PHILOSOPHY > THE MIND OF MAHATMA GANDHI > Glossary
 

Glossary

Advaita

Hindu philosophy of Monism or Non-dualism

Agiari

Zoroastrian fire-temple

Ahimsa

Non-violence; in its positive aspect-love for all living things.

Allah

Muslim name of God

Amanitvam

humility

Aparigraha

non-possession

Ardhangini

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 and conquest and for his rock-edicts embodying Buddhist dharma.

Atishudra

One lower than the shudra,the fourth caste at the bottom of Hindu social hierarchy; 'untouchable'.

Atman

soul

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.

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

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.

Brahman, Brahmin

member of the first of the four castes, whose chief duty is the study and teaching of the Vedas and the performance of sacrifices and other religious rituals.

Buddha

a. founder of Buddhism, b. about 563, d. about 483 B.C; also known as Gautama, Siddhartha, Sakyamuni, etc.

Chaitanya

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.

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 upnatural salt from the sea-shore. His arrest at Dandi was followed by a countrywide movement of Civil Disobedience famous as the Salt Satyagraha.

Damayanti

Princess of Vidarbha and wife of Prince Nala of Naishadha, the constancy of whose devotion to each other forms the theme of a well-known episode in the Puranas.

Daridranarayana

God in the form of the poor and the destitute.

Dasharatha

King of Ayodhya, father of Rama, in the Ramayana.

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 ofduty.

Dharmayuddha

war fought for a righteous end by righteous means and methods.

Dheds

a community in Gujarat traditionally treated as 'untouchable'.

Dhurna

'sit-down' strike; an early andcrude form of Satyagraha.

Dnyandev

boy poet-saint of Maharashtra of the 13th century A.D., author of Dnyaneshwari, 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.

Ganga

the sacred river Ganges of Northern India.

Ganja

narcotic from the flower of Indian hemp.

Ghani

village oil mill.

Gita, the

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 Viceroy's Legislative Council and founder 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 sugarmolasses

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.

Hakim

practitioner of indigenous form of medicine.

Hanuman

The 'Monkey-God' who serves Rama in the Ramayana.

Hartal

strike, suspension of normal business.

Hooghli

western most branch of the River Ganges on 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.

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.

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 thesecond (warrior) caste among Hindus.

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).

Mhatma

Great Soul, title given toGandhiji.

Mahavir

Vardhamana. 24th Tirthankar or Prophet of Jainism (b. about 540, d. about 468 B.C.) who is popularly regarded as its greatest promulgator, originally named

Mhayajna

the great sacrifice or ritual of propitiation.

mantra, Mantram

sacred or magicalincantation.

Manushya

man.

Maya

illusion; in Hindu philosophy, Maya is the divine power which has created the cosmos.

Moksha

liberation from earthly bondage.

Muni

sage; ancient seer.

Nai Talim

literally, 'new education',name given to basic or craft education.

Namaz

form of Muslim prayer, worship.

Nanak

Fonder of Sikhism (b.1469-d.1538 or 1539 A.D.)

Nirvana

Salvation, Buddhist equivalent of ‘ Moksa’

Pancha, Panchayat

the five ; the communal tribune or ‘council of five’

Panchayat Raj

rule of the Panchayat

Pandavas

the five brothers, prices ofthe Lunar Race, who were the victor in the Maharashtra war

Pinjrapoles

institutions for looking after old and disabled cattle

Poorna Swaraj

full self-government or complete independence

Prahlad

son of Hiranyakashipu, amythological 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 ofthe 16th century A.D. who composed numerous devotional songs

Raj

kingdom, rule, regime

Rajachandra, Raychandbhai

Jain 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 by Hindus as an ideal man and king, and worshipped as the 7 thin carnation 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

Ramayana

literally, the name of Rama; recitation of God’s names

Ramanuja

Vaishnava scholar of the 12th century, who propounded Dualistic philosophy

Ramarajya

Hindu epic narrating the story of the abduction of Sita, wife of Rama, prince of Ayodhya, by Ravana, demon-kingof Lanka (Ceylon), and her rescue after the conquest of Lanka by the armies led by Ramaand the death of Ravana at Rama’s hands

Ramji Mandir

Rama’s temple

Ravana

the demon-king of Lanka, whoseabduction of Sita, led to his destruction at Rama’s hands, in the Ramayana

Sadavrat

charity

Sahadharmin

wife

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 a view to fixing the mind on the Supreme Being

Sannyasi

one who has taken to SANYAS

Sarvodaya

welfare of all

Satvika

tending to truth

Satya

truth

Satyagraha

recourse to truth-force orsoul-force

Satygrahi

one who practises Satyagraha

Savitri

wife of Satyavan who according tolegend, reclaimed his life from the God of Death

Shankara

Hindu philosopher of the 8thcentury 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 menialcaste among Hindus

Sita

wife of Rama

Smritis

the Codes, based onrecollection of the Shastras

Sthitaprajna

literally, ‘one ofsteadfast mind’ ; a soul unaffected by extremes of joy and sorrow

Sudama

the indigent boyhood friend andassociate of Shri Krishna, whom the latter hours, in the BHAGAVATA

Surdas

blind Hindi poet of northern India wholived in the 16th century A.D.; his poetical work, Sursagar, narrating thestory of Krishna, is immensely popular with Hindi-speaking Hindus

Swadeshi

belonging to or made inone’s own country

Swargarohan Parva

the name ofthe last of the eighteen sections of the epic MAHABHARATA which describes how, whenYudhisthira, the eldest of the five Pandava brothers, retired to the Himalayas, towardsthe close of his life, and lost his wife and four brothers one after another, Indraappeared in his chariot to take him in the flesh to his (Indra’s) SWARGA, i.e, hisheaven where mortals after death enjoy the results of their good deeds on earth,

Tadgud

Jaggery prepared from thejuice of palmyra fruit

Tapascharya

penance

Tilaks

caste-marks on the forehead

Tukaram

poet-saint of Maharashtra who lived inthe 17th century A. D. and who composed thousands of devotional songs

Tulsidas

Hindi poet of northern India wholived in the 16th 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 exploits of Rama. This work is held in the highest veneration by all Hindi-speaking Hindus

Upanishads

ancient Hindu philosophicaltreatises, appended to the Vedas and regarded as equally authoritative as the Vedas

Vaidas

practitioner of Ayurveda systemof indigenous medicine

Vaishyas

members of the third (cultivator and mercantile) class among Hindus

Valmiki

first of Sanskrit poets and author ofthe Hindu epic, RAMAYANA

Varna

colour ; one of the fourdivisions of Hindu society (i.e., Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra) based onhereditary occupations

Varnashrama

four-fold division ofHindu society

Vedanta

a system of philosophyspringing from the Upanishads

Vedas

most ancient Hindu scriptures,composed of hymns to various deities. There are four collections of these hymns, known as Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda

Vidura

the low-born but ‘wise one’in the MAHABHARATA honoured by Sri Krishna

Yajna

ritual or religious sacrifice

Yoga

Hindu system of contemplationfor effecting union of the human soul with the Supreme Being

Yogi

one who practises yoga

Yudhishthira

eldest of the Pandava Princes,celebrated for his right conduct

Zamindar

land holder

Zend Avesta

zoroastrian scriptures

Zoroaster

founder of religious system known as Zoroastrianism. He is also known as Zarathustra or Zerdusht. The Parsis of India, who areemigrants from Persia, are followers of this prophet