GLOSSARY / SOURCES
Glossary
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Acharya
Teacher
Advaita
Hindu philosophy of Monism or Non-dualism
Agiari
Zoroastrian fire-temple
Ahimsa
Nonviolence ; in its positive aspect-love for all living things
Allah
Muslim name of God
Amanitvam
Humility
Aparigraha
Non-possession
Arati
Blessing with lights
Ardhangana
Woman; the better half
Ashram
Abode of spiritual teacher; place for disciplined community living; stage of life
Asoka
Indian monarch of 3rd century B.C. famed for his renunciation of empire andconquest andfor his rock-edicts embodying Buddhist dharma
Asthis
Burned bones collected from a funeral fire
Atman
Soul
Atishudra
One lower than the Kshudra, the fourth caste at the bottom of Hindu social hierarchy; ‘untouchable’
Avatar
Literally’ a ‘descent’ : incarnation of a deity, especially of Vishnu in the Hindu Trinity
Bansi
Bamboo flute as of the divine cowherd, Sri Krishna
Bapu, Bapuji
Father, term of affection used for Gandhi
Bardoli
Gujarat village, connected with the Civil Disobedience Movement
Bhagwadgita
(see ‘The Gita’)
Bhakti
Devotion
Bhangi
Scavenger, sweeper
Bharat Mata
Mother India
Bibhishan
Brother of Ravana, in the Ramayana, known for his wise counsel
Bhogabhumi
Land of Enjoyment
Boodan Yajna
Land Gift
Brahma
Hindu name of God the Creator, one of the Trinity
Brahmachari
A Celibate; one who observes Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya
Celibacy; code of conduct involving strict observance of chastity or continence in the pursuit of learning, philosophy and God Member of the first of the four castes, whose first duty is the study and teaching of the Vedas and the performance of sacrifices and other religious rituals
Buddha
The Founder of Buddhism, b. about 563, d. about 483 B. C. ; also known as Gautama, Siddhartha, Sakyamuni, etc
Chaddar
Shawl
Chaintanya
Bengali religious reformer of the 15th century A.D., WHO IS WORSHIPPED BY HIS FOLLOWERS as an incarnation of Sri Krishna
Chakki
Grinding wheel or mill
Chapati
Thin flat cakes made of flour; unleavened bread
Charkha
Spinning wheel
Dal
Dal
Dandi March
March undertaken by Gandhiji from March 12 to April 5, 1930, from his Sabarmati Ashram to the coastal village of Dandi, about 100 miles distant, with a view to breaking the Salt Law by picking up natural salt from the sea-shore. His arrest at Dandi was followed by a country-wide movement of Civil Disobedience famous as the Salt Satyagraha.
Damayanti
Damayanti
Daridranarayana
God in the form of the poor and the destitute
Darshan
The vision of the sanctity
Dasharatha
King of Ayodhya, father of Rama, in the Ramayana
Devanagri
The alphabet usually employed in writing Sanskrit, as well as various vernacular languages of central, western, and northern India
Dayanand
Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824-83), founder of the Arya Samaj
Dharma
Religion; law of one’s being; righteousness; Hindu code of religion and morals or religious and moral duty
Dharmaja
One born from a sense of duty
Dharmayuddha
War fought for a righteous end by righteous means and methods
Dheds
A community in Gujarat traditionally treated as ‘untouchable’
Dhoti
The long cloth worn by Indians from the waist
Dhurna
‘Sit-down’ strike; an early and crude form of Satyagraha
Dnyandev
Boy poet-saint of Maharashtra of the 13th century A. D., AUTHOR OF DYANESWARI, A Marathi commentary on the Gita; also spelt as Dnyaneshwar or JNANESHWAR
Draupadi
Consort of the Pandava PRINCES, IN THE Mahabharata
Dublas
A backward shudra community of Gujarat
Duryodhana
Head of the Kaurava Princes, in the Mahabharata
Dyer
British General who fired on an unarmed assembly in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar on April 13, 1919, killing over 400 people
Forecaster
Founder of religious system known as Zoroastrianism. He is also known as Zoroastrianism. He is also known as Zarathustra or Zerdusht. The Parsis of India, who are emigrants from Persia, are followers of this prophet.
Ganga
The Sacred river Ganges of Northern India
Ganja
Narcotic from the flower of Indian hemp
Ghani
Village oil mill
Gita
The ‘Song Celestial’; a Hindu scriptural work in Sanskrit verse, composed some centuries before the Christian era, in which Sri Krishna sums up the essence of Hindu religion and philosophy.
Ghee
Clarified butter
Gokhale
Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915), Indian politician, member of the Servants of India Society, whom Gandhiji acknowledged as his political guru.
Goonda
A rowdy or hooligan
Goondaism
Rowdyism
Gopal
Cowherd; a name of Sri Krishna
Gur
Jaggery, indigenous form of sugar molasses
Guru
Teacher; Preceptor
Goseva
Service of the cattle; cow-protection
Gram Panchayat
Village tribune or 'Council of five'
Gramseva
Village service
Gram sevak
Person employed in village service
Granth Saheb
The sacred book of the Sikhs
Hakim
Practitioner of indigenous form of medicine
Hanuman
The ‘Monkey-God’ who serves Rama in the Ramayana
Harijans
Literally, children of god
Hartal
Strike, suspension of normal business
Hooghli
Westernmost branch of the River Ganges in the banks of which Calcutta is situated.
Ishopanishad
One of the major Upanishads
Jainism
Ancient Indian religion, one of the cardinal principles of which is non-violence
Jains
Followers of Jainism
Janak
Philosopher-king of Videha, foster-father of Sita, in the Ramayana
Kabir
Poet-saint of northern India, who lived in the 15th century A.D. and who in his devotional songs, dwelt on the essential oneness of the Godhead and the harmony between Hinduism and Islam.
Kama
lust
Kamaja
One born of lust
Karmabhumi
Land of duty
Karmayogi
One who has devoted his life to action in the selfless service of others
Khaddar, khadi
Hand-spun and hand-woven cloth
Khilafat
The Caliph is the spiritual leader of Muslims. The Khilafat refers to his office
Kisan
Peasant
Koran
Muslim scripture
Krishna
Divine hero and central figure of the epic, Mahabharata, who is worshipped by the Hindus as the 8th incarnation of God.
Kshatriya
Member of the second (warrior) caste among Hindus
Kukri
Curved knife or sword
Lathis
Wooden pole, usually iron-tipped
Lila, leela
Divine play or sport; the creation is often explained by the Vaishnavas as the leela of God, a conception that introduces elements of spontaneity and freedom into the universe.
Lok Sevak Sangh
Society or association for the service of the people
Mahabharata
The Hindu epic having for its theme the story of the great war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, princes of the Lunar race who were cousins, rival claimants to the throne of Hastinapur, (ancient Delhi)
Mahatma
Great soul, title given to Gandhiji
Mahavir
24th Tirthankar or Prophet of Jainism (b. about 540, d. about 468 B.C.) who is popularly regarded as its greatest promulgator, originally named Vridhamana
Mahayajna
The great sacrifice or ritual of propitiation
Mantra, Mantram
Sacred or magical incantation
Manushya
Man
Maulana
Title of respect given to learned Muslims
Maulvi
Religious teacher
Maya
Illusion; in Hindu philosophy Maya is the divine power which has created the cosmos
Meerabai
Rajput princess of the 16th century A.D., who was a great devotee of Sri Krishna and who composed and sang innumerable songs in the praise of Him which have since become popular all over India.
Moksha
Liberation from earthly bondage
Muni
Sage; ancient seer
Nai Talim
Literally, ‘new education’, name given to basic or craft education
Namaskar
The Indian salute with folded hands
Namaz
form of Muslim prayer, worship.
Nirvana
Salvation, Buddhist equivalent of ‘Moksha’
Pancha, Panchayat
The five; the communal tribune or ‘council of five’
Panchayat Raj
Rule of the Panchayat
Pandavas
The five brothers, princes of the Lunar Race, who were the victors in the Mahabharata war.
Pandit
Scholars
Pinjrapoles
Institutions for looking after old and disabled cattle
Poorna Swaraj
Full-self-government or complete independence
Prahlad
Son of Hiranyakashipu, a mythological demon-king; Prahlad’s worship of Vishnu led to persecution by his father who was ultimately slain by Narasimha, the ‘Man-Lion’ avatar of Vishnu.
Pritam
Pritamdas, Gujarati poet of the 16thcentury A.D., who composed numerous devotional songs
Raj
Kingdom, rule, regime
Rajachandra
RaychandbhaiJain Saint and Philosopher, contemporary of Gandhiji, whom the latter acknowledged as his spiritual guru. He died in 1900.
Ram, Rama
Hero of the epic, Ramayana, who is regarded as an ideal man and king, and worshipped as the 7th incarnation of God.
Ramakrishna
Bengali saint (1836-86 A.D.) who was the guru of Swami Vivekananda and who taught the oneness of the Godhead and the basic harmony of all religions. The Ramakrishna Mission is named after him.
Ramanama
Literally, kingdom of Rama; and ideal system of government
Ramayana
The Hindu epic narrating the story of the abduction of Sita, wife of Rama; prince of Ayodhya, by Ravana, demon-king of Lanka (Ceylon), and her rescue after the conquest of Lanka by the armies led by Rama and the death of Ravana at the hands of Rama.
Ramdhun
A song made up of repetitions of God's name
Ramji Mandir
Rama’s temple
Ravana
The demon-king of Lanka, whose abduction of Sita, led to his destruction at Rama’s hands, in the Ramayana.
Sadavrat
Charity
Sadhu
Ecstasy, and by extension the place where a great
Sahadharmini
Wife
Samadhi
Ascetic
Samagra Gramseva
All-round village service
Samskaras
Innate tendencies inherited from past life; religious customs
Sanatanist
Faithful follower of ancient Vedic religion
Sannyas
Abandonment of all worldly ties with view to fixing the mind on the Supreme Being
Sannyasi
One who has taken to sannyas
Sarvodaya
Welfare of all
Satvika
Tending of truth
Satya
Truth
Satyagraha
Nonviolence Civil Disobedience or Recourse to truth-force or soul-force or passive resistance.
Satyagrahi
One who practices Satyagraha
Savitri
Wife of Satyavan who, according to legend, reclaimed his life from the God of Death
Shankara
Hindu philosopher of the 8th century A.D., who was one of the foremost exponents of Non-dualism of the Vedanta school of philosophy
Shastras
The Hindu Scriptures
Shloka
Metrical verse or composition
Shudra
Member of the fourth or menial caste among Hindus
Sita
Wife of Rama
Smritis
The Codes, bases on recollection of the Shastras
Sthitaprajna
Literally, ‘one of steadfast mind’; a soul unaffected by extremes of joy and sorrow
Sudama
The indigent boyhood friend and associate of Sri Krishna, whom the latter honours, in the Bhagavata
Surdas
Blind Hindi poet of northern India who lived in the 16th century A.D.; his poetical work, Sursagar, narrating the story of Krishna, is immensely popular with Hindi-speaking Hindus
Swadeshi
Belonging to or made in one’s country
Swaraj
Self-rule
Swargarohan Parva
The name of the last of the eighteen sections of the epic Mahabharata which describes how, when Yudhisthira, the eldest of the five Pandava brothers, retired to the Himalayas, towards the close of his life, and lost his wife and four brothers one after another , Indra appeared in his chariot to take him in the flesh to his (INDRA’S) Swarga, i.e., his heaven where mortals after death enjoy the results of their good deeds on earth.
Tadgud
Jaggery prepared from the juice of palmyra fruit
Tapascharya
Penance
Tilaks
Caste-marks on the forehead
Tonga
Two-wheeled horse-driven cart
Tukaram
Poet-saint of Maharashtra who lived in the 17th century A.D. and who composed thousands of devotional songs
Tulsidas
Hindi poet of Maharashtra who lived in the 17th century A.D. AND who composed, among other works, Ramacharitamanasa, (lit. The Holy Pool of the Life of Rama), retelling the epic story of the highest veneration by all Hindi-speaking Hindus
Upanishad
Ancient Hindu philosophical treaties, appended to the Vedas and regarded as equally authoritative as the Vedas
Urdu
Language based on Persian and Sanskrit dialects of North India
Vaidyas
Practitioners of Ayurveda system or indigenous medicine
Vaishnava
A votary of the cult of Vishnu
Vaishyas
Members of the third (cultivator and mercantile) class among Hindus
Vakil
Lawyer
Valmiki
First of Sanskrit poets and author of the Hindu epic, Ramayana
Varna
Color; one of the four divisions of the Hindu society (i.e., Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra) based on hereditary occupations
Varnashram
Four-fold divisions of Hindu society
Vedanta
A system of philosophy springing from the Upanishads
Vedas
Most ancient Hindu scriptures, composed of hymns to various deities. There are four collections of theses hymns, known as Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharveda
Vidyapith
Vidyapith
Vidura
The low-born but ‘wise one' in the Mahabharata honoured by Sri Krishna
Yajna
Ritual or religious sacrifice
Yoga
Hindu system of contemplation for effecting union of the human soul with the Supreme Being
Yogi
One who practices yoga
Yudhishthira
Eldest of the Pandava Princes, celebrated for his right conduct
Zamindar
Landholder
Zend Avesta
Zoroastrian scriptures