MAD AFTER KRISHNA

Glossary


appearance day: birthday

Arjuna: the warrior/devotee to whom Krishna dictated the Bhagavad Gita

arotik: a ceremony involving devotional offerings to the Krishna Deities

ashram: a dormitory or sleeping quarters for devotees; literally, place for religious exercise

Back to Godhead (BTG): a monthly magazine founded by Prabhupada and later written and edited by ISKCON devotees

Bhagavad Gita (literally, song of God): the primary Hindu scripture; a conversation between Krishna and His devotee Arjuna that took place on a battlefield

Bhagavad-gita As It Is: the Swami Prabhupada's translation of and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita

bhakta: an uninitiated male devotee

bhakti yoga: the yoga of devotion to Krishna

bhaktin: an uninitiated female devotee

bindi: a red dot worn in the center of a householder woman's forehead; an auspicious sign for her marriage and family

bloop: to leave the Movement (so named because the soul was thought to make this sound when falling into the material world)

Brahma, Lord: the demigod who created the material universe

brahmachari: a single, celibate male devotee

brahmacharini: a single, celibate female devotee

brahmachari(ni) ashram: sleeping quarters for (fe)male devotees

brahma-muhurta: the quiet and auspicious hours just before dawn

Brahmin: a member of the priestly class; ISKCON second initiate

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT): the publishing arm of ISKCON

Chaitanya, Lord: the Sixteenth-Century incarnation of Krishna who began the modern Sankirtan Movement

chapati: flat, unleavened wheat bread

commander (or temple commander): a devotee whose duty was to assign daily duties to other devotees

conch: the coiled, spiral shell of a marine animal; considered pure and uncontaminated, it was used in temple worship and other rituals

dahl: a soup made with mung or urd beans, vegetables, and spices

danda: a bamboo walking stick that symbolizes the position of a sannyasi; it is about six feet long, three or four inches in diameter at the base, narrower at the top, and is tightly wrapped in strips of saffron-dyed cloth

Deities: representations of Krishna who are sanctified by the spiritual master and worshiped as God by the devotees

demon: a nondevotee

dhoti: a men's robe that covers from waist to ankles; usually made from about three yards of un-hemmed white or saffron-dyed cotton cloth

disciplic succession: the unbroken chain of spiritual masters from Krishna to the present; similar to the Roman Catholic "apostolic succession" of bishops from the Apostles to the present

fixed up: advanced in the practice of Krishna consciousness

four regulative principles [also, four regs]: no illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat eating, and no gambling or mental speculation

fringie: a part-time devotee who sometimes embarrassed the Movement with his unauthorized behavior

Ganges: a sacred river that has its source in the Himalayas and empties into the Bay of Bengal

Gaur-Nitai: a temple Deity form of Krishna, usually made of metal

gayatri: a mantra silently or quietly chanted by Brahmins every morning, noon, and evening

ghee: clarified butter used in ceremonies or as a cooking oil; sometimes called "popcorn butter oil" in the United States

Gita: see Bhagavad Gita

Governing Body Commission (GBC): ISKCON's equivalent of a board of directors

Gopis: cowherd girlfriends of Krishna who played transcendental games with Him in the spiritual world

guru: spiritual master; literally, venerable or heavy

gurukula: a school for the children of devotees

halavah: a cake-like preparation made from toasted farina, butter, and sugar

harmonium: a hand-pumped keyboard instrument used in the performance of kirtan

Hare Krishna mantra: the most sacred of all mantras ("Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare")

Hare Krishna Movement: informal name for ISKCON; see ISKCON

Haribol: an interjection meaning "chant the Holy Names of the Lord"

hatha yoga: a form of yoga that emphasizes body positions and breathing exercises

householder: a married devotee

in Maya: living a worldly life; living in sin; a state of forgetfulness of Krishna

ISKCON (International Society for Krishna CONsciousness): the official, legal name of the Krishna cult; sometimes called the Hare Krishna Movement

Jagganath: a temple Deity form of Krishna, usually made of wood

japa: the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra on beads

japa-mala: the sacred beads on which Hare Krishna is chanted

Jaya: an interjection meaning "Victory"

Kali-yuga: the present age, the Age of Quarrel and Ignorance

karatals: brass hand cymbals used in the performance of kirtan

karma: the results in this life to one's sinful actions in previous lives; the cosmic force that binds the soul to a materialistic, earthly existence

karmi: nondevotee; one who works only for the fruits of his labors

kirtan: congregational chanting, usually with instruments and dancing

Krishna: God; literally, black or dark

Krishna Book: a trilogy of stories about Krishna in His incarnation as a cowherd boy in Vrindavan, India

Krishna prasadam: see prasadam

kurtah: a long-sleeved, collarless shirt made of lightweight cotton fabric and worn by male devotees

Lakshmi: money; the Goddess of Fortune, eternal consort of Krishna

Lakshmi point: a dollar

lassi: (also known as nectar) a drink made from fruit juice, sugar, ice, and yogurt or buttermilk

mahaprasadam: high-quality foodstuffs prepared especially for the Dieties, usually in small quantities and highly coveted by the devotees

maharaja: (literally "great king") a title given to sannyasis or other exalted leaders

mahatma: great soul

mangala arotik: an early morning ceremony; the most auspicious of arotiks; see arotik

mantra: an ancient form of prayer in which the names of God or scriptural verses are spoken or sung in a repeating pattern

Maya: the material energy or material nature, represented by a seductive woman; the personality or force that lures the soul away from God; in Christian terms, worldly temptation, mammon, or the Devil

mercy: in Christian terminology, blessing or forgiveness

modes of (material) nature: see mode of goodness, mode of passion, mode of ignorance

mode of goodness: behavior that is benign and blameless, but that nevertheless falls short of Krishna consciousness

mode of ignorance: sleep or sloth

mode of passion: behavior that is directed by one's emotions, rather than by God

mridanga: oblong double-headed Bengali drum used in the performance of kirtan

Nectar of Devotion: a book of Vaishnava philosophy translated by Prabhupada and published by the BBT

New Vrindavan: ISKCON farm commune near Moundsville, West Virginia

Nityananda, Lord: eternal companion of Lord Chaitanya

obeisances: the humble act of kneeling, touching the forehead to the floor, and repeating short mantras addressed to the spiritual master and to the disciplic succession of masters

poppers: large, ultra-thin, deep-fried crackers

prasadam: foodstuffs prepared for and offered to Krishna, the remnants of which are later taken by devotees and guests (also Krishna prasadam)

puffed up: cocky or satisfied with one's service

pujari: a senior devotee who was trained in the performance of devotional rituals in the temple

pure devotee: a devotee who has achieved perfection, such as the spiritual master

Radharani (also Radha): Krishna's eternal consort in the spiritual world

Radha-Krishna: a temple Deity form of Krishna, usually made of marble

Ratha-Yatra: an annual outdoor festival in honor of Lord Jagganath, held in San Francisco and other cities

regulative principles: see four regulative principles

rest: sleep

round: the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra once on each of the 108 beads of the japa-mala

saffron: a flower whose orange or yellow-orange stigmas are used to die cloth or to add color to a food preparation

samadhi: complete absorption in love of God; roughly analogous to the Christian conception of heaven

sankirtan: the public chanting of Hare Krishna; by extension, the sale of Krishna-conscious books or magazines in public places

sannyasa: the spiritual order of renunciation and itinerant preaching

sannyasi: one who has taken the order of sannyasa

Sanskrit: the ancient scholarly language of the Hindu scriptures

sari: a women's robe that covers from head to ankles; usually made from about five yards of un-hemmed white or saffron-dyed cotton cloth

sense gratification (also, sense grat): the spiritually degrading and ultimately futile attempt to satisfy the never-ending demands of the body and its senses

shastra chaksus: "the eyes of scripture," a kind of infallible sixth sense that allowed a devotee to realize the Absolute Truth by way of the revealed scriptures

shastras: the revealed scriptures

sika: a ponytail worn by male devotees

spiritual sky: the place of eternity, bliss, and knowledge where devotees who have achieved purity go after this earthly life

Srimad-Bhagavatam: scriptures detailing the life and pastimes of Lord Krishna

stool room: bathroom

surrender: to give heart, soul, mind, and body to the guru or Krishna

swami: a holy man; literally, lord or master

sweet rice: a thick, creamy confection made with whole milk, sugar, and rice

take shelter (of Krishna or the spiritual master): to seek the protection of the Lord or of his pure devotee

temple commander: see commander

temple room: a room within the temple building or compound where the worship of the Deities takes place

tilak: clay markings worn by devotees on the forehead, upper body, and arms, marking the body as the temple of the Lord

Tulsi-devi: a pure devotee of Krishna in the form of a small green bush

Vaishnava: a devotee of Krishna

Vrindavan: town in north-central India where Krishna was born about 5,000 years ago

Vyasadeva: the ancient incarnation of Krishna who first compiled the Hindu scriptures

Yamuna: a sacred river in central India that flows near Vrindavan and empties into the Ganges

yoga: a school of philosophy and religion that advocates a course of physical or mental discipline aimed at uniting the self and the supreme; literally, union

yogi: one who practices yoga


Note: I have not italicized those words of Hindi or Sanskrit origin that have entered into common usage in the English language.