Vedanta Glossary (with notes)

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abādhitaNot subject to negation; unimpeded; unobstructed; unrefuted; (a definition of satyam); see bādhaḥ.
ābhāsaApparent; seeming.
abhāvaḥ 'Non-existence'; non-manifestation; complete absence; see bhāvaḥ. Note that there is no such thing as non-existence, only non-manifestation – that which truly exists can never cease to exist.
abhayam Fearlessness; peace; security.
abhedaḥ Non-difference; non-division; non-breaking; see bhedaḥ.
abhidhānam A word; an expression; see abhidheyam.
abhidheyam Object/meaning denoted by its corresponding word/expression (abhidhānam); 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-viveka-prakriyā Method (prakriyā) of analysis (vivekaḥ) for arriving at the true self (ātmā) by bringing to light and then negating (apavādaḥ) the false identities and attributes mistakenly superimposed (adhyāropaḥ) upon oneself. This is the primary method Vedāntaḥ uses for uncovering freedom. All other prakriyās are developments of it. See prakriyā.
adhyāropaḥSuperimposition. Due to erroneous perception, adhyāsaḥ, the characteristic(s) of one thing are seemingly or falsely attributed, āropaḥ, to another. That results in their superimpostion, adhyāropaḥ, upon that other. Such invalid superimposition 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. Without upādhiḥ, adhyāsaḥ is not possible. Upādhiḥ is instrumental and ignorance is the cause for adhyāsaḥ. Adhyāsaḥ leads successively to āropaḥ, adhyāropaḥ, ahaṅkāraḥ, kāmaḥ, karma and then saṃsāraḥ. See nirupādhikādhyāsaḥ and sopādhikādhyāsaḥ.
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, e.g. śamādi, the group beginning with śamaḥ (śamaḥ, damaḥ, uparamaḥ, titikṣā, śraddhā, samādhānam).
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.
advaitaNon-dual (advaitam, non-duality).
advaya Not two.
advitīya Without a second; second to none; matchless.
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-element model of the Universe – ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, waters; pṛthivī, earth.
agnihotram A very simple, twice-daily Vedic fire ritual, with oblations and mantras, to be performed only by married people; generates puṇyam; smallest of the fire rituals prescribed in the Karma-Kāṇḍaḥ of the Vedaḥ; to be performed with relevant oblations and mantras by a man from the day of his marriage (now there is a substitute pūjā for this ritual).
agocara Inaccessible (indriya agocara, imperceptible, not accessible through the senses; vācām agocara, inexplicable).
agotra Having no lineage.
agre before; tip; foremost.
agrīya Foremost; best; excellent.
aham 'I' (the first-person-singular pronoun); the 'I'-sense.
ahaṃ brahmāsmi 'I am Brahman' (Bṛhadāraṇyaka 1.4.10). The term 'I' refers to that which is the very source and essence of the 'I am' thought – namely pure consciousness – not to what is commonly regarded as 'me', the individual mind. See mahāvākyam and also see tattvamasi, ayamātmā brahma, prajñānaṃ brahma.
ahaṅkāraḥSense of 'I', 'me' and 'mine'; mistaken notion of the self; upādhiḥ of ātmā; the misplacement of the sense of 'I' in the body-mind-sense complex (and especially in the sense of doership) due to the superimposition, adhyāropaḥ, upon the self (pure consciousness) of false and limiting attributes.
Ahaṅkāraḥ, the mistaken notion of 'I', arises because of identification, tādātmyam, of the self with these non-intrinsic attributes. It is the nature of ahaṅkāraḥ to continually adopt such limitations and identify with them. The suffix 'kāra' expresses the qualifying or limiting of 'aham', the application of ever-changing characteristics to changeless being.
When ahaṅkāraḥ is manifest, the mind is then objectified as ‘this’, creating a duality (this is my mind, my thoughts and feelings) and so too with the world. Such limiting, dualistic notions create an irrational but compelling sense of lack or inadequacy in oneself and the world, leading to desire, kāmaḥ, to either mitigate or overcome it.
(Note: ahaṅkāraḥ is also known as ahaṅkṛtiḥ and the meaning is the same).
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 an oblation that is the culmination of all worship in which the offerer is offered through cognitively resolving the 'I'-sense, aham, 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-element 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 (vṛttiḥ) pertaining to the nature of Reality being indivisible (akhaṇḍa).
Seeing the vision of the śāstram takes place in the form of a vṛttiḥ that 'all that is here is Brahman, which is oneself' and that vṛttiḥ removes ignorance and itself goes away. The vṛttiḥ is called akhaṇḍākāra-vṛttiḥ, a thought wherein there is no subject-object division as both the subject and object are oneself. Thereafter, that vision remains.
The Upaniṣads, when unfolded by a competent ācāryaḥ, provide vṛttis which, when properly understood and fully ascertained and assimilated by the hearer, free the mind from its ignorance, thereby bringing mokṣaḥ.
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 Humility; 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.
ambaram Garment; clothing; fabric; that which encompasses or surrounds; atmosphere.
amma Mother
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). Ānandaḥ is the svarūpam of the self, ātmā. Every experience of happiness is an experience of an appropriate fraction of that innate ānandaḥ which effortlessly and spontaneously manifests when puṇyam is present and the ego resolves briefly.
Unhappiness being due to a limit, true happiness is limitlessness – hence, ānandaḥ indicates happiness without limit in quality and extent (and so includes being effortlessly, consciously happy everywhere, with everyone, at all times, in all situations). 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, it is much more than that.
Since limitlessness implies complete absence of any form of lack, ānandaḥ also means fullness, pūrṇam, hence the famous śānti-pāṭhaḥ that begins pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidam. "Unqualified love is limitless, ananta, or pūrṇa, full, and is Brahman. Love is only for ānandaḥ."*
ānandamaya-kośaḥ This, the subtlest of the pañca-kośāḥ, pervades all the other four. It is born of beginningless avidyā in the form of the causal body of impure sattvam (mixed with tamas). This ānandamaya, which is a product of puṇya-karma, is a vṛttiḥ that has an upādhiḥ, the mind. Ānandaḥ reflects in the mind and hence pervades the ānandamaya vṛttiḥ.
The varying degrees of reflected ānandaḥ pervading the ānandamaya are known as priya, modaḥ, pramodaḥ. Hence there is the possibility of the enjoyer, bhoktā (the ahaṅkāraḥ mistakenly identified with the ānandamaya) being the enjoyer of degrees of ignorance and happiness, which are at their fullest in deep sleep and are restricted in dream and waking.
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.
āndhyam Blindness; darkness.
aneka Many (not one).
aṅgam Limb; constituent; component; part.
anirvacanīya Not categorically definable (but not inexplicable!); understood by implication only.
anīśā Helplessness; powerlessness.
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. This, the grossest of the pañca-kośāḥ, is pervaded simultaneously and successively by each of the other four. With it occurs the potential to mistakenly identify with the physical body (I am mortal, male, female, tall, short, old, young, etc.). See pañca-kośāḥ, prāṇamaya-kośaḥ, manomaya-kośaḥ, vijñānamaya-kośaḥ, ānandamaya-kośaḥ.
antaḥ Within; inner; inside.
antaḥ-karaṇam Mind (antaḥ, inner; karaṇam, instrument); consists of vṛttis, thoughts, of which there are four categories: manaḥ, buddhiḥ, cittam, ahaṅkāraḥ. The antaḥ-karaṇam is the means, the inner instrument, by which the ahaṅkāraḥ encounters and transacts with the world, the jagat. The mind is a product of previous action, karma. See sūkṣma-śarīram.
antaḥ-karaṇa-naiścalyamSteadiness of mind; essential prerequisite for śravaṇam as only a focussed, steady mind hears fully; attained through meditation (dhyānam and upāsanām).
antaḥ-karaṇa-śuddhiḥPurification of the mind, meaning mastery over one's ways of thinking, including emotions and rāga-dveṣas (likes and dislikes). Accomplishable through a life of karma-yogaḥ, especially through steady adherence to dharmaḥ.
Antaḥ-karaṇa-śuddhiḥ is an essential prerequisite for jñāṇam because only a mind that is free of its prejudices and preconceptions can listen cleanly and thereby hear properly what is being taught. Otherwise, what is taught becomes, at best, filtered and interpreted by 'what I think it means' and fitted into or adjusted to my existing collection of ideas and views, and if not, rejected by them – all of which means the teaching is never heard.
antarā In the middle; between; within; (antaram, interior; contents).
antarātmā Subtle body; ātmā identified with the subtle body. So called because the subtle body is antarā, 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 and his māyā as the unmanifest cause of all, as the totality (samaṣṭiḥ) of all causal bodies may, due to his causal role, be referred to as the antaryāmī, the inner controller of all. 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:
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.
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, e.g. the mind, the Moon).
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 direct sensory 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 Following the religious disciplines, as prescribed in the scriptures, in conformity with the teacher's instructions; carrying out; undertaking; performance; religious practice; acting in conformity to; dharma-anuṣṭhānam, following a way of life that is in keeping with dharmaḥ.
anuṣṭup Metre with eight syllables per quarter – common in the Bhagavad-Gītā, Rāmāyaṇam. See gāyatrī, triṣṭup.
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-vyatireka-nyāyaḥProof 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 in a particular form.
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.
anyonya-abhāvaḥ Mutual exclusion – 'pot' and 'cloth' are mutually exclusive at the level of form and material.
anyonya-adhyāsaḥ Mutual superimposition of limiting attributes, upādhis. (Also known as itaretarādhyāsaḥ). For example, 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.
anyonya-āśrayaḥ 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-element 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; not only all worldly knowledge, but even 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; minimum of possessions.
aparokṣa-jñānamImmediate knowledge, knowledge of the immediate self, knowledge of the knower.
Usually, our knowledge is from (mediated through) either direct sensory perception, pratyakṣa-jñānam, or is reported or indirect knowledge, parokṣa-jñānam, both of which require an intermediary and are knowledge of objects. Aparokṣa-jñānam requires no intermediary, is not knowledge of objects, but is direct, unmediated knowledge of the immanent self.
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 (whose pratibandhas, obstacles to understanding, are gone) they more than just make logical sense, they give immediate knowledge, direct understanding, because it is knowledge of an ever-present (but previously not fully grasped) fact about one's essential nature.
This corrected understanding, conveyed via śabda-pramāṇam, when properly recognised to be true 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 process is called mananam.
When the teaching has been fully and correctly understood through śravaṇam and mananam, nididhyāsanam may be used, if needed, to deal with any residual pratibandhas and find its already-present complete ascertainment and assimilation. See parokṣa-jñānam, pratyakṣa-jñānam and vivaraṇam.
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 older, more experienced people, 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, vākyam, 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 (typically in moments of joy or awe).
aprameya Not available for objectification, which means 'cannot be made into or treated as an object', and so cannot be known by any process of objectification (in which an object is made or treated as experienceable).
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.
ārabhamāṇa Beginning (ārabhate, to begin).
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. The result of adhyāsaḥ (erroneous perception) is that the characteristics of one thing are wrongly attributed to another. That very mis-attribution is āropaḥ. Its consequence is that the characteristics become superimposed, adhyāropaḥ, on that other. (āropita, superimposed, placed upon). See adhyāsaḥ, adhyāropaḥ.
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.
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.
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; nothing remaining.
āśisA blessing (offered or received).
asmitāEgoism; the knowledge 'I am'; excessive self-concern, with or without exaggerated feelings of self-importance; see kleśaḥ.
aśobhana-adhyāsaḥDenigrating or under-valuing someone or something by superimposing a false notion of it having less value, beauty or excellence than it merits, e.g. 'the world gives me pain'; see śobhana-adhyāsaḥ and adhyāsaḥ.
āśramaḥDwelling place of spiritual seekers. Also see gurukulam.
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 Base; refuge; shelter; locus; that upon which something depends or rests.
astamayaḥ Sunset; setting of the Sun or any luminary; see udayaḥ, sunrise.
aṣṭāṅga-yogaḥPatañjali's Aṣṭāṅga Yogaḥ is an important, preparatory, eight-fold discipline, but not an end in itself as without the teaching of Vedāntaḥ one does not gain mokṣaḥ. It consists of:
yamaḥ, (five) prohibitions.
niyamaḥ, (five) injunctions.
āsanam, posture.
prāṇāyāmaḥ, breathing exercises.
pratyāhāraḥ, sense control.
dhāraṇā, concentration.
dhyānam, meditation.
samādhiḥ, absorption.
asteyam Non-stealing
asti (He, she, it) is, exists.
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 (ātmā) 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).
The word ātmā, as well as meaning the true, limitless self, also simply means 'self' in the ordinary sense of that word – it encompasses not only one's true self, but also whatever notion is held of 'self' – thus the very word ātmā highlights the fundamental human problem of adhyāsaḥ, mistakenly taking oneself to be what one is not: limited, wanting and in various ways inadequate. This is why, in correcting through knowledge, jñānam, the false notions one has about oneself, mokṣaḥ is the gain of the already gained.
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.
avacchedaḥ Limitation; condition; boundary; separation.
avaccheda-vādaḥ Conditioning model. A model or teaching device presenting worldly phenomena as a 'conditioned' (rather than 'reflected') form of consciousness, e.g. pot-space is space 'conditioned' by the pot (not a reflection of the pot). As an alternative, see pratibimba-vādaḥ – both models have their merits and flaws.
avacchinna Limited; separated (from); distinguished (from).
avadhāraṇā Ascertainment; conviction; commitment.
avalokanam Review; observing; observation; glance; outlook; looking at.
āvaraṇam Covering; obscuring.
āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ Tamas, the power of inertia of māyā, is the source of its concealing or veiling power known as its āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ (or āvṛti-śaktiḥ), a synonym of avidyā, that 'covers' the uncoverable ātmā so well (just as heavy cloud, formed by the Sun, obscures our view of the Sun) that ātmā is not seen for what it is – distinct from what it is not. This erroneous perception, adhyāsaḥ, marks the arising of the vikṣepa-śaktiḥ of māyā that successively leads to āropaḥ, adhyāropaḥ, ahaṅkāraḥ, kāmaḥ, karma and saṃsāraḥ.
Although commonly translated as ignorance, this covering power may be understood as the power of knowing being unmanifest. Ignorance is just a temporary name given to the unmanifest power of knowledge. 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. There is no independent entity called ignorance other than 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.
Note that if māyā completely covered Īśvaraḥ there could be no universe. Instead its āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ covers Īśvara's limitlessness and non-duality. What is not veiled is that Īśvaraḥ exists, asti, shines bhāti, and is pleasing, priya. When these take on name and form (nāma-rūpam) Īśvaraḥ 'manifests' as the world in all its variety just as dream manifests from the sleeping waker.
avaśaḥ Necessarily; choicelessly; inevitably.
avasthā State; condition.
avasthānam Departure point; residence; situation.
avasthā-trayamThe three states of experience, all of which are mutually exclusive states of mind:
jāgrad-avasthā, waking state.
svapna-avasthā, dream state.
suṣupti-avasthā, deep-sleep state.
Also see turīya, 'the fourth' (not a state).
avasthā-traya-viveka-prakriyāMethod of analysis (used, for example, in the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad) 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.
āveśaḥ Complete absorption (of the mind in consciousness).
avicchinna Unbroken; uninterrupted; continual; eternal.
avidyāBeginningless ignorance; the vyaṣṭiḥ aspect of māyā manifest only in the jīva's waking state, jāgrad-avasthā, and dream state, svapna-avasthā, while ever unmanifest and undifferentiated in the deep-sleep state, suṣupti-avasthā.
Ātmā with the avidyā-upādhiḥ, the conditioning adjunct of ignorance, is the individual, the jīvaḥ (and ātmā with the māyā-upādhiḥ, the conditioning adjunct of māyā, is Īśvaraḥ).
Ignorance is not merely absence of knowledge, ignorance is opposed to knowledge. It conceals what is true and projects something else in its place. That incorrect or incomplete knowledge, when taken to be true, becomes opposed to that which is true. Similarly, non-existence is not absence of existence, but is opposed to it.
To come to a false conclusion because of avidyā is to arrive at adhyāsaḥ. It is adhyāsaḥ, erroneous perception, not seeeing things as they are, that is the cause of saṃsāraḥ. See āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ, vikṣepa-śaktiḥ and rajju-sarpa-nyāyaḥ.
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.
āvṛttiḥ Repetition; recurrence; return; reversion.
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 2). This one, this very self here, this pratyagātmā, my innermost, most fundamental self, pure consciousness, is Brahman! It is being pointed out here by the mahāvākyam that the very subtlest essence of the individual is pure consciousness, Brahman, not the ordinary sense of self, which should not be equated with 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; (bādhita, false, annulled, subject to negation; bādhaka, any factor that negates a previous contention). 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 A fetter; a fastening; a binding.
bandhanam Bondage; confining; restraint; imprisonment; knot.
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 irrelevant and inappropriate aspects of word meanings are left aside and relevant and appropriate aspects retained. Synonym of jahadajahallakṣaṇā.
bhagavad-gītā Part of the great epic Mahābhāratam, the Bhagavad-Gītā (The Lord's Song) 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:
ārtaḥ - a distressed devotee who thinks of God and seeks his help only when in distress.
arthārthī - a simple devotee who seeks God’s help to pursue security, pleasure and the removal of suffering.
jijñāsuḥ - a real devotee, a seeker of knowledge of Īśvaraḥ, the Lord.
jñānī - a wise person, an exalted devotee who sees his or her own self being non-separate from the Lord.
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.
bhāmatī A contention within Vedāntaḥ that śravanam provides only parokṣa-jñānam, indirect knowledge, and that afterwards nididhyāsanam has to be practised, not only for removal of pratibandhas such as viparīta-bhāvanāḥ, but for the full ascertainment of what has been heard and understood through śravanam. In short, the contention is that mokṣaḥ requires a combination of both knowledge and action, jñāna-karma samuccayaḥ, which is not (and cannot be) true. See vivaraṇam.
bhaṇḍārā A formal, collective feeding of sādhus as an act of worship and respect.
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.
bhavān Thou – respectful (formal) form of tvam, you.
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).
sajātīya-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).
bhedābheda-vādaḥ Contention of difference with non-difference. A dualist proposition maintaining that irreconcilable differences and non-differences forever exist. For example, the jīvaḥ and Īśvaraḥ are, they claim, forever in some respects similar and in some respects not. Such thinking is flawed, taking no account of the mithyā status of upādhiḥ and having no real understanding of the vastu that is satyam.
bhīḥ Fear; dread.
bhikṣā Alms
bhinna Separate; different.
bhoga-āyatanam Place of experience (the 'counter', support or abode, across which one has dealings with the world); the body-mind-sense complex.
bhogaḥ Experience; enjoyment.
bhoga-bhūmiḥ The world where the person appears with an appropriate physical and subtle body to experience the results of his karma.
bhoga-sādhanam Instrument or means of experience; synonym for the subtle body.
bhogya An object of enjoyment or experience.
bhojanam Food; meal.
bhoktā Enjoyer (also known as bhoktṛ); one who believes himself to be an experiencer.
bhoktṛtvam Enjoyership; the sense of being the enjoyer (i.e. experiencer) of the results of action. See kartṛtvam.
bhramaḥ Confusion; perplexity; delusion (fem: bhrāntiḥ).
bhūḥ The Earth; known as bhū-lokaḥ, 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; 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, lokaḥ.
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-abhyāsaḥGaining 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 teaching in the mind. The word brahma also means Vedaḥ, which is why a brahmacārī constantly dwells upon the Vedic teaching, avoiding worldly concerns. Hence, during brahmacaryam no sexual relationship is indulged.
Earliest of the four āśramas or stages of Vedic 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.
brāhma-muhūrtam Dawn or a little before; a particular period of the day; see muhūrtaḥ.
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.
brahmāṇḍam Macrocosom; Universe; cosmos.
brahma-niṣṭhaḥ One established in knowledge of Brahman, in knowledge of Absolute Reality, and who reflects its beauty in word and deed; a jñānī – also see śrotriyaḥ.
brahmapuram Abode of Brahman; the place where Brahman can be found; an epithet for the buddhiḥ, in which alone Brahman can be found or recognised (and having been recognised there is then recognised everywhere).
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. Written by Vyāsaḥ, it is the third text in the prasthāna-trayam.
brahmātmā The fact of oneself, ātmā, being satyam, jñānam, anantam brahma.
brahmavarcaḥ (brahmavarcas) Facial lustre, glow or radiance that may result from dedicated, long-term spiritual practice, especially of japaḥ.
brahma veda brahmaiva bhavati 'The knower of Brahman becomes Brahman'. These famous words (from Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 3.2.9) are not speaking of a mere intellectual grasp of the purport of the Upaniṣads but of a fully ascertained knowledge of the fact of being Brahman. That ascertainment is an immediate knowledge of intrinsic limitlessness; it is a never-absent lived reality. No longer subject to sorrow, one is free from all puṇya-pāpas and saṃsāraḥ.
The use of the word bhavati, becomes, does not mean a transformation or 'becoming' of the jīvaḥ, the individual. Instead it indicates a full recognition of and 'return' to one's never-absent true self. It is a freedom from the jīvaḥ (from being a jīvaḥ) not a freedom of the jīvaḥ. See mahāvākyam.
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.
It is the degree of refinement of the buddhiḥ (the degree to which it is able to discern a sense of self) that alone distinguishes a human being from an animal.
Being that in which knowing manifests, and where judgement 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 (or not 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.
The inert buddhiḥ, when infused or associated with the reflected light of consciousness is rendered sentient, and the sense of 'I' arises. This limited 'I'-thought (aham-vṛttiḥ) is also known as ahaṅkāraḥ (the variable mistaken 'I'-notion) or jīvaḥ (the individual soul). Limited individuality, (naturally) acting from a limited perspective gains limited results and so becomes a saṃsārī, travelling from birth to birth.
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caitanyam Consciousness; 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. See other dualist opponents of Vedāntaḥ – mīmāṃsā, sāṅkhya and naiyāyika).
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 or (kali-yugam x 10 = 4,320,000 yrs); see kalpaḥ, manvantaram, 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 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.
cidākāśaḥ The space, ākāśaḥ, in the buddhiḥ in which consciousness, cit, shines (is manifest) as the 'I'-sense.
cidambaram That ātmā, that consciousness, that awareness, that cit, upon which the entire fabric of the jagat is woven.
cinmayam (In the form of) pure consciousness; (consisting of) pure thought; nothing but awareness.
cintanam Thinking; reflecting.
cit (citiḥ) Pure consciousness; pure knowledge; pure intelligence; source of all knowledge; source of all manifestation – synonym of caitanyam. (Note: cit - neuter, citiḥ - feminine of the same word).
'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 never be experienced directly and can be arrived at only in terms of its nature of knowing. It is the formless substance of the 'I'-thought, aham.
citra-paṭa-nyāyaḥ The analogy of embroidered cloth. A beautifully embroidered scene of people, mountains, trees and animals soon disappears when threads are pulled. Just so, this entire world of names and forms is no more substantial than richly coloured images 'embroidered' in the fabric of awareness.
cit-svarūpam Of the very form of (of the very nature of) pure knowledge, pure consciousness.
cittamMind-stuff; subconscious mind; memory; power of recollection; part of antaḥ-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. He is portrayed sitting under a banyan tree with his four disciples (sons of Brahmā) known as Sanakaḥ, Sanātanaḥ, Sanandanaḥ and Sanatkumāraḥ.
damaḥMastery over the organs (powers) of sense and action. When there is a possibility of their inappropriate use, such as in the expression of anger or of excessive indulgence, damaḥ is required to channel the emotion appropriately. Damaḥ requires being alert to one's responses and using one's will to modify or redirect them so that one's speech and actions are appropriate. When the mature, objective outlook needed for śamaḥ is unavailable (when anger has risen, for example) damaḥ may be needed to ensure appropriate behaviour. 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.
daśā State; condition (of life); circumstance; period of life; experience.
dayā Compassion; empathy.
dehaḥBody; subject to cremation; 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 gratitude for all with which one has been blessed; 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.
Pure consciousness, due to its very purity, is flawless, perfect, limitless and complete. Being so, whatever arises from it will be of essentially the same nature and will reflect that nature within the confines of its form. This means that, in spite of appearances and to the degree that the limits of manifestation allow, the sṛṣṭiḥ is a flawless, orderly and complete reflection of that nature. That flawless, harmonious orderliness that permeates and upholds all manifestation, as its very adhiṣṭhānam, is dharmaḥ. "All that is here is Īśvaraḥ." *. See sāmānya-dharmaḥ and viśeṣa-dharmaḥ.
dhātuḥElement or constituent of the body, e.g. phlegm, blood, marrow; vital force in man; metal; verbal root.
dharma-aviruddha-karma Action unopposed to dharmaḥ. In living a life of karma-yogaḥ all one's actions are kept aligned with what is perceived of the order that is dharmaḥ. As best one may, one's actions then become unopposed (aviruddha) to dharmaḥ. See karma-yogaḥ.
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.
"To see everything as Bhagavān is dhyānam or upāsanam. To see everything is Bhagavān is jñānam."*
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 is not an action done at a given time daily but is a certain commitment that one keeps to many times a day. It is a mental action to which one is committed and it is done the whole day.
"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 successive hrasva (short) mātrā (measures) of a vowel sound combined to make one long 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 Limitation (often mistranslated as 'defect').
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, draṣṭā (knower); the one who sees.
dṛṣṭāntaḥ An example; illustration.
dṛṣṭiḥ Vision; view.
dṛśya-anuviddha-savikalpa-samādhiḥ A meditation, dhyānam, in which a dṛśyam, an object of knowledge, a thought seen or experienced in the mind, is used as an aid to shift the attention from nāma-rupam, name and form, to be absorbed in that pure consciousness which alone truly exists (asti), shines (bhāti), is pleasing (priya), and is the source of all manifestation.
On dwelling upon a thought arising in the mind, the fact that it is illumined by consciousness is recognised. When that recognition occurs, the focus shifts from the thought to its substratum, consciousness – like shifting one's attention from an ocean wave to its substratum, water. That shift in focus leads to samādhiḥ, absorption of the mind in that substratum, which is oneself. See śabda-anuviddha-savikalpa-samādhiḥ and also samādhiḥ, savikalpa-samādhiḥ and nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ.
dṛśyam That which is seen; the object of knowledge.
duḥkhamSorrow; uneasiness; misery; pain; grief; trouble – see śokaḥ.
duḥkha-saṃyoga-viyogam (Yogaḥ is) dissociation from association with sorrow. Living a life of karma-yogaḥ and, when ready, a life of jñāna-yogaḥ, eventually leads to the clear ascertainment that 'I am the witness of the mind and hence distinct from its thoughts'. As that recognition becomes clearer and clearer, so does dissociation from association with sorrow. Such dissociation is yogaḥ, union with the self rather than the mind. See Gītā 6.23 and also see karma-yogaḥ.
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. pleasure and pain, hot and cold, like and dislike, honour and dishonour, comfort and discomfort, success and failure. See titikṣā.
dvāram Door; entrance; gateway; means.
dvayam Set of two; a pair; dual; couple.
dveṣaḥAversion; dislike; hatred. Where there is an attachment there will be a corresponding aversion to its loss and hence an emotional dependence. see rāgaḥ, vairāgyam, kleśaḥ.
dvijaḥTwice-born; a mature person; an ethical person; a bird; see upanayanam.
dviṣaḥEnemy; foe.
dviṣatāHostility; enmity.
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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 Having qualities; metaphorical.
gauṇa-vṛttiḥ Secondary sense or meaning expressing a perceived attribute; a metaphorical sense as in: "She is brilliant, she is on fire"; a secondary power of words. See mukhyārthaḥ and vācyārthaḥ.
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 anuṣṭup, triṣṭup.
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.
gītā Song; gīta, sung.
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. See hṛdaya-granthiḥ.
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. The guruḥ has to be discovered in the ācāryaḥ, teacher.
The guruḥ, in properly unfolding and interpreting the liberating words of the Upaniṣads, dispells the student's ignorance of himself, the world and God. The student is unable to do this unaided due to his unquestioned assumptions and delusions. Since the human mind interprets whatever it meets only in terms of what it knows, it needs to be shown more than what it knows. "The human intellect is good enough to commit a mistake about the self, but it is not good enough to know [unaided] what the self is"* (and hence needs to be shown). See śiṣyaḥ, guru-śiṣya-paramparā, sampradāyaḥ, paramparā.
gurukṛpā Guru's grace or blessings.
gurukulam A residential school where students stay with the teacher, living as a community, kulam, enjoying both the care and discipline of community life while systematically studying the Vedaḥ and/or traditional Vedāntaḥ in the traditional way. A gurukulam is an āśramaḥ, but not every āśramaḥ is a gurukulam.
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, the total prāṇaḥ and mind, 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; one short mātrā (measure) of a vowel sound; a short measure of a vowel is the time taken to sound the 'a' in hat, or the 'i' in 'hit', or the 'u' in 'put'; also see dīrgha, long; pluta, lengthened.
hṛdaya-granthiḥThe three-stranded knot, granthiḥ, of the heart (consisting of avidyā, kāmaḥ, karma) tying the individual jīvaḥ to saṃsāraḥ.
hṛdayam Heart; mind.
hrīḥ Shame
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 their seat, 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 (protective) 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.
īśvara-arpaṇa-buddhiḥ How an action is performed is more important than the result because, if there is a personal agenda behind it, that agenda, when put into action, will have its own consequences. No personal agenda can be in line with dharmaḥ since such an agenda is an attempt to refashion the world in its own image (the 'I know best' attitude) rather than follow dharma’s lead. Such actions, such a competing world view, being at odds with the flawless order that is dharmaḥ, only leads to more saṃsāraḥ. By following dharmaḥ, a karma-yogī avoids this error. Then the quality of the action becomes more important than the end.
He/she follows dharmaḥ by appreciating the fact that all that is here is Īśvaraḥ, from which there naturally arises the recognition that, not only all inner and outer phenomena, but all one's thoughts, feelings and actions are also in and of Īśvaraḥ (have īśvaraḥ as their very existence and occur only by His grace, just as is the case with the waker and the dream world that arises with the dream state). This understanding is what is meant by īśvara-arpaṇa-buddhiḥ, consigning or offering (arpaṇa) all one's actions to Īśvaraḥ. It results in a natural desire to live in accord with the orderly manifestation that is Īśvaraḥ, and so one makes efforts to live a life of dharmaḥ. See karma-yogaḥ.
īśvara-praṇidhānam Meditation on (dwelling upon) Īśvaraḥ in the recognition that all is Īśvaraḥ, resulting in respectful, worshipful conduct towards all and everything – a near synonym for īśvara-arpaṇa-buddhiḥ, in which all one's actions are recognised to be in and of Īśvaraḥ, there being nothing else here but Īśvaraḥ.
īśvara-prasāda-buddhiḥ Although an individual has the power to act, the results of action occur only in line with dharmaḥ, the natural, universal law and order that is Īśvaraḥ. Due to the individual's limited knowledge and power, the results of action are not his to command. On recognising that Īśvaraḥ is the only karma-phala-dātā, the only giver of the fruits of action, results are accepted as prasādaḥ, a gift from Īśvaraḥ. This attitude brings samatvam, equanimity, sameness or evenness of mind towards all results in all situations. See karma-yogaḥ.
īśvara-sṛṣṭiḥ The manifest world; the world made manifest by Īśvara's creative power, māyā; the world experienced by the jīvaḥ in the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā. See jīva-sṛṣṭiḥ.
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; just as; as though.
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jaḍamInsentient; inert; lifeless; inanimate; absence of knowledge of the existence of oneself; absence of a sūkṣma-śarīram. All objects and phenomena (including the mind) are inert by nature. Any consciousness they exhibit is borrowed from the ātmā.
jagatUniverse – which becomes manifest and unmanifest continuously, cyclically, 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, but the cause is the ripening prārabdha-karma of (innumerable) jīvas, a ripening that lawfully demands expression and, being lawful, cannot be gainsaid. The cause is not some capricious whim or desire of Īśvaraḥ but the natural and inevitable consequence of dharmaḥ.
jāgrad-avasthā Waking state of the mind in which the gross world of physical objects, created by Īśvaraḥ, is experienced via the senses (also created by Īśvaraḥ). Free-will and doership exist only in the waking state, not in dream or deep sleep. See svapna-avasthā, dream state; suṣupti-avasthā, deep-sleep state; turīya, 'the fourth'; avasthā-trayam, the three states of experience.
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 (seen earlier)" 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 implied 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 gives up his stand in spite of all evidence to the contrary, which means neither has any regard for the truth and neither can be reasoned with. The purpose is only to convert the other party, which is typical of a cult. Also see samvādaḥ, vādaḥ, vitaṇḍa-vādaḥ.
jananamProduction; creation; birth; life; coming into existence.
janma(n)Birth; embodiment; the four sources of 'birth' are:
aṇḍaja, egg-born (birds, reptiles, etc.)
jarāyuja, womb-born (humans, mammals)
svedaja, moisture-born (lice, mosquitos, etc.)
udbhijja, seed-born (plants, vegetation)
Although on this Earth there are 8.4 million species of living things, and hence 8.4 million types of birth that are possible for a jīvaḥ, the actual number of possible births is of course immeasurable.
jantuḥ A living being; a creature.
japaḥRepeated utterance (of a mantraḥ); chanting. Japaḥ may be loud, barely audible or silent – the latter being the most powerful. 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.
Even more importantly, 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.
jihāsā-vairāgyamFalse, temporary dispassion; a desire to give up resulting from disenchantment, despair, frustration, pain, etc. See vairāgyam.
jihvā Tongue
jijñāsā Desire/thirst for knowledge.
jijñāsuḥ A person desirous of knowledge.
jitendriyaḥ Someone 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 relatively 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'-notion (ahaṅkāraḥ) is identified with the body-mind-sense complex and hence has kartṛtvam (doership) and bhoktṛtvam (enjoyership).
jīvan-muktaLiberated from apparent individuality; free while living. His knowledge of being free is clear and unshakeable, his happiness is continuous and cannot be overshadowed, and although he continues to experience the world, he is undisturbed by it, knowing it to be mithyāḥ. Knowing that ahaṅkāraḥ and mamatvam are ātmā alone, they remain merely notional and are used only for transacting with the world. Having no guilt or regrets about the past, he is unconcerned about the future and is dispassionate towards the present, ever remaining even-minded. He is free from 'becoming'.
jīvan-muktiḥLiberation while living (liberation after death is videha-muktiḥ).
jīva-sṛṣṭiḥThe jīva's creation. The jīvaḥ responds (in the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā) to the world it meets (the Īśvara-sṛṣṭiḥ) forming favourable and unfavourable impressions (vāsanās). These lead to the jīvaḥ living in a self-created personal world of largely habitual moods, predispositions and responses in the form of attachments and aversions and their consequent desires and fears. In short, the jīvaḥ projects its own world view, the jīva-sṛṣṭiḥ, upon the Īśvara-sṛṣṭiḥ, "This is how I see it, this is my view..." See prātibhāsika-satyam.
jīvātmā Ātmā (consciousness) associated with an individual body-mind-sense complex.
jīvatvamThe state or condition of being a jīvaḥ; jīva-hood.
jñānābhyāsaḥ Involving oneself in jñāna-yogaḥ, i.e. in śravaṇam, mananam and nididhyāsanam.
jñānādhyāsaḥ The error of taking to be real an accurate perception that is factually incorrect, e.g., taking the rising of the Sun in the east to be a fact.
jñāna-kāṇḍaḥ Upaniṣads – that (latter) part of the Vedas that deals with self-knowledge. See karma-kāṇḍaḥ.
jñāna-karma samuccayaḥCombination of knowledge and action. Some think that knowledge needs to be combined with action to attain liberation, i.e. learn the theory then put it into practice. That is not true. 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-niṣṭhā Abiding 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 systematically hearing (śravaṇam), for a length of time, the guruḥ unfold the Upaniṣads, then removing doubts and misunderstandings from what has been heard (mananam) and, finally, dwelling (nididhyāsanam) upon what is properly understood of the true nature of the self 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.
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, a principal manifest form of ignorance (dispelled only by knowledge) leads to karma, action and its results. See karma.
Frustrated desire leads to krodhaḥ, anger. 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 mental and/or physical result.
At its core, every desire is a wish to be free from being a wanting person, a person bound by limits. That desire for freedom from limitation is because everyone's true nature is limitlessness – which is true happiness – and it cannot and will not be gainsaid.
See the six malas, impurities; also see eṣaṇā and icchā.
kāmakāmī One who desires pleasure; a pleasure-seeker.
kamaṇḍaluḥ Water-pot used by ascetics.
kāmya-karma Any volitional action, karma, in which choice is (naturally!) involved and which aims to fulfil a specific desire, kāmaḥ; a choice-based action often producing a desired result that is binding. Even if a kāmya-karma is performed in line with dharmaḥ it will produce puṇyam, which has to be exhausted one day, thereby perpetuating saṃsāraḥ.
kāñcanam Gold
kāṇḍaḥ Section; chapter; part; portion.
kaṇṭhaḥ Throat; neck; guttural sound.
kāntiḥ Beauty; loveliness; female beauty.
kāraṇa-kārya-viveka-prakriyāA method (prakriyā) of analysis (vivekaḥ) that reveals Reality by distinguishing between cause (kāraṇam) and effect (kāryam). It is also known as sṛṣṭi-viveka-prakriyā, a method of analysing the creation (to reveal its source) or adhyāropa-apavāda-viveka-prakriyā, a 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 (especially action from free-will); object of an action; duty; that which causes the production of bodies (new births) and hence saṃsāraḥ.
No amount of action, being limited, can produce the limitlessness that is mokṣaḥ. Action may contribute towards the mental preparation needed for jñānam, but jñānam need not, cannot, be combined with karma for mokṣaḥ.
karma-kāṇḍaḥ The early part of the Vedaḥ, dealing with rituals and their results. See jñāna-kāṇḍaḥ.
karma-phala-dātāGiver of the fruit of action. The natural, inter-related, flawless laws of dharmaḥ 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.) may (with sufficient experience) be ours to anticipate, but is not ours to command. See īśvara-prasāda-buddhiḥ.
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. "There is karma-yogaḥ only when Īśvaraḥ is brought into the picture."*
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.
karma-yogī "If you follow values and do what is to be done without recognising Īśvaraḥ then you are a clean person but not a karma-yogī. Only when you are a karma-yogī is there a relative resolution of the ego into Īśvaraḥ – there is some kind of settlement between the jīvaḥ and Īśvaraḥ. Only then will Vedāntaḥ work.
"When you do what is to be done there is trust in the order that is Īśvaraḥ. In that trust you relax. This relaxation is called purification of mind. Then your rāga-dveṣas, likes and dislikes, are neutralised, you are no longer under their hold. So, purification of mind is settling account with Īśvaraḥ, otherwise you are like a ninja with reference to the world, fighting with it all the time.
"The order that is Īśvaraḥ is everywhere, inside and out. The world is included in this order. So, if you settle account with Īśvaraḥ, you need not fight with the world. When you submit to that order, you relax. The more you appreciate the order, the easier submission to it becomes. Until there is submission to the order, the ego does not resolve its problems. When the resolution has more or less taken place, Vedānta-vākyas, the teachings of Vedanta, will work. The teaching will be all light, not mere words."*
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.
kartṛtvam Doership; the sense of being the doer or author of action. See bhoktṛtvam.
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 prakṛtiḥ. 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; "Vedāntaḥ doesn't work unless you love yourself. And unless you clear the kaṣāyaḥ, the unconscious inhibitions that deny self-love and make you loathe yourself, you cannot love yourself. Therefore, you start with self-care. Self-care begins with what one considers oneself to be." *
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 – Gītā 2.50) 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
kiñcit Small amount; very little.
kīrtanam Singing (praising) the glory of God.
kleśaḥ Affliction; due to ignorance, various afflictions arise for the jīvaḥ impairing recognition of Īśvaraḥ, such as avidyā - ignorance, asmitā - egoism, rāgaḥ - attachment, dveṣaḥ - aversion, abhiniveśaḥ - clinging to the body and to earthly life, jananam - birth, maraṇam - death, etc.
kośaḥOne of the five areas of the kārya-karaṇa-saṅghātaḥ, 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. Only an action in line with dharmaḥ is an action born of free-will because only a will in line with dharmaḥ is free (at least temporarily) of its delusions, restrictions and flaws. "Freedom is in spite of free-will."*
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 worldly pursuits 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 said to be 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...
lakṣya-lakṣaṇa-sambandhaḥThe relationship (sambandhaḥ) between a word (lakṣyam, the thing being defined) and its meaning (lakṣaṇam, the definition). 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) not just of life, but a sign that a functioning mind infused by consciousness is present. 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 term bhū, 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:
ahaṃ brahmāsmi
ayamātmā brahma
prajñānaṃ brahma
There is no gradation between them (as some suggest), the lakṣyārthaḥ of all is the same. Some other mahā-vākyas are:
brahma veda brahmaiva bhavati
neha nānāsti kiñcana
sarvaṃ hyetadbrahma
sarvaṃ khalvidaṃ brahma
satyaṃ jñānam anantaṃ brahma
maitrī Friendliness; benevolence; good will.
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 particular 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. Due to identification with one body, the mind divides what it meets into 'me', 'mine' and 'not mine', superimposing attributes on the self.
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, feeling, desiring) as well as to represent the mind as a whole; see antaḥ-karaṇam, sūkṣma-śarīram.
mananamLit. 'thinking'. Resolving doubts by reflecting, with appropriate reasoning, on what has been heard 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; (māndyam, dullness).
maṅgalam Auspicious; synonyms are bhadram, kalyāṇam, śam, śivam, śubham, svasti.
maṇiḥ Jewel; gem; ornament.
manīṣā Ascertained knowledge of the vision of the śrutiḥ.
manomaya Having the mind as an upādhiḥ (lit. made of mind). This term refers to the mind being an upādhiḥ for ātmā. See manomaya-kośaḥ.
manomaya-kośaḥThe five senses plus the mind, which seemingly cover the non-coverable ātmā, together constitute the manomaya-koṣaḥ. Being pervaded by the vijñānamaya-kośaḥ, the mind too becomes a kośaḥ due to the reflection of consciousness in the buddhiḥ causing it (the mind) to identify with its location (the body) objectify what it meets and so create 'me', 'mine', etc. Then follows further mistaken identification and division with the modifications of the senses and mind into 'I am angry, peaceful, unsure, enthusiastic, cautious, kind, unkind, blind, sharp-eyed, deaf, hear well', etc. Any sukha, happiness, in the manomaya belongs to the ānandamaya-kośaḥ which pervades it. See manas, pañca-kośāḥ, annamaya-kośaḥ, prāṇamaya-kośaḥ, vijñānamaya-kośaḥ, ānandamaya-kośaḥ.
mano-nigrahaḥ Mastery over 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, nididhyāsanam, eventually leading to absorption in one's svarūpam.
mantraḥThat which protects the reciter (through understanding and repeatedly dwelling upon its meaning). A mantraḥ can be a name of Īśvaraḥ, the Lord, a word revealing the essential nature of Reality, the self. Any Vedic sentence in prose or verse is revered as a mantraḥ.
mantra-upaniṣad An Upaniṣad in the form of hymns (verses), e.g. the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad. See brahmana-upaniṣad.
manuṣyaḥ A living being capable of thinking, i.e. a human being.
manuṣya-yajñaḥWorship of Īśvaraḥ in the form of one's fellow human beings by appropriately caring for and serving them; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas.
manvantaram Period of each Manu's rule i.e. 71 caturyugas; one 14th of a kalpa, which is a day of Brahmā or 1,000 caturyugas.
maraṇam Death; (māraṇam, killing, slaying).
mārgaḥ Path; way; course; route. There are not, as some claim, four paths to mokṣaḥ. In fact, since the self is ever-free, there is no path or road to travel. Instead, the 'path' is one of enquiry (leading to the discovery 'I am Brahman') an enquiry that involves 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.
māyā Power of Īśvaraḥ. Māyā does not exist independently of Īśvaraḥ and hence is mithyā (as 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.
From the standpoint of the jīvaḥ it can seem that māyā is an upādhi of Īśvaraḥ. However, 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 absolutely (independently) 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 Vedāntaḥ, 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. See other dualist opponents of Vedāntaḥ – cārvākaḥ, sāṅkhya and naiyāyika).
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. The pot and ornament are present only while the substratum, clay or gold, is present; remove the substratum and the pot and ornament vanish. Hence, the pot and ornament are both mithyā, seemingly real, dependently real, not absolutely real. (Synonym of mṛṣā, unreal, false.) 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.
mṛt Clay
mṛtyuḥDeath; Lord of Death.
mūḍhāḥ The deluded; the confused ones.
mudrā Name for certain hand gestures and finger positions.
muhūrtaḥ A period of 48 minutes – a typical length of time for a meditation session. See brāhmamuhūrtam.
mukhyārthaḥ Primary or usual meaning of a word or sentence. 'On the face of it, it means...' (mukham, face). See vācyārthaḥ, gauṇa-vṛttiḥ, lakṣyārthaḥ.
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, knowing clearly what that means i.e. knowing that through recognition of one's true nature, all ignorance-born bondages (from the ego to the body) will go. For such a person, it is by far the predominant goal in life. In contrast, a mumukṣā is one who has heard of mokṣaḥ, likes the idea of it and desires it, but who is unclear exactly what it is, its relation to jñānam and how mokṣaḥ is attained.
mumukṣutvam Having the status of being desirous of liberation, mokṣaḥ. This status is something that is arrived at when all the prior stages of sādhana-catuṣṭayam have reached sufficient maturity. This singular desirousness arises on recognising that all desires are in fact expressions of the desire for freedom from limitation and its accompanying sense of inadequacy and constraint. That recognition and its consequent changed priorities (all due to vivekaḥ) brings an enduring commitment, a status of being unshakeably committed to that quest for freedom and its means, jṇānam. See sādhana-catuṣṭayam.
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 Nerve; a system of subtle nerves (unavailable via dissection) runs throughout the subtle body and converges on the heart, the seat or golakam of the mind, antaḥkaraṇam.
naimittika-karmaOccasional (not daily) duties, some of which will be regular e.g. monthly, yearly. All naimittika-karmas are included in nitya-karmas. Their performance earns puṇyam. Even though non-performance of naimittika-karma will not incur pāpam, turning to and involvement in unnecessary action then becomes inevitable. Dalliance with the unnecessary, pratyavāya-doṣaḥ (the fault of omission) is a slippery slope that leads to doing what should not be done, which produces pāpam.
In the aspirant for mokṣaḥ, nitya-naimittika-karmas become niṣkāma-karmas, and kāmya-karmas are left untouched. See karma, kāmya-karma, nitya-karma, niṣiddha-karma, pratiṣiddha-karma, prāyaścitta-karma.
naiścalyam Steadiness; solidity; fixity.
naiṣkarmyam Actionlessness
naivedyam Offerable; conveyable; food (symbolically) offered to a deity.
naiyāyikaḥ Logician; a user and follower of the dualist nyāyaḥ (logic) system of philosophy that asserts that the world is real, that Īśvaraḥ is different from the world and that you, a unique jīvaḥ, are a kartā, doer, and bhoktā, enjoyer. The naiyāyikas claim one becomes liberated by knowing the different elements of which the world consists. In common with other dualist schools (the mīmāṃsakas, sāṅkhyas and cārvākas) they form the chief debating opponents of Vedāntins.
nākaḥ Heaven; vault of Heaven; firmament; (a place of) no unhappiness. See svargaḥ
nakṣatram Star; constellation.
nāma Name
namaḥ Salutations – namaste (namaḥ-te), 'salutations to you'.
nāma-rūpam Name (nāma) and form (rūpam). This insubtantial world is mere name and form whose only substance is satyam.
nānā Many; various; different; diversely.
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 group of seven lower regions, which are (in descending order): atalam, vitalam, sutalam, talātalam, rasātalam, mahātalam, with pātālam lowest of all. See lokaḥ and svargaḥ.
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.
neha nānāsti kiñcana "There is no second thing here at all." Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.1.11. See mahāvākyam.
netā Leader
neti-neti "Not this, not this" (lit. "No! No!"); an expression used in, for example, 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, pure consciousness, 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.
Nididhyāsanam is possible only after śravaṇam and mananam as its purpose is only the full ascertainment and assimilation of what has already been correctly understood from śravaṇam and mananam (and the removal of viparīta-bhāvanā).
nidrā Sleep. Māyā or universal ignorance has its individual (vyaṣṭiḥ) aspect, known as nidrā, in the jīvaḥ with the same two-fold power of veiling/projecting and hence capable of projecting a 'new' individual, in his/her own world, in svapnaḥ, dream.
Nidrā is a general term for either svapnaḥ (dreaming sleep) or suṣuptiḥ (deep sleep). The very word nidrā itself, meaning sleep, emphasises the primacy of sleep, indicating that each state of dream and waking arises directly from the deep-sleep state.
nigamanam Conclusion arrived at through deductive reasoning from two or more propositions; conclusive summary of an argument.
nigrahaḥ Restraint; obstruction; mastery.
nihita Present; placed; bestowed; entrusted.
niḥśeṣa Completely; totally; wholly; entirely.
nikhila Entire; all; complete; nothing left out.
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.
nimittam 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 Ascertainment; verdict; conclusion; resolution; decision; judgement; 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.
nirupādhikam Without upādhiḥ (limiting adjunct); see upādhiḥ.
nirupādhika-adhyāsaḥ In nirupādhikādhyāsaḥ, pure consciousness (pure existence) is cognitively distinguished from the relevant upadhiḥ. See sopādhikādhyāsaḥ, adhyāsaḥ and upādhiḥ.
nirvāṇam Nirvāṇam implies the nature of Reality being non-coverability (Reality is non-coverable because of its nature of all-pervasiveness); 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 [also known as asamprajñāta-samādhiḥ or nirbīja-samādhiḥ] 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, being an experience that comes and goes, is not mokṣaḥ. See samādhiḥ and 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. Action not in line with dharmaḥ and therefore forbidden by the scriptures and which accumulates pāpam. See karma, kāmya-karma, nitya-karma, naimittika-karma, pratiṣiddha-karma, prāyaścitta-karma.
niṣkala Partless (an epithet for consciousness).
niṣkāma Free from (binding) desire.
niṣkāma-karma An action free from binding desire, which means an action that is proper, necessary and done with no ulterior motive, no desire for personal benefit. Moreover, when such an action is done, recognising that the fulfilment of the need is the fulfilment of Īśvara's dharmaḥ, it can become an action dedicated to Īśvaraḥ. Such a recognition and the consequent surrendering or entrusting of the action to Īśvaraḥ is known as īśvara-arpaṇa-buddhiḥ. It brings antaḥkaraṇa-śuddhiḥ, purification of the mind, as it incurs Īśvara's grace while turning the mind away from excessive 'me-focussed' behaviour. See karma-yogaḥ. (Desire is natural and necessary for action. All actions are done with desire, but a desire having a personal motive binds).
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-karma Any regular, daily or occasional duty and hence, the term includes naimitta-karma and of course religious duties. Doing what needs to be done is choiceless because a need is by definition not a matter of choice but of recognition. Fulfilling a need earns puṇyam and avoids or even mitigates pāpam (nitya-karmas such as prayer may mitigate the impact, or even neutralise the results, of prior wrong action).
When nitya-naimittika-karmas (daily and occasional duties) are done for antaḥkaraṇa-śuddhiḥ, purification of the mind (as a step towards mokṣaḥ) they become niṣkāma-karmas, actions not driven by binding personal desire and hence part of karma-yogaḥ. See karma, kāmya-karma, naimittika-karma, niṣiddha-karma, pratiṣiddha-karma, prāyaścitta-karma.
nitya-śuddha-buddha-mukta Timeless, pure, awakened, liberated – an expression sometimes used to describe a jñānī.
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.
niyamaḥ Injunction; rule; precept; name of a set of five injunctions in aṣṭāṅga-yogaḥ, namely:
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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omThe sacred sound-symbol (pratīkaḥ) of the Lord, Om is an auspicious name of Īśvaraḥ and so when chanted it invokes Īśvaraḥ, helping one recognise the vastu. It is the essence of the Vedaḥ. The Vedaḥ tells us that everything comes from, is sustained by and goes back to Om. Om is used for both saguṇa- as well as nirguṇa-dhyānam. See praṇavaḥ.
The vowel 'o' in the word Om should be pronounced similarly to the vowel sound in 'show', 'foe' or 'sew'. The vowel 'o' should be one long (dīrgha) measure of sound, i.e. two successive short (hrasva) measures combined, no longer. One short measure is the time taken to say the 'a' in 'hat' or 'sat'. Similarly, the final or closing sound, the labial sound 'm', should be short. This gives an overall total of three short measures for the duration of the sound Om.
Om, a single-syllable sound, is not to be pronounced (or written) 'aum' or any variant of it. 'Aum' is a teaching device (used, for instance, in the Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad) revealing the three phonetic elements of Om and their significance. It is not a pronunciation guide.
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 (usually the direct meaning); 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-element 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, a measure of 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 (mithyā) 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. Note that although the finer successively pervades the grosser, the five kośas are not within one another like a series of Russian dolls nesting within dolls (with ānandamaya as the innermost 'doll' and ātmā within that). Instead, all are within the mind and ātmā pervades all five, at every level, as the very existence and substance of each. The cognitive negation of each in turn arrives at the non-negatable sākṣī, the witness. See...
pañca-kośa-viveka-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, aham, 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 toward the mental preparation (karma-yogaḥ) needed for mokṣaḥ.
pañcīkaraṇamGrossification of the five subtle elements, tanmātras (lit. 'making into five'); one half of the tāmasika aspect of each is combined with one eighth of each of the tāmasika aspects of the other four. (The word 'elementals' refers to the modified forms of the five gross elements, namely all the objects (forms) in the world, jagat, including the words denoting those forms and the purpose those forms serve.)
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; limitless; 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.
paramātmā The limitless, all-pervasive, ever-pure, ever-unchanging, ever-accomplished, timeless self out of which the universe is born, is sustained, and to which it returns; synonym for pratyagātmā, the pure consciousness whose recognition and full ascertainment as the same, secondless, ultimate truth (svarūpaḥ) of the jīvaḥ, Īśvaraḥ and Brahman is what is meant by liberation.
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.
parihāraḥ Removal; exclusion; cessation; omission.
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.
paripaśyanti Clearly see or recognise.
paripūrṇa Absolutely full. Time, space and all objects are so absolutely 'filled' by consciousness that consciousness is in fact all that is there.
parokṣa-jñānam Indirect (out of direct sight) knowledge; knowledge not from direct perception, e.g. "I heard they arrived safely."
Similarly, when the student understands sufficiently well for it to make sense that the creation is mithyā, its substratum is Īśvaraḥ, the self is limitless, and so on, that understanding is indirect, it is parokṣa-jñānam, not yet enough in itself to bring mokṣaḥ. What is now needed is immediate knowledge, 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.
paṭu Sharp; skilful; clever; adroit; (paṭutvam, acuteness, keenness, sharpness, cleverness).
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; result of hearing; a concluding summary, after śravaṇam, of what has been taught; the benefit to be gained through properly hearing a text being unfolded by a teacher and the praise of that benefit. (Proper hearing is the result of listening without omission, distortion or addition.)
pīḍā Hurt; pain; ache.
pihita Covered; concealed; hidden.
piṇḍaḥ Any roundish mass; lump; morsel of food; a solid object; the body; microcosm.
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; three or more successive hrasva (short) mātrā (measures) of a vowel sound combined to make one lengthened or prolonged sound; 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.
pradhvaṃsa-abhāvaḥ Non-existence due to annihilation or destruction. When something that existed is destroyed, it ceases to exist, ceases to be manifest (on being broken, a pot is no longer evident).
prāg-abhāvaḥ Prior non-existence; birth. Prior to birth, prior to becoming manifest, an object seems not to exist (prior to the clay being moulded, no pot is evident).
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 (synonym of prajñānam).
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 Īśvaraḥ with his māyā (described in the Māṇḍūkya as the antaryāmī, inner controller) – see taijasaḥ, viśvaḥ.
prajñānamPure knowledge, i.e. the source of vṛitti-jñānam, manifest knowledge. That which knows without any instrument of knowledge; that which knows by its mere presence; that which is of the nature of knowing. Source of all knowledge. Abstract, formless Truth. Pure consciousness. That because of which the mind, etc., have sentience and function.
prajñānaṃ brahma'Consciousness is Brahman' (Aitareya 3.3). What is being said here is that Brahman, absolute Reality, is pure consciousness. Pure consciousness is not to be confused with the ordinary consciousness of the waking state, which is consciousness associated with thoughts, feelings and perceptions. See prajñānam, 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; a method of discriminative, analytical enquiry (vivekaḥ) correcting confusion about ātmā. See...
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:
pramātā Knower (also termed pramātṛ).
prameyam The object known; knowable.
pramodaḥ Intense 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 pañca-kośāḥ, 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. Since prāṇaḥ is associated with the mind, its properly exercised control assists in quietening the mind as well as in restoring and maintaining bodily health. See prāṇaḥ.
praṇidhānam Meditation upon a deity; prostration; respectful conduct; prayer; vow; (also many other meanings.)
praṇipātaḥ Prostration; falling at the feet of the teacher in reverential and humble submission. Such prostration demonstrates a desire and gratitude for what the teacher imparts, and humbly implies 'my mind is at your feet and has yet to rise to (and match the thinking in) your head'.
Prostration at the feet of the teacher in aṣṭāṅga-namaskāraḥ (eight-limbed obeisance) includes not only the touching of the ground with the forehead, shoulders, chest, hands, knees and feet, but also includes speech (to utter 'namaste') and mind (in reverence).
prapañcaḥ Universe (manifest or unmanifest); the five-element 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, thereby exhausting some puṇya-pāpam. Prārabdham has an allotted span measured in breaths (one inward and outward breath counting as one breath).
Being the outcome of the law of karma and thus part of Īśvara-sṛṣṭiḥ (not jīva-sṛṣṭiḥ) prārabdha-karma must run its full course. Just as an arrow once released travels as it must, so prārabdha-karma (of the wise too) must run its full course. And yet, to the one who is awake to the fact 'I am Brahman', prārabdha-karma is no more real and has no more value than a dream has to a waker. 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. Teaching should occur only in response to questions, to a sincere desire to know, not from a desire to teach. Questions need to put properly, which means with reverence for the teaching and with respect for and trust in the teacher (and certainly not in an attempt to test the teacher).
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'.
There are said to be three obstacles to knowledge: ignorance (removed by śravaṇam, hearing the teaching), doubts about what is heard (removed by mananam, appropriate reasoning) and thirdly, habitual error (removed by nididhyāsanam, deep contemplation).
An habitual error, viparīta-bhāvanā, is an enduring impediment or obstruction to self-knowledge caused by one's prārabdha-pāpam. It typically takes the form of a firm, unquestioned, subliminal conviction such as "I am this body."
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.
pratibimba-vādaḥReflection model. A model or teaching device presenting worldly phenomena as a 'reflected' (rather than 'conditioned') form of consciousness, e.g. the intellect is said to be alive and shines due to its being a 'reflection' (not a 'condition') of consciousness. As an alternative, see avaccheda-vādaḥ – both models have their merits and flaws.
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; typically a life-like idol or statue, a murtiḥ.
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. Although this practice helps deal with rāga-dveṣas and their related emotions, for example, it is primarily intended to bring a more comprehensive or total perspective to situations, thereby neutralising any limited or partial view.
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. (To prepare the mind for what is true, it is usually necessary first to dismiss or negate what is untrue. What is true is then best revealed by implication, thus avoiding the literalness or grossness in thought that definition can bring.)
pratiṣiddha-karmaProhibited or forbidden actions; actions that go against the specific prescription of dharmaḥ and accumulate pāpam, unwelcome results; also called niṣiddha-karma (restrained, checked, prevented action). See karma, kāmya-karma, nitya-karma, naimittika-karma, niṣiddha-karma, prāyaścitta-karma.
pratiṣṭhā Stability; superiority; steadfastness; ground; foundation; tranquillity.
pratiṣṭhitā Established; rooted; installed; fixed; well-founded; thriving.
pratītiḥ Complete understanding or ascertainment; conviction; obviousness; clear perception; delight; clarity.
pratyagātmā Innermost self; Reality obtaining as the svarūpam of 'I'.
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; perception via hearing, seeing, tasting, etc.; one of the six pramāṇas – see the others: anumānam, anupalabdhiḥ, arthāpattiḥ, śabdaḥ, upamānam.
pratyakṣa-jñānamKnowledge (of objects) derived from direct sensory perception. See parokṣa-jñānam, aparokṣa-jñānam.
pratyavāya-doṣaḥLimitation, error or fault, doṣaḥ, of omission, pratyavāyaḥ (of a duty); backsliding; neglect of duty.
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'.
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
pravilāpanam Resolution; solution; disentanglement; clarification; conclusion. Resolution is not, as some think, a dissolution or destruction of name and form in Brahman, it is a cognitive resolution of the pot in its substratum, clay (and similarly, of the pot-space in space). There is no need to destroy the pot to appreciate that what is there is clay! In fact, there is nothing to destroy. It is only in knowledge of the vastu that everything gets resolved.
pravṛttiḥActivity; employment; tendency; source; process; fate; application; practice; continuance; behaviour; participation in the world; full involvement in worldly life; giving primacy to preyas rather than śreyas – see nivṛttiḥ.
prāyaścitta-karmaAn expiatory karma – a specific ritual performed to neutralise the results of previous wrong action. See karma, kāmya-karma, nitya-karma, naimittika-karma, niṣiddha-karma, pratiṣiddha-karma.
prayatnaḥ Appropriate continued effort; perseverance; will; see saṅkalpaḥ.
prayojanam Purpose; object; gain; benefit.
prema Love; kindness; tender regard.
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.
At no time can the jīvaḥ be without a body. Depending on its place or destination, it is given an appropriate one in which different elements are predominant. In the dream state, svapna-avasthā, for example, the body that is present is different from that of the waking state. In Heaven, fire is the predominant element in bodies; on Earth, their predominant element is earth. Elsewhere, air might be the predominant element.
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).
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-element 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.
puram Town (brahma-puram is used figuratively to indicate Brahman's 'place' or 'abode').
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. (pūrṇatvam, fullness – the nature of ātmā).
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, freedom 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.
pūrva Before; earlier; prior; foregoing; eastern.
pūrvapakṣī One who presents an alternative opinion or contention, typically from an earlier, pūrva, established belief system or 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 by the teacher, showing how it is flawed. 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-dveṣaḥ(Binding) attachment and aversion (arising as the impulses of likes and dislikes). 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. Note that attachment and aversion are harmless and normal when expressions of preference or care. It's only when that preference or care becomes an emotional dependence or demand that it binds people. See vairāgyam and karma-yogaḥ.
rāgaḥ Attachment; passion; strong liking; dependence on the world for one's happiness; red colour; inflammation; See vairāgyam, 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, avidyā, in which a dimly-lit rope, rajjus, is mistaken for a snake, sarpaḥ, and fear strikes. The mistaking of one object for another is called arthādhyāsaḥ.
Ignorance of the rope is beginningless for there was no knowledge of rope prior to 'snake' and no presence of 'snake' before being seen – the best that can be said is that the ignorance was there on seeing it (on seeing the snake). If ignorance of the rope did have a beginning, there would have been a prior knowledge of rope, which there wasn't. Neither can the snake be said to be in the rope or on the rope, for the rope is unknown; all that is known is 'snake' (and fear). It can be said that the snake is mistakenly projected or superimposed on the 'situation' (not on the rope, which remains unknown, as good as unmanifest and not the cause of fear) because whatever is in fact there is simply not being seen correctly and is apparently displaced by what is not properly there, the mithyā snake and the consequent mithyā fear.
Ignorance, avidyā, is not connected in any way to the rope and ignorance exists only as long as ignorance is there. "Ignorance belongs to the one who sees it."* See avidyā and āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ.
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.
rogaḥ Disease; (bhāva-rogaḥ, disease of saṃsāraḥ).
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 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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śabda-anuviddha-savikalpa-samādhiḥA meditation, dhyānam, using words, śabdāḥ, from the scriptures to help shift the attention from nāma-rupam, name and form, to absorption in that pure consciousness that is the source of manifestation.
Words from śāstram may best be dwelt upon in meditation when their meaning is not only properly and fully understood but is so well-established that on hearing them it immediately flashes in the mind without a pause for translation. Dwelling on the meaning then becomes a means of absorption, samādhiḥ, in the self as the words are about myself. There arises absorption in the very consciousness that illumines the meaning. See dṛśya-anuviddha-savikalpa-samādhiḥ and also samādhiḥ, savikalpa-samādhiḥ and nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ.
śabdaḥ Sound; 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.
Note that śabda-pramāṇam involves only enquiry into the vastu, not the ignorance that covers it. The aim of the enquiry is to know the vastu, not the ignorance.
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. These three words are not describing three different things, they are three words for one thing, absolute Reality. 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
sadā Always
sādhakaḥ A disciplined aspirant.
sādhana-catuṣṭayamThe group of four qualifications needed for ātmajñānam or mokṣaḥ.
Vedāntaḥ is a pramāṇam for self-knowledge only when the student is sufficiently qualified. Sufficient qualification is a mind that is clear enough to hear the teaching fully, without distortion or addition. The distortions and additions take the form of mental pollutants such as agitation, arrogance, complacency, attachments, aversions, dullness – and especially lack of objectivity towards one's mind. The four qualifications are: vivekaḥ, 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.
sādhāraṇa Universal; common to all; general.
sādhuḥ A good person; a person of values; noble; a pious, highly disciplined, virtuous aspirant; a renunciate; a saṃnyāsī.
sādhyam Goal to be accomplished.
ṣaḍ-liṅgāni The six indications by which the true tātparyam, purport, of a text may be established:
upakrama-upasaṃhāraḥ - beginning and end (consistency of)
arthavādaḥ - explanation (of meaning)
abhyāsaḥ - repetition (of same idea elsewhere)
upapattiḥ - proof (as established by reasoning)
apūrvatā - uniqueness (not knowable by other means)
phalam - result (whether one will accrue or not).
sāgaraḥ Ocean; sea; see samudraḥ.
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 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.
"As in all the notes of a flute, the sound of a flute is recognised, similarly in every vṛtti, you recognise paramātmā."*
sākṣīWitness; seer; consciousness (i.e. ātmā) in the role of 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, which is not (and never can be) experienced; that which illumines without help from anything else and which itself never can be illumined or objectified.
saktiḥAttachment, in general; 'stickiness'; longing; sense of ownership; also see asaktiḥ.
śaktiḥPower; capacity; faculty; skill.
śaktimān Power-possessor.
śakya Possible; workable; practicable.
sālakṣaṇyam Different objects can belong to the same group if they share characteristics, e.g. chairs, tables, sofas, although different from each other are all classed as furniture.
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 of liberation from sorrow, thereby being focussed without being distracted; see ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see śamaḥ, damaḥ, uparamaḥ, titikṣā, śraddhā.
samādhiḥAbsorption. Being a highly refined state, samādhiḥ is unlikely to occur in a mind that is beset by unhealthy choices, emotional difficulties, strong attachments and aversions, and other similar impediments. Facing and dealing with such problems while living a life of karma-yogaḥ is a necessary preliminary step not only for meditation but, more importantly, for the mental and emotional growth needed for jñāna-yogaḥ and for the eventual freedom from limitations that is mokṣaḥ.
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'. Vairāgyam, dispassion, developed from seeing again and again the limitations in objects, provides the means. Only a mature, dispassionate, objective mind has śamaḥ.
A discipline practised to have mastery over one's ways of thinking rather than being at their mercy.
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-sambandhaḥ.
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 applicable to all and sundry regardless of time, religion, gender, age, race, country, social status, etc. For example, non-hurting or harmlessness is an ethical and moral value applicable to all, at all times and in all situations. Sāmānya-dharmaḥ is also known as sādhāraṇa-dharmaḥ. See viśeṣa-dharmaḥ and dharmaḥ.
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.
samatvam yogaḥ ucyate Evenness of mind is called yogaḥ. This evenness is with regard to the results of action. It depends on the capacity to see that all events, all phenomena, all activity and their results occur by means of and in accord with the natural, universal laws (dharmaḥ) that are Īśvaraḥ. Therefore, although the individual has the power to initiate action, he has no power over its manifestation or result. Acceptance of this fact brings the recognition that all results, being the product of natural laws, are a gift from Īśvaraḥ (Īśvara's prasādaḥ). This brings an equanimity or evenness of mind toward whatever the result may be. Such equanimity is only possible when the whole picture is in view. This totality of view, characterised by an untroubled evenness of mind, is yogaḥ. See Gītā 2.48 and also karma-yogaḥ and īśvara-prasāda-buddhiḥ.
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. A saṃnyāsī takes vows granting immunity from fear to all beings, meaning he/she won't compete, make demands or seek favours, and he/she also lives a life of poverty and chastity.
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.
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.
saṃsārī One subject to saṃsāraḥ. See jīvaḥ, buddhiḥ.
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.
saṃtoṣaḥ Contentment; satisfaction; happiness. Also known as saṃtuṣṭiḥ.
samudraḥ Sea; ocean; see sāgaraḥ.
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.
samyagjñānam Proper, correct understanding of what the scriptures say. Such understanding is the result of śravanam, mananam and nididhyāsanam.
samyakClearly; accurately; correctly; properly.
sāmyam Oneness; sameness; evenness; identity with.
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; thought; determination; the impetus (in the form of a conviction or determination as to worth) running through every desire, driving it to fulfilment.
Will or will power is, therefore, not a 'power' in the usual understanding of that word, it is knowledge, knowledge in the form of a decision (that may later prove either correct or incorrect) that 'this' is worth having or doing. It is such convictions (strong or weak, firm or wavering) that are the essence of will and which sentence a person to the outcome. Will-power is improved by improving the clarity of one's thinking.
When something catches my attention and I judge it to have no particular worth or value, it becomes just a passing thought and goes. If, instead, it is seen to have worth or value, it is dwelt upon, and that notion of value turns the thought into a desire. The perceived sense of value then impels the desire, driving it to its fulfilment. Depending on the nature of the desire – and the will, the judgement, behind it – that drive to fulfilment can power the desire for mere seconds or perhaps decades.
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 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 Śṛngerī is perhaps the best known.
His vision is succinctly summarised in this famous quotation from verse 20 of his brahmajñānāvalīmālā "Brahma satyaṃ jaganmithyā jīvo brahmaiva nāparaḥ." Brahman is real, the Universe relatively so. The jīva and brahman are not different.
sāṅkhyam A dualistic philosophical system, ascribed to the sage Kapilaḥ, that accepts two realities: puruṣaḥ, spirit, and prakṛtiḥ, matter, and that liberation is gained by knowing the difference between them.
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. See other dualist opponents of Vedāntaḥ – mīmāṃsā, cārvākaḥ and naiyāyika).
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. .
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-viveka-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.
sarvaṃ hyetadbrahma'All this is indeed Brahman' (Māṇḍūkya 1.2); – see mahāvākyam.
sarvaṃ khalvidaṃ brahma'All this is certainly Brahman' (Chāndogya 3.14.1); – see mahāvākyam.
sarvaśaktimān (He who is) 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 jñānī 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 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, entity 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, independent, true, non-negatable; free from the limitations of time, space and object; the changeless substratum upon which change takes place (and without which change would not be perceivable).
Only ever speaking the non-hurtful truth, devoid of untruth, is the discipline of satyam in speech.
Satyam is also a name of the highest of the seven heavens (see svargaḥ).
Also see sat, asat, mithyā, tuccham.
satyaṃ jñānam anantaṃ brahma "Brahman is existence, consciousness (and) limitlessness" (Taittirīya Upaniṣad 2.1.1). These three words, satyam, jñānam, anantam are not indicating distinct individual attributes of Brahman, but are three words independently expressing one thing. They are all saying, Brahman is a limitless reality, a limitless being, in the form of consciousness. Satyam means Brahman is pure existence (existence per se, not existence of some 'thing') and hence is reality itself. Jñānam is saying that Brahman is pure knowledge (knowledge itself, not knowledge of some 'thing') which is to say it is consciousness per se. Anantam is saying that Brahman is not just without limit, but is limitlessness itself. All three words are another way of saying saccidānandaḥ. See mahāvākyam.
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 (also known as samprajñāta-samādhiḥ or sabīja-samādhiḥ) is a culmination of meditation, dhyānam, 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. There are two types of savikalpa-samādhiḥ, namely dṛśya-anuviddha-savikalpa-samādhiḥ and śabda-anuviddha-savikalpa-samādhiḥ. See samādhiḥ and nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ.
śeṣam Remainder; balance; surplus; residue.
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. None leads to mokṣaḥ. They are a distraction and are best avoided:
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, accurate, unprejudiced hearing of the ācāryaḥ unfold 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 or thinking 'the world gives me happiness'; see adhyāsaḥ and aśobhana-adhyāsaḥ.
śokaḥSorrow; anguish; grief; affliction; pain; see duḥkham.
somaḥ Moon
sopādhika With upādhiḥ.
sopādhika-adhyāsaḥ An adhyāsaḥ, erroneous perception, in which one fact is mistaken for another, e.g. sunrise (the fact of the Sun being seen to rise is mistaken for the fact of the Earth turning). Such natural misperceptions of a fact persist even when understood to be a misperception. They continue to be experienced by all, including the wise. However, the wise, the discriminating ones, nevertheless appreciate pure consciousness through cognitively resolving the upādhiḥ. See nirupādhikādhyāsaḥ, upādhiḥ and adhyāsaḥ.
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. This is used as an analogy for showing how distinct manifestations or forms of Brahman arise from the one Brahman. It is often wrongly interpreted to mean that unique beings, (jīvas), separate from Brahman, burst forth from Brahman like sparks from a fire, whereas the analogy is pointing to the fact that all sparks (jivas) are nothing but forms of fire (Brahman), their intrinsic nature being not different from fire even though their forms differ.
sphura Evident; self-evident; shining forth.
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.
Śraddhā is often translated as faith or trust, but it is more than that. Initially, a degree of trust, viśvāsaḥ, is necessary in any teaching situation. It allows us to stand apart from our own ideas and, for now at least, give the benefit of the doubt to the text and the teacher rather than to our own views – acceptance pending verification is an aspect of śraddhā. And if what is taught seems incorrect, having śraddhā means I do not reject it but question my understanding until what is being taught is clear.
With further knowledge, that acceptance takes the deeper form of a clear, carefully reached understanding or conviction, avadhāraṇā. Definite acceptance of what the guruḥ and śāstram teach is a more mature śraddhā, it is a knowledge that is far away from blind faith or unthinking belief. Only from such śraddhā arises sufficient objectivity to see the mind dispassionately enough to resolve what needs to be resolved. Then the challenge: 'Why believe when you can know?' can be meaningful.
śrāddhamAncestor worship; a specific ritual performed on a specific day of a specific fortnight (death anniversary of one's parents, grandparents).
śravaṇamHearing. Hearing, for a length of time, the systematic, regular, unfoldment of Vedāntaḥ by a competent ācāryaḥ who knows the sampradāyaḥ. Being a result (and not an action) hearing is involuntary since the ears naturally pick up sound, but accuracy of hearing depends on actively listening, fully, without distortion or addition. Distortion means either changing what is heard to fit it into one's existing belief system, or wilfully changing it to mean something unintended by the speaker. Addition means adding one's own ideas, beliefs or embellishments to what is said. Without proper accuracy, little will be properly understood.
Śravaṇam, hearing, is a pratyakṣa-pramāṇam, which in common with all other means of knowledge, facilitates it; it does not create knowledge. Knowledge is determined by what is heard, seen, etc., meaning, it’s determined by the nature of what is seen or heard, not by the perceiver or his instruments. Knowing is, therefore, not an action, it is the inevitable result of operating a pramāṇam (opening the eyes, for example). Self-knowledge too is not the result of the hearer's action; it occurs naturally and effortlessly when certain words arrive at the ear. 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 and understanding of the scriptures through carefully hearing, for a length of time, a competent teacher properly and systematically unfold the words of the vedānta-śāstram; one well-versed in the śāstram and able to communicate their riches effectively; also see brahma-niṣṭhā.
sṛṣṭiḥCreation; manifestation; nature; production; the manifest Universe.
Nothing is ever created or destroyed: the Universe and all that is here is an expansion or manifestation as names and forms, one that does not happen outside of Brahman. In time it becomes unmanifest in Brahman and again becomes manifest in an endless cycle.
sṛṣṭi-viveka-prakriyāMethod of arriving at ātmā, the true self, by analysing the creation to reveal its source, the ultimate reality that is consciousness; see prakriyā.
śrutiḥHeard; a name for the sacred knowledge of the Vedaḥ transmitted orally from generation to generation; a name for the veda-śāstram emphasising its preservation through careful 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.
sthānam Place; abode; rank; altar.
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-arundhatī-nyāyaḥA maxim (nyāyaḥ), used in the śāstram, that encourages leading the mind from a gross understanding of the self toward a subtler and subtler understanding of it. Arundhatī is a tiny star, located by first pointing out the Moon and then successively smaller nearby stars until the finest of all, Arundhatī itself, is seen.
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.
sūcaka Indicative of; expressive of; showing; pointing out – e.g. maṅgala-sūcaka, indicative of auspiciousness.
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.
śuktikā Shell of a pearl oyster, the inside of which is so reflective it can be mistaken for silver, rajata; often used as an example of superimposition, adhyāropaḥ.
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 hear the śāstram being unfolded by the teacher; service to the teacher.
susukham Easy; effortless; pleasurable.
suṣupti-avasthāDeep sleep state of the mind; experience of the absence of the experience of 'I'. The intellect, mind and senses resume an unmanifest potential condition in the causal body (kāraṇa-śarīram) 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, that same individual 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 (including ahaṅkāraḥ) 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 mutually exclusive 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, lokaḥ.
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 a man who has taken the vows of saṃnyāsaḥ (female: svāminī).
svapna-avasthā Dream state (of the mind); 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. In the dream state the mind sets up its own sthūla and sūkṣma śarīras with its own senses, created by the jīvaḥ and not by Īśvaraḥ as in the waking state.
Ahaṅkāraḥ is only half-manifest in dream. There is no free-will or doership there – they occur only in the waking state – but there is enjoyership. Neither is any result carried over into the waking state: no puṇya-pāpam is accrued in dream. 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 (mutually exclusive) states of experience.
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. See lokaḥ and narakaḥ.
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. (svataḥ siddham, self-evident).
svatantra Independent; free; self-dependent.
svātmani avasthānam Abidance in one's own self through knowledge; one who, free from doership, has discovered fullness and so has all his desires fulfilled. Synonym of jīvan-muktiḥ.
svayam On its own; by oneself; spontaneously; effortlessly. Svayam-jyotiḥ, self-effulgent.
svayambhū Self-existent; self-manifested; self-born
svayam-siddhaSelf-accomplished. I do not need to do something to know, feel or experience the self. Being awareness, it is ever present and self-evident in all that is known, felt or experienced.
syātMaybe; perhaps.
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tādātmyam Identification; forgetting one's true nature and becoming something one is not.
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 of which there are five forming the subtle basis for the entire creation. 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 tamaḥ 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. Also see ādhyātmika-tāpaḥ, ādhibhautika-tāpaḥ, ādhidaivika-tāpaḥ.
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 (tad) 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). In this famous compound word, which contains the whole of Vedāntaḥ, the word 'tat', that, refers to Brahman, pure consciousness. The word 'tvam' points both to 'you' the ordinary individual and to your svarūpam, consciousness. The word 'asi' means 'are'. In brief, the mahāvākyam is saying that the essence of the individual (namely, pure consciousness) is not different from Brahman and hence the equation stands. It of course does not stand if 'tvam' is instead taken to be the bound, ignorant, indvidual waker or dreamer. However, by exressing the equation in this way, it is being pointed out to the deluded (mithyā) individual that you are not what you take yourself to be, you are in truth limitless, ever-free, pure knowledge. The limitless cannot be other than you for it would always be limited without you. 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 forebearance; endurance; cheerfully (objectively) bearing opposites such as heat and cold, and honour and dishonour with equanimity, which means without anxiety, complaint, retaliation, or (conversely) a desire for more. Titikṣā is the capacity to deal cheerfully and objectively with external conditions and events that are beyond our control – it does not mean allowing pain to happen and then putting up with it. 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; experiencer, experienced, experiencing, etc.
triṣṭupName of a Vedic 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, anuṣṭup.
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).
Turīya is not really 'the fourth', it is independent of all three states of waking, dream and sleep and yet all three are not independent of it.
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 (final) outward breath by which the jīvaḥ exits the body on death (having completed the combined number of inward and outward breaths allotted by prārabdhaḥ) after which there is no more breathing in; vomiting; hiccups; coughing; sneezing; also see apānaḥ, elimination; samānaḥ, digestion; vyānaḥ, circulation.
udaram Belly; stomach; abdomen.
udāratā Nobility; generosity; liberality.
udāsīna One who does not take sides; indifferent; neutral; neither friend nor foe; unprotesting.
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; sunrise (consciousness never rises nor sets); see astamayaḥ, sunset.
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 phonetic elements 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, rope as the cause of a 'snake'.
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 close to a colourless lump of clear crystal, the crystal (the upahitam) appears blue. From having no colour, the crystal apparently has the limiting attribute 'blue'. The crystal is never blue (and limited only to blue) and yet, undeniably, for a time it appears so.
The upādhiḥ in this example is the flower, not its blueness. But the flower does not function as an upādhiḥ unless it is close to the crystal. So, it is the item and the effect of its close proximity – namely the transfer of one or more of its attributes – that together make for an upādhiḥ.
However, this crystal-flower example is not to be taken too literally. When the upahitam is ātmā, whatever its upādhiḥ may be, it is of a different order of reality – it is mithyā – and so need only be separated cognitively. See upahitam and 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. Upalabdhi-sthānam a place of recognition.
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, and vice-versa. 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.
upapattiḥ Tenability; proof; ascertained conclusion; reason; substantiation.
uparamaḥNot identifying with, but instead leaving aside, the thoughts, feelings and impulses that would distract you from doing what needs to be done. In this way one withdraws from the unnecessary in order to focus on one's own duties and commitments, and lives in charge of one's own life. It is a natural consequence of well-developed śamaḥ. 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.
"To see everything as Bhagavān is upāsanam or dhyānam. To see everything is Bhagavān is jñānam."*
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; indifference; 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 primary meaning of word(s); see mukhyārthaḥ, gauṇa-vṛttiḥ, 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.
vaidyaḥ Doctor; physician.
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.
vaikuṇṭhaḥ Imperishable; abode of Lord Viṣṇuḥ.
vairāgyam(The state of) dispassion, objectivity (neuter form of virāgaḥ – free from rāgaḥ, passion or attachment); absence of dependence on results of action for one's happiness; absence of desire for enjoyments here and hereafter.
Passion here refers to the passions of attachment and aversion or the impulses of likes and dislikes. Wherever there is attachment there will be dveṣaḥ, aversion. Both are born of adhyāsaḥ, mistaken perception followed by adhyāropaḥ, the superimposition of false characteristics leading to false valuations. Dispassion – freedom from the pull of attachment and aversion – is developed from seeing again and again the limitations of everything, and seeing 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 and sādhana-catuṣṭayam.
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.
vākyārthaḥ The meaning of a sentence or statement. This meaning is not necessarily the direct or literal meaning. The speaker or writer's clearly implied or intended meaning should be the meaning taken.
vālmīkī Author of the Rāmāyaṇam.
vaṃśa Lineage; clan; dynasty; offspring; family; race.
vanam Forest; woods.
vānaprasthaḥ Third of the four āśramas of Vedic life – retirement to the forest (figuratively), which means withdrawal from the participation and engagement that is usual in gṛhasthaḥ and entry into a quieter, more reflective period of life, spending time in upāsanam in preparation for saṃnyāsaḥ; also see brahmacaryam, studentship; gṛhasthaḥ, householder; saṃnyāsaḥ, renunciation.
vandanam Worship; praise; salutation; reverence.
vandhyā Barren; fruitless; unproductive (said of biologically faulty women, plants, female animals).
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.
varjita Devoid of (dvaita-varjita, devoid of duality).
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 and famous sage of legendary 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-element 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:
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, being not subject to negation, 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 what academics call the 'Six systems of Indian philosophy.' Neither is Vedāntaḥ for propagation; it is for sharing with those who seek it.
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.
vidyamāna Prevailing; prevalent (as); obtaining (as); be in force (as); hold good; being found (as); existent; present.
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). It is pervaded by the ānandamaya-kośaḥ and in turn pervades the manomaya-kośaḥ and hence the lowest two as well.
The vijñānamaya-kośaḥ, being both identified with and being the locus of the 'I'-thought, ahaṃ-vṛttiḥ, becomes the subject or knower, jñātā, and the doer, kartā, (I know, I don't know, I'm clever, I'm stupid, I achieved that, I am guilty of that, etc.). Everything else in the mind (including the world) is looked upon as 'this', idaṃ-vṛttiḥ, or 'object'. This central figure, this ahaṅkāraḥ, this vijñānamaya, is known as the jīvaḥ, who constantly undergoes change and is the immediate cause of saṃsāraḥ, as well as being the recipient of the upadeśaḥ, the teaching.
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.
vikāsaḥ Manifestation; display; appearance; expansion; lustre.
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, born of the rajas of māyā. Leads to vikṣipta.
vikṣepa-śaktiḥRajas, the active aspect of māyā, gives rise to the vikṣepa-śaktiḥ which by its projecting power 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 may lead to desire, which leads to action. Also see āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ.
vikṣipta Distracted, scattered (attention); unfocussed (thought); bewildered (mind) – all caused by vikṣepa-śaktiḥ.
vilakṣaṇa Distinct; distinguished (from).
vimarśaḥ Examination; comment; critical analysis.
vimarṣaḥ Displeasure; impatience; irritation; dissatisfaction.
vimocanam Liberation; deliverance; release; unharnessing.
vimṛśaḥ 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, and hence unseen and unquestioned) habitual errors due to past orientation, vāsanā. It is this form of stubbornly persistent error (most commonly, identification with the body-mind-sense complex) that prevents the fulfilment and enjoyment of what has been understood through śravaṇam and mananam. See nididhyāsanam, sākṣātkāraḥ and pratibandhaḥ.
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.
virāga (adj.) Passionless; objective; dispassionate; free from attachment (as a noun, it's 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.
viṣaya-doṣaḥ The limitations of objects (being inert, objects cannot bring happiness, and anyway happiness is one's svarūpam).
viśeṣaḥ Attribute; distinguishing quality; peculiarity; that which is particular to.
viśeṣa-dharmaḥ Particular or individually applicable dharmaḥ; universal dharmaḥ as it is applicable in this particular or specific situation now; correct interpretation and application of universal or sāmānya-dharmaḥ in a particular context. See sāmānya-dharmaḥ and dharmaḥ.
viśeṣa-jñānam Awareness of variety. Consciousness appears varied and variable (but only) because of association with varied thoughts. See śuddha-caitanyam.
viśeṣaṇa-viśeṣya-bhāvaḥ Attribute-substantive relation.
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; expansion; projection; elaboration; ennumeration; becoming large or great. The universe is a manifestation, projection or expansion of consciousness.
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.
vītarāgaḥFree 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.
vivaraṇam An explanation, a scriptural elucidation within Vedāntaḥ that, since the ātmā is ever-experienced, śravanam, hearing, is sufficient for its full ascertainment as it provides aparokṣa-jñānam, immediate knowledge. Both mananam and nididhyāsanam of course have their place, but the emphasis is on śravanam. Pujya Swami Dayanandaji (Arsha Vidya) and his disciples follow the vivaraṇam view. See bhāmatī.
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. See sādhana-catuṣṭayam.
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, a state in which solitude is not just valued but, due to emotional independence, is also found comfortable and free from feelings of loneliness and lack.
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).
An object is known when there's a cognition of it in the mind (buddhiḥ). When the senses bring data into the mind, the mind (manas) undergoes changes, called vṛttis or pratyayas, that are momentary (changing very rapidly like a succession of frames in a movie camera) and relevant to that object. The vṛttiḥ pervades the data presented to the mind by the senses and becomes the very form of it (a process called vṛtti-vyāptiḥ) like water taking the form of a wave or clay of a pot. Only that vṛttiḥ is seen in the mind, so if the external object is a rope and the vṛttiḥ is a snake, what is seen is that snake, not the rope. The sensory data is interpreted by the mind (manas) as a vṛttiḥ that is presented to the buddhiḥ for cognition and decision. That interpretation will be influenced by memory and hence by habit, prejudice, preconception, like, dislike, etc.
Consciousness pervades all vṛttis as water pervades waves.
vṛtti-jñānamKnowledge manifest in the mind as a thought.
vṛtti-viśeṣaḥA particular, limited state of mind; a mental modification.
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 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 (also known as Bādarāyaṇa) 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 (the Īśvara-sṛṣṭiḥ) 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.
vyavasāyaḥ Resolution; decision; settled determination; being definite.
vyavasthā Arrangement
vyāvṛttiḥ Distinction; distinguishing.
vyomā (vyoman)Space in the heart, hṛdayam, in which the mind is figuratively said to abide.
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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 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. Nāsti akṛtaḥ kṛtena, the uncreated cannot be created (the limitless cannot be gained by limited action).
A yajñaḥ is a devotional act, which may include the formal dissemination of knowledge, jñānam, via what is known as a jñāna-yajñaḥ. See pūjā, pañcamahā-yajñas.
yakṣaḥ An inexplicable, divine appearance (ref. Kena Upaniṣad, Ch. 3 & 4).
yamaḥ Set of five prohibitions in aṣṭāṅga-yogaḥ, namely:
yaśaḥ (yaśas) Fame; renown; glory. See bhagaḥ.
yatiḥ One of proper, adequate and appropriate effort; a saṃnyāsī.
yatnaḥ Effort
yatra Where
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 called jñāna-yogaḥ, which must be followed for the attainment of knowledge.
Discipline followed for gaining the mental preparation needed for knowledge is karma-yogaḥ, whereas 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 has a worldly meaning: the gaining of the not yet gained (see kṣemaḥ).
yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam Discretion in action is yogaḥ. "Kauśalam is your capacity to interpret correctly. This capacity to interpret with reference to norms for human interaction is discretion, the proper exercise of which is an expertise. The norm for human interaction is called dharmaḥ and the opposite is called adharmaḥ. Dharmaḥ and adharmaḥ form the standard norms. They are not absolutes in that they have to be interpreted according to the given situation. The person who can interpret them properly is called kuśala, skilful, competent, expert. Dharmaḥ and adharmaḥ are not to be interpreted according to convenience, but must be in line with what is proper. Proper interpretation of dharmaḥ is what is meant by kauśalam. Kauśalam is yogaḥ because you are not in the hands of your rāga-dvesas when you exercise discretion in your choice of action."* See Gītā 2.50 and also karma-yogaḥ.
yogārūḍha One who is adequately disciplined and mentally prepared for the pursuit of knowledge having gone through the discipline of karma-yogaḥ. An ethical and religious person committed to and prepared for the spiritual pursuit.
yoniḥ Womb; cause; any place of origin.
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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