Glossary of Important Proper Nouns and Epithets

Aditi daughter of Dakṣa, wife of Kāśyapa, and mother of the gods
Agastya famous sage, son of Mitra-Varuṇa and Urvaśī
Agni god of fire
Ahalyā wife of Gautama, cursed by her husband after she was seduced by the god Indra
Aikṣvāka descendant of Ikṣvāku, used mainly of Daśaratha and Rāma
Amarāvatī the city of the god Indra
Ambarīṣa Early king of Ayodhyā and ancestor of Rāma. He buys Śunaḥśepa, son of Ṛcīka, to replace his sacrificial victim
Aṃśumant Asamañja’s son, king of Ayodhyā after Sagara
Anaṅga “bodiless,” an epithet of Kāma, god of love
Anasūyā wife of the sage Atri, famous for her devotion and chastity
Aṅga country where Romapāda ruled
Aṅgada son of Vālin and general in Sugrīva’s army
apsarases celestial maidens or nymphs, known for their beauty; frequently seen in the service of superior gods, especially Indra
Asamañja Sagara’s eldest son
Aśoka grove site of Sītā’s confinement in the city of Laṅkā
Aśvins twin deities of the vedic pantheon renowned for their beauty
asuras a class of demons, the elder brothers of the gods
Ayodhyā capital city of the Ikṣvākus
Bala demon slain by Indra. “Slayer of Bala” is a common epithet of Indra
Bali Bali Vairocana, king of the asuras
Bhagīratha son of Dilīpa and great-great-grandson of Sagara
Bhāgīrathī epithet of the Ganges
Bharata Daśaratha’s second son by Kaikeyī
Bharadvāja a sage who tells Rāma how to reach Mt. Citrakūṭa
Bharadvāja a young disciple of Vālmīki
Bhārgava name of a powerful brahman family descended from the sage Bhṛgu. As a patronymic, it can refer to any descendant of that family
Bhava epithet of Śiva
Bhṛgu a great brahman sage, patriarch of the Bhārgava family
Bibhīṣaṇa a variant of the name Vibhīṣaṇa
Bindu lake into which Śiva released the river Ganges
Brahma(n) a name for the Indian religio-philosophical concept of the impersonal and attributeless absolute principle underlying existence
Brahmā the creator divinity of the Hindu “trinity” who is regarded as the “Grand-father” of all living creatures
Brahmadatta a king, son of Cūlin, who marries the daughters of Kuśanābha
Citrakūṭa mountain ‘where Rāma, Sītā, and Lakṣmaṇa first live during their exile
Cūlin a sage, father of Brahmadatta
daityas a class of demons descended from Diti
Dakṣa one of the ten mind-born sons of Brahmā: he is said to have had many daughters
dānavas a class of demons descended from Danu
Daṇḍaka forest the forest where Rāma, Sītā, and Lakṣmaṇa spend part of their exile
Daśaratha Rāma’s father and king of Ayodhyā
Dāśarathi any descendant of Daśaratha, used of Daśaratha’s four sons, especially Rāma
Diti name of a goddess, mother of the demons known as daityas
Dundubhi name of a demon slain by Vālin. Rāma kicks the corpse of Dundubhi to demonstrate his strength to Sugrīva
Dūṣaṇa a general in Khara’s army in Janasthāna
Gādhi son of Kuśanābha and father of Viśvāmitra and his elder sister Satyavatī
gandharvas a class of semi-divine beings known for their musical abilities. Gandharva women are noted for their beauty
Ganges a famous and important river of ancient and modern India, which is personified as the daughter of Mt. Himalaya. She is the sister of Pārvatī
Garuḍa name of the king of the birds. Brother of Sumati, Sagara’s younger wife. Viṣṇu’s mount
Gautama a sage, husband of Ahalyā and father of Śatānanda
Ghrtācī an apsaras who is the mother of Kuśanābha’s one hundred daughters
Guha king of the Niṣādas and lord of Śrṅgavera; an ally of Rāma. who assists him during his exile
Haimavatī daughter of Himavant (Himalaya), epithet of Umā or her sister, the river Ganges
Hanumān Rāma’s monkey companion who aids in the finding of Sītā and the destruction of the demon king Rāvaṇa
Hara epithet of Śiva
Himalaya name of a mountain range and king of the mountains. He has two daughters: Siva, the wife of Śiva, and the river Ganges
Himavant variant of Himalaya
Ikṣvāku family name of the royal house of Ayodhyā
Indra king of the gods who leads their hosts into battle against the asuras: in the postvedic tradition he is particularly noted for his incontinence and adultery
Indrajit epithet of Meghanāda, son of Rāvaṇa
Jāhnavī epithet of the Ganges
Jāmadagnya see Rāma Jāmadagnya
Jambudvīpa the Indian subcontinent
Janaka lord of Mithilā and the father of Sītā
Jānakī epithet of Sītā, daughter of Janaka and wife of Rāma
Janasthāna part of the Daṇḍaka forest and residence of Śūrpaṇakhā, sister of Rāvaṇa, and her brother Khara
Jaṭāyus a vulture, friend of Daśaratha
Jayā daughter of Dakṣa, wife of Brahmā, and mother of the divine weapons
Kabandha name of a rākṣasa slain by Rāma
Kaikeyī younger wife of Daśaratha and mother of Bharata
Kailāsa mountain peak in the Himalayas where Śiva and Pārvatī are traditionally said to reside. Kubera, the lord of wealth, is also said to reside there
Kākutstha descendant of Kakutstha, a common epithet of princes of the Ikṣvāku dynasty, especially Rāma and his brothers
Kāla time incarnate, name of the god of death
Kāma god of love
Kandarpa epithet of Kāma
Kapila a sage who burns the sixty thousand sons of Sagara for disturbing his penances
Kārtikeya son born from Śiva’s semen; his step-mothers were the Kṛttikās, the Pleiades
Kāśyapa Mārīca Kāśyapa, name of a famous sage, husband of Diti and Aditi
Kāśyapa father of Vibhāṇḍaka, grandfather of Ṛśyaśṛṅga
Kausalyā senior wife of Daśaratha. mother of Rāma
Kauśika any descendant of Kuśa, generally used in reference to Viśvāmitra
Kauṣṭubha precious gem produced from the churning of the ocean
Kāvya son of Bhṛgu, usually called Uṣanas Kāvya or Śukra, preceptor of the asuras and other demons
Kāvya’s mother the wife of Bhṛgu, who is said to have had her head severed by Viṣṇu
Keśinī elder wife of Sagara
Khara brother of Rāvaṇa and Śūrpaṇakhā. He was slain by Rāma in the Daṇḍaka forest
kinnaras mythical creatures with the head of a horse and a human body; the kinnara women are famed for their beauty
Kiṣkindhā a city (sometimes a cave) inhabited by the monkeys
Kosala name of the kingdom of the Ikṣvākus
Kṛśāśva’s sons the personified weapons Viśvāmitra gives Rāma
Krttikās the Pleiades, step-mothers of Kārtikeya
Kubera god of wealth, son of Viśravas and step-brother of Rāvaṇa. Kubera is the king of the yakṣas and the kinnaras
Kumāra name of Śiva’s son. See Kārtikeya
Kumbhakarṇa brother of Rāvaṇa, known for his great size
Kuśa a great sage, the mind-born son of Brahmā; his great-grandson is Viśvāmitra
Kuśa Rāma’s son, twin brother Lava. Together they recite the Rāmāyaṇa
Kuśadhvaja Janaka’s younger brother and ruler of Sāṃkāśya. His two daughters, Māṇḍavī and Śrutakīrtī, marry Bharata and Śatrughna, respectively
Kuśanābha son of Kuśa, fathers one hundred daughters on the apsaras Ghrtācī, and is the father of Gādhi
Lakṣmaṇa son of Daśaratha by Sumitrā. He is Rāma’s constant companion
Laṅkā Rāvaṇa’s capital city, location of Sītā’s confinement
Lomapāda variant form of Romapāda
Madana epithet of Kāma, the god of love
Maithila epithet of Janaka
Maithilī woman of Mithilā, epithet of Sītā, daughter of Janaka, wife of Rāma
Mānasa lake on Mt. Kailāsa created by Brahmā; the Sarayū river flows from it
Mandara mountain used as the churning rod in the churning of the ocean
Māndavī elder daughter of Janaka’s brother, Kuśadhvaja, and wife of Bharata
Mantharā daughter of Virocana, said to have been killed by Indra
Manu traditionally considered the father of the human race and first man; he is the legendary founder of the Ikṣvāku dynasty
Mārīca Kāśyapa see Kāśyapa
Mārīca a rākṣasa, son of Sunda and the yakṣa woman Tāṭakā. He becomes Rāvaṇa’s ally and aids in the abduction of Sītā
Maruts sons of Diti, companions of Indra
Meghanāda son of Rāvaṇa, also called Indrajit
Menā wife of Himalaya, mother of Ganges and Umā
Menakā an apsaras sent by Indra to seduce Viśvāmitra
Mithilā Janaka’s capital city
Nala name of a monkey who builds the bridge to Laṅkā for Rāma and his army, son of Viśvakarman
Nandigrāma the village where Bharata lives during Rāma’s fourteen-year exile
Nārada the divine messenger who reveals the Rāmāyaṇa story to the sage Vālmīki
Nārāyaṇa epithet of Viṣṇu
Niṣāda hunter a tribal hunter who slays the male of a pair of mating krauñca birds, thus inspiring Vālmīki to compose the first śloka or verse of poetry. The Niṣādas are the people of Guha
Pāka a demon slain by Indra; the deed gives rise to the common epithet of the great god, Pākaśāsana, “Chastiser of Pāka”
Pampā lake where Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa first encounter Hanumān and Sugrīva
Pārvatī epithet of Umā
Paulastya a descendant of Pulastya, a common epithet of Rāvaṇa
piśācas a class of demons of a particularly low order
Rāghava any descendant of Raghu, used especially of Rāma and his brothers
Raghu son of Kakutstha and ancestor of Rāma
rākṣasas a class of violent and bloodthirsty demons regarded as the implacable enemies of brahmanical culture and civilization. Their king is the ten-headed Rāvaṇa who rules from the splendid island-fortress of Laṅkā
Rāma Dāśarathi eldest son of Daśaratha by Kausalyā and hero of the story
Rāma Jāmadagnya known also as Bhārgava Rāma or Paraśurāma. He is the son of the sage Jamadagni
Rambhā an apsaras who attempts to seduce Viśvāmitra, but is cursed by him
Rasātala name of a hell
Rāvaṇa main antagonist of the Rāmāyaṇa. The rākṣasas’ ten-headed overlord who abducts Sītā
Ṛcīka a Bhārgava sage, husband of Satyavatī and brother-in-law of Viśvāmitra
Rohiṇī daughter of Dakṣa and favorite consort of the moon
Romapāda king of Aṅga and friend of Daśaratha. He is the father of Śāntā and the father-in-law of Ṛśyaśṛṅga
Ṛśyamūka the mountain where Rāma meets the monkey Sugrīva
Ṛśyaśṛṅga the innocent boy-sage, son of Vibhāṇḍaka and husband of Śāntā
Rudra epithet of Śiva
Śabalā Vasiṣṭha’s wish-fulfilling cow
Śabarī hermit woman who aids Rāma in his search for Sītā
Śacī’s lord a common epithet of Indra. Śacī is Indra’s wife
Sagara an Ikṣvāku king, ancestor of Rāma, who has two wives, Keśinī and Sumati, and sixty thousand and one sons
Śakra a common epithet of Indra
Sampāti vulture brother of Jaṭāyus who aids the monkeys in their search for Sītā
Sanatkumāra name of a seer who tells the Ṛśyaśṛṅga story
Śaṅkara epithet of Śiva
Śāntā Romapāda’s daughter and Ṛśyaśṛṅga’s wife
Śarabhaṅga an ascetic whom Rāma, Sītā, and Lakṣmaṇa seek out after their en-counter with the rākṣasa Virādha
Sarayū name of a river that flows through the kingdom of Kosala
Śatānanda son of Gautama and Ahalyā, preceptor of Janaka. He narrates the story of the conflict between Viśvāmitra and Vasiṣṭha
Śatrughna youngest son of Daśaratha by Sumitrā. He is Bharata’s friend and constant companion
Satyavatī wife of Ṛcīka and sister of Viśvāmitra; she follows her husband to heaven and becomes the divine river Kauśikī
Saumitri son of Sumitrā, matronymic name of Lakṣmaṇa
Śiva one of the three main god (the “trinity”) of the Hindu pantheon, along with Brahmā and Viṣṇu. He is famed for his asceticism and is the husband of Umā (Pārvatī)
Somadā gandharva woman who attends Cūlin while he is practicing austerities, mother of Brahmadatta
Śrṅgavera a city on the Ganges river ruled by the Niṣāda king, Guha
Śrutakīrtī Kuśadhvaja’s youngest daughter and wife of Śatrughna
Sthāṇu epithet of Śiva
Subāhu a rākṣasa companion of Mārīca. He is slain by Rāma
Sugrīva king of the monkeys, friend and ally of Rāma
Suketu a yakṣa, the father of Tāṭakā
Sumantra charioteer and advisor to King Daśaratha
Sumati younger wife of Sagara, daughter of Ariṣṭanemi
Sumati descendant of Viśāla and king of Viśālā
Sumitrā youngest wife of Daśaratha and mother of Lakṣmaṇa and Śatrughna
Śunaḥśepa middle son of Ṛcīka, a Bhārgava sage, who was sold by his parents to the Ikṣvāku king Ambarīṣa as a replacement for his sacrificial victim
Suparṇa epithet of Garuḍa
Suprabhā daughter of Dakṣa, wife of Brahmā, and mother of the Saṃhāras
Śūrpaṇakhā the sister of Rāvaṇa; she attempts to seduce Rāma in the Pañcavaṭī forest
Sūrya sun god, father of Sugrīva
Sutīkṣṇa a sage whom Rāma, Sītā, and Lakṣmaṇa visit during their exile
Tamasā river near the Ganges on whose banks Vālmīki is said to have his ashram
Tārā wife of Vālin
Tāṭakā a yakṣa woman who is cursed to become a rākṣasa. She is the mother of the rākṣasa Mārīca. At Viśvāmitra’s behest, Rāma kills her
Trijaṭā a rākṣasa woman who comforts Sītā during her captivity
Tripura name of the city of the demons, destroyed by Śiva
Triśaṅku an Ikṣvāku king and ancestor of Rāma, who desires to obtain heaven in his mortal form
Triśiras a rākṣasa slain by Rāma
Tvaṣṭṛ divine craftsman of the Indian pantheon
Uccaiḥśravas divine horse produced during the churning of the ocean, given to Indra
Umā wife of Śiva, daughter of the mountain Himalaya
Ūrmilā daughter of Janaka and wife of Lakṣmaṇa
Vaideha epithet of Janaka
Vaidehī epithet of Sītā
Vainateya a matronymic name of Garuḍa
Vairocana see Bali
Vaiśravaṇa descendant of Viśravas, either Kubera, god of wealth, or Rāvaṇa, king of the rākṣasas
Vālin king of the monkeys, husband of Tārā, and son of Indra. He is the elder brother of Sugrīva
Vālmīki sage and composer of the Rāmāyaṇa
Varuṇa god of the ocean
Vāruṇī Varuṇa’s daughter, produced during the churning of the ocean. She is the personification of wine
Vāsava epithet of Indra
Vasiṣṭha Daśaratha’s family preceptor, rival of Viśvāmitra
Vāsudeva epithet of Viṣṇu, he assumes the form of the sage Kapila
Vāsuki the great serpent used as the rope in the churning of the ocean
Vāyu god of wind, who seduces the daughters of Kuśanābha
Vibhāṇḍaka son of Kāśyapa and father of Ṛśyaśṛṅga
Vibhīṣaṇa a rākṣasa, brother of Rāvaṇa. He joins Rāma’s army and, after the defeat of the demon troops and the death of his brother, is installed by Rāma as king of Laṅkā
Videha epithet of Janaka
vidyādharas class of semi-divine beings. The women are famed for their beauty
Virādha a rākṣasa, who, having attempted to abduct Sītā, is slain by Rāma
Virocana asura king and ancestor of Bali whose daughter, Mantharā, is slain by Indra
Viśāla son of Ikṣvāku and Alambuṣā, founder of Viśālā
Viśālā famous city through which Rāma passes on his journey to Mithilā
Viśvakarman god of craft, architect of the gods
Viṣṇu one of the three main gods of the Hindu “trinity,” along with Brahmā and Śiva. He is said to be incarnated on earth in the form of Rāma in order to kill the demon Rāvaṇa
Viśvāmitra an important sage in the Bālakāṇḍa. He serves as teacher and friend to Rāma, bestowing upon the young prince divine weapons. Originally a kshatriya, he becomes a brahman through his severe austerities
Vṛtra a demon slain by Indra
yakṣas semi-divine beings associated with Kubera. The women are known for their beauty
Yudhājit son of the king of the Kekayas. Sister of Kaikeyī and maternal uncle of Bharata