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Glossary: Y

Yadavas (Yadus)

The royal dynasty led by Krishna in Mathura and Dvaraka, descended from the ancient King Yadu, son of Yayati. The dynasty included hundreds of thousands of valiant warriors and princes, all fully devoted to Krishna.


Krishna, “Lord of the Yadavas.”


One of the five sons of Yayati and the forefather of the Yadu dynasty.

Yadu dynasty
the dynasty in which Lord Krishna appeared.

See Yadavas.


Vedic sacrifice, or any work done for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord Vishnu.


The Supreme Lord appearing as “the Lord of sacrifice.”


A militant class of celestial beings, obedient to the treasurer of the demigods, Kuvera. Although frequently grouped with the man-eating Rakshasas, they are also called the punya-janas (“righteous persons”).

Yama (-raja)

The judge of sinful persons at death.


the agents of Yamaraja, the superintendent of death and karmic justice.


The first eight regulations observed from the beginning of the ashtanga-yoga system.

Yamuna (-acharya)

A prominent teacher in the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya. He was the guru of the initiating guru of Ramanujacharya. Sri Yamunacharya composed important books explaining the philosophy of Vedanta in the light of pure devotion to the Supreme Lord.


The holiest of rivers, flowing through Vraja-bhumi and thus touched by the dust of Krishna’s feet. The Yamuna personified is also known as Kalindi. After Krishna established his capital at Dvaraka, she became one of His eight principal queens.

Yashoda (-devi)

Krishna’s mother in Vraja. She raised Him from infancy until He moved to Mathura. She is the most exalted of all of Krishna’s devotees in the mood of parental love.

Yashoda-nandana, Yashoda-vatsala

Krishna, “the darling son of Yashoda.”


A barbarian race, descended from Turvasu, one of the sons of Yayati. They have been identified with the Turks.


An ancient king, cursed to become prematurely old. He begged his five sons to exchange his age for their youth, but only one, Puru, agreed. The others he cursed, including Yadu, the forefather of the dynasty in which Krishna later appeared. Because the Yadus were cursed never to occupy an imperial throne, Krishna, after killing Kamsa, declined the throne in favor of Ugrasena, who belonged to the Bhoja clan.


Spiritual discipline to link oneself with the Supreme. There are various kinds of yoga, including karma-yoga (the offering of the fruits of one’s work for the pleasure of the Supreme), jnana-yoga (the cultivation of spiritual knowledge of the soul and Supersoul), ashtanga-yoga (the eightfold process of meditation taught by Patanjali), and bhakti-yoga (pure devotional service to the Personality of Godhead).

Yogamaya (Mahayoga)

The aspect of Krishna’s personal energy who enhances His loving pastimes with His devotees by putting the devotees in benign illusion, making them forget that He is God. When Krishna descended to earth, Yogamaya appeared as His sister, Subhadra. Mahamaya, the material energy of illusion, is her partial expansion.


the mystic slumber of Lord Vishnu.


Masters of yoga practice.


A practitioner of yoga.


A distance of about eight miles.


The eldest of the five sons of Pandu. He was actually begotten in Pandu’s wife Kunti by Yamaraja, the maintainer of religious principles. Thus Yudhishthira strictly performed religious duties all his life and could never say anything untrue. He was installed as emperor of the world at the end of the Battle of Kurukshetra.


specific practice of self-realization recommended in the Vedas for a particular yuga.


Ages in the cycle of universal history. See Krita (Satya), Treta, Dvarapa, and Kali.


real renunciation by utilizing everything in the service of God.