; an epithet of Janaka.
  • rajas
    The principle of activity or restlessness. See guns.
  • rajasic
    Pertaining to, or possessed of, rajas.
  • Rajasuya
    The royal sacrifice, performed only by a paramount ruler.
  • Rajayoga
    The famous treatise on yoga, ascribed to Patanjali; also the yoga described in this treatise.
  • Rama(chandra)
    The hero of the Ramayana, regarded by the Hindus as a Divine Incarnation.
  • Ramananda
    A devotee of Sri Chaitanya.
  • Ramanuja
    A famous saint and philosopher of southern India, the founder of the school of Qualified Nondualism (A.D 1017-1137).
  • Ramayana
    A famous Hindu epic.
  • Rambha
    The name of a celestial maiden.
  • Rameswar
    Situated at the southern-most extremity of India and considered one of its four principal holy places, the other three being Dwaraka, Kedarnath, and Puri.
  • Ramlal
    A nephew of Sri Ramakrishna and a priest in the Kali temple at Dakshineswar.
  • Ramlala
    The Boy Rama; also the metal image of Rama worshipped by Sri Ramakrishna.
  • Ramlila
    A Hindu religious festival depicting Rama's life, which is observed annually by the Hindus of northern India.
  • Ramprasad
    A Bengali mystic and writer of songs about the Divine Mother.
  • Rani
    (Lit., queen) A title of honour conferred on a woman.
  • rasaddar
    Supplier of provisions.
  • Rasmani, Rani
    A wealthy woman of the sudra caste, the foundress of the Kali temple at Dakshineswar.
  • Rathayatra
    The Hindu Car Festival.
  • Ravana
    The monster-king of Ceylon, who forcibly abducted Sita, the wife of Rama.
  • rishi
    A seer of Truth; the name is also applied to the pure souls to whom were revealed the words of the Vedas.
  • Rudra A manifestation of Siva.
  • rudraksha
    Beads made from rudraksha pits, used in making rosaries.
  • Rukmini
    One of Sri Krishna's wives.
  • Rupa and Sanatana
    Two of the disciples of Sri Chaitanya.
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  • Sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni
    The notes of the Indian musical scale, corresponding to do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti.
  • Sabha
  • Sachi
    The mother of Sri Chaitanya; also the consort of Indra.
  • sadguru
    True teacher.
  • sadhaka
    An aspirant devoted to the practice of spiritual discipline.
  • Sadhana
    Sprititual discipline.
  • Sadharan Brahmo Samaj
    A branch of the Brahmo Samaj.
  • sadhu
    Holy man; a term generally used with reference to a monk.
  • sagar
  • saguna
    Endowed with attributes.
  • Saguna Brahman
    Brahman with attributes; the Absolute conceived as the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer of the universe; also the Personal God according to the Vedanta.
  • Sahaja
    (Lit., simple one) The term by which a certain religious sect refers to God; also the natural state.
  • Sahasrara
    The thousand-petalled lotus in the cerebrum, See Kundalini.
  • Saiva
    A worshipper of Siva.
  • sakhya
    One of the five attitudes cherished by the dualistic worshipper toward his Chosen Ideal: the attitude of one friend toward another.
  • Sakta
    A worshipper of Sakti, the Divine Mother, according to the Tantra philosophy.
  • Sakti
    Power, generally the Creative Power of Brahman; a name of the Divine Mother.
  • Sakuntala
    A celebrated play by Kalidasa.
  • salagram
    A stone emblem of God worshipped by the Hindus.
  • samadhi
    Ecstasy, trance, communion with God.
  • Sambhu
    A name of Siva.
  • Samkhya
    One of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy; founded by Kapila.
  • samsara
    The world.
  • samskara
    The tendencies inherited from previous births.
  • sanai
    A wind-instrument like an oboe.
  • Sanaka, Sanatanal Sananda, and Sanatkumara
    The first four offspring of Brahma, the Creator, begotten of His mind; they are regarded as highly spiritual persons.
  • Sanatana Dharma
    (Lit., the Eternal Religion) Refers to Hinduism, formulated by the rishis of the Vedas.
  • Sanatana Goswami
    A disciple of Sri Chaitanya and a great saint of the Vaishnava religion.
  • sandesh
    A Bengali sweetmeat made of cheese and sugar.
  • sandhya
    Devotions or ritualistic worship performed by caste Hindus every day at stated periods.
  • Sankara
    A name of Siva; also short for Sankaracharya, the great Vedantist philosopher.
  • Sankaracharya
    One of the greatest philosophers of India, an exponent of Advaita Vedanta (A.D. 788-820).
  • sannyas
    The monastic life, the last of the four stages of life. See four stages of life.
  • sannyasi
    A Hindu monk.
  • santa
    One of the five attitudes cherished by the dualistic worshipper toward his Chosen Ideal. It is the attitude of peace and serenity, in contrast with the other attitudes of love, which create discontent and unrest in the minds of the devotees. Many of the Vaishnavas do not recognize the attitude of santa, since it is not characterized by an intense love of God.
  • Santih
  • Sarada Devi
    The name of Sri Ramakrishna's wife, also known as the Holy Mother.
  • Sarasvati
    The goddess of learning and music.
  • sari
    A woman's wearing-cloth.
  • Sarvabhauma
    A great scholar and contemporary of Sri Chaitanya.
  • sastra
    Scripture; sacred book; code of laws.
  • Sat
    Reality, Being.
  • Satchidananda
    (Lit., Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute) A name of Brahman, the Ultimate Reality.
  • satrancha
    An Indian game similar backgammon or parchesi.
  • sattva
    The principle of balance or wisdom. See guna.
  • sattvic
    Pertaining to, or possessed sattva.
  • Satyabhama
    A wife of Sri Krishna.
  • Savari
    The daughter of a hunter, and a great devotee of Rama.
  • sava-sadhana
    A Tantrik ritual in which a corpse (sava) is used by the worshipper as his seat.
  • savikalpa samadhi
    Communion with God in which the distinction between subject and object is retained.
  • seer
    A measure or weight equivalent to about two pounds.
  • siddha
    (Lit., perfect or boiled) Applies both to the perfected soul and to boiled things.
  • Siddhesvari
    A name of the Divine Mother.
  • siddhi
    The eight occult powers which the yogi acquires through the practice of yoga; perfection in spiritual life; the intoxicating Indian hemp.
  • Sikhs
    A religious and martial sect of the Punjab.
  • Simhavahini
    (Lit., One whose bearer is the lion) A name of the Divine Mother.
  • sishya
  • Sita
    The wife of Rama.
  • Siva
    The Destroyer God; the Third Person of the Hindu Trinity, the other two being Brahma and Vishnu.
  • six passions
    Namely, lust, anger, avarice, delusion, pride, and envy.
  • six systems
    See darsanas.
  • six treasures
    Namely, treasure, glory, strength, splendour, knowledge, and renunciation; these six in their entirety are the treasures of the Godhead.
  • smriti
    The law books, subsidiary to the Vedas, guiding the daily life and conduct of the Hindus.
  • "Soham"
    (Lit., "I am He") One of the sacred formulas of the non-dualistic Vedantist.
  • Sonthals
    A savage tribe of central India.
  • sraddha
  • sraddha
    A religious ceremony in which food and drink are offered to deceased relatives.
  • Sri
    Used as a prefix to the name of a Hindu man, corresponding to Mr.
  • Sridama
    A devotee and companion of Sri Krishna.
  • Srimati
    A name of Radhika; also used as a prefix to the name of a Hindu woman, corresponding to Miss or Mrs.
  • Srivas
    A companion of Sri Chaitanya.
  • sruti
    The Vedas.
  • sthita samadhi
    Samadhi, or communion with God, in which the aspirant is firmly established in God-Consciousness.
  • subadar
    An officer in the Indian army.
  • Subhadra
    The sister of Sri Krishna.
  • subtle body
    One of the three bodies or seats of the soul. At death the subtle body accompanies the soul in its transmigration; during the dream state the soul identifies itself with the subtle body. See causal body.
  • Sudama
    A devotee and companion of Sri Krishna.
  • sudra
    The fourth caste in Hindu society.
  • Suka(deva)
    The narrator of the Bhagavata and son of Vyasa, regarded as one of India's ideal monks.
  • Sukracharya
    A holy man described in the Purana, and the spiritual preceptor of the asuras or demons.
  • Sumbha and Nigumbha
    Two demons slain by the Divine Mother. The story is told in the Chandi.
  • Sumeru
    The sacred Mount Meru of Hindu mythology, around which all the planets are said to revolve.
  • Sushumna
    Sushumna, Ida, and Pingala are the three prominent nadir, or nerves, among the innumerable nerves in the nervous system. Of these, again, the Sushumna is the most important, being the point of harmony of the other two and lying, as it does, between them. The Ida is on the left side, and the Pingala is on the right. The Sushumna, through which the awakened spiritual energy rises, is described. as the Brahmavartman or Pathway to Brahman. The Ida and Pingala are outside the spine; the Sushumna is situated within the spinal column and extends from the base of the spine to the brain. See Kundalini.
  • Svadhisthana
    The second centre in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
  • Swami
    (Lit., lord) A title of the monks belonging to the Vedanta school.
  • Swarup
    A disciple of Sri Chaitanya.
  • swastyayana
    a A religious rite performed to secure welfare or avert a calamity.
  • Syama
    (Lit., the Dark One) A name of Kali, the Divine Mother.
  • Syamakunda
    A place near Mathura associated with Sri Krishna.
  • Syamalasundara
    A name of Sri Krishna.
  • Syamasundar
    A name of Sri Krishna.
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  • Tagore
    An aristocratic brahmin family of Bengal.
  • tamala
    A tree with dark-blue leaves, a favourite tree of Sri Krishna.
  • tamas
    The principle of inertia or dullness. See guna.
  • tamasic
    Pertaining to, or possessed of, tamas.
  • tanpura
    A stringed musical instrument.
  • Tantra
    A system of religious philosophy in which the Divine Mother, or Power, is the Ultimate Reality; also the scriptures dealing with this philosophy.
  • Tantrik
    A follower of Tantra; also, pertaining to Tantra.
  • tapasya
    Religious austerity.
  • Tara
    (Lit., Redeemer) A name of the Divine Mother.
  • tarpan
    A ceremony in which a libation of water is made to dead relatives.
  • Tattva jnana
    The Knowledge of Reality.
  • teli
    A member of the oil-man caste.
  • tilak
    A mark of sandal-paste or other material, worn on the forehead to denote one's religious affiliation.
  • Tillotama
    A celestial maiden.
  • Totapuri
    The sannyasi who initiated Sri Ramakrishna into monastic life.
  • Trailanga Swami
    A holy man who lived in Benares and was a contemporary of Sri Ramakrishna.
  • Tretayuga
    The second of the four yugas or cycles. See yuga.
  • tribhanga
    (Lit., bent in three places) An epithet of Sri Krishna.
  • Tukaram
    The name of a saint of Bombay.
  • tulsi
    A plant sacred to Vishnu.
  • Tulsi(das)
    A great devotee of Rama and the writer of a life of Rama.
  • Turiya
    (Lit., the fourth) A name the Transcendental Brahman, which transcends and pervades the three states of waking, dream, and deep sleep.
  • twenty-four tattvas, or cosmic principles
    According to the Samkhya philosophy the twenty-four tattvas, or cosmic principles, are: the five great elements in their subtle forms (ether, air, fire, water, earth); ego, or "I consciousness"; buddhi, or intelligence; Avyakta, or the Unmanifested (in which sattva, rajas, and tamas remain in an undifferentiated state); the five organs of action (hands, feet, organ of speech, organ of generation, organ of evacuation); the five organs of knowledge (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin); manas, or mind: and the five sense-objects (sound, touch, form, taste, smell). They all belong to Prakriti, or Nature, and are different from Purusha, or Consciousness.
  • twice-born
    A man belonging to the brahmin, kshatriya (warrior), vaisya (merchant) caste, who has his second, or spiritual, birth at the time of his investiture with the sacred thread.
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  • Uddhava
    The name of a follower Sri Krishna.
  • Uma
    The daughter of King Himalaya, and the Consort of Siva; She is an Incarnation of the Divine Mother
  • unmana samadhi
    Samadhi in which the functioning of the mind does not altogether stop.
  • upadhi
    A term of the Vedanta philsophy denoting the limitations imposed upon the Self through ignorance, by which one is bound to worldly life.
  • Upanishad(s)
    The well-known scriptures of the Hindus.
  • upasana
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  • vaidhi-bhakti
    Devotion to God associated with rites and ceremonies prescribed in the scriptures.
  • Vaidyanath
    A holy place in Behar.
  • Vaikuntha
    The heaven of the Vaishnavas.
  • vairagya
  • Vaisakh
    The first month of the Hindu calendar, falling in the summer season.
  • Vaiseshika
    One of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy, founded by Kanada.
  • Vaishnava
    (Lit., follower of Vishnu) A member of the well-known dualistic sect of that name, generally the followers of Sri Chaitanya in Bengal and of Ramanuja and Madhya in south India.
  • vaisya
    The third or merchant caste in Hindu society.
  • Vajrasana
    A centre in the Sushumna.
  • Vali
    A king who was punished by God in His Incarnation as Vamana, or the Dwarf, for his excessive charity and condemned to rule over the nether world.
  • Vali
    A monkey chieftain mentioned in the Ramdyana and killed by Rama.
  • Valmiki
    The author of the Ramayana.
  • vanaprastha
    The third of the four stages of life: the life of retirement when husband and wife practise contemplation and other spiritual disciplines. See four stages of life.
  • Varuna
    The presiding deity of the ocean in Hindu mythology.
  • Vasishtha
    The name of a sage mentioned in the Purana.
  • Vasudeva
    The father of Sri Krishna.
  • Vasus
    A class of celestial beings.
  • vatsalya
    One of the five attitudes cherished by the dualistic worshipper toward his Chosen Ideal: the attitude of a mother toward her child.
  • Vedanta
    One of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy, formulated by Vyasa.
  • Vedantist
    A follower of Vedanta.
  • Veda(s)
    The most sacred scriptures of the Hindus.
  • vichara
  • Videha
    (Lit., detached from the body) An epithet given to King Janaka on account of the spirit of detachment he showed toward the world.
  • Vidura
    The name of a great devotee of Sri Krishna mentioned in the Mahabharata.
  • vidya
    Knowledge leading to liberation, i.e., to the Ultimate Reality.
  • vidyadhari
  • vidyamaya
    The "maya of knowledge." See avidyamaya.
  • Vidydsagar, Iswar Chandra
    A great educator and philanthropist of Bengal.
  • vidyasakti
    Spiritual power.
  • vija mantra
    The sacred word with which a guru initiates his disciple.
  • Vijaya day
    The last day of the worship of Durga, when the image is immersed in water.
  • vijnana
    Special Knowledge of the Absolute, by which one affirms the universe and sees it as the manifestation of Brahman.
  • vijnanamayakosha
    The sheath of intelligence. See kosha.
  • vijnani
    One endowed with vijnana.
  • vilwa
    Same as bel.
  • vina
    A stringed musical instrument.
  • Virat
    The first progeny of Brahman in Hindu cosmology; the Spirit in the form of the universe; the All-pervading Spirit.
  • Visalakshi
    (Lit., the Large-eyed One) A name of the Divine Mother; also the name of a stream near Kamarpukur.
  • Vishnu
    The Preserver God; the Second Person of the Hindu Trinity, the other two being Brahma and Siva; the Personal God of the Vaishnavas.
  • Visishtadvaita
    The philosophy of Qualified Non-dualism.
  • Visuddha
    The fifth centre in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
  • Viswamitra
    The name of a sage mentioned in the Ramayana. He was a companion and counsellor of Rama. Though born a kshatriya, by dint of his austerities he was raised to the status of a brahmin.
  • Viswanath
    See Captain.
  • viveka
  • Vivekachudamani
    A treatise on Vedanta by Sankara.
  • Vrindavan
    A town on the bank of the Jamuna river associated with Sri Krishna's childhood.
  • Vyasa
    The compiler of the Vedas and father of Sukadeva.
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  • Wish-fulfilling Tree
    See Kalpataru.
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  • Yama
    The King of Death.
  • Yasoda
    Sri Krishna's foster-mother.
  • yatra
    A country theatrical performance.
  • yoga
    Union of the individual soul and the Universal Soul; also the method by which to realize this union.
  • Yogamaya
    The union of Purusha, the male principle, and Prakriti, the female principle, of Reality; also Sakti, or Divine Power.
  • yoga samadhi
    The samadhi results when the devotee is united with God.
  • Yogavasishtha
    The name of a well-known book on Vedanta.
  • yogi
    One who practises yoga.
  • yogini
    Woman yogi.
  • Yogopanishad
    The name of an Upanishad.
  • Yudhisthira, King
    One of the principal heroes of the Mahabharata, known for his truthfulness, righteousness, and piety.
  • yuga
    A cycle or world period. According to Hindu mythology the duration of the world is divided into four yugas, namely, Satya, Treta, Dwapara, and Kali. In the first, also known as the Golden Age, there is a great preponderance of virtue among men, but with each succeeding yuga virtue diminishes and vice increases. In the Kaliyuga there is a minimum of virtue and a great excess of vice. The world is said to be now passing through the Kaliyuga.
  • Yugala Murti
    The conjoined figures of a pair; generally used to denote the combined figures of Radha and Krishna.
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  • zemindar