Abhaya Sakyan messenger to the Kolis. Sanskrit name meaning without fear
Addha or Addhakashi Famous courtesan, tutor of Ratna. In Buddhist legend, she was a famous courtesan of Varanasi, the capital of the Kashi clan. Her name means “Half of Kashi,” as it was said that it took half the revenues of wealthy Kashi to pay for a night with her.
Agastya Sakhi’s mother. One of the Seven Celestial Sages, credited with writing many verses in the Rig Veda (see below).
Ajata The Maghadan king Bimbisara’s legitimate son, half-brother of Chandaka. Pali name: Ajatasattu, Sanskrit: Ajatasattru, meaning ‘without enemies.’ In the Buddhist legend, he succeeds to Maghadan throne after imprisoning his father Bimbisara and starving him to death. Later repents and is forgiven by the Buddha.
Amrapali Chandaka’s mother, a courtesan who was an apprentice of Addhakashi, the lover of Bimbisara. Pali name:   Ambapali, derived from Sanskrit ‘amra,’ meaning mango, and ‘pallawa,’ meaning leaves or sprouts. In the Buddhist legend, a courtesan of Vaisali, city of Licchavis, who donates a grove to the Buddha’s sangha.
Amritodana Brother of King Suddhodana, father of Ananda. A geneaological chart that appears in Edward J. Thomas’s life of the Buddha shows Suddhodana had four brothers: Dhotodana, Amritodana,   Sakkodana, Sukkodana; and two sisters, Amita and Pamita.
Angirasa The noble son of the Sakyan priest Bhela and his wife, King Suddhodana’s sister. Angirasa went to study in Varanasi long before Siddhartha’s birth. In Indian mythology, one of the Seven Sages. They were the first Aryas to hear the sacred Vedas from Vac, the Goddess of Speech. Etymologically, Angirasa is related to ‘angel.’
Anga Clan Ally of the Maghadan clan. Capital: Campa.
Angulimala Mala’s name when she becomes leader of the outlaws. It means “Gruesome Garland,” and is given to her because of the necklace of her victims’ fingers that she wears. In Buddhist legend, a man who was a vicious outlaw and wore a necklace of his victims’ fingers. He was redeemed by the Buddha.
Anil A youth of Gauri.
Anjana Chief of the Koli clan before Dhara’s father Dandapani. Had three daughters by the Sakyan princess Yasodhara:   Atimaya, wife of Anjana’s successor chief Dandapani and mother of Dhara; Maya, favorite wife of Sakyan King Suddhodana and mother of Prince Siddhartha; Prajapati, second wife of Suddhodana, mother of Nanda and Sundari. In some Buddhist legends, Anjana is the father of Maya, who gave birth to Prince Siddhartha, and her sister Prajapati (Pali: Pajapati).
antariya Long length of cloth worn by men and women–wound around the legs and tied around the waist. In the cities, the method of tying could be quite elaborate.
Anu A bandit in Rohit’s gang.
Arjuna Sakhi’s second son. In the Indian epic the Mahabharata, Arjuna is one of the Pandava brothers; a great warrior and archer. His charioteer, Lord Krishna, is the god Vishnu in disguise. The night before the climactic battle, Krishna reveals himself and gives Arjuna spitirual guidance in the stanzas of the epic known as the Bhagavad Gita, the Song of the Lord.
Asita “The Black One” Wandering ascetic, Mala’s and Nalaka’s guru, prophesies Siddhartha’s future greatness. In some legends, Asita is a sage who prophesies Siddhartha will free humanity from suffering. He weeps because he knows he will not live to receive the Buddha’s teachings.
Ashtak A stable boy at Suddhodana’s palace.
Ashvamedha Horse Sacrifice, which the Kosalan King Prasenajit offers to legitimize his rule of the Kashi kingdom. The elaborate, year-long Horse Sacrifice, which the god Indra performed 100 times to become king of the gods. If a king performs it perfectly, it will give him dominion over the world and bestow on him the title of Chakravartin, World Emperor.
Atimaya Dandapani’s wife, Dhara’s mother. Has some ability to predict the future.
Atri A sage who lives in a hermitage near Ganga’s river, not far from Varanasi. Chandaka and Siddhartha meet when they run away to the Shining City. Wife: Maitreyi. One of the Seven Sages.
Avanti clan Maghadan ally.


Bharata Another name for Sakhi’s son, Yudisthira. In the Mahabharata, another name for the eldest Pandava prince, ‘Yudisthira.’
Bhela King Suddhodana’s chief priest, Angirasa’s father. Also has two other children by a later marriage, Uttara and Udayin.
Bhadda Kundalakesa Daughter of wealthy Maghadan; with her brother, defender of the poor in Maghada’s courts. Becomes a Jain nun. Dissatisfied with the Jains, she searches for one who has the answers. In the Buddhist legend, Bhadda fell in love with a condemned robber. When he tries to kill her, she pushes him off a cliff. Joined Jains as a nun, renowned for wisdom gained by debating famous male sages, pounding her rose-apple walking staff on the ground to challenge them. In Buddhist legend, she debated with Sariputra at Savastri, he sent her to the Buddha who recognized her wisdom and showed her honor by inviting her into the Sangha with the words, “Come Bhadda.”
Bhallika Sakyan merchant who becomes Sakhi’s husband. A Sakyan merchant who along with his business partner Trapusha becomes one of the first lay followers of the Buddha.
Bhima Sakhi’s third son. In the Mahabharata, one of the Pandava princes.
Bhrigu Sakhi’s father. One of the Seven Celestial Sages, caster of horoscopes.
Bimbisara Ruler of the Maghada clan. Capital: Rajagriha. In the Buddhist legend, Bimbisara recognizes Siddhartha’s extraordinary nature even before his enlightenment; when Siddhartha is still just a mendicant Bimbisara invites him to rule his kingdom. Once Siddhartha becomes the Buddha, Bimbisara becomes one of his first followers. Donates the Bamboo Grove for the Sangha.
Brahma The Creator. In the Buddha’s time, the Vedic gods such as Indra, Vayu, Varuna, and Yama predominated. Though Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer are mentioned in the Vedas, it was not until a thousand years after the Buddha’s time that the three great gods of modern Hinduism gained ascendance as the Trimurti.
Brahmacharin, Brahmacharini A celibate student. The children of nobles and the wealthy were often sent to ashrams for the first stage of their education, which lasted twelve years. Boys were known as Brahmacharins; girls, Brahmacharinis, were occasionally but not typically offered this opportunity.
Brahmadatta Ruler of Kashi, lover of the courtesan Addhakashi. She flees his city of Varanasi after the Kosalan king conquers it, and goes to the Sakyan kingdom where she becomes King Suddhodana’s favorite. In Indian mythology, Brahmadatta was once the king of the Kashi clan.
Brahmin Member of the priestly caste, the highest caste by their own estimation. A member of the priestly caste. In Indian mythology, it is said that when the gods sacrificed the lord-of-progeny, from his head came the Brahmins, the Priests; from his arms came the warrior caste, the Kshatriyas; from his legs the farmers and merchants, the Vaishyas; and from his feet, the Shudras, the lowest caste. Throughout Indian history, there was a struggle for power between Brahmins and Kshatriyas, the warriors and rulers. Ultimately each needed the other, and a tenuous balance of power prevailed .


Chakravartin World Emperor. In Indian mythology, if a king performed the Ashvamedha perfectly, he would become a World Emperor.
Chandala The name designating the keeper of the cremation grounds, a job usually done by outcastes. The Sakyan noble Angirasa and the former king of the Surasena clan, Harischandra, perform this task as a penance. A keeper of cremation grounds
Chandaka Siddhartha’s charioteer. Pali: Channa. In the Buddhist legend, Siddhartha’s charioteer. He was driving Prince Siddhartha from his father’s palace when the prince saw a sick man, an old man, and a dead man. These sights made Siddhartha realize that everyone was subject to suffering, old age, and death. Chandaka also helped him flee his father’s palace and enter into the life of a homeless wanderer.
Chedi clan Kosalan vassal state.
Chitra Koli warrior, son of Rajesh.
Choti Serving girl in Sakhi’s and Bhallika’s household.
Cobra An outlaw in Angulimala’s army.


Dandapani Koli chief, father of Dhara. In some sources from the Buddhist canon, he is the father of Prince Siddhartha’s wife.
Daruk One of Angulimala’s outlaws, a deserter from the Kosalan army. In one version of the Kali myths, Daruka is a demon that the goddess Kali kills. He bleeds all over and makes a pretty big mess; Kali licks up all the blood, which is why she is pictured with her tongue out. Her tongue eventually came to symbolise wisdom in the Tantric tradition.
Deepa Koli villager, Mitu’s husband.
Devadatta Also called Dev. An illegitimate cousin of Siddhartha’s, by the king’s brother Dhotodana on a low-caste woman. He is in many ways as gifted as Siddhartha, and from childhood he is a rival of the prince. In the Buddhist legend, he is portrayed as Siddhartha’s cousin, who is jealous of Siddhartha’s gifts. He joins the Sangha after Siddhartha’s enlightenment, but tries several times to kill the Buddha.
Dhara (Yasodhara) Daughter of the Koli chief Dandapani and his wife Atimaya. Siddhartha’s wife; Rahula’s mother
Dhaumya Friend to Chandaka. In the Mahabharata, the spiritual preceptor of the Pandava princes.
Dhavalagiri Mountain Goddess, guardian of Koli clan. Also name of Koli village. A peak in Nepal.
Devi The Great Goddess, from whom all other goddesses spring. The Devi, also known as the Great Goddess or Shakti, the female principle. She can be worshipped in the form of a rock or a tree, or as goddess such as Kali, the violent and tender mother; Parvati, whose mastery of yoga won the heart of the god Shiva, Sarasvati, the goddess of wisdom and learning; Lakshmni, Vishnu’s consort and goddess of wealth; and many others.
dharana In yoga, the ability to focus on a single object without letting thoughts of anything else intrude.
dhyana In yoga, the step after dharana where the yogi diminishes the perceiver or watcher and moves closer to the fusion of observer and observed reached in samadhi (see below).
Dilip A youth of Gauri who attacks Mala. Later becomes one of Prakash’s henchmen. In Indian mythology, an ancestor of Prince Rama. He and his wife nurtured the bull Nandini in order to remove a curse of barrenness that had been placed on him for insulting the wishing cow.
Dimi The son of Mitu, the Koli outcaste who becomes Sakhi’s servant.
Duryodhana A cousin of the Pandava princes, who plots to keep them from inheriting the kingdom. In the contemporary novel Ajaya, the writer Anand Neelakantan makes him a misunderstood hero.


Gandhara clan A clan in the northwest. Gandhara’s ancient capital of Taxila was famous for learning. The clan occupied part of what is present day Afghanistan.
Garuda Koli shaman. In Indian mythology, the king of the eagles.
Gunin One of Prakash’s brutish henchmen. Sanskrit meaning: “Virtuous.”
Gyan Bhadda’s brother. Sanskrit meaning: “Knowledge.”


Harischandra King of Surasena, who loses his kingdom, wife, and son through treachery and becomes a wandering seeker. Befriends Kirsa, Mala, Dhara. A kind of Indian Job. He is a king who angers the sage Vasistha. Cursed by Vasistha, he loses his kingdom and sells his wife and son into slavery. He becomes a chandala, a keeper of the cremation grounds, as a penance.


Indra King of the gods. In Indian mythology, celestial warrior, said to have performed 100 Horse Sacrifices to become king of the gods.


Jagai Kshatriya tutor of Dhara.
Jains Religious order. Jain philosophy was founded in Brahmanic beliefs, but differed in that Jains believed in an individual soul and that karma could be overcome. They opposed the priestly caste and did not teach belief in the gods at all. They believed profoundly in the principle of ahimsa, non-violence, a reaction against animal sacrifice.
Jayasena Siddhartha’s great-grandfather, a wise and just ruler. Ancestor of Siddhartha (see Edward J. Thomas’s The Life of Buddha as Legend and History.)
Jivaka A prominent court physician in the Sakyan kingdom, becomes Sakhi’s lover. Son of a merchant. Physician educated in Taxila who follows the Buddha.
Jyoti The potter Lal’s wife. Sanskrit meaning: “Light”


Kailash Mount Kailash is the abode of Shiva in the Himalayas.
Kalindi A bird who accompanies Siddhartha on his quest for truth. The daughter of the sun god; also a mythological river, a real river in Bengal, and another name for the Yamuna River.
Kapa Wife of Rajesh, a Koli warrior.
Kapilavastu Capital of Sakyan clan; named for sage Kapila who favored the Sakyas. Sakyan capital
Karna Koli warrior. In the epic Mahabharata, Kunti’s unacknowledged son; allies himself with the enemies and cousins of his half-brothers, the Pandava princes.
Kanthaka Siddhartha’s magical white horse. Siddhartha’s horse. According to the Lalitavistara, Kanthaka died of a broken heart when on the night of Siddhartha’s flight from his father’s kingdom, the prince sent him back to Kapilavastu with the charioteer Chandaka.
Kashi clan Once powerful clan, now eclipsed by Kosala and Maghada, chief city is Varanasi, also known as Shiva’s Shining City. One of the powerful clans of ancient India.
Katha Sage, father of the courtesan Ratna. The Katha Upanishad tells the story of the boy Nachiketa, who goes to visit Yama, lord of the dead, and impresses the god with his devotion. When Yama offers him infinite riches or wisdom and Nachiketa chooses wisdom, the lord of the dead is pleased and teaches him the secret of the fire sacrifice.
Ketu A bandit in Rohit’s gang. Sometimes said to be an incarnation of Indra; “Ketu” is the tail of a dragon or demon, Rahu, whose head was cut off in a battle.
Kirsa Gautami A cousin of the Buddha; mother Mala and father Angirasa, a Sakyan noble. In Buddhist legend, sometimes said to be a cousin of Prince Siddhartha who was in love with him. In some stories he gives her a pearl necklace as a token of his esteem, in some stories he gives her the necklace because he doesn’t value jewels and riches.
Koli clan Independent clan; becomes Sakyan ally/vassal when Sakyas rescue them from Kosalan attack. In Buddhist legend, clan of Siddhartha’s mother Maya and aunt Prajapati. Also known as Koliyas.
Kosala clan One of three clans struggling for supremacy; ruled by King Prasenajit. Its power is on the wane as Sakyas and Maghadas rise. In Buddhist legend, Prasenajit is powerful king who embraces the Buddha’s teachings.   His son Virudhaka banishes him, and he seeks refuge in Maghada.
Kshatriya A member of the warrior/ruling caste. The warrior caste, the caste of Siddhartha and many of his followers. There is always tension between the Brahmanical caste, which is “higher” in some senses but requires the warrior caste to support it.
Kshanta A magician and evil yogi.
Kumar Harischandra’s dog.
Lakshmi The courtesan Addhakashi’s servant; also the goddess of wealth. In Indian mythology, the Goddess of Wealth


Lal The potter of Gauri, who becomes Mala’s master.
Lanka A bandit in Rohit’s gang. (1) The island of Ceylon, where the demon Ravana took Prince Rama’s kidnapped wife, Sita. (2) An evil spirit who attends Shiva and the Devi.
Licchavi clan Allies of Maghada.
Lila Priestess of one of the hidden forest tribes, the Nagas, the descendants of the snake gods.


Maghadas One of the most powerful clans, ruled by King Bimbisara. In Buddhist legend, Bimbisara is the first monarch to adopt the Buddha’s teachings.
Mahavira Jain Leader of the Jains. Name means “Great Hero”‘ one of the the great Jinas, the ‘Victors,’ of Jain sect, a contemporary of the Buddha.
Mahesh An irascible, lecherous sage living in the Nigrodha Grove of the Sakya clan.
Maitreyi The wife of Atri. Siddhartha and Chandaka rest at their hermitage before they journey on to Varanasi. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad tells the story of Maitreyi, wife of the brilliant sage Yajnavalka. When Yajnavalka prepares to divide his wealth between his two wives and retreat to the forest and become a holy hermit, Maitreyi asks him if wealth will bring knowledge of the divine. When he replies that it will not, she refuses her share of his wealth and goes with him into the forest seeking spiritual liberation.
Mala An outcaste girl who becomes an infamous bandit, and then mysterious yogi who comes to Dhavalagiri and becomes Dhara’s tutor. Sanskrit meaning: “Garland.”
Malla clan Sakyan ally.
Marut Angulimala’s chief lieutenant. In Indian mythology, celestial warriors who accompany Indra.
Maya Devi Suddhodana’s favorite wife, mother of Siddhartha, who died soon after his birth. In Buddhist legend, mother of Prince Siddhartha. She dies a week after his birth.
Mitra A Varanasi beggar boy.
Mitu Koli village woman who carries night soil.
Moksha Spiritual liberation, height of self-knowledge, leading to union with Atman, the Universal Self.
Mohan A page in King Suddhodana’s court. A name of Vishnu’s avatar Krishna, meaning “bewitching.”
Mongoose An outlaw in Angulimala’s army
Moti Addhakashi’s sister, Angirasa’s lover before Mala. He was wrongly accused of her murder. Sanskrit meaning: “Pearl.”


Nachiketa Kirsa’s son In Indian mythology, the boy whose story is told in the Katha Upanishad. Distressed at his father’s lack of faith, Nachiketa goes to visit Yama, the god of the Dead, who reveals much secret knowledge to him.
Nagas Aboriginal people, dwellers in the deep forest In Indian mythology, snake people.
Nalaka Along with the yogi Mala he is a student of Asita. Student of Asita the black; gives begging bowl & robe to Siddhartha at the renunciation.
Nakula One of Sakhi’s twin sons. In the Mahabharata, a Pandava prince, one of the twin sons of the gods Nakula and Sahadeva see Sahadeva below).
Nanda Son of Prajapati and Suddhodana. In Buddhist legend, Siddhartha’s half-brother; noted for skill with lance, sword.
Nara Koli woodcutter In Indian mythology, Nara-Narayana are the twin incarnations of Vishnu, who fight for righteousness on earth.


Outcaste The lowest members of society. Usually of the dark-skinned aboriginal people who lived along Ganga’s banks and in her forests before the Arya clans conquered the lands. Casteless, lowest in Indian society, impure. In the Buddha’s time, children of high caste men and low caste women could assume their father’s caste, eg. Brahmin, but in the reverse case they become outcastes.


Pamita Suddhodana’s sister, wife of Bhela, mother of Angirasa, and Kirsa’s grandmother. In some histories of the Buddha, Suddhodana had two sisters, Amita and Pamita, but they do not figure very prominently in his story.
Pandavas The legendary princes for whom Sakhi’s sons are named. The five princes who in the Mahabharata war with their cousins, the Kauravas, over who will rule the kingdom.
Parvati Shiva’s consort. In Indian mythology, the beautiful, blue-skinned goddess who won the god Shiva’s heart (helped by one of the love god Kama’s arrows) with her mastery of yoga.
Prajapati One of Anjana’s three daughters; along with her sister Maya becomes wife to King Suddhodana. Raises Siddhartha after his mother’s death. A woman of the Koli (Koliya) clan, Maya Devi’s sister, raises Siddhartha after Maya’s death, asks the Buddha to accept women in the Sangha.
Prakash Headman of Mala’s village, murderer of her mother and probably her father.
Prakriti Elemental nature; the female principal that stands in contrast to Purusha
Prasenajit Ruler of Kosalas. His capital is Sravasti, but he lives in the ancient and holy city of Varanasi, which he has recently conquered. In Buddhist legend, Kosalan king whose wife convinces him to follow the Buddha.   His son Virudhaka drives him from his kingdom and he takes refuge with his nephew Ajatasattru, King Bimbisara’s son.
Prem A young Koli warrior, Tilotamma’s husband.
Priya An old woman of Gauri, wife of the former headman and mother of Sujata.
Purusha The essence of spirit, the male principle.


Rajesh Koli warrior.
Ram, King Ram The king of Varanasi’s beggars, who is always called King Ram, no matter what his real name.
Ratna A courtesan, once apprenticed to the famous Addhakashi. Chandaka’s lover.
Rebha A boy in the beggar king’s camp.
Rig Veda One of the oldest sacred texts in existence, dating perhaps to 1700 BCE. The word veda means knowledge or science; the Rig (Knowledge of Verses) is one of the four vedas. It contains hymns of praise. The other three are the Yajur Veda (Knowledge of Sacrifice), the Sama Veda (Knowledge of Songs), and the Atharva Veda (Knowledge of the Fire Priest).
Rohit An outlaw who rescues Mala and becomes her lover. In Indian mythology, the son of King Harischandra, who lost his kingdom, wife and son.


Saibya Wise woman who lives in the Nigrodha Grove; teaches Kirsa healing arts. In Indian mythology, Harischandra’s wife.
Sahadeva One of Sakhi’s twin sons. In the Mahabharata, one of the Pandava princes, the twin sons of the celestial Ashvin twins, the horse-headed Nakula and Sahadeva, who are physicians to the gods.
Sakyas Clan ruled by Suddhodana, Siddhartha’s father. In Buddhist legend, the birth clan of Siddhartha. The Buddha is sometimes called Sakyamuni, or Wise Man of the Sakyas.
Sakhi, PriyaSakhi Dhara’s friend;married Bhallika; mother of five sons.
samadhi The fusion of observer with the observed; the highest state of yogic concentration and consciousness.
Sarasvati Goddess of learning, arts. In Indian mythology, the goddess of wisdom, learning, and the arts, and the wife of Brahma the Creator. Often portrayed holding a vina.
Satyaki Young Kshatriya of Suddhodana’s court. In the Mahabharata, Krishna’s charioteer.
Satthuka Rogue who seduces Bhadda when she is young.
Shakuni A hot-tempered warrior, at one time a bodyguard of Addhakashi. In the Mahabharata, Shakuni was an uncle of the Kauravas. He cheated Yudisthira at dice, so that Yudisthira lost his kingdom and all his wealth.
Shiva Also called the Great God, the Lord of Yoga, the Supreme Ascetic, the Auspicious One. One of the Trimurti, the three principle gods who became dominant after the Buddha’s time, when the Vedic gods were in decline. Known as the Great God, the Destroyer, the Lord of Yoga, the Lord of the Dance who will dance end of the universe. The god who personifies the tension between the ascetic seeker and the householder, the Erotic Ascetic, in Doniger’s words.
Shudra Lowest caste-agricultural workers, servants, slaves, etc., but still better off than outcastes.
Siddhartha Son of Suddhodana, name means “he who achieves his goal.” Siddhartha in the Buddhist legend is the Sakyan prince who leaves his royal dharma to seek the answer to life’s suffering. He finds enlightenment, and the god Indra (in some legends the god Brahma) convinces him not to retreat from the world, but to go forth and teach his Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path to all.
Sihanu Jayasena’s son, old Yasodhara’s brother, father of Suddhodana. According to some sources, a Kshatriya named Sihahanu was the grandfather of Prince Siddhartha.
Simca One of Addhakashi’s apprentices.
Sitala The fever goddess.
Sixteen Clans Maghadas, Angas, Kosalas, Kashis, Vajjis, Mallas, Sakyas, Kolis, Licchavis, Vamsas, Kuru-Pancalas, Surasenas, Chedis, Avantis, Ghandaras, Kambojas. Various sources list various clans as among the Sixteen Kingdoms that existed at the Buddha’s time. The clans of the Sadhana trilogy are all mentioned in at least one source.
Suddhodana Ruler of Sakyas, of the Gautama family. In Buddhist legend, Siddhartha’s father.
Sujata Mala’s mother, the daughter of a prosperous Gauri family who is raped by Prakash when she refuses to marry him.   The outcaste Talu takes her in. In Buddhist legend, Sujata brings an offering of food to the spirit who inhabits a sacred bodhi tree, hoping to gain the spirit’s favor and conceive a son.   She sees Siddhartha there.   He is at the point of death from his austerities, and thinking he is the divine being, Sujata gives him the offering of special rice. Strengthened, Siddhartha vows to sit under the tree until he attains enlightenment.
Sukesa Captain in Suddhodana’s army.
Sundari-Nanda Daughter of Suddhodana and Prajapati. Sundari=beautiful, Nanda=pleasure. In Buddhist legend, half-sister of the Buddha.   In some accounts, she becomes an adept at meditation, in others, she is portrayed as being unhappy in the Buddhist sangha.
Surasena clan Clan ruled by Harischandra, who lost his throne and family through treachery.
Sveta Sage living in the Grove, a saintly old man. Adapted the name from the famous Svetaketu of the Chandogya Upanishad, Uddalaka’s arrogant son, who gets his comeuppance from his father and subsequently becomes the ideal seeker. Uddalaka illustrates how the Self, the Essence, is in everything by dissolving salt in water where it is not seen but can be tasted no matter from where you drink.


Talu Mala’s father, an outcaste who tans hides for his living.
Tapas Spiritual heat generated in yoga or meditation.
Tilotamma Sakhi and Dhara’s friend in Dhavalagiri.
Tissa A concubine of King Suddhodana.
Trapusha Merchant of Kapilavastu, partners w/ Bhallika of Varanasi. In Buddhist legend, a merchant and early convert to Buddha’s teachings -in some tales first to give food to the Buddha after enlightenment.


Udayin Dissipated son of the royal priest Bhela. In Buddhist legend, sometimes known as Kalaudayin, sent by Suddhodana to find his missing son Siddhartha. He finds the Buddha and becomes an immediate convert.
Uddhava Sakyan general.
Upanishads Also known as the Forest Teachings, spiritual knowledge not attached to Vedic ritual and available to all castes. In Indian religious thought, the writings of ascetics and gurus in reaction to the rigid orthodoxy of brahmanic religion, but usually including some of its beliefs.
Uttara Scheming and depraved daughter of the royal priest Bhela.
Uttarapatha Northern Trade Road. Ancient trade route that stretched from China westward across India to Taxila, the city at the foot of the Hindu Kush, link to Persia and through it to the Mediterranean.


Vaddhesi Old nurse of the Gautama clan. According to Buddhist legend, when Queen Prajapati renounced the world to follow her nephew Siddhartha, Vaddhesi followed her and became a nun.
Vaishya A member of the professional caste-merchants, bankers, artisans, builders, etc. One of the four castes: professionals, merchants, bankers, artisans, builders, etc.
Vajji clan Sakyan ally.
Valmiki Prominent Kashi Brahmin, the landlord of the village in which Mala grew up. In Indian mythology, the compiler of the story of Prince Rama, an avatar of Vishnu, and his faithful wife Sita.
Varuna God of Rita, the Cosmic Order, in post-Vedic times often connected with oceans and waters.
Vatsa clan Vassals of King Prasenajit
Vayu God of the wind. In the Mahabharata, the father of Kunti’s third son Bhima.
Vedas Holy teachings of brahmanism dating back to at least 1500 BCE, even at the time of the Buddha over a thousand years old. Rig Veda-Hymns; Samaveda-melodies, hymns; Yajurveda-Rituals. A 4th, the Atharthveda, mostly made up of spells, incantations, almost totemic beliefs.
Vilas One of Prakash’s henchmen.
Virudha Son of Prasenajit, a cruel man. Full name: Virudhaka. In Buddhist legend, a traitor who usurps the throne of his father, King Prasenajit of Kosala. In some accounts, Virudhaka initiates a war with the Sakyas and wipes them out.
Vishnu One of the Trimurti, the three principle gods who became dominant after the Buddha’s time, when the Vedic gods were in decline. He is the Preserver and has many famous avatars on earth, including Lord Krishna, the hero Arjuna’s charioteer, who reveals himself to Arjuna on the eve of a great battle in verses known as The Bhagavad Gita.
Vishramvan Palace Palace of the Gautamas in Kapilavastu.
Vishva Sage who is persecutor of Harischandra. In Indian mythology, Vishvamitra was a Kshatriya who performed severe austerities to become a Brahmin. There are many stories about him and his feud with the sage Vasistha, one of which is his persecution of King Harischandra (See Harischandra, above).


Yama Dharmaraja The King of the Dead and Lord of Judgement.
Yajna An evil Brahmin, chief priest of King Prasenajit and later, priest to Prasenajit’s evil son Prince Virudha.
Yasodhara Also known as Dhara. Old Yasodhara was her grandmother, the sister of Sihanu, Siddhartha’s mad grandfather. In the Buddhist legend, according to some legends she is the wife of the Buddha,   in other legends she is Siddhartha’s grandmother, and his wife is variously called Gopa, Bimba, Bhaddakaccana, and Rahulamata (mother of Rahula).
Yayati General of Surasena, Harischandra’s friend. In the sacred texts known as the Puranas, he is the ffth king of Lunar race.
Yudisthira Sakhi’s oldest son. In the epic Mahabharata, King Yudisthira is the oldest Pandava brother, the ideal king.