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Glossary: C

Causal Ocean
The substance (originally a cloudlike darkness in one corner of the spiritual sky in Vaikuntha) from which the material world is created. Prakriti, material nature, resides eternally within it. To initiate the material creation, Lord Maha-vishnu glances at Prakriti, thus agitating her to begin expanding the material elements. Viewed from inside the material universe, the same Causal Ocean appears like a surrounding shell of water and is named the river Viraja.

a shawl.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Chaitanyadeva)
The form in which the Personality of Godhead Krishna made His advent in 1486 at Mayapura, West Bengal, and acted in the guise of His own devotee. He taught the pure worship of Radha and Krishna, primarily by sankirtana, the congregational chanting of Their names.

Chaitanya-charitamrita, Sri
the biography and philosophy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, written by Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami.

the Supersoul.

Alectoris graeca, the Himalayan partridge, lover of the moon, said to feed on moonrays.

a wheel or disc. See Sudarshana chakra.

a variety of duck, legendary lovers who must sleep apart at night and forever call to one another, “Chakava, may I come to you?” “No, Chakavi.”

The female of a particular species of duck.

A fan made from the hairs of a yak’s tail, usually bleached white. Used in worship and the attendance of kings, it also has the practical purpose of driving away flies.

Ritual cups made of wood, used for offering soma juice in Vedic sacri?ces.


Jasminium sambac, Arabian jasmine.

Michelia champaka, a large tree with fragrant, pale yellow flowers. A type of jasmine.

Chanakya Pandita
a legendary advisor to the Hindu king Chandragupta.

A Hindu king renowned through history for his social and political wisdom.

flickering, unsteady.

The most degraded class of man, an outcaste.

Sandalwood, which may be ground into a cooling paste.

The moon and its presiding demigod, a son of the sage Atri.


One of the principal Vraja gopis, the rival of Srimati Radharani.

The austere practice, often prescribed as atonement for major transgressions, of restricting one’s eating for one month by taking only one handful of food the first day, increasing one handful more each day for two weeks, and then again decreasing by a handful a day for the second two weeks.

A wrestler of Mathura ordered by Kamsa to kill Krishna and Balarama. Krishna wrestled him in Kamsa’s arena and killed him.

a whole-wheat, griddle-baked flatbread.

The water that has bathed the feet of the Supreme Lord or His devotee. One honors charanamrita, normally collected after the daily worship of the Deity, by sipping it and sprinkling it on one’s head.

A class of minor demigods who specialize in reciting praises.


the four Kumaras.

the four core verses of the Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.9.33-36), spoken by Lord Krishna to Brahma at the beginning of creation.

the four months of the rainy season in India (approximately July, August, September, and October). During this period, there are certain rules and regulations which are strictly followed to decrease sense enjoyment and increase remembrance of the Lord.

“Four-headed” Brahma.

The principal expansions of the Supreme Lord in Vaikuntha. The first four vyuhas are Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. The original Vasudeva and Sankarshana are Krishna and Balarama as They appear in Mathura and Dvaraka, and the original Pradyumna and Aniruddha are Krishna’s first son and grandson.

a security guard.


the spiritual world, where everything is made of touchstone (chintamani).

A sonless king at last blessed with a son, a son who died in infancy. Enlightened by Narada, Chitraketu became spiritually advanced, but he unintentionally insulted Lord Siva and was cursed by Siva’s consort. Thus he took his next birth as the great demon Vritra.

Chota Haridasa
an associate of Lord Chaitanya.

a generic term for any of a variety of Ayurvedic medicinal herbal powders.

chyavan Prash
an Ayurvedic herbal tonic paste.

The mystic “philosopher’s stone,” which can produce anything one desires. In Vaikuntha the land is made of cintamani stones.