Glossary of Terms


Abhidheya - comes from the verbal root abhidha, which means “to set forth or explain,” and the word abhidheya literally means “that which is worthy of explanation.” The means by which krsna-prema can be achieved is the fundamental truth (tattva) that is most worthy of explanation. The means by which the ultimate goal is achieved, is the practice of sadhana-bhakti.

Abhimana - egoism; the self-conception with which one identifies.

Acarya - spiritual preceptor, one who teaches by example. 

Acchadita-cetana - covered consciousness. This refers to living beings such as trees, creepers, shrubs, stones, and other non-moving beings whose consciousness is barely detectable. 

Acira-sthayi - unenduring, impermanent.

Acit-vastu - unconscious objects.

Adharma - irreligion; failure to carry out one’s socio-religious duties prescribed in the sastra.

Adhikara - eligibility or authority by conduct and temperament to perform a particular kind of work.

Adhina-tattva - the fundamental truth concerning the jivas who, being eternally related to Sri Bhagavan as parts to the whole, are adhina (subordinate) to His will; one of the aspects of sambandhajnana. 

Advaita-jnana - knowledge of non-duality. Although in the true sense this refers to the Supreme Absolute Personality of Godhead who is devoid of all duality, the Mayavada conception of advaitajnana is that the ultimate substance, brahma, is devoid of form, qualities, personality, and variegatedness.

Advaita-siddhi - the perfectional stage of oneness aspired for by those who cultivate an awareness of indistinct brahma. 

Advaita-vada - the doctrine of non-dualism, monism – the doctrine that emphasizes the absolute oneness of the living entities with God. This is often equated with the Mayavada theory that everything is ultimately one; that there is no distinction whatsoever between the Supreme Absolute and the individual living entities; that the Supreme is devoid of form, personality, qualities, and activities; and that perfection is to merg oneself into the all-pervading impersonal brahma. This doctrine was propagated by Sri Sankaracarya (see Glossary of Names).

Advaita-vadi - one who advocates the doctrine of monism (see


Agama - is a part of Veda which deals with the science of Tantra.

Ahamkara - lit. aham (I) kara (am the doer) i.e. the false ego.

Ahamta - literally means ‘I-ness’; egoism; self-consciousness. 

Aihika - that which relates to iha (the here and now); that which relates to this material world.

Aihika- sukha - material enjoyment pertaining to this world.

Aisi- sakti - divine potency, which is known as tatastha-sakti. Aisi

comes from the word Isa the Supreme Lord, Master or Controller

(see tatastha-sakti).

Aisvarya - opulence, splendor, magnificence, majesty, supremacy.  In regard to bhakti this refers to devotion which is inspired by the opulence and majesty of the Lord especially in His feature as Lord Narayana. This type of devotion restricts the intimacy of exchange between Sri Bhagavan and His bhaktas.

Akarma - the non-performance of auspicious activities or prescribed duties.

Akhanda - undivided, uninterupted, without a break, like the flow of a stream of honey.

Akincana - one who considers he has nothing but Krsna. Having nothing at all, utterly destitute materially. When referring to a Vaisnava, this usually denotes an ascetic who is devoid of the spirit of material enjoyment and accepts only the bare necessities for his maintenance. Vaisnavas like the Pandavas who live in the midst of family and material opulence only for the service of Bhagavan and who are devoid of any desire for material enjoyment consider that nothing belongs to them. Everything belongs to Sri Bhagavan. They are akincana Vaisnavas.

Alam al-mashal - an Islamic term for the spiritual world.

Alankara - ornaments, embellishments etc.

Alankara-sastra - books concerning the literary embellishment of worldly poetry, etc.

Amnaya - the teachings of the Vedas received through guruparampara are known as amnaya.

Amutrika-sukha - enjoyment which pertains to the next life, particularly enjoyment in the celestial planets yet to be attained after the performance of pious activities.

Ana al-ƒaqq - the Islamic equivalent of the Vedic aphorism aham brahmasmi, “I am brahma.”

Anadi-bahirmukha - the condition of the jivas in material existence of being diverted from Krsna from a time without beginning. 

Ananda - spiritual bliss, ecstasy, joy, happiness; that which Sri Bhagavan relishes through His hladini-sakti (see hladini). 

Ananya - having no other object; undistracted; devoted to only one worhipable Lord, no one else.

Ananya-bhakti - exclusive or pure devotion; devotion which is not mixed with any other desires and has no objective other than Sri Krsna.

Anartha - unwanted desires in the heart which impede one’s advancement

in bhakti. These anarthas are of four types: (1)

duskrtottha, those arising from past sins; (2) sukrtottha, those arising

from previous pious activities; (3) aparadhottha, those arising

from offenses; and (4) bhakty-uttha, those arising in relationship

to bhakti.

Anartha-nivrtti - the clearing of all unwanted desires in the heart.  This is the third stage in the development of the creeper of bhakti, which occurs by the influence of sadhu-sanga and bhajana-kriya.

 Anga - limb, division, part; the various practices of bhakti such as hearing and chanting are referred to as angas (of bhakti). 

Anitya - temporary; not permanent or eternal.

Anitya-dharma - impermanent religion; does not accept the existence of the Supreme Lord or the eternality of the soul. 

Antaranga-sakti - Sri Bhagavan’s internal potency (see svarupasakti). 

Antarmukha - the inward tendency. Having one’s attention focused inwards towards the soul and spiritual enlightenment. 

Antyaja - a person of the lowest class, outside of the varnasrama system; literally antya means ‘born last’ and ja means ‘those people’. 

Anubhava - one of the five essential ingredients of rasa. The actions which display or reveal the spiritual emotions situated within the heart are called anubhavas. The anubhavas are thirteen in number:

1) nrtya (dancing), 2) vilunthita (rolling on the ground), 3) gita (singing), 4) krosana (loud crying), 5) tanu-motana (writhing of the body), 6) hunkara (roaring), 7) jrmbhana (yawning), 8) svasa-bhua (breathing heavily), 9) loka-anapeksita (giving up concern for public image), 10) lalasrava (salivating), 11) atta-hasa (loud laughter), 12) ghurna (staggering about), and 13) hikka (a fit of hiccups).

Anu- caitanya - infinitesimal spiritual consciousness, represented

by the jivas.

Anu-cit-vastu - infinitesimal spiritual substance; the jivas, who are conscious entities but minute in size.

Anudita-viveka - one whose spiritual discrimination is not awakened; the spiritually unconscious.

Anukalpa - refers to acceptance by the bhakta of anu (a small amount) kalpa (for minimum capability), meaning a quantity of food (which is not in the category of grains, beans etc.) to maintain sufficient energy for hari-seva.

Anu-padartha - infinitesimal object.

Anuraga - (1) attachment in general. (2) spiritual attachment. (3) a specific stage in the development of prema which has been defined in Ujjvala-nilamani (14.146) as follows: “Despite regularly meeting and being already well-acquainted with the beloved, an everfresh sentiment of intense attachment causes the beloved to be newly experienced at every moment as if one had never before any experience of such a person. The attachment which inspires such a feeling is known as anuraga.”

Anusilana - constant practice, study, or cultivation, especially the culture of spiritual activities.

Aparadha - offenses committed against the holy name, the Vaisnavas, the guru, the sastras, the holy places, the Deity and so on. The verbal root radh means to give pleasure or satisfy and the prefix apa means taking away. Thus the word aparadha signifies all activities that are displeasing to Bhagavan and His bhaktas. 

Apara-sakti - Sri Bhagavan’s inferior or material potency. 

Apauruseya - that which is not created by (purusa) man; divine; that which is transcendental in nature, emanating directly from Sri Bhagavan; the Vedas.

Aprakrta - transcendental, beyond the influence of material nature, beyond the perception of the mind and senses, not created by any human, beyond the material world, situated in Krsna’s transcendental abode, extraordinary, divine, pure, or consisting of spiritual consciousness and bliss.

Aprarabdha- karma - the accumulated stock of reactions to activities which are lying in a dormant condition and waiting to bear fruit at some time.

Apurva - unprecedented, extraordinary, unparalleled. 

Apsara - the heavenly wives of the Gandharvas; exceptionally beautiful dancing girls in the court of Indra.

Apurna-jagat - the finite world; the material world. 

Arati - the ceremony of offering articles to a Deity, such as incense, lamp, flowers, and a fan, accompanied by the chanting of devotional hymns.

Arcanam - to worship the Deity in a temple with all different

types of paraphernalia. When this worship is conducted internally,

it is known as manasi-puja. Arcanam is one of the nine primary

angas of bhakti.

Aropa- siddha- bhakti - endeavors which by nature are not purely constituted of bhakti. The performer of aropa-siddha-bhakti imposes bhakti onto his activities, meaning he is performing an activity that isn’t one of the nine limbs of bhakti (navadha-bhakti), or that isn’t pure enough to be classified as suddha-bhakti, but he is thinking that his activity is bhakti. Examples of personalities performing aropa-siddha-bhakti are: Harischandra and Maharaja Sibhi.

Artha-pancaka - Sri Ramanuja’s views on the following five subjects 1) sva-svarupa (the constitutional nature of the individual self), 2) para-svarupa (the constitutional nature of the individual self in relation to other living beings), 3) upaya-svarupa (the means of achieving the highest goal of life – bhakti), 4) purusartha-svarupa (the highest goal of life) and 5) virodhi-svarupa (the hinderances to spiritual life).

Arundhati-darsana-nyaya - Arundhati is a very small star, which is situated close to the Vasistha star in the Saptarsi constellation (the Great Bear). In order to view it, its location is first determined by looking at a bigger star beside it, then if one looks carefully one can see Arundhati close by.

Aryan - is derived from the Sanskrit verbal root r meaning ‘to go ahead’ or ‘progress’. Thus arya means one who is on the progressive path of spiritual advancement. Those who follow the varnasrama system; those who are advanced in terms of social and religious culture i.e. Hindus.

Asakti - attachment. This especially refers to attachment for the Lord and His eternal associates. Asakti occurs when one’s liking for bhajana leads to a direct and deep attachment for the person who is the object of that bhajana. This is the sixth stage in the development of the creeper of bhakti, which is awakened upon the maturing of one’s ruci for bhajana.

Asampurna - incomplete.

Asrama - (1) one of the four stages of life – student, married, retired, or renounced – in which one carries out corresponding socio-religious duties in the system known as varnasrama. (2) a hermitage, usually in the association of others, which is established to facilitate spiritual practices.

Asraya - (1) shelter, support, refuge, protection, container. (2) the receptacle of prema; Krsna’s bhaktas. Krsna may also become the receptacle of prema for His bhaktas.

Asraya-alambana - the receptacle of love for Krsna, the bhaktas.  This is an aspect of vibhava, one of the five essential ingredients of rasa (see vibhava). Although the word asraya also conveys the same meaning as asraya-alambana, it may often be used in the general sense of shelter or support. The word asraya-alambana, however, is specifically used to indicate the receptacle of prema as one of the necessary ingredients of rasa. It is not used in any other sense.  Asta-kaliya-lila - the pastimes which Krsna performs with His associates in eight periods of the day. Sadhakas who are engaged in smarana, or remembrance, meditate on these pastimes. The periods are as follows (times are approximate): 1) nisanta-lila, pastimes at the end of night (3:36 am-6:00 am); 2) prata-lila, pastimes at dawn (6:00 am-8:24 am); 3) purvahna-lila, morning pastimes (8:24 am-10:48 am); 4) madhyahna-lila, midday pastimes (10:48 am-3.36 pm); 5) aparahna-lila, afternoon pastimes (3:36 pm-6:00 pm); 6) sayahna-lila, pastimes at dusk (6:00 pm-8:24 pm); 7) pradosa-lila, evening pastimes (8:24 pm-10:48 pm); and 8) nakta-lila, midnight pastimes (10:48 pm-3:36 am). 

Astanga-yoga - the yoga system consisting of eight parts: yama (control of the senses), niyama (control of the mind), asana (bodily postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the mind from sensory perception), dharana (steadying the mind), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (deep and unbroken absorption on the Lord in the heart).

Asubha-karma - activities producing inauspicious results. 

Asvamedha-yajna - a horse-sacrifice of antiquity in which vast wealth is spent. Formerly the brahmanas were so highly qualified by purity and in the skill of chanting mantras that the life of the animal would be rejuvenated. By performing one hundred such sacrifices one could attain the post of Indra. This sacrifice is forbidden in the age of Kali as there are no qualified brahmanas to perform it properly. 

Atattvika- sraddha - unreal faith; faith which is based on a false conception of God, which gives rise to self-interested activities rooted in pride and material desires. Belief which is not rooted in sastra. 

Atirikta - separate; apart from.

Atma - the soul; it may also refer to the body, mind, intellect, or the Supreme Self. It usually refers to the jiva soul.

Atma- nivedanam - to offer one’s very self to Krsna. When one

offers oneself to the Lord, he no longer acts for his independent

pleasure. One engages body, mind, life, and everything in the service

of Sri Bhagavan. This is one of the nine primary angas of


Atyantiki laghu gopis - are yuthesvaris and also nitya-sakhis. Sakhis such as Kusumika can be called atyantika-laghus, because they are gentle in all respects and they are insignificant in comparision with the other sakhis.

Aupacarika - figurative, metaphorical, attributive (see upacara).

Avaidha - that which is opposed to sastric injunctions.

Avaidha-karma - actions which defy the regulations of sastra. 

Avastava-vastu - things which are not eternally existing; worldly phenomena.

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

Avistata - being overpowered by something, or deeply absorbed in it. Thus, when the bhakta is completely overpowered with affection for Krsna by the continuous flow of remembrance of His lila, that state is called raga.


Babaji - a term of respect which is given loosly (frequently improperly), to sadhus and Vaisnavas, particularly those who have given up all connection with household life. In the setting of this book, this term specifically refers to the Vaisnava followers of Sriman Mahaprabhu, who have given up all the duties and designations of varnasrama society and who engage almost exclusively in chanting hari-nama. Actual babajis live as strict renunciates, they do not accept the external garb of sannyasis because sannyasa is part of varnasrama. They do not wear the sacred thread of the brahmanas because they have entered into bhavavastha and are engaged in raga-marga. Such characteristics are to be accepted only by those on the highest platform of eligibility, who retire from the world to immerse themselves in private bhajana. 

Baddha-dasa - the state of bondage; the state of the jivas in material existence.

Baddha-jiva - the conditioned soul who is bound by matter. With regard to the origin of the baddha-jiva this passage states that Bhagavan’s eternal associates in the spiritual world do not have any contact with and are completely unaffected by the material energy. Only some of the jivas that emanate from Maha-Visnu come into the material world. The original Bengali is as follows:

goloka-vrndavanastha evam paravyoma-stha baladeva o sankarsanaprakatita nitya-parsada jiva-sakala ananta; tanhara upasya-sevaya rasika; sarvada svarupartha-visista; upasya-sukhanvesi upasyera prati sarvada unmukha jiva saktite cit-saktite bala labha kariya tanhara sarvada balavan; mayara sahita tahandera kona sambandha nai; mayasakti baliya kona sakti achena, tahao tanhara avagata nana; ye hetu tanhara cit-mandala-madhyavarti evam maya tanhadera nikata haite aneka dure; tanhara sarvadai upasya-seva-sukhe magna; dukha, jada-sukha o nija-sukha ity adi kakhani janena na. tanhara nitya-mukta premai tanhadera jivana; soka, marana au bhaya ye ki vastu, taha tanhara janena na.  karanabdha-sayi-maha-visnura mayara prati iksana-rupa kiranagata anu-caitanya-gana o ananta; tanhara maya-parsva-sthita baliya mayara vicitrata tanhadera darsana-patharuda-purve ye jivasadharanera laksana baliyachi, se samasta laksana tanhadera ache, tathapi atyanta anu-svabhava-prayukta sarvada tatastha-bhave citjagatera dike evam maya-jagatera dike drstipata karite thakena. e avasthaya jiva atyanta durbala, kenana, – justa va sevye-vastura krpalabha karatah cid-bala labha karena nai. inhadera madhye ye saba jiva maya-bhoga vasana karena, tanhara mayika-visaye abhinivista haiya mayate nitya-baddha. yanhara sevya-vastur cidanusilana karena, tanhara sevya-tattvena krpara sahita cid-bala labha karatah cid-dhame nita hana; baba! amara durbhaga, krsnera nityadasya bhuliya mayabhinivesa dvara mayabadha achi; ataeva svarupartha-hina haiyai amadera e durdasa.

Baddhavastha - same as baddha-dasa.

Bahiranga-sakti - the external or material potency of Bhagavan, also known as maya-sakti. This potency is responsible for the creation of the material world and all affairs pertaining to the material world. Because Bhagavan never directly contacts the material energy, this potency is known as bahiranga, external. 

Bahirmukha - having one’s face turned away; having one’s attention diverted away from some object. This is commonly used with the word Krsna (see Krsna-bahirmukha).

Bahudaka - the second of four stages of sannyasa. When a sannyasi advances beyond the kuticaka stage, he no longer accepts anything from home; instead he collects his necessities from many places. This system is called madhukari, which literally means ‘the profession of bumblebees’. As bumblebees collect honey from many flowers, so a sannyasi should beg from door to door but not accept very much from any particular house. The bahudaka stage has been mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.12.43). In his commentary on this sloka, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura defines the ascetic in this stage as, one who has relegated the performance of karma to a secondary position and who gives prominence to transcendental knowledge. 

Banda - an Islamic term for servitor.

Behesht - an Islamic term for the Lord’s spiritual abode, paradise, or heaven.

Bhagavan - the Supreme Lord; the Personality of Godhead. In the

Visnu Purana (6.5.72-74) Bhagavan is defined as follows: suddhe

mahavibhuty akhye pare brahmani varttate maitreya bhagavac-chabda

sarva-karana-karane; sambharteti tatha bhartta bha-karo ‘rthadvayanvita

neta gamayita srasta ga-kararthas tatha mune; aisvaryasya

samagrasya dharmasya yasasah sriyah jnana-vairagyayos caiva sannam

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

Bhagavata- pravrtti - the tendency of the jiva to seek out and serve the Supreme Person, Bhagavan.

Bhagavat- tattva - the fundamental conclusions which regard the Absolute Truth, Bhagavan.

Bhajana - (1) the word bhajana is derived from the verbal root ‘bhaj’ which is defined in the Garuda Purana (Purva-khanda 231.3):

bhaj ity esa vai dhatu sevayam parikirtitah tasmat seva budhaih prokta

bhakti sadhana-bhuyasi – “The verbal root bhaj is used specifically in the sense of seva, or service. Therefore, when sadhana is performed with the consciousness of being a servant, it is called bhakti.” According to this sloka, krsna-seva, or loving devotional service to Krsna is called bhakti. Such service is the intrinsic attribute of bhakti or bhajana. Therefore whatever services are performed in this consciousness may be referred to as bhajana. (2) in the general sense bhajana refers to spiritual practices; especially hearing, chanting, and meditating upon the holy name, form, qualities, and pastimes of Sri Krsna.

Bhajana- kriya - taking up the practices of bhakti, such as hearing and chanting. There are sixty-four primary angas of bhakti, of which the first four are to take shelter of the lotus feet of sri-guru; to receive diksa and siksa; to serve one’s guru with great affection; and to follow the path of sadhus. Without adopting these practices, there is no question of making any advancement in bhajana.  This is the second stage in the development of the creeper of bhakti which occurs by the influence of sadhu-sanga. 

Bhajananandi - one who is absorbed in the bliss of bhajana; one whose inclination is primarily for bhajana.

Bhakta - a devotee.

Bhakti - the word bhakti comes from the root bhaj, which means to

serve (see bhajana). Therefore the primary meaning of the word bhakti

is to render service. Sri Rupa Gosvami has described the intrinsic

characteristics of bhakti in Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.1.11) as

follows: anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam anukulyena

krsnanu-silanam bhaktir uttama – “Uttama-bhakti, pure devotional

service, is the cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively for the benefit of Sri Krsna, in other words, the uninterrupted flow of service to Sri Krsna, performed through all endeavors of body, mind, and speech, and through expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhavas). It is not covered by jnana (knowledge of nirvisesa-brahma, aimed at impersonal liberation) and karma (reward-seeking activity), yoga or austerities; and it is completely free from all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Sri Krsna.”

Bhakti-devi - the goddess of devotion. All potencies of the Lord have personified forms. In Madhurya-kadambini (1.3) Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that bhakti is the svarupasakti of Bhagavan and that she is yadrccha, which means that bhakti has her own will. Being sva-prakasa, self-manifest, she is not dependent on any other agency in order to manifest in a person’s heart. In the Bhagavatam (1.2.6) it is said: yato bhaktir adhoksaje ahaituky apratihata – “that by which causeless and uninterrupted bhakti for Lord Adhoksaja arises.” The word ahaituky in this sloka indicates that bhakti has no cause. The only cause of bhakti is bhakti herself.  Srila Cakravartipada analyzes the meaning of this statement. He says that bhakti situated in the heart of a bhava-bhakta is the only cause for her manifesting in others. Since Krsna is under the control of His unalloyed bhaktas, He has invested such power in them.  Therefore sadhana is not the true cause of bhakti’s appearance.  Bhakti-devi, being self-willed, manifests bhakti in the heart when she is pleased with the bhakta’s unalloyed service attitude. Ultimately this indicates that Bhakti-devi acts through the agency of Krsna’s bhaktas who are situated in the stage of bhava. When they see the sincerity of the sadhaka-bhakta, the bhakti which is one with the very nature of their hearts is transmitted into the hearts of the sadhakas. Other than this, there is no cause for bhakti’s appearance. 

Bhakti- kanda - a division of the Vedas relating to bhakti, which is performed exclusively for the benefit of Sri Bhagavan. 

Bhakti- lata - the creeper of devotion. Bhakti is likened to a creeper which grows in the bhakta’s heart until it matures and produces the fruit of love for Krsna. The bija, or seed, of this creeper is characterized as krsna-seva-vasana, the desire to serve Sri Krsna. This desire is sown in the heart of the bhakta by the grace of sri-gurudeva and it manifests externally as sraddha, faith in the conclusions of the sastra. After its intitial inception in the form of the bhakti-lata-bija, the creeper develops through eight successive stages culminating in prema. These stages are sadhu-sanga, bhajana-kriya, anartha-nivrtti, nistha, ruci, asakti, bhava, and prema. Each of these are separately described in this glossary.

Bhakti-lata-bija - the seed of the creeper of devotion. This refers to the inception of the desire to serve Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in a particular capacity which is known as krsna-seva-vasana. Within this seed is the undeveloped conception of bhava. This seed externally manifests as sraddha, or faith in the instructions and goal described by the sastras. When this seed is watered by the methods of hearing, chanting, and service to Vaisnavas, it grows into a luxurious plant and ultimately delivers its fruit of love of God.

Bhakti- posaka- sukrti - pious activities which foster bhakti. This specifically refers to the association of bhaktas and activities connected to bhakti (see sukrti).

Bhakty-abhasa - externally resembles bhakti but does not have the true characteristics of bhakti. There are two types of bhakty-abhasa.  Chaya-bhakty-abhasa is attained by association with suddha-bhaktas during kirtana, recitation of Srimad-Bhagavatam, or other devotional performances. Pratibimba-bhakty-abhasa is the semblance of bhakti that occurs in the hearts of those who adopt the angas of bhakti with a desire for bhukti (material enjoyment) and mukti (liberation).  The stage of chaya-bhakty-abhasa is the result of great fortune,

Bharata-varsa - India (see Glossary of Places). 

Bhava-bhakti - the initial stage of perfection in devotion. A stage of bhakti in which suddha-sattva, or the essence of Sri Krsna’s internal potency consisting of spiritual knowledge and bliss, is transmitted into the heart of the practicing bhakta from the heart of one of His eternal associates and softens the heart by different kinds of tastes. It is the first sprout of prema, or pure love of God. Bhavabhakti is the seventh of the eight stages of development of the bhakti-lata, the creeper of devotion.

In Sri Brhad-Bhagavatamrta there are five divisions of bhava accepted amongst bhaktas: 1) jnana-bhakta (e.g. Bharata Maharaja), 2) suddha-bhakta (e.g. Ambarisa Mahaaraja), 3) prema-bhakta (e.g.  Hanuman), 4) prema-para-bhakta (e.g. the Pandavas headed by Arjuna), and 5) prematura-bhakta (atura means ‘very eager for’, or agitated out of prema e.g. the Yadavas headed by Uddhava).

Bhavuka - (1) a bhakta at the stage of bhava who is thus able to

taste spiritual sentiments. (2) This word is sometimes used in a

slightly derogatory sense to refer to those who are prone to emotional

displays without possessing the true characteristics of krsnarati,

or bhava.

Bhedabheda-prakasa - a manifestation simultaneously distinct yet not separate from Sri Bhagavan.

Bhoga - material enjoyment. Unoffered foodstuffs. 

Bhogi - one who indulges in material enjoyment without restriction; one who seeks material enjoyment as his life’s aspiration. 

Bhukti - material enjoyment.

Bhuta - one of the five elements; any living being; a spirit, ghost or demon.

Bija - a seed (see bhakti-lata-bija).

Brahmacari - the first asrama or stage of life in the varnasrama system; unmarried student life.

Brahma-gayatri - a Vedic mantra which is chanted at the three junctures of the day by brahmanas.

Brahma-jnana - knowledge of impersonal brahma; knowledge aiming at impersonal liberation.

Brahma-jnani - see jnani.

Brahma - the spiritual effulgence emanating from the transcendental body of the Lord; the all-pervading, indistinct feature of the Absolute. Depending on the context, this may sometimes refer to the Supreme brahma, Sri Krsna, who is the source of brahma. 

Brahmana - the highest of the four varnas or castes in the varnasrama system; a priest or teacher.

Brahmani - a female brahmana; the wife of a brahmana.

Brahma-pravrtti - the tendency of the jiva to seek the all-pervading


Brahma-vada - the doctrine of indistinct nirvisesa-brahma which has as its goal the merging of the self into Krsna’s effulgence. 

Brahma-vadi - one who follows the doctrine of brahma-vada. 

Brhat-caitanya - infinite spiritual consciousness, represented by Krsna.

Brhat-cit-vastu - vast or infinite spiritual substance; Sri Krsna. 

Buddhi-apeksa - the consideration that takes place through one’s intelligence of the sublime nature of madhura rasa and which in turn assists in creating lobha.

But-parast - (Muslim) idolatry; worship of material elements, spirits, or ordinary living beings.


Caitanya - consciousness; the Universal soul or spirit. 

Caitanya Mahaprabhu - Sri Krsna appearing in the mood of a bhakta (see Glossary of Names).

Candala - an outcaste race known to eat dogmeat; one born in such a race.

Cetana - conscious; an animate being.

Chaya-bhakty-abhasa - a shadow-like semblance of bhakti. This refers to the activities of neophytes or ignorant people which resemble bhakti, but which do not have the actual characteristics of suddha-bhakti. Because these people engage in activities of bhakti only when associating with real bhaktas, this semblance of bhakti is connected with true bhakti, but it is transient in nature and is therefore compared to a shadow.

Chaya-namabhasa - a shadow-like semblance of the pure name. This refers to a stage of chanting in which the pure name is obscured by ignorance and anarthas just as the sun, when covered by clouds, does not manifest its full brilliance.

Chaya-sakti - Sri Bhagavan’s shadow potency known as maya which binds the living entities in the material world.

Cid-anubhava - direct experience or realization of spirit, one’s spiritual nature, or the spiritual dimension including Krsna’s name, form, qualities, pastimes, and abode.

Cid-anuraga - spiritual attachment; attachment for Sri Bhagavan, His bhaktas, and things related to Him.

Cid-anusilana - spiritual practice or cultivation; the culture of pure spiritual reality.

Cid-vastu - transcendental or cognitive substance.

Cid-vikrama - see cit-sakti.

Cinmaya - possessing full spiritual nature and consciousness; composed of pure cognition; spiritual.

Cit - consciousness; pure thought; spirit; spiritual cognition or perception.

Citta - the heart, thoughts, mind and consciousnes. 

Cit-dharma - spiritual nature or the characteristic function of a conscious being.

Cit-jagat - the spiritual world. The world of pure spiritual consciousness. 

Cit-kala - spiritual time which exists eternally in the present without any intervention of past or future.

Cit-kana - a particle of spiritual consciousness; a conscious entity who is spiritual in nature yet minute. This refers to the individual jiva souls.

Cit-sakti - Sri Bhagavan’s internal potency by which His transcendental pastimes are accomplished (see svarupa-sakti). 

Cit-samadhi - spiritual trance or deep internal perception of spiritual reality.


Daivi-maya - the divine potency of Krsna which acts in the material world to bewilder the living entities who are seeking material enjoyment separate from their eternal and natural relationship with Krsna. This external potency consists of the three qualities of nature: goodness, passion, and ignorance.

Damaru - a drum played by Lord Siva; a small two-headed drum shaped like an hour-glass which, held in one hand, is played by twisting one’s wrist. The swinging actions causes a ball at the end of each of two strings which are attached to the drum to hit the drum ends at each turn.

Dandavat-pranama - prostrated obeisances; literally, falling like a danda (stick) to offer obeisances.

Darsana - seeing, meeting, visiting with, beholding. This word is

used primarily in reference to beholding the Deity or advanced

bhaktas. Darsana also means doctrine or philosophical system, as in


Dasa - a servant; a servant of Krsna.

Dasa - state, condition; disposition; phase, stage. 

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

Dasi - a female maidservant of Krsna or Srimati Radhika. 

Dasya - (1) the second of the five primary relationships with the Lord which is established in the stages of bhava or prema; love or attraction to Krsna which is expressed in the mood of a servant.  (2) in this world the general relationship of practicing bhaktas toward Him is known as krsna-dasya or bhagavad-dasya. This means simply to recognize that one’s true identity is to be a servant of Krsna.

Dasyam - one of the angas of sadhana-bhakti; to render service with the pure egoism of being a servant of Krsna. Only when one renders service with this attitude, giving up false conceptions of the self, can one’s bhajana practices attain perfection. According to Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.183) there are two kinds of dasya: in its beginning form, dasya means to offer all of one’s activities to Sri Bhagavan, and in its mature stage, dasya means to render all kinds of services to Him with the feeling that ‘I am a servant of Sri Krsna, and He is my master.’ This attitude is called kainkarya. Dasyam is one of the nine primary angas of bhakti.

Deva-bhasa - ‘the language of the gods’, the language spoken in the celestial planets; Sanskrit.

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

Devatas - same as devas.

Devi-bhagavata and Devi-gita - (chapter 9) are two books that the saktas promote as proving that Devi is the supreme personality.  However, the great acaryas and later scholars have not accepted them as authoritative.

Dhama - a holy place of pilgrimage; the abode of the Lord where He appears and enacts His transcendental pastimes. 

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

Dharma-sastra - religious sastras, such as Manu-samhita, delineating the codes of behavior for human beings.

Dharma-visaya - the object of the soul’s spiritual function; the object of prema; Sri Krsna.

Diksa - receiving initiation from a spiritual master. In the Bhaktisandarbha (Anuccheda 283) Jiva Gosvami has defined diksa as follows: divyam jnanam yato dadyat kuryat papasya sanksayam tasmad dikseti sa prokta desikais tattva-kovikaih – “Learned exponents of the Absolute Truth declare that the process by which the spiritual master imparts divya-jnana to the disciple and eradicates all sins is known as diksa.” He then explains divya-jnana, or divine knowledge: divyam jnanam hy atra srimati mantre bhagavat svarupajnanam tena bhagavata-sambandha-visesa-jnanam ca – “Divya-jnana is transcendental knowledge of the Lord’s form and one’s specific relationship with the Lord contained within a mantra.” This means at the time of intiation, the guru gives the disciple a mantra which, in course of time, reveals the particular form of the Lord who is the object of one’s worship and the bhakta’s specific relationship with the Lord in one of the relationships of dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, or madhurya.

Diksa-guru - initiating spiritual master. One who gives a mantra in accordance with the regulations of sastra to a qualified candidate for the purpose of worshiping Sri Bhagavan and realizing Him through that mantra is known as a diksa or mantra-guru. 

Diksa-mantra - the mantras given by the guru at the time of initiation. These mantras include the maha-mantra, brahma-gayatri, gurumantra, guru-gayatri, gaura-mantra, gaura-gayatri, gopala-mantra, and kama-gayatri. The guru’s internal mood of service to Radha and Krsna is transmitted through the medium of these mantras. This is indicated in the following sloka from Bhakti-sandarbha (Anuccheda 237): yo mantrah sa guruh saksat yo guru sa hari svayam gurur yasya bhavet tustas tasya tusto harih svayam – “The mantra (which is given by the guru) is itself the guru, and the guru is directly the Supreme Lord Hari. He with whom the spiritual master is pleased also obtains the pleasure of Sri Hari Himself.” These mantras are invested with divya-jnana, or transcendental knowledge of Krsna’s form and one’s specific relationship with Him (see also diksa and mantra).

Divya-nama - the transcendental name of Sri Krsna.

Divya-lila - transcendental pastimes.

Dravya - objects such as a table, a chair, and so on.

Drdha-niscaya - firm determination or resolve. 

Dhrstata - a state of being reckless, bold or courageous. In chapter twenty-one it is refering to those gopis who have left their husbands and sons, and have abandoned all the rules and regulations of varnasrama-dharma. The Dvaraka mahisis do not want to leave all these things; they want to follow their husbands, and the rules and regulations of varnasrama-dharma. That is why it is said here that they give up the quality of dhrstata and serve Krsna just like a housewife. Those who have left all these things and who have the quality of dhrstata are called sakhis Durjati - degraded birth or caste.

Durjati-dosa - the defect of a degraded birth; the defect of having

taken birth in a sinful or outcaste family. Such a defect is due to


Duskrti - impious or sinful deeds.

Dvija - anyone among the brahmanas, ksatriyas, or vaisyas who has received a ‘second birth’ through the upanayana-samskara of being invested with the sacred thread, which prepares one for studying the Vedas.


Ekadanda - a staff which is carried by the renunciates belonging to the monistic school and, in particular, the followers of Sri Sankaracarya. The staff consists of only one rod which symbolizes their goal of attaining oneness with nirvisesa-brahma. 

Ekadasi - is the eleventh day of the waxing or waning moon. Suddha Ekadasi means that the whole eleventh day of the moon elapses during the period between one sunrise and the next. Viddha Ekadasi means that the eleventh day of the moon begins on one solar day (sunrise to sunrise) and finishes on the next solar day, that is after sunrise on the next day. In case of viddha Ekadasi, the observances are made on the Dvadasi i.e. the twelfth day of the moon.


Folklore - (in reference to chapter seventeen), there is a saying: “To make money by counting the waves.” The explanation is as follows.  In ancient times, there was a rich vaisya, who became famous all over the country as someone who could make money in any circumstances.  Some envious people poisoned the ears of the local King, and managed to convince him to send the businessman far away, where he would have no opportunity to make any money. The King decided to send him to a lonely place near the sea. But this vaisya, true to his character, sat on the beach counting the waves! Whenever a vessel passed across the sea, he would stop it by waving his arms, and then say, “You are not allowed to cross. The King has appointed me to count the waves here, and your vessel is disturbing them.” He would argue back and forth, and only relent when he had extracted a bribe. In this way, he became a rich man again.


Ganapatya - a worshiper of Ganesa.

Gandharvas - celestial beings situated in the higher planets who are especially noted for their expertise in singing and music. 

Ganga - the holy river, Ganga, also known as the Ganges (see Ganga in the Glossary of Places).

Gathana - the formation, structure, or composition of a thing. 

Gaudiya Vaisnava Acaryas - prominent teachers in the line of Lord Caitanya.

Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya - the school of Vaisnavism following in the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Gauna - literally means “that which possesses qualities” or “that which is secondary.” Relates to a quality, having qualities; connected to the three gunas (qualities of material nature); subordinate, secondary, unessential.

Gaurabda - a year in the era beginning from the appearance of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu (corresponding to 1486 AD). 

Gaura-lila - the divine pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is identical to Sri Krsna.

Gaura-Nama-Rasa - transcendental taste which comes from chanting the holy name of Lord Gaura.

Gayatri-mantra - a sacred mantra repeated by brahmanas at the three junctures of the day. The gayatri mantra is personified as a goddess, the wife of Brahma and mother of the four Vedas (see diksa-mantra). 

Ghata - a landing-stage (as on the bank of a river, pond, and so on). 

Ghata-akasa - is the space that one can see in a pot. (Maha-akasa is the great unlimited sky).

Godruma - one of the nine divisions of Navadvipa (see Glossary of Places).

Gopas - the cowherd boys who serve Krsna in the mood of intimate friendship. This may also refer to the elderly gopas headed by Nanda Maharaja who serve Krsna in the mood of parental affection. 

Gopis - the young cowherd maidens of Vraja headed by Srimati Radhika who serve Krsna in the mood of amorous love. This may also refer to the elderly gopis headed by mother Yasoda who serve Krsna in the mood of parental affection.

Go-sala - shelter for the cows.

Gosvami - one who is the master of his senses; a title for those in the renounced order of life. This often refers to the renowned followers of Caitanya Mahaprabhu who adopted the lifestyle of mendicants.  Descendants of the relatives of such Gosvamis or of their sevaites often adopt this title merely on the basis of birth. In this way, the title Gosvami has evolved into use as a surname. Leading temple administrators are also sometimes referred to as Gosvamis. 

Grhastha - the word stha means “to reside.” The word grha means “house,” and also refers to the family members who inhabit a house; as a verb, it means “to grasp, take on, or accept.” The second asrama or stage of life in the varnasrama system; family life. 

Grhastha-tyagi - one who has renounced household life.

Gulli-danda - a game played with a bat and stick. 

Guna - (1) in relationship to Krsna this refers to His transcendental qualities which are heard, described, and meditated upon by bhaktas as part of the practice of sadhana-bhakti. (2) qualities of objects such as hardness and softness. (3) qualities in general such as compassion, tolerance, and mercy. (4) the three ropes (binding qualities) known as – sattva (goodness), rajas (passion), and tamas (ignorance).

Gunavatara - the primary presiding deities of the tri-gunas (three gunas), Visnu, Brahma and Siva presiding over the qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamas respectively.


Hamsa - the third stage of sannyasa, as mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.12.43). In his commentary on this sloka, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura defines an ascetic in the hamsa stage as jnana-abhyasa-nistha, one established in the cultivation of transcendental knowledge.

Hari - a name for Sri Krsna (see Glossary of Names). 

Hari-katha - narrations of the holy name, form, qualities, and pastimes of Sri Hari.

Hari-nama - the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. Unless accompanied by the word sankirtana, it usually refers to the practice of chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra to oneself on a strand of tulasi beads.

Hari-vasara - the day of Lord Hari; this refers especially to Ekadasi; it also refers to other holy days such as Janmastami and Ramanavami (check this Glossary for explanation of these terms).  Havisya - rice dried in the sun, cooked with water and mixed with ghee

Heya - undesirable; fit to be given up; contemptible, base, vile. 

Hladini - this refers to svarupa-sakti which is predominated by hladini (see svarupa-sakti). Hladini is the potency which relates to the ananda, or bliss, aspect of the Supreme Lord. Although the Supreme Lord is the embodiment of all pleasure, hladini is that potency by which He relishes transcendental bliss and causes others to taste bliss. When visuddha-sattva is predominated by hladini, it is known as guhya-vidya, or confidential knowledge. This guhyavidya has two faculties: bhakti and that which bestows bhakti. It is by these two agencies that bhakti, which consists of priti (prema), is manifest. Bhakti which is of the nature of priti is itself a special feature of guhya-vidya.


Ibada - an Islamic term for divine worship.

Ignorance five types -Lord Brahma first creates these five types of ignorance (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.12.2.). Because of the desire to enjoy maya, the jiva develops the false ego that he can enjoy material sense gratification, and then the five types of ignorance - tamah (not knowing anything about the spirit soul), moha (the illusion of the bodily concept of life), maha-moha (madness for material enjoyment), tamisra (forgetfulness of one’s constitutional position due to anger or envy) and andha-tamisra (considering death to be the ultimate end) – cover his pure, atomic nature.

Isanugata - those who are devoted or surrendered to Isa (Sri Bhagavan); the Vaisnavas.

Ishqh - an Islamic term for love (spiritual or mundane). 

Ista-deva - one’s worshipful deity; the particular form of Krsna toward whom one is attracted and who is the object of one’s love and service.

Isvara - the Supreme Lord or Supreme Controller.

Itihasa - (1) history in general. (2) a book which contains instructions on dharma, artha, kama, and moksa, and narrations of ancient events (dharmartha-kama-moksanam upadesa-samanvitam purva-vrta katha-yuktam itihasam pracaksate). This definition is quoted in Gaudiya-Vaisnava-abhidhana. (3) the fifth Veda. According to both sruti and smrti, the Itihasa and the Puranas are considered the fifth Veda. Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.12.39) states, itihasa-puranani pancamam

vedam; and (1.4.20), itihasa puranan ca pancamo veda ucyate. In his commentary on (1.4.20), Jiva Gosvami quotes the Mahabharata (Moksa-dharma 340.21), vedan adhyapayamasa mahabharata-pancaman iti, “Vyasa taught the Vedas along with the fifth of their number, the Mahabharata.” Similarly in Manu-smrti (3.232) it is said, akhyananitihasams ca. In his Manu-vartha-muktavali commentary on this sloka, Kulluka Bhatta (a celebrated commentator on Manusmrti from the twelfth century) states, itihasan mahabharatadin, “The word itihasan refers to the Mahabharata and other literature.”

     These references establish that the word itihasa specifically refers to the Mahabharata. Within the Mahabharata is found the Bhagavad-Gita, which is accepted as the essence of all the Vedas even by Sri Sankaracarya, who states in the introduction to his Gita commentary, tad idam gita-sastram samasta-vedartha-sarasangraha- bhutam, “This Gita-sastra is the essence of the purport of all the Vedas.” This further confirms that the itihasa is part of the body of Vedic literature. Sruti itself (Chandogya Upanisad 7.1.2) declares that the Itihasa and Puranas are the fifth Veda among the body of Vedic literature, itihasam puranam pancamam vedanam vedam.


Jada - inanimate object; worldly, material.

Jada-anuraga - attachment for mundane material objects.

Jada-sakti - the material or external potency also known as maya. 

Jadiya-kala - material time which is designated by the divisions of past, present, and future.

Jaiva-dharma - the constitutional function of the jiva; unadulterated love for the Supreme Lord.

Jangama - moving living beings such as animals, birds, insects, aquatics, and humans.

Janma - birth, origin.

Janmastami - the appearance day of Lord Sri Krsna which occurs on the eighth day of the dark lunar fortnight of the month of Bhadra (August-September). According to the Visnu Purana, however, Janmastami occurs on the eighth day of the dark lunar fortnight of the month of Sravana (July-August). The reason for this difference is that in some years the mukhya-candra-masa, or principal lunar month falls in Sravana. The mukhya-candra-masa refers to a lunar month which ends with a conjunction of planets, whereas gaunacandra-masa refers to a lunar month which ends with an opposition of planets. When the mukhya-candra-masa occurs in Sravana, Janmastami falls in that month instead of Bhadra. 

Japa - loud chanting or soft utterance of the holy names of Krsna to oneself; usually referring to the practice of chanting hari-nama on tulasi beads. The word japa comes from the verbal root jap which means to utter or whisper repeatedly (especially prayers or incantations).  In the Sabda-kalpa-druma, japa has been defined as the utterance of mantras either within the heart or verbally. In Haribhakti-vilasa (17.155-159) Srila Sanatana Gosvami describes japa in the following words:

     “In the Nrsimha-Purana it is said that japa-yajna is of three kinds:

(1) vacika (verbal), (2) upamsu (in a whisper), and (3) manasika (within the mind). When a mantra is pronounced very distinctly either in a high, low, or resonant voice it is known as vacika-japa.  When a mantra is uttered slowly with slight movement of the lips and can be heard only by one’s own ears it is known as upamsu-japa.  When one meditates on the meaning of the mantra by application of the intelligence going repeatedly from one syllable to the next and from one word to the next it is known as manasika-japa.”

Jati - caste, race, or species.

Jati-bheda - caste distinction; the difference between various castes or species.

Jism - an Islamic term for matter.

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

Jnana - (1) knowledge, (2) knowledge which leads to impersonal liberation: this concerns the atma’s distinction from matter and its identity with brahma.

Jnana-adhikara - eligibility for knowledge leading to liberation. 

Jnana-kanda - a division of the Vedas which relates to knowledge of the one, undifferentiated spirit known as brahma. 

Jnana-mudra - the traditional posture of the hand formed with the tip of the thumb touching the tip of the index finger. 

Jnana-nistha - those who are fixed in the pursuit of monistic knowledge aiming at liberation.

Jnana-viddha - vaisnava-dharma which is adulterated with jnana, knowledge directed toward the attainment of impersonal liberation. 

Jnana-yoga - the path of spiritual realization through a philosophical search for truth.

Jnani - one who pursues the path of jnana, or knowledge, directed toward impersonal liberation.


Kali-yuga - the present age of quarrel and hypocrisy which began five thousand years ago (see yuga).

Kamya-karma - religious rites performed to obtain some specific material benefit.

Kanistha-bhakta - the neophyte practitioner of bhakti.

Karatalas - small brass hand cymbals used for devotional songs.

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

Karma-adhikara - eligibility for pious action leading to material gain. 

Karma-kanda - a division of the Vedas which relates to the performance of ceremonial acts and sacrificial rites directed toward material benefits or liberation.

Karma-viddha - vaisnava-dharma which is adulterated with karma, activities directed toward material benefits.

Karma-yoga - the path to God realization through dedication of the fruits of one’s work to God.

Karmi - one who pursues the Vedic path of karma directed toward material gain or elevation to the heavenly planets. 

Karya-sakti - the potency by which activity is carried out.

Kaudi - a small shell used as currency

Kaya-vyuha - direct expansions. All the four types types of Srimati Radhika’s sakhis are nitya-siddha, and they are direct expansions (kaya-vyuha) of Srimati Radhika’s own svarupa. She eternally manifests eight bhavas as the eight principle sakhis and Her four different types of service moods as the four different types of sakhis - namely, priya-sakhis, narma-sakhis, prana-sakhis, and parama-prestha sakhis. All these sakhis are kaya-vyuha direct expansions, whereas the sadhana-siddha gopis are not expansions. The queens in Dvaraka fall into a different category of expansion known as vaibhava-prakasa, and the Laksmis in Vaikuntha are vaibhava-vilasa expansions of Srimati Radharani. The wives of Vamana and other avataras in Devaloka are also expansions. Durga-devi in this world is a material expansion.

Kayastha - a particular caste in Hindu society; those born from a ksatriya father and a sudra mother. They are generally well-educated, and many work as writers. The kayasthas claim to be descendents of Citragupta (the scribe of Yamaraja).

Kazi - a Muslim magistrate, usually the ruler of a town or city (like a mayor).

Khicari - a savory dish of rice and dahl boiled together with ghee and spices.

Khoda - an Islamic term for God.

Kirtana - congregational singing of Krsna’s holy names, sometimes accompanied by music. This may also refer to loud individual chanting of the holy name, as well as oral descriptions of Bhagavan names, forms, qualities, associates, and pastimes. Kirtana is the most important of the nine angas of bhakti.

Krsna-bahirmukha - being oblivious to Krsna due to having one’s attention focused outwardly toward the material world; ignorance of Krsna and enthrallment with material enjoyment.  Krsna-dasya - service to Krsna; the dharma, or spiritual function of the jiva. In its perfectional state this refers to prema.

 Krsna-lila - the divine pastimes of Sri Krsna (see lila).

Krsna-prema - pure love for Krsna (see prema).

Krsna-unmukha - those whose attention is focused upon Krsna. 

Krsna-vimukhata - the state of having one’s attention turned away from Krsna; the state of absorption in the material world. 

Ksatriya - the second of the four varnas, or castes, in the varnasrama system; an administrator or warrior.

Ksayonmukha - the decline or diminution of any object or thing; the stage in which a jiva’s relationship with the material world gradually diminishes due to engagement in spiritual practice.  Ksudra-cetana - possessing minute consciousness; the living entities.

Kunja - a grove or bower; a natural shady retreat with sides and a roof formed mainly by trees and climbing plants. 

Kuticaka - the first of four stages of sannyasa. According to the Vedic system, when one first renounces family life, the ascetic will construct a cottage (kutira) just outside his village and will accept the necessities for his maintenance from his family members or the villagers. This stage has been referred to in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.12.43). In Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura’s commentary on the afore-referenced sloka, he defines the kuticaka stage as svasrama-karma-pradhana, predominated by the performance of karma which pertains to one’s own asrama, or stage of life. 

Kutira - a cottage or hut.


Laukika - worldly, mundane, secular, pertaining to the material world.

Laukika-jnana - worldly knowledge, knowledge of worldly phenomena. 

Laukika-sraddha - worldly regard; faith which is based on custom or tradition and not on a deep understanding of the sastra. 

Lila - divine sportive pastimes. Sri Bhagavan’s activities, whether in the matter of the creation of the material world or in the matter of transcendental exchanges of love with His bhaktas, are never under the influence of karma or material nature. They are all manifestations of His self-willed potencies and are therefore known as lila, divine sport or play. These pastimes are heard, described, and meditated upon by bhaktas as part of the practice of sadhana-bhakti. 

Lila-avatara - Krsna’s lila (pastime) manifestations e.g.

Nrsimha,Varaha, Kurma etc.

Lila-katha - descriptions or narrations of the Lord’s divine pastimes. 

Linga-sarira - the subtle material body consisting of mind, intelligence, and ego.

Lobhamayi-sraddha - means that the bhakta wants to serve Krsna in one of the four rasas: dasya, sakhya, vatsalya or madhurya, following in the footsteps of the vraja-vasis. He should be greedy to attain this. That is called lobhamayi-sraddha.

Lota - a thin steel container for water.


Madhavi - a fragrant flower which is white when it blossoms and turns pink during the course of the day; the vine of the madhavi flower.

Madhukari - collecting alms from door to door in the manner of a bee who collects honey (madhu) by going from flower to flower.

Madhurya - sweetness or beauty. In regard to bhakti this refers to devotion which is inspired by attraction to Krsna’s sweet and intimate feature as a beautiful young cowherd boy. This type of devotion allows for the greatest exchange of love between Him and His bhaktas.

Madhurya-rati - love or attachment toward Krsna which is expressed in the mood of a lover.

Madhyahna - the third period of the day; mid-day, noon (see astakaliya-


Madhyama-bhakta - the practitioner of bhakti who is on an intermediate level.

Mahabhava - the highest stage of prema or divine love. In Ujjvalanilamani (14.154) mahabhava is defined: “When anuraga reaches a special state of intensity, it is known as bhava or mahabhava. This state of intensity has three characteristics: (1) anuraga reaches the state of sva-samvedya, which means that it becomes the object of its own experience, (2) it becomes prakasita, radiantly manifest, which means that all eight sattvika-bhavas become prominently displayed, and (3) it attains the state of yavad asraya-vrtti, which means that the active ingredient of this intensified state of anuraga transmits the experience of Radha and Krsna’s bhava to whomever may be present and qualified to receive it. This includes both the sadhaka and siddha-bhaktas.”

Mahajana - a great personality who teaches and sets an example for others.

Mahanta - the head of a monastery or temple.

Mahaprabhu - the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna Caitanya (see Caitanya in the Glossary of Names).

Maha-akasa - is the great, unlimited sky or space.

Mahaprasada - see prasada.

Mahatma - magnanimous or great soul; a title of respect offered to those elevated in spiritual consciousness.

Mahavakya - principal statements or utterances of the Upanisads. Pranava (om) is the true mahavakya of the Vedas as established in Chapter Twelve. However, Sri Sankaracarya has widely broadcast four aphorisms as mahavakyas. Therefore, the word mahavakya has come to be associated with these expressions: aham brahmasmi, “I am brahma,” (Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad, 1.4.10); tat tvam asi svetaketo, “O Svetaketo, you are that” (Chandogya Upanisad, 6.8.7); prajnanam brahma, “The supreme knowledge is brahma,” (Aitareya Upanisad, 1.5.3); and sarvam khalv idam brahma, “All the universe is brahma.” (Chandogya Upanisad, 3.14.1.)

Mala - see tulasi-mala.

Malphut - an Islamic term for ignorance.

Malati - a kind of jasmine flower or its plant.

Mamaji - maternal uncle.

Mamata - literally means ‘my-ness’; attachment or possessiveness.

Mamata for material objects or persons is the cause of bondage,

whereas mamata for guru, Vaisnavas, and spiritual objects is the

cause of liberation; in the spiritual world mamata is one of the

characteristics of prema.

Mana - consists of the bhavas (such as Srimati Radhika’s jealous anger) that prevent the nayaka and nayika from meeting freely, although they are together, and attracted to each other.

Mantra - a mystical sloka composed of the names of Sri Bhagavan which addresses any individual deity. Mantras are given to a disciple by a guru at the time of diksa. The question may be raised that since bhagavan-nama is independent, how can mantras, which are composed of the names of the Lord (bhagavan-nama), be dependent upon diksa? Srila Jiva Gosvami has discussed this question in Bhaktisandarbha (Anuccheda 284). He says that mantras are bhagavannamatmika. This means that mantras are composed of the names of Bhagavan. The difference is that mantras also contain some special words like nama, svaha, and klim. Sri Bhagavan and the rsis have invested mantras with special power by which those mantras reveal one’s own specific relationship with Krsna. Therefore it may seem that mantras are endowed with some special potencies that are not invested in nama. A contradiction arises because if bhagavan-nama (which is lacking these special attributes) is able to bestow the supreme object of attainment (parama-purusartha) without any need for diksa, how is it that mantras are dependent on diksa when they are even more powerful than nama?

     Srila Jiva Gosvami analyzes that by the constitutional nature of mantras, they are not dependent on diksa. Nonetheless, people in general are influenced by the bodily conception and their hearts are polluted with abominable desires. In order to curb these tendencies, the rsis have established regulations to be followed in the arcana-marga. Otherwise, by constitutional nature, there is no difference between nama and mantra in the matter of their independence of any formalities.

     Nama, being non-different from nami, or Bhagavan Himself, is already invested with all potencies. Therefore in actuality, the glory of nama is superior to that of mantras. Yet Jiva Gosvami says that the diksa-mantras are invested with the power to reveal the sadhakas’ specific relationship with the Lord – sri bhagavata samam atmasambandha- visesa-pratipadakas ca (Bhakti-sandarbha, Anuccheda 284). The same thing is stated in Anuccheda 283: divyam-jnanam hy atra srimati mantre bhagavat-svarupa-jnanam tena bhagavata sambandha-visesa-jnanam ca (see diksa). This means that when a guru who is situated on the platform of bhava gives diksa, the man-tras are invested with the knowledge of Bhagavan’s svarupa and knowledge of one’s specific relationship with Him. Therefore, those who are desiring to attain the prema-seva of Sri Krsna in Vraja in one of the four relationships of dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, or madhura should accept diksa-mantras from a guru who is established in one of these moods.

Manu-samhita - a religious sastra spoken by the forefather of mankind Manu, delineating the codes of behavior for all human beings. 

Maya - illusion; that which is not; Sri Bhagavan’s external potency which influences the living entities to accept the false egoism of being independent enjoyers of this material world. 

Maya-sakti - the potency that creates bewilderment, which is responsible for the manifestation of the material world, time, and material activities.

Mayavada - the doctrine of illusion; a theory advocated by the impersonalist followers of Sankaracarya which holds that the Lord’s form, this material world, and the individual existence of the living entitities are maya or false.

Mayavadi - one who advocates the doctrine of illusion (see mayavada).

Maya-vikrama - see maya-sakti.

Mayika-tattva - the fundamental truth concerning Bhagavan’s deluding

potency, which relates to the material world. One of the

aspects of sambandha-jnana.

Mimamsa - a philosophical doctrine which has two divisions: (1) purva or karma-mimamsa founded by Jaimini, which advocates that by carrying out the ritualistic karma of the Vedas, one can attain the celestial planets, and (2) uttara-mimamsa founded by Badarayana Vyasadeva, which deals with the nature of brahma. (See purvamimamsa and uttara-mimamsa).

Mimamsaka - a philosopher. One who adheres to the mimamsa philosophical doctrine of which there are two divisions. This usually refers to those who follow the karma-mimamsa of Jaimini.  Mimamsa-sastra - (1) a sastra which ascertains fundamental philosophical truths through analytical examination. (2) sastra dealing with a branch of Vedic philosophy (see mimamsa).  Misra - mixed, adulterated.

Mithya-abhimana - false egoism; identification with the gross and subtle material bodies.

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

Moksa - see mukti.

Mrdanga - a double-headed clay drum which is used in the performance of devotional songs.

Mujarrad - an Islamic term for spirit or consciousness.

Mukta-dasa - the liberated state.

Mukta-jiva - the liberated soul; those who are liberated from the influence of material nature while still residing in this world, or those who reside in the spiritual world.

Mukti - liberation from material existence. There are five types of liberation: sarupya (obtaining the same form as Bhagavan), samipya (living in close proximity to Bhagavan), salokya (living on the same planet as Bhagavan), sarsti (having the same opulence as Bhagavan), and sayujya (becoming one with Sri Bhagavan either by merging into His body or by merging into His brahma effulgence).  The last type is vehemently rejected by the bhaktas. Although the other four types of mukti are sometimes accepted by bhaktas as they are not entirely incompatible with bhakti, they are never accepted by those who are fixed on attaining unalloyed love for Sri Krsna in Vraja.

Mukulita-cetana - budding consciousness. This refers to human beings whose consciousness is superior to that of lower life-forms, but who are devoid of morality and ethics. It also refers to those who have a conventional sense of morality, but who have no faith in God.

Mullah - Muslim religious scholar

Mumuksa - the desire for liberation.

Mumuksu - a person who is seeking liberation.

Murti - the Deity form of Sri Bhagavan.


Nagara - a town or city.

Nagara-sankirtana - act of singing religious songs in procession through a city or village.

Naimittika-dharma - the temporary or circumstantial function of an object or conscious being; that which relates to one’s acquired nature; circumstantial duty or religion.

Naimittika-karma - occasional religious duties induced by specific circumstances.

Naimittika-sukrti - pious actions which bear temporary results; pious actions leading to material enjoyment, opulence, acquisition of knowledge, and mystic powers.

Naisthika-brahmacari - one who accepts a life-long vow of celibacy.

Naitika - that which is related to morality and ethics (see niti). 

Nama - the holy name of Krsna, chanted by bhaktas as the main limb of the practice of sadhana-bhakti.

Nama-bhajana - the practice of chanting the holy name softly to oneself on tulasi beads.

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

Nama-aparadha - offensive chanting of the holy name, or chanting of the holy name which is subject to the ten kinds of nama-aparadha.  (see Chapter 24).

Nama-rasa - transcendental taste which comes from chanting the holy name.

Nama-sankirtana - the practice of chanting the holy name of Krsna, especially congregational chanting.

Namaskara - offering obeisance, or the act of offering adoration, praise, or reverence. Obeisance to Sri Bhagavan is of four types:

(1)  abhivadana, salutation or bowing; (2) astanga, prostrated obeisance performed with eight parts of the body (two hands, two feet, two knees, the chest, and the forehead); (3) pancanga, obeisance performed with five parts of the body (two knees, two arms, and the forehead); and (4) kara-sira-samyoga, obeisance by joining the hands to the head and bowing.

Nami - Sri Bhagavan; the person addressed by the name.

Namaz - a system of Muslim prayer

Nara-matram - refer to all human beings, regardless of caste, creed, or material designation.

Narayana - an expansion of Krsna. The opulent Lord of Vaikuntha.

Navadha-bhakti - nine primary types of bhakti: sravanam, kirtanam,

visnu-smaranam, pada-sevanam, arcanam, vandanam, dasyam,

sakhyam, and atma-nivedanam – hearing, chanting, and remembering the glories of Krsna, serving His lotus feet, worshiping Him, praying to Him, carrying out His orders in the mood of a servant, making friends with Him, and offering one’s very self to Him (see under the individual headings for more information on each of these). 

Nimitta - a cause, reason, motive, instrument, or agent. 

Nirapeksa - a Vaisnava who is detached from all material enjoyment and the designations associated with varnasrama; literally means independent, or one who is without needs.  Nirbheda - undifferentiated; that which is devoid of distinguishing characteristics or qualities; often used as an adjective to describe the impersonal brahma.

Nirbheda-brahma-jnani - one who seeks to attain the impersonal brahma through the process of monistic knowledge. 

Nirguna - free from the influence of the material qualities of goodness, passion, and ignorance. In relationship to Sri Krsna, this implies that He is endowed with transcendental qualities.  Nirvana - extinction, disappearance, dissolution; final emancipation from matter and re-union with the Supreme Spirit; Mayavada conception – absolute extinction or annihilation of individual existence.

Nisanta-lila - Krsna’s daily pastimes are divided into eight periods.

Nisanta-lila takes place at the end of night just prior to dawn

(see asta-kaliya-lila).

Nisarga - the acquired nature of a thing; that nature which is acquired through long association or identification; the distorted nature of a thing.

Nistha - firm faith; steadiness in one’s devotional practices. This is the fourth stage in the development of the creeper of bhakti.

Nistha occurs after the elimination of the major portion of one’s


Niti - moral science, ethics, social morality, moral conduct or behavior; political wisdom or science.

Nitya - eternal; invariable; daily; that which has no beginning and no end.

Nitya-dharma - the eternal characteristic function of a thing, or that which relates to its eternal constitutional function. 

Nitya-karma - daily obligatory religious duties.

Nitya-satya - eternal truth or reality.

Nitya-sukrti - pious deeds which bear eternal results; pious deeds which foster the eternal function of bhakti, such as the association of bhaktas and contact with acts of devotion.

Nitya-tattva - eternal truth, reality or philosophical principle. 

Nivrtti-marga - the path of detachment or abstinence from material fruitive action and ritualistic religion.

Nyaya - the philosophy dealing with a logical analysis of reality, also known as nyaya-darsana. This system of philosophy was founded by Maharsi Gautama (see Gautama in the Glossary of Names). The nyaya-darsana accepts sixteen principles: 1) pramana (evidence; the means to obtain factual knowledge), 2) prameya (that which is to be ascertained by real knowledge), 3) samsaya (doubt about the point to be discussed), 4) prayojana (a motive for discussing the point in question), 5) drstanta (citing instances or examples), 6) siddhanta (demonstrated conclusion of an argument), 7) avayava (component parts of a logical argument or syllogism), 8) tarka (persuasive reasoning), 9) nirnaya (deduction, conclusion, or application of a conclusive argument), 10) vada (thesis, proposition, or argument), 11) jalpa (striking disputation or reply to defeat the argument of the opposition), 12) vitanda (destructive criticism; idle carping at the assertions of another without attempting to prove the opposite side of the question) 13) hetv-abhasa (fallacy; the mere appearance of a reason), 14) chala (deceitful disputation; perverting the sense of the opposing party’s words), 15) jati (logic based merely on false similarity or dissimilarity), and 16) nigraha-sthana (a weak point in an argument or fault in a syllogism).

     According to nyaya-darsana, misery is of nineteen types: the material body, the six senses including the mind, the six objects of the senses, and the six transformations – birth, growth, production, maintenance, dwindling, and death. In addition to these, happiness is considered as the twentieth form of misery because it is simply a transformed state of distress. The naiyayikas, adherents of the nyaya-darsana, accept four types of evidence: pratyaksa (direct perception), anumana (inference), upamana (comparison), and sabda (the authority of the Vedas).

     The nyaya-darsana accepts the existence of eternal infinitesimal particles known as paramanu. These, they claim, are the fundamental ingredients from which the creation has sprung. But in order for the creation to take place, there is need of an administrator who is known as Isvara, Sri Bhagavan. Bhagavan creates the world by setting the atomic particles in motion. Like these atomic particles, Isvara is eternal and without beginning. Although the naiyayikas accept the existence of Isvara, they do not believe that He personally carries out the creation. He is merely the primeval cause. By His desire, the atoms are set into motion whereupon they create all the subtle and gross elements from which the creation comes about.  According to the nyaya-darsana, the jivas are innumerable, eternal, and without beginning. The naiyayikas do not think that the jivas are of the nature of consciousness, but that they are only substantive entities which may be associated with intellectual, volitional, or emotional qualities as a result of a proper combination of causes and conditions. The nyaya-darsana advocates that the jiva and Isvara are two entirely separate truths. The jiva’s material existence is due to karma. The creation occurs under the influence of karma, and within the creation the jivas suffer the reactions of their karma. Isvara’s sole function is to set the creation in motion and to reward the results of karma.

     The naiyayikas say that the jiva can attain liberation from material existence through philosophical knowledge of the sixteen principles.  They define mukti as complete cessation of material misery.  There is no factual happiness in mukti. In this liberated condition the jiva is as if unconscious.

Nyaya-sastra - the sastras dealing with a logical analysis of reality. The precepts of nyaya are mostly explained through analogies drawn from an analysis of common objects such as a clay pot (ghata) and a piece of cloth (pata), so these words are repeatedly encountered in discussions of nyaya.


Pada-sevanam - literally means to serve the feet. However, the question arises as to how a sadhaka can serve the feet of the Lord. Therefore in his Krama-sandarbha commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam, Jiva Gosvami has defined pada-sevanam as follows: pada-sevayam

pada sabdo bhakty eva nirdista tata sevayam sadaratvam vidhiyate – “In the term pada-seva the word pada refers only to bhakti. The word seva indicates that this bhakti, or service, should be done with great love and respect.” To take darsana of the Deity, to touch the Deity, to do parikrama of the Deity, to follow the Deity in a procession, to visit the Lord’s temples or holy places such as the Ganga, Purusottama-ksetra, Dvaraka, and Mathura; to observe festivals, and to serve the Vaisnavas and tulasi are all included in pada-sevanam.  This is one of the nine primary angas of bhakti. 

Panca-mahapapa - killing a brahmana, drinking intoxicating liquors, theft, committing adultary with the wife of sri-guru and associating with anyone guilty of these crimes.

Pancopasana - worship of the five deities – Surya, Ganesa, Sakti, Siva, and Visnu.

Pandita - Panda means ‘the intelligence of one who is enlightened by knowledge of the sastra’, and the word pandita refers to one who has such intelligence.

Papa - sin.

Parabrahma - the Supreme brahma, the source of the brahma effulgence, Sri Bhagavan.

Parak-vrtti - the tendency to be focused outward toward the external world or toward the senses and sense objects.

Paralaukika - concerning the next world; extra-mundane; spiritual.

Parama-dharma - the supreme or ultimate function of the jiva.

Parama-guru - grand-spiritual master; the guru of one’s guru. 

Paramahamsa - the fourth and final stage of sannyasa, which has been referred to as niskriya (freedom from all material obligations) in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.12.43). In his commentary on this sloka, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has defined niskriya as praptatattva, realization of the Supreme Absolute Truth.

Paramartha - the highest truth; spiritual knowledge; the highest object of attainment.

Paramarthika - that which relates to the supreme spiritual truth or ultimate reality; real, essential, true; that which relates to a higher object.

Paramatma - the Supersoul situated in the hearts of all living entities as the witness and source of remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness.

Paramatma- pravrtti - the tendency of the jiva to seek Krsna in the heart, who is known as Paramatma.

Para-sakti - Sri Bhagavan’s superior potency which has three divisions:

cit, tatastha, and maya.

Paravyoma - means ‘the spiritual sky’. Generally this refers to the region of the spiritual sky where the Vaikuntha planets reside. 

Patha-sala - literally means a school in which four subjects (patha) are taught. These four subjects refer to the study of the four Vedas or the four subjects – Sanskrit grammar, rhetoric, logic, and philosophy. 

Phalgu-vairagya - futile renunciation; renunciation which is unfavorable to bhakti. This is defined in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.256):

“When people who desire liberation give up objects which are related to Krsna, considering them to be material, their renunciation is known as phalgu-vairagya.” Srila Jiva Gosvami has explained in his commentary that this especially refers to giving up prasada, or remnants of food and other articles offered to Him. This giving up of prasada is of two types: never requesting Krsna’s prasada, and refusing it when it comes unsolicited. The second one in particular is considered to be an offense and therefore unfavorable to bhakti.

 Pinda - riceballs or flour cake offered to the Pitris, or deceased ancestors; a sraddha oblation.

Prabhu - master or Lord.

Prabhu-tattva - the fundamental truth concerning Bhagavan, who is the master of the living entities and of material nature. This is one of the aspects of sambandha-jnana.

Pradesika - regional, territorial, provincial. This comes from the word pradesa, a province. When it is used in reference to particular statements of the Vedas, it means that which is limited to a particular context, or that which defines only a partial aspect of a concept.  This is in contrast to mahavakyas which are statements defining the underlying essence of the entire Vedas (see mahavakya in this Glossary).

Prahara - a day is divided into eight periods known as prahara, each roughly three hours in duration.

Prakasa - a particular type of manifestation of Bhagavan. When a single form is manifest in many places simultaneously and each of these forms is identical in terms of bodily features, qualities, and pastimes, such a manifestation is called prakasa.

 Prakrta-bhakta - an unrefined or undeveloped bhakta. This is a term which refers to the kanistha, or neophyte bhakta’ who worships the Deity with faith but who renders no service to the Krsna’s bhaktas. 

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

Prakrti Devi - the goddess of nature.

Prana-natha - literally means the Lord of one’s life, but it carries the sense of one who is infinitely more dear than life itself. 

Prani - a living or sentient being. Prani comes from the word prana which means the breath of life or vital air. That which is living, breathing, or possessed of vital air is called prani. 

Prapatti - surrender or submission to Sri Bhagavan. 

Prarabdha-karma - the results of previous activities which have already begun to bear fruit.

Prasada - literally means mercy; especially refers to the remnants of food offered to the Deity; may also refer to the remnants of other articles offered to the Deity such as incense, flowers, garlands, and clothing.

Pratibimba-bhakti-abhasa - a reflective semblance of bhakti. This refers to those who adopt the practices of bhakti with a desire for material enjoyment and especially liberation. Because these people have no faith in Krsna and no desire to please Him, their semblance of bhakti is of the nature of an image which is disconnected from its object, and is therefore compared to a reflection.  Pratyak-vrtti - the tendency to be focused inward toward the soul. 

Pravrtti-marga - the path of fruitive action or ritualistic religion which yields material piety and the facility to enjoy this material world.

Prayojana - a goal or object of attainment. In terms of bhakti, this refers to the ultimate goal, krsna-prema.

Prema - (1) love for Krsna which is extremely concentrated, which completely melts the heart, and which gives rise to a deep sense of mamata or possessiveness in relation to the Lord (this is the general definition of prema given in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, 1.4.1). (2) When rati becomes firmly rooted and unchecked by any obstacle it is known as prema. When some cause arises that could conceivably ruin the relationship between the lover and beloved and yet their bond remains completely unaffected, such an intimate loving relationship is known as prema. When prema is augmented, it is gradually transformed into sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga, and bhava.

(Ujjvala-nilamani, 14. 59, 63).

Prema-bhakti - a stage of bhakti which is characterised by the appearance of prema (see above); the perfectional stage of devotion; the eighth and fully blossomed state of the bhakti-lata.  Prema-dharma - the religion which has as its goal the attainment of unalloyed love for Sri Krsna.

Premadhikara - eligibility for the unalloyed loving service of Sri Bhagavan.

Priti - love for Krsna which is also known as prema or bhakti. Jiva Gosvami has defined priti in Priti-sandarbha (Anuccheda 65): tasya hladinya eva kapi sarvanandatisayini vrttir-nityam bhakta-vrndesv eva niksipyamana bhagavat-prityakhyaya varttate – “When the eternal pleasure-giving faculty of the hladini potency, which alone has the power to bring supreme delight to Krsna, manifests in the bhakta’s heart, it is known as bhagavat-priti, or love for Bhagavan.” The symptom of this priti is an uninterrupted desire to please the object of priti, Sri Krsna.

Prthak - distinct; different.

Puranas - the eighteen historical supplements to the Vedas. 

Purna-Brahma - the complete brahma who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. Bhagavan is purna, the complete reality.  brahma, because it is the bodily effulgence of Bhagavan, is an aspect of that reality.

Purna-cetana - possessing full consciousness; Sri Bhagavan.

Purna-sakti - complete potency.

Purna-vikasita-cetana - fully blossomed consciousness. This refers to the bhava-bhaktas, or those who have awakened deep attachment and love for Bhagavan.

Purusa - (1) the primeval being as the soul and original source of the universe, the Supreme Being or Soul of the universe. (2) the animating principle in living beings, the soul, spirit as opposed to prakrti, or matter. (3) a male or mankind.

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

Purva-mimamsa - the philosophy established by Maharsi Jaimini, also known as jaimini-darsana (see Jaimini in the Glossary of Names).  To thoroughly examine a topic and arrive at a conclusion is known as mimamsa. Mimamsa comes from the verbal root man, to think, reflect, or consider. Because in his book, Maharsi Jaimini has established the correct interpretation of the Vedic statements and how they may be decided through logical analysis, this book is known as mimamsa-grantha. The Vedas have two divisions: purva-kanda (the first part), dealing with Vedic karma; and uttara-kanda (the latter part), dealing with the Upanisads or Vedanta. Since Jaimini’s book deals with an analysis of the first part of the Vedas, it is called purva-mimamsa. As Jaimini’s philosophy deals exclusively with an analysis of Vedic karma, it is also known as karma-mimamsa. 

     Jaimini has minutely examined how Vedic ritualistic karma is to be performed and what its results are. He has accepted the Vedas as apauruseya (not created by any man), beginningless, and eternal. His philosophy is established on the basis of the Vedas.  However, he has given prominence only to Vedic karma. He states that the jivas are meant to performVedic karma only. By proper performance of Vedic karma, one can obtain parama-purusartha, the supreme goal, which in his opinion refers to the attainment of the celestial planets.

     In Jaimini’s view, the visible world is anadi, without beginning, and it does not undergo destruction. Consequently, there is no need for an omniscient and omnipotent Isvara to carry out the creation, maintenance, and destruction of the world. Jaimini accepts the existence of pious and sinful karma. According to his doctrine, karma automatically yields the results of its own actions.  Therefore, there is no need for an Isvara to award the results of karma.

Putra - a son; one who delivers his forefathers from the hell known as put.


Raga - a deep attachment which is permeated by spontaneous and intense absorption in the object of one’s affection. The primary characteristic of raga is a deep and overpowering thirst for the object of one’s affection. The desire for water is called thirst. When the body is deprived of water, thirst arises. The greater the thirst, the greater the longing for water. When this thirst reaches the point that without water one can no longer maintain the body, it is known as an overpowering thirst. Similarly, when the loving thirst to please the object of one’s affection becomes so intense that in the absence of such service one is on the verge of giving up his life, it is known as raga.

Raga-marga - the path of raga, or spontaneous attachment; see


Ragamayi bhakti - bhakti which is permeated with raga, or spontaneous affection. Ragamayi bhakti is not within sadhana. It refers to the stage after prema has arisen. In the beginning, there is prema, which then develops into sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga, bhava and mahabhava. When prema attains the state of raga it is called ragamayi. It comes after one takes his birth in the womb of a gopi and attains the association of Krsna’s ragatmika-bhaktas. By that association, first prema will come and then it will gradually evolve to the stage of raga and on up to mahabhava. The word trsna used here means ‘thirst’ to drink Krsna, His form (rupa), taste (rasa), smell (gandha), sound (sabda) and touch (sparsa). The word premamayi is a general term that can indicate the stage of prema anywhere in its development from the stage of sneha right up to the stage of mahabhava.

Raganuga-bhakti - bhakti which follows in the wake of the ragatmika nature present in the hearts of the Lord’s eternal associates in Vraja is known as raganuga-bhakti.

Raganuga-prakrti - nature which impels one to follow the soul’s spontaneous attraction toward Krsna. When the intelligence is liberated from the bondage of maya, human nature no longer needs to be governed by rules and prohibitions; rather, it is prompted by spontaneous love. The raganuga nature is the unadulterated nature of the jiva. It is svabhava-siddha (the perfected state of the self), cinmaya (transcendental), and jada-mukta (free from bondage to dull matter).

Raganuga-sadhana - Sri Rupa Gosvami’s conclusions regarding the method for performing raganuga-bhajana are stated in Bhaktirasamrta-sindhu (1.2.294-296) as follows: “One should constantly remember one’s dearest nava-kisora Sri Nanda-nandana and the beloved associates of Krsna who are possessed of sajatiya-bhava or the identical mood for which one aspires. One should always reside in Sri Vraja-dhama with great attachment for hearing topics regarding Krsna and His devotees. If one is physically unable to live in Vraja, one should do so mentally. This is the method of raganugabhakti-sadhana.” Sri Rupa Gosvami continues: “A sadhaka who has lobha for raganuga-bhakti should serve Sri Krsna both in the sadhaka-rupa and the siddha-rupa in accordance with the bhava of the Vrajaparikaras who possess the same mood for which he aspires. The angas of bhakti such as sravana, kirtana, sri guru-padaasraya, and others in regard to vaidhi-bhakti, are also useful and necessary in raganugabhakti.  But judicious sadhakas will adopt only those angas which nourish their specific bhava, avoiding those which hamper it.” Examples of the angas of bhakti in regard to raganuga-sadhana are as follows: Sravanam in madhura-rasa means that one will hear how a maidservant serves Lalita, Visakha, Radha and Krsna. Kirtana means that one will learn how to do pati-vancanam, that is speaking sweet words to the husband in order to cheat him and go to participate in the lila of Radha and Krsna. Smaranam means to remember how Lalita and Visakha are rendering service to Srimati Radharani.  Pada-sevanam means to take Srimati Radharani to meet with Krsna at night. Arcanam is done with the corner of the eyes. When Krsna is returning from the cow-pastures with the cowherd boys and the cows, all the gopis are standing at their doorsteps doing arcana with the corner of their eyes. Everything is there; the flame is there, water is there, sneha, mana, pranaya and everything else is there.  Krsna also accepts their worship with the corner of His eyes. This is called arcana. Atma-nivedanam means gopijana-vallabhaya svaha:

“I am the maidservant of Radha and Krsna, and I am offering my entire being to Them.”

Ragatmika - one in whose heart there naturally and eternally exists a deep spontaneous desire to love and serve Sri Krsna; one whose bhakti is permeated with raga. This specifically refers to the eternal residents of Vraja, who are attracted to Sri Krsna in a mood of intimate love, free from any conception of the Lord’s opulence or majesty (aisvarya-jnana).

Rajas - (See rajo-guna).

Rajasika - of the nature of rajo-guna.

Rajo-guna - the quality or nature of living beings which is characterised by intense activity and passion.

Rama-navami - the appearance day of Sri Rama which occurs on the ninth day of the light lunar fortnight of the month of Caitra (March-April).

Ranjakata - in chapter twenty-one ranjakata is used to mean attraction.  The special implication is that a person’s heart becomes ‘colored’, or dyed very thoroughly by an object due to his strong attachment for it. That is the state of raga. When the person sees the beautiful object, his vision at once becomes drawn to it, and his heart becomes colored. Then, even if the beautiful object goes out of his sight, still his heart continues to perceive it everywhere.  The coloring of the heart is called ranjakata and the strong attachment that is established in the heart when the consciousness becomes dyed in this way is known as raga.

Rasa - (1) the spiritual transformation of the heart which takes place when the perfectional state of love for Krsna, known as rati, is converted into liquid emotions by combination with various types of transcendental ecstasies. In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (2.1.5) bhakti-rasa is defined: “When the sthayibhava, or the permanent emotion of the heart in one of the five primary relationships of neutrality, servitude, friendship, parental affection, or conjugal love, mixes with vibhava, anubhava, sattvika-bhava, and vyabhicaribhava, thus producing an extraordinary taste in the heart of the bhakta, it is called bhakti-rasa.

     The explanation of bhakti as rasa is the unique contribution of Srila Rupa Gosvami. The common view is that rasa applies to the emotional experience of poetry or drama. This theory of rasa originated from the Natya-sastra of Bharata Muni, a famous work on Sanskrit poetics and drama. Rupa Gosvami’s explanation of how rasa is generated is exactly in accordance with Bharata Muni’s definition; yet he has explained the experience of rasa in terms of bhakti, or love for Krsna. Thus, there is both a transcendental and secular conception of rasa.

(2) the state of aesthetic consciousness.

Rasaraja - the emperor of rasa; one who is supreme in relishing the mellows of rasa; this is a name for Sri Krsna who is akhila-rasamrtamurti, the embodiment of the essence of all rasa.

Rasika-bhakta - one who is able to relish bhakti-rasa within his heart. At the stage of bhava, a bhakta’s heart becomes infused with suddha-sattva from the heart of one of Krsna’s eternal associates in Vraja. This suddha-sattva is then known as krsna-rati, the first dawning of divine love. When this permanent sentiment of love combines with other ecstatic emotions, it generates the unique experience of bhakti-rasa. One who is eligible to taste this rasa is known as a rasika-bhakta.

Rati - (1) attachment, fondness for. (2) a stage in the development of bhakti which is synonymous with bhava (see bhava-bhakti).

Riramsa - means the desire to taste Krsna for one’s own enjoyment, not for Krsna’s pleasure. If that riramsa is to please Krsna, then it comes in the category of kama and prema. Riramsa should be present in kamanuga, whether it is tat-tad-bhava-icchamayi or sambhogaicchamayi; riramsa is present in both. Riramsa is present in tad-tadbhava-icchamayi, but it is tasted when the gopis and Krsna meet together. And in sambhoga-icchamayi, the gopis are meeting with Krsna in order to please Him. Riramsa is also present in Kubja, but only to satisfy herself. Riramsa is not for one’s personal enjoyment in sambhoga-icchamayi and tat-tad-bhava-icchamayi.

     If one has this riramsa toward Krsna and is practicing strictly according to vaidhi-bhakti then he will attain to the class of Krsna’s queens in Dvaraka. In vaidhi-bhakti one worships Laksmi-Narayana. Sadhakas who have riramsa towards Krsna will attain Krsna, but their kama will be of the nature of Dvaraka, so they will follow the mahisis (queens). Vaidhi means to be married by sastravidhi.  In the vaidhi-bhava, one desires to have Krsna as one’s husband.  One may desire the Krsna of Vraja, but there is no marriage in Vraja. Therefore, one cannot obtain Vraja bhava; instead, one will attain Dvaraka.

Rsi - a great sage learned in the Vedas.

Ruci - taste. This is the fifth stage in the development of the creeper of bhakti. Ruci develops after one has acquired steadiness in bhajana.  At this stage, with the awakening of actual taste, one’s attraction to spiritual matters, such as hearing, chanting, and other such devotional practices, exceeds one’s attraction to any type of material activity.

Ruh - an Islamic term for the soul.

Ruh-mujarrad - an Islamic term for the liberated soul.


Sac-cid-ananda - that which is composed of sat (eternal existence), cit (full spiritual consciousness), and ananda (spiritual bliss); often refers to the transcendental form of Sri Krsna.

Sacinandana - a name for Caitanya Mahaprabhu; the son of mother Saci (see Caitanya).

Sadhaka - one who follows a spiritual discipline to achieve a specific

goal. In this book this especially refers to a practitioner of


Sadhana - the method one adopts in order to obtain a specific goal is called sadhana. Without sadhana one cannot obtain sadhya, the goal of one’s practice. There are many different types of sadhana corresponding to various goals. Those who desire material enjoyment adopt the path of karma as their sadhana. Those who desire liberation adopt the path of jnana as their sadhana. Those who aspire for the eternal loving service of Sri Krsna adopt the path of bhakti as their sadhana. The sadhana of bhakti refers to spiritual practices such as hearing, chanting, and so on.

Sadhana-bhakti - the practising stage of devotion; a stage of bhakti in which the various spiritual disciplines performed for the satisfaction of Sri Krsna are undertaken through the medium of the senses for the purpose of bringing about the manifestation of bhava, or spiritual prema.

Sadhana-catustaya - four types of sadhana (mentioned in Chapter twelve) which are; nityanitya-vastu-viveka (discriminating between eternal and temporary objects); 2) ihanutra-phala-bhoga-viraga (detachment from enjoying the results of this life and the next life); 3) sama-damadi sat-sampatti (the six types of opulences headed by control over the mind and senses); and 4) mumuksa (the desire for liberation).

Sadhu - derived from the verbal root sadh meaning to go straight to the goal (like an arrow), or to succeed, thus the sadhu means one who is straight forward and speaks the truth unaffected by social convention, as does sadhana mean the process of going straight to the goal. Although in a general sense this may be translated as a religious person or a bhakta, it refers to bhaktas who are highly ad-vanced. Such bhaktas are also known as mahat (great souls) or bhagavata (bhaktas who embody the characteristics of Bhagavan).Their symptoms are described as follows (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.2-3): mahantas te sama-citta prasanta vimanyava suhrda sadhavo ye, ye va mayise krta-sauhrdartha janesu dehambhara-vartikesu grhesu jayatmajaratimatsu na priti-yukta yavad-arthas ca loke – “The mahat or great souls are endowed with the following qualities: They see all jivas with equal vision. They are fully peaceful because their intelligence is firmly fixed in Krsna. They are devoid of anger. They are well-wishing friends to all jivas. They are sadhus, meaning that they never consider others‘ faults. They are firmly established in a loving relationship with the Supreme Lord, and they consider prema to be the supreme object of attainment. They do not consider any other object to be worthy of interest. They have no attachment for people who are absorbed in material enjoyment, nor for wife, children, wealth, or home. They have no desire to accumulate wealth beyond what is necessary to maintain their body for the service of Sri Krsna.”

Sadhu-sanga - the association of highly advanced bhaktas who possess the qualities described above. The word sadhu-sanga does not mean merely to be in the proximity of advanced bhaktas; it means to seek them out, to remain with them, to offer them obeisances, to serve them as far as possible, to hear spiritual instructions from them, to perform spiritual practices under their direction, to follow in their footsteps, and to conduct one’s life according to their instructions.

     In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.91) Srila Rupa Gosvami specifically defines what type of sadhu-sanga we should seek out – sajatiyasaye snigdhe sadhau sangah svato vare. He says that we should associate with bhaktas who are significantly more advanced than ourselves, who are soft hearted, and who are established in the mood of service to Krsna for which we individually aspire. This is the first development of the creeper of bhakti after its inception in the form of sraddha.

Sadhya - the object or goal which is desired by a person and for the attainment of which he undergoes a suitable process, is known as sadhya. There are many different types of sadhyas, or objects of attainment, and these are generally grouped into four categories: dharma (religiosity), artha (economic development), kama (material enjoyment), and moksa (liberation). The sadhya-vastu, or object of attainment, for the bhaktas is bhagavat-priti, love for the Supreme Lord. This is also known as prema. Bhakti or prema, being an eternal function of Sri Bhagavan’s svarupa-sakti, is not produced by anything. Yet, when the bhakta’s heart is purified by performing sadhana-bhakti, it becomes fit to receive the manifestation of His hladini or pleasure giving potency. At that time Krsna manifests this potency in the bhakta’s heart and it becomes known as bhagavatpriti (see priti and purusartha).

Sadhya, susiddha, siddha and ari - These are four kinds of dosa (faults) calculated according to jyotisa-sastra concerning the nature of a sisya in accordance with his purva-karma. Some of them appear to be good qualities, but from the absolute perspective, anyone who takes a material birth has fault. In this context sadhya indicates that the candidate has the adhikara to attain prema-bhakti if he endeavors fully in this life. Susiddha has the adhikara to attain perfection with very little endeavor and siddha has somewhat less adhikara than him. Ari indicates that the sisya has so many ari (inauspicious planets) in his chart that almost any endeavor he makes for bhakti will simply create further hindrances. However, when these four kinds of sisyas accept krsna-mantra from sad-guru all of their hindrances can be removed.

Sagnika-brahmana - is a brahmana who keeps a perpetual fire burning in his house for the sake of performing yajna.

Saiva - a worshiper of Sri Siva.

Sakhi - a female friend, companion, or attendant. 

Sakhya - love or attachment for the Lord which is expressed in the mood of a friend; one of the five primary relationships with Krsna which are established in the heart when the sadhaka has attained the stage of bhava or prema.

One of the angas of sadhana-bhakti; the worship of the Lord while one is in the stage of sadhana in the mood of being a friend of the Lord. Although Sri Bhagavan possesses all opulences and majesty, a bhakta who thinks of the Lord as his friend and endeavors to please Him in this way exhibits this mood of friendship toward the Lord. In the summer season, thinking that his worshipful Lord must be suffering greatly from the heat, the sadhaka will fan Him and offer Him sandalwood and other fragrant and cooling substances. When one does so, he demonstrates a mood of friendship toward the Lord. The difference between dasyam and sakhyam is that sakhyam is imbued with visrambha-seva, the mood of intimacy, free from any formal restraint. This is one of the nine primary angas of bhakti.

Sakta - a worshiper of Sakti or Durga.

Sakti - (1) power or potency. (2) the wife of Lord Siva, also known as Durga, who presides over the material energy; one of the five deities worshiped by the pancopasakas.

Saktyavesa-avatara - an empowered incarnation; a jiva who, due to submission to Bhagavan becomes avesa (empowered) by Him to act powerfully on His behalf.

Samadhi - meditation or deep trance either upon the Paramatma or upon Krsna’s lila.

Samaja - human society; a meeting, assembly, congregation or community.

Samajika - that which relates to society and social ideas (see samaja). 

Sambandha-jnana - knowledge regarding sambandha-tattva, the mutual relationship between the Lord, the living entities, and the material energy. The word sambandha means connection, relationship, and binding. The living entities are eternally and inseparably connected to the Supreme Lord, who is therefore the true object of relationship. The general relationship between the living entities and Sri Bhagavan is one of servant and served. But in the perfectional stage of bhakti, one becomes established in a specific relationship with the Lord either as a servant, friend, parent, or beloved.

Sambandha-tattva - the principle regarding the mutual relationships between Bhagavan, the living entities, and the material energy. 

Sambhoga - full pleasure. Experienced in the loving dealings between Krsna and His associates in Vraja. The object of these dealings, which embody a wonderful, ecstatic sentiment of rejoicing, is solely to give pleasure to each other.

Samhita-sastras - religious sastras which delineate the laws for human beings.

Sampradaya - (samyak + pradaya): that process or path that bestows the Supreme Absolute Truth thoroughly and perfectly. A line of disciplic succession; established doctrine transmitted from one teacher to another; a particular system of religious teaching. The Padma Purana predicts the advent of four authorized lines of Vaisnava disciplic succession as well as their founding acaryas in the age of Kali: ata kalau bhavisyanti catvarah sampradayinah sribrahma-rudra-sanaka vaisnavah ksiti-pavana – “In the age of Kali four Vaisnava sampradayas will purify the earth. These are known as the Sri (Laksmi), Brahma, Rudra, and Sanaka (Catuhsana)sampradayas.”

     These sampradayas are renowned by the names of the acaryas who established their doctrines in recent times (Padma Purana): ramanujam sri svicakre madhvacaryam caturmukha sri visnusvaminam rudro nimbadityam catuhsana – “Laksmidevi accepted Ramanuja, Caturmukha Brahma accepted Madhvacarya; Rudra accepted Visnusvami; and Catuhsana, the four Kumaras, accepted Nimbaditya as the respective heads of their sampradayas.”

     Although Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu claimed a link with the Madhva sampradaya, His line is distinguished as the Gaudiya sampradaya (the sampradaya established in the land of Gauda). Because He is Sri Bhagavan Himself He has presented the highest conceptions of love of God which were previously unknown to any of the sampradayas.

Samsara - (1) material existence; the cycle of repeated birth and death. (2) householder life; domestic life.

Samskara - (1) a sacred or sanctifying ceremony. (2) reformation or training of the mind; impression on the mind of any previous experience or acts done in a former state of existence.

Samvit - this refers to svarupa-sakti which is predominated by samvit (see svarupa-sakti). Samvit is the potency which relates to the cit, or cognizant, aspect of Sri Bhagavan. Although Bhagavan is the embodiment of knowledge, samvit is the potency by which He knows Himself and causes others to know Him. When the samvit potency is prominent in visuddha-sattva, it is known as atma-vidya, knowledge of the individual self and Bhagavan. This atma-vidya has two faculties: (1) jnana, knowledge itself; and (2) jnana-pravartaka, one who or that which promotes knowledge.  The worshiper’s knowledge is manifest by these two faculties. Knowledge of absolute reality is possible only with the help of atma-vidya.

Sandhini - this refers to svarupa-sakti which is predominated by sandhini (see svarupa-sakti). Sandhini is the potency which relates to the sat, or existential aspect of Sri Bhagavan. This is the potency by which He maintains His own existence and the existence of others. When the sandhini potency is prominent in visuddha-sattva, it is known as adhara-sakti, the all-accomodating potency. The spiritual abode of the Lord and His associates are manifest by this adhara-sakti.

Sandhya - evening – the junction of day and night. 

Sandhya-arati - the ceremony of worshiping a Deity with various types of paraphernalia such as incense, flowers, and a ghee lamp, performed at evening twilight with the chanting of devotional hymns and musical accompaniment.

Sandhya-vandana - the chanting of Vedic mantras such as brahmagayatri at dawn, noon and sunset.

Sankhya - the path of knowledge involving an analysis of spirit and matter. This philosophy is atheistic in nature. It was propagated by the sage Kapila, who is different from the avatara of the Lord known as Kapila, the son of Kardama and Devahuti. The sage Kapila, who was born in the dynasty of Agni, is referred to in the Mahabharata (Vana-parva 221.21): kapilam paramarsin ca yam prahur yataya sada agni sa kapilo nama sankhya-yoga pravartaka – “That person whom the renunciates proclaim as the founder of the sankhya-yoga system is the great sage Kapila who appeared in the dynasty of Agni.”

Sankirtana - congregational chanting of the names of Krsna.

Sankucita-cetana - contracted consciousness. This refers to animals, birds, insects, and aquatics. Their consciousness is more de-veloped than that of the non-moving entities, yet inferior to human consciousness. Sankucita-cetana is mainly limited to the activities of eating, sleeping, mating, fearing, moving about of their own volition, fighting with other animals over territory and possessions which they claim as their own, and becoming angry in the face of encroachment. Beings at this stage of consciousness have no knowledge of the next life and no tendency to inquire about God. 

Sannyasa - the fourth asrama, or stage of life in the varnasrama system; renounced ascetic life.

Sannyasi - a member of the renounced order.

Saranagati - also known as saranapatti; surrender; approaching for refuge or protection. In Bhakti-sandarbha (Anuccheda 236) saranagati is described:

anukulyasya sankalpa pratikulyasya varjanam

raksisyatiti visvaso goptrtve varanam tatha

atma-niksepa karpanye sad-vidha saranagati


There are six symptoms of self-surrender: acceptance of that which is favorable to bhagavad-bhajana, rejection of that which is unfavorable, firm faith in the Lord as one’s protector, deliberate acceptance of the Lord as one’s guardian and nourisher, submission of the self, and humility.

Sarartha-darsini - commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura gives the following commentary on slokas 11.20.27-30, 32-33: “In the first two slokas quoted above, the nature of a person who is in the beginning stage of eligibility for bhakti is described. By the association of sadhus one develops a taste for hearing hari-katha. At that time he loses interest in all other activities, and begins to chant sri-nama with firm determination.  However, due to his previous habits and conditioning, he is unable to give up material enjoyment and the desire for such enjoyment.  Yet even while engaged in such enjoyment he knows that it is offensive and he condemns it.

     “What is meant by drdha-niscaya, firm determination? ‘Whether my attachment for family, home, and so on is destroyed or increased, whether I experience ten million impediments in bhajana or none, even if I am impelled to lust, or must go to hell for my offenses, I will never give up bhakti. I will not agree to adopt karma or jnana, even if Brahma himself comes to recommend it.’ This is known as drdhaniscaya.  From the outset, the more one’s bhajana is firmly resolved for bhakti, the less it will be distracted by unfavorable things. 

     “Will the bhakta remain obstructed by desires for material enjoyment? No. This is answered by Sri Bhagavan in the next two slokas.  ‘By hearing and repeating hari-katha, all desires for material enjoyment within the bhaktas heart are gradually destroyed. When the sadhaka worships Me, I come and sit in his heart, at which time his faults can no longer remain. Why? Because it is not possible for material desires to sit in the same heart with Me, just as it is impossible for the sun and darkness to be present in the same place. The knot of the false ego is pierced without delay, all doubts are dispersed, and the desires for karma are annihilated. This is My eternal edict.’

     “A bhakta thus develops faith in hearing hari-katha, and having abandoned faith in the pursuits of karma and jnana, he loses interest in such activities. But suppose for some improbable reason he were to desire the fruits of such activities – then what? This is answered in the next two slokas. ‘The benedictions of elevation to the celestial planets, liberation, the attainment of My supreme abode, as well as whatever else is obtained by fruitive activities, austerity, knowledge, renunciation, yoga practice, charity, religiosity, or other beneficial methods of sadhana, are easily obtained by My bhaktas through the power of bhakti-yoga.‘”

Sarira - the body; bodily frame.

Sariraka-bhasya - the commentary on Vedanta-sutra by Sri Sankaracarya; Inquiry into the Nature of the Embodied Spirit (see Sankaracarya in the glossary of names).

Saririka - that which relates to the material body and its acquisitions (see sarira).

Sarva-darsi - one who is all-seeing; one who sees that Bhagavan is the complete Absolute Truth and the source of brahma and Paramatma.

Sarva-kalika - activities which are applicable for all time.

Sastra - Scripture especially the Vedic scriptures. 

Sastriya-sraddha - conviction based on deep faith in the sastras in the practice of bhakti.

Sat-karma - pious deeds recommended in the karma-kanda section of the Vedas.

Sat-sanga - see sadhu-sanga.

Satta - existence.

Sattva-guna - the quality or nature of living beings which is characterised by wisdom and purity.

Sattvika - of the nature of sattva -guna.

Sattvika-bhava - one of the five essential ingredients of rasa; eight symptoms of spiritual ecstasy arising exclusively from visuddhasattva, or in other words, when the heart is overwhelmed by emotions in connection with the five primary moods of affection for Krsna or the seven secondary emotions. The eight symptoms that constitute sattvika-bhava are: (1) stambha (becoming stunned), (2) sveda (perspiration), (3) romanca (standing of the hairs on end), (4) svara-bhanga (faltering of the voice), (5) kampa (trembling), vaivarna (pallor or change of color), (7) asru (tears), and (8) pralaya (loss of consciousness or fainting).

Satya - truth, reality; demonstrated conclusion.

Saura - a worshiper of Surya, the sun god.

Sautramani-yajna - a particular sacrifice in honor of Indra which is described in the Yajur Veda. It is said that by performing this yajna, one obtains a place in the heavenly planets. Although drinking wine is forbidden for brahmanas, this yajna involves the acceptance of wine in a manner that does not result in a brahmana’s falldown. 

Savisesa-vada - the doctrine which acknowledges that the Absolute Truth is a transcendental personality possessing non-material form, features, and attributes.

Savisesa-vadi - one who adheres to the doctrine of savisesavada.

Seva - service, attendance on, reverence, devotion to.

Sevaite - priests or servants of a Deity.

Shallow earthen plate - (quoted in chapter 10) Vaisnavas who now live at Gadigacha in Navadvipa, who look upon the world as a shallow earthen plate. The shallow earthen plate is a lid for a water pot. Even if the pot is very large, it can only hold a small quantity of water. i.e. Nyayaratna is saying although the earth is a vast container, it was reduced to a shallow lid by the immense scholarship and authority of the Vaisnavas of Godruma.

Siddha - (1) realized or perfected. (2) liberated souls who reside in the spiritual world. (3) a liberated soul who accompanies Bhagavan to the material world to assist in His pastimes, or one who has attained the perfectional stage of bhakti (prema) in this life, whose symptoms are described in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (2.1.180): avijnatakhila klesa sada krsnasrita kriya siddha syu santata prema saukhyasvada parayana – “One who is always fully immersed in activities related to Sri Krsna, who is completely unacquainted with impediments or material distress, and who incessantly tastes the bliss of prema is called a siddha-bhakta.”

Siddhanta - philosophical doctrine or precept; demonstrated conclusion; established end; admitted truth.

Siddhi - eight mystical perfections attained through yoga (see yogasiddhi).

Siddhi-kami - one who covets mystic powers (see yoga-siddhi).

Siksa - instructions received from a teacher; as one of the limbs of bhakti, this specifically refers to instructions received from a guru about bhakti.

Siksa-guru - the person from whom one receives instructions on how to progress on the path of bhajana is known as siksa-guru, or instructing spiritual master. After hearing instructions from the sravana-guru, the person from whom one hears about the fundamental truths of Bhagavan, a desire may arise to engage in bhajana. If such a desire arises, the person whom one approaches in order to learn how to perform bhajana is known as a siksa-guru. The sravanaguru and siksa-guru are usually one and the same person as stated in the Bhakti-sandarbha, Anuccheda 206 – atha sravana-guru bhajanasiksa-gurvo prayakam-ekatam-iti tathaivaha.

Siva - a qualitative expansion of Sri Bhagavan (see Glossary of Names).

Siva-ratri - a festival in honor of Siva which is observed with a fast during the day and night of the fourteenth day of the dark half of the month of Phalguna (February-March).

Smaranam - rememberance and meditation upon Krsna’s names, forms, qualities, and pastimes. Smaranam should be done in connection with nama-sankirtana. There are five stages in the process of smarana known as smarana, dharana, dhyana, dhruvanusmrti, and samadhi: (1) a little investigation or examination of Sri Hari’s names, forms, and so on is called smarana; (2) to withdraw the mind from all external objects and fix it in a general way upon the name, form, etc. of Sri Hari is called dharana; (3) to contemplate the Lord’s names, forms, etc. in a concentrated manner is called dhyana; (4) when that rememberance proceeds in an uninterrupted manner like a continuous flow of nectar, it is called dhruvanusmrti, and (5) that meditation in which the object of one’s contemplation is the only thing manifest in the heart is called samadhi. Smaranam is one of the nine primary angas of bhakti.

Smarta - an orthodox brahmana. One who rigidly adheres to the smrti-sastras (in particular, the dharma-sastras or codes of religious behavior), being overly attached to the external rituals without comprehending the underlying essence of the sastra. They are distinct from the Vaisnava smartas and smrti-sastras such as Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa

Smarta-karma - social and religious rites prescribed by the smrtisastras.

Smrti - (1) that which is remembered (2) tradition as distinguished from sruti, revelation. The body of sacred literature which is remembered (in contradistinction to sruti, or that which is directly heard by or revealed to the rsis). These include the six Vedangas, the dharma-sastras such as Manu-samhita, the Puranas, and the itihasas.

Sneha - affection. In chapter twenty-one two kinds of sneha are being described by Babaji Mahasaya. He says that sneha is related to sakhya-bhava, this does not mean in the intimate sense of relationship. That kind of sakhya-bhava comes under the category of sambandha-rupa. Sakhya-bhava in this chapter means the ordinary type of sakhyam, which comes in the nine items of bhakti that Prahlada Maharaja mentions in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Here sakhyam is in vaidhi-bhakti, and it means to serve Krsna with an ordinary sense of friendliness (sakhya-bhava), and to know Krsna as a friend (sakha). Since this comes under the jurisdiction of vaidhi-bhakti,

it is not part of raganuga-bhakti. The other kind of sneha comes in the category of prema (sneha, mana, pranaya, etc.), and therefore cannot be performed in raganuga-sadhana, but it can come in

ragatmika-bhakti. It cannot be followed. It can only develop in prema after vastu-siddhi, when the bhakta has taken birth in the womb of a vraja-gopi, and so it cannot be practiced in raganugasadhana-bhakti.

Sraddha - faith. This refers to faith in the statements of the sastras which is awakened after accumulating pious devotional activities over many births. Such faith is aroused in the association of saintly bhaktas and it is the external manifestation of the seed of the creeper of bhakti. The inner essence of that seed is the conception which is planted in the heart of the disciple to serve Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in a particular capacity (see also bhakti-lata-bija). 

Sraddha - a ceremony in honor of and for the benefit of deceased relatives. The forefathers are offered pinda, an oblation of rice and meal, which endows them with a body suitable to attain pitr-loka, the planet of the forefathers. There they enjoy a high standard of material enjoyment.

Sravana-guru - the person from whom one hears instructions regarding the fundamental truths of Sri Bhagavan, His energies, the living entities, and bhakti is known as the sravana-guru.

Sravanam - hearing the transcendental descriptions of Bhagavan’s names, forms, qualities, pastimes, and associates from the mouths of advanced bhaktas. One of the nine most important angas of bhakti.

Sri Bhasya - The commentary which Reveals the Transcendental Beauty and Opulence of the Lord; a commentary on Vedanta-sutra by Sri Ramanujacarya.

Sruti - (1) that which is heard. (2) revelation, as distinguished from smrti, tradition; infallible knowledge which was received by Brahma or by the great sages in the beginning of creation and which descends in disciplic succession from them; the body of literature which was directly manifest from the Supreme Lord. This applies to the original four Vedas (also known as the nigamas) and the Upanisads.

Sthavara - non-moving living entities like trees, creepers, shrubs, and stones.

Sthayibhava - one of the five essential ingredients of bhakti-rasa; the permanent sentiment of love for the Lord in one of the five primary relationships of tranquility, servitude, friendship, parental affection, or conjugal love. This dominant emotion of the heart in one of the five primary relationships is also known as mukhya-rati, primary attachment. The sthayibhava can also refer to the dominant sentiment in the seven secondary mellows of laughter, wonder, heroism, compassion, anger, fear, and disgust. In that case it is known as gauna-rati, secondary attachment.

Sthula-sarira - the gross material body consisting of physical elements.

Subha-karma - activities producing auspicious results. 

Suddha-abhimana - pure egoism; the conception of being a servant of Krsna.

Suddha-bhakta - a pure bhakta; one who performs suddha-bhakti.

Suddha-bhakti - pure devotion; devotion which is unmixed with fruitive action or monistic knowledge, and which is devoid of all desires other than the exclusive pleasure of Krsna; this is also known as uttama-bhakti.

Suddha-bhava - the pure or genuine state of bhava-bhakti; the genuine spiritual emotions which manifest at the state of bhava.

 Suddha-jiva - the pure spiritual entity in his liberated state free from material designations.

Suddha-jnana - knowledge of the relationship between Bhagavan, the jivas, and maya.

Suddha-nama - pure chanting of the holy name. When one is freed from all offenses and anarthas, the pure holy name descends and appears on the fully purified and transcendental senses – known thus as suddha-nama.

Suddhavastha - the pure or liberated state of the jiva.  

Sudra - the lowest of the four varnas, or castes, in the varnasrama system; artisans and laborers.

Sukrti - piety, virtue; pious activity. Sukrti is of two types: nitya, eternal, and naimittika, temporary. The sukrti by which one obtains sadhu-sanga and bhakti is nitya-sukrti. It is eternal because it produces eternal fruit. Bhakta-sanga, or the association of bhaktas, and bhakti-kriya-sanga, or contact with acts of devotion, are nityasukrti.  These activities are said to be nitya-sukrti and not bhakti proper when they are performed accidentally or without pure sraddha. When this type of sukrti acquires strength after many lifetimes, sraddha develops toward sadhu-sanga and ananya-bhakti.  The sukrti by which one obtains material enjoyment and impersonal liberation is naimittika-sukrti. It is temporary because it produces temporary results. Karma, yoga, and jnana are all naimittikasukrti.  Naimittika-sukrti does not have the power to awaken faith in transcendental objects, such as the Lord’s holy name, mahaprasada, bhakti, and the Vaisnavas.

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

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

Svabhava - the true nature of a thing which forms an essential part of its composition.

Svabhavika-anuraga - the spontaneous attraction that one experiences toward the Supreme Lord and His bhaktas when one becomes established in one’s pure spiritual nature.

Sva-dharma - (1) one’s ‘own duty’; the true eternal spiritual function of the self. (2) in regard to varnasrama-dharma, this refers to the temporary duties prescribed in accordance with one’s social caste. Thus sva-dharma is used in both the absolute and relative sense.

Svarasiki - in chapter twenty-one is used in the sense of undivided remembrance of Krsna’s lila. When raga has awakened in the heart of the bhakta, then Krsna’s lila automatically manifests in his heart in a continuous flow, without cessation or interruption.  Such a condition is called svarasiki.

Svarupa-sakti - Sri Bhagavan’s divine potency. It is called svarupasakti because it is situated in His form. This potency is cinmaya, fully conscious, and thus it is the counterpart and antithesis of matter. Consequently it is also known as cit-sakti, potency which embodies the principle of consciousness. Because this potency is intimately connected with the Lord, being situated in His form, it is further known as antaranga-sakti, the internal potency. Because it is superior to His marginal and external potencies both in form and glory, it is known as para-sakti, the superior potency. Thus, by its qualities, this potency is known by different names – svarupa-sakti, citsakti, antaranga-sakti, and para-sakti.

     The svarupa-sakti has three divisions: (1) sandhini, the potency which accommodates the spiritual existence of Krsna and all of His associates; (2) samvit, the potency which bestows transcendental knowledge of Him; and (3) hladini, the potency by which Krsna enjoys transcendental bliss and bestows such bliss upon His bhaktas (see sandhini, samvit, and hladini).      The supreme entity known as Parabrahma is composed of saccid-ananda. These features (eternal existence, full-cognizance, and supreme bliss) can never be separated from each other. Similarly sandhini, samvit, and hladini are always found together. No one of these potencies can ever be separated from the other two.  However, they are not always manifest in the same proportion. When sandhini is prominent in visuddha-sattva, it is known as svarupa-sakti predominated by sandhini. When samvit is prominent, it is known as svarupa-sakti predominated by samvit. And when hladini is prominent, it is known as svarupa-sakti predominated    by hladini.

Svarupa-siddhi - the stage in which a bhakta’s svarupa, or internal

spiritual form and identity, becomes manifest. This comes at the

stage of bhava-bhakti.

Svarupata-jada-mukti - liberated from matter in terms of the revelation of one’s svarupa. This refers to svarupa-siddhi, the stage in which bhava manifests in the bhakta’s heart from the heart of one of the Lord’s eternal associates. At this stage one’s internal spiritual identity becomes manifest and the intelligence is freed from the influence of matter, yet one’s relationship with the material world remains intact due to the presence of the material body.


Tamas - (see tamo -guna).

Tamasika - of the nature of tamo-guna.

Tamo-guna - the quality or nature of tamasika jivas which is characterized by indolence and ignorance.

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

Tantrika - one who is completely versed in the mystical science of

the Tantras.

Tapasya - asceticism; austerity.

Tarkibi - an Islamic term for the conditioned soul. 

Tata - the border region between land and water; a shore. A marginal state.

Tatastha-sakti - the marginal or jiva potency of Sri Bhagavan. Because the jiva-sakti is included neither within the svarupa-sakti nor within maya-sakti, it is known as tatastha-sakti, the marginal potency.  The word tata means a shore or bank, like the shoreline of an ocean; and the verbal root stha means to be situated. The shore is not part of the ocean, yet it is not part of the land which borders the ocean. One situated on the shoreline is known as tatastha. He is situated neither within the ocean, nor on the land. 

     In his Paramatma-sandarbha, Jiva Gosvami has described the tatastha-sakti as follows: “The jiva-sakti is known as tatastha-sakti for two reasons. First of all it cannot be included within mayasakti for it is beyond maya-sakti. Secondly, although jiva-sakti is overcome by ignorance, the defect of being overcome in this way cannot touch the Paramatma situated in his heart. This is understood by the following analogy. We see that some portion of the sun’s rays can be covered by shade or clouds, but the sun itself cannot be covered. Similarly, the individual soul, who is vibhinnamsa, a separated part of Him, can be covered by maya, but Krsna Himself can never be covered.

     “From this it may be understood that the jiva-sakti is separate from the svarupa-sakti also for the following reason. Svarupa-sakti is present in the Paramatma. If the jiva-sakti were included within the svarupa-sakti, then the defect of the jivas being overcome by ignorance would be transposed upon the svarupa-sakti situated within the Paramatma as well, and ultimately upon the Paramatma Himself. Since that is not the case, it is evident that the jiva-sakti is not included within svarupa-sakti. Consequently, because the jiva-sakti is included neither within svarupa-sakti nor within mayasakti, it is known as tatastha-sakti.”

Tatastha-vikrama - see tatastha-sakti.

Tatkalika - activities which are relative to a particular period of time. 

Tattva - truth, reality, philosophical principle; the essence or substance of anything.

Tattvika-sraddha - real faith; faith which is based on the understanding of tattva and which prompts one to dedicate one’s entire being to attain the Supreme Lord.

Thakura - a term addressing Sri Bhagavan and the Deity. Other great personalities such as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura are sometimes so called, implying that they have become saksad-dharitva, qualitatively as good as God through their full dedication to Bhagavan.

Tilaka - clay markings worn on the forehead and other parts of the body by Vaisnavas, signifying their devotion to Lord Krsna or Visnu, and consecrating the body as the Lord’s temple.  Tridanda - a staff which is carried by the Vaisnava sannyasis. It consists of three rods symbolizing engagement of body, mind, and words in the service of the Lord. These three rods may also signify the eternal existence of the servitor (the bhakta), the object of service (Bhagavan), and service, thus distinguishing Vaisnava sannyasa from the mayavada ekadanda sannyasa. 

Tulasi - a sacred plant whose leaves and blossoms are used by Vaisnavas in the worship of Lord Krsna; a partial expansion of Vrnda-devi.

Tulasi-mala - a strand of wooden beads made of the tulasi plant, used like a rosary by Vaisnavas for counting their chanting of harinama; a necklace of small tulasi beads, known as kanthi-mala, worn on the neck by Vaisnavas to indicate their devotion to Sri Krsna and acceptance of diksa.

Tyagi - a renunciate or ascetic.


Uddipana-vibhava - an aspect of vibhava which refers to those things which stimulate rememberance of Sri Krsna, such as His dress and ornaments, the spring season, the bank of the Yamuna, forest groves, cows, peacocks, and so on. Vibhava is one of the five essential ingredients of rasa (see vibhava).

Udita-viveka - one whose spiritual discrimination has been awakened; the spiritually awake.

Upacara - a figurative expression; assignment of meaning, quality, or appellation to something, metaphor.

Upakarana - (1) ingredient, constituting material, instrument. (2) the upakaranas of rasa are the ingredients which combine to produce rasa; namely, sthayibhava, vibhava, anubhava, sattvika-bhava, and vyabhicari-bhava. (3) upakarana may also refer to the paraphernalia which is offered to the Deity.

Upanayana - a ceremony in which a guru initiates a boy into one of the three twice-born classes by investing the boy with the sacred thread, and teaching him the Brahma-gayatri mantra, whereupon he becomes eligible to study the Vedas under his guru. This is one of the Vedic samskaras, or purificatory ceremonies. 

Upasana - spiritual practices, especially worship of the Deity.  Upasana literally means ‘to sit near’. Thus upasana refers to all those activities by which one approaches the Lord in order to offer worship.

Urddhva-pundra-tilaka - the vertical clay markings of the Vaisnavas worn on the forehead and other parts of the body to symbolize their devotion to Lord Krsna or Visnu.

Uttama-bhakta - the topmost practitioner of bhakti.

Uttara-mimamsa - the philosophy established by Vyasadeva dealing with the latter division of the Vedas (see Vyasa in the Glossary of Names). After thorough analysis of the Upanisads, which comprise the latter portion of the Vedas, and the smrti-sastras which are supplements to the Upanisads, Vyasadeva summarized the philosophical conclusions of those treatises in his Brahma-sutra. This Brahma-sutra, or Vedanta-sutra, is also known as vedanta-darsana or uttara-mimamsa.

     Like the other philosophical systems, vedanta-darsana accepts certain fundamental principles. The principles of the vedantadarsana are not the imagination of Vyasadeva, but are established on the basis of the apauruseya-veda-sastras, which are understood to have been spoken directly by Sri Bhagavan. The statements of Bhagavan are by definition completely free from the defects of mistakes, illusion, cheating, and imperfect senses. On the other hand, the fundamental principles which are accepted in the other systems are products of their authors’ imaginations. The other systems are based on man-made sastras, composed by greatly learned sages. As a result they are subject to the defects of human limitation. 

     The vedanta-darsana accepts brahma as the supreme fundamental truth. What is the nature of that brahma? The first sutra of vedantadarsana states: athato brahma-jijnasa – “Now, therefore, inquiry should be made into brahma.” The entire vedanta-darsana is presented in order to answer this inquiry. In the course of analyzing what brahma is, one also becomes acquainted with the truths of the jivas, the creation, liberation, and other such topics. As this is a vast subject matter, only a brief introduction has been given here.


Vaidha-dharma - duties which have been prescribed by the Vedas or their corollary sastras.

Vaidhi-bhakti - devotion prompted by the regulations of sastra.  When sadhana-bhakti is not inspired by intense longing, but is instigated instead by the discipline of the sastra, it is called vaidhi-bhakti. 

Vaidhi-prakrti - the nature of the sadhaka which impels him to follow the rules and regulations of sastra. As long as the intelligence is under the control of maya, human nature must be regulated by rules and prohibitions. Thus, in this condition the vaidhi nature will certainly be in effect.

Vaidhi-pravrtti - the proclivity to follow the religious codes of sastra. 

Vairagya - detachment or indifference to this world; a spiritual discipline involving the acceptance of voluntary austerities to achieve detachment from the sense objects.

Vaisesika - a later division of the nyaya school of philosophy, also known as vaisesika-darsana. It was founded by Kanada Rsi and differs from the nyaya system of Gautama (see Kanada in the Glossary of Names). Kanada accepted six principles: (1) dravya (elementary substances which are nine in number – earth, water, fire, air, ether, time, space, the soul, and the mind), (2) guna (characteristics of all created things such as form, taste, smell, sound, and tangibility), (3) karma (activity), (4) samanya (universality; the connection of different objects by common properties), (5) visesa (individuality; the essential difference between objects), and (6) samavaya (inseparable concomitance; the relation which exists between a substance and its qualities, between a whole and its parts, or between a species and its individuals).  According to the vaisesika-darsana the jivas are innumerable.  The merit or demerit attaching to a man’s conduct in one state of existence and the corresponding reward or punishment which he receives in another is called adrsta (that which is beyond the reach of consciousness or observation). Due to the force of this unforseen accumulated karma, the jiva falls into the cycle of creation and undergoes birth, death, happiness, and distress. When the jiva obtains philosophical knowledge of the six principles, his adrsta is destroyed and he can attain liberation from the bondage of material existence. The vaisesikas define mukti as final release from material misery. There is no direct mention of Isvara in the vaisesika-darsana of Kanada.

Vaisesika-jnana - knowledge of worldly phenomena; classification of such phenomena into various categories such as dravya (objects), guna (qualities) and so on.

Vaisnava - literally means one whose nature is ‘of Visnu’ in other words, one in whose heart and mind only Visnu or Krsna resides. A bhakta of Sri Krsna or Visnu.

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

Vaisya - the third of the four varnas or castes in the varnasrama system; agriculturalists and businessmen.

Vanaprastha - the third asrama or stage of life in the varnasrama system; retired life which entails freedom from family responsibilities and the acceptance of spiritual vows.

Vandanam - principally refers to the offering of prayers or the recitation of Sanskrit slokas composed by suddha-bhaktas. Akrura attained perfection through vandana, offering prayers.

     Vandanam may also be divided into another three categories: (1)     kayika, by the body; (2) vacika, by speech; and (3) manasika, by the mind. Although vandanam is actually included within arcana (worship), it has been listed as an independent anga to show its importance. To offer obeisance with one hand, to offer obeisance directly facing the Deity, behind the Deity, or with one’s right side facing the Deity are all considered to be offenses. Vandanam is one of the nine primary angas of bhakti.

Vantasi - one who eats his own vomit. This refers to one who abandons household life and formally enters the renounced order, but who again establishes connection with women. 

Varna - one of the four social orders, castes – priest, administrator, businessman, or laborer – in which one carries out corresponding socio-religious duties in the system known as varnasrama.  Varnasrama-dharma - the Vedic social system, which organizes society into four occupational divisions and four stages of life (varnas and asramas).

Vastava-vastu - any really existing or abiding substance; that which is grounded in transcendence; Bhagavan, His atomic parts (the jivas), and His potency (maya).

Vastu - an object, thing, or substance; that which has existence.

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


Vastuta-jada-mukti - liberated in terms of one’s constitutional make-up as a vastu, or conscious living entity; permanent release from the encasement of the gross and subtle bodies which cover the atma and facilitate the jiva’s interaction with the material energy; complete freedom from all contact with matter and the material world. This refers to vastu-siddhi.

Vatsalya - love or attachment for Sri Krsna expressed in the mood of a parent.

Vedanta - the end of Vedic knowledge. The Upanisads are the latter portion of the Vedas, and the Vedanta-sutra summarizes the philosophy of the Upanisads in concise statements. Therefore, the word Vedanta especially refers to the Vedanta-sutra (see uttaramimamsa).  Srimad-Bhagavatam is considered to be the natural commentary on Vedanta-sutra by the same author, Vyasadeva. Therefore, in the opinion of the Vaisnavas, Srimad-Bhagavatam is the culmination or ripened fruit of the tree of all Vedic literature.

Vibhava - the causes for tasting bhakti-rasa. These are of two types: (1)alambana, the support (this refers to Krsna and His bhaktas who possess in their hearts spiritual love known as rati which can be transformed into rasa by combination with the other four ingredients of rasa); and (2) uddipana, the stimulus (objects con-nected to Krsna which arouse one’s spiritual love for Him and cause that love to be transformed into rasa).

Vibhinnamsa - Sri Bhagavan’s separated portions; the living entities. 

Viddha-Vaisnava-dharma - religious practices which go by the name of Vaisnava dharma but which are adulterated with karma and jnana. 

Vidhi - rule, law, religious injunction or regulation.

Vidhi-marga - the path of bhakti which follows rules and regulations.

Vidya - knowledge, learning, science, philosophy. 

Vidyadhara - a class of supernatural beings who possess magical powers and knowledge of various heavenly arts and sciences, especially singing and dancing.

Vidyadhari - females of the above class of supernatural beings. 

Vigraha - (1) individual form, shape, or embodiment. (2) the Deity form of Krsna.

Vijnana - realized knowlege; knowledge distinguishing one thing from another; science.

Vikarma - prohibited acts; actions against the codes of sastra.

Vikasita-cetana - budding consciousness. This refers to human beings who have an increased sense of morality and have also awakened faith in God. It also refers to those who have developed

a taste for the practice of sadhana-bhakti in accordance with the directions of sastra.

Vilasa - (1) pastimes, especially the playful amorous pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in Vraja. (2) a particular type of manifestation of the Lord. That form which, although manifesting different bodily features for the purpose of accomplishing particular pastimes, is almost identical with its original root form, is known as vilasa.

Vina - a stringed musical instrument of melodious sound, the favorite instrument of Narada Muni and of various other celestial personalities.

Vipaksa-vaisistya - is a specific incident that is either seen (drsta) or is inferred (anumati) about relating with vipaksa (an opposing party).

Visaya - an object of the senses, anything perceptible by the senses; any object of affection, concern, or attention; sensual enjoyment. 

Visaya-jnana - knowledge of material objects, knowledge acquired through the senses.

Visayalambana - the object of the transcendental senses on which there is alambana (dependence) for the advancement of prema. This is an aspect of vibhava, which is one of the five essential ingredients of rasa (see vibhava).

Visayi - a materialistic person, a sensualist.

Visesa-guna - special characteristic quality. The special characteristic quality of a truly abiding entity, or vastava-vastu, is its svabhava. 

Visnu - the Supreme Lord of the cosmos (see Glossary of Names).

Visnu-maya - Sri Bhagavan’s external potency, also known as Durga. 

Visrambha - lit. vigita means ‘completely devoid of’ and srambha means ‘awarness of his majesty or greatness’ i.e. complete intimacy without feelings of inferiority or worship. (1) loosening, absence of restraint, confidence, trust, intimacy, love. (2) In his Locana -rocani commentary on Ujjvala-nilamani (14.108) Jiva Gosvami has defined visrambha as the feeling of complete identification with the beloved such that one’s identity is not separate from that of the beloved.  In his Ananda-candrika commentary on the same sloka, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has defined visrambha as deep faith, devoid of formality. Visrambha impels one to think that one’s life, mind, intelligence, body, and possessions are one in all respects with the life, mind, intelligence, and body of the beloved. 

Visrambha-guru-seva - service to guru which is imbued with deep faith and intimacy (see visrambha). Service devoid of formality.  Complete absence of any feeling of separateness from the guru.

This type of service is possible only in an advanced stage.

Visuddha - completely pure; beyond the influence of material nature.

Visuddha-sattva - the state of unalloyed goodness; the quality of existence which is beyond the influence of material nature. Sridhara Svami has defined visuddha-sattva in his commentary on a sloka from the Visnu Purana (1.2.69): tad evam tasyas try-atmakatve siddhe yena svaprakasata-laksanena tad-vrtti-visesena svarupam va svarupa- sakti-visistam vavirbhavati, tad-visuddha-sattvam tac-canya-nirapeksas tat-prakasa iti jnapam jnana-vrttikatvat samvid eva, asya mayaya

sparsabhavat visuddhatvam – “The Lord’s cit-sakti is known as svaprakasa.  The term sva-prakasa means that it reveals itself and illuminates others also. Just as when the sun rises it makes itself known and illuminates other objects, so when cit-sakti arises in the heart, one can then understand the nature of cit-sakti and come to know oneself according to one’s true spiritual identity. 

     “Because the cit-sakti is sva-prakasa, its vrtti is also sva-prakasa.  The word vrtti literally means function, which refers to the active agency through which the cit-sakti operates. The cit-sakti is composed of hladini, sandhini, and samvit. The particular svaprakasavrtti of this three-fold cit-sakti which reveals Bhagavan, His form, and the transformations of His cit-sakti, such as His associates and dhama, is known as visuddha-sattva. In other words, visuddhasattva is the self-revealing agency of the cit-sakti, through which the Bhagavan and His paraphernalia are revealed to the bhaktas. Because it has no contact with the external energy, it is known as visuddha-sattva.”

Visvasa - belief, trust, faith, confidence.

Viveka - discrimination; conscience; judgment; spiritual knowledge. 

Viveki - one who discriminates; one whose spiritual consciousness is awakened.

Vraja-rasa - the mood of ecstatic love for Krsna which inundates the hearts of Krsna’s eternal associates in Vraja (see rasa). 

Vyabhicari-bhava - one of the five essential ingredients of rasa; thirty-three internal spiritual emotions which emerge from the nectarean ocean of sthayibhava, cause it to swell, and then merge back into that ocean. These include emotions like despondency, jubilation, fear, anxiety, and concealment of emotions. They are of two kinds: dependent (paratantra) and independent (svatantra). Dependent emotions are those that are under the control of either mukhya or gauna-rati. Mukhya dependent emotions are either superior (vara) or inferior (avara). The superior mukhya dependent emotions are those that (a) arise in connection with rati, and also (b) nourish the rati. Of these, the direct (saksat) superior mukhya emotions nourish mukhya-rati, and the separated (vyavahita) superior mukhya emotions nourish gauna-rati.

     The inferior (avara) mukhya dependent emotions are those that arise in connection with rati, but do not nourish either the mukhya or the gauna-rati.

     The independent vyabhicari-bhavas (svatantra), are those that are not controlled either by the mukhya or gauna-rati. These are divided into the following three categories:

(1)  Rati-sunya: emotions that arise in people who do not have krsna-rati.

(2)  Raty-anusparsana: emotions that do not have the quality of krsna-rati, but which contact rati later, due to some particular incident.

(3)  Rati-gandhi: emotions that manifest a trace of rati, even though they are independent.

Vyabhicari-bhavabhasa - refers to vyabhicari-bhavas that are observed in improper or inappropriate persons or things. There are two types: antagonistic (pratikulya) and improper (anaucitya).  Antagonistic vyabhicari-bhavas are emotions that arise in people who are hostile to Sri Krsna, and who have no rati. There are two types of improper abhasa: non-existence (asatyatva) and incapability (ayogyatva). When a bhakta experiences some emotion toward Krsna and projects that feeling upon non-moving living entities or animals as if they were experiencing that emotion, the abhasa is said to exhibit non-existence in the case of the nonmoving entities and incapability in the case of animals. However, these distinctions do not apply to Krsna’s eternal associates in Vraja, who serve Him in species such as trees, plants, and animals.

Vyakula - agitated and restless

Vyavahara - behavior, conduct, social customs, practice. 

Vyavaharika - routine, common, ordinary; relating to practical life and social customs.


Yaga - offering oblations; any ceremony in which offerings or oblations are presented.

Yajna - a sacrifice in which a deity is propitiated by the chanting of prayers and mantras and the offering of ghee into the sacred fire. 

Yati - an ascetic; one who has restrained his passions and abandoned his involvement with material civilization.

Yavana - a barbarian, a Muslim, i.e. one who does not follow suddhacara, (pure lifestyle), one who eats flesh, takes intoxicants and does other degraded activities. This term sometimes refers to any foreigner or to those excluded from varnasrama society. 

Yoga - (1) union, meeting, connection, combination. (2) a spiritual discipline aiming at establishing one’s connection with the Supreme.  There are many different branches of yoga such as karma-yoga, jnanayoga, and bhakti-yoga. Unless specified as such, the word yoga usually refers to the astanga-yoga system of Patanjali (see astanga-yoga). 

Yogi - one who practices the yoga system with the goal of realization of the Paramatma or of merging into the Lord’s personal body.

Yuga - an age of the world. Four ages are described in the Vedas: Krta or Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali. The duration of each yuga is said to be respectively 1,728,000; 1,296,000; 864,000; and 432,000 years. The descending numbers represent a corresponding physical and moral deterioration of mankind in each age. The four yugas comprise an aggregate of 4,320,000 years and constitute a maha-yuga, or great yuga.

Yugala - a couple or pair.

Yugala-kisora - the divine youthful couple, Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. 

Yukta-vairagya - appropriate renunciation; renunciation which is suitable for entrance into bhakti. This is defined in Bhakti-rasamrtasindhu (1.2.255): “When one is detached from material sense enjoyment, but accepts in appropriate proportion objects which are favorable to one’s bhakti, and shows special inclination toward things which are directly related to Krsna, such as mahaprasada, his renunciation is known as yukta-vairagya.” (See phalgu-vairagya with which this is contrasted.)


Zamindar - a landowner, landlord (responsible for property taxes to the government).


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