Glossary: B


one who devotes the major portion of his life to solitary devotional practices, especially chanting the Lord’s names.


See Krishna-dvaipayana Vyasa.

Badarika (-ashrama)

The holy place on the banks of the Alakananda and Sarasvati Rivers, among the peaks of the Himalayas, where Lord Nara-Narayana and Dvaipayana Vyasa reside.

Baka (-asura)

A demon who assumed the form of a crane to kill Krishna and Balarama. Krishna killed him by tearing apart his beak.


Mimusops elengi, an evergreen tree of the Indian subcontinent, with small, shiny, thick, narrow, pointed leaves, straight trunk, and spreading branches. Blooms between March and July with tiny, cream-colored, aromatic flowers. The flowers retain their aroma days after being picked or having fallen and therefore symbolize unwavering devotion.

Baladeva Vidyabhushana

A prominent scholarly acharya in the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya. He studied under Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarti, by whose direction he composed Sri Govinda-bhashya, the Gaudiya commentary on Vedanta-sutra, in the first decades of the eighteenth century.

See Balarama.


The infant cowherd Krishna.

Balarama (Baladeva, Balabhadra)

Krishna’s elder brother, and His first plenary expansion, son of Vasudeva and Rohini.


King of the Daitya demons, son of Virocana, and grandson of the great Vaishnava Prahlada. When Lord Vamana tricked Bali into donating three paces of land and then with two steps covered the universe, Bali achieved perfection by surrendering everything he had to the Lord.


A demon who disturbed the sacrifices of sages in the Naimisha forest. They appealed for help to Lord Balarama, and the Lord killed him.



Bana (-asura)

A thousand-armed demon, son of Bali. He was a favored devotee of Lord Siva’s. When Bana’s daughter Usha hid Krishna’s grandson Aniruddha in Bana’s palace, the demon arrested Aniruddha, and a battle ensued between Krishna and Lord Siva. Defeated, Lord Siva begged Krishna to spare Bana’s life. Krishna then severed all but four of Bana’s arms and blessed him to become an eternal associate of Siva.

bandhujiva flowers

red flowers used to decorate hair.


The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust; the publishing house solely and exclusively authorized to publish Srila Prabhupada’s books.


Devotional service to the Supreme Lord.


The essential teachings on progressive spiritual life and pure devotion to the Supreme Lord spoken by the Supreme Lord Himself, Krishna, to His friend Arjuna at Kurukshetra in the last moments before the great battle. Vyasadeva included the Bhagavad-gita in the Bhishma-parva of the Mahabharata.


The Personality of Godhead, who possesses in full the six opulences (bhagas) of perfection—strength, fame, beauty, knowledge, renunciation, and power to control.


anything related to Bhagavan, especially the Lord’s devotee and the scripture, Srimad-Bhagavatam.


The principles of devotional service to the Supreme Lord.


See Srimad-Bhagavatam.


Devotional service expressed mainly through chanting the names of the Supreme Lord, serving His devotees, and studying Srimad-Bhagavatam. In the modern age, bhagavata-vidhi is recommended as the prime means of spiritual advancement, with support from the Pancaratric method of formal worship.


Discussions about the Supreme Lord and His devotees.


Loving devotional service to the Supreme Lord, performed favorably and free from the selfish motives of profit and liberation.


to practice devotional service under the spiritual master’s guidance.


A cottage, hut, or similar place for performing one’s devotional service.


a devotee who is satisfied to cultivate devotional service for himself.


the imperative form of “to worship.”


A devotee of the Supreme Lord.


a description of Krishna’s quality of loving kindness shown toward His devotees.


Devotional service to the Supreme Lord. Bhakti in practice is the prime means of spiritual success, and perfected bhakti, pure love of God, is the ultimate goal of life.


lit., “the creeper of devotional service.” A term used to liken the stages of a devotee’s growth in devotional service to the growth of a creeper growing upward.


lit., “The Ocean of the Pure Nectar of Devotional Service”; a treatise on the science of devotional service (bhakti), written by Srila Rupa Goswami.


The ecstatic taste of personal reciprocation with the Supreme Lord in pure devotional service.


The scriptures, headed by Srimad-Bhagavatam, that teach one to render pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

the spiritual master of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; an acharya in the Gaudiya–Vaishnava-sampradaya.


understanding Krishna’s manifestations by devotional service.


a title conferred upon Srila Prabhupada by the Gaudiya Math, meaning “one who has understood that the conclusion of Vedic scripture is bhakti (devotional service).”

Bhaktivedanta Institute

an organization within ISKCON which conducts scientific research and education in accordance with the Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura

an acharya in the Gaudiya Vaishnava disciplic succession; the father of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.


The spiritual discipline of linking to the Supreme Lord through pure devotional service.


A fig tree of the banyan species.


1. The second brother of Lord Ramachandra. When Bharata’s mother, Kaikeyi, obliged her husband to send Rama into exile and give the throne to Bharata instead, Bharata placed Rama’s shoes on the throne and ruled as His representative until Rama returned.

2. The eldest son of Rishabhadeva. He was close to achieving pure love of God but became attracted to a helpless deer and so himself had to be born a deer. Then once again he was born as the seemingly dull brahmana Jada Bharata. In this third life he instructed King Rahugana and achieved ultimate perfection.

3. The son of Dushmanta (Dushyanta) and Sakuntala.

Bharata Muni

An ancient sage, author of the Natya-shastra, a standard textbook on drama and poetry.


ancient India.


The royal descendants of Bharata the son of Dushmanta. The Kurus belong to this dynasty.


The planet earth, named after Bharata the son of Rishabhadeva. In a more restricted sense, greater India.

Bhauma (-asura)

A demon born of Lord Vishnu’s incarnation Varaha and Bhumi, the goddess earth. He is also known as Narakasura. After causing havoc in Indra’s heaven and on earth, he was killed by the original Vishnu, Krishna.


Vrindavana on earth.


Ecstasy in love of God. Various kinds of bhava join together as the components of prema.


the disease of material existence.


The doctrine of simultaneous difference and nondifference between God and His energies. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught a version of this bhedabheda philosophy qualified as acintya (“inconceivable”).

Bhima (-sena)

The second and strongest of the five Pandava brothers, a great club fighter, voracious eater, and intolerant punisher of wrongdoers. In the Battle of Kurukshetra he fulfilled his vow to kill Duryodhana and all the Kaurava brothers.


The son of Santanu and the sacred Ganga. He was one of the twelve mahajanas, the great authorities on Vedic knowledge. As the elder of the Kuru warriors, he led Duryodhana’s forces in battle until felled by the arrows of Arjuna. He passed away gloriously at his own chosen moment in the presence of Krishna.


The king of Vidarbha and father of Rukmini, Krishna’s first wife.


One of the mind-born sons of Brahma. He founded a prominent family of Vedic sages.


The family of Vedic sages and brahmanas founded by Bhrigu Muni.


The earth, and the goddess who presides over it.

Bhur (Bhu-mandala, Bhurloka)

The middle region of the universe, which includes the planet earth.


The subterranean heavenly planets, where specially empowered demons and other creatures enjoy exceptional power, health, and opulence, unaware that after a fixed duration of life they too will die.

Bilvamangala Thakura

A great Vaishnava poet, also known as Lilashuka. He was the author of Krishna-karnamrita, a book rediscovered and revered by Lord Chaitanya.


Momordica coccinia, a vine with bright red fruit often used to describe the color of lips.


a red dot worn on the forehead by Hindu women, signifying wedded status.


the imperative form of “to chant” or “to say.” (Bengali).


The first finite living being in the material creation. He was born from the lotus growing from the navel of Garbhodaka-shayi Vishnu. At the beginning of creation, and again at the start of each day of his life, Brahma engineers the appearance of all the species and the planets on which they reside. He is the first teacher of the Vedas and the final material authority to whom the demigods resort when belabored by their opponents.


one born in a brahmana family but lacking brahminical qualification.


the liberated or spiritual platform of consciousness.


A celibate boy in the student phase of spiritual life, receiving education at the residence of a spiritual master.


feminine variant of brahmachari.


The spiritual effulgence of the Supreme Lord’s body. It pervades the space between the spiritual planets of the eternal kingdom of God, and it is conceived of as His impersonal aspect. Those who achieve impersonal liberation enter it, apparently losing their personal identities.


The highest material planet, the residence of Lord Brahma and his associates. Also known as Satyaloka.


The hour and a half just before sunrise, a time-span considered the most auspicious for daily spiritual practices.


The impersonal, all-pervasive aspect of the Supreme Truth. Another meaning of the word brahman is the transcendental sound of the Vedas.


A member of the most intelligent class among the four occupational divisions in the varnashrama social system.

brahmana thread

a loop of six to nine threads, worn around the neck and torso of a male brahmana, used in chanting mantras.


The bliss enjoyed from impersonal realization of the Supreme.


The shruti texts that explain the ritualistic sections of the original Vedas.


A sage among brahmanas.


Lord Brahma’s prayers glorifying the Supreme Lord.


An atomic weapon powered by mantra, carried by arrow, and able to be accurately aimed at a single person.


A seeker of impersonal realization of the Supreme.


the philosophy of Brhama-samaj, a reformist Hindu movement.


lit., “the great drum.” A phrase coined by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura; refers to the power of publishing books as an instrument for preaching.


The spiritual master of Indra and the demigods, and ruler of the planet Jupiter. He is a son of the sage Angira and grandson of Brahma. His son is Uddhava, the great devotee of Krishna.


(var.sp.,Vrajavasi). A resident of Vrindavana. This spelling also generally refers to the company which produces the typical religious posters and calendar art seen everywhere in India.


Back to Godhead magazine, the magazine of the Hare Krishna movement.


another term for bhakti-yoga (devotional service to Krishna), indicating that it represents the highest use of intelligence (buddhi).