Arsha Vidya UK

Vedanta Glossary

Typing ⌘-F (Mac) or Ctrl-F (PC) in a laptop browser, or tapping the browser's search icon on a smartphone, reveals its search box for this page.

Glyph variants are ignored for English alphabetic order.

abādhitaNot subject to negation; unimpeded; unobstructed; unrefuted
abhayamFearlessness; peace; security
abhimānī One firmly identified with the mind and body, proudly arrogating their attributes and capacities to himself; conceited; proud; haughty
abhiniveśaḥ Fond and determined preoccupation with the transient, believing it to be permanent; tenaciously clinging to the ephemeral body and worldly life, believing them to be enduring; see kleśaḥ
abhyāsaḥRepeated practice – primarily, in Vedānta, repeatedly recognising a fact and so repeatedly avoiding or refraining from error.
acala Unmoving; unagitated
ācāraḥ Conduct; behaviour
ācāryaḥA teacher; one who understands and follows, and makes others understand and follow; "not only by words, but by example, do others understand and follow"; also see guru
ācāryopāsanam Expressing one's gratitude to and respect for the teacher and the teaching by serving him/her as best one may.
acintya Beyond any mental construct; beyond thought
acyuta Ever-present; never slips away
adambhitvam Absence of pretence; free from hypocrisy, posturing and self-glorification
adhi Centred on; concerning; related to
ādhāraḥ Support; base; foundation
adharmaḥNot in line with the inherent, natural order of dharma; unwise; action leading to an unfavourable outcome
ādhibhautika tāpaḥObstacle (tāpaḥ) arising from local circumstances e.g. heavy traffic; also see ādhyātmika, ādhidaivika
adhibhūtam Centred on a (transient) being, element or entity; centred on all that is perishable
adhidaivamCentred on the devāḥ, on the gods (the myriad natural forces that manifest and operate the world and its systems – including Nature, all the sciences, etc. – and hence centred on the natural events that arise from them); 'deva' may alternatively refer to or imply their ruling intelligence, the one puruṣaḥ, hiraṇyagarbha
ādhidaivika tāpaḥObstacle (tāpaḥ) arising from natural events (produced through the devāḥ, see adhidaivam, above) e.g. a storm; also see ādhyātmika, ādhibhautika
adhikaraṇam Substratum; location
adhikārī Qualified aspirant (especially for self-knowledge); see sādhana catuṣṭaya
adhiṣṭhānam Substance of which something is made; basis
adhiyajñaḥ Centred on ritual; the one on whom the ritual is centred i.e. antaryāmīśvara (Īśvara, the unmanifest cause of all, the subject of ritual)
adhyāropaḥSuperimposition (due to erroneous perception, adhyāsa) in which the characteristic(s) of one thing are either seemingly or falsely attributed, āropa, to another; leads, for example, to a mistaken notion of the self, ahaṅkāra
adhyāsaḥErroneous perception: taking something to be what it is not (due to ignorance, avidyā); leads to adhyāropa
adhyātmam Centred on, concerning, belonging to, the self, the ātmā (can also mean the jīva)
adhyātma-jñānam Knowledge centred on the self; knowledge whose object is the self
adhyātma-jñāna-nityatvamUnerstanding the ultimate validity of self-knowledge.
ādhyātmika Centred on the self
ādhyātmika tāpaḥObstacle (tāpaḥ) arising from oneself e.g. fear; also see ādhidaivika, ādhibhautika
adhyāyaḥ A chapter; a lesson; a reading
ādi Beginning (with); etcetera; indicates others of the same group
adṛṣṭa Unseen
advaita Non-dual
advaya Not two
advitīya Without a second
āgāmi-karma New karma, fructifying later; also see prārabdha, sañcita
agniḥ Deity of fire; the element Fire; also see pañcabhūta the five elements – ākāśa, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, water; pṛthivī, earth
agnihotram A very simple, twice-daily Vedic fire ritual, with oblations and mantras, to be performed only by married people; generates puṇya
agocara Not available for perception or inference; beyond the power of words
agotra Having no lineage
agrīya Foremost; best; excellent
aham 'I', 'I am'
ahaṃ-brahmāsmi 'I am Brahman' Bṛhadāraṇyaka 1.4.10; – see mahāvākyam and also 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-karaṇaḥ and hence of sūkṣma-śarīram
ahiṃsā Not hurting anyone or anything in thought, word or deed; harmlessness; the primary virtue, the one from which all others flow
aikyam Oneness
ājyam Ghee
ākāraḥ In the form of; formed of; expressing the form of
ākāśaḥ The element Space; also see pañcabhūta, the five elements – ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, water; pṛthivī, earth
akhaṇḍa Undivided; unbroken; whole
akhaṇḍa-ākāra-vṛttiḥA vṛtti, a thought, expressing the undivided nature of the self, the ātmā, which, when properly understood or appreciated, there shines a liberating recognition of the truth of oneself being limitless, whole.
akṣara Indestructible; imperishable; immutable; a vowel
akṣata Unbroken (rice, coloured yellow by mixing it with Turmeric) – used in ritual, worship
alam Enough
ālambanam Symbol; support
alpa Small; little
amānitvam Absence of conceit; not demanding respect, even when respect could be due
amṛtam Immortal; nectar of immortality; ambrosia
amṛtatvam Immortality
aṃśaḥ Portion; aspect
anabhiṣvaṅgaḥ Absence of intense attachment to possessions, etc. – such attachment being due to emotional dependence.
anadhigata That which cannot be arrived at (by perception and/or inference)
anādi Beginningless
anahaṅkāraḥ Absence of pride and arrogance; understanding that 'what I have accomplished is really nothing'
analpa Infinite in all respects (alpa, small)
ānandaḥ Limitlessness (synonym of ananta). Unhappiness being due to a limit, true happiness is limitlessness – hence, ānanda indicates happiness without limit, not "bliss".
ānandamaya-kośaḥ The kośaḥ that abides in beginningless avidyā, in the form of the causal body of impure sattva, knows varying degrees of ānanda (priya, moda, pramoda); also see annamaya-kośa, prāṇamaya-kośa, manomaya-kośa, vijñānamaya-kośa
ananta Endless (anta, end)
anirvacanīya Not categorically definable (but not inexplicable!); understood by implication only
anitya Timebound; limited; impermanent
annam Food
annamaya-koṣaḥ The kośaḥ made of food i.e. the physical body; also see prāṇamaya-kośa, manomaya-kośa, vijñānamaya-kośa, ānandamaya-kośa
antaḥ-karaṇam Mind (antaḥ, inner; karaṇam, instrument); consists of vṛttis, thoughts, of which there are four categories: manas, buddhi, citta, ahaṅkāra; the antaḥ-karaṇa's function is to transact with the world, jagat; the mind is a product of previous action, karma; see sūkṣma-śarīra
antaryāmī Inner controller; Īśvara as the cause of all, as the totality (samaṣṭi) of all causal bodies; the individual (vyaṣṭi) counterpart, is prājña – see Hiraṇyagarbha, Vaiśvānara, Virāt
anubandhaḥ Binding or fastening on; connection to;
anubhanda-catuṣtayaThe four-fold requisites that, combined, make a text worth studying are an adhikāri (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 adhikāri), prayojana (the particular benefit from studying the text)
anubhavaḥ Knowledge derived from own personal observation (experience)
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, mokśa.
anudātta The low tone in chanting, shown in the text by a short horizontal line below the vowel; also see svaraḥ, udātta, svarita
anugrahaḥ Grace
anumānamInference from immediate perception, e.g. knowledge of fire is inferred from smoke; one of the six pramāṇas – see the others: anupalabdhi, arthāpatti, pratyakṣa, śabda, upamāna
anupalabdhiḥ Knowledge of non-presence (non-existence) of an object is known from its absence (non-availability) e.g. seeing there are no plates available on the table is knowledge of their absence; one of the six pramāṇas – see the others: anumāna, arthāpatti, pratyakṣa, śabda, upamāna
anusandhānam Inquiry; examination; investigation (into the nature of Brahman
anuvākaḥ Chapter or section of a Veda
anvaya-vyatirekaḥPositive and negative assertions; proof by assertion and negation; a dual procedure in inferential logic for determining the truth of something by seeing whether its features are always present (or absent) together (always either co-present or co-absent); anvaya focuses on presence, vyatireka on absence in presenting the evidence for a contention.
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 adhyāsa. 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, adhyāropa, made heat and radiance seem to belong to the iron ball rather than to fire alone. Often, adhyāsa 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.
āpaḥ The element Water; also see pañcabhūta the five elements – ākāśa, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, water; pṛthivī, earth
apānaḥ The elimination aspect of prāṇa, seated in the kidneys; also see samāna, digestion; vyāna, circulation; udāna, upward breath
aparā-prakṛtiḥLower nature of the self; see parā-prakṛtiḥ
aparā-vidyā Lower knowledge, meaning any and all knowledge other than self-knowledge, other than pure consciousness – even the Veda is aparāvidyā; see parā-vidyā
aparokṣa-jñānamImmediate (not distant) knowledge; knowledge of the self-evident, i.e. oneself
apauruṣeya Of divine (not human) origin; hallmark of the Vedas
apavādaḥRefutation; sublation; rejection; negation; e.g. rejection of the apparent snake for the rope
apekṣāDependence; connection of cause with effect or of individual with species; looking for; expectation
āpti Attainment; one of the four possible results of action (karma); also see utpādya, production; vikāra, modification; sanskāra, refinement
aratiḥ janasaṁsadiNo-longer craving social interaction; ever comfortabe in one's own company
arcakaḥ Honouring; worshipping; a worshipper
arcanam Offering; ritual; worship
ārjavam Straight-forwardness; honesty; truthfulness; alignment of thought, word and deed
āropaḥAttributing the characteristics of one thing to another; see adhyāropa
arpaṇam Entrusting; offering
arthaAim; meaning; purpose; object; 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: anumāna, anupalabdhi, pratyakṣa, śabda, upamāna
asaktiḥAbsence of a sense of ownership; recognising that although I possess a few things, I actually own nothing; also see sakti
āsanamPosture; seat; part of the aṣṭāṅga yoga, the eight-fold discipline of yoga
āsanāyāHunger; see ūrmiḥ
asmitāEgoism; excessive self-concern, with or without exaggerated feelings of self-importance; see kleśaḥ
āśramaḥDwelling place of religious devotees; the four stages of Vedic religious life – brahmacarya, studentship; gṛhastha, householder; vānaprastha, withdrawal; sannyāsa, 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 Yoga is an eight-fold discipline consisting of yama, prohibitions; niyama, injunctions; āsana, posture; prāṇāyāma, breath control; pratyāhāra, sense control; dhāraṇā, concentration; dhyāna, meditation; samādhi, absorption. It has its place in preparing the mind for knowledge to take place.
āstikaḥOne who accepts the Veda as a pramāṇa – a nāstikaḥ does not
asuraḥOne who goes against dharma in pursuit of sensory pleasure; predominant guṇa is tamas; see rākṣasa
ātmā Self; true self; the one who 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 (saccidānanda)
ātmabodhaḥ 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-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), which, when coupled with the vikṣepa-śakti of māyā, leads successively to adhyāsa, adhyāropa, ahaṅkāra, kāma, karma and saṁsāra
avasthā State; condition;
avasthā-trayāḥThe three states of experience; see jāgrad-avasthā, waking state; svapna-avasthā, dream state; suṣupti-avasthā, deep-sleep state; and also see turīya, 'fourth' (not a state)
avatāraḥ Descent; the divine, descended and manifest in bhū-lokaḥ
avidyāBeginningless ignorance; manifest only in the waking (jāgrad-avasthā) and dream (svapna-avasthā) states, 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 adhyāsa, the cause of saṁsāra; also see kleśaḥ
avikārya Unchanging
aviruddha Unopposed
avyabhicārinī-bhaktiḥUnswerving devotion
avyākṛta Undifferentiated; unmanifest
avyakta Unmanifest (a synonym of māyā)
avyaya Undecaying; indeclinable; unchanging
ayam This one
ayamātmā-brahma'This self is Brahman' Bṛhadāraṇyaka 2.5.19; this one, this very self here, myself, is Brahman! – see mahāvākya and also tattvamasi, ahaṃ-brahmāsmi, prajñānaṃ-brahma
āyatanamAbode; place
bādhaḥNegation; objection; contradiction
bahudhā In many ways
bāhya External
bāla Young; not mature; not fully grown
balam Strength; force
bandhaḥ Bound; bondage
bhadra Auspicious
bhagaḥ All wealth; all virtues; excellence
bhāgaḥ Part; fraction
bhagavad-gītā A famous smṛti in which Lord Kṛṣṇa teaches Arjuna ātma-jñāna; part of the prasthāna-trayam
bhagavān Lord
bhaktaḥ Devotee – recognising that the Lord is the giver of the fruits of action makes one a devotee.
bhaktiḥ Devotion; love; attachment; trust; homage; worship; piety; faith; since bhakti is expressed through action it comes within karma-yoga and so bhakti-mārga is not a separate path
bhāsaḥ Light; lustre; brightness; impression made on the mind; see cidābhāsaḥ
bhāṣyam Written commentary, typically on the Upaniṣads, Bhagavad Gītā, etc; the method is to quote a word and next to it offer one or two in explanation; the greatest and most famous are by Ādi Śaṅkara
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
bhāvarogaḥDisease of existence
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; vināśyati, destruction, death
bhayam Fear
bhedaḥ Difference; three kinds: svagata-bheda differences between parts of the same object (e.g between a leaf and a branch of the same tree), svajātīya-bheda differences between objects of the same kind or species (e.g. between two trees), vijātīya-bheda 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
bhrāntiḥ Confusion; delusion; false impression
bhūmiḥ The element Earth
bhūḥ The Earth; the world of becoming (also known as bhū-lokaḥ) the only world where new karma may be formed; the world of mortals; lowest of the seven heavens; see vyāhṛtiḥ and also see bhuvaḥ, svaḥ
bhūtaḥ A (transient) element, being or entity; that which has come into being and will later cease to be
bhūta-yajñaḥ Worship of the Lord by feeding hungry domestic animals in one's home or feeding birds that visit the garden; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas – also see devayajña, sacrifice to the gods; pitṛyajña, sacrifice to the manes; ṛṣiyajña, sacrifice to the ṛṣis; nṛyajña, feeding the hungry
bhuvaḥAir, atmosphere; forms the bhuvar-lokaḥ, world of Air; the world above, i.e. the heavens; the sixth-lowest of the seven heavens; see vyāhṛtiḥ and also see bhuḥ, svaḥ
bījam Seed; source; cause
bimbaḥ Reflection; manifestation
bodhaḥ Knowledge; awareness
brahmā Īśvara as the creator of the universe; see Viṣṇu, Śiva, hiraṇyagarbha
brahmacarya Earliest of the four āśramas or stages of Vedic life – studentship; also see gṛhastha, householder; vānaprastha, withdrawal; sannyāsa, renunciation; taken as a discipline, brahmacarya means refraining from inappropriate (prohibited) sexual activity in thought, word and deed
brahman Supreme Reality; absolute Reality; absolute Truth – hence, anirvacanīya, not categorically definable (but not inexplicable)
brāhmaṇaḥ A person born into the first varṇaḥ – a priest, teacher, doctor, lawyer, etc.; also see kṣatriya, soldier; vaiśya, businessman; śūdra, labourer
brahma-niṣṭhā One established in Brahman, in absolute Reality; a jñāni
brahma-sūtra Third text in the prasthāna-trayam; written by Vyāsa, it is an advanced text consisting of logical refutations of opposing views to Vedānta
brahmātmā The fact of the self being Brahman, absolute Reality
brahma-yajña Studying śastram and living what one understands; a form of worship; regular, systematic śravanam.
buddhiḥIntellect – the power to reason, decide, know, recognise, will, deliberate; part of antaḥ-karaṇaḥ and hence of sūkṣma-śarīram
caitanyamConsciousness; awareness
cakṣuḥ The eye
caturyugam The four ages of the world-cycle: kṛta-yuga (kali-yuga x 4 = 1,728,000 years), tretā-yuga (kali-yuga x 3 = 1,296,000 years), dvāpara-yuga (kali-yuga x 2 = 864,000 years), kali-yuga 432,000 years; the catur-yuga (four yugas combined) is also known as a mahā-yuga (kali-yuga x 10 = 4,320,000 years); see kalpa, yuga
catuṣṭaya Four-fold
cetana Alive; sentient
chandasScience of metre; one of the six auxiliary texts, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see śikṣā, vyākaraṇa, nirukta, jyotiṣa, kalpa
cidābhāsaḥManifestation or reflection of consciousness from the perspective of the individual; the one who identifies the consciousness manifest in the body-mind-sense complex as 'I' is called a jīva or cidābhāsaḥ (the ornament is emphasised, not the gold); also see pratibimba; cidābhāsa and pratibimba are the same consciousness viewed from different perspectives, hence the different terms
cintana Thinking; reflecting
cit Limitless, unconditioned, unmanifest consciousness; pure knowledge; pure intelligence; object-free awareness
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-karaṇaḥ and hence of sūkṣma-śarīram
cūḍaCrest; top; summit
dakṣiṇaAble; skilful; expert; right (side); southern
dakṣiṇā An offering, gift or honorarium to brāhmaṇas or one's guru
dakṣiṇāmūrtiḥ Īśvara in the rôle of teacher; the first guru; pure knowledge being silent, he is said to have taught in silence, but that is only to indicate that he taught so well that his disciples understood to the depth of pure knowledge itself
damaḥMastery over the organs (powers) of sense and action; see ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see śama, uparama, titikṣā, śraddhā, samādhāna
dāraḥWife – as in, 'to take a wife', 'to wish to marry'; see patnī
darśanam Seeing
dayā Compassion; empathy
dehaḥSubject to cremation (the body); also see kāya, śarīra
dehī Indweller of the body; synonym for jīva
deśaḥ Place; spot; country
devaḥA god; power; effulgent; wives of gods; general term for a divine being or power, each of which is an aspect of Īśvara's power and knowledge; that same power and knowledge is intrinsic to the myriad natural forces that manifest and operate the world and its systems – including Nature and all the sciences; 'deva' may alternatively refer to the overall ruling intelligence of all those forces, i.e. to the one puruṣaḥ, hiraṇyagarbha
devatāA divinity; a goddess; a powerful divine being; the deity that receives worship and gives what is desired; used, for example, with reference to the sense powers, as in 'the devatā of sight'
deva-yajñaḥWorship of the Lord in any natural phenomenon, such as a rock, mountain, tree, sunset, river, lake, in gratitude for the prosperity the Lord bestows through natural phenomena; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas – also see pitṛyajña, sacrifice to the manes; ṛṣiyajña, sacrifice to the ṛṣis; nṛyajña, feeding the hungry; bhūtayajña, feeding hungry animals and birds
dhairyam Courage; strength
dhanam Wealth; property; treasure
dhāraṇā Concentration of mind
dharmaḥLaw; order; justice; virtue; right action; attribute
dhātuḥ Element or constituent of the body e.g. phlegm, blood, marrow; vital force in man; metal; verbal root
dhīḥ All thought; subtle body; mind; intellect
dhīraḥ A wise person
dhṛtiḥ Resolution; perseverance; patience; firmness; fortitude
dhruva Firm; fixed; permanent; unchanging
dhyānamMeditation; useful for calming and steadying the mind; "meditation will not reveal ātmā because the meditator is atma, and therefore, whatever you know about yourself will be the ātmâ that is meditated upon."
dīkṣā Initiation; consecration
dīpaḥ A light; lamp; lantern
dīrghaLong; two short measures of sound; also see hrasva short, pluta extended
doṣaḥ Defect; fault; deficiency; damage; transgression
dravyam An object; substance; material ingredient
dravya-śaktiḥ Power of inertia; tamo-guṇaḥ, see guṇa
dṛk The seer; the one who sees
dṛṣṭāntaḥ An example; illustration
dṛṣṭiḥ Vision; conclusion
dṛśyam The seen; the object of sight
duḥkhamSorrow; uneasiness; misery; pain; grief; trouble – see śoka
duritam Obstacle; difficulty; danger
durlabha Difficult to attain or accomplish
duṣkṛtam Evil act; misdeed; see pāpa; adharma
dvandvam Pair of opposites
dvayam Two-fold nature; pair
dveśahAversion; hatred; repugnance; enmity; dislike; distaste; see rāga, kleśaḥ
dvijaḥTwice-born – a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, or vaiśya
ekādaśī Eleventh day of the lunar fortnight
ekāgraḥ One-pointed – referring to a focussed state of attention.
ekāgrata One-pointedness (of the mind); concentration; intentness in the pursuit of one object
ekānta Solitude
eṣaḥ This
eṣaṇamImpulse; ardent desire; solicitation; begging; also see icchā, kāma
eṣaṇa-trayam The three common, strong desires: dāraḥ, desire for a wife; putraḥ, desire for a son; vittaḥ, desire for wealth
etad This here
evamThus, so, in this manner
gadāClub; mace; one of the weapons of Lord Viṣṇuḥ
gadādhāraḥ 'Wielder of the gadā', an epithet for Lord Viṣṇuḥ
gaganam Sky; firmament; heaven
gagana-ravindamSky-lotus; a term denoting an unreal or non-existent thing; the world
gambhīra Lying deep; profound; magnanimous; dignified; grand; imperious; grave; deep voice
gāmbhīrya Gravity of demeanor; depth or profundity of character; depth of meaning (in a deep, recondite sense)
gaṇapatiḥ Lord Gaṇeśa (son of Lord Śiva and Pārvatī); lord of multitudes; remover of obstacles; success-bestowing aspect of Īśvara; always the first to be worshipped on entering a temple
gandhaḥThe sense object (viṣayaḥ) known as smell, scent or odour
gandha-tanmātramSubtle principle or root element of odour
gatiḥ That which you go towards (that which you actually want); what you get/obtain; position; state
gauṇa Metaphorical; figurative; having qualities
gauṇa-vṛttiḥ Metaphoric, figurative or secondary sense as in: "He is as brave as a lion" "She is brilliant, she is on fire"; a secondary power or śakti of words
gāyatrī-mantraḥFamous, sacred mantra; said to be all four Vedas in condensed form; chanted 108 times thrice daily for contemplation on one's true nature; chanting it burnishes the buddhi
ghaṇa-prajñāḥ Massive (i.e. infinite, limitless), undifferentiated consciousness
ghaṭaḥ Clay pot; earthen water-jar
ghaṭākāśaḥ Space bounded by (apparently contained within) a clay pot
go A cow; earth; word
golakamPhysical form of each organ of perception, thus distinguishing the eye from its power of sight, the ear from the power of hearing, etc.
gotram Family name; tribe; lineage; genus; species; cow shed
grahaḥ Grip; grasp; planet
grāhya Admissible; fit to be received, picked up, gathered, taken, observed; sense organ
grahaṇam Grasping; acquiring; comprehending; recognising; perception; eclipse
grāmaḥ Village; hamlet; inhabitants; community; multitude; collection
granthaḥ Book; treatise; verse; composition
granthiḥ Knot; tie; joint; difficulty
gṛhasthaḥHouseholder; second of the four āśramas of Vedic life – a married householder; also see brahmacarya, studentship; vānaprastha, withdrawal; sannyāsa, renunciation
gūdha Covered; hidden; concealed; private; mystery
guhā A cave; the heart
guhya Secret; mysterious
guṇaḥAttribute; property; quality; the three-fold power of māyā, namely sattva, rajas, tamas. Intrinsic to, and arising from cit, pure awareness, is the power to know, called sattva or jñāna-śakti. Knowing is an action and is the very essence of all activity – the very essence of the power to act – that power to act is known as rajas or kriyā-śakti. To be aware is to know, to know is to conclude; the power to conclude, to come to a stop, is known as tamas, the dravya-śakti – also known as the power of inertia in which all comes to rest. The power of inertia needs to fade or subside for a new beginning to occur (in sattva) and for the interplay of the guṇas to continue. This interplay is the play of ever-shifting guṇa balances within guṇa balances. There are myriad levels upon levels of such interplay within any system, physical or mental, sentient or insentient, resulting in one overall, but temporary, guṇa balance for that system at any one moment. Only the guṇas act.
guṇātīta Not under the thrall of the guṇas
guruḥDispeller of darkness (of ignorance of one's true nature); a śrotriya and a brahma-niṣṭhā; preceptor; ācārya of ātma-vidyā
gurukṛpā Guru's grace or blessings
gurukulamAn āśrama where students study Vedānta (and Sanskṛta) systematically with the guru, living as a family.
hanumanEmbodiment of dharma and bhakti; great, powerful, famous devotee of Srī Rāma
harṣaḥ Elation; joy; delight; pleasure
hastaḥ Hand
haviḥ Offering; oblation
hetuḥ Cause
hiraṇyagarbhaḥĪśvara as the entire subtle universe; the sum-total, samaṣṭi, of all subtle phenomena and subtle bodies; cosmic or universal mind; the highest created being through whom Īśvara manifests the subtle aspect of the universe; Hiraṇyagarbha is also known as Brahmā; its individual or vyaṣṭi aspect is taijasa – see antaryāmi, Vaiśvānara, Virāt
hrasvaShort measure of sound; also see dīrgha, long; pluta, extended
hṛdaya-granthiḥThe three-stranded knot of the heart: avidyā, kāma, karma
hṛdayam The heart
hotramSacrifice; oblation with fire
icchāDesire; wish; inclination; see eṣaṇam, kāmaḥ
iḍā A subtle nerve, relating to energy levels, that runs up the left side of the spine and ends at the left nostril; also see nāḍī, piṅgala, suṣumṇā, kuṇḍalinī
idam This
idamta This-ness
indraḥLord of the senses; chief of the celestials; ruler of heaven; rain-god
indriyaḥ Inner (subtle) organ; two types: the (five) senses and the (five) organs of action
indriyam Subtle power (indriyam) of an indriyaḥ, 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 indriyas are the power to see, the power to talk, etc, (dependent on the respective devata and on prāṇa) and are not to be equated with the physical organ (golakam).
indriya-jñānam Sense-perception; sensory knowledge
indriya-artheṣu-vairāgyam Dispassion towards sense-objects
īśta-devatāḥ Favourite or tutelary deity
īśvaraḥSaguṇa Brahman manifest as the entire universe, sṛṣṭiḥ, in all its causal, subtle and gross (physical) aspects – see antaryāmi, Hiraṇyagarbha, Brahmā, Śiva, Viṣṇu, Vaiśvānara, Virāt, deva
īśvara-prayatnaḥGod's will
iti Thus; so; accordingly; lays stress on what precedes; also marks end of a quotation, definition, etc.
itihāsa"So indeed it was"; epic; legend; traditional account of former events describing the life and adventures of a hero or heroes e.g. Lord Rāma of the Rāmāyaṇa, and the five Pāṇḍavāḥ of the Mahābhārata
jaḍamInsentient; inert; lifeless; inanimate; motionless
jagad-guruḥWorld guru; world preceptor; an honorific title given by disciples to express reverence and appreciation for their guru
jagatUniverse (product of the power of māyā); moving; changing; just as a coiled rope appears in low light to be a snake, the jagat is an ever-changing appearance of Īśvara made manifest by the vikṣepa-śakti of māyā – it is not an illusion, it very much exists (although it is not absolutely real).
jagat-kāraṇamCause of creation; Īśvara, with his śakti known as māyā, is the means of manifestation, but the actual cause is the ripe karma of jīvas, requiring expression
jāgrad-avasthā Waking state in which the gross world of physical objects is experienced; also see svapna-avasthā, dream state; suṣupti-avasthā, deep-sleep state; turīya, 'fourth'
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 samvāda, vāda, vitaṇḍa-vāda
janmaBirth; embodiment; the four sources of 'birth' are jarāyuja, womb-born; aṇḍaja, egg-born; svedaja, sweat-born; udbhijja, born from earth
japaḥChanting a mantra (typically 108 times per session)
jarā Old age; infirmity; decay; see ūrmiḥ
jarāyu Womb
jihvā The tongue
jijñāsā Desire/thirst for knowledge
jījñāsuḥ Desirer of knowledge
jītendriyaḥ One who controls (i.e. manages) the indriyāni, senses
jīvaḥApparent individual; a person; the ātmā identified as (assumed or thought to be) the gross physical body (sthūla-śarīra), but who is in truth a reflection, cidābhāsa, of Brahman; one who tends not to inquire into his real nature, svarūpa, and who thinks (assumes) God is different from himself or does not even exist; see jīvan-muktaḥ
jīvan-muktaḥLiberation from apparent individuality, in fact a recognition that the ātman is ever-liberated. The actor is ever the actor, not the rôle; see mokṣa
jīvanmuktiḥLiberation while living (liberation after death, kramamukti, is extremely rare).
jīvātmāĀtmā appearing to be an individual or person.
jīvatvamThe state or condition of being a jīva; jīva-hood.
jñānābhyāsaḥA term generally used for the Vedānta form of sādhana – see abhyāsa
jñāna-kāṇḍhaḥ Upaniṣads – that (latter) part of the Vedas that deals with self-knowledge
jñānamKnowledge that is not negatable and is free from doubt; truth; object of the verb 'to know'
jñāna-niṣṭhāAbiding in the knowledge that is limitless wholeness
jñāna-śaktiḥ The power to know; see sattva, guṇa
jñāna-yajñaḥDissemination of knowledge; sādhana in praise of (and for the attainment of) knowledge, conceived of as an offering or divine sacrifice
jñāna-yogaḥThe path of knowledge; constantly and seriously listening (śravanam), for a length of time, to the guru 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 guru; a life devoted to knowledge of the self, ātmā-jñānam; a synonym for the sannyāsa life-style
jñānendriyāni The five subtle sense-powers (hearing, touch, sight, taste, smell); part of sūkṣma-śarīra and vijñāṇamaya-kośa
jñānī Knower (of Brahman, 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 'to be known, to be learnt or understood'
jyotiṣaḥScience of astronomy and astrology; one of the six auxiliary texts, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see śikṣā, chandas, vyākaraṇa, nirukta, kalpa
kalpaḥDay of Brahmāji (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 texts, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – the others are śikṣā, chandas, vyākaraṇa, nirukta, jyotiṣa
kaivalyam Absolute unity; absolute loneness; limitless independence; mokṣa; advaitam; final beatitude; emancipation
kalpanam Imagining; forming in the imagination; creating in the mind
kalpita Projected; imagined; fabricated; artificial; composed; invented; supposed
kāma Desire; longing; love for; pleasure in; lust; kāma leads to krodha, anger, when unfulfilled; see the six malas, impurities; also see eṣaṇa, icchā
kāmya-karma Action (ritual) done for producing a desired result.
kāṇḍaḥ Section; chapter; part; portion
karaṇam Instrument of an action
kāraṇamCause of an action or phenomenon – also see sthūla, sūkṣma
kāraṇa-śarīramCausal body; consisting of beginningless avidyā and impure sattva; see sthūla-śarīram, sūkṣma-śarīram, and suṣupti-avasthā
karmaAction from free will; result of action (destiny); that which causes the production of bodies (new births); duty; object of an action; the four results of action – utpādya, production; vikāra, modification; āpti, attainment; sanskāra, refinement
karma-kāṇḍaḥ The early part of the Veda, dealing with rituals and results.
karma-phaladātāĪśvara as the giver of the fruits of action.
karma-yogaḥ A prayerful, disciplined, householder life, lived in line with dharma, in which all actions are performed in the recognition that all that is here is Īśvara. Intrinsic to this recognition is a natural attitude of offering or entrusting all one's actions to Īśvara (Īśvara arpaṇa buddhi) – since all action is, essentially, in and of Īśvara. Thus, a life of karma-yoga is a life lived attempting to keep all one's actions aligned with what is perceived of the orderliness that is dharma, Īśvara. As best one may, one's actions then become unopposed to what is appreciated of dharma, (dharma aviruddha karma). Natural to this order is the law-ordained result of action, which is accepted as prasāda, a gift from Īśvara (îśvara prasâda buddhi). 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 may often entail foregoing personal bias in the form of rāga-dveṣas, binding attachments and aversions, when putting dharma first. This putting dharma 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 śravanam occurs in such an open, unagitated, self-disciplined, worshipful mind, there is little to impede it and freedom from saṁsāra follows. (There is much more to karma yoga than sevā, service!)
karmendriyāni The five subtle powers of action – evident in speaking, handling, moving, reproducing and eliminating; part of sūkṣma-śarīra and prāṇamaya-kośa
kartā Doer; subject of an action
karuṇā Compassion; empathy
kārya Effect; product; correlate of kāraṇa, cause
kārya-kāraṇa-sambhandaḥCause-effect relationship
kaṣāya Stain; impurity; a dullness of mind arising from poor spiritual endeavour, creating a misleading feeling of success; result of impure sattva
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-yoga (yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam) it does not mean skilfulness
katham How
kaviḥ Poet; seer (ṛṣi)
kāyaḥ The body; trunk of a tree; assemblage; collection; capital; habitation; also see deha, śarīra
kāyika Relating to the body
kendram Centre
keśaḥ Hair
kevala Absolute; unconnected with anything else; pure; simple; non-dual
kim What
kīrtanam Singing the glory of God
kleśaḥ Five worldly afflictions that impair our recognition of Īśvaraavidyā, ignorance; asmitā, egoism; rāga, attachment; dveṣa, aversion; abhiniveśa, clinging to the body and to earthly life.
kośaḥOne of the five areas of the kāraṇa-kārya-saṅghāta, the body-mind-sense complex, providing the potential for self-misidentification; see pañca-kośāḥ
krama-muktiḥ Gradual liberation (in higher realms after death)
kriyā Physical action
kriyā-śaktiḥ Power to do or act; rajo-guṇa (doing also implies the power to desire, icchā-śaktiḥ, and prior to that, the power to know, jñāna-śaktiḥ); see guṇa
krodhaḥAnger; wrath; passion; also see the six malas, impurities
kṛpā Mercy; grace; blessing; pity; tenderness
kṛpaṇaḥ Poor; a beggar; miserly; stingy
kṛṣṇa The deity Viṣṇu, teacher of the Bhagavad Gītā
kṣama Patient; enduring; forgiving; competent
kṣaṇika Momentary; transient
kṣāntiḥ An accommodating, appropriate, non-reactive, non-judgemental response to others' behaviour.
kṣatriyaḥ A holder of kṣatra, authority; a person born into the second varṇaḥ – a soldier, governor, administrator, landowner, etc.; also see brāhmana, priest; vaiśya, businessman; śūdra, 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)
kṣipta Scattered mind; distracted attention
kulam Family; community
kuṇḍaḥ Pot; pitcher
kuṇḍalinīYogic force coiled at the very base of the spine (in the space between the genitals and anus) which uncoils and rises up the suṣumnā and through the cakras when activated; known colloquially as the 'serpent in the pot'; also see nāḍī, iḍā, piṅgala, suṣumṇā
kūṭastha Immovable; ever the same; synonym for ātmā
kuṭīraḥHut or cottage
laghuLight; easy
lakṣaṇā Indication; definition; description; symbol
lakṣyārthaḥ Indicated or implied meaning of word(s)
laukika Worldly; pertaining to empirical phenomena
layaḥ Mental absorption with return, as in deep sleep; sloth; dissolution as part of cycle of creation.
līlā Play; sport; diversion; pleasure
liṅgam Clue; mark; indication; gender
liṅga-dehaḥ Subtle body; astral body
liṅga-śarīraḥ Subtle body; becomes particularly active during the dream state by creating a world of its own; constituted of prāṇamaya-kośaḥ, manomaya-kośaḥ and vijñānamaya-kośaḥ
lobhaḥGreed; covetousness; cupidity; avarice; impatience; eager desire for, or longing after; perplexity; also see the six malas, impurities
lokaḥPlace; region; result; of the 14 lokas, the seven lower ones are forms of hell, narakaḥ, the seven higher are forms of heaven, svargaḥ; the higher ones begin with this Earth, bhūḥ, and in ascending order are bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ, mahaḥ, janaḥ, tapaḥ, satyam
madaḥPride; arrogance; presumption; conceit; excitement; intoxication; also see the six malas, impurities
madhyamaThird (middle, intermediate) stage of emergence of speech. When a person is inclined to speak, the power goes upwards from parā and paśyantī to another power centre, manipūrakam, located at the navel. As it enters into the heart power centre, anāhata, the same unmanifest power, parā, assumes by association with the intellect a specific word form, madhyama. see parā, paśyantī, vaikharī
mahatGreat; intellect; first product of prakṛti
mahat-tattvaThe great principle; principle of intelligence or buddhi; Hiraṇyagarbha or Brahmā
mahāvākyamGreat statement from the Upaniṣads revealing the self; there are many, but the four most famous are: tattvamasi, ahaṃ-brahmāsmi, ayamātmā-brahma, prajñānaṃ-brahma
mālāGarland; string of beads for japa
malaḥDirt; impurity – six kinds: kāma, lust; krodha, anger; lobha, greed; moha, delusion; mada, pride; mātsarya, jealousy
mamatvam'My-ness'; sense of ownership
mananamResolving doubts, following śravaṇam, until understanding is flawless and complete; see nididhyāsanam, sākṣātkāra
manasMind; the power to think, feel; formed of vṛttis alone, which undergo constant change; typified by saṅkalpa-vikalpa, desires and doubts, options and alternatives; since the power to think and feel includes notions of identity (ahaṅkāra), as well as memories (citta) and decisions (buddhi), manas 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-karaṇaḥ, sūkṣma-śarīram
maṅgalamPrayer; good fortune; blessing; auspicious beginning
maṅiḥJewel; gem; ornament
manomaya-kośaḥThe kośaḥ consisting of the five senses plus the mind (manas and citta); also see annamaya-kośa, prāṇamaya-kośa, vijñānamaya-kośa, ānandamaya-kośa
mano nigrahaḥ Mastery of one's ways of thinking
mantraḥThat whose repetition protects the mind.
manuṣyaḥ Human being
maraṇam Death; cessation; refuge
mārgaḥ Way; path; course; route
mārutaḥ A name of Viṣṇu and Rudra; deity of the wind
matam Vision; thought; creed; advice; intention
maṭhaḥ Monastery; temple
mātṛ Mother
mātsaryamJealousy; displeasure; dissatisfaction; also see the six malas, impurities
māyā Power of Īśvara ; manifests the jagat ; similarly to the three strands of one rope, māyā has three aspects or attributes: sattva, rajas, tamas; māyā does not mean 'illusion' (see jagat); this three-fold creative power of māyā manifests as the jñāna-śakti (capacity to know) of sattva, the kriyā-śakti (capacity to act) of rajas, and the dravya-śakti (capacity for inertia) of tamas – see guṇa
medhā-śaktiḥPower of intellection – ability to unfailingly attend (focus), properly understand, ever retain, fully ascertain and completely assimilate what is taught.
mithyā Apparently (and dependently) real or existent, not absolutely real; whatever has the status of being mithyā is dependent for its reality on its substratum, just as a clay pot depends on clay, or a gold ornament on gold; see satyam, tuccham
modaḥHappy; a degree of happpiness: a desired object is obtained; also see priya, pramoda
mohaḥDelusion; bewilderment; perplexity; loss of consciousness; distraction; infatuation; moha, delusion, is a consequence of krodha, anger; also see the six ūrmis, evils, and the six malas, impurities
mokṣaḥLiberation from jīvatvam – from the state of being a conditioned jīva – and hence from saṁsāra
mṛtyuḥ Death; see ūrmiḥ
mudrā Name for certain hand and finger positions.
mukhyārthaḥ Primary or literal meaning of a word or sentence. 'On the face of it …'
mukta Free
muktiḥ Freedom
mūlam Root; source; basis; principle
mūlāvidyā Original or primal ignorance (of the self); epithet for māyā
mumukṣuḥ Desirer of liberation
mumukṣutvam State of being desirous of liberation, mokṣa
muniḥ A sage, ascetic, hermit who may have taken a vow of silence
mūrtiḥForm; visible shape; personification; idol; statue
nāda-śabdaḥLoud, roaring, bellowing sound; primal sound; first vibration from which all creation has emanated; first manifestation of the unmanifested Absolute
nāḍī Tubular organ such as a vein or nerve; a system of subtle nerves that runs throughout the subtle body and converges on the heart; also see iḍā, piṅgala, suṣumṇā, kuṇḍalinī
naimittika-karmamOccasional (not daily) duty
naiścalyam Immovability; solidity; fixity
naiṣkarmyam Actionlessness; perfection; self-knowledge
naivedyam Food (symbolically) offered to a deity
nāman Name
nāma-rūpam Name and form; this insubtantial world is mere name and form, whose only substance is satyam
namaḥ Salutations – namaste, 'salutations to you'
nanu An objection or question
narakaḥ Hell; the seven lower regions
nārāyaṇaḥ The one who supports and pervades all; Lord Viṣṇu
nāśaḥ Destruction; disappearance
nāsikā Nose; nostril
nāsikāgram End or tip of the nose
nāstikaḥOne who does not recognise the Veda to be a pramāṇam; see āstikaḥ
neti-neti "Not this, not this"; progressively negating all names and forms to arrive at timeless, absolute Truth
nididhyāsanamRemoval of viparīta-bhāvanā by constantly dwelling on what has been correctly understood from śravaṇam and mananam; this 'dwelling' is not a formal practice but a spontaneous and natural consequence of true understanding, it is what is, by now, a clear vision of the Truth as the essential nature of the very knower 'I'; see sākṣātkāra
nidrā Sleep; a general term for either svapna (dreaming sleep) or suṣupti (deep sleep)
nigrahaḥ Restraint; obstruction; mastery
nilayaḥ Support; resting-place; dwelling-place; den; lair; nest; house; abode
nimitta-kāraṇamInstrumental or efficient cause; also see upādāna-kāraṇam
nirañjana Untainted; spotless; pure; devoid of passion; simple
niratiṣaya Unsurpassed; unrivalled; unequalled
nirguṇa Free from all attributes
nirodhaḥ Control; restraint; obstruction
niruktamThe discipline of Vedic etymology; one of the six auxiliary texts, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see śikṣā, chandas, vyākaraṇa, jyotiṣa, kalpa
nirupādhika Without any limiting adjunct; see upādhi
nirvāṇam Liberation; emancipation; extinguished
nirvikalpa Absence of distinction between knower-knowledge-known (not 'absence of thought'); without modifications of the mind
nirvikalpa-samādhiA state of absorption, without modifications of the mind, in which there is no second thing at all; a samādhi 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 samādhi is transient; nirvikalpa-samādhi is not, and cannot, be an experience of ātmā as ātmā is not experienceable; some say that after you come out of nirvikalpa-samādhi 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-samādhi you have to interpret that experience, and to interpret the experience you must have a pramāṇa, a means of knowledge; see savikalpa-samādhi
nirvikāra Unchanged; unchangeable; uniform
nirviśeṣa Without any attributes or distinguishing characteristics
nirvṛttiḥ Development; completion; termination; mokṣaḥ
niścayaḥ Conviction; definiteness; firm resolve
niṣedhaḥ Prohibition; forbidden by scripture
niṣiddha-karma Forbidden action
niṣkāmaḥ Free from (binding) desire
niṣṭhā Firmness; steadiness; freedom from doubt or vagueness
nitya Timeless; not subject to time
nityakarmam Any daily duty, but especially religious ones
nivṛttiḥAbstinence; cessation; giving primacy to śreyas rather than preyas – see its opposite pravṛttiḥ
niyatam Regularly
niyatātmā Disciplined-minded; having a self-disciplined mind
nṛyajñaWorship of the Lord by feeding hungry people who visit one's home; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas – also see devayajña, sacrifice to the gods; pitṛyajña, sacrifice to the manes; ṛṣiyajña, sacrifice to the ṛṣis; bhūtayajña, feeding hungry animals and birds
omSacred sound symbol (pratīka) of Brahman; the whole Veda can be reduced to Om.
oṣadhiḥPlant; herb
pādaḥFourth part of a stanza; a quarter of anything
padam Step; foot; word; that which is to be reached or accomplished; that by which an object is reached or known
padarthaḥ Meaning of a word
pañcabhūtam Five-element model of creation – see ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, water; pṛthivī, earth
pañca-kośāḥ The five areas of the kāraṇa-kārya-saṅghāta, the body-mind-sense complex, that provide the potential for self-misidentification; see annamaya-kośa, prāṇamaya-kośa, manomaya-kośa, vijñānamaya-kośa, ānandamaya-kośa
pañca-mahā-yajñaḥThe five great sacrifices or forms of worship – devayajña, sacrifice to the gods; pitṛyajña, sacrifice to the manes; ṛṣiyajña, sacrifice to the ṛṣis; nṛyajña, feeding the hungry; bhūtayajña, feeding hungry animals and birds
pañcīkaraṇamGrossification of the five subtle elements (tanmātras); one half of each is combined with one eighth of each of the other four
paṇḍita Learned; wise
paṇḍitaḥ Scholar; sage
pāṇiḥ Hand
pāpamBad or inappropriate karma, which results in sorrow and pain; see puṇyam
parāSupreme; absolute; origin of all, including speech; the unmanifest and undifferentiated power of speech, known as parā, is latent in the individual and found at the base of the spine, at the power centre (cakra) called mūlādhāra – also see paśyantī, madhyama, vaikharī
param Supreme; highest
paramārthaḥ Highest truth or meaning; absolute reality; knowledge that is brahmātmā
parambrahma Brahman; supreme Reality
parameśvaraḥ The Lord; Īṣvara manifest as the creation
paramparā Unbroken lineage of teachers
parā-prakṛtiḥ Higher nature of the self; pure knowledge; pure consciousness; see saccidānanda, aparā-prakṛtiḥ
parā-vidyāSelf-knowledge; supreme knowledge; pure consciousness alone; absolute Truth; ever unmanifest; ever alone (ever without a second); also called Higher knowledge; see aparā-vidyā
pārāyaṇam Reading/chanting a text aloud
paricchinna Cut off; confined; limited; circumscribed
pariṇāmaḥ A change that occurs via a change in the very substance or material itself e.g. churned milk becomes butter, burnt wood becomes smoke and ash; effect; fruit; product; result; see upādāna-kāraṇa, vivarta
parokṣa-jñānam Indirect (out of sight) knowledge; knowledge not from direct perception e.g. "He said the shop is closed." See aparokṣa-jñānam
pārvatīWife of Lord Śiva; daughter of Himāvat; also known as Durgā, Satī, Umā
paśuḥ Animal; cow; cattle
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
patiḥLord; Indra; husband
patram Leaf; page
pauruṣeya śāstramScripture that is of human, not divine, authorship e.g. smṛti
phalam Fruit; result of action
piṅgalaḥA subtle nerve, relating to energy levels, that runs up the right side of the spine and ends at the right nostril; also see nāḍī, iḍā, suṣumṇā, kuṇḍalinī
pipāsāThirst (as in 'thirst for water'; for thirst as in 'anguish or greed', see tṛṣṇa); also see ūrmiḥ
pippalaḥ Sacred fig tree; Ficus Religiosa, commonly called Peepal
pitṛ-yajñaḥ Sacrifice to the manes (ancestors) 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 – also see devayajña, sacrifice to the gods; ṛṣiyajña, sacrifice to the ṛṣis; nṛyajña, feeding the hungry; bhūtayajña, feeding hungry animals and birds
plutaLengthened vowel in chanting, held for three or more short measures; also see hrasva, short; dīrgha, long
prabhāvaḥ Brilliance; splendour; glory; majesty
prabhu Lord; master
pradakṣiṇa Reverential, clockwise circumambulation of a holy place or person (placement on one's right is a token of respect)
pradhānam Primary, unevolved source of universe; undifferentiated matter; synonym of prakṛti and māyā
prajā Offspring; progeny; mankind
prajāpatiḥ Lord of all beings; the creator; Brahmāji, Parameśvara
prajñā Consciousness; awareness; knowledge; wisdom; discernment
prājñaḥA term for an individual, a jīva, as an experiencer of the deep-sleep state, suṣupti-avasthā; the universal or samaṣṭi equivalent is antaryāmi – also see taijasa, viśva
prajñāna-ghanaḥ Mass of sentiency; one of the terms used in the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad (verse 7) to declare what Brahman is not
prajñānaṃ-brahma'Consciousness is Brahman' Aitareya 3.1.3; – see mahāvākya and also tattvamasi, ahaṃ-brahmāsmi, ayamātmā-brahma
prakaraṇam A text, treatise, book or chapter expounding a topic
prakaraṇa-granthaA text or treatise (prakaraṇa) that ties or strings together (grantha), meaningfully and approachably, the concepts and terminology used in the śāstra – e.g. ātmabodha, tattvabodha, vākya-vṛtti
prakāśaḥ Light; clearness; brightness; splendour; lustre
prakriyā Method (any kind)
prakṛtiḥMaterial cause; nature; origin; that which is available for and capable of creation; consists of the three-fold power māyā (known as the three guṇas); synonym of māyā
pralayaḥ Complete resolution/cessation of universe
pramā Knowledge
pramādaḥ Inadvertence; mechanicalness; inattention; carelessness
pramāṇam Means of knowledge; there are six – anumana, anupalabdhi, arthāpatti, pratyakṣa, śabda, upamāna
pramātā Knower
prameyam The object known
pramodaḥ Joy; pleasure; delight; degree of happiness: a desired object is enjoyed; also see priya, moda
prāṇaḥ A five-fold vital force accounting for all physiological functioning; also see apāna, elimination; vyāna, circulation; samāna, digestion; udāna, upward breath. When mentioned separately from the other four, prāṇa is purely respiration; part of sūkṣma-śarīra
prāṇamaya-kośaḥ The kośaḥ that is the modification of air and is the five physiological functions (prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, samāna, udāna) and the five karmendriya, powers of action (evident in speaking, handling, moving, reproducing, eliminating); also see annamaya-kośa, manomaya-kośa, vijñānamaya-kośa, ānandamaya-kośa
praṇavaḥThe sacred syllable Om is a well-known symbol (pratīka) for Brahman, the whole Veda can be reduced to Om.
prāṇāyāmaḥ Control of the breath; see prāṇa
praṇidhānam Meditation upon a deity
prapañcaḥ Manifest universe; the five subtle elements manifest as the universe; also see pañcabhūta
prāptiḥ Attainment; gain; reaching
prārabdha-karmaThe portion of sañcita fructifying in this life; also see āgāmi
prārthanam Prayer; entreaty; request; supplication; desire
prasādaḥGift from Bhagavān; since all that is here is Bhagavān, all actions and their results are Bhagavān, which means all results are a gift from Bhagavān; see karma-yoga
prasthāna-trayamThe three source texts of VedāntaUpaniṣads, Bhagavad Gītā, Brahma-Sūtra
pratibandhaḥ That which binds; any impediment or obstruction to mokṣa, e.g. sorrow, delusion, inertia, lust, attachment, etc; prayer, vicāra and sādhana are the primary means for their removal
prātibhāsika Subjective view; that which appears to be so to me
pratibimbaḥConsciousness (brahman) obtaining in the antaḥ-karaṇa etc, manifests there, just as gold manifests (is reflected in) an ornament; see cidābhāsa; cidābhāsa and pratibimba are the same manifestation of consciousness viewed from different perspectives, hence the different terms
pratīkaḥA sound symbol for the Lord
pratimāA form symbol for the Lord
pratipakṣa-bhāvanā Dealing with an adverse tendency in oneself by deliberately cultivating its opposite.
pratiṣedhaḥNegation to eliminate or ward off or prevent error; negation of what is not true as a means to what is true
pratiṣiddha-karmaActions forbidden or prohibited by (actions that go against the specific prescription of) dharma; also called niṣiddha-karma (restrained, checked, prevented action)
pratiṣṭhā Abidance; steadfastness; stability
pratiṣṭhitā Established; rooted; fixed; well-founded; thriving
pratyagātmā Innermost self
pratyakṣamSensory perception; one of the six pramāṇas – see the others: anumāna, anupalabdhi, arthāpatti, śabda, upamāna
pratyayaḥ Notion; idea; cognition; conviction
pravṛttiḥFull participation in the world; full involvement in worldly life; giving primacy to preyas rather than śreyas – see nivṛttiḥ
prāyaścitta-karmaAn expiatory karma – a formal ritual done wishing to neutralise the results of previous wrong action
prayatnaḥ Perseverance; continued effort; will
prayojanam Purpose; object; gain; benefit
premaḥ Love; love is the first response to the world (even if immediately displaced by something else)
preyasProsperity; any desired result other than mokṣa – see sreyas
priyaPleased; a degree of happiness: a desired object is seen; also see moda, pramoda
pṛthivīThe element Earth; also see pañcabhūta the five elements – ākāśa, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, water; pṛthivī, earth
pūjā Formal worship
pūjya Revered; venerable
punaḥ Again; once again
puṇyamGood or appropriate karma, which results in pleasure and ease; see pāpam
purāṇam Huge body of ancient, inspirational and highly informative Hindu mythology with the status of smṛti. A very wide variety of topics are covered by many authors in hundreds of thousands of verses.
pūrṇa Full; whole; entire; complete
purohitaḥ One who performs prayers or rituals, before, purā, in advance, for the well-being, hitam, of others; commissioned; appointed; a family priest
puruṣaḥOriginal source of creation; the Supreme Being; the very self, ātmā, of a human being, who dwells in the city, (pura), of nine gates (two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, mouth, genitals, anus)
puruṣārthaḥ Human aim; see artha, kāma, dharma, mokṣa
puruṣārtha-niścayaḥDefiniteness, complete clarity and certainty, about the true and ultimate aim of my life being mokṣa, freedom from suffering; this certainty brings a shift in perspective, and with it an unnerring focus, commitment and some dispassion to one's life
puruṣottama Highest (uttama) of the puruṣas; epithet for Brahman to distinguish Brahman from the human being
pūrvapakṣī One who presents an alternative view in a discussion; an objector.
puṣpam A flower
puṣṭiḥ Well-nourished condition; increase; wealth; prosperity; completeness
putraḥA son
rāgaḥAttachment; passion; strong liking; red colour; inflammation; see dveṣaḥ, kleśaḥ
rāga-dveṣaḥBinding attachment and aversion; since likes and dislikes (desires) originate from ahaṅkāra – the erroneous and varying ideas of oneself, which in turn arise from avidyārāga-dveṣas are regarded as impurities and so are handled carefully; (note: non-binding attachments and aversions are not a problem); see karma-yoga
rahasya Secret; private
rahita Separated from; deprived of; abandoned
rāhityam Absence; being without anything; destitute; being free from
rājaḥ King
rajasGuṇa signifying activity, passion; also see sattva, tamas
rajjuḥ Rope
rakṣā Care; protection; defence
rākṣasaDemoniacal; one who goes against dharma in pursuit of wealth, power, position, etc.; predominant guṇa is rajas – see asuraḥ
rāmāyaṇam Vālmīki's epic describing the adventures of Lord Rāma
rasaḥSense object (viṣayaḥ) known as 'taste'; aesthetic sentiment; essence of enjoyment; subjective value
ṛṣiḥSeer of Truth; inspired sage
ṛṣiyajñaḥSacrifice to the Rishis or sages by studying and chanting the Vedas given to mankind; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas – also see devayajña, sacrifice to the gods; pitṛyajña, sacrifice to the manes; nṛyajña, feeding the hungry; bhūtayajña, feeding hungry animals and birds
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; formidable
rudraḥName of Śiva; a hymn addressed to Rudra, deity of ahaṅkāra
rūpamForm; appearance; nature; a sense object (viṣayaḥ) known as 'form, shape'
śabdaḥSound; word; a sense object (viṣayaḥ) known as 'sound'
śabda-pramāṇam ‘Word’ (as a) means of knowledge; the importance and significance of the words of the śāstra known as Vedānta being the means to mokṣa cannot be overstated; knowledge, in the form of words from a reliable and authoritative source, śāstra, constitutes one of the six pramāṇas – see the others: anumāna, anupalabdhi, arthāpatti, pratyakṣa, upamāna
saccidānandaḥLimitless existence (sat), object-free awareness (cit), unrestricted happiness (ānanda) – indications of the intrinsic nature, svarūpa, of ātmā
sādhakaḥA disciplined aspirant
sādhana-catuṣṭayamThe four-fold qualification needed for ātmajñāna or mokṣaviveka, vairāgya, ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ, mumukṣutvam
sādhanamMeans (for accomplishing the goal of liberation); the principal means are śravanam, mananam, nididhyāsanam on the words of the śāstra, unfolded by a competent and knowledgeable ācārya who is a śrotriya, brahma-niṣṭhā and sampradāyavit
sādhuḥ Renunciate; a pious, highly disciplined, virtuous aspirant; a sannyāsi
sādhya Goal to be accomplished
sadṛṣyapariṇāmaHomogeneous change; change within its own given conditions; a change which is not different from the original, like gold into an earring
sāgaraḥ Ocean
saguṇa With qualities; with attributes
saguṇa-brahman Brahman regarded as having qualities; a synonym for Īśvara; Īśvara as the jagatkāraṇam, cause of the creation; Īśvara manifest as the entire creation
sahaja Natural; inborn
sahasram A thousand
sajātīya Of the same kind; similar
śākhā Branch, clan or tradition passing down a Vedic text of the same name.
sākṣāt Evidently; visibly
sākṣātkāra Clear vision of the Truth as the essential nature of the very knower 'I'; evident or intuitive perception that all that is here is the one self; it is both the nature and culmination of nididhyāsanam, which naturally follows śravanam and mananam
sākṣīWitness; seer; passive observer of the body, mind, senses and world
saktiḥAttachment, in general; 'stickiness'; longing; sense of ownership; also see asakti
śaktiḥPower; faculty
samacittatvam Equanimity; sameness of mind in the gain of the desirable and the undesirable; capacity to retain composure
samādhānamFocused intent; continually dwelling on the true nature of the self; see ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see śama, dama, uparama, titikṣā, śraddhā
samādhiḥAbsorption; see savikalpa-samādhi, nirvikalpa-samādhi
śamaḥResolution or management of the mind to refine it and prevent it 'running the show'; see ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see dama, uparama, titikṣā, śraddhā, samādhāna
samāmnāya Mentioned together; a collection or compilation of sacred texts; enumeration
samānaThe aspect of prāṇa that aids digestion; also see apāna, elimination; vyāna, circulation; udāna, upward breath
sāmānya Common to all; universal; general
sāmānya-dharmaḥUniversal ethics; universal values
samaṣṭiḥ Universal perspective; sum-total; collective whole – a forest seen from the perspective of the whole forest, the totality, not from the perspective of an individual tree; see vyaṣṭiḥ
samatvam Evenness; sameness; equanimity of mind in all aspects of life, but especially towards results of action
sambandhaḥ Connection; association; relationship
saṃhitā Combination; a Vedic text
sampad Success; affluence; wealth; benefit; blessing
sampattiḥ Prosperity; good fortune; accomplishment; fulfilment; success
sampradāyaḥ Teaching tradition; established doctrine transmitted from one teacher to another
sampradāyavitOne who knows thoroughly the teaching tradition, having learnt it from his/her guru
saṁsāraḥTransmigratory life; the endless cycle of becoming
saṁśayaḥ Doubt; indecision
saṁśrayaḥ Help; protection; guidance; resting place; refuge
saṃvādaḥDialogue imparting knowledge from teacher to student; teacher-student discourse with the sole aim of learning the truth; also see vāda, jalpa-vāda, vitaṇḍa-vāda
sanātana Eternal; permanent; ancient
sañcita karmaUnexpired aggregate of all prior karma; also see āgāmi, prārabdha
saṅghaḥAttachment due to close contact; company; friendship; association; community; kāma, desire, arises from saṅgha, attachment
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 Famous, revered teacher; author of Upaniṣad bhāṣyams; believed by many to be an avatāra of Śiva
sannyāsaḥRenunciation; a vow of ahiṃsā, a life committed to knowledge, free of life's rôles; fourth of the four āśramas of Vedic life – brahmacarya, studentship; gṛhastha, householder; vānaprastha, withdrawal; sannyāsa, renunciation
sannyāsiḥA renunciate; one who, dressed in ochre robes, has taken the vows of sannyāsa, has left aside gṛhastha, householder life and its rôles, and, living on alms, pursues ātma-jñānam alone; there are two types of sannyāsi – a vidvat-sannyāsi is a jñāni, a liberated being, and a vividiṣā-sannyāsi desires to know the self as Brahman
sanskāraḥPutting together; forming well; impression on the mind; disposition; degree of refinement of a person in terms of accumulation of better or worse vāsanās; sanskāra also means refinement via action (one of the four possible results of karma) – hence see āpti, attainment; utpādya, production; vikāra, modification
sanskṛtamWell formed; refined; highly elaborated; the Sanskrit language
śāntiḥ Peace; calmness; cessation
santoṣaḥ Contentment; happiness; satisfaction
śaraṇam Refuge; protection; place of shelter
śaraṇāgati Seeking refuge in the Lord
sarasvatī Goddess of knowledge and music; wife of Brahmā
śarīram Prone to disintegration (the body); see sthula-śarīram, sūkṣma-śarīram, kāraṇa-śarīram; also see deha, kāya
sarpaḥ Snake
sarvagata All-pervading
sarvajñaḥ Omniscience; knowledge of all in general; all knowledge of everything, everwhere; used to indicate the completely unlimited nature of Īśvara's knowledge
sarvaṅ-khalvidaṃ-brahma'All this is indeed Brahman' Chāndogya 3.14.1; – see mahāvākya
sarvaśaktimān All-powerful; the one who has all power; a name of Īśvara
sarvavit Omniscience; knowledge of all in particular; a term indicating the knowledge enjoyed by a jñāni – he recognises the one self in all, but does not have all knowledge of everything (as Īśvara does), i.e. if, for example, he did not know Organic Chemistry prior to enlightenment, he will still not know it.
śāstramSacred body of knowledge for growing towards one's full stature; includes both śruti and smṛti, but the former is chiefly meant
sat Limitless existence; absolute truth
ṣaṭka A group of six, as in ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ
satkāryavāda Doctrine that the effect is inherent in the cause and that the effect is only a change of the cause.
ṣaṭka-sampattiḥA group of six accomplishments forming part of sādhana-catuṣṭayamśama, dama, uparama, titikṣā, śraddhā, samādhāna
satsaṅgaḥ Company (saṅga) of the wise, of truth (sat); good company; usually treated as a general question and answer time, i.e. a meeting with the teacher, ācārya, with no specific topic.
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)
sattvamGuṇa signifying purity, knowledge, inception; also see rajas, tamas
satyamExistent; true; non-negate-able; independently real; also the name of the highest of the seven heavens (see svarga); also see mithyā, tuccham
śaucamCleanness, both inner and outer; purity of mind
savikalpa Having distinguishing attributes, e.g. knower, known
savikalpa-samādhiSamādhi in which there remains a distinction between knower-knowledge-known; modifications of the mind are present; being a state of mind, it is transient and will be lost; see nirvikalpa-samādhi
śeṣa Remainder; balance
sevā Service; homage; worship
siddha Accomplished; established; gained
siddhiḥ Accomplishment
śikṣāScience of proper articulation and pronunciation of Vedic texts; one of the six auxiliary texts, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see chandas, vyākaraṇa, nirukta, jyotiṣa, kalpa
śiṣyaḥDisciple of a guru; a committed, serious student of jñāna-yoga who recognises the guru as a guru and has been accepted as a disciple
śiva Auspicious; pure; propitious; Īśvara as the resolver of the universe; see Brahmā, Viṣṇu
ślokaḥ Verse
smaraṇam Recollection; remembering
smṛtiḥMemory (in general); also a term for (recalled, authored) texts on the Vedas; part of pauruṣeya-śāstram (secondary literature)
snānam Bathing
snehaḥ Attachment; fondness; affection; stickiness
śokaḥSorrow; anguish; grief; affliction; pain; trouble; see duḥkha, ūrmiḥ
sparśaḥTouch; the sense object (viṣayaḥ) known as 'touch'
śraddhāAcceptance by firm judgement as true what the guru and śāstra instruct; see ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see śama, dama, uparama, titikṣā, samādhāna
śravaṇamSystematic, intent listening for a length of time to an ācārya unfolding the prasthāna-trayam; see mananam, nididhyāsanam, sākṣātkāra
śreyasHighest good; mokṣa – see preyas
śrī Lakṣmī, goddess of wealth and wife (śakti) of Viṣṇu; wealth; a respectful salutation.
śrotram The ear
śrotriyaḥOne well-versed in the śāstram
sṛṣṭiḥManifestation of the world
śrutiḥRevealed (heard) sacred scripture, the Vedas. The Vedas were 'heard', 'divined' (not created or formulated) by the ancient Rishis of yore and so are apauruṣeya, not of human origin.
stavaḥ Song of praise
sthairya Steadiness in one's commitment to one's duties and to the pursuit of mokṣa
sthāṇu Firm; motionless
sthita Steady; abiding; ascertained
sthitadhīḥ Steady-minded; firm; unmoved; calm
sthita-prajñaḥ One of steady, unshakeable wisdom and firm judgement; abiding in wisdom; a jñāni
sthūlaGross; physical – also see sūkṣma, kāraṇa
sthūla-śarīramGross body; physical body; also known as bāhya-karaṇam outer instrument; also see sūkṣma-śarīram, kāraṇa-śarīram
stotram Hymn of praise
śubham Splendid; good; auspicious; agreeable; beautiful; useful; fortunate; righteous; virtuous
śuddha Pure; faultless; free from error
śūdraḥA person born into the fourth varṇaḥ – an artisan, labourer, servant, etc; also see brāhmana, priest; kṣatriya, soldier; vaiśya, businessman
sukham Transient, experiential happiness
sukṛta Well-made
sūkṣmaSubtle; fine; penetrating – also see sthūla, kāraṇa
sūkṣma-śarīramSubtle body; consists of five karmendriyas, five jñānendriyas, five prāṇas, and the antaḥ-karaṇa whose chief aspects are buddhi, citta, manas, ahaṅkāra – also see sthūla-śarīram, kāraṇa-śarīram, indriyam
sulabha Easily obtainable; feasible
sundara Beautiful; lovely
śūnya Void; empty
sūryaḥ The Sun; devatā (deity) of sight
susukham Easy; pleasurable
suṣumṇāA subtle nerve (running centrally between the iḍā and piṅgala) from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, along which the kuṇḍalinī travels when stimulated by yogic practice; also see nāḍī, iḍā, piṅgala, kuṇḍalinī
suṣupti-avasthāDeep-sleep state in which the intellect, mind and senses resume an unmanifest potential condition and yet absence of experience is experienced ("I knew nothing"); also see jāgrad-avasthā waking state, svapna-avasthā dream state, turīya 'fourth'
sūtram Verse; thread; an aphorism with minimum words and maximum sense; a terse sentence
sutrātmā Epithet for Hiraṇyagarbha who 'runs through all like a thread'.
svabhāvaḥ Acquired, earned nature
svadharmaḥ One's own duty
svādhyāyaḥŚāstra study under the care of a competent ācārya
svagata To oneself; of itself
svaḥ 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 Praise be to thee; an exclamation while offering ritual oblations
svāmiḥ Lord or master of oneself; spiritual preceptor; title of monks who have taken the vows of sannyāsa (female, svāminī)
svapna-avasthā Dream state in which the dream world of subtle phenomena is experienced; also see jāgrad-avasthā, waking state; suṣupti-avasthā, deep-sleep state; turīya, 'fourth'
svapnaḥ Dream; dreaming
svaraḥA vowel; a chanting accent – see vyañjana, and also udātta, anudātta, svarita
svargaḥHeaven; the seven heavens begin with this Earth, bhūḥ, and in ascending order are bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ, mahaḥ, janaḥ, tapaḥ, satyam
svaritaA high or raised tone in chanting, shown in the text by a short vertical line above the vowel; also see svaraḥ, udātta, anudātta
svarūpa-lakṣaṇamAn indication or description of a thing's intrinsic, real, essential nature; an indication of how things really are; see taṭastha-lakṣaṇam
svarūpam Intrinsic, essential nature; of the very form of oneself
svatantra Independent; free; self-dependent
svayambhūSelf-existing; self-created; self-born
taijasaḥA term for an individual, a jīva, as an experiencer of subtle phenomena, typically in the dream state, svapna-avasthā; the universal or samaṣṭi equivalent is Vaiśvānara – also see prājña, viśvaḥ
tamasGuṇa signifying conclusion, dullness, inertia; also see sattva, rajas
tanmātram Subtle, pure, uncombined element, prior to grossification, pañcīkaraṇam
tāpaḥObstacle; affliction; difficulty; heat
tapasCommitted, relevant action in line with dharma; purificatory austerity
tapasvi Ascetic; one who practises austerity, tapas
taraṅgaḥ Wave (of water)
tarkaḥ Reasoning; conjecture; logic
tasmāt Therefore; hence; on that account; for that reason
tat That
taṭastha-lakṣaṇamApparent (not essential) nature; that property of a thing that is distinct from its essential nature, and yet is the property by which it is known; see svarūpa-lakṣaṇam
tātparyam Purport; meaning; intention
tattva-jñānam Knowledge of Brahman; synonym of brahma-jñānam
tattva-jñānartha-darśanam Commitment to self-knowledge
tattvam Synonym for Reality (lit. 'that-ness'); element; truth; essence; principle
tattvamasi'You are that' Chāndogya 6.8.7; – see mahāvākya and also ahaṃ-brahmāsmi, ayamātmā-brahma, prajñānaṃ-brahma
tattvavit Knower of the essence of things; a sage or ātmajñāni
tejas Brightness, lustre of countenance; light; the subtle aspect of the Fire element.
tejomaya Full of light; resplendent
ṭīkā Word-by-word explanatory commentary on a bhaṣyam, commentary
tīrtham Pilgrimage site; holy place; teacher
tiṣṭhati Remains
titikṣāCheerful forbearance; endurance; bearing opposites with equanimity; see ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see śama, dama, uparama, śraddhā, samādhāna
tīvra Intense; strong; ardent; acute; keen; sharp; tīvra-mumukṣu – one with an intense desire for freedom
tripuṭa Three-fold; a triad (e.g. of seer, sight, seen)
tṛptiḥ Satisfaction; contentment
tṛṣṇāThirst; strong desire; lust; avidity; greed; also see pipāsā
tuccham Non-existent; unreal; never can exist e.g. a square circle, horn of a rabbit, son of an infertile man or woman; see satyam, mithyā
tulya Equal to; of the same kind or class or number or value; similar; comparable
turīya'The Fourth' – pure consciousness; named The Fourth solely to differentiate it from the waking, dream and deep-sleep states; it is not a state; also see jāgrad-avasthā, waking state; svapna-avasthā, dream state; suṣupti-avasthā, deep-sleep state
tuṣṭa Pleased; contented
tvak Skin
tvam You
tyāgaḥLeaving; abandoning; forsaking; giving up
udānaḥUpward breath; an aspect of prāṇa that reverses a process; the means by which the jīva exits the body on death; vomiting; hiccups; coughing; sneezing; also see apāna, elimination; samāna, digestion; vyāna, 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
udāttaḥNeither a high nor a low tone in chanting; no line appears above or below the vowel in the text; also see svaraḥ, svarita, anudātta
udgīta Om; praṇava; sung; announced; celebrated; a sonorous prayer, prescribed in the Sama Veda to be sung aloud
umā Splendour; tranquility; wife of Śiva – also known as Pārvatī
upacāraḥ Figurative; a figure of speech
upādāna-kāraṇamA material cause is of two types: when it undergoes a change to become an effect, it is called a pariṇāmi-upādāna-kāraṇa, for example, churned milk becoming butter. If it does not undergo any change to become an effect, it is called a vivarta-upādāna-kāraṇa, for example, a rope 'becoming' a snake. Brahman is the upādāna-kāraṇa of the jagat in the latter, unchanging sense i.e. vivarta-upādāna-kāraṇa – see pariṇāma and vivarta, and also see nimitta-kāraṇam
upadeśaḥ Teaching; 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 upādhi subsists; ātmā associated with an upādhi is said to be an upahitam – the two cannot be distanced physically.
upamānamKnowledge arising from comparison and similarity e.g. on handling a shirt one recollects it is similar to another shirt seen earlier – the remembered shirt is similar to the present shirt; one of the six pramāṇas – see the others: anumāna, anupalabdhi, arthāpatti, pratyakṣa, śabda
upanayanam Thread ceremony; a child's initiation into the Veda at ages 8-12
upaniṣadForms the jñāna-kāṇḍa, knowledge section, of each Veda.
uparamaḥPeaceful; free from emotional conflict; able to happily do what needs to be done as identification with thought is minimal due to śama – see ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ, śama, dama, titikṣā, śraddhā, samādhāna
upāsakaḥ One who is intent on, occupied with; one who meditates or dwells upon
upasamhāraḥ Summing up; conclusion
upāsanam Meditating or dwelling upon in homage or worship
upekṣaḥ Disregard; negligence; indifference; contempt; abandonment
ūrdhva Heading upwards; elevated
ūrmiḥ A wave of pain or sorrow in the ocean of saṁsāra, due to one or more of the six evils: āśanāyā, hunger; pipāsā, thirst; śoka, grief; moha, delusion; jarā, old age; mṛtyu, death
ūrṇanābhiḥ Spider – an example of an entity being both the material and efficient cause, upādāna-kāraṇam, nimitta-kāraṇam, in this case of its web; ūrṇam (thread), nābhiḥ (stomach), 'one who has thread in the stomach'
utkarṣa Superior; eminent
utkrāntiḥ 'Proceeding up'; passing away; dying; departure of the soul from the body
utpādyamProduction – one of the four possible results of karma – also see āpti, attainment; vikāra, modification; sanskāra, refinement
utpattiḥ Arising; giving rise to; origin; genesis; birth; production
utsāhaḥ Power; strength; strength of will; resolution; perseverance; strenuous and continuous exertion
utsavaḥ Festival; banquet; ceremony
uttamaHighest; best
vācyārthaḥLiteral or immediate meaning of word(s)
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 samvāda, jalpa-vāda, vitaṇḍa-vāda
vaidika Related to or of the Veda
vaikharīFourth and final stage of the manifestation of speech or sound: when the power that is parā reaches the power centre (cakra) called viśuddhi (at the throat) it assumes a final spoken word form, vaikhari, and articulated sound emerges from the mouth – also see parā, paśyantī, madhyama
vaikuṇṭhaḥ Heaven of Lord Viṣṇu
vairāgyam Dispassion (free from rāga, passion); absence of desire in enjoyments here and hereafter; objectivity
vairi Enemy; there are six enemies for the aspirant: kāma, desire; krodha, anger; lobha, greed; moha, delusion; mada, pride; mātsarya, jealousy
vaiśamyāvasthā State of 'unuven-ness or disproportion' in which the equilibrium of the three guṇas is disturbed; a state opposite to śamyāvasthâ, in which they are in equilibrium
vaiśvānara Vaiśvānara is the totality of all physical, living beings; his sphere of activity is the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā. He is Īśvara, regarded from the collective or samaṣṭi perspective, as the very form and being of all sentient beings; the equivalent individual or vyaṣṭi sentient being, or jīva, is referred to as viśvaḥ, an individual knower or experiencer of the world; (Vaiśvānara is also the deity of the digestive fire); see antaryāmi, Hiraṇyagarbha, Virāt
vaiśyaḥ A person born into the third varṇaḥ – a businessman, trader, farmer, accountant, etc.; also see brāhmana, priest; kṣatriya, soldier; śūdra, labourer
vajra Thunderbolt; adamantine firmness
vāk Speech, i.e. the power or faculty of speech
vāksiddhi Perfection in speech, in which whatever one speaks turns out to be true; result of observance of truthfulness.
vākyam Sentence; statement; mode of expression; command; assertion
vālmīkiḥ Author of the Rāmāyaṇa
vanam Forest; woods
vānaprasthaḥ Third of the four āśramas of Vedic life – retirement to the forest; a withdrawal from the participation and engagement that is typical of gṛhastha and entry into a quieter, more reflective period of life in preparation for sannyāsa; also see brahmacarya, studentship; gṛhastha, householder; sannyāsa, renunciation
varcaḥ Brilliance; energy; lustre
vardhaḥ Increase; growth; augmentation; see bhāva-vikāra
variṣṭha Beyond perception and inference; highest
varṇaḥCover; cloak; outward appearance; colour; species; class; tribe; character; nature; letter; sound; syllable
varṇāśramaClass of people; caste; see brāhmana, priest; kṣatriya, soldier; vaiśya, businessman; śūdra, labourer
vārttikam Independent exposition of a bhāṣya, commentary, in verse.
varuṇa 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); subtle inclinations and influences, developed previously, that induce a person to initiate or avoid actions or to seek or prevent their repetition
vasiṣṭhaḥ Name of a very great, celebrated and justly famous sage of legendary adventures and wisdom; preceptor of Lord Rāma and owner of Nandinī, the cow of plenty
vastu Reality itself and hence the very being of any creature or object manifest from it.
vāsudevaḥ A name of Kṛṣṇa; son of Vasudeva.
vaṭa-vṛkṣaḥ Banyan tree
vāyuḥGod of wind; the element Air; also see pañcabhūta, the five elements – ākāśa, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, water; pṛthivī, earth
vedaḥRevealed knowledge in four sacred, ancient scriptures that are apauruṣeya, not of human origin – Ṛgveda, Sāmaveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda.
vedāṅgaḥSix auxiliary texts of the Veda that aid its use and interpretation (śikṣā, chandas, vyākaraṇa, nirukta, jyotiṣa, kalpa)
vedāntaḥEnd, anta, (literally and metaphorically) of Veda; summit and final aim of the Veda; the jñāna-kāṇḍa, the section of the Veda that deals with self-knowledge; the earlier part of the Veda is in preparation for this; Vedānta enshrines śabda-pramāṇam, the ultimate and primary means to mokṣa
vegaḥ Force; momentum
vibhu All-pervasive; not spatially limited; powerful
vibhūtiḥ A manifest exression of the glory and greatness of the Lord e.g. a flower, a painting
vicāraḥEnquiry; investigation into the reality of oneself and the world, chiefly by śravanam, etc, with the help of a competent ācārya
videha Free from the body; dead
videhamuktiḥ On the death of a jīvanmukta there occurs a spontaneous merging of the elements of the mind, body, etc with their universal aspects, making further births impossible.
vidhiḥ Rule; mandate; injunction
vidvān Scholar; sage; especially one who knows the true nature of the self
vidvat-sannyāsiA sannyāsi who is a liberated sage, a jñāni, a jīvanmukta – see vividiṣā-sannyāsi
vidyā Knowledge; it is two-fold: parā-vidyā and aparā-vidyā
vighnaḥ Obstacle; impediment; hindrance
vihitam Order; command
vijātīya Of a different species; unlike
vijñānam Pure knowledge; truth itself; pure intelligence; assimilated knowledge; secular knowledge
vijñānamaya-kośaḥThe kośaḥ consisting of the intellect, buddhi, together with the five powers of perception, jñānendriyāni (hearing, touching, seeing, tasting, smelling); also see annamaya-kośa, prāṇamaya-kośa, manomaya-kośa, ānandamaya-kośa
vikalpaḥ Doubt; alternative idea or option; imagination; division
vikāraḥModification; one of the four possible results of karma – also see āpti, attainment; utpādya, production; sanskāra, refinement
vikriyā Transformation; modification; change for the worse
vikṛtiḥ Changed condition of body or mind; alteration; modification; excitement
vikṣepaḥScattering; dispersing; tossing – creating agitation, distraction, inattention, unconnected thoughts; leads to vikṣipta
vikṣepa-śaktiḥProjecting power of māyā that powers vikṣepa; creates the appearance of an external world; also see āvaraṇa-śakti
vikṣipta Distracted, scattered attention; unfocussed thought; bewilderment – all caused by vikṣepa-śakti
vilakṣaṇam Having various marks or indications, but no clearly distinguishing ones, hence, not allowing exact definition.
vimarṣaḥ Irritation; displeasure; impatience; dissatisfaction
vināśaḥ Destruction; annihilation
viparināmaḥ Ripening; maturing; see bhāva-vikāra
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 error that prevents the fulfilment and enjoyment of what has been understood through śravanam and mananam; see nididhyāsanam and sākṣātkāra
vipaścita Learned; wise
virāgaḥ Passionless
virāṭ Virāt is the entire material world of so-called 'inert' matter; in inert gross matter, consciousness is experienced only as existence, not sentience – the consciousness that is Virāt is present as the very existence and form of a table, for example, but due to the table not having the capacity or means (i.e. a subtle body) to manifest consciousness, it exhibits only the existence aspect of consciousness, and so the table is known only to have existence; see antaryāmi, Hiraṇyagarbha, Vaiśvānara
virodhaḥ Opposition
vīryam Strength; capacity; power
viṣādaḥ Dejection; depression; despondency; disappointment; despair
visargaḥ Setting forth; letting go; voiding; dismissal; action of offering during a fire ritual;
viṣayaḥSense object; there are, essentially, only five – śabda, sparśa, rūpa, rasa, gandha
viśeṣaḥ Attribute; distinguishing quality; peculiarity
viśiṣṭa Distinguished; pre-eminent; excellent; excelling in or distinguished by; chief or best
viṣṇuḥĪśvara as the sustainer of the manifest universe; see Brahmā, Śiva
vistāraḥ Spreading; expansion; extent; width; becoming large or great
viśvaḥA term for an individual, a jīva, as an experiencer in the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā; the universal or samaṣṭi counterpart is Vaiśvānara – also see prājña, taijasa
viśvamAll; everyone; all-pervading; whole; entire; universal; omni-present; an epithet for Viṣṇu (and hence for Īśvara)
viśvarūpamCosmic form of Īśvara
viśvāsaḥ Trust; faith; confidence; reliance
vitaṇḍa-vādaḥ Discussion with the sole purpose of defeating the opponent; no intention to learn; no regard for truth; also see samvāda, vāda, jalpa-vāda
vittamAcquisition; wealth; property; goods; substance; money; power; anything found
vivāhaḥ Marriage
vivartaḥ Changing from one item into another without any change in the substance itself; modification; alteration; transformation; for example, a dimly lit coiled rope is changed into a snake; see upādāna-kāraṇa, pariṇāma
vivekaḥDiscrimination – the timeless infinite vastu is one, all else is time-bound, finite.
vividiṣā-sannyāsiA sannyāsi who desires to know Brahman – see vidvat-sannyāsi
vivikta Analysed; discriminated; separated
vivikta-deśa A quiet, undisturbed place that is by nature free from causes for fear; one who tends to go there is called a vivikta-deśasevitvī and his state of mind is vivikta-deśasevitva .
viyukta Freed from; detached
vratam A solemn vow carried out under strict rules on food, sleep, etc.
vṛddhiḥ Growth; increase; success
vṛkṣaḥ A tree
vṛttam Conduct; good behaviour; rule; usage
vṛttiḥThought; mood; mental disposition; being; character; behaviour; nature
vṛtti-jñānamAny form of knowledge manifest in the mind as a thought, feeling or understanding
vyabhicāraḥ Going astray; deviation; transgression; a contradiction; fallacious or erroneous reasoning
vyāhṛtiḥThree sacred utterances used in ritual and always preceded by oṃ – see bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ
vyākaraṇamSanskrit grammar; one of the six auxiliary texts, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see śikṣā, chandas, nirukta, jyotiṣa, kalpa
vyākhyānam Exposition; explanation; communication
vyakta Manifest
vyaktiḥ Manifestation; appearance; discrimination; distinctness
vyānaḥ Circulation in the body – an aspect of prāṇa; also see apāna, elimination; samāna, digestion; udāna, upward breath
vyañjana A consonant; a letter of the alphabet other than a vowel; that by which the qualities of a vowel are made manifest or are restrained, tempered or enhanced; see svaraḥ, vowel
vyāpaka All-pervasive; widely spread; invariably concomitant
vyāptiḥ Pervasiveness; invariable co-presence
vyartha Useless; meaningless
vyāsaḥ Greatly venerated sage who compiled the Vedas and authored the Mahābhārata and other texts.
vyaṣṭiḥ Individual perspective (opposite of universal); a forest seen from the perspective of an individual tree, not from the perspective of the forest as a whole – see samaṣṭiḥ
vyatiriktaḥ Distinct; separate
vyavahāraḥWorldly transactional life; empirical world
yajamānaḥSacrificer; sponsor of a ritual
yajñaḥSacrifice; ritual worship; with the right attitude, almost any action can become a yajña, including the dissemination of knowledge – see jñāna-yajña
yakṣaḥ Class of demigods; spirits
yaśas Fame; renown; beauty; glory; splendour
yasmāt Because
yatiḥ One of proper and adequate effort; restraint; guidance; a sannyāsi
yatnaḥ Effort; will; volition
yātrā Pilgrimage
yogaḥ Yoking; joining; means for accomplishing something; conforming with the order that is dharma
yogārūḍha Established in yoga, union
yoniḥ Womb; any place of origin; a generating cause
yugamAstronomical time period; see caturyuga, kalpa
yukta Endowed with; united with
yuktiḥ Reasoning; logic
Top of page ⇧