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I was just wondering what exactly is a "mleccha" or a "yavana"? Also how do you pronounce those words?

I read these words all the time on the krishna.org site and I kinda know what it means but not exactly.

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In Srimad Bhagavatam there is a verse -








abhira-sumbha yavanah khasadayah

ye 'nye ca papa yad-apasrayasrayah

sudhyanti tasmai prabhavisnave namah




kirata--a province of old Bharata; huna--part of Germany and Russia; andhra--a province of southern India; pulinda--the Greeks; pulkasah--another province; abhira--part of old Sind; sumbhah--another province; yavanah--the Turks; khasa-adayah--the Mongolian province; ye--even those; anye--others; ca--also; papah--addicted to sinful acts; yat--whose; apasraya-asrayah--having taken shelter of the devotees of the Lord; sudhyanti--at once purified; tasmai--unto Him; prabhavisnave--unto the powerful Visnu; namah--my respectful obeisances.




Kirata, Huna, Andhra, Pulinda, Pulkasa, Abhira, Sumbha, Yavana, members of the Khasa races and even others addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.






Kirata: A province of old Bharata-varsa mentioned in the

Bhisma-parva of Mahabharata. Generally the Kiratas are known as

the aboriginal tribes of India, and in modern days the Santal

Parganas in Bihar and Chota Nagpur might comprise the old province

named Kirata.

Huna: The area of East Germany and part of Russia is known as

the province of the Hunas. Accordingly, sometimes a kind of hill

tribe is known as the Hunas.

Andhra: A province in southern India mentioned in the

Bhisma-parva of Mahabharata. It is still extant under the same


Pulinda: It is mentioned in the Mahabharata (Adi-parva 174.38),

viz., the inhabitants of the province of the name Pulinda. This

country was conquered by Bhimasena and Sahadeva. The Greeks are

known as Pulindas, and it is mentioned in the Vana-parva of

Mahabharata that the non-Vedic race of this part of the world

would rule over the world. This Pulinda province was also one of

the provinces of Bharata, and the inhabitants were classifiedamongst the ksatriya kings. But later on, due to their giving up

the brahminical culture, they were mentioned as mlecchas (just as

those who are not followers of the Islamic culture are called

kafirs and those who are not followers of the Christian culture

are called heathens).

Abhira: This name also appears in the Mahabharata, both in the

Sabha-parva and Bhisma-parva. It is mentioned that this province

was situated on the River Sarasvati in Sind. The modern Sind

province formerly extended on the other side of the Arabian Sea,

and all the inhabitants of that province were known as the

Abhiras. They were under the domination of Maharaja Yudhisthira,

and according to the statements of Markandeya the mlecchas of this

part of the world would also rule over Bharata. Later on this

proved to be true, as in the case of the Pulindas. On behalf of

the Pulindas, Alexander the Great conquered India, and on behalf

of the Abhiras, Muhammad Ghori conquered India. These Abhiras were

also formerly ksatriyas within the brahminical culture, but they

gave up the connection. The ksatriyas who were afraid of

Parasurama and had hidden themselves in the Caucasian hilly

regions later on became known as the Abhiras, and the place theyinhabited was known as Abhiradesa.

Sumbhas or Kankas: The inhabitants of the Kanka province of old

Bharata, mentioned in the Mahabharata.

Yavanas: Yavana was the name of one of the sons of Maharaja

Yayati who was given the part of the world known as Turkey to

rule. Therefore the Turks are Yavanas due to being descendants of

Maharaja Yavana. The Yavanas were therefore ksatriyas, and later

on, by giving up the brahminical culture, they became

mleccha-yavanas. Descriptions of the Yavanas are in the

Mahabharata (Adi-parva 85.34). Another prince called Turvasu was

also known as Yavana, and his country was conquered by Sahadeva,

one of the Pandavas. The western Yavana joined with Duryodhana in

the Battle of Kuruksetra under the pressure of Karna. It is also

foretold that these Yavanas also would conquer India, and it

proved to be true.

Khasa: The inhabitants of the Khasadesa are mentioned in the

Mahabharata (Drona-parva). Those who have a stunted growth of hair

on the upper lip are generally called Khasas. As such, the Khasa

are the Mongolians, the Chinese and others who are so designated.

The above-mentioned historical names are different nations ofthe world. Even those who are constantly engaged in sinful acts

are all corrigible to the standard of perfect human beings if they

take shelter of the devotees of the Lord. Jesus Christ and

Muhammad, two powerful devotees of the Lord, have done tremendous

service on behalf of the Lord on the surface of the globe. And

from the version of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami it appears that instead

of running a godless civilization in the present context of the

world situation, if the leadership of world affairs is entrusted

to the devotees of the Lord, for which a worldwide organization

under the name and style of the International Society for Krishna

Consciousness has already been started, then by the grace of the

Almighty Lord there can be a thorough change of heart in human

beings all over the world because the devotees of the Lord are

able authorities to effect such a change by purifying the

dust-worn minds of the people in general. The politicians of the

world may remain in their respective positions because the pure

devotees of the Lord are not interested in political leadership or

diplomatic implications. The devotees are interested only in

seeing that the people in general are not misguided by political

propaganda and in seeing that the valuable life of a human beingis not spoiled in following a type of civilization which is

ultimately doomed. If the politicians, therefore, would be guided

by the good counsel of the devotees, then certainly there would be

a great change in the world situation by the purifying propaganda

of the devotees, as shown by Lord Caitanya. As Sukadeva Gosvami

began his prayer by discussing the word yat-kirtanam, so also Lord

Caitanya recommended that simply by glorifying the Lord's holy

name, a tremendous change of heart can take place by which the

complete misunderstanding between the human nations created by

politicians can at once be extinguished. And after the extinction

of the fire of misunderstanding, other profits will follow. The

destination is to go back home, back to Godhead, as we have

several times discussed in these pages.

According to the cult of devotion, generally known as the

Vaisnava cult, there is no bar against anyone's advancing in the

matter of God realization. A Vaisnava is powerful enough to turn

into a Vaisnava even the Kirata, etc., as above mentioned. In the

▼Bhagavad-gita (9.32) it is said by the Lord that there is no bar

to becoming a devotee of the Lord (even for those who are lowborn,

or women, sudras or vaisyas), and by becoming a devotee everyoneis eligible to return home, back to Godhead. The only

qualification is that one take shelter of a pure devotee of the

Lord who has thorough knowledge in the transcendental science of

Krsna (Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam). Anyone from any part

of the world who becomes well conversant in the science of Krsna

becomes a pure devotee and a spiritual master for the general mass

of people and may reclaim them by purification of heart. Though a

person be even the most sinful man, he can at once be purified by

systematic contact with a pure Vaisnava. A Vaisnava, therefore,

can accept a bona fide disciple from any part of the world without

any consideration of caste and creed and promote him by regulative

principles to the status of a pure Vaisnava who is transcendental

to brahminical culture. The system of caste, or varnasrama-dharma,

is no longer regular even amongst the so-called followers of the

system. Nor is it now possible to reestablish the institutional

function in the present context of social, political and economic

revolution. Without any reference to the particular custom of a

country, one can be accepted to the Vaisnava cult spiritually, and

there is no hindrance in the transcendental process. So by the

order of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the cult ofSrimad-Bhagavatam or the Bhagavad-gita can be preached all over

the world, reclaiming all persons willing to accept the

transcendental cult. Such cultural propaganda by the devotees will

certainly be accepted by all persons who are reasonable and

inquisitive, without any particular bias for the custom of the

country. The Vaisnava never accepts another Vaisnava on the basis

of birthright, just as he never thinks of the Deity of the Lord in

a temple as an idol. And to remove all doubts in this connection,

Srila Sukadeva Gosvami has invoked the blessings of the Lord, who

is all-powerful (prabhavisnave namah). As the all-powerful Lord

accepts the humble service of His devotee in devotional activities

of the arcana His form as the worshipable Deity in the temple,

similarly the body of a pure Vaisnava changes transcendentally at

once when he gives himself up to the service of the Lord and is

trained by a qualified Vaisnava. The injunction of Vaisnava

regulation in this connection runs as follows: arcye visnau

sila-dhir gurusu nara-matir vaisnave jati-buddhih sri-visnor namni

sabda-samanya-buddhih, etc. "One should not consider the Deity of

the Lord as worshiped in the temple to be an idol, nor should one

consider the authorized spiritual master an ordinary man. Norshould one consider a pure Vaisnava to belong to a particular

caste, etc." (Padma Purana)

The conclusion is that the Lord, being all-powerful, can, under

any and every circumstance, accept anyone from any part of the

world, either personally or through His bona fide manifestation as

the spiritual master. Lord Caitanya accepted many devotees from

communities other than the varnasramites, and He Himself declared,

to teach us, that He does not belong to any caste or social order

of life, but that He is the eternal servant of the servant of the

Lord who maintains the damsels of Vrndavana (Lord Krsna). That is

the way of self-realization.


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