'Non-existence'; non-manifestation; complete absence; see bhāvaḥ. Since, by its very nature, existence is not an attribute, there is no such thing as non-existence, only non-manifestation: existence itself never ceases to exist, whereas the names and forms of existence are transient (Gītā 2.16). See sattā.
Non-existence cannot be claimed except of an existent entity ('It doesn't exist' negates itself) and so non-existence is impossible. Neither can non-existence have attributes (such as beginnings and endings). Similarly, to say 'there is nothing there' requires the presence of a knower to reveal that 'nothing'.
Perception is creation. There is no creation other than perception. Perception of a thing is its origination. "Things exist because they are known."* The world enjoys the status of being existent only when it becomes known. No object exists independently of its observer confirming its existence. An experiencer is required to prove the existence of an experienced object because the object borrows its existence from the subject. Without the subject perceiving it, it is as good as non-existent. If it existed independently of the subject it would be permanently existent and hence never not present. The existence of the subject is self-proven (self-evident) but the existence of an object is proved only by the subject. Hence, the world is mithyā.
This does not mean that reality is some kind of interaction between a seer and the seen. Reality is the limitless, unchanging substratum in which that interaction appears. And that substratum is best referred to as pure knowledge, jñaptiḥ. This ultimate reality is necessarily our reality, our true nature.
Non-difference; non-division; non-breaking; see bhedaḥ.
A word; a name; an expression; see abhidheyam. Om is the abhidhānam of Brahman (the corresponding abhidheyam).
The object or meaning denoted by its corresponding word or expression, abhidhānam; the meaning conveyed by a word; the person meant by a given name.
Neither the organ of speech (vāg-indriyam), nor the word(s) it produces (abhidhānam), nor the object pointed to or denoted by words (abhidheyam) can directly reveal the vastu, the ātmā. The ātmā, being ever the attributeless, actionless, relationless subject, can never be directly revealed by words (as objects can) but may be revealed only by what remains when the words of Vedāntaḥ have been properly used.
The words of Vedāntaḥ tell us what the ātmā is not, leaving it to be revealed by what that negation implies.
This elegantly simple method of implication through negation, even though using words, avoids the limitations of words: it avoids a definition. A definition would make an object out of the self-evident self, ātmā, whereas that which remains (that which is not dismissed) after showing what ātmā is not, makes the hitherto non-obvious immediately obvious.
When the error in the (famous) tenth man's thinking is dismissed, it immediately becomes obvious to him that he is the 'missing' tenth man – and has never not been the so-called missing tenth.
'I'-sense; a term typically used to indicate the erroneous identification with the mind and body – known as deha-abhimānaḥ – and the almost inevitable proud arrogation of their attributes and capacities to oneself; conceited; haughty.
Abhimānaḥ takes two forms: universal or samānya-abhimānaḥ, and individual or particular, viśeṣa-abhimānaḥ. The first, association with a body and mind (due to prārabdha-karma) is universal, naturally found in all creatures, and includes awareness of bodily hunger/satiety, emotional urges, etc. The second (viśeṣa-abhimānaḥ) is the intellectual conviction 'I am this body'; it is this conviction alone, born of avidyā (leading successively to adhyāsaḥ, āropaḥ and adhyāropaḥ) that is called bandhaḥ, bondage.
Having foolishly shackled his identity to the body, the individual weaves himself a so-called protective cocoon of cherished notions and objects, succeeding only in wrapping himself in saṃsāraḥ.
Tenacious clinging to (investment in) the ephemeral body and worldly life, believing them to be enduring. See kleśaḥ.
Internal (opp. of bāhya, external).
Repeated practice – primarily in Vedāntaḥ it is repeatedly recognising a fact and so continually avoiding or refraining from error (such recognition requires vivekaḥ, and vairāgyam naturally follows); exercise.
In japaḥ, for example, during repetition of the mantraḥ we repeatedly recognise the fact of the distinction between the mantra and the awareness in which and by which the repeating mantra is known. Gradually, the distinctness of this awareness becomes clearer and clearer, ever more obvious. Gradually we learn to refrain from the error of identifying with the mind and come more and more to recognise our identity with that pure unalloyed awareness.
Unmoving; unagitated. All movements in the mind have ever-unmoving consciousness as their substratum, just as waves have ever-unmoving water as theirs. The agitated mind does not need to be stilled to recognise this fact.
Conduct; principled, scripture-inspired behaviour of noble people handed down as tradition.
A teacher (and exemplar) of ācāraḥ. A teacher is one who fully moves (ā-cara) your understanding to the correct place, the place of proper understanding. This can be done only because an ācāryaḥ is 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.
Among teachers of Vedāntaḥ, a traditional Vedānta-ācāryaḥ will regularly point out to his students that one day, when equipped with sufficient purity of mind through karma-yogaḥ, they will have to come to ātma-vicāraḥ, self-enquiry, for liberation. Only self-enquiry, in which ātmā is cognitively distinguished from anātmā, leads to liberation. Those ācāryas who say ātma-vicāraḥ is not required and that bhaktiḥ, or God, or nāma-saṅkirtanam will give liberation, have strayed from tradition.
The teacher always gives credit to the paramparā, the preceding lineage of teachers, giving importance only to the teaching, the śāstram. 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.
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. This does not amount to worship of the person, but reverence for what the teacher represents, namely scriptural knowledge and thus knowledge of Brahman.
Surrender of ego and personal likes and dislikes is implied, providing 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.
Indiscriminate people; those who, lacking maturity and the requisite purity of mind, are not prepared mentally for liberation.
Beyond any mental construct; beyond thought; inconceivable.
Ever present; never slips away.
Absence of pretence; free from hypocrisy, posturing and self-glorification.
Support; base; foundation.
Not in line with the inherent, natural order of dharmaḥ; unwise; action leading to an unfavourable outcome.
Pain (tāpaḥ) caused by an obstacle arising from local circumstances, e.g. heavy traffic, store closure, machine failure, and from problems associated with close acquaintances, family and friends; also see ādhyātmika-tāpaḥ, ādhidaivika-tāpaḥ.
Centred on; concerning; related to.
Gross, manifest universe; 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, that which pertains to the total – see adhyātmam.
Subtle (non-physical) manifest universe; centred 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. The term adhidaiva refers to the universal aspect of a power – the power of sight, for example, is a universal power, common to all. The individual aspect or expression of a power or capacity (such as an individual's capacity to see) is referred to by the term adhyātma. In truth, it is one and the same power.
Basis; support; seat; absolute existence; the source of the existence of everything; (synonym of Brahman). There are not various forms or degrees of adhiṣṭhānam – the only adhiṣṭhānam is caitanyam, consciousness. So, properly speaking, 'rope' is not the adhiṣṭhānam of 'snake'. Only a rope 'enclosed/held' in consciousness may be the adhiṣṭhānam of 'snake'. Adhiṣṭhitam, that which is supported. See āśrayaḥ.
Cause and truth of all; centred on ritual; the one on whom the ritual is centred, i.e. antaryāmīśvaraḥ (Īśvaraḥ, the unmanifest cause of all, the subject of ritual).
Insertion of extra words into a sentence to make clear its intended meaning.
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.
It begins by showing that, as Brahman is all that is here, it alone can be the cause of the jagat, the universe. Since there is nothing here but Brahman, the jagat must be only a name, form and function (nāma-rūpa-karma) of Brahman, i.e. a superimposition, adhyāropaḥ, upon Brahman. Hence, the jagat can have no independent reality of its own.
A clay pot is similarly a name, form and function of its causal substance, clay, and has no reality of its own – remove the clay and the superimposed name, form and function, pot, disappears. Having only a dependent reality, like the pot, the jagat cannot properly be considered to be real. If it is not really real, it cannot be regarded as an effect, and, if there is no effect, Brahman cannot be a cause (hence the negation, apavādaḥ, of its causal status).
The purpose here is also to show that the actionless Brahman 'acts' by lending existence to the world. Without existence, the world could not exist. Existence is lent, not by an action, but by mere presence (in which there is no change whatsoever in Brahman). Thus, the world is revealed to be not a product of Brahman but an effortless, ever-recurring, mithyā appearance in Brahman, somewhat like a recurring dream for a sleeping waker.
Superimposition. Due to erroneous conception, 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.
A 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 and adhyāropa-apavāda-viveka-prakriyā.
Erroneous cognition; misconception: taking something to be what it is not; confusing this with that. Without upādhiḥ, adhyāsaḥ is not possible. Upādhiḥ is instrumental and avidyā (ignorance) is the cause for adhyāsaḥ (self-misconception).
Of discriminating mind; knowledge of the right thing to do; one who is completely committed to self-knowledge.
Knowledge centred on the self; knowledge whose object is the self; knowledge of the absolute self as one's own self.
Constancy in knowledge centred on the self; a value for constancy in study of the scriptures centred on the self (the Upaniṣads, etc.) in order to ensure that that knowledge is clear and free from doubt.
Centred on, concerning, belonging to the self, the individual – namely whatever is taken to be or belong to the self, be it the body (dehaḥ), jīvaḥ, or ātmā. See adhidaivam and adhibhūtam.
Unseen; unknown (the cause of suffering or pleasure is unseen/unknown since ordinary so-called causes are themselves symptoms); invisible; not experienced; unobserved – especially in relation to the accumulation of puṇya-pāpam.
An unseen result (of an action), a result that manifests later. An unseen result accrues only when an action is done rightly or wrongly – not when an action is not done.
When an action is not done, a seen result, a dṛṣṭa-phalam (even though not directly produced) can certainly occur: an unmade bed will remain unmade, uncut hair will grow, etc. An adṛṣṭa-phalam is the as-yet-unseen result produced by actual mental or physical action, not a result that might arise from inaction. See dṛṣṭa-phalam and naimittika-karma.
Non-dual (advaitam, non-duality). The term Advaita Vedānta is a tautology as proper, traditional Vedāntaḥ is ever non-dual in its vision.
Without a second; second to none; matchless.
New karma (formed solely by human beings) due to action here in this present life – action in which there is free-will and kartṛtvam. Āgāmi-karma or future karma (also known as kriyamāṇa-karma, karma that is 'being formed') is stored in sañcita as unmanifest puṇya-pāpam to await fructification and manifestation as prārabdha either in this life or a future one.
There is no āgāmi-karma for the jñānī since all sancita up to the rise of knowledge is destroyed and no āgāmi-karma forms afterwards as the wise have no personal motives and no doership. See prārabdha-karma, sañcita-karma.
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.
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).
Inaccessible (indriya agocara, imperceptible, not accessible through the senses; vācām agocara, inexplicable).
Having no lineage.
'I' (the first-person-singular pronoun); the 'I'-sense. In common with the word ātmā, the word aham can be and is used to mean oneself, although not always accurately.
'I am Brahman' (Bṛhadāraṇyaka 1.4.10). The term 'I' refers here to that which is the very source and essence of the 'I am' thought – namely, pure consciousness (Brahman) – not to what is commonly regarded as 'I' or 'me', the individual mind. See mahāvākyam and also see tattvamasi, ayamātmā brahma, prajñānaṃ brahma.
A meditation in which I see myself as Brahman. My hand is seen as Brahman, my body, my mind, all that I call 'I' is seen by me as Brahman. Like this, ahaṅkāraḥ and Brahman are equated. However, it is a sādhanam in which ahaṅkāraḥ has yet to be properly negated and so it is not nididhyāsanam. It becomes nididhyāsanam when I really do see that I amBrahman, which is not at all the same as seeing myself asBrahman. See sampat upāsanam and upāsanam.
Sense 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 that include things like thinking, remembering, feeling, perceiving, acting, etc. It is the nature of ahaṅkāraḥ to continually adopt and claim such limitations and identify with them. The suffix 'kāra' expresses the qualifying or limiting of 'aham', this limiting is the mistaken attribution or appropriation 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 that seeming lack. See mamakāraḥ.
(Note: ahaṅkāraḥ is also known as ahaṅkṛtiḥ and the meaning is the same.)
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; one of the five prohibitions of yamaḥ and sāmānya-dharmaḥ.
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.
Oneness; the fact of being ever one and the same; non-difference.
A type of implication in which one or more words are added to an unclear or incomplete statement to bring out the intended or implied meaning. For example, in "Red won" we retain the literal and primary meanings of the words 'red' and 'won' and add another word, 'horse', to complete the meaning of the sentence, namely, 'the red horse won'. Since this type of implication (also known as ajahatī-lakṣaṇā) retains the literal meaning of words, and additional words merely clarify that literal meaning, it is unsuitable for elucidating the subtlety of tattvamasi. See jahallakṣaṇā, jahadajahallakṣaṇā and also lakṣaṇam.
The view (vādaḥ) that nothing has been born (lit. 'is not born') nothing has originated (ajāti). The view that there is no creation. Here, it is being said that the creation is an appearance, a manifestation of what was previously unmanifest, like a pot that, until its manifestation, was unmanifest in clay.
Vivarta-vādaḥ and ajāti-vādaḥ are two different ways of looking at the mithyātvam of the world. Vivarta-vādaḥ declares that something is seemingly existent. Ajāti-vādaḥ is saying that something is unborn, factually non-existent. 'Seemingly existent' refers to a seeming or apparent existence such as that of a pot – the pot seems to exist (but only because of the presence of clay). 'Factually non-existent' refers to an object that literally, factually, does not exist – being clay, a pot cannot be said to exist (only the clay exists) and yet the pot is experienced. See vivarta-upādāna-kāraṇam, vādaḥ and mithyā.
Ignorance; incorrect or incomplete knowledge; synonym of māyā.
Ghee – butter, melted in sunlight.
Unaffected by desire; free from the hold of desire; calm.
Non-doer. One who knows that ātmā is ever actionless, ever a non-doer – even in the midst of activity – also knows the fullness that cannot ever be augmented or improved by action.
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.
Undivided; partless; indivisible; whole; (khaṇḍa, having gaps or breaks; deficient; fragment; section).
Knowledge (jñānam) in the form of (ākāra) a unique thought (vṛttiḥ) pertaining to the nature of reality being indivisible (akhaṇḍa).
"Consciousness is recognised through a vṛttiḥ as the truth of the subject, the object and the connection between the two. In fact, consciousness itself is called akhaṇḍākāra-vṛttiḥ, a thought free from divisions. All the words used to reveal this identity disappear. The vṛttiḥ that removes the ignorance goes away. That vṛttiḥ does not objectify the ātmā and does not have to because the ātmā is self-revealing. The self-revealing, divisionless consciousness is you and it is everything. This recognition is the result of the operation of the words of Vedāntaḥ. The result of the operation (phala-vyāptiḥ) that belongs to the knower is not relevant here because the knower is resolved in the wake of knowledge."*
The recognition takes place in a mind (buddhiḥ) that is pure, one that is no longer under the hold of rāga-dveṣas, etc. Thereafter, that vision remains.
The leader of ten men who crossed a turbulent river found only nine. All lamented. A passer-by counted and told the leader (who had not counted himself): "You are the tenth!" Relief arose.
The story shows how the akhaṇḍa-ākāra-vṛttiḥ works. It takes the form of the truth: "You are the tenth!" On understanding their meaning, the words drop away. The meaning alone remains. Significantly, in negating the idea that the tenth is missing, the words "you are the tenth" reveal his self to the leader by implication. It is an implication that dismisses ignorance of a fact (that he is the tenth).
Knowledge, being ever-present, is never gained. Wrong knowledge (error, ignorance) is removed, that's all. If knowledge were something that could be given, and is given to someone who is ignorant, the person remains ignorant (knowledge gets superimposed upon the person). In contrast, removing ignorance reveals knowledge. All knowledge already exists and is only revealed.
Whole; entire; complete.
One for whom the aim of human life, liberation from sorrow – a freedom that is in the form of jñānam, knowledge – is not yet accomplished.
Indestructible; imperishable; immutable; akṣaram (n.) any vowel or consonant.
Unbroken; (unbroken, uncooked rice, coloured yellow by mixing it with Turmeric, is used in ritual and worship to carry prayers to the deity).
Firebrand. When the single flame of a firebrand moves continuously in a circle, a ring of fire appears when in fact there is only ever a single flame. The steady flame and the ring of fire are different names given to the same entity. They are not separate, independent entities. This famously illustrates the convincing (but mithyā) appearance or manifestation of the world via the power known as māyā.
Similarly, the world is another name for Brahman. It is not a separate entity. Not being a separate entity from the unmoving, single flame, the ring of fire cannot be said to arise from or return to it, nor arise from or return elsewhere. In spite of appearances, all that is ever present is the single flame. In spite of appearances, all that is here is Brahman. See āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ and vikṣepa-śaktiḥ.
Humility; absence of conceit; not demanding respect, even when respect could be due.
New Moon day; day for performing certain monthly rituals; first day of the first quarter of the Moon, in which the Moon is invisible (due to its being fully in the Earth's shadow).
Sacred texts handed down by tradition; received doctrine; advice.
Immortality (amṛta, immortal); nectar of immortality; ambrosia.
Portion; aspect; part.
Absence of intense attachment to possessions, etc. – such attachment being due to emotional dependence on the world for happiness.
Not understood; that which cannot be arrived at or understood by perception or inference, or by any means except Vedānta-śāstra-pramāṇam.
Absence of pride and arrogance; understanding that 'what I have accomplished is really nothing'.
Not small; infinite in all respects (alpa, small).
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 (limitless fullness) which effortlessly and spontaneously manifests when puṇyam is present and the ego resolves briefly. Manifestation of the limitless must necessarily be limited – to manifest is to limit, to come to a stop.
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 duality and hence of pain and pleasure (all of which is a characteristic of suṣuptiḥ and samādhiḥ) and is transitory. Bliss is a form of happiness, but happiness is not bliss, it is more than that.
Since limitlessness, anantam, implies complete absence of any form of lack, ānandaḥ also means fullness, pūrṇam – hence the famous śānti-pāṭhaḥ that begins pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidam. The expression of the fullness, the limitlessness, of pure consciousness is love. "Unqualified love is limitless, ananta, or pūrṇa, full, and is Brahman. Love is only for ānandaḥ."* See sat, cit and saccidāndaḥ.
The varying degrees of reflected ānandaḥ pervading the ānandamaya are known as priya, modaḥ, pramodaḥ (which are in causal form in the ānandamaya and experienceable in the waking state). Hence there is the possibility of the basic person, the enjoyer, bhoktā (the ahaṅkāraḥ mistakenly identified with the ānandamaya) enjoying degrees of ignorance and happiness, which are at their fullest in suṣupti-avasthā, deep sleep, and are restricted in svapna-avasthā, dream, and in jāgrad-avasthā, waking.
No experiential happiness arises from objects or circumstances. All experienced happiness (which is conditional and temporary) arises when the mind is somewhat resolved, somewhat free from agitation. When agitation subsides, the nature of the self, which is happiness, naturally becomes evident to the degree that it is unhindered by any remaining mental activity: the thinner the clouds, the brighter the sun. All happiness is the innate happiness of the self.
All that is 'other' than the self (lit. 'not self'); all that is transient; any and all objects of consciousness (including the body, mind and senses, for they too are objects of consciousness as I am aware of them; being aware of them I am necessarily distinct from them). Whatever I take to be myself amounts to placing a limit upon myself. Limitation brings vulnerability, which gives rise to fear, bhayam.
It is important to understand that, although they are ever distinct from the dreamer, the entire contents of a dream have their origin, being and nature in the dreamer and so (in that sense alone) cannot be other than the dreamer. Similarly, all that seems to be anātmā is ultimately found by the discriminating to be not other than ātmā, while ātmā is ever distinct from anātmā.
Infinite regression; absence of conclusion; without resting place.
Blind 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).
Many (not one).
Limb; constituent; component; part.
Not categorically definable (but not inexplicable!); understood by implication only. This adjective, which is often used with reference to māyā, also refers to all that arises from it – in other words, the entire creation is found on careful investigation to be ultimately indefinable as it too is a product of māyā. As a famous verse (109) in Vivekacūḍāmaṇi says, māyā is neither existent nor non-existent, nor a combination of the two; neither is it separate nor non-separate from Brahman (nor a combination of the two); nor does it have parts nor not have parts (and it is, again, not a combination of the two). However, it is explicable via a proper understanding of the guṇas and of the term mithyā.
Timebound; limited; impermanent.
The physical body, a modified form of food, annam, 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.
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.
The mind is the only place where knowledge takes place and hence is the only place where liberation can take place. It is also the only place where ignorance is found and removed. There is no self-knowledge 'beyond' the mind.
The mind depends for its existence on the world, and vice-versa. The mind becomes a non-perceiver when (as in deep sleep) objects are no longer perceived. Then, in effect, the mind ceases to be the mind. If no object is perceived, there is no thought; no thought, no mind; no object, no world. The mind and the world are mutually dependent. Both depend on consciousness. The mind and the world arise (and resolve) together.
Steadiness of mind; essential prerequisite for śravaṇam as only a focused, subtle, steady mind hears fully; attained through meditation (dhyānam and upāsanām).
Purification 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 that which is being taught. Otherwise, all that 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.
In the middle; between; within; (antaram, interior; contents).
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.
Set of four requisites that, combined, make a text worth studying: • adhikārī - a person of appropriate understanding for the text. • prayojanam - the particular benefit to be gained by the adhikārī from studying the text. • viṣayaḥ - the subject matter's suitability for delivering the prayojanam. • sambandhaḥ - the connection of the text to the viṣayaḥ (the pratipādaka-pratipādya-sambandhaḥ) and the viṣayaḥ to the prayojanam (the sādhana-sādhya-sambandhaḥ).
Binding or fastening on; connection to.
Shines after (a dependent source of light that shines only by reflecting another light, e.g. the mind, the Moon).
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."*
Some falsely believe that an ātma-anubhavaḥ, an experience of the self at some point in time is necessary for mokṣaḥ. However, this would make a limited object out of the limitless reality that is ātmā, which is impossible: draṣṭā hi dṛśyātmatayā na dṛṣṭaḥ - the seer is never to be seen in the form of the seen (Vivekacūḍāmaṇi v183).
Moreover, truth or reality being ever-present, its hoped-for experience can never come – it is already in and through each and every experience as its very reality. Since truth or reality is ever-present, the knowledge that removes the misconceptions covering it is sufficient. Knowledge is the only correction needed because only knowledge, not practices or experiences, removes ignorance.
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.
The low tone in chanting, shown in the text by a short horizontal line below a vowel; also see svaraḥ, udāttaḥ, svaritaḥ.
Grace – grace is earned, not bestowed arbitrarily. It is extremely important to earn the grace of Īśvaraḥ. Earning the Lord's grace – earning puṇyam – through prayer, worship, mantra-japaḥ, living a life of dharmaḥ, etc., can eliminate pāpa-karma by neutralising it. Unless pāpa-karmas are neutralised by puṇya-karmas they will obscure appreciation and understanding of the knowledge given by the teacher and scriptures. When pratibandhas (inhibiting circumstances and misunderstandings) are neutralised, śravanam becomes unobstructed and hence understanding becomes unobstructed. Only when pāpams and their restrictive, blocking effect are rendered ineffective (by being neutralised) can vague understanding become clear and the knowledge from śravanam shine.
The grace of the teacher, ācāryaḥ, which is the grace of the knowledge of the śāstram, is transmitted not in touching the student's head or back, or in a glance of the teacher's eye, but in regular, systematic teaching of the śāstram. It is the grace of the śāstram that alone liberates, not the grace of the teacher, nor that of the self within – the knowledge that liberates comes from the śāstram alone. See kṛpā (a synonym of anugrahaḥ) also see guru-kṛpā, ātmā-kṛpā and śāstra-kṛpā.
Inference from pratyakṣam, direct sensory perception, e.g. knowledge of fire is inferred from the smell and/or sight of smoke; one of the six pramāṇas. Since it is dependent on sense-perception, a primary means of knowledge, inference is a secondary means. See the other five means: anupalabdhiḥ, arthāpattiḥ, pratyakṣam, śabdaḥ, upamānam.
Synonym of dhyānam, meditation; contemplation; anu-san-dhānam – constantly, continuously, consistently placing the attention of the mind on something for a length of time.
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.
Metre with 32 syllables (8 per quarter) – common in the Bhagavad-Gītā, Rāmāyaṇam. See gāyatrī, triṣṭup.
Translation; restatement within a text of what has already been mentioned.
Proof by assertion and negation; a logical procedure for determining truth from whatever is and is not always in accord; anvayaḥ focuses on accordance or invariability, vyatirekaḥ on non-accordance or variability. The presence of the effect when the cause is present is anvaya. The absence of the effect when the cause is absent is vyatireka. For a cause-effect relationship to exist, anvaya and vyatireka should match or agree.
If, for example, happiness is to be accepted as arising from an object or event, happiness must be shown to be always present with the object or event (anvaya), and always absent in its absence (vyatireka). If a sweet gives a child happiness at one time and not at another, there is no agreement – the sweet is not the cause of happiness. Further, even in the absence of the sweet, he may be happy. Establishing that which is true from seeing that which is variable and invariable in situations and phenomena is helpful in understanding the real nature of the self. See nyāyaḥ.
Endowed with; possessing; having as an inherent part.
Mutual non-existence – for example, 'pot' and 'cloth' are mutually exclusive at the level of name and form because a pot is not a cloth and vice-versa. See abhāvaḥ.
Mutual (reciprocal) erroneous conclusion; error involving 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 solely to fire.
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 conception is called anyonyādhyāsaḥ, the most obvious example of which is between the complex of body-mind-senses, kārya-karaṇa-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.
Since the red-hot iron ball, when present, is present as (and is regarded as) a coherent, convincingly existent, independent reality, it is impossible to say, from its perspective, when it came into being. It is present and it cannot be known (there is no means to know) from its own current perspective, any previous non-presence or beginning. Therefore, from its own perspective, it appears not only beginningless but has ever been as it is now, and must ever remain so. This means its beginning is ever shrouded in ignorance. Like this, the origin of the jīvaḥ is beginningless ignorance, an ignorance in which the jīvaḥ is mistakenly taken to be a coherent, convincingly existent, independent reality.
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; an element 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.
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.
Lower nature of the self; the immediate cause of all that is perceivable, manifest and conceivable; see parā-prakṛtiḥ.
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.
Unlimited (limitless); not bound by; not subject to.
Having no claim upon anything; renunciation; minimum of possessions; one of the five prohibitions of yamaḥ.
Immediate knowledge, knowledge of the immediate self, knowledge of the knower (whether of the satya or mithyā knower).
Usually, our knowledge is from either direct sensory perception, pratyakṣa-jñānam, or from indirect sensory perception, parokṣa-jñānam. Indirect sensory perception is, for example, from books, or reported speech, or from inference. Both pratyakṣa and parokṣa require an intermediary, meaning they are both mediated through the senses, and both are knowledge of objects. Aparokṣa-jñānam requires no intermediary: it is not mediated, not dependent on being conveyed through something (such as the senses). It is not knowledge of objects, but is direct, unmediated knowledge of the immanent self. When, for example, someone elsewhere in the house shouts, "Are you here?!" your awareness that you are is neither sensory nor aided by something, it is direct, immediate knowledge of yourself.
When the words of the śāstram are unfolded by a competent and properly informed teacher (a śrotriya and sampradāyavit) and heard cleanly and clearly by a properly prepared student (whose pratibandhas are gone) they more than just make logical sense in their dismissal of the non-self, they bring immediate (and unmediated) self-knowledge.
That which remains (that which is not dismissed) after showing what ātmā is not, makes the hitherto non-obvious immediately obvious.
This corrected understanding, revealed by the śabda-pramāṇam of the śāstram, is aparokṣa-jñānam. With such an awakening there is no need for further confirmation by special practices or experiences! It is self-evident. One's true nature is clear 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. That process is called mananam.
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.
Of non-human (divine) origin; hallmark of the Vedas.
Negation; refutation (of a view or assertion); cognitive resolution of, for example, the form, name and function, pot, in clay, as mithyā. See vādaḥ.
A statement, vākyam, negating (refuting) 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, adhyāropa-apavāda-viveka-prakriyā and vādaḥ.
Suspension of thought (typically in moments of joy or awe).
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 something is made, or treated as, experienceable).
Attainment (āpyam); to gain or reach is one of the four possible results of karma, action, e.g. "She attained motherhood" "He attained top marks" "She attained great wealth."
Mokṣaḥ, being one's true, essential nature is already attained – even if unrecognised at present – and so cannot (and need not) be attained or reached by any form of action, such as meditation or worship. Action to attain the already attained is an unknowing denial of an already existent fact. Mokṣaḥ is instead simply the unhindered recognition of that ever-present fact. That recognition requires only knowledge, which takes the form of the correction of incorrect ideas about oneself.
Inadequacy; insufficiency; the status of being inadequate, of lacking this or that (lit. not full, not abundant, imperfect, flawed). See pūrṇa.
Ignorance, avidyā, of his real nature of pūrṇatvam causes the individual to come to the false conclusion that he is limited. Being limited, he sees himself as subject to various forms of lack (not tall enough, not strong enough, not clever enough, not charming enough, not wealthy enough, etc.). Such perceived forms of lack (such feelings of inadequacy, such lack of fulfilment) prompt the rise of desire to overcome or at least mitigate them, and without the corrective guidance of the Vedaḥ, saṃsāraḥ is the inevitable consequence.
Not (seen) before; not having existed before; unmatched; novel; recent; unique.
Waving of light performed as part of a pūjā; one of the units of the act of worship (karmāṅga).
No longer craving social interaction; ever comfortable in one's own company.
Worship in the form of praising the Lord.
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). To develop ārjavam I must keep my promises (including those I make only to myself, mentally) and hence, for example, I must only ever speak the truth and must always be punctual. Keeping my promises, I will also develop self-respect, self-confidence and a strong will.
The famous Mahābhāratam warrior whose doubts Lord Kṛṣṇaḥ resolved on the eve of battle, thereby creating the Bhagavad-Gītā.
Attribution of the characteristics of one thing to another. The result of adhyāsaḥ (erroneous conception) 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.
Pursuit; aim; meaning; wealth; pursuit of security.
Knowledge from presumption about whatever is not perceived, derived from that which 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.
Praise; affirmation; explanation of meaning.
Absence of a sense of ownership; recognising that although I possess a few things, I actually own nothing as all that is here is Īśvaraḥ. See saktiḥ.
Impossibility; inapplicability. The teaching is heard in śravanam. Various doubts and questions then emerge, all of which can be summarised by the term asambhavaḥ, which expresses the feeling: "How can it be true that I am Brahman? That cannot apply to me, it seems impossible." Doubts are removed by the clarity that comes from mananam. See the other major pratibandha or hindrance: viparīta-bhāvanā, contrary tendencies.
Posture; seat; part of aṣṭāṅga-yogaḥ, the eight-fold discipline of yogaḥ.
This word literally means non-existent or unreal, but in Vedāntaḥ it is more closely defined as not independently existent or not self-existent (not non-existent); phenomenal; synonym for mithyā. See sat, satyam, tuccham.
A Sāṅkhyamvādaḥ, a Sāṅkhyam view or assertion (vādaḥ) that a non-existent (asat) effect (kārya) arises from an existent cause. If true, this would mean that an unreal or non-existent effect could arise from a real or existent cause, but an existent cause can never bring into being a non-existent effect – a non-existent ornament cannot originate from existent gold. See sat-kārya-vādaḥ and vādaḥ.
Resting-place; abode; seat of thoughts and feelings; heart; mind.
Egoism; the knowledge 'I am'; excessive self-concern, with or without exaggerated feelings of self-importance; see kleśaḥ.
Denigrating 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 sorrow'; see śobhana-adhyāsaḥ and adhyāsaḥ.
That knowledge (that union, that yogaḥ) that is untouchable, asparśaḥ. It refers to the fact that since ātmā is satya and the world is mithyā, the world cannot touch ātmā – just as mirage-water can never touch (wet) the ground, or the pot, being merely an appearance of clay, can never touch the clay. The ground and the clay are asparśa, untouched by the mirage and pot.
Self-knowledge is a different order of reality to the dependent reality that is mithyā (just as the waking state is a different order of reality to the dream state). Synonym of brahma-vidyā.
Duties pertaining to the four orders or stages of life.
Basis; that upon which something depends or rests; that upon which one depends as a means to achieving a desired end; locus; refuge; shelter. See adhiṣṭhānam.
Patañjali'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
Demon; a materialistic person who deludedly goes against dharmaḥ while lost in an unchecked pursuit of sensory pleasure; one who thinks chiefly of arthaḥ and kāmaḥ, and who takes pleasure in lying and causing hurt; predominant guṇaḥ is tamas; see rākṣasaḥ.
Definition (lakṣaṇam) of an object being atad, (atat) not the truth, not That. It is arrived at through the distinction, vyāvṛttiḥ, of the subject (ātmā) from it. See lakṣaṇam.
Beyond the reach of the senses; imperceptible; mind.
Beyond; distinct; transcendent; free from.
Self; the true self; the true I; that which is ever distinct from (and ever the witness of) the gross, subtle and causal bodies (sthūla, sūkṣma, kāraṇa-śarīrāḥ) and the world at large; beyond the five levels of experience (pañca-kośāḥ); self-evident, changeless, ever-pure witness, sākṣī, of the three states of experience (avasthā-trayāḥ); that which ever remains as existence, consciousness, fullness (saccidānandaḥ).
Even though jīvas are many and varied, atma, being changeless, all-pervasive, partless consciousness, is ever one and the same, just as gold is ever the same in all gold items.
The word ātmā, as well as meaning the true, limitless self, is also commonly used to mean 'self', 'I', or 'mind' in the ordinary senses of those words. Its meaning therefore encompasses not only one's true self, but also whatever notion is held of oneself. Such notions are given the technical term ahaṅkāraḥ or jīvātmā. In this way, the very word ātmā highlights the fundamental human problem of adhyāsaḥ, mistakenly taking oneself (ātmā) to be what one is not: limited, mortal, 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. See anātmā, jīvaḥ and paramātmā.
The process of enquiry, vivekaḥ (conducted by systematic study of the Upaniṣads with the help of a guruḥ) having the aim of distinguishing ātmā from anātmā (the self from the not-self). This term summarises the whole of Vedāntaḥ.
Becoming conscious of (awakening to) knowledge of the self; the blossoming of self-knowledge.
Knowledge of the truth of oneself; self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is the correction of an habitual wrong conclusion, an habitual mis-identification of myself with one or more objects of perception. I am distinct from all thoughts, feelings, physical objects, etc. They arise in perception, but I, the final perceiver, am not limited to them or by them. Being variable and fleeting, they cannot be myself as I am invariable and ever-present.
"Self-knowledge can resolve all our emotional problems. Knowledge, especially self-knowledge, leads to emotional strength. Ultimately, absolute strength is attained through knowledge alone. All emotions are based on the way we look at the creation, at people, our children, our subordinates, our boss. Our perspective determines our emotions. That perspective is dependent on our understanding. The way we understand the world will determine the way we look at the world. Knowledge determines the perspective, the perspective determines the emotion, and therefore knowledge determines emotions. Thus, self-knowledge can change one's life." Sw. Paramarthananda
One who is satisfied in one's own self; a wise person.
A jñānī; one who is the master of oneself; one who has clear vision of oneself being ātmā, meaning one whose doubts about oneself and the world have been resolved through flawless knowledge; one who is no longer bound by action; one who recognises actionlessness in the midst of action (and action in actionlessness).
Enquiry into the nature of the self. Such enquiry alone leads to liberation. It can be conducted only by one who is sufficiently qualified, i.e. one whose mind is sufficiently prepared through karma-yogaḥ. It is an enquiry conducted through study of the Upaniṣads, with the help of a guruḥ.
Absolute non-existence (also known as tuccham); impossibility of existence, e.g. a square circle, the son of a barren woman. See abhāvaḥ.
Limitation; condition; boundary; separation.
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. See vādaḥ.
Limited; separated (from); distinguished (from).
Ascertainment; conviction; commitment.
Covering; a cover; an obscuring; a concealing.
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. The āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ '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 conception, 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.
If māyā completely covered Īśvaraḥ there could be no universe. Instead its āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ covers the limitlessness and non-duality of Īśvaraḥ. 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 slumbering waker.
The three states of experience, all of which are mutually exclusive states of the mind, enjoying only conditional, dependent (not absolute) reality. This is confirmed by the fact that each state is regarded as real while in it, but later found to be unreal when in either of the other two. In dream, the dream world alone is real; similarly, in the waking state, only the waking world is regarded as real. Both worlds are dismissed in deep sleep, and deep sleep is dismissed in both waking and dream. Turīya alone is truly, independently real; it fully pervades the other three and is the source of their 'reality' as it lends them their reality. • jāgrad-avasthā, waking state. • svapna-avasthā, dream state. • suṣupti-avasthā, deep-sleep state. Also see turīya, 'fourth' (not a state).
Method 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.
Descent; the divine, descended and manifest (by free choice) in bhū-lokaḥ, to protect followers of dharmaḥ, quell adharmaḥ and (primarily) to re-establish dharmaḥ.
Partial change, e.g. gold undergoes a partial change (a change of form, not substance) in becoming an ornament. This appears to make the causal status of Brahman questionable. See adhyāropa-apavāda-viveka-prakriyā.
Complete absorption (of the mind in consciousness).
Ātmā with the avidyā-upādhiḥ (the manifesting medium or conditioning adjunct of ignorance) is known as the jīvaḥ, the individual. Ātmā with the māyā-upādhiḥ, the conditioning adjunct of māyā, is Īśvaraḥ.
Ignorance is not merely absence of knowledge, ignorance is opposed to knowledge (just as unmanifest is opposed to manifest, and wrong to right). It conceals that which is true and causes the projection of something else in its place. That incorrect or incomplete knowledge, when taken to be true, stands opposed to that which is true.
That incorrect or false conclusion cannot occur in the mind, for the mind is inert. Neither can it occur for ātmā, for ātmā is flawless, pure knowledge. Ignorance occurs only for the jīvaḥ, but is held in the mind – the jīvaḥ being a seeming conjoining or association of consciousness and mind. When the jīvaḥ is recognised to be no more than an appearance its ignorance goes too. Hence, on ceasing identification with the mind (and body) the wise see no ignorance. Ultimately, there is no ignorance, no mind and no māyā.
Unswerving devotion; a mind that, in its moments of leisure, spontaneously returns to dwelling on its highest aspiration, liberation.
Undifferentiated; primal; undeveloped; māyā prior to its manifestation of sṛṣṭiḥ.
The undifferentiated, sacred space within the seat of 'I' (namely, within the buddhiḥ) in which Brahman is available for recognition – as, indeed, is all else. That same space is also known as parama-vyoman.
Unmanifest; imperceptible via the senses; reality's unmanifest power of knowing; synonym of māyā. The kāraṇa-prapañcaḥ, the seed or cause of the whole (macro) cosmos, and the kāraṇa-śarīram, the seed or cause of each micro or individual manifest being are both incorporated (included) in this universal, undifferentiated avyaktam. To help more easily distinguish these two unmanifest macro and micro causes, Vedāntaḥ gives them the names māyā and avidyā respectively.
Undecaying; indeclinable; changeless.
This; this one.
'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. The ordinary sense of self, 'me', is not being equated with Brahman, it is its unlimited, unobjectifiable substratum that is being equated. See mahāvākyam and also tattvamasi, ahaṃ brahmāsmi, prajñānaṃ brahma.
Abode; sanctuary; resting place; support; altar.
Erroneous knowledge. We make a mistake about something when it is not clearly or fully evident or available to us. Neither an unknown and absent nor a known and evident object causes a mistake to be made about it. "Erroneous knowledge takes place when an object is recognised, but not as it is."*
Negation (by correct knowledge); sublation; objection; contradiction; (bādhita, false, annulled, subject to negation; bādhaka, any factor that negates a previous contention). In Vedāntaḥ, jñānam corrects error not just by negating it but by sublating it (resolving it into a greater perspective). Such sublation is the natural outcome of true knowledge. See abādhita and prabodhaḥ.
A term describing the correction of an error by negation when words are in apposition. For example, when a stump of a tree is mistaken for a man, 'man' and 'tree' are in apposition and the corrective negation (bādhaḥ) arises from the words: "Don't be alarmed, it's only a tree stump." Similarly, the mistake of thinking "I am this body" ('I' and 'body' are in apposition) is corrected by the sublation, "No, the seer cannot be the seen, even though the seen is the seer." See sāmāna-adhikaraṇyam.
External (opp. of abhyantara, internal).
External organ, e.g. the eye (a category term distinguishing external organs from internal ones). There are several such organs. Each is referred to as an organ (indriyam) because each is the 'organ' or instrument via which a subtle power or capacity, such as sight or speech, manifests. See golakam.
Young; not mature; not fully grown.
Strength; force. Strength is more than physical. Real strength – inner strength – is the ability to live a purposeful, disciplined life, following true values. It is evident in having the qualifications needed for mokṣaḥ, which in turn come from having puruṣārtha-niścayaḥ, definiteness about one's primary aim in life. See sādhana-catuṣṭayam.
A fetter; a fastening; a shackle; a binding. In Vedāntaḥ, the shackle is subtle, not physical. It is deha-abhimānaḥ, 'I'-sense in the body.
Bondage; confining; restraint; imprisonment; dependence. Bondage is being bound or shackled (and made dependent) by the false conclusion in the intellect that I am this limited individual, this aggregate of body, mind and senses. Liberation, mokṣaḥ, is freedom from this intellectual problem of ignorance-caused mis-identification and its consequence, saṃsāraḥ. That freedom is found in the recognition and full ascertainment that I am the limitless ātmā.
Bondage is not real and is because of ignorance. When ignorance is destroyed through knowledge, all bondage ceases. Mokṣaḥ is nothing but abidance in one’s true nature as Brahman. Mokṣaḥ is not something actually attained by the ātmā for the ātmā is never bound, only mistaken to be bound.
"Even while thinking any thought, you are free; just as the actor remains free while playing the role of the beggar. If this is clear, then the world cannot cause a problem for you. Vedānta doesn’t remove any limitations, it only makes you understand that you are already free from all of them."*
Auspicious; that which drives away, or does not cause, pain.
The six great virtues, found in equal, absolute and limitless measure only in Bhagavān: • aiśvaryam - overlordship • vīryam - the capacity to create, sustain and resolve • yaśas - absolute fame • śrīḥ - all wealth and resources • jñānam - all knowledge • vairāgyam - total dispassion
Implication (lakṣaṇā) in which irrelevant and inappropriate aspects/parts (bhāga) of word meanings are left aside (tyāga) and relevant and appropriate aspects retained. Synonym of jahadajahallakṣaṇā.
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.
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.
Devotee; there are four types of devotee: • ārtaḥ - a distressed devotee (ārta, distressed) who thinks of God and seeks his help only when in trouble. • arthārthī - a desirer (arthī) of the object of desire (artha); 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.
Devotion, love, with respect and reverence; attachment; trust; homage; worship; piety; faith.
Since bhaktiḥ is expressed through action, it comes within karma-yogaḥ and so there is no bhakti-mārgaḥ. Bhaktiḥ is not a separate, distinct path to truth.
The highest form of bhaktiḥ is ātma-vicāraḥ, self-enquiry, the middle form is constantly meditating upon (dwelling upon) the fact that the entire universe is a manifestation of God, and the lowest form is offering all one's actions in service of the Lord in acknowledgement that all that is here is Īśvaraḥ.
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. This is not and cannot be true: being limited in both scope and result, action (whether combined with knowledge or not) cannot produce or help produce limitlessness. Knowledge alone removes ignorance. See vivaraṇam.
The country, deśaḥ, (in which the people) revel, rata, in the light of truth, bhā, (and so live a life of dharmaḥ). The proper name for India.
Light; lustre; brightness; impression made on the mind; see cidābhāsaḥ.
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.
(Made) visible; brought to light.
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 kārikā, ṭīkā and vārtikam.
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').
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.
Attitude; conception; understanding; imagination; supposition; fancy; thought; meditation. Without a proper, healthy, positive attitude towards Vedānta it will be of no benefit.
Disease (rogaḥ) of existence, of becoming; the disease of the beginningless, endless cycle of births and deaths, saṃsāraḥ.
Fear; alarm; dread. Fear, which is always of a potential loss, is the inevitable consequence of perceived limitation – one who has limits is vulnerable and vulnerability is the harbinger of fear. Desire and action may arise in an attempt to mitigate or eliminate vulnerability and its offspring, fear. All such action, being based on a false premise, perpetuates saṃsāraḥ.
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).
Difference, although experienced, is not a perception but an interpretation. It's not perceived but conceived and is solely of the mind. It is a concept and is mithyā.
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. See vādaḥ.
Alms; a gift of money, food, clothing, etc., in support of a sādhuḥ.
Place of experience (the support, abode or 'counter' across which one has dealings with the world); the body-mind-sense complex.
Experience; enjoyment. Searching in the world for enjoyments or pleasures is the mistake of projecting happiness onto external phenomena and leads to sorrow. The world is not designed to give happiness, peace or love; being our nature, they are already ours. The world is designed to fulfil our basic needs. Hence, it is saner to give (contribute) happiness, peace and love.
World of experience or enjoyment; the world in which the person appears with an appropriate physical and subtle body to experience the results of his/her karma.
Instrument or means of experience; synonym for the subtle body.
An object of enjoyment or experience.
Enjoyer (also known as bhoktṛ); one who believes himself to be an experiencer. Arising in the ānandamayakośaḥ, the kośaḥ closest to the ātmā, this experiencer, this bhoktā, is the basic person (the basic manifestation of the individual) he who is ever in search of sukham, happiness.
Ultimately, ātmā, consciousness, is the only experiencer/enjoyer, providing doership and enjoyership to each means of experience in the body-mind complex by pervading and enlivening each means. Without ātmā, experience is impossible. Similarly, it could be argued that without the body-mind complex, manifestation is impossible for ātmā, but really, the body-mind complex (and the whole jagat) are merely appearances in ātmā.
Enjoyership; the sense of being the enjoyer (i.e. experiencer) of the results of action. See kartṛtvam.
Confusion; perplexity; delusion (fem: bhrāntiḥ).
The Earth; known as bhū-lokaḥ, the world of becoming; it is the only lokaḥ where change can occur, i.e. where new karma may be formed, because it is the only lokaḥ with free-will; world of mortals; lowest of the seven heavens.
Reflection; manifestation – often used figuratively in the metaphoric sense that an ornament reflects the jeweller's design (makes a concept manifest) or that thought is reflected in action. Nevertheless, 'reflection' conveys the idea that that manifestation is, within its limits, an accurate representation. Further, since ātmā is all-pervading, there is nothing away from ātmā that can serve as a locus for reflection.
In brief: Brahman is limitless and not subject to change (Gita 8.3)
More fully: Brahman is absolute, non-dual, abstract reality; absolute truth; absolute peace; all-pervading, indivisible, non-transactable, formless being.
Existence (existence itself); knowledge (pure knowledge, knowledge as such); limitlessness; timelessness; free from impurity; beyond māyā; self-evident; happiness not bound by time or degree; non-separate from oneself. When related to, it is regarded as Īśvaraḥ.
The divisionless, ever available, unmanifest reality behind and beyond all manifestation; that pure, unmanifest being worshipped by the highest, most mature devotee – not to be confused with the similarly named Brahmā (Brahmājī) the Creator. See iṣṭa-devatā and viśvarūpaḥ. Also see cit and jñaptiḥ.
Gaining clarity of understanding through teaching. Teaching Vedāntaḥ is itself a means to gaining more clarity about something you already know as it highlights unknown weak points or brings further insights.
A practice of nididhyāsanam in which what has been thoroughly understood from śravanam and mananam comes to mind each day in all worldly interactions. The person's responses are then more and more from the truth of oneself: knowing I am Brahman, I live as Brahman. Such assimilation of the teaching does not require samādhi-abhyāsa-rūpa-nididhyāsanam although some practise that too.
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. And so, for example, during brahmacaryam no sexual relationship is indulged. Part of yamaḥ.
Attainment of oneness with Brahman. After death of the physical body, a jñānī is said to 'merge' with Brahman, meaning all vestiges of jīvatvam go for good and liberation from sorrow is complete.
Knowledge of absolute truth; knowledge of reality; enemy of saṃsāraḥ; synonym of brahma-vidyā. Absolute truth harbours no enmity towards all that is seemingly here – it is knowledge of truth (not truth!) that is opposed to (is the enemy of) the false, the enemy of saṃsāraḥ.
The proposition, vādaḥ, that the creation is an effect or product, kārya, of Brahman. See vādaḥ.
Highest of the seven heavens; also known as satya-lokaḥ.
A 48 minute period beginning 96 minutes before sunrise; useful for worship and meditation as mental focus is easier.
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.
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.
Macrocosom; universe; cosmos.
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.
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).
Aperture (randhram) in the crown of the head, closed soon after birth, through which the soul may exit the body on death.
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.
Radiance or glow born of dedicated, long-term study of the Vedaḥ and from spiritual practice, especially japaḥ. It includes the brilliance of the capacity to study, recite and remember the Vedaḥ.
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 (mokṣaḥ) from being a jīvaḥ, not a freeing of the jīvaḥ. See mahāvākyam.
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, and it is also known as parāvara-vidyā (knowledge, vidyā, passed in succession, over millennia, from teacher, para, to student, avara).
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.
Intellect – the power to determine, reason, recognise, deliberate, discriminate, decide, will; part of antaḥ-karaṇam (one of its functional names) and hence part of sūkṣma-śarīram. All that happens happens in the buddhiḥ. The buddhiḥ is the place, the only place, where recognition of the self, the ātmā, takes place. It is also the place where its non-recognition takes place. "Enlightenment is only for 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 and gives free-will.
Being the means by which knowing manifests, and hence being the locus of judgement and decision, buddhiḥ is the seat of dhṛtiḥ, the will. Resolve, saṅkalpaḥ (often contaminated to varying degrees by rāga-dveṣas) 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. "Freedom is in spite of free 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, incomplete perspective gains limited results and so becomes a saṃsārī, travelling from birth to birth.
One who, being a kṛtsna-karmakṛt, sees actionlessness in action; an intelligent person; a discriminating person; one who thinks clearly and hence is fearless and wise.
Uncivilised, unrefined, uncultured, tāmasika, wild, rough person (lit. dog-eater).
Moon (cāndra, lunar).
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, sāṅkhyam, vaiśeṣikaḥ and naiyāyikaḥ.
The four (catur) ages (yugam) of the world-cycle: • kali-yugam 432,000 yrs
(began 18 Feb 3,102 BCE) • dvāpara-yugam 864,000 yrs (kali-yugam x 2) • tretā-yugam 1,296,000 yrs (kali-yugam x 3) • kṛta-yugam 1,728,000 yrs (kali-yugam x 4) A catur-yugam (all four yugas combined) is known as a mahā-yugam (kali-yugam x 10 = 4,320,000 yrs); see kalpaḥ, manvantaram, yugam.
Vedic usage; Vedic expression; a word-form peculiar to the Vedas that does not conform to conventional Saṃskṛtam grammar rules.
Manifestation 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. Such a unique, individual reflection of consciousness is the source of individual self-awareness, self-existence and hence is called jīvaḥ. That individual self-awareness is a limited manifestation in the mind of absolute, non-limited, non-individual, pure consciousness. That individual reflection of pure consciousness in the mind is what gives us unique, individual self-awareness and is what we use to know things. This reflection is what causes us to identify with the body and mind, bringing about the individual sentient being, the jīvaḥ or jīvātmā. The famous example of the sun reflected individually in many pots of water illustrates cidābhāsaḥ. Also see pratibimbaḥ. Cidābhāsaḥ and pratibimbaḥ are the same consciousness viewed from different perspectives.
The space, ākāśaḥ, in the buddhiḥ in which consciousness, cit, shines (is manifest) as the 'I'-sense.
That ātmā, that consciousness, that awareness, that cit, upon which the entire fabric (ambaram) of the jagat is woven, as it were.
(All is) the play (vilāsaḥ) of consciousness, cit.
An appearance (vivartaḥ) in cit (pure consciousness); all is an appearance in consciousness.
All is a mātrā, a measure, of cit, pure consciousness – all consists of, is an expression of, pure consciousness; there is nothing here but awareness, which is my essential nature.
(In the form of) pure consciousness; (consisting of) pure thought; nothing but awareness.
Pure consciousness; pure knowledge; pure intelligence; source of all knowledge (both manifest knowledge and yet-to-be-manifest knowledge); source of all manifestation – the one unchanging presence (also known as sat); 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 (meaning ever-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 of a suitable means of manifestation, a sūkṣma-śarīram).
Cit, absolute reality (also known as Brahman) being self-effulgent, non-objectifiable 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 – the very reality – of the 'I'-thought, aham. See jñāptiḥ and ānandaḥ.
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. (citram, image, picture; paṭaḥ, cloth, fabric; nyāyaḥ, illustration, maxim.) See nyāyaḥ.
Of the very form of (of the very nature of) pure knowledge, pure consciousness.
Mind-stuff; subconscious mind; memory; power of recollection; part of the antaḥ-karaṇam (one of its functional names) and hence part of the sūkṣma-śarīram.
Proper direction (disciplining) of habitual, unnecessary thoughts that hinder the development of self-knowledge; the discipline of patiently guarding the mind from being dominated and controlled by habitual, troublesome, involuntary thoughts. (Poor habits are removed by creating new ones that oppose and displace them, thus using a good habit to overcome a bad one.)
Without practising this discipline – with patience and perseverance, in the light of the teaching – such thoughts will hinder the assimilation and enjoyment of the knowledge gained through Vedānta. This discipline is an aspect of śamaḥ and contributes to mental well-being. It is, of course, essentially the same disciplining of the mind that is involved in japa and in all forms of meditation – without it there can be no japa, no meditation.
Grace; 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.
Īśvaraḥ, the Lord, invoked as the bestower of spiritual knowledge, absolute wisdom.
First and foremost in the unbroken lineage of gurus or teachers, Dakṣiṇāmūrtiḥ is the personification of pure knowledge (the source of all manifest knowledge) and so is said to be teaching in silence, which does not mean he did not speak – all teaching requires speech. It means that, due to the subtlety of what had to be communicated, he taught not by direct exposition but by the indirect means of the implication of that which is true, lakṣaṇa-vākyam, and the negation of that which is not true, niṣedha-vākyam.
He is portrayed sitting under a banyan tree with his four disciples (sons of Brahmā) known as Sanakaḥ, Sanātanaḥ, Sanandanaḥ and Sanatkumāraḥ.
Mastery 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, dhṛtiḥ, 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.
Giving; gift; charitable activity.
Vision; seeing; vision of truth; school of thought; contention; seeing Bhagavān in the form of a deity in a temple. Vedāntaḥ is not a darśanam, it merely provides corrections to misunderstandings of one's real nature. Those corrections naturally imply one's true nature, which cannot be pointed out directly.
Body; subject to heat, to the burning heat of mental and/or physical adversity and eventually to the heat of cremation; also see the synoyms kāyaḥ, śarīram.
Identification of the self with the body; the cognition (buddhiḥ) that the self (ātmā) is the body (dehaḥ). The word 'body' in this devastating error includes the senses and mind, not just the physical body. In its most extreme form, identification is with the physical body alone – in which the mind, consciousness and sensory experience are regarded as mere epiphenomena of the brain.
Three types: identification with the body, beautification of the body, and attempts to remove bodily flaws. See vāsanā.
Effulgent; the knowledge principle by which something has its existence; all devas, as one, constitute Īśvaraḥ; general term for any natural phenomenon looked upon as an illumination of consciousness or as a specific manifestation of the Lord (fem: devatā).
Name of the script used for Saṃskṛtam. Its most popular transliteration scheme, IAST, is used in this glossary.
One of the five forms of worship; invoking Īśvaraḥ in the form of gods (devatāḥ, natural phenomena) in order to express gratitude for all with which one has been blessed; also see pañcamahā-yajñas.
Courage; boldness; bravery.
Wealth; property; treasure.
Holding or placing the attention of the mind on a chosen object for meditation, or on one's own svarūpam for contemplation. Meditation (dhyānam) and contemplation (nididhyāsanam) both consist in returning attention to that chosen focus when it moves away. See pratyāhāraḥ.
There 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 – Dharmaḥ protected protects: by following dharmaḥ it is protected from falling into disuse, and the follower is in turn protected from falling into adharmaḥ. More than that, the good influence of good action spreads.
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 (niyatiḥ) that permeates and upholds all manifestation, as its very adhiṣṭhānam, is dharmaḥ. "All that is here is Īśvaraḥ."*
This does not mean that this order cannot be wilfully challenged, neglected or distorted, but then it naturally reasserts itself.
Action unopposed to dharmaḥ. In living a life of karma-yogaḥ all one's actions are kept aligned with all that is perceived of the order that is dharmaḥ. As best one may, one's actions (karma) then become unopposed (aviruddha) to dharmaḥ. See karma-yogaḥ.
Element or constituent of the body, e.g. phlegm, blood, marrow; vital force in man; metal; verbal root.
Intellect; mind; thought in general (subtle body).
A wise person – one whose intellect is protected from fear due to fear having been resolved for good. It is resolved for good only with those who, being liberated, are free from ignorance and so know no second. When the intellect is free from ignorance, the mind is protected from the rise of fear. Only a person with such a mind is a truly brave person who no longer fears the worst of fears... death.
Will; resolution; perseverance; firmness; fortitude; the capacity not to be diverted from a chosen goal; a function of the buddhiḥ as strength of will is directly related to the clarity with which a value is appreciated (values determine purpose). Hence, dhṛtiḥ is the very will with which one holds steadily to a saṅkalpaḥ.
Firm; fixed; permanent; unchanging.
Meditation. 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. Dhyānam and upāsanam are synonyms.
Meditation is formally 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 (viṣayaḥ) takes the form (rūpam) of saguṇa-brahma, where all thought (vṛttiḥ), that is devoid of (rahita) or other than the chosen object or topic (vijātīya) is let go and only thought (vṛttiḥ) concerning the chosen object (sajātīya) flows continuously for a time (pravāhaḥ).
For the Vedantin, meditation is not limited to 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 of meditation 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. The four hindrances to all forms of meditation are: kaṣāyam, layaḥ, rasāsvādaḥ and vikṣepaḥ.
Initiation; consecration; a vow made ceremonially.
Lamp; light; lantern.
Long; two successive hrasva (short) mātrā (measures) of a vowel sound, joined without a gap to make one unbroken sound.
For example, it's the slightly lengthened 'a' sound used when saying 'father' and 'part', or the slightly lengthened 'u' sound used for 'pool' and 'rule'. Note that it's the sound (not the name) of the letter 'a' and 'u' that is meant. See hrasva, short; pluta, lengthened.
The power of inertia, inherent in māyā. Inertia is the capacity to remain at rest (or to continue in uniform motion). Without that capacity, nothing could ever be manifest. Dravyam refers to that capacity and to its material or perceptible outcome. "The creation is a movement."*
Method (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.
The seer, draṣṭā (knower); the one who sees.
An illustration or example – typically used to help communicate the meaning of a proposition, pratijñā. An example is meant to prove a point, not to be exactly like that which it illustrates, for then it wouldn’t be an example, it would be the thing itself.
A seen result, an immediately manifest result (of an action). See adṛṣṭa-phalam.
Vision; seeing; perception; view.
The statement or doctrine (vādaḥ) that seeing, perception (dṛṣṭiḥ) is creation (sṛṣṭiḥ) – the world is not only a perception, a vision, but is created by seeing. Perception is creation. There is no creation other than perception. Perception of a thing is its origination. See saṃvṛtiḥ, vādaḥ and nimitta-kāraṇam.
A meditation, dhyānam, in which a dṛśyam, an object of knowledge (a thought seen or experienced in the mind) is used, anuviddha, to shift the attention from nāma-rupam, name and form, to be absorbed, samādhiḥ, 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 can lead 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.
That which is objectifiable perceptually or inferentially (not merely that which is seen visually); the object of knowledge (distinct from the subject, draṣṭā).
Sorrow; uneasiness; misery; pain; grief; trouble. All sorrow is due to the limitation felt in frustrated or unfulfilled desire. That limitation has its root in ignorance of one's true nature. See śokaḥ.
(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.
Sin; synonym of pāpam; result of wrong action translated into the experience of pain or undesirable situations.
Eleventh day of the lunar fortnight, i.e. the eleventh day after either the new or full Moon.
One-pointed – referring to a focused state of attention.
One-pointedness (of the mind); concentration; intentness in the pursuit of a given object.
'One alone without a second' – an indicatory term for Īśvaraḥ, the Lord.
(Being of) one essence (devoid of both substance and attribute); absolute purity; happiness not bound by time or degree. Ekarasam is a term declaring that ātmā (pure existence, pure consciousness, absolute happiness) is not a substance, nor does it have any attributes. All else, all that is manifest or unmanifest, is a duality of a single or complex substance that has one or more attributes. This duality is only in the field of anātmā, all that is not the self. The word ekarasam therefore reveals the uniqueness of the self, pure consciousness, showing that it is not a part or aspect of the creation.
This famous phrase from verse 7 of the Māṇḍūkya-Upaniṣad indicates how to understand turīyam. Pratyayaḥ means thought, cognition, but here it means thought in the sense of 'thinking of, dwelling on'. How long? Eka, continuously. Continuously, solely, on what? On oneself, ātmā (which is turīyam). This continuous self-awareness is the sāram, indicator or pointer to understanding turīyam, one's real nature.
This means that when, for example, I speak of myself as one who knows the states of waking, dream and deep sleep, I am necessarily speaking from the standpoint of turīyam, perhaps unknowingly. I am speaking from the standpoint of being their common, ever-present, single substratum. This understanding or recognition of all the three being one and the same is called pratyabhijñā. To consciously (non-verbally) acknowledge this fact, again and again, is to knowingly take my stand in turīyam. In this way I knowingly emphasise, knowingly remind the mind, that I am ever distinct from the three states of mind. Such a practice (such a nididhyāsanam) is a pointer to understanding and taking ownership of my real nature.
Sky-lotus; a poetic term for a (literally) incredible object to show astonishment at its apparent reality; a synonym for the world.
Lord Gaṇeśaḥ (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.
The sense-object (viṣayaḥ), subtle or gross, perceptible through the nose and mind and known as smell, scent or odour – the exclusive quality of earth.
Demigod; celestial musician.
Subtle principle or root-element of odour.
Sacred 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.
Means; aim; destination; path (the means, the road, by which one reaches the destination, and the actual destination or end achieved). The recently deceased are typically wished a "good gatiḥ" in the hope that, on their journey, hell is avoided and a propitious future life is found.
Śukla gatiḥ, the bright or solar path (also known as the uttara mārgaḥ, northern path) takes those with great puṇyam to brahma-lokaḥ after death, from which there is no return. Kṛṣṇa gatiḥ, the dark or lunar path (also known as the dakṣiṇa mārgaḥ, southern path) takes those with lesser puṇyam to a lokaḥ higher than bhū-lokaḥ after death, from which they eventually return.
An axiom referring to the fact that all four Vedas have the same aim, mokṣaḥ – 'gati' here means end or aim. Ādi-Śaṅkaraḥ is said to have chosen to write commentaries on Upaniṣads selected from all four Vedas to demonstrate this fact. See nyāyaḥ.
Having qualities; metaphorical.
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.
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.
A famous Sāvitrī-mantraḥ invoking the Lord in the form of the sun. This sacred mantraḥ is said to be all four Vedas in condensed form. Chanted 108 times, thrice daily, during sandhyāvandanam, it burnishes the buddhiḥ and so it is given to young people to aid intellectual as well as spiritual development.
Three well-known vyāhṛtis (bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ) are said to be its essence, and they respectively have their origin in the sounds 'a', 'u' and 'm' of the sacred syllable Om.
Pot (a clay pot is an oft-used teaching device). Vedāntaḥ questions the reality of 'pot', 'pot' being merely a name and form whose weight and substance is clay – remove the clay and there is no pot. "'Pot' is that which has pot-ness and pot-ness is only in understanding. That understanding of pot-ness is the only reality about 'pot'."*
Space seemingly bounded by (apparently contained within) a pot. Pot-space is merely notional, having no independent existence.
A 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, hand, foot; see indriyam.
Family name; tribe; lineage; genus; species.
He who is attained only through knowledge; a name of Lord Kṛṣṇaḥ.
Planet; grip; grasp.
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.
Admissible; fit to be received, picked up, gathered, taken, observed; sense-object.
Householder; 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 mokṣaḥ, and secondly to help perpetuate dharmaḥ by showing his/her children how to follow it. See brahmacaryam, studentship; vānaprasthaḥ, withdrawal; sannyāsaḥ, renunciation.
Cave (of mind); often used in the scriptures as an epithet for buddhiḥ 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 substratum or essence is reality itself.
A component power of māyā – there are three, namely sattvam (sattva), rajaḥ (rajas), tamaḥ (tamas). They are, respectively, the names for the jñāna-śaktiḥ, the power of knowing, the kriyā-śaktiḥ, the power of activity, and the dravya-śaktiḥ, the power of inertia. Each guṇaḥ seemingly causes dependence and hence appears to bind the individual, the dehī. This is because a person may, due to lack of discrimination, take the manifest effects of the guṇas personally.
No guṇaḥ ever exists independently of the other two. All three are present in different degrees in each of the pañca-bhūtas, five elements, and hence in all that arise from them. The word guṇaḥ is also used to indicate 'property, quality', and also has the meaning 'snake' (a symbol of power).
Darkness (gu) dispeller (ru) (dispeller of ignorance of one's true nature by giving the vision of reality); a śrotriyaḥ and a brahma-niṣṭhā; a preceptor; an ācāryaḥ of ātma-vidyā. The guruḥ has to be discovered in the ācāryaḥ, teacher. A guruḥ is an ācāryaḥ, but not every ācāryaḥ is a guruḥ as although an ācāryaḥ may communicate well what the śāstram says, he or she might not communicate its transformative vision well enough to dispel the ignorance of it, either through his/her own inability or through the lack of preparation of the hearer.
The guruḥ, in properly unfolding and interpreting the liberating words of the Upaniṣads, dispels the student's ignorance of himself, the world and God. The Upaniṣads themselves declare that, due to its subtlety, the enquiry into the nature of reality should be done only with the help of a guruḥ who knows the sampradāyaḥ. This is not only because only the śāstram liberates, but to understand properly even one verse of the Upaniṣads one needs to understand the whole of the Upaniṣads. Hence, one requires a teacher who has him or herself been taught by a sampradāyavit (a knower of the sampradāyaḥ).
In addition, due to the mind's unquestioned assumptions and misconceptions, and its tendency to interpret whatever it meets only in terms of what it presently knows, it needs to be shown more than it knows, which necessitates a teacher. In particular, the questioner takes for granted the idea that he himself is a limited being. The questioner is never questioned. Additionally, the guruḥ must constantly check and counter the aspirant's strongly habitual orientation that regards the self as an 'object' to be 'realised' rather than as a fact that is misperceived. "The human intellect is good enough to commit a mistake about the self, but it is not good enough to know what the self is."* See śiṣyaḥ, guru-śiṣya-paramparā, sampradāyaḥ, paramparā.
Guru's grace or blessings. Such grace is the grace of the knowledge enshrined in the śāstram. One may talk of the grace of the śāstram, the grace of the guruḥ, and the grace of the self within the disciple or aspirant – but there is really only the grace of the śāstram. When the guruḥ, fully enlightened by the śāstram, teaches it properly to the disciple, resolving misunderstandings, the disciple's understanding of the śāstram becomes not different from that of the guruḥ. The enlightenment of the disciple is thus provided by the śāstram alone. If an aspirant ignores this and attempts to be guided by his own lights, true knowledge or clear vision will be impossible. See kṛpā, śāstra-kṛpā, ātmā-kṛpā and anugrahaḥ.
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.
Formal, respectful approach to a guruḥ by an individual sincerely requesting to be accepted as a śiṣyaḥ, disciple, in order to be taught the means to mokṣaḥ.
The teaching can only be given on request (there is no question of proselytising). It is also by no means certain that the guruḥ will accept the person as a disciple: an aspirant needs to be suitably qualified (see sādhana-catuṣṭayam) to deserve such a commitment from the guruḥ. The qualifications are acquired through living a life of karma-yogaḥ. See śiṣya-svīkāraḥ.
A consonant, vyañjanam, without any vowel, svaraḥ. The term derives from the māheśvarāṇi-sūtrāṇi of Pāṇiniḥ wherein hal encompasses, and thus becomes the name for, any and all consonants.
Elation; joy; delight; pleasure.
Cause; motive; reason; means. Its corresponding effect is referred to by the word phalam, fruit, result.
Devoid of; deficient in; left out; omitted; incomplete; lost or strayed from; abandoned; faulty.
Īśvaraḥ as the entire subtle universe; the sum-total (samaṣṭiḥ) of all subtle phenomena and subtle bodies; cosmic or universal mind; the highest created being through whom Īśvaraḥ manifests the subtle aspect of the universe.
Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ is also known as Brahmā, the one in whom exists knowledge of the entire cosmos 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'!
Short; one short mātrā (measure) of a vowel sound; a short measure of a vowel is the time taken to make the 'i' sound in 'it', or the 'u' sound in 'pull'. See dīrgha, long; pluta, lengthened.
The knot, granthiḥ, of the heart, hṛdayam. The three-stranded knot of the mind or heart consists of avidyā,kāmaḥ and karma. Avidyā leads to a false understanding of oneself and the world in which I seem limited and lacking. Desire, kāmaḥ, and action, karma, attempt to compensate. Such error-based action ties the individual jīvaḥ to saṃsāraḥ. The knot is cut for good only on properly and fully ascertaining, during the waking state, that I am not the limited body and mind but their unchanging witness.
A mantraḥ meaning: "I invoke the power in Īśvaraḥ". Since this śakti, this power, can create or destroy, one wants a power that is a blessing, and so śrīm is added to hrīm, thus oṃ hrīṃ śrīm. Śrīm is the Lord's blessing power, Lakṣmī, 'all that is good'.
Lord of the senses; chief of the celestials; ruler of Heaven.
Dispassion towards sense-objects.
Why does there need to be dispassion? The first response of the mind and senses to the world is often emotional: whatever is met is met with a degree of like or dislike (a pleased or displeased form of desire). All desire emerges from emotion – all emotions are positive or negative forms of love. Being expressions of love, such mental and sensory responses need to be handled carefully by the person or they will rule him or her. When ruled by emotion, by passion, I am unavailable for vicāraḥ, meaningful enquiry.
Sense perception; sensory knowledge.
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, hand, or foot. See jñānendriyāṇi, the five subtle organs of knowledge; karmendriyāṇi, the five subtle organs of action.
Restraint of the senses from going out to external objects (and especially not living under the dominion of sensory appetite) – an essential aspect of all spiritual discipline and of sāmānya-dharmaḥ.
Desired; beloved; worshipped.
Favourite or tutelary (protective) deity; a very personal form of God worshipped by the immaturest form of devotee. See viśvarūpaḥ and brahman.
Prayer, worship or religious ritual, all of which produce puṇyam. Iṣṭa-karma includes recitation of various mantras and stotras (vācikam karma) as prayers, and it also includes meditation (mānasam karma).
A mind that is awakened to Īśvaraḥ surrenders all actions to Īśvaraḥ. The person recognises that he/she is in situations he did not knowingly create (all being created by the law that manifests prārabdha) that nothing really belongs to him and instead belongs to Īśvaraḥ alone. The order governing the situations is dharma, and dharma is the Lord. The order determines whatever is expected of the person in each situation. A karma-yogī acts with an awareness of this fact. See karma-yogaḥ and saṅkalpaḥ.
Saguṇa-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).
Although an individual has the power to initiate action, the results 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, softening the impact of adverse emotional responses. See karma-yogaḥ.
Thus; so; accordingly; lays stress on that which precedes it; also marks the end of a quotation, definition, etc.
"So, indeed, it was; this is how 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. See purāṇam.
Insentient; 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.
Universe – which becomes manifest and unmanifest continuously, cyclically. The jagat has only nāma-rūpam (name and form) reality. Its reality is a borrowed, dependent, mithyā reality. It was never born and yet it exists. It is the product of māyā and, being inert, is not responsible for anyone's happiness or unhappiness.
Oneness 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, just as the material objects in a dream exist as manifestations of the waker's dreaming mind. See jīva-brahma-aikyam.
Cause of manifestation of the cosmos. Īśvaraḥ, with his śaktiḥ (known as māyā) is the means of manifestation of the cosmos, but the cause is the ripening prārabdha-karma of (innumerable) jīvas, a ripening that lawfully demands expression and, being lawful, it must happen. The cause is not some capricious whim or desire of Īśvaraḥ but the natural and inevitable consequence of the law of karma.
Jāgrad, waking, avasthā, state (of the mind) characterised by both non-apprehension and misapprehension of reality, and in which the gross world of physical objects, seemingly created by Īśvaraḥ in fulfilment of the karma of the jīvaḥ, is experienced via the senses (also created by the dharmaḥ of Īśvaraḥ).
The waking state is no more real than the dream state (since both are mithyā) even though each state seems real while in it.
Mokṣaḥ is not mokṣaḥ unless known in the waking state – the reality of non-duality needs to be known in the midst of duality or it is of no consequence.
A type of defining statement in which the non-contradictory part is retained, but the apparently contradictory part is left aside. For example, in "This is that Devadatta" (seen elsewhere, long ago) the contradictory associations regarding time and place are left aside, but the non-contradictory part – the person called Devadatta – is retained. 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. Thus, jahadajahallakṣaṇā (also known as bhāga-tyāga-lakṣaṇā) is shown to be suitable for elucidating tattvamasi. See jahallakṣaṇā, ajahallakṣaṇā and also lakṣaṇam.
A type of defining statement in which meaning is conveyed by completely leaving aside the literal meaning in favour of the implied meaning, e.g. 'the village on the river' – the village is on the river bank, not afloat upon the river. Leaving aside the literal meaning and using only the implied meaning renders jahallakṣaṇā unsuitable for elucidating tat-tvam-asi as without the literal meaning, a contrast can no longer be drawn with the implied meaning of identicalness of essential nature. See ajahallakṣaṇā, jahadajahallakṣaṇā and also lakṣaṇam.
A 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 fanatic has any regard for the truth and neither can be reasoned with. The purpose in jalpaḥ is only to convert the other party to your beliefs, which is typical of a cult. Also see samvādaḥ, vādaḥ, vitaṇḍa-vādaḥ.
Production; manifestation; birth; life; coming into existence.
On this Earth, there are 8.4 million species of living being and hence 8.4 million types of birth for a jīvaḥ. By that measure (1: 8.4m) birth in human form is rare. The birth each jivaḥ has to take is due to the law of karma and results solely from action done when in human form, leading to long periods in non-human form for some.
A living being; a creature.
Repeated utterance (of a mantraḥ); chanting. Japaḥ is repetition of a vṛttiḥ, a thought, a mantraḥ. The meaning of the mantraḥ should already be understood prior to japaḥ (japaḥ implies the meaning is already in mind) then, although the meaning is not and cannot be dwelt upon during japaḥ, it is as good as kept in mind by its repetition as a vṛttiḥ in the form of a mantraḥ. Whether japaḥ is oral or mental, it is ever repetition of a vṛttiḥ, a meaningful vṛttiḥ. See abhyāsaḥ.
Even if the meaning is not understood, the mantraḥ has some effect because it stands for what it is, the sounds contain some meaning.
Japaḥ may be loud, barely audible or silent – the latter being the most powerful as, being mental, focus is better. By making the mind deliberately dwell again and again on one thought, japaḥ trains it to focus, breaking the undisciplined mental drift of chain thinking in which a connected thought succeeds the previous one and the mind wanders away. More than that, in japaḥ the mind is refined by dwelling on that which is true, thus neutralising unhelpful tendencies through their neglect (neglected, they fade away). It is this process of refinement and neutralisation that makes japaḥ compulsory for all aspirants.
Daily japaḥ is soon found to be a form of prayer addressed to the Lord – naturally bringing the grace of the Lord in the form of puṇyam – and with it an inner mental space in which one gains an awareness of the ways of the mind and of oneself being distinct from the mind. "Being just myself, I recognise the fact that I can be comfortable just being myself."*
Old age; infirmity; decay.
Species; family; clan; birth.
Holy birth anniversary.
False, temporary dispassion (also known as śmaśāna-vairāgyam, cremation-ground dispassion); a short-lived desire to renounce all, resulting from disenchantment, despair, frustration, pain, etc. such as may be felt with bereavement. See vairāgyam.
Desire/thirst for knowledge. The beginner student seeks to know his true self, the ātmā. For the more mature aspirant, the thirst for knowledge becomes a thirst to properly understand and recognise the fact that mokṣaḥ is ever-accomplished, and that pursuit of the already attained is a misplaced effort. The 'gaining' of knowledge is rather the correction of flawed knowledge, meaning the removal of ignorance.
A person desirous of knowledge.
Someone who has conquered or who has mastery over the indriyāṇi, senses.
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, but less easy to have and enjoy that understanding at all times. See jagat-brahma-aikyam.
Individual being whose 'I'-notion (ahaṅkāraḥ) is mistakenly identified with the body-mind-sense complex and hence has kartṛtvam (doership) and bhoktṛtvam (enjoyership). A formal definition is: ajñāna-upahita-caitanyam [a jīvaḥ is] pure consciousness in association with or limited by vyaṣṭi-ajñānam, individual ignorance. The essence and substratum of the jīvaḥ is ātmā, just as water is the substratum of the ocean wave or clay of the clay pot. See īśvaraḥ.
One liberated from apparent individuality (from 'jīva-hood'); free while living; unattached; of the nature of existence, consciousness, fulness; the indweller of all beings, in the form of all-pervasive consciousness. This freedom is known through śravaṇam, clarified through mananam and confirmed through nididhyāsanam.
Knowledge of being free is clear and unshakeable, with happiness and peace that are continuous and that cannot be overshadowed. Although the world continues to be experienced, it causes no disturbance as it is known to be mithyā.
Knowing that ahaṅkāraḥ and mamakāraḥ are ātmā alone, both remain merely notional and are used only for transacting with the world. Having no guilt or regrets about the past, nor anxieties about the future, the present is met with dispassion while ever remaining even-minded. There is complete freedom from 'becoming', and hence from saṃsāraḥ.
Liberation while living; liberation while alive, here, in this present life – also known as sadya-muktiḥ (sadya - just now). Liberation after death is videha-muktiḥ.
The jīva's creation. The jīvaḥ responds (in the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā) to the world it meets (the Īśvara-sṛṣṭiḥ). Using his will, the jīvaḥ superimposes his own creation, the jīva-sṛṣṭiḥ, upon the Īśvara-sṛṣṭiḥ. "This is my response to the world." That response is individually expressed in various mental or physical forms of activity and is collectively expressed in the built environment, in human culture, in societal norms, etc. – all of which perpetuate saṃsāraḥ. See prātibhāsika-satyam.
Consciousness reflected (cidābhāsaḥ) in the subtle and causal bodies (respectively, sūkṣma-śarīram and kāraṇa-śarīram) constitutes the jīvātmā. Associated with the gross body, sthūla-śarīram, and seemingly limited by that association, the jīvātmā in a human being becomes a knower, jñātā, doer, kartā, and enjoyer, bhoktā – in other bodies there is only enjoyership, bhoktṛtvam. On association of the jīvātmā with a human physical or gross body, free-will (which is otherwise dormant) becomes activated. (The term paramātmā is used to refer to pure consciousness, which is ever unassociated with individuality.)
Individuality; the state or condition of being a jīvaḥ; 'jīva-hood' or jīva-ness. Jīvatvam is like captaincy: if a person is the captain of a cricket team, he or she has the captaincy of the team, which is to say the person holds the status of being the captain. Here, 'person' is equivalent to ātmā, 'captain' is equivalent to jīvaḥ and 'captaincy' to jīvatvam.
Combination (samuccaya) of knowledge (jñānam) and action (karma). 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.
Jñānam is opposed to karma because where there is jñānam there cannot be kartṛtvam, the sense that “I am a doer”. To have doership one must have identity with anātma, for which one must be ignorant (yet, in jñānam, action free from identification with doing can still occur).
Knowledge 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; jānāti iti jñānam, that which knows is knowledge (reality is so described to emphasise its attributelessness).
The light of jñānam, of knowledge, has a two-fold function: in removing the darkness of ignorance it reveals the object hitherto covered by that ignorance, and in so doing dismisses any adhyāsaḥ, any misconception about the object. See bhagaḥ.
Abiding in the knowledge that is limitless wholeness.
Sacred 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. Regular, systematic teaching of the student by the teacher or guruḥ is the primary means of transmitting the knowledge that is Vedāntaḥ.
The 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 (with the help of the guruḥ) removing doubts and misunderstandings from that which has been heard (mananam) and, finally, dwelling (nididhyāsanam) upon that which is properly understood of the true nature of the self as taught by the śāstram and unfolded by the guruḥ; a life devoted to knowledge of the self, ātmā-jñānam; a synonym for the sannyāsaḥ life-style.
Although jñāna-yogaḥ is the true solution for sorrow, many are not able to discover that fact due their delusion that the world is a source of happiness. They need to discover for themselves that actions and their results can give at best a fleeting access to happiness. Such a growth in dispassion is essential for the successful pursuit of jñāna-yogaḥ. Thus, karma-yogaḥ is introduced as a means to come to jñāna-yogaḥ. See karma-yogaḥ.
The five subtle sense-powers, evident in: • hearing - śrotram (ear) • touch - tvak (skin) • sight - cakṣuḥ (eye) • taste - rasanā (tongue) • smell - ghrāṇam (nose) Part of sūkṣma-śarīram and vijñāṇamaya-kośaḥ. Jñānendriyam refers to the subtle power of sense perception (such as the power or capacity to see) not to its physical medium or location. The power's physical location (golakam) is shown in the above list, in for example the eyes. Therefore, the word for the respective golakam not only refers to the physical organ, it also implies the conscious power pervading it – this is the same with all powers of perception and action. See indriyam, the subtle power of an organ of perception or action; also see karmendriyāṇi, the five subtle organs of action.
"Pot is a word given to a form of clay for transaction. Once I understand this, in my vision the substance called pot does not exist. The word ‘pot’ alone exists. For a Vedānta jñānī, the world is nothing but a word, the substance called world does not exist. The only existing thing is turīyaṃ and everything else is name and form. I am that turīyaṃ. This is the teaching." Swami Paramarthananda.
Pure, formless, unalloyed awareness (fem. of jñānam); pure objectless consciousness; pure knowledge; knowledge itself, unrestricted by having a form, unrestricted by being 'knowledge of' or by the identification of being a 'knower of'; the intrinsic nature of the knower in which there is knowing without the status of being 'a knower'.
"Consciousness takes up the role of knowing only when the mind joins consciousness. Consciousness by itself [pure consciousness] is not a knower, not an experiencer and cannot do any action. Turīyaṃ is of the nature of pure consciousness. Can consciousness say, ‘I am consciousness'? It cannot do that. Consciousness requires the mind because claiming requires a relevant thought. Claiming, knowing, and experiencing require relevant thoughts and thoughts require a mind. In the presence of mind alone, the process of knowing is possible. Turīyaṃ is the non-knowing consciousness principle ['non-knowing' in the sense that its 'knowing' is not a role or functional state]. Consciousness does not require mind to be consciousness, but a mind is required to claim 'I am consciousness'." Swami Paramarthananda, commentary on Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad Kārikā, p46. See cit and śuddha-caitanyam.
Knower; subject of the verb 'to know'.
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'.
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...
Freedom; oneness; absolute unity; limitless independence; mokṣaḥ; advaitam. The beatitude of limitlessness, fullness and 'aloneness' of being. No 'other' is present – there is no trace of the jagat – and one is fully at home.
Sixteenth part; small part, aspect or portion of a whole (such as a small division of time); digit of the Moon; facet; fine art; feature.
The praśnopaniṣad (6.4) enumerates 16 kalās, aspects, of the embodied puruṣaḥ, all of which are resolved into their respective universal aspects at videha-muktiḥ, like rivers merging with the ocean. The 16 are: prāṇaḥ, śraddhā, khaṃ, vāyuḥ, jyotiḥ, āpaḥ, pṛthivī, indriyaṃ, manaḥ, annaṃ, vīryaṃ, tapaḥ, mantrāḥ, karma, lokāḥ, nāma.
A mental or emotional defect (stain), born of adharmaḥ. It leads to mental conflicts, which are removed by japaḥ, kīrtanam, pūjā, etc.
Day of Brahmā, i.e. 14 manvantaras or 1,000 mahā-yugas (the night is of equal length). A year of Brahmā is 360 days and nights, and his lifespan is 100 years. So the life of Brahmā is 3 x 1014 human years. See caturyugam.
Kalpaḥ also means rule, resolve, procedure, and hence means the methods or know-how of ritual (including which mantras to use for which ritual) and as such kalpaḥ is the name of one of the six auxiliary sciences, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – the other five are śikṣā, chandas, vyākaraṇam, niruktam, jyotiṣaḥ.
Imagining; forming in the imagination; creating in the mind. Kalpanā, concept, idea.
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 thus is the source of mental or physical action, and of a corresponding mental and/or physical result.
Desire is natural, but desire born of tamas degrades a person and prevents spiritual progress. Gradually converting such desires into rājasika desires (by fulfilling them in line with dharmaḥ) is a step in the right direction. When rājasika desire is fulfilled through puruṣārtha-niścayaḥ it becomes sāttvika desire. Desire formed in sāttva is desire free of narrow, stultifying motives; it is as good as non-desire and helps to clear the way to freedom. "Removal of desires is neither possible nor necessary. That I desire is not a problem. Desire becomes a problem when I come under its spell."* I come under its spell when I identify with it. So, it binds only when contaminated by ahaṅkāraḥ.
At its core, every desire is a wish to be free from being a wanting person, a person bound by limits (from which one seeks freedom). That desire for freedom from limitation is because everyone's true nature is limitlessness, which is true happiness. Being true, that nature cannot change, even if seemingly covered.
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.
Beauty; loveliness; female beauty; beauty of character; beauty of personality.
Letter; syllable; word; act; action. As a verb, kāra – 'making', 'doing', 'activity (of)'.
Accessory to action; that which is instrumental in bringing about the action denoted by a verb. There are six kārakāṇi (kārakams) present in any and every action, namely: • kartā - agent (performer) of action • karma - object (result or recipient) of action • karaṇam - instrument (means) of action • sampradānam - aim (purpose or beneficiary) of action • apādānam - source (origin or cause) of action • adhikaraṇam - location (place) of action
Instrument (means) of action (includes any means from the most physical to the most subtle).
Cause of an action or phenomenon (from the most physical to the most subtle cause) – its corresponding effect is referred to by the term kāryam. That effect is inherent in the cause, which means it is a manifestation of what was present but unmanifest in the cause. (However, causation is one of the creations of avidyā.) Also see sthūla, sūkṣma.
Causal body of the individual; of the nature of indefinable, beginningless avidyā and impure sattvam; persists even beyond pralayaḥ – except in the case of a jñānī (the end of self-ignorance is the end of the kāraṇa-śarīram). The individual causal body is nothing but māyā operating at an individual level. As such, it is the cause of ignorance of one's true nature and is the seed or undifferentiated cause of the subtle and gross bodies of the individual.
Māyā, the causal body at the cosmic or universal level, is the store of all karma, whereas māyā, operating at the individual causal level, being ignorance, is the root of individual tendencies, prejudices, attitudes, etc., but not the store of individual karma. See sthūla-śarīram, sūkṣma-śarīram, and suṣupti-avasthā.
An analytical study, in verse form, of a text. The most famous and revered kārikā is that of Śrī Gauḍapādācāryaḥ who wrote 215 kārikās on the twelve verses of the Māṇḍūkya-Upaniṣad. See bhāṣyam, ṭīkā and vārtikam.
Action (especially action from free-will); object of an action; duty; that which causes the production of bodies (new births) and hence causes saṃsāraḥ.
Action, being limited, its results must always be limited (an effect is always in line with its cause) and so no amount or form of action 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. And karma is a product of ignorance!
A wealthy person, unaware of his weath, does not need action to become wealthy, he just needs to know he is wealthy, nothing more. No amount or form of action, karma, can make the already wealthy wealthy. It is a matter of knowing, not doing. Just so, since ātmā is ever attained (yet improperly known) no amount of action can attain it. Knowledge alone may do so.
Also see the four possible results of action, all of which are limited and subject to time: utpattiḥ, production; vikṛtiḥ, modification; saṃskṛtiḥ, refinement; āptiḥ, attainment.
The one who presides over all action (a title of Īśvaraḥ).
This early or prior part of each Vedaḥ (also known as Veda-pūrva) deals with religious rituals and their results. As meditation is an action, the karma-kāṇḍaḥ includes the upāsana-kāṇḍaḥ.
Although providing the means for the proper fulfilment of legitimate desire, the ultimate purpose of the karma-kāṇḍaḥ is to help the individual see that all action (physical, oral or mental) is limited and limiting – karma, being finite, produces only finite ends. Thus, the karma-kāṇḍaḥ prepares the way for entry into the latter part of the Vedaḥ, the jñāna-kāṇḍaḥ. This movement from Veda-pūrva to Veda-anta is the growth of the religious life into the spiritual life.
"One should start with religious life and graduate into spiritual life. Without religious life, spirituality will not work. Without spirituality, religious life is incomplete. Therefore, the follower of the Vedaḥ should follow a religious life and go to spirituality." (Swami Paramarthananda). See jñāna-kāṇḍaḥ, Vedāntaḥ.
The Vedic theory of creation. It states that the creation is the effect, kārya, of the karma of jīvas. The creation is not Īśvara's product. Īśvara, being obliged by the karma of the jīvas to render its result, is necessarily the sāmānya-kāraṇam (general cause) of the world, but the jīva is the viśeṣa-kāraṇam, the specific cause. See vādaḥ and adhyāropa-apavāda-viveka-prakriyā.
Giver (dātā) of the fruit (phalam) of action (karma). 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 all 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.
Result of action; the results manifest as puṇya-pāpams (happiness or sorrow arising from pleasant or unpleasant situations and incidents) which can be exhausted only by being experienced by the bhoktā, experiencer, or else eliminated by fully recognising 'I am not the agent of action'.
Results of action 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!
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 that which is perceived of the order that is dharmaḥ, Īśvaraḥ. As best one may, one's actions then become unopposed to whatever 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.
Additionally, specific forms of upāsanam may be used to help refine the mind (enhance its subtlety) and improve one's capacity to listen.
This way of life purifies the mind in preparation for jñānam since it entails mastering one's emotions and ways of thinking, including foregoing personal bias in the form of rāga-dveṣas, attachments and aversions, when putting dharmaḥ first. This 'putting dharmaḥ first' (following the lead of dharmaḥ) 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 – there is jñāna-yogaḥ – and freedom from saṃsāraḥ follows. There is much more to karma-yogaḥ than sevā, service! Karma-yogaḥ is the preparatory means for jñāna-yogaḥ. Jñāna-yogaḥ is the sole means for and fruition of liberation.
"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 [i.e. recognise that the world and all that has happened to you is 'in order'], 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 Vedāntaḥ, will work. The teaching will be all light, not mere words."*
The five subtle powers of action, evident in: • speaking - vāk (speech) • handling - pāṇiḥ (hand) • moving - pādaḥ (foot) • reproducing - upasthaḥ (genitals) • eliminating - pāyuḥ (anus) Part of sūkṣma-śarīram and prāṇamaya-kośaḥ. The word karmendriyam refers to the subtle power of action (such as the power or capacity of handling) not to the physical action itself, but to its means. The power's physical location (golakam) is shown in the above list, in for example the hands. The word for the respective golakam not only refers to the physical organ, it also implies the conscious power pervading it – this is how it is with all powers of perception and action. See indriyam, the subtle power of an organ of perception or action; also see jñānendriyāṇi, the five subtle organs of knowledge.
Doer or performer or author of action (a status applicable solely to human beings); subject of an action.
Doership; the sense of being the doer or author of action. "When one is able to recognise oneself as free from doership, one also becomes free from enjoyership."* See bhoktṛtvam.
Body-mind-sense complex (close union or combination, saṅghātaḥ, of karaṇams and kāryam); the intelligently-put-together assemblage, saṅghātaḥ, of the physical body, kāryam, and the instruments of action, karaṇams (the instruments of bodily action are the mind, senses and prāṇaḥ). The karaṇams and kāryam are all modifications of the guṇas of prakṛtiḥ. All actions are performed by these prakṛti-guṇas (the mind, senses and physical limbs) alone.
Effect; product; its cause is referred to by the word kāraṇam. Being an expression of its cause, an effect is in essence not different from its cause. An effect is a particular named expression or form of its cause. For example, a gold bangle is a specific name and form (a particular expression) of its cause, gold.
Dormant, unresolved, emotional problems (from unresolved, subconscious rāga-dveṣas) that, on surfacing, make the mind stagnant, inhibiting its attention to the object of focus. Kaṣāyam is one of the four hindrances to meditation – the others are: layaḥ, rasāsvādaḥ and vikṣepaḥ.
"Vedānta doesn't work unless you love yourself. And unless you clear the kaṣāya, 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."*
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, it means the capacity to assess correctly what (and how) action(s) should be done.
Poet; seer (ṛṣiḥ); one who is able to see beyond surface appearances and see things properly.
The body; trunk of a tree; assemblage; collection; capital; habitation; also see dehaḥ, śarīram; (kāyika, relating to the body).
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 ślokāḥ) with focused attention. See mānasam karma, vācikam karma.
View (of reality). No view or opinion or philosophy, being composed of words, ever reaches the truth about anything as truth is more than its articulation. Ātmā is ever-untouched by any view, which is yet another reason why Vedāntaḥ cannot be considered to be a philosophy.
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.
Anger; wrath; passion; also see the six malas, impurities.
Mercy; grace; blessing; pity; tenderness; compassion (including the compassion that is easily dismissible in testing situations).
The three forms of grace are śāstra-kṛpā, guru-kṛpā and ātma-kṛpā, respectively, the grace of the scriptures, the grace of the guru and the grace of the true self. Although all three graces are necessary for liberation, and all three have to be earned, śāstra-kṛpā is primary in terms of both need and importance. See anugrahaḥ (a synonym of kṛpā).
Poor; a beggar; miserly; stingy – in the Vedantic context, one who does not spend his or her knowledge of right and wrong (stingily doesn't use or 'spend' his buddhiḥ) and instead unthinkingly abuses the human birthright of free-will is a miser. Only an action in line with dharmaḥ is truly an action born of free-will because only a will in line with dharmaḥ is free (at least temporarily) from habitual delusions, prejudices and flaws. See saṅkalpaḥ.
Human will may be contaminated with habitual prejudices and various forms of conditioning that limit thinking, but the degree of self-awareness that comes with being human means that there is still some degree of autonomy (and hence responsibility) in human choices.
Lord Viṣṇuḥ, teacher of the Bhagavad-Gītā; personification of all-attractive happiness, fullness, limitlessness.
Entire; whole; all. Kṛtsnavit, knower of the whole, one of complete knowledge, a wise person.
(One for whom) the performing of action is entirely over; one who, knowing that ātmā is akartā, has accomplished all that need be done; a jīvan-muktaḥ, a jñānī.
Momentary; transient. All notions and experiences, all phenomena, are in constant change and are solely in and of the mind. The self is the unchanging witness of the mind and its changes.
An accommodating, appropriate, non-reactive, non-judgemental response to others' behaviour.
A holder of kṣatram, 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.
Decay; loss; disease.
Protection, preservation or retention of what has been acquired; ease; wellness; security. Its counterpart is yogaḥ, which is the acquiring of the yet to be acquired. These two related worldly pursuits, with the anxiety and stress they involve, can be detrimental to the pursuit of freedom. See Gītā 9.22.
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.
Field (of experience) i.e. the jagat (including one's mind).
Thrown; scattered (attention); distracted (mind).
Receptacle; pot; pitcher.
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 Gītā 12.3.
A defining adjective. The words satyam, jñānam, anantam are not, as is often thought, ordinary adjectives describing attributes or features of Brahman, they are 'defining' adjectives that reveal Brahman. In doing so, they each use negation to correct mistakes committed from different standpoints. For example, since satyam refers to that which is non-negatable, changeless, independent, causeless, free from the limitations of time, there is nothing in the world that we can refer to as satyam. Hence, the word satyam negates all attempts at worldly comparison or definition and implies an unchanging, immanent reality that is the substratum of all. Similarly, the word jñānam negates the notion that such a reality is inert and implies a conscious being that is all-knowledge, jñaptiḥ, pure unformed knowledge per se. Again, anantam negates any notions of limit for Brahman (such as the possession of qualities or attributes) and thus implies a limitlessness that is beyond all conceptions of limit.
The relationship (sambandhaḥ) between a word (lakṣyam, the thing being defined) and its meaning (lakṣaṇam, the definition). See sāmānādhikaraṇyam.
That whose characteristics are to be defined, revealed or indicated.
Indicated or implied meaning of word(s). For example, when someone asks for water, a glass or cup for carrying it is implied in the request. He means a glass of water. See vācyārthaḥ, mukhyārthaḥ, vyaṅgyārthaḥ.
Worldly; pertaining to empirical phenomena.
Third of the three states of all created things, namely sṛṣṭiḥ, creation; sthitiḥ, abidance; layaḥ, dissolution. Layaḥ often refers to dissolution or resolution at the individual or micro level, such as when falling asleep. See pralayaḥ, the macro level of dissolution, the level of creation as a whole.
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-śarīram.
Place; 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 in which puṇyam and pāpam are both acquired and exhausted).
Bhū-lokaḥ is the only place with free-will and so is 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 (also known as brahma-lokaḥ) the highest. In descending order, the seven lower are: atalam, vitalam, sutalam, talātalam, rasātalam, mahātalam, with pātālam lowest of all.
Welfare of the world.
The futile aim of always avoiding censure and winning praise. See vāsanā.
Pride; arrogance; intoxication; also see the six malas, impurities.
Middle; third (middle, intermediate) stage of emergence of speech. The unmanifest and undifferentiated power of speech, known as parā, having become differentiated at the paśyantī stage, continues rising up the suṣumnā nāḍī. At the anāhata cakram, that same unmanifest power, parā, assumes by association with the intellect a specific word form. This means that, at this madhyamā stage, words and their pitch, speed of delivery, etc., are chosen for articulation at vaikharī. See parā, paśyantī, vaikharī.
My; mine; my own; belonging to me.
One 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-hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, was revealed by ṛṣiḥ Māhācamasya. See vyāhṛtiḥ.
One of wide knowledge, who knows even the source of knowledge.
A great mind; a person of vision; a person free from ignorance; a jñānī. The word also indicates Bhagavān, the absolute or great self, the truth that is the only self (the only reality) of all beings.
Garland (of flowers); string of beads (usually 108) for japaḥ.
Dirt; 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. Together, kāmaḥ, krodhaḥ, lobhaḥ form the threefold doorway to narakaḥ, hell (Gītā 16.21).
My-sense; sense of ownership; possessiveness; identification with, and claiming ownership of not only the body-mind-sense complex but also my car, my child, my career, my house, etc. Since mamakāraḥ depends on ahaṅkāraḥ, resolution of ahaṅkāraḥ simultaneously resolves mamakāraḥ (also known as mamatvam, my-ness).
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 me', '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.
Lit. 'thinking'. Removing, with the help of the teacher and of reasoning, all vagueness, fallacies and misunderstandings that may have arisen during śravaṇam (or elsewhere) until one's understanding of the śrutiḥ is flawless and complete.
In mananam, a good student is like an oyster that picks up a grain of sand along with water and makes it into a pearl. He makes it his own. Thinking over what he has heard, he makes it complete. See nididhyāsanam, sākṣātkāraḥ.
Mental 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) which 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 ślokāḥ) with focused attention. See kāyikam karma, vācikam karma.
The 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 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, hearing well', etc. Any sukham, happiness, in the manomaya belongs to the ānandamaya-kośaḥ which pervades it. The mind, being no more than an instrument of the self, is intrinsically anṛta-jaḍa-duḥkham, unknowing, inert and dissatisfied (wanting). See manas, pañca-kośāḥ, annamaya-kośaḥ, prāṇamaya-kośaḥ, vijñānamaya-kośaḥ, ānandamaya-kośaḥ.
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 nididhyāsanam, repeatedly dwelling on the clearly understood prior unfoldment of the teaching, eventually leading to absorption in one's svarūpam.
That 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.
A living being capable of thinking, i.e. a human being.
Worship of Īśvaraḥ in the form of one's fellow human beings by appropriately caring for and serving them; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas.
Period of rule of each Manuḥ, i.e. 71.43 caturyugas. One manvantaram is one 14th of a kalpaḥ. One kalpaḥ is a day of Brahmā or 1,000 mahāyugas.
Death; (māraṇam, killing, slaying).
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. There is no choice as to which to follow: karma-yogaḥ prepares the mind for jñāna-yogaḥ, in which is gained the knowledge that is mokṣaḥ.
Mother; the one who measures (also mātṛ).
View; contention; thought; opinion; a given school of thought. (However, the view of Bhagavān is a vision, dṛṣṭiḥ, of a fact – not merely a 'view', as views differ.)
Jealousy; envy; discomfort felt on seeing another's excellence, possession(s), etc.; also see the six malas, impurities.
Indefinable power of Īśvaraḥ – 'yā mā sā māyā, that which is not is māyā'. This means māyā does not exist independently of Īśvaraḥ, just as the capacity to burn does not exist independently of fire. Hence, to say māyā exists is to say it is mithyā, as is all that arises from it. Its being mithyā, dependently real, is why it is called māyā.
First to emerge from māyā at the arising of the universe are the pañca-bhūtas, the five elements, each of which naturally consists of the three guṇas. These elements form all that follows. Their sāttvika aspects, for example, form the jñānendriyāṇi, the subtle aspects of the five senses.
From the standpoint of the jīvaḥ, it can seem that māyā is an upādhiḥ 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.
When māyā, the power of reality, is unmanifest, knowledge is undifferentiated (and being so is commonly referred to as ignorance). When māyā is unmanifest, the universe is unmanifest. When māyā is manifest, knowledge is differentiated, i.e. the universe is manifest knowledge.
Truth or reality is the substratum or very existence of both knowledge and ignorance, of both the differentiated and the undifferentiated, of both the manifest and the unmanifest. That truth is Brahman, satyam brahma, which is pure (relationless, changeless) knowledge. Ultimately, there is no ignorance, no mind and no māyā.
Power of intellection, i.e. the ability to properly receive and understand whatever is studied, fully retain and assimilate it, and then properly recall it at the necessary time – and not just for a few things, but for many texts, many disciplines of knowledge. See śaktiḥ.
Wise man; one of refined intelligence; one who understands a subject thoroughly and retains it, complete with all the details.
Analysis of the sentences of the Vedaḥ, an analysis that makes use not only of logic and grammar, but also of context and intention, tātparyam.
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. These concluding portions are also known as the Upaniṣads. Their statements reveal the nature of reality. They further reveal that the ultimate aim and purport of the Vedaḥ is not any form of karma – or even bhaktiḥ – but jñānam, knowledge, and that knowledge alone liberates. See other dualist opponents of Vedāntaḥ – cārvākaḥ, sāṅkhyam, vaiśeṣikaḥ and naiyāyikaḥ.
Mithyā is not any kind of object, but is an ontological term indicating that which is neither absolutely real nor unreal, but which is empirically, objectively, relatively, dependently real. Whatever is mithyā has a beginning and an end and is subject to change. All that is experienceable is therefore classifiable as mithyā.
Mithyā is a synonym for asat, indicating something that is dependent for its very existence on its observer or on its substratum, just as a perception (a perceived object) depends on its perceiver, or a gold ornament depends on gold. The perception and ornament are known only while the perceiver or substratum are present; remove them and the perceived object and ornament disappear. Hence, the perception and ornament are both mithyā, dependently real, not absolutely real, but certainly not illusions or delusions. (Synonym of mṛṣā, unreal, false, and vaitathyam, falseness.) See sat, asat, satyam, tuccham and abhāvaḥ.
Joy, pleasure; a degree of happpiness: the (greater) pleasure born of having got a desired object; also see priya, pramodaḥ.
Delusion; absence of discriminative understanding; bewilderment; perplexity. Humanity's delusion in its vain search for fulfilment in worldly phenomena is like that of a small child sucking its thumb, mistaking its own saliva for mother's milk and so remaining ever unsatisfied. See malaḥ, abhimānaḥ, bandhaḥ.
Freedom from limitation; freedom from ignorance-born erroneous identification with the body and mind; freedom from saṃsāraḥ the beginningless, endless cycle of births and deaths; freedom from emotional dependence; freedom from being a wanting person – all of which is accomplishable only through self-knowledge as freedom is already present, but covered by ignorance. In short, freedom from sorrow.
Knowledge of the self itself is taking ownership of that freedom that is already one's own essential nature. Mokṣaḥ is also known as parama-śreyaḥ, most exalted wellness, and as saṃsiddhiḥ, the greatest accomplishment, and yet it is the accomplishment of the already accomplished. Mokṣaḥ is not and cannot be an event that occurs in time (for whatever begins ends). It is an ever-existent fact that simply needs to be recognised as such. Mokṣaḥ is not mokṣaḥ unless known in the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā.
The freedom that is mokṣaḥ is freedom from self-ignorance, an ignorance that leads to misperception of both oneself and the world. These misperceptions result in misconceptions that often evoke misplaced emotional responses in the form of unease or distress (including jealousy, anger, depression, fear, anxiety, regret, etc.) too often resulting in inappropriate action and sorrow. All such unfortunate responses leave a residue of unfinished business that perpetuates the cycle of emotionally driven problems known as saṃsāraḥ, a cycle that is never-ending until broken by correct knowledge of oneself and the world.
While identified with the mind, ātmā appears to be the experiencer of varying vṛttis, thought forms, whereas in mokṣaḥ, ātmā is known to be distinct from every vṛttiḥ. In mokṣaḥ, ātmā is known to be the free, unsullied substratum of each and every vṛttiḥ, no matter the state of mind. In mokṣaḥ, ātmā is known to be the invariable consciousness in every (variable) cognition – pratibodha viditam matam (Kena 2.4). This means, consciousness is experienced in every experience, but, crucially, not as an object of experience! Consciousness is experienced as the invariable, unsullied presence in all experience. See brahmaikyam, parā-vidyā and āptiḥ.
Death; lord of death. After death, the time until a new birth varies from months to hundreds of Earth (bhū-lokaḥ) years depending on puṇya-pāpam and the last impression before death (one day after death in other lokas equates to one year here in this lokaḥ).
The deluded; the confused.
Name for certain hand gestures and finger positions.
Direct meaning of a word or statement, e.g. in 'this is your book', the direct meaning of 'your book' is understood: it is yours. See vācyārthaḥ, lakṣyārthaḥ, vyaṅgyārthaḥ.
Free; released; liberated.
Freedom; release; liberation; synonym of mokṣaḥ (freedom) and vimocanam (liberation).
Root; source; basis; principle.
The root or source text; a text when unadorned by a commentary, bhāṣyam.
Root or most basic means of knowledge, i.e. direct perception. See pramāṇam
Original or primary ignorance – (mūla root; avidyā, ignorance) synonymous with māyā. See tūlāvidyā.
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, along with the sorrow they induce. 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 it (mokṣaḥ) is attained.
Having the status of being desirous of liberation, mokṣaḥ, from sorrow. 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, vulnerability and constraint. That recognition and its consequent changed priorities (all due to vivekaḥ) bring an enduring commitment, a status of being unshakeably committed to that quest for freedom and its means, jñānam. See sādhana-catuṣṭayam.
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 focused on the vision of the truth; someone capable of being meditative; a sage; an ascetic.
Nerve; a system of subtle nerves or channels (unavailable via dissection) that runs throughout the subtle body and converges on the heart, the seat or golakam of the mind, antaḥkaraṇam. The most well-known nāḍī is the suṣumnā nāḍī.
(noun) Effect; result. Its corresponding cause is referred to by the term nimittam; (adjective: naimittika, occasional, special, accidental).
Occasional (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.
Actionlessness; knowing oneself to be free from doership.
The recognition that 'I am actionless', which comes with the direct knowledge of oneself being ātmā.
Recognising the truth about oneself is recognising that I do not have doership – I never could have it, and I never have had it (in spite of how things seemed).
Offerable; conveyable; food (symbolically) offered to a deity.
Logician; a user and follower of the dualist nyāyaḥ (logic) system of Indian philosophy, founded by Akṣapāda Gautama, that asserts (in common with modern science) that matter is real and consciousness is its product. Hence, they say the world is independently 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 (mīmāṃsā, sāṅkhyam, vaiśeṣikaḥ and cārvākāḥ) they form the chief debating opponents of Vedāntins.
Heaven; vault of Heaven; firmament; (a place of) no unhappiness. See svargaḥ
Salutations – namaste (namaḥ-te), 'salutations to you'. See praṇipātaḥ.
Name (nāman) and form (rūpam). This insubstantial world is mere name and form whose substance is satyam. Name and form is not and cannot be a separate, independent reality from its substance – the name and form ring is not a separate, independent reality from its substance, gold. Remove the gold and the ring goes too.
Joy; delight; happiness.
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'.
Hell; the group of seven lower regions, which are (in descending order): atalam, vitalam, sutalam, talātalam, rasātalam, mahātalam, with pātālam lowest of all. The worst among those bound for hell are said to be dragged to the abode of Lord Yamaḥ by a noose around their necks and are endowed with a special body, yātanā dehaḥ, to undergo sufferings on the way. Reaching the city a year later, Citragupta's court assigns their punishments in line with his records. See lokaḥ and svargaḥ.
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.
Bestower of happiness.
Destruction; disappearance; removal.
Nose; nostril (nāsikāgram, tip of the nose; the point where external air enters the nose – nāsikāgram does not mean the 'root' of the nose between the eyes.)
'There is no second thing here at all.' Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.1.11. See mahāvākyam.
"Not this, not this" (lit. "No! No!" na-iti, na-iti); an expression used in various texts for progressively negating any and all ideas about ātmā. Carefully dismissing all that is untrue reveals, by implication, the (non-objectifiable) truth.
Repository; place of rest; residence; receptacle. Mokṣaḥ is said to be the paramaṃ nidhānam, the supreme resting place in which is found the greatest treasure.
Contemplation – repeatedly dwelling upon the nature of reality understood as one's own self, the truth of 'I'. Contemplation is a form of meditation, dhyānam, wherein the meditator-meditated division or difference is absent because the 'object' of meditation is oneself, it is the truth or essential nature of you, the subject.
Nididhyāsanam (didhyāsa, the desire to dwell; ni, on well-ascertained knowledge) is possible only after sufficient śravaṇam and mananam. Only then is the required knowledge well-enough ascertained to be worth dwelling on.
Nididhyāsanam is for the removal of the obstructions to the full ascertainment and assimilation of what has already been correctly understood from śravaṇam and mananam. That removal is the uprooting of viparīta-bhāvanāḥ, competing, deeply embedded, false ideas about oneself, i.e. identification with the mind and body. Nididhyāsanam is not for gaining knowledge; that is the role of śravaṇam.
One method of assimilation is to dwell repeatedly, in daily life, upon the understanding one has gained (and thereby not lose the objectivity it bestows). This practice is known as brahma-abhyāsa-rūpa-nididhyāsanam.
Alternatively, an aspirant may gain that assimilation by regularly sitting and dwelling at specific times on what has been properly understood of the truth of oneself. This is known as samādhi-abhyāsa-rūpa-nididhyāsanam. Often, both methods are used.
Sleep; spiritual sleep. Nidrā indicates that all three states of waking, dream and deep sleep are characterised by an absence of knowledge of reality and hence are states of sleep, spiritual sleep.
Māyā or universal ignorance has its individual aspect that has the same two-fold power of veiling/projecting and hence is capable of projecting a 'new' individual in his/her own world. All this amounts to the near-universal human malaise of ignorance-born self-misconception, the malaise of being asleep to that which is real. It is a spiritual sleep, a sleep (a dream or error) in which the reality of one's sense of self and the reality of the world usually remain unquestioned. As long as the person is convinced of being already awake, it never occurs to him or her to seek to wake up.
Conclusion arrived at through deductive reasoning from two or more propositions; conclusive summary of an argument.
Restraint; obstruction; mastery.
Intelligent or efficient cause, the presence of which itself lends existence to matter. It is a cause in a three-fold way: as the creator, as the one who or which sustains the creation and as the one into whom or into which the creation resolves.
Each cause changes in becoming its related effect. In the case of material causes, the changes are obvious (clay becomes moulded into a pot, gold into a ring). For instrumental causes, the knowledge that effects change is both causal and instrumental. In effecting change, unmanifest knowledge becomes manifest knowledge, i.e. knowledge becomes manifest in the very form revealed. Knowledge, as well as becoming manifest in (and as) the object, manifests as the very existence of the object, sustaining it, for without it the effect would not occur. Later, that same knowledge is that into which the manifestation resolves.
The nimitta-kāraṇam has intelligence in the informational or knowledge sense of the word (as in the gathering of intelligence on someone) and that knowledge includes the skill, the know-how, to apply it (all skill is intelligently applied knowledge). Efficient here means the capacity, the knowledge, to accomplish or effect (produce) change. See upādāna-kāraṇam.
Being instrumental; reason; motive; target. Its corresponding effect is referred to by the term naimittikam.
Untainted; spotless; pure; untainted by any association; ever transcendent even though immanent (a term for ātmā).
Unsurpassed; unrivalled; unequalled.
Without parts; divisionless; indivisible.
Attributeless, absolute reality implied by the term 'Brahman' (as its nature is limitlessness); pure consciousness; see saguṇa-brahma.
Without upādhiḥ (not having or possessing a limiting adjunct or manifesting medium). See upādhiḥ and sopādhi.
In nirupādhikādhyāsaḥ, one object is mistaken for another, e.g. a rope is mistaken for a snake. Once the rope is known, the snake goes away. The snake, being only prātibhāsika-satyam, subjectively real, cannot remain when the rope is known. See sopādhikādhyāsaḥ, adhyāsaḥ and upādhiḥ.
Nirvāṇam implies the nature of reality being non-coverability (reality is non-coverable because of its nature of all-pervasiveness). Nirvāṇam also means knowledge, mokṣaḥ, because in knowledge one knows oneself to be free from all seeming covers, pañca-kośas; nirvāṇam means mokṣaḥ because in mokṣaḥ one sees oneself being limitlessness; liberation.
A commitment to knowledge and a dispassion for worldly objects and pursuits; a consequence of puruṣārtha-niścayaḥ.
Divisionless; changeless; free from the knower-knowledge-known division; (nirvikalpa does not mean 'absence of thought'.) See vikalpaḥ and saṅkalpaḥ.
"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 of the mind, any samādhiḥ is transient. Nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ is not, and cannot, be an experience of ātmā as ātmā is not experienceable. Some say that after you come out of nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ you will see the world entirely differently, but that is not correct because how you see the world depends purely on your vision of reality. Having experienced nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ you have to interpret that experience, and to interpret the experience you must have a pramāṇam, a means of knowledge."*
Nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ is not mokṣaḥ. It is an experience that comes and goes. That vṛttiḥ, having assumed the form of Brahman is no longer perceived as a vṛttiḥ (but exists nevertheless) and only the self remains evident. When another vṛttiḥ displaces it, the samādhiḥ concludes. In contrast, in deep sleep (suṣuptiḥ) thoughts are unmanifest, the other two mental states having merged in their cause, ignorance (ajñāna-vṛttiḥ). Only the demands of prārabdhaḥ stir the person. See samādhiḥ, savikalpa-samādhiḥ and nididhyāsanam.
Unmodifiable; unchangeable; unchanged.
Without any attributes or distinguishing characteristics.
An action free from binding desire, which means an action that is proper, necessary and done with no ulterior motive. There is no attachment to the action or its result, even though the person may want the result. The result is expected (all actions have results) but there is no attachment to the result as the focus is only on performance of action as a means to purify and steady the mind for mokṣaḥ. Such a person is a karma-yogī. He or she knows that no action is ever a source of happiness as happiness is inherent (it is never a product, refinement, attainment or modification). His aim is clear, he wants only mokṣaḥ. He has puruṣārtha-niścayaḥ.
When such an action is done, recognising that the fulfilment of the need is the fulfilment of the dharmaḥ of Īśvaraḥ, it becomes an action dedicated to Īśvaraḥ, in service of Īśvaraḥ. That 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 the grace of Īśvaraḥ while turning the mind away from excessive 'me-focused' behaviour. See karma-yogaḥ. (Desire is natural and necessary for action. All actions – mental or physical – are done with desire, but a desire having a personal motive binds.)
Firmness; steadiness; freedom from doubt or vagueness; remaining established in the vision of the truth. Because of this steadiness, niṣṭhā can also mean 'lifestyle' (steady adherence to a way of life).
Timeless; not subject to time. Timelessness is not 'eternity' (which is a measure of time) neither does it have 'continuity', for continuity is also a measure of time.
Any regular, daily or occasional duty and hence, the term includes naimitta-karma and of course religious duties. Duty is that which is due, due to be done. It is that which needs to happen or be done. Doing what needs to be done is choiceless because a need is by definition not a matter of choice but of recognition. Fulfilling a true need earns puṇyam as it is a manifestation of dharmaḥ, and it 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 become part of karma-yogaḥ.
Ever free. True mokṣaḥ can only be a timeless, ever-present, ever-attained fact that need not and cannot be attained. A mokṣaḥ that is not beyond the constraint of all three periods of time (past, present, future) must decline and so is not true mokṣaḥ.
Timeless, pure, awakened, liberated – an expression sometimes used to describe a jñānī.
Contented; ceased; resolved – hence, free from the hold of the mind; identified with the self, not the mind.
All that is both within time and space (the entire universe) and all that is beyond time and space, everything is Om. This sacred sound-symbol (pratīkaḥ) of the Lord is an auspicious name, which when chanted invokes Īśvaraḥ, helping one recognise the vastu that is turīyam.
All human sounds are modifications of the natural gutteral sound 'a', which becomes 'm' on closing the lips. The sound 'u' simply represents all sounds in between. All words in all languages being combinations of sounds, Om may be said to pervade and represent all name and form. Its three constituent sounds a, u, m are also the origin of the three vyāhṛtis that are the essence of the gāyatrī-mantraḥ. The gāyatrī is in turn the essence of every mantraḥ of the entire Vedaḥ.
Om is used for both saguṇa- as well as nirguṇa-dhyānam. In saguṇa-dhyānam the letter 'a' is the waker and Virāt, the waker's world; the vowel 'u' is the dreamer and Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, the dreamer's world, the thought world. The consonant 'm' is the sleeper and the causal world, Śivaḥ. The silence between repetitions of Om is nirguṇa-brahma, the truth of Om.
The vowel 'o' in the word Om should be pronounced by forming the lips into a tiny circle and making the vowel sound in 'go' or 'toe'. The vowel should be one long (dīrgha) measure of sound. The labial sound 'm', formed by gently closing the lips, should be short (hrasva) giving a total of three short measures for the duration of Om. The phonetic 'aum' is a teaching device and not a pronunciation guide, nor an alternative spelling!
A fourth part (a quarter) of a stanza; a quarter of anything; foot.
Step; foot; word; that (destination) which is to be reached or accomplished; that (means) by which an object is reached or known.
Being the blessing by which anything may be arrived at, padam also implies pure knowledge.
Meaning of a word (usually the direct meaning); substance (of any substantive). This term especially refers to any and all objects, situations and phenomena in the world with which I have no emotional bond of either attachment, rāgaḥ, or aversion, dveṣaḥ. I am, for example, untouched emotionally (I am calmly disinterested) on happening to hear of the plight of people elsewhere in the world with whom I have no connection or relation. In contrast, those people and events with whom I do have a rāga-dveṣaḥ relation are categorised as viṣayaḥ, an object or area of interest, concern or involvement. So, padārthaḥ and viṣayaḥ refer to the two categories of objects and phenomena I meet: respectively Īśvara-sṛṣṭiḥ and jīva-sṛṣṭiḥ.
Side (of anything); wing (of a bird); a shoulder; fortnight (one 'side' or half of a lunar month); (the contention of the opposing) side – see pūrvapakṣī.
Five-element model of the world – see ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, waters; pṛthivī, earth. These pañca-bhūtas, five elements, arise from māyā in the order shown here. Each therefore, like māyā, 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. These five being the first to manifest from māyā, all that follows is their product.
The names, fire, water, earth, etc do not refer to their well-known material forms. The names are indicative only. Flaming fire, for example, is just the closest physical exemplar of the element agniḥ, fire.
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 puṇyam of the jīvaḥ 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.
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. Although the finer kośaḥ successively pervades the grosser (and the Upaniṣads similarly reflect this metaphor of causes being 'inner' to, subtler than and pervading their effects) the five kośas are not nesting successively like Russian dolls within dolls (with ānandamaya as the innermost 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... • annamaya-kośaḥ • prāṇamaya-kośaḥ • manomaya-kośaḥ • vijñānamaya-kośaḥ • ānandamaya-kośaḥ
The five correspond to the three śarīrams: the annamaya-kośaḥ to the sthūla-śarīram, the prāṇamaya, manomaya and vijñānamaya-kośas to the sūkṣma-śarīram, and the ānandamaya-kośaḥ to the kāraṇa-śarīram. (The suffix -maya(ṭ) means modification, as in annamaya, modification or product of food, anna. It does not refer to māyā.)
One 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.
The 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.
Grossification of the five subtle elements, tanmātras (pañcīkaraṇam, lit. 'making into five'). One half of the tāmasika aspect of each element 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 purposes those forms serve.
Scholar; learned. However, in Vedāntaḥ, paṇḍitaḥ means a wise person, a sage, one who has self-knowledge.
Action (karma) that is not in line with dharmaḥ. It has a later, presently unseen result, an adṛṣṭa-phalam that is unpleasant. The unseen result, which is similarly known as pāpam, manifests as an unwelcome, inauspicious situation or experience later in this life or in a future one. Any immediate or later pleasure appearing to arise from a wrong, adharmic action is not due to that action but to the arising of previously earned, unrelated puṇyam. See puṇya-karma.
The adverse or unfavourable influence or quality arising from wrong or inappropriate action, from action that transgresses universal values and disturbs the order that is dharmaḥ. The adverse influence remains unseen (adṛṣṭa) until manifesting as duḥkham, sorrow, arising from unpleasant, unfavourable situations and experiences. Any unpleasant situation is the result of pāpa-karma. All pāpas are due to identification with the body, which leads to competition in which others' loss is necessarily sought, forming pāpam. Specific pāpam is exhausted by specific experience. See puṇyam, vāsanā, saṃskāraḥ, adharmaḥ.
Supreme; 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 within the perineum, at the mūlādhāra cakram – also see paśyantī, madhyamā, vaikharī.
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.
Highest truth or meaning; absolute reality; knowledge that is brahmātmā.
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. Paramātmā is a synonym for both ātmā and 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. The prefix param, supreme, emphasises and celebrates the greatness and absolute, non-dual nature of the ātmā. Hence, the term paramātmā contrasts with the term jīvātmā, emphasising that ātmā (the essential nature of each) is the same – just as water is the essence of both wave and ocean.
Some claim that paramātmā refers to a 'supreme soul' of which the so-called 'many individual ātmās' are a part and with which they eventually merge. None of that is true. Such errors are due to a misunderstanding of the nature of the self and of the soul. The truth is, ātmā is advaita, non-dual, which means there is no second entity. Therefore, there is not and cannot be a supreme soul (as it implies other, lesser souls). Neither are there, nor can there be, many individual ātmās. Ātmā does not mean soul. The nearest equivalent to the word 'soul' is jīvaḥ.
Supreme ruler (lord) of all and everything; formless, pure consciousness – personified as Īśvaraḥ – manifest as (appearing as) the universe.
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.
Higher nature of the self; the ultimate cause, without which no cause is possible; consciousness; existence; see saccidānandaḥ, aparā-prakṛtiḥ. See Gītā, chapter 7.
Dependence; being dependent on something else for existence – the opposite of svatantram.
Limitation. Being subject to limitation, paricchedaḥ, an object can be regarded as paricchedya, a recipient or possessor of limitation. A (possessed) attribute, by its very presence, necessarily manifests its capacity to limit, and that capacity is paricchedakam, that which is conducive to the manifestation of limitation.
In their own way the sense organs are also paricchedakam, conducive to the bestowal and manifestation of limitation, in that they each act within their respective spheres to limit what may be known (hearing, for example, is limited, paricchinna, to perceiving only sound, not taste). Each object of perception, being naturally distinct from other objects, is (by that very distinctness) paricchedya, subject to limitation, and is yet further subject to limitation by the restricted knowledge the senses provide of it, hence the notorious unreliability of sensory perception in any quest for truth.
Any pramāṇa which picks up a distinct piece of knowledge becomes paricchedakam (that which limits) and that which is picked up is paricchedya (something limited, a limited object).
Limited; confined; circumscribed; cut off.
Removal; exclusion; cessation; omission.
Examination; analysis; investigation.
Evolution; growth; change.
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, a seed transforms into a plant. Here, cause and effect belong to the same order of reality, whereas in vivarta they do not. See upādāna-kāraṇam, vivarta-upādāna-kāraṇam.
Clearly see or recognise.
Absolutely full. Time, space and all objects are so absolutely 'filled' by consciousness that consciousness is in fact all that is there.
Indirect, remote (out of direct sight) knowledge (para, remote, beyond; akṣa, senses); knowledge that is not from direct perception (and so includes reported, read and inferred knowledge) e.g. "I heard they arrived safely." or "There is smoke; so there is, or has been, fire."
Similarly, when the student understands sufficiently well for it to make sense that the entire world (all manifestation) 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. Immediate knowledge, aparokṣa-jñānam, is now needed.
Wife of Lord Śivaḥ; daughter of Himāvat; also known as Durgā, Satī, Umā.
Seeing; second stage of the emergence of speech or sound. Parā, the power of speech, after leaving the mūlādhāra cakram, arrives at the manipura cakram where, differentiated by and remaining with a specific emotion, it has now reached the paśyantī stage of being known (seen) – also see parā, madhyamā, vaikharī.
Chant; recitation; reading; lesson; study.
Lord; 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.
Wife; one who, being of a noble, compatible, pleasing, like mind, helps cross the ocean of saṃsāraḥ by always following dharmaḥ.
Scripture that is of human, not divine, authorship, e.g. smṛtiḥ.
Fruit; result of action. Its corresponding cause is referred to by the term hetuḥ.
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.)
The result attained, i.e. knowledge, the result of perception, the result of operating a pramāṇam, a means of knowledge.
This term refers to the conclusion of the two-part process of perception involved in every form of empirical knowledge. In phala-vyāptiḥ the object is known. When, for example, a table is seen, the table is held in awareness as a vṛttiḥ, a thought. This is vṛtti-vyāptiḥ. The recognition or knowledge of that vṛttiḥ being 'a table' is the result or conclusion of the process of perception. That result is called phala-vyāptiḥ.
That phala-vyāptiḥ, that resulting knowledge, implies a knower. That knower is a vṛttiḥ, a vṛttiḥ that recognises the vṛtti-vyāptiḥ. This knower-vṛttiḥ is the 'I'-thought, aham-vṛttiḥ. Having knower-status, it is called the pramātā, knower, or draṣṭā, seer.
In knowledge of ātmā, the second operation, phala-vyāptiḥ, is not required, for the 'knower' is resolved in the wake of self-knowledge. Being the self-evident seer/perceiver, ātmā, the source of perception, is not objectifiable and hence cannot be the fruit of perception (no matter how subtle that perception may be). Every perception is possible only because of the ātmā.
Any roundish mass; lump; morsel of food; a solid object; the body; microcosm.
Thirst (as in 'thirst for water'; for thirst as in 'anguish or greed' see tṛṣṇā).
Sacred fig tree; Ficus Religiosa, commonly called the Peepal or aśvatthaḥ tree.
Worship of Īśvaraḥ in the form of manes (a Latin term for revered, deceased relatives) by offering rice balls and water, which incurs a blessing for those descendants who perform this sacrifice; one of the five pañcamahā-yajñas.
Prolonged; a single, unbroken, vowel sound equal in length to three or more immediately successive hrasva (short) mātrā (measures) of sound. See hrasva, short; dīrgha, long.
Glory; brilliance; splendour; majesty.
Knowledge; awaking (to the mithyā status of the world, etc.). This awaking is the transformation of understanding from 'all is Īśvaraḥ' of the karma-yogī into 'I am Īśvaraḥ' of the jñānī.
It is akin to the waker waking up from being identified with one of the characters in the dream he has just now been experiencing. Having awoken, he knows that the entire dream was dependent on him (his mind) and that it had all arisen in him, was sustained by him and on waking has resolved in him. Now, in prabodhaḥ, there is no more dream, no dream world, no jīvaḥ, no Īśvaraḥ, there is just oneself, kaivalyam.
Reverential, clockwise circumambulation of a holy place or person (placing on one's right is a token of respect).
Original, unevolved source material of the universe; undifferentiated matter; synonym of prakṛtiḥ and māyā. (Adj. pradhāna, predominant, primary.)
Posterior non-existence; non-existence following annihilation or destruction. When something such as a pot is destroyed, the nyāya philosopher claims it ceases to exist, whereas in fact, on being broken, the name and form 'pot' is simply no longer manifest, and existence itself (symbolised here by clay, which was only temporarily in the form of 'pot') remains unaffected. See abhāvaḥ.
Prior non-existence. Prior to birth, prior to becoming manifest, an object seems not to exist (prior to the clay being moulded, no pot is evident) and yet... See abhāvaḥ.
Offspring; progeny; mankind; citizen/subject (of a nation).
Consciousness; awareness; knowledge; wisdom; discernment (synonym of prajñānam).
One who is aware, conscious, of the meaning of the śāstram, whose mind is continually absorbed in the self.
Prājña, a form of ahaṅkāraḥ, 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'. Identified with the causal body, prājñaḥ does not know or apprehend reality, but has no misconceptions about it (as the individual mind is inactive in deep sleep). The universal or samaṣṭiḥ equivalent is Īśvaraḥ with his māyā (described in the Māṇḍūkya as the antaryāmī, inner controller) – see taijasaḥ, viśvaḥ.
Pure knowledge, i.e. the source of vṛtti-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.
'Consciousness is Brahman' (Aitareya v3.3). Here, it is being said that Brahman, absolute reality, is pure consciousness, jñaptiḥ. Pure consciousness is not to be confused with the ordinary consciousness of the waking state, which is consciousness associated with (and taking the form of) thoughts, feelings, perceptions and conceptions. See prajñānam, mahāvākyam and also tattvamasi, ahaṃ brahmāsmi, ayamātmā brahma.
Manner; mode; method; sort; type; kind; variety.
A text or treatise (prakaraṇam) that ties or strings together (granthaḥ), systematically, meaningfully and approachably, the concepts and terminology used in the Upaniṣads. Examples include ātma-bodhaḥ, tattva-bodhaḥ, vākya-vṛttiḥ, vivekacūḍāmaṇi.
A text, treatise, book or chapter expounding a topic.
Intrinsic nature; absolute, ever-present, unchanging nature of reality (cf. svabhāvaḥ and svarūpam); material cause; origin; a synonym of the three-fold power, māyā, i.e. that which is available for and capable of manifestation; consists of the three guṇas.
Prakṛtiḥ has three aspects: when sattvam is more evident, prakṛtiḥ is known as māyā, when rajas is more evident, prakṛtiḥ is known as avidyā, and when tamas is more evident, prakṛtiḥ remains known as prakṛtiḥ (from which a new guṇa balance declines forming the five tanmātras).
Complete resolution/cessation of the universe (in which it remains in an unmanifest, potential condition until it manifests again, in an endless cycle). See layaḥ.
Inadvertence; mechanicalness; inattention; negligence; carelessness; indifference. Being indifferent and negligent, lacking seriousness in one's study of Vedāntaḥ is a major limitation on progress and is due to worldly attachments.
Intense joy, pleasure, delight; degree of happiness: the (much greater) pleasure born of the enjoyment of a desired object; also see priya, modaḥ.
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 the sūkṣma-śarīram.
Praṇavaḥ means 'unique name'. It is a name for Om because the word Om, uniquely among words, denotes, is a name for, all objects (everything is Om). Om is the sacred sound-symbol (pratīkaḥ) for Īśvaraḥ, the Lord. It is the essence of the entire Vedāḥ.
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.
Meditation upon a deity; prostration; respectful conduct; prayer; vow; (also many other meanings.)
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'. It is not reverence for or submission to the person, but reverence for and submission to the truth of that which is imparted (thus avoiding any cult of personality).
Prostration at the feet of the teacher in sāṣṭāṅga-namaskāraḥ (salutations with eight limbs) includes not only the touching the ground with the forehead, chest, hips, knees, feet and outstretched folded hands, but also includes speech (to utter 'namaste') and mind (in reverence).
Universe (manifest or unmanifest); the five-element model of the universe, pāñcabhautikam.
(In the turiyātmā there is) upaśamaḥ, cessation, of prapañcaḥ, cessation of all seeming phenomena.
"Prapañcaḥ refers to the waking world, the universe. Upaśamaḥ literally means absent. Prapañcopaśamaḥ means that even though we experience the world, factually it is not there. It is experientially available, factually non-existent; it is mithyā." Swami Paramarthananda, Māṇḍūkya commentary.
Only ātmā is factually existent. All else is the phenomenal (mithyā) manifestation of māyā.
Attainment of the already attained.
Attainment; gain; reaching.
In the case of all living beings, ripe portions of sañcita-karma (all of which, ripe or unripe, is stored in māyā) fructify and manifest as prārabdha-karma. Prārabdha is karma that has already begun, ārabdha, and includes birth, parentage, death – all the events and situations of this present life.
Prārabdha-karma may take three forms: that which produces fruit in the absence of desire, that which does so with desire, and that which does so through the desire of another.
An individual's response to prārabdha is very much influenced by vāsanā, which may produce responses in the form of actions, karma, that have subsequent results, karma.
Prārabdha-karma, the manifest, fructifying portions of sañcita, is experienced as translations of puṇya-pāpam in the form of sukham, happiness, and duḥkham, sorrow, thereby exhausting some of the sañcita's store of puṇyam and pāpam. All the unseen results of action (karma), unspent or freshly accruing, are stored as unmanifest puṇya-pāpam in māyā, the universal causal body. (The individual causal body, the kāraṇa-śarīram, is the individual aspect of māyā and stores vāsanās, individual tendencies, attitudes, tastes, etc., but not individual karma.)
The severity of the impact of some prārabdha can be mitigated by prayer or austerity.
As for the apparent conflict between free-will and destiny, since all that is here is omniscient Īśvaraḥ, his will appears as both the free-will of people and as their destiny. If (desire-driven) prārabdha could not be overcome, a person could not be held responsible for his actions. He would not have choice.
Prārabdha-karma has an allotted time-span measured in breaths (one inhalation and its exhalation together comprise one breath). The number cannot be changed.
Being the outcome of the law of karma and thus part of Īśvara-sṛṣṭiḥ (not jīva-sṛṣṭiḥ) prārabdha-karma must run its course. Just as an arrow travels as it must, prārabdha-karma (of the wise too) must run its course. And yet, for the jñānī, awake to the fact 'I am Brahman', prārabdha-karma (being now known to be mithyā) is no more real and has no more impact or value than a prior dream has for a person awake. See āgāmi-karma, sañcita-karma, pratibandhaḥ.
Prayer; entreaty; request; supplication; desire.
Tranquillity; 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. Knowing this brings a quiet, cheerful serenity. See karma-yogaḥ.
Attachment in which the mind is strongly stuck; confusion due to fixed adherence to an idea or belief.
Praise; admiration; compliment.
Tranquil-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. (The adjective praśānta can also mean 'free from modification' since a departure from tranquility involves change.)
Question; 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 be 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).
Anupraśnaḥ means a question from a disciple who is listening and whose question is in keeping with what the teacher has taught.
Praśna-bījam is the seed (cause) of a question. It refers either to the unresolved doubt from which the question has arisen, or to the unspoken situation, doubt or misunderstanding that is behind the question and that has prompted the actual question asked.
Name of one of the ten major Upaniṣads in which six people ask one question each and Śrī Ṛṣiḥ Pippalādaḥ answers them all.
Source; place of origin.
Set of three great texts of scriptural literature, namely Upaniṣads, Bhagavad-Gītā and 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).
Obstacle; obstruction; impediment; hindrance; hurdle; that which 'blocks against'. Pratibandhas are misunderstandings, mistaken attitudes, false ideas and adverse circumstances that block both the appreciation and rise of true knowledge. They are in three main categories: malaḥ (consisting of various forms of rāga-dveṣaḥ) secondly vikṣepaḥ and thirdly āvaraṇam (which includes viparīta-bhāvanā). All are the result of pāpa-karma. They can be neutralised by puṇya-karma.
Subjective (mithyā) reality; personal, subjective view; mistaken notions; unknown fears; all forms of personal, subjective mental projections and interpretations of the world. It is a satyam that exists only in appearance and yet may have a strong influence. In the famous rajju-sarpa-nyāyaḥ, rope-snake example, the 'seen' snake is a subjective misperception and misinterpretation of a (dimly lit) rope. The rope belongs to vyāvahārika-satyam, the mistaken snake is a prātibhāsika-satyam. Prātibhāsika-satyam also includes common subjective interpretations such as "I am clever/stupid" "She is nice/horrible" "This is taking a long time". Both prātibhāsika-satyam and vyāvahārika-satyam are falsified in pāramārthika-satyam.
Reflection (pratibimbaḥ) model (vādaḥ). 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. See vādaḥ.
Proposition; assertion; declaration; statement. A proposition is often followed by a dṛṣṭāntaḥ, an illustration or example, to help convey its meaning. For instance, the proposition (pratijñā) that "pure consciousness is the substratum of all" is illustrated (dṛṣṭāntaḥ) by "just as gold is the substratum of all gold ornaments." See dṛṣṭāntaḥ.
A 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.
A form-symbol (with limbs) for the Lord; a personification; typically a life-like idol or statue, a murtiḥ.
Revealer-revealed connection. Between the śāstram and the knowledge that is mokṣaḥ, there is a revealer-revealed connection – śāstram alone reveals that knowledge. See anubandha-catuṣṭayam.
Base or uninflected form of a word; the form a word takes prior to its having a declinable status.
Deal with an adverse emotion or tendency in oneself by deliberately cultivating one that opposes it, or is even its opposite. For example, love may counter hate, or admiration may overcome jealousy. (Poor habits are removed by creating new ones that oppose and displace them, thus good habits can overcome bad ones.) Although this practice helps deal with rāga-dveṣas and their related emotions, it is primarily intended to bring a more comprehensive or total perspective to situations, neutralising any limited or partial view.
Negation; elimination; prohibition; negation to eliminate or ward off or prevent error; negation of whatever is not true as a means to that which is true. (To prepare the mind for that which is true, it is usually necessary first to dismiss or negate whatever is untrue. The truth is then best revealed by implication, thus avoiding the literalness or grossness in thought that definition can bring.)
Prohibited or forbidden actions (listed in Gītā, Ch.16); actions that go against the specific prescription of dharmaḥ and accumulate pāpam, unwelcome results; also called niṣiddha-karma (restrained, checked, prevented action).
Complete understanding or ascertainment; conviction; obviousness; clear perception; delight; clarity.
Recognition (of a fact). A term used to indicate recognition of, for example, the fact that 'I' is fundamentally one and the same conscious being in waking, dream and deep sleep. This one, divisionless awareness is turīya.
Innermost self; reality obtaining as the svarūpam of 'I'.
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.
Direct perception. Direct perception includes sense-perception (hearing, seeing, tasting, etc) and, as such, is one of the six pramāṇas (means of knowledge). But direct perception is not limited to the senses: it can be sense perception (indriya-pratyakṣam) or witness perception (sākṣī-pratyakṣam). Direct perception is therefore the root or basic perception, the 'root' means of knowledge (mūla-pramānam). See the other pramāṇas: anumānam, anupalabdhiḥ, arthāpattiḥ, śabdaḥ, upamānam.
Knowledge of proximate objects derived from direct sensory perception (prati, presented; akṣa to the senses). See parokṣa-jñānam, aparokṣa-jñānam.
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 (silent) meaning carried by the words. It is the intended meaning of 'that house'. In grammar, pratyayaḥ means 'suffix'. See vṛttiḥ.
Lecture; discourse; exposition; eloquent speech; oral instruction; mantra-recitation. Attending discourses must be accompanied by total commitment to mokṣaḥ for it to be fully and properly useful.
Flow; stream; streaming forth; continuous train of thought; continuity; course or direction towards.
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.
Activity; participation in the world; full involvement in worldly life; usually entails giving primacy to preyas rather than śreyas – see nivṛttiḥ.
An expiatory karma, action – a specific ritual performed to neutralise (or perhaps at best weaken) the results of previous wrong action (prāyaścitta-karma is also known as parihāra-karma).
Appropriate, sufficient effort; perseverance. "Individual effort is not futile, it is the Lord himself who manifests (vivartate) in the form of personal effort." Pañcadaśī 6.177. The Lord manifests as the grace of seeing/knowing that which is true or real, which is the essence of will, dhṛtiḥ. See saṅkalpaḥ.
Purpose; object; gain; benefit.
Love; kindness; tender regard (all too often, mere attachment, rāgaḥ, is mistaken for love).
When the jīvaḥ leaves the body from an untimely death, it takes a preta-śarīram (lit. an after-death body) a thought-form that is subtle, like the sūkṣma-śarīram. An untimely death, for example, suicide, is one that leaves a portion of prārabdha-karma unexhausted. The departed jīvaḥ will be caught up in this thought-form until that portion is exhausted.
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 gross or material body that is present is different from that of the waking state. In Heaven, fire is the predominant element in bodies; in the region of the Moon it is water; on Earth, their predominant element is Earth.
All relative, time-bound ends (arthaḥ, kāmaḥ, dharmaḥ) accomplishable through religious and secular activity; any desired result other than mokṣaḥ – see śreyaḥ (śreyas).
Love – love is not a verb, no one can 'do' love on demand. Love is the manifestation of the fullness of ānandaḥ. "Love is non-fault-finding accommodation."*
Dear; pleased; beloved; priyam (noun), a degree of happiness: the pleasure born of seeing something desired. See modaḥ, pramodaḥ.
The element Earth; subtle aspect of odour; the element 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.
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.
Worship and prayer earn the Lord's grace, which neutralises accumulated pāpa-karma, thereby removing obstacles to the manifestation of the knowledge the student of Vedāntaḥ has gained. Then, that true knowledge, being now unobstructed, shines. See yajñaḥ.
Action (karma) that is in line with dharmaḥ. It has a later, unseen result, an adṛṣṭa-phalam, that is pleasant. The unseen result, which is also in the form of puṇyam, manifests as a welcome, auspicious situation or experience later in this life or in a future one.
Any immediate or later pain appearing to arise from a virtuous action is not due to that action but to the arising (fructification) of previously earned, unrelated pāpam. See pāpa-karma.
The meritorious or beneficial influence or quality arising from right or appropriate action, from action that aligns with universal values. The resulting beneficial influence remains unseen, adṛṣṭa, until manifesting later as sukham, a pleasing, desirable event or situation. Any pleasant, beneficial situation is the result of puṇya-karma. Specific puṇyam is exhausted by specific experience. See pāpam, vāsanā, saṃskāraḥ, dharmaḥ.
Puṇya-pāpam, the unseen result of right or wrong action, karma, is stored in a dormant, unmanifest form in māyā. It manifests in due time as happiness or sorrow within the various situations and events of life. That manifestation is known as prārabdha-karma. The responses to those events may perpetuate saṃsāraḥ.
The world is not responsible for anyone's happiness or unhappiness. It is only ever instrumental in the manifestation of the puṇyam and pāpam earned (the tally of which is said to be kept by Citraguptaḥ). See puṇyam, pāpam and sañcita-karma.
Town (brahma-puram is used figuratively to indicate Brahman's 'place' or 'abode').
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). See itihāsaḥ.
Purāṇaḥ means ātmā, implying its nature of being beginningless (the most ancient) but ever new and fresh.
Town; city; castle; fortress; sanctuary; body.
Full; whole; entire; complete; filled; pervaded. (pūrṇatvam, fullness – the nature of ātmā). See apūrṇatvam.
A priest who performs prayers or rituals, before, purā, in advance, for the (later) well-being, hitam, of all; a vaidikaḥ.
Karma, action, 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. Such acts generate puṇyam.
Person; man; original source of the cosmos; 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.
Human pursuit or goal; that which is sought by a human being, puruṣeṇa arthyate iti – see arthaḥ, kāmaḥ, dharmaḥ, mokṣaḥ.
Definiteness, complete clarity and certainty about one's ultimate, absolute end being mokṣaḥ, namely 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. I see that everywhere, in everything, I am only ever pursuing happiness and so I need to discover what happiness really is. Being clear that this is now my primary aim, shallow pursuits tend to fall away naturally. See śreyaḥ (śreyas) and preyaḥ (preyas).
Most exalted (uttama) of all puruṣas, beings; a name for Īśvaraḥ.
Before; earlier; prior; foregoing; eastern.
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.
Son; for a vaidikaḥ, the rearing of progeny who live a life of dharmaḥ is a noble duty that protects dharmaḥ, a duty whose fulfilment avoids hell for the vaidikaḥ. (Trāyate, protects; the one who protects parents from falling into put, a particular hell; the same protection is provided by a putrī, a daughter.)
(Binding) attachment and aversion, arising as the impulse of like and dislike (I want, and I want to not have). Since likes and dislikes (desires or wants) are anchored on ahaṅkāraḥ – the erroneous and varying ideas of oneself – rāga-dveṣas may bind a person, hindering or even preventing right action.
Attachment and aversion are harmless and normal when expressions of preference or care, but when that preference or care becomes an emotional dependence or demand, it binds.
In emotional dependence, rāga-dveṣas are taken to be absolutely real, which means their status is falsely raised from mithyā to satyam. When this occurs, even renunciates can be felled by attachment and aversion and again become embroiled in saṃsāraḥ. It is rāga-dveṣas that cause the seeming fall from one's absolute nature to one's empirical nature.
Managing rāga-dveṣas leads to a mind that is capable of focused, distraction-free attention on that which is known to be important. Only a distraction-free mind can be a profound mind; only a profound mind is capable of hearing and recognising profound truth profoundly. See vairāgyam and karma-yogaḥ.
Attachment; passion; strong liking; dependence on the world for one's happiness; red colour; inflammation; see vairāgyam, dveṣaḥ, kleśaḥ.
A secret; mystery; concealed; private; privately.
Without; devoid of; separated from.
Guṇaḥ or force out of which desire, ambition, sin, etc. are born (adj. rājasika). The term rajas is the name given to the manifestation of the kriyā-śaktiḥ, the power of activity inherent in māyā.
When rajas is predominant it completely colours or stains the mind, bringing passion (strong desires, strong likes and dislikes) and hence action to fulfil them. A rājasika person is therefore restless, full of longing (tṛṣṇā) and strong attachment (āsaṅgaḥ), and is dependent on action and its results (in the form of pleasure, enjoyment, achievements, etc.) for his/her happiness, leading to deeply entrenched bondage. Bondage to (identification with) a rājasika mental disposition greatly increases the likelihood of committing pāpam. Also see sattvam (sattva), tamaḥ (tamas).
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 (in this instance, a rope for a snake) is called arthādhyāsaḥ, resulting in a reality that is prātibhāsika. The rope's subsequent illumination, revealing it for what it actually is, symbolises the liberating 'lamp' of knowledge of the śrutiḥ, brought by the guruḥ, dispelling darkness and fear.
Ignorance of the rope is beginningless, for there was no knowledge of rope prior to 'snake' and no presence of 'snake' before it appeared. 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 or to have originated in the rope, for the rope is unknown (and yet is all that really exists). 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, until illumined, 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 that which 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."* Note: all analogies have flaws. Here, an observer of the rope/snake must be imagined for the analogy to work. See avidyā, āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ and nyāyaḥ.
Demon; a person who goes against dharmaḥ in pursuit of wealth, power, position, etc.; predominant guṇaḥ is rajas – see asuraḥ.
Vālmīkī's epic describing the adventures of Lord Rāmaḥ.
Sense-object, viṣayaḥ, perceptible through the tongue or mind and known as 'taste'; aesthetic sentiment; essence (either of a liquid or of reality); juice; content.
In Taittirīya (Anuvāka 7) the word rasaḥ is used to mean ānandaḥ, the essence of happiness, the svarūpam of Brahman.
So appreciating, so enjoying the calmness and beauty of meditation that one becomes attached to that stillness, to that beauty, and holds onto it (such attachment is one of the four hindrances to meditation – the others are: kaṣāyam, layaḥ and vikṣepaḥ).
Seer of truth; inspired sage; a rishi; one who is eligible to have subtle facts revealed. Ṛṣati paśyati iti ṛṣiḥ, one who sees is called a ṛṣiḥ. He does not create the Veda mantras on their emergence from the unmanifest at the beginning of the universe, he only sees the mantras that are already there.
Worship 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.
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.
Terrible; dreadful; horrible; formidable; crying.
One who drives away sorrow (rutam drāvayati iti); name of Śivaḥ; a hymn addressed to Rudraḥ, deity of ahaṅkāraḥ.
Form; appearance; nature; a sense-object, viṣayaḥ, subtle or gross, perceptible through the eyes or mind and known as 'form, shape'.
A 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 nididhyāsanam when their meaning is not only properly and fully understood but is so well-established that on hearing them the meaning 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 oneself. There arises absorption in the very consciousness that illumines the meaning. See dṛśya-anuviddha-savikalpa-samādhiḥ and also samādhiḥ, savikalpa-samādhiḥ and nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ.
Sound; word (a meaningful sound); a sense-object (viṣayaḥ), subtle or gross, perceptible through the ears and mind and known as 'sound'.
Word, 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.
Śabda-pramāṇam involves only enquiry into the vastu, not into the ignorance that covers it. The aim of the enquiry is to know the vastu, not the ignorance.
The cause (hetuḥ) for elucidation (pravṛtti) by words (śabda). An object must fulfil certain conditions for it to be describable and so the direct meaning of words about an object must fall within one or more of four categories. • jātiḥ - species • guṇaḥ - attribute • kriyā - action • sambandhaḥ - connection or relation
Not being an object, Brahman does not fall into any of these four categories. Therefore, it cannot be revealed by the direct meaning of any words – although it can be and is revealed by the implied meaning of certain words: see abhidheyam.
Sat, 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. That reality is a timeless, non-transactable, all-pervading, independent spiritual principle, unlimited by name, form or function. 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
Consciousness, being self-existent, is not dependent on the known for its existence. Instead, the known is dependent on the knower, consciousness, for its existence. The knower alone is appreciable in the form of the existence of the world, and since the knower is consciousness, consciousness is existence, cit is sat. Consciousness alone is of the nature of fullness, ānandaḥ, which is limitless, unqualified happiness.
The true, unlimited, non-fading happiness that is ātmā, a happiness that, being one's true nature, can never be experienced directly as an object. It is knowable only via its reflection in a mind capable of reflecting it.
Usually, adjectives describe attributes, e.g. red lips, hot water. However, some adjectives reference substance, e.g. a clay pot, a gold ring, revealing the existence or truth of the object (on which the object depends). There is no ring or pot separate from or other than the gold or clay. Similarly, in 'the person is existent, conscious and happy' the words existent, conscious and happy refer not to attributes of the person but to his/her very substance, for Vedāntaḥ maintains they indicate the very reality of the person.
The six (ṣaḍ) modifications (vikāra) of one's state of being (bhāvaḥ): • asti - existence (in the womb) • jāyate - birth • vardhate - growth • vipariṇāmate - maturation • apakṣīyate - decline and decay • vinaśyati - destruction, death
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.
The connection between a sādhana, a practice or means and its sādhya, goal or aim. See anubandha-catuṣṭayam.
Universal; common to all; general.
Sameness of nature.
A good person; a person of values; noble; a pious, highly disciplined, virtuous aspirant; a renunciate; a sannyāsī.
Goal to be accomplished.
Where there is disagreement about the true purport and aim of a text, analysis is needed to establish the truth. The hermeneutics, the six indications by which the true tātparyam, purport, of a text may be established are: • upakrama-upasaṃhāraḥ - beginning and end (consistency of) • apūrvatā - uniqueness (not knowable by other means) • upapattiḥ - proof (as established by reasoning) • arthavādaḥ - explanation (of meaning) • phalam - result (its nature) • abhyāsaḥ - repetition (of same idea elsewhere)
When, even during worldly transactions, appreciation of the fact of my being ātmā, pure consciousness alone, is never lost, samādhiḥ has become natural, sahaja.
Thousand (often used to indicate innumerability).
(Beings) of the same species.
Action (karma) with (driven by) desire, kāma; action in which there is dependence on (and hence attachment to) the result(s) of action for one's happiness; the action of a worldly, deluded person who imagines the world is absolutely real and the giver of happiness. See niṣkāma-karma.
Branch, clan or tradition passing down a Vedic text of the same name over generations.
A maxim highlighting 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 (candraḥ) can at last be discerned. See nyāyaḥ.
Evidently; visibly; (immediately, without a means of knowledge.)
Clear 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 vṛttiḥ, you recognise paramātmā."*
Witness; seer; consciousness (i.e. ātmā) in the role of the changeless, passive, seemingly enclosed witness of the changing states of mind (and hence, ātmā is not any aspect of the mind); the ever-present knower or experiencer in every experience, which is not and never can be experienced as an object; that which illumines without help from anything else and which itself never can be illumined or objectified; a term for ātmā when in the presence of anātmā.
The term sākṣiṇam (that which is witnessed) is sometimes used in preference to anātmā when referring to the body-mind-sense complex because the body-mind's 'closeness' to ātmā makes it especially difficult to distinguish from ātmā. More distant objects, such as clothing, chairs, etc., are far easier to distinguish as 'not me' and hence may easily be recognised as anātmā.
"Our problem is we want to be conscious of consciousness"* and so we tend to treat it as an object to be experienced when, in fact, it is our svarūpam, our essential nature.
Witness-perception; knowledge gained directly, without the help of the senses. All mental conditions, all emotions, all experiences gained through the senses are known because of the witness that is present in all these perceptions. Direct perception (pratyakṣam) is possible both with and without the senses. All pramāṇas are known because of the sākṣī, witness-consciousness. Every pramāṇa works because of the presence of this witness.
Attachment, in general; 'stickiness'; longing; sense of ownership; also see asaktiḥ.
Absorption. Focusing attention on a chosen object is dhāranā, concentration. Bringing attention back to the object when it wanders from it is dhyānam, meditation. When attention no longer wanders, but is consistently and fully absorbed in that object, that is samādhi. It is a state in which the intellect is suspended, as in suṣuptiḥ, but in contrast to suṣuptiḥ, the mind is fully awake.
Being a highly refined state, samādhiḥ is unlikely to occur in a mind that is beset by emotional difficulties, strong attachments and aversions, unhealthy choices 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. Moreover, even the most mystical experience in samādhiḥ will not be present afterwards when samādhiḥ ends.
The consciousness by which any and 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' or 'realised'. Some, unable to accept that knowledge is enough, will say they have understanding but now need to 'realise' the self. Only an unqualified student talks like this, whereas a student with sādhana-catuṣṭayam sees that knowledge alone is mokṣaḥ. See savikalpa-samādhiḥ, nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ and nididhyāsanam.
Those who, due to adverse prārabdha, are unable to derive the full benefit of Vedāntaḥ study, even after long śravaṇaṃ and mananam and practice of brahma-abhyāsa-rūpa-nididhyāsanam, need to calm the mind sufficiently to appreciate the fact of being Brahman. Repeated practice of samādhiḥ, although a transient experience, calms the mind and affirms the truth of the śrutiḥ, thereby providing a counter to that adverse prārabdha. Gradually, turīya becomes so natural that it is recognised even in the minor events of day-to-day life. Samādhiḥ has now become sahaja, natural. See nididhyāsanam, brahma-abhyāsa-rūpa-nididhyāsanam and sahaja samādhiḥ.
Resolution or management of the mind to rest and refine it and prevent one's thoughts, feelings and impulses (arising from internal and external contact with the varieties of viṣayas, sense-phenomena, including people) 'running the show'. Vairāgyam, dispassion, developed from seeing again and again the limitations in phenomena, provides the means. Only a mature, dispassionate, objective mind has śamaḥ.
Śamaḥ is a discipline practised to have mastery over one's ways of thinking rather than being at their mercy.
Mentioned together; a collection or compilation of sacred texts.
This expression is a noun meaning having the same (sāmāna) locus or location (adhikaraṇam). It refers to words being in apposition. Words in apposition have the same number, gender and case, and are committed to revealing the same object. The two words wave and ocean, for example, denote two entirely different forms, but both 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, 'wave' and 'ocean' can be equated. Being equated to 'ocean', '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 mahāvākyamtattvamasi (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," both the word 'that' signifying the Devadatta associated with the past, elsewhere, and the word 'this' signifying the Devadatta associated with the present, here, refer to one and the same locus or person. Likewise, in the sentence, "You are that," both the word 'that' signifying consciousness characterised by remoteness, etc., and the word 'you' signifying consciousness characterised by immediacy, etc., 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 when in showing, for example, that the essential substance of all material forms is the one consciousness. This is called bādhāyām sāmānādhikaraṇyam. Similarly, aikya-sāmānādhikaraṇyam reveals the oneness of all beings through establishing consciousness as the reality of all.
There are three kinds of relationship between words: words can either be in apposition to each other and to the word to which they relate, or they can define (or qualify) each other, or they can connote the same thing. These are respectively sāmānādhikaraṇyam, viśeṣaṇa-viśeṣya-bhāvaḥ and lakṣya-lakṣaṇa-bhāvaḥ. Each has its own merits in elucidating Vedic statements such as tattvamasi.
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 them; one of the two primary qualities of a sufficiently qualified student, śīsyaḥ – see the other one, praśāntacitta.
Common to all; universal; general.
Universal ethics, universal values applicable to all and sundry regardless of time, religion, gender, age, race, country, social status, etc. For example, ahiṃsā, non-hurting or harmlessness is an ethical and moral value applicable to all, at all times and in all situations. See viśeṣa-dharmaḥ and dharmaḥ. Sāmānya-dharmaḥ is also known as sādhāraṇa-dharmaḥ. The dharmas declared in Manu 10.63 to be common to all are: • ahiṃsā - non-hurting • satyam - truthfulness • asteyam - non-stealing • śaucam - cleanliness • indriya-nigrahaḥ - restraint of the senses
Consciousness or knowledge of that which is ever the same; synonym of śuddha-caitanyam.
The one existence (sattā) that is common to all beings, objects and phenomena. That very existence (a synonym of vyāvahārika-satyam) is lent by the mere presence of Brahman.
The planning (minor or detailed) that precedes the ārambhaḥ, commencement, of an activity.
Universal; macrocosm; macrocosmic being; total. This term is best understood via an example: gold is the samaṣṭiḥ aspect of gold ring, and ocean is the samaṣṭiḥ aspect of ocean wave. Samaṣṭiḥ always includes and incorporates vyaṣṭiḥ, its individual, local expression or manifestation. It is not a numerical relationship. The oft-used example of 'tree and forest' is flawed as not only can a tree exist alone, far from any forest, the example also misleadingly implies a numerical relationship (one of several). See vyaṣṭiḥ.
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 follows from the recognition that all results, being the product of natural laws, are a gift from Īśvaraḥ (they are the prasādaḥ of Īśvaraḥ). This brings an equanimity or evenness of mind toward whatever the result may be. Such equanimity is possible only when the whole picture is in view. That totality of view, characterised by an untroubled evenness of mind, is yogaḥ. See Gītā 2.48 and also karma-yogaḥ and īśvara-prasāda-buddhiḥ.
Connection; association; relationship.
Withdrawal (of the universe) i.e. the manifest becomes unmanifest; resolution; dissolution.
A methodically arranged collection of texts or verses.
Firewood; fuel; log of wood; oblation (samidhā) to the kindled (samiddha) fire, which is the consumer of the fuel; igniting; flaming; burning.
A seeker of brahma-vidyā who, carrying a small bundle of twigs (samidh) of the pippalaḥ, or Peepal, tree in one hand (pāṇiḥ), approaches a householder teacher hoping to be accepted as a disciple. The twigs represent the student's readiness to be of service to the teacher in a practical way (by providing fuel for rituals) in gratitude for the teaching. If the guruḥ is a sannyāsī, one cannot take twigs as no rituals are performed, and so something more appropriate is offered, symbolically, with an attitude of surrender and with śraddhā.
Prosperity; good fortune; accomplishment; fulfilment; success.
In this form of meditation, a given object is looked upon as more than it is. The object could be a flower, a stone, a sculpted form (a murti), it could be anything. Whatever be the chosen object, the mind dwells upon it as (regards it as) Īśvaraḥ. In this way, something greater is superimposed upon an ordinary object. This way of looking, this regard, is the foundation of much worship and prayer. See ahaṅgraha upāsanam and upāsanam.
Teaching tradition; established teachings and method of teaching (including the knowledge of how to handle the words of the scriptures); careful, distortion-free transference of scriptural understanding 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.
One who thoroughly knows the teaching tradition, having learnt it from his/her guruḥ.
Transmigratory life; "that which keeps moving in perfect order"; the endless cycle of becoming, of repeated births and deaths. Its cause is the perception (conclusion) of difference between oneself (the individual) and Īśvaraḥ. Saṃsāraḥ is often characterised as a treacherous ocean the jīvaḥ is struggling to cross. It is defined as śarīrādi-upādānam eva lakṣaṇam yasya saḥ saṃsāraḥ – "saṃsāraḥ is that which is characterised by the assumption of bodies, etc." That final word, etcetera, refers to all that follows from the 'assumption of bodies' (actions and their consequences, and the various worldly contexts in which they are experienced, life after life). Freedom from saṃsāraḥ is only in recognising and fully ascertaining that one's self is Brahman. See brahma-jñānam.
Impression on the mind; disposition; tendency; degree of refinement of a person due to the accumulation of better or worse vāsanās.
The attitudes, dispositions, tastes and inclinations of a person are all stored in the subconscious as vāsanās. They reflect attachments and aversions (likes and dislikes) and in so doing reveal the saṃskāraḥ, the degree of refinement of the individual. They travel with the subtle body from birth to birth, tending to influence the individual's responses to the prārabdha-karma of each birth as it unfolds in each lifetime. Those responses, those actions, can in turn lead to new karma (āgāmi-karma).
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.
Well formed; well done; refined; the Sanskrit language – a highly expressive language having a highly refined and exalted culture established within it. See devanāgarī.
Culture; refinement via action, which is one of the four possible results of karma, action. Refinement occurs by either adding or removing something. 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.
Refuge; resting place; support.
Contentment; satisfaction; happiness. Also known as saṃtuṣṭiḥ. Part of niyamaḥ.
Dialogue imparting knowledge from teacher to student; teacher-student discourse with the sole aim of learning the truth; also see vādaḥ, jalpa-vādaḥ, vitaṇḍa-vādaḥ.
A movement of thought forms. It is such a concealing movement alone that makes a world; there is no other world. The world is kalpita, a projection, a projection that so absorbs attention that its source is as good as concealed. See dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vādaḥ and nimitta-kāraṇam.
Only transactional; a term referring to the status of worldly experience, in effect saying it is mithyā.
Eternal law; eternal values; eternal religion; the beginningless order that is Īśvaraḥ; the proper and correct name for Hinduism (Hinduism is merely a geographically-derived term coined by those who knew no better.)
Unmanifest, unexpired aggregate of the adṛṣṭa-phalam, unseen result, of karma (action). That result is duly accredited to the living being and stored in māyā, the universal causal body. When ripe, the as-yet-unmanifest puṇya-pāpam arising from karma, action, will manifest as prārabdha-karma for that person/being.
Sañcita is also the store for the āgāmi-karma being produced (by human beings only) now, in this life. When ripe, the āgāmi will manifest as prārabdha-karma.
"The law of karma and dharmaḥ are the same, because dharmaḥ produces puṇyam and pāpam, which form the very order that is Īśvaraḥ. The law of karma, centred on your free will and dharma-adharmaḥ, are all highly interconnected. Therefore, to that one Lord, who is in the form of the very order of dharmaḥ, the order of karma, you surrender and do what is to be done. We conform to dharmaḥ because dharmaḥ is Bhagavān."* See āgāmi-karma, prārabdha-karma.
Vandanam, worship, salutation, prayer done at the (three) junctures or meeting points, sandhyā, of each day: shortly before dawn, when the sun has not yet risen (even though the night is over), next when the sun is at its highest in the sky, and lastly when the sun has already set, but the night has not yet come.
Attachment due to close contact; association; community; company; friendship.
"Attachment to the guṇas is the cause for births in higher and lower wombs." Gītā 13.21. The close association an individual has with the mind and body and their attributes (guṇas) leads to attachment. Attachment narrows the perspective with which one sees the world. A narrowed perspective leads to dependence on the world for happiness; rebirth is then inevitable.
An assemblage (one that is intelligently put together); close union or combination; collection; cluster; aggregate. See kārya-karaṇa-saṅghātaḥ.
Decision 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, dhṛtiḥ, is the very force of a conviction, or the strength of a decision (strong or weak, firm or wavering, correct or incorrect) that 'this' has value, 'this' is worth having or doing.
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 (even cherished) and that notion of value turns the thought into a desire. The perceived sense of value evokes emotion and will which then impel the desire, driving it to its fulfilment. Depending on the nature of the desire – and the will, the force, behind it – that drive to fulfilment can power the desire for a fraction of a second or, perhaps, for decades. See dhṛtiḥ, vikalpaḥ and kṛpaṇaḥ.
Mixture; mixing together that which should be kept apart, thus creating confusion.
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 Upaniṣadbhāṣyams that demonstrated that the purport of the Upaniṣads is that reality is non-dual and is attainable only by knowledge. He 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.
He succinctly summarises the Vedantic vision in verse 20 of his brahmajñānāvalīmālā "Brahma satyaṃ jaganmithyā jīvo brahmaiva nāparaḥ." Brahman is real, the universe is mithyā. The jīva and brahman are not different.
Systematic, discriminating enquiry and assessment; thorough knowledge arising from such enquiry. The second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gītā is entitled sāṅkhya-yogaḥ. There the word sāṅkhyam means knowledge, the topic of the chapter. In the third chapter, the word sāṅkhyaḥ means a renunciate, a sannyāsī, who is totally committed to the pursuit of knowledge.
Sāṅkhyam is also the name of 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. It does not accept Īśvaraḥ. See other dualist opponents of Vedāntaḥ – mīmāṃsā, vaiśeṣikaḥ, cārvākaḥ and naiyāyikaḥ.
Renunciation; a life in which all worldly ties are renounced in a focused pursuit of ātma-jñānam alone. A sannyāsī (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.
Sannyāsaḥ is of two types: vidvat-sannyāsaḥ and vividiṣā-sannyāsaḥ. Vidvat-sannyāsaḥ is where sannyāsaḥ is not taken: it is a renunciation that is an expression of knowledge wherein a wise person has naturally or effortlessly cognitively resolved his/her wrong notions of the self. This cognitive resolution of wrong identity, this giving up of all wrong ideas about the self and the world, is true or real sannyāsaḥ. It is a sannyāsaḥ that requires no external changes.
Knowledge, brahma-jñānam, is sannyāsaḥ. A vidvat-sannyāsī is a person of a different perspective, a jñānī. Every human being, going through all the stages of life sequentially, is expected to attain this sannyāsaḥ, thereby discovering absolute maturity, the culmination of growth, the fulfilment of the purpose of human life.
Vividiṣā-sannyāsaḥ is renunciation, a lifestyle in which there is a total commitment to the pursuit of knowledge to the exclusion of all other ends, artha-kāmas. The very word vividiṣā means 'desire to know'. A tīvra-mumukṣuḥ, a mature individual who is desperate for mokṣaḥ, knowing the value of knowledge as the only means for mokṣaḥ, seriously wants to know the truth – he/she takes to the life of sannyāsaḥ for knowledge.
A sannyāsī 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.
Peace; calmness; tranquility; cessation; elimination (of evil); synonym of the mental discipline, śamaḥ.
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 to study, neutralising hidden variables arising from three possible sources: ādhibhautika-tāpaḥ, ādhidaivika-tāpaḥ, ādhyātmika-tāpaḥ.
Seven levels (of spiritual development) of which the last three are optional for a jñānī: • śubhecchā - desire (icchā) for the necessary purity (śubha) of mind needed to attain knowledge, jñāna-yogaḥ, and hence adoption of the necessary means, sādhana-catuṣṭayam. • vicāraṇā - enquiry (into truth, with the help of a guruḥ) via śravanam and mananam. • tanumānasā - full refinement of mind (nididhyāsanam) by removal of remaining hindrances (viparīta-bhāvanā). • sattvāpattiḥ - enjoyment of knowledge of truth, jñāna-niṣṭhā, which is mokṣaḥ. • asaṃsaktiḥ - freedom from all attachment in the enjoyment of the samādhiḥ of ātma-svarūpam. • padārthabhāvanī - remaining in samādhiḥ until disturbed by others. • turīya - undisturbable samādhiḥ from which videhamuktiḥ follows.
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 living a life of values.
Method of analysis through which ātmā is recognised to be distinct from and independependent of the three bodies (gross, subtle and causal); see prakriyā.
Of the same nature as...; similar; resembling.
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) so if, for example, a person's name is not known prior to sarvajñatvam, the jñānī will still not know it. This is because the human mind is structured to know and gather knowledge sequentially, 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.
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 jñānī may entertain, may be said to have their desires fulfilled (to the degree that their prārabdha permits) as the grace of the jñānī neutralises obstacles. This is one reason sannyāsīs are so respected and their grace so sought: being Īśvaraḥ, the wise person becomes an altar for invoking Īśvaraḥ.
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. 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.
This all-knowingness is not experiential, it is being. With reference to the jagat, Brahman is all-knowledge, with reference to itself, it is knowledge as such, knowledge itself, jñaptiḥ.
Sarvavit is somewhat comparable to an author being the source and content of a book. He knows everything simultaneously about his completed book.
Sacred body of knowledge for growing towards one's full stature; that which protects by governing one's way of life (through dharmaḥ); includes both śrutiḥ and smṛtiḥ, but the former is chiefly meant.
Just as it is impossible to see one's own face directly, it is impossible to know the self directly (like an object). Some form of mirror is required in both cases. For the self, the śāstram alone is that mirror. It alone is capable of reflecting or revealing one's true nature to oneself. It alone is the pramānam for self-knowledge, for mokṣaḥ. The guruḥ, enlightened only by the śāstra-pramānam, communicates its liberating vision to the śiṣyaḥ.
Three types: obsession with study, preoccupation with many subjects and marked squeamishness with regard to observances specified in the śāstras. See vāsanā.
That which is ever the same presence in all three periods of time (past, present and future); pure, non-dependent existence; goodness; absolute truth; that which cannot be negated.
Existence is not an attribute, existence alone exists. All that exists exists in (pure) existence and all are in fact forms or modes of expression of pure existence (rather like ocean waves are expressions or forms of water). Pure existence, existence itself, being intrinsically formless, has no limit. Being limitless, ananta, it is not different from cit, pure consciousness. Pure consciousness exists, and pure existence is the very existence (the very being) of pure consciousness. Consciousness is all that is here. See asat, tuccham, satyam, mithyā, cit, ānanda.
Consisting of six, aggregate of six (not six-fold) as in ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ, six accomplishments.
A Sāṅkhyamvādaḥ, a Sāṅkhyam view or contention, (temporarily) accepted by Vedāntins, that an effect is unmanifest in its cause, and its manifestation is a change or modification, pariṇāmaḥ, of the cause, or an appearance, vivartaḥ, of the cause – and both types of effect are mithyā.
Being unmanifest in its cause, no effect is ever created. There is no such thing as creation, only manifestation from a prior, unmanifest (potential) state. Only that which is potentially present can manifest. Butter comes out of milk because butter is in a potential, unmanifest form in milk. Butter is not in a potential form in water! See asat-kārya-vādaḥ, upādāna-kāraṇam, pariṇāmaḥ, vivartaḥ and also nimitta-kāraṇam.
Company (saṅgaḥ) of the wise, of truth (sat); good association; association with śāstram; association with those who know and live the śāstram.
Existence; being; reality. Existence is of two types: svarūpa-sattā, original, unmanifest or potential existence, and secondly rūpa-sattā, manifest or functional existence. See abhāvaḥ. A clay pot exists in potential until formed from a lump of clay. An action exists in potential until manifest. "Things exist because they are known. Therefore, they are sustained by knowledge."*
Guṇaḥ signifying purity, knowledge, truth, intelligence, mind (adj. sāttvika). The term sattva is the name given to the manifestation of the jñāna-śaktiḥ, the power of knowing inherent in māyā. Sattva can also mean a living being.
Free from any kind of impurity, sattva reflects consciousness and hence endows a person with the capacity for clear knowledge and with the capacity for experiential happiness. A predominance of sattva means that a vṛttiḥ in the form of pleasure and/or knowledge arises. On identifying with that vṛttiḥ (on identifying with being happy and knowledgeable) the person becomes dependent on pleasure and knowledge for happiness, and so becomes attached to them. In this way, even sattva can (seemingly) bind. See rajaḥ (rajas), tamaḥ (tamas).
Purity of mind (sattva means mind here); synonym of citta-śuddhiḥ. Purity of mind increases as rāga-dveṣas decrease. When rāga-dveṣas begin to subside, through being neutralised by living a life of karma-yogaḥ, a person gains the mental space in which to recognise the shallowness and emptiness of being, namely the self-dissatisfaction that drove his previous unthinking chase of likes and dislikes. This recognition of his own spiritual poverty is the awakening of vivekaḥ and with it arises dispassion towards all worldly ends through clearly seeing their limitations. Now the quest for spiritual knowledge begins in earnest.
Truth; reality; that which is the truth of everything; that which cannot be negated by anything in all three periods of time – therefore beginningless, endless, changeless, causeless, independent, free from the limitations of time, space and object; the changeless substratum upon which change takes place (without which change would not be perceivable).
Only ever speaking the non-hurtful truth, devoid of untruth, is the discipline of satyam in speech. Even speech that is pleasant but not factual is not satyam.
'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 each independently expressing one thing – that Brahman is limitless reality, limitless being, pure consciousness – while simultaneously negating what Brahman might be thought to be.
Satyam means Brahman is pure existence, sat, existence itself, reality itself, not a form or kind of existence (such as existence in the form of a chair or in the form of an idea).
Jñānam is saying that Brahman is pure knowledge, jñaptiḥ, knowledge itself, not an aspect of knowledge (such as the knower, the object known, or a specific form of knowledge) and since consciousness is involved in knowledge, the pure existence that is Brahman cannot be something inert.
Anantam is saying that Brahman is not just without limit, but is limitlessness itself, thereby negating any notion that the pure existence and pure knowledge that is Brahman is in any way limited.
Service; homage; worship. Sevā becomes yajñaḥ when done with humility and devotion. For a karma-yogī, every action is service only because of the reverential attitude pervading it – otherwise it is merely action.
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. In the sampradāyaḥ, wrong notions are negated first when establishing the truth of the matter.
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.
'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 whatever is said later when studying a text.
Acceptance (svīkāraḥ) of a disciple (śiṣyaḥ) by a guruḥ, who must have reasons for the decision (such as the student's evident qualifications and sincerity). A guruḥ never seeks disciples, never proselytises – truth must be sought, not offered. See guru-upasādanam.
Verse; praise; glory; hymn of praise; maxim; fame; voice; name of a particular epic metre.
Memory (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.
Over-valuing someone or something by superimposing a notion of greater śubha, 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.
Filtered; refined; cleansed; purified. An adjective used to describe the filtering or distinguishing of pure consciousness from that which is inert, jaḍa – the filtering of ātmā from anātmā by vivekaḥ.
Sorrow; anguish; grief; affliction; pain; see duḥkham.
With upādhiḥ (having or possessing one or more limiting adjuncts or manifesting media). See upādhiḥ and nirupādhi.
This is a form of adhyāsaḥ, erroneous conception, in which one fact is naturally mistaken for another, e.g. sunrise/sunset, blue sky, a bent rod in water. The fact of the sun being seen to rise/set is mistaken for the fact of the Earth turning. Similarly, the fact of the sky being blue is mistaken for the fact that the blue part of sunlight is scattered more by the Earth's atmosphere than other parts, and the fact of a rod appearing bent in water is mistaken for the fact that light slows (refracts) in water. Sopādhika-adhyāsaḥ is also known as jñānādhyāsaḥ.
Being natural consequences of the Īśvara-sṛṣṭiḥ (being vyāvahārika-satyam) such facts persist even when understood to be misperceptions. They continue to be experienced, including by the wise: the sun is still seen to rise and set, the sky still looks blue, the rod still looks bent. However, the wise, the discriminating ones, nevertheless appreciate the truth of the matter through cognitively resolving the upādhiḥ. Some say that it is due to sopādhika-adhyāsaḥ that the body of the guruḥ is seen by disciples to persist after mokṣaḥ. See nirupādhikādhyāsaḥ, upādhiḥ and adhyāsaḥ.
Touch; the sense-object (viṣayaḥ), subtle or gross, perceptible through the skin or mind and known as 'touch' or 'contact'.
Spark (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 also 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 limited forms of fire. Their intrinsic nature is not different from fire (Brahman) even though their forms differ.
Evident; self-evident; shining forth.
Acceptance by firm judgement as true what the guruḥ and śāstram instruct; unflinching faith in the śāstram and in the words of the guruḥ.
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 that which is taught seems incorrect, having śraddhā means I do not reject it but question my understanding until that which 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 yet 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.
Ancestor worship; a specific ritual performed on a specific day of a specific fortnight (death anniversary of one's parents, grandparents).
Hearing. Hearing, for a length of time, the step by step, 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 careful listening, on fully focusing one's attention, without distortion or addition, by surrendering all else. Distortion means either changing whatever 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 whatever is said. Without proper accuracy of hearing, little will be properly understood.
Śravaṇam, hearing, is a pratyakṣa-pramāṇam, which in common with all other means of knowledge, facilitates knowledge; it does not create knowledge (which is impossible since knowledge, being ever-present, may only ever be revealed or uncovered). Knowledge is determined by all that is heard, seen, etc., meaning, it’s determined by the nature of that which 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.
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).
Lakṣmī, goddess of wealth; wife (śaktiḥ) of Viṣṇuḥ; beauty; all forms of wealth, including virtues, health, progeny, food, etc. See bhagaḥ.
Illustrious; eminent; glorious; venerable.
One who has wide knowledge and profound 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.
Manifestation; creation; nature; production; the manifest universe. First of the three states of all created things, namely sṛṣṭiḥ, creation; sthitiḥ, abidance; layaḥ, dissolution.
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 (appears) in Brahman in an endless cycle. Hence, the word creation is not an accurate translation for sṛṣṭiḥ. Nothing is created, the sṛṣṭiḥ is a manifestation from a potential or unmanifest condition, the unmanifest made manifest.
Method of arriving at ātmā, the true self, by analysing that which is here, aiming to reveal its source, which is consciousness, the ultimate reality; see prakriyā.
Heard; a name for the sacred knowledge of the Vedaḥ transmitted orally from generation to generation; a name for the veda-śāstram emphasising its preservation and transmission through careful listening via the teacher-student lineage, karṇa-paramparā (karṇa means ear).
Pillar; post; column.
Any text consisting of words of praise – especially praise of the Lord, of Īśvaraḥ; synonym of stotram.
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). Such firmness is from clarity and accuracy of perception and understanding, not from obstinacy of view. See nyāyaḥ.
Illustration of a stump of a tree being mistaken for a person. See nyāyaḥ.
Steady; abiding; ascertained.
Abidance; staying; remaining; being in any state or condition; continued existence. Second of the three states of all created things, namely sṛṣṭiḥ, creation; sthitiḥ, abidance; layaḥ, dissolution.
Wise person with doubt-free, ascertained vision; steady-minded; firm; unmoved; calm.
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.
A maxim (nyāyaḥ) encouraging the leading of the mind from a gross (sthūla) understanding of the self towards 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 star of all, Arundhatī itself, is seen. See nyāyaḥ.
Gross/physical body, made of the 'grossified' five basic elements; born of good karma; abode of enjoyment of experiences of pleasure, pain, etc.; subject to ṣaḍ-bhāva-vikāraḥ, six modifications; locus of all subtle (imperceptible) instruments of knowledge and action; also see sūkṣma-śarīram, kāraṇa-śarīram.
Auspicious; good; virtuous; something that ends well.
Pure; clean; faultless; error-free. A pure mind is necessary for self-knowledge. Impurities (anger, pride, lust, etc.) confuse and distort thought. They are best dealt with by being alert to their arising, bud-like, in the mind and letting them go before they flower. That alertness requires śamaḥ and is possible only for one who is relatively peaceful, i.e. one with sufficient vairāgyam. When vairāgyam is sufficiently developed, a person can be objective towards his/her own mind. That objectivity brings emotional maturity. The emotionally mature see things in their proper perspective and so are not distracted from what matters by something inappropriate. Such people are able to hear the teaching (upadeśaḥ) cleanly.
Pure consciousness; unmanifest consciousness; consciousness unassociated with varying thoughts; consciousness remaining ever itself, unrestricted by being 'conscious of'; consciousness in which there is no second. Also known as sāmānya-jñānam. See jñaptiḥ and viśeṣa-jñānam.
A 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.
Happiness; delight; joy; pleasure. Happiness, delight, is an experience of a time-bound fraction of the fullness that is the very nature of timeless reality. Such experience (triggered by circumstance) is an expression of the kāraṇa-śarīram in the waking or dream states, and is not due to circumstance since an event's repetition may fail to trigger happiness and may instead trigger repulsion or even pain.
Well made; well done.
Subtle; fine; penetrating; non-physical; also see sthūla, kāraṇam.
It is a body only in the sense of it being a 'body' or collection or composite of capacities or powers with which the ātmā is identified and which seemingly limit it. It is the ātmā, as the jīvaḥ, conditioned by the sūkṣma-śarīram, that departs on the death of the physical body. The sūkṣma-śarīram continues to exist until its dissolution at pralayaḥ. See sthūla-śarīram, kāraṇa-śarīram, indriyam.
Shell of a pearl oyster, the inside of which is so reflective it can be mistaken for silver, rajata. This inner layer of nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, is often used as an example of superimposition, adhyāropaḥ.
Easily obtainable; feasible.
Fully ascertained, definite, fixed, settled (conclusion). An adjective used to describe the certainty of the knowledge enjoyed by the wise.
Void; empty. There is no possibility of śūnya existing since for it to be known would require the presence of a vṛttiḥ.
The desire to hear the śāstram being unfolded by the teacher; service to the teacher.
Easy; effortless; pleasurable.
This subtle nerve or vessel runs upwards within the body, between and along with two other vessels, the iḍā on its left (terminating at the left nostril) and the piṅgalā on its right (terminating at the right nostril). The suṣumnā runs from the mūlādhāra-cakram, situated within the perineum (the space between the genitals and anus at the apex of the legs) to the sahasrāra-cakram at the crown of the head. The suṣumnā acts as a channel for the rise of the kuṇḍalinī, which in its quiescent state lies coiled at the mūlādhāra-cakram.
To burst through the sahasrāra-cakram is to enter brahma-lokaḥ and be one with Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ. In Vedāntaḥ this is attained by living in the recognition that all minds are aspects of Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, the totality of all subtle phenomena. (Taittir. Śikṣā Vallī, Anuvāka 6).
Suṣupti, deep-sleep, avasthā, state (of the mind); a state of non-apprehension of reality in which tamas is predominant and there is experience of the absence of the experience of 'I'. And since the mind is inactive in deep sleep, there can be no misapprehension (no error).
In suṣupti the intellect, mind and senses resume an unmanifest, undifferentiated, potential condition in the causal body (kāraṇa-śarīram) in which individuality, with all its misconceptions, limitations and consequent problems, 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.
That witness, in which the blankness of suṣuptiḥ is revealed, is pure consciousness, consciousness unqualified by the attributes and mis-identifications of the mind. Being unqualified, being without attributes, it is not recognised and is assumed to be not there. Consciousness is not recognised as consciousness unless the mind is active.
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. Just as a cause permeates its effect, suṣupti-avasthā permeates svapna-avasthā and jāgrad-avasthā.
Various vṛttis not being manifest during deep sleep is known, and the knower or experiencer of that absence is the sākṣī alone, not any form of ahaṅkāraḥ. There are just two vṛttis in the deep-sleep state: ajñāna-vṛttiḥ and sukha-vṛttiḥ – experience of total ignorance and bliss respectively (bliss being the total, but temporary, absence of experience of all pairs of opposites, such as pain and pleasure, and hence is the absence of duality). The presence of the āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ is also evident in deep sleep, but not vikṣepa-śaktiḥ.
The sākṣī common to all three mutually exclusive states, including deep sleep, is none other than formless pure consciousness. See prājñaḥ, the knower of the deep sleep state; also see jāgrad-avasthā, waking state, svapna-avasthā, dream state, turīya, 'fourth'; avasthā-trayam, the three states of experience.
Deep, disturbance-free, dreamless sleep (in which the mind is temporarily unmanifest, temporarily merged with Īśvaraḥ).
An aphoristic statement that gives the teaching in a nutshell.
Verse; thread; an aphorism with minimum words and maximum sense; a cryptic statement pregnant with meaning.
Epithet for Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ describing him as the totality of all prāṇaḥ, without whom the operation of the physical world would not be possible; the one who, like a thread (sūtram) of prāṇaḥ, connects all life-forms (all ātmās) lending life to all. See samaṣṭiḥ.
Non-intrinsic nature; apparent nature of objects, phenomena, creatures, etc.; manifest nature. At the human level, the term includes inclinations, dispositions and all acquired, earned, non-essential nature, i.e. the nature fashioned and revealed by attitudes, habits and behaviour; see svarūpam and prakṛtiḥ.
One's own duty. Duty is that which is due to be done, that which needs to be done. Only by doing just your duty may you be protected from acting inappropriately and incurring pāpam. Recognising whatever is and isn't my duty is recognising viśeṣa-dharmaḥ. "When you perform all your duties at the correct time and place, with an awareness of Īśvaraḥ, who is in the form of dharmaḥ, then svakarma, one's own karma, becomes very evident and it becomes an offering to Īśvaraḥ."*
Śāstram study under the care of a competent ācāryaḥ; daily recitation of the Vedaḥ; the study of a branch of one's own Vedaḥ. Svādhyāyaḥ is also part of niyamaḥ.
Abode of the gods and the blessed; the vault of Heaven; region of the planets; fifth lowest of the seven heavens.
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.
One who has mastery over oneself; spiritual preceptor; title of a man who has taken the vows of sannyāsaḥ (female: svāminī).
Svapnaḥ, dream, avasthā, state (of the mind); a projection associated exclusively with the subtle body, sūkṣma-śarīram. The dream world of subtle phenomena is experienced in the mind as a reality separate from the reality of the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā. Both states or worlds are mithyā, both are thought-projected only, and in both there is both non-apprehension and misapprehension of reality. Neither waking nor dream is more real than the other. Yet, just as the waking world seems absolutely real for the waker, a dream is not a dream in a dream for a dreamer.
The dream world arises from impressions, vāsanās, gained in the waking state and presented, sometimes symbolically, in dreams – although there is no direct cause-effect relationship with the waking state. In the dream state, the jīvaḥ sets up its own world, its own timescale and its own sthūla and sūkṣma-śarīras with their own senses, all formed in the mind of the jīvaḥ (not Īśvaraḥ, as in the waking state).
Ahaṅkāraḥ, and hence the mind as a whole, is only half-manifest in dream. There is no free-will or doership in a dream – they occur only in the waking state – but there is enjoyership. Neither is any result carried over into the waking state: no puṇya-pāpam accrues in dream. So-called day-dreaming is merely imagination in which the mind is turned inwards towards its own memories, vāsanās, and there is no separation from the waking-state experience. However, the term dream (meaning a waking sleep) is often used in Vedānta as a metaphor for self-misconception. See taijasaḥ, the knower of the dream state; also see jāgrad-avasthā, waking state; suṣupti-avasthā, deep-sleep state; turīya, 'fourth'; avasthā-trayam, the three (mutually exclusive) states of experience.
Self-effulgent; self-revealing. Consciousness needs no illuminator to light it up. It is not only self-revealing, it is ever-present in all experiences as the unobtrusive, unassertive presence, pervading all, knowing all. Direct, unmediated knowledge of this self-effulgent self is one of the two types of aparokṣa-jñānam (according to Vidyāranya Swami). The other type is enlightenment itself, brahma-jñānam, exemplified by the tenth man realising that he is the tenth.
A meditator (upāsakaḥ) who through contemplation (through living in awareness of the total) merges with and gains the status of Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, attains sovereignty as the truth and lord of all, as all-knowledge consciousness, as the self of all. Peace in abundance, samṛddham, is attained. Such a one is all manifest happiness, knowledge and peace – of which individual enjoyment is but a fraction.
A high or raised tone in chanting, shown in the text by a short vertical line above a vowel. Sometimes two short svaritaḥ notations appear side-by-side above the same vowel. They indicate that that vowel is to be sounded as two short, raised sounds in immediate succession. Being, in effect, a long sound, the notation is called dīrgha-svaritaḥ. Also see svaraḥ, udāttaḥ, anudāttaḥ.
Intrinsic, essential nature; that which is inherent, natural, changeless, not incidental nor acquired, but innate for the object or person. For example, the svarūpam, essential, unchanging, intrinsic nature of fire is heat, and fire never loses that nature. See svabhāvaḥ and prakṛtiḥ.
Meditation on (continuously dwelling upon) one's own true nature; synonym of nididhyāsanam.
By oneself; by itself. (svataḥ siddham, self-evident).
Independence (of will); self-dependence; free-will; capacity of choice. This capacity is the essence of kartā, agency, and hence the source of the generation of puṇya-pāpam. See paratantram
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.
Other than oneself.
On its own; by oneself; spontaneously; effortlessly. Svayam-jyotiḥ, self-effulgent.
Self-existent; self-manifested; self-born
Self-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 (even if normally remaining unnoticed due to prevailing thoughts, feelings and perceptions taking centre stage).
Identification; taking one's nature to be something it is not.
A term for a form of ahaṅkāraḥ in which ātmā is identified 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). In svapnaḥ, taijasaḥ seemingly undergoes the experience of dream (in which free-will cannot occur). Taijasaḥ does not know or apprehend reality and has misconceptions about it. The universal or samaṣṭiḥ equivalent is Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ – also see prājñaḥ, viśvaḥ.
Guṇaḥ signifying inertia, lethargy, delusion, habitual scepticism, day-dreaming, cessation (adj. tāmasika). Tamas is also the name given to the manifestation of the dravya-śaktiḥ, the power of inertia, inherent in māyā. Tamas manifests as the veiling power, known as the āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ.
In tamas, sattva and rajas remain 'overpowered' (as good as resolved or unmanifest). Dominance of tamas in a person's mind brings delusion, born of ignorance. Tamas (seemingly) binds a person by completely covering the buddhi, the capacity to discern true from false, right from wrong – including in ordinary, everyday situations. The resulting delusion brings pramādaḥ, negligence or indolence, ālasya, slothfulness or laziness, and nidrā, sleep (both literal and spiritual). When tamas dominates in the mind it produces neither puñyam nor pāpam, it wastes life. Also see sattvam (sattva), rajaḥ (rajas).
Subtle, pure, uncombined element of which there are five forming the subtle basis for the entire cosmos. The sattvam aspects of the five tanmātras give rise to the five senses (and, in combination, to manaḥ and buddhiḥ); the rajas aspects give rise to the five karmendriyas (and, in combination, to the five prāṇas). The tamas aspects of the five tanmātras give rise, through the process of pañcīkaraṇam, to the five gross elements.
A form of sṛṣṭi-viveka-prakriyā in which the mind is pointed towards ātmā through emphasising the emergence of the five gross elements from their respective subtle or tanmātram origin (ātmā being subtler still).
Religious discipline; purificatory penance or austerity; heat; enquiry; knowledge. "Committed, relevant action in line with dharmaḥ."* Part of niyamaḥ.
Ascetic; one who is committed to relevant action in line with dharmaḥ.
Wave (of water).
Logic; reasoning. A philosophical system based on reasoning and conjecture. Used to remove erroneous notions entertained about reality by the aspirant. Being based on sensory information, logic is insufficient by itself for discovering reality (as reality is not objectifiable) but it's useful as a support for śrutiḥ and in defending Vedāntaḥ from the challenges of opponents. Although the tarkikas, logicians, accept the Vedaḥ, they give chief importance to logic. See yuktiḥ and nyāyaḥ.
That. A pronoun often used for ultimate reality, as in tattvamasi, you are That. The direct meaning of 'that' is Brahman, the one endowed with all knowledge. The implied meaning is pure consciousness, that which is free from limiting adjuncts. By pointing to Brahman with the word 'that', yet not defining it, the imposition of limitations is avoided.
A statement that defines something in terms of its (real or apparent) connection to something else. It makes use of something which, although it is distinct from an entity's intrinsic nature, is nevertheless something by which that entity is known. For example, Brahman is known (definable) as the only source of the manifestation, sustenance and resolution of the universe. Likewise, "The house with the crow on the roof" defines a house in a way that is incidental, not intrinsic. See lakṣaṇam, svarūpa-lakṣaṇam, jahallakṣaṇā, ajahallakṣaṇā, jahadajahallakṣaṇā, upalakṣaṇā.
Purport; meaning; intention; essential meaning; essential theme. See ṣaḍ-liṅgāni.
Keeping in view the aim and purpose of the knowledge of truth, of self-knowledge, namely freedom from sorrow.
Truth; reality; existence or truth of everything (tasya bhāvaḥ) of every object, indicated by the pronoun tat, 'that'; element; essence. The word tat-tvam literally means 'that-ness', the state or condition of being 'that'. The word 'that', when deliberately left undefined, avoids limitation and hence can be useful in pointing to the subtlest, most essential essence or element of something. It can even point to the subtlest of all, namely absolute reality, Brahman. (As a distinct word tvam means 'you' – see 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, you, points both to its literal meaning, i.e. the ordinary individual, and to the implied meaning, namely his/her svarūpam, pure consciousness. The word asi means 'are'.
In brief, the mahāvākyam is saying (implying) that the essence of you, 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 in its literal sense to refer to the bound, ignorant, indvidual waker or dreamer. However, by expressing the equation in this two-fold way, you, the individual are being shown that you are not what you take yourself to be, you are in truth limitless, ever-free, pure knowledge. It also shows that God is not some remote entity: in essence, God and you are one. See jahadajahallakṣaṇā and mahāvākyam and also see ahaṃ brahmāsmi, ayamātmā brahma, prajñānaṃ brahma.
Brightness, lustre of countenance; light; brilliance; fire; the Fire element.
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 and kārikā.
Purifier; pilgrimage site; holy place; water sanctified with mantras.
Horizontal, horizontally (a descriptive term for creatures that grow horizontally, i.e. animals).
Date; lunar date.
Cheerful forebearance; endurance; cheerfully (objectively) bearing opposites such as heat and cold, and honour and dishonour with equanimity, which means without anxiety, complaint or retaliation.
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.
Name of a Vedic metre of 44 syllables (11 per quarter); name of a hymn composed in this metre; frequently used in the Ṛgvedaḥ and occasionally used in the Bhagavad-Gītā (e.g. Gītā 2.5). See gāyatrī, anuṣṭup.
Satisfaction; contentment. The jñānī is ever satisfied, ever content. Happiness and fulfilment are his own svarūpam. They are not dependent on experiences and puṇyam and are recognised to be ever-present in all circumstances. In this way, all desires are as good as satisfied, for the happiness they aim at is already his.
Thirst; strong desire; strong longing for that which is absent; avidity; lust; greed; also see pipāsā.
Non-existent; unreal; never can exist, e.g. son of a barren woman (vandhyā putraḥ), a square circle; see sat, asat, satyam, mithyā.
Secondary ignorance; inability to discern that which is right or wrong in ordinary, worldly situations; ignorance of worldly matters such as a street name or art or botany; see mūlāvidyā.
Fourth; not a state of experience but an adjective 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). It is only the appearance of the other three that causes us to count turīya as 'fourth' – from its own perspective it is all there is.
Turīyam (noun) is not really 'the fourth', it is pure, divisionless, objectless consciousness, independent of all the three mithyā states of waking, dream and sleep – and yet all three, belonging (as they do) to a lower order of reality, are not independent of it, for turīyam is the unchangeable substratum of each.
To talk of gold, ring, chain and bangle is to talk of gold, for gold is that which is really, independently present as the substratum of the other three, all of which are appearances of gold.
Turīyam has neither misunderstanding nor misconception and is free from cause and effect. It is unqualifiable, indivisible, and not experienceable in any subject-object sense of 'experience'. No one can claim to have experienced turīyaṃ. It is knowable only by recognition of it being the truth of oneself. Repeated dwelling on this recognition is nididhyāsanam. See ekātma-pratyaya-sāram.
Skin; subtle power of touch (invisible in skin). The word tvak refers to both the physical organ and to the conscious power of touch pervading it – this is the same with all powers of perception and action: in referring to the organ, the name refers to its power. See indriyam.
You (second-person-singular pronoun).
Renunciation; sacrifice; dedication; withdrawal; abandoning. Since the purpose of renunciation is purification of the mind, tyāgaḥ means renunciation of attachment to the results of action and also renunciation of the actual results themselves. Renunciation of attachment to the results of action entails disavowing any form of ulterior motive (typically in the form of rāga-dveśas) when doing what needs to be done. Renunciation of results means being unconcerned about reaping the fruits of action. Disinterest in the results of action occurs when my principal concern or my priority is mental preparation for knowledge – knowledge itself being mokṣaḥ, the ultimate goal. (Note: yajñaḥ, dānam and tapas, being nitya-naimittika-karmas are not to be given up).
Upward breath; an aspect of prāṇaḥ that reverses a process; vomiting; hiccups; coughing; sneezing.
The udānaḥ is the final outward breath by which the jīvaḥ exits the body on death having completed no more and no less than the allotted number of breaths (an inhalation and its exhalation being one breath). The number is set at birth by prārabdhaḥ, to which prāṇaḥ is directly connected. Afterwards, there can be no more breathing in. Also see apānaḥ, elimination; samānaḥ, digestion; vyānaḥ, circulation.
One who does not take sides (does not sit with either competing group); indifferent; neutral; neither friend nor foe; unprotesting; (āsīna, one who is seated).
Neutral; a chanting tone that has neither a high nor a low pitch (no line appears above or below a vowel in the text); also see svaraḥ, svaritaḥ, anudāttaḥ.
Om; praṇavaḥ; sung; announced; celebrated; a sonorous prayer, prescribed in the Sāmavedaḥ to be sung aloud.
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.
Figurative; a figure of speech; honouring.
Material (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, water becoming ice (or vice-versa).
Vivarta-upādāna-kāraṇam, a material cause in which the causal material undergoes no change in the arising of an effect, e.g. mother-of-pearl appearing to be silver, rope as the cause of a 'snake'.
Material – that which lends support to the effect, remaining inseparable from it, e.g. clay re pot.
Teaching; instruction. The teaching corrects misconceptions about that which is real. To do so it communicates in two principal ways: by negation, niṣedha-vṛttiḥ and by implication, lakṣaṇa-vṛttiḥ. First, erroneous ideas about oneself, the world and God are dismissed by negation (by revealing the error). Then the nature of oneself, which cannot be pointed to (as worldly objects can) is shown by implication.
"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."*
That which seemingly transfers its attribute(s) to a nearby recipient, an upahitam. (The translation 'limiting or conditioning adjunct' is poor and misleading as the limitation produced by the upādhiḥ is only apparent – 'manifesting medium' might be better.)
If a red Hibiscus flower, for example, is brought close to a colourless lump of clear crystal, the crystal (the upahitam) appears red. From having no colour, the crystal apparently has the attribute 'red' – the red flower has become a manifesting medium for redness. The crystal is never red (and limited only to red) and yet, undeniably, for a time it appears so.
The upādhiḥ in this example is the flower, not its redness. 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 seeming 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, that upādhiḥ is of a different order of reality, it is mithyā, and so need only be separated cognitively. See sopādhi, nirupādhi, upahitam and anyonyādhyāsaḥ.
Put 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.
Observation; perception; becoming aware of; understanding. Upalabdhi-sthānam a place of recognition.
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.
Forms 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 destroy, to reach', which is saying an Upaniṣad will destroy ignorance of brahma-vidyā, thus allowing the seeker to reach the truth of oneself. It also destroys ignorance-caused saṃsāraḥ. 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 niścaya jñānam, 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.
Tenability; proof; ascertained conclusion; reason; substantiation; logical support provided by commentators demonstrating the absence of supposed or apparent loopholes in scriptural statements.
A calm, steady, quiet mind that, due to being disciplined through śamaḥ and damaḥ, no longer turns habitually or mechanically to outer sensory involvement, but instead is able to follow svadharmaḥ.
Due to control of the will (via vivekaḥ) the thoughts, feelings and impulses that would previously distract one from staying with that which is important are now easily not indulged and the mind has become alert, poised and available for whatever is necessary. Now one lives in charge of one's life instead of being in thrall to the push and pull of sense-objects. See ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ, śamaḥ, damaḥ, titikṣā, śraddhā, samādhānam.
Meditator (one who dwells upon the Lord, upon Īśvaraḥ); contemplator (one who dwells upon one's own real nature).
Summing up; conclusion.
Meditating or dwelling upon in homage or worship, or in the seeking of knowledge of one's own self. A formal definition for upāsanam is saguṇa-brahma-viṣaya-mānasa-vyāpāraḥ a mental activity whose object is saguṇa-brahma (Īśvaraḥ). Upāsanam and dhyānam are synonyms.
Upāsanam takes care of malaḥ and vikṣepaḥ (respectively, the impurities of the mind and the agitation, restlessness and extrovertedness of the mind). Karma-yogaḥ also helps purify the mind and together with upāsana-yogaḥ brings one-pointedness and expansion of the mind. When used as a preparatory means for self-knowledge, upāsanam is practised to develop sufficient focus and subtlety of mind (through reducing malaḥ and vikṣepaḥ) to hear the teaching properly. Then, during śravanam, the teaching may be better understood.
Means; method; remedy; plan; upāyaḥ covers both primary and secondary means, it covers everything necessary. See upeya.
Disregard; indifference; abandonment.
Having attainability; capable of being attained.
Spider – an example of an entity being both a material cause, upādāna-kāraṇam, and an efficient cause, nimitta-kāraṇam, in this case of its web; ūrṇam (thread), nābhiḥ (stomach) 'one who has thread in the stomach'.
'Proceeding up'; passing away; dying; departure of the soul from the body.
Exalted; superior; eminent.
Production, (utpādyam) e.g. "He produced a fine portrait of her" – the production of something is one of the four possible results of karma, action – also see vikṛtiḥ (vikāryam), modification; āptiḥ (āpyam), attainment; saṃskṛtiḥ (saṃskāryam), refinement.
Festival; celebration; ceremony.
Highest; best; most exalted; greatest; ultimate; most profound.
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, which 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 ślokāh) with focused attention. See mānasam karma, kāyikam karma.
One form of vādaḥ is known simply as vādaḥ and is an 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. For other forms of discussion, see samvādaḥ, jalpa-vādaḥ, vitaṇḍa-vādaḥ.
Vedic; an entity or person (vaidikaḥ) dedicated to, or related to, or of the Vedaḥ.
Doctor; physician. Bhagavān is the real and ultimate vaidyaḥ, the grace of whose knowledge alone cures bhavarogaḥ, the disease of saṃsāraḥ.
Fourth and final stage of the manifestation of speech or sound: when the power that is parā reaches the viśuddha cakram (at the throat) the words chosen at the madhyamā stage assume a final spoken form, vaikharī, and fully articulated sound (speech) arises at the forefront of the mind and/or emerges from the mouth – also see parā, paśyantī, madhyamā.
(The state of) dispassion, detachment, 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 (in this world) and hereafter.
Passion here refers to the passions of attachment and aversion or the impulses of like and dislike. Wherever there is attachment there will be dveṣaḥ, aversion. Both are forms of desire, which is born of adhyāsaḥ, mistaken conception followed by adhyāropaḥ, the superimposition of false characteristics leading to false valuations. But vairāgyam does not mean no enjoyment, it means enjoyment without dependence or addiction.
Dispassion – freedom from being ruled by the pull and push 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). More specifically, it's developed by seeing that all action is inherently flawed because all achievements involve some degree of suffering. All pleasure, for instance, involves pain in its attainment, its loss and even some pain in its enjoyment. Secondly, being limited, an action's result can never give limitless satisfaction, and thirdly, all action binds as it produces a result that has to be met sometime, somewhere.
Only someone of dispassion is capable of the focused attention needed to hear the teaching clearly and undistractedly and of having the subtlety of mind required to understand it. Such hearing alone liberates.
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.
The flaw of partiality and pitilessness. Due to the difficulties some experience, the Lord may be thought to be guilty of the flaw of pitiless partiality in the bestowal of 'favours' such as grace or even of mokṣaḥ. However, neither is bestowed but earned in line with the unbending law of dharmaḥ. See doṣaḥ, pratyavāya-doṣaḥ and viṣaya-doṣaḥ.
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, vaiśeṣikaḥ 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, as do mīmāṃsā, sāṅkhyam, cārvākaḥ and naiyāyikaḥ.
Relating or belonging or devoted or consecrated to Lord Viṣṇuḥ
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.
A person born into the third varṇaḥ – a businessman, trader, farmer, accountant, etc.; also see brāhmaṇaḥ, priest; kṣatriyaḥ, soldier; śūdraḥ, labourer.
Speech, i.e. the power or faculty of speech. Speech should be non-agitating, true, pleasing and beneficial (Gītā 17.15).
Perfection in speech, in which whatever is spoken turns out to be true; result of observance of truthfulness.
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.
Author of the Rāmāyaṇam.
Third of the four āśramas of Vedic life – retirement to the forest, vanam (figuratively) which means withdrawal from the participation and engagement that is usual in gṛhasthaḥ and entry into a quieter, more reflective period of life, spending time in upāsanam in preparation for sannyāsaḥ. See brahmacaryam, studentship; gṛhasthaḥ, householder; sannyāsaḥ, renunciation.
Worship; praise; salutation; reverence.
Son of a barren woman – a famous example of tuccham, non-existence, something that never can exist. (Vandhyā, barren, fruitless, unproductive – said of biologically faulty women, plants, female animals).
Boon; reward; blessing.
Choice; selection; act of choosing. Mokṣaḥ has to be deliberately chosen, it is not something that can just occur. Ātma-varaṇam, choosing self-knowledge, depends on putting aside all one thinks one knows about oneself in order to look freshly into that which is actually real about oneself. This can only be from choosing to do so. Such a choice depends on some degree of recognition of the falsity and severity of one's apparent limitations. That recognition provides the spur to look, to enquire.
Exalted; supreme; praiseworthy; incomparably great; worthy of worship.
Best; most exalted.
Devoid of (dvaita-varjita, devoid of duality).
Characteristic by which something is described; nature; outward appearance; cover; colour; species; class; tribe; letter; alphabet; sound; syllable.
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. See kārikā.
Whatever one dwells upon creates an impression, vāsanā, in the mind, an impression that can influence future action. Tendencies and impressions created by volitional karma, action (including thought and speech and indeed whatever the mind dwells on) are held as vāsanās in the subtle body, in the subconscious.
These ever-unseen (adṛṣṭa) recorded experiences, these subtle impressions, inclinations and influences, developed previously, take form as memories and as habitual, involuntary thoughts or responses that induce a person to initiate or avoid actions or experiences, or to seek or prevent their repetition. The internal dream world springs entirely from vāsanās. Physical, mental and oral actions can spring from vāsanās and in turn influence both a person's destiny (karma) and refinement of being, saṃskāraḥ, for better or worse.
Good vāsanās aid spiritual progress while bad ones are opposed to it. A bad vāsanā can be rendered impotent by assiduously cultivating a vāsanā of the opposite kind (good habits can displace bad ones). So a spiritual aspirant should neutralise the impure vāsanās that plague him by developing appropriate pure vāsanās.
There are three types of impure vāsanā or impure mental tendency: loka-vāsanā, a mental impression relating to the world, śāstra-vāsanā, a mental tendency pertaining to the scripture, and deha-vāsanā, a latent mental imprint concerning the body. The muktikā-upaniṣad declares: “True knowledge never dawns in a person with loka-vāsanā, śāstra-vāsanā and deha-vāsanā."
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.
That which exists; reality itself and hence the very existence of whatever nāma-rūpam manifests from it. "The vastu alone is free; nothing else in saṃsāraḥ is free."*
A name of Kṛṣṇaḥ; son of Vasudevaḥ.
God 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.
Revealed knowledge in a sacred, ancient śāstram that is apauruṣeya, not of human origin. The Vedaḥ is a timeless means of knowledge that becomes manifest every time the universe becomes manifest.
Even though widely revered as a scripture, the true sacredness and ultimate purpose of the Vedaḥ is as a pramāṇam for discovering reality, and it should be used (operated) as such.
Scripture is something that has been spoken by a given mahātma. Thereafter, it becomes a mandate to be followed by others. In contrast, the Vedaḥ, being a pramāṇam, its subject matter is something to be revealed. Therefore, it is operated by those seeking to understand what it reveals. That which is revealed by the Vedaḥ is not a matter for belief. Being a pramāṇam, it is universal.
The Vedaḥ was compiled into four texts: Ṛg-vedaḥ, Sāma-vedaḥ, Yajur-vedaḥ, Atharvaṇa-vedaḥ by the mahāmuniḥ (great sage) known as Veda-vyāsaḥ. The Yajur-vedaḥ consists of the Śukla-yajur-vedaḥ and the Kṛṣṇa-yajur-vedaḥ, effectively giving five Vedas. Each Vedaḥ consists of a prior section (Veda-pūrva) known as the karma-kāṇḍaḥ or ritual section followed by a final or end section (Veda-anta) also known as the jñāna-kāṇḍaḥ or knowledge section (the Upaniṣads). In the context of ritual, only three Vedas (Ṛg, Yajus, Sāma) may be counted. The Atharvaṇa is not counted with the other three as it does not have a prominent role in ritual.
The Vedaḥ expects every follower of the Vedaḥ to start with the karma section, the religious way of life. One should start with the religious life and graduate into the spiritual life revealed in the jñānam section. Without a religious life, spirituality will not work. Without spirituality, a religious life is incomplete. Therefore, the follower of the Vedaḥ should follow a religious life and go to spirituality.
End, conclusion, antaḥ (literally and metaphorically) of each Vedaḥ; summit and final aim of all four Vedas; the jñāna-kāṇḍaḥ (the Upaniṣads), that section of the Vedas that deals with self-knowledge, for which the earlier part, the karma-kāṇḍaḥ, 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 by implication the non-dual nature of reality. Hence, the term Advaita Vedāntaḥ is a tautology.
Vedāntaḥ is not part of what academics call the 'Six systems of Indian philosophy'. Neither is Vedāntaḥ for proselytisation, it is for sharing with those who seek it.
All-pervasive (by being the invariable reality of all); not spatially limited; powerful.
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.
Enquiry; investigation into the reality of oneself and the world, chiefly by śravaṇam, etc., of the scriptures with the help of a competent ācāryaḥ.
Must be investigated; should be enquired into; must be considered; to be deliberated upon.
One lacking discriminate understanding; unthinking person; unintelligent; someone unable to discern that which is proper or improper and so unable to learn from his/her experiences in life.
Free from the body; dead; (sadehaḥ, embodied, alive).
Freedom after death; non-assumption of a body, i.e. freedom from being born again. Videhamuktiḥ is only for the jñānī. After death, the jñānī 'merges' into Īśvaraḥ from the vyāvahārika perspective, or 'merges' into Brahman from the pāramārthika perspective. The cidābhāsaḥ, the individual reflection of consciousness, 'merges' into the total cidābhāsaḥ of Īśvaraḥ, like pot-space 'merging' into total space when the pot breaks. The gross, subtle and causal bodies all 'merge' into their respective universal counterparts. In short, ātmā 'resumes' its identity with the birthless, deathless, limitless Brahman, an identity that had never actually been lost and never could be lost.
Some erroneously think that mokṣaḥ is inevitable after death, but if one does not properly see that one is the paramātmā before death, it is another birth that is inevitable!
A rule; a law; an order; a duty; destiny; something ordained.
A positive statement; knowledge expressed in positive terms, e.g. satyam jñānam anantam brahma is a statement that reveals Brahman, defining its nature. Such a statement contrasts with a niṣedha-vākyam, one that reveals brahman by correcting false idea(s) about it.
Prevailing; prevalent (as); obtaining (as); be in force (as); hold good; being found (as); existent; present.
Obstacle; impediment; hindrance.
Enjoined (ordained) action; (vihitam, order, command). The scriptures prescribe certain actions (such as pañcamahāyajñaḥ) that are of benefit to the world as a whole and from which all may benefit – and yet never do the scriptures insist, they only state (and encourage us in) that which is necessary for our well-being and eventual liberation. The scriptures also present what must happen if we neglect to do whatever is enjoined. Since, in common with most beneficial action, prescribed actions must be done regularly to be effective, vihita-karmas are also known as niyata, regular, karmas, actions.
Pure knowledge; truth itself; pure intelligence; assimilated knowledge; secular knowledge.
The kośaḥ consisting of the modifications of the intellect, buddhiḥ, together with the five powers of perception, jñānendriyāṇi (hearing, touching, seeing, tasting, smelling). It is pervaded by the ānandamaya-kośaḥ. The vijñānamaya-ātmā (ātmā identified with the vijñānamaya-kośaḥ) pervades and identifies with the manomaya-kośaḥ and hence the lowest two as well.
The vijñānamaya-ātmā, being both identified with and being the locus of the 'I'-thought, ahaṃ-vṛttiḥ, becomes the subject or knower, jñātā (I know, I don't know, I'm clever, I'm stupid). By making use of the prāṇamaya-kośaḥ it becomes the doer, kartā, (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-ātmā, 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.
Transformation; modification; change for the worse.
Modification, (vikāryam) e.g. "His behaviour modified her view of him"; a change, in the form of a modification, is one of the four possible results of karma, action – also see utpattiḥ (utpādyam), production; āptiḥ (āpyam), attainment; saṃskṛtiḥ (saṃskāryam), refinement.
Vikṛtiḥ is also a term for that which has prakṛtiḥ as its cause (at both the universal and individual level). In other words, it is a term for all subtle and gross matter and phenomena, for all that is the (inert) modification of māyā (and hence of avidyā).
Extrovertedness of the mind; overactive turning to outer concerns; strong emotions. Vikṣepaḥ is evident in the agitation, distraction, inattention and unconnected thoughts arising from the manifesting, scattering and tossing activity of vikṣepa-śaktiḥ. Born of the rajas of māyā, vikṣepaḥ is one of the four hindrances to meditation – the others are: kaṣāyam, layaḥ and rasāsvādaḥ. Vikṣepaḥ leads to vikṣipta.
Rajas, the name of the active aspect of māyā, the kriyā-śaktiḥ, 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).
Distracted, scattered (attention); unfocused (thought); bewildered (mind) – all caused by vikṣepa-śaktiḥ.
Distinct; distinguished (from).
Liberation; deliverance; release; unharnessing.
Modification; change; morphing; alteration; transformation; ripening; maturing; see ṣaḍ-bhāva-vikāraḥ.
Contrary; perverse; wrong; false; erroneous; the very opposite of the truth.
Habit-driven self-misconception. Deep-rooted (mostly subliminal, and hence unseen and unquestioned) habitual error due to past orientation, vāsanā, manifesting as prārabdha-pāpam. It is this deeper form of pratibandhaḥ, this severe form of stubbornly persistent error (most commonly, identification with the body-mind-sense complex, but also including all forms of unquestioned obsessive thought that assumes the world is independently real) which prevents the fulfilment and enjoyment of what has been understood through śravaṇam and mananam. Viparīta-bhāvanā are removed through nididhyāsanam. See asambhavaḥ, nididhyāsanam, sākṣātkāraḥ and pratibandhaḥ.
Learned; wise; one who sees clearly; person of right perception.
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.
(adj.) Passionless; objective; dispassionate; free from attachment (as a noun, it's masc. of vairāgyam).
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.
Strength; capacity; power. The capacity to create, sustain and resolve the jagat. See bhagaḥ.
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) ending with a vowel are known as visargaḥ. It takes the sound of that immediately preceding vowel, e.g. rāmaḥ (raamaha), hariḥ (harihi), guruḥ (guruhu).
Any perceptible object, phenomenon or individual (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 all that is ever perceived of any object. (Pañcadaśī 2.7)
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 Gītā 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.
Attribute; distinguishing quality; peculiarity; that which is particular to.
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.
Awareness of variety. Consciousness appears varied and variable (but only) because of association with varied thoughts. See śuddha-caitanyam.
Adjective; that which qualifies a word; that which distinguishes an object (a noun) by negating other objects.
It is often thought that satyam, jñānam, anantam are merely attributes of Brahman, but that is not true. They are not svarūpa-viśeṣaṇas, ordinary adjectives that reveal attributes, they are lakṣaṇa-viśeṣanas, meaning they do not qualify Brahman but distinguish the vastu from everything else (and, in doing so, each of the three negates the limits of the other two, and so together they negate any notions that Brahman has attributes, viśeṣas, and is limited). See viśeṣyam.
Attribute-substantive relation. This shows the relation between two words qualifying each other so as to signify a common object. In the sentence, "This is that Devadatta" the meaning of the word ‘that’ is Devadatta existing elsewhere in the remote past, and the meaning of the word ‘this’ is Devadatta existing here in the present. They are contrary ideas, but still they qualify each other so as to signify a common object. Similarly, in the sentence tattvamasi (you are that) the meaning of the word ‘that’ is consciousness characterised by remoteness, etc., and the meaning of the word ‘you’ is consciousness characterised by immediacy, etc. They are contrary ideas, but still they qualify each other so as to signify that which is common, namely consciousness. See sāmānādhikaraṇyam and lakṣya-lakṣaṇa-bhāvaḥ.
Noun; a substantive (that having substance, having substantiality, and hence having the capacity to be the focus of attention, and, being 'substantial', is capable of being a locus of named, distinguishing attributes); that which is subject to being distinguished (vyāvartya) from other items or phenomena by an adjective, viśeṣaṇam.
Qualified (by); distinguished (by); the attributed (that which has attributes).
The dualistic view that, 'I am part of the whole'; a view in which individuality ever remains, and that the individual self and the absolute ever co-exist in some way.
Manifestation; expansion; projection; elaboration; ennumeration; becoming large or great. The universe is a manifestation, projection or expansion of consciousness.
A complete, manifest jīvaḥ. A term for a form of ahaṅkāraḥ in which ātmā, identified with being a jīvaḥ, with an individual gross body, sthūla-śarīram, in the waking state, jāgrad-avasthā (in which state alone free-will may be enjoyed) gathers experiences of the world through the five senses. 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'. Viśvaḥ does not know or apprehend reality and has misconceptions about it. The corresponding universal or samaṣṭiḥ term is Virāṭ. See prājñaḥ, taijasaḥ.
All; 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).
The Lord, Īśvaraḥ, in the form, rūpam, of the entire universe in all its glorious detail. This is the form of God that is worshipped by the devotee of intermediate understanding. See iṣṭa-devatā and brahman.
Trust; faith; belief; reliance.
Discussion with the sole purpose of defeating the opponent; no intention to learn from or even tolerate the other's view; no regard for truth; also see samvādaḥ, vādaḥ, jalpa-vādaḥ.
Free from attachment; free from the hold of likes and dislikes; not dependent on the world for one's happiness.
An acquisition; a gain; property; wealth; power.
Intended meaning; that which the speaker/writer wishes to express or hopes to communicate; see grahaṇam.
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 in a suitably prepared hearer. Both mananam and nididhyāsanam of course have their place, but the emphasis is on knowledge through śravanam. This is confirmed numerous times by Ādi-Śaṅkaraḥ in his many commentaries. See bhāmatī.
Apparent change of one object or material into another while retaining its original nature. See pariṇāmaḥ.
A material cause in which there is the assuming of another form without giving up one's own intrinsic nature. For example, mother-of-pearl appearing to be silver, or a rope appearing to be a snake. Here, cause and effect belong to different orders of reality and so knowledge alone suffices to bring freedom. See upādāna-kāraṇam, pariṇāma-upādāna-kāraṇam.
Discriminative knowledge or understanding that the timeless, infinite vastu is satyam, the truth, and all else is mithyā, apparent, time-bound, finite. This is the first and foremost of the qualifications required for self-knowledge.
There are two types of vivekaḥ needed in life: discrimination between that which is real and unreal, and discrimination between that which is to be done and not done. These two constitute jñānam. See sādhana-catuṣṭayam.
Pure consciousness is not opposed to ignorance. It is undisturbed and unaffected by ignorance. Only knowledge in the form of vivekaḥ is opposed to ignorance. That knowledge is found in the buddhiḥ of the knower of truth – see Pañcadaśī 6.32.
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.
A vow; a firm commitment – dṛḍha-vratam, (dṛḍha) firm, (vratam) commitment – only by a firm commitment is truth attained; a solemn vow carried out under strict rules on food, sleep, etc., usually to attain greater self-control or to expiate sins. Since the firm commitment can (and often is) made in a religious context, a vratam may connote worship too.
Growth; increase; success.
Thought; state; mode of being; disposition; behaviour; 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, it is a snake that is seen, not a rope.
In this way, 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 each vṛttiḥ, as water pervades each wave, making the otherwise inert vṛttiḥ conscious. This means, every (transitory) vrttiḥ is a manifesting medium for (non-arriving, non-departing) consciousness. Every vṛttiḥ is a transitory state of consciousness, just as every ocean wave is a succession of fleeting states of water, or every image varying modes of light.
The mind is nothing but transitory vṛttis that need to be individually and successively 'lit' by consciousness for perception to happen.
Patañjali categorises vṛttis into five kinds: pramāṇam, a means of (correct) knowledge; viparyayaḥ, incorrect knowledge; vikalpaḥ, doubt or imagination; nidrā, sleep; and smṛtiḥ, memory.
Knowledge manifest in the mind as a thought; knowledge of objects.
A particular, limited state of mind; a mental modification.
A term referring to the perceptual process of the mind attaining (vyāptiḥ, pervading and taking the form of) the object perceived by the senses. This is the essential first step in the perception of an object: the object (along with its setting or environment) perceived by the senses becomes a vṛttiḥ, a thought, a mode of being that, vyāptiḥ, takes the form of, the object. It is only ever that thought that is perceived by the mind, not the object. So, if the object is a rope and the vṛttiḥ is a snake, it is a snake that is perceived. See the second step: phala-vyāptiḥ.
Inconsistence; ever changeable; deviation; subject to arrival and departure; a contradiction; fallacious or erroneous reasoning.
Exposition or commentary on a text that is not a śrutiḥ text.
Manifest; (vyaktiḥ, manifestation; appearance; perceptibility; being available for experience.)
Name 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.
The suggested meaning, the meaning hinted at or indicated by allusion or insinuation, as in: "You seem to be saying..." "He alluded to there being..." "She insinuated that there might have been...". See vācyārthaḥ, lakṣyārthaḥ, mukhyārthaḥ.
A consonant; a letter of the alphabet other than a vowel. A consonant is soundless without a vowel (hence the English word 'consonant', sounding with) and so a vowel needs to be added for pronunciation. For example, the consonant 'd' cannot be sounded on its own without the vowel sound 'ee' being added, viz. 'dee'. In Sanskrit, the soundless (vowel-less) vyañjanam is known as hal. See svaraḥ, hal.
Even though the IAST transliteration scheme (followed in this glossary) uses a 'v' in many Sanskrit words, that 'v' is always to be pronounced 'w' as there is no dental fricative in Sanskrit. For example, Vedaḥ is pronounced 'waydaha' – an 'e' in IAST always means the vowel sound in came, play, etc. – and although the word swami is often written with a 'w', the correct IAST transliteration is svāmī, pronounced phonetically as 'swaamee' (not 'swaami').
Pervasiveness; inherent, inseparable presence.
Knowledge arising from invariable concomitance – since fire and smoke are always present together I can infer (validly know) that the sight or smell of smoke means there is, or has recently been, a fire.
Compiler; the great saint known as Veda-Vyāsaḥ (also known as Bādarāyaṇaḥ) who compiled the Vedas and authored the Mahābhāratam, Brahma-Sūtras, a commentary on the Yoga-Sūtras and also 18 mahā-purāṇas and 18 upa-purāṇas.
Individual; microcosmic being (N.B. there is no vyaṣṭiḥ without samaṣṭiḥ, no ocean wave without an ocean, no individual gold ornament without gold); see samaṣṭiḥ.
Worshipper; performer of a ritual; the one to whom goes the benefit of the ritual.
Vedic 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.
Worship and prayer earn the Lord's grace, which neutralises accumulated pāpa-karma, thereby removing the obstacles to the manifestation of the knowledge one has previously gained through śravanam, etc. Then that true knowledge, being now unobstructed, shines.
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. 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 the limited, i.e. by action).
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.
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.
Mere logic lacks finality because it is drawn from and depends on experience. As such, logic is helpful in elucidating truth, but the dualistic and relative nature of experience means logic can never, by itself, provide absolute proof. However, logic that has scripture as its basis is decisive and deserves to be resorted to. See tarkaḥ and nyāyaḥ.