jñānena tu tad ajñānam yeṣāṁ nāśitam ātmanaḥ | teṣām ādityavaj jñānaṁ prakāśayati tat param
“As the sun dispels darkness and illuminates everything, so divine knowledge destroys ignorance and reveals the transcendental Absolute Truth.” — Bhagavad-Gītā 5.16    

Sanskrit Glossary




adharma – irreligion; pseudo-religion

adhibhautika-kleśa – Sufferings inflicted on one by other living beings

adhidaivika-kleśa – sufferings inflicted on one by higher forces (forces of nature; devas)

adhyātmika-kleśa – sufferings that are in the body; sufferings that one inflicts on oneself

agnihotra – offering of food into the fire; the sacred fire of the brāhmaṇas

ānanda – spiritual bliss

aiśvarya – wealth; divine power; mystic power

ahaṁ brahmāsmi – “I am brahman”, “I am spirit soul”, “I am in full knowledge”. Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says in his commentary on Verse 35 of Chapter 9 in the 7th Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam: “When one is completely in knowledge of aham brahmasmi, he thinks, 'I am part of the Supreme Lord, my body is made of His material energy, and therefore I have no separate existence. Yet although the Supreme Lord is spread everywhere, He is different from me.' This is the philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. . . .”

ahiṁsa – complete non-violence towards all living creatures

ahuta – sacrifice to brahman (study and recitation of scriptures; japa etc.)

akṣara – infallible

akarma – action that does not produce karmic reactions; non-action

amara – immortal; immortal

amṛta – immortality; immortal; nectar of immortality

anumāna – inference; indirect perception

anumānagamya – that which can be known by anumāna

artha – 1. economic development (4 principles – dharma etc.); 2. object; aim

ārya – noble person; venerable person; civilised person; follower of the Vedas; member of the varṇāśrama society. People who lived in Vedic times in ārya-varśa, the land where the Vedic social system (varṇāśrama) was intact, and who were following the rules of this system were called āryas. This area at the end of the dvāpara-yuga (5000 years ago) extended from Afghanistan through India to Indonesia.

asaṅga – detachment from (worldly) association

āsana – yoga posture

asat – non-existent

āśrama – 1. state of life in vedic society. There are four āśramas (caturāśrama); 2. hermitage; home of a brāhmaṇa, guru

āśraya – place of refuge; seat; abode

aṣṭāṅga-yoga – the eightfold yoga system; hatha-yoga; mystical yoga

ātman – the self being; the spiritual personality; soul

ātma-vijñāna – spiritual knowledge; knowledge of ātman, the Self

avatāra – “one who has descended” – an incarnation of God

avidyā – ignorance; non-knowledge; material knowledge

aviśeṣa – defective discernment in relation to knowledge and non-knowledge, conscious and unconscious

avyakta – unmanifest; the unmanifest state of material elements


bali-homa – daily yajña of the householders, in which food previously offered to Viṣṇu is given to other living beings.

bhagavān – Absolute Truth, Personality of Godhead, complete manifestation of the Supreme

bhakti-yoga – the yoga of devotion to God; devotional service to the Personality of God

brāhmya huta – hospitality of (brāhmaṇa) guests as a daily offering to the people

brahmacārin – student in Varṇāśrama; one who practices brahmacarya

brahmacārya – 1. student status in the Varṇāśrama; 2. abstinence; celibacy

brahmajanman – see (sāvitrī-upanāyana)

brahman – 1. the impersonal aspect of the Absolute Truth; the all-pervading indescribable spiritual energy

brahma-vijñāna – knowledge of brahman

brahmayajña – see ahuta (mahāpañcayajña)


caturāśrama – four states of life (brahmacārya, ghṛhasta, vanaprastha, sannyāsa) of the Vedic social system

caturvarṇya – four social estates (brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śudra) of the Vedic social system

cetana – consciousness

citta – thought, mind, consciousness


dāna – beneficence

daiva – fate; deeds of past life

dama – Self-control; discipline

darśana – see, look, perceive, visit, experience; audience, meeting

devayajña – see homa (mahāpañjayajña)

dhana – wealth; prosperity

dhanaiṣaṇā – the pursuit of wealth

dhanurveda – science of the art of war

dharana – stage in aṣṭāṅga-yoga (concentration of the mind)

dharma – religion; religious duties; laws of God

dhyāna – stage in aṣṭāṅga-yoga (meditation)

duḥkha – suffering

dvāpara; dvāpara-yuga – 3rd age in the cycle of four world ages (duration: 864,000 years)

dveṣa – aversion; hatred

dvija – “twice-born” – one who has received brahman initiation


eṣaṇā – desire; aspiration


gāyatrī – A mantra from the Ṛg Veda, reciting the dvijas quietly or in the mind several times in the morning and evening.

go-rakṣya – cow protection

gosvāmī – “master of the senses”

gṛhasta – housekeeper in the Varṇāśrama system

gṛhasta-āśrama – housekeeper-life in the varṇāśrama system

guṇa – 1. property, 2. rope, cord

guṇa-avatāras – controller of the three modes of manifestation of material nature (sattva-guṇa – Viṣṇu, rajo-guṇa – Brahmā, tamo-guṇa – Śiva).

guru – spiritual teacher (someone who is “heavy” with knowledge)


hetu – cause, reason

homa – daily offering of food to the devas



icchā – desire

indriyārtha – sense object

īśvara – the Supreme Lord, Controller, Ruler (īśvara paramah kṛṣṇa . . . – Brahma-Samhita 5.1)

itihāsa – historical record


japa – individual (silent) repetition of mantras, prayers etc.

japayajña – the practice of japa as an offering to the brahman

jīva – individual spiritual soul

jīvan-mukta – liberated soul

jijñāsā – question

jñāna – knowledge

jñāna-yoga – process of knowing the highest through philosophical analysis and spiritual knowledge


kāla – time

kāma – pleasure; sense gratification

kali; kali-yuga – 4th age in the cycle of the 4 yugas; age of strife and hypocrisy (duration: 432,000 years)

karma – 1. action, action, work 2. karmic reactions

karmaphalā – result, fruit of an action

karma-yoga – the process of connecting with God by offering the fruits (renouncing the fruits) of one's own actions

kṛta; kṛtayuga – 1st age in the cycle of the 4 yugas; “golden age” (duration: 1,728,000 years)

kṣara – fallible

kumantra – worthless sound vibration


līlā-avatāras -- incarnations performing miraculous transcendental games (e.g. Kurma, Matsya, Varāha, Nṛsiṁha, Vāmana, Rāmacandra, Kṛṣṇa, Buddha, Kalki).


māyā – delusion; illusion; literally “that which is not” the illusory energy of God

mahāpañcayajña – the “great five sacrifices” to be performed daily by gṛhastas

mahāmoha – false possessiveness; great illusion

manuṣyayajña – see brāhmya huta (mahāpañcayajña)

mantra – literally “that which frees the mind” (manas – mind, trayate – liberate); Vedic sound vibration, verse, aphorism

moha – illusion

mokṣa – liberation from saṁsāra; the permanent situation of the living being's form after giving up the changing gross and subtle bodies

mukti – liberation

Muni – Scholar Brahmana; Sage

mūrti – Statue of a form of god or deity


nirvāṇa – “beyond the forest”, liberation from the cycle of birth and death

nivṛtti – detachment from the material drive of the mind

niyama – rule; prohibition; restriction


oṁ is also called oṁkara and pranava and is a sound representation of the Supreme Lord consisting of the three letters a u m. HE is not different from the sound and Sanskrit sign for oṁkara. is often found at the beginning of Vedic mantras and prayers, e.g. oṁ govindayah namah, oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ tat sad iti nirdeśo brahmanas tri-vidhah smṛtah: the three words oṁ tat sat directly invoke the Supreme Person. That is why Kṛṣṇa says that He is oṁkara in all the Vedic mantras (pranavah sarva-vedeṣu). The Vedic mantras are spoken beginning with omkara to refer directly to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


pāpa – sin, sinful actions

pāpmā – sinful

pañcamātā – According to the Mahābhārata and other Vedic Scriptures civilized people (aryas) should consider the following 5 groups of persons as their mother and should respect them accordingly: 1. the biological mother, the earth, the wife of the guru, the queen, the cow.

parama – supreme, best, excellent

paralokaiṣaṇa – the pursuit of rebirth on the heavenly planets

parabrahman – the supreme brahman (the Supreme Lord)

param gati – the highest goal; the highest refuge

param dhāma – the highest realm; the realm of God beyond the material world

pitṛyajña – sacrifice to the ancestors

prāṇaiṣaṇā – the aspiration to live

prāṇayama – stage in aṣṭanga-yoga (mastery of the air of life)

prāśita – see tarpana

prāyaścitta – purification; atonement, penance

prahuta – see bali-homa

prakṛti – nature (of things etc.); the material nature

pralaya – cosmic annihilation at the end of a Brahmās day

pramāṇa – means of examination; source of valid knowledge

praṇāma – Reverence (by bowing, genuflecting, etc. to deities, saints and the Supreme Lord)

pratyāhāra – stage in aṣṭāṅga-yoga (the withdrawal of the senses)

pratyakṣa – direct perception

pravṛtti – drive of the mind to material activity; cause of attachment to the material world

pūjā – worship of mūrtis and transcendental image forms of the Supreme Lord in temples and on household altars

punarjanma – rebirth

puruṣa – 1. the Supreme Lord, 2. the spiritual person, the indestructible, eternal living being in the body

puruṣa-avatāras – 3 forms, emanations of Bhagavān: Mahā-Viṣṇu, Garbhodakaśayi-Viṣṇu, Kṣirodakaśayi-Viṣṇu

puruṣakāra – deeds of the present life (as opposed to daiva)

puruṣottama – the Supreme Lord; name Viṣṇus

rāga – attachment

rājasūya-yajña – great yajña formally confirming the imperial dignity


śabda – sound; words

śakti – energy

śāstra – science; the revealed Vedic scriptures

śāstra-cakṣu – seeing with the eyes of the scriptures

śloka – stanza; verse

śraddhā – trust

śruti – revealed knowledge; the four Vedas

śruti-pramāṇa – the scriptures (śruti) as the source of knowledge acquisition


śūdra – workers, craftsmen, artists etc. in the Varṇāśrama system

sādhu – saint

sādhusaṅga – communion with saints

sāṅkya – cognition of the self through analytical study of the body

sāvitrī – see gāyatrī

sāvitrī-upanāyanabrahman initiation

saṁsāra – Wheel of life; cycle of birth and death

saṁśaya – doubt

samādhi – final stage in aṣṭāṅga-yoga; perfect meditation on the Supersoul in the heart; perfect meditation on the Supreme Personality, His kingdom, His deeds, pastimes etc.

saṅga – community

saṅkalpa – purpose

saṅkīrtana – chanting the Holy Names of God together

saṅkīrtana-yajña – the sacrifice of chanting the Holy Names of God together

sannyāsa – state of life of renunciation in the varṇāśrama

sannyāsin – person living in the state of renunciation

sarga – elemental creation (mahābhūtas, indriyas, tanmātras, manas)

sat – existent

sat-cit-ānanda – eternal, full of knowledge and blissful. Attributes of Bhagavan and the soul in the liberated state.

sattva, sattva-guṇa – mode of appearance of purity

satya – truth; truthfulness

satya; satya-yuga – see kṛta; kṛta-yuga

smara – memory

smaranam – to remember (śravanam kīrtanam viṣṇu smaranam – to hear and speak and think about Viṣṇu)

smṛti, smṛti-śāstra – tradition; scriptures based on the Vedas; science

sukha – happiness

Svāmī – Master


tamas – ignorance; darkness (5 coverings of ignorance)

tamo-guṇa – Appearance of ignorance

tapas – (spiritual) ardour, heat; power for renunciation

tapasya – renunciation, abandonment; voluntarily taking up difficulties for spiritual progress

tarpana – daily offering to the ancestors

tat – that, this, all that, for that, this, he, him, his, of, etc.

tat tvam asi – “This is you” – a phrase spoken by Māyāvādis. Some ignorant, confused people even believe this to be the most important Vedic mantra. Mayavadis and other impersonalists relate these words to themselves as if they were brahman, as if they themselves were all that they see. When one looks in the mirror, one may think “this is me”, but not “this is you”. Logically, one does not say “you” to oneself. In truth, the “you” in this phrase refers to the personality of God.

tretā; tretā-yuga – second of four ages (duration: 1,296,000 years)

triguṇa – the three modes of manifestation of material nature (sattva-, rajo-, tamo-guṇa)


vāc – word; speech

vāda – debate; dispute

vaiśyas – farmers and traders in the varṇāśrama system

vānaprasta – state of life of seclusion

vāstuvidyā – Science of house building

vaiṣṇava – devotee of Viṣṇu (Kṛṣṇas etc.)

varṇāśrama(-dharma) – Vedic social system consisting of four varṇas and four āśramas

varṇa – social status in the Vedic social system (brāhmaṇa. etc.)

viṣaya – sense object

vijñāna – science of knowledge; realised, applied spiritual knowledge

vikarma – Forbidden or sinful actions; actions contrary to the regulations of the scriptures.

vikāra – Transformation, transformation

vipāpa – free from sins

virāṭ-rūpa – universal form of the Supreme Lord


virajas – free from passion (rajas)

visarga – interactions of the guṇas resulting from sarga; creation of living beings


yajña – Vedic sacrificial performance, sacrifice

yajña-pati – “Lord of the yajñas” Viṣṇu

yogin – someone who practices yoga

yoga – connection; process of detachment (from māyā) and spiritual elevation (connection with God)

yuga – age

yuga-avatāras – incarnations of Bhagavān appearing in each age

yukti – logic

Personal names

Ādityas – twelve demigods; sons of Aditi and Kaśyapa (Dhata, Aryama, Indra, Amsa, Bhaga, Puśa, Savita, Tvaṣṭa, Viṣṇu, Varuṇa, Vivasvān, Mitra)

Agastya – a celestial Ṛṣi

Agni – the demigod who rules over fire. Another name of Agni is Hutasāna

Amaravātī – residence city of the sky king Indra

Apsaras – Dancers and society girls of the celestial planets

Arjuna – the third eldest of the five Pāṇḍavas; was begotten by Indra with Kuntī; the bearer of the Gāndīva bow. Other names of Arjuna are: Vibhatsu, Dhanañjaya, Savyasācin, Pārtha, Vijaya, Phalguna, Jiṣṇu, Kirītin, Śvetavāhana

Asuras – People who do not recognise Viṣṇu's supremacy and are therefore called demons. Powerful asura races of lower planets sometimes wage war against the Suras (demigods or Devas) who, dwelling on the heavenly planets, administer the universe in accordance with Viṣṇu's will.

Aśvinis (twin) – the two physicians of the demigods and celestials

Balarāma – Kṛṣṇa's elder brother (bala = spiritual strength, rāma = receptacle of spiritual joy)

Bali – King of the Asuras, who once defeated the demigods and brought the whole universe under his rule, but then surrendered everything to the Personality of God, Vāmanadeva, thus becoming a pure devotee of the Lord.1

Bharata – Son of Duśmanta and Śakuntala; Bharata was a great king after whom the earth was later named (Bhārata-varśa). It was in his dynasty that King Kuru appeared. That is why the Kurus are also called Bhāratas.

Bhārata-varśa – India

Bhīṣma – the son of Śāntanu and Gaṅgā; also called “Grandfather Bhīṣma” because he was the eldest living member of the Kuru dynasty at the time of the Pāṇḍavas; taught King Yudhistira about varṇāśrama-dharma on his bed of arrows after the battle; great devotee of the Lord.

Bhṛgu – celestial Ṛṣi; a son of Brahmā and father of Chyavana Muni

Brahmā – the highest living being in the universe; is born at the beginning of creation on the lotus sprouting from Viṣṇu's navel. Brahmā creates the bodies of living beings, the planets, etc., by order of Viṣṇus and is therefore called the Creator. The machinery of material nature is created by Brahmā, maintained by Viṣṇu and destroyed by Śiva. Because Brahmā is the oldest living being in the universe, he is sometimes called the “grandfather”.

Bṛhaspati – the spiritual master of the demigods

Candra – demigod of the moon; also called Soma

Cāraṇas – the inhabitants of the planet Cāraṇaloka

Cyavana – a celestial Ṛṣi

Daityas – the sons of Diti and Kaśyapa Muni; an asura race; see: Asuras

Dakṣa – also called Prajāpati, the great begetter of living beings; had 50 daughters; father Ditis and Aditis and father Satīs, whom Śrī Śiva took as consort.

Dānavas – an Asura race; see: Asuras

Devas – powerful living beings who reside on higher planets and perform various tasks in the administration of the universe and are therefore called demigods.

Dharma – the Lord of Righteousness – Yama(rāja)s name

Dhṛtarāṣṭra – the blind king of the Kurus; father of Duryodhana; was fathered by Vyāsadeva with Queen Ambhika to continue the Kuru dynasty as Ambhika's consort, King Vicitravīrya died at a young age. Dhṛtarāṣṭra was a brother of Mahārāja Pāṇḍu and Vidura.

Diti – wife of Kaśyapa Muni; mother of the Daityas

Draupadī – the daughter of King Drupada born of fire with Dhṛṣṭadyumna; the common consort of Pāṇḍu's five sons. Other names are Pañcalī and Kṛṣṇā. Draupadī was an extension of the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmīdevīs.

Drona (Dronācārya) – son of sage Bharadvāja; the teacher of arms of the Pāṇḍavas and the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭras

Duryodhana – the eldest son of the blind king Dhṛtarāṣṭra, always envious of the wealth of the Pāṇḍavas; became the cause of the destruction of the Kuru dynasty. He was killed at the end of the Battle of Kurukṣetra by Bhīma in a clubbed duel.

Dvārakā – Kṛṣṇas city where the Supreme Lord lived with 16,108 queens in as many palaces and unfolded his Vaikuṇṭha wealth. Dvārakā was situated about 600 kilometres north of Bombay on the Gulf of Katch. By the will of the Supreme, the city sank into the sea soon after Kṛṣṇa left this planet.

Gandhamādana – a mountain range located northeast of the Himālaya and east of the golden Mount Meru.2 The Gandhamadana Mountains are inaccessible and invisible to ordinary people.

Gandharvas – the inhabitants of the planet Gandharva-loka; subordinate demigods who love music, dance and fighting.

Gaṅgā – 1. the river Ganges; 2. the personification or deity of that river.

Garuḍa – the huge eagle-like bird that serves as Śrī Viṣṇu's mount

Govinda – “he who gives joy to the cows and the senses” (go – “cows, senses, land” vinda – “one who gives joy”); name Kṛṣṇas

Hanuman – son of Vayu (demigod of the wind, the air); great devotee of Śrī Rāmacandra, an incarnation of the Supreme Lord.

Hari – “the one who takes away all misfortune” a name of the Supreme Lord

Hastināpura – “city of elephants” the residential city of the Kuru kings; capital of the civilised world 5000 years ago

Himavat – the Himalayan mountains

Hṛṣīkeśa – “Lord of the Senses” a name of Kṛṣṇas

Indra – the king of the inhabitants of the heavenly planets; other names of Indra are: Śakra, Purāndara, Vasava

Indraloka – the planet on which Indra resides

Indraprastha – the city of the Pāṇḍavas built by Viśvakarma, the architect of the demigods, in Kāṇḍavaprastha

Janaka – a royal sage; ruler of Mithila; father of Sīta, the eternal consort of Śrī Rāmacandra

Janamejaya – son of Maharaja Parikṣits; performed the snake sacrifice; heard the Mahābhārata of Vaiśampāyana

Janārdana – a name of Kṛṣṇas

Kailāsa – the kingdom of Śivas

Kali – the Lord of the Kali Age (kali-yuga)

Kāmadhenu – wish-fulfilling cow; cf: Surabhī

Kaśyapa – a celestial Ṛṣi; son of Marīci, the son of Brahmās; married 13 daughters of Dakṣas; begetter of the Ādityas, Daityas, Nāgas and Rudras.

Kaumodaki – Kṛṣṇas club

Keśava – a name of Kṛṣṇas

Kṛṣṇa – the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes; one of the meanings of the word “Kṛṣṇa” is “all-attractive” because the transcendental form of the Lord is attractive to all living beings.

Kuntī – sister of Kṛṣṇa's father Vasudeva; consort of King Pāṇḍus; mother of Yudhiṣṭira, Bhīma and Arjuna; also known as Pṛthā

Kurukṣetra – literally “the field (kṣetra) of Kuru” the sacred place where once King Kuru performed many sacrifices and where the great eighteen-day battle between the armies of the Pāṇḍavas and the Kauravas took place

Kuru – Ancestor of the Kuru dynasty

Kuśa-grass – a sacred grass from which the Brāhmaṇas made their sitting mats and which they also used for other religious purposes

Kubera (Kuvera) – the treasurer of the demigods; lord of the Yakṣas; also known as Vaiśrāvana

Lakṣmī – the goddess of fortune

Lokapālas – the “guardians, protectors of the world” the predominant deities of the cardinal points: the demigods Indra (east), Varuṇa (west), Yama (south), Kubera (north), Agni (southeast), Sūrya (southwest), Vāyu (northwest), Soma (northeast).

Mādhava – “the consort of the goddess of fortune” a name of Kṛṣṇa

Mahādeva – name Śivas

Maheśvara – Name Śivas

Manu – Avatāra and father of mankind; in one day of Brahmā (4.32 billion years), 14 Manus appear.

Maya Danava – The architect of the Asuras, who was persecuted by Kṛṣṇa and Agni after the burning of the Kāṇḍava forest, sought refuge with Arjuna and built the sabhā (assembly hall) of the Pāṇḍavas in Indraprastha at Kṛṣṇa's behest.

Meru – The golden mountain at the centre of the planetary system known as Bhūmaṇḍala, which includes the earth.

Nāgas – demonic serpent species that live on the sub-earth planets like Nāgaloka, Rasātala and Pātāla. Some of them wear gems on their many heads with which they illuminate these otherwise dark regions. Some Nāgas possess mystical powers and can take on various forms.

Naimiṣāraṇya – a sacred place where Suta Gosvāmī recited the Mahābhārata to the sages led by Śaunaka Ṛsi.

Nakula – the second youngest of the Pāṇḍavas; one of the two sons of Madrī begotten by the Aśvini-Kumāras

Nārada – celestial Ṛṣi who teaches the bhakti-yoga path throughout the universe; Guru Vyāsadevas

Nara-Nārāyaṇa – an incarnation of the Lord who imposes renunciations in Bhadarikāśrama just to show people the path of self-realisation; worshipped by Nārada Muni; Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa are also identical with Nara and Nārāyaṇa

Nārāyaṇa – literally, “the one whose ayaṇa (resting-place) is the water (Karaṇadaka ocean, ocean of causes)” “the resting-place of all living beings” a name of Kṛṣṇa in its Viṣṇu aspect

Pāṇḍavas – the successors of King Pāṇḍu; who were begotten of four demigods with Kuntī and Madrī, the two wives of Pāṇḍu. Pāṇḍu could not father children himself because of a certain curse.

Pāṇḍu -begotten by Vyāsadeva, son of Ambhalika; became the successor of Vichitravīrya and the ruler over the earth; brother of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and Vidura

Parāśara – great sage; the father of Vyāsadeva

Paraśurāma – the son of sage Jamadagni and his wife Renuka; the warrior incarnation of the Lord

Parikṣit – son of Abhimanyu and Uttara; was cursed by Śṛṅgi to be killed by the serpent Takṣaka; heard the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the assembly of the sages of Śukadeva Gosvāmī

Pārtha – see: Arjuna

Phalguna – see: Arjuna

Piśācas – a class of spirits; retinue of Śrī Śiva

Pitṛs – ancestors; forefathers of mankind

Pitṛloka – a planet below the earth to which those who worship the Pitṛs can go after death; the planet of Yamarāja, the Lord of Death

Pramatthas – ghostly retinue of Śiva

Rāhu – a dark planet causing solar and lunar eclipse

Rākṣasas – human-like creatures that feed mainly on the flesh and blood of humans and animals and are very cruel and demonic. They live on the planet Rākṣasaloka. The mentality of these beings is also seen in some people on earth in the kali-yuga.

Sahadeva – the youngest of the Pāṇḍavas; was conceived by one of the two Aśvinis with Madrī, Pāṇḍu's second wife.

Sarasvatī – 1. a sacred river in India; 2. the goddess of learning; the consort of Brahmās, the Creator

Sātyaki – hero of the Vṛṣṇi dynasty who survived the great battle with the Pāṇḍavas as the only great warrior on their side; also known as Yuyudhana

Śakuni – Uncle of Duryodhana; brother of Dhṛtarāṣṭra's consort Gāndhārī; one of the four main villains (along with Duryodhana, Karṇa and Duhśasana) who sought to eliminate the Pāṇḍavas. Śakuni rolled the wrong dice for Duryodhana against Yudhiṣṭira.

Śamika – a Brāhmaṇa; father Śṛṅgis

Śarṅga bow – Viṣṇus or Kṛṣṇas fighting bow

Śaunaka – a Ṛṣi who heard the Mahābhārata in Naimiṣāraṇya from Sūta Gosvāmī; son of Romaharśana, who was killed by Śrī Balarāma with a blade of Kuśagras

Śiva – the demigod who rules and represents the manifestation of ignorance (tamo-guṇa); in his Rudra expansions Śiva destroys the whole universe at the end of Brahmā's life; constantly meditates on the personality of God Saṅkarśana; other names are: Maheśvara, Mahādeva, Rudra

Śṛṅgi – cursed Mahārāja Parikṣit to be bitten by Takṣaka within seven days and thus meet death

Śukadeva – son of Vyāsadeva; one of the very great sages and devotees of this universe; spoke the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to Parikṣit Mahārāja

Siddhas – higher beings endowed with mystic powers; inhabitants of Siddhaloka

Subhadrā – sister of Kṛṣṇa and consort of Arjuna

Sudarśana-cakra – the wheel of fire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; a weapon of Viṣṇu that kills the demons

Surabhī – wish-fulfilling cow of the spiritual planets; also found on celestial planets. Another name is Kamadhenu

Sūrya – 1. the solar planet, 2. a name of the sun god

Sūta Gosvami – a Ṛṣi who spoke the Mahābhārata in Naimiṣāraṇya to the sages under the presidency of Śaunaka Ṛṣi

Takṣaka – a Nāga king; caused the death of Mahārāja Parikṣits

Umā – the consort of Śiva; other names are: Pārvatī, Durgā

Uttaṅka – a Ṛṣi who incited King Janamejaya to perform a snake sacrifice to kill Takṣaka. The Nāga king Takṣaka had once got Uttaṅka into serious trouble.

Vaikuṇṭha – the transcendental kingdom of God; the spiritual world

Vaiśampāyana – disciple of Vyāsadeva; spoke the Mahābhārata to King Janamejaya after the snake sacrifice

Varuṇa – the demigod of the waters

Vasiṣṭha – a celestial Ṛṣi

Vāsudeva – 1. “the son of Vasudeva” and 2. “the omnipresent one” a name of Kṛṣṇas

Vasus – eight demigods who were once cursed by Vasiṣṭha to take birth on earth for stealing his Kāmadhenu (wish-fulfilling cow)

Vāyu – the demigod of wind; also known as Pāvana and Maruta

Vidura – the intelligent brother of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and Pāṇḍu, who advised his blind brother at the birth of Duryodhana to abandon that child in the forest, prophesying that otherwise Duryodhana would become the cause of the destruction of the entire Kuru dynasty; was begotten by Vyāsadeva with a maidservant of King Vicitravīrya; a devotee of Kṛṣṇa

Viṣṇu – “the all-pervading one” four-armed extension of Kṛṣṇas; the sustainer of the universe

Viśvāmitra – a celestial Ṛṣi who was previously a king (the son of Gādhi) and attained Brāhmaṇa status through severe renunciations

Vivasvān – name of the sun god

Vyāsa – son of Parāśara Muni and Satyavatī; empowered incarnation of the Supreme Lord; summarised Vedic knowledge in the scriptures Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Mahābhārata, Vedānta-sūtra, Purāṇas and the four Vedas

Yadus – the descendants of King Yadu; Yadu dynasty, the dynasty in which Kṛṣṇa appeared; Yadu was one of the five sons of the great ruler Yayāti

Yakṣas – a race of people living on the planet called Yakṣa-loka

Yama(rāja) – Lord of death, Lord of justice; punishes sinners after death; resides on the planet known as Pitṛloka; also called Dharma(rāja)

Yamadhutas – the helpers of Yama who take the sinner after death in his subtle body to the Lord of Death and execute the punishment

Yamunā – sacred river in Bhārata-varśa (India)

Yayāti – a royal sage; son of Nahuśa

Yudhiṣṭira – the eldest of the Pāṇḍavas; was begotten by Yamarāja with Kuntī; ruler of the world after the battle of Kurukṣetra.


1 Viṣṇu had appeared as a brother of Indra to put an end to the rule of the demons. Cf. Śrīmad-Bhāgvatam 8th Canto, Ch. 15

2 Compare the description of Jambūdvīpa in the 5th Canto of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.