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Welcome to

Radha's
Krishna Links

~ Spiritual Enhancement Page ~
Adoring my Beloved Krishna!
For His Beauty surpasses all else!


This page
was last
updated
06.16.09

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"Human beings are bound by work (Karma)
that is not performed as a selfless service (Seva, Yajna).
Therefore, becoming free from selfish attachment to the fruits of work,
do your duty efficiently as a service to Me for the good of humanity."
-- Krishna (Bhagavad Gita 3.9)

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You may skip to the
Table of Contents
but you are strongly encouraged to first read
'My Story',
the front door to this website

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Namaskar!

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THE INDEX PAGE

THE 'MY STORY' PAGE
Website Introduction
"My Story"
How to Surrender to God
Website Conventions

THE TERMS PAGE
Terms Used
Caution

THE LINKS PAGE
Links About Sri Krishna
Links to Krishna Scriptures
Links to the Ecstatic Poets
Links to Krishna Art
Links to Krishna Music
Links About Bhakti Yoga and Spiritual Longing
Links About Madhurya Bhava and the Kundalini Experience
Links to Krishna Organisations
Links to Other Spiritual Resources
Links to Vegetarian Resources
Other Quick Links

THE READINGS PAGE
Recommended Reading
Printed Scriptures
Other Spiritual Books

THE PRACTICE PAGE
Spiritual Practice
Focus: How to Alter Your Consciousness
Some Nuts and Bolts
Additional Information
How to Take Krishna as Your Lover
Physical Manifestations
Focus: How to Turn Sickness into Ecstasy
Lifestyle Choices and the Western Devotee
The Road Ahead
Focus: Who Is the Guru?
On the Spiritual Wounding
Devotees and Abuse
On Siddhis
On Surrendering Ego
Meditation: Transforming Into Union
My First Anniversary
My Second Anniversary
My Third Anniversary
My Fourth Anniversary
Postscript
On Madhurya Bhava
Footnotes

MY BHAVA PAGE
My Madhurya Rasa Experience
Quotes on:
I. The Divine Lover

II. Divine Eroticism and Maturation
III. Whispers from the Bosom of the Beloved
IV. Divine Reality
Krishna's Advice
In Dedication
Credits

RADHA SPEAKS OUT
The Position of Women
Abuse Links
Aggressive War
The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
On Sacred Sexuality
On Pursuing Krsna: For Proper Devotion or for the Ultimate "Lay"?
Fundamentalism and Sri Prabhupada
The Mystic and the Greater Religious Community
How Many Krishnas Are There?
The Nature of Love
An Exegesis on the Soul
A Letter to Ego

POEMS OF KAANTA BHAVA
Introduction
The Poems
Explanatory Notes
Radha Instructs Krishna's New Bride in the Arts of Love
Other Kaanta Bhava Links

DOWNLOADS PAGE
Introduction
The Rasa Pancadhyaya
Other Downloads



 * You are the river of life--all are within You (Guru Granth Sahib 11.60) *
Adore me only
With heart undistracted;
Turn all your thought
Toward solitude, spurning
The noise of the crowd,
Its fruitless commotion....

-- Bhagavad Gita 13.10

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Terminology

Here, you will find some of the terms used on this website that might not be familiar to you. As a Western newcomer to the Dharma, such information was vital to my understanding of this particular path. It can be difficult to translate terms not only across cultures, but also across the added layers of differing religious and philosophical backgrounds. Terminology often has color and degrees of meaning that may not be definable outside of its original context. I shall attempt, for our purposes, to define these words briefly below. What I have written below is my best interpretation and is not authoritative; I am not native to the culture or teachings and I am ignorant of a great many things.

This glossary is presented in the hope that it might assist the reader and is offered as a gift, albeit a flawed one, to my beloved Krishna. I provide quotations from the Christian scriptures for two reasons: firstly, since I have spent many years as a Christian fundamentalist, I know these scriptures very well; and, secondly, as a demonstration of the many common ties in principles and belief between all of the world's faith traditions. It is my belief that the Beloved is Lord over all faith traditions; each has become what they have due to the varying needs of the peoples to which they belong. In this Kali Yuga, all traditions and formalities are breaking down and we must find our own understanding of the Beloved in whatever way best works for us. If you find your call in any one of them, grow in that tradition!

A note about pronunciation: there are a number of Sanskrit terms below spelled with English orthography that does not accurately represent how these words should be pronounced. For example, Krishna can also be spelled as Krsna; both are correct when the reader understands the reasons. The "sh" in "Krishna" is pronounced less aspirated and by more of a closed mouth, as in "shin", rather than by a more exaggerated pronunciation through an open mouth, as in "shout" (š). These differences are represented by different letters in the Devanagari alphabet and by different diacritical marks in Roman transliteration or IPA orthography. It is a similar situation for the "ch" and this is represented below by "c[h]" where differences in spelling exist. There is no theta or þ (as in "think") in Sanskrit; rather, transliterations including "th" indicate an aspirated "th" as in an exhaled "tah" where the tongue touches the roof of the mouth against the back of the upper teeth. There is a Sanskrit edh or ð (as in "this") and this is represented by well-known Sanskrit words such as "dharma". Often, an "a" at the end of a Sanskrit word is silent. Sometimes variations in the pronunciation of religious terms represent regional variations. An excellent chart of Sanskrit sounds and their Devanagari representations are found on pp. 881-882 of Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is (1972 edition); this chart is not included in the recent edition.


Attachment or Sense Attachment
Attachment is the characteristic of being attached to our senses, our desires for the material world and sensual experiences that keep souls returning again and again to Samsara, the cycle of birth and death. Suffering is caused by attachment and liberation can only be found through letting go of ego and sensual attachment.

Avatara, Avatar
An avatar is an incarnation of the Deity where divinity is fully manifest in material form. An avatar is to be distinguished from other incarnations of the Deity, which appear when needed for special purposes (BG 4.5 purport). Many Vaishnavas regard Sri Chaitanya as an avatar of both Krishna and Radha, appearing 500 years ago to promote the practice of modern Bhakti yoga in this age of Kali (Kali Yuga). A future avatar, the Kalki Avatar, is a golden incarnation to appear at the end of the Kali Yuga, vanquishing foes and rewarding devotees. Prabhupada discusses in considerable detail about the various avataras of Krishna in chapter 18 of his book, Teachings of Lord Caitanya.

Prabhupada lists the following conditions required of anyone claiming to be an avatar:

The next and final avatar is to be the Kalki Avatar. We cannot follow a someone just because they claim to be an avatar. We must arm ourselves with the truth our Beloved provides for us. Jesus warned of the final days: "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man* be" (Mt. 24:23-27, c.f. Mk. 13:21-23, Lk 17:21-24).

Bhagavad-Gita
The Bhagavad Gita is a Sanskrit text, literally meaning "Song of God", a section of a much larger work, the Mahabharata-- perhaps the longest poem in the world. The Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between a noble warrior, Arjuna, and his friend Krishna, who is God-incarnate. The Bhagavad Gita is a pearl of wisdom and philosophy, regarded by many as the summation of all Vedic knowledge.

References to the Bhagavad Gita by this website will be abbreviated by the initials BG followed by chapter number and verse; exempli gratia, BG 18.66 represents the Bhagavad Gita, chapter 18 and verse 66. Several translations are referenced on this website and full bibliographic information can be found on the Recommended Reading page. Some citations will be followed by a particular translation; e.g., BG 18.66 (Prasad).

Bhagavan or Bhagwan
Bhagavan is one of the Sanskrit terms for God. It has the root bhag, a term for the female genitals; most often, the womb (also see yoni). For me, this is indicative of the female aspect present in all souls and how God, manifest within each being, acts in the male capacity (especially so in the case of Krishna) to inseminate all that surrender ego to the greater will of God. This insemination is, personally, allegory for the rise of kundalini or Shakti. Krishna said, "I am the generating seed of all existences" (BG 10.39). For more consideration of the interplay of sexuality and spirituality, see the section on my own madhurya bhava experience and the On Sacred Sexuality discussion on the Radha Speaks Out page.

Bhagavata Purana or Srimad-Bhagavatam
The Bhagavata Purana is a series of writings telling of the stories and events of and surrounding the life of Sri Krishna. This work is highly recommended for learning more about Him. Learning of His pastimes and the lessons to be gained from our Beloved's life story will draw us closer to Him. Prabhupada's translation commentary is more formally titled the Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is divided into books or cantos and is further sub-divided into chapters and verses. References to this work will sometimes be abbreviated as BP; thus, BP 6.24.45-46 refers to Srimad Bhagavatam canto 6, chapter 24, verses 45-46.

Bhakti Yoga, Bhakta
According to The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 1, Part 5, "Vaishnavism is exclusively a religion of bhakti. Bhakti is intense love of God, attachment to Him alone; it is of the nature of bliss and bestows upon the lover immortality and liberation. God, according to Vaishnavism, cannot be realized through logic or reason; and, without bhakti, all penances, austerities, and rites are futile. Man cannot realize God by self-exertion alone. For the vision of God His grace is absolutely necessary, and this grace is felt by the pure of heart. The mind is to be purified through bhakti. The pure mind then remains for ever immersed in the ecstasy of God-vision. It is the cultivation of this divine love that is the chief concern of the Vaishnava religion." Bhakti is the spiritual practice of love and a bhakta is a practitioner of Bhakti. There are differing schools of Bhakti, each promoting practices it recognises as best attaining union. Sri Prabhupada taught that the continuous practice of japa, the practice of karma yoga, as well as the offering and consumption of prasad were the primary practices for bhaktas today. Prabhupada said:

Bhava
Bhava refers to the kind of love that an individual can have for God. There are five kinds of bhava: Santa, that of serene attitude; Dasya, that of a servant to his master as Hanuman's devotion to Ram; Sakhya, that of friendship; Vatsalya, that of a parent; and Madhurya, that of a conjugal lover. This last bhava is the highest, most transcendent of all the bhavas, encompassing all of the others.

Brahm, Brahma, Brahman
Brahman refers to the impersonal aspect of the Hindu godhead. Krishna states the following: "And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness, and which is immortal, imperishable and eternal" (BG 14.27). "One who is transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything: he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service to Me" (BG 18.54). The scripture states that we can come to the monist union, as taught by Vedantists, and experience ultimate bliss. Since Krishna is the source of all, we can also come to know Him through pure devotional service; thus, the realisation of the dualist relationship with Krishna as taught by Vaishnavas. Brahman is not to be confused with the Sanskrit word Brahmaan (long "ah" sound) meaning, the first created being.

Sri C[h]aitanya (1485-1534 CE)
Chaitanya was an ecstatic Vaishnavite teacher living approximately 500 years ago, the founder of one of the five major schools of Bhakti Yoga. He is believed by many Vaishnavas to have been an avatar of both Radha and Krishna. One of the best known works about his life and teachings is the Chaitanya Charitamrita. Sri Prabhupada claimed direct disciplic sucession from Sri Caitanya.

Darshan
Darshan means to "gain the sight of" a saint or a holy individual. It can even refer to the viewing of consecrated religious statues (murthis) in Hindu temples.

 * Ram Dass photo * Ram Dass
Ram Dass is the name given to American psychologist (Richard Alpert) and early LSD researcher at Harvard who eventually went to India and found his spiritual guide (guru) in the great Indian saint, Neem Karoli Baba. He wrote the underground spiritual classic, Be Here Now, and continued serving the Western community through writing and teaching.

Devanagari alphabet, the
The Devanagari alphabet is the written alphabet used today to represent ancient Sanskrit and modern Hindi, as well as other modern languages of India. It is a descendant of the ancient Brahmi script and is related to such far flung writing systems as Balinese, Tibetan, Tocharian, and the pre-Spanish Tagalog script.

Disappear, Disappearance
In many Hindu traditions, when a sadhu, saint, or other holy person dies, he or she is said to have 'disappeared'. This refers to the siddhi (spiritual power) an advanced practitioner of yoga gains to chose the time and manner of their death or departure from this world. Use of this term assumes that the holy person was sufficiently advanced to do so.

Dharma
Dharma literally means "righteousness" but is often translated as religion, signifying the inner principle of religion. The true name of "Hinduism" is Sanatana Dharma, meaning the Eternal Religion. Dhamma is the Pali form used in Buddhism (the principal work of Buddhism, The Dhammapada, could be understood as meaning "statements of principle"). Dharma can also loosely mean duty.

Ego
The word 'ego' is from the Latin, meaning 'I' and has been popularised through Freud's psychoanalytic theory and its derivatives. For our purposes here, ego can be thought of as the set of thoughts, emotions, preferences, and self-identification that make up an individual's personality. Modern Western society glorifies ego through individualism and can be accused, in the words of St. Paul, of "will worship" (Colossians 2:23, ASV). Paul brilliantly illustrates the operation of ego in the life of a spiritual aspirant with his passionate plea: "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do....O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7.19, 24). Sri Prabhupada observes a difference between this human ego (calling such "false ego") and identification with the true Self in Krishna (see Teachings of Lord Caitanya, chapter 3).

Eastern traditions teach the importance of letting go of ego and individual will, submitting self to the greater will of God (however that God may be defined). My experience has been that it is only through the giving of self to God that I have found greater freedom from suffering and increasing bliss and joy. Such yielding of self actually enhances the sexual component of my relationship with Krishna. I see ego as a necessary body-spirit interface that passes at death. Eventually, the individual comes to realise the truth that she is not ego, mind, or body, but a higher self that is intimately connected to the Divine. "But those who have renounced ego and desire will reap no fruit at all, either in this world or the next" (BG 18.12) thus ending karma and participation in samsara (Sri Bhagavata Purana 10, 33.32).

Enlightenment
The term 'enlightenment' has many differing definitions as defined by each tradition. My belief suggests that enlightenment is a soul's union with the greater Reality [God, or dharma] that is so thorough in union that ego can no longer affect an individual's connection with that Reality or their own karma. See Realisation.

Fundamentalism
Fundamentalism can usually be defined as strict adherence to narrow interpretations of scripture or tradition which often results in systems of practice at odds with the greater message of that scripture or tradition. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (1977) defines fundamentalism as "a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles." Most of the world's religious traditions originally promoted spiritual growth through values and concepts useful in setting aside individual ego and developing an affinity to the greater cosmic Reality, however that may be defined. Fundamentalists usually believe that their doctrine or practice is the most pure or correct within their particular traditions. Fundamentalist tendencies nearly always promote, in some way, the advancement of human ego which can result in the horrendous activities seen in recent history.

Gaudiya
Gaudiya refers to the lineage of strict Vaishnava swamis and traditions claiming direct descent from Sri Chaitanya. The term Gaudiya refers to a region in Bengal where the movement developed. The Gaudiya lineage is now generally so conservative and fundamentalist, that much of the mystical passion, ecstasy, and joy reported in the earlier history of the movement has become desiccated. This has been due, in part, to the fear Gaudiya teachers had of incorporating practices of another Bengali Vaishnav sect known as the Sahajiyas.

Giridhari, Girivara-dhari
Giridhari is the name of Krishna used in reference to His lifting the hill of Govardhana.

Gita, Bhagavad-Gita, Gita-Govinda
Gita is the Sanskrit word for song. Thus, the Bhagavad-Gita is the Song of God. The Gita-Govinda is a famous song written by the wandering poet-saint Jayadeva, detailing the amorous relationship between Krishna and the gopi Radha. The Gita-Govinda is not usually considered authoritative and is regarded by more conservative Vaishnavas as scandalous.

Goloka, Goloka Vrndavana Planet, Krsna-loka
Goloka is the Lord's eternal abode and is one of many spiritual destinations known as the Vaikuntha planets. Prabhupada writes, "amongst all [of the] Vaikunthalokas, there is one supreme loka called Goloka Vrndavana, which is the abode of the Lord Sri Krsna and His specific associates" (BP 1.19.21 purport). "If one quits his body at the end of life chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, he certainly reaches one of the spiritual planets, according to the mode of his practice. The devotees of Krsna enter the Krsna planet, Goloka Vrndavana. For the personalists there are also innumerable other planets, known as Vaikuntha planets, in the spiritual sky, whereas the impersonalists remain in the brahmajyoti" (BG 8.13 purport). Prabhupada continues, "the impersonalists who want to merge in the existence of the Lord are allowed to merge as one of the spiritual sparks of the brahmajyoti. They have no qualifications for becoming associates of the Lord either in the Vaikuntha planets or in the supreme planet, Goloka Vrndavana" (BP 2.4.14 purport). "Those who are devotees of Lord Krsna are immediately elevated to the Goloka Vrndavana planet" (BP 4.24.45-46 purport).

The glories of Goloka are many. Krishna is always present (Krsna, chapter 47). Prabhupada writes, "The Lord's sva-dhama does not require any sunlight or moonlight or electricity for illumination. That dhama, or place, is supreme, and whoever goes there never comes back to this material world. The Vaikuntha planets and the Goloka Vrndavana planet are all self-illuminating, and the rays scattered by those sva-dhama of the Lord constitute the existence of the brahmajyoti" (BP 2.4.14 purport). "The supreme abode of the Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is described in the Brahma-samhita as cintamani-dhama, a place where all desires are fulfilled. The supreme abode of Lord Krsna, known as Goloka Vrndavana, is full of palaces made of touchstone. There are also trees, called 'desire trees', that supply any type of eatable upon demand, and there are cows, known as surabhi cows, which supply a limitless supply of milk. In this abode, the Lord is served by hundreds of thousands of goddesses of fortune (Laksmis), and He is called Govinda, the primal Lord and the cause of all causes. The Lord is accustomed to blow His flute (venum kvanantam). His transcendental form is the most attractive in all the worlds-- His eyes are like lotus petals, and the color of His body is like the color of clouds. He is so attractive that His beauty excels that of thousands of Cupids. He wears saffron cloth, a garland around His neck and a peacock feather in His hair" (BG 8.21 purport).

Finally, Prabhupada writes of the effect of the degrees of transcendental awakening in this way: "Those whose love of God is awakened to the fullest extent go back to the Goloka Vrndavana planet in the spiritual sky, whereas persons who have just awakened to love of Godhead by accident or association are transferred to the Vaikuntha planets. Essentially there is no material difference between Goloka and Vaikuntha, but in the Vaikunthas the Lord is served in unlimited opulence, whereas in Goloka the Lord is served in natural affection" (BP 3.2.20 purport).

Gopi, Gopa, Gopala
A gopa is a male cowherd; a gopi is a female cowherd, while the gopis usually mentioned in connection to Krishna's early life are especially blessed cowherding women discussed in stories of the Bhagavata Purana. Gopala is a name for the young Krishna as a cowherd; in this way, Krishna is known as the protector of cattle.

Govinda
Govinda is a name for Krishna meaning 'He who gives pleasure to the senses', typically referring to His adolescent years as a cowherd among the Gopis.

Guru
The term guru is loosely understood in the West as meaning a teacher. Actually, a guru might be better understood as a spiritual master or, as Ram Dass puts it in Be Here Now, "the way" to liberation. The glossary in his Miracle of Love (1995) defines a guru as "a liberated being who serves as a doorway to God." The literal meaning of the term is 'remover of darkness'. In Hindu practice, gurus can be distinguished as either initiating or teaching gurus. For a clarification on the person and place of the guru, see the Who Is the Guru? table and surrounding text on the Practice page."

 * Baba Hanuman as depicted by B.G. Sharma * Hanuman
Hanuman is the name of the 'monkey' deity who came to the aid of Ram when Sita was kidnapped by the demon-king. Hanuman is one of the major characters in the Ramayana. He is worshipped today as an example of absolute loyalty and service to God. Hanuman was born in the Treta Yuga as a member of a species called the vanara. Modern archeaology has revealed that a small species of human-like beings lived at least 13,000 years ago on the island of Flores, Indonesia (National Geographic News, October 27, 2004) and unsubstantiated stories from tribals claimed contact as recently as a hundred years ago. These Vanaras were capable of communication and organised work and, so, are not the same as monkeys. Many other historical cultures have myths of hairy dwarf-like peoples.

It is believed by some devotees that Neem Karoli Baba was an incarnation of Hanuman. It is said that Hanuman requested the privilege of staying in the world for no other reason than to hear the name of Ram being chanted by devotees. Maharaj-ji said, "Serve as Hanuman served."

Hare, Hari
Hari is another name for Krishna, usually understood to mean 'the destroyer of pain'. Hari represents one of the fourteen man vantara-avataras of Lord Krishna.

ISKCON
ISKCON is also known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, founded by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. ISKCON was founded in the West by Prabhupada in 1966 for the sacred task of awakening the West to Krishna Consciousness, the higher state of consciousness through direct devotion to the Divine Being. Following Prabhupada's death in 1977, ISKCON fell into disarray, struggles for power and heinous crime. For more information, see Hubner & Gruson's book in the Recommended Reading section of this website. Although becoming increasingly respectable again, ISKCON can still be seen as a fundamentalist religious organisation. Spiritual seekers after Krishna are encouraged to find devotees but awareness and caution is urged in contacting the surviving ISKCON organisations (a number of different websites now exist that can aid the seeker in judging the suitability of many current Gaudiya swamis). I believe the fall of ISKCON since the disappearance of Prabhupada best serves Krishna's purposes in the West. We learn to directly relate to Krishna Himself rather than the institution and the demands of what can become sterile practice and religious dogma. Krishna desires each of us in a personal relationship with Him that will ultimately lead to union (however you wish to define this 'union'). Everything else in devotional life should serve that one purpose.

Ishta Deva
An Ishta Deva is the 'ideal deity of the devotee', a concept popular in some traditions of Sanatana Dharma (especially Vedanta). Since the needs and karma of every individual is unique, it is held that the personal deity is the most applicable facet of the one God for that individual. Other sects, including most Vaishnavas, outrightly deny this teaching, recognising Krishna as the supreme person of the Godhead and only true manifestation of the One God. Perhaps, in order to reach the platform of Krishna consciousness, many human beings must first pass through devotion to an Ishta Deva other than Krishna; this was certainly true for this particular writer since she was a practicing Christian before finding her own fulfillment in Krishna (see "My Story" on the Index Page).

Japa, Naama Jaapa
Japa is the practice of chanting (usually quietly) to oneself a mantra-- most often a name or set of names of God. Individual japa practice is usually accompanied by a string of beads to both reinforce the practice and keep count. Eventually japa will merge into an individual's subconscious so the name of God is continuously emanating from within. This practice will remake you. Ramakrishna said, "One should constantly repeat the name of God. The name of God is highly effective in the Kali Yuga. The practice of yoga is not possible in this age, for the life of a man depends on food. Clap your hands while repeating God's name, and the birds of your sin will fly away." ISKCON publishes a small and inexpensive book on the benefits and practice of japa entitled, Chant and Be Happy (The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1997).

Jiva, Jivatman
The jiva is the embodied individual soul.

Kali, Shyama
Kali Ma is the Divine Mother manifested as the black destroyer of evil and individual ego. According to some of the ecstatic poets, love Her as Mother and she will guide you into the arms of the Beloved; take Her as Lover and you will be cleansed of ego. Kali Ma is ruthless in Her destruction, but compassionate in Her mercy. She is also viewed as the avenging aspect of the female principle and, by extension, of Lakshmi (wife of Vishnu), and of Radha. Many Vaishnavas believe that Radha must be approached and appeased before a direct relationship with Krishna can proceed. My experience has been one of total grace in that I knew nothing of these things when Krishna touched me.

Kali Yuga
The Kali Yuga is the final age of humanity, which is the present age, an age of decreptitude. Much like the Dispensational teaching of certain Protestant schools of Christianity, each age is marked by its own characteristics and most effective means for liberation. The present yuga (age) is so named due to the destructive nature of Kali Ma.

Sri Prabhupada said: "It is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam that in Kali-yuga the heads of government will be plunderers and thieves. These thieves and plunderers take the money and property of the public by force or connivance.... As Kali-yuga advances, we can see that these characteristics are already visible. We can certainly imagine how deteriorated human civilization will be by the end of Kali-yuga. Indeed, there will no longer be a sane man capable of understanding God and our relationship with Him. In other words, human beings will be just like animals. At that time, in order to reform human society, Lord Krsna will come in the form of the Kalki avatara" (BP 5.12.7 purports). Other symptoms of the Kali-yuga, as noted by Prabhupada, "include avarice, falsehood, diplomacy, cheating, nepotism, violence and all such things" (BP 1.15.37 purport). The Bhagavata Purana in book 3, chapter 11, spends considerable space discussing the calculations and conditions of the four yugas (or ages) of this world.

The Kalki Avatar
The Kalki Avatar, the last of twenty-five lila-avataras, is a golden-hued incarnation of Lord Krishna who is to appear at the end of the Kali Yuga. He is often depicted as riding a horse while vanquishing foes and rescuing devotees. Some people believe Sri Chaitanya was the Kalki Avatar but most Vaishnavas believe Kalki is yet to come.

While Hindu eschatology is not as nearly complex as that of many Protestant schools, belief in the Kalki Avatara is one clear exception. According to Sri Prabhupada, "at the present moment we have just passed through five thousand years of the Kali-yuga, which lasts 432,000 years" (BG 4.1 purport, c.f. BG 8.17 purport, BP 1.3.25 purport). This means that, "from authentic scriptures it is learned that the age of Kali is still to run on for 427,000 years" (BP 1.15.37 Prabhupada purport). Others disagree with this calculation and expect Kalki to arrive shortly. Prabhupada writes that conditions will deteriorate significantly in the Kali Yuga (c.f. Kali Yuga). In addition to the conditions expected of a genuine avatara noted above, Swami Prabhupada notes several expectations of the true Kalki Avatara and that "all these foretellings will prove to be factual" (BP 1.3.25 purport):

Prabhupada gives us the following warning:

It is very easy for individuals to spiritualise expectations to make things fit their own frameworks or delusions. While I have many problems with the literalist (often fundamentalist) approach, certain things in scripture are literal! We must take care that we are following our Beloved in these things to best of our ability. The point of eschatology is not to be mired in the details of dates, times and events, but to be ready for the coming of our beloved Lord, whether here on the material plane or before our Beloved's feet on Goloka. As in the story told by Jesus (Mt. 25:1-13), do not be caught unawares like the foolish virgins but always be ready for the glorious approach of the Bridegroom!

Karma
Karma is the principle taught in nearly all religious traditions: whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7). In the Buddhist and Hindu traditions, karma extends over many lifetimes, affecting the circumstances and nature of an individual's present and future lives. As a result, most souls are caught in a continuous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (called samsara) and liberation from this cycle is only found through the eventual realisation of the individual soul in the Supreme.

The material universe is designed to eventually provide us with everything we desire (even if over many lifetimes). It isn't until the suffering resulting from the sorrows of the material illusion (maya) becomes so great that desire to let go develops and we start doing that which is necessary to free ourselves from samsara. When we are truly ready, God provides us with the tools we need to achieve each step of the process. We start this process by letting go of that causing our suffering: desire and the attachment that desire engenders. We then learn the valuable tools provided in bhakti yoga and karma yoga, freeing us of the accumulation of karma and allowing us to finally return to our true homes.

Karma Yoga, karmi
Karma Yoga is the giving in sacrifice of actions to the Lord; especially the fruit of one's labour and actions regardless of outcome. "The world is imprisoned in its own activity, except when actions are performed as worship of God. Therefore you must perform every action sacramentally, and be free from all attachment to results" (BG 3.9). A practitioner of karma yoga is known as a karmi. Dare to give God everything-- cast it all into the fire! In this way, even every step we take can become worship:

He who utters the Name of God while walking
Gets the merit of a sacrifice at every step.
His body becomes a place of pilgrimage....
By the power of the Name
One will know what cannot be known,
One will see what cannot be seen,
One will speak what cannot be spoken,
One will meet what cannot be met.

-- Tukaram

Kirtan
Kirtan is devotional music performed communally by sangha (an assembly of devotees), often accompanied by dancing. Kirtan is composed of the names of God or mantra. This differs from bhajan, which can be any type of religious music.

Krishna, Krsna
Krishna is the name of God; traditionally held to be an avatara of Vishnu, one of the three major deities of the Hindu godhead. Vaishnavas believe Krishna to be the main person of the Godhead from whom all other deities originate. According to Prabhupada, "Sri Krsna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and no one is greater than Him, [for] He is the source of all incarnations" (Madhya-lila, 1.41). In human life, about 5000 years ago, Krishna had dark stormcloud-blue coloured skin and was extremely charismatic, attractive, and wise; the central figure of the Bhagavad Gita. His name is often interpreted as meaning 'attractor'. According to his purports of the Bhagavata Purana 10, 8.15, Prabhupada states: "If we analyze the nirukti, or semantic derivation, of the word 'Krsna', we find that na signifies that He stops the repetition of birth and death, and krs means sattartha, or 'existence'. (Krsna is the whole of existence.) Also, krs means 'attraction', and na means ananda, or 'bliss'." Krishna has many other names, forms and incarnations.

Kundalini
Kundalini is a Sanskrit word meaning coiled (as in the figure of a coiled snake), depicting an energy normally found dormant at the base of the spine of an unawakened individual. Various disciplines, such as certain schools of yoga and Tantra, are designed to awaken the kundalini (also known as Shakti) energy in order to bring about new consciousness in the practitioner. If this energy is concentrated in one of the seven centers (chakras) in the body, the traits controlled by these centers will usually be dominant in an individual. Kundalini can have rather unpredictable effects, especially for those unprepared for the experience.

Having a kundalini awakening does not guarantee enlightenment! While it does propel spiritual growth and provides the raw energy for siddhis, a kundalini awakening is simply the redirection of Bhagavan's creative forces: one must continue down the path to finish the journey! Kundalini is the very energy Krishna uses in creating and holding the universe together (Madhya-lila 24.22). It is a distinct privilege to consciously experience this power for ourselves. For more information, please see the Kundalini links on the Links page.

Lila
Lila is the Sanskrit term usually translated as 'sport'; in relation to Krishna, lila is the Divine play, sport or dance, when the Lord incarnates into the world. We might also view lila an individual's interaction with Krishna or even a great soul's time on earth.

Madhurya bhava
Madhurya bhava the greatest of the five bhavas or types of love a devotee can have for God; that is, the attitude of looking upon Krishna as conjugal Lover; madhur means honey and refers to the 'honeyed' feeling of conjugal love. For more information, see the section below on my own madhurya bhava experience.

Mahamantra
The term mahamantra literally means great mantra and refers to the "Hare Krishna" mantra. The mahamantra was mentioned in the Vedas and was promoted by Sri Caitanya. It is the mantra most used by Vaishnavas in the practice of japa. The most auspicious time for practicing the mahamantra is between 4 and 7 A.M. The mantra is beneficial in bringing any person reciting it closer to God; chant in any way pleasing to you: Hari Krishna, Hari Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hari Hari, Hari Rama, Hari Rama, Rama Rama, Hari Hari. Many Vaishnavas will practice japa with a set of 108 beads sixteen rounds per day. While this may be stringent practice, any amount of practice will produce results. Increasing the amount of your practice and practicing with affection for or a desire to please Krishna will dramatically increase your spiritual growth.

 * Neem Karoli Baba photo * Maharaj-ji
Maharaj-ji is a nickname meaning "great king" with the suffix "-ji" indicating affection; used for the Indian saint commonly known as Neem Karoli Baba (ca. 1900-1973, which name, best known in the West, is correctly rendered 'Neeb Karori' after a village), a miracle worker and the guru for Ram Dass and countless others. Born under the name Laxmi Narayan Sharma, he was known by many names during his lila. Books discussing this unique individual, including Be Here Now and Miracle of Love, may be found in the Recommended Reading section that follows. I and many of his devotees believe that Maharaj-ji was an incarnation of Hanuman, the loyal servant of Ram. His many miracles and his continuing work in his devotees and in the world demonstrates his compassion and great love of God. Other saints referred to the very high position Maharaj-ji held in spiritual realms and he looked after the devotees of other high saints who had departed material life. I believe we will come to understand his true role in the world in a later existence.

Manjari, manjari bhava
Manjari was one of Radha's handmaidens and the word is used to convey the bhava (feeling) or desire to serve Krishna as the manifest divine couple, Radha and Krishna. This is the perspective of the majority of Vaishnavas, particularly of ISKCON, Sri Prabhupada, and the Gaudiya school. While this is certainly a proper devotional bhava, it may not serve all devotees of Krishna. This is particularly so of His other Lovers following the path of Mirabai (as does this writer). Much that is mentioned on this website that might be considered lewd, blasphemous, or totally misunderstood by devotees in the manjari path.

Mantra
A mantra is holy Sanskrit text, more commonly understood as sacred formula used in japa. It is most often a name of deity.

Maya
Maya is the Sanskrit term for the illusory nature of the material realm. Krishna is the source of maya and the controller of all beings through maya (BG 4.6). Even demons and the celestial controllers are not free of maya and do not know the true nature of Krishna (BG 10.14). Our privilege, in rare incarnations as human beings, is the possibility of truly knowing Krishna through surrender to Him: "This divine power of Mine called Maya, consisting of three modes of Nature, is very difficult to overcome. Only those who surrender unto Me easily pierce the veil of Maya and know the Absolute Reality" (BG 7.14). So empowered, we will then know everything: "The wise, who truly understand Me as the Supreme Being, know everything and worship Me wholeheartedly, O Arjuna" (BG 15.19). The scriptures tell us to give up ego, identification with the body, identification as the doer, and complete surrender to Krishna. Do this, and our task here is done!

Mirabai or Meera (fl. 1516-1546)
Mirabai was probably born in 1498 CE and was a Rajput princess who was utterly devoted to Krishna since early childhood. She was married to the Sisodiyas, who were shaktas and totally unsympathetic to her cause. Rebellious and fiery in her determination, her husband's clan eventually tried to have her killed. She left the palace to take up life as a wandering singer, composing a number of songs devoted to Krishna. That body of "Meera bhajans" has now grown to approximately 5000. Many are still sung in India today. For more about Mirabai, please see the links for her under the Links to Ecstatic Poets. Because of her sometimes risqué wording and the apparent lack of formal devotional practice in her songs, some Vaishnava schools deny her status as a true devotee. The "way" of Mirabai is not a formal path but it seems to be a life and denial of materialism taken today by more and more lovers of Krishna in this Kali Yuga.

Mohan
Mohan is another name for Krishna, meaning 'charming one'. Madana-mohana refers to Krishna as the conqueror of Kama, the Hindu Cupid; Mohan is the Beloved of all who love Him romantically.

Monism
Monism is the philosophical stance popular in many schools of Sanatana Dharma, especially Vedanta, teaching that all things and beings are actually One and that the ultimate goal is the union with this One, usually thought to be Brahman. Most Vaishnavas are rigidly against this teaching, holding that an eternal lila with Krishna is the proper destination for liberated souls. I believe that a broader stance should be adopted by non-Gaudiya devotees; that being One with the Divine (and realising this union as reality) does not interfere with our lila with the Beloved. I see no real contradiction between monism and dualism since both are true, even as we draw breath this very moment. It is only maya that keeps most of us from seeing the truth. Since Krishna is the source of all maya (BG 4.6), there really is no contradiction. I compare this medial philosophical stance with the idea that my fingers are a part of my body; in this way, my fingers and my body are one. At the same time, a finger cannot claim to be me (in totality), since it is only a part of my body. Yet, knowing that it is a part of this body, each finger can serve the whole "me" quite harmoniously as an entity with an apparently separate form and function. In the same way, I choose to serve Krishna. I can choose to remain either in maya, blind to my true purpose, or to be in union with my Beloved while dancing in a lovely rasa with Him.

Mudra
Mudra is the term for hand gestures used to shape kundalini or the automatic hand gestures occurring during a kundalini episode. All have meaning but I do not know them all. In the batik painting of Radha and Krishna at the bottom of this webpage, Radha's hands display the mudra usually manifested when I am overwhelmed by kundalini energy. It is what appeared during my first lovemaking with Krishna and can also be seen in a photograph of the saint, Ramakrishna (known for his rapturous encounters with the Divine), in the book, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Both Buddhist and Hindu traditions teach and utilise mudras.

Murti, murthy
Murthi is the Sanskrit term for a consecrated statue of a divine Being, often referred to by the condescending English word, "idol". For followers of Sanatana Dharma, such a consecrated statue serves as a representation of the Divine Presence on earth-- a concentrated presence, once properly consecrated-- much as the consecrated host is recognised as a Presence of the Christ in high liturgy churches. For most, it is simply an aid to worship just as a painted icon, hymn, or prayer is an aid to worship. Advanced devotees recognise and feel the divine Presence everywhere around them and within. True idolatry exists within most human minds and such preconception must be surrendered to begin intimately experiencing the Divine.

Namaste, Namaskar
Namasté is a Hindu greeting approximately meaning "I bow to the portion of God within you." Namaskar could be considered a more formal version of this greeting.

 * The Omkara symbol * Om, Aum, Omkara
Om is the Sanskrit syllable representing the primordial sound permeating the whole of the material universe, intimately linked to the presence of God. The omkara is the Sanskrit written representation of om. Krishna says, "The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual engagements. Closing all the doors of the senses and fixing the mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, one establishes himself in yoga. After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllable om, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets." (BG 8.12,13). Krishna teaches that 'OM TAT SAT', "the threefold name of the Eternal Being (Brahman)," should be uttered with any acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity. These acts should always be performed without seeking reward and with faith. Without faith, such acts are worthless (BG 17:23-28).

 * Sri Prabhupada photo * Prabhupada, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (1896-1977)
Born Abhay Charan De, Sri Prabhupada was the founder of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), better known as in the West as the "Hare Krishnas". Filled with love for Krishna, he was personally a very pious bhakta and teacher, having renounced the world; yet, in only a few short years created a vast international institution. Most of the awareness of the person of Krishna in the West is directly due to his great accomplishments. His legacy, however, was tarnished following his death when ISKCON fell into disarray, struggles for power and heinous crime. For more information, see Hubner & Gruson's book in the Recommended Reading section below. A detailed and sympathetic account of Prabhupada's life can be found in Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami's Prabhupada, He Built a House in Which the Whole World Can Live (1983). We cannot deny the fact that he was a fundamentalist, preferring doctrine over scientific evidence. Yet, the more I study Prabhupada's writings, the more I appreciate what he has accomplished and love him for it. He wandered the desert of materialism for fifty years only to bring to the West the greatest treasure he knew: our beloved Krishna! This is what Prabhupada said of himself:

Before me, many swamis went to the Western countries to preach this Bhagavad-gita. Not a single person became a devotee of Krishna. Not a single person. And now Bhagavad-gita is being presented as it is, thousands are becoming devotee of Krishna. This is the secret. People give me credit that "Swamiji, you have done wonderful. Nobody could do it." I am not a wonderful man. Neither I do know anything magic. I have presented Bhagavad-gita as it is. That's all. This is the secret. (Bhagavad-gita Lecture, Ahmedabad, December 8, 1972)

Prasad, prasada
Prasad is the leavings of food offered to God. Sri Prabhupada recommended a diet consisting of nothing but prasad. Such food is given to us by the grace of Bhagavan, is a sublime pleasure to consume, and is free of karmic effects. Prasad can easily be offered in most home settings through puja. Prasad, once it has been offered to Krishna, is then commonly mixed back into the community pot to sanctify all of the food for consumption by devotees. Mahaprasad is the 'concentrated' leavings undiluted by other food. Prabhupada said, "Anyone who comes, he must be given prasada. By eating you are getting mercy." (Hyderabad, August 22, 1976)

Puja, pooja
Puja is ceremonial worship of a deity (or deities) or other higher beings that, in Hindu tradition, often involves offerings of flowers, fire, water and food. Mantras and other texts are recited. Public performance of puja, especially in temples in front of the images and statues of deities, are performed by priests (pujaris). Devotional service may be performed at home through a simple puja table as suggested in Ram Dass' book, Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita, or through following Sri Prabhupada's guidelines available from ISKCON.

Radha, Radhe, Radharani, or Radhika
Radha was believed to have been one of the human gopis who developed a special relationship with Krishna and was elevated to her present status as a divine consort of Krishna. Her story is detailed in the poet Jayadeva's Gitagovinda. Devotion to Radha is considered one path available to men for devotional service to Krishna. The relationship between the divine Krishna and the mortal Radha is also an allegory for the soul's attraction, devotion and union with the Divine. Sri Caitanya was considered to be an incarnation of both Radha and Krishna. Radhika is the diminuative form indicating endearment for Radha. Radharani is the form of her name indicating her status as queen. Radha has also been identified as the goddesses Sri and Laxshmi.
 * Ram and Sita icon *

Ram, Rama, Ramac[h]andra
Ram is the name of the avatara previous to the appearance of Krishna. His consort was Sita. Just as Krishna is the great attractor of souls, Ram is the model human. The major stories surrounding Ram are detailed in The Ramayana. Ram is one of the names used in the mahamantra. Hanuman is worshipped because of his great devotion and service to Ram.

Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886)
Ramakrishna was a Hindu saint who embraced all religions as paths to God. Although his ishta deva was Kali Ma, he was a lifelong bhakta and devotee of Krishna. His extraordinary life was detailed in the book, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, written in Bengali by his disciple M. and translated into English by his disciple Swami Vivekananda. You may see his portrait next to the bibliographic entry for The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna on the Recommended Reading page. Many things in this book I found particularly helpful right after my first raptures. Prabhupada did not approve of Ramakrishna as portrayed by the Ramakrishna Mission organisation.

Raasa, rasa
Raasa means a taste or a mood, especially as viewed through human emotion; there eight: eroticism, heroism, terror, disgust, humour, compassion, wonder and fear or dread. Rasa ('a' pronounced as "ah") means pastime, as in Krishna's dance with the gopis (the Bhagavata tells us that Krishna danced with the gopis as if He had danced with each of them all at the same time). This event is known as the Rasa Lila and is also the title of a famous poem about the goings on.

Realisation, or Self-Realisation
Realisation is the means to enlightenment. Sri Krishna said: "One who is enlightened in self-realisation, although living within the material body, sees himself as transcendental to the body, just as one who has arisen from a dream gives up identification with the dream body. An enlightened person who is free from the contamination of material desire does not consider himself to be the performer of bodily activities; rather, he knows that in all such activities it is only the senses, born of the modes of nature, that are contacting sense objects born of the same modes of nature. An enlightened person fixed in detachment engages his body in lying down, sitting, walking, bathing, seeing, touching, smelling, eating, hearing and so on, but is never entangled by such activities. Indeed, remaining as a witness to all bodily functions, he merely engages his bodily senses with their objects and does not become entangled like an unintelligent person" (Uddhava Gita 11.8-11, excerpted). Krishna also describes self-realised persons in the Bhagavad Gita (BG 2.55-58, 5.17-21) as well as how to become self-realised (BG 8.5-8).

Sadhana
Sadhana is spiritual practice or spiritual discipline. I can only speak of my own and you can read of my sadhana on the Practice page of this website. Please see the links page for other possibilities.

Sadhu
A sadhu is a spiritual seeker or holy person who has renounced the world in the quest to attain salvation. The closest Western equivalent is a monk or nun. Also see yogi.

Sahajiya
According to Professor Glen A. Hayes, sahajiya is "derived from the Sanskrit and Bengali word sahaja, which means 'together born'; this refers to the belief that all differences and dualities are unified-- 'together born'-- in an elevated state of consciousness" (Hayes, 1995, 333). The term sahajiya has two primary usages.

The first and more common usage is as a label for degraded worship conducted primarily for the enhancement of sensual experience (Prabhupada purport to BP 6.29.14). By extension, this can also mean a type of neophyte devotee who has not yet come to pure devotional service according to Sri Prabhupada (BP 4.23.37 purport). Prabhupada warned against certain persons, labeling them demons, "who enjoy depicting Krsna and His pastimes with the gopis, taking advantage of Krsna by their licentious character. These demons who print books and write lyrics on the raga-marga principles are surely on the way to hell. Unfortunately, they lead others down with them. Devotees in Krsna consciousness should be very careful to avoid such demons" (BP 4.24.45-46 purport). For me, intimate depictions are sacred and should only be used for increasing intimacy between the lover and the beloved Lord-- any other use truly does follow the downward road to Hell. Other common sahajiya traits noted by Prabhupada include assuming Krishna was an ordinary human being (Krsna, 47), making spiritual practice very easy, not associating with advanced devotees and, "in the name of devotional activities, are addicted to all kinds of sinful acts-- illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating" (BP 4.29.41 purport).

The second use of sahajiya is in reference to a secretive Bengali Vaishnava Tantric cult that flourished from the 16th to the 19th centuries in northeastern India. It was a serious attempt aimed at harnessing the benefits of the "left-handed" disciplines of Tantra Yoga in the worship of the dark lord, Krishna. Because they engaged in ritual sexual intercourse, they were regarded as "scandalous and controversial by many.... like other tantric groups, [they] had definite religious reasons and explanations for their practices." (Hayes, 1995, 334). Because they were secretive and persecuted, these Vaishnava Sahajiyas died out in the nineteenth century, leaving scholars to piece together many of their practices and teachings. Due to the ill-repute of the Vaishnava Sahajiyas, the first definition of this term became the common usage of the term sahajiya.

Samsara
Samsara is the Sanskrit term for the continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth into the material plane of existence. Individual karma, attachment, and desire continue to return souls to birth since the Beloved is always eager to fulfill our desires. Rebirth can take place as a lower lifeform or even into the realms of the minor deities. Only through exhausting our desires and turning our souls toward the Beloved can we find liberation from samsara through self-realisation of the Beloved within. The technique for achieving union with and realisation of the Divine is known as yoga.

Sanatana Dharma
Sanatana Dharma is a Sanskrit term meaning the "eternal religion", in reference to the "Hindu" system formulated by the rishis of Vedic times. This religion is many thousands of years old and portions of the Dharma were dispersed throughout the world.

Sanskrit
Sanskrit is the language of the ancient Aryan settlers of north India that brought the Vedic religion. The earliest traditions and practices of this religion were eventually written down and became the scriptures known as the Vedas. Sanskrit is also the language of the other major works of Sanatana Dharma including the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and the Puranas. Sanskrit is related to most of the European languages and became the foundation for many of the modern Indian languages including Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Urdu, and Sinhalese.

S[h]akti
Shakti is a consort of the deity Shiva, seen as representing an energy known as kundalini; in this regard, it is often used as a synonym of kundalini. Shakti worship is often practiced in Tantra Yoga. I was advised by a knowledgable devotee that a bhakta needs not to worry about such things since Krishna will take care of our needs. This advice was true for me as all of these things occurred to me by His grace without my knowledge or understanding of these things.

 * Shyam, the Beautiful Dark One! * Syam, Shyam, Shyamasundara
Shyam is a name of Krishna meaning "the Dark One", often used by the poet Mirabai as a term of endearment. Shyamasundara means "black loveliness" and is often used to reference the eight-armed form of Krishna. Do not confuse Shyam with Shyama, which is used for Kali Ma. Ramakrishna often linked Krishna with Kali Ma in poems and songs (perhaps with good cause since the final avatar of Krishna will be the Kalki Avatar, heralding the terrible end of the Kali Yuga).

Siddhi
Siddhis are spiritual powers that gradually manifest in the life of a spiritually maturing person. Please see the discussion on siddhis found on the Practice Page for more information.

Soul
Soul, as a theological concept, has many differing shades of meaning depending upon the religious tradition. For our purposes, we shall consider the soul as being an extension of God that, in the material realm, usually has an independent identity and set of characteristics that are usually coalesced as an ego. A self-realised person will have seen through the illusions of material existence and know their true nature. I am comfortable with the idea that my soul is like a finger of God; while it is part of God, it is not the totality of God although a yielded, self-realised individual has complete access to the totality of God. Persons not fully self-realised must still rely on the dualistic lila of yielding one's soul to Bhagavan. When the journey of the soul is seen in totality, issues such as the dualism vs. monism debate are easily settled since both sides are true.

Although many traditions teach that the individual soul is neuter, all individual souls are female in relation to Krishna. The poet-saint Mirabai reminded the great disciple of Sri Chaitanya, Jiv Gosvami, of this fact and in so doing, gained admittance to the Krishna temple (Schelling, p. xxii). Even in a tradition as geographically disparate as Spanish mystical Christianity, the soul is seen as feminine (Starr, p. 18). The nature of our relationship with God is dependent upon how yielded we are to Him. This may be a problem for some in the masculine and male-dominated culture of the West. A work, such as the Tao-te Ching, discussing the importance of balancing the masculine and the feminine energies of being may be useful in this respect. Also see the reference to the root of bhagavan.

Sri, Shri, Shrila
Sri is a title of reverence, like "Lord". The suffix -la refers to holiness or divinity; thus, Shrila is a title referring to the exalted nature of an individual. Sri is also a name for the Divine Mother.

Sub Ek
'Sub ek' is Hindi phrase translated 'All is One'-- a teaching ennunciated by Neem Karoli Baba. Nothing is truly separate. We are really part of the One Divine Being: we need only to deeply realise this fact. Meditate on this teaching to realise its vast implications.

Sublimation, sublimate
'Sublimation' is a term used in Analytical Psychology specifically to mean the redirection of sexual and aggressive energies in an individual. In higher spiritual teaching, we are taught to redirect our sexual energy for His service. The direct transformation of sexual energy is the goal of kundalini awakening in Tantra and other schools of yoga. In Krishna bhava, this is achieved through the complete surrender of one's desires and attachments to Krishna. When done with real love for Krishna, amazing things happen the life of a devotee. See my story on the introductory page of this website or read about my madhura bhava experiences. An additional article, On Sacred Sexuality, may also be helpful.

Tantra Yoga
Tantra Yoga is a school of yoga found in both modern Hinduism and Buddhism. There is considerable misinformation concerning Tantra in Western media today. Tantra is usually portrayed as yogic practice encouraging drunken sexual excess with a wink toward religious piety. True Tantra is a school of yoga utilising the passions of the body with the goal of awakening the kundalini force within the practitioner. Shiva-Shakti are recognised as the patron deities of Tantra. While practice can include sexual intercourse and the consumption of proscribed substances, this "left-handed" path in Tantra is usually discouraged and mistrusted due to the tremendous attachment such practices create. Most practice of Tantra Yoga has nothing to do with sexual intercourse or other usually proscribed activities. I mention Tantra here only because my personal experiences have been similar to those of tantriks and Tantra repeatedly appeared in my research following my intimate experiences with Krishna.

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 1, Part 5, states:

Tantra, especially the left-hand path, is spiritually dangerous and should only be used by highly advanced individuals. Tantra can be instructive but devotionally loving God is a far safer way to bliss and ecstatic union--once Krishna is taken as Lover, all of the pleasures of Tantra are yours without asking! For more introductory information, please see http://www.jrhaule.net/ipet.html and http://www.hinduism.co.za/tantra.htm.

Translation
'Translation' is the act or the product of rendering from one language to another. There are two schools of thought. The first, preferred by the more conservative translators of scripture, is the rendering of the literal word-for-word meanings. The other school of interpretation uses a process often known as dynamic equivalence, where the apparent meanings are transmitted from one language to the other. There are advantages and disadvantages to both schools of translation. The literalist school often results in an unwieldy text, yet such a word-for-word translation provides easier access to the original language for a deeper study of the text. Dynamic equivalence usually results in a smoother, more natural rendition while denying easy access to the original text and increasing the likelihood of theological or philosophical bias.

Vaikuntha
Vaikuntha is one of the possible destinations in spiritual sky, particularly for personalists. There are an unlimited number of Vaikuntha planets. According to Sri Prabhupada, "The influence of material nature cannot reach beyond the Viraja, or Causal Ocean, as confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.9.10). The modes of material nature (goodness, passion and ignorance), as well as material time, have no influence on the Vaikuntha planets. On those planets the liberated associates of Krsna live eternally, and they are worshiped both by the demigods and the demons" (Teachings of Lord Caitanya, chapter 8). "All the living entities there are liberated souls with spiritual bodies as good as that of the Lord" (BP 1.19.21 Prabhupada purport).

Prabhupada writes of the relative glory of these worlds:

Vaishnava
The Vaishnavas are one of the major sects of Hinduism holding Vishnu is the main personality of the Hindu Godhead. A major portion of Vaishnavas, particularly those of the Gaudiya lineage, hold Krishna (traditionally believed to have been an avatar of Vishnu) to be the main personality of the Hindu Godhead, believing that Krishna is the source of all other beings, including other deities.

Veda, Vedas
The Vedas are the oldest and most sacred of the Hindu scriptures, composed of hymns to the various deities.

Vedanta
Vedanta is one of the orthodox schools of Sanatana Dharma based on certain teachings of the Upanishads and the Vedanta Sutra, which includes the monist (advaita) philosophy of Shankara, the modified non-dualist position of Ramanuja, and the dualist position of Madhva. Due to some obvious reasons, Vedanta is usually vehemently opposed by many Vaishnavas.

Yoni
Yoni is another Sanskrit term generally used for the female genitalia; in modern use, the external genitalia. The Bhagavad Gita uses the term in reference to the womb. It is often portrayed as an aura surrounding holy beings in the religious art of many traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism. The lingam is the male equivalent and is most often used in the worship of Lord Shiva.

Yoga, yogi
Yoga a spiritual practice designed to bring about the soul's union with the greater Reality. There are many differing schools of yoga within the Hindu tradition, each with a differing focus and methods, yet all have the same goal. The school of yoga best known in the West, Hatha, can only be fully appreciated once the true purpose of yoga is known. A practitioner of yoga is a yogi. See the references above to Bhakti and Karma yogas.

For more extensive glossaries, please see the links page.

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A Note About Fundamentalism

In presenting the following links, I must continue to warn against the threat of fundamentalism as I list Krishna organisations on the following webpage. None of these links are presented with any kind of an endorsement. I especially urge caution in dealing with the multitude of ISKCON websites (or the many derivatives of ISKCON). Although I greatly respect His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's scholarship and personal piety, what became of ISKCON immediately after his death demonstrates a spiritual immaturity and egoic attachment in his disciples often bred through fundamentalist practice and thought.

Charitable consideration needs to be given to the fact that Prabhupada only a had few short years to set up this huge international institution. He could not realistically draw many mature devotees for leadership from the available pool of young, inexperienced Western converts. Many Christian missionary organisations regarded ISKCON not as part of a venerable world religion, but as a brainwashing "cult" group. We can learn a lot from ISKCON and other fundamentalists but we should remember, as persons with individual karmas and unique constitutions, one size does not fit all and one medicine does not heal all afflictions. Many of Prabhupada's young devotees have now matured and are contributing to an expanding and inclusive Krishna consciousness in the world today. I truly admire Sri Prabhupada and present the following ISKCON links with this caution and a humble pranam to my loving Krishna and all of His great devotees.

Radha Krishna
"The best service you can do is
to keep your thoughts on God.
Keep God in mind every minute."

-- Sri Neem Karoli Baba



OM



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