Ramayana, Glossary




Romesh C. Dutt

Courtesy of Anandajoti Bhikkhu from Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net (CC BY-SA 3.0)


ABHISHAVA, a religious rite.

ABHISHEKA, sacred ablution.

ACHARYA, preceptor.

AGNIHOTRA, a sacrifice to the fire performed with a daily offering of milk morning and evening.

AGRAYANA, an autumn harvest festival performed with offering of new grain.

AJYA, a form of sacrificial offering.

APRAMATTA, without pride or passion.

APSARA, celestial nymph.

ARGHYA, an offering due to an honoured guest.

ARYA, an honourable person, an Aryan.

ASOKA, name of a flower, orange and scarlet.

ASRAMA, hermitage.

ASURA, demon, enemies of gods.

ASWAKARNA, a flower.

ASWAMEDHA, a horse-sacrifice.

BAIDURYA, lapiz-lazuli,

BHINDIPALA, a weapon of war.

BRAHMACHARIN, one who has taken vows and lives an austere life.

CHAITYA, a shrine or temple.

CHAKRAVAKA, a ruddy goose, the male and female being regarded as a pattern of conjugal love.

CHAMPAKA, a tree with yellow blossom; also the flower of the tree.

CHANDAN, sandal-tree, also the fragrant sandal paste.

CHOWRI (properly CHAMARI), the yak; the tail of which is used as a fan.

DAKSHINA, gifts made at sacrifices.

DASAPUTRA, son of a slave.

DEVA, gods.

DEVADARU (lit. heavenly tree), the Himalayan pine.

DEVA-KANYA, celestial maid.

DEVA-RISHI, celestial saint.

DHARMA-RAJA, monarch by reason of piety and virtue.

DIKSHA, initiation into a sacred rite.


GANDHARVA, celestial musician.

GANDIVA, Arjun’s bow.

GAURI, a goddess, wife of Siva.

GHRITA OR GHEE, clarified butter.

GRAHA, the being of darkness who is supposed to seize the sun and the moon at eclipse; a planet with malignant influence.

GURU, preceptor.

HANSA, swan or goose.

HOMA, a sacrificial rite or offering.

HOWDA, the seat on an elephant.

IDA, a form of sacrificial offering.

KANKA, a bird of prey.

KARMA, act which brings its fruit in life or in after life.

KARNIKARA, a tree; also its flower.

KARTIKA, October-November.

KAUTUKA, wedding investiture with the nuptial chord.

KETAKA, a strong-scented plant.

KHADIRA, a tree, a kind of acacia.

KIM-PURUSHA, a class of imaginary beings.

KINNARA, a fabulous being with the body of a man and the face of a horse, the counterpart of the Greek Centaur.

KINSUKA, a flower.

KOKIL, an Indian bird answering to the English cuckoo, and prized for its sweet note.

KUSA, grass strewn round the altar at sacrifice.

LODHRA, a tree.

MAGHA, a winter month.

MAHAMATRA, a royal officer.

MAHUA (properly MADHUKA), a tree, Bassia latifolia.

MAHUT OR MAHAMATRA, elephant driver.

MANTRA, hymn, incantation.

MAYA, illusion.

MLECHCHA, outer barbarian. All who were not Hindus were designated by this name.

MRIDANGA, a kind of drum.

MUNI, saint, anchorite.

NAGA, snake; a being of the lower or snake world; also a tribe in Eastern India.

NISHADA, an aboriginal race.

NISHKA, a coin, often used as ornament.

NULLA, a rivulet or rill.

NYAGRODHA, the banyan or Indian fig-tree.

PALASA, a tree bearing large red blossoms with no scent.

PANKHA, (from Sanscrit paksha, wing), a fan.

PATAHA, a kind of drum.

PISHACHA, ghost or goblin.

PITRI-MEDHA, sacrifice and offering due to departed ancestors.

PRAVARGYA, a religious rite.

PRIYANGU, a fragrant ointment.

PUNNAGA, a flower tree.

PURANA, ancient and sacred chronicles.

PURUSHA, the soul.

RAHU, the being of darkness who is supposed to seize the sun and the moon at eclipses.

RAJASUYA, an imperial sacrifice.

RAKSHA, a class of fabulous beings represented as demons and night-rangers,

and wearing various shapes at will. The inhabitants of Ceylon, with whom

the hero of the Epic fought, are represented as Rakshas.

RIK, hymn recited at sacrifice.

RISHI, saint or anchorite.

SABDA-BEDHI, an archer who shoots an invisible game by hearing the sound it makes.

SAKTI, javelin.

SALA, a tall forest tree.

SAMADHI, austere religious practice.

SAMAN, hymn chanted at sacrifice.

SAMI, a dark leafy tree.

SANKHA, conch-shell used as a sounding instrument in wars and in festivities.

SAPTA-PARNA, a plant with a seven-branched leaf.

SARASA, the Indian crane.

SARVAVARNIN, an Indian tree.

SASTRA, sacred scriptures.

SATAGHNI, a weapon of war, supposed to kill a hundred men at one discharge.

SAVANA, a religious rite.

SAVITRI, a hymn; also the goddess of the hymn.

SIDDHA, holy celestial beings.

SLESHA, an Indian tree.

SRAVANA, July-August.

SRI, the goddess of beauty and wealth, wife of Vishnu.

SUPARNA, celestial bird.

SWARGA, heaven.

SWASTI, a word uttered to dispel evil.

SWAYAMVARA, a form of bridal, the bride selecting her husband from among suitors.

TALA, a species of palm-tree bearing a large round fruit; also the fruit of the tree.

TAMALA, a graceful leafy tree.

TIRTHA, holy rites at the crossing of rivers.

TRIRATRA, a three nights’ penance and fast.

USIRA, a kind of hard wood.

VANARA, monkey. The hill tribes of Southern India, who formed an alliance

with the hero of the Epic, are represented as Vanaras.

VEDA, the most ancient and holiest scriptures of the Hindus.

VIJAYA, Karna’s bow.

VILWA, a tree bearing an edible fruit.

VINA, the lyre.

YAJNA, sacrifice.

YATO DHARMA STATO JAYAH, where there is virtue there is victory.

YOJANA, a measure of distance equal to about nine English miles.

YUGA, the period of the world’s existence.



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