A B C D E G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V Y

Vedanta Glossary (with notes)

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A B C D E G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V Y

abādhitaNot subject to negation; unimpeded; unobstructed; unrefuted; see bādhaḥ.
abhāvaḥ Non-existence; complete absence; see bhāvaḥ.
abhayam Fearlessness; peace; security.
abhedaḥ Non-difference; non-division; non-breaking; see bhedaḥ.
abhimānī Firmly identified with the mind and body, proudly arrogating their attributes and capacities to oneself; conceited; haughty.
abhiniveśaḥ Tenacious clinging to (investment in) the ephemeral body and worldly life, believing them to be enduring; see kleśaḥ.
abhyāsaḥRepeated practice – primarily, in Vedāntaḥ, repeatedly recognising a fact and so continually avoiding or refraining from error; exercise.
acala Unmoving; unagitated.
ācāraḥ Conduct; behaviour.
ācāryaḥA teacher; someone who understands and follows, and makes others understand and follow; "not only by words, but by example, do others understand and follow" *; also see guruḥ.
ācāryopāsanam Meditation upon the teacher; keeping the teacher (who stands for the vision,dṛṣṭiḥ, of the teaching) always in one's heart; willingness to serve the teacher; expressing gratitude to and respect for the teacher and the teaching by serving the teacher as best one may; surrender of ego and personal likes and dislikes is implied and hence an opportunity for growth for the student; avoidance of even a whiff of exploitation, so that only the student gains, is essential; whether service occurs or not, willingness to serve is the significant aspect and is where growth at the altar of surrender occurs.
acintya Beyond any mental construct; beyond thought; inconceivable.
acyuta Ever-present; never slips away.
adambhitvam Absence of pretence; free from hypocrisy, posturing and self-glorification.
ādhāraḥ Support; base; foundation.
adharmaḥNot in line with the inherent, natural order of dharmaḥ; unwise; action leading to an unfavourable outcome.
ādhibhautika-tāpaḥPain (tāpaḥ) caused by an obstacle arising from local circumstances e.g. heavy traffic, store closure, machine failure, and from problems associated with close acquaintances, such as family and friends; also see ādhyātmika-tāpaḥ, ādhidaivika-tāpaḥ.
adhi Centred on; concerning; related to.
adhibhūtam Centred on a (transient) being, element or entity; centred on all that is perishable; Īśvaraḥ, when regarded as the material cause, upādāna-kāraṇam (otherwise known as māyā), is referred to as adhibhūtam.
adhidaivamCentred on the devāḥ, on the gods (the myriad natural forces that manifest and operate the world and its interacting and inter-dependent systems – including Nature, all the sciences, etc., – and hence centred on the natural events that arise from them); 'devaḥ' or 'adhidaivam' may alternatively refer to or imply their ruling intelligence, Īśvaraḥ, as the nimitta-kāraṇam, the one puruṣaḥ; also see Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ.
ādhidaivika-tāpaḥPain (tāpaḥ) caused by an obstacle arising from natural events such as the weather, earthquake, flood, etc. (produced through the devāḥ, see adhidaivam, above); also see ādhyātmika-tāpaḥ, ādhibhautika-tāpaḥ.
adhikaraṇam Substratum; location.
adhikārī Qualified aspirant (especially for self-knowledge); see sādhana-catuṣṭayam.
adhiṣṭhānam Basis; absolute existence; the source of the existence of everything.
adhiyajñaḥ Centred on ritual; the one on whom the ritual is centred i.e. antaryāmīśvaraḥ (Īśvaraḥ, the unmanifest cause of all, the subject of ritual).
adhyāropaḥSuperimposition (due to erroneous perception, adhyāsaḥ) in which the characteristic(s) of one thing are either seemingly or falsely attributed, āropaḥ, to another; leads, for example, to a mistaken notion of the self, ahaṅkāraḥ.
adhyāropa-vākyamA statement of (deliberate) superimposition. A teaching device used by the śāstram to show that all that is here is Brahman. For example, by referring to the Lord as the cause of all that is here, the śāstram superimposes the status of 'cause' on Brahman in order to show that all that is here arises from Brahman. See apavāda-vākyam.
adhyāsaḥErroneous perception: taking something to be what it is not (due to ignorance, avidyā); leads to adhyāropaḥ.
adhyātma-jñānam Knowledge centred on the self; knowledge whose object is the self; knowledge of the absolute self as one's own self.
adhyātma-jñāna-nityatvamHaving the understanding or knowledge of the self being timeless.
adhyātmam Centred on, concerning, belonging to, the self – namely whatever is taken to be the self, be it the body (dehaḥ), jīvaḥ, or ātmā.
ādhyātmika Centred on the self; anything pertaining to the self.
ādhyātmika-tāpaḥPain (tāpaḥ) caused by an obstacle pertaining to oneself e.g. agitation, illness, physical impairment, etc.; also see ādhidaivika-tāpaḥ, ādhibhautika-tāpaḥ.
adhyāyaḥ A chapter; a lesson; a reading.
ādi Beginning (with); etcetera; indicates others of the same group.
adṛṣṭa Unseen; unknown (the cause of suffering or pleasure is unseen/unknown); invisible; not experienced; unobserved – especially in relation to the accumulation of puṇya-pāpam.
advaitamNon-dual; non-duality.
advaya Not two.
advitīya Without a second; secondless; second to none.
āgāmi-karma New karma, formed due to action here in this present life and stored in sañcita to await fructification and manifestation as prārabdha either later in this life or in a subsequent one; also see prārabdha-karma, sañcita-karma.
agniḥ Deity of fire; the element Fire; subtle aspect of form, shape and colour; the very word agniḥ also implies 'fire ritual'; also see pāñcabhautikam the five elemental model of the universe – ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, waters; pṛthivī, earth.
agnihotram A very simple, twice-daily Vedic fire ritual, with oblations and mantras, to be performed only by married people; generates puṇyam; smallest of the fire rituals prescribed in the Karma-Kāṇḍaḥ of the Vedaḥ; to be performed with relevant oblations and mantras by a man from the day of his marriage (now there is a substitute pūjā for this ritual).
agocara Inaccessible (indriya agocara, imperceptible, not accessible through the senses; vācām agocara, inexplicable).
agotra Having no lineage.
agrīya Foremost; best; excellent.
aham 'I' (the first person singular pronoun).
ahaṃ brahmāsmi 'I am Brahma' (Bṛhadāraṇyaka 1.4.10); – see tattvamasi, ayamātmā brahma, prajñānaṃ brahma.
ahaṅkāraḥSense of 'I', 'me' and 'mine'; mistaken notion of the self; the misplacement of the sense of 'I' in the body-mind-sense complex, and especially in the sense of doership; part of antaḥ-karaṇam and hence of sūkṣma-śarīram.
ahiṃsā Abstaining from hurting, harming or killing anyone or anything in thought, word or deed; harmlessness; the primary virtue, by following which all others become followed; the most exalted of the universal values.
āhutiḥ Any solemn rite accompanied with oblations – punāhutiḥ is the final oblation (the culmination of all worship) in which the offerer is offered through cognitively resolving the 'I'-sense in the Lord.
aikyam Oneness
ājyam Ghee, melted in sunlight.
ākāraḥ Form; appearance.
ākāśaḥ The element Space; all-pervading; ākāśaḥ itself is manifestation; also see pāñcabhautikam the five elemental model of the universe – ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, waters; pṛthivī, earth.
akhaṇḍa Undivided; unbroken; whole; nature.
akhaṇḍa-ākāra-vṛtti-jñānamKnowledge in the form of a unique thought pertaining to the nature of reality being indivisible.
akṣara Indestructible; imperishable; immutable; any letter, vowel or consonant.
akṣata Unbroken; (unbroken, uncooked rice, coloured yellow by mixing it with Turmeric, is used in ritual and worship).
alam Enough
ālambanam Symbol; support.
alpa Small; little.
amānitvam Absence of conceit; not demanding respect, even when respect could be due.
amāvāsyā New Moon day; day for performing certain monthly rituals; first day of the first quarter of the Moon, in which the Moon is invisible.
amṛtam Immortal (amṛta); nectar of immortality; ambrosia.
amṛtatvam Immortality
aṃśaḥ Portion; aspect; part.
anabhiṣvaṅgaḥ Absence of intense attachment to possessions, etc. – such attachment being due to emotional dependence.
anadhigata Not understood; that which cannot be arrived at or understood by perception or inference, or by any means except Vedānta-śāstra-pramāṇam.
anādi Beginningless
anahaṅkāraḥ Absence of pride and arrogance; understanding that 'what I have accomplished is really nothing'.
analpa Not small; infinite in all respects (alpa, small).
ānandaḥ Happiness; limitlessness (synonym of ananta). Unhappiness being due to a limit, true happiness is limitlessness – hence, ānandaḥ indicates happiness without limit in quality and extent (and so includes being happy everywhere, with everyone, at all times). It therefore does not simply mean bliss, which is transitory. Bliss is happiness, but happiness is not bliss. Since limitlessness implies complete absence of any form of lack, ānandaḥ also means fullness, pūrṇam – hence the famous śānti-pāṭhaḥ that begins pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidam pūrṇāt...
ānandamaya-kośaḥ The kośaḥ that abides in beginningless avidyā, in the form of the causal body of impure sattvam, knows varying degrees of ānandaḥ (priya, modaḥ, pramodaḥ); also see annamaya-kośaḥ, prāṇamaya-kośaḥ, manomaya-kośaḥ, vijñānamaya-kośaḥ.
ananta Endless (anta, end).
andha-paramparāBlind lineage; continuance of confusion through recourse to a flawed, ill-chosen teaching lineage; the blind being led by the blind, andha-andhena-nīyamānāḥ.
anirvacanīya Not categorically definable (but not inexplicable!); understood by implication only.
anitya Timebound; limited; impermanent.
annam Food
annamaya-kośaḥ The physical body, a modiifed form of food that seemingly covers the non-coverable ātmā because of ignorance; also see prāṇamaya-kośaḥ, manomaya-kośaḥ, vijñānamaya-kośaḥ, ānandamaya-kośaḥ.
antaḥ-karaṇam Mind (antaḥ, inner; karaṇam, instrument); consists of vṛttis, thoughts, of which there are four categories: manaḥ, buddhiḥ, cittam, ahaṅkāraḥ; the antaḥ-karaṇam's function is to transact with the world, jagat; the mind is a product of previous action, karma; see sūkṣma-śarīram.
antaḥ-karaṇa-naiścalyamSteadiness of mind; essential prerequisite for śravaṇam as only a focussed, steady mind hears fully; attained through meditation, dhyānam and upāsanām.
antaḥ-karaṇa-śuddhiḥPurification of the mind, meaning mastery over one's ways of thinking, including emotions and rāga-dveṣas (likes and dislikes); accomplishable through a life of karma-yogaḥ, especially through steady adherence to dharmaḥ; antaḥ-karaṇa-śuddhiḥ is an essential prerequisite for jñāṇam.
antarātmā Subtle body; ātmā identified with the subtle body.
antaryāmī Inner controller; Īśvaraḥ as the unmanifest cause of all, as the totality (samaṣṭiḥ) of all causal bodies; the individual (vyaṣṭiḥ) counterpart, is prājñaḥ – see Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, Vaiśvānaraḥ, Virāṭ.
anu Prefix indicating: after, following, in keeping with.
anubandha-catuṣṭayamSet of four requisites that, combined, make a text worth studying are an adhikārī (a person of appropriate understanding for the text), viṣayaḥ (the subject matter's suitability), sambandhaḥ (the connection of the text to the overall aim of the adhikārī), prayojanam (the particular benefit from studying the text).
anubandhaḥ Binding or fastening on; connection to.
anubhavaḥ Experience derived from one's own personal observation of the world. "Experience can lead to knowledge, but the impression of experience need not be knowledge. Experience has to be assimilated in terms of knowledge. Experience need not include or be knowledge. Experiences can be contradictory. Knowledge includes experience. Knowledge can contradict experience. Knowledge can also resolve the contradictions in experience. Knowledge cannot be contradicted." *
anudarśanam Seeing again and again, very clearly, very intimately, the limitations of the human condition, and hence not wasting time in trivia, but energetically pursuing what matters, mokṣaḥ.
anudāttaḥ The low tone in chanting, shown in the text by a short horizontal line below the vowel; also see svaraḥ, udāttaḥ, svaritaḥ.
anugrahaḥ Grace; grace is not bestowed, it is earned.
anumānamInference from immediate perception, e.g. knowledge of fire is inferred from smoke; one of the six pramāṇas – see the others: anupalabdhiḥ, arthāpattiḥ, pratyakṣam, śabdaḥ, upamānam.
anupalabdhiḥ Knowledge of non-presence (non-existence) of an object is known from its absence (non-availability) e.g. seeing no food on the table is knowledge of its absence; one of the six pramāṇas – see the others: anumānam, arthāpattiḥ, pratyakṣam, śabdaḥ, upamānam.
anusandhānam Synonym of dhyānam, meditation; contemplation; anu-san-dhānam – constantly, continuously, consistently placing the attention of the mind on something for a length of time.
anuvākaḥ Chapter or section of a Vedaḥ.
anvayaḥFollowing; succession – implies anuvṛttiḥ, continuance; see vyatirekaḥ.
anvaya-vyatirekaḥProof by assertion and negation; a logical procedure for determining truth from what is always co-present or co-absent; anvayaḥ focusses on presence, vyatirekaḥ on absence. For example: a pot and clay are co-present. When the pot breaks clay remains present (anvayaḥ) and so is real, satyam, but the pot does not remain co-present (vyatirekaḥ) and so is merely apparent, mithyā. The pot is present only when clay is present.
anyaOther; different; other than; different from; opposed to.
anyonyādhyāsaḥ Inter-superimposition of attributes, for example, the red-hot iron ball. A cold, heavy, solid, iron ball, when put in a fire, apparently becomes radiantly hot, whereas it is fire alone that is hot. Heat and brilliance – properties belonging to fire – are mistakenly seen to belong to the iron ball. Seeing the ball as hot (when it is not) is adhyāsaḥ. When removed from the fire, the ball’s natural attributes seem to slowly reappear. But they were never lost or absent, only overlaid in our perception with those of the fire. Error-caused superimposition, adhyāropaḥ, made heat and radiance seem to belong to the iron ball rather than to fire alone.
   Often, adhyāsaḥ works both ways: as well as a cold, iron ball being mistaken for what it is not – hot and radiant – fire too is mistaken here for what it is not: it appears solid, weighty and spherical. Such mutual wrong perception is called anyonyādhyāsa, the most obvious example of which is between the body-mind and ātmā, where the qualities of each are mutually superimposed so that the body-mind seems alive and ātmā seems to have a form.
āpaḥ Waters (āpaḥ is nominative plural, āp is nominative singular; the plural, waters, is used when referring to the element water); the element Water; also see pāñcabhautikam the five elemental model of the universe – ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, waters; pṛthivī, earth.
apānaḥ Name given to the vital air governing the function of excretion; the elimination aspect of prāṇaḥ, seated in the kidneys; also see samānaḥ, digestion; vyānaḥ, circulation; udānaḥ, upward breath.
aparā-prakṛtiḥLower nature of the self; the immediate cause of all that is perceivable, manifest and conceivable; see parā-prakṛtiḥ.
aparā-vidyā Knowledge of anything and everything other than the Truth obtaining as the self; lower knowledge; the entire Vedaḥ and all śāstram is aparā-vidyā – see parā-vidyā.
aparokṣa-jñānamImmediate (not distant) knowledge; knowledge of the immediate self, knowledge of the knower.
apasmāraḥ Forgetfulness
apauruṣeya Of non-human (divine) origin; hallmark of the Vedas.
apavādaḥ Negation; cognitive resolution of, for example, the form, name and function, pot, in clay, as mithyā.
apavāda-vākyamA statement negating an earlier attribution; a teaching device used by the śāstram to correct an inexact impression that might result from an earlier statement. When, for example, Brahman is declared to be the cause of all that is here, that attribution of Brahman having a causal status is later negated by an apavāda-vākyam eliminating all possible categorisation. See adhyāropa-vākyam and sāmānādhikaraṇyam.
apekṣā Necessity; expectation.
api Also
apohanam Suspension of thought.
āptiḥAttainment, (āpyam); one of the four possible results of action; also see utpattiḥ (utpādyam), production; vikṛtiḥ (vikāryam), modification; sanskṛtiḥ (sanskāryam), refinement.
āratiḥWaving of light performed as part of a pūjā; one of the units of the act of worship (karmāṅga).
aratiḥ janasaṁsadiNo longer craving social interaction; ever comfortabe in one's own company.
arcakaḥ Worshipper; praiser.
arcanam Worship in the form of praising the Lord.
ārjavam Straight-forwardness; honesty; truthfulness; integrity (alignment of thought, word and deed).
arjunaḥ The famous Mahābhāratam warrior whose doubts Lord Kṛṣṇaḥ resolved on the eve of battle, thereby creating the Bhagavad Gītā.
āropaḥAttribution of the characteristics of one thing to another; see adhyāsaḥ, adhyāropaḥ.
arpaṇam Entrusting; offering.
arthaḥPursuit; wealth; meaning; pursuit of security.
arthāpattiḥKnowledge from presumption about what is not perceived, derived from what is perceived e.g. the man seen each day claims to be fasting but is getting fatter, so it is presumed he must be eating at night; one of the six pramāṇas – see the others: anumānam, anupalabdhiḥ, pratyakṣam, śabdaḥ, upamānam.
asaktiḥAbsence of a sense of ownership; recognising that although I possess a few things, I actually own nothing; also see saktiḥ.
āsanamPosture; seat; part of the aṣṭāṅga-yogaḥ, the eight-fold discipline of yogaḥ.
aśanāyāHunger; see ūrmiḥ.
aśeṣataḥTotally; completely.
asmitāEgoism; the knowledge ‘I am’; excessive self-concern, with or without exaggerated feelings of self-importance; see kleśaḥ.
āśramaḥDwelling place of spiritual seekers; the four stages of Vedic religious life – brahmacaryam, studentship; gṛhasthaḥ, householder; vānaprasthaḥ, withdrawal; sannyāsaḥ, renunciation.
āśrama-dharmaḥDuties pertaining to the four orders or stages of life.
āśrayaḥ That upon which anything depends or rests; locus.
aṣṭāṅga-yogaḥPatañjali's Aṣṭāṅga Yogaḥ is an eight-fold discipline consisting of yamaḥ, (five) prohibitions; niyamaḥ, (five) injunctions; āsanam, posture; prāṇāyāmaḥ, breath control; pratyāhāraḥ, sense control; dhāraṇā, concentration; dhyānam, meditation; samādhiḥ, absorption. It has its place in preparing the mind for knowledge to take place.
āstikaḥA person who accepts the Vedaḥ as a pramāṇam – a nāstikaḥ does not.
asuraḥDemon; person who goes against dharmaḥ in pursuit of sensory pleasure; predominant guṇaḥ is tamas; see rākṣasaḥ.
ātmā Self; true self; that which is distinct from the gross, subtle and causal bodies (sthūla, sūkṣma, kāraṇa-śarīrāḥ); beyond the five levels of experience (pañca-kośāḥ); witness, sākṣī, of the three states of experience (avasthā-trayāḥ); that which ever remains as existence, consciousness, fullness (saccidānandaḥ).
ātma-bodhaḥ Becoming conscious of, awakening to, knowledge of the self; the blossoming of self-knowledge.
ātma-jñānamKnowledge of the truth of oneself; see jñāna-yogaḥ.
ātmanSelf; (vocative – and also uninflected or base form – of ātmā, self).
ātma-samarpaṇam Resolving wrong notions of oneself in the ātmā, the self.
ātma-vicāraḥEnquiry into the nature of the self.
ātma-vidyāSelf-knowledge; knowledge of one's true nature.
ātma-vinigrahaḥMastery over the body-mind-sense complex by, for example, overcoming slothfulness.
atra Here
āvaraṇam Covering; obscuring.
āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ Concealing power of māyā (a synonym of avidyā), covers ātmā so well (just as heavy cloud obscures the Sun) that ātmā seems not to exist, necessariy initiating the arising of the vikṣepa-śaktiḥ of māyā to provide an alternative that successively takes form as adhyāsaḥ, āropaḥ, adhyāropaḥ, ahaṅkāraḥ, kāmaḥ, karma and saṁsāraḥ.
avasthā State; condition.
avasthā-trayamThe three states of experience, all of which are states of mind; see jāgrad-avasthā, waking state; svapna-avasthā, dream state; suṣupti-avasthā, deep-sleep state; and also see turīya, 'the fourth' (not a state).
avasthā-traya-prakriyāMethod of analysis demonstrating that ātmā is not limited to any of the three states (waking, dream and sleep); see prakriyā.
avatāraḥ Descent; the divine, descended and manifest in bhū-lokaḥ.
avidyāBeginningless ignorance; manifest only in the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā, and in the dream state, svapna-avasthā, while ever unmanifest in the deep-sleep state, suṣupti-avasthā. Avidyā is not in itself a problem, it's only a problem when it leads to adhyāsaḥ, the cause of saṁsāraḥ. Also see kleśaḥ.
avikārya Unmodifiable; unchanging.
aviruddha Unopposed
avyabhicārinī-bhaktiḥUnswerving devotion.
avyākṛta Undifferentiated; primal; undeveloped; māyā prior to its manifestation of sṛṣṭiḥ.
avyakta Unmanifest; synonym of māyā.
avyaya Undecaying; indeclinable; unchanging.
ayam This one.
ayamātmā brahma'This self is Brahma' (Māṇḍūkya 1.2); this one, this very self here, myself, is Brahma! – see mahāvākyam and also tattvamasi, ahaṃ brahmāsmi, prajñānaṃ brahma.
āyatanamAbode; sanctuary; resting place; support; altar.
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bādhaḥNegation; objection; contradiction; see abādhita.
bahu Many
bāhuḥ Arm
bahudhā In many ways.
bāhya External
bāla Young; not mature; not fully grown.
balam Strength; force.
bandhaḥ Bound; bondage.
bhadra Auspicious
bhagaḥThe six great virtues: jñānam, knowledge; śrīḥ, wealth; yaśas, fame; vīryam, strength; vairāgyam, dispassion; aiśvaryam, overlordship.
bhāgaḥ Part; fraction.
bhagavad-gītā Part of the great epic Mahābhāratam, the Bhagavad Gītā is a smṛtiḥ that teaches the way of life that prepares the mind for knowledge of Truth and for knowing the nature of Reality. It is one of the three great pieces of scriptural literature that form the prasthāna-trayam.
bhagavān Lord; the one endowed with the six great virtues, bhagaḥ, in abundant and equal measure.
bhaktaḥ Devotee; a real devotee is a seeker of knowledge of the Lord; a wise person is an exalted devotee who sees his or her own self being non-separate from the Lord; a simple devotee is one who seeks God’s help to pursue security, pleasure and the removal of suffering.
bhaktiḥ Devotion; love; attachment; trust; homage; worship; piety; faith; since bhaktiḥ is expressed through action, it comes within karma-yogaḥ and so bhakti-mārgaḥ is not a separate path.
bhāsaḥ Light; lustre; brightness; impression made on the mind; see cidābhāsaḥ.
bhāṣyam Written commentary on a śāstram text. The method is to quote a word and next to it offer one or more words in explanation. A commentary becomes a bhāṣyam when it gives the meaning and also defends the meaning that is given. There are many bhāṣyams, but the well known ones are written by three ācāryas: Śrī Śaṅkaraḥ, Śrī Rāmānujaḥ, and Śrī Mādhvaḥ. The greatest and most famous are by Śrī Śaṅkaraḥ. See ṭīkā, vārtikam.
bhāvaḥ Existence; state of being; manner of being; nature; temperament; character; any state of mind or body; way of thinking or feeling; sentiment; opinion; disposition; intention.
bhāvanāAttitude; conception; understanding; imagination; supposition; fancy; thought; meditation.
bhavarogaḥDisease (rogaḥ) of existence; the disease of the beginningless, endless cycle of births and deaths.
bhāva-vikāraḥModification of one's state of being; there are six such modifications – asti, existence (in the womb); jāyate, birth; vardhate, growth; vipariṇāmate, maturing; apakṣīyate, decline and decay; vinaśyati, destruction, death.
bhaviṣyat-kālaḥ Future time; the future; future tense; see bhūta-kālaḥ, vartamānakālaḥ.
bhayam Fear; alarm; dread.
bhedaḥ Difference; three kinds: svagata-bhedaḥ differences between parts of the same object (e.g. between a leaf and a branch of the same tree), svajātīya-bhedaḥ differences between objects of the same kind or species (e.g. between two trees), vijātīya-bhedaḥ differences between objects of different species (e.g. between a tree and a cow).
bhikṣā Alms
bhogaḥ Enjoyment; experience.
bhogya Object of enjoyment or experience.
bhoktā Enjoyer; experiencer.
bhramaḥ Confusion; perplexity; (fem: bhrāntiḥ).
bhūḥ The Earth; known as 'the world of becoming' as it is the only lokaḥ where change can occur i.e. where new karma may be formed; world of mortals; lowest of the seven heavens; also known as bhū-lokaḥ; see vyāhṛtiḥ, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ.
bhūmiḥ The element Earth.
bhūta-kālaḥ The past; past tense; see vartamānakālaḥ, bhaviṣyat-kālaḥ.
bhūtam A (transient) element, being or entity; that which has come into being and will later cease to be.
bhūta-yajñaḥ Worship of the Lord in the form of proper care for the living beings that constitute the natural world of plants, animals, etc.; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas.
bhūta-yoniḥ Cause of all.
bhuvaḥThe intermediary world between bhū-lokaḥ and suvar-lokaḥ; sixth lowest of the seven heavens; see vyāhṛtiḥ and also see bhuḥ, svaḥ.
bījam Seed; source; cause.
bimbaḥ Reflection; manifestation (here, reflection is in the sense that the ornament 'reflects' the jeweller's design, i.e. it makes manifest his/her design or concept; it is not reflection in the visual sense, as in a reflection in a mirror – hence, the meaning 'manifestation').
bodhaḥ Knowledge; awareness.
brahmā Īśvaraḥ as the creator and protector of the universe, and as the revealer of the Vedāḥ; also known as Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ. See Viṣṇuḥ, Śivaḥ.
brahma (brahman) Supreme Reality; absolute Reality; absolute Truth; of the nature of limitlessness; not to be confused with Brahmā (Brahmā), the Creator.
brahmacaryam A lifestyle wherein a student is given to the discipline of entertaining only the Vedic teaching in the mind. The word brahma also means Vedaḥ which is why a brahamcaryam constantly dwells upon the Vedic teaching.
   Earliest of the four āśramas or stages of Vedic life – studentship; also see gṛhasthaḥ, householder; vānaprasthaḥ, withdrawal; sannyāsaḥ, renunciation.
brahma-jñānam Knowledge of absolute Truth; knowledge of Reality; synonym of brahma-vidyā.
brahma-lokaḥ Highest of the seven heavens; also known as satya-lokaḥ.
brāhmaṇaḥ The mature individual who is totally committed to the pursuit of knowledge and thereby is committed to living a life of values. One who knows the Truth is a brāhmanaḥ.
   Name of the first varṇaḥ – a priest, teacher, doctor, lawyer, etc.; also see kṣatriyaḥ, soldier; vaiśyaḥ, businessman; śūdraḥ, labourer.
brahmana-upaniṣad An Upaniṣad in prose form (not in verse form, i.e. not in mantraḥ form). Each brahmana-upaniṣad is looked upon as explaining its corresponding mantra-upaniṣad. For example, the Praśna Upaniṣad is the corresponding brahmanopaniṣad to the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad.
brahma-niṣṭhaḥ One established in knowledge of Brahma, in knowledge of absolute Reality; a jñānī – also see śrotriyaḥ.
brahma-sūtrāṇi A nyāya-prasthānam, an analytical study of Vedantic statements wherein their meanings are irrefutably established. It was written by Vyāsaḥ and is the third text in the prasthāna-trayam.
brahma-vidyā Knowledge of Brahma, knowledge of ātmā being Brahman, absolute Reality. Being the very meaning of the word Upaniṣad, it permanently disintegrates or destroys saṁsāraḥ and is the only means for the attainment of mokṣaḥ. It is the most exalted, most important and most significant among all the forms of knowledge as it is their basis.
brahma-yajñaḥ Also known as ṛṣi-yajñaḥ; one of the five forms of worship; studying Veda-śāstram; studying any scriptural literature as a spiritual aspirant; regular, systematic śravaṇam – also see pañcamahā-yajñaḥ.
buddhiḥIntellect – the power to know, reason, recognise, deliberate, decide, will; part of antaḥ-karaṇam (one of its functional names) and hence part of sūkṣma-śarīram.
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caitanyamConsciousness; awareness.
cakṣuḥ Eye
caturyugam The four (catur) ages (yugam) of the world-cycle: kṛta-yugam (kali-yugam x 4 = 1,728,000 years), tretā-yugam (kali-yugam x 3 = 1,296,000 years), dvāpara-yugam (kali-yugam x 2 = 864,000 years), kali-yugam 432,000 years; the catur-yugam (four yugas combined) is also known as a mahā-yugam (kali-yugam x 10 = 4,320,000 years); see kalpaḥ, yugam.
catuṣṭayam A set or group of four.
cetana Conscious; sentient; alive.
chandasMeter; mantra; science of meter, prosody, the science of proper stress and intonation patterns used in ritual; one of the six auxiliary sciences, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see śikṣā, vyākaraṇam, niruktam, jyotiṣaḥ, kalpaḥ.
chāndasa-prayogaḥVedic usage; Vedic expression; a word-form peculiar to the Vedas that does not conform to conventional Sanskṛtam grammar rules.
cidābhāsaḥManifestation or reflection of consciousness from the perspective of the individual; one who identifies the consciousness manifest in the body-mind-sense complex as 'I' is called a jīvaḥ or cidābhāsaḥ; also see pratibimbaḥ; cidābhāsaḥ and pratibimbaḥ are the same consciousness viewed from different perspectives.
cintanam Thinking; reflecting.
cit Pure consciousness; pure knowledge; pure intelligence; source of all knowledge; source of all manifestation – synonym of caitanyam.
cit-svarūpam Of the very form of (of the very nature of) pure knowledge, pure consciousness.
cittamMind-stuff; subconscious mind; memory; power of recollection; part of antaḥ-karaṇam (one of its functional names) and hence part of sūkṣma-śarīram.
cūḍāCrest; top; summit.
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daivamGrace; being blessed by the devas. Any successful undertaking involves three important factors: effort, prayatnaḥ, time, kālaḥ, and the unknown factor, daivam, which, when invoked by prayer, may neutralise unseen obstacles to success.
dakṣiṇa Able; skilful; expert; right (side); southern.
dakṣiṇā An offering, gift or honorarium to brāhmaṇas or one's guruḥ.
dakṣiṇāmūrtiḥ Īśvaraḥ, the Lord, invoked as the bestower of spiritual knowledge, absolute wisdom; the first and foremost in the unbroken lineage of gurus or teachers; personnification of pure knowledge, the source of all manifest knowledge, and so is said to be teaching in silence as it is the existence of pure knowledge that makes teaching possible.
damaḥMastery over the organs (powers) of sense and action; see ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see śamaḥ, uparamaḥ, titikṣā, śraddhā, samādhānam.
darśanam Vision; seeing; vision of the truth; seeing Bhagavān in the form of a deity in a temple.
dayā Compassion; empathy.
dehaḥBody; also see the synoyms kāyaḥ, śarīram.
dehī Indweller of the body; synonym for jīvaḥ.
deśaḥ Place; spot; country.
devaḥEffulgent; general term for any natural phenomenon looked upon as the illumination of consciousness or the manifestation of the Lord (fem: devatā).
deva-yajñaḥOne of the five forms of worship; invoking the Lord in the form of gods (devatās) in order to express one's gratitude for all that one is blessed with; also see pañcamahā-yajñas.
dhairyam Courage; boldness; bravery.
dhāmam Abode; destination.
dhanam Wealth; property; treasure.
dhāraṇam Holding or placing the attention of the mind on a given object; see pratyāhāraḥ.
dharmaḥThere is no equivalent word in European languages; dharmaḥ is that which upholds; universal, natural, moral, law and order; ethics; universal values; disciplines; performance of one's own duties, and secular and sacred activities; social service; acquiring puṇyam through the above factors.
dhātuḥElement or constituent of the body e.g. phlegm, blood, marrow; vital force in man; metal; verbal root.
dhīḥ Intellect; mind; thought in general (subtle body).
dhīraḥ A wise person – one who protects the mind from fear.
dhṛtiḥ Resolution; perseverance; firmness; fortitude.
dhruva Firm; fixed; permanent; unchanging.
dhyānamMeditation. Meditation is purely a mental activity. If the object is Saguṇa-Brahma (Īśvaraḥ) and it results in calmness or steadiness of mind it is saguṇa-brahma-upāsanam in which there is a difference between the meditator and the meditated. "Meditation will not reveal ātmā because the meditator is atma." *
   If the object is the truth of the subject (i.e. the nature of Reality, which is one's own svarūpam or intrinsic nature) meditation is contemplation, nididhyāsanam – otherwise known as nirguṇa-brahma-upāsanam. In nididhyāsanam there is no meditator-meditated difference.
dīkṣā Initiation; consecration.
dīpaḥ Lamp; light; lantern.
dīrghaLong; two short measures (mātrā) of sound; also see hrasva short, pluta lengthened.
diśā Quarter or point of the compass; compass direction; diśaḥ, all four quarters (east, west, north and south).
doṣaḥ Defect; fault; deficiency; error.
dravyam An object; substance; material ingredient.
dravya-śaktiḥ Power of inertia; tamo-guṇaḥ, see guṇaḥ.
dṛg-dṛśya-viveka-prakriyāMethod of discriminative analysis demonstrating not only the ever-present distinction between the seer and the seen, but also that the seer can never be the seen; corrects the identification of ātmā with what it is not; see prakriyā.
dṛk The seer (knower); the one who sees.
dṛṣṭāntaḥ An example; illustration.
dṛṣṭiḥ Vision; view.
dṛśyam That which is seen; the object of sight.
duḥkhamSorrow; uneasiness; misery; pain; grief; trouble – see śokaḥ.
duritam Sin; synonym of pāpam; result of wrong action translated into experience of pain or undesirable situations.
durlabha Difficult to attain or accomplish; rare.
duṣkṛtam Evil act; misdeed; see pāpam; adharmaḥ.
dvandvam Pair of opposites (of experience) e.g. pain and pleasure, hot and cold, like and dislike.
dvayam Set of two; a pair; dual; couple.
dveṣaḥAversion; dislike; hatred; see rāgaḥ, kleśaḥ.
dvijaḥTwice-born; a mature person; an ethical person; a bird; see upanayanam.
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ekaOne
ekādaśī Eleventh day of the lunar fortnight, i.e. eleventh day after the new Moon or full Moon.
ekāgraḥ One-pointed – referring to a focussed state of attention.
ekāgrata One-pointedness (of the mind); concentration; intentness in the pursuit of a given object.
ekameva advitīyam'One alone without a second' – an indicatory term for Īśvaraḥ, the Lord.
ekānta Solitude
eṣaḥ This (masc. pronoun).
eṣaṇāArdent desire; passion; also see icchā, kāmaḥ.
eṣaṇa-trayam The three common, strong, human desires – putraiṣaṇā, desire for a son; vittaiṣaṇā, desire for wealth; lokaiṣaṇā, desire for higher worlds.
etad This (neuter pronoun).
evamThus; so; indeed; only; in this manner; just; exactly; very; same; even; alone; merely, etc. A word with multiple meanings, it's primarily used to give emphasis.
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gaganamSky; firmament; heaven.
gagana-ravindamSky-lotus; a poetic term for a (literally) incredible object to show astonishment at its apparent reality; a synonym for the world.
gaṇapatiḥ Lord Gaṇeśa (son of Lord Śivaḥ and Pārvatī); lord of multitudes, of groups of beings and of laws; remover of obstacles, therefore always invoked first before beginning any ceremony.
gandhaḥThe sense object (viṣayaḥ), subtle or gross, perceptible through the nose and mind and known as smell, scent or odour – the exclusive quality of earth.
gandha-tanmātramSubtle principle or root-element of odour.
gatiḥ Movement; motion; end; goal; destination; (that towards which you go; that which you actually want; that which you get/obtain); path.
gauṇa Metaphorical; having qualities.
gauṇa-vṛttiḥ Metaphorical or secondary sense as in: "He is as brave as a lion", "She is brilliant, she is on fire"; a secondary power of words.
gāyatrī Name of a particular metre of 24 syllables.
gāyatrī-mantraḥA Sāvitrī-mantraḥ invoking the Lord in the form of the Sun; famous, sacred mantraḥ said to be all four Vedas in condensed form; chanted 108 times thrice daily during sandhyāvandanam (worship at dawn, noon and dusk); chanting it burnishes the buddhiḥ.
ghaṭaḥ Pot
ghaṭākāśaḥ Space bounded by (apparently contained within) a pot.
go A cow; earth; knowledge.
golakamA living, functional, physical organ of perception that is a medium of manifestation for its respective subtle sense-power; see indriyam.
gotram Family name; tribe; lineage; genus; species.
govindaḥ He who is attained only through knowledge; a name of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
grahaḥ Planet; grip; grasp.
grahaṇam Grasping; acquiring; comprehending; recognising; perception; eclipse.
grāhya Admissible; fit to be received, picked up, gathered, taken, observed; sense object.
grāmaḥ Village; hamlet; inhabitants; community; multitude; collection.
granthaḥ Book; treatise; text.
granthiḥ Knot; tie; joint; difficulty; confusion.
gṛhasthaḥHouseholder; second of the four āśramas of Vedic life – a married householder; also see brahmacaryam, studentship; vānaprasthaḥ, withdrawal; sannyāsaḥ, renunciation.
gūdha Covered; hidden; concealed (private, mystery).
guhā Cave of mind.
guhya Secret; mysterious.
guṇaḥAttribute; property; quality; the three-fold power of māyā, namely sattvam (sattva), rajaḥ (rajas), tamaḥ (tamas).
guṇātīta Free from, distinct from, the guṇas.
guruḥDispeller of darkness (of ignorance of one's true nature); a śrotriyaḥ and a brahma-niṣṭhā; preceptor; ācāryaḥ of ātma-vidyā: see śiṣyaḥ, guru-śiṣya-paramparā, sampradāyaḥ, paramparā.
gurukṛpā Guru's grace or blessings.
gurukulam A resident school where students stay with the teacher, living as a family.
guru-śiṣya-paramparāGuru-disciple lineage in which knowledge is passed successively over time immemorial; see paramparā, sampradāyaḥ, guruḥ, śiṣyaḥ.
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halA consonant, vyañjanam, without any vowel, svaraḥ.
harṣaḥ Elation; joy; delight; pleasure.
hastaḥ Hand
haviḥ Offering; oblation.
hetuḥ Cause; motive; reason; impulse.
hiraṇyagarbhaḥĪśvaraḥ as the entire subtle universe; the sum-total, samaṣṭiḥ, of all subtle phenomena and subtle bodies; cosmic or universal mind; the highest created being through whom Īśvaraḥ manifests the subtle aspect of the universe. Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ is also known as Brahmā and is the one in whom exists the entire knowledge of creation along with the jñāna-śaktiḥ, the capacity to know without limit; the kriyā-śaktiḥ, the capacity to create, sustain and dissolve the world; and the icchā-śaktiḥ, the capacity to desire. Its individual or vyaṣṭiḥ aspect is taijasaḥ in whom these capacities are limited. See antaryāmī, Vaiśvānaraḥ, Virāṭ.
hotram Sacrifice; oblation with fire.
hrasvaShort; a short measure (mātrā) of sound; also see dīrgha, long; pluta, lengthened.
hṛdaya-granthiḥThe three-stranded knot of the heart: avidyā, kāmaḥ, karma.
hṛdayam Heart
hrīmA mantraḥ meaning: "I invoke the power in Īśvaraḥ". Since one wants a power which is a blessing, śrīm is added to hrīm. Śrīm is the Lord's blessing power, Lakṣmī, 'all that is good'.
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icchāDesire; wish; inclination; see eṣaṇā, kāmaḥ.
icchā-śaktiḥPower to desire; an aspect of vikṣepa-śaktiḥ – also see jñāna-śaktiḥ, kriyā-śaktiḥ.
idam This (neuter pronoun).
idamta This-ness.
iha Here
indraḥLord of the senses; chief of the celestials; ruler of heaven.
indriya-artheṣu-vairāgyam Dispassion towards sense-objects.
indriya-jñānam Sense perception; sensory knowledge.
indriyam Subtle power of an organ of perception or action. For example, a jñānendriyam is an inner (subtle) organ of knowledge, namely a sense power such as seeing, hearing; a karmendriyam is an inner (subtle) organ of action, a motor power such as talking, handling. It must be emphasised that the indriyams are the power to see, the power to talk, etc., (dependent on the respective devatā and on prāṇaḥ) and are not to be equated with the physical organ (golakam).
iṣṭa-devatā Favourite or tutelary deity.
īśvaraḥSaguṇa-Brahma manifest as the entire universe, sṛṣṭiḥ, in all its causal, subtle and gross (physical) aspects – see antaryāmī, Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, Brahmā, Śivaḥ, Viṣṇuḥ, Vaiśvānaraḥ, Virāṭ, devaḥ.
iti Thus; so; accordingly; lays stress on what precedes; also marks end of a quotation, definition, etc.
itihāsaḥ"So indeed it was"; epic; legend; traditional account of former events describing the life and adventures of a hero or heroes e.g. Lord Rāmaḥ of the Rāmāyaṇam, and the five Pāṇḍavāḥ of the Mahābhāratam.
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jaḍamInsentient; inert; lifeless; inanimate.
jagatUniverse – which becomes manifest and unmanifest continuously, and is mithyā.
jagat-kāraṇamCause of creation; Īśvaraḥ, with his śaktiḥ known as māyā, is the means of manifestation.
jāgrad-avasthā Waking state of the mind in which the gross world of physical objects is experienced; also see svapna-avasthā, dream state; suṣupti-avasthā, deep-sleep state; turīya, 'the fourth'; avasthā-trayam, the three states of experience.
jāgratWaking
jalpa-vādaḥA discussion in which both sides are convinced they are right and are only interested in being right; neither has any real regard for the truth; the purpose is only to convert the other party; also see samvādaḥ, vādaḥ, vitaṇḍa-vādaḥ.
janma(n)Birth; embodiment; the four sources of 'birth' are jarāyuja, womb-born; aṇḍaja, egg-born; svedaja, moisture-born; udbhijja, seed-born.
japaḥRepeated utterance (of a mantraḥ); chanting.
jarā Old age; infirmity; decay; see ūrmiḥ.
jarāyu Womb
jaya Victory
jihvā Tongue
jijñāsā Desire/thirst for knowledge.
jijñāsuḥ One desirous of knowledge.
jitendriyaḥ One who has conquered or who has mastery over the indriyāni, senses.
jīvaḥIndividual being whose 'I'-sense is identified with the body-mind-sense complex.
jīvan-muktaLiberated from apparent individuality; free while living.
jīvanmuktiḥLiberation while living (liberation after death, videha-muktiḥ).
jīvātmāĀtmā (consciousness) associated with an individual body-mind-sense complex.
jīvatvamThe state or condition of being a jīvaḥ; jīva-hood.
jñānābhyāsaḥInvolving oneself in jñāna-yogaḥ (śravanam, mananam, nididhyāsanam).
jñāna-kāṇḍhaḥ Upaniṣads – that (latter) part of the Vedas that deals with self-knowledge.
jñāna-karma-samuccaya Combination of knowledge and action. Since ignorance is the cause of bondage, knowledge alone is required to remove ignorance and the bondage it causes. Action, a product of ignorance, need not be, cannot be, combined with knowledge to remove ignorance.
jñānamKnowledge that is not negatable and is free from doubt; nature of reality; reality, which is of the nature of knowing, is jñānam; synonym of consciousness, awareness.
jñāna-niṣṭhāAbiding in the knowledge that is limitless wholeness.
jñāna-śaktiḥ The power to know; an aspect of vikṣepa-śaktiḥ – also see icchā-śaktiḥ, kriyā-śaktiḥ, and also see sattvam, guṇaḥ.
jñāna-yajñaḥSacred act of dissemination of knowledge via teaching; sādhanam in praise of (and for the attainment of) knowledge, conceived of as an offering or divine sacrifice.
jñāna-yogaḥThe discipline for the attainment of knowledge; the path of knowledge; constantly and seriously listening (śravaṇam), for a length of time, to the guruḥ unfold the Upaniṣads, then removing doubts and misunderstandings from what has been heard (mananam) and, finally, dwelling upon what is properly understood of the true nature of the self (nididhyāsanam) as taught by the guruḥ; a life devoted to knowledge of the self, ātmā-jñānam; a synonym for the sannyāsaḥ life-style; see karma-yogaḥ.
jñānendriyāṇi The five subtle sense-powers (hearing, touch, sight, taste, smell); part of sūkṣma-śarīram and vijñāṇamaya-kośaḥ.
jñānīKnower (of Brahma, of absolute Reality).
jñātā Knower; subject of the verb 'to know'.
jñeya Adjective meaning 'knowable, that which has the characteristic of being knowable, that which is capable of being known or understood'; in some contexts it can also mean 'known' or 'to be known, to be learnt or understood'.
jyotiḥ Light; the light of consciousness, because of which everything comes to light – a sound comes to light, a form comes to light, a touch comes to light...
jyotiṣamScience of astronomy and astrology; one of the six auxiliary sciences, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see śikṣā, chandas, vyākaraṇam, niruktam, kalpaḥ.
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kaivalyamFreedom; oneness; absolute unity; limitless independence; mokṣaḥ; advaitam.
kālaḥ Time
kalaśaḥ Pitcher, water pot, used in ritual.
kalpaḥDay of Brahmā (1,000 Mahā Yugas or 4,320,000,000 years, and the night is of equal length); rule; resolve; procedure – as Methods of Ritual it is one of the six auxiliary sciences, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – the others are śikṣā, chandas, vyākaraṇam, niruktam, jyotiṣaḥ.
kalpanam Imagining; forming in the imagination; creating in the mind.
kalpita Projected; imagined; fabricated; artificial; composed; invented; supposed.
kāmaḥ Desire; longing; love for; pleasure in; lust; kāmaḥ leads to krodhaḥ, anger, when unfulfilled; a desire is a thought, a thought has the status of being a desire only if it is the source of action (mental or physical) and a result; see the six malas, impurities; also see eṣaṇā, icchā.
kāmya-karma Ritual performed (or any action done) for producing a specific, desired result.
kāṇḍaḥ Section; chapter; part; portion.
kāraṇa-kārya-prakriyāMethod of analysis that distinguishes between cause and effect; see prakriyā.
kāntiḥ Beauty; loveliness; female beauty.
karaṇam Instrument of action.
kāraṇamCause of an action or phenomenon – also see sthūla, sūkṣma.
kāraṇa-śarīramCausal body; consisting of beginningless avidyā and impure sattvam; see sthūla-śarīram, sūkṣma-śarīram, and suṣupti-avasthā.
karmaAction (from free will); object of an action; that which causes the production of bodies (new births); duty.
karma-kāṇḍaḥ The early part of the Vedaḥ, dealing with rituals and results.
karma-phaladātāĪśvaraḥ as the giver of the fruits of action. The natural, inter-related, flawless laws of dharma that are Īśvaraḥ give the results of action. These laws govern all aspects of the emergence, full manifestation and resolution of phenomena, and thus all aspects of all activity. We may bounce a ball, but the result, being always according to natural laws (gravity, kinetics, elasticity, friction, etc.), is not ours to command.
karma-phalamResult of action; the results manifest as puṇya-pāpas (happiness or sorrow arising from pleasant or unpleasant situations and incidents) which can be exhausted only by being experienced (or else eliminated by fully recognising 'I am not the agent of action').
   Results of action also fall into four categories – utpattiḥ (utpādyam), production; vikṛtiḥ (vikāryam), modification; āptiḥ (āpyam), attainment; sanskṛtiḥ (sanskāryam), refinement.
karma-yogaḥ A way of life followed as a discipline to prepare the mind for knowledge of the Truth, the Lord. As the Lord becomes the ultimate goal, all actions performed become offered to the Lord.
   A disciplined, householder life, lived in line with dharmaḥ, in which all actions are performed in the recognition that all that is here is Īśvaraḥ. Intrinsic to this recognition is a natural attitude of offering or entrusting all one's actions to Īśvaraḥ (īśvara-arpaṇa-buddhiḥ) since all action is, essentially, in and of Īśvaraḥ. Thus, a life of karma-yogaḥ is a life lived attempting to keep all one's actions aligned with what is perceived of the order that is dharmaḥ, Īśvaraḥ. As best one may, one's actions then become unopposed to what is appreciated of dharmaḥ, (dharma-aviruddha-karma). Natural to this order is the law-ordained result of action, which is accepted as prasādaḥ, a gift from Īśvaraḥ (īśvara-prasāda-buddhiḥ). That acceptance brings evenness and equanimity of mind (samatvam) when results appear.
   This way of life purifies the mind in preparation for jñānam since it entails mastery over one's emotions and ways of thinking, including forgoing personal bias in the form of rāga-dveṣas, attachments and aversions, when putting dharmaḥ first. This putting dharmaḥ first (following dharma's lead) requires discretion in action (yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam) which helps develop subtlety of mind. With all this comes dissociation from association with sorrow, duḥkha-saṃyoga-viyogam. Then, when śravaṇam occurs in such an open, unagitated, self-disciplined, worshipful mind, there is little to impede it and freedom from saṁsāraḥ follows. (There is much more to karma-yogaḥ than sevā, service!); also see jñāna-yogaḥ.
karmendriyāṇi The five subtle powers of action – evident in speaking, handling, moving, reproducing and eliminating; part of sūkṣma-śarīram and prāṇamaya-kośaḥ.
kartā Doer; subject of an action.
karuṇā Compassion; empathy.
kārya-kāraṇa-sambhandaḥCause-effect relationship.
kāryam Effect; product; correlate of kāraṇam, cause.
kaṣāyaḥ Stain; impurity; dullness of mind arising from a complacent attachment to a successful outcome; result of impure sattvam.
katham How
kauśalam Discretion, good judgement in one's choice of action; capacity to interpret correctly with reference to norms for human interaction; in the context of karma-yogaḥ (yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam) it does not mean skill, perfection or efficiency.
kaviḥ Poet; seer (ṛṣi); one who is able to see beyond surface appearances and see things properly.
kāyaḥThe body; trunk of a tree; assemblage; collection; capital; habitation; also see dehaḥ, śarīram.
kāyika Relating to the body.
kāyikam karma Bodily action. In saguṇa-brahma-upāsanam or īśvara-upāsanam, worship of the Lord is a three-fold activity: kāyikam karma, vācikam karma and mānasam karma. Kāyam means body, so kāyikam karma includes activity involving the physical body, such as waving a light, ringing a bell, offering food, cooking food, decoration of deities, etc. Orally reciting verses or chanting mantras or singing in praise of the Lord (invoking grace) is oral activity, vācikam karma. Vācikam karma can be with or without kāyikam karma. In kāyikam and vācikam karma the mind is involved, having only the thought of the Lord. However, in mānasam karma, purely mental activity, body and speech are not involved. Mānasam karma can be mānasa japaḥ (mentally repeating a mantraḥ) or visualising the form of the Lord as a given deity (as described in jñāna ślokas) with focussed attention. See mānasam karma, vācikam karma.
kendram Centre
keśaḥ Hair (on the head, śīrṣam); body hair is loman.
kevalam Only
kim What
kīrtanam Singing (praising) the glory of God.
kleśaḥ Five worldly afflictions that impair our recognition of Īśvaraḥavidyā, ignorance; asmitā, egoism; rāgaḥ, attachment; dveṣaḥ, aversion; abhiniveśaḥ, clinging to the body and to earthly life.
kośaḥOne of the five areas of the kārya-karaṇa-saṅghāta, the body-mind-sense complex, providing the potential for self-misidentification; see pañca-kośāḥ.
krama-muktiḥ Gradual (krama) liberation (muktiḥ) by slowly resolving the mind in the self after death while in brahma-lokaḥ being taught by Brahmā. Since reaching brahma-lokaḥ and being taught there by Brahmā is said to be extremely difficult (almost impossible) to attain, krama-muktiḥ is extremely rare.
kriyā-śaktiḥ Power to do or act; an aspect of vikṣepa-śaktiḥ – doing also implies the power to desire, icchā-śaktiḥ, and prior to that, the power to know, jñāna-śaktiḥ; also see guṇaḥ.
krodhaḥAnger; wrath; passion; also see the six malas, impurities.
kṛpā Mercy; grace; blessing; pity; tenderness.
kṛpaṇaḥ Poor; a beggar; miserly; stingy – in the Vedantic context, one who does not spend his knowledge of right and wrong (stingily doesn't use or 'spend' his buddhi) and instead abuses his free will.
kṛṣṇaLord Viṣṇuḥ, teacher of the Bhagavad Gītā; personnification of all-attractive happiness, fullness, limitlessness.
kṣamā Patience; endurance; forbearance; tolerance.
kṣaṇika Momentary; transient.
kṣāntiḥ An accommodating, appropriate, non-reactive, non-judgemental response to others' behaviour.
kṣatriyaḥ A holder of kṣatra, authority; one who protects the righteous from being wounded or hurt by the non-righteous; a person born into the second varṇaḥ – a soldier, governor, administrator, landowner, etc.; also see brāhmaṇaḥ, priest; vaiśyaḥ, businessman; śūdraḥ, labourer.
kṣayaḥ Decay; loss; disease.
kṣetrajña Field-knower; knower of the field of experience, of all that is observable; a synonym for ātmā as the sākṣī.
kṣetram Field of experience i.e. the jagat (including one's mind).
kṣiptam Thrown; scattered (attention); distracted (mind).
kṣudhā̄ Hunger
kulam Family; community.
kuṇḍaḥ Pot; pitcher.
kūṭastha Immovable; ever the same; because of its nature of immovability ātmā is known as kūṭastha.
kuṭīraḥHut or cottage.
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laghuLight; easy.
lakṣaṇāDefinition; indication; description; symbol; see upalakṣaṇā.
lakṣyārthaḥ Indicated or implied meaning of word(s); see vācyārthaḥ.
laukika Worldly; pertaining to empirical phenomena.
layaḥ Mental absorption with return, as in deep sleep; sloth; dissolution as part of the cycle of creation.
līlā Play; sport; diversion; pleasure.
liṅgam Clue; mark; sign; indication; gender.
liṅga-śarīram Alternative name for the subtle body, indicating that evidence of its presence (such as breathing) is a sign (liṅgam) of life; see sūkṣma-śarīraḥ.
lobhaḥGreed; also see the six malas, impurities.
lokaḥPlace; region; result; of the 14 temporary abodes, lokas, the seven lower ones are forms of hell, narakaḥ, and are only for the exhaustion of pāpam. The seven higher are forms of heaven, svargaḥ, and are only for the exhaustion of puṇyam (with the exception of the turning point, bhū-lokaḥ, this Earth, in which change takes place and puṇyam and pāpam are both acquired and exhausted). Bhū-lokaḥ is the only place with free will and so the only lokaḥ where change or development or becoming is possible, hence the name bhūḥ. The seven higher lokas begin with this Earth, bhūḥ, and in ascending order are bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, suvaḥ, mahaḥ, janaḥ, tapaḥ, with satyam the highest. In descending order, the seven lower are: atalam, vitalam, sutalam, talātalam, rasātalam, mahātalam, with pātālam lowest of all.
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madaḥPride; arrogance; intoxication; also see the six malas, impurities.
madhyamaMiddle; third (middle, intermediate) stage of emergence of speech. When a person is inclined to speak, the unmanifest and undifferentiated power of speech known as parā, having become differentiated at paśyantī, goes upwards to a cakram (power centre) called manipūrakam, located at the navel. As it continues upwards into the heart cakram, (anāhata), the same unmanifest power, parā, assumes by association with the intellect a specific word form, madhyama. see parā, paśyantī, vaikharī.
mahaḥOne of the sacred utterances. In the Taittirīya Upaniṣad, four vyāhṛtis are mentioned for a meditation known as vyāhṛti-upāsanam. These vyāhṛtis are used as an ālambanam, a support, to meditate upon different devatās. The three well known vyāhṛtis are bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ and svaḥ. The fourth, mahaḥ, is introduced here in the Taittirīya. Mahaḥ, which, in common with the others symbolises saguṇa-brahma-hiraṇyagarbaḥ, was revealed by ṛṣiḥ Māhācamasya. See vyāhṛtiḥ.
mahatGreat; intellect; first product of prakṛtiḥ.
mahat-tattvamThe great principle; principle of intelligence or buddhiḥ; Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ or Brahmā.
mahā-vākyamGreat statement from the Upaniṣads revealing the self. There are many such statements, but the four most famous are: tattvamasi, ahaṃ brahmāsmi, ayamātmā brahma, prajñānaṃ brahma. There is no gradation between them (as some suggest). The lakṣyārthaḥ of all is the same.
mālāGarland (of flowers); string of beads (usually 108) for japaḥ.
malaḥDirt; impurity – six kinds: kāmaḥ, lust; krodhaḥ, anger; lobhaḥ, greed; mohaḥ, delusion; madaḥ, pride; mātsaryam, jealousy; each of these six is also known as a vairiḥ, an enemy, of the wise.
mamatvam'My-sense'; sense of ownership; possessiveness.
manaḥ (manas)Mind; part of Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ; the power to think, feel; formed of vṛttis alone, which undergo constant change; typified by saṅkalpa-vikalpaḥ, desires and doubts, options and alternatives. Since the power to think and feel includes notions of identity (ahaṅkāraḥ), as well as memories (cittam) and decisions (buddhiḥ), manaḥ is used both to mean a specific function of the mind (thinking and feeling) as well as to represent the mind as a whole; see antaḥ-karaṇam, sūkṣma-śarīram.
mananamLit. 'thinking'. Resolving doubts by reflecting on what has been understood through śravaṇam, until understanding is flawless and complete; see nididhyāsanam, sākṣātkāraḥ.
mānasam karmaMental action. Thoughts are just thoughts, unless acted upon. A thought without a will behind it is not an action – it is a passing thought. If it has a will behind it, it becomes a mānasam karma, a mental action, that accrues puṇyam or pāpam, as appropriate.
   In saguṇa-brahma-upāsanam or īśvara-upāsanam, worship of the Lord is a three-fold activity: kāyikam karma, vācikam karma and mānasam karma. Kāyam means body, so kāyikam karma includes activity involving the physical body, such as waving a light, ringing a bell, offering food, cooking food, decoration of deities, etc. Orally reciting verses or chanting mantras or singing in praise of the Lord (invoking grace) is oral activity, vācikam karma. Vācikam karma can be with or without kāyikam karma. In kāyikam and vācikam karma the mind is involved, having only the thought of the Lord. However, in mānasam karma, purely mental activity, body and speech are not involved. Mānasam karma can be mānasa japaḥ (mentally repeating a mantraḥ) or visualising the form of the Lord as a given deity (as described in jñāna ślokas) with focussed attention. See kāyikam karma, vācikam karma.
mandaDull; dull-witted; lazy; inactive.
maṅgalamAuspicious; synonyms are śubham, śivam, śam, kalyāṇam, bhadram, svasti.
maṇiḥJewel; gem; ornament.
manomaya-kośaḥThe five senses plus the mind, which seemingly cover the non-coverable ātmā, together constitute the manomya-koṣaḥ. Also see annamaya-kośaḥ, prāṇamaya-kośaḥ, vijñānamaya-kośaḥ, ānandamaya-kośaḥ.
mano-nigrahaḥ Mastery of one's ways of thinking.
mantraḥThat which protects the reciter (through understanding and repeatedly dwelling upon its meaning); a mantra can be a name of the Lord, a word revealing the essential nature of reality, the self; any Vedic sentence in prose or verse is revered as a mantraḥ.
mantra-upaniṣad An Upaniṣad in the form of hymns (verses), e.g. the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad. See brahmana-upaniṣad.
manuṣyaḥ A living being capable of thinking, i.e. a human being.
manuṣya-yajñaḥWorship of the Lord in the form of one's fellow human beings by appropriately caring for and serving them; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas.
maraṇam Death
mārgaḥ Way; path; course; route.
mārutaḥ Deity of the wind.
mātā Mother; the one who measures.
matam View; contention; thought; opinion; a given school of thought. (However, Bhagavān's view is a vision, dṛṣṭiḥ, of a fact – not merely a view, as views differ).
maṭhaḥ Monastery
mātsaryamJealousy; envy; also see the six malas, impurities.
maunamSilence
māyā Power of Īśvaraḥ. Māyā does not exist independently of Īśvaraḥ and hence is mithyā (and so is all that arises from it). It undergoes change to manifest the jagat. It is one power with three aspects: sattvam (sattva), rajaḥ (rajas), tamaḥ (tamas). This three-fold creative power manifests as the jñāna-śaktiḥ (capacity to know) of sattvam, the kriyā-śaktiḥ (capacity to act) of rajas, and the dravya-śaktiḥ (capacity for inertia) of tamas.
   Being intrinsic to and inseparable from Īśvaraḥ, māyā is not an attribute nor an upādhiḥ (only when māyā is manifest as forms, names and functions do upādhis arise). Neither does māyā mean 'illusion'. See guṇaḥ; also see āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ, vikṣepa-śaktiḥ.
medhā-śaktiḥPower of intellection – ability to unfailingly attend (focus), properly understand, ever retain, fully ascertain and completely assimilate what is taught.
mīmāṁsāAnalysis of the sentences of the Vedaḥ. Analysis of the earlier, pūrvā, portion (karma-kāṇḍaḥ or ritual portion) is called pūrvā-mīmāṁsā, also known as karma-mīmāṁsā. Its adherents rightly say that the Vedaḥ is eternal and is the final word on everything. However, some karma-mīmāṁsā adherents also wrongly say that the Vedaḥ enjoins you to do action coupled with jñānam for mokṣaḥ, and that mokṣaḥ is only from a combination of the two.
   Uttara-mīmāṁsā is an analysis that is uttara, later: it is an analysis of the concluding or end portion of the Vedas, the Upaniṣads, whose statements reveal the nature of reality. They further reveal that the ultimate purpose of the Vedaḥ is not karma but jñānam, the knowledge that alone liberates.
mithyā Mithyā is that which is neither absolutely real nor unreal, but is empirically, objectively, relatively real. It is a term indicating that something is dependent for its very existence on its substratum, just as a clay pot depends on clay, or a gold ornament on gold; see satyam, tuccham.
modaḥJoy; pleasure; a degree of happpiness: the (greater) pleasure born of having got a desired object; also see priya, pramodaḥ.
mohaḥDelusion; bewilderment; perplexity; lack of discriminative understanding; also see malaḥ, ūrmiḥ.
mokṣaḥFreedom from emotional dependence; liberation from the beginningless, endless cycle of births and deaths; freedom from being a wanting person, which is accomplishable only through knowledge as freedom is already there, but covered by ignorance; knowledge of the self itself is taking ownership of that freedom that is already there as one's own essential nature.
mṛtyuḥDeath; Lord of Death.
mūḍhāḥ The deluded; the confused ones.
mudrā Name for certain hand gestures and finger positions.
mukhyārthaḥ Primary or literal meaning of a word or sentence. 'On the face of it, it means …'
mukta Free; released; liberated.
muktiḥ Freedom; release; liberation; synonym of mokṣa and vimocanam.
mūlam Root; source; basis; principle.
mūlāvidyā Original or primary ignorance, māyā. See tūlāvidyā.
mumukṣuḥ Desirer of liberation.
mumukṣutvam Having the status of being desirous of liberation, mokṣaḥ.
muniḥ One who is discipline minded; a person capable of appropriate thinking; someone capable of being meditative; sage; ascetic.
mūrtiḥ Form; visible shape; personification; idol; statue.
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nādaḥSound; ringing of a bell.
nāḍī System of subtle nerves (unavailable via dissection) that runs throughout the subtle body and converges on the heart.
naimittika-karmaOccasional (not daily) duty.
naiścalyam Steadiness; solidity; fixity.
naiṣkarmyam Actionlessness
naivedyam Offerable; conveyable; food (symbolically) offered to a deity.
nākaḥ Heaven; vault of heaven; firmament; (a place of) no unhappiness. See svargaḥ
nāma Name
namaḥ Salutations – namaste, 'salutations to you'.
nāma-rūpam Name and form; this insubtantial world is mere name and form, whose only substance is satyam.
nanu Expression used to convey an objection or question: a vocative particle revealing kindness, perplexity or reproach; also used to convey 'no doubt', 'not at all', 'never', 'indeed', 'certainly'.
narakaḥHell; the seven lower regions, which are (in descending order): atalam, vitalam, sutalam, talātalam, rasātalam, mahātalam, with pātālam lowest of all.
nārāyaṇaḥ One of the names of the Lord as the all-pervasive sustainer, meaning 'the one who has to be ultimately arrived at, attained, by a human mind'; Lord Viṣṇuḥ.
nāśaḥ Destruction; disappearance.
nāsikā Nose; nostril.
nāsikāgram Tip of the nose.
nāstikaḥOne who does not recognise the Vedaḥ as a pramāṇam; see āstikaḥ.
neti-neti "Not this, not this" (lit. "No! No!"); an expression used in drig-dṛṣya-viveka prakriyā for progressively negating all names and forms (all objects, especially one's own body-mind-sense complex) to distinguish the subject (knower), thereby arriving at Reality in the form of the truth of the subject.
netram Eye
nididhyāsanamContemplation – dwelling upon the nature of reality understood as one's own self, the truth of 'I', wherein the meditator-meditated division or difference is absent because the object of meditation is the truth or essential nature of the subject.
   Nididhyāsanam is possible only after śravaṇam and mananam as it is practised only for ascertaining what has already been correctly understood from śravaṇam and mananam, and for the removal of viparīta-bhāvanā. Synonym of nirguṇa-brahma-upāsanam and svasvarūpa-anusandhānam. See sākṣātkāraḥ.
nidrā Sleep; a general term for either svapnaḥ (dreaming sleep) or suṣuptiḥ (deep sleep).
nigrahaḥ Restraint; obstruction; mastery.
nilayaḥ Abode; support; resting place; dwelling place; den; lair; nest; house.
nimitta-kāraṇamIntelligent or efficient cause, the presence of which itself lends existence to matter; also see upādāna-kāraṇam.
nimitta Being instrumental; reason; motive; target.
nirañjana Untainted; spotless; pure.
niratiṣaya Unsurpassed; unrivalled; unequalled.
nirguṇa-brahmaAttributeless, absolute Reality implied by the term 'Brahma' (as its nature is limitlessness); pure consciousness; see saguṇa-brahma.
nirguṇa-brahma-upāsanamMeditation on nirguṇa-brahma, the abstract formless reality, in which there is no meditator-meditated difference – see upāsanam, nididhyāsanam.
nirguṇaḥ Free from all attributes.
nirodhaḥ Obstruction
niruktamThe discipline of Vedic etymology; one of the six auxiliary sciences, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see śikṣā, chandas, vyākaraṇam, jyotiṣaḥ, kalpaḥ.
nirupādhika Without upādhiḥ (limiting adjunct); see upādhiḥ.
nirvāṇam Nirvāṇam implies the nature of Reality being non-coverability (reality is non-coverable because of its nature of all-pervasiveness); it also means knowledge, mokṣaḥ, because in knowledge one sees one's own self being free from all seeming covers, pañca-kośas; nirvāṇam means mokṣaḥ because in mokṣaḥ one sees oneself being limitlessness; liberation.
nirvikalpaDivisionless; changeless; free from knower-knowledge-known division; (does not mean 'absence of thought').
nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ"A state of absorption in which there is no second thing at all; a samādhiḥ in which there is absence of distinction between knower-knowledge-known, as in deep sleep, but, unlike sleep, the mind is awake, meaning there are vṛttis and so the state will be displaced by thought. Being a state of mind, any samādhiḥ is transient. Nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ is not, and cannot, be an experience of ātmā as ātmā is not experienceable. Some say that after you come out of nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ you will see the world entirely differently, but that is not correct because how you see the world depends purely on your vision of reality. Having experienced nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ you have to interpret that experience, and to interpret the experience you must have a pramāṇam, a means of knowledge." * Nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ is merely an impermanent experience, which comes and goes, and therefore is not mokṣaḥ. See savikalpa-samādhiḥ.
nirvikāra Umodifiable; unchangeable; unchanged.
nirviśeṣa Without any attributes or distinguishing characteristics.
nirvṛttiḥ Development; completion; termination; mokṣaḥ.
niścayaḥ Conviction; definiteness; firm resolve.
niścitārthaḥ Well ascertained.
niṣedhaḥ Prohibition; forbidden by scripture.
niṣiddha-karma Forbidden action.
niṣkāma Free from (binding) desire.
niṣṭhā Firmness; steadiness; freedom from doubt or vagueness.
nitya Timeless; not subject to time.
nityakarma Any daily duty, but especially religious ones.
nivṛttiḥAbstinence; cessation; giving primacy to śreyas rather than preyas – see its opposite pravṛttiḥ.
niyatam Regularly
niyatātmā One having a disciplined mind.
nūnam Definitely; asssuredly; certainly.
nyāyaḥLogic; justice.
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omSacred sound symbol (pratīkaḥ) of the Lord, Īśvaraḥ; essence of the Vedaḥ; used for both saguṇa- as well as nirguṇa-dhyānam. See praṇavaḥ.
oṣadhiḥPlant; herb; vegetation.
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pādaḥFourth part of a stanza; a quarter of anything; foot.
padamStep; foot; word; that which is to be reached or accomplished; that by which an object is reached or known.
padārthaḥMeaning of a word; substance (of any substantive).
pakṣaḥSide (of anything); wing (of a bird); shoulder; fortnight (half a lunar month); (the other side's) contention – see pūrvapakṣī.
pāñcabhautikam Five-elemental model of creation – see ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, waters; pṛthivī, earth.
pañca-kośāḥ The five layers of personality that seemingly cover the non-coverable self, ātmā; ignorance provides the potential for self-misidentification with the kārya-karaṇa-saṅghāta, the body-mind-sense complex; see annamaya-kośaḥ, prāṇamaya-kośaḥ, manomaya-kośaḥ, vijñānamaya-kośaḥ, ānandamaya-kośaḥ.
pañca-kośa-prakriyāOne of the methods of unfoldment of the self; analysis of the five kośas that seemingly cover ātmā; this method helps the seeker or aspirant gradually arrive at the subtlest consciousness, ātmā, from the gross physical body, thereby shifting the 'I'-sense from the body to consciousness; see prakriyā.
pañca-mahā-yajñaḥThe five great forms of worship or sacrifice – devayajñaḥ, worship of the Lord in the form of gods, devatās; pitṛyajñaḥ, worship of the Lord in the form of ancestors; ṛṣiyajñaḥ, worship of the Lord in the form of ṛṣis and scriptures; manuṣya-yajñaḥ, worship of the Lord in the form of human beings; bhūta-yajñaḥ, worship of the Lord in the form of the natural world of plants, animals, etc. All five contribute towards the mental preparation (karma-yogaḥ) needed for mokṣaḥ.
pañcīkaraṇamGrossification of the five subtle elements (tanmātras); one half of each is combined with one eighth of each of the other four.
paṇḍitaḥ Scholar; sage; learned; wise.
pāṇiḥ Hand
pāpamThe result of wrong or inappropriate action that transgresses universal values and disturbs the order that is dharmaḥ. The result remains unseen (adṛṣṭa) until manifesting as duḥkham, sorrow, arising from unpleasant, unfavourable situations and experiences. Any unpleasant situation is the result of pāpa-karma. See puṇyam, vāsanā, sanskāraḥ, adharmaḥ.
parāSupreme; absolute; origin of all; synonym of māyā (as all returns to it); name of the unmanifest and undifferentiated power of speech, which is latent in the individual and found at the base of the spine, at the power centre (cakram) called mūlādhāram – also see paśyantī, madhyama, vaikharī.
param Supreme; highest; the most superior; a reference to Brahman being the very truth of its own intrinsic power, māyā, and hence, in that sense, superior to it.
paramārthaḥ Highest truth or meaning; absolute reality; knowledge that is brahmātmā.
parambrahma Brahma; supreme Reality.
parameśvaraḥ The Lord; Īśvara manifest as the creation.
paramparā Lineage; refers to the unbroken lineage of teachers in which the passing of knowledge from teacher to student over millennia ensures the preservation of the sampradāyaḥ, teaching tradition; see guru-śiṣya-paramparā.
parā-prakṛtiḥ Higher nature of the self; the ultimate cause, without which no cause is possible; consciousness; existence; see saccidānandaḥ, aparā-prakṛtiḥ.
parā-vidyāSelf-knowledge; supreme knowledge; knowledge of absolute Truth in terms of aham brahmāsmi; synonym of brahma-vidyā. See aparā-vidyā.
pārāyaṇam Reading/chanting a text aloud.
paricchinna Limited; confined; circumscribed; cut off.
parīkṣā Examination; analysis; investigation.
pariṇāmaḥ Evolution; growth; change.
pariṇāmi-upādāṇa-kāraṇam Material cause that undergoes a change in the very substance or material itself to become an effect e.g. churned butter becomes ghee, burnt wood becomes smoke and ash; see upādāna-kāraṇam, vivarta-upādāna-kāraṇam.
parokṣa-jñānam Indirect (out of direct sight) knowledge; knowledge not from direct perception e.g. "I heard they arrived safely." See aparokṣa-jñānam.
pārvatīWife of Lord Śivaḥ; daughter of Himāvat; also known as Durgā, Satī, Umā.
paśuḥ Animal; any animal, domestic as well as wild.
paśyantīSeeing; second stage of emergence of speech or sound; the power of speech, after arising from parā, when differentiated by and remaining with a specific emotion becomes known as paśyantī̄ – also see parā, madhyama, vaikharī.
paṭaḥ Cloth; garment.
pāṭḥaḥChant; recitation; reading; lesson; study.
patiḥLord; husband.
patnīWife
patram Leaf; page.
pauruṣeya-śāstramScripture that is of human, not divine, authorship e.g. smṛtiḥ.
phalam Fruit; result of action.
phala-śrutiḥ The word phala-śrutiḥ literally means a verse or statement consisting of the benefit of chanting or reciting a given work of verses or mantras; 'result of listening'; a concluding summary, after śravanam, of what has been taught; the benefit to be gained through properly hearing a text being unfolded by a teacher and the praise of that benefit. (Proper hearing is the result of listening without omission, distortion or addition).
pipāsāThirst (as in 'thirst for water'; for thirst as in 'anguish or greed' see tṛṣṇā); also see ūrmiḥ.
pippalaḥ Sacred fig tree; Ficus Religiosa, commonly called the Peepal or aśvatthaḥ tree.
pitṛ-yajñaḥ Worship of the Lord in the form of the manes (ancestors) by offering rice balls and water, which satisfies them and incurs a blessing for those descendants who perform this sacrifice; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas.
plavaḥ Raft
plutaLengthened vowel held for three or more short mātrā (measures) in chanting; also see hrasva, short; dīrgha, long.
prabhāvaḥ Glory; brilliance; splendour; majesty.
prabhuḥ Lord; master.
pradakṣiṇa Reverential, clockwise circumambulation of a holy place or person (placing on one's right is a token of respect).
pradhānam Primary, unevolved source of universe; undifferentiated matter; synonym of prakṛtiḥ and māyā.
prajā Offspring; progeny; mankind; citizen/subject (of a nation).
prajāpatiḥ Lord of all beings; the creator; also known as Brahmā, Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ and Parameśvaraḥ.
prajñāConsciousness; awareness; knowledge; wisdom; discernment.
prājñaḥOne who is aware, conscious of, the meaning of the śāstram, whose mind is continually absorbed in the self; also a term for ātmā associated with the causal body of the jīvaḥ, the kāraṇa-śarīram, in the deep sleep state, suṣupti-avasthā, and so being temporarily free from the habitual and universal identification of the waking state, that 'I am someone of limited knowledge'; the universal or samaṣṭiḥ equivalent is antaryāmī – see taijasaḥ, viśvaḥ.
prajñānaṃ brahma'Consciousness is Brahma' (Aitareya 3.1.3); – see mahāvākyam and also tattvamasi, ahaṃ brahmāsmi, ayamātmā brahma.
prakaraṇa-granthaḥA text or treatise (prakaraṇam) that ties or strings together (granthaḥ), meaningfully and approachably, the concepts and terminology used in the scriptures; examples include ātma-bodhaḥ, tattva-bodhaḥ, vākya-vṛttiḥ.
prakaraṇam A text, treatise, book or chapter expounding a topic.
prakāśaḥ Light; clearness; brightness; splendour; lustre.
prakriyāMethod of enquiry, analysis, correcting confusion about ātmā; see śarīra-traya-prakriyā, pañca-kośa-prakriyā, dṛg-dṛśya-viveka-prakriyā; avasthā-traya-prakriyā; kāraṇa-kārya-prakriyā.
prakṛtiḥNature; material cause; origin; a synonym of the three-fold power, māyā, i.e. that which is available for and capable of creation; consists of the three guṇas.
pralayaḥ Complete resolution/cessation of universe.
pramā Knowledge
pramādaḥ Inadvertence; mechanicalness; inattention; negligence; carelessness; indifference.
pramāṇam Means of knowledge; there are six – anumānam, anupalabdhiḥ, arthāpattiḥ, pratyakṣam, śabdaḥ, upamānam.
pramātā Knower
prameyam The object known; knowable.
pramodaḥ Joy; pleasure; delight; degree of happiness: the (much greater) pleasure born of the enjoyment of a desired object; also see priya, modaḥ.
prāṇaḥ A five-fold vital force accounting for all physiological functioning; also see apānaḥ, elimination; vyānaḥ, circulation; samānaḥ, digestion; udānaḥ, upward breath. When mentioned separately from the other four, prāṇaḥ is purely respiration; part of sūkṣma-śarīram.
prāṇamaya-kośaḥ The kośaḥ that is the modification of air and is the five physiological functions (prāṇaḥ, apānaḥ, vyānaḥ, samānaḥ, udānaḥ) and the five karmendriyas, powers of action (evident in speaking, handling, moving, reproducing, eliminating); also see annamaya-kośaḥ, manomaya-kośaḥ, vijñānamaya-kośaḥ, ānandamaya-kośaḥ.
praṇavaḥ'Unique name' because the praṇava, om, denotes all objects; om, the sacred sound symbol (pratīkaḥ) for the Lord; essence of the entire Vedaḥ.
prāṇāyāmaḥ Breathing (prāṇaḥ), exercise (āyāmaḥ); control of the breath; see prāṇaḥ.
praṇidhānam Meditation upon a deity; prostration; respectful conduct; prayer; vow; (also many other meanings).
prapañcaḥ Universe (manifest or unmanifest); the five elemental model of the universe, pāñcabhautikam.
prāptiḥ Attainment; gain; reaching.
prārabdha-karmaRipe portions of sañcita-karma fructifying and manifesting as this present life (including birth, parentage, death, all situations, all pairs of opposites) are experienced as translations of prārabdha-puṇya-pāpaḥ in the form of sukham, happiness, and duḥkham, sorrow. This exhausts some puṇya-pāpam. See āgāmi-karma, sañcita-karma, pratibandhaḥ.
prārthanā Prayer; entreaty; request; supplication; desire.
prasādaḥTranquillity; serenity; cheerfulness; clearness; gift from Bhagavān. Since all that is here is Bhagavān – all actions and their results, all events and their participants, all pairs of opposites – all and everything is a gift from Bhagavān; see karma-yogaḥ.
prasaktiḥAttachment in which the mind is strongly stuck; confusion due to fixed adherence to an idea or belief.
praśāntaḥTranquil-minded; naturally cheerful and quiet; ready to take both pleasant and unpleasant situations in one's stride.
praśnaḥQuestion; query; enquiry; name of one of the ten major Upaniṣads in which six people ask one question each and Śrī Ṛṣiḥ Pippalādaḥ answers them all.
prasthānamSource; place of origin.
prasthāna-trayamSet of three great texts of scriptural literature, namely Upaniṣads (Vedāntaḥ), Bhagavad Gītā, Brahma Sūtrāṇi. Since all three have their original source in the Upaniṣads (śruti-prasthānam), and so have the same content, they are known collectively as Vedāntaḥ. The Bhagavad Gītā is an independent text, part of the Mahābhāratam (smṛti-prasthānam). The Brahma-Sūtrāṇi is an analytical study of Upaniṣad mantras (nyāya-prasthānam).
pratibandhaḥ Obstacle; obstruction; impediment; hindrance; hurdle; that which 'blocks against'. An impediment or obstruction (caused by one's prārabdha-pāpam) to the accomplishment of a desired end. Prayerfulness and commitment to dharmaḥ – in short, following karma-yogaḥ – will help one overcome pratibandhas in due course of time.
prātibhāsika-satyam Subjective reality; subjective view.
pratibimbaḥReflection
pratibimbita-caitanyamReflected consciousness in the antaḥ-karaṇam; reflection is nothing but manifestation; see cidābhāsaḥ.
pratijñā Promise; vow; affirmation; agreement; proposition; prosecution; declaration; statement.
pratīkaḥA limbless form, niravayava mūrtiḥ e.g. a śiva-liṅgam, a śālagrāmaḥ (a naturally formed small piece of sacred stone symbolising Lord Viṣṇuḥ); a sound symbol for the Lord.
pratimāA form symbol (with limbs) for the Lord; a personification.
pratipādaka-pratipādya-sambandhaRevealer-revealed connection. Between the śāstram and the knowledge that is mokṣaḥ, there is a revealer-revealed connection (śāstram alone reveals that knowledge).
pratipakṣa-bhāvanāDealing with an adverse tendency in oneself by deliberately cultivating its opposite.
pratipattiḥ Ascertainment; determination; knowledge; attainment.
pratiṣedhaḥNegation; elimination; prohibition; negation to eliminate or ward off or prevent error; negation of what is not true as a means to what is true.
pratiṣiddha-karmaProhibited or forbidden actions; actions that go against the specific prescription of dharmaḥ; also called niṣiddha-karma (restrained, checked, prevented action).
pratiṣṭhā Stability; superiority; steadfastness; ground; foundation; tranquillity.
pratiṣṭhitā Established; rooted; fixed; well founded; thriving.
pratyagātmā Innermost self.
pratyāhāraḥ Gathering the mind and senses (withdrawing them from a variety of concerns) in order to be able to focus on something; a prelude to dhāranā.
pratyakṣamSensory perception; one of the six pramāṇas – see the others: anumānam, anupalabdhiḥ, arthāpattiḥ, śabdaḥ, upamānam.
pratyayaḥ Cognition; conviction; notion; conception; intelligence; idea; proof; explanation; solution. When a house is pointed out saying 'that house, there', the meaning of the word 'house' is cognised as 'that particular house'. That cognition is not in the form of words, but is the meaning carried by the words. It is the intended meaning of 'that house'. In grammar, pratyaya means 'suffix'.
pravṛttiḥActivity; employment; tendency; source; process; fate; application; practice; continuance; behaviour; participation in the world; full involvement in worldly life; giving primacy to preyas rather than śreyas – see nivṛttiḥ.
prāyaścitta-karmaAn expiatory karma – a specific ritual performed to neutralise the results of previous wrong action.
prayatnaḥ Appropriate continued effort; perseverance; will.
prayojanam Purpose; object; gain; benefit.
prema Love; love is the first response to the world (even if immediately displaced by something else).
preyaḥ (preyas)All relative, time-bound ends (arthaḥ, kāmaḥ, dharmaḥ) accomplishable through religious and secular activity; any desired result other than mokṣaḥ – see śreyaḥ (śreyas).
prītiḥLove
priyaDear; pleased; beloved; a degree of happiness: the pleasure born of seeing something desired; also see modaḥ, pramodaḥ.
pṛthivīThe element Earth; also see pāñcabhautikam the five elemental model of the universe – ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, waters; pṛthivī, earth.
pūjā Formal worship. Worship is a symbolic act of offering through which a devotee expresses his/her gratitude to the Lord in the form of all devatās (natural phenomena), acknowledging the abundance of their contribution to the wellbeing of all. The basic needs required for life (food, clothing and shelter) are not producible without the grace of the phenomena. Worship being a will-involved action, it is efficacious in that it results in prosperity. Worship contributes for material things when performed with a desire for knowledge. It also serves as a preparatory discipline, yogaḥ, that brings mental purity and steadiness. See yajñaḥ.
pūjya Revered; venerable.
punaḥ Again; once again.
puṇyamThe result of right or appropriate action that aligns with universal values; the result remains unseen (adṛṣṭa) until manifesting as sukham, pleasure, i.e. any desirable result, arising from favourable situations and experiences; any pleasant situation is the result of puṇya-karma; see pāpam, vāsanā, sanskāraḥ, dharmaḥ.
puṇya-pāpamResult of right or wrong action manifest (respectively) as happiness or sorrow arising from pleasant/favourable or unpleasant/unfavourable situations and experiences. See puṇyam, pāpam.
purāṇam Legend; antique; ancient; mythology; relic; huge body of ancient, inspirational and highly informative Hindu mythology with the status of smṛtiḥ. A wide variety of topics is covered in thousands of verses. Vyāsaḥ is the author of 36 purāṇas (18 mahā-purāṇas, and 18 upa-purāṇas).
   Purāṇaḥ means ātmā, implying its nature of being beginningless (the most ancient) but ever new and fresh.
pūrṇa Full; whole; entire; complete; filled; pervaded.
purohitaḥ A priest who performs prayers or rituals, before, purā, in advance, for the (later) well-being, hitam, of all; a vaidikaḥ.
pūrta-karma Karmas, actions, enjoined by smṛtis – mostly charitable, social service acts (with no strings attached) such as digging wells or reservoirs, building hospitals or temples, feeding the needy.
puruṣaḥPerson; man; original source of creation; the Supreme Being; the very self, ātmā, of a human being, who dwells in all as the essence of all, who dwells in the 'city', puram, the body of nine gates (two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, mouth, genitals, anus); pure uṣati iti puruṣaḥ, the only indweller of all bodies; purayati sarvam iti puruṣaḥ, fills everything, thus puruṣaḥ.
puruṣārthaḥ Human pursuit or goal; that which is sought-after by a human being, puruṣeṇa arthyate iti – see arthaḥ, kāmaḥ, dharmaḥ, mokṣaḥ.
puruṣārtha-niścayaḥDefiniteness, complete clarity and certainty about one's ultimate, absolute end being mokṣaḥ, freedom from suffering. This certainty brings a change in priorities, and with it an unnerring focus, commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and reverence for Vedānta-śāstram as the means of knowledge.
puruṣottama Most exalted (uttama) of all puruṣas, beings; a name for the Lord.
pūrvapakṣī One who presents an alternative opinion or contention, typically from an opposing side, pakṣaḥ, in a discussion; an objector (real or imagined) who is often presented in commentaries not only to reveal the flaws in opposing views, but, in the process, to provide the reader with further clarity and precision in grasping the commentator's words and vision, dṛṣṭiḥ.
   The pakṣaḥ, the flawed contention, should be presented first when teaching, revealing its flaw(s), and then the siddhāntaḥ, the correct conclusion, should be presented. Dismissing wrong notions first is a necessary step in unencumbering the mind in preparation for hearing that which is right.
puṣpam Flower
puṣṭiḥ Health; wellness; strength; stamina; well nourished condition.
putraḥ Son; ('put' a particular hell, trāyate, protects; the one who protects parents from falling into put, hell; same protection is also provided by a putrī, daughter).
putrīDaughter
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rāga-dveṣaḥAttachment and aversion; since likes and dislikes (desires) originate from ahaṅkāraḥ – the erroneous and varying ideas of oneself – rāga-dveṣas are impurities that may hinder or prevent right action; see karma-yogaḥ.
rāgaḥ Attachment; passion; strong liking; red colour; inflammation; see dveṣaḥ, kleśaḥ.
rahasyam A secret; mystery; concealed; private; privately.
rahita Without; devoid of; separated from.
rājā King
rajaḥ (rajas)Guṇaḥ or force out of which desire, ambition, dislike, etc. are born; it powers all forms of movement; also see sattvam (sattva), tamaḥ (tamas).
rajjuḥ Rope
rakṣā Protection; defence.
rākṣasaḥDemon; person who goes against dharmaḥ in pursuit of wealth, power, position, etc.; predominant guṇaḥ is rajas – see asuraḥ.
rāmāyaṇam Vālmīkī's epic describing the adventures of Lord Rāmaḥ.
rasaḥSense object (viṣayaḥ), perceptible through the tongue or mind, and known as 'taste'; aesthetic sentiment; essence (either of a liquid or of reality); juice; content.
rāṣṭramNation
ṛṣiḥSeer of Truth; inspired sage; one who is eligible to have subtle facts revealed.
ṛṣiyajñaḥWorship of the Lord in the form of the Rishis (sages) by studying and chanting the Vedas and other śāstras given to mankind; synonym of brahma-yajñaḥ; study of the Vedaḥ or of any scriptural literature reflecting the Vedic vision, dṛṣṭiḥ; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas.
ṛtamTruth; the two words, ṛtam and satyam, have the same meaning: truth. However, when they come together they differ in what they express. Ṛtam then stands for ascertained, assimilated, clear knowledge gained by scriptural study. Satyam stands for that same knowledge reflected in thought, word and deed.
rudraTerrible; dreadful; horrible; formidable; crying; a kind of stringed instrument.
rudraḥOne who drives away sorrow (rutam drāvayati iti); name of Śivaḥ; a hymn addressed to Rudraḥ, deity of ahaṅkāraḥ.
rūpamForm; appearance; nature; a sense object (viṣayaḥ), subtle or gross, perceptible through the eyes or mind and known as 'form, shape'.
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śabdaḥSound; word (a meaningful sound); a sense object (viṣayaḥ), subtle or gross, perceptible through the ears and mind and known as 'sound'.
śabda-pramāṇamWord, śabdaḥ, (as a) means of knowledge, pramāṇam. This term refers to the words of the śāstram (Vedāntaḥ) being a means of knowledge, a means to mokṣaḥ. Since the manifest world is the self-evident ātmā, no further experience of ātmā is needed. Only the words of the śāstram, unfolded by a teacher who knows the sampradaya, and is both a śrotriyaḥ and a brahma-niṣṭhā, can correct the errors about ātmā and bring its full and clear ascertainment. Knowledge in the form of words constitutes one of the six pramāṇas – the others are: anumānam, anupalabdhiḥ, arthāpattiḥ, pratyakṣam, upamānam.
saccidānandaḥSat, existence; cit awareness or consciousness; ānandaḥ happiness; nature of absolute reality, Brahma; can be arrived at only as the intrinsic nature or truth of the knower, the subject, 'I'; cannot be known as an object at all.
sādhakaḥA disciplined aspirant.
sādhana-catuṣṭayamThe group of four qualifications needed for ātmajñānam or mokṣaḥvivekaḥ, vairāgyam, ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ, mumukṣutvam.
sādhanamMeans of attainment (means for accomplishing a goal); the principal means are śravaṇam, mananam, nididhyāsanam on the words of the śāstram, unfolded by a competent and knowledgeable ācāryaḥ who is a śrotriyaḥ, brahma-niṣṭhā and sampradāyavit. Karma is a sādhanam for artha-kāma-dharmas. Jñānam is the sādhanam for mokṣaḥ.
sādhuḥ A good person; a person of values; noble; a pious, highly disciplined, virtuous aspirant; a renunciate; a sannyāsī.
sādhyam Goal to be accomplished.
sāgaraḥ Ocean
saguṇa With qualities; having attributes.
saguṇa-brahma Brahma regarded as having qualities; a synonym for Īśvaraḥ; Īśvaraḥ as the jagat-kāraṇam, cause of the creation; Īśvaraḥ manifest as the entire creation; also see nirguṇa-brahma.
saguṇa-brahma-upāsanamMeditation on saguṇa-brahma in which there is necessarily a meditator-meditated difference – see upāsanam, nirguṇa-brahma-upāsanam.
sahaja Natural; inborn.
sahasram Thousand
sajātīya (Beings) of the same species.
śākhā Branch, clan or tradition passing down a Vedic text of the same name over generations.
sākṣāt Evidently; visibly; (immediately, without a means of knowledge).
sākṣātkāraḥClear vision, dṛṣṭiḥ, of the Truth as the essential nature of the very knower 'I'. Culmination of nididhyāsanam, which itself naturally follows from śravaṇam and mananam.
sākṣīWitness; seer; changeless witness of the changing states of mind.
saktiḥAttachment, in general; 'stickiness'; longing; sense of ownership; also see asaktiḥ.
śaktiḥPower; capacity; faculty; skill.
samacittatvam Equanimity; sameness of mind in the gain of the desirable and the undesirable; capacity to retain composure.
samādhānamFocused intent; being always conscious of the goal, thereby being focussed without being distracted; see ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see śamaḥ, damaḥ, uparamaḥ, titikṣā, śraddhā.
samādhiḥAbsorption. No matter the experience in samādhiḥ, the consciousness by which every experience is revealed is ever-present and needs no special experience to be known; being the substratum and reality of all experience, it is never absent, never not known, and simply needs to be recognised as such rather than experienced; see savikalpa-samādhiḥ, nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ.
śamaḥResolution or management of the mind to rest and refine it and prevent it 'running the show'. A discipline practised to have mastery over one's ways of thinking. See ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see damaḥ, uparamaḥ, titikṣā, śraddhā, samādhānam.
samāmnāyaḥMentioned together; a collection or compilation of sacred texts.
sāmāna-adhi-karaṇyamWords in sāmānādhikaraṇyam are in apposition, revealing the same object, typically in an adjective-substantive connection, as in 'The ball is red.' In Vedāntaḥ this becomes a means for revealing an error in perception or cognition. When the words in apposition do not belong to the same order of reality (e.g. rope-snake), negation, bādhaḥ, is used to expose the error in cognition and/or perception. For example, when the śrutiḥ says "all this [ jagat ] is Brahman" it is negating the idea that the jagat and Brahman (the two words in apposition) are separate. See adhyāropa-vākyam and apavāda-vākyam.
samānaḥThe aspect of prāṇaḥ that aids digestion; also see apānaḥ, elimination; vyānaḥ, circulation; udānaḥ, upward breath.
sāmānya Common to all; universal; general.
sāmānya-dharmaḥUniversal ethics; universal values.
samaṣṭiḥUniversal; macrocosm; macrocosmic being; total; see vyaṣṭiḥ.
samatvam Evenness; sameness; equanimity of mind in all aspects of life, but especially towards results of action.
sambandhaḥ Connection; association; relationship.
samidh Firewood; fuel; log of wood; oblation (samidhā) to the kindled (samiddha) fire, which is the consumer of the fuel; igniting; flaming; burning.
samitpāṇiḥ A seeker of brahma-vidyā who, carrying a small bundle of twigs (samidh) of the pippalaḥ, or Peepul, tree in one hand (pāṇiḥ), approaches a householder teacher hoping to be accepted as a disciple. The twigs represent the student's readiness to be of service to the teacher in a practical way (by providing fuel for rituals) in gratitude for the teaching. If the guruḥ is a sannyāsī, one cannot take twigs as no rituals are performed, and so something more appropriate is offered, symbolically, with an attitude of surrender and with śraddhā.
sampattiḥ Prosperity; good fortune; accomplishment; fulfilment; success.
sampradāyaḥ Teaching tradition; established teachings and method of teaching (including the knowledge of how to handle the words of the teaching); transference of knowledge from the teacher's mind to the student's through words, using a unique method of unfoldment inbuilt in the scripture and understood only by studying from a teacher who would have studied from another sampradāyavit teacher; a teaching tradition transmitted from one teacher to another over millennia via the guru-śiṣya-paramparā, guru-disciple lineage; a valid tradition is based on śrutiḥ and is supported by logic; see paramparā.
sampradāyavitOne who thoroughly knows the teaching tradition, having learnt it from his/her guruḥ.
saṁsāraḥTransmigratory life; the endless cycle of becoming, of repeated births and deaths; often characterised as a treacherous ocean the jīvaḥ is struggling to cross; freedom from it is only in recognising and fully ascertaining one's identity with Brahma.
saṁśayaḥ Doubt; indecision.
saṁśrayaḥ Refuge; resting place; support.
saṃvādaḥDialogue imparting knowledge from teacher to student; teacher-student discourse with the sole aim of learning the truth; also see vādaḥ, jalpa-vādaḥ, vitaṇḍa-vādaḥ.
samyakProperly; correctly; well.
saṃyamīOne who has self-mastery; a wise person.
sanātana Eternal; permanent; ancient.
sañcita-karmaUnmanifest, unexpired aggregate of karma. When ripe it will manifest as prārabdha-karma. Sancita is also the store for the āgāmi being produced now, in this life (which, when ripe, will manifest as prārabdha-karma); see āgāmi-karma, prārabdha-karma.
sandhyāvandanamWorship (typically japaḥ) done at dawn, noon and dusk.
saṅghaḥAttachment due to close contact; association; community; company; friendship.
saṅghātaḥAssemblage; combination; collection; cluster; aggregate; compressed together.
saṅkalpaḥDecision as to worth, value, need, etc.; resolve; will; fancy; thought; determination; the impetus (in the form of a conviction as to worth) running through every desire, driving it to fulfilment.
śaṅkaraḥ Ādi-Śaṅkara-Bhagavatpādaḥ was a most illustrious, highly revered teacher of Vedāntaḥ who revivified and restablished the supremacy of its sampradāyaḥ – and the Vedic dharmaḥ and way of life – several centuries ago. He was the author of incomparable Upaniṣad bhāṣyams and is regarded by many as an avatāraḥ of Lord Śivaḥ. (Śaṅkaraḥ is also a name of Śivaḥ). Ādi-Śaṅkaraḥ left behind teaching maṭhas, monasteries, (one in each of the four corners of India) of which Śringeri is perhaps the best known.
sāṅkhyam A philosophical system ascribed to the sage Kapilaḥ. The second chapter of the Bhagavad Gītā is entitled sāṅkhya-yogaḥ. There the word sāṅkhyam means knowledge, the topic of the chapter. In the third chapter, the word sāṅkhyaḥ means a renunciate, a sannyāsī, who is totally committed to the pursuit of knowledge.
sannyāsaḥRenunciation; a life in which all worldly ties are renounced in a focussed pursuit of ātma-jñānam alone. Sannyāsaḥ is of two types: vidvat-sannyāsaḥ and vividiṣā-sannyāsaḥ. Vidvat-sannyāsaḥ is where sannyāsaḥ is not taken. It is a renunciation that is an expression of knowledge wherein a wise person has naturally or effortlessly cognitively resolved his/her wrong notions of the self. This cognitive resolution of wrong identity, this giving up of all wrong ideas about the self and the world, is true or real sannyāsaḥ. It is a sannyāsaḥ that requires no external changes.
   Knowledge, brahma-jñānam, is sannyāsaḥ. A vidvat-sannyāsī is a person of a different perspective, a jñānī. Every human being, going through all the stages of life sequentially, is expected to attain this sannyāsaḥ, thereby discovering absolute maturity, the culmination of growth, the fulfilment of the purpose of human life.
   Vividiṣā-sannyāsaḥ is renunciation, a lifestyle in which there is a total commitment to the pursuit of knowledge to the exclusion of all other ends, artha-kāmas. The very word vividiṣā means 'desire to know'. A tīvra-mumukṣuḥ, a mature individual who is desperate for mokṣaḥ, knowing the value of knowledge as the only means for mokṣaḥ, seriously wants to know the Truth. He takes to the life of sannyāsaḥ for knowledge.
   A sannyāsī spends his life only in śravanam, mananam or nididhyāsanam (in keeping with his qualification) also involving himself in sharing his understanding through teaching, which is another form of contemplation. He is sanctioned to free himself from obligatory social duties. His basic needs (food, clothing, shelter) are met by a society whose culture values this pursuit with great reverence as it is a spiritual pursuit, a basis for all religious disciplines.
   Fourth of the four āśramas of Vedic life – brahmacaryam, studentship; gṛhasthaḥ, householder; vānaprasthaḥ, withdrawal; sannyāsaḥ, renunciation.
sannyāsīA renunciate (female: sannyāsinī); one who has taken the vows of sannyāsaḥ.
sanskāraḥImpression on the mind; disposition; degree of refinement of a person in terms of accumulation of better or worse vāsanās. The word sanskāraḥ is also used to mean the 41 rituals for enhancing mental refinement that are performed at different stages of an individual's life, from the time of conception until after death. The word 'sacrament', often used to translate 'sanskāra ritual', is not expressive enough to convey all that needs to be conveyed.
sanskṛtamWell formed; well done; refined; the Sanskrit language; a highly expressive language having a highly refined and exalted culture established within it.
sanskṛtiḥCulture; sanskṛtiḥ also means refinement via action (one of the four possible results of karma) – hence see utpattiḥ (utpādyam), production; vikṛtiḥ (vikāryam), modification; āptiḥ (āpyam), attainment.
śāntiḥ Peace; calmness; cessation; elimination (of evil); synonym of the mental discipline śamaḥ.
śānti-pāṭhaḥ Peace invocation. There are peace invocations in the Vedaḥ for all four compilations as Ṛg, Yajur, etc. A peace invocation, specifically invoking the grace of devatās, is a mantraḥ with a prayer for physical and emotional well-being and the elimination of all possible obstacles, neutralising hidden variables arising from three possible sources: ādhibhautika-tāpaḥ, ādhidaivika-tāpaḥ, ādhyātmika-tāpaḥ. .
santoṣaḥ Contentment; satisfaction; happiness. Also known as santuṣṭiḥ.
śaraṇāgatiḥ Seeking refuge in the Lord; offering oneself totally to the Lord; surrender; having the vision of the Lord as the Truth, the whole; seeing one's own self being non-separate from the Lord, the whole, is absolute surrender; cognitively resolving one's individuality in the totality; seeing there is no second thing other than the Lord.
   Relative surrender is that in which a person surrenders his will to Bhagavān in the form of dharmaḥ. His actions become governed by his knowledge of right and wrong, and his personal likes and dislikes are not allowed to dictate his actions. Relative surrender is possible only if the person knows the value of knowledge, and thereby of dharmaḥ, and commits himself to live a life of values.
śaraṇam Refuge; protection; place of shelter.
sarasvatī Goddess of knowledge and music; wife of Brahmā.
śarīramBody; prone to disintegration; see sthula-śarīram, sūkṣma-śarīram, kāraṇa-śarīram; synonym of dehaḥ, kāyaḥ.
śarīra-traya-prakriyāMethod of analysis through which ātmā is recognised to be distinct from and independependent of the three bodies (gross, subtle and causal); see prakriyā.
sarpaḥ Snake
sarūpaḥ Of the same nature as...; similar; resembling.
sarvagata All-pervading
sarvajñatvam Omniscience; knowledge of all in general; a knowledge that all that is here is Brahma, the one Reality that is consciousness, the self, and that I am that Brahman. This is the knowledge enjoyed by the jñānī. He or she recognises the one self in all, but does not have all knowledge of everything in detail (as Īśvaraḥ does), i.e. if, for example, Biochemistry or a particular person's name is not known prior to enlightenment, the jñānī will still not know it. This is because the human mind is structured to know and gather knowledge in sequence, not simultaneously. Being the source of all knowledge, Īśvaraḥ is sarvajñaḥ. Knowing everything in detail, Īśvaraḥ is also described as sarvavit. See sarvavit.
sarvaṅ-khalvidaṃ-brahma'All this is indeed Brahma' (Chāndogya 3.14.1); – see mahāvākyam.
sarvaśaktimān All-powerful; a name of Īśvaraḥ.
sarvataḥ From all sides, from everywhere; on all sides.
sarvātmā The only self of all beings; the only self of everything. The śāstra often uses such terms in the glorification of a jñāni saying, the knower of ātmā, being everything (being sarvātmā), as it were gains whatever objects he/she could desire, gains all worlds and objects just by a thought. This is a poetic way of saying that being the only self of all and everything, no world or object is away from such a one and is as good as gained. Even the desires of others, whose saṅkalpaḥ a jñāni may entertain, may be said to have their desires fulfilled (to the degree that their prārabdha permits) as the jñāni's grace neutralises obstacles. This is one reason why sannyāsis are so respected and their grace so sought. Being Īśvaraḥ, the wise person becomes an altar for invoking Īśvaraḥ.
sarvavit Omniscient; a term indicating the unlimited detailed knowledge enjoyed by Īśvaraḥ due to his being satyam, the very existence or basis, adhiṣṭhānam, of every aspect of every being and phenomenon that is here. He knows everything simultaneously without needing an antaḥkaraṇam, a mind, because all that is here is māyā-upādhiḥ, which is to say all that is here is Īśvaraḥ. See sarvajñaḥ.
śāstramSacred body of knowledge for growing towards one's full stature; includes both śrutiḥ and smṛtiḥ, but the former is chiefly meant.
sat Pure existence, which is of the nature of limitlessness; absolute truth.
satatam Constantly; always.
ṣaṭkam Consisting of six, aggregate of six (not six-fold) as in ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ, six accomplishments.
satkāryavādaḥA Sāṅkhyam vādaḥ, a Sāṅkhyam view or contention, accepted by Vedāntins, that the effect is ever inherent in the cause, prior to the effect's manifestation, and is a change or modification, pariṇāmaḥ, of the cause, or an appearance, vivartaḥ, of the cause – and both are mithyā. See upādāna-kāraṇam, pariṇāmaḥ, vivartaḥ and also nimitta-kāraṇam.
ṣaṭka-sampattiḥA group of six accomplishments (also known as śamādi-ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ, a group of six accomplishments beginning with śamaḥ), which form part of sādhana-catuṣṭayamśamaḥ, damaḥ, uparamaḥ, titikṣā, śraddhā, samādhānam.
satsaṅgaḥ Company (saṅgaḥ) of the wise, of truth (sat); good association; association with śāstram; association with those who know and live the śāstram.
sattā Existence; being; reality; there are three 'kinds' of reality or existence – paramārthika-sattā (absolutely real or existent), vyavahārika-sattā (phenomenally real), prātibhāsika-sattā (apparently or subjectively real or existent).
sattvam (sattva)Guṇaḥ signifying purity, knowledge, truth, intelligence, inception; also see rajaḥ (rajas), tamaḥ (tamas).
satyamReality; that which exists in all three periods of time – therefore causeless, beginningless, endless, changeless, independent, true, non-negatable; also a name of the highest of the seven heavens (see svargaḥ); also see mithyā, tuccham.
śaucamCleanness, both inner and outer; purity of mind; cleanliness.
savikalpaḥ Being endowed with a variety of divisions or distinctions e.g. knower, known, knowledge; being differentiated; being doubtful.
savikalpa-samādhiḥSamādhiḥ is a culmination of meditation in which there remains a distinction between meditator and meditated, with all other thoughts resolved; being an experience, a state of mind, it is transient and will be lost; see nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ.
śeṣam Remainder; balance.
sevā Service; homage; worship.
siddha Accomplished; established; gained.
siddhāntaḥ Established end or conclusion ('This is now shown to be so.'); demonstrated right conclusion of an argument; settled opinion or doctrine; established principle, axiom or rule.
siddhiḥ Accomplishment; achievement; an occult power, of which there are eight, gained through the prolonged practice of certain disciplines:
aṇimā - reducing one's body size to that of an atom
mahimā - expanding one's body size at will
laghimā - becoming almost weightless
garimā - becoming as heavy as a mountain
prāptiḥ - ability to procure anything from anywhere
prākāmyam - fulfilment of all material desires
īśitvam - able to make the impossible possible
vaśitvam - control of the five elements.
śikṣāScience of phonetics, of proper articulation and pronunciation of varṇas, the sounds of letters in Vedic texts; one of the six auxiliary sciences, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see chandas, vyākaraṇam, niruktam, jyotiṣaḥ, kalpaḥ.
śīrṣamHead; skull.
śiṣyaḥStudent; disciple; a self-disciplined student who deserves the Teaching; see guru-śiṣya-paramparā, sampradāyaḥ.
śivaḥAuspicious; pure; propitious; Īśvaraḥ as the resolver of the universe; see Brahmā, Viṣṇuḥ.
ślokaḥ Verse; praise; glory; hymn of praise; maxim; fame; voice; name of a particular epic meter.
smaraṇam Recollecting; remembering.
smṛtiḥMemory (in general); the content of śrutiḥ (the original text) properly heard, studied, understood, retained, recollected and presented without any distortion in their own words by later authors, e.g. Bhagavad Gītā, purāṇas, manu smṛtiḥ,; see pauruṣeya-śāstram.
snānam Bathing
snehaḥ Attachment; fondness; affection; friendship; emotional entanglement; 'stickiness'; oil.
śokaḥSorrow; anguish; grief; affliction; pain; see duḥkham, ūrmiḥ.
sparśaḥTouch; the sense object (viṣayaḥ), subtle or gross, perceptible through the skin or mind and known as 'touch'.
sphuliṅgaḥSpark (from a fire).
śraddhāAcceptance by firm judgement as true what the guru and śāstram instruct; unflinching faith in the śāstram and in the guru's words; see ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see śamaḥ, damaḥ, uparamaḥ, titikṣā, samādhānam.
śrāddhamAncestral worship; a specific ritual performed as ancestral worship on a specific day of a specific fortnight (death anniversary of one's parents, grandparents).
śravaṇamSystematic, regular, consistent, continual, intent listening for a length of time to the unfoldment of Vedāntaḥ by a competent ācāryaḥ who knows the sampradāyaḥ; see mananam, nididhyāsanam, sākṣātkāraḥ.
śreyaḥ (śreyas)Highest or absolute good; that which is desirable for all people of all times and places, namely freedom from unhappiness, the knowledge that is mokṣaḥ – see preyaḥ (preyas).
śrīḥ Lakṣmī, goddess of wealth; wife (śaktiḥ) of Viṣṇuḥ; beauty; all forms of wealth, including virtues, health, progeny, food, etc.
śrotram Ear
śrotriyaḥOne well-versed in the śāstram; person of profound knowledge of the śāstram – also see brahma-niṣṭhā.
sṛṣṭiḥCreation; manifestation; nature; production.
śrutiḥListening; hearing; a name for the veda-śāstram emphasising its preservation through listening by the teacher-student lineage (karṇa-paramparā).
stavaḥ Any text consisting of words of praise – especially praise of the Lord; synonym of stotram.
sthairyam Steadfastness; constancy; perseverance; steadiness; firmness; calmness.
sthāṇu Firm; motionless; unmoving.
sthita Steady; abiding; ascertained.
sthitadhīḥ Wise person with doubt-free, ascertained vision; steady-minded; firm; unmoved; calm.
sthita-prajñaḥ A person of steady, unshakeable wisdom; one abiding in wisdom; one free from the hold of desire; happy with oneself, in oneself; free from emotional dependence; awake to the nature of oneself and therefore wise; a jñānī.
sthūlaGross; physical – also see sūkṣma, kāraṇam.
sthūla-śarīramGross body; physical body; abode of enjoyment; locus of all subtle (imperceptible) instruments of knowledge and action; also see sūkṣma-śarīram, kāraṇa-śarīram.
stotram Hymn of praise; synonyms are stavaḥ, stutiḥ.
śubha Auspicious; good; virtuous.
śuddha Pure; clean; faultless; error-free.
śūdraḥA person born into the fourth varṇaḥ – artisan, labourer, servant, etc.; revered as an indispensable part of Īśvaraḥ, the whole, (just as feet are indispensable to the body) and whose contribution for maintaining the social order is as important as that of the other three varnas; also see brāhmaṇaḥ, priest; kṣatriyaḥ, soldier; vaiśyaḥ, businessman.
sukham Pleasure; happiness. Pleasure is an experience of a time-bound fraction of fullness. Happiness is an expression of fullness, which is the very nature of timeless Reality.
śuklaḥ White; bright.
sukṛta Well made; well done.
sūkṣmaSubtle; fine; penetrating; also see sthūla, kāraṇam.
sūkṣma-śarīramSubtle body; consists of five karmendriyas, five jñānendriyas, five prāṇas, and the antaḥ-karaṇam whose chief aspects are buddhiḥ, cittam, manaḥ, ahaṅkāraḥ – also see sthūla-śarīram, kāraṇa-śarīram, indriyam.
sulabha Easily obtainable; feasible.
sundara Beautiful; lovely.
śūnya Void; empty.
sūryaḥ The Sun; devatā of sight.
śuśrūṣā Desire to listen to the śāstram being unfolded by the teacher; service to the teacher.
susukham Easy; effortless; pleasurable.
suṣupti-avasthāDeep sleep state; experience of the absence of the experience of ‘I’. The intellect, mind and senses resume an unmanifest potential condition then, and yet absence of experience is experienced, since on rising all can say, "I knew nothing". Vṛttis not being manifest during deep sleep is known and the knower or experiencer of that absence is the sāksî alone, not any form of ahaṅkāraḥ. There are two vṛttis in the deep-sleep state: ajñāna-vṛttiḥ and sukha-vṛttiḥ – experience of total ignorance and bliss, respectively. The sākṣī common to all three states, including deep sleep, is none other than formless pure consciousness. See jāgrad-avasthā waking state, svapna-avasthā dream state, turīya 'the fourth'; avasthā-trayam, the three states of experience.
suṣuptiḥDeep, disturbance-free, sound sleep.
sūtram Verse; thread; an aphorism with minimum words and maximum sense; a cryptic statement pregnant with meaning.
sūtrātmā Epithet for Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, without whom the operation of the physical world is not possible; the one who lends life to the entire physical world.
svabhāvaḥOne's own nature; expression of one's nature based on one's inclinations and sanskāraḥ; acquired, earned, non-intrinsic nature e.g. the nature fashioned and revealed by attitudes, habits and behaviour; see svarūpam.
svadharmaḥ One's own duty.
svādhyāyaḥŚāstram study under the care of a competent ācāryaḥ; the study of a branch of one's own Vedaḥ.
svaḥ (suvaḥ) Third of the vyāhṛtis; abode of the gods and the blessed; the vault of heaven; region of the planets; fifth lowest of the seven heavens – also see bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ.
svāhā An exclamation used when oblations (to any deity) are offered into the fire, implying: "I offer myself to Thee"; food offered to devatās.
svāmī (svāmin) One who has mastery over oneself; spiritual preceptor; title of men who have taken the vows of sannyāsaḥ (female: svāminī).
svapna-avasthā Dream state; the dream world of subtle phenomena experienced in the mind and arising from impressions, vāsanās, gained in the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā – see jāgrad-avasthā, waking state; suṣupti-avasthā, deep sleep state; turīya, 'the fourth'; avasthā-trayam, the three states of experience.
svapnaḥDream
svaraḥA vowel; a chanting accent – see vyañjanam, and also udāttaḥ, anudāttaḥ, svaritaḥ.
svargaḥHeaven; the seven heavens begin with this Earth, bhūḥ, and in ascending order are bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ, mahaḥ, janaḥ, tapaḥ, satyam.
svaritaḥA high or raised tone in chanting, shown in the text by a short vertical line above the vowel; also see svaraḥ, udāttaḥ, anudāttaḥ.
svarūpa-lakṣaṇamA definition of reality in which its intrinsic nature is directly revealed through implication; see taṭastha-lakṣaṇam.
svarūpamIntrinsic, essential nature, i.e. saccidānandaḥ. That which is inherent, natural, not acquired but innate for the object or person; one's own essential nature. See svabhāvaḥ.
svatantraIndependent; free; self-dependent.
svayambhūSelf-existent; self-manifested; self-born.
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taijasaḥA term for ātmā associated with the subtle body, sūkṣma-śarīram, in the dream state, svapna-avasthā, and seemingly undergoing the experience of dream. The universal or samaṣṭiḥ equivalent is Hiraṇyagarbaḥ – also see prājñaḥ, viśvaḥ.
tamaḥ (tamas)Guṇaḥ signifying conclusion, resolution, falsity, delusion, sorrow, dullness, darkness, inertia; also see sattvam (sattva), rajaḥ (rajas).
tanmātram Subtle, pure, uncombined element, prior to grossification, pañcīkaraṇam.
tāpaḥHeat; affliction or mental agony which scorches like heat, causing pain; affliction; difficulty.
tapaḥ (tapas)"Committed, relevant action in line with dharmaḥ" *; purificatory austerity.
tapasvī Ascetic; one who is committed to relevant action in line with dharmaḥ.
taraṅgaḥ Wave (of water).
tarkaḥ Reasoning; conjecture; logic.
tasmāt Therefore; hence; on that account; for that reason.
tat That
taṭastha-lakṣaṇamAn indirect definition of Brahman wherein it is presented as the only source of the manifestation, sustenance and resolution of the universe; see svarūpa-lakṣaṇam.
tātparyam Purport; meaning; intention.
tattva-jñānam Knowledge of the Truth; synonym of brahma-jñānam and ātma-jñānam.
tattvam Truth; Reality; existence or truth of everything (tasya bhāvaḥ), of every object, indicated by the pronoun tat, 'that'; element; essence.
tattvamasi'You are that' (Chāndogya 6.8.7); – see ahaṃ brahmāsmi, ayamātmā brahma, prajñānaṃ brahma.
tattvavit Knower of the truth; an ātmajñānī.
tejaḥ (tejas) Brightness, lustre of countenance; light; brilliance; fire; the Fire element.
ṭīkā Explanatory notes on a commentary, bhaṣyam. These notes serve to introduce the topic by explaining the sentences of the bhāṣyam or a particular word in a sentence. A ṭīkā is not an independent work because it follows the bhāṣyam line by line, sentence by sentence. See vārtikam.
tīrtham Purifier; pilgrimage site; holy place; water sanctified with mantras.
tithiḥ Date; lunar date.
titikṣāCheerful forebearance; endurance; bearing opposites with equanimity; see ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see śamaḥ, damaḥ, uparamaḥ, śraddhā, samādhānam.
tīvra Intense; strong; ardent; acute; keen; sharp.
tīvra-mumukṣuḥ A person with an intense desire for freedom.
tripuṭī Three-fold; a triad.
tripuṭi-bhedaḥ Three-fold difference (knower, knowledge, known; seer, sight, seen).
tṛptiḥ Satisfaction; contentment.
tṛṣṇāThirst; strong desire; lust; avidity; greed; also see pipāsā.
tuccham Non-existent; unreal; never can exist e.g. son of a barren woman, a square circle; see satyam, mithyā.
tūlāvidyā Secondary ignorance; ignorance of worldly matters such as French or physics or a street name; see mūlāvidyā.
tulya Equal to; of the same kind or class or number or value; similar; comparable.
turīyaFourth; not a state of experience but a name attributed to the ātmā, the only knower in all three states of experience, like a fourth person; there is no fourth state of experience; also see jāgrad-avasthā, waking state; svapna-avasthā, dream state; suṣupti-avasthā, deep sleep state; avasthā-trayam, the three states of experience.
tuṣṭa Pleased; contented.
tvak Skin; subtle power of touch, invisible in skin.
tvam You (second person singular pronoun).
tyāgaḥSacrifice; dedication; leaving; abandoning; forsaking; giving up.
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udānaḥUpward breath; an aspect of prāṇaḥ that reverses a process; the means by which the jīvaḥ exits the body on death; vomiting; hiccups; coughing; sneezing; also see apānaḥ, elimination; samānaḥ, digestion; vyānaḥ, circulation.
udaram Belly; stomach; abdomen.
udāratā Nobility; generosity; liberality.
udāsīna Sitting apart; indifferent; free from affection; inert; inactive; neutral; one who is neither friend nor foe; a stoic.
udāttaḥNeutral; neither a high nor a low tone in chanting; no line appears above or below the vowel in the text; also see svaraḥ, svaritaḥ, anudāttaḥ.
udayaḥ Rise; rising.
udgīthaḥ Om; praṇavaḥ; sung; announced; celebrated; a sonorous prayer, prescribed in the Sāmavedaḥ to be sung aloud.
umā Wife of Śivaḥ, also known as Pārvatī. The constituent letters of om (a-u-m) put in a different order; power in three conditions: gross, subtle, unmanifest.
upacāraḥ Figurative; a figure of speech; honouring.
upādāna-kāraṇamMaterial (upādānam), cause (kāraṇam); two types: pariṇāmi-upādāna-kāraṇam, a material cause in which the causal material itself undergoes a change when causing (becoming) an effect, e.g. churned butter becoming ghee; vivarta-upādāna-kāraṇam, a material cause in which the causal material undergoes no change when producing an effect, e.g. water as the cause of a wave; Brahma is the upādāna-kāraṇam of the jagat in the vivarta (unchanging) sense; see pariṇāmaḥ and vivartaḥ, and also see nimitta-kāraṇam and satkāryavādaḥ.
upādānam Material – that which lends support to the effect, remaining inseparable from it, e.g. clay re pot.
upadeśaḥTeaching; instruction; "The meaning of the teaching has to be conveyed with such clarity that both the person and the words disappear and the meaning alone remains." *
upādhiḥA limiting adjunct; that which seemingly transfers its attribute(s) to a nearby upahitam.
upahitamThat upon which an upādhiḥ subsists; ātmā associated with an upādhiḥ is said to be an upahitam – the two cannot be distanced physically.
upalakṣaṇāImplication of something that has not or cannot be expressed, e.g. use of a large number to express inumerability or non-countability; metaphor; feature; characteristics; see lakṣaṇā.
upamānamKnowledge arising from comparison and similarity e.g. on handling a shirt similar to another seen earlier, the earlier remembered shirt is known to be similar to the present one; one of the six pramāṇas – see the others: anumānam, anupalabdhiḥ, arthāpattiḥ, pratyakṣam, śabdaḥ.
upanayanam Sacred thread ceremony; a boy's initiation into the study of the scriptures at ages 7-11. Upa, near, nayanam, taking, leading; taking the student to the teacher and leaving him there for studying the scriptures. This is one of the very important sanskāras or rituals performed for the mental refinement of the individual. Only after the performance of this upanayana-sanskāraḥ is the child eligible to learn and chant the Gayatrī Mantraḥ and also eligible for scriptural study.
upaniṣadForms the jñāna-kāṇḍaḥ, knowledge section at the end of each Vedaḥ and so is known as Vedāntaḥ, the ultimate and final end and fulfilment of all the Vedas.
   The word Upaniṣad means brahma-vidyā. It is derived from the dhātuḥ or verbal root, 'sad', meaning 'to disintegrate, to destroy, to reach', which is saying an Upaniṣad will destroy ignorance and thus allow the seeker to reach the truth. The prefix 'upa' means 'near', 'that which is nearest', namely the seeker's svarūpam, ātmā, which is identical with Brahman. The prefix 'ni' stands for well-ascertained knowledge. 'Upa' and 'ni' together refer to brahma-vidyā, knowledge of ātmā being Brahman.
   The ten major or principal Upaniṣads (so-named because Ādi-Śaṅkara-Bhagavatpādaḥ wrote commentaries, bhāṣyams, on them) are: Aitareya, Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Chāndogya, Īśāvāsya, Kaṭha, Kena, Māṇḍūkya, Muṇḍaka, Praśna, Taittirīya.
uparamaḥWithdrawing oneself from the unwanted in order to focus on one's own duties; see ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ, śamaḥ, damaḥ, titikṣā, śraddhā, samādhānam.
upāsakaḥ Meditator (one who dwells upon the Lord); contemplator (one who dwells upon one's own real nature).
upasamhāraḥ Summing up; conclusion.
upāsanamMeditating or dwelling upon in homage or worship, or in the seeking of knowledge of one's own self. Upāsanam takes two principal forms: saguṇa-brahma-upāsanam in which meditation is upon saguṇa-brahma (Brahman with attributes), and nirguṇa-brahma-upāsanam in which meditation is upon nirguṇa-brahma (Brahman without attributes – which is one's real nature).
upāyaḥ Means; method; remedy; plan; upāyaḥ covers both primary and secondary means, it covers everything necessary; upāyaḥ (means), upeya (end).
upekṣā Disregard; negligence; indifference; contempt; abandonment.
ūrdhva Heading upwards; elevated.
ūrmiḥWave (of pain or sorrow) in the ocean of saṁsāraḥ due to one or more of the six evils: aśanāyā, hunger; pipāsā, thirst; śokaḥ, grief; mohaḥ, delusion; jarā, old age; mṛtyuḥ, death.
ūrṇanābhiḥ Spider – an example of an entity being both the material cause upādāna-kāraṇam and efficient cause nimitta-kāraṇam, in this case of its web; ūrṇam (thread), nābhiḥ (stomach), 'one who has thread in the stomach'.
utkrāntiḥ 'Proceeding up'; passing away; dying; departure of the soul from the body.
utkṛṣṭa Exalted; superior; eminent.
utpattiḥProduction, (utpādyam) – one of the four possible results of karma – also see vikṛtiḥ (vikāryam), modification; āptiḥ (āpyam), attainment; sanskṛtiḥ (sanskāryam), refinement.
utsāhaḥ Enthusiasm
utsavaḥ Festival; celebration; ceremony.
uttama Highest; best.
uttaraLater; following; subsequent; northern.
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vācikam karmaOral action; any oral activity; action of speaking, chanting. In saguṇa-brahma-upāsanam or īśvara-upāsanam, worship of the Lord is a three-fold activity: kāyikam karma, vācikam karma and mānasam karma. Kāyam means body, so kāyikam karma includes activity involving the physical body, such as waving a light, ringing a bell, offering food, cooking food, decoration of deities, etc. Orally reciting verses or chanting mantras or singing in praise of the Lord (invoking grace) is oral activity, vācikam karma. Vācikam karma can be with or without kāyikam karma. In kāyikam and vācikam karma the mind is involved, having only the thought of the Lord. However, in mānasam karma, purely mental activity, body and speech are not involved. Mānasam karma can be mānasa japaḥ (mentally repeating a mantraḥ) or visualising the form of the Lord as a given deity (as described in jñāna ślokas) with focussed attention. See mānasam karma, kāyikam karma.
vācyārthaḥImmediate or literal meaning of word(s); see lakṣyārthaḥ.
vādaḥ Speech; discourse; statement; thesis; proposition; doctrine; discussion; open-minded, unbiased discussion between equals to resolve a disagreement and establish the truth – both think they are right, yet are ready to listen to and accept the other’s view; also see samvādaḥ, jalpa-vādaḥ, vitaṇḍa-vādaḥ.
vaidika Vedic; related to or of the Vedaḥ.
vaikharīFourth and final stage of the manifestation of speech or sound: when the power that is parā reaches the power centre (cakram) called viśuddhiḥ (at the throat) it assumes a final spoken word form, vaikharī, and articulated sound emerges from the mouth – also see parā, paśyantī, madhyama.
vaikuṇṭhaḥImperishable; abode of Lord Viṣṇuḥ.
vairāgyamDispassion (free from rāgaḥ, passion); absence of dependence on the results of action for one's happiness; absence of desire for enjoyments here and hereafter; dispassion is borne of understanding the limitations of everything, and that everything is subject to time and so cannot give permanent happiness (timeless reality alone gives timeless happiness); vairāgyam without vivekaḥ is impossible.
vaiśamya-avasthā State of 'unuven-ness or disproportion' in which the equilibrium of the three guṇas is disturbed; a state opposite to śamya-avasthā, in which they are in equilibrium.
vaiśeṣikaḥ A philosophy or school of thought with its own metaphysics, epistemology, logic, etc., that is at variance with Vedāntaḥ in some respects, for example, it asserts that only pratyakṣam (perception) and anumānam (inference) are valid and reliable pramāṇas (means of knowledge) and hence its adherents appear in Vedāntaḥ bhāṣyams as opponents.
vaiśvānaraḥ Omnipresent; all-pervasive. The entire gross manifestation, experienced in the waking state (jāgrad-avasthā) and looked upon as a manifestation of the knowledge that is the Lord, is known as Vaiśvānaraḥ or Virāt (the words are synonyms). The individual or vyaṣṭiḥ aspect of Virād-īśvaraḥ is viśvaḥ, namely ātmā associated with an individual body-mind-sense complex in the waking state. (Vaiśvānaraḥ is also the deity of the digestive fire and of the Sun and Sunlight, and also a name for mankind as a collective whole). See antaryāmī, Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, Virāṭ.
vaiśyaḥ A person born into the third varṇaḥ – a businessman, trader, farmer, accountant, etc.; also see brāhmaṇaḥ, priest; kṣatriyaḥ, soldier; śūdraḥ, labourer.
vajraḥ Thunderbolt
vāk Speech, i.e. the power or faculty of speech.
vāksiddhiḥ Perfection in speech, in which whatever is spoken turns out to be true; result of observance of truthfulness.
vākyam Sentence; statement.
vālmīkī Author of the Rāmāyaṇam.
vanam Forest; woods.
vānaprasthaḥ Third of the four āśramas of Vedic life – retirement to the forest (figuratively), which means withdrawal from the participation and engagement that is usual in gṛhasthaḥ and entry into a quieter, more reflective period of life, spending time in upāsanam in preparation for sannyāsaḥ; also see brahmacaryam, studentship; gṛhasthaḥ, householder; sannyāsaḥ, renunciation.
varcaḥ (varcas) Brilliance; lustre.
vareṇyam Exalted; supreme; praiseworthy; incomparably great; worthy of worship.
variṣṭha Best; most exalted.
varṇaḥCharacteristic by which something is described; nature; outward appearance; cover; colour; species; class; tribe; letter; sound; syllable.
varṇāśramaḥClass of people; caste; see brāhmaṇaḥ, priest; kṣatriyaḥ, soldier; vaiśyaḥ, businessman; śūdraḥ, labourer.
vartamāna-kālaḥThe present time; the present; present tense; see bhūta-kālaḥ, bhaviṣyat-kālaḥ.
vārtikam Independent exposition, in verse, of a bhāṣyam (a commentary) – not an exposition of the original text. A vārtikam is not a ṭīkā because it either goes beyond the bhāṣyam or it is a further explanation of the bhāṣyam.
varuṇaḥ Presiding deity of water.
vāsanāTendencies and impressions, held in the subtle body (in the subconscious) that are respectively resulting from and created by karma, action (including thought and speech). These ever-unseen (adṛṣṭa), subtle impressions, inclinations and influences, developed previously, induce a person to initiate or avoid actions or to seek or prevent their repetition, thereby affecting his or her degree of refinement, sanskāraḥ. Being mithyā, vāsanās do not have to be exhausted for mokṣaḥ to take place – also see puṇyam, pāpam, dharmaḥ.
vasiṣṭhaḥ Name of a great, celebrated and justly famous sage of legendary adventures and wisdom; preceptor of Lord Rāmaḥ and owner of Nandinī, the cow of plenty.
vastu That which exists; reality itself and hence the very existence of any creature or object manifest from it.
vāsudevaḥ A name of Kṛṣṇaḥ; son of Vasudevaḥ.
vaṭa-vṛkṣaḥ Banyan tree.
vāyuḥGod of wind; the element Air; also see pāñcabhautikam the five elemental model of the universe – ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, waters; pṛthivī, earth.
vedaḥRevealed knowledge in four sacred, ancient scriptures that are apauruṣeya, not of human origin – Ṛgvedaḥ, Sāmavedaḥ, Yajurvedaḥ, Atharvavedaḥ.
vedāṅgaḥTexts of six auxiliary sciences required for understanding the Vedaḥ, namely śikṣā, chandas, vyākaraṇam, niruktam, jyotiṣaḥ, kalpaḥ.
vedāntaḥEnd, antaḥ, (literally and metaphorically) of each Vedaḥ; summit and final aim of all the Vedaḥ; the jñāna-kāṇḍaḥ, that section of the Vedaḥ (the Upaniṣads) that deals with self-knowledge, for which the earlier part of the Vedaḥ is in preparation. Vedāntaḥ enshrines śabda-pramāṇam, the ultimate and primary means to mokṣaḥ. Discovery of absolute reality is discovery of Vedāntaḥ.
vegaḥ Force; momentum; speed.
vibhu All-pervasive (by being the invariable reality of all); not spatially limited; powerful.
vibhūtiḥ A manifest exression of the glory and greatness of the Lord e.g. a flower, a tree, a painting, music, etc.; all that is manifest is an expression of the glory and greatness of the Lord.
vicāraḥEnquiry; investigation into the reality of oneself and the world, chiefly by śravaṇam, etc., of the scriptures with the help of a competent ācāryaḥ.
videhaḥ Free from the body; dead.
videhamuktiḥ Freedom after death; non-assumption of a body, i.e. not being born again.
vidhiḥ Rule; mandate; injunction.
vidvān Scholar; learned person; wise person.
vidvat-sannyāsaḥSee sannyāsaḥ.
vidyā Knowledge; it is two-fold: parā-vidyā and aparā-vidyā.
vighnaḥ Obstacle; impediment; hindrance.
vihitam Prescribed; ordained.
vijātīya Of a different species; unlike.
vijaya Absolute victory.
vijñānam Pure knowledge; truth itself; pure intelligence; assimilated knowledge; secular knowledge.
vijñānamaya-kośaḥThe kośaḥ consisting of the intellect, buddhiḥ, together with the five powers of perception, jñānendriyāṇi (hearing, touching, seeing, tasting, smelling); also see annamaya-kośaḥ, prāṇamaya-kośaḥ, manomaya-kośaḥ, ānandamaya-kośaḥ.
vikalpaḥ Doubt; alternative idea or option; imagination; division.
vikriyā Transformation; modification; change for the worse.
vikṛtiḥModification, (vikāryam); one of the four possible results of karma – also see utpattiḥ (utpādyam), production; āptiḥ (āpyam), attainment; sanskṛtiḥ (sanskāryam), refinement.
vikṣepaḥThe agitation, distraction, inattention and unconnected thoughts arising from the manifesting, scattering and tossing activity of vikṣepa-śaktiḥ. Leads to vikṣipta.
vikṣepa-śaktiḥProjecting power of māyā that powers vikṣepaḥ; creates the appearance of an external world in which ātmā is mistaken for what it is not in adhyāsaḥ. Vikṣepa-śaktiḥ is three-fold: jñāna-śaktiḥ, the power to know; icchā-śaktiḥ, the power to desire; kriyā-śaktiḥ, the power to act; knowing leads to desire, which leads to action; also see āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ.
vikṣipta Distracted, scattered attention; unfocussed thought; bewilderment – all caused by vikṣepa-śaktiḥ.
vilakṣaṇam Distinct; distinguished (from).
vimarśaḥ Examination; comment; critical analysis.
vimarṣaḥ Displeasure; impatience; irritation; dissatisfaction.
vināśaḥ Destruction; annihilation.
viparināmaḥ Modification; change; morphing; alteration; tranformation; ripening; maturing; see bhāva-vikāraḥ.
viparīta Contrary; perverse; wrong; false; erroneous; the very opposite of the truth.
viparīta-bhāvanāDeep-rooted (mostly subliminal) habitual errors due to past orientation, vāsanā. It is this form of stubbornly persistent error that prevents the fulfilment and enjoyment of what has been understood through śravaṇam and mananam; see nididhyāsanam and sākṣātkāraḥ.
vipaścit Learned; wise; one who sees clearly; person of right perception.
virāgaḥ Passionless; dispassion (masc. of vairāgyam).
virāṭ The one who shines in varied forms, with their names. The entire gross, perceptible universe, experienced in the waking state – and looked upon as a manifestation of the knowledge that is Brahman – is known as Virāṭ. In religious or purānic language Virāṭ is known as Viṣṇuḥ. Virāṭ and Vaiśvānaraḥ are synonyms. See antaryāmī, Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, Vaiśvānaraḥ.
virodhaḥ Opposition
vīryam Strength; capacity; power.
viṣādaḥ Despair; dejection; grief; depression; despondency.
visargaḥ Setting forth; letting go; voiding; dismissal; removal; discarding; action of offering during a fire ritual.
   Grammatically, the two dots : that appear at the end of a Sanskrit word that ends with a vowel are known as visargaḥ. Generally a visargaḥ has 'ih' as its sound; in fact, it takes the sound of a preceding vowel, e.g. rāmaḥ (aha), hariḥ (ihi), guruḥ (uhu).
viṣayaḥAny perceptible object (gross or subtle); sense object; content (subject matter).There are not innumerable sense-objects but, essentially, only five: śabdaḥ, sparśaḥ, rūpam, rasaḥ, gandhaḥ.
viśeṣaḥ Attribute; distinguishing quality; peculiarity.
viśiṣṭa Distinguished; pre-eminent; excellent; excelling in or distinguished by; chief or best.
viṣṇuḥĪśvaraḥ, the Lord, as the all-pervasive reality sustaining the universe; see Brahmā, Śivaḥ, Virāṭ.
vistāraḥ Elaboration; extension; expansion; ennumeration; development; extent; spreading; width; becoming large or great.
viśvaḥA term for ātmā associated with an individual gross body, sthūla-śarīram, in the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā, gathering experiences of the world through the five senses; the corresponding universal or samaṣṭiḥ term is Virāṭ – also see prājñaḥ, taijasaḥ.
viśvamAll; all-pervading; whole; entire; universal; omni-present; that which is constituted of innumerable forms, names and functions; synonym for the jagat (which is mithyā); also an epithet for Viṣṇuḥ (and hence for Īśvaraḥ).
viśvarūpaḥThe Lord, Īśvaraḥ, in the form of the universe.
viśvāsaḥ Trust; faith; belief; reliance.
vitaṇḍa-vādaḥ Discussion with the sole purpose of defeating the opponent; no intention to learn; no regard for truth; also see samvādaḥ, vādaḥ, jalpa-vādaḥ.
vītarāgāḥFree from attachment; free from the hold of likes and dislikes.
vittamWealth; property; goods; acquisition; substance; money; power; anything found.
vivāhaḥ Marriage
vivartaḥ Apparent change of one object or material into another while retaining its original nature; alteration; transformation; for example, water appears to take the form of a wave while retaining its original nature of being H2O; see upādāna-kāraṇam, pariṇāmaḥ.
vivarta-upādāna-kāraṇamMaterial cause in which there is an apparent change of one object or material into another without any change in the nature of the original item itself; alteration; transformation; for example, water appears to take the form of a wave while retaining its original nature of being H2O; see upādāna-kāraṇam, pariṇāma-upādāna-kāraṇam.
vivekaḥDiscriminative knowledge or understanding – the timeless infinite vastu is one, all else is time-bound, finite.
vividiṣā-sannyāsaḥSee sannyāsaḥ.
vivikta Isolated; solitary; separated.
vivikta-deśaḥ A quiet, undisturbed place that is by nature free from causes for fear; one who tends to go there is called a vivikta-deśa-sevitvī and his state of mind is vivikta-deśa-sevitvam.
viyukta Free from; detached.
vratam A solemn vow carried out under strict rules on food, sleep, etc.
vṛddhiḥ Growth; increase; success.
vṛkṣaḥ Tree
vṛttiḥThought; conduct; mode of being; behaviour; disposition; profession; livelihood; job; commentary (vartikam); .
vṛtti-jñānamKnowledge manifest in the mind as a thought.
vyabhicāraḥ Going astray; deviation; transgression; a contradiction; fallacious or erroneous reasoning.
vyāhṛtiḥSacred utterance; name of any of four well known sacred utterances (always preceded by om) – see bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ, mahaḥ.
vyākaraṇamSanskrit grammar; one of the six auxiliary sciences, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see śikṣā, chandas, niruktam, jyotiṣaḥ, kalpaḥ.
vyākhyānam Exposition; explanation; communication.
vyakta Manifest
vyaktiḥ Manifestation; appearance; perceptibility; being available for experience.
vyānaḥName attributed to the vital air governing the circulatory system (of blood) in the body – an aspect of prāṇaḥ; also see apānaḥ, elimination; samānaḥ, digestion; udānaḥ, upward breath.
vyañjanamA consonant; a letter of the alphabet other than a vowel. A vyañjanam or consonant is soundless without its vowel, hence the English word 'consonant' (sounding with), it can be sounded only by means of a vowel. In Sanskrit, the soundless (vowel-less) vyañjanam is known as hal. See svaraḥ, hal.
vyāpaka All-pervasive; widely spread; invariably associated with.
vyāptiḥ Pervasiveness
vyartha Useless; futile; waste.
vyāsaḥCompiler; the great saint who compiled the Vedas and authored the Mahābhāratam and 18 mahā-purāṇas and 18 upa-purāṇas is known as Veda-vyāsaḥ.
vyaṣṭiḥIndividual; microcosmic being; see samaṣṭiḥ.
vyatirekaḥ Contrast – implies vyāvṛttiḥ, discontinuance; removal; cessation; exclusion; see anvayaḥ.
vyatiriktaḥ Distinct; separate.
vyavahāraḥ Transaction; vyāvahārika, transactional.
vyavasthāArrangement
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yajamānaḥWorshipper; performer of a ritual.
yajñaḥVedic form of worship; fire ritual; worship in general. Synonyms of yajñaḥ are yāgaḥ, kratuḥ, homaḥ, all of which are fire rituals in which oblations are offered. There are 18 time-bound factors (four priests for each of the four Vedas, the yajamānaḥ and his patnī, wife) involved in performing any ritual in which mantras from all the Vedas are used; devotional act (includes formal dissemination of knowledge via a jñāna-yajñaḥ). Note that no timebound action (such as a ritual), no matter how meritorious, can produce a timeless result and so cannot produce the limitlessness that is mokṣaḥ. See pūjā, pañcamahā-yajñas.
yakṣaḥ An inexplicable, divine appearance (ref. Kena Upaniṣad, Ch. 3 & 4).
yaśaḥ (yaśas) Fame; renown; glory.
yatiḥ One of proper, adequate and appropriate effort; a sannyāsī.
yatnaḥ Effort
yātrā Pilgrimage
yogaḥ Joining; absolute knowledge (wisdom); discipline. A karma or action performed with the proper attitude, in conformity with universal values, that serves as a preparatory discipline for the knowledge that is mokṣaḥ, is known as karma-yogaḥ. Pursuit of knowledge involving three steps – śravanam, mananam, nididhyāsanam – is a discipline to be followed for the attainment of knowledge, jñāna-yogaḥ. Discipline followed for mental preparation for knowledge is karma-yogaḥ and discipline followed for the attainment of knowledge is jñāna-yogaḥ.
yogārūḍha One who is adequately disciplined and mentally prepared for the pursuit of knowledge, having gone through the discipline of karma-yogaḥ. An ethical and religious person committed to and prepared for the spiritual pursuit.
yoniḥ Womb; cause; any place of origin.
yugaḥAstronomical time period; see caturyugam, kalpaḥ.
yukta Endowed with; engaged in; connected with; united with; integrated with.
yuktiḥ Reasoning; logic.
*Swami Dayananda
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