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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 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
Guru Nanak Founder of Sikhism (b. 1469-d. 1538 or 1539 A.D.)
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