Glossary: V

vachasamritena
words as sweet as nectar.

vaidhi-bhakti
The regulative practice of devotional service.

vaijayanti
A special garland worn by the Supreme Lord. It is made from flowers of at least five different colors, and it hangs down at least to His knees.

Vaikuntha (-loka)
Literally, the place free from anxiety. The kingdom of God, full of all opulences and unlimited by time and space.

Vaikuntha-dutas
Messengers of the Lord of Vaikuntha.

Vaikuntha-natha
Narayana, “the Lord of Vaikuntha.”

Vaikunthanatha
Lord of Vaikuntha.

Vaikuntheshvara
Narayana, “the Lord of Vaikuntha.”

vairagya
Indifference to material attractions.

Vaishampayana
The disciple of Dvaipayana Vyasa who narrated the Mahabharata to King Janamejaya.

Vaishnava
A devotee of the Supreme Lord Vishnu. Since Krishna and Vishnu are different aspects of the same Supreme Person, devotees of Krishna are also Vaishnavas.

vaishya
A member of the third among the four occupational divisions of the varnashrama social system. The vaishyas engage in agriculture, cow protection, and business.

Vaivasvata-manvantara
The present period of cyclical universal time, ruled over by Vaivasvata Manu. During the lifetime of Lord Brahma, which corresponds to the duration of the universe, there are 504,000 Manus.

Valmiki
The sage who composed the great epic history of Lord Ramachandra’s life. At first a vicious criminal, Valmiki became purified by unintentionally chanting the name Rama.

Vamana (-deva)
Lord Vishnu’s form as a young brahmana boy, one of the dasha-avataras, the ten most famous incarnations of the Lord. After begging three steps of land from Bali Daityaraja, Vamanadeva covered with His first two steps the entire universe, and for the third step Bali offered his own head. Pleased with Bali’s surrender, Lord Vamana offered to become the guard at Bali’s door.

vanaprastha
A man or woman in the retired order of life, the third stage of spiritual progress in the varnashrama social system. In this order a married man leaves home and travels to the forest and holy places of pilgrimage, either with or without his wife, to prepare himself for full renunciation, sannyasa.

Vanaras
The race of forest monkeys who helped Lord Ramachandra invade Lanka and defeat Ravana.

vani
Instructions.

vapu
The body; sometimes refers to the physical presence of the spiritual master.

Varaha (-deva)
Lord Vishnu’s incarnation as a huge boar, who killed the demon Hiranyaksha and lifted the earth from the depths of the Garbha Ocean.

varna
In the varnashrama social system, the four occupational divisions: brahmanas (teachers and priests), kshatriyas (rulers and warriors), vaishyas (businessmen and farmers), and shudras (workers).

varnashrama
The Vedic social system, consisting of four occupational divisions (varnas) and four stages of spiritual development (ashramas).

Varshana
The town in which Srimati Radharani appeared during Krishna’s pastimes on Earth.

Varuna
The demigod who presides over water and the oceans.

Vasanta-rasa
the anniversary of the rasa dance Krishna held in the spring.

vasis
Residents.

Vasishtha
A great sage, one of the mind-born sons of Brahma, reborn in a later age as a son of Mitra and Varuna. He served as priest for Lord Ramachandra, Indra, Vaivasvata Manu, Ambarisha, Harishchandra, Yudhishthira, and others.

Vasudeva
Krishna, the son of Vasudeva. Vasudeva is also the name of Krishna’s first expansion outside Vraja, and of the first of the quadruple expansions in Vaikuntha.

Vasudeva
Krishna’s father in Mathura and Dvaraka. He and his wife Devaki were persecuted by Kamsa for many years before Krishna delivered them by killing Kamsa.

Vasus
A group of eight major demigods born from Kashyapa and Aditi.

Vatsa (-asura)
A demon friend of Kamsa’s who entered Vraja in the form of a calf and was killed by Krishna.

Vayu
The god of the wind, one of the principal demigods administering the universe.

Vedanta
the conclusion of Vedic philosophy.

Vedanta-sutra
A concise systematic explanation of the Vedic Upanishads. It was written by Dvaipayana Vyasa and has been commented on by the impersonalist Sankara and by great Vaishnava acharyas like Ramanuja, Madhva, and Baladeva Vidyabhushana.

Vedantavadi
a follower of Vedanta, or one who knows Krishna perfectly.

Vedas
The original revealed scriptures, eternal like the Supreme Lord and thus in need of no author. Because in Kali-yuga the Vedas are difficult to understand or even study, the Puranas and epic histories, especially Srimad-Bhagavatam, are essential for gaining access to the teachings of the Vedas.

Veda-vyasa
See Dvaipayana Vyasa.

Vedic
Pertaining to the Vedas, or more broadly, following or derived from the Vedic authority.

Vibhishana
The saintly brother of Ravana who abandoned Ravana to join the side of Lord Rama. After Ravana’s death, Vibhishana was crowned king of Lanka.

vibhu
great.

Vidura
The Pandavas’ uncle who was the son of Dvaipayana Vyasa by the maidservant of the deceased Vicitravirya. Vidura was an incarnation of Yama, who had been cursed to be born a shudra.

Viduratha
An enemy of Krishna’s who attacked Krishna to avenge the death of his brother Dantavakra but was quickly felled by the Lord’s Sudarshana disc.

Vidyadharas
A class of celestial beings with magical powers.

vigraha
Lit., “form.” often refers to the temple Deity.

Vrindavana Institute for Higher Education.

Vijaya
See Jaya and Vijaya.

vijaya-vigraha
Deity forms which are taken out of the temple for processions and other outdoor functions, generally because of Their smaller, more manageable size.

vijnana
practical realization of spiritual knowledge.

vikarmi
one who works to satisfy his desires without following the regulations of scripture.

vimukti
liberation.

vina
The classical Indian lute.

Vinata
Daksha’s daughter who married Kashyapa and gave birth to Garuda.

Vindhya
A range of hills that form the natural boundary between northern and southern India.

vipralambha-bhava, Viraha-bhava
The ecstasy of separation from the Supreme Lord.

Virata
The kingdom where the Pandavas spent the last years of their exile incognito. Also, the name of its king. King Virata’s daughter, Uttara, became the wife of Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu and the mother of Parikshit.

Virocana
A son of Prahlada and the father of Bali. Virocana, though a demon, diligently performed Vedic sacrifices and was famous for his charity to brahmanas.

Vishala
See Badarika.

vishaya
materialistic activities.

vishayi
materialistic person.

Vishnu
The Supreme Lord in His opulent feature as the Lord of Vaikuntha, who expands into countless forms and incarnations.

Vishnuduta
The messengers of Lord Vishnu who take perfected devotees back to the spiritual world at the time of death.

vishnu-mantras
Authorized sacred sounds chanted to worship the Supreme Lord.

Vishnurata
Parikshit, who was “protected by Vishnu” while still in the womb.

Vishnu-tattva
the original Personality of Godhead’s primary expansions, each of whom is equally God.

vishnu-tilaka
See tilaka.

Vishrama-ghata (Vishranti-tirtha)
The main bathing ghata in the city of Mathura on the river Yamuna. It is famous for being the place where Lord Varaha rested after killing the first demon in the universe, Hiranyaksha.

Vishvakarma
The architect of the demigods.

Vishvamitra
A king in the dynasty of the moon-god who, inspired by rivalry with Vasishtha, became a renounced sage.

Vishvanatha Cakravarti
A prominent Gaudiya Vaishnava acharya in the line of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura. In the mid seventeenth century he wrote commentaries on Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, and books by followers of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Baladeva Vidyabhushana was his shiksha disciple.

Vishvarupa
1. A son of the demigod Tvashta. To win power to defeat the demons led by Vritra, the demigods took Vishvarupa as their priest. But because he had a secret affinity for the demons and offered them oblations in sacrifice, Indra beheaded him. 2. The elder brother of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Vishva-rupa
God’s form as the universe.

Vishveshvara
The principal deity of Lord Siva in his holy city of Kashi. It is located near Dashashvamedha-ghata.

Vivasvan
The current sun-god. His children include Yamaraja, the river Yamuna, Vaivasvata Manu, and Sanaishcara (the ruler of the planet Saturn).

Vraja (-bhumi)
The eternal place of Krishna’s pastimes with the cowherds, manifest on earth in the district of Mathura.

vraja-bhakti
The pure devotion for Krishna of the residents of Vraja.

vraja-bhava
The ecstatic mood of the devotees of Vraja.

vraja-lila
Krishna’s pastimes in Vraja.

Vrajanatha
Krishna, the Lord of Vraja.

Vrajavasi
a resident of Vrindavana.

vrata
vow.

Vrika (-asura)
A demon to whom Lord Siva granted the boon that any head he touched would at once break to pieces. When Vrika wanted to try the boon on Lord Siva, Lord Vishnu came in disguise and tricked Vrika into touching his own head.

Vrinda (-devi)
A principal gopi, a direct expansion of Srimati Radharani. She is the presiding deity of Vrindavana forest, and the tulasi plant is her expansion. She and grandmother Paurnamasi make all the behind-the-scenes arrangements for Radha and Krishna’s daily pastimes.

Vrindavana (-dhama)
Krishna’s most beloved forest in Vraja-bhumi, where He enjoys pastimes with the cowherd boys and the young gopis; also, the entire district of Vraja.

Vrindavana-chandra
Krishna, the “moon of Vrindavana.”

vrindavana-lila
Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavana.

Vrishaparva
A demon who fought in the armies of Vritra and Bali.

Vrishnis
See Yadavas.

Vritra (-asura)
A demon who in his past life as King Citraketu was cursed by Parvati and so took a demonic birth. Vritra led the demons against Indra but at heart was a pure devotee of Lord Vishnu. So when Indra killed Vritra, Vritra was glorified, and Indra had to suffer.

Vyasa (-deva)
See Dvaipayana Vyasa.

Vyasa-puja
worship of the spiritual master, who represents Srila Vyasadeva, on his appearance day.

vyasasana
“The seat of Vyasa,” a special seat reserved for the spiritual master, the representative of Vyasadeva.