Glossary: S


lit, “vegetables.”


“Eternal existence, consciousness, and bliss,” the constitutional nature of the Supreme Lord and the finite living beings. The Supreme Lord’s sac-cid-ananda nature is always manifest, but that of the jivas is covered by material illusion when they rebel against the Lord.

Saci (-devi)

The mother of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and wife of Jagannatha Mishra of Navadvipa.


Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “the darling son of Saci.”


a bona fide spiritual master.


A practitioner of devotional service or some other authorized spiritual discipline.


Practices for achieving pure devotional service; more generally, the means for achieving any goal.


Pure devotional service in practice, which purifies the heart and brings one toward spontaneous loving service to the Supreme Lord.


A devotee of the Supreme Lord who has become perfect by practicing sadhana-bhakti.


the achievement of perfection by the practice of regulated devotional service.


A saintly person.


The association of saintly persons.


“With qualities.” In reference to the Supreme Lord, the term signifies that He has form and personality.


One of the twin sons of Madri, who were the youngest of the five Pandavas. At Yudhishthira’s Rajasuya sacrifice, Sahadeva had the honor of proposing that Krishna be given the first worship.


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


A devotee of Lord Siva.


A devotee whose service attitude is mixed with material motives.

Sakata (-asura)

A demon who assumed the form of a cart. When Mother Yashoda left the infant Krishna sleeping under the cart, Krishna kicked the cart with His little foot and killed the demon.


girl friend, refers to Srimati Radharani’s intimate girlfriends, who assist Her in Her service to Krishna.


Duryodhana’s Uncle who gambled with the Pandavas on Duryodhana’s behalf, forcing the Pandavas into exile.


A Deity of Lord Narayana in the form of a small black stone marked with cakras and other symbols. These shilas, obtained only from one location on the river Gandaki and typically worshiped by brahmanas in their homes, can each be recognized by unique markings as a specific incarnation of the Lord.


A demon who used a flying city to attack Dvaraka and was killed by Krishna.

Sama Veda

One of the four Vedas, the original revealed scriptures. It contains sacred musical compositions based mostly on the hymns of the Rig Veda and employed in the more elaborate Vedic sacrifices, the soma-yajnas.


1. Fully matured meditation, the last of the eight steps of the yoga system taught by Patanjali. A perfected devotee of the Supreme Lord also achieves the same samadhi. 2. The tomb of a pure devotee of the Lord.


One of Krishna’s favorite sons, the first son of Jambavati.


knowledge of one’s original relationship with Krishna.


The demonic son of Kashyapa and Danu who kidnapped Pradyumna, Krishna’s first son, when the boy was ten days old. Pradyumna later killed him.


The collections of mantras that comprise the original Vedas.


a savory, stuffed, deep-fried pastry.


A school of philosophy or religion. According to the Padma Purana, there are four authorized Vaishnava sampradayas, founded by Lord Brahma, the goddess Lakshmi, Lord Siva, and the four Kumara sages. In Kali-yuga these schools have been reestablished by the acharyas Madhva, Ramanuja, Vishnu Svami, and Nimbarka. The sampradaya of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is officially connected with the Madhva line, but incorporates teachings of all four sampradayas.


The cycle of repeated birth and death, which continues until one gives up one’s rebellion against the Supreme Lord.


Vedic purificatory rites of passage.

Sanaka (-kumara)

The oldest of the first four sons of Lord Brahma. Sanaka and his three brothers are great masters of yoga who teach the science of pure Krishna consciousness. His brothers are named Sanat, Sanandana, and Sanatana.



Sanatana Goswami

one of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavana.


The “eternal religion” described in the Vedic shrutis and smritis and practiced by faithful followers for countless generations.


a Bengali sweet made from fresh milk curd.


A sage residing in Avanti who was the teacher of Krishna and Balarama, after they moved to Mathura. They learned from him all the sixty-four traditional arts in sixty-four days.



Sankara (-acharya)

The most influential teacher of the impersonal Advaita philosophy in Kali-yuga. According to the Padma Purana, he is an incarnation of Lord Siva sent to earth by Krishna to bewilder the atheistic with distortions of the teachings of Vedanta.


Another name of Lord Balarama. Also, one of Lord Narayana’s quadruple expansions in Vaikuntha. Balarama is the original Sankarshana, since Narayana is Lord Balarama’s expansion.


A demon killed by Krishna for trying to kidnap Krishna’s girlfriends.


The philosophical study of reality by analysis of its elements. Sankhya was originally taught in Srimad-Bhagavatam by Kapiladeva, an incarnation of God, but was much later misrepresented in an atheistic form by another Kapila.


Congregational chanting of the names and glories of Krishna, which is the prime means for spiritual success in the current Age of Kali.


The renounced order of life. See sannyasi.


A man in the renounced order, the final stage of spiritual progress in the varnashrama system. Sannyasis take a vow of lifetime celibacy.


a devotee in the mood of santa-rasa.


passive love of God; the relationship with the Supreme Lord in neutrality.






The goddess of learning. Also, one of India’s great sacred rivers. In the modern age the river is almost totally invisible, but a short stretch of it appears from the Himalaya mountains, near Vyasadeva’s ashrama, just north of Badarika. The Sarasvati joins underground with the Ganga and Yamuna at Prayaga.


Vedic women’s dress.

sarupya (-mukti)

Of the five types of liberation, the one in which one attains a form similar to the body of God.

Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya

A prominent scholar of Navya-nyaya logic and Vedanta who tried to instruct Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and then surrendered to Him. He is regarded as being in fact one of Lord Chaitanya’s closest eternal associates.


The youngest of Lord Ramachandra’s three brothers. He is an incarnation of Lord Aniruddha, one of the first four expansions of Lord Narayana.


treatises on the Vedic scriptures, written by Srila Jiva Goswami.




Among the three modes of material nature, the mode of goodness. It encourages knowledge, peace, and purity.


imbued with goodness.


In the development of pure love of God, ecstasies that arise automatically, without conscious intention. They are eight in number.

Satya (-loka)

Lord Brahma’s planet, the topmost and purest region within the material creation.


One of Krishna’s eight principal queens, the daughter of Satrajit. At her request Krishna brought the parijata flower by force from heaven.


A sage who encountered Lord Matsya, the fish incarnation of Vishnu, and later became the current Manu, Vaivasvata.


The first of four repeating ages that form the basic cycles of universal time. During its 1,728,000 years, purity and spiritual competence are prominent.


A sage who while meditating under the water of the Yamuna saw a pair of fish mating and became sexually aroused. He then approached King Mandhata and begged from him the hand of his fifty daughters. After enjoying family life for some time, he revived his interest in renunciation.

sayujya (-mukti)

Of the five types of liberation, the one in which one merges into the existence of God and forgets one’s individual personality. Vaishnavas consider it most unfavorable to devotional service.


See Ananta.




the site of the rasa dance in Vrindavana.


transcendental sound, considered by Vedic philosophy to be self-evident proof of knowledge.




a worshiper of Lord Siva as the Supreme Lord.



shakty-avesha avatara

An empowered incarnation, usually a finite jiva deputized to exemplify a particular opulence of the Supreme Lord.

shaphari fish

Cyprinus saphore, a small bright fish that glistens when darting about in shallow water.


the process of surrender; a collection of songs by Bhaktivinoda Thakura; the name of an ISKCON farm in Ashcroft, British Columbia, Canada.


a female parrot.


Revealed scripture, or an authorized textbook in any subject.


a woodwind instrument, similar to an oboe.


A tuft of hair grown at the crown of the head of male Vaishnavas.


eight verses of instruction in devotional service written by Lord Chaitanya.


An instructing spiritual master.




disciple or student.


The unique category occupied by Lord Siva, that of neither jiva nor God. He is infallible but comes into contact with the illusory material energy.


a stanza of Sanskrit verse.


1. Faith. 2. The offering of worship and food to one’s departed parents and forefathers, normally done once a year.


The primary devotional practice of hearing the glories of the Supreme Lord.

shravanam kirtanam

Hearing and chanting, the basic methods of devotional service in practice.


activities which are ultimately beneficial and auspicious when performed over time.


A rich sweet prepared from condensed yogurt.


The Deity of the Supreme Lord established in a temple for regular worship.


“What has been heard,” the original Vedas, meant to be passed on orally from generation to generation without change. They are considered coexistent with the Supreme Lord Himself and so in need of no author.


lit., “the fruit of hearing.” A benediction of material or spiritual success given as a result of faithfully hearing various pastimes of the Lord and His devotees.


A pure devotee of the Supreme Lord.


The pure chanting of the name of the Supreme Lord.


“Pure goodness,” the nonmaterial, incorruptible substance of the spiritual world. Also, the pure consciousness in which one can realize the Personality of Godhead.


A member of the laborer class, the last of the four occupational classes in the varnashrama social system.


A shudra woman.

Shukadeva Goswami

the sage who originally spoke the Srimad-Bhagavatam to King Parikshit just prior to the king’s death.


The dark-blue color, not seen in the material world, that is the hue of Krishna’s body.


A pious king who was tested by the demigods Indra and Agni, disguised as a hawk and a pigeon. To save the life of the pigeon, Maharaja Sibi allowed his own flesh to be eaten by the hawk. The two demigods then revealed their identities and blessed Sibi.


One who has perfected one’s spiritual practice.


the tree in Puri under which Haridasa Thakura lived and chanted the holy name.


the spiritual body.


the perfect conclusion according to Vedic scriptures.


Relating to siddhanta.


A class of celestial beings advanced in spiritual discipline and naturally possessed of the eight mystic powers, such as the abilities to become atomic in size and to control other people’s minds.


the perfection of one’s original spiritual characteristics.


Perfection, one of the eight mystic yogic perfections.


Lit., “lion seat,” an altar or throne.


A dolphin-shaped constellation encircling the polestar. It is sometimes worshiped as a visible form of the Supreme Lord.


A king of Cedi who viciously insulted Krishna at Yudhishthira’s Rajasuya sacrifice and lost his head to Krishna’s Sudarshana disc.

Sita (-devi)

The eternal consort of Lord Ramachandra. She appeared as the daughter of King Janaka of Videha.


The special expansion of the Supreme Lord who is uniquely neither God nor jiva. He energizes the material creation and, as the presiding deity of the mode of ignorance, controls the forces of destruction.


The personal abode of Lord Siva in the last shell that covers the material universe, the shell of false ego.

Six Goswamis

six great disciples of Lord Chaitanya who wrote many books on devotional service and who established the major temples in Vrindavana.

smarana (m)

The devotional practice of remembering or meditating on the Supreme Lord, especially by focusing on His names, forms, pastimes, and devotees.


“What is remembered,” the secondary Vedic literatures, which need not be passed down verbatim but may be reworded by the sages who transmit them in each age. The Puranas and Dharma-shastras are among the smritis.


The juice of a sacred plant, offered in the more elaborate Vedic sacrifices to the principal demigods. The performers of these sacrifices who are entitled to drink the soma juice gain elevation to heaven.




A term of respect given to men, male deities, and sacred objects or literatures; a name for Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune.

Sri Lakshmi

the eternal consort of the Supreme Lord Narayana.


One of Krishna’s closest friends, the brother of Srimati Radharani.

Sridhara Svami

The author of the oldest existing commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam.


“Endowed by the goddess of fortune,” a respectful title used by Gaudiya Vaishnavas for their spiritual masters.

Srila Prabhupada

His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita

the biography of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, written by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami.


Also known as the Bhagavata Purana, it teaches unalloyed devotional service to Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


“Having the favors of the goddess of fortune,” an honorific used with the names of respected males.


The female form of the title Sriman.


A curl of white hair on the chest of Lord Vishnu that represents the goddess of fortune and distinguishes Him from His liberated devotees who have attained sarupya.


continuous love of Godhead in devotional service.


Krishna’s sister, also known as Yogamaya. She is Krishna’s internal energy who arranges His pastimes and fosters spontaneous love for Him by making His intimate devotees forget He is God.


A son of the king of Kashi. After Krishna killed that king, Sudakshina performed a fire sacrifice to unleash a demon to kill Krishna. But the demon failed in that mission, returned to Kashi, killed Sudakshina, and burned his city to the ground.

Sudama Brahmana

A school classmate of Krishna’s who later, being impoverished, visited Krishna in Dvaraka to ask for aid but asked Him for nothing and yet returned home and found his poor hut transformed into a palace.

sudarshana cakra

The disc weapon of Krishna or Vishnu, which the Lord uses to dispatch those who dare to attack Him or His devotees.


The royal assembly hall of the Yadavas, which Krishna brought by force from Indra’s heaven.


The king of Kishkindha, a kingdom of monkeys. He and his monkey army helped Lord Rama invade Lanka and defeat the demon Ravana.

Suka (-deva)

A great renounced sage, son of Dvaipayana Vyasa. He heard Srimad-Bhagavatam from his father and later repeated it to Maharaja Parikshit.

Sukra (-acharya)

The spiritual master of the demons and ruling deity of the planet Venus. He instructed Bali not to give charity to Lord Vamana and rejected Bali when Bali disobeyed.

sumanah flowers

flowers of Feronia elephantum, the wood apple; dull red or greenish flowers born in panicles.


The great mountain that is the axis of the universe. It is also called Meru and Mahameru. It extends upward through the center of the earthly planetary system, and on its upper peak lies Satyaloka, the abode of Lord Brahma.


evening worship of the Deity in the temple.

an expansion of the Supreme Lord as an all-pervading personal presence in the universe and in the heart of every living entity.


A great Yadava king, father of Vasudeva and Kunti. The province of Surasena, which includes the Mathura district, is named after him.


The sun-god, currently Vivasvan; also, the sun planet.

Suta Gosvami
Ugrashrava, the son of Romaharshana who succeeded his father as speaker of the Puranas and epics to the sages at Naimisharanya after his father was killed by Lord Balarama. He spoke the Mahabharata, all the Puranas, and finally Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Sutala (-loka)

Among the seven subterranean heavens, the one third closest to the earth. Bali Maharaja lives there, with Lord Vamana as the guard at his gate.


The husband of Prishni and father of the Supreme Lord’s incarnation Prishnigarbha. Sutapa in his previous life had been Kashyapa, the father of Lord Vamana, and after his life as Sutapa he became Vasudeva, Krishna’s father.


a Vedic aphorism.


one’s individual nature.

Svar (Svarga, Svargaloka)

The heavenly domain (above Bhuvarloka) of Indra, king of the demigods.


the independent quality of the Supreme Lord.

Svarupa Damodara Goswami

Lord Chaitanya’s secretary and constant companion who helped the Lord experience the attitude of Radharani.


Literally, own form. The true, essential nature of the soul, or of any particular thing.


the perfection of one’s eternal relationship with Lord Krishna.

Svayambhuva Manu

the original father of the human race.


The ceremony in which a princess may choose her own husband.


“The white island,” the abode of Lord Kshirodaka-shayi Vishnu. It is a spiritual planet manifest within the material world, in the Ocean of Milk.


lit., “great master.” A common term of respect addressed to sannyasis.


one who controls his senses; a title of one in the renounced order of life.


A jewel able to produce heaps of gold and assure prosperity and good health. The sun-god gave it to his devotee Satrajit, who lost it and suffered misfortune after refusing Krishna’s request to place it in the care of King Ugrasena. Krishna eventually recovered the jewel and returned it to Satrajit, who offered it to Krishna along with his daughter Satyabhama.


a name of Krishna, meaning “blackish,” and “beautiful” (sundara).