Glossary: G


Krishna’s younger brother, born to Vasudeva’s wife Devarakshita.


The king of elephants, a human king in his previous life but cursed to be born an animal. Attacked by a crocodile and unable to free himself, Gajendra remembered Lord Vishnu and prayed to Him in full surrender. Lord Vishnu then appeared and saved him.


a room in Jagannatha Puri where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would experience intense feelings of separation from Krishna.


a thin cotton towel, commonly used in India.


A celestial mountain, sixteen thousand miles high, to the east of Mount Sumeru.


a celestial musician.


The first son of Lord Siva and Parvati. He has the head of an elephant and removes obstacles for those who worship him.

Ganga (-devi)

The great sacred river flowing from the peaks of the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal and delivering from sin everyone who comes in contact with her. When she cascaded down from heaven by the endeavors of King Amshuman and his son and grandson, Lord Siva detained her waters on his head to cushion the earth from the force of her descent.


a Vedic purificatory process performed for the conception of children.

Garbhodaka-shayi Vishnu

The second of the three Purushas, incarnations of the Supreme Lord for the creation of the material universe.


A sage who served as family priest of the Yadus. He performed the name-giving ceremony for the infant Krishna.


The eternal companion of the Supreme Lord who serves as His personal carrier in the form of a large bird. He appeared as the son of Kashyapa and Vinata.


The pillar, found in front of many Vishnu temples, on top of which stands Garuda, Lord Vishnu’s carrier. While having darshana of Lord Jagannatha at Puri, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would usually stand behind the Garuda-stambha.


The ancient kingdom of West Bengal where Lord Chaitanya’s eternal abode, nondifferent from Vrindavana, manifests itself on earth.

Gauda (-desha)

The ancient kingdom of West Bengal where Lord Chaitanya’s eternal abode, nondifferent from Vrindavana, manifests itself on earth.

Gaudiya Math

The Krishna conscious institution founded by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya

The school of pure devotion to Radha and Krishna founded by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers. It formally descends from the Brahma-Madhva sampradaya through Lord Chaitanya’s initiation by Sri Ishvara Puri.

Gaudiya Vaishnava

a follower of Lord Chaitanya.

Gaura (Gauranga, Gaurasundara)

A name of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu meaning “golden.”

Gaura Purnima

the appearance day of Lord Chaitanya.

Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji

the spiritual master of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.


Lord Chaitanya (Gaura) and Lord Nityananda (Nitai).

Gauri Parvati

Lord Siva’s consort, “Golden-complexioned Parvati.”


a prayer chanted silently by brahmanas at sunrise, noon, and sunset.

Governing Body Commission, ISKCON’s board of directors.


Steps built for bathing in a river or lake.


Wrightia antidysenterica, Eastertree, a bush with jasminelike flowers.


“The king of mountains,” another name of Govardhana.

>Gita, Gitopanishad

See Bhagavad-gita; another name for the Bhagavad-gita, signifying its place among the Upanishads as spiritual instruction.


a spiritual farm community established by Srila Prabhupada in central Pennsylvania.

the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Reality, progressively realized first as the impersonal all-pervasive oneness, more fully as the Supersoul within the heart of every living being, and ultimately as the all-opulent Supreme Person.


The first home of the infants Krishna and Balarama in Vraja, before Nanda’s cowherds moved to Nanda-grama. It is located in the Mahavana forest, on the eastern shore of the Yamuna, seven miles south of Mathura City. The name Gokula is also sometimes used to distinguish Krishna’s abode on earth from Goloka in the spiritual world.


The eternal abode of the Supreme Lord in His original form of Krishna. It is located above all the other Vaikuntha planets. It has three parts—Vrindavana, Mathura, and Dvaraka.


a cowherd boy; one of Krishna’s eternal associates.


Krishna the cowherd.

gopala mantra

A confidential hymn, in ten syllables, to Krishna in His original form as a young cowherd. Although chanted by the main character in Brihad-Bhagavatamrita, Srila Sanatana Goswami does not divulge the words of the mantra anywhere in Brihad-Bhagavatamrita or his commentary on the work. Those who want information on it may consult the Krama-dipika of Keshava Bhatta.


Cowherds, especially those of the community led by Nanda Maharaja in Vraja.


a cowherd girl or woman; especially Krishna’s young girlfriends in Vraja, who are His most intimate devotees.


Srimati Radharani’s most confidential maidservants.

Gopinatha Acharya

the son-in-law of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, with whom he argued in favor of Lord Chaitanya’s divinity.


Krishna, the Lord of the gopis.

Gopishvara Mahadeva

The linga Deity of Lord Siva in Vrindavana who protects the site of Krishna’s rasa dance with the gopis.


The ornately decorated ceremonial gateway or archway of a temple or city. The gopuras of Vishnu temples simulate the gateways to Vaikuntha.




a devotee who desires to preach the glories of the holy name.


one who controls his mind and senses; title of one in the renounced order of life. May refer specifically to the Six Goswamis of Vrindavana, who are direct followers of Lord Chaitanya in disciplic succession, and who systematically presented His teachings.


Giriraja, “the king of mountains,” a large hill located fifteen miles west of Mathura City. For seven days, Krishna lifted Govardhana like a huge umbrella to protect the residents of Vraja from a devastating storm caused by the jealous Indra. Sometimes the name Govardhana refers to the village in the center of the hill.


Krishna, the “lifter of Govardhana.”


The worship of Govardhana Hill by offering mountains of food and circumambulating the hill. This puja was first initiated by Krishna to establish that worship of Him is superior to worship of even the king of heaven, Indra.


Krishna, the “lifter of Govardhana.”


Krishna, the proprietor of the cows, the earth, and the senses of His devotees; “one who gives pleasure (vinda) to the cows (go) and senses (also go); may also refer to Lord Chaitanya’s personal servant.


A member of the household order of life, the third stage of spiritual progress in the varnashrama social system.


The household order of life, the third stage of spiritual progress in the varnashrama social system.


the determination to remain in materialistic householder life.


A king of the low Nishada tribe befriended by Lord Ramachandra.


confidential; hidden.


a sweet ball made from milk powder, fried in ghee, and soaked in sugar syrup.


The empowered incarnations of the Supreme Lord who preside over the three modes of nature. Brahma, the secondary creator, directs the mode of passion. Siva, the destroyer, directs ignorance. And Vishnu, the maintainer, primary creator, and Supreme Lord Himself, directs goodness.


the three modes of material nature, or controlling principles, sattva-guna (goodness), rajo-guna (passion), and tamo-guna (ignorance).


dacoit, thug.


Abrus precatorius, jequirity. A vine with clusters of pink flowers and seed pods containing scarlet berries. The berries are said to represent service to Srimati Radharani, so Krishna often wears a garland of gunja berries. Garlands of gunja are considered especially sacred by Lord Chaitanya and His followers.


A spiritual master. The gurus who initiate one and instruct one in pure Krishna consciousness are to be honored equally with the Supreme Lord.

Guru Maharaja (Gurudeva)

title of respect given to one’s own spiritual master.


An offense against one’s spiritual master. Such an offense is the most likely cause of falling from spiritual life.


The guru’s family,” a teacher’s ashrama where traditional education is given.


a colloquial word referring to an alumnus of an ISKCON gurukula.


to have firm faith in one’s guru.


service to the spiritual master.


the principles defining a spiritual master.


a prayer, composed by Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura written in praise of the spiritual master.