Acharya one who understands the purport of the scriptures, teaches it to others, and personally practises it.
Achyuta-gotra lit. 'the family of the Lord'. Vaisnavas conceive of themselves in this way because they do not identify themselves with their paternal ancestry, or gotra. The name Achyuta signifies 'He who is infallible and inexhaustible'.
Aditi the eldest daughter of Daksa, wife of Kasyapa Muni, and mother of the twelve Adityas: the eleven principal demigods—Surya, Aryama, Pusa, Tvasta, Savita, Bhaga, Dhata, Vidhata, Varuna, Mitra, and Indra—and Sri Vamandev, Lord Visnu's Avatar as a dwarf brahman.
Advaita Acharya a principal associate of Sriman Mahaprabhu and member of the Pancha Tattva who participated in countless Pastimes of the Lord and played the role of inviting the Lord to descend to the earth. He is the Avatar of Mahavisnu and Sadasiva in the Pastimes of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Agama lit. 'that which has come down'; scriptures spoken by Lord Siva to Parvati Devi that describe creation, destruction, worship of deities, preparatory rites, methods of meditation, and other subjects.
Ajamil a fallen brahman who at the time of death, while calling out to his son named Narayan, happened to remember Lord Visnu Himself and was thus protected by the attendants of Lord Visnu from being taken to hell by the attendants of Yamaraj.
Anantadev (Ananta Sesa) a partial Avatar of Lord Balaram in the form of a serpent who holds the planets on His innumerable heads and chants the glories of the Lord with his innumerable mouths. He also assumes the forms of all the paraphernalia required for the Lord's service, such as the Lord's umbrella, slippers, bed, pillow, clothing, resting chair, house, sacred thread, and throne. Because He serves the Lord in innumerable ways, He is known as 'Ananta' ('Unending'), and because He reaches the ultimate limit of serving the Lord, He is known as 'Sesa' ('the end').
aparadha an offence; an action that is contrary to the rules, principles, or mood of devotion to the Lord; an action that displeases the Lord; imperfect worship (apakrsta-aradhana).
aprakrta lit. 'not mundane'; supramundane, divine, spiritual; part of, or related to, the highest plane of spiritual existence, the land of Lord Krishna's Pastimes, which at times resembles the mundane world but is nevertheless 'not mundane'.
asram lit. 'no fatigue'; a shelter; a residence where people practise spiritual life; the hermitage of a sage or guru; any of the four social orders: brahmacharya, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyas. Brahmacharis are students whose duty is service to Sri Guru; grhasthas are householders whose duty is maintaining others and performing worship; vanaprasthas are retired householders whose duty is performing austerities and realising the self; and sannyasis are renunciants whose duty is equanimity and nonviolence.
astanga-yoga the eightfold path of yoga practice taught by Patanjali comprised of rules for behaviour, codes of conduct, postures, breath regulation, restraint of the senses, concentration, meditation, and trance. Astanga-yoga is the dharma of the Age of Satya and the primary means to attain realisation of the Supersoul. It is impractical in the Age of Kali, though modified forms of it are practised at present as a means to pursue health, enjoyment, supernatural powers (siddhis), and impersonal liberation (sayujya-mukti).
Avatar lit. 'one who crosses down'; a form or role assumed by the Lord or one of His devotees when they descend from the spiritual world to the material world. In general, the Lord has six types of Avatars: Purusa-avatars (who maintain the creation), Lila-avatars (who perform special Pastimes), Guna-avatars (who regulate the modes of material nature), Manvantara-avatars (the fathers of mankind), Yuga-avatars (who establish the dharma for each age), and Saktyavesa-avatars (souls who are empowered to perform particular functions).
atma the self, esp. the eternal soul. According to context, atma may also refer to the Absolute (Brahma), the body, the mind, endeavour, steadiness, intelligence, or nature. As a name of the Supreme Lord, Atma signifies 'He who is all-pervasive and the source of everything'. See Supersoul.
Balaram (Baladev) the elder brother of Lord Krishna; the first expansion of Krishna; the source of Lord Narayan and all other Avatars. He appears as Sri Nityananda Prabhu in the Pastimes of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
banyan Ficus benghalensis; a sacred tree in the fig family whose branches produce aerial roots that expand into accessory trunks and sometimes span across acres in this manner. Banyan trees are found through the abodes of Lord Sri Krishna and Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Bhagavad-gita lit. 'the Lord's song'; Lord Krishna's guidance to the warrior Arjuna just prior to the Battle of Kuruksetra, which appears in the Mahabharata compiled by Vedavyas. Within Bhagavad-gita, the soul, the Lord, reincarnation, action, knowledge, sacrifice, purity, devotion and surrender to the Lord are all clearly and concisely explained. Bhagavad-gita is thus renowned as the essential primary scripture for all spiritual practitioners.
Bilvamangal Thakur (Lilasuka) the author of Sri Krishna-karnamrta, a compilation of poems describing Sri Krishna's madhura-rasa Pastimes which was greatly appreciated by Sriman Mahaprabhu. Although he was a brahman and scholar, Bilvamangal once risked his life to meet with a prostitute in the middle of the night during a violent storm. After being admonished by the prostitute when he arrived, Bilvamangal had an epiphany, and the next morning he went straight to the asram of Somagiri, a renowned Vaisnava in the lineage of Visnu Swami, and took initiation. He stayed with his Guru for some time and began to compose poetry about Lord Krishna. When Somagiri saw this, he gave him the name Lilasuka ('parrot of the Lord's Pastimes') and soon after conferred sannyas upon him. Bilvamangal later departed for Sri Vrindavan Dham and spent the rest of his life there absorbed in serving the Lord and composing poetry describing His Pastimes.
Brahma (Brahman) 1) the Absolute; a Name for the Supreme Lord which means, "Brhatvat brhanatvat iti Brahma: He who is the greatest and always becoming greater"; (2) the bodily effulgence of the Supreme Lord; the infinite expanse of spiritual energy which makes up, surrounds, and pervades all living beings and all planes of existence.
Brahma the first being in the material universe, who is considered both self-born and the son of Lord Visnu. Brahma performs a variety of duties: creating all life forms within the material world using the material elements manifested by the energy of the Supreme Lord; regulating the mode of passion within the material world; revealing the Vedas to the rsis; performing sacrifices for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord; and overseeing the affairs of the demigods, the sages, and human beings. 'Brahma' is a post occupied by a soul in each material universe, and each material universe manifests and dissolves with his birth and death.
brahman (brahmin) lit. 'knower of Brahma'; one who, as a result of realisation of Brahma, is endowed with twelve qualities: virtuousness, truthfulness, self-control, austerity, non-enviousness, humility, tolerance, non-maliciousness, expertise in sacrifice, charitableness, steadiness, and learning. One is not a brahman simply by being born as the son of a brahman; one must have the appropriate qualities and behaviour.
Chaitanya lit. 'consciousness'; a short name for Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Sri) the Supreme Personality of Godhead; the combined form of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna; the Absolute in His aspect as a devotee of Himself; the origin of all Avatars, manifestations, and energies. He appeared on earth in the land of Bengal with His associates and divine abode (1486–1534) to spread prema-dharma, the religion of divine love, through Nam-sankirtan, the chanting of the Lord's Holy Names, and He is renowned for His compassion. He is also known as Nimai, Visvambhar, Gauranga, Gaurahari, and Gaurasundar, amongst other names.
Chandi Das a pure devotee of Lord Krishna who appeared at the beginning of the 15th century in a family of brahmans within the Birbhum district of West Bengal. His poetry describing the Pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna is very dear to Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Chandrayan-vrata a penance performed by eating only fifteen mouthfuls of food on the full-moon day, reducing the amount taken each day by one mouthful until the new moon, and then increasing the amount by one mouthful each day until the next full moon.
dal split pulses, esp. varieties of lentils.
dasa-karma ten rites performed throughout a person's lifetime that are meant to purify them of sin and produce merits leading to a prosperous future. These include the rites performed when someone is given a name, when they begin their education, when they are married, and when they pass away.
dharma nature; inherent quality; religion; duty; occupation; law. In its purest sense, dharma denotes the eternal service of the Supreme Lord.
Durvasa Muni a partial avatar of Lord Siva who appeared as the son of Atri and Anasuya, and brother of Dattatreya; a powerful sage renowned for both his curses and boons. He plays a catalytic role in various Pastimes of Lord Krishna and His Avatars.
Dvapar-yuga the third of the four ages that the universe cycles through seventy-one times during each day of Brahma. Dvapar-yuga lasts approx. 864,000 years. The last Dvapar-yuga ended about five thousand years ago, just after the Battle of Kuruksetra and Lord Krishna's withdrawal from this world.
Dvaraka the eternal abode of Lord Krishna situated on the bank of the ocean, where He presides as the king of the Yadu dynasty. Dvaraka exists in the spiritual world in the lower portion of Goloka. When Lord Krishna descended to the earth, Dvaraka manifested on an island just off the west coast of India in modern-day Gujarat.
dvija lit. 'twice born'; an alternative name for a brahman, drawn from the idea that receiving initiation into the Brahma gayatri mantra is a second birth.
Ekadasi the eleventh day of each lunar fortnight; the day during each fortnight that the Vaisnavas fast and engage more deeply in devotional activities. Sriman Mahaprabhu instructed that Ekadasi should be observed only on days when the eleventh phase of the moon has begun before dawn (96 minutes before sunrise). Such days are known as Suddha Ekadasi ('pure Ekadasi').
Gadadhar Pandit the Avatar of Srimati Radharani in Sriman Mahaprabhu's Pastimes; the most intimate devotee of Sriman Mahaprabhu; a member of the Pancha Tattva. He was a lifelong companion of the Lord who in particular served the Lord during His final Pastimes by reciting Srimad Bhagavatam. His humility, service, and love for the Lord are unparalleled.
Gadai a short name for Gadadhar Pandit.
Gadigachha a village within Godrumadwip known at present as Svarupganj.
Ganga the sacred river Ganges; the consort of the Supreme Lord who serves Him in the form of a river. After washing the lotus feet of Lord Visnu and filling the Causal Ocean, the Ganga enters this material universe, flows through the heavenly planets, and descends to the earth after her fall is broken by Lord Siva. From the Himalayas, the Ganga flows across India into the Bay of Bengal, purifying and blessing all souls with devotion to the Lord.
Gauda Mandal lit. 'the district of gur (a type of unrefined sugar)'; the land of sweetness: the land of Sriman Mahaprabhu's eternal Pastimes, which descended to the earth with the Lord. At present, Gauda Mandal is a district in central West Bengal that is renowned for Vaisnavism.
Gaura lit. 'gold'; a name of Sriman Mahaprabhu that refers to His golden complexion.
Gaurachand lit. 'golden moon', a name of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Gaurahari lit. 'golden Lord', a name of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Gauranga lit. 'golden-formed', a name of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Giridhari lit. 'mountain holder'; a name of Lord Krishna drawn from His Pastime of lifting Govardhan Hill.
Gokula lit. 'cow-herd' or 'cow-quarters'; the homeland of Lord Krishna; the name of the village in Mahavan where Krishna lives as a boy before moving to Nanda Gram. Gokula often refers to the abode of Krishna revealed in the material world as opposed to Goloka, the abode of Krishna in the spiritual world.
Goloka lit. 'cow-land'; the name of the eternal, spiritual abode of Krishna, the topmost plane within the spiritual world where the Lord's sweetest Pastimes take place. It contains three divisions: Dvaraka, Mathura, and Vrindavan.
gopa lit. 'maintainer of cows'; a cowherd boy or man; an inhabitant of Vrindavan and associate of Lord Krishna in His eternal abode and Pastimes. Gopas serve Krishna as servants (in dasya-rasa), friends (in sakhya-rasa), and affectionate guardians (in vatsalya-rasa).
gopi lit. 'female maintainer of cows'; a cowherd girl or woman; an inhabitant of Vrindavan and associate of Krishna in His eternal abode and Pastimes. Gopis serve Krishna as affectionate guardians (in vatsalya-rasa) or paramours (in parakiya-madhura-rasa). They are the greatest devotees of Lord Krishna and the bodily expansions of Srimati Radharani.
Gopinath Acharya a highly respected brahman of Nabadwip who was the brother-in-law of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. He hosted Srila Isvara Puri at his home and participated in many of Sriman Mahaprabhu's Pastimes in Nadia. Gopinath Acharya later moved to Jagannath Puri and is best known for the convincing remarks he made to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya about the divinity of Sriman Mahaprabhu when the Lord first arrived in Puri.
Gora lit. 'gold'; a Name of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Gorachand lit. 'golden moon', a name of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Govinda lit. vinda, possessor, of go, which can mean cows, Vedas, senses, world, and other things; a name of Lord Krishna given to him by Indra after He lifted Govardhan Hill.
Govinda Ghos an eternal associate of the Lord who appeared in Agradwip, West Bengal. He and his two younger brothers, Vasudev Ghos and Madhava Ghos, were renowned kirtaniyas.
Gundicha a Temple about two miles northeast of the Temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri that is said to be named after the wife of Indradyumna Maharaj, the King of Puri who built both of the Temples. Sriman Mahaprabhu saw the Gundicha Temple as a form of Vrindavan and would personally clean the Temple each year on the day prior to the Ratha Yatra, the festival in which Krishna, in the form of Lord Jagannath, travels to Gundicha as a way of fulfilling the devotees' desire for Him to return to Vrindavan from Dvaraka. The yearly cleansing of the Gundicha Temple demonstrates the necessity of purifying the heart so that the Lord can be received and served within it.
Guru lit. 'heavy'; master; teacher; he who dispels darkness; the form the Supreme Lord assumes to distribute divine knowledge.
Hari lit. 'He who takes away'; the Supreme Lord.
Haribol lit. 'chant 'Hari''; 'chant the Name of the Lord'.
Haridas Thakur the close associate of Sriman Mahaprabhu who is renowned as the foremost Acharya of chanting the Holy Name (the Namacharya). After Lord Brahma offended Lord Krishna in Vrindavan and performed austerities in Antardwip, Lord Krishna blessed him to accept the form of an outcast to fulfil his desire to humbly chant the Lord's Name and serve in the Lord's association. He thus became Haridas Thakur.
Hari-vasar lit. 'the Lord's day'; days throughout the year on which Vaisnavas fast and engage more deeply in devotional activities. Such days include pure Ekadasis, special Dvadasis, and appearance days of the Lord, such as Janmastami and Gaura Purnima.
hladini-sakti lit. 'pleasing energy'; the pleasure potency of the Supreme Lord; the energy by which the Lord feels pleasure and gives pleasure to all souls. The hladini-sakti appears to conditioned souls as sense pleasure, to liberated souls as the pleasure of Brahma, and to souls devoted to the Lord as rasa. The essence of the hladini-sakti is divine love, and its ultimate personification is Srimati Radharani.
Jagannath lit. 'Lord of the universe'; the renowned Deity of the Supreme Lord situated in Sri Purusottam Dham in Odisha; a peculiar form Lord Krishna assumes when He is overwhelmed by feelings of separation from the devotees of Vrindavan.
Jagannath Misra the father of Sriman Mahaprabhu. He is Nanda Maharaj in the Pastimes of Lord Krishna.
Jagannath Puri the name of the city on the bank of the Indian ocean in Odisha where Lord Jagannath resides.
Jagannath Vallabha garden a garden near the Gundicha Temple in Jagannath Puri that Lord Jagannath visits throughout the year to perform various Pastimes. Sriman Mahaprabhu and His devotees also performed numerous Pastimes here.
japa recitation of a mantra, either by mentally chanting it, murmuring it, or speaking it aloud. Japa is typically counted on a mala and done a set number of times.
Jayadev Goswami the author of Sri Gita-govinda; a renowned Vaisnava poet whose writings were deeply appreciated by Sriman Mahaprabhu and His associates, as well as Lord Jagannath and the Vaisnavas throughout the ages.
jnan knowledge; consciousness; calculation; speculation; the pursuit of liberation; knowledge of the soul; knowledge of Brahma; knowledge of the Supreme Lord, His energies, and their relationships (sambandha-jnan).
jnana-yoga the pursuit of liberation through the cultivation of knowledge.
jnani a practitioner of jnana-yoga; a seeker of liberation; a person of great learning.
kachu sak a dish made from the corms and leaves of taro plants.
Kali lit. 'the personification of quarrel'; the personification of the current age, who was allotted five places to reside by Maharaj Pariksit: those of intoxication, illicit sex, slaughter, money, and gaming (gambling, dice, cards, chess, etc. (as explained by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur in his commentary on SB Vivrti: 1.17.38)).
Kali-yuga the fourth (and current) of the four ages of the material universe (Satya, Treta, Dvapar, and Kali). Known as the age of quarrel and comparable to a dark winter, Kali-yuga lasts 427,000 years and began about 5,000 years ago, just after the battle of Kuruksetra and the disappearance of Lord Krishna. Kali-yuga is characterised by degradation of the fundamental virtues—honesty, cleanliness, compassion, and austerity—and a predominance of gaming, intoxication, illicit sex, slaughter, and hoarding of wealth. It is nonetheless considered the most desirable of all ages by the sages and scriptures because during that time the prescribed means to serve the Lord—chanting His Name—is the easiest, the most purifying, and the most joyful of all spiritual practices.
Kamyavan the fourth of the twelve forests of Vraja, located on the western side of the Dham.
karma action; reactions to previous actions; worldly action; action performed to attain its fruit; action performed as a profession or duty; action performed according to scriptural directives; destiny.
karma-yoga the pursuit of enjoyment, both in the earthly and heavenly planes, by practising selfless action according to the directives in the scriptures; propitiating the Lord and the demigods by performing one's duty, acting virtuously, being charitable, engaging in sacrifices, conducting ceremonies, and offering worship.
karmi a practitioner of karma-yoga; a worker; a materialistic person.
Kasi Misra the head priest at the Temple of Lord Jagannath in whose home Sriman Mahaprabhu resided during His Pastimes in Jagannath Puri.
Kavi Karnapur the youngest son of Sivananda Sen, who, by the special grace of Sriman Mahaprabhu, was able to compose Sanskrit poetry about Lord Krishna at just seven years of age. In his maturity, he composed numerous Sanskrit texts describing the Pastimes of Lord Krishna, Sriman Mahaprabhu, and Their associates.
kirtan glorification; chanting, speaking, writing, and so on of the Names, Forms, Qualities, and Pastimes of the Supreme Lord and His associates; the spiritual practice prescribed for the Age of Kali; the best of all practices of devotion.
Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead; He who is all-attractive (krs) and gives ecstasy (na); the original Name and form of the Supreme Lord in which He has unparalleled qualities and Pastimes.
Krishna Chaitanya lit. 'Krishna consciousness'; the sannyas name of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
ksir 1) condensed milk; (2) sweet rice pudding.
lila pastimes; the transcendental activities of the Supreme Lord and His devotees; their eternal play of love.
mahamantra lit. 'supreme mantra'; the Hare Krishna mahamantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Sriman Mahaprabhu established the chanting of this mantra as the primary way to practise the religion of the Age of Kali: chanting the Name of the Lord.
mahamaya lit. 'great illusion'; the material world; the energy of the Supreme Lord known as His illusory energy, material energy, and external energy; another name of the goddess of illusion, Maya Devi.
Mahaprabhu lit. 'supreme master'; a Name of Sri Krishna Chaitanya, prophesied in the Mundaka-upanisad.
mahaprasad lit. 'great kindness'; the remnants of offerings made to the Lord or Sri Guru, esp. the remnants of the foods or other articles that were physically consumed by them or placed directly before them.
mala a string of beads used for chanting japa, typically consisting of 108 beads; a garland; a necklace.
manachaki a dish made from ground taro.
mantra lit. 'that which delivers by being meditated upon'; a hymn, prayer, instruction, incantation, or principle composed in concise and metric Sanskrit, typically originating from a Vedic scripture.
markata-vairagya lit. 'monkey renunciation'; outwardly presenting oneself as a renunciant while privately pursuing material enjoyment. Such behaviour is comparable to that of a monkey, who outwardly lives like a renunciant (wears no clothes, has no house, begs for food), but inwardly seeks only food, comfort, and the opposite sex.
maya lit. 'that which is not'; illusion; forgetfulness of the Lord and the self; identification with a material body and attachment to its paraphernalia.
Maya Devi the goddess of illusion, who serves the Supreme Lord by detaining souls who are averse to the Lord within the material world and subjecting them to the law of karma. Her purpose is to completely remove all forms of aversion to the Lord from the hearts of the conditioned souls. When souls fully surrender to the Lord and become indifferent to her temptations, she considers her purpose fulfilled and happily releases them. She is the consort of Lord Siva and known by numerous names, such as Parvati, Durga, and Kali.
Mayapur the village at the centre of Sri Nabadwip Dham on the island of Antardwip where Sriman Mahaprabhu takes birth and resides during His youth.
mayavad lit. 'illusionism'; the theory that the eternal spiritual existence of the Lord, His energies, His personal forms, His abodes, the souls (devotees of the Lord), and devotion to the Lord are all an illusion. Mayavad is the ultimate antithesis of Vaisnavism and claims that the highest aim in life is to merge into Brahma. Mayavad was propagated by Lord Siva in the form of Sankar Acharya on the order of Lord Krishna to attract dissenting persons back to the Vedic scriptures. Mayavad and ideas similar to it are also known as Advaitavad, Vivartavad, and Nirvisesavad.
mrdanga lit. 'clay body'; the double-headed drum prescribed by Sriman Mahaprabhu for Hari-nam-sankirtan.
mukti liberation; liberation from material existence; liberation from ignorance of the self, the Lord, and their relationship; realisation of one's true nature as an eternal servant of the Lord. The scriptures describe five types of liberation: salokya (residing in the Lord's abode), sarupya (having a form like the Lord's), sarsti (having opulence like the Lord's), samipya (having the association of the Lord), and sayujya (absorption into the body or effulgence of the Lord). Vaisnavas may accept the first four of these for the sake of service to the Lord, but they never accept sayujya-mukti, in which knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the knower (jnan, jneya, and jnata) are all demolished. Such liberation is sought by jnanis and is often awarded to demons who attack the Supreme Lord or His devotees, but devotees shun it because it denies one the opportunity to serve the Lord eternally.
Nabadwip lit. 'nine islands'; the eternal abode of Sriman Mahaprabhu, nondifferent from Sri Vrindavan, which He brought with Him to the earth during His Pastimes here. The region known as Nabadwip is the centre of Sri Gauda Mandal and is divided by tributaries of the Ganges, Yamuna, Saraswati, and other sacred rivers into nine islands—Simantadwip, Godrumadwip, Madhyadwip, Koladwip, Rtudwip, Jahnudwip, Modadrumadwip, Rudradwip, and Antardwip. At present, Nabadwip also refers to the town on the western bank of the Ganges within Koladwip in West Bengal, India.
Nadia the land of Sriman Mahaprabhu's eternal Pastimes. Nadia once referred specifically to the town of Nabadwip, but at present refers to the district in which Nabadwip is located.
Nama lit. 'name'; the Name of the Supreme Lord; the personal form of the Lord as His Name, nondifferent from the Lord Himself. The Name is chanted in three forms within the material world: (1) Suddha-nam, as the pure Name Himself, (2) Namabhas, as a semblance of the Name, and (3) Namaparadha, a form of the Name covered by offences.
Namabhas lit. 'a semblance of the Name'; chanting the Name impurely. Namabhas is comparable to a fog of ignorance and to clouds made up of selfish desires, offences, and weakness of heart. These cover the soul so that the light of the pure Name, comparable to a bright sun, is only faintly visible. There are four types of Namabhas listed in order from least to most gross (SB: 6.2.14): (1) sanketa, indirect chanting, as in the case of Ajamil, who called out to his son named Narayan, or in the case of persons who speak other languages and utter the syllables of the Name with intentions unrelated to the Lord; (2) parihasa, chanting jokingly, as in the case of the non-Hindus who jokingly chanted the Name during the lunar eclipse at the time of Sriman Mahaprabhu's appearance; (3) stobha, chanting mnemonically, as in the case of Sri Hari-namamrta-vyakarana, in which the Names of the Lord are used as part of a system of grammatical terminology, and (4) hela, chanting neglectfully, that is, without respect or affection but also without disdain, as in the case of calling out the Name to shake off lethargy. Namabhas can give the soul piety, wealth, enjoyment, freedom from active and inactive karmic reactions, deliverance from hell, liberation, and sukrti. It cannot, however, give the soul divine love for Krishna. Namabhas, as a semblance of the Name, is further understood to be either a shadow of the Name, as in the case of those who chant the Name in the four ways mentioned above, or a reflection of the Name, as in the case of mayavadis or materialists who intentionally chant the Name with a conception and purpose contrary to the soul's nature of being an eternal servant of Krishna. The benefits of Namabhas listed above apply only to those who chant the shadow form of the Name; those who chant the reflected form make offences to the Name and are not benefitted by their practices.
Narad (Devarsi Narad) a Saktyaves-avatar of the Lord delegated to travel throughout the material and spiritual worlds as a devotee sage, constantly chanting the Lord's glories to the music of his vina. He takes part in countless Pastimes of the Lord in many of the Lord's appearances in the world and gives guidance to numerous sages, kings, and devotees throughout the ages.
Narayan lit. 'the shelter of all beings'; the Lord of Sri Vaikuntha Dham; the four-armed form of the Lord who presides over His eternal majestic abode of awe-inspired worship. Narayan is an expansion of Sri Balaram and the source of Mahavisnu and all the Avatars of the Lord in the material world.
neem Azadirachta indica; margosa; referred to as nimba in the scriptures.
Nimai a name given to Sriman Mahaprabhu at His birth because He was born under a neem tree and because the name Nimai, like neem itself, protects one from ill fate.
Nitai, Nityananda a principal associate of Sriman Mahaprabhu and member of the Pancha Tattva who is the first expansion of the Lord Himself. He is Lord Balaram in the Pastimes of Lord Krishna and the origin of Lord Narayan, Lord Visnu, Lord Sesa, and all other Avatars of the Lord. As the embodiment of unconditional mercy, He is always joyful and eager to engage souls, even the most fallen, in the service of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Nrsimhananda an eternal associate of Sriman Mahaprabhu who appeared in the village of Piyariganj near Kalna. The Lord was very pleased with the service Nrsimhananda performed in meditation, and at times the Lord personally appeared in Nrsimhananda's heart, spoke to people through his mouth, and exhibited ecstasy in his body.
pana sherbet; a beverage typically prepared from fruit juices with added sugar, salt, or spices.
papa sin; inauspicious karma; actions that produce suffering. Such actions may be divided into the following categories: (1) violence, (2) cruelty, (3) duplicity, (4) madness, (5) falsity, (6) disobeying superiors, (7) covetousness, (8) selfishness, (9) impurity, (10) uncivil behaviour, and (11) destructive behaviour. The consequences of such actions are also called papa and exist in three forms: aprarabdha, inactive, prarabdha, active, and bija, seed. Inactive sin refers to sin that will take effect in future births, active sin refers to sin that will effect in this birth, and the seed form of sin refers to the desire to commit sin. Devotion can destroy all three forms of papa, as well as their root cause, avidya, ignorance, misunderstanding of the self.
Papa-purus lit. 'personification of sin'; the Padma-purana (7.22.1–52) explains that the Lord gave the Papa-purus the special dispensation to take shelter in grains on the day of Ekadasi, and thus anyone who consumes grains on Ekadasi becomes implicated in the sum total of all sins. While the true purpose of observing Ekadasi is endeavouring to satisfy the Lord without any selfish motivation of being freed from sin, it is also Sriman Mahaprabhu's order that everyone fast from grains on Ekadasi and avoid contact with the Papa-purus.
paramanna lit. 'great rice'; sweet rice pudding; rice cooked in milk with sugar.
patol pointed gourd; trichosanthes dioica.
pitha (pithe) a general term for speciality items such as pancakes, doughnuts, steamed cakes, and dumplings. They are typically sweet, made with rice flour, and filled with date syrup and coconut, though there are countless varieties.
Prabhu master; lord. Prabhu was traditionally used as a title for Sri Guru and for the Supreme Lord (esp. Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and Advaita Prabhu). Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur started the practice of referring to his disciples as Prabhu because he saw them as extensions of his Gurudev, and he also encouraged his disciples to adopt this practice. Thus Prabhu is used within the Saraswat Gaudiya–Vaisnava sampradaya as a respectful address for initiated, male devotees of all ages, with the exception of sannyasis.
prasad lit. 'grace, kindness'; the mercy of the Lord, Sri Guru, and the Vaisnavas; the remnants of offerings made to them, such as fragrances, flowers, and especially foods.
prayaschitta atonement for sin; the numerous penances prescribed in the scriptures—such as fasting, begging, and performing unusual austerities—to absolve oneself of sins. Such acts can remove the inauspicious karma that is produced by committing sin, but they cannot remove the desire or susceptibility to commit sin in the future, and they cannot absolve the soul of offences against the Lord's Name or His devotees.
prema divine love; intense desire to please the Lord; the goal of life and perfection of the soul.
phalgu-vairagya useless renunciation; rejecting as mundane anything that is favourable to the Lord's service; making a show of detachment but internally pursing selfish ends, esp. liberation. The term comes from the appearance of the Phalgu River near Gaya in India which for part of the year appears to be a dry bed of sand but always has water running within it just below the surface.
Purusottam lit. 'the Supreme Person'; the Supreme Lord Krishna; Lord Jagannath.
Purusottam Acharya the name of Srila Svarup Damodar Prabhu prior to his acceptance of sannyas.
Purusottam Ksetra the land of Lord Jagannath; Jagannath Puri and its surrounding area.
Radha (Radhika, Radharani) lit. 'She whose worship is supreme'; Lord Krishna's eternal consort, the embodiment of the highest service and sacrifice to the Lord; the female aspect of the Supreme Absolute Truth.
Radha Kunda the lake made by Srimati Radharani and Her companions beside Syama Kunda near Govardhan Hill; the site of Radha and Krishna's most confidential Pastimes; the most exalted holy place for all Rupanuga Vaisnavas.
Raghunath Das Goswami a principal follower of Sriman Mahaprabhu whose intense standard of service and renunciation greatly satisfied the Lord and deeply inspired all devotees. After receiving the blessings of Sriman Nityananda Prabhu in Bengal, he resided in Jagannath Puri for the last sixteen years of Sriman Mahaprabhu's Pastimes as the personal assistant of Sri Svarup Damodar. He participated in many of the Lord's confidential Pastimes, and his personal accounts of these Pastimes form the foundation of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita. Raghunath Das eventually went to Vrindavan, found new life in the company of Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan, and spent his final days at Sri Radha Kunda. He is revered within the Gaudiya–Vaisnava sampradaya as the Acharya of prayojan-tattva, as he illuminated the highest attainment of the soul in the service of Srimati Radharani under the guidance of Sri Rupa Manjari.
Ramananda Ray the intimate associate of Sriman Mahaprabhu whom the Lord regarded as His Guru in raga-marg service to Sri Krishna. Ramananda was the first to perceive the innermost identity of Sriman Mahaprabhu—that of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna combined—and the first to speak the essential teachings that the Lord descended to distribute to the world. He first met the Lord in South India while serving as the governor of the Godavari region, but at the Lord's request he resigned and spent the rest of his life with the Lord in Jagannath Puri, serving Him intimately during His later Pastimes by reciting verses that suited His intense feelings of separation for Krishna. Sriman Mahaprabhu praised his scholarship, worldly detachment, and expertise in rasa as unparalleled. He is Sri Visakha Devi in the Pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna and is held in the highest regard by all Gaudiya–Vaisnavas.
rasa leasure; the inconceivable, wonderful substance tasted in the hearts of pure devotees; the dispositions in which souls serve the Supreme Lord, which are of five primary types: adoration, servitorship, friendship, affectionate guardianship, and paramour love.
Rasa Dance a style of dance performed by Lord Sri Krishna with the gopis of Vrindavan which should never be imitated or imagined.
Sachi Devi the mother of Sriman Mahaprabhu. The Lord's associates in Nadia often call her 'Ai', a non-Sanskrit vernacular title meaning 'respectable lady' or 'mother'. She is Yasoda Devi in the Pastimes of Lord Krishna.
sadhu a holy man; one who is adherent to Truth.
sak green leafy vegetables; cooked greens; a favourite preparation of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
sakti energy, power; a name of the Supreme Lord's consort or the consort of a demigod.
samsara lit. 'through motion'; transmigration; the perpetual cycle of repeated birth and death in which souls pass from one body to the next within the material world according to their desires, pushed by the forces of time, karma, and material nature. The soul may assume the form of an inanimate object, a plant, an animal, a human form, or a heavenly form such as that of god or sage. Souls wander indefinitely around this wheel of samsara until they attain the association of souls who are engaged in the Lord's service and surrender to the Lord. Samsara also connotes the material world itself, the range of experiences the soul undergoes within it, esp. suffering, and the pursuit of worldly happiness, esp. that of family life.
Sanatan Goswami a principal follower of Sriman Mahaprabhu and the elder brother of Srila Rupa Goswami. He was shown the highest respect by everyone, including Sriman Mahaprabhu Himself. According to the Lord's instructions, he discovered lost holy places, re-established the worship of Deities, compiled numerous scriptures, and cared for the whole community of devotees in Vrindavan. He is revered within the Gaudiya–Vaisnava sampradaya as the Acharya of sambandha-jnan.
Sanat Kumar lit. 'eternal youth'; the eldest of the first four sons of Lord Brahma. At the beginning of creation, he refused to obey Brahma's order to create progeny and instead engaged in the service of the Lord exclusively. He is revered as the founder of a number of spiritual lineages, and his teachings are recorded in many of the scriptures.
Sankar lit. 'he who is beneficent'; a name of Lord Siva.
sankirtan congregational glorification of the Name, Form, Qualities, Pastimes, associates, and paraphernalia of the Lord; the prescribed religious practice for the Age of Kali.
sankhya lit. 'enumeration'; discrimination between spirit and matter, the self and the non-self; systematic analysis of the elements within the material creation. The Lord taught the process of sankhya in various Avatars, such as that of Kapiladev, as a means to understand the self, the creation, and the soul's purpose within the creation to ultimately awaken devotion within the heart of the soul. Non-devotional and even atheistic forms of sankhya are also practised by philosophers, of whom the most well-known is also (confusingly) named Kapila.
sannyas lit. 'complete abandonment'; the renounced order of life; the fourth asram in Vedic society; the practice of giving up selfish action and fully dedicating oneself to the Lord, primarily by preaching the principles of pure devotion. Formally, this entails celibacy, withdrawal from family, wearing the robes of a renunciant, and engaging one's speech, thought, and action exclusively in the Lord's service.
sannyasi one who has accepted the order of sannyas.
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya (Vasudev Sarvabhauma) the most widely renowned scholar in India during the time of Sriman Mahaprabhu. As an avatar of Brhaspati, he left his position in heaven and appeared on earth as a scholar to serve Sriman Mahaprabhu in Jagannath Puri.
Satyabhama one of the principal queens of Lord Krishna during His Pastimes in the city of Dvaraka.
Satya-yuga the age of truth, which lasts 1,728,000 years and is characterised by honesty, austerity, and meditative devotion. Satya-yuga is the first of the four ages that cycle throughout the existence of the material universe (Satya, Treta, Dvapar, and Kali).
Saunaka a renowned sage who led the sages assembled at Naimisaranya in hearing Srimad Bhagavatam narrated by Sri Suta Goswami.
Siksastakam lit. 'eight verses of instruction'; the only poem known to be composed by Sriman Mahaprabhu Himself. Within it, all the Lord's teachings are summarised in these eight verses describing the chanting of the Holy Name.
Siva lit. 'the auspicious one'; a unique expansion of the Supreme Lord who performs numerous functions: regulating the mode of ignorance in the material world, cyclically destroying the material world, infusing the material world with souls, satisfying the desires for enjoyment and liberation of those who are averse to the Supreme Lord, supporting the demigods in their management of the material world, bearing the Ganges river on his head as she descends from Dhruvaloka, protecting the devotees of the Supreme Lord, and setting a paramount example of pure devotion to the Supreme Lord.
Sivananda Sen an exemplary householder devotee of Sriman Mahaprabhu who on the order of the Lord took care of all the devotees each year during their pilgrimage to Jagannath Puri from Bengal. He engaged his entire family and all his wealth in the Lord's service and was a recipient of special affection from both Sriman Mahaprabhu and Sriman Nityananda Prabhu.
smarta a follower of the smrti scriptures, in particular, one who rigidly follows the codes of conduct and rules for worship given therein.
smrti lit. 'that which is remembered'; the scriptures compiled by Vedavyas and other sages that illuminate the sruti. These include the Puranas, Niti-sastras, Itihasas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, and law books such as that of Manu.
Sri Ksetra the land of Lord Jagannath; Jagannath Puri and its surrounding area.
Srimad Bhagavatam the essence of all Vedic literature. Written by Srila Vyasadev as the fruit of his meditation on the four verses spoken by Lord Krishna to Lord Brahma at the beginning of creation, Srimad Bhagavatam is Vyasadev's natural commentary on the Vedanta-sutra, the foremost of all the Puranas, and the conclusion of all the Vedic literatures. The text is comprised of 18,000 verses and explains ten subjects: (1) the creation: the manifestation of the material elements, (2) the sub-creation: the manifestation of the life-forms within the creation, (3) position: the Lord's rule over the creation, (4) nourishment: the Lord's mercy upon His devotees, (5) conditioning: the impressions created by actions, (6) the Manus: the establishment of proper dharma, (7) discussion of the Lord: narrations of the activities of the Lord's Avatars and Their devotees; (8) the destruction: the souls laying at rest (after the dissolution of the material elements), (9) liberation: realisation of the true self, and (10) the shelter: the Supreme Being. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted Srimad Bhagavatam as the purest and most authoritative revelation of the Absolute as it describes the dharma of the paramahamsas, is dearmost to the Vaisnavas, explains the highest engagement of liberated souls, establishes Lord Sri Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and shows divine love for Him to be the ultimate attainment.
Srivas Thakur a principal associate of Sriman Mahaprabhu and member of the Pancha Tattva who lives near the Lord in Mayapur and participates in countless Pastimes of the Lord. Sriman Mahaprabhu is eternally present in his courtyard. There, the Lord performs kirtan every night with His intimate associates and once revealed Himself as the Supreme Lord for twenty-one hours.
sruti lit. 'that which is heard'; the Vedas, Upanisads, and other scriptures revealed to (heard by) the rsis.
Sukadev lit. 'divine parrot'; a liberated soul from birth who appeared as the son of Vedavyas and spoke Srimad Bhagavatam in the assembly of Maharaj Pariksit. His testimony serves as the principal evidence that the Pastimes of Lord Krishna are supramundane and attract even the liberated souls.
sukrti lit. 'proper action'; merits; actions that lead to favourable future results. There are three types of sukrti: those that lead to enjoyment, to liberation, and to devotion. Chiefly, sukrti refers to merits that lead the soul to devotion, in other words, to that which gives the soul the capacity to appreciate Truth and inspires the soul to seek the Absolute (punya typically refers to merits that lead to enjoyment). Here, sukrti denotes service rendered knowingly or unknowingly to the Lord, that which is His own, or those who are dear to Him. The opportunity to render such service comes to the soul by good fortune and fructifies (typically over the course of a number of lifetimes) as association with sadhus, by whose grace the soul develops faith and progresses on the path of devotion.
Supersoul standard English rendering of Paramatma; the all-pervading Soul who functions as the observer, permitter, maintainer, supporter, and supreme master of all beings in the material creation; the infinitesimal animating principle within every particle of material energy; the third Purus-avatar Ksirodakasayi Visnu.
Suta Goswami the disciple of Vedavyas who recited Srimad Bhagavatam and other Puranas at the assembly of 60,000 sages in Naimisaranya.
Svarup Damodar the constant companion of Sriman Mahaprabhu who was regarded as the leader of all the Lord's devotees and a second manifestation of the Lord Himself. He participated in the Pastimes of the Lord in Nabadwip, accepted sannyas after the Lord did, and then joined Him in Sri Puri Dham. Both his scholarship and his singing were unparalleled amongst the Lord's servants, and he served Sriman Mahaprabhu night and day, personally caring for the Lord during His fits of divine madness. He screened all compositions that were brought to the Lord, and his writings about the identity and Pastimes of the Lord are renowned as the most profound and authoritative representation of Sriman Mahaprabhu. He is Sri Lalita Devi in the Pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna and the guardian of all Gaudiya–Vaisnavas.
Syam lit. 'dark'; blackish; dark blue, grey, or green; resembling the colour of a dark cloud; a Name of Lord Sri Krishna describing His complexion.
tirtha a holy place; a place of pilgrimage; a place visited or inhabited by the Lord or His devotees.
Tota Gopinath lit. 'Garden Gopinath'; the strikingly beautiful Deity of Lord Krishna found by Sriman Mahaprabhu in the garden near the Temple of Yamesvar in Sri Puri Dham. The Lord gave this Deity to Srila Gadadhar Pandit to worship, and when Gadadhar grew old and became unable to reach up and garland the Deity, Gopinath sat down to accept his service. Tota Gopinath is thus known for His unique, graceful sitting posture.
Treta-yuga the second of the four ages that cycle throughout the existence of the material universe (Satya, Treta, Dvapar, and Kali). Treta-yuga lasts 1,296,000 years and is best known for being the period of Lord Ramachandra's appearance. Fire sacrifice is the dharma of the age, and people in general at that time are virtuous and versed in the Vedas.
Tulasi lit. 'she who is incomparable'; Lord Krishna's favourite plant. Without her leaves, Krishna will not accept any offering. Tulasi is a form of the gopi Vrnda Devi, the personal expansion of Srimati Radharani who serves as the mistress of Vrindavan: she who distributes devotion to the Lord, gives entrance into Vraja, and makes arrangements for Radha and Krishna's Pastimes.
Tulasi Padichha the superintendent of the Jagannath Temple at the time of Sriman Mahaprabhu's Pastimes in Sri Puri Dham.
Vaikuntha lit. 'that which has no limit' or 'where there is no anxiety'; the spiritual world; the eternal abode of the Supreme Lord; the portion of the spiritual world presided over by Laksmi and Narayan, where the Lord's majesty is predominant and devotees serve the Lord with awe and reverence.
vairagya renunciation; lit. 'devoid of attachment' or 'intense attachment'. For a Vaisnava, both senses are applicable—detachment from the mundane and attachment to the Lord—though in common speech, the word is used in the first sense.
vairagi one who has or practises vairagya.
Vaisnava lit. 'one who is devoted to Visnu'; a servant of the Supreme Lord; a member of one of the four Vaisnava sampradayas.
Vakresvar Pandit an eternal associate of Sriman Mahaprabhu who accompanied the Lord in Nabadwip and Jagannath Puri and greatly pleased Him with his tireless dancing.
varna the occupational divisions within society created by the Lord: the brahmans, ksatriyas, vaisyas, and sudras. These divisions are differentiated by their functions and the modes of nature predominant within them, and strictly speaking an individual should be accepted as a member of one of them according to their character, not their heredity (though in recent history this is largely misunderstood). Brahmans study and teach the scriptures, perform worship for themselves and on behalf of others, and accept and give charity. They are situated in the mode of goodness. Ksatriyas govern society, collect taxes, and engage in warfare. They also perform many of the duties of brahmans and are situated in a mixture of the modes of goodness and passion. Vaisyas engage in agriculture, animal husbandry, and commerce. They also perform the duties of brahmans and are situated in a mixture of the modes of passion and ignorance. Sudras engage in service to the other three varnas. They are situated in the modes of ignorance.
varnasram-dharma the social and occupational orders established by the Lord consisting of the four varnas (brahman, ksatriya, vaisya, and sudra) and the four asrams (brahmacharya, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyas). When souls observe their duties within this system according to their nature as a means to serve the Supreme Lord, they gradually transcend the modes of material nature and satisfy the Lord. When the orders within the system are thought to be determined by birth and when souls use the system to pursue material gain or liberation, however, no one attains any spiritual benefit by following it.
vasana desires; material desires; the impressions in the subtle body produced by past experiences.
Vasudev Ghos an eternal associate of Sriman Mahaprabhu who appeared in Tamluk, West Bengal. He and his two elder brothers, Govinda Ghos and Madhava Ghos, were renowned kirtaniyas, and both Sriman Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu would dance to their singing with great satisfaction.
Veda lit. 'knowledge'; the knowledge revealed by the Supreme Lord through Lord Brahma and the rsis that explains the proper way for all souls to live and serve the Lord; the body of eternal knowledge recorded in separate scriptures at the beginning of Kali-yuga by Vedavyas, made up of the Rg-veda, Sama-veda, Yajur-veda, and Atharva-veda, the Upanisads, and other texts.
Vidyapati a renowned devotee of Lord Krishna who appeared approximately one hundred years before Sriman Mahaprabhu in a brahman family of scholars and ministers in Mithila in North India. His poems describing the Pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna, and in particular his songs describing separation, were very dear to Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Visnu lit. 'the all-pervading Lord'; the maintainer of the universe; a Name of the Supreme Lord and His expansions that preside over spiritual and material worlds.
Visnuduta the attendants of Lord Visnu who resemble Him in appearance.
Vraja lit. 'corral'; the eternal abode of Lord Krishna; the 168-square-mile circular district that encompasses Vrindavan, Govardhan, and the other sites of Lord Krishna's Pastimes with the gopas and gopis. Often used synonymously with Vrindavan.
vrata lit. 'vow'; an act of abstention; a rite, typically consisting of subjecting oneself to some form of austerity and performing specified actions to propitiate a deity.
Vrindavan lit. 'forest of Tulasi'; the eternal homeland of Lord Krishna; the supreme abode in the spiritual world where love and devotion reach their zenith. Vrindavan appeared on earth with Lord Krishna in what is known today as the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India.
Vyasadev (Vedavyas) the Saktyaves-avatar of the Lord who compiled the Vedic literatures (the four Vedas, the Upanisads, the Puranas, Mahabharata, and other texts) and ultimately revealed Lord Sri Krishna as the Absolute Truth in Srimad Bhagavatam.
Yamaduta the attendants of Yamaraj. They seize souls at the time of death and bring them to be judged by Yamaraj.
Yamaraj lit. 'master of regulation'; the god of justice who maintains order within the material world. He is revered as one of the twelve mahajans and a devotee of the Supreme Lord. He judges souls after death on the basis of the record of their actions kept by his assistant Chitragupta, and administers punishments or rewards as are appropriate in the form of the soul's future body, destination, and fortune. He presides over Patalaloka, the lower region of the universe, and is also known as Kala (Time), Dharma or Dharmaraj (Order), and Mrtyu (Death).
Yasoda the mother of Lord Krishna and the queen of the cowherd people of Vraja.
yoga 1) union; the union of the soul with the Lord; (2) a path; a means to attain a goal; (3) a practice; (4) astanga-yoga; (5) a conjunction; an auspicious astrological circumstance.
yogi a practitioner of yoga, esp. of hatha- or astanga-yoga; one who seeks connection with the Absolute.
yukta-vairagya lit. 'proper renunciation'; using anything favourable to the Lord's service in His service without personal attachment to it; recognising Sri Guru, the Name, the Deity, the scriptures, and mahaprasad as spiritual, seeing everything in connection to the Lord, fully dedicating all of one's available energy and resources to the Lord's service, and accepting no less and no more than is necessary for oneself to engage in the Lord's service.
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