Partial Glossary of
Nazrul's Works


Sajed Kamal

Ahalya  Name of Sage Gautama's wife, in the Ramayana.  Described as an extremely beautiful     woman, she was suppossedly tricked into being seduced by Indra.  When Gautama found this out, he cast her out with a curse which turned her into stone until Ramchandra freed her from the curse and reunited the couple.

Alaka  The kingdom of Kuvera, the god of wealth.

Anchal  A corner of a dress, usually of a sari (or saree).

Aparajita  Name of a flower—blue, sometime, white—meaning undefeated (fem).

Ardhanarishwar  A deity whose right half of the body is that of Shiva and the left half is that of Durga; comparable to the Greek notion of androgyny (andro—male, gyn—female), the harmonious principle of Yin and Yang, feminine and masculine, contained within each other in unity.

Ashok  Name of a flower—fiery red, late spring and summer flower—meaning bliss due to an absence of grief.

Balaram  Krishna's brother whose weapon was the plough.

Baishakhi  A northwester during Baishakh, the first month of Bengali calendar, a month of the  arid season and northwesters.

Bedouin  An Arab of the nomadic North African, Arabian or Syrian tribes.

Bhairabi  An Indian musical raga associated with dawn, a pensive and melodic invocation of Goddess Durga (Shakti or Power).

Bheel  An aboriginal tribe of the Indo-Bangladesh subcontinent.

Bheehsma  In the Mahabharata, Shantanu's son.

Bholanath  Shiva—the forgetful, one of Shiva's numerous manifestations.

Bhrigu  According to Hindu mythology, Bhrigu, a sage, was sent by some sages to find out who was the greatest among Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.  First he went to Brahma, who was displeased with Bhrigu because (in fact, intentionally—to test Brahma) he had approached him without proper respect.  Bhrigu made amends for it and then went on to see Shiva, subjected him to the same test, and displeased him too for the same reason.  Bhrigu made amends for that too and then went on to see Vishnu.  Vishnu was sleeping. Bhrigu was angry and kicked Vishnu on his chest to protest it because Vishnu is supposed to sustain the creation, which was in chaos and suffering. Vishnu woke up and, instead of getting angry at Bhrigu, asked him if his foot was hurt. Bhrigu thereby decided that Vishnu was the greatest among the gods.

Bina, also spelled vina or veena, is a lute-like instrument, considered the principal source of all Indian stringed instruments.

Borrak  The celestial horse which carried Prophet Mohammad on a tour of Heaven (Islam).

Brindaban  A site of pilgrimage for Hindus, associated with Krishna's leela (activities).

Budh-Gaya  A site of pilgrimage for Buddhists where the Bodhi Tree, under which Buddha attained his enlightenment, is located.

Byomkesh  Shiva.  This name derived from byom (sky or air) and kesh (hair).  In order to break     Ganga'a fall, Shiva spread his matted hair like a net in the air.  See Ganga.

Chakorini  Female of chakor, a bird said to enjoy drinking moonbeams; attracted by the moon, it flies toward the moon.

Chakra  A circular disc-shaped weapon in the hand of Vishnu.

Chandi  A Hindu deity, a manifestation of Durga, who severed her own head and drank the blood; symbolic of a furious woman.

Chatokini  Female of chatok, a swallow-type bird, said to drink only raindrops.

Chenghis Khan  Mongol conqueror (1162-1227).  Also spelled Genghis Khan.

Chhayanat  An evening raga—serene, though lilting.

Dance-king  Shiva, the Nataraj—the master performing the dance of creation, sustenance and      destruction.

Darling of Arabia  The Prophet Mohammad.

Dhurjati  Shiva, with reference to his matted hair.

Dhutura  Name of a poisonous shrub, its flowers sometimes garlanding Shiva.

Drona  The master archer of the Mahabharata.

Durbasa  A Hindu mythological saint notorious for his quick temper.

Durga  The Hindu Goddess Durga, also called Shakti (Power); the wife of Shiva and the chief of female deities and a slayer of demons; she presides over prosperity, fame and victory of humankind.  Durga has 108 names or manifestations.

Eid  One of the chief Muslim festivals.

Eidgah  A place or a building where Muslims gather for Eid prayers.

Eid-ul-Fitr  The Eid of almsgiving (or fitra) to the poor, in money or food or goods, following a month of fasting, Ramadan.

Fakir  A Muslim religious mendicant.

Ganga  Sacred river in northern India.  Originally a heavenly river, she was sent to earth in response to the prayers of saint Bhagiratha.  To protect the earth from the shock of her fall from heaven, Shiva caught her with his matted hair and channelled her course.  Also called the Bahagirathi.

Garo  An aboriginal tribe of the Indo-Bangladesh subcontinent.

Geeta  "Song of God," a Hindu scripture.  In the form of a dialogue, Krishna advises and instructs Arjuna during the battle of Kurukshetra between the Kauravas and Pandavas, in the Mahabharata.

Ghazni Mahmud  An Afghan king who invaded India several times (10th-11th cen.).

Ghritachi  A female attendant in heaven.

Girijaya  The wife of the Himalayas, also the mother of Durga.

Grantha Saheb  The holy book of the Sikhs.

Great Conch  A conch is a shell which can be blown like a horn.  The Great Conch refers to the conch in the hand of Vishnu, signifying power and victory.

Habia  The seventh and the worst of the hells in Islamic faith.  Hindu myth also describes Hell as having tiers—Seven Hells.  Nazrul refers to both.

Hambeer  A pensive, evening raga.

Harishchandra  A generous king of Ayodhya who gave his entire kingdom and possessions as a gift to Sage Vishwamitra.  He is also revered for his truthfulness.

Hindol  A lilting, late-hour raga.

Holi  The festival of colors.  A Hindu celebration of spring and fertility, noted for its playful throwing of liquid dye at each other.

Hossain  Imam Hossain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad and a martyr during the battle of     Karbala, in Iraq, against Yazid, the conspiring ruler of Damascus.  Yazid's army surrounded

Hossain, his family and his army, cutting off their water supply from the river Euphrates, there by killing them.

Indra  In Hinduism, the king of gods and godessess.

Indrani  The wife of Indra.

Ishan  Shiva; also the northeast direction.

Israfil's trumpet  In Islam, upon God's command Israfil will blow his trumpet to announce the end of the world.

Jaban  To Hindus, a heretic; initially a Greek intruder in India, later a Muslim, particularly from the west or central Asia.

Jain  A follower of Jainism.

Jakat  A specified percentage of one's annual income is to be given to the needy.

Jerusalem  The spiritual capital of the Jews, also a major pilgrimage for Muslims and Christians.

Jhumur  A kind of love-song accompanied by dance.

Ka'aba  The "House of Allah" in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.  The site of the greatest annual assembly of Muslim pilgrims throughout the world.

Kabir The 16th century Indian poet-weaver with the stature of sainthood.

Kachha  The folded frontal portion of a dhuti, a men's wear wrapped around the lower half of the body.

Kafir  An infidel, according to Muslims.

Kalapahar  A Brahmin who, upon embracing Islam, became a staunch decrier of idolatry.

Kali  Goddess Kali, an awe-inspiring manifestation of Goddess Durga.

Kalki  The tenth and the final incarnation of Vishnu, expected to take place in the Dark Age, kalijoog.

Karbala  See Hossain.

Kashi  A site of pilgrimage for Hindus in India; Benaras or Varanasi.

Karna  The son of the maiden Kunti and Surya, in Mahabharata.

Keya  The screwpine flower or its tree.

Krishna  The principal incarnation of Vishnu.  Depicted in a number of popular forms, such as a handsome young man playing a flute, a child stealing milk balls, a lover of Radha, a cowherdess.  The love between Krishna and Radha symbolizes the love between the Divine and the human.

Krishnachura  Name of a flaming red flower.

Kumbhakarna  One who sleeps much too much and through everything; from the name of the  monstrous second brother of Ravana, as in the Ramayana, who used to keep awake only for a day after sleeping for six months at a stretch.

Kusha  Older son of Rama; brother of Lava.

Lakshmi  The Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity, goodness, and happiness.  Wife of Vishnu.

Lava  The second son of Rama; brother of Kusha.

Madrasa  A center or school for Islamic religious and cultural studies.

Mahabharata  The great Sanskrit ancient epic poem of the Hindus composed by Sage Vedavyasa, also Vyasdeva, suppossedly written after Ramayana.

Mahashsheta  Another name of Saraswati (see Saraswati).

Mahdi  An Islamic leader to assume the messianic role of establishing a reign of peace and justice.

Mantra  A sacred Hindu formula believed to embody the divinity invoked and to possess magical     power.

Mathura  A site of pilgrimage in India for Hindus, associated with Krishna's leela (activities).

Medina  A city in Saudi Arabia; a site of pilgrimage for Muslims.

Nanak  Guru Nanak (1469-1538), the founder of the Sikh religion.

Narayan  A manifestation of Vishnu, the sustainer in the supreme Hindu trinity.

Neelachal  A site of pilgrimage for Hindus in India.

Neelkantha  In Indian mythology, the ocean became polluted and needed to be churned—separating the nectar and the poison in the water. Gods took the nectar, but what to do with the poison? If not removed, it would poison the Earth.  Shiva came forward and drank it, saving the Earth. Henceforth, Shiva became known as Neelkantha, "Blue-necked," ("Neel" meaning blue, "kantha" meaning neck) from drinking the poison.  See Shiva.

Neem  The margosa, an extremely virtuous tree with small leaves, sweet-smelling flowers and small fruits—with a range of medicinal and environmental properties.

OM  The mystic sound denoting the Hindu trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; the origin or root of all sounds; the symbol of the Supreme Being.

Orpheus  In Greek mythology, a Thracian musician and poet whose flute music had the power to move inanimate objects and charm all.

Palash  Name of a fiery red spring flower.

Parashuram  The sixth of the ten incarnations of Vishnu, with his battle-axe (parashu) who       exterminated the Kshatriyas, the ruling warrior caste, from the face of the earth 31 times.

Parsee  A descendant of the Zorastrians who emigrated from Persia to India in the 8th century.

Pinakpani  Shiva.

Pir or Peer  A Muslim saint. 

Polui, from palo, a pail-shaped wicker basket for catching fish.

Puranas  The Hindu mythologies.

Quran  The holy book of Muslims.

Rabi  Literally, the sun; here it refers to Rabindranath Tagore.

Rakhi  A piece of colored thread which one ties around another's wrist to safeguard the latter from all evils.

Rama or Ramchandra  The hero of the Indian epic, Ramayana, composed by Sage Valmiki; "Rama hoi" refers to singing of the epic.

Rangan  Name of a clustered red flower blooming from spring through late monsoon.

Ravana  The villain of the Ramayana, who was the king of present day Sri Lanka and who abducted Seeta,  until she was rescued by Hanuman, the monkey god, and his army of monkeys.

Rishi  A Hindu saint, sage or ascetic.

Sadka  A charitable giving, especially as an expression of gratitude.

Shakya Muni  Gautama Buddha.  Gautama hailed from the Shakya tribe, the ruling Kshatriya caste; muni means a saint.

Santal An aboriginal tribe in the northeast Indo-Bangladesh subcontinent.

Saraswati  The Hindu goddess of speech, learning, fine arts and wisdom.

Seeta  Wife of Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, and the epitome of the chaste woman.

Shah Jahan  (1592-1666) The Mughal emperor in India who had the Taj Mahal built in memory of his wife, Momtaz.

Shehnai  A flute-type wooden wind-instrument capable of creating a deeply joyous as well as     melancholic tune.

Shantanu  Father of Bheeshma, in Mahabharata.

Shefali or Shefalika  Name of a fragrant flower with white petals and a yellow stem blooming from late monsoon through fall.

Shimul  Red flower of the cotton wool tree which begins blooming in spring before the leaves are out, on dry thorny branches.

Shiva  One of the Hindu trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.  Simultaneously he is the god of creation as well as destruction, annihilation as well as regeneration, barrenness as well as fertility, eroticism as well as asceticism.  The apparent paradox signifies the underlying potentialities of his power, manifested in many ways.  Shiva is depicted in many forms. One of the most popular forms is that of Nataraj, the Dance-king or the Lord of the Dance; the dance position is that of harmony or balancing between creation and destruction, between the opposing forces, between the polarities of Nature.  His consorts are Durga and Kali.  His abode is the Himalayan peak, Kailasa.

Shyam  Krishna, when depicted in black, dark blue or green complexion.

Snake-king  The Snake-king Vasuki, in Hindu mythology.

Taj Mahal  The all white-marble mausoleum in Agra, India, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Momtaz.

Teep  A dotted decorative mark on the forehead.

Thakoor  God or a god; also refers to the guardian deity of the family.

Tiki  A tuft of uncut hair kept on the back of the head to maintain personal holiness by Hindus.

Tripitaka  The holy book of the Buddhists.

Tulshi-tala The compound surrounded by a tulshi plant or a shrub; tulshi, an aromatic basel-like plant or a shrub, is considered sacred by the Hindus and its leaves serve as an offering in worship.

Uchchaisraba  Indra's celestial horse.

Upanishad  Sanskrit philosophical treatises giving an exposition of the Vedas, the oldest sacred writings of Hinduism.

Vedas  The oldest sacred writings of Hinduism, in four books.

Vishnu  One of the supreme Hindu trinity which also includes Brahma and Shiva; Vishnu is the     sustainer of the creation.

Vishwamitra  In the Ramayana, a Hindu sage who acquired miraculous powers through meditation.  Also the guardian and instructor of Rama and Lakshman during their youth.

Yamadagni  A saint, the father of Parashuram (see Parashuram).

Zend-Avesta  or Zendavesta  The holy book of the Parsees.