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Chandra Shekhar/Glossary







Alta—Sheets of cotton impregnated with lac, used for the purpose of painting the feet of women.

Annaprasan—The ceremony of giving a child rice for the first time.

Apaurusheyatya—The character of being self-revealed, i. e. impersonal origin, existing eternally.

Arannyak—That portion of the Vedas which deals with the rites to be observed in the forest after renouncing the world in old age.

Azimabad—An old name for the city of Patna.


Bai—A dancing girl.

Basistha—The name of the great Hindu sage, who was the family priest of Sri Ram Chandra, the hero of the great Indian Epic, Ramayana.

Begum—A Nawab's wife.

Bhagirathi—One of the names of the river Ganges.

Bhairaby—The designation of a particular scale in the musical system of the Hindus.

Bhisma—One of the great heroes in the famous Hindu Epic, Mahabharat. He was a celebrated warrior, renowned for his unparalleled self-sacrifice. He took a vow to lead a bachelor life and not to assert his rights of inheritance, to enable his father to marry an exquisitely beautiful girl for whom he had taken a fancy—the father of the bride being unwilling to give her in marriage to the old king unless his son Bhisma would take such a vow.

Birat—A powerful king of Matsya, in Mahabharata.

Biswamitra—A saint, originally a monarch of the military order, who subsequently obtained the dignity of a Brahmin by long and painful austerities.

Brahmasutras—An aphorism of the Vedanta philosophy, or, one of the mnemonic formulas in which the Vedanta system is developed. It teaches the ultimate aim of the Vedas.

Brahmin-Pandit—A Brahmin whose profession is to earn livelihood by receiving gifts.

Budgerow—A spacious Indian green boat, with comfortable cabins.


Chandan—The paste formed by rubbing a piece of sandal wood with water on a stone. It is held sacred by the Hindus.

Chand Sultana—The celebrated queen-regent of Ahmadnagar, in India, who flourished in the middle of the 16th century and is famous for her valour and statesmanship, which frustrated the repeated attempts of the Emperor Akbar to bring her kingdom under his subjugation.

Chanakya—A learned Pandit of India who flourished in the second century B. C., and is renowned for his verses, which are full of practical moral lessons and precepts.

Char—An alluvial tract of land.


Dadhichi—A great sage, in Hindu mythology, who sacrificed his life to save the gods from the hands of the terrible demon-king, Britrasur—the sage's bones being required for making the thunder-bolt, the weapon of Indra, with which the demon-king was killed.

Dasharatha—The great king of the Solar race, father of Rama. He had to banish Rama, quite unexpectedly, on the very day the latter was to be installed as the Crown Prince of Oudh, to redeem the promise the old king had long before made to his second queen, Rama's step-mother, to grant, whenever she might desire, any two boons of her choice—the two boons which the malicious queen demanded being Rama's banishment and her own son's installation instead. The old king died of grief when his beloved son repaired to the forest.

Dhakai shari—A lady's costly wearing cloth made at Dacca, in East Bengal, a place renowned for its exquisite muslins.

Dhuti—A long cloth worn by Indians instead of trousers or the like.

Durbar—A hall of audience—a Royal Court.

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Ghat—Landing steps to a river or tank.

Guddee—A throne.

Gulesthan—A famous Persian work.


Harischandra—A pious king in Hindu mythology, who gave away all his valuable posessions in charity and thereby brought upon himself and his family untold worldy misery.

Hilsa—A kind of Indian fish.


Indra—The name of one of the Hindu gods who presides over the atmosphere and is esteemed as the king of the gods.


Jajati—A king in Hindu mythology, who in spite of the innumerable religious rites and sacrifices he performed and the many conquered states and kingdoms he gave away in charity to the Brahmins, was reduced to a state of decrepitude by the curse of Sukracharyya. He was, however, saved from the terrible effects of the cruel malediction by one of his sons, who volunteered to suffer the punishment for his father. Subsequently, Jajati renounced the world to lead a spiritual life in the forest.

Jajnavalka—The famous work of the celebrated ancient sage and legislator Jajnavalka.

Joydeva—A renowned Bengalee poet who is supposed to have flourished in the 15th century. His famous work is Gita Gavinda, which has been translated into several languages and is greatly appreciated, even now, for the melody and sweetness of its verses.

Judhisthir—The eldest of the five Pandavas, the king of Hastinapore or modern Delhi. He is famous for his exemplary piety and truthfulness. Through the avarice and treachery of his wicked cousin, Durjodhon, Judhisthir lost his kingdom and all his possessions. He was compelled to repair to the forest with his wife and brothers and remained there in cognito for 12 long years. With the help of his mighty brothers he regained his kingdom after the famous battle of Kurukshettra, as recorded in the great Epic, Mahabharata.


Kalpasutra—A ritual which teaches the manner of performing religious rites.

Kamandalu—An earthen or wooden water-pot used by ascetics.

Kouravas—The descendants of Kuru, a sovereign of the Lunar race, whose capital was near Delhi. Their unrighteous fight with their cousins, the five virtuous Pandava brothers, form the main subject of the great Epic, Mahabharata.


Lathials—Trained fighters armed with clubs and cudgels.


Manu—The great work of the Indian sage and legislator Manu, who flourished in the 5th century B. C. The Manu-Sanhita enumerates all the various social and religious rites and ceremonies which every Hindu has to observe.

Maya—The inexplicable illusion, self-imagined, has been the un-real adjunct, illusorily over-spread upon the impersonal self, from all eternity.

Mir Munshi—The Chief-Secretary.

Musnad—A costly seat, bedecked with jewels and, gorgeously trimmed with golden embroidery.


Nala—The pious king of Nishadha, who lost his kingdom through the influence of Kali, the evil spirit, presiding over the Hindu Iron Age. The prince was led to play a game of dice with his wicked brother Pushkara and to keep all his possessions at stake. He was worsted in the game and lost everything. The king was compelled by his brother to repair to the forest with his beloved queen, where he forsook her under the very influence which deprived him of all what he had as his own. He had to undergo severe hardships during his rambles through the wilderness. In the long run, virtue triumphed over vice and the good king got back his kingdom and queen.

Noor Jahan—Lit. "The Light of the World," was Sher Afghan's wife. The Emperor Jehangir had her husband killed and married her. She was celebrated for her unparalleled beauty.

Nyaya—The great logical work which represents that system of Hindu philosophy which the Nyaya School professed.

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Pandit—A highly cultured learned Brahmin.

Paramahansa—An ascetic of a high order.

Parasar—Or, Parasar-Sanhita, the celebrated religious work by the great Hindu sage, Parasar. It deals with the religious duties of life.

Plassey—A village in Bengal, on the river Ganges, 84 miles North of Calcutta, memorable for the victory obtained there in 1757 by Lord Clive, which established British supremacy in Bengal.

Prama—The true knowledge in pursuance of the principles of the Vedanta.

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Rangamahal—The inner apartments of a Nawab's seraglio.


Sahamaran—A widow's burning herself on the funeral pyre of her deceased husband.

Sahib—An European.

Sai—A female friend or companion.

Shalgram—A flinty stone, containing the impression of one or more ammonite, conceived by the Hindus to represent Vishnu or the god of preservation.

Shankar—The great Hindu philosopher and a religious preacher of high eminence. He was born in Malabar and flourished in the 9th century A.D. He travelled all over India to popularise the Vedantic philosophy to which he gave a very attractive form. His controversial triumphs during his tours are regarded as supernatural achievements. He died at the early age of 32, leaving behind, as the two principal results of his great mission, a form of religion which appealed to, and benefitted, both the higher and lower classes of his fellow-countrymen, and an well-organized congregation of worthy disciples, who rendered useful works after his demise and elevated him into an incarnation of Shiva himself.

Shankya—The great work, which represents the Hindu philosophy as professed by the Shankya School.

Shari—A cloth worn by Hindu ladies instead of gowns.

Sphota—The first manifestation of the Parambramha—the universal and self-existent spirit—is sound, which is Sphota. According to the Mimansa philosophy Sphota is eternal sound.

Sri Ram Chandra—The celebrated hero of the famous Epic, Ramayana, believed to be an incarnation of Vishnu, the god of preservation. Being enjoined by his father Dasaratha, he willingly went to the forest accompanied by his beloved wife Sita and his devoted brother Laksman. His wife was stolen away from the forest by Ravana, the demon-king of Ceylon. Ram and Laksman led an army there and killing Ravana with all his retinue, rescued Sita. Rama was an ideal king and a model hero.

Swami—An ascetic of a high order.


Tanjam—A kind of costly oriental conveyance.

Telinga—A particular class of men in Madras.

Tulsi—The name of the sacred basil—a plant held in religious veneration by the Hindus.


Upanishad—It is said by the Indian Scholiasts to denote, in the first place, the knowledge of the impersonal self, the science of absolute being, in the second place, any treatise imparting that knowledge.


Vedanta—Lit., the end of the Veda, is a synonym of Upanishad. It, therefore, denotes that great philosophical work which deals with the argumentative portion of the Vedas.

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Yama—The Hindu God of Death.


Zaminder—Landholder, paying revenue to Government.


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