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Glossary: K

a small, disk-shaped pastry stuffed with spiced vegetables and deep-fried.

Anthocephalus indicus, a tree whose flowers appear in balls during the rainy season.

A great mountain on which Lord Siva resides, south of Mount Sumeru.

The age between eleven and fifteen years.

A great demon who with his brother Madhu stole the Vedas from Brahma at the beginning of creation and was killed by Vishnu.

A demon killed by Lord Vishnu in the battle between Bali and Indra. In his next life he became Kamsa.

A barbarian king who tried to attack Krishna. Not wanting to touch a barbarian, Krishna arranged for him to be killed by King Mucukunda, who burned Kalayavana to ashes with his glance.

the personification of quarrel and hypocrisy.

Kali (-yuga)
The fourth of four repeating ages that form the basic cycles of universal time. In each Kali-yuga the world degrades into quarrel and dishonesty. The present Kali-yuga began 5,000 years ago and will continue for another 427,000 years. Kali is also the name of the ruler of the yuga.

The river Yamuna, who became one of Krishna’s eight principal queens in Dvaraka.

A many-headed serpent who poisoned a lake within the Yamuna. Krishna subdued the serpent by dancing on his hoods and then banished him from Vraja.

a unit of cosmic time, equal to one day of Brahma (or one night), or 4,320,000,000 years.

Sense gratification; lust.

the seed of a particular gayatri-mantra.


The goddess Lakshmi, eternal consort of the Supreme Lord Vishnu.

one who has lost his sense or is infatuated by the lust of attraction for sense gratification.

A clay or wooden waterpot, as carried by sannyasis and brahmacaris.

The province of Afghanistan now known as Kabul. At the time of the Kurukshetra war, its king was Sudakshina.

The king of Bhoja and son of Ugrasena who usurped the throne of Mathura. After sending many demons to Vraja to kill Krishna and Balarama, he finally brought the brothers to Mathura for a rigged wrestling tournament, where Krishna killed him.

Optional Vedic rituals performed for personal gain.

A sacred city of southeastern India. It is known in Tamil as Kanjivaram. Ramanujacharya resided there for some time.


kantaki fruit
a small, golden fruit that grows on a thorny, vinelike bush.

beads worn around the neck by devotees of Krishna.

Kapila (-deva)
A white-complexioned incarnation of the Supreme Lord who appeared in the Satya-yuga as the son of Kardama and Devahuti. He taught His mother sankhya-yoga, the path of devotional service through systematic study of the material creation.

Karanodakashayi Vishnu
the expansion of the Lord from whom all material universes emanate. Also known as Maha-Vishnu.

hand cymbals used during kirtana.

The ancient sage who married Devahuti and fathered the incarnation of God known as Kapila.

a bitter gourd, valued in Vedic cuisine for its beneficial effect on the digestion.

Material action and its reactions.

Bharata-varsha, the land where men work in accordance with the Vedic system of sacrifice.

The portions of the Vedas that teach ritual sacrifices for material success in this life and the next.

the process of God realization by dedicating the fruits of one’s work to God.

The “active senses,” the faculties of speech, motion, and evacuation, located in the tongue, arms, legs, genitals, and anus.

One whose aim in life is to achieve material elevation by acting dutifully, especially by performing Vedic sacrifices.

The first son of Kunti, born to her by the sun-god before her marriage to Pandu. She abandoned the infant Karna by floating him in a basket on a river, and he was discovered and adopted by a mixed-caste chariot driver. Karna became an arch-rival of the Pandavas, who were unaware of his origin. In the Kurukshetra battle, he was made the Kuru commander-in-chief after the death of Drona, and Arjuna killed him.

Pterosper mum acerifolium, a tree with fragrant yellow flowers often used for dressing the hair.

Kartavirya Arjuna
A demonic thousand-armed king who tyrannized much of the world but was killed by Lord Parashurama after murdering Lord Parashurama’s father, the sage Jamadagni.

the Vedic month corresponding to October–November in which Lord Damodara is worshiped.

The mood of compassion, one of the seven indirect devotional relationships with the Supreme Lord.

kasa flowers
Saccharum spontaneum, a tall grass.

Varanasi (Benares), the favorite city of Lord Siva, located on the river Ganga between Prayaga and Patna. It is one of the seven holy places that grants liberation.

One of the original Prajapatis, the populators of the universe. Son of Brahma’s first mind-born son, Marici, he married thirteen of Daksha’s daughters and fathered many demigods, demons, and species of animals.

Sacred narrations.

A form of the goddess Durga the young gopis worshiped in Vrindavana to obtain Krishna as their husband.

The age of up to five years.


the descendants of Kuru who fought against the Pandavas in the battle of Kurukshetra.

One of the three wives of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. She gave birth to Dasharatha’s eldest son, Lord Ramachandra.

A jewel worn by Lord Vishnu on His chest. It is one of the few marks visibly distinguishing Him from His devotees in Vaikuntha.

an Ayurvedic doctor.

food ritually offered to the ancestors.

The wife of Hiranyakashipu and mother of Prahlada.

A kingdom in the northwest of Punjab, between the Satadru and Vipasha rivers. Kekaya princes fought on both sides of the Kurukshetra battle.

Krishna (or Vishnu), who has beautiful hair (kesha), who is the Lord of both Brahma (Ka) and Siva (Isha), and who killed the demon Keshi.

A demon who assumed the form of a wild horse and attacked Vraja. Krishna thrust His hand into the demon’s mouth and killed him.

The sacred spot in Vrindavana on the shore of the Yamuna where Krishna killed the demon Keshi.

homespun cotton cloth.

A forest near the Pandava capital, Indraprastha. Krishna and Arjuna fought against Indra to allow the fire-god, Agni, to consume the forest.

a wagtail; symbol of restlessness and the eyes of the beloved.

kikhi bird
Indian blue jay.

Kimpurusha-loka (-varsha)
One of the nine divisions of Jambudvipa, the central part of the earthly planetary system. Hanuman resides there.

A class of celestial beings who have half-human, half-animal bodies.

A degraded tribe of mountain-dwelling hunters.

The primary devotional practice of chanting the Supreme Lord’s glories.

The capital city of the Vanara ape-men, ruled during the time of Lord Ramachandra first by Vali and later by Vali’s brother Sugriva. The Vanara army, led by Sugriva and ministers like Hanuman, helped Lord Rama defeat Ravana.

A boy aged ten to fifteen.

The kingdom of north-central India ruled by great kings like Sagara, Bhagiratha, Khatvanga, Raghu, Dasharatha, and Lord Ramachandra. Its capital was Ayodhya.


a miser.

Krishna (-chandra)
The Supreme Personality of Godhead in His original form, enjoying as a youthful cowherd with His family and friends in Vrindavana and later as a valiant prince in Mathura and Dvaraka.

Krishna Chaitanya
The name received by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu from His sannyasa-guru, Sri Keshava Bharati. See Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

the presiding Deities of the ISKCON temple in Vrindavana, India.

absorption in Krishna consciousness.

Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami
the author of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita.

Discussions about Krishna.

Krishna’s pastimes.

the eternal abode of Lord Krishna.

Krishna’s holy name.

Pure ecstatic love for Krishna. It is the perfection of life.

Krita (-yuga)
The first of four repeating ages that form the basic cycles of universal time. During its 1,728,000 years, purity and spiritual competence are prominent. It is also called Satya-yuga.

A member of the second of the four occupational classes in the varnashrama social system. The kshatriyas are the political and military leaders of society. They are expected to be heroic, charitable, selflessly dedicated to the welfare of all citizens, respectful of the spiritual authority of the brahmanas, and ready to use force to stop wrongdoing.

Literally, “field.” A holy district, especially that of Jagannatha Puri.

sweetened condensed milk.

Kshirodaka-shayi Vishnu
The third of the three Purushas, incarnations of the Supreme Lord for the creation of the material universe. Kshirodaka-shayi Vishnu resides on the island of Svetadvipa in the Milk Ocean and expands into the heart of every materially embodied being as the Supersoul.

A hunchback woman of Mathura employed as a seller of fragrant ointments. Attracted to Krishna when He entered Mathura, she happily agreed to supply Him ointment without payment and applied it to His body. As a reward Krishna transformed her into a beautiful young lady. Krishna later visited her home along with Uddhava.

The first four sons of Brahma. Brahma requested them to beget children, but they refused, preferring to remain forever celibate in the bodies of five-year-olds.

One of Ravana’s brothers, a mighty demon, his appetite insatiable, who slept six months of the year. When Ravana needed help to meet the attack of Lord Ramachandra’s army, Kumbhakarna was with great difficulty awakened, but he was sent to his death by Lord Rama’s arrows.

Nymphaea esculenta, a species of night-blooming lotus with white flowers.

Jasminium pubescens, a species of jasmine; a lake or pond; generally refers to one of the sacred ponds in Vrindavana.

Kundina (-pura)
The capital of the kingdom of Vidarbha, ruled in the time of Krishna by Bhishmaka, the father of Sri Rukmini.


a red cosmetic powder.

Kunti (Pritha)
One of King Pandu’s two wives. By union with various demigods, she became the mother of Karna, Yudhishthira, Bhima, and Arjuna.

The red amaranth flower.

a female sea osprey.

Lord Vishnu’s form as a huge tortoise, one of the dasha-avataras, the ten most famous incarnations of the Lord. The tortoise allowed the demigods and demons to use His back as a pivot for churning nectar from the Milk Ocean.

a tunic-like men’s shirt, commonly worn in India.

“The holy field of the Kurus,” where in ancient times the members of that dynasty performed sacrifices. Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna just prior to beginning the battle fought there that decided the fate of the dynasty and ushered in the beginning of the Kali-yuga.

the founder of the dynasty in which the Pandavas and Kauravas appeared.

See Kauravas.

A sacred grass, also called darbha, essential for all Vedic sacrifices.

A hermitage-like residence. See bhajana-kutira.

An elephant deployed by King Kamsa to kill Krishna and Balarama when They came to Mathura. Krishna killed the elephant and later used one of its tusks to kill Kamsa’s soldiers.

The demigod who looks after the vast treasures of heaven.