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Glossary: P

a traveling missionary festival, conducted mainly on foot.

The goddess of fortune, Lakshmi, consort of Lord Narayana.

Fragrant water used to wash the feet of an honorable guest.

palasha tree
Butea frondosa, a tree with fragrant, large, bright orange flowers.

an acronym, used in written correspondence for the standard greeting among devotees: “Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.”

Betel nut prepared with lime and spices and wrapped in a leaf for chewing.

A powerful demon who lived in a conch in the ocean. He kidnapped the son of Krishna’s teacher, Sandipani. Krishna killed Pancajana and rescued the boy.

Vaishnava tantras that teach one to worship the Supreme Lord by serving His Deity forms and chanting mantras addressed to Him.

The method of formal worship taught in the Pancaratras.

the rules and regulations of Deity worship, as set down by Narada Muni in his Narada-pancharatra.

temple priest, usually of a caste brahmana family.

lit., “tent.” Refers to religious programs and lectures, typically held under large tents.

The five sons of Pandu. The three older Pandavas—Yudhishthira, Bhima, and Arjuna—were born to Pandu’s wife Kunti by the three demigods Yamaraja, Vayu, and Indra. The other two sons, Nakula and Sahadeva, were born of Pandu’s other wife Madri by the Ashvini-kumaras.

a scholar.

The Kuru emperor after Vicitravirya. When Vicitravirya died childless, Pandu was born from one of Vicitravirya’s wives, Ambalika, by Dvaipayana Vyasa.

Para-brahman (param brahma)
The supreme personal form of the Absolute Truth.

Lord Krishna’s paramour relationship with the gopis, as distinguished from His svakiya relationship with His wives.

param gati
ultimate goal.

“Perfect swan,” a completely pure devotee of the Supreme Lord, beyond any influence of material illusion.


The “Supersoul,” the aspect of the Supreme Lord who accompanies every conditioned soul as the indwelling witness and guide.

The Personality of Godhead, who is the “supreme controller.”

the supreme situation. May refer either to the spiritual world or the impersonal brahmajyoti effulgence.

An authorized Vaishnava disciplic succession. More ordinarily, any tradition.

One half of the duration of Lord Brahma’s life.

The great sage who spoke the Vishnu Purana to Maitreya and was the father of Dvaipayana Vyasa.

One of the dasha-avataras, the ten most famous incarnations of Lord Vishnu. He appeared as a brahmana but had the qualities of a warrior. When Parashurama’s father was murdered by the wicked King Kartavirya, Parashurama vowed to exterminate all the kshatriyas on earth, and he fulfilled that vow twenty-one times.

An exquisite flower that grows only in the spiritual world and on the heavenly planets. Defeating the opposition of Indra, Krishna brought a parijata tree from Svargaloka for His wife Satyabhama and planted it in her garden in Dvaraka.

a walking pilgrimage.

The son of Abhimanyu who inherited the Kuru throne from Yudhishthira. Krishna personally saved him in his mother’s womb, and thus the child was named Parikshit because he was searching (pariksheta) for the person who had protected him.

a liberated associate of Krishna.

parivrajaka (-acharya)
A man in the third of the four stages of the renounced order (sannyasa). The word indicates that he wanders everywhere to preach.

Personal associates of the Supreme Lord.

“Son of Pritha (Kunti)”, an epithet of Arjuna, Yudhishthira, or Bhima.

Lord Siva’s eternal consort, especially in her incarnation as the daughter of the Himalaya mountains (Parvata).

an atheist; one who thinks the Lord and the demigods to be equal or who considers devotional activities to be material.

Patala (-loka)
The lowest of the seven subterranean heavenly planets. It is inhabited by the Nagas, great serpents.

lit., “husband-spiritual master.” A term of respect addressed to a man by his wife.


savior of the fallen souls.

The age between five and ten years.

A foolish king of Karusha who was convinced that he was the incarnation of Lord Vasudeva and that Krishna was an impostor. When Paundraka demanded that Krishna surrender His weapons, Krishna complied by releasing His Sudarshana disc to cut off Paundraka’s head.

Indian cuckoo.

Ficus religiosa, a large tree of the fig family with glossy, dark green leaves.

A son of Rishabhadeva who became a prominent sage on Tapoloka.

One of the nine “islands” surrounding Mount Meru in Bhu-mandala. Bounded on its inner side by the Ocean of Salt and on its outer side by the Ocean of Liquor, it forms the second ring of land beyond Meru. It is ruled by Idhmajihva, a son of Priyavrata.

the geographical location assigned by the spiritual master to the disciple for service to his mission.

lit., “master.” Added to a devotee’s name by another devotee to show respect.

Prabhupada, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Founder-acharya of ISKCON and foremost preacher of Krishna consciousness in the Western world.

talks by or about Srila Prabhupada.

Ten sons of Daksha who under the guidance of Lord Siva performed severe austerities and meditation to help populate the universe.

Material nature in its primordial undifferentiated state.

A son of Krishna in Dvaraka. He appears in Dvaraka and Mathura as the transcendental Cupid, the third of the original quadruple vyuha expansions of the Supreme Lord. He again expands from Lord Narayana in Vaikuntha, in the second quadruple, as the ruler of mind.

Pragjyotisha (-pura)
The ancient capital of the demon Bhauma and home of the Durga deity Kamakhya. Now known as Guwahati, it is the capital of the Indian state of Assam.

One of the greatest devotees of Lord Vishnu. As the five-year-old son of the mighty demon Hiranyakashipu, he openly dared to worship the Personality of Godhead and preach His glories. Hiranyakashipu tried many ways to kill the boy, but failed to harm him. Finally Lord Vishnu appeared as Lord Nrisimha, killed Hiranyakashipu, and enthroned Prahlada as king of the demons.

foolish, idle, or mundane speech. Talks unrelated to Krishna consciousness.

The original “progenitors” of the universal population. They are the sons of Brahma other than the celibate Kumaras and Narada.

Krishna’s “manifest pastimes,” visible to the public at specific times and in a linear sequence of events. In contrast, His “unmanifest pastimes” go on eternally, all simultaneously, and are seen only by rare, fortunate souls.

one who performs devotional service for material gain.

a class of pseudo-devotees who take the conjugal pastimes of Krishna and the gopis cheaply and do not follow the proper regulations of vaidhi-bhakti.

Material nature.

A demon sent by Kamsa to kill Krishna and Balarama. Pralamba disguised himself as a cowherd boy with the intention of killing Krishna and Balarama, but instead Balarama killed him.

evidence or proof.

The vital air of life. It causes all movement in the body, physical and mental, and at death carries the soul into the next body.

an offering of respect by joining ones hands.


The breath control exercises in the ashtanga-yoga system.

The remnants of food and other items offered to the Supreme Lord. By accepting Krishna’s prasada one can rapidly become purified and achieve pure love of God.

the king of Orissa at the time of Lord Chaitanya’s manifest presence and a great devotee of the Lord.

A son of Yudhishthira and Draupadi, murdered in his sleep with his brothers during the Battle of Kurukshetra while they were still in their teens.

In the ashtanga-yoga system, the practice of withdrawing the senses.

Prayaga (-tirtha)
The sacred city at the confluence of the three holiest rivers—Yamuna, Ganga, and the now underground Sarasvati. Prayaga is today known as Allahabad.

the ultimate goal of life: to develop love of God.

Pure ecstatic love of God.

Personal worship of the Supreme Lord in ecstatic love.

Spontaneous devotional service to the Supreme Lord in ecstatic love.

The ecstasy of pure love of God.

The transcendental taste of pure love of God.

Krishna’s mother Devaki in an earlier life, when Krsna appeared as Prishnigarbha. Even earlier, she appeared as Aditi, the mother of Lord Vamana.

See Kunti.

An empowered incarnation of the Supreme Lord who appeared as an ideal king to bring forth the resources of the earth.

The eldest son of the first Manu, Svayambhuva. He refused his father’s order that he marry and rule the earth, but Lord Brahma convinced him to change his mind. Priyavrata later gave charge of the dvipas of Bhu-mandala to seven of his sons, resumed his solitary practice of meditation, and at the end achieved liberation.

Formal worship of the Supreme Lord or some demigod or respected person.

A devotee who performs the direct worship and service of the Deity in a temple.

The histories of the universe, supplements to the Vedas. There are eighteen major Puranas and many secondary ones. The major Puranas are divided into three groups of six, meant for readers in each of the three modes of material nature.

The hero of an allegorical story told by Narada to King Pracinabarhi to teach the folly of materialistic life.

Puri (Jagannatha Puri, Nilacala, Niladri)
The holy city (in Orissa on the Bay of Bengal) where Lord Jagannatha resides.

a deep-fried, puffed bread.

the full moon day.

The Supreme Lord in a Vishnu expansion for the creation of the material world; the enjoyer, or male, referring either to the living entity or the Supreme Lord.

The three incarnations of the Supreme Lord who create and maintain the material universes: Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva.

The four standard goals of human life: dharma (religiosity), artha (economic development), kama (sense gratification), and moksha (liberation).

A famous hymn of the Rig Veda, tenth mandala. It describes the creation of the various forms of life and the first Vedic sacrifice, all from the body of Lord Garbhodaka-shayi.

Purushottama (-kshetra, Puri, Nilacala, Niladri)
See Puri.

attachment before first meeting.

pushpana rice
lit., “flower-rice.” A Bengali rice pilaf, featured on special-occasion menus, containing saffron, nuts, and rice.

A memorial in which the flowers worn by the spiritual master at his passing are kept.

An infanticidal witch who entered Vraja disguised as a beautiful woman and offered the child Krishna her poisoned breast milk, which He sucked out along with her life. Thus killed by Krishna, Putana was elevated to Krishna’s eternal service in the mood of a mother.

Krishna, “the deliverer of Putana.”