The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi
[ Encyclopedia of Gandhi's Thoughts ]

The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi

(Encyclopedia of Gandhi's Thoughts)

Compiled & Edited by :
R. K. Prabhu & U. R. Rao

Table of Contents

An Introduction
  2. TRUTH
  4. FAITH

About This Book

Compiled & Edited by : R. K. Prabhu & U. R. Rao
With Forewords by: Acharya Vinoba Bhave & Dr. S. Radhakrishnan
I.S.B.N :81-7229-149-3
Published by : Jitendra T. Desai,
Navajivan Mudranalaya,
Ahmedabad - 380 014,
© Navajivan Trust, 1960



  • Advaita : Hindu philosophy of Monism or Non-dualism
  • Agiari : Zoroastrian fire-temple
  • Ahimsa: Non-violence; in its positive aspect-love for all living things.
  • Allah : Muslim name of God
  • Amanitvam : humility
  • Aparigraha : non-possession
  • Ardhangini: woman; the 'better half'.
  • Ashram : abode of spiritual teacher;place for disciplined community living; stage of life.
  • Asoka : Indian monarch of 3rd century B.C. famed for his renunciation of empire and conquest and for his rock-edicts embodying Buddhist dharma.
  • Atishudra : One lower than the
  • shudra,the fourth caste at the bottom of Hindu social hierarchy; 'untouchable'.
  • Atman: soul
  • Avatar : literally, a 'descent'; incarnation of a deity, especially of Vishnu in the Hindu Trinity.
  • Bansi : bamboo flute as of the divine cowherd, Sri Krishna.
  • Bardoli: Gujarat village, connected with the Civil Disobedience Movement
  • Bhagwadgita : (see 'The Gita')
  • Bhakti : devotion.
  • Bhangi: scavenger; sweeper.
  • Bharat Mata : Mother India.
  • Bibhishan : brother of Ravana, in the Ramayana, known for his wise counsel.
  • Bhogabhumi : Land of enjoyment
  • Brahma : Hindu name of God the Creator,one of the Trinity.
  • Brahmachari : A celibate; one who observes Brahmacharya.
  • Brahmacharya: celibacy; code of conduct involving strict observance of chastity or continence in the pursuit of learning, philosophy and God.
  • Brahman, Brahmin: member of the first of the four castes, whose chief duty is the study and teaching of the Vedas and the performance of sacrifices and other religious rituals.
  • Buddha: a. founder of Buddhism, b. about 563, d. about 483 B.C; also known as Gautama, Siddhartha, Sakyamuni, etc.
  • Chaitanya: Bengali religious reformer of the 15th century A.D. who is worshipped by his followers as an incarnation of Sri Krishna.
  • Chakki: Grinding wheel or mill.
  • Chapati : thin flat cakes made of flour; unleavened bread.
  • Charkha : Spinning-wheel.
  • Dandi March : March undertaken by Gandhiji from March 12 to April 5, 1930, from his Sabarmati Ashram to the coastal village of Dandi, about 100 miles distant, with a view to breaking the Salt Law by picking upnatural salt from the sea-shore. His arrest at Dandi was followed by a countrywide movement of Civil Disobedience famous as the Salt Satyagraha.
  • Damayanti :Princess of Vidarbha and wife of Prince Nala of Naishadha, the constancy of whose devotion to each other forms the theme of a well-known episode in the Puranas.
  • Daridranarayana:God in the form of the poor and the destitute.
  • Dasharatha :King of Ayodhya, father of Rama, in the
  • Ramayana.
  • Dayanand :Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824-83), founder of the Arya Samaj.
  • Dharma : religion; law of one's being; righteousness; Hindu code of religion and morals or religious and moral duty.
  • Dharmaja : one born from a sense of duty.
  • Dharmayuddha :war fought for a righteous end by righteous means and methods.
  • Dheds :a community in Gujarat traditionally treated as 'untouchable'.
  • Dhurna :'sit-down' strike; an early andcrude form of Satyagraha.
  • Dnyandev : boy poet-saint of Maharashtra of the 13th century A.D., author of
  • Dnyaneshwari, a Marathi commentary on the Gita; also spelt as Dnyaneshwar or Jnaneshwar.
  • Draupadi :consort of the Pandava Princes, in the Mahabharata.
  • Dublas :a backward
  • shudra community of Gujarat
  • Duryodhana:Head of the Kaurava Princes, in the
  • Mahabharata.
  • Dyer : British General who fired on an unarmed assembly in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, on April 13, 1919, killing over 400 people.
  • Ganga:the sacred river Ganges of Northern India.
  • Ganja:narcotic from the flower of Indian hemp.
  • Ghani: village oil mill.
  • Gita, the:The 'Song Celestial'; a Hindu scriptural work in sanskrit verse, composed some centuries before the Christian era, in which Sri Krishna sums up the essence of Hindu religion and philosophy.
  • Ghee:clarified butter.
  • Gokhale:Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915), Indian politician, member of the Viceroy's Legislative Council and founder of the Servants of India Society, whom Gandhiji acknowledged as his political guru.
  • Goonda: a rowdy or hooligan.
  • Goondaism:rowdyism
  • Gopal: cowherd; a name of Sri Krishna.
  • Gur: jaggery, indigenous form of sugarmolasses
  • Guru: teacher; preceptor.
  • Goseva: service of the cattle;cow-protection..
  • Gram Panchayat:village tribune or 'council of five'.
  • Gramseva: village service.
  • Gram sevak:person employed in village service.
  • Hakim:practitioner of indigenous form of medicine.
  • Hanuman:The 'Monkey-God' who serves Rama in the Ramayana.
  • Hartal:strike, suspension of normal business.
  • Hooghli:western most branch of the River Ganges on the banks of which Calcutta is situated.
  • Ishopanishad:one of the major Upanishads.
  • Jainism:ancient Indian religion, one of the cardinal principles of which is non-violence.
  • Jains: followers of Jainism.
  • Janak: philosopher-king of Videha,foster-father of Sita, in the
  • Ramayana.
  • Kabir:poet-saint of northern India,who lived in the 15th century A.D. and who, in his devotional songs, dwelt on the essential oneness of the Godhead and the harmony between Hinduism and Islam.
  • Kamaja: one born of lust.
  • Karmabhumi: land of duty.
  • Karmayogi: one who has devoted his life to action in the selfless service of others.
  • Khaddar, Khadi:hand-spun and hand-woven cloth.
  • Kisan: peasant.
  • Koran: Muslim scripture.
  • Krishna:divine hero and central figure of the epic, Mahabharata, who is worshipped by the Hindus as the 8th incarnation of God.
  • Kshatriya:member of thesecond (warrior) caste among Hindus.
  • Lila, leela: divine play or sport; the creation is often explained by the Vaishnavas as the
  • leela of God, a conception that introduces elements of spontaneity and freedom into the universe.
  • Lok Sevak Sangh: Society or association for the service of the people.
  • Mahabharata, the:Hindu epic having for its theme the story of the great war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, princes of the Lunar race who were cousins, rival claimants to the throne of Hastinapur, (ancient Delhi).
  • Mhatma: Great Soul, title given toGandhiji.
  • Mahavir:Vardhamana. 24th Tirthankar or Prophet of Jainism (b. about 540, d. about 468 B.C.) who is popularly regarded as its greatest promulgator, originally named
  • Mhayajna:the great sacrifice or ritual of propitiation.
  • mantra, Mantram:sacred or magicalincantation.
  • Manushya: man.
  • Maya: illusion; in Hindu philosophy, Maya is the divine power which has created the cosmos.
  • Moksha:liberation from earthly bondage.
  • Muni: sage; ancient seer.
  • Nai Talim: literally, 'new education',name given to basic or craft education.
  • Namaz: form of Muslim prayer, worship.
  • Nanak : Fonder of Sikhism (b.1469-d.1538 or 1539 A.D.)
  • Nirvana :Salvation, Buddhist equivalent of ' Moksa'
  • Pancha, Panchayat: the five ; the communal tribune or 'council of five'
  • Panchayat Raj: rule of the Panchayat
  • Pandavas :the five brothers, prices ofthe Lunar Race, who were the victor in the Maharashtra war
  • Pinjrapoles :institutions for looking after old and disabled cattle
  • Poorna Swaraj:full self-government or complete independence
  • Prahlad :son of Hiranyakashipu, amythological demon king; Prahlad's worship of Vishnu led to persecution by his father who was ultimately slain by Narasimha, the ' Man-Lion' avatar of Vishnu
  • Pritam :Pritamdas, Gujarati poet ofthe 16th century A.D. who composed numerous devotional songs
  • Raj : kingdom, rule, regime
  • Rajachandra, Raychandbhai:Jain saint and philosopher, contemporary of Gandhiji, whom the latter acknowledged as his spiritual GURU. He died in 1900
  • Ram, Rama :hero of the epic, RAMAYANA,who is regarded by Hindus as an ideal man and king, and worshipped as the 7 thin carnation of God
  • Ramakrishna:Bengali saint (1836-86 A.D.) who was the GURU of Swami Vivekananda and who taught the oneness of the Godhead and the basic harmony of all religions. The Ramakrishna Mission is named after him
  • Ramayana :literally, the name of Rama; recitation of God's names
  • Ramanuja:Vaishnava scholar of the 12th century, who propounded Dualistic philosophy
  • Ramarajya :Hindu epic narrating the story of the abduction of Sita, wife of Rama, prince of Ayodhya, by Ravana, demon-kingof Lanka (Ceylon), and her rescue after the conquest of Lanka by the armies led by Ramaand the death of Ravana at Rama's hands
  • Ramji Mandir : Rama's temple
  • Ravana: the demon-king of Lanka, whoseabduction of Sita, led to his destruction at Rama's hands, in the Ramayana
  • Sadavrat : charity
  • Sahadharmin : wife
  • Samagra Gramseva:all-round village service
  • Samskaras :innate tendencies inherited from past life, religious customs
  • Sanatanist : faithful follower of ancient Vedic religion
  • Sannyas :abandonment of all worldly ties with a view to fixing the mind on the Supreme Being
  • Sannyasi : one who has taken to SANYAS
  • Sarvodaya : welfare of all
  • Satvika :tending to truth
  • Satya : truth
  • Satyagraha : recourse to truth-force orsoul-force
  • Satygrahi :one who practises Satyagraha
  • Savitri: wife of Satyavan who according tolegend, reclaimed his life from the God of Death
  • Shankara: Hindu philosopher of the 8thcentury A.D. who was one of the foremost exponents of Non-dualism of the Vedanta school of philosophy.
  • Shastras : the Hindu scriptures
  • Shloka : metrical verse or composition
  • Shudra : member of the fourth or menialcaste among Hindus
  • Sita: wife of Rama
  • Smritis :the Codes, based onrecollection of the Shastras
  • Sthitaprajna : literally, 'one ofsteadfast mind' ; a soul unaffected by extremes of joy and sorrow
  • Sudama : the indigent boyhood friend andassociate of Shri Krishna, whom the latter hours, in the BHAGAVATA
  • Surdas : blind Hindi poet of northern India wholived in the 16th century A.D.; his poetical work, Sursagar, narrating thestory of Krishna, is immensely popular with Hindi-speaking Hindus
  • Swadeshi : belonging to or made inone's own country
  • Swargarohan Parva: the name ofthe last of the eighteen sections of the epic MAHABHARATA which describes how, whenYudhisthira, the eldest of the five Pandava brothers, retired to the Himalayas, towardsthe close of his life, and lost his wife and four brothers one after another, Indraappeared in his chariot to take him in the flesh to his (Indra's) SWARGA, i.e, hisheaven where mortals after death enjoy the results of their good deeds on earth,
  • Tadgud : Jaggery prepared from thejuice of palmyra fruit
  • Tapascharya : penance
  • Tilaks : caste-marks on the forehead
  • Tukaram : poet-saint of Maharashtra who lived inthe 17th century A. D. and who composed thousands of devotional songs
  • Tulsidas :Hindi poet of northern India wholived in the 16th century A.D. and who composed, among other works,
  • Ramacharitamanasa, (lit. The Holy Pool of the Life of Rama), retelling the epic story of the exploits of Rama. This work is held in the highest veneration by all Hindi-speaking Hindus
  • Upanishads : ancient Hindu philosophicaltreatises, appended to the Vedas and regarded as equally authoritative as the Vedas
  • Vaidas : practitioner of Ayurveda systemof indigenous medicine
  • Vaishyas: members of the third (cultivator and mercantile) class among Hindus
  • Valmiki : first of Sanskrit poets and author ofthe Hindu epic, RAMAYANA
  • Varna :colour ; one of the fourdivisions of Hindu society (i.e., Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra) based onhereditary occupations
  • Varnashrama : four-fold division ofHindu society
  • Vedanta :a system of philosophyspringing from the Upanishads
  • Vedas : most ancient Hindu scriptures,composed of hymns to various deities. There are four collections of these hymns, known as Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda
  • Vidura : the low-born but 'wise one'in the MAHABHARATA honoured by Sri Krishna
  • Yajna : ritual or religious sacrifice
  • Yoga : Hindu system of contemplationfor effecting union of the human soul with the Supreme Being
  • Yogi : one who practises yoga
  • Yudhishthira: eldest of the Pandava Princes,celebrated for his right conduct
  • Zamindar:land holder
  • Zend Avesta : zoroastrian scriptures
  • Zoroaster : founder of religious system known as Zoroastrianism. He is also known as Zarathustra or Zerdusht. The Parsis of India, who areemigrants from Persia, are followers of this prophet