Glossary B


a person who dwells alone in one place and leads a life of meditation, penance and austerity; renounced order beyond sannyāsa, in which one chants and reads.


religious master, a term of respect.


a thousand-armed demon slain by Lord Kṛṣṇa.


a son of Arjuna by Citrāṅgadā, the daughter of the King of Maṇipur. Babhruvāhana engaged in battle with his father over the sacrificial horse. At that time Babhruvāhana killed Arjuna. Arjuna was later brought back to life by Ulūpī, another wife of Arjuna.


one of the Yadu warriors and servant of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa.


a sacred holy place of pilgrimage in the Himālayas. The Pāṇḍavas visited here during their exile in the forest. (Vana Parva in Mahābhārata) It is the abode of Lord Nara-Nārāyaṇa, who sat under a badarī (plum) tree to perform austerities.


a conditioned soul who distinguishes between the Lord’s body and soul.




the King of Kosala. He joined the side of the Kauravas and was killed by Abhimanyu. (Droṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)


a king of Magadha, and the father of Jarāsandha.


a person influenced by the external energy.


the second stage of the sannyāsa order, in which one begs from door to door.


the personified sins of King Vena.


a demon who was shaped like a huge duck and who tried to kill Kṛṣṇa.


tip, donation, or bribe.


a fragrant flower very pleasing to Lord Kṛṣna.


Deity of Kṛṣṇa as a cowherd boy.

Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa

Born in the 18th century in the Baleswar district of Orissa, he was initially a learned scholar of the Madhva-sampradāya. He was converted to Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism and became the ardent follower of Viśvanātha Cakravartī Thākura. He is especially renowned for his commentary on Vedānta-sūtra called Govinda-bhāṣya; Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa was a highly renounced pure devotee. For the spiritual benefit of mankind, he presented many transcendental literatures to the world. The details of his early life are not known for sure, as he never mentioned his birth place or his family background. Historians have estimated that he was born sometime in the eighteenth century, most probably in Orissa (possibly near Remuna). At a very early age, Baladeva finished his studies of grammar, poetry, rhetoric and logic and then went on pilgrimage. During his travels he spent some time with the Tattvavādīs in South India and thus became conversant with the teachings of Śrī Madhvācārya. He became a powerful exponent of this philosophy throughout India. Later he was initiated into the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya by Rādhā-Dāmodara Deva, and went to Vṛndāvana to study under the great ācārya Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. Baladeva’s defeat of an assembly of Rāmānandī scholars is celebrated in Indian philosophical history. It was on this occasion that he composed the Govinda-bhāṣya commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra. Actually, it was dictated to him by the Śrī Govinda Deva Deity; hence, it is named after the Lord. The commentary so astonished the scholars that they bestowed upon Baladeva the title Vidyābhūṣaṇa (ornament of learning).

Balagaṇḍi festival

the festival during the Ratha-yātrā procession when everyone offers various opulent foods to Lord Jagannātha at Balagaṇḍi.

Balarāma (Baladeva)

the first plenary expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa. He appeared as the son of Rohiṇī and elder brother of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Also known as Balabhadra or Baladeva, present as one of the three Jagannātha deities.


a son of Pratīpa. He had two brothers Devāpi and Śantanu. He was killed by Bhīmasena during the Kurukṣetra war. (Droṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)

Bali Māhāraja

the king of the demons who gave three paces of land to Vamanadeva, the dwarf incarnation of Lord Viṣṇu, and thereby became a great devotee by surrendering everything to Him.


innocent and foolish like a child.

Ballal Sen

King of Bengal in the 12th century. He was the son of King Vijaya Sen, the founder of Navadvīpa. Ballal Sen’s son was Laksman Sen, the sponsor of Jayadeva Gosvāmi, the author of Gītā-govinda.


the killer of māyā.


son of Varuṇa who was defeated in debate by Aṣṭavakra.

Banyan tree

a sacred tree of the fig family with self-rooting branches.


low caste people born from Sabala, the Surabhi cow.



Battle of Kurukṣetra

a battle between the Kurus and the Pāṇḍavas, which took place five thousand years ago and before which Lord Kṛṣṇa spoke Bhagavad-gītā to Arjuna.

Bāula community

one of the apa-sampradāyas, or unauthorized devotional groups.


the fruit of the bel tree. It is especially dear to Lord Śiva and has great medicinal value. Its pulp is very soothing.


Vārāṇasī, holy city on the Ganges in northern India.


another name of Durgā.


one of the wives of Vāsudeva.


the King of Prāgjyotiṣapura, and the son of Narakāsura or Bhaumāsura. He was killed by Arjuna during the Kurukṣetra war. (Droṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)


bhakti-yoga, devotional service to the Supreme Lord.


a seven-hundred verse record of a conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and His disciple, Arjuna, from the Bhīṣma Parva of the Mahābhārata of Vedavyāsa. The conversation took place between two armies minutes before the start of an immense fratricidal battle. Kṛṣṇa teaches the science of the Absolute Truth and the importance of devotional service to the despondent Arjuna, and it contains the essence of all Vedic wisdom. Śrīla Prabhupāda’s annotated English translation is called Bhagavad-gītā As It Is; This most essential text of spiritual knowledge, The Song of the Lord, contains Kṛṣṇa’s instructions to Arjuna at Kurukṣetra. It is found in the Mahābhārata. The Mahābhārata is classified as smṛti-śāstra, a supplement of the śruti-śāstra. Śruti, the core Vedic literature, includes the four Vedas (Ṛg, Sāma, Yajur and Atharva) and the Upaniṣads. Śruti advances the understanding of the absolute. Bhagavad-gītā is also known as Gītopaniṣad, or a śruti text spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. Therefore, Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote in a letter, the Gītā should be taken as śruti. But they take it as smṛti because it is part of the smṛti (Mahābhārata). In one sense it is both śruti and smṛti. In only 700 verses, the Bhagavad-gītā summarizes all Vedic knowledge about the soul, God, sanātana-dharma, sacrifice, yoga, karma, reincarnation, the modes of material nature, Vedānta and pure devotion. See Arjuna, Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇa, Mahābhārata, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.


the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who possesses in full the opulences of wealth, beauty, strength, knowledge, fame, and renunciation; an epithet of the Supreme Person; The Personality of Godhead, the possessor (vān) of six opulences (bhaga) in unlimited fullness: wealth (aiśvarya), strength (vīrya), fame (yaśaḥ), beauty (śriyaḥ), knowledge (jñāna), and renunciation (vairāgya). See Kṛṣṇa.

Bhāgavata jīvana

the life of a devotee.

Bhāgavata Purāṇa



the science of devotional service to the Supreme Lord; the religious principles enunciated by the Lord; the eternal function of the living being.


a seven-day series of lectures on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam given by professional reciters to a paying audience.


the devotional process of serving the pure devotee and preaching Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.


transcendental knowledge of the Supreme Lord.

Bhāgavatam system

spreading of Kṛṣṇa consciousness philosophy by recitation and discussion of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.


persons or things in relationship with the Lord.


anything related to Bhagavān, the Supreme Lord, especially the devotee of the Lord and the scripture Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam;


the king who performed austerities to bring the Ganges to earth to save his ancestors.


most fortunate.


good fortune.


the terrifying aspect of Lord Śiva, who chopped off the fifth head of Brahmā.


a small hut or cottage where a Vaiṣṇava or saintly person performs his bhajana or personal mediation.


a devotee who performs his devotional activities in seclusion, not attempting to preach; a devotee who is satisfied to cultivate devotional service for himself.


this term generally to indicates the service and worship of the Supreme Lord executed by Vaiṣṇavas from the neophytes up to those who are fully God-realized. The main form that this service takes is the hearing and chanting of the holy name. Otherwise, the term refers to the singing of devotional songs about Kṛṣṇa, usually accompanied by musical instruments.


an incarnation of God as a devotee.


an “almost” devotee.


a devotee of the Lord; one who performs devotional service (bhakti).


the spiritual potency which is the essence of the pleasure potency and the eternity potency.


Scriptures dealing with the science of devotion.


the desire tree of devotional service.


the seed of the creeper of devotional service.


devotional creeper.


the path of developing devotion to Kṛṣṇa.


one who knows and teaches the essence of devotional service.


one of the principal works on the science of bhakti-yoga, written by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in the sixteenth century, a confidential associate of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. All of its conclusions are elaborately supported by reference to the Vedic literatures.


the mellow derived from devotional service.


one of the six treatises on the science of devotional service written by Śrila Jiva Gosvāmī.


that which is against the philosophy of acintya-bhedābheda.


the system of cultivation of bhakti, or pure devotional service, which is untinged by sense gratification or philosophical speculation; The process of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa. According to a famous verse in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it consists of nine aṅgas or parts: śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam-arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ sakhyam ātma-nivedanam 1) Hearing and 2) chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa, 3) remembering them, 4) serving the lotus feet of the Lord, 5) offering the Deity of the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, 6) offering prayers to the Lord, 7) serving His mission, 8) making friends with the Lord, and 9) surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. (SB 7.5.23)


the personification of devotional service.

Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura

Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Gosvāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda (1874-1937) the spiritual master of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, and thus the spiritual grandfather of the present day Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. A powerful preacher, he founded sixty four missions in India; The transcendentally empowered son of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura appeared in this world on February 6, 1874. His father was deputy magistrate of Jagannātha Purī in Orissa at this time. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura had been very concerned about unauthorized pseudo-Vaiṣṇavas who were usurping the pure teachings of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and therefore had begun a revival of the saṅkīrtana mission. Though very busy with his profession, he wrote profusely about all aspects of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He prayed constantly for someone to boldly preach his writings. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s prayers were answered in Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. When he was six months old, the Ratha-yātrā festival of chariots was held in Purī. Lord Jagannātha’s chariot stopped in front of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda’s house, which was on the main road between the temple and the Guṇḍicā mandira. The chariot stayed there for three days. On the third day, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta’s mother brought the child out to see the Lord. The pūjārīs picked him up and put him on the cart. He crawled to the base of Lord Jagannātha, touching His lotus feet. Simultaneously a garland fell from the neck of the Lord and landed around the child. The pūjārīs exclaimed that this child was especially blessed by the Lord. The boy grew up to be a great scholar in many fields of learning. But when he reached twenty-two, he left his studies at college, vowing to never take to householder life. For three years, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura held the post of rāja-pāṇḍita (royal scholar) of the Vaiṣṇava king of Tripura. Thereafter he took initiation from Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī. Śrīla Gaurakiśora was a Vaiṣṇava renunciate who had fully absorbed himself in the worship of Kṛṣṇa at Vṛndāvana for a long time. Then he settled at the holy city of Navadvīpa on the bank of the Ganges. By this time Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura had retired from his government work and was worshiping Lord Kṛṣṇa in a small house near Navadvīpa, at Godruma. Every day he gave Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam class there. Śrīla Gaurakiśora used to attend these classes. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura told his son, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, to accept Śrīla Gaurakiśora as his initiating spiritual master. He received the name Vārṣabhānavī-devī-dayitāya dāsa. Thereafter Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura gave up all other activities to chant 194 rounds daily for seven years. He stayed in a kuṭira (hut) but did not take time to repair the roof; if it rained, he just used an umbrella. In 1918 he opened the first center of the Gauḍīya Mission in Ultadanga Road in Calcutta. He was then forty-four. All across India he established Lord Caitanya’s teachings as the most excellent spiritual philosophy. He started his mission in the midst of war and political agitation for national liberation. He was uncompromising in his disregard of such mundane concerns. The most important thing is to invoke the spirit of devotion to the Supreme Lord; this concern lies far above any material consideration. Many leaders objected that he was diverting too many young men from India’s national interests, but he paid them no heed. In this period, Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda visited Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura on the rooftop at Ultadanga Road. Śrīla Prabhupāda, at that time known as Abhay Caran De, was an adherent of Gandhi’s svarāja movement. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura convinced him in just one sitting of the vital necessity of Lord Caitanya’s mission over everything else. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura departed this world in 1936. Two weeks before leaving his body, he instructed Śrīla Prabhupāda to introduce the saṅkīrtana mission to the Western world. See Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Kṛṣṇa.

Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda is the foremost Vaiṣṇava ācārya in the modern age. In 1896, he appeared in this world as Abhay Caran De in Calcutta, where he received an English-language education. He first met his spiritual master, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, in 1922. At their first meeting, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura requested Śrīla Prabhupāda to broadcast Vedic knowledge through the English language. In 1933, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura initiated Śrīla Prabhupāda as Abhaya Caraṇāravinda dāsa. In the years that followed, he wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gītā, assisted the Gauḍīya Mission in its work, and in 1944 started Back to Godhead, an English fortnightly magazine, still continued by his disciples today. He received the title Bhaktivedanta in 1947 from the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Society. In the 1950’s, Śrīla Prabhupāda retired from family life, accepting the vānaprastha order. Thus he was able to devote more time to his studies and writing. He came to Vṛndāvana to live humbly at the historic medieval temple of Rādhā-Dāmodara. After several years of deep absorption in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, Śrīla Prabhupāda accepted the order of sannyāsa from his Godbrother Keśava Prajña Mahārāja, in 1959. It was then that he began to work on his life’s masterpiece: a multivolume translation of and commentary on the eighteen-thousand verse Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. After publishing three volumes of the Bhāgavatam in India, Śrīla Prabhupāda came to the United States in 1965. After great difficulty, with no initial financial resources, he established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in New York in July, 1966. The residents of that great metropolis of materialism were astounded as the youthful American followers of Śrīla Prabhu-pāda danced and chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra in their midst, that eternal Vedic sound echoing between the glass and steel skyscraper canyon walls. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement soon spread to San Francisco, where the Ratha-yātrā festival of the chariots was held for the first time outside of India. A group of American disciples started a branch in London, where George Harrison of the Beatles became a life-long follower of Śrīla Prabhupāda. From England the movement went to Germany, Holland, France, and other European countries. It likewise flourished in Canada, Latin America, Australia and Africa. Simultaneously, Śrīla Prabhupāda personally established several multi-million-dollar ISKCON temple and guesthouse projects in India at Bombay, Vṛndāvana, Mayapur and Hyderabad. But Śrīla Prabhupāda considered his most significant contribution to be his books, which form a veritable library of Vedic philosophy, religion, culture and literature. Highly respected by the academic community for their authority, depth and clarity, they serve as standard textbooks in numerous college courses. His writings have been translated into more than eighty languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 to publish his works, is the world’s largest publisher in the field of Vedic studies. In the twelve years after his first arrival in America up to his departure from this world in 1977, Śrīla Prabhupāda circled the globe fourteen times on lecture tours that took him to six continents. Even in his physical absence, his great mission continues to move forward. With the collapse of the Soviet Empire that Śrīla Prabhupāda predicted during his 1972 visit to Moscow, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is vigorously blossoming throughout Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Far East. ISKCON’s Mayapur project is growing into a modern spiritual city on the bank of the holy Ganges. 1996, the year of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s centennial, saw the opening of grand temple projects in Delhi, Bangalore and Baroda. See Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, ISKCON, Kṛṣṇa.


advanced transcendentalists who have realized the conclusion of the Vedas through devotional service.

Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

(1838-1915) the great-grandfather of the present-day Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, the spiritual master of Śrīla Gaura-kiśora dāsa Bābājī, the father of Śrila Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, and the grand-spiritual master of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was a responsible officer and a householder, yet his service to the cause of expanding the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu is unique. He has written many books on the philosophy of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; Appearing in this world in 1838 and departing it in 1914, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura is one of the great teachers of Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the disciplic succession of spiritual masters. He is famous in Bengal for having located the exact site of the birthplace of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This site at Śrīdhāma Māyāpur, near the city of Navadvīpa about 90 miles north of Calcutta, had been lost for centuries due to the shifting course of the Ganges river. The Ṭhākura’s discovery rapidly transformed Māyāpur into an important place of pilgimage for Kṛṣṇa devotees. The Gaura-Viṣṇupriya temple he founded in 1891 was the first of many holy places of worship now visible at Māyāpur. In 1896, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura announced the saṅkīrtana mission to the Western world by sending a copy of one of his small books Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: His Life and Precepts to McGill University in Canada. Many of his Bengali songs are available in Songs of the Vaiṣṇava ṁcāryas, published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura predicted that the saṅkīrtana movement would spread from India to the great cities of the Western world. See Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Kṛṣṇa.


devotional service to the Supreme Lord; purified service of the senses of the Lord by one’s own senses; Love and devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa. The formal systematization of devotion is called bhakti-yoga. See Bhakti-yoga, Kṛṣṇa.

Bhakty-unmukhī sukṛti

pious activities that awaken one’s dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness.


a prince of Kaliṅga. He fought on the side of the Kauravas and was killed by Bhīmasena.


a son of Karṇa. He was killed by Bhīmasena during the Kurukṣetra war. (Karṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)


a great sage and the father of Droṇa.

Bharata Mahārāja

an ancient king of India and a great devotee of the Lord from whom the Pāṇḍavas descended. The son of Mahārāja Duṣyanta who renounced his kingdom and family at an early age. He became very advanced in spiritual practice, but later became attached to a pet deer causing him to take birth as a deer. In his next life, as Jaḍa Bharata, he attained spiritual perfection.


a name for the earth (now for India), derived from King Bharata, a great king who was the eldest son of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva.


half-brother of Lord Rāma, he ruled Ayodhya when Lord Rāma was in exile.


Sarasvatī-goddess of learning. Wife of Lord Brahmā. She usually sits on a white swan and holds a veena (stringed instrument) in her hands.


accepting something to be spiritual when it is actually material.


the platform of purified goodness when one’s heart melts in devotional service; the first stage of love of Godhead.


material miseries or diseases.


the ocean of repeated birth and death.


the stage of transcendental love experienced after transcendental affection; manifestation of ecstatic symptoms in the body of a devotee.

Bhaviṣya Purāṇa

one of the eighteen Purāṇas. It was spoken by Lord Brahmā and concerns future events and religious rites and observances.

Bhaviṣya-uttara Purāṇa

the last section of the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa.


sentimental; can also mean advanced in the knowledge of spiritual rasas.


the indirect relationship of fear.




the second son of Pāṇḍu and Kuntī. Actually, his father was Vāyu, because Pāṇḍu had been cursed not being able to conceive children. By mantra Kuntī called Vāyu and Bhīma was born. He was known for his strength and strong appetite.


the meeting of contradictory ecstasies.


the grandfather of the Pāṇḍavas, and the most powerful and venerable warrior on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra. The noble general respected as the “grandfather” of the Kuru dynasty. He is recognized as one of the twelve mahājanas, authorities on devotional service to the Lord. He was given a boon to leave his body any time he pleased, consequently he decided to leave while laying on a bed of arrows in full view of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa.


the King of Vidarbha and father of Śrīmātī Rukmiṇī.


the place where the Deity’s food is kept.


material sense enjoyment; or, food before it has been offered to the Deity.


sense gratifier.


pious activities that bestow material opulence.

Bohr, Niels

Danish physicist of great fame in the twentieth century (1885-1962). He has been called the spiritual father of all quantum physicists. Einstein was not happy with Bohr’s idea that the universe is as it is purely by chance. He admonished Bohr, God does not play dice. Einstein’s criticisms so bothered Bohr that he sometimes used to pace back and forth while chanting Einstein … Einstein … Einstein … to himself.


false knowledge or mistakes.


the most powerful of the sages born directly from Brahmā.


the servants of the body, namely the senses.


the creative energy of the cosmic creation.


the power to hold up the planets within the universe.


consort of Lord Viṣṇu.


material enjoyment.


Mother Earth


one of the three sons of Somadatta, a King of the Kuru dynasty. He was killed by Sātyaki during the great Kurukṣetra battle. (Droṇa Parva in Mahābhārata)


the lower material planets.




a holy place in the district of Puri, Orissa, that is sacred to Lord Śiva and that was visited by Lord Caitanya. It is glorified in detail in the Skanda Purāṇa.


the middle material planets.


the indirect relationship of abomination.


a state in northwestern India.


the subterranean heavens.

Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura

a great devotee-author, whose works include the Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, the confidential pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa.


a town just south of Krishnanagar in the West Bengal district of Nadia. In ancient times the Ganges flowed past this town making it a prosperous river port. Once, the prince Srimanta Sandagar was sailing his fleet of ships up the Ganges to Birnagar and a violent storm arose. To save himself and his fleet, he prayed to Ulācaṇḍi, a wife of Lord Śiva. The fleet was saved, and the prince instituted her worship at this site. The town of Birnagar was thus also known as Ulā-grāma, the birthplace of Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda.


the sound of the soul falling into the ocean of material suffering; commonly used in ISKCON to describe someone who leaves the organization.

Bo (Bodhi) tree

the tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.

Brahma śāpa

a brāhmaṇa’s curse.


one born in a brāhmaṇa family but lacking brahminical qualification.


the joyful state of being freed from material contamination. One in this state is characterized by transcendental happiness, and he engages in the service of the Supreme Lord; liberation.


knowledge of the Supreme.


an impersonalist scholar.


inquiry into the Absolute Truth; spiritual inquiry into one’s own identity.


the auspicious period of the day just before dawn, from one and a half hours to fifty minutes before sunrise. It is especially favorable for spiritual practices.


a man-eating demon who was a fallen brāhmaṇa in his last life; the ghost of a sinful brāhmana.


the hole in the skull through which the perfected yogī quits his body.


a very ancient Sanskrit scripture recording the prayers of Brahmā offered to the Supreme Lord, Govinda, recovered from a temple in South India by Lord Caitanya.


meditating on the Supreme Lord always.


spiritual happiness, which is unobstructed and eternal.


the Vedānta-sūtra.


the potency of a brāhmaṇa.


a worshiper of the impersonal Brahman.

Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa

one of the eighteen Purāṇas. It contains prayers and invocations addressed to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, as well as descriptions of His transcendental pastimes with Srīmatī Rādhārāṇī and the other cowherd girls of Vṛndāvana.


transcendental knowledge.


studying the Vedas.


a celibate student under the care of a spiritual master. One in the first order of spiritual life; In the Vedic social order, the student class who strictly accept the vow of celibacy, in the case of brāhmaṇas, up to the age of 25, at which time they may marry or continue the life of celibacy; a celibate student of a spiritual master; A member of the first spiritual devision of life, according to the Vedic social system of four āśramas. See Gṛhasta, Sannyāsī, Vānaprastha.


celibate student life; the first order of Vedic spiritual life; the vow of strict abstinence from sex indulgence.

Brāhmaṇa thread

a multistranded thread worn by brāhmaṇas across the left shoulder and chest.


a member of the intellectual, priestly class; a person wise in Vedic knowledge, fixed in goodness and knowledgeable of Brahman, the Absolute Truth; One of the four orders of occupational life, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra. The brāhmaṇas are the intellectual class and their occupation is hearing Vedic literature, teaching Vedic literature, learning deity worship and teaching deity worship, receiving charity and giving charity.


the wife of a brāhmana.

Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa

one of the eighteen Purāṇas. It was revealed by Lord Brahmā and contains knowledge about this brahmāṇḍa, or spherical universe and future millennia.


wandering up and down throughout the universe.


the material universe.


the Supreme Lord, who is the protector of brahminical culture.


the impersonal bodily effulgence emanating from the transcendental body of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, which constitutes the brilliant illumination of the spiritual sky; From Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental personal form of eternity, knowledge and bliss emanates a shining effulgence called the brahma-jyotir (light of Brahman). The material prakṛti, the jīvas who desire to enjoy matter, and kāla (time), are situated within this brahma-jyotir, which is pure existence devoid of difference and activity. It is the impersonal Brahman of the Mayavādīs, and the Clear Light of some Buddhist sects. For many mystics and philosophers the world over, the brahma-jyotir is the indefinable One from which all things emerge in the beginning and merge into at the end. The brahma-jyotir is Kṛṣṇa’s feature of sat (eternality) separated from cit (knowledge) and ānanda (bliss). See Brahman, Buddhism, Impersonalism, Life after death, Māyāvāda philosophy, Modes of nature, Mysticism, Sac-cid-ānanda, Vedānta.


the highest planet of the universe, that of the demigod Lord Brahmā.


the spiritual bliss derived from impersonal Brahman realization.


(1) the infinitesimal spiritual individual soul; (2) the impersonal, all-pervasive aspect of the Supreme; (3) the Supreme Personality of Godhead; (4) the mahat-tattva, or total material substance; This Sanskrit term comes from the root bṛh, which means to grow or to evolve. In the Chāndogya Upaniṣad 3.14, Brahman is described as tajjalān, as that (tat) from which the world arises (ja), into which it returns (la), and by which is is supported and lives (an). Impersonalists equate Brahman with the brahma-jyotir. But in its fullest sense, Brahman is the vastu, the actual substance of the world: 1) Viṣṇu as the Supreme Soul (paraṁ brahman), 2) the individual self as the subordinate soul (jīva-brahman), and 3) matter as creative nature (mahad-brahman). Viṣṇu is accepted by all schools of Vaiṣṇava Vedānta as the transcendental, unlimited Puruṣottama (Supreme Person), while the individual souls and matter are His conscious and unconscious energies (cid-acid-śakti). See Absolute, Brahmajyoti, Four Vaiṣṇava Sampradāyas and Siddhāntas, Kṛṣṇa, Life after death, Modes of nature, Supersoul, Vedānta, Viṣṇu.


a title meaning “sage among the brāhmaṇas.”


a nuclear weapon produced by chanting a mantra, more powerful than many atomic bombs. It could be used only on a person of equal or superior strength. This weapon was given by Droṇa to Arjuna.


impersonalists among the transcendentalists; those who are absorbed in the thought of impersonal Brahman.


the first created living being and secondary creator of the material universe. Directed by Lord Viṣṇu, he creates all life forms in the universes. He also rules the mode of passion. Twelve of his hours equals 4,320,000,000 earth-years, and his life span is more than 311 trillion of our years; The first living being in the universe, Brahmā was born not of a womb but the lotus that grows from Lord Viṣṇu’s navel. He is the forefather and guru of the demigods, the giver of the Vedas, and the director of the vaikṛta or secondary phase of cosmic creation by which all species of plants, animals, human beings and demigods come into existence. Thus he takes charge of the creative rajo-guṇa, just as Śiva takes charge of the destructive tamo-guṇa. Brahmā is usually a jīva, though rarely, when there is no qualified jīva to assume this post, the Supreme Lord expands Himself as Brahmā. See Demigods, Modes of nature.

Brajmandal (Vraja-mandala)

The circular area which encompasses Braj and designated by the pilgrimage path through the area’s sacred sites, each a scene of one of Krsna’s exploits.


dialect of local spoken language in the Vṛndāvana area.


the tough outer pericarp layer of the wheat grain. It is removed together with the germ during milling to produce flour. It is a rich source of protein, B vitamins, phosphorus, and, of course, fibre.


the leader of the sages in the universe.

Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa

one of the eighteen Purāṇas, or Vedic historical scriptures.


the spiritual master of King Indra and chief priest for the demigods.


inhabitant of Vṛndāvana.


those who desire to enjoy the material world.


incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, the founder of Buddhism who lived during the 5th century B.C., and appeared to bewilder atheists and dissuade them from performing unnecessary animal sacrifices; Two thousand five hundred years ago, Lord Viṣṇu sent forth an empowered jīva known as the Buddha (the Enlightened One). Assuming the guise of Siddhārtha Gautama, he took birth in Kapilavastu (present-day Nepal) as the son of King Śuddhodana. At age twenty-nine he renounced the world and embarked upon a mission to preach ahiṁsā (nonviolence) and śūnyatā (extinction of the self). He especially opposed the prevailing karma-mīmāṁsā philosophy of his time, which distorted Vedic knowledge and promoted unnecessary animal sacrifice. The Buddha’s teaching rests on four principles: 1) material existence is duḥkha, miserable. 2) There is samudāya, a cause of material existence. 3) Because there is a cause, there is also nirodha, a way to remove material existence. 4) That way is mārga, the path of righteousness that the Buddha himself exemplified. But as he circumvented the distortion of Vedic sacrifice in leading people away from the sin of animal slaughter, he denied the Vedas, the soul, and God. After the Buddha’s disappearance, many schools of Buddhism came into being. See Avatāra (Śaktyāveśa), Buddhism.


Discernment, intelligence; in Greek dinoia. According to SB 3.26.30, it has five functions: saṁśaya (doubt), viparyāsa (misapprehension), niścaya (correct apprehension), smṛti (memory), and svāpa (sleep, dreaming). See Intellect.


Vaiṣṇava Vedāntist ācāryas such as Rāmānuja, Madhva and Baladeva have analyzed four types of Buddhist doctrine. These four are held, respectively, by schools known as the Sautrāntikas, Vaibhāṣikas, Yogācāras and Mādhyamikas. The first doctrine views mind and matter as having real but momentary existence, i.e. with each moment, the reality of mind and matter changes. The second views matter as being knowable only through the mind; mind and the matter known through it are momentarily real. The third views matter as unreal, mind as absolute, and the perception of matter as momentary imagination. The fourth, known as Śūnyavāda, views the previous three doctrines as useless attempts at explaining what cannot be put into words. See Buddha, Māyāvāda philosophy, Nirvāna, Scepticism, Six systems, Voidism.


(buddhi-intelligence + yoga-mystic elevation) another term for bhakti-yoga (devotional service to Kṛṣṇa), indicating that it represents the highest use of intelligence by surrendering it to the will of the Supreme Lord. Action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is buddhi-yoga, for that is the highest intelligence.