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Glossary: N


Mesua ferrea, a forest tree with white flowers with yellow centers.


The wives of “the serpent,” Kaliya.


A king of the earth who was invited to occupy Indra’s throne when Indra, out of fear of a demon, fled from his post. Nahusha abused his privileges, however, and was cursed by the seven sages to fall from his position.

Naimisha (-aranya)

A sacred forest located exactly in the center of the universe, where the discus of Lord Vishnu once struck the earth. At the beginning of Kali-yuga, the chief sages of the universe assembled there to perform a thousand-year-long Soma sacrifice to counteract the bad effects of the age. During the sacrifice they heard Puranas and epics from Ugrashrava Suta, including the Mahabharata and Srimad-Bhagavatam.


“Occasional ritual duties” enjoined for specific circumstances, such as a death in one’s family during the performance of a sacrifice.


One of the twin sons of Madri, who were the youngest of the five Pandavas.

Nalakuvara and Manigriva

the sons of the treasurer of the demigods, Kuvera, who were cursed for their decadence by the great devotee-sage, Narada, and who, by his blessing, were delivered from their materialism by Lord Krishna.


Lit. “name,” especially the holy name of the Lord.


offense to the holy name.


See nama-sankirtana.


The “shadow of the Lord’s names.” Chanting done without offense but also without love. Namabhasa earns one immediate liberation from material existence.


a place outside a temple where devotees gather to hear and chant about Krishna.


A book of Srila Prabhupada’s written instructions on the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.


Chanting of the names of the Supreme Lord.




Remembrance of Krishna’s names.

Nanda (Gopa)

The king of the cowherds of Vraja. He and his wife Yashoda, the greatest of devotees in the mood of parents, raised Krishna from His infancy until He left Vraja for Mathura.


The cowherd community of Nanda Maharaja.


The capital of Nanda Maharaja, on Nandishvara Hill, seventeen miles north of Govardhana.


Nanda-kumara Krishna, “the young son of Nanda.”

Nandana (-vana)

The pleasure gardens of the demigods in Svargaloka.


Krishna, “the darling son of Nanda.”


“The cow pastures of Nanda,” the sacred district of Mathura that is the manifestation on earth of Goloka Vrindavana, the supreme abode of Krishna.

Nandishvara Hill

The hill, nondifferent from Lord Krishna, on which Nanda Maharaja’s capital stands.

Narada Muni

a great devotee of Lord Krishna who travels throughout the spiritual and material worlds singing the Lord’s glories and preaching the path of devotional service.

Narada-bhakti Sutra

instructions on the science of devotional service, written by Narada Muni.


lit., “God in human form.” A title for the king, who is generally accepted to be God’s representative in human society.


the lowest of men.

Naraka (-asura)

A powerful demon, son of Lord Varaha and the goddess of the earth. He terrorized the universe until killed by Krishna.


The incarnation of the Supreme Lord as the twin sons of Dharma and Murti. Nara is an empowered jiva, and Narayana is directly the Personality of Godhead. They live at Badarika, practicing severe austerities and meditation for the welfare and instruction of the world. Narada Muni is among their disciples.


The Personality of Godhead as the Lord of Vaikuntha, the infinitely opulent spiritual world.


A devotee of Lord Narayana

Narottama dasa Thakura

a Vaishnava spiritual master in the disciplic succession from Lord Chaitanya and writer of many standard Vaishnava hymns.


Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s eternal abode, nondifferent from Krishna’s abode Vrindavana. On earth Navadvipa is manifest in the district of Nadia, West Bengal.

Nectar of Devotion, The
Srila Prabhupada’s summary study of Srila Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu.

Nectar of Instruction, The
Srila Prabhupada’s English translation of Srila Rupa Goswami’s Sri Upadeshamrita.

neti neti

“Not this, not this.” A phrase from the Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad indicating the process of elimination by which one philosophically distinguishes between matter and spirit.

New Vrindaban
a spiritual village established by Srila Prabhupada near Wheeling, West Virginia.


Niladri See Puri.


“Devoid of qualities.” When applied to the Supreme, a word that indicates He has no material qualities.


solitary spiritual practices.

Nirupti Dictionary

a Sanskrit dictionary.


Cessation of all material activities. Buddhists and other impersonalists regard nirvana as requiring obliteration of individual existence, but Vaishnavas regard ceasing from material activities to be only the beginning of real spiritual life, in which an individual acts in pure devotional service.


A degraded forest tribe, descended from Bahuka, who was born from the corpse of the evil King Vena.


Without material desire.


Filled with faith.

Niti Shastras

a collection of social instructions by Chanakya Pandita.


eternally conditioned.


Regular, obligatory ritual duties.


the eternal pastimes of the Lord or His devotees in the spiritual world.


“Eternally liberated,” a person who has never fallen into material illusion and never deviated from the Supreme Lord’s loving service. Nitya-muktas generally live in the spiritual kingdom of God, but they sometimes descend to the material world to preach and for other special missions.


the incarnation of Lord Balarama who is a principal associate of Lord Chaitanya.


an eternally liberated soul.


The eight secondary regulations observed from the start of the ashtanga-yoga system.


A son of Vaivasvata Manu who mistakenly gave the same cow in charity to two different brahmanas. Cursed by the brahmanas, who refused to accept any other cow in exchange, he was obliged to become a lizard at the bottom of a well. Years later, Krishna lifted him from the well and restored his heavenly body.

Nrisimha (-deva)

The pastime incarnation of the Supreme Lord Vishnu as half-man half-lion. He appeared in order to deliver the saintly child Prahlada from the persecutions of his father, Hiranyakashipu. When Hiranyakashipu demanded of Prahlada, “If your God is everywhere, is He also in this pillar?” Lord Nrisimha burst out of the pillar and ripped Hiranyakashipu apart.


The ancient system of epistemology and logic taught by Gautama Rishi.