Glossary: M

Madana-gopala
Krishna, the transcendental Cupid appearing as a young cowherd.

Madhava
Krishna or Vishnu; Also, a famous Deity of Vishnu worshiped at Dashashvamedha-ghata, Prayaga.

Madhavendra Puri
the spiritual master of Ishvara Puri.

madhavi
Hiptage madhablota, a shrubby vine, herald of spring and lover of the mango tree.

Madhu
See Kaitabha.

Madhudvit
Lord Vishnu, enemy of the demon Madhu.

Madhumangala
A young brahmana boy who was among Krishna’s closest playmates. He was the son of Sandipani Muni (Krishna and Balarama’s teacher in Avanti) and the grandson of Paurnamasi. When Paurnamasi moved to Vraja, Madhumangala came with her.

Madhupuri
See Mathura.

madhuram
sweet.

Madhurya
lit., “sweetness.” Refers to the sweet conjugal pastimes of Krishna and the gopis.

Madhurya-lila
the sweet conjugal pastimes of Krishna and the gopis.

madhurya-rasa
Devotional service to Krishna in conjugal love.

Madhuvana
a sacred forest in Vrindavana.

Madhvacharya
The founding acharya of one of the four Vaishnava sampradayas in Kali-yuga. He appeared in the thirteenth century as a Karnataka brahmana, taught a strictly theistic version of Vedanta philosophy, vigorously opposed the Advaita-vada of Sankaracharya, and established the worship of Sri Krishna at Udupi.

madhya-lila
the pastimes Lord Chaitanya performed during the middle part of His manifest presence, while He was traveling throughout India; the portion of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita recounting those pastimes.

madhyama-adhikari
a devotee whose advancement in spiritual life is midway between the neophyte (kanishtha) and advanced (uttama) levels.

Magha
The lunar month that usually begins in January and ends in February.

maha
a Sanskrit prefix meaning “great” or “large.”

maha-bhagavata
a devotee in the highest stage of devotional life.

Mahabharata
The epic history of “greater India” composed by Dvaipayana Vyasa. One chapter is the Bhagavad-gita.

maha-bhava
The ultimate limit of devotional ecstasy, found only in Sri Radha and some of Her intimate servants. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who was Sri Krishna in the mood of Sri Radha, also displayed such ecstasy.

maha-bhuta
any one of the gross elements of material creation (earth, water, fire, air, or ether).

Mahadeva
“The great god,” Siva.

mahajanas
“Great persons,” refers to the twelve authorized agents of the Lord whose duty it is to preach the path of devotional service to the people in general.

Maha-lakshmi
See Lakshmi.

maha-mantra
the great chant for deliverance: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Maha-maya
See Maya.

Mahaprabhu
supreme master of all masters; refers to Lord Chaitanya.

maha-prasada
Food directly from the plate that has been offered to the Supreme Lord. Such food from Lord Jagannatha at Puri is especially known as maha-prasada, but Srila Sanatana Gosvami uses the term to refer to Krishna’s prasada in general.

Maha-puranas
The eighteen major Puranas, six for people in each of the three modes of material nature.

Mahapurusha
“The Supreme Person” or “supreme enjoyer,” Lord Vishnu. More specifically, an expansion of Maha-vishnu who resides on the planet of Brahma.

Mahar (-loka)
The first of the planets where sages reside above the heaven of Indra. The residents of Maharloka are sages who have not renounced family life.

maharaja
“Great ruler,” a term of address to kings and renounced holy men.

mahatma
A “great soul,” a saint who has broad intelligence by dint of his full Krishna consciousness.

mahat-tattva
The first transformation of primordial nature. It contains all the other elements in their subtle, unmanifest forms.

maha-vakya
a principal Vedic mantra or verse.

Mahavana
One of the twelve main forests of Vraja. See Gokula.

Maha-varaha
See Varaha.

Maha-vishnu
The first of the three Purushas, incarnations of the Supreme Lord for the creation of the material universe. He lies down in the Causal Ocean on the bed of Ananta Sesha and initiates the creation by glancing at His personified material energy, Maya.

Mahayoga
See Yogamaya.

Mahendra
See Indra.

Mahesha
“The great lord,” Siva.

Maitreya
A sage who was a friend of Dvaipayana Vyasa. Maitreya heard Krishna’s discussions with Uddhava just before Krishna’s disappearance and passed on what he learned to Vidura. The conversations of Maitreya and Vidura comprise the Third and Fourth Cantos of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

makara
A celestial species of crocodile, considered auspicious. Also, the sign of the zodiac corresponding to the Greek Capricorn.

malati
Jasminium grandiflorum, a twining shrub with fragrant white flowers.

Manasa-sarovara
A sacred lake on Kailasa Mountain. Indra tried to hide within the lake from his sins, and Ambarisha meditated by its shore. The lotuses growing in this lake are prized even by the residents of heaven.

Manasi-ganga
The most sacred of lakes, located at the midpoint of Govardhana Hill. Krishna created it from His mind and filled it with the waters of the Ganga and all other holy rivers and lakes to dissuade His father from leaving Vraja to go on pilgrimage.

mandala
A district, a subdivision of a province.

mandara
The flower of the coral tree, one of the five special trees of heaven.

mandira
temple.

mangala-arati
the first Deity worship of the day, performed an hour and a half before sunrise.

mangalacarana
Verses an author composes as an invocation with which to begin a book. The three aims of such an invocation are to offer respects to one’s worshipable Deity, to offer blessings to the readers, and to set forth the topic of the book.

Manikarnika
One of the principal bathing ghatas on the Ganga in Kashi.

manjari
an intimate gopi maidservant of Radha and Krishna.

mantra
A short expression in sacred language chanted to purify the mind and fulfill various aspirations.

mantra-japa
Chanting of a mantra quietly to oneself.

Manus
The original progenitors and lawgivers of the human race. In each day of Brahma there are fourteen Manus. The current Manu is Vaivasvata, son of the sun-god Vivasvan.

manvantara
The period of a Manu’s reign, lasting 306,720,000 years.

manvantara-avatara
Special incarnations of the Supreme Lord who appear in each manvantara to assist Indra and the other demigods in subduing demons and maintaining the principles of religion.

marakata
emerald.

marga
path.

Martyaloka
“The world of mortals,” the lower parts of the universe, below Svarga. Demigods are also mortal, but they are called “immortals” because their span of life is much longer than that of humans.

Maruts
The forty-nine expansions of the wind-god, who are friends of Indra.

mataji
mother.

math
a religious institution.

Mathura (-dhama, -mandala, -puri)
The eternal abode in which Krishna manifests Himself as the Lord of the Yadavas. During His descent to earth, Krishna reclaimed Mathura for the Yadavas by killing Kamsa and installing Ugrasena on the throne. Krishna resided in Mathura for thirty-three years before relocating the Yadavas to Dvaraka.

Mathuranatha
Krishna, “the Lord of Mathura.”

Matsya
Lord Vishnu’s form as a huge fish, one of the dasha-avataras, the ten most famous incarnations of the Lord. Matsya appeared at the end of the Cakshusha manvantara to save the next Manu, the seven sages, and the Vedas from the universal deluge.

mauna
silence.

maya
The Supreme Lord’s inferior, material energy. She creates and controls the material world, keeping its inhabitants in countless varieties of illusion.

Maya
The chief architect of the demons. When Krishna and Arjuna saved him from the fire in the Khandava forest, he became their friend and built a wonderful assembly hall for the Pandavas at Indraprastha.

Mayadevi
see Maya.

Mayapur
a town in West Bengal, India, where Lord Chaitanya appeared.

Mayavada
The impersonal philosophy of “oneness,” which holds that the Absolute Truth, one without a second, is formless and changeless, and that whatever has name and form is an illusion falsely imposed on that Truth. The most influential proponent of Mayavada in the current age was Sankaracharya.

Mayavadis (Advaita-vadis)
Proponents of the impersonal philosophy of “oneness,” which holds that the Absolute Truth, one without a second, is formless and changeless, and that whatever has name and form is an illusion falsely imposed on that Truth. The most influential Mayavadi in the current age was Sankaracharya.

mayayapahrita-jnana
a person whose knowledge is stolen by illusion.

Meru
The great mountain that is the axis of the universe. It is also called Sumeru 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.

Milk Ocean
See Ocean of Milk.

Mimamsa
“Systematic study” of the meaning of the Vedas. The earlier Mimamsa (Purva-mimamsa), which explains the ritual meaning of the Vedas, was taught by Vyasadeva’s disciple Jaimini. The second Mimamsa (Uttara-mimamsa), which explains the Absolute Truth, was taught in the Vedanta-sutra by Vyasa Himself.

mishra
mixed.

Mithila
The capital of the kingdom of Videha, since ancient times a center of learning and brahminical culture.

mleccha
a class of persons outside the social and spiritual divisions of Vedic culture, whose standards and practices are considered abominable.

Mohini (-murti)
The avatara of Lord Vishnu as the most beautiful woman. She appeared from the churning of the Ocean of Milk, deceived the demons, and delivered the nectar of immortality to the demigods.

moksha
Liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

mridanga
a two-headed clay drum, traditionally used in kirtana.

Mrigari
a cruel hunter and torturer of animals who, by the influence of Narada Muni, became a pure devotee.

Mucukunda
A son of King Mandhata whose valiant fighting for the demigods won him a boon by which his glance burned to ashes the barbarian Kalayavana, who had been chasing Krishna.

Mudha
fool, rascal.

mudra
a symbolic hand gesture.

mukti (moksha)
Liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Mukunda
Krishna or Vishnu, the “giver of liberation.”

muni
A thoughtful sage.

Mura
A five-headed demon employed by Narakasura to guard the fortress of his capital, Pragjyotisha-pura. When Krishna invaded, He killed Mura and then Naraka.

Murari
Krishna, the enemy of the demon Mura.

murti
a form, usually referring to a Deity.

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

Myrobalan
an Ayurvedic medicinal plant.