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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