A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
- 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 invokingDurga, 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. 1542-1605).
- akshara: Unchanging; also a name of Brahman.
- Alekh: (Lit., the Incomprehensible One) A name of God.
- Amrita: Immortality.
- anahata: The fourth centre in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
- Anahata Sabda: Another name for Om.
- ananda: Bliss.
- 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 the 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. See Pandavas.
- artha: Wealth, one of the four ends of human pursuit. See four fruits.
- asana: Seat.
- asat: Unreal.
- 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 house-holder 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: Demon.
- 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, according 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 tor 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.
- 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: Bengal.
- 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 form.
- 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: Difference.
- Bhil: A savage tribe of India.
- Bhishma: One of the great heroes of the war of Kurukshetra, described in
- bhoga: Enjoyment.
- Bibhishana: A brother of Ravana, the monster-king of Ceylon, whom he
succeeded; 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.
- brahmara: The black bee.
- 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.
- 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. 1485, 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 made 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
- 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: Consciousness.
- Chitsakti: The Supreme Spirit as Power.
- chitta: The mind-stuff. See four inner organs.
- Chosen Ideal: See Ishta.
- daitya: Demon.
- dal: Lentils; also a soup made from lentils.
- Damodara: A name of Krishna.
- dana: Ghost.
- 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 Vaiseshika 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: Compassion.
- 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
- 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.
- 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 samadhi, 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.
- ektara: A musical instrument with one string.
- "Englishman": A term often used by Sri Ramakrishna in referring to men
educated in English schools or influenced by European ideas.
- esraj: A stringed musical instrument.
- ether: Akasa or all-pervading space.
- 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: Namely, 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
- four inner organs: The four inner organs of perception, namely, manas
(mind), buddhi (the discriminating faculty), chitta (mind-stuff), and
- four stages of life: Namely, brahmacharya (life of unmarried student),
garhasthya (life of married householder), vanaprastha (life of retired
householder), and sannyas (life of monk).
- 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.
- ganja: Indian hemp.
- garden house: A rich man's country house set in a garden.
- garhasthya: The second of the four 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 or 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.
- golakdham: 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".
- Goloka: The Celestial Abode of Vishnu.
- 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 a 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.
- 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 Ramayana.
- 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 wellbeing.
- 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 conditions.
- 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 Prahlada.
- 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.
- 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)
- Jadabharata: A great saint in Hindu mythology.
- jada samadhi: Communion with God in which the aspirant appears
lifeless, like an inert object.
- Jagadamba: (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 Jumna, 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 reasoning 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.
- "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 Adyasakti, the Primal Energy.
- kalia: A rich preparation of fish or meat.
- Kalidasa: The great Sanskrit poet and author of Sakuntala.
- Kalighat: 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 Kaliya.
- Kaliyuga: One of the four yugas or cycles. See yuga.
- Kalki: The name of the next and last Incarnation, according to the Purana.
- 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
- 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 the 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.
- Kama: 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: Benares.
- 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 principal
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: Baby.
- 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: Changeable.
- 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 hathayoga.
- 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 centres 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 a
sixpetalled 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.
- 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 lila 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 Sushumna 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.
- 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: Elephant-driver.
- 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.
- manja: 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 Marwar, in Rajputana, in central India.
- math: Monastery.
- 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 centre in the Sushumna. See Kundalini.
- muni: A holy man given to solitude and contemplation.
- munsiff: A judicial officer.
- Mussalman: A follower of Mohammed.
- Nada: The Word-Brahman, Om.
- 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 One) 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 Pancharatra: 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 Chandra Sen after his disagreement with the
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: Bower.
- 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 tate of samadhi, 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.
- 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.
- 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: Water.
- 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 Sushumna.
- 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: Om.
- pranayama: 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 agami 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 one's
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 the 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.
- 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.
- 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 guna.
- 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 Non-dualism (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.
- sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni: The notes of the Indian musical scale,
corresponding to do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si.
- sabha: Assembly.
- 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: Spiritual discipline.
- Sadharan Brahmo Samaj: A branch of the Brahmo Samaj.
- sadhu: Holy man; a term generally used with reference to a monk.
- sagar: Ocean.
- 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
- 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, Sanatana, 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
- 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: Peace.
- 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 to backgammon or parchesi.
- sattva: The principle of balance or wisdom. See guna.
- sattvic: Pertaining to, or possessed of, 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: Disciple.
- 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 God-head.
- 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: Faith.
- 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 Nisumbha: 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 nadis,
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 religious rite performed to secure welfare or avert a calamity.
- Syama: (Lit., the Dark One) A name or 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Tattvajnana: 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 of 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), or
vaisya (merchant) caste, who has his second, or spiritual, birth at the time
of his investiture with the sacred thread.
- Uddhava: The name of a follower of 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
- upadhi: A term of the Vedanta philosophy denoting the limitations
imposed upon the Self through ignorance, by which one is bound to
- Upanishad(s): The well-known scriptures of the Hindus.
- upasana: Worship.
- 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: Renunciation.
- 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 Madhva 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 Ramayana 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: Reasoning.
- 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: Demigoddess.
- vidyamaya: The "maya of knowledge." See avidyamaya.
- Vidyasagar, 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: Discrimination.
- 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.
- Wish-fulfilling Tree: See Kalpataru.
- 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 that results when the devotee is united with God.
- Yogavasishtha: The name of a wellknown 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.