Glossary of Bhagavad Gita

This is a simple listing of words of people, places and things found in the Bhagavad Gita.  This is only an introduction and so the information is quite superficial, yet useful for beginners working their way through as it helps one keep track whilst studying. 
 
One needs to be very careful when reading a glossary prepared by just anyone.  Impersonalists will undervalue or deny the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  Western romantics will see symbolism that is not there while others will interpret the words to enhance their own created version, not the Bhagavad Gita as it is.  The Bhagavad Gita is not Hindu mythology but fact and others find this also hard to believe and it visible in their glossaries. 
 
This listing therefore has been adjusted wherever possible to present facts rather than speculation.  An interesting feature which has been left in, is the meaning of names.  So bear in mind that whilst this is interesting, there is no concrete proof that this is accurate.
 
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Name or PersonDetails and name meaningWordWord meaning
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Name or PersonDetails and name meaningWordWord meaning
Abhimanyu the son of Arjuna whose name means 'imperishable'   
  Achyuta immortal 
  Adharma unrighteousness 
  Adhibhuta physical region 
  Adhyatma Individual Self - the soul 
Adityas Demi gods meaning 'sons of the light'   
Agni Demi god Lord of Fire   
  Ahankara False ego 
  Akasa sky or ether 
  Akshara imperishable 
Arjuna one of the Pandavas, mighty archer and one of the two main characters (the other is Krishna) in the Bhagavad Gita. The name means 'clarity of pure devotion'   
Asita Ancient sage   
  Asvattha  a sacred Banyan tree 
Asvatthaman one fighting on the Kauravas side whose name means 'who has the obstinacy of a horse'   
Asvins Twin demi-gods meaning 'lords of pure desire'   
  Atma soul 
  Aushadha plants in general, including rice and barley, eaten by all living beings or it can also mean medicine 
Bharata refers to the dynasty that ruled ancient India for many generations. The name means 'descendant of the light of wisdom'. Sometimes, it refers to Arjuna or to the first ruler in the dynasty, Bharata or to Dhritarashtra. Another name of India 'Bharat' has originated from this term.   
Bhima one of the 5 Pandavas,with a huge physique and an appetite. The name means 'who knows no fear'   
Bhishma The grandfather of the Pandavas and the Kauravas fighting on the Kauravas side. the name means 'who rules fear'   
Bhrigu ancient sage   
Brahma The God of creation belonging to the trinity (3 Gods) of creation, preservation and destruction in Hinduism   
Brihaspati chief of priests   
  Brihat-Saman  a hymn 
  Buddhi mind, intellect or reason 
  Buddhi yoga  Yoga of intelligence 
Chekitana a king allied with the Pandavas   
Chitraratha    
Devala Sage   
Dhananjaya Arjuna meaning 'conqueror of wealth'   
  Dharma righteousness, one's correct duty 
Dhrishtadyumna a king allied to the Pandavas whose name means 'who attacks impurity'   
Dhristaketu a king allied with the Pandavas whose name means 'continuity of light'   
Dhritarashtra father of the Kauravas whose name means 'blind ambition'   
  Dhrti constancy 
Draupadi the common wife of the Pandavas whose name means 'enemy of offenders'   
Drona or Dronacharya  the teacher of warfare to the Pandavas and the Kauravas. His name means 'who injures his foes with weapons'   
Drupada a king allied with the Pandavas whose name means 'he who stands like a wooden pillar'   
Duryodhana the eldest of the Kauravas and the chief enemy of the Pandavas. His name means 'defender of evil'   
  Dvandva a word 
  Ekitana one tone of chanting 
Gandharvas celestial singers   
Anantavijaya the name of Yudhisthira's conch meaning 'endless victory'   
Asuras Demons   
Daityas    
Devadhatta the name of Arjuna's conch meaning 'ambassador of the Gods'   
Devatas or Devas  Demi gods   
Brahman, Brahmana or Brahmin  God in general or a God realised soul or the specific caste (sub-division) in Hindu society whose duty is to learn, teach sacred texts and look after the temples.   
Gandiva the bow of Arjuna meaning 'whose song causes terror'   
Ganges a very special holy river   
Garuda celestial bird   
Govinda Sri Krsna meaning 'who is one-pointed light'   
Gudakesa another name of Arjuna meaning 'who has conquered sleep'   
  Guna Modes of Material Nature 
Hari name of Lord Krishna meaning 'remover of duality'   
Himalaya a mountain range in India   
Hrishikesa Sri Krsna meaning 'ruler of the senses'   
Ikshvaku ancient Indian personality meaning 'beholding witness' Son of the Sungod   
Indra The King of Heaven   
Isvara God, supreme ruler   
Janaka    
Janardana Sri Krsna meaning 'who is worshipped by the people'   
Jayadratha - a king allied to the Kauravas   
  Japa silent repetition of the maha mantra 
  Jivatma soul 
  Kalpa period of time 
Kamadhenu or Kamadhuk  The cow who ever produces milk   
Kapila Incarnation of God   
  Karma work that produces reaction 
Karna  the close friend of Duryodhana, the archer competing in skill with Arjuna and the brother of the Pandavas born to Kunti through Sun God. His name means 'who thinks himself the doer'   
Kasi     
Kasiraja King of Kasi. It also means 'king of manifested light'   
Kauravas the 100 brothers and sons of Dhritarashtra   
Kesava Sri Krsna meaning 'embodiment of the functions of creation, preservation and transformation'   
Keshi a horse demon   
  Kirti fame 
  Kratu a class or type of Vedic sacrifices 
Kripa or Kripacharya or Krpa  the teacher of spirituality to the Pandavas and the Kauravas and fighting on the Kauravas side. His name means 'who does and gets'   
Krishna or Krsna or Sri Krsna  God as a friend and war advisor to the Pandavas, a cousin of the Pandavas and the Kauravas, peace maker, charioteer to Arjuna and is the one of the two main characters (the other is Arjuna) in the Bhagavad Gita. The name means 'doer of all'   
  Ksama forgiveness 
  Kshetra field or body 
  Kshetrajna Soul 
Kunti  the mother of the Pandavas whose name means 'who removes the deficiency of others'   
Kuntibhoja a king allied with the Pandavas. His name means 'who enjoys removing the deficiency of others'   
Kurunandhana Arjuna meaning 'delight of action'   
Kurus  the dynasty of the Bharatha   
Kurukshetra the name of the Battle-field   
  Kusa a type of grass 
  Kusumakara a season 
  Kutastha the indivisible 
Madhava Sri Krsna meaning 'whose sweetness is intoxicating'   
Madhu A demon   
Madhusudhana Sri Krsna meaning 'slayer of too much' pr Madhusahana   
Maharishis Great sages   
Maheshvara God   
  Makara shark 
  Manas mind, thought or heart depending on the context 
Manipushpaka the name of Sahadeva's conch meaning 'ornament of jewels'   
  Mantra chant 
Manu ancient man who had written a treatise on righteousness. His name means 'protector of mind'   
  Margasirsha a month roughly corresponding to November 
Marici    
Maruts a kind of Devatas meaning 'those who purify'   
  Maya  illusion 
  Medha loving intellect 
  Moksha enlightenment, liberation, nirvana, temporary release from suffering  
Maharatha    
Muni A sage   
Nakula of the Pandavas. His name means 'who is free from pain   
Narada Muni Celestial sage who wanders throughout the Universes   
Narayana Lord of Vaikuntha and one of the three chief Gods   
  Nirvana enlightenment, liberation, moksha, release from suffering and attainment of some sort of happiness 
  Om sacred hymn or syllable 
Panchajanya the name of Krishna's conch meaning 'of the five elements'   
Pandavas the 5 brothers and sons of Pandu   
Pandu the father of the Pandavas. The name means 'he who is without prejudice'   
Parabrahman God   
Paramatma God as the indwelling advisor   
Partha Arjuna meaning 'son of she who excels'   
Paundra the name of Bhima's conch    
Pitris ancestors   
Prahlada great devotee   
Prajapati    
  Prakriti material nature 
Pritha  Another name for Queen Kunti, mother of Arjuna   
  Punya pious deeds or merit 
Purujit a king allied with the Pandavas. His name means 'who has complete victory'   
Purushottama The Supreme Personality of Godhead   
  Rajarshis Great sages 
  Rakshasas  demons 
Rama another incarnation of Sri Krsna, the chief character in the epic, Ramayana   
  Rig veda one of the 4 Vedas  
  Rishis sages 
Rudra refers to Shiva, the demi god who is the destroyer. The name means 'reliever of suffering'   
Sahadeva one of the Pandavas. His name means 'equal to the Gods'   
Saibya a king allied with the Pandavas. His name means 'son of unselfishness'   
  Sama veda  one of the four Vedas  
  Samsara material world 
Sanjaya or Samnjaya  the person narrating the Bhagavad Gita with the help of divine insight given to him by the mercy of his spiritual master. His name means 'he who is victorious over all'   
Sankara Shiva, the God of destruction    
  Sankhya the spiritual route through knowledge 
  Sannyasa the renunciation of materialistic life 
  Sattva or Sattvika  Mode of Goodness one of the 3 modes of material nature discussed in chapter 17 
  Rajas or Rajasika Mode of Passion. one of the 3 modes of material nature discussed in chapter 17.  
Satyaki a king allied to the Pandavas. His name means 'whose nature is truth'   
Savyasachin ambidextrous - Arjuna meaning 'he who can use both of his hands skillfully'   
Sikhandi a king allied to the Pandavas. His name means 'who dwells at the summit'   
  Smrti recollection 
Somadatta His name means 'ambassodor of the nectar of devotion'   
Subhadra seperate wife of Arjuna. Her name means 'excellent of excellence'   
  Sudras those whose duty is to do labour 
Sughosa the name of Nakula's conch meaning 'excellent battle-cry'   
  Svarga heaven 
  Tamas or Tamasika  Mode of Ignorance. one of the 3 modes of material nature discussed in chapter 17 
Uchchaisaravas kingly horse born in the ocean when it was churned for nectar   
  Vaisyas duty is to do business 
  Varna-Sankara  inter-mixture of castes and unwanted children 
Varuna Demi god of water   
Vayu Demi god of wind   
  Vedanta Conclusion of the Vedas 
  Vedas the ancient holy texts 
Vasuki  Demi god of serpents   
Vikarna a king allied to the Kauravas. His name means 'who is deaf to evil'   
Virata a king allied with the Pandavas. His name means 'brilliantly shining'   
Vrkodara refers to Bhima meaning 'who has a voracious appetite'   
Vyasa sage and author of Mahabharatha (and hence Bhagavad Gita) and other major religious works like Brahma sutras   
  Yajur veda  one of the 4 Vedas 
Yama or Yamarahaja the demi god of death   
Yudhamanyu a king allied with the Pandavas. His name means 'who conquers the mind'   
Yudhisthira the eldest of the Pandavas known for his truthfulness. His name means 'who remains committed to the ideal'   
Yuyudhana a king allied with the Pandavas. His name means 'defender of wealth'   
  Yuga a measurement of time 
  Preceptor A teacher; an instructor. An expert or specialist. Refers to Drona, the teacher of the Pandavas and the Kauravas 
  Bhutas spirits, ghosts or demons 
  Nagas celestial serpents 
  Ksatriya duty is to fight 
  Mahatma high souled 
Adhiyajna the aspect of the Supreme Personality of Godhead concerned with Sacrifice   
  Brahmachari person practising celebacy 
  Gayatri a sacred hymn sung three times a day by brahmins 
  Jivas living beings  
Bhagavan The Supreme Personality of Godhead containing the other two aspects Parabrahman and Paramatma   
  Tapasya austerities performed as a sacrifice  
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