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.
abhidheyam Object denoted by its corresponding word; the meaning conveyed by a word; the person meant by a given name.
abhimānī Firmly (and erroneously) 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.
abhinna Non-separate; non-different.
abhyantara Internal (opp. of bāhya, external).
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. One well versed in the śāstram and steadfast in knowledge of the Truth.
A true teacher's words are rational, never contradicting one's reasoning. A proper teacher makes the student see what he sees, he does not simply make the student believe. Such teaching invokes trust and at the same time helps the student gradually become emotionally independent.
The teacher always gives credit to the paramparā, the preceding lineage of teachers, giving importance only to the Teaching. If importance is given only to the Teaching it becomes a tradition. Instead, if a person merely makes one believe what he believes, he is a preacher not a teacher. If he puts himself before the Teaching he creates a cult, and with it emotional dependence.
A real teacher is someone who understands and follows, and makes others understand and follow; "not only by words, but by example, do others understand and follow" *. See guruḥ, śrotriyaḥ, brahma-niṣṭhā.
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.
acetana Inanimate; non-living.
acetas Devoid of mind.
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.
ādhikyam Abundance; excess.
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).
adhyāhāraḥ Insertion of extra words into a sentence to make clear its intended meaning.
adhyāpanam Teaching; lecturing; instruction; education.
adhyāropa-apavāda-prakriyā Method of analysis for arriving at ātmā, the true self, by bringing to light and then negating the false identities and attributes mistakenly superimposed upon oneself; see prakriyā.
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.
adhyastaWrongly ascribed; mistakenly attributed.
adhyātma-cetas Of discriminating mind; knowledge of the right thing to do; one who is completely committed to self-knowledge.
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. worry, 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; it is appreciable through sound, touch and sight; 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 (vaidika) 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.
agre before; tip; foremost.
agrīya Foremost; best; excellent.
aham 'I' (the first person singular pronoun).
ahaṃ brahmāsmi 'I am Brahman' (Bṛhadāraṇyaka 1.4.10); – see mahāvākyam and also 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, 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, in Īśvaraḥ.
aikyam Oneness
aiśvaryam Lordship; overlordship; see bhagaḥ.
ajaḥ Unborn
ajahal-lakṣaṇā An implication in which the direct meaning of a word or sentence is not wholly set aside but hints at the real meaning, as in "Red won." Here, we retain the literal or direct meaning of the words 'red' and 'won' and use it to indicate (by colour) the winner of the race or game. (Also known as ajahatī-lakṣaṇā). See jahallakṣaṇā, jahadajahallakṣaṇā and also lakṣaṇā.
ajñānam Ignorance; synonym of māyā.
ājyam Ghee, melted in sunlight.
akāmahata Unaffected by desire; free from the hold of desire; calm.
ākāraḥ Form; appearance.
akartā Non-doer
ākāśaḥ The element Space; all-pervading; ākāśaḥ itself is manifestation; its distinguishing quality is that it is connected to sound; also see pāñcabhautikam the five elemental model of the universe – ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, waters; pṛthivī, earth.
akhaṇḍa Undivided; partless; indivisible; whole; nature.
akhaṇḍa-ākāra-vṛtti-jñānamKnowledge (jñānam) in the form of (ākāra) a unique thought (vṛtti) pertaining to the nature of Reality being indivisible (akhaṇḍa).
akhila Whole; entire; complete.
ākhyāyikā Story; short narrative.
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 to carry prayers to the deity).
alam Enough; sufficient.
ālambanam Symbol; support.
alaukika Unlike anything one knows.
ālocanam Proper thinking; enquiry; analysis; considering; reflecting; perceiving.
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.
āmnāyaḥ Sacred texts handed down by tradition; received doctrine; advice.
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 on the world for happiness.
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; never created, only ever discovered; 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, the total absence of pain and pleasure, which is transitory. Bliss is a form of 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...
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). Here there is the possibility of mistakenly identifying with and being the enjoyer, bhoktā, of varying degrees of ignorance and happiness. See annamaya-kośaḥ, prāṇamaya-kośaḥ, manomaya-kośaḥ, vijñānamaya-kośaḥ.
ananta Endless (anta, end).
ananya Not other; non-different; non-separate; identical; ananyamanasa focussed, distraction-free, dispassionate mind.
anātmā All that is other than the self; any and all objects of consciousness.
anavasthā Infinite regression; absence of conclusion; without resting place.
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.
aneka Many (not one).
aṅgam Limb; constituent; component; part.
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, annam, that seemingly covers the non-coverable ātmā because of ignorance. Here exists the potential to mistakenly identify with the physical body (I am mortal, male, female, tall, short, old, young, black, white, etc.). 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 encounter and transact with the world, jagat, via the senses; 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. So called because the subtle body is 'in between' the body and ātmā, connecting the two and thereby acting as a manifesting medium for ātmā.
antarikṣam Space between heaven and Earth; sky.
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 for delivering the prayojanam), prayojanam (the particular benefit to be gained by the adhikārī from studying the text), and sambandhaḥ (the connection of the text to the viṣayaḥ and the viṣayaḥ to the prayojanam).
anubandhaḥ Binding or fastening on; connection to.
anubhāti Shines after (a dependent source of light that shines only by reflecting another light).
anubhavaḥ An understanding derived from one's own personal observation of the world.
Anubhavaḥ (anubhūtiḥ) is often translated as 'experience', whereas the better word is vision (seeing, understanding). "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 earned, not bestowed arbitrarily).
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.
anuṣṭhānam Folowing the relgious disciplines, as prescribed in the scriptures, in conformity with the teacher's instructions; carrying out; undertaking; performance; religious practice; acting in conformity to.
anuṣṭubh Metre with eight syllables per quarter – common in the Bhagavad-Gītā, Rāmāyaṇam. See gāyatrī, triṣṭubh.
anuvādaḥ Translation; restatement, within a text, of what has already been mentioned.
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.
anvita Endowed with; possessing; having as an inherent part.
anyaOther; different; other than; different from; opposed to.
anyatama One of many; any; either; any one of many.
anyatara One of the two; the other one.
anyonyādhyāsaḥ Inter-superimposition of limiting attributes, upādhis, 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 and radiant. 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 anyonyādhyāsaḥ, the most obvious example of which is between the complex of body-mind-senses, kārya-kāraṇa-saṅghātaḥ, and ātmā, where the qualities of each are mutually superimposed so that the body, mind and senses seem alive and ātmā seems to have a form.
anyonyāśrayaḥ Mutual dependence.
āpaḥ Waters (āpaḥ is nominative plural, āp is nominative singular; the plural, waters, is used when referring to the element water); the element Water; subtle aspect of taste; appreciable through sound, touch, sight and taste; 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.
aparicchinna Unlimited (limitless); not bound by; not subject to.
aparigrahaḥ Having no claim upon anything; renunciation; poverty; destitute of possessions.
aparokṣa-jñānamImmediate (not distant) knowledge; knowledge of the immediate self, knowledge of the knower.
When the words of the śāstram, unfolded by a competent and properly informed teacher (a śrotriya and sampradāyavit) are heard cleanly and clearly by a properly prepared student, they give immediate knowledge, immediate understanding. This understanding is aparokṣa-jñānam. With such hearing there is no need for further confirmation by special practices or experiences! This is because the teacher’s words, while dismissing erroneous ideas about oneself, immediately reveal one's true nature to oneself, then and there, during śravaṇam.
However, if the student is not yet properly prepared, he or she will, while living a life of karma-yogaḥ, need to think over and enquire into what has been heard until it is fully and accurately understood and all doubts resolved. This is called mananam.
When the teaching has been fully and accurately understood through śravaṇam and mananam, nididhyāsanam is then needed to enable its full ascertainment.
apasmāraḥ Forgetfulness
āpātata-jñānam Knowledge (insight) one attains unexpectedly through some means or the other such as a public talk on scriptural literature or by association with experienced elders, and so on.
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 a causal status to Brahman is later negated by an apavāda-vākyam dismissing all possible categorisation for Brahman (even though there is no other cause than Brahman). See adhyāropa-vākyam.
apekṣā Need; requirement; expectation; consideration; looking around.
api Also
apohanam Suspension of thought.
āptiḥAttainment, (āpyam); one of the four possible results of karma, action; also see utpattiḥ (utpādyam), production; vikṛtiḥ (vikāryam), modification; saṃskṛtiḥ (saṃskāryam), refinement.
apūrvam Not (seen) before; not having existed before; unmatched; novel; recent; unique.
āratiḥWaving of light performed as part of a pūjā; one of the units of the act of worship (karmāṅga).
aratiḥ janasaṃsadiNo longer craving social interaction; ever comfortabe in one's own company.
arcakaḥ Worshipper; praiser.
arcanam Worship in the form of praising the Lord.
ardha Half
ārjavam Straight-forwardness; honesty; truthfulness; integrity (alignment of thought, word and deed in which a person does not think one thing, say another and then perhaps even do a third).
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.
āropita Superimposed; elevated; entrusted; supplied; accidental; interposed; deposited; placed.
arpaṇam Entrusting; offering.
ārṣa Relating to or from the ṛṣis.
arthaḥPursuit; aim; meaning; wealth; 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.
arthavādaḥ Praise; affirmation; explanation of meaning.
aruṇaḥ Dawn; red; tawny; perplexed; ruddy; sun; gold.
arundhati-nyāyaḥA maxim (nyāyaḥ), used in the śāstram, that encourages leading the mind toward a subtler and subtler understanding of the self. Arundhati is a tiny star, located by pointing out successively smaller nearby stars, and so seeing it requires successively finer attention.
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
asaṅkrāntam Untainted; unattached; untouched; relationless.
asat Not independently existent; not self-existent; not non-existent; phenomenal; synonym for mithyā. See sat, satyam, tuccham.
aśeṣataḥTotally; completely.
āśisA blessing (offered or received).
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 (vaidika) religious life – brahmacaryam, studentship; gṛhasthaḥ, householder; vānaprasthaḥ, withdrawal; saṃnyāsaḥ, renunciation.
āśrama-dharmaḥDuties pertaining to the four orders or stages of life.
āśrayaḥ That upon which anything depends or rests; locus.
astamanam Sunset; setting of the Sun or any luminary.
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.
atad-vyāvṛtti-lakṣaṇā Definition of an object being atad, not the Truth, arrived at through the distinction, vyāvṛttiḥ, of the subject from it. See lakṣaṇā.
atha Now; moreover (an auspicious inceptive particle often signifying commencement).
atīndriya Beyond the reach of the senses; imperceptible; mind.
atiśayaḥ Wonderful; wonder; pre-eminence; excellence; better.
atīta Beyond; distinct; transcendent; free from.
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 (prātipadikam) form of the word ātmā, self.
ātmanyeva santuṣṭiḥA wise person, one who is contented in the self alone, in ātmā.
ātmaratiḥ Wise person; one who revels in the self, in ātmā.
ātma-samarpaṇamResolving 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.
ātmatṛptiḥ One who is satisfied in his/her own self; a wise person.
ātma-vinigrahaḥMastery over the body-mind-sense complex by, for example, overcoming slothfulness.
atra Here
ātyantika Entire; continual; uninterrupted; infinite.
avacchinna Separated (from); distinguished (from); detached (from); predicated (upon).
avalokanam Review; observing; observation; glance; outlook; looking at.
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 saṃsāraḥ.
Although commonly translated as ignorance, this covering power is better understood as the power of knowing being unmanifest. When it is unmanifest, as for example in deep sleep, knowledge is not evident, which means knowledge is as good as covered. That in turn amounts to saying 'ignorance is present, concealing knowledge'. However, seemingly concealed or not, all that is ever there is knowledge – ignorance (in contrast) has no real or independent existence, it is merely a particular perspective on knowledge.
In common with ātmā, ignorance at the level of mūla-avidyā, or āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ, is featureless and so is free from any kind of division, there being no experience of duality until brought by the emergence of vikṣepa-śaktiḥ.
avaśaḥ Necessarily; choicelessly; inevitably.
avasthā State; condition.
avasthānam Departure point; residence; situation.
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 and undifferentiated in the deep-sleep state, suṣupti-avasthā.
Ignorance is not absence of knowledge, ignorance is opposed to knowledge.
Avidyā is not in itself a problem, it's only a problem when it leads to adhyāsaḥ, the cause of saṃsāraḥ. Also see kleśaḥ.
āviḥ Self-effulgent; self-revealing; self-evident.
avikārya Unmodifiable; unchanging.
avināśaḥ Immortality; absence of death or destruction.
aviruddha Unopposed
avayava Limb; member; part; portion; subdivision; component.
avyabhicārinī-bhaktiḥUnswerving devotion.
avyākṛta Undifferentiated; primal; undeveloped; māyā prior to its manifestation of sṛṣṭiḥ.
avyakta Unmanifest; unmanifest 'power of knowing' of Reality; synonym of māyā.
avyaya Undecaying; indeclinable; unchanging.
ayam This one.
ayamātmā brahma'This self is Brahman' (Māṇḍūkya 1.2). This one, this very self here, this pratyagātmā, my innermost self, is Brahman! – see mahāvākyam and also tattvamasi, ahaṃ brahmāsmi, prajñānaṃ brahma.
āyatanam Abode; sanctuary; resting place; support; altar.
āyumLife; life-span; lineage.
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bādhaḥNegation; objection; contradiction; see abādhita.
bahu Many; a lot.
bahula Numerous; copious; extensive; abundant.
bāhuḥ Arm
bahudhā In many ways; diversely; repeatedly; variously; manifoldly.
bāhya External (opp. of abhyantara, internal).
bāhyendriyam External organ, e.g. the eye.
bāla Young; not mature; not fully grown.
balam Strength; force.
baliḥ Any offering or propitiatory oblation.
bandhaḥ Bound; bondage.
bhadra Auspicious
bhagaḥThe six great virtues, found in equal and full measure only in Bhagavān: jñānam, knowledge; śrīḥ, wealth; yaśas, fame; vīryam, strength; vairāgyam, dispassion; aiśvaryam, overlordship.
bhāgaḥ Part; fraction.
bhāga-tyāga-lakṣaṇā Implication in which dissimilar aspects of word meanings are left aside and similar aspects retained. Synonym of jahadajahallakṣaṇā.
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; personification of absolute supreme Reality, absolute peace; synonym of Īśvaraḥ.
bhāgyam Fortune; destiny; fate; prosperity; welfare; happiness.
bhaktaḥ Devotee; there are four types of devotee: a real devotee, a jijñāsuḥ, is a seeker of knowledge of Īśvaraḥ, the Lord; a jñānī, a wise person, is an exalted devotee who sees his or her own self being non-separate from the Lord; an arthārthī is a simple devotee who seeks God’s help to pursue security, pleasure and the removal of suffering; and fourthly the ārtaḥ or distressed devotee thinks of God and seeks his help only when in distress.
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.
bhārata-deśaḥ The country (in which the people) revel in the light of Truth; the name for India.
bhāsaḥ Light; lustre; brightness; impression made on the mind; see cidābhāsaḥ.
bhāṣā Language; speech.
bhāṣyakāraḥ Commentator; author of a bhāṣyam, a commentary; a term often used to refer to the great commentators Śrī Rāmānujaḥ and Śrī Mādhvaḥ, but perhaps most often as a synonym for the incomparable Ādi-Śaṅkara-Bhagavatpādaḥ.
bhāsya (Made) visible; brought to light.
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.
bhātiḥ Splendour; evidence; knowledge; light – all pertaining to the shining of the light of consciousness (as a verb, bhāti means 'to shine, be, exist, show oneself').
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 About to become or be; the future.
bhaviṣyat-kālaḥ Future time; the future; (gram.) future tense; see bhūta-kālaḥ, vartamāna-kālaḥ.
bhayam Fear; alarm; dread.
bhedaḥ Difference. Every object in the universe is subject to three kinds of difference:
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
bhinna Separate; different.
bhoga-āyatanam Place of experience (the counter across which one has dealings with the world); the body-mind-sense complex.
bhogaḥ Experience; enjoyment.
bhoga-sādhanam Instrument or means of experience.
bhogya An object of enjoyment or experience.
bhojanam Food; meal.
bhoktā Enjoyer; experiencer.
bhramaḥ Confusion; perplexity; delusion (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-grāmaḥ Group or multitude of beings.
bhūta-kālaḥ The past; (gram.) 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. See viṣayaḥ.
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.
bhūtiḥ All forms of wealth; prosperity; being; well being; power; might.
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 Brahmājī, Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, Prajāpatiḥ. See Viṣṇuḥ, Śivaḥ.
brahma (brahman) Supreme Reality; Absolute Reality; Absolute Truth; Absolute Peace; of the nature of limitlessness; not to be confused with Brahmā (Brahmājī) the Creator.
brahma-abhyāsaḥ Gaining clarity of understanding through teaching. Teaching Vedāntaḥ is itself a means to gaining more clarity about something you already know as it highlights unknown weak points or brings further insights.
brahmacaryam A lifestyle wherein a student is given to the discipline of entertaining only the Vedic (vaidika) teaching in the mind. The word brahma also means Vedaḥ which is why a brahamcaryam constantly dwells upon the Vedic (vaidika) teaching, avoiding worldly concerns. Hence, during brahmacaryam no sexual relationship is indulged.
Earliest of the four āśramas or stages of Vedic (vaidika) life – studentship; also see gṛhasthaḥ, householder; vānaprasthaḥ, withdrawal; saṃnyāsaḥ, 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 prose format in which the text of some Upaniṣads is written.
Name of the first varṇaḥ – a priest, teacher, doctor, lawyer, etc.; also see kṣatriyaḥ, soldier; vaiśyaḥ, businessman; śūdraḥ, labourer.
brāhmaṇa-upaniṣad An Upaniṣad in prose form (not in verse form, i.e. not in mantraḥ form). Each brāhmaṇa-upaniṣad is looked upon as explaining its corresponding mantra-upaniṣad. For example, the Praśna Upaniṣad is the corresponding brāhmaṇopaniṣad to the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad.
brahma-niṣṭhaḥ One established in knowledge of Brahman, in knowledge of Absolute Reality; a jñānī – also see śrotriyaḥ.
brahmarandhram Aperture (randhram) in the crown of the head, closed soon after birth, through which the soul may exit the body on death.
brahma-sūtrāṇi A nyāya-prasthānam, an analytical study of the statements found in Vedāntaḥ wherein their meanings are irrefutably established. It was written by Vyāsaḥ and is the third text in the prasthāna-trayam.
brahmātmā The fact of oneself, ātmā, being satyam, jñānam, anantam brahma.
brahma-vidyā Knowledge of Brahman, knowledge of ātmā being Brahman, absolute Reality. Being the very meaning of the word Upaniṣad, it permanently disintegrates or destroys saṃsāraḥ 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. All that happens happens in the buddhiḥ.
Being that in which knowing manifests and where recognition, reason, deliberation and decision occur, buddhiḥ is the seat of the will. Will or resolve, saṅkalpaḥ, is a judgement as to value or appropriateness – “this is worth having or doing; this must happen” – which runs through every desire, driving it to its fulfilment. Identification with the thought or desire or judgement means ahaṅkāraḥ has risen, making it ‘my will’, ‘my decision’, etc. In this way, buddhiḥ and ahaṅkāraḥ become synonymous with will.
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caitanyamConsciousness; awareness.
cakram Wheel; circle.
cakṣuḥ Eye
cala Moving; movable; unsteady.
caṇḍālaḥ Uncivilised, unrefined, uncultured, tāmasika, wild, rough person (lit. dog-eater).
candraḥ Moon (cāndra, lunar).
cārvākaḥ A materialist and atheist school of Indian philosophy whose adherents often appear in bhāṣyams as debating opponents of Vedāntaḥ. They say, for example, the mind (or senses) is ātmā, which doesn't survive death and so there is no-one to suffer the consequences of puṇya-pāpam.
cāturmāsya Four-month monsoon period (June-July to October-November); a period when saṃnyāsīs remain in one location; a particularly auspicious period of religious austerities and observances, especially those involving vows.
caturyugam The four (catur) ages (yugam) of the world-cycle:
Kṛta-yugam 1,728,000 yrs (kali-yugam x 4)
Tretā-yugam 1,296,000 yrs (kali-yugam x 3)
Dvāpara-yugam 864,000 yrs (kali-yugam x 2)
Kali-yugam 432,000 yrs long (began 3,102 BCE).
A catur-yugam (all four yugas combined) is also known as a mahā-yugam (kali-yugam x 10 = 4,320,000 yrs); see kalpaḥ, yugam.
catuṣṭayam A set or group of four.
cet If
cetana Conscious; sentient; alive.
cetas Mind; consciousness; awareness.
chandasMetre; mantra; science of metre, 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 (vaidika) usage; Vedic expression; a word-form peculiar to the Vedas that does not conform to conventional Saṃskṛtam grammar rules.
chātraḥ Student
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.
cinmayam (In the form of) pure consciousness; (consisting of) pure thought; nothing but awareness.
cintanam Thinking; reflecting.
cit Pure consciousness; pure knowledge; pure intelligence; source of all knowledge; source of all manifestation – synonym of caitanyam.
'Pure' consciousness (or pure knowledge) is a term used to distinguish pure, undifferentiated ('unmanifest') consciousness from differentiated ('manifest') consciousness, i.e. consciousness itself from consciousness of something or in the form of something. It is like distinguishing water from a wave, water is ever water regardless of its present appearance as a wave, and yet the wave undeniably has a distinct existence (but that existence is the existence of 'pure', unformed water).
When fully manifest (via māyā), cit is known as (has the status of being) all-powerful, all-knowing Īśvaraḥ. When only partially manifest (as in a jīvaḥ), cit has the status of being avidyā, and knowledge is similarly partial and incomplete. When unmanifest, as in insentient objects, cit is known as the nature, prakṛtiḥ, of such objects and manifests (is appreciable) only as their very existence (due to the absence there of a suitable means of manifestation, a sūkṣma-śarīram).
Cit, absolute Reality, being self-effulgent and free from all limitations, can be arrived at only in terms of its nature of knowing. It is the formless substance of the I-thought, aham.
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 to one's guruḥ.
dakṣiṇāmūrtiḥ Īśvaraḥ, the Lord, invoked as the bestower of spiritual knowledge, absolute wisdom; first and foremost in the unbroken lineage of gurus or teachers; personification of pure knowledge, which is the source of all manifest knowledge, and so Dakṣiṇāmūrtiḥ 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.
dānam Giving; gift.
daṇḍaḥ (Corrective) staff, rod.
dantya Dental
darpaḥ Arrogance; insolence; imprudence; conceit.
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.
deśikaḥ Guide (to a place); teacher; guruḥ.
devaḥEffulgent; general term for any natural phenomenon looked upon as the illumination of consciousness or the manifestation of the Lord (fem: devatā).
devanāgarī Name of the script used for Saṃskṛtam.
deva-yajñaḥOne of the five forms of worship; invoking Īśvaraḥ 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. Dharmo rakṣati rakṣitaḥ, dharma protected protects.
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 whose mind is protected from fear due to fear having been resolved for good.
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 is defined as vijātīya-vṛtti-rahita-sajātīya-vṛtti-pravāha-rūpa-saguṇa-brahma-viṣaya-mānasa-vyāpāraḥ. This means it is a mental activity (mānasa-vyāpāraḥ) whose subject matter (viṣaya) takes the form (rūpa) of saguṇa-brahma, where all thoughts (vṛtti), other than those concerning the chosen object or topic (pravāha) are removed (vijātīya-vṛtti-rahita), and only those concerning the chosen object flow for a length of time (sajātīya-vṛtti-pravāha).
"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; a vow made ceremonially.
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).
divya Divine; heavenly; not worldly.
doṣaḥ Defect; fault; deficiency; error.
dravyam An object; substance; material ingredient.
dravya-śaktiḥ Power of inertia; tamo-guṇaḥ, see guṇaḥ.
dṛḍha Firm; steady; resolute; persevering.
dṛg-dṛśya-viveka-prakriyāMethod (prakriyā) of discriminative analysis (vivekaḥ) demonstrating not only the ever-present distinction between the seer (dṛk) and the seen (dṛśyam), 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 the experience of pain or undesirable situations.
durlabha Difficult to attain or accomplish; rare.
duṣkṛtam Bad or evil act; misdeed; see pāpam; adharmaḥ.
duṣṭa Spoiled; damaged; faulty; wicked.
dvandvam Pair of opposites (of experience) e.g. pain and pleasure, hot and cold, like and dislike.
dvāram Door; entrance; gateway; means.
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.
dviṣaḥEnemy; foe.
dviṣatāHostility; enmity.
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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.
galita Resolved; swallowed; loosed; dropped.
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.
gandharvaḥDemigod; celestial musician.
gandha-tanmātramSubtle principle or root-element of odour.
gaṅgāSacred river Ganges; its sacredness is due to its being the symbol of the eternal flow of Vedic (vaidika) wisdom. Three dips (three successive full immersions) in the Gaṅgā stand for śravaṇam, mananam, nididhyāsanam.
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, variously arranged, but generally as a triplet of eight syllables each; name of any hymn composed in the Gāyatrī metre. See anuṣṭubh, triṣṭubh.
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.
gīta Sung (the ending varies with the noun it qualifies).
go A cow; earth; knowledge.
golakamA living, functional, physical organ of perception or action that is a medium of manifestation for its respective subtle sense-power or motor-power, e.g. physical eye, ear, throat, hand, foot; 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; that which is grasped or understood – which might be the vivakṣā, the meaning the speaker/writer intended to convey, or it might be quite different; see vivakṣā.
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 (vaidika) life – a married householder whose primary purpose is to mature emotionally by living a life of dharmaḥ in preparation for mokṣa, and secondly to help perpetuate dharmaḥ by showing his/her children how to follow it. See brahmacaryam, studentship; vānaprasthaḥ, withdrawal; saṃnyāsaḥ, renunciation.
gūdha Covered; hidden; concealed (private, mystery).
guhā Cave (of mind); often used in the scriptures as an epithet for buddhi in which is to be discovered the truth of the self and the world. The far end of the cave, the back or dead end of the cave where all further movement comes to an end, symbolises the very root of the mind, the I-thought, aham (the foundation of ahaṅkāraḥ) whose formless, limitless substance is Reality itself.
guhya Secret; mysterious.
guṇaḥAttribute; property; quality; the three-fold power of māyā, namely sattvam (sattva), rajaḥ (rajas), tamaḥ (tamas). All three guṇas are present in each of the five elements and hence in all that arise from them.
guṇātīta Free from, distinct from, the guṇas.
guruḥDispeller (ru) of darkness (gu) (dispeller 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.
hi Indeed; for; because; for instance.
hīna Devoid of; deficient in; left out; omitted; incomplete; lost or strayed from; abandoned; faulty.
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.
Since the mind and other subtle phenomena are manifesting media for consciousness, hiraṇyam (gold) symbolises effulgence (and hence consciousness); garbhaḥ (foetus) symbolises ‘inside of’. Hence, hiraṇyagarbhaḥ means ‘the one in whom consciousness shines from within’ – it does not mean 'golden egg'!
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; mind.
hrīm A 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'.
hutam Oblation
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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) such as the eye, ear, throat, hand, or foot.
īśaḥ The Lord.
iṣṭam Desired; beloved; worshipped.
iṣṭa-devatā Favourite or tutelary deity.
iṣṭam-karma Performance of worship or of a religious ritual.
iṣṭāpūrtam Sacrificial rites.
īśvaraḥSaguṇa-Brahma manifest as the entire universe, sṛṣṭiḥ, in all its causal, subtle and gross/physical aspects. A formal definition for Īśvaraḥ would be: māyā-upahita-caitanya-brahma, the pure consciousness that is Brahman, when recognised (or acknowledged) as having the inherent creative power known as māyā, is given the name Īśvaraḥ (to distinguish it in its role as lord of all).
Similarly, when Absolute Reality, nirguṇa-brahma, also known as Brahman, is regarded as having the status of being the creator, sustainer and resolver of the universe it is given the title Īśvaraḥ. See antaryāmī, Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, Brahmā, Śivaḥ, Viṣṇuḥ, Vaiśvānaraḥ, Virāṭ, devaḥ.
iti Thus; so; accordingly; lays stress on what precedes; also marks the 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.
ivaLike; as though.
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jaḍamInsentient; inert; lifeless; inanimate; absence of knowledge of existence of oneself.
jagatUniverse – which becomes manifest and unmanifest continuously, and is mithyā. The jagat has only nāma-rūpam (name and form) reality. It is Bhagavān's knowledge.
jagat-brahma-aikyamOneness of jagat and Brahman. Having understood that the jīvaḥ and Brahman, being essentially one and the same pure consciousness, are not different (jīva-brahma-aikyam) it is then necessary to account for the jagat. That too is also non-different from Brahman, but that fact is less easy to discern as mundane objects (such as pots and utensils, chairs and tables) show no sign of being conscious. However, it is undeniable that such objects exist. Vedāntaḥ points out that their very existence is not an attribute but is the existence of consciousness, which in the absence of a suitable means to manifest more noticeably (a subtle body) does so as their very existence. See jīva-brahma-aikyam.
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 via the senses; free will and doership exist only in the waking state, not in dream or deep sleep; also see svapna-avasthā, dream state; suṣupti-avasthā, deep-sleep state; turīya, 'the fourth'; avasthā-trayam, the three states of experience.
jāgratWaking
jahad-ajahal-lakṣaṇāAn implication in which part of the direct meaning of a sentence is left aside and another part retained, e.g. in "This is that Devadatta" the associations regarding time and place are eliminated, but the person called Devadatta is accepted. Similarly, in tattvamasi (you are That) the contradictory factors of remoteness and immediacy, omniscience and partial knowledge, etc., respectively associated with That (Īśvaraḥ) and 'you' (a jīvaḥ) are given up and pure consciousness – which, being intrinsic to both, is the direct meaning of the sentence – is retained. See jahallakṣaṇā, ajahallakṣaṇā and also lakṣaṇā.
jahal-lakṣaṇāAn implication in which meaning is conveyed by completely leaving aside the literal or direct meaning in favour of the indirect meaning, e.g. 'the village on the river' – the village is alongside the river, not afloat upon it. See ajahallakṣaṇā, jahadajahallakṣaṇā and also lakṣaṇā.
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 (humans, mammals, etc.); aṇḍaja, egg-born (birds, reptiles, etc.); svedaja, moisture-born (lice, mosquitos, etc.); udbhijja, seed-born (trees, vegetation, etc.).
jantuḥ A living being; a creature.
japaḥRepeated utterance (of a mantraḥ); chanting. By making the mind deliberately dwell again and again on one thing japaḥ trains it to focus, breaking the undisciplined mental drift of chain thinking in which a connected thought succeedes the previous one and the mind wanders away. Daily japaḥ brings an inner mental space in which one gains an awareness of the ways of the mind and of being distinct from the mind. "Being just myself, I recognise the fact that I can be comfortable just being myself."
jarā Old age; infirmity; decay.
jarāyu Womb
jātiḥ Species; family; clan; birth.
jaya Victory
jayantiḥ Holy birth anniversary.
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.
jīva-brahma-aikyam Oneness of jīvaḥ and Brahman. Cognitively putting aside all that is mithyā about the jīvaḥ and thereby highlighting its essence, pure consciousness, it is easy to acknowledge that that essence is not (and cannot be) different from the pure consciousness that is Brahman. See jagat-brahma-aikyam.
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, i.e. in śravaṇam, mananam and nididhyāsanam.
jñāna-kāṇḍaḥ Upaniṣads – that (latter) part of the Vedas that deals with self-knowledge. See karma-kāṇḍaḥ.
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. See bhagaḥ.
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 saṃnyāsaḥ 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 Brahman, of absolute Reality).
jñaptiḥ Understanding; pure awareness; the intrinsic nature of the knower (fem. of jñānam).
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.
kālaḥTime
kalā Sixteenth part; small part or portion of a whole (such as a small division of time); digit of the Moon; facet; fine art; feature.
kalaśaḥ A pitcher or water pot used in ritual.
kalpaḥDay of Brahmā, i.e. 1,000 Mahā Yugas or 4,320,000,000 years, and the night is of equal length; (see catur-yugam); rule; resolve; procedure – as Methods of Ritual, kalpaḥ 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.
kalyāṇa Fortunate; auspicious; beautiful; agreeable; noble.
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 has will behind it (impelling it to its fulfilment) and is the source of mental or physical action, and of a corresponding physical and/or mental result. See the six malas, impurities; also see eṣaṇā, icchā.
kāmakāmī One who desires pleasure; a pleasure-seeker.
kāmya-karma Ritual performed (or any action done) for producing a specific, desired result.
kāṇḍaḥ Section; chapter; part; portion.
kaṇṭhaḥ Throat; neck; guttural sound.
kāntiḥ Beauty; loveliness; female beauty.
kāraṇa-kārya-prakriyāMethod of analysis that reveals Reality by distinguishing between cause and effect; also known as sṛṣṭi-prakriyā, method of analysing the creation (to reveal its source) or adhyāropa-apavāda-prakriyā, method of cognitive resolution of superimposition (in order to reveal ātmā); see prakriyā.
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; duty; that which causes the production of bodies (new births).
karma-kāṇḍaḥ The early part of the Vedaḥ, dealing with rituals and their results. See jñāna-kāṇḍaḥ.
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; saṃskṛtiḥ (saṃskāryam), refinement. Action makes, modifies, attains or refines – that's all!
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.
Karma-yogaḥ is 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 saṃsāraḥ 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.
karṇaḥ Ear
kartā Doer; subject of an action.
karuṇā Compassion; empathy.
kārya-kāraṇa-sambhandaḥCause-effect relationship.
kārya-kāraṇa-saṅghātaḥBody-mind-sense complex (close union or combination, saṅghātaḥ, of cause, kāraṇam, and effect, kāryam). The assemblage (saṅghātaḥ) of the physical body or effect (kāryam) and the mind, senses and prāṇaḥ, or cause (kāraṇam), is a modification of the guṇas of prakṛti. All actions are performed by these prakṛti-guṇas (the mind, senses and physical limbs) alone.
kāryam Effect; product; correlate of kāraṇam, cause.
kaṣāyaḥ Stain; impurity; an enticingly pleasant dullness of mind arising from a complacent attachment to a successful outcome; result of impure sattvam.
kāṣṭhā Pinnacle; endpoint.
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 (ṛṣiḥ); 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; simply; (kevala – one; alone; entirely).
khalu Indeed; certainly.
kim What
kiñcid Small amount; very little.
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.
koṭiḥ View (of reality). No view or opinion or philosophy ever reaches the truth. Ātmā is ever-untouched by any view.
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.
kratuḥ Ritual
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.
kriyāvān One endowed with the ability to act; actor.
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 unthinkingly abuses his free will is a miser.
kṛṣṇaLord Viṣṇuḥ, teacher of the Bhagavad-Gītā; personification of all-attractive happiness, fullness, limitlessness.
kṛtsna Entire; whole; all. Kṛtsnavit, knower of the whole, one of complete knowledge, a wise person.
kṣamā Patience; forgiveness; 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.
kṣemaḥ Ease; wellness; security; protection or retention of what has been acquired. Its counterpart is yogaḥ, which is the acquiring of the yet to be acquired. Being subject to these two and the anxiety and stress they involve is detrimental to the pursuit of freedom. See Gītā 9.22.
kṣetrajña Field-knower; knower of the field (kṣetram) of experience; knower of all that is observable; a synonym for ātmā as the sākṣī. See Gītā, chapter 7.
kṣetram Field (of experience) i.e. the jagat (including one's mind).
kṣiptam Thrown; scattered (attention); distracted (mind).
kṣudhā Hunger
kulam Family; community.
kuṇḍaḥ Pot; pitcher.
kūṭastha Immovable; ever the same. Because of its nature of immovability ātmā is known as being kūṭastha (thereby likening it to the unbending blacksmith's anvil, kūṭam, when hammering red-hot metal). See Gita 12.3.
kuṭīraḥHut or cottage.
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lābhaḥBenefit; wealth; profit; gain; advantage; attainment; conquest.
laghu Light; easy.
lakṣaṇāDefinition; indication; description; symbol; see upalakṣaṇā, atad-vyāvṛtti-lakṣaṇā, jahallakṣaṇā, ajahallakṣaṇā, jahadajahallakṣaṇā, svarūpalakṣaṇam, taṭasthalakṣaṇam.
lakṣya-lakṣaṇa-bhāvaḥThe relationship between a word and its meaning. See sāmānādhikaraṇyam.
lakṣyamThat whose characteristics are to be defined, revealed or indicated.
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.
leśaḥ Fraction; small portion; particle.
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, to become.
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.
loka-saṅgrahaḥWelfare of the world.
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madaḥPride; arrogance; intoxication; also see the six malas, impurities.
madhuSweet; pleasant.
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.
madīya My; mine; my own; belonging to me.
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 in the Taittirīya. Mahaḥ, which, in common with the others symbolises saguṇa-brahma-hiraṇyagarbaḥ, was revealed by ṛṣiḥ Māhācamasya. See vyāhṛtiḥ.
mahādhīḥ One of wide knowledge, who knows even the source of knowledge.
mahat Great; intellect; first product of prakṛtiḥ.
mahātmā A great mind; a person of vision; a person free from ignorance; a jñānī. Also means Bhagavān, the absolute or great self, the Truth that is the only self (the only reality) of all beings.
māhātmyam Majesty; glory; greatness; dignity.
mahat-tattvam The 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.
mālā Garland (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.
mama My
mamatvam 'My-sense'; sense of ownership; possessiveness.
manaḥ (manas)Mind; part of Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ. Manas is a manifestation of the jñāna-śaktiḥ, the power to know, and icchā-śaktiḥ, the power to desire. It is formed of vṛttis alone, which undergo constant change; typified by saṅkalpa-vikalpaḥ, desires and doubts, options and alternatives. Since the power to know and desire includes notions of identity (ahaṅkāraḥ), as well as memories (cittam) and decisions (buddhiḥ), manaḥ is used both to mean specific functions of the mind (knowing and desiring) 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 (or soon a kāyikam karma, a physical one) 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.
manda Dull; dull-witted; lazy; inactive.
maṅgalam Auspicious; synonyms are bhadram, kalyāṇam, śam, śivam, śubham, svasti.
maṇiḥ Jewel; gem; ornament.
manīṣā Intelligence; understanding; desire; wish.
manomaya-kośaḥThe five senses plus the mind, which seemingly cover the non-coverable ātmā, together constitute the manomaya-koṣaḥ. The potential exists here for wrongly identifying oneself with the modifications of the senses and mind (I am angry, peaceful, unsure, enthusiastic, cautious, kind, unkind, blind, sharp-eyed, deaf, hear well, etc.). See annamaya-kośaḥ, prāṇamaya-kośaḥ, vijñānamaya-kośaḥ, ānandamaya-kośaḥ.
mano-nigrahaḥ Mastery of one's ways of thinking.
manorājyam The "kingdom of the mind's" ignorant involuntary projection (then entertainment) of emotions, wrong conclusions, etc. usually leads to excessive dwelling upon thoughts of worldly objects and worldly pleasures. Entertaining them encourages them, leading to a weakness for them, perpetuating saṃsāraḥ. This is dealt with by repeatedly dwelling on the clearly understood prior unfoldment of the teaching, eventually leading to absorption in one's svarūpam, which is nididhyāsanam.
mantraḥThat which protects the reciter (through understanding and repeatedly dwelling upon its meaning). A mantra can be a name of Īśvaraḥ, the Lord, a word revealing the essential nature of Reality, the self. Any Vedic (vaidika) 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 Īśvaraḥ in the form of one's fellow human beings by appropriately caring for and serving them; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas.
maraṇam Death; (māraṇam, killing, slaying).
mārgaḥ Path; way; course; route. There are not, as some claim, four paths to mokṣaḥ. In fact, there is no path, there are two sequential lifestyles and there is no choice about which to follow: karma-yogaḥ prepares the mind for jñāna-yogaḥ, in which is gained the knowledge that is mokṣaḥ.
martyaḥ A mortal (a human being).
mārutaḥ Deity of the wind.
māsaḥ Moon; month – four kinds: solar (saura), natural (sāvanam), sidereal (nākṣatra), lunar (cāndra).
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; discomfort felt on seeing another's excellence, possession, etc.; 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', nor is what arises from it an illusion; the world is real, albeit dependently real, for its substratum, consciousness, is real.
Māyā unmanifest is ignorance. Māyā manifest is knowledge.
māyāvī Magician; sorcerer.
medhā-śaktiḥPower of intellection – ability to unfailingly attend (focus), properly understand, ever retain, fully ascertain and completely assimilate what is taught.
medhāvī Wise man; one of refined intelligence.
meghaḥ Cloud
mīmāṃsā Analysis of the sentences of the Vedaḥ. Analysis of the earlier, pūrvā, portion (karma-kāṇḍaḥ or ritual portion) is called pūrvā-mīmāṃsā, also known as karma-mīmāṃsā. Its adherents rightly say that the Vedaḥ is eternal and is the final word on everything. However, some karma-mīmāṃsā 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-mīmāṃsā 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, dependently real. It is a synonym for asat, indicating something that is dependent for its very existence on its substratum, just as a clay pot depends on clay, or a gold ornament on gold. Hence, the pot and ornament are both mithyā. See sat, asat, satyam, tuccham.
modaḥJoy; pleasure; a degree of happpiness: the (greater) pleasure born of having got a desired object; also see priya, pramodaḥ.
mogha Vain; futile; fruitless; useless.
mohaḥDelusion; bewilderment; perplexity; lack of discriminative understanding; also see malaḥ.
mokṣaḥFreedom from the beginningless, endless cycle of births and deaths; freedom from emotional dependence; 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. See parā-vidyā.
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 mokṣaḥ (freedom) and vimocanam (liberation).
mūlam Root; source; basis; principle.
mūlāvidyā Original or primary ignorance, māyā. See tūlāvidyā.
mumukṣuḥ Desirer of freedom, liberation.
mumukṣutvam Having the status of being desirous of liberation, mokṣaḥ.
muniḥ One who is discipline-minded; a person capable of appropriate thinking; one who does not lose sight of the fact that all that is here is Absolute Reality; one who remains focussed on the vision of the truth; someone capable of being meditative; a sage; an ascetic.
mūrdhaḥ Roof of mouth cavity; cerebral (sound).
mūrta Embodied; having form; material.
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
nakṣatram Star; constellation.
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.
nānātvam Plurality; variety; diversity; manifoldness.
nandaḥ Joy; delight; happiness.
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 Īśvaraḥ as the all-pervasive sustainer, meaning 'the one who has ultimately to be arrived at, attained, by a human mind' (having discovered whom, the mind will resolve for good); Lord Viṣṇuḥ.
narmadā Bestower of happiness.
nāśaḥ Destruction; disappearance; removal.
nāsikā Nose; nostril.
nāsikāgram Tip of the nose; the point where external air enters the nose (does not mean the 'root' of the nose between the eyes).
nāstikaḥOne who does not recognise the Vedaḥ as a pramāṇam; see āstikaḥ.
naśvara Transient; perishable; subject to change.
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
nidhana Poor; impecunious; (nidhanam, death; annihilation.)
nidhānam Repository; place of rest; residence; receptacle.
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.
In order to gain the full benefit of what has been understood of the self, it is necessary to constantly dwell upon that vision in all situations and thereby not lose the objectivity that understanding bestows. This practice, which leads to full ascertainment of the vision, takes time.
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).
nidrā Sleep; a general term for either svapnaḥ (dreaming sleep) or suṣuptiḥ (deep sleep). The very word itself, meaning 'sleep', emphasises the primacy of sleep, indicating that dream arises from the deep sleep state.
nigrahaḥ Restraint; obstruction; mastery.
nihita Present; placed; bestowed; entrusted.
niḥśeṣa Completely; totally; wholly; entirely.
nikṛṣṭa Inferior; bad; despised; outcast; vile; debased; near.
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.
nindā Criticism; blame; censure; abuse.
nirañjana Untainted; spotless; pure.
nirantaram Continuously
niratiṣaya Unsurpassed; unrivalled; unequalled.
niravayava Without parts; divisionless; indivisible.
nirguṇa-brahmaAttributeless, absolute reality implied by the term 'Brahman' (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.
nirṇayaḥ Decision; judgement; verdict; conclusion; resolution; settlement; determination.
nirodhaḥ Obstruction
niruktamThe discipline of Vedic (vaidika) 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.
nirvedaḥ A commitment to knowledge and a dispassion for worldly objects and pursuits; a consequence of puruṣārtha-niścayaḥ.
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.
niśeṣa Entire; without any remainder.
niṣiddha-karma Forbidden action.
niṣkāma Free from (binding) desire.
nistāraḥ Crossing over; deliverance; final release.
niṣṭhā Firmness; steadiness; freedom from doubt or vagueness; remaining established in the vision of the truth.
nitarām Entirely; wholly; completely.
nitya Timeless; not subject to time.
nitya-śuddha-buddha-mukta Timeless, pure, awakened, liberated – an expression sometimes used to describe a jñānī.
nityakarma Any daily duty, but especially religious ones.
nivṛtaḥ Contented; ceased; resolved – hence, free from the hold of the mind; not identified with the mind (by permanently taking one's stance in the self).
nivṛttiḥAbstinence; cessation; giving primacy to śreyas rather than preyas – see its opposite pravṛttiḥ.
niyatam Regularly
niyatātmā One having a disciplined mind.
niyatiḥ Law; destiny; fixed or inner order of things (dharmaḥ); self-restraint; restriction; necessity; religious duty or obligation.
nūnam Definitely; asssuredly; certainly.
nyāyaḥLogic; justice; rule; law; maxim; illustration.
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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.
oṣadhiḥ Plant; herb; vegetation.
oṣṭhyaLabial (at the lips); oṣṭhyaḥ, labial sound.
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pādaḥA fourth part (a quarter) 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.
Because of it being the blessing by which anything is arrived at, pure knowledge is also implied by the word padam.
padārthaḥMeaning of a word; substance (of any substantive).
pakṣaḥSide (of anything); wing (of a bird); shoulder; fortnight (one 'side' or half of 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. Each element consists of the three guṇas and has in addition to its own properties the properties of its predecessor in succession (due to being pervaded by it), and so pṛthivī has all of them.
pañcāgni-vidyā A poetic description of the return of a jīvaḥ for a new birth (in which description Īśvaraḥ is looked upon, for the purpose of upāsanā, as five sacrificial fires) – see Muṇḍaka 2.1.5. When the jīva's puṇyam that took it to heaven (fire 1) is exhausted, entering clouds (fire 2) it comes down to the Earth (fire 3) through rain. Absorbed into the sap of vegetation, it is ingested as food by a male (fire 4). That food becomes a seed that is placed in a female (fire 5) and the jīvaḥ is born.
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 Īśvaraḥ, 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 the tāmasika aspect of each is combined with one eighth of each of the tāmasika aspects of the other four.
paṇḍitaḥ Scholar; learned. However, in Vedāntaḥ, paṇḍitaḥ means a wise person, a sage, one who has self-knowledge.
pāṇiḥ Hand
panthānaḥ Path through life; way of life.
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, saṃskāraḥ, 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.
parāg-darśinaḥ Extroverted
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.
pāramārthika-satyam Supreme Reality, that which is satyam-jñānam-anantam-brahma, free from all attributes and upon which the entire world depends. See vyāvahārika-satyam, prātibhāsika-satyam.
parambrahma Brahman; Supreme Reality.
parameśvaraḥ Supreme ruler (lord) of all and everything; Īśvaraḥ 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. See Gītā, chapter 7.
parā-vidyāSelf-knowledge; supreme knowledge; knowledge of absolute Truth in terms of aham brahmāsmi; synonym of brahma-vidyā. The knowledge of the identity of the self with Brahman that takes place in the buddhiḥ on hearing the words of the upaniṣad is called parā-vidyā. See aparā-vidyā.
pārāyaṇam Reading/chanting a text aloud.
paricchedaḥ Limitation
paricchinna Limited; confined; circumscribed; cut off.
parīkṣā Examination; analysis; investigation.
parimara That (Brahman, that ākāśaḥ) into which (around which, into whose presence) all resolve, all become unmanifest; that which takes everything unto itself.
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 paśyantī – also see parā, madhyama, vaikharī.
paṭaḥ Cloth; garment.
pāṭavam Skill; expertise; finesse.
pāṭḥaḥChant; recitation; reading; lesson; study.
patiḥLord; husband; protector; lord of the home and the family; the one who, by following dharmaḥ, earns the grace of Bhagavān, the absolute protector of all, thereby protecting his wife, family, the society and culture in which they live, and of course himself.
patnīWife; one who, being of a noble, compatible, pleasing, like mind, helps cross the ocean of saṃsāraḥ by always following dharmaḥ.
patram Leaf; page.
pauruṣeya-śāstramScripture that is of human, not divine, authorship, e.g. smṛtiḥ.
phalam Fruit; result of action.
phala-śrutiḥ A verse or statement showing the benefit of chanting or reciting a given work of verses or mantras; or 'result of listening'; or it may mean a concluding summary, after śravaṇam, of what has been taught; also means 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.)
pīḍā Hurt; pain; ache.
pihita Covered; concealed; hidden.
pipāsāThirst (as in 'thirst for water'; for thirst as in 'anguish or greed' see tṛṣṇā).
pippalaḥ Sacred fig tree; Ficus Religiosa, commonly called the Peepal or aśvatthaḥ tree.
pitṛ-yajñaḥ Worship of Īśvaraḥ in the form of the manes (a Latin term for deceased relatives) 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.
pradāhaḥ Burning; consuming by fire.
pradakṣiṇa Reverential, clockwise circumambulation of a holy place or person (placing on one's right is a token of respect).
pradānam Bestowal; giving; imparting.
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.
Prājña is also a term for ātmā identified with the causal body, the kāraṇa-śarīram of the jīvaḥ, in the deep sleep state, suṣupti-avasthā, thereby 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 Brahman' (Aitareya 3.1.3); – see mahāvākyam and also tattvamasi, ahaṃ brahmāsmi, ayamātmā brahma.
prakāraḥ Manner; mode; method; sort; type; kind; variety.
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...
adhyāropa-apavāda-prakriyā
avasthā-traya-prakriyā
dṛg-dṛśya-viveka-prakriyā
kāraṇa-kārya-prakriyā
pañca-kośa-prakriyā
śarīra-traya-prakriyā
sṛṣṭi-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.
Prakṛtiḥ is of three basic types: when sattvam is predominant it is known as māyā, when rajaḥ is predominant, it is known as avidyā, and when tamaḥ is predominant prakṛtiḥ remains known as prakṛtiḥ (from which a new guṇa balance declines forming the five tanmātras).
pralayaḥ Complete resolution/cessation of universe.
pramā Knowledge
pramādaḥ Inadvertence; mechanicalness; inattention; negligence; carelessness; indifference.
pramāṇam Means of knowledge; that which produces fruitful knowledge, that which is not gained by any other means of knowledge and which is not subject to negation. 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; the prāṇāḥ are 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). Here there is the potential for mistaken identification with hunger, thirst, good (or bad) health, and with walking, talking, etc. See annamaya-kośaḥ, manomaya-kośaḥ, vijñānamaya-kośaḥ, ānandamaya-kośaḥ.
praṇavaḥ'Unique name' because the praṇavaḥ, om, denotes all objects; om, the sacred sound symbol (pratīkaḥ) for Īśvaraḥ, the Lord; essence of the entire Vedāḥ.
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.
prāptasya prāptiḥ Attainment of the already attained.
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.
prasaktiḥ Attachment in which the mind is strongly stuck; confusion due to fixed adherence to an idea or belief.
praśaṃsā Praise; admiration; compliment.
praśānta-cittaTranquil-minded; naturally cheerful and quiet (due to vairāgyam); ready to take both pleasant and unpleasant situations in one's stride; one of the two primary qualities needed for studying Vedāntaḥ – see the other one, śamānvita.
prasiddha Famous; renowned; celebrated.
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.
prasthānam Source; 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 (mithyā) reality; personal, subjective view (such as that experienced in a dream); mistaken notions; unknown fears; all forms of personal, subjective mental projections and interpretations of the world. See pāramārthika-satyam, vyāvahārika-satyam.
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); om, 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).
prātipadikamBase or uninflected form of a word; the form a word takes prior to its having a declinable status.
pratipakṣa-bhāvanāDealing with an adverse tendency in oneself by deliberately cultivating its opposite, e.g. abstention rather than indulgence.
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.
pratītiḥ Complete understanding or ascertainment; conviction; obviousness; clear perception; delight; clarity.
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 dhāraṇā.
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.
pravacanam Lecture; speech (talk); proclamation; exposition; explanation; eloquent speech; teaching; oral instruction.
pravāhaḥ Flow; stream; streaming forth; continuous train of thought; continuity; course or direction towards.
praveśaḥ Entrance
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).
preta Departed; dead.
preta-śarīram When the jīvaḥ leaves the body at death it takes a preta-śarīram, a thought-form that is subtle, like the sūkṣma-śarīram. The departed jīvaḥ can be caught up there for a long time if the last rites are not done. The children therefore do the necessary prayers and rites to ensure the departed soul is released from the preta-śarīram and takes the next birth.
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.
pṛthak Distinct; different.
pṛthivīThe element Earth; subtle aspect of odour; appreciable through sound, touch, sight, taste and odour; 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, to Īśvaraḥ, 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 these phenomena. Worship, being a will-involved action, 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; worthy of being worshipped.
punaḥ Again; once again.
puṃliṅgam Masculine gender; masculine; see strīliṅgam.
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, saṃskāraḥ, 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.
purī Town; city; castle; fortress; sanctuary; body.
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 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 unhappiness, from the sense of limitation. This certainty, this very well-ascertained conclusion, brings a change in priorities, and with it an unerring focus, commitment, to the pursuit of knowledge and reverence for Vedānta-śāstram as the means of knowledge. It is a certainty that arises from a careful examination of one's life experiences in which it becomes clear that actions, being finite, can at best bring limited happiness.
puruṣottama Most exalted (uttama) of all puruṣas, beings; a name for Īśvaraḥ.
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.)
putrī Daughter
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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; dependence on the world for one's happiness; 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, sin, etc. are born; it powers all forms of movement; also see sattvam (sattva), tamaḥ (tamas).
rajjuḥ Rope
rajju-sarpa-nyāyaḥ Rope-snake illustration of the power of ignorance in which a dimly-lit coiled rope is mistaken for a snake.
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.
rasāsvādaḥ Enjoyment; appreciation.
rāṣṭram Nation
ratnam Gem; jewel; wealth; loadstone; magnet.
retas Seed; sperm; semen.
ṛṣiḥSeer of Truth; inspired sage; one who is eligible to have subtle facts revealed.
ṛṣiyajñaḥWorship of Īśvaraḥ 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 (vaidika) vision, dṛṣṭiḥ; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas.
ṛtam Truth; 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 sampradāyaḥ, 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. The nature of Absolute Reality, Brahman, can be arrived at only as the intrinsic nature or truth of the knower, the subject, 'I'. It cannot be known as an object at all: na vijñātervijñātāraṃ vijānīyāḥ. "You cannot know [as an object] that which is the knower of knowledge [you cannot know as a distinguishable entity that witness-consciousness, that pure consciousness that makes knowledge itself possible]." Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 3.4.2
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 saṃnyāsī.
sādhu-bhandāra Feeding of sādhus.
sādhyam Goal to be accomplished.
sāgaraḥ Ocean
saguṇa With qualities; having attributes.
saguṇa-brahma Brahman 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.
saha Together with.
sahaja Natural; inborn; innate (lit. born along with).
sahasram Thousand (often used to indicate innumerability).
sajātīya (Beings) of the same species.
śākhā Branch, clan or tradition passing down a Vedic (vaidika) text of the same name over generations.
śākhā-candra-nyāyaḥ This maxim highlights the systematic, step by step use in Vedāntaḥ of subtler and subtler teachings for appreciation of subtler and subtler facts. Such systematically subtler steps are akin to the way in which the gaze can be led successively from a general gaze to smaller and smaller branches (śākhā) of a tree until, between two of the finest branches, the thinnest sliver of a crescent Moon (candra) can at last be discerned.
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; consciousness as the changeless witness of the changing states of mind (and hence, it is not any aspect of the mind); the ever-present knower/experiencer in every experience.
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 one's thoughts, feelings and impulses 'running the show'. A discipline practised to have mastery over one's ways of thinking rather than being at their mercy. See ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see damaḥ, uparamaḥ, titikṣā, śraddhā, samādhānam.
samāhita Focussed, distraction-free (mind).
samāmnāyaḥ Mentioned together; a collection or compilation of sacred texts.
sāmāna-adhi-karaṇyamThis expression is a noun meaning 'having the same adhikaraṇam, locus. It refers to words being in apposition, revealing the same object. The word sāmāna means 'the same'. Adhikaraṇam means 'location, locus'. The two words wave and ocean, for example, denote two entirely different forms, but still these two forms have the same locus, water, which lends existence to both. Wave-form and ocean-form have the same adhikaraṇam. They have sāmānādhikaraṇyam. Because of this, the wave and ocean can be equated. Being equated to 'ocean', the wave is resolvable in 'ocean’, resolvable due to being one with ‘ocean’. Similarly, jīveśvara-aikyam, the oneness of jīvaḥ and Īśvaraḥ, is revealed through the mahāvākyam tattvamasi (you are that) because of sāmānādhikaraṇyam, their common locus – the existence of 'I' and the existence of 'this' is one and the same consciousness.
In the same way, in the sentence “This is that Devadatta,” the word ‘that’ signifying Devadatta associated with the past, and the word ‘this’ signifying Devadatta associated with the present, both refer to one and the same locus or person. Similarly, in the sentence, “You are that,” the word ‘that’ signifying consciousness characterised by remoteness, etc., and the word ‘you’ signifying consciousness characterised by immediacy, etc., both refer to one and the same locus, i.e. consciousness, Brahman.
Conversely, by distinguishing a common locus, consciousness, the mithyā status of both jīvatvam and īśvaratvam becomes highlighted, while the substance is common. See lakṣya-lakṣaṇa-bhāvaḥ.
Sometimes, words in apposition are used to negate an apparent difference. This is called bādhāyām sāmānādhikaraṇyam.
samānaḥThe aspect of prāṇaḥ that aids digestion; also see apānaḥ, elimination; vyānaḥ, circulation; udānaḥ, upward breath.
śamānvita Anvita, endowed with, śamaḥ, mastery over one's own thoughts – not being at the mercy of one's own thoughts, feelings or impulses and thus capable of managing one's thoughts and emotions; one of the two primary qualities of a sufficiently qualified student, śīsyaḥ – see the other one, praśāntacitta.
sāmānya Common to all; universal; general.
sāmānya-dharmaḥUniversal ethics; universal values.
sāmānya-jñānam Consciousness or knowledge of that which is ever the same; synonym of śuddha-caitanyam.
samāptā Complete from every point of view (as in 'the teaching is complete, there is nothing more to be said').
samārādhanam Propitiation
samarpita Surrendered to; given to.
samartha Competent; able; possessed of both knowledge and skill.
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.
saṃhāraḥ Withdrawal (of the world) i.e. the manifest becomes unmanifest.
saṃhitā A methodically arranged collection of texts or verses.
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 saṃnyāsī, 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.
saṃnyāsaḥRenunciation; a life in which all worldly ties are renounced in a focussed pursuit of ātma-jñānam alone. Saṃnyāsaḥ is of two types: vidvat-saṃnyāsaḥ and vividiṣā-saṃnyāsaḥ. Vidvat-saṃnyāsaḥ is where saṃnyāsaḥ 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 saṃnyāsaḥ. It is a saṃnyāsaḥ that requires no external changes.
Knowledge, brahma-jñānam, is saṃnyāsaḥ. A vidvat-saṃnyāsī 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 saṃnyāsaḥ, thereby discovering absolute maturity, the culmination of growth, the fulfilment of the purpose of human life.
Vividiṣā-saṃnyāsaḥ 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/she takes to the life of saṃnyāsaḥ for knowledge.
A saṃnyāsī spends his life only in śravaṇam, 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 (vaidika) life – brahmacaryam, studentship; gṛhasthaḥ, householder; vānaprasthaḥ, withdrawal; saṃnyāsaḥ, renunciation.
saṃnyāsīA renunciate (female: saṃnyāsinī); one who has taken the vows of saṃnyāsaḥ.
sampanna Accomplished; effected; fulfilled; perfect; excellent.
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); careful, distortion-free 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.
saṃsāraḥTransmigratory life; the endless cycle of becoming, of repeated births and deaths. It is 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 Brahman.
saṃśayaḥ Doubt; indecision.
saṃskāraḥImpression on the mind; disposition; degree of refinement of a person in terms of accumulation of better or worse vāsanās.
The word saṃskāraḥ, refinement, 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 shortly after death. The word 'sacrament', often used to translate 'saṃskāraḥ ritual', is not expressive enough to convey all that needs to be conveyed. Saṃskāraḥ, refinement; saṃskṛtiḥ, culture; and saṃskāryam, refinable, are all different grammatical forms of the same word.
saṃskṛtamWell formed; well done; refined; the Sanskrit language – a highly expressive language having a highly refined and exalted culture established within it.
saṃskṛtiḥCulture, saṃskṛtiḥ, also means refinement via action, which is one of the four possible results of karma, action. The other results of action are: utpattiḥ (utpādyam), production; vikṛtiḥ (vikāryam), modification; āptiḥ (āpyam), attainment.
Saṃskāraḥ, refinement; saṃskṛtiḥ, culture; and saṃskāryam, refinable, are all different grammatical forms of the same word.
saṃśrayaḥ Refuge; resting place; support.
saṃtata Continuous; uninterrupted; lasting.
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.
saṃvatsaraḥ Year
saṃvit Knowledge; understanding.
saṃvṛti A movement of thought forms. It is such a movement alone that makes a world; there is no other world. The world is kalpita, a projection.
saṃvyavahāra-mātram Only transactional; a term referring to the status of worldly experience, in effect saying it is mithyā.
samyakProperly; correctly; well.
saṃyamīOne who has self-mastery; a wise person.
śanaiḥ Softly; gently; quietly (śanaiḥ śanaiḥ, slowly).
sanātana Eternal; permanent; ancient.
sanātana dharmaḥEternal law; eternal values; eternal religion; the beginningless order that is Īśvaraḥ; the proper and correct name for Hinduism.
sañcita-karmaUnmanifest, unexpired aggregate of karma. When ripe it will manifest as prārabdha-karma. Sañcita 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.
sandhyā-vandanamWorship, vandanam – typically japaḥ – done at sandhyā, the juncture of the three divisions of the day: dawn, noon and dusk.
saṅghaḥAttachment due to close contact; association; community; company; friendship.
saṅghātaḥAssemblage; close union or 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.
saṅkaraḥ Mixture; mixing together that which should be kept apart, thus creating confusion.
śaṅkaraḥ Ādi-Śaṅkara-Bhagavatpādaḥ was a most illustrious, highly revered teacher of Vedāntaḥ who revivified and re-established the supremacy of its sampradāyaḥ, and the Vedic (vaidika) 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 saṃnyāsī, who is totally committed to the pursuit of knowledge.
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/her 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.
sarvadā Always; ever; forever; at all times.
sarvagata All-pervading
sarvajñatvam Omniscience; knowledge of all in general; a knowledge that all that is here is Brahman, 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, a 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 pure knowledge, 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 Brahman' (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 śāstram 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 saṃnyāsis 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 sarvajñatvam.
śāstramSacred body of knowledge for growing towards one's full stature; includes both śrutiḥ and smṛtiḥ, but the former is chiefly meant.
śaśvat Constantly; perpetually.
sat Pure existence, which is of the nature of limitlessness; absolute truth; non-dependent existence; that which is the very existence itself of all three periods of time (past, present and future); that which cannot be negated. See asat, tuccham, satyam, mithyā.
satatamConstantly; 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.
śatruḥ Enemy; opposition (especially the vices that hinder liberation).
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.
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. Speaking the non-hurtful truth devoid of untruth is satyam in speech. Satyam is also a name of the highest of the seven heavens (see svargaḥ); also see sat, asat, mithyā, tuccham.
saubhāgyam Good fortune; happiness; prosperity; loveliness; popularity – all that is needed for a fulfilling life, especially wisdom.
śaucamCleanness, both inner and outer; purity of mind; cleanliness.
sāvaśeṣa Incomplete; unfinished; having a remainder.
savikalpaḥ Being endowed with a variety of divisions or distinctions, e.g. knower, known, knowledge; being differentiated; being doubtful.
savikalpa-samādhiḥThis samādhiḥ 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 - control over other beings and the elements
vaśitvam - capacity to draw and persuade/convince crowds of people.
śikṣāScience of phonetics, of proper articulation and pronunciation of varṇas, the sounds of letters in Vedic (vaidika) texts; one of the six auxiliary sciences, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see chandas, vyākaraṇam, niruktam, jyotiṣaḥ, kalpaḥ.
siṃhā-avalokana-nyāyena'By the backward glance of a lion.' According to the rule of the lion's look, i.e. a maxim recommending reviewing what has been said before in order to see the connection with what is said later when studying a text.
śīrṣamHead; skull.
śiṣyaḥStudent; disciple; a self-disciplined student who, due to having praśāntacitta and śamānvita, deserves the Teaching; one who, due to vairāgyam is sufficiently pure-minded (sufficiently able to manage his/her mind and emotions) for undisturbed, unprejudiced listening to the ācāryaḥ unfolding the śāstram – see guru-śiṣya-paramparā, sampradāyaḥ, praśāntacitta, śamānvita.
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 metre.
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.
śobhana Beautiful; excellent; splendid; virtuous.
śobhana-adhyāsaḥOver-valuing someone or something by superimposing a notion of greater beauty, excellence, virtue, etc. than is deserved, e.g. mistaking a sea shell's colouring for silver; see adhyāsaḥ.
śokaḥSorrow; anguish; grief; affliction; pain; see duḥkham.
somaḥ Moon
sparśaḥTouch; the sense-object (viṣayaḥ), subtle or gross, perceptible through the skin or mind and known as 'touch'.
sphuliṅgaḥSpark (from a fire); sparks shooting from a fire are used to demonstrate that fire alone is in the form of many sparks due to many upādhis.
sphuṭa Clear; certain; evident; correct.
śraddhāAcceptance by firm judgement as true what the guruḥ 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, unbiased 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. See bhagaḥ.
śrīmat Illustrious; eminent; glorious; venerable.
śrotram Ear
śrotriyaḥOne who has profound knowledge of the scriptures through listening for a length of time to a competent teacher properly unfold the words of the Vedāntaḥ śāstram; one well versed in the śāstram; also see brahma-niṣṭhā.
sṛṣṭiḥ'Creation'; manifestation; nature; 'production'; the manifest universe. (Nothing is ever created or destroyed: the universe and all that is here is a manifestation, not a creation, a manifestation that does not happen outside of Brahman. In time it becomes unmanifest in Brahman and again becomes manifest in an endless cycle.)
sṛṣṭi-prakriyāMethod of arriving at ātmā, the true self, by analysing the creation to reveal its source, the ultimate reality that is consciousness; see prakriyā.
śrutiḥListening; hearing; a name for the veda-śāstram emphasising its preservation through listening by the teacher-student lineage (karṇa-paramparā).
stambhaḥ Pillar; post; column.
stavaḥ Any text consisting of words of praise – especially praise of the Lord, of Īśvaraḥ; synonym of stotram.
sthairyam Steadfastness; constancy; perseverance; steadiness; firmness; calmness.
sthāṇu Firm; motionless; unmoving; stump of a tree.
sthāṇu-nikhana-nyāyaḥ A maxim encouraging making one's knowledge as unshakeable as a well-buried (well-fixed) post that is able to withstand any amount of shaking (by opposing notions).
sthāṇu-puruṣa-nyāyaḥ Illustration of a stump of a tree being mistaken for a person.
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; see stavaḥ, stutiḥ.
strīliṅgam Feminine gender; feminine; see puṃliṅgam.
stutiḥ Praise; adulation; eulogy; commendation; tribute.
śubha Auspicious; good; virtuous.
śuddha Pure; clean; faultless; error-free.
śuddha-caitanyam Pure consciousness; unmanifest consciousness; consciousness unassociated with varying thoughts. Also known as sāmānya-jñānam. See viśeṣa-jñānam.
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 manifest fullness. Happiness is an expression of the manifestation of fullness – fullness being the very nature of timeless Reality.
śuklaḥ White; bright.
sukṛta Well made; well done.
sūkṣmaSubtle; fine; penetrating; also see sthūla, kāraṇam.
sūkṣma-śarīramSubtle body; it is not an entity but a composite of capacities or powers with which the ātmā is identified and which seemingly limit it; it is a composite 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.
suniścita Fully ascertained, definite, fixed, settled (conclusion). An adjective used to describe the certainty of the knowledge enjoyed by the wise.
śūnya Void; empty. There is no possibility of śūnya existing since for it to be known would require the presence of a vṛttiḥ.
sūryaḥ The Sun; devatā of sight.
sūryāstaḥ Sunset
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 in which individuality (with all its problems and limitations) is given up while the individual remains – and then absence of experience is experienced since on rising all can say, "I knew nothing." This is not a direct experience because the present tense is not used, nor is it an inference because one part of the statement is from direct perception, one not. No part is directly perceived in sleep as the mind is unmanifest. However, to be able to say that absence of cognition was experienced implies memory, which implies an ever-present witness.
Movement between the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep is always via the deep sleep state because, since distinct orders of reality obviously cannot be manifest simultaneously, one must subside for another to replace it. The point of origin, emergence and return is suṣupti-avasthā for both of the other two states.
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 (bliss being the total absence of pain and pleasure).
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 saṃskāraḥ; acquired, earned, non-intrinsic nature, i.e. 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: "Hail to Thee" 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 saṃnyāsaḥ (female: svāminī).
svapna-avasthā Dream state; the dream world of subtle phenomena experienced in the mind as a reality separate from the reality of the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā. The dream world arises from impressions, vāsanās, gained in the waking state, that are sometimes presented symbolically in dreams. There is no free will or doership in dream, they occur only in the waking state. So-called day-dreaming is merely imagination in which there is no separation from waking state experience. 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 that unfolds, by implication, the essential intrinsic nature of something, e.g. a definition of absolute Reality in which its intrinsic nature is directly revealed through implication; see taṭastha-lakṣaṇam, lakṣaṇā, jahallakṣaṇā, ajahallakṣaṇā, jahadajahallakṣaṇā, upalakṣaṇā.
svarūpamIntrinsic, essential nature; that which is inherent, natural, not incidental nor acquired, but innate for the object or person; one's own essential nature, saccidānandaḥ. See svabhāvaḥ.
svasvarūpa-anusandhānam Meditation on (continuously dwelling upon) one's own true nature; synonym of nididhyāsanam.
svataḥ By oneself; by itself.
svatantraIndependent; free; self-dependent.
svayambhūSelf-existent; self-manifested; self-born
syātMaybe; perhaps.
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taijasaḥA term for ātmā associated with the subtle body, sūkṣma-śarīram, in the dream state, svapna-avasthā (and hence also associated with the kāraṇa-śarīram from which its content arises) and seemingly undergoing the experience of dream in which free will cannot occur. The universal or samaṣṭiḥ equivalent is Hiraṇyagarbaḥ – also see prājñaḥ, viśvaḥ.
tālum Palate; tāluja, palatal.
tamaḥ (tamas)Guṇaḥ signifying conclusion, delusion, lethargy, habitual scepticism, day-dreaming, inertia. In tamas, sattva and rajas remain 'overpowered' (as good as resolved or unmanifest). When tamas dominates in the mind it produces neither merit nor demerit, it wastes life. Also see sattvam (sattva), rajaḥ (rajas).
tanmātram Subtle, pure, uncombined element, prior to grossification, pañcīkaraṇam. The sattvam aspects of the five tanmātrāṇi give rise to the five senses (and, in combination, to manaḥ. and buddhi); the rajaḥ aspects give rise to the five karmendriyāṇi (and, in combination, to the five prāṇas). The gross aspects of the five tanmātrāṇi give rise, through the process of pañcīkaraṇam, to the five gross elements.
tanuḥ A form or manifestation (as in 'in the form of').
tāpaḥHeat; affliction or mental agony which scorches like heat, causing pain; affliction; difficulty.
tapaḥ (tapas)Purificatory penance or austerity; heat; enquiry; knowledge. "Committed, relevant action in line with dharmaḥ." *
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; from that.
tat That
taṭastha-lakṣaṇamA definition of an entity that makes use of something distinct from and merely incidental to that entity's intrinsic nature, but by which it is known, e.g. a definition of Brahman wherein it is presented as the only source of the manifestation, sustenance and resolution of the universe; see svarūpa-lakṣaṇam, lakṣaṇā, jahallakṣaṇā, ajahallakṣaṇā, jahadajahallakṣaṇā, upalakṣaṇā.
tathā In the same way; accordingly; in that manner; thus.
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 mahāvākyam and also 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.
tiryak Horizontal, horizontally (a descriptive term for creatures that grow horizontally, i.e. animals).
tiṣṭhati (To) stay, abide.
tithiḥ Date; lunar date.
titikṣāCheerful forbearance; endurance; cheerfully bearing opposites, such as heat and cold, 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.
traividyāḥ Those who have studied all three Vedas and gained a thorough knowledge of karma-kāṇḍaḥ.
tripuṭī Three-fold; a triad.
tripuṭi-bhedaḥ Three-fold difference – knower, knowledge, known; seer, sight, seen; etc.
triṣṭubhName of a Vedic (vaidika) metre of 44 syllables (four quarters of eleven syllables each); name of a hymn composed in this metre; frequently used in the Ṛgvedaḥ and occasionally used in the Bhagavad-Gītā. See gāyatrī, anuṣṭubh.
tṛptiḥ Satisfaction; contentment.
tṛṣṇāThirst; strong desire; lust; avidity; greed; also see pipāsā.
tu But; so; whereas; (etc.)
tuccham Non-existent; unreal; never can exist, e.g. son of a barren woman, a square circle; see sat, asat, 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 – to distinguish it from the three states (like a fourth entity or person). The word 'fourth' has no numeric significance. 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; Brahman 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 recipient (an upahitam).
For example, if a blue flower is moved close to a colourless lump of clear crystal, the crystal (the upahitam) appears blue. From having no colour, the crystal apparently acquired the limiting attribute ‘blue’. Remove the flower and the crystal no longer appears blue. Never was the crystal blue (and limited only to blue) and yet, undeniably, for a time it appeared so.
The upādhiḥ in this example is the flower, not the blueness. But the flower does not function as an upādhiḥ unless it is close to the crystal. Kept away, the flower is just a flower. So, it is the item and the effect of its close proximity – namely the transfer of one or more attributes – that together make for an upādhiḥ. See anyonyādhyāsaḥ.
upahitamPut on or upon; mixed; that upon which an upādhiḥ subsists; ātmā associated with an upādhiḥ is said to be an upahitam – the two cannot be distanced physically.
upalabdhi Observation; perception; becoming aware of; understanding.
upalakṣaṇāImplication of something that has not or cannot be expressed, e.g. use of a large number to express innumerability or non-countability; metaphor; feature; characteristics; see lakṣaṇā; also see jahallakṣaṇā, ajahallakṣaṇā, jahadajahallakṣaṇā, svarūpalakṣaṇam, taṭasthalakṣaṇam.
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 saṃskāryas or rituals performed for the mental refinement of the individual. Only after the performance of this upanayana-saṃskāryaḥ is the child eligible to learn and chant the Gāyatrī-Mantraḥ and also eligible for scriptural study.
upaniṣadForms the jñāna-kāṇḍaḥ, knowledge section at the end (antaḥ) 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, upon Īśvaraḥ); contemplator (one who dwells upon one's own real nature).
upaśamaḥ Cessation; stopping; intermission; calmness; becoming quiet.
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.
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'.
uṣṇa Hot, warm, passionate; uṣṇaḥ, heat, warmth.
utkrāntiḥ 'Proceeding up'; passing away; dying; departure of the soul from the body.
utkṛṣṭa Exalted; superior; eminent.
utpanna Arisen; appeared; come forth; born; produced; mentioned. (utpannam, product).
utpattiḥProduction, (utpādyam) – one of the four possible results of karma, action – also see vikṛtiḥ (vikāryam), modification; āptiḥ (āpyam), attainment; saṃskṛtiḥ (saṃskāryam), 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.
vācyārthaḥLiteral or direct 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; an entity or person (vaidikaḥ) dedicated to, or 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. See bhagaḥ.
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 (founded by Kaṇādaḥ) with its own metaphysics, epistemology, logic, etc., that is at variance with Vedāntaḥ in some respects. For example, it asserts that there are many separate ātmās, and that only pratyakṣam (perception) and anumānam (inference) are valid and reliable pramāṇas (means of knowledge). Hence, its adherents appear in Vedāntaḥ bhāṣyams as opponents.
vaiṣṇava Relating or belonging or devoted or consecrated to Lord Viṣṇuḥ
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.
vaṃśa Lineage; clan; dynasty; offspring; family; race.
vanam Forest; woods.
vānaprasthaḥ Third of the four āśramas of Vedic (vaidika) 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 saṃnyāsaḥ; also see brahmacaryam, studentship; gṛhasthaḥ, householder; saṃnyāsaḥ, renunciation.
vandanam Worship; praise; salutation; reverence.
varaḥ Boon; reward; blessing.
varaṇam Choice; selection; act of choosing; selecting; screening.
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 Turning; moving; existing.
vartamāna-kālaḥThe present time; the present; (gram.) 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.
vāsaḥ Home; house; residence. (Nivāsaḥ, absolute abode).
vāsanāTendencies and impressions, held in the subtle body (in the subconscious) that are respectively resulting from and created by volitional 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, saṃskāraḥ. 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 (Kāmadhenuḥ) the wish-fulfilling cow of plenty.
vastram Cloth; clothes; garment; dress; cover.
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; subtle aspect of touch; appreciable through sound and touch; also see pāñcabhautikam the five elemental model of the universe – ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, waters; pṛthivī, earth.
vedaḥRevealed knowledge in a sacred, ancient scripture that is apauruṣeya, not of human origin. It was compiled into four texts: Ṛgvedaḥ, Sāmavedaḥ, Yajurvedaḥ, Atharvavedaḥ by the mahāmuniḥ (great sage) known as Veda-vyāsaḥ.
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.
Vedāntaḥ is not a philosophy, not a school of thought, not a system of ideas, not a set of contentions. It is a means of knowledge, a pramāṇam, for a vision of Reality that has to be understood rather than believed. Vedāntaḥ, by not replacing one set of notions with another, but by showing the error in mistaken ones, reveals the non-dual nature of Reality. Hence, the term Advaita-Vedāntaḥ is a tautology. Vedāntaḥ is, therefore, not part of the 'Six systems of Indian philosophy.'
vegaḥ Force; momentum; speed.
veṣaḥ Apparel; costume; ornament.
veśaḥ Dwelling; entrance; house.
vibhāṣā Option; alternative.
vibhu All-pervasive (by being the invariable reality of all); not spatially limited; powerful.
vibhūtiḥ A manifest exression of the glory and greatness of Īśvaraḥ, 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.
vicāraṇīya Must be investigated; should be enquired into; must be considered; to be deliberated upon.
vicetasaḥ One lacking discriminate understanding; unthinking person; unintelligent; someone unable to discern what is proper or improper and so unable to learn from his/her experiences in life.
videhaḥ Free from the body; dead.
videhamuktiḥ Freedom after death; non-assumption of a body, i.e. not being born again.
vidhātṛ Ordainer; distributer; bestower (a name of Brahmā).
vidhiḥ Rule; law; order; stipulation; mandate; injunction; duty.
vidrāvi Destroyer.
vidvān Scholar; learned person; wise person.
vidvat-saṃnyāsaḥSee saṃnyāsaḥ.
vidyā Knowledge; it is two-fold: parā-vidyā and aparā-vidyā.
vighnaḥ Obstacle; impediment; hindrance.
vihīna Devoid of; without; absence of; wanting (want of); destitute of; deprived of.
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). Here lies the potential for erroneous identification with the modification of the intellect as a knower, jñātā, and doer, kartā, (I know, I don't know, I'm clever, I'm stupid, I achieved that, I am guilty of that, etc.). See annamaya-kośaḥ, prāṇamaya-kośaḥ, manomaya-kośaḥ, ānandamaya-kośaḥ.
vijñeyam That which is to be (should be) known – implies ātmā.
vikalpaḥ Doubt; alternative idea or option; imagination; division.
vikāraḥ Change; transformation; alteration; effect; product; malady.
vikriyā Transformation; modification; change for the worse.
vikṛtiḥModification, (vikāryam); one of the four possible results of karma, action – also see utpattiḥ (utpādyam), production; āptiḥ (āpyam), attainment; saṃskṛtiḥ (saṃskāryam), 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); bewildered (mind) – all caused by vikṣepa-śaktiḥ.
vilakṣaṇam Distinct; distinguished (from).
vimarśaḥ Examination; comment; critical analysis.
vimarṣaḥ Displeasure; impatience; irritation; dissatisfaction.
vimocanam Liberation; deliverance; release; unharnessing.
vimṛśa Thorough, careful, analysis; investigation.
vināśaḥ Destruction; annihilation.
viparināmaḥ Modification; change; morphing; alteration; transformation; 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 (chiefly, identification with the body-mind-sense complex) 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.
vipraḥ One who, through study of the śāstram and strict adherence to dharmaḥ (having learnt its value) becomes relatively mature, is known as a vipraḥ, a learned person.
By the time of upanayanam a child is usually mature enough to obediently follow instructions, but not yet mature enough to properly understand the value of what is taught. Later in life, having developed a degree of vivekaḥ and vairāgyam from analysing life's experiences, having begun to live a life of dharmaḥ, and having begun to see that nothing in life brings meaningful, lasting happiness, the person begins serious study of the śāstram. Such study eventually leads to that person becoming vipraḥ, learned. From vipraḥ alone comes an adequate degree of maturity. Full maturity is only in jñānam.
virāgaḥ Passionless; dispassion (masc. of vairāgyam).
virāmaḥ A stop; termination; end; pause.
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. See bhagaḥ.
viṣādaḥ Despair; dejection; grief; depression; despondency.
viśāla Wide; big; great; broad; vast; spacial; spacious; large; mighty; eminent; illustrious.
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 (in devanāgarī script) that ends with a vowel are known as visargaḥ. It takes the sound of that immediately 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.
Objects of perception are the manifest properties of the elements: an object's capacity to manifest properties of the elements is alone what is perceived of any object.
viṣaya-dhyānam Thinking of an object. Objects are dwelt upon because they are liked. Liking leads to manorājyam, emotional dependence upon the world for one's happiness and security, in which desire is inevitable. When the expectation in a desire is frustrated, anger arises and with it the incapacity to discriminate true from false, appropriate from inappropriate. Anger is a state of delusion in which memory of what has been learnt to be appropriate or inappropriate is no longer available. Impulse displaces discrimination, leading to destruction (loss and decline). (See Gita 2.62). Prevention of all this is possible only by dwelling on pratyagātmā, the innermost self, which means guarding the mind by keeping one's true nature always in mind.
viśeṣaḥ Attribute; distinguishing quality; peculiarity.
viśeṣa-jñānam Awareness of variety. Consciousness appears varied and variable (but only) because of association with varied thoughts. See śuddha-caitanyam.
viśiṣṭa Qualified (by); distinguished (by); the attributed (that which has attributes).
viṣṇuḥĪśvaraḥ, the Lord, as the all-pervasive Reality sustaining the universe; see Brahmā, Śivaḥ, Virāṭ.
vistāraḥ Manifestation; elaboration; expansion; ennumeration; becoming large or great.
viśvaḥA complete manifest jīvaḥ. A term for ātmā associated, as a jīvaḥ, with an individual gross body, sthūla-śarīram, in the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā (in which state alone free will may be enjoyed) gathering experiences of the world through the five senses. Note that for a jīvaḥ to be identified with the gross body there must be identification with and use of the subtle and causal bodies too, hence the use of the term "a complete, manifest jīvaḥ". The corresponding universal or samaṣṭiḥ term is Virāṭ. 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, rūpam, 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; not dependent on the world for one's happiness.
vittamWealth; property; goods; acquisition; substance; money; power; anything found.
vivāhaḥ Marriage
vivakṣā Intended meaning; that which the speaker/writer wishes to express or hopes to communicate; see grahaṇam.
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 that the timeless infinite vastu is one and all else is time-bound, finite.
vividiṣā-saṃnyāsaḥSee saṃnyāsaḥ.
vivikta Secluded; solitary; isolated; 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). Consciousness pervades all vṛttis as water pervades waves.
vṛtti-jñānamKnowledge manifest in the mind as a thought.
vyabhicāraḥ Going astray; deviation; transgression; a contradiction; fallacious or erroneous reasoning.
vyādhiḥ Disease; ailment; illness; sickness; disorder.
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 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.
vyāpāraḥ Activity; occupation; performance.
vyapāśrayaḥ Dependence
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.
vyāvahārika-satyam Phenomenal, experiential, transactional reality, namely the (mithyā) universe and all that is in it, including its laws, its means and ends, its joys and sorrows, and also one's body, mind and senses. See pāramārthika-satyam, prātibhāsika-satyam.
vyāvarttakam That which distinguishes something from everything else.
vyavasthā Arrangement
vyāvṛttiḥDistinction; distinguishing.
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yad Who; which; what; whatever; yasmin, (that) in which.
yajamānaḥ Worshipper; performer of a ritual; the one to whom goes the benefit of the ritual.
yajñaḥVedic (vaidika) 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. 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.
A yajñaḥ is a devotional act, which may include the formal dissemination of knowledge, jñāna, via what is known as a jñāna-yajñaḥ. See pūjā, pañcamahā-yajñas.
yakṣaḥ An inexplicable, divine appearance (ref. Kena Upaniṣad, Ch. 3 & 4).
yaśaḥ (yaśas) Fame; renown; glory. See bhagaḥ.
yatiḥ One of proper, adequate and appropriate effort; a saṃnyāsī.
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 – śravaṇam, 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.
A discipline known as haṭha yogaḥ involving force, haṭha (physical action) is now practised worldwide in a simplified form and known as "yoga".
Yogaḥ also means the gaining of the not yet gained (see kṣemaḥ).
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.
yugamAstronomical time period; see caturyugam, kalpaḥ.
yukta Integrated with; endowed with; engaged in; united with; yuktaḥ, person of integrated personality, person of integrity.
yuktiḥ Reasoning; logic.
*Swami Dayananda
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