Glossary: D


“King of the demons,” an epithet of Bali.


Demons descended from the children of Diti, a wife of Kashyapa.


One of the main Prajapatis, the forefathers of the various species of life. He was a mind-born son of Brahma. Of his sixteen daughters, thirteen married Kashyapa, and the youngest, Sati, married Lord Siva.


Any of several varieties of pulses and beans used in soups and other preparations in Indian cooking.

Damodara Krishna

who was “bound by the waist” by His mother Yashoda as a punishment for stealing butter.


Demons descended from the children of Danu, a wife of Kashyapa.


a staff carried by Vaishnava sannyasis.


Prostration of one’s body on the ground as an expression of respect.


A king who attacked Krishna to avenge the death of a demonic friend, Salva, but whom Krishna easily killed.


“Viewing,” an auspicious audience with a Deity or holy person.


the Absolute Truth manifest in a wooden form.


lit., “servant” (masculine). An appellation which along with a name of Krishna or one of His devotees is given to a devotee at the time of initiation.


The father of Lord Ramachandra. Having promised two boons to one of his wives, he was bound to his word when she demanded that Rama be exiled to the forest and her son enthroned instead. Dasharatha granted her request but soon died from the anguish of separation from Rama.


The sacred bathing place at Prayaga where the Deity Madhava is worshiped. At this place Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally instructed Rupa Gosvami.


feminine variation of dasa.


The mood of servitude, one of the five direct devotional relationships with the Supreme Lord.


An incarnation of Lord Vishnu who appeared as one of the sons of Atri Muni. His instructions to King Yayati are recorded in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, chapters 7–9.


Finite living beings empowered with vast intelligence and influence for administration of the material universe on behalf of the Supreme Lord.

desire tree

A tree able to yield any desire. It grows in the kingdom of God, and in a lesser form in Indra’s heaven.


The daughter of Svayambhuva Manu, wife of the sage Kardama, and mother of the Supreme Lord’s incarnation Kapiladeva. Lord Kapila taught Devahuti the science of pure devotional service through a study of the elements of creation.


The wife of Vasudeva and mother of Krishna.

Devaki-nandana Krishna

“the darling son of Devaki.”


the external energy of the Lord.


Sages among the demigods.


The demigods who reside in Svarga, led by Indra. They rule the universe and administer the necessities of life for its inhabitants.


“The goddess,” Durga, Lord Siva’s consort.


A domain where the Supreme Lord personally resides and enjoys eternal pastimes with His loving devotees; abode.


The incarnation of Vishnu who appeared from the churning of the Ocean of Milk and then delivered to the demigods the nectar of immortality. He is the first teacher of the Ayur-veda, the Vedic medical science.


Fixed mental concentration, the seventh of the eight steps in the yoga method of Patanjali. When dhyana, meditation, is more deeply focused it becomes dharana.


The presiding goddess of the earth. Also called Bhumi.


“Religious principles,” or, more properly, individual duty. In another sense, dharma is the inseparable nature of a thing that distinguishes it, like the heat of fire or the sweetness of sugar.


“King of religious principles,” an epithet of Yama (the Lord of Death) and his son Yudhishthira. Yama enforces the principles of religion by punishing all transgressors, and Yudhishthira was famous for performing all his personal duties without deviation.


The scriptures, supplementary to the Vedas, that teach the proper behavior for civilized human society. Some dharma-shastras are in the form of concise codes (sutras), and others in the form of common verse. Best known of this second group is the Manu-smriti (Manu-samhita).


A certain righteous brahmana who by a curse became a hunter.

Dhenuka (-asura)

A demon sent by Kamsa to kill Krishna and Balarama. He and other demons took the forms of donkeys and seized control of the Talavana (forest of palm trees) in Vraja. Balarama killed him.


steady, sober.


A single long piece of cloth, usually of cotton or silk, that is the standard garment worn on the lower part of the body by men of Vedic culture.


The son of Drupada. Both he and his twin sister, Draupadi, were born to help destroy the Kuru dynasty. In the Battle of Kurukshetra he killed Drona, the military teacher of the Kuru princes.


the uncle of the Pandavas. His attempt to usurp their kingdom resulted in the Kurukshetra war.


The younger son of Uttanapada, and grandson of Svayambhuva Manu, and great-grandson of Brahma. Insulted by his stepmother, Dhruva left home at the age of five and achieved perfection in six months. Lord Vasudeva gave Dhruva his own spiritual planet at the top of the universe, called Dhruvaloka or the polestar.


The thorn-apple, a powerful intoxicant that induces temporary insanity.


The yogic practice of meditation.


The spiritual master who connects one with the Supreme Lord through initiation. A disciple has only one diksha-guru but may also have any number of shiksha-gurus, instructing spiritual masters.


a wife of Kashyapa and the mother of the demons Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu.


transcendental madness in separation from Krishna.


The daughter of Drupada and wife of all five Pandavas. Both she and her twin brother, Dhrishtadyumna, were born to help destroy the Kuru dynasty. An attempt to disrobe her in a royal assembly doomed the Kurus to annihilation.


a determined vow.

Drona Vasu

A resident of heaven, one of the eight Vasus, who is an empowered expansion of Krishna’s eternal father Nanda. Drona descended to the earth and merged into Nanda’s body to join Krishna’s pastimes.

Drona (-acharya)

A powerful brahmana who became expert in military arts. He was the military guru of both the Pandavas and the Kurus.


The second of Dhritarashtra’s one hundred sons. Duhshasana, Sakuni, and Karna were the inner circle of advisers to Duryodhana and incited him to commit grievous wrongs against the Pandavas. Bhima killed Duhshasana in the Kurukshetra battle.


Lord Siva’s eternal consort, of many names and forms, who joins him in his incarnations. She is the creator and controller of the material world.


A powerful sage, a partial incarnation of Lord Siva, born as one of the three sons of Atri and Anasuya. He is famous for his angry temperament and his readiness to curse anyone who dissatisfies him.


The eldest son of Dhritarashtra and chief rival of the Pandavas. He made many attempts to cheat the Pandavas of their right to the Kuru throne. After arrogantly ignoring the good advice of Bhishma, Drona, and Krishna he perished with his ninety-nine brothers in the Kurukshetra battle.


an evildoer.


The twelfth day after the full moon and the new moon.

Dvaipayana Vyasa

The empowered editor of the Vedas. A different Vyasa appears at the end of each Dvapara age, when understanding of the Vedas becomes helplessly confused. The current Vyasa, Krishna Dvaipayana, is an incarnation of the Supreme Lord. The Vedanta-sutra andMahabharata are his personal compositions, and the culmination of his literary effort is the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Dvapara (-yuga)

The third of four repeating ages that form the basic cycles of universal time. During its 864,000 years, the mode of passion becomes dominant. The latest Dvapara-yuga ended about five thousand years ago, at the time of the avataras of Krishna and Dvaipayana Vyasa and the Battle of Kurukshetra.

Dvaraka (-puri, Dvaravati)

The eternal abode in which Krishna fully displays the opulence of God. While descended on earth, Krishna resettled the entire population of Mathura in the city of Dvaraka, which He manifested by constructing it on the coast of the western Anarta province.


The residents of Dvaraka.


A member of one of the three classes—brahmanas, kshatriyas, and vaishyas—who are “twice-born” by dint of sacred-thread initiation by a spiritual master. The term is especially used in reference to brahmanas.


unworthy son of a brahmana.


A powerful gorilla, once an associate of Jambavan in the service of Lord Ramachandra. Dvivida offended Lord Rama’s brother Lakshmana, and because of this and the bad effect of his own brother’s association, Dvivida turned demonic. Thus in a later age he disturbed Lord Balarama and the Lord’s consorts. Balarama then killed him.