By His Grace


accha - a much used Hindi word of imprecise meaning, variously: good, yes?, oh?, ah so!
amrit - nectar
Ardha Mela - mela held on the sixth year between Khumba Melas
arti - ceremony of light, Hindu ritual for honoring deities
ashirbad - blessing
ashram - hermitage, monastery
baba, babaji - title for an elder or holy man. The suffix "ji" is frequently added to a name as an indication of respect
badmash - rascal, troublemaker
Bhagavad Gita - a celebrated Hindu mystical powm
bhajan - devotional song
bhandara - feast
brahmin - priest class in Hindu caste system
chai - sweet tea
chapati - unleavened flatbreat
chaukidar - gatekeeper or doorkeeper
Chitrakut - forest area south of Allahabad where, in the Ramayana, Ram, Sita, and Lakshman spent 13 years after being banished from Ayodhya. Now a place of pilgrimage
dacoit - bandit, robber
Dakshineshawar - location of Ramakrishnam Paramahansa's ashram outside of Calcutta
dal - lentils, which can be of several varieties: mung, chana, araharki, etc.
dandi - litter, palanquin
darshan - spiritual audience
devi - goddess
dharma - spirtual way of life
dharmashala - hostel, especially for pilgrims
dhoti - cloth used to cover lower part of a man's body
dhuni - campfire, especially that of a sadhu
Durga - aspect of the Divine Mother
ganja - marijuana
Gayatri - aspect of the Divine Mother
ghat - steps and platform beside a river, used for bathing or cremation
ghee - clarified butter
guru - spiritual teacher
Guru Purnima - holiday in July for honoring the guru
halva - sweet made of wheat, ghee, and sugar
Hanuman, Hanumanji - son of the wind, the monkey god, perfect servant of Rama
Hanuman Chaleesa - hymn of forty verses in honor of Hanuman
havan - sacrificial fire ceremony
Holi - Hindu holiday commemorating the play of Krihsna and the gopis
jaleebi - fried Indian sweet in sugar syrup
jata - long, matted hair piled on the head, usually worn by sadhus
Kali - terrifying aspect of the Divine Mother
Kali Yuga - the age of darkness
khir - a rice pudding
kirtan - group singing of devotional songs
Krishna - an incarnation of the god Vishnu
Kumbha Mela - a great spiritual gathering held every twelve years in Allahabad or Hardwar
laddu - sweet favored by Hanuman
lakh - one hundred thousand
Lakshmi - goddess of good fortune
Lakshmi-Narayana - Narayana is an aspect of the god Vishnu and Lakshmi is his consort
langoti - loin cloth
lila - play
lingam - phallic symbol of the god Shiva
lota - water pot
Magh Mela - spiritual gathering held every six years
Maharajji - great king, frequent form of address for sadhus and holy men
mahasamadhi - great samadhi, i.e., final samadhi of a realized being
mandir - temple
mantra - devotional incantation to an aspect of God
maya - illusion
murti - consecrated statue
Naga baba - naked sadhu
Narmadeshwar - special polished stones from the Narmada River, believed to be meteorites
panchamrita - literally, five nectars; a mixture of ghee, yogurt, honey, milk and rose water used in religious ceremonies
pranam - to bow down to
prasad - consecrated food
puja - prayer ritual
pujari - temple priest
puri - fried flat bread
Rama - an incarnation of the god Vishnu
Ramayana - story of Rama's life
Ras Lila - staged presentation of the story of Krishna and the gopis (milkmaids)
rishi - sage, especially one who lived before the present era
rudhraksha - seed used to make prayer beads
rupee - Indian "dollar"
sacred thread ceremony - initiation ceremony of brahmin boys
sadhana - spiritual practive
sadhu - renunciate
samadhi - spiritual trance
sangam - confluence of sacred rivers
sari - draped garmet worn by Hindu women
satsang - spiritual group or gathering
Shiva - the destructive aspect of God
siddhi - spiritual power
Sombari Maharaj - famous saint of the Kumoan hill area, who died many years ago
Sundarakand - chapter of the Ramayana which relates the exploit of Hanuman in Lanka
tapasya - austerities
tiffin - lunch, or container for carrying lunch
tucket - wooden bed
Upanishads - a collection of Hindu esoteric texts
Vaishnava - sect devoted to the god Vishnu
Vibishan - character in the Ramayana, who becomes a friend of Hanuman
Vindhyavasini Devi - a famous murti of the Goddess in the Vindhya hills area
wallah - vendor, proprietor
yagna - major sacrificial fire ceremony