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A Note on Sanskrit Pronunciation and Meaning in Alphabetic Order


ACARYA: a spiritual master who teaches by his personal example.

ACINTYA-BHEDABHEDA-TAITVA: Lord Caitanya’s doctrine of the “inconceivable oneness and difference” of God and His creation, establishing the Absolute Truth as both personal and impersonal.

AGNI: the demigod controlling fire.

AHAM BRAHMASMI: “I am Brahman. ” The spiritual identity of the living entity.

AHIMSA: nonviolence.

AKARMA: Krsna conscious activities that carry no reactions, either good or bad.

ANANDA: transcendental bliss.

ANU: atomic, minute.

ARCA-VIGRAHA: the incarnation of the Lord in the form of material elements, such as a statue (Deity or murti), or painting, or even a mental image. It is manifest to facilitate worship by the devotees in the material world.

ARTHA: economic development.

ASANAS: bodily postures used in yoga discipline.

ASRAMA: a spiritual order according to the Vedic social system: brahmacarya (student life), grhastha (householder), vanaprastha (retirement), and sannyasa (renunciation).

A5TANGA-YOGA: the eightfold path consisting of yama and niyama (moral practices), asana (bodily postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sensory withdrawal), dhararna (steadying the mind), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (deep concentration on Visnu within the heart).

ASURA: not godly; demon, or one opposed to God.

ATMA: the self, or soul.

ATMA-HAN: killer of the soul; one who neglects spiritual life.

ATMARAMA: self-satisfied; one who delights in the Self.



BALARAMA: Lord Krsna’s first expansion, appearing as elder brother of Krsna, manifestation of spiritual strength.

BHAGAVAN: the possessor of all opulences, the Supreme Lord.

BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASVATI: founder of India’s famous Gaudliya Math mission, and spiritual master of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

BHAKTIVINODA THAKURA: a great devotee, father of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.

BHAKTI-YOGA: linking with the Supreme Lord through devotional service.

BRAHMA: the first created living being in the universe, empowered by Lord Visnu to further create the material manifestation and rule the mode of passion.

BRAHMA-BHOTA: state of being freed from material contamination, and transcendentally happy by virtue of devotional service.

BRAHMACARI: celibate student; the first asrama.

BRAHMA-JIJNASA: inquiry into spiritual matters.

BRAHMAJYOTI: the impersonal effulgence emanating from the transcendental body of Lord Kr?:pa and illuminating the spiritual world.

BRAHMALOKA: the abode of Lord Brahma, highest planet in the material universe.

BRAHMAN: (l) the Supreme Personality of Godhead; (2) the impersonal, all pervasive aspect of God; (3) the total material substance (mahat-tattva); (4) the individual soul. BRAHMA?A: the intellectual, or priestly class, according to the Vedic social system of varnas.

BRAHMA-SAMHITA: an ancient Sanskrit scripture of the prayers of Brahma to Govinda.

CAITANYA-CARITAMTA: a scripture by Krsnaadasa Kaviraja Gosvami describing Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings and pastimes.

CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU: Lord Krsna’s incarnation in the age of Kali, appearing in Bengal, India, in the late Fifteenth Century, to inaugurate the dharma of this age: the congregational chanting of Hare Krsna.

CANDALA: a dog-eater, outcaste.


DHARMA: true nature, religious principles; the rendering of service to God.

DHRUVA MAHARAJA: a great boy-devotee, renowned for his firm determination and penance. He later ruled this planet and was finally given the polestar, Dhruvaloka.

DHYANA: Meditation

DURGA: the personification of the material energy.

DUSKRTINA: miscreant; one who does not surrender to Krsna.

DVAPARA-YUGA: the third age of the cycle of yugas. lt ended with the disappearance of Lord Kr?:v.a from this earth, five thousand years ago.


GANESA: one of the demigods, son of Lord Siva, often worshipped for success in material affairs.

GARBHODAKASAYI VISNU: the Visnu expansion of the Supreme Lord entering each universe to create diversity.

GO-MATA: mother cow.

GOPAS: the cowherd boy friends of Krsna, highly elevated devotees who enjoy sporting with Kr?:v.a in Vrndavana.

GOPIS: the cowherd girl friends of Krsna, highly elevated devotees who enjoy transcendental feelings with Kr?:v.a in the conjugal rasa.

GOVARDHANA HILL: a hill near Vrndavana lifted by Lord Krsna to protect His devotees from the torrents of lndra.

GOVINDA: name of Krsna, meaning one who gives pleasure to the cows.

GRHASTHA: householder; the second asrama.

GUNAS: the three material modes, or qualities, of the material universe: goodness, passion, and ignorance.


HARE: the spiritual energy of the Lord by which the Lord is reached.

HARI: the Supreme Lord, Krsna.

HARI-KIRTANA: chanting of the names of God.

HATHA-YOGA: a system of bodily postures (asanas) to help control the senses and mind and thereby aid meditation.

HIRAYAKASIPU: a great demon, father of the devotee Prahlada Maharaja, killed by Kr?:v.a in His incarnation as Nrsimhadeva.

HRSIKESA: master of the senses, Lord Krsna.


INDRA: a great demigod, the king of heaven and presiding deity of rain.

ISOPANISAD: one of the most important of the 108 Upanisads, establishing the proprietary rights of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


JAPA: chanting of the holy names of God.

JIVA, JIVATMA: the individual soul, or living entity.

JNANAVAN: wise man.

JNANA-YOGA: the predominantly empirical, intellectual process of linking with the Supreme, generally executed when one is still attached to mental speculation.


KALA: the manifestation of Krsna as eternal time.

KALI: a goddess personifying the ghastly form of material nature.

KALI-YUGA: the age of quarrel and ignorance, the fourth and most degraded age in the cycle of four yugas. Five thousand years of this current Kali-yuga have expired; 428, 000 years remain.

KALKI-AVATARA: incarnation of Krsna, manifest at the end of Kaliyuga. Appearing on a white horse, He will annihilate all the demons with His sword.

KAMA: desire, lust.

KARANODAKASAYI VISNU: the Maha-visnu who lies within the causal ocean and breathes out innumerable universes.

KARMA: (1) material action performed according to scripture; (2) the chain of action and reaction.

KARMA-KANDA: the division of the Vedas dealing with fruitive activities performed by materialists for purification and material success.

KARMA-YOGA: linking to God by dedicating the fruits of action to Him.

KARMI: a materialist; one attached to the fruits of his labor.

KRPANA: a miser; one who does not spend his life on spiritual realization.

KSATRIYA: a warrior or administrator in the Vedic social system. Literally, a ksatriya is one who protects others from harm.

KSIRODAKASAYI VISNU: the Supersoul entering into the heart of every living being. He exists in and between every atom, and He is the source of many incarnations.

KUNTHA: the material universe. Literally, the place of anxiety.

KUNTI: mother of the five Par;u;lavas, and great devotee of Lord Krsna.

KURUKSETRA: place of pilgrimage, north of modern New Delhi, where Bhagavad-gita was spoken and the great battle between the Kurus and Pandavas took place.

KURUS: the one hundred sons of Dhrtarastra.


MAHABHARATA: the great epic of 100,000 verses composed by Vyasadeva, narrating the history of the PaJ;u;lavas and including Bhagavadgita.

MAHAMANTRA: the great chanting for deliverance: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

MAHATMA: a great soul who understands that Krsna is everything and therefore surrenders unto Him.
MAHAT-TATTVA: the total material energy.

MAHAVISNU: the Karanodakasayi Visnu who lies within the causal ocean and breathes out innumerable universes.

MANGALA-ARATRIKA: early morning (4:30 a. m.) offering to the Lord in the temple, accompanied by chanting and bells.

MANU: the father of mankind, the demigod who set forth Manu-samhita, the law book for humanity.

MAYA: illusion; the external energy of Krsna that deludes the living entity into forgetfulness of Krsna.

MAYADEVI: personification of the illusory material energy.

MAYAVADI: impersonalist or voidist maintaining that God is ultimately formless and without personality.

MOKSA: liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

MUDHA: hard-working ass; gross materialist.

MUKUNDA: the granter of liberation (mukti), Krsna.

MUNI: sage or self-realized soul.


NANDA MAHARAJA: a great devotee, who served as foster father of Krsna in the Vrndavana pastimes.

NARADA: one of the Lord’s greatest devotees, author of Narada-bhaktisutras. He spreads love of God throughout the universe.

NARAYANA: four-handed expansion(s) of Visnu presiding over the Vaikuntha planets.

NITYA: eternal; refers both to the Lord and the living entity.

NRSIMHADEVA: incarnation of Lord Krsna in the form of half-man, half-lion, savior of Prahlada Maharaja.


OM TAT SAT: the transcendental syllables chanted by brahmanas for satisfying the Supreme when chanting Vedic hymns or offering sacrifices. They indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead.

OMKARA: Om; the transcendental syllable representing the impersonal aspect of Krsna.


PADAVAS: the five sons of King Pandu: Yudhisthira, Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula, and Sahadeva.

PARAMAHAMSA: the topmost devotee of the Lord. Literally, swanlike.

PARAMATMA: the Supersoul, the localized aspect of the Supreme Lord within the heart of all living entities, accompanying everyone as witness and guide.

PARAM-BRAHMA: the Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna.

PARAMPARA: the disciplic succession through which spiritual knowledge is transmitted.

PATALA-LOKA: lowest planet in the material universe.


PRAHLADA MAHARAJA: a great devotee, persecuted by his demonic father, Hiranyakasipu, and saved by Lord Narsimhadeva.

PRAKITI: material nature. Literally, that which is predominated.

PRASADAM: food offered in devotion to Lord Kr?l)a. Literally, mercy.

PREMA: pure, spontaneous love of God.

PUJA: worship.

PURANAS: the eighteen historical supplements to the Vedas.

PURUSA: the enjoyer, the dominator, the Supreme Lord. Sometimes the word refers to the individual soul.

PUTRA: son.


RADHA(RANI): eternal consort of Krsna, His own internal pleasure potency.

RAJO-GUNA: the material mode of passion.

RAMA: (1) a name of God meaning the enjoyer; (2) Lord Ramacandra, the incarnation, hero of Valmiki’s Ramayana; (3) Lord Balarama, the expansion of Krsna.

RASA: Lord Krsna’s transcendental pastime of dancing with the gopis in the forests of vrndavana.

RASA: relationship.

RSI: saint or sage.

RUPA GOSVAMI: one of the principal disciples of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, author of many authoritative hooks on bhakti-yoga, including Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.


SAC-CID-ANANDA: eternal being, knowledge, and bliss.

SADHANA-BHAKTI: devotional service executed by regulative principles, as opposed to spontaneous love.
SADHU: holyman or sage.

SAHAJIYA: a type of impersonalist who takes things cheaply and mistakenly identifies the finite living entity with Krsna.

SAMADHI: trance, absorption in Krsna consciousness.

SANATANA-DHARMA: the eternal religion; devotional service.

SANKARACARYA: (AD 788-820) the great philosopher who established the doctrine of advaita (nondualism), stressing the impersonal nature of God and the identity of all souls with the undifferentiated Brahman.

SANKHY A-YOGA: (l) analytical discrimination between spirit and matter, soul and body; (2) devotional yoga taught in Srrmad-Bhiigavatam by Lord Kapila, son of Devahuti.

SANKIRTANA-YAJNA: the congregational chanting of the names of God, the prescribed sacrifice for this age of Kali.

SANNYASA: the renounced order of life, the fourth asrama in the Vedic social system.

SANTI: transcendental peace.

SASTRA: scripture.

SATTVA-GUNA: the material mode of goodness.

SATYA-YUGA: the age of goodness and wisdom, first of the four ages of the universe, characterized by virtue and religion.

SIDDHALOKA: a higher planet inhabited by perfected yogis.

SIVA: Qualitative incarnation of Krsna in charge of the mode of ignorance and responsible for the annihilation of the material universe; demigod worshipped commonly for material benedictions.

SLOKA: a Sanskrit verse.

SMRITI: realization of sages, written in the Purnas and Vedic commentaries. They complement sruti.

SRIMAD-BHAGAVATAM: the scripture composed by Vyasadeva to explain and describe Krsna’s pastimes.

SRUTI: the Vedas directly spo,ken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

SUDDHA-SATTVA: purified goodness above the three guvas.

SUDRA: a member of the working class in the Vedic social system.

SYAMASUNDARA: a name of the original form of Lord Krsna as manifest in the vrndavana pastimes.


TAMO-GUNA: the material mode of ignorance.

TAPASYA: penance or austerity voluntarily accepted for spiritual progress.

TILAKA: clay markings worn on the forehead and other places to sanctify the body as a temple of the Supreme Lord.

TRETA-YUGA: the second age in the cycle of yugas, renowned for great sacrifices.


VAIKUNTHA: the eternal planets of the spiritual sky. Literally, without anxiety.

VAISNAVA: a devotee of the Supreme Lord.

VAISYA: the merchant or farmer class according to the Vedic social system.

VALMIKI: author of the Ramayana.

VANAPRASTHA: retired life, in which one quits home and travels to places of pilgrimage in preparation for the renounced order of sannyasa.

VARNA: social class, or occupational division.

VARNASRAMA: the Vedic social system arranged into four occupations. (varnas): brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, and sudra; and four spiritual divisions (asramas): brahmacari, grahastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa.

VASUDEVA: Krsna, the son of Vasudeva.

VEDANTA: the philosophical system based on the Vedanta-sutra, the treatise written by Vyasadeva.

VEDAS: the four original scriptures (Rg, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva). Also, in a larger sense, their supplements, the Puravas, Mahabharata, Vedanta-sutra, etc.

VIKARMA: unauthorized or sinful activity performed against the injunctions of revealed scriptures.

VIRAT-RUPA: the universal form of Lord Krsna, as described in the Eleventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gita.

VISNU: the Personality of Godhead.

VISNU-MAYA: the internal energy of the Lord, which hides Him from material vision. Also called yoga-maya.

VISNU-TATTVA: innumerable primary or Visnu expansions of Krsna.

VRNDAVANA: the transcendental abode of Lord Krsna. Also called Goloka Vrndavana or Krsnaloka.

VYASADEVA: literary incarnation who compiled the Vedas and wrote the Puravas, Mahabharata, and Vedanta-sutra.


YAJNA: sacrifice

YAJNA-PURUSA: Kr?va, the Lord and enjoyer of all sacrifices.

YAMARAJA: the god of death; demigod who punishes sinful living entities after death.

YAMUNA: Holy river flowing by Vrndavana, site of Krsna’s pastimes. Also spelled Jamuna.

YOGA-MAYA: the internal energy of the Lord, which hides Him from one’s material vision.

YOGI: one engaged in the practice of yoga, linking up with the Supreme.

YUDHISTHIRA: the eldest Pandava brother, the son of Dharma. To install him on his rightful throne, the battle of Kuruksetra was fought.

YUGAS: the four ages of the universe: Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga, Dvaparayuga, and Kali-yuga. As the ages proceed from Satya to Kali, religion and goodness decline, and ignorance predominates.

A Note on Sanskrit Pronunciation and Meaning in Alphabetic Order

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