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
However, that phala-vyāptiḥ,
that resulting knowledge, implies a knower. That knower is 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,
piṇḍaḥ Any roundish mass; lump; morsel of food; a solid object; the body; microcosm.
pipāsāThirst (as in 'thirst for water'; for thirst as in 'anguish or greed' see tṛṣṇā).
pippalaḥ Sacred fig tree; Ficus Religiosa, commonly called the Peepal or aśvatthaḥ tree.
pitṛ-yajñaḥ Worship of Īśvaraḥ in the form of 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.
plutaProlonged; three or more successive hrasva (short) mātrā (measures) of a vowel sound, joined without gaps to make one unbroken sound. See hrasva, short; dīrgha, long.
prabhāvaḥ Glory; brilliance; splendour; majesty.
prabhuḥ Lord; master.
prabodhaḥ 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.
In knowledge of ātmā
this 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
pradakṣiṇa Reverential, clockwise circumambulation of a holy place or person (placing on one's right is a token of respect).
pradhānam Primary, unevolved source of the universe; undifferentiated matter; synonym of prakṛtiḥ and māyā.
pradhvaṃsa-abhāvaḥ 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.
prāg-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.
prajā Offspring; progeny; mankind; citizen/subject (of a nation).
prajāpatiḥ Lord of all beings; the creator; also known as Brahmā, Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ and Parameśvaraḥ.
prajñāConsciousness; awareness; knowledge; wisdom; discernment (synonym of prajñānam).
prājñaḥOne who is aware, conscious, of the meaning of the śāstram, whose mind is continually absorbed in the self.
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
prajñānamPure 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.
prajñānaṃ brahma'Consciousness is Brahman' (Aitareya v3.3). What is being said here is that Brahman, absolute reality, is pure consciousness. Pure consciousness is not to be confused with the ordinary consciousness of the waking state, which is consciousness associated with (and taking the form of) thoughts, feelings and perceptions. See prajñānam, mahāvākyam and also tattvamasi, ahaṃ brahmāsmi, ayamātmā brahma.
prakāraḥ Manner; mode; method; sort; type; kind; variety.
prakaraṇa-granthaḥA text or treatise (prakaraṇam) that ties or strings together (granthaḥ), systematically, meaningfully and approachably, the concepts and terminology used in the Upaniṣads. Examples include ātma-bodhaḥ, tattva-bodhaḥ, vākya-vṛttiḥ, vivekacūḍāmaṇi.
prakaraṇam A text, treatise, book or chapter expounding a topic.
prakāśaḥ Light; clearness; brightness; splendour; lustre.
prakriyāMethod; Vedāntaḥ makes use of methods of discriminative, analytical enquiry (vivekaḥ) correcting confusion about ātmā. See...
, 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'. The universal or samaṣṭiḥ
equivalent is Īśvaraḥ
with his māyā
(described in the Māṇḍūkya
as the antaryāmī,
inner controller) – see taijasaḥ, viśvaḥ
prakṛtiḥIntrinsic 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.
pralayaḥ 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.
pramā Knowledge. See pramātā, prameyam and pramāṇam.
pramādaḥ 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.
pramāṇam Means of knowledge. A means of knowledge is that which produces accurate, doubt-free knowledge of something meaningful, which has not already been understood or known and that cannot be negated by any other means of knowledge. (See pramātā, prameyam and pramā.) There are six pramāṇas:
has three aspects: when sattvam
is more evident, prakṛtiḥ
is known as māyā,
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 tanmātra
pramātā Knower (also termed pramātṛ). The actual pramātā, served by every pramāṇam, is the sākṣī. See pramā, prameyam and pramāṇam.
prameyam The object known; that which is knowable. See pramātā, pramā and pramāṇam.
pramodaḥ Intense joy, pleasure, delight; degree of happiness: the (much greater) pleasure born of the enjoyment of a desired object; also see priya, modaḥ.
prāṇaḥ A five-fold vital force accounting for all physiological functioning; also see apānaḥ, elimination; vyānaḥ, circulation; samānaḥ, digestion; udānaḥ, upward breath. When mentioned separately from the other four, prāṇaḥ is purely respiration; the prāṇāḥ are part of the sūkṣma-śarīram.
prāṇamaya-kośaḥ The kośaḥ that is the modification of air and is the five physiological functions (prāṇaḥ, apānaḥ, vyānaḥ, samānaḥ, udānaḥ) and the five karmendriyas, powers of action (evident in speaking, handling, moving, reproducing, eliminating). Here there is the potential for mistaken identification with hunger, thirst, good (or bad) health, and with walking, talking, etc. See pañca-kośāḥ, annamaya-kośaḥ, manomaya-kośaḥ, vijñānamaya-kośaḥ, ānandamaya-kośaḥ.
praṇavaḥ'Unique name' because the praṇavaḥ, om, denotes all objects; om, the sacred sound-symbol (pratīkaḥ) for Īśvaraḥ, the Lord; essence of the entire Vedāḥ.
prāṇāyāmaḥ Breathing (prāṇaḥ), exercise (āyāmaḥ); control of the breath. Since prāṇaḥ is associated with the mind, its properly exercised control assists in quietening the mind as well as in restoring and maintaining bodily health. See prāṇaḥ.
praṇidhānam Meditation upon a deity; prostration; respectful conduct; prayer; vow; (also many other meanings.)
praṇipātaḥ Prostration; falling at the feet of the teacher in reverential and humble submission. Such prostration demonstrates a desire and gratitude for what the teacher imparts, and humbly implies 'my mind is at your feet and has yet to rise to (and match the thinking in) your head'. It is not reverence for or submission to the person, but reverence for and submission to the truth of what 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).
prapañcaḥ Universe (manifest or unmanifest); the five-element model of the universe, pāñcabhautikam.
prapañcopaśamaḥ (In the turiyātmā there is) upaśamaḥ, cessation, of prapañcaḥ, cessation of all seeming phenomena.
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
prāptasya prāptiḥ Attainment of the already attained.
prāptiḥ Attainment; gain; reaching.
prārabdha-karmaIn the case of all living beings, ripe portions of sañcita-karma 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. These manifest portions of sañcita are 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 karma, whether spent or unspent, is stored in māyā, the universal causal body. (The individual causal body, the kāraṇa-śarīram, is the individual aspect of māyā and stores individual tendencies, attitudes, tastes, etc., but not individual karma.)
is factually existent. All else is the phenomenal (mithyā)
manifestation of māyā
The severity of some prārabdha can be mitigated by prayer, austerity, etc., but prabalaprārabdha, strong prārabdha-karma, cannot be modified or softened and must be faced in full.
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 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 can be reduced by poor choices, but not lengthened.
prārthanā Prayer; entreaty; request; supplication; desire.
prasādaḥTranquillity; serenity; cheerfulness; clearness; gift from Bhagavān. Since all that is here is Bhagavān – all actions and their results, all events and their participants, all pairs of opposites – all and everything is a gift from Bhagavān. Knowing this brings a quiet, cheerful serenity. See karma-yogaḥ.
prasaktiḥ Attachment in which the mind is strongly stuck; confusion due to fixed adherence to an idea or belief.
praśaṃsā Praise; admiration; compliment.
praśānta-cittaTranquil-minded; naturally cheerful and quiet (due to vairāgyam); ready to take both pleasant and unpleasant situations in one's stride; one of the two primary qualities needed for studying Vedāntaḥ – see the other one, śamānvita. (The adjective praśānta can also mean 'free from modification' since a departure from tranquility involves change.)
praśnaḥQuestion; query; enquiry. Teaching should occur only in response to questions, to a sincere desire to know, not from a desire to teach. Questions need to 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).
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 or bullet, once released, travels as it must, so prārabdha-karma
(of the wise too) must run its course. And yet, to the one who is 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 for the jñānī
than a prior dream has for a person awake. See āgāmi-karma, sañcita-karma, pratibandhaḥ
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.
prasthānam Source; place of origin.
prasthāna-trayamSet of three great texts of scriptural literature, namely Upaniṣads (Vedāntaḥ), Bhagavad-Gītā, Brahma-Sūtrāṇi. Since all three have their original source in the Upaniṣads (śruti-prasthānam) and so have the same content, they are known collectively as Vedāntaḥ. The Bhagavad-Gītā is an independent text, part of the Mahābhāratam (smṛti-prasthānam). The Brahma-Sūtrāṇi is an analytical study of Upaniṣad mantras (nyāya-prasthānam).
pratibandhaḥ Obstacle; obstruction; impediment; hindrance; hurdle; that which 'blocks against'. Pratibandhas are misunderstandings, mistaken attitudes, false ideas and adverse circumstances that block both the appreciation and rise of true knowledge. They include rāga-dveṣas, kaṣāyas, asambhavas and viparīta-bhāvanās. They are the result of pāpa-karma. They can be neutralised by puṇya-karma, action that generates puṇyam. When, for example, we are in fine, virtuous, uplifting company (such as may be found in an ashram) our thoughts and feelings become in tune with that company; they refine. On returning later to a world that is perhaps far less pure, our minds resume a coarser, duller condition. It isn't that the coarseness has gone when in the ashram, it has simply been neutralised, rendered ineffective by the abundant good company. Similarly, when efforts are made to live a life of dharmaḥ the grace of Īśvaraḥ is attracted and earned (manifesting as puṇyam) and coarse, unwelcome feelings, thoughts and tendencies (pratibandhas) are kept increasingly at bay, neutralised, almost forgotten, while puṇyam and sattvam predominate. When puṇyam is strong enough, we can be lifted out of poor situations completely. Puṇyam may also provide a more comprehensive or total perspective to situations, one so comprehensive that it neutralises (even nullifies) pāpam.
Name of one of the ten major Upaniṣad
s in which six people ask one question each and Śrī Ṛṣiḥ Pippalādaḥ
answers them all.
There are many means via which the grace of Īśvaraḥ
is earned and the pratibandha
s neutralised. They include: japaḥ
, service of the guruḥ
, living a life of dharmaḥ
, practising ahiṃsā
, etc. Gradually, so much grace, so much puṇyam
is gained by these various indirect, preparatory means to mokṣaḥ
that the mind not only increasingly finds itself in situations conducive to hearing the teaching, it becomes refined, subtle and steady enough to hear it properly. It becomes ready for the direct means to mokṣaḥ
, namely śravanam, mananam
. Being heard fully and cleanly during śravanam
, the teaching liberates.
prātibhāsika-satyam 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. 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.
pratibimba-vādaḥReflection (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.
pratibimbita-caitanyamReflected consciousness in the antaḥ-karaṇam; reflection is nothing but manifestation; see cidābhāsaḥ.
pratijñā 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.
pratīkaḥA limbless form, niravayava mūrtiḥ, e.g. a śiva-liṅgam, a śālagrāmaḥ (a naturally formed small piece of sacred stone symbolising Lord Viṣṇuḥ); om, a sound-symbol for the Lord.
pratimāA form-symbol (with limbs) for the Lord; a personification; typically a life-like idol or statue, a murtiḥ.
pratipādaka-pratipādya-sambandhaḥRevealer-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.
prātipadikamBase or uninflected form of a word; the form a word takes prior to its having a declinable status.
pratipakṣa-bhāvanāDealing with an adverse tendency in oneself by deliberately cultivating its opposite. Although this practice helps deal with rāga-dveṣas and their related emotions, for example, it is primarily intended to bring a more comprehensive or total perspective to situations, neutralising any limited or partial view.
pratipattiḥ Ascertainment; determination; knowledge; attainment.
pratiṣedhaḥNegation; elimination; prohibition; negation to eliminate or ward off or prevent error; negation of what is not true as a means to what is true. (To prepare the mind for what is true, it is usually necessary first to dismiss or negate what is untrue. What is true is then best revealed by implication, thus avoiding the literalness or grossness in thought that definition can bring.)
pratiṣiddha-karmaProhibited or forbidden actions (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).
pratiṣṭhitā Established; rooted; installed; fixed; well-founded; thriving; (pratiṣṭhā, support).
pratītiḥ Complete understanding or ascertainment; conviction; obviousness; clear perception; delight; clarity.
pratyabhijñā 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.
pratyagātmā Innermost self; reality obtaining as the svarūpam of 'I'.
pratyāhāraḥ Gathering the mind and senses (withdrawing them from a variety of concerns) in order to be able to focus on something; a prelude to dhāraṇā.
pratyakṣamDirect 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.
pratyakṣa-jñānamKnowledge of proximate objects derived from direct sensory perception (prati, presented; akṣa to the senses). See parokṣa-jñānam, aparokṣa-jñānam.
pratyavāya-doṣaḥLimitation, error or fault, doṣaḥ, of omission, pratyavāyaḥ (of a duty); backsliding; neglect of duty. See doṣaḥ, vaiṣamya-nairghṛṇya-doṣaḥ and viṣaya-doṣaḥ.
pratyayaḥ Cognition; conviction; notion; conception; intelligence; idea; proof; explanation; solution. When a house is pointed out saying 'that house, there', the meaning of the word 'house' is cognised as 'that particular house'. That cognition is not in the form of words, but is the (silent) meaning carried by the words. It is the intended meaning of 'that house'. In grammar, pratyayaḥ means 'suffix'.
pravacanam Lecture; speech (talk); proclamation; exposition; explanation; eloquent speech; teaching; oral instruction.
pravāhaḥ Flow; stream; streaming forth; continuous train of thought; continuity; course or direction towards.
pravilāpanam Resolution; solution; disentanglement; clarification; conclusion. Resolution is not, as some think, a dissolution or destruction of name and form in Brahman, it is a cognitive resolution of the pot in its substratum, clay (and similarly, of the pot-space in space). There is no need to destroy the pot to appreciate that what is there is clay! In fact, there is nothing to destroy. It is only in knowledge of the vastu that everything gets resolved.
pravṛttiḥActivity; participation in the world; full involvement in worldly life; usually entails giving primacy to preyas rather than śreyas – see nivṛttiḥ.
prāyaścitta-karmaAn 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).
prayatnaḥ Appropriate, sufficient effort; perseverance; will; see saṅkalpaḥ.
prayojanam Purpose; object; gain; benefit.
prema Love; kindness; tender regard (all too often, mere attachment, rāgaḥ, is mistaken for love).
preta Departed; dead.
preta-śarīram When the jīvaḥ leaves the body from an untimely death, it takes a preta-śarīram, 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.
There are said to be three primary obstacles to knowledge: ignorance (removed by śravaṇam,
hearing the teaching), doubts about what is heard (removed by mananam,
appropriate questions and reasoning) and thirdly, habitual error (removed by nididhyāsanam,
deep contemplation upon what has been properly understood from śravaṇam)
preyaḥ (preyas)All relative, time-bound ends (arthaḥ, kāmaḥ, dharmaḥ) accomplishable through religious and secular activity; any desired result other than mokṣaḥ – see śreyaḥ (śreyas).
prītiḥLove – love is not a verb, no one can 'do' love on demand. "Love is non-fault-finding accommodation."*
priyaDear; pleased; beloved; priyam (noun), a degree of happiness: the pleasure born of seeing something desired. See modaḥ, pramodaḥ.
pṛthak Distinct; different.
pṛthivīThe 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.
pūjā Formal worship. Worship is a symbolic act of offering through which a devotee expresses his/her gratitude to the Lord, to Īśvaraḥ, in the form of all devatās (natural phenomena) acknowledging the abundance of their contribution to the wellbeing of all. The basic needs required for life (food, clothing and shelter) are not producible without the grace of these phenomena. Worship, being a will-involved action, is efficacious in that it results in prosperity. Worship contributes for material things when performed with a desire for knowledge. It also serves as a preparatory discipline, yogaḥ, that brings mental purity and steadiness.
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.
pūjya Revered; venerable; worthy of being worshipped.
puṃliṅgam Masculine gender; masculine; see strīliṅgam.
punaḥ Again; once again.
puṇya-karma 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.
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
puṇyamThe 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-pāpamResult of right or wrong action, karma, manifesting respectively as happiness or sorrow. That happiness or sorrow arises from pleasant or favourable (and unpleasant or unfavourable) situations and experiences, all of which are the lawful unfolding of prārabdha-karma.
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 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).
puram Town (brahma-puram is used figuratively to indicate Brahman's 'place' or 'abode').
purāṇam Legend; antique; ancient; mythology; relic; huge body of ancient, inspirational and highly informative Hindu mythology with the status of smṛtiḥ. A wide variety of topics is covered in thousands of verses. Vyāsaḥ is the author of 36 purāṇas (18 mahā-purāṇas and 18 upa-purāṇas). See itihāsaḥ.
is stored in a dormant, unmanifest form in the very karma
performed, manifesting in due time as happiness or sorrow within the various situations and events of life. The responses to those events may perpetuate saṃsāraḥ
. See puṇyam, pāpam
purī Town; city; castle; fortress; sanctuary; body.
pūrṇa Full; whole; entire; complete; filled; pervaded. (pūrṇatvam, fullness – the nature of ātmā). See apūrṇatvam.
purohitaḥ A priest who performs prayers or rituals, before, purā, in advance, for the (later) well-being, hitam, of all; a vaidikaḥ.
pūrta-karma 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.
puruṣaḥPerson; 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.
puruṣārthaḥ Human pursuit or goal; that which is sought by a human being, puruṣeṇa arthyate iti – see arthaḥ, kāmaḥ, dharmaḥ, mokṣaḥ.
puruṣārtha-niścayaḥDefiniteness, complete clarity and certainty about one's ultimate, absolute end being mokṣaḥ, 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.
, implying its nature of being beginningless (the most ancient) but ever new and fresh.
puruṣottama Most exalted (uttama) of all puruṣas, beings; a name for Īśvaraḥ.
pūrva Before; earlier; prior; foregoing; eastern.
pūrvapakṣī One who presents an alternative opinion or contention, typically from an earlier, pūrva, established belief system or opposing side, pakṣaḥ, in a discussion; an objector (real or imagined) who is often presented in commentaries not only to reveal the flaws in opposing views, but, in the process, to provide the reader with further clarity and precision in grasping the commentator's words and vision, dṛṣṭiḥ.
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)
puṣṭiḥ Health; wellness; strength; stamina; well-nourished condition.
putraḥ 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.)
rāga-dveṣaḥ(Binding) attachment and aversion (arising as the impulses of likes and dislikes). Since likes and dislikes (desires) are anchored on ahaṅkāraḥ – the erroneous and varying ideas of oneself – rāga-dveṣas are impurities that may hinder or prevent right action. Note that attachment and aversion are harmless and normal when expressions of preference or care. It's only when that preference or care becomes an emotional dependence or demand that it binds.
, 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.
In emotional dependence, rāga-dveṣa
s are taken to be absolutely real, which means their status is raised from mithyā
. When this occurs, even renunciates can be felled by attachment and aversion and again become embroiled in saṃsāraḥ
. It is rāga-dveṣa
s that cause the seeming fall from one's absolute nature to one's empirical nature.
rāgaḥ Attachment; passion; strong liking; dependence on the world for one's happiness; red colour; inflammation; see vairāgyam, dveṣaḥ, kleśaḥ.
rahasyam A secret; mystery; concealed; private; privately.
rahita Without; devoid of; separated from.
rajaḥ (rajas)Guṇaḥ or force out of which desire, ambition, sin, etc. are born. 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 for his/her happiness, which leads to deeply entrenched bondage. Bondage to (identification with) a rājasika mental disposition greatly increases the likelihood of committing pāpam.
s leads to a mind that is capable of focused, dristraction-free attention on what 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
rajju-sarpa-nyāyaḥ Rope-snake illustration of the power of ignorance, avidyā, in which a dimly-lit rope, rajjus, is mistaken for a snake, sarpaḥ, and fear strikes. The mistaking of one object for another (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.
The term rajas
is the name given to the manifestation of the kriyā-śaktiḥ,
the power of activity inherent in māyā
. Also see sattvam (sattva), tamaḥ (tamas)
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 what is not properly there, the mithyā
snake and the consequent mithyā
rākṣasaḥDemon; person who goes against dharmaḥ in pursuit of wealth, power, position, etc.; predominant guṇaḥ is rajas – see asuraḥ.
rāmāyaṇam Vālmīkī's epic describing the adventures of Lord Rāmaḥ.
rasaḥSense-object, viṣayaḥ, perceptible through the tongue or mind and known as 'taste'; aesthetic sentiment; essence (either of a liquid or of reality); juice; content.
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
rasāsvādaḥ 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).
retas Seed; sperm; semen.
rogaḥ Disease; (bhāva-rogaḥ, disease of saṃsāraḥ).
ṛṣiḥSeer of truth; inspired sage; one who is eligible to have subtle facts revealed. Ṛṣati paśyati iti ṛṣiḥ, one who sees is called a ṛṣiḥ. He does not create the Vedaḥ mantras on their emergence from the unmanifest at the beginning of the universe, he only sees the mantras that are already there.
ṛṣiyajñaḥWorship of Īśvaraḥ in the form of the Rishis (sages) by studying and chanting the Vedas and other śāstras given to mankind; synonym of brahma-yajñaḥ; study of the Vedaḥ or of any scriptural literature reflecting the Vedic vision, dṛṣṭiḥ. One of the five pañcamahā-yajñas.
ṛtam Truth; the two words, ṛtam and satyam, have the same meaning: truth. However, when they come together they differ in what they express. Ṛtam then stands for ascertained, assimilated, clear knowledge gained by scriptural study. Satyam stands for that same knowledge reflected in thought, word and deed.
rudraTerrible; dreadful; horrible; formidable; crying; a kind of stringed instrument.
rudraḥOne who drives away sorrow (rutam drāvayati iti); name of Śivaḥ; a hymn addressed to Rudraḥ, deity of ahaṅkāraḥ.
rūpamForm; appearance; nature; a sense-object, viṣayaḥ, subtle or gross, perceptible through the eyes or mind and known as 'form, shape'.
śabda-anuviddha-savikalpa-samādhiḥA meditation, dhyānam, using words, śabdāḥ, from the scriptures to help shift the attention from nāma-rupam, name and form, to absorption in that pure consciousness that is the source of manifestation.
7) the word rasaḥ
is used to mean ānandaḥ
, the essence of happiness, the svarūpam
śabdaḥ Sound; word (a meaningful sound); a sense-object (viṣayaḥ), subtle or gross, perceptible through the ears and mind and known as 'sound'.
śabda-pramāṇamWord, śabdaḥ, (as a) means of knowledge, pramāṇam. This term refers to the words of the śāstram (Vedāntaḥ) being a means of knowledge, a means to mokṣaḥ. Since the manifest world is the self-evident ātmā, no further experience of ātmā is needed. Only the words of the śāstram, unfolded by a teacher who knows the sampradāyaḥ, and is both a śrotriyaḥ and a brahma-niṣṭhā, can correct the errors about ātmā and bring its full and clear ascertainment.
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 myself. There arises absorption in the very consciousness that illumines the meaning. See dṛśya-anuviddha-savikalpa-samādhiḥ
and also samādhiḥ, savikalpa-samādhiḥ
śabda-pravṛtti-hetuḥ 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.
Note that 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.
• jātiḥ, species
• guṇaḥ, attribute
• kriyā, action
• sambandhaḥ, connection or relation
saccidānandaḥSat, existence; cit awareness or consciousness; ānandaḥ happiness. These three words are not describing three different things, they are three words for one thing, absolute reality. 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
sadānandaḥ 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.
sadātmaka Having its being in sat, reality.
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
sādhakaḥ A disciplined aspirant.
sādhana-catuṣṭayamThe group of four qualifications needed for ātmajñānam or mokṣaḥ.
Usually, adjectives describe attributes, e.g. red wall, 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.
sādhanamMeans of attainment (means for accomplishing a goal); the principal means for the attainment of liberation from sorrow are śravaṇam, mananam, nididhyāsanam on the words of the śāstram, unfolded by a competent and knowledgeable ācāryaḥ who is a śrotriyaḥ, brahma-niṣṭhā and sampradāyavit.
sādhana-sādhya-sambandhaḥ The connection between a sādhana, a practice or means and its sādhya, goal or aim. See anubandha-catuṣṭayam.
sādhāraṇa Universal; common to all; general.
sādharmyam Sameness of nature.
sādhuḥ A good person; a person of values; noble; a pious, highly disciplined, virtuous aspirant; a renunciate; a sannyāsī.
sādhyam Goal to be accomplished.
ṣaḍ-liṅgāni The hermeneutics, the six indications by which the true tātparyam, purport, of a text may be established:
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
• upakrama-upasaṃhāraḥ, beginning and end (consistency of)
• arthavādaḥ, explanation (of meaning)
• abhyāsaḥ, repetition (of same idea elsewhere)
• upapattiḥ, proof (as established by reasoning)
• apūrvatā, uniqueness (not knowable by other means)
• phalam, result (whether one will accrue or not).
saguṇa With qualities; having attributes.
saguṇa-brahma Brahman regarded as having qualities; a synonym for Īśvaraḥ; Īśvaraḥ as the jagat-kāraṇam, cause of all that is evident; Īśvaraḥ manifest as the entire cosmos; also see nirguṇa-brahma.
saguṇa-brahma-upāsanamMeditation on saguṇa-brahma in which there is necessarily a meditator-meditated difference – see upāsanam, nirguṇa-brahma-upāsanam.
sahaja Natural; inborn; innate (lit. born along with).
sahaja samādhiḥ When, even during worldly transactions, appreciation of the fact of my being ātmā, pure consciousness alone, is never lost, samādhiḥ has become natural.
sahakāri-kāraṇam Supportive cause.
sahasram Thousand (often used to indicate innumerability).
sajātīya (Beings) of the same species.
sakāma-karma 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.
śākhā Branch, clan or tradition passing down a Vedic text of the same name over generations.
śākhā-candra-nyāyaḥ 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.
sākṣāt Evidently; visibly; (immediately, without a means of knowledge.)
sākṣātkāraḥClear vision, dṛṣṭiḥ, of the truth as the essential nature of the very knower 'I'. Culmination of nididhyāsanam, which itself naturally follows from śravaṇam and mananam.
sākṣīWitness; seer; consciousness (i.e. ātmā) in the role of the changeless, passive witness of the changing states of mind (and hence, ātmā is not any aspect of the mind); the ever-present knower/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.
"As in all the notes of a flute, the sound of a flute is recognised, similarly in every vṛttiḥ,
you recognise paramātmā
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.
sākṣī-pratyakṣamWitness-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.
saktiḥAttachment, in general; 'stickiness'; longing; sense of ownership; also see asaktiḥ.
śaktiḥPower; capacity; faculty; skill; (śaktimān, power-possessor).
"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.
sālakṣaṇyam Different objects can belong to the same group if they share characteristics, e.g. chairs, tables, sofas, although different from each other are all classed as furniture.
samacittatvam Equanimity; sameness of mind in the gain of the desirable and the undesirable; capacity to retain composure.
samādhānamFocused intent; being always conscious of the goal of liberation from sorrow, thereby being focused without being distracted; samādhānam is the culmination of śamaḥ, damaḥ, etc. See ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ – also see śamaḥ, damaḥ, uparamaḥ, titikṣā, śraddhā.
samādhiḥAbsorption. 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. In samādhi I need to recognise that the mind (with which I normally identify) is both inert and mithyā. In recognising that fact, I see that I am consciousness, I see that I am that which, by its mere unchanging presence, gives sentiency to the inert, ever-changing mind (just as water gives existence and form to every wave). That recognition is, in effect, a claim that I am pure consciousness alone. I am not the (conscious) mind, body, etc. any more than water is the wave – all waves are water, but water is not limited to any wave, to any form of water. To know, to see clearly that I am not the mind is to recognise that I am its substratum, the limitless, ever-full, ever-free, sorrowless Brahman.
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
samādhi-abhyāsa-rūpa-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 remembered 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.
śamaḥResolution 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.
No matter the experience in samādhiḥ
, the consciousness by which every experience is revealed is ever-present and needs no special experience to be known. Being the substratum and reality of all experience, it is never absent, never not known, and simply needs to be recognised as such rather than 'experienced' 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
Śamaḥ is a discipline practised to have mastery over one's ways of thinking rather than being at their mercy.
samāmnāyaḥ Mentioned together; a collection or compilation of sacred texts.
sāmāna-adhikaraṇyamThis 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'.
, the oneness of jīvaḥ
is revealed through the mahāvākyam tattvamasi
(you are that) because of sāmānādhikaraṇyam
, their common locus – the existence of 'I' and the existence of 'this' is one and the same consciousness.
In the same way, in the sentence "This is that Devadatta," both the word 'that' signifying Devadatta associated with the past, and the word 'this' signifying Devadatta associated with the present, 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
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.
samānaḥThe aspect of prāṇaḥ that aids digestion; also see apānaḥ, elimination; vyānaḥ, circulation; udānaḥ, upward breath.
śamānvita Anvita, endowed with, śamaḥ, mastery over one's own thoughts – not being at the mercy of one's own thoughts, feelings or impulses and thus capable of managing them; one of the two primary qualities of a sufficiently qualified student, śīsyaḥ – see the other one, praśāntacitta.
sāmānya Common to all; universal; general.
sāmānya-dharmaḥUniversal ethics, universal values applicable to all and sundry regardless of time, religion, gender, age, race, country, social status, etc. For example, ahiṃsā, non-hurting or harmlessness is an ethical and moral value applicable to all, at all times and in all situations. Sāmānya-dharmaḥ is also known as sādhāraṇa-dharmaḥ. See viśeṣa-dharmaḥ and dharmaḥ.
sāmānya-jñānam Consciousness or knowledge of that which is ever the same; synonym of śuddha-caitanyam.
sāmānya-sattā 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.
samārambhaḥ The planning (minor or detailed) that precedes the ārambhaḥ, commencement, of an activity.
samaṣṭiḥUniversal; 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.
samatvam Evenness; sameness; equanimity of mind in all aspects of life, but especially towards results of action.
samatvam yogaḥ ucyate Evenness (of mind) is called yogaḥ. This evenness is with regard to the results of action. It depends on the capacity to see that all events, all phenomena, all activity and their results occur by means of and in accord with the natural, universal laws (dharmaḥ) that are Īśvaraḥ. Therefore, although the individual has the power to initiate action, he has no power over its manifestation or result. Acceptance of this fact brings the recognition that all results, being the product of natural laws, are a gift from Īśvaraḥ (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. This totality of view, characterised by an untroubled evenness of mind, is yogaḥ. See Gītā 2.48 and also karma-yogaḥ and īśvara-prasāda-buddhiḥ.
sambandhaḥ Connection; association; relationship.
saṃhāraḥ Withdrawal (of the universe) i.e. the manifest becomes unmanifest; resolution; dissolution.
saṃhitā A methodically arranged collection of texts or verses.
samidh Firewood; fuel; log of wood; oblation (samidhā) to the kindled (samiddha) fire, which is the consumer of the fuel; igniting; flaming; burning.
samitpāṇiḥ A seeker of brahma-vidyā who, carrying a small bundle of twigs (samidh) of the pippalaḥ, or 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.
saṃnyāsaḥ See sannyāsaḥ.
sampattiḥ Prosperity; good fortune; accomplishment; fulfilment; success.
sampradāyaḥ Teaching tradition; established teachings and method of teaching (including the knowledge of how to handle the words of the teaching); careful, distortion-free transference of knowledge from the teacher's mind to the student's, through words, using a unique method of unfoldment inbuilt in the scripture and understood only by studying from a teacher who would have studied from another sampradāyavit teacher; a teaching tradition transmitted from one teacher to another over millennia via the guru-śiṣya-paramparā, guru-disciple lineage; a valid tradition is based on śrutiḥ and is supported by logic; see paramparā.
sampradāyavitOne who thoroughly knows the teaching tradition, having learnt it from his/her guruḥ.
saṃsāraḥTransmigratory life; "that which keeps moving in perfect order"; the endless cycle of becoming, of repeated births and deaths. It is often characterised as a treacherous ocean the jīvaḥ is struggling to cross. It is defined as śrarīrādi-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 one's identity with (as) Brahman.
saṃsārī One subject to saṃsāraḥ. See jīvaḥ, buddhiḥ.
saṃśayaḥ Doubt; indecision.
saṃskāraḥImpression on the mind; disposition; degree of refinement of a person in terms of accumulation of better or worse vāsanās.
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
. Each has its own merits in elucidating Vedic statements such as tattvamasi
saṃskṛtamWell formed; well done; refined; the Sanskrit language – a highly expressive language having a highly refined and exalted culture established within it. See devanāgarī.
saṃskṛtiḥCulture; 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.
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,
culture; and saṃskāryam,
refinable, are all different grammatical forms of the same word.
saṃśrayaḥ Refuge; resting place; support.
saṃtoṣaḥ Contentment; satisfaction; happiness. Also known as saṃtuṣṭiḥ. Part of niyamaḥ.
saṃvādaḥDialogue imparting knowledge from teacher to student; teacher-student discourse with the sole aim of learning the truth; also see vādaḥ, jalpa-vādaḥ, vitaṇḍa-vādaḥ.
saṃvit Knowledge; understanding.
saṃvṛtiḥ 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.
saṃvyavahāra-mātram Only transactional; a term referring to the status of worldly experience, in effect saying it is mithyā.
samyag-darśanam Clear vision; correct knowledge; proper understanding (asamyag-darśanam, confusion).
samyag-jñānam Proper, correct understanding of what the scriptures say. Such understanding is the result of śravanam, mananam and nididhyāsanam.
samyakClearly; accurately; correctly; properly.
saṃyamīOne who has self-mastery; a wise person.
śanaiḥ Softly; gently; quietly (śanaiḥ śanaiḥ, slowly).
sanātana Eternal; permanent; ancient.
sanātana dharmaḥEternal law; eternal values; eternal religion; the beginningless order that is Īśvaraḥ; the proper and correct name for Hinduism. (Hinduism is merely a geographically-derived term coined by those who knew no better.)
sañcita-karmaUnmanifest, unexpired aggregate of karma (accumulated by all living beings and stored in māyā, the universal causal body). When ripe the sañcita-karma will manifest as prārabdha-karma. Sañcita is also the store for the āgāmi being produced (by human beings only) now, in this life (which, when ripe, will manifest as prārabdha-karma); see āgāmi-karma, prārabdha-karma.
sandhyā-vandanamVandanam, 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.
saṅgaḥAttachment due to close contact; association; community; company; friendship.
culture; and saṃskāryam,
refinable, are all different grammatical forms of the same word.
saṅghātaḥAssemblage; close union or combination; collection; cluster; aggregate; compressed together.
saṅkalpaḥDecision as to worth, value, need, etc.; resolve; will; thought; determination; the impetus (in the form of a conviction or determination as to worth) running through every desire, driving it to fulfilment.
"Attachment to the guṇa
s 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 (guṇa
s) 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.
Will or will-power is, therefore, not a 'power' in the usual understanding of that word, it is knowledge, knowledge in the form of a decision (that may later prove correct or incorrect) that 'this' has value, 'this' is worth having or doing. It is such convictions (strong or weak, firm or wavering) that are the essence of will and which sentence a person to the outcome. Will-power is improved by improving the clarity of one's thinking.
When something catches my attention and I judge it to have no particular worth or value, it becomes just a passing thought and goes. If, instead, it is seen to have worth or value, it is dwelt upon (even cherished), and that notion of value turns the thought into a desire. The perceived sense of value evokes emotion which then impels the desire, driving it to its fulfilment. Depending on the nature of the desire – and the will, the judgement, behind it – that drive to fulfilment can power the desire for a fraction of a second or, perhaps, for decades. See kṛpaṇaḥ
saṅkaraḥ Mixture; mixing together that which should be kept apart, thus creating confusion.
śaṅkaraḥ Ādi-Śaṅkara-Bhagavatpādaḥ was a most illustrious, highly revered teacher of Vedāntaḥ who revivified and re-established the supremacy of its sampradāyaḥ, and the Vedic dharmaḥ and way of life, several centuries ago. He was the author of incomparable Upaniṣad bhāṣyams 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.
(If your understanding of īśvara-arpaṇa-buddhiḥ
does not reveal the true meaning of free-will, you have not understood either of them.)
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.
sāṅkhyam 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.
sannyāsaḥRenunciation; 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.
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, cārvākaḥ
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.
, 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.
is renunciation, a lifestyle in which there is a total commitment to the pursuit of knowledge to the exclusion of all other ends, artha-kāma
s. 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
sannyāsīA renunciate (female: sannyāsinī); one who has taken the vows of sannyāsaḥ.
sansāraḥ See saṃsāraḥ.
sanskāraḥ See saṃskāraḥ.
sanskṛtam See saṃskṛtam.
śāntiḥ Peace; calmness; tranquility; cessation; elimination (of evil); synonym of the mental discipline, śamaḥ.
śānti-pāṭhaḥ Peace invocation. There are peace invocations in the Vedaḥ for all four compilations as Ṛg, Yajur, etc. A peace invocation, specifically invoking the grace of devatās, is a mantraḥ with a prayer for physical and emotional well-being and the elimination of all possible obstacles to study, neutralising hidden variables arising from three possible sources: ādhibhautika-tāpaḥ, ādhidaivika-tāpaḥ, ādhyātmika-tāpaḥ.
sapta-bhūmikāḥ Seven levels (of spiritual development) of which the last three are optional for a jñānī:
spends his life only in śravaṇam, mananam
(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.
• 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.
śaraṇāgatiḥ Seeking refuge in the Lord; offering oneself totally to the Lord; surrender; having the vision of the Lord as the truth, the whole; seeing one's own self being non-separate from the Lord, the whole, is absolute surrender; cognitively resolving one's individuality in the totality; seeing there is no second thing other than the Lord.
śaraṇam Refuge; protection; place of shelter.
sarasvatī Goddess of knowledge and music; wife of Brahmā.
śarīramBody; prone to disintegration and decay; synonym of dehaḥ, kāyaḥ. See sthula-śarīram, sūkṣma-śarīram, kāraṇa-śarīram.
śarīra-traya-viveka-prakriyāMethod of analysis through which ātmā is recognised to be distinct from and independependent of the three bodies (gross, subtle and causal); see prakriyā.
sarūpaḥ Of the same nature as...; similar; resembling.
sarvajñatvam Omniscience; knowledge of all in general; a knowledge that all that is here is Brahman, the one reality that is consciousness, the self, and that I am that Brahman. This is the knowledge enjoyed by the jñānī. He or she recognises the one self in all, but does not have all knowledge of everything in detail (as Īśvaraḥ does) 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.
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.
sarvaṃ hyetadbrahma'All this is indeed Brahman' (Māṇḍūkya 1.2) – see mahāvākyam.
sarvaṃ khalvidaṃ brahma'All this is certainly Brahman' (Chāndogya 3.14.1) – see mahāvākyam.
sarvaśaktimān (He who is) all-powerful; a name of Īśvaraḥ. See śaktiḥ.
sarvātmā The only self of all beings; the only self of everything. The śāstram often uses such terms in the glorification of a jñānī saying, the knower of ātmā, being everything (being sarvātmā), as it were gains whatever objects he/she could desire, gains all worlds and objects just by a thought. This is a poetic way of saying that being the only self of all and everything, no world or object is away from such a one and is as good as gained. Even the desires of others, whose saṅkalpaḥ a 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.
sarvavit Omniscient; a term indicating the unlimited detailed knowledge enjoyed by Īśvaraḥ due to his being satyam, the very existence or basis, adhiṣṭhānam, of every aspect of every being, entity and phenomenon. 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.
Being pure knowledge, the source of all knowledge, Īśvaraḥ
. Knowing everything in detail, Īśvaraḥ
is also described as sarvavit
. See sarvavit
śāstramSacred 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.
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
śāstra-vāsanāThree types: obsession with study, preoccupation with many subjects and marked squeamishness with regard to observances specified in the śāstras. See vāsanā.
sat That which is ever the same presence in all three periods of time (past, present and future); pure existence, which is of the nature of limitlessness; absolute truth; non-dependent existence; that which cannot be negated.
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
ṣaṭkam Consisting of six, aggregate of six (not six-fold) as in ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ, six accomplishments.
sat-kārya-vādaḥA Sāṅkhyam vādaḥ, 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.
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. See asat, tuccham, satyam, mithyā, cit, ānanda
ṣaṭka-sampattiḥA group of six accomplishments (also known as śamādi-ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ, a group of six accomplishments beginning with śamaḥ), which form part of sādhana-catuṣṭayam. The six are: śamaḥ, damaḥ, uparamaḥ, titikṣā, śraddhā, samādhānam.
satsaṅgaḥ Company (saṅgaḥ) of the wise, of truth (sat); good association; association with śāstram; association with those who know and live the śāstram.
sattā Existence; being; reality. 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."*
sattvam (sattva)Guṇaḥ signifying purity, knowledge, truth, intelligence, mind. Free from any kind of impurity, sattva reflects consciousness and hence endows the person with the capacity for clear knowledge and with the capacity for experiential happiness. Predominance of sattva means that a vṛttiḥ in the form of pleasure and/or knowledge arises. On identifying with that vṛttiḥ (with being happy and knowledgeable) the person becomes dependent on pleasure and knowledge for happiness, and so becomes attached to them. In this way, sattva can (seemingly) bind.
Being unmanifest in its cause, no effect is ever created. Therefore, there is no such thing as creation, only manifestation from a prior, unmanifest (potential) state. Only what is potentially present can manifest. Energy (matter) is neither created nor destroyed, only converted from one form into another. See asat-kārya-vādaḥ, upādāna-kāraṇam, pariṇāmaḥ, vivartaḥ
and also nimitta-kāraṇam
sattva-śuddhiḥ 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, 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.
satyamTruth; reality; that which cannot be negated; 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 (and without which change would not be perceivable).
The term sattva
is the name given to the manifestation of the jñāna-śaktiḥ,
the power of knowing inherent in māyā
can also mean a living being. See rajaḥ (rajas), tamaḥ (tamas)
Only ever speaking the non-hurtful truth, devoid of untruth, is the discipline of satyam in speech.
satyaṃ jñānam anantaṃ brahma "Brahman is existence, consciousness (and) limitlessness" (Taittirīya Upaniṣad 2.1.1). These three words, satyam, jñānam, anantam are not indicating distinct individual attributes of Brahman, but are each independently expressing one thing – that Brahman is limitless reality, limitless being, pure consciousness – while simultaneously negating what Brahman might be thought to be.
is also a name of the highest of the seven heavens (see svargaḥ
) and also a part of yamaḥ
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).
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.
saubhāgyam Good fortune; happiness; prosperity; loveliness; popularity – all that is needed for a fulfilling life, especially wisdom.
śaucamCleanness, both inner and outer; purity of body (including environment), mind and intellect; cleanliness; part of niyamaḥ.
sāvaśeṣa Incomplete; unfinished; having a remainder.
sāvayava Composed of parts; having parts; (whatever has a beginning falls within the category of being sāvayava). That which has parts will one day fall apart and hence cannot be eternal.
savikalpaḥ Being endowed with a variety of divisions or distinctions, e.g. knower, known, knowledge; being differentiated; being doubtful.
savikalpa-samādhiḥThis samādhiḥ (also known as samprajñāta-samādhiḥ or sabīja-samādhiḥ) is a culmination of meditation, dhyānam, in which there remains a distinction between meditator and meditated, with all other thoughts resolved. Being an experience, a state of mind, it is transient and will be lost. There are two types of savikalpa-samādhiḥ, namely dṛśya-anuviddha-savikalpa-samādhiḥ and śabda-anuviddha-savikalpa-samādhiḥ. See samādhiḥ, nirvikalpa-samādhiḥ and nididhyāsanam.
śeṣam Remainder; balance; surplus; residue.
sevā 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.
siddha Accomplished; established; gained (siddhiḥ, accomplishment; achievement).
siddhāntaḥ Established end or conclusion ('This is now shown to be so.'); demonstrated right conclusion of an argument; settled opinion or doctrine; established principle, axiom or rule. In the sampradāyaḥ, wrong notions are negated first when establishing the truth of the matter.
siddhiḥ Accomplishment; achievement; an occult power (of which there are eight) gained through the prolonged practice of certain disciplines. None leads to mokṣaḥ. They are a distraction and are best avoided:
• aṇimā, reducing one's body size to that of an atom
• mahimā, expanding one's body size at will
• laghimā, becoming almost weightless
• garimā, becoming as heavy as a mountain
• prāptiḥ, ability to procure anything from anywhere
• prākāmyam, fulfilment of all material desires
• īśitvam, control over other beings and the elements
• vaśitvam, capacity to draw and persuade/convince crowds of people.śikṣāScience of phonetics, of proper articulation and pronunciation of varṇas, the sounds of letters in Vedic (vaidika) texts; teaching, instruction; one of the six auxiliary sciences, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see chandas, vyākaraṇam, niruktam, jyotiṣaḥ, kalpaḥ.
siṃhā-avalokana-nyāyena'By the backward glance of a lion.' According to the rule of the lion's look, i.e. a maxim recommending reviewing what has been said before in order to see the connection with what is said later when studying a text.
śiṣyaḥStudent; disciple; a self-disciplined student who, due to having praśāntacitta and śamānvita, (gained through living a life of karma-yogaḥ while practising sādhana-catuṣṭayam) deserves the teaching; one who, due to vairāgyam is sufficiently pure-minded (sufficiently able to manage his/her mind and emotions) for undisturbed, accurate, unprejudiced hearing of the ācāryaḥ unfolding the śāstram – see guru-śiṣya-paramparā, sampradāyaḥ, praśāntacitta, śamānvita.
śiṣya-svīkāraḥAcceptance (svīkāraḥ) of a disciple (śiṣyaḥ) by a guruḥ, who must have reasons for the decision (such as the student's evident qualifications and sincerity). See guru-upasādanam.
śivaḥAuspicious; pure; propitious; Īśvaraḥ as the resolver of the universe; see Brahmā, Viṣṇuḥ.
ślokaḥ Verse; praise; glory; hymn of praise; maxim; fame; voice; name of a particular epic metre.
smaraṇam Recollecting; remembering.
smṛtiḥMemory (in general); the content of śrutiḥ (the original text) properly heard, studied, understood, retained, recollected and presented without any distortion in their own words by later authors, e.g. Bhagavad-Gītā, purāṇas, manu-smṛtiḥ; see pauruṣeya-śāstram.
snehaḥ Attachment; fondness; affection; friendship; emotional entanglement; 'stickiness'; oil.
śobhana Beautiful; excellent; splendid; virtuous.
śobhana-adhyāsaḥOver-valuing someone or something by superimposing a notion of greater beauty, excellence, virtue, etc. than is deserved, e.g. mistaking a sea shell's colouring for silver or thinking 'the world gives me happiness'; see adhyāsaḥ and aśobhana-adhyāsaḥ.
śodhita 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.
śokaḥSorrow; anguish; grief; affliction; pain; see duḥkham.
sopādhi With upādhiḥ (having or possessing one or more limiting adjuncts or manifesting media). See upādhiḥ and nirupādhi.
sopādhika-adhyāsaḥ This is a form of adhyāsaḥ, erroneous perception, 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 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.
sparśaḥTouch; the sense-object (viṣayaḥ), subtle or gross, perceptible through the skin or mind and known as 'touch'.
sphuliṅgaḥSpark (from a fire); sparks shooting from a fire are used to demonstrate that fire alone is in the form of many sparks due to many upādhis. This is used as an analogy for showing how distinct manifestations or forms of Brahman arise from the one Brahman. It is often wrongly interpreted to mean that unique beings, jīvas, separate from Brahman, burst forth from Brahman like sparks from a fire, whereas the analogy is pointing to the fact that all sparks, jivas, are nothing but forms of fire, Brahman, their intrinsic nature being not different from fire even though their forms differ.
sphura Evident; self-evident; shining forth.
śraddhāAcceptance by firm judgement as true what the guruḥ and śāstram instruct; unflinching faith in the śāstram and in the words of the guruḥ.
Being natural consequences of the Īśvara-sṛṣṭiḥ
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
is often translated as faith or trust, but it is more than that. Initially, a degree of trust, viśvāsaḥ,
is necessary in any teaching situation. It allows us to stand apart from our own ideas and, for now at least, give the benefit of the doubt to the text and the teacher rather than to our own views – acceptance pending verification is an aspect of śraddhā
. And if what is taught seems incorrect, having śraddhā
means I do not reject it but question my understanding until what is being taught is clear.
śrāddhamAncestor worship; a specific ritual performed on a specific day of a specific fortnight (death anniversary of one's parents, grandparents).
śravaṇamHearing. Hearing, for a length of time, the systematic, regular, unfoldment of Vedāntaḥ by a competent ācāryaḥ who knows the sampradāyaḥ. Being a result (and not an action) hearing is involuntary since the ears naturally pick up sound, but accuracy of hearing depends on actively listening, fully focusing one's attention, without distortion or addition. Distortion means either changing what is heard to fit it into one's existing belief system, or wilfully changing it to mean something unintended by the speaker. Addition means adding one's own ideas, beliefs or embellishments to what is said. Without proper accuracy of hearing, little will be properly understood.
With further knowledge, that acceptance takes the deeper form of a clear, carefully reached understanding or conviction, avadhāraṇā
. Definite acceptance of what the guruḥ
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.
śreyaḥ (śreyas)Highest or absolute good; that which is desirable for all people of all times and places, namely freedom from unhappiness, the knowledge that is mokṣaḥ – see preyaḥ (preyas).
śrīḥ Lakṣmī, goddess of wealth; wife (śaktiḥ) of Viṣṇuḥ; beauty; all forms of wealth, including virtues, health, progeny, food, etc. See bhagaḥ.
śrīmat Illustrious; eminent; glorious; venerable.
śrotriyaḥOne 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.
sṛṣṭiḥManifestation; creation; nature; production; the manifest universe.
hearing, is a pratyakṣa-pramāṇam,
which in common with all other means of knowledge, facilitates it; it does not create knowledge (which is impossible since knowledge, being ever-present, may only ever be revealed or uncovered). Knowledge is determined by what is heard, seen, etc., meaning, it’s determined by the nature of what is seen or heard, not by the perceiver or his instruments. Knowing is, therefore, not an action, it is the inevitable result of operating a pramāṇam
(opening the eyes, for example). Self-knowledge too is not the result of the hearer's action; it occurs naturally and effortlessly when certain words arrive at the ear. See mananam, nididhyāsanam, sākṣātkāraḥ
sṛṣṭi-viveka-prakriyāMethod of arriving at ātmā, the true self, by analysing that which is here to reveal its source, the ultimate reality that is consciousness; see prakriyā.
śrutiḥHeard; a name for the sacred knowledge of the Vedaḥ transmitted orally from generation to generation; a name for the veda-śāstram emphasising its preservation through careful listening by the teacher-student lineage (karṇa-paramparā).
stambhaḥ Pillar; post; column.
stavaḥ Any text consisting of words of praise – especially praise of the Lord, of Īśvaraḥ; synonym of stotram.
sthairyam Steadfastness; constancy; perseverance; steadiness; firmness; calmness.
sthānam Place; abode; rank; altar.
sthāṇu Firm; immovable; motionless; stump of a tree.
sthāṇu-nikhana-nyāyaḥ A maxim encouraging making one's knowledge as unshakeable as a well-buried (well-fixed) post that is able to withstand any amount of shaking (by opposing notions). Such firmness is from clarity and accuracy of perception and understanding, not from obstinacy of view. See nyāyaḥ.
sthāṇu-puruṣa-nyāyaḥ Illustration of a stump of a tree being mistaken for a person. See nyāyaḥ.
sthita Steady; abiding; ascertained.
sthitadhīḥ Wise person with doubt-free, ascertained vision; steady-minded; firm; unmoved; calm.
sthita-prajñaḥ A person of steady, unshakeable wisdom; one abiding in wisdom; one free from the hold of desire; happy with oneself, in oneself; free from emotional dependence; awake to the nature of oneself and therefore wise; a jñānī.
sthūlaGross; physical – also see sūkṣma, kāraṇam.
sthūla-arundhatī-nyāyaḥA maxim (nyāyaḥ) encouraging the leading of the mind from a gross 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 of all, Arundhatī itself, is seen. See nyāyaḥ.
sthūla-prapañcaḥGross/physical world. See sūkṣma-prapañcaḥ and kāraṇa-prapañcaḥ.
sthūla-śarīramGross/physical body; abode of enjoyment; locus of all subtle (imperceptible) instruments of knowledge and action; also see sūkṣma-śarīram, kāraṇa-śarīram.
stotram Hymn of praise; see stavaḥ, stutiḥ.
strīliṅgam Feminine gender; feminine; see puṃliṅgam.
stutiḥ Praise; adulation; eulogy; commendation; tribute.
śubha Auspicious; good; virtuous; something that ends well.
śuddha 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.
śuddha-caitanyam 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.
śūdraḥA person born into the fourth varṇaḥ – artisan, labourer, servant, etc.; revered as an indispensable part of Īśvaraḥ, the whole, (just as feet are indispensable to the body) and whose contribution for maintaining the social order is as important as that of the other three varnas; also see brāhmaṇaḥ, priest; kṣatriyaḥ, soldier; vaiśyaḥ, businessman.
sukham Happiness; delight; joy; pleasure. Happiness, delight, is an experience of a time-bound fraction of manifest fullness. It is an expression of the manifestation of fullness – fullness being the very nature of timeless reality.
śuklaḥ White; bright.
sukṛta Well-made; well-done.
sūkṣmaSubtle; fine; penetrating; non-physical; also see sthūla, kāraṇam.
sūkṣma-prapañcaḥ Subtle world. See sthūla-prapañcaḥ and kāraṇa-prapañcaḥ.
sūkṣma-śarīramSubtle body. 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.
śuktikā Shell of a pearl oyster, the inside of which is so reflective it can be mistaken for silver, rajata. This shell is often used as an example of superimposition, adhyāropaḥ.
sulabha Easily obtainable; feasible.
sundara Beautiful; lovely.
suniścita Fully ascertained, definite, fixed, settled (conclusion). An adjective used to describe the certainty of the knowledge enjoyed by the wise.
śūnya Void; empty. There is no possibility of śūnya existing since for it to be known would require the presence of a vṛttiḥ.
sūryaḥ The Sun; devatā of sight; sūryāstaḥ, sunset.
śuśrūṣā Desire to hear the śāstram being unfolded by the teacher; service to the teacher.
susukham Easy; effortless; pleasurable.
suṣumnā nāḍīThis well known 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 that in its quiescent state lies coiled at the mūlādhāra-cakram.
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.
suṣupti-avasthāSuṣupti, deep-sleep, avasthā, state (of the mind); experience of the absence of the experience of 'I'. The intellect, mind and senses resume an unmanifest potential condition in the causal body (kāraṇa-śarīram) in which individuality, with all its problems and limitations, is given up while the individual remains – and then absence of experience is experienced since, on rising, that same individual can say, "I knew nothing." This is not a direct experience because the present tense is not used, nor is it an inference because one part of the statement is from direct perception, one not. No part is directly perceived in sleep as the mind (including ahaṅkāraḥ) is unmanifest. However, to be able to say that absence of cognition was experienced implies memory, which implies an ever-present witness. That witness, in which the blankness of suṣuptiḥ is revealed, is pure consciousness, consciousness unqualified by the attributes and identifications of the mind. Being unqualified, being without attributes, it is not recognised and is assumed to be not there.
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)
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
and hence jāgrad-avasthā
s not being manifest during deep sleep is known, and the knower or experiencer of that absence is the sāksî
alone, not any form of ahaṅkāraḥ
. There are two vṛtti
s in the deep-sleep state: ajñāna-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). The presence of the āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ
is also evident in deep sleep, but not vikṣepa-śaktiḥ
suṣuptiḥDeep, disturbance-free, dreamless sleep (in which the mind is temporarily unmanifest, temporarily merged with Īśvaraḥ).
sūtra-bhūta-vākyam An aphoristic statement that gives the teaching in a nutshell.
sūtram Verse; thread; an aphorism with minimum words and maximum sense; a cryptic statement pregnant with meaning.
sūtrātmā 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.
svabhāvaḥOne's own nature; one's disposition; the expression of one's nature based on one's inclinations and saṃskāraḥ; acquired, earned, non-intrinsic nature, i.e. the nature fashioned and revealed by attitudes, habits and behaviour; see svarūpam and prakṛtiḥ.
svadharmaḥ One's own duty. Duty is what is due to be done, what needs to be done. Only by doing just your duty, may you be protected from acting inappropriately and incurring pāpam. Recognising what 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."*
svādhyāyaḥŚāstram 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.
svaḥ (suvaḥ) Abode of the gods and the blessed; the vault of Heaven; region of the planets; fifth lowest of the seven heavens.
svāhā An exclamation: "Hail to Thee" used when oblations (to any deity) are offered into the fire, implying: "I offer myself to Thee"; food offered to devatās.
svāmī (svāmin) One who has mastery over oneself; spiritual preceptor; title of a man who has taken the vows of sannyāsaḥ (female: svāminī).
svapna-avasthā 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. Neither 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.
common to all three mutually exclusive states, including deep sleep, is none other than formless pure consciousness. See jāgrad-avasthā,
waking state, svapna-avasthā,
dream state, turīya,
the three states of experience.
The dream world arises from impressions, vāsanā
s, 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
s with their own senses, all formed in the mind of the jīvaḥ
as in the waking state).
svaprakāśaḥSelf-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.
svaraḥA vowel; a chanting accent – see vyañjanam, and also udāttaḥ, anudāttaḥ, svaritaḥ.
svārājyamA 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.
svargaḥHeaven. The seven heavens or higher lokas begin with this Earth, bhū-lokaḥ, and in ascending order are bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ, mahaḥ, janaḥ, tapaḥ, satyam. See lokaḥ and narakaḥ.
svaritaḥA high or raised tone in chanting, shown in the text by a short vertical line above 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.
svarūpa-lakṣaṇamA definition that unfolds, by implication, the essential intrinsic nature of something, e.g. a definition of absolute reality in which its intrinsic nature is directly revealed through implication; see taṭastha-lakṣaṇam, lakṣaṇam, jahadajahallakṣaṇā, upalakṣaṇā.
svarūpamIntrinsic, 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.
svastikaḥ Su-asti, well-being; su-asti-ka, conducive to well-being; svastika, that which confers a blessing, auspiciousness, prosperity, good fortune. An auspicious symbol foully misappropriated by rākṣasas in the mid 20th century.
svasvarūpa-anusandhānam Meditation on (continuously dwelling upon) one's own true nature; synonym of nididhyāsanam.
svataḥ By oneself; by itself. (svataḥ siddham, self-evident).
svatantram 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
svātmani avasthānam Abidance in one's own self through knowledge; one who, free from doership, has discovered fullness and so has all his desires fulfilled. Synonym of jīvan-muktiḥ.
svātma-vyatiriktam Other than oneself.
svayam On its own; by oneself; spontaneously; effortlessly. Svayam-jyotiḥ, self-effulgent.
svayambhū Self-existent; self-manifested; self-born
svayam-siddhaSelf-accomplished. I do not need to do something to know, feel or experience the self. Being awareness, it is ever present and self-evident in all that is known, felt or experienced (even if normally remaining unnoticed due to prevailing thoughts, feelings and perceptions taking centre stage).
tādātmyam Identification; taking one's nature to be something it is not.
taijasaḥA 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). The universal or samaṣṭiḥ equivalent is Hiraṇyagarbaḥ – also see prājñaḥ, viśvaḥ.
tamaḥ (tamas)Guṇaḥ signifying inertia, lethargy, delusion, habitual scepticism, day-dreaming, cessation. 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 – even 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.
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 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 jāgrad-avasthā
, waking state; suṣupti-avasthā
, deep-sleep state; turīya
, 'fourth'; avasthā-trayam
, the three (mutually exclusive) states of experience.
tanmātram 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.
tanmātra-viveka-prakriyā 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).
tanuḥ A form or manifestation (as in 'in the form of').
tāpaḥHeat; affliction or mental agony which scorches like heat, causing pain; affliction; difficulty. Also see ādhyātmika-tāpaḥ, ādhibhautika-tāpaḥ, ādhidaivika-tāpaḥ.
tapaḥ (tapas)Purificatory penance or austerity; heat; enquiry; knowledge. "Committed, relevant action in line with dharmaḥ."* Part of niyamaḥ.
tapasvī Ascetic; one who is committed to relevant action in line with dharmaḥ.
taraṅgaḥ Wave (of water).
tarkaḥ Reasoning; logic; conjecture. Used to remove erroneous notions entertained about reality by the aspirant. Being based on sensory information, logic is by itself insufficient 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.
tat (tad) That
taṭastha-lakṣaṇamAn entity definition that makes use of something distinct from and merely incidental to that entity's intrinsic nature, but by which it is known, e.g. a definition of Brahman wherein it is presented as the only source of the manifestation, sustenance and resolution of the universe; see lakṣaṇam, svarūpa-lakṣaṇam, jahallakṣaṇā, ajahallakṣaṇā, jahadajahallakṣaṇā, upalakṣaṇā.
tātparyam Purport; meaning; intention; essential meaning; essential theme.
tattva-jñānam Knowledge of the truth; synonym of brahma-jñānam and ātma-jñānam.
tattva-jñānārtha-darśanam Keeping in view the aim and purpose of the knowledge of truth, of self-knowledge, namely freedom from sorrow.
tattvam 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', being 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.
tattvamasi'You are that' (Chāndogya 6.8.7). In this famous compound word, which contains the whole of Vedāntaḥ, the word 'tat', that, refers to Brahman, pure consciousness. The word 'tvam' points both to 'you' the ordinary individual and to your svarūpam, consciousness. The word 'asi' means 'are'.
is also the name given to the manifestation of the dravya-śaktiḥ,
the power of inertia inherent in māyā
manifests as the veiling power known as the āvaraṇa-śaktiḥ
. Also see sattvam (sattva), rajaḥ (rajas)
tattvavit Knower of the truth; an ātmajñānī.
tejaḥ (tejas) Brightness, lustre of countenance; light; brilliance; fire; the Fire element.
ṭīkā Explanatory notes on a commentary, bhaṣyam. These notes serve to introduce the topic by explaining the sentences of the bhāṣyam or a particular word in a sentence. A ṭīkā is not an independent work because it follows the bhāṣyam line by line, sentence by sentence. See vārtikam.
tīrtham Purifier; pilgrimage site; holy place; water sanctified with mantras.
tiryak Horizontal, horizontally (a descriptive term for creatures that grow horizontally, i.e. animals).
tithiḥ Date; lunar date.
titikṣāCheerful forebearance; endurance; cheerfully (objectively) bearing opposites such as heat and cold, and honour and dishonour with equanimity, which means without anxiety, complaint or retaliation.
In brief, the mahāvākyam
is saying 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 to be the bound, ignorant, indvidual waker or dreamer. However, by expressing the equation in this 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. See mahāvākyam
and also see ahaṃ brahmāsmi, ayamātmā brahma, prajñānaṃ brahma
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.
tīvra Intense; strong; ardent; acute; keen; sharp.
tīvra-mumukṣuḥ A person with an intense desire for freedom.
traividyāḥ Those who have studied all three Vedas and gained a thorough knowledge of karma-kāṇḍaḥ.
tripuṭī Three-fold; a triad.
tripuṭi-bhedaḥ Three-fold difference – knower, knowledge, known; seer, sight, seen; experiencer, experience, experienced, etc.
triṣṭupName of a Vedic metre of 44 syllables (4 quarters of 11 syllables each); 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.
tṛptiḥ Satisfaction; contentment. The jñānī is ever satisfied, ever content, as happiness and fulfilment, being his own svarūpam, are not dependent on experiences and puṇyam. They 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.
tṛṣṇāThirst; strong desire; strong longing for what is absent; avidity; lust; greed; also see pipāsā.
tuccham Non-existent; unreal; never can exist, e.g. son of a barren woman (vandhyā putraḥ), a square circle; see sat, asat, satyam, mithyā.
tūlāvidyā Secondary ignorance; inability to discern what is right or wrong in ordinary, worldly situations; ignorance of worldly matters such as a street name or art or botany; see mūlāvidyā.
turīyaFourth; 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).
(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 turīya
is the unchangeable substratum of each. To talk of gold, ring, chain and bangle is to talk of gold, for that is what is really, independently present as the substratum of the other three.
tuṣṭa Pleased; contented.
tvak 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.
tvam You (second-person-singular pronoun).
tyāgaḥ Renunciation; sacrifice; dedication; withdrawal; abandoning.
udānaḥUpward breath; an aspect of prāṇaḥ that reverses a process; vomiting; hiccups; coughing; sneezing. It is the final outward breath by which the jīvaḥ exits the body on death having completed the allotted number of breaths (an inhalation and its exhalation being one breath). The number is limited by prārabdhaḥ (to which prāṇaḥ is directly connected) after which there can be no more breathing in. Also see apānaḥ, elimination; samānaḥ, digestion; vyānaḥ, circulation.
udāsīna One who does not take sides; indifferent; neutral; neither friend nor foe; unprotesting.
udāttaḥNeutral; 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.
udgīthaḥ Om; praṇavaḥ; sung; announced; celebrated; a sonorous prayer, prescribed in the Sāmavedaḥ to be sung aloud.
umā Wife of Śivaḥ, also known as Pārvatī; the constituent phonetic elements of om (a-u-m) put in a different order; power in three conditions: gross, subtle, unmanifest.
upacāraḥ Figurative; a figure of speech; honouring.
upādāna-kāraṇamMaterial (upādānam), cause (kāraṇam); two types:
Unqualifiable and indivisible, turīyam
is not experienceable in any subject-object sense of 'experience'. It is knowable by recognition of it being the truth of oneself. Repeated dwelling on this recognition is nididhyāsanam
. See ekātma-pratyaya-sāram
, 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).
upādānam Material – that which lends support to the effect, remaining inseparable from it, e.g. clay re pot.
upadeśaḥTeaching; instruction. The teaching corrects misconceptions about what 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.
, a material cause in which the causal material undergoes no change when producing an effect, e.g. water as the cause of a wave, rope as the cause of a 'snake'.
upādhiḥThat which seemingly transfers its attribute(s) to a nearby recipient, an upahitam. (The translation 'limiting adjunct' is poor and misleading as the limitation produced by the upādhiḥ is only apparent – 'manifesting medium' would be better.)
"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."*
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.
upahitamPut on or upon; mixed; that upon which an upādhiḥ subsists; ātmā associated with an upādhiḥ is said to be an upahitam – the two cannot be distanced physically.
upalabdhi Observation; perception; becoming aware of; understanding. Upalabdhi-sthānam a place of recognition.
upalakṣaṇāImplication of something that has not or cannot be expressed, e.g. use of a large number to express innumerability or non-countability; metaphor; feature; characteristics; see lakṣaṇam; also see jahallakṣaṇā, ajahallakṣaṇā, jahadajahallakṣaṇā, svarūpalakṣaṇam, taṭasthalakṣaṇam.
upamānamKnowledge arising from similarity or illustration. For example, if someone has never seen a bison, he can be told it looks like (can be pictured as similar to) a buffalo. One of the six pramāṇas – see the others: anumānam, anupalabdhiḥ, arthāpattiḥ, pratyakṣam, śabdaḥ.
upanayanam Sacred thread ceremony; a boy's initiation into the study of the scriptures at ages 7-11. Upa, near, nayanam, taking, leading; taking the student to the teacher and leaving him there for studying the scriptures. This is one of the very important saṃskāryas or rituals performed for the mental refinement of the individual. Only after the performance of this upanayana-saṃskāryaḥ is the child eligible to learn and chant the Gāyatrī-Mantraḥ and also eligible for scriptural study.
upaniṣadForms the jñāna-kāṇḍaḥ, knowledge section at the end (antaḥ) of each Vedaḥ and so is known as Vedāntaḥ, the ultimate and final end and fulfilment of all the Vedas.
However, this crystal-flower example is not to be taken too literally. When the upahitam
, 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
The word Upaniṣad
. It is derived from the dhātuḥ
or verbal root, 'sad'
, meaning 'to disintegrate, to destroy, to reach', which is saying an Upaniṣad
will destroy ignorance and thus allow the seeker to reach the truth. The prefix 'upa'
means 'near', 'that which is nearest', namely the seeker's svarūpam
, which is identical with Brahman
. The prefix 'ni'
stands for well-ascertained knowledge. 'Upa'
together refer to brahma-vidyā
, knowledge of ātmā
upapattiḥ Tenability; proof; ascertained conclusion; reason; substantiation; logical support provided by commentators demonstrating the absence of supposed or apparent loopholes in scriptural statements.
uparamaḥ (uparatiḥ)A calm, steady, quiet mind that, due to being disciplined through śamaḥ and damaḥ, no longer turns habitually or mechanically to outer sensory involvement. The thoughts, feelings and impulses that would previously distract one from staying with what 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.
upāsakaḥ Meditator (one who dwells upon the Lord, upon Īśvaraḥ); contemplator (one who dwells upon one's own real nature).
upasamhāraḥ Summing up; conclusion.
upāsanamMeditating or dwelling upon in homage or worship, or in the seeking of knowledge of one's own self. A formal definition for upāsanam is saguṇa-brahma-viṣaya-mānasa-vyāpāraḥ a mental activity whose object is saguṇa-brahma. Upāsanam takes care of malam 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 malam and vikṣepaḥ) to hear the teaching properly. Then, during śravanam, the teaching may be better understood.
The ten major or principal Upaniṣad
s (so-named because Ādi-Śaṅkara-Bhagavatpādaḥ
wrote commentaries, bhāṣyam
s, on them) are: Aitareya, Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Chāndogya, Īśāvāsya, Kaṭha, Kena, Māṇḍūkya, Muṇḍaka, Praśna, Taittirīya.
Yad bhāvaḥ tad bhavati – One becomes what one meditates upon.
upāyaḥ Means; method; remedy; plan; upāyaḥ covers both primary and secondary means, it covers everything necessary. See upeya.
upekṣā Disregard; indifference; abandonment.
upeya Having attainability; capable of being attained.
ūrṇanābhiḥ Spider – an example of an entity being both the material cause, upādāna-kāraṇam, and efficient cause, nimitta-kāraṇam, in this case of its web; ūrṇam (thread), nābhiḥ (stomach), 'one who has thread in the stomach'.
utkrāntiḥ 'Proceeding up'; passing away; dying; departure of the soul from the body.
utkṛṣṭa Exalted; superior; eminent.
utpattiḥProduction, (utpādyam) 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.
utsavaḥ Festival; celebration; ceremony.
uttama Highest; best; most exalted; greatest; ultimate; most profound.
uttara Later; following; subsequent; northern.
vācikam karmaOral action; any oral activity; action of speaking, chanting.
vācyārthaḥLiteral meaning of word(s); see lakṣyārthaḥ, mukhyārthaḥ, vyaṅgyārthaḥ.
vādaḥ Speech; discourse; statement; thesis; proposition; doctrine; discussion. See:
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 mantra
s 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
vaidika Vedic; an entity or person (vaidikaḥ) dedicated to, or related to, or of the Vedaḥ.
vaidyaḥ Doctor; physician. Bhagavān is the real and ultimate vaidyaḥ, the grace of whose knowledge alone cures bhavarogaḥ, the disease of saṃsāraḥ.
vaikharīFourth and final stage of the manifestation of speech or sound: when the power that is parā reaches the power centre (cakram) called viśuddhiḥ (at the throat) it assumes a final spoken word form, vaikharī, and articulated sound emerges from the mouth – also see parā, paśyantī, madhyama.
vairāgyam(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 and hereafter.
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
Passion here refers to the passions of attachment and aversion or the impulses of likes and dislikes. Wherever there is attachment there will be dveṣaḥ
, aversion. Both are forms of desire, which is born of adhyāsaḥ,
mistaken perception 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 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.
vaiśamya-avasthā State of 'unuven-ness or disproportion' in which the equilibrium of the three guṇas is disturbed; a state opposite to śamya-avasthā, in which they are in equilibrium.
vaiṣamya-nairghṛṇya-doṣaḥ 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.
vaiśeṣikaḥ A philosophy or school of thought (founded by Kaṇādaḥ) with its own metaphysics, epistemology, logic, etc., that is at variance with Vedāntaḥ in some respects. For example, 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.
vaiṣṇava Relating or belonging or devoted or consecrated to Lord Viṣṇuḥ
vaiśvānaraḥ Omnipresent; all-pervasive. The entire gross manifestation, experienced in the waking state (jāgrad-avasthā) and looked upon as a manifestation of the knowledge that is the Lord, is known as Vaiśvānaraḥ or Virāt (the words are synonyms). The individual or vyaṣṭiḥ aspect of Virād-īśvaraḥ is viśvaḥ, namely ātmā associated with an individual body-mind-sense complex in the waking state. (Vaiśvānaraḥ is also the deity of the digestive fire and of the Sun and sunlight, and also a name for mankind as a collective whole.) See antaryāmī, Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, Virāṭ.
vaiśyaḥ A person born into the third varṇaḥ – a businessman, trader, farmer, accountant, etc.; also see brāhmaṇaḥ, priest; kṣatriyaḥ, soldier; śūdraḥ, labourer.
vāk Speech, i.e. the power or faculty of speech. Speech should be non-agitating, true, pleasing and beneficial (Gītā 17.15).
vāksiddhiḥ Perfection in speech, in which whatever is spoken turns out to be true; result of observance of truthfulness.
vākyam Sentence; statement.
vākyārthaḥ The meaning of a sentence or statement. This meaning is not necessarily the direct or literal meaning. The speaker or writer's clearly implied or intended meaning should be the meaning taken.
vallī Chapter; section.
vālmīkī Author of the Rāmāyaṇam.
vanam Forest; woods.
vānaprasthaḥ Third of the four āśramas of Vedic life – retirement to the forest (figuratively), which means withdrawal from the participation and engagement that is usual in gṛhasthaḥ and entry into a quieter, more reflective period of life, spending time in upāsanam in preparation for sannyāsaḥ. See brahmacaryam, studentship; gṛhasthaḥ, householder; sannyāsaḥ, renunciation.
vandanam Worship; praise; salutation; reverence.
vandhyā Barren; fruitless; unproductive (said of biologically faulty women, plants, female animals).
vandhyā putraḥ Son of a barren woman – a famous example of tuccham, non-existence, something that never can exist.
varaḥ Boon; reward; blessing.
varaṇam 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 what 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.
varcaḥ (varcas)Brilliance; lustre.
vareṇyam Exalted; supreme; praiseworthy; incomparably great; worthy of worship.
variṣṭha Best; most exalted.
varjita Devoid of (dvaita-varjita, devoid of duality).
varṇaḥCharacteristic by which something is described; nature; outward appearance; cover; colour; species; class; tribe; letter; alphabet; sound; syllable.
varṇāśramaḥClass of people; caste; see brāhmaṇaḥ, priest; kṣatriyaḥ, soldier; vaiśyaḥ, businessman; śūdraḥ, labourer. See āśrama-dharmaḥ.
vartamāna Turning; moving; existing.
vartamāna-kālaḥThe present time; the present; (gram.) present tense; see kālaḥ, bhūta-kālaḥ, bhaviṣyat-kālaḥ.
vārtikam Independent exposition, in verse, of a bhāṣyam (a commentary) – not an exposition of the original text. A vārtikam is not a ṭīkā because it either goes beyond the bhāṣyam or it is a further explanation of the bhāṣyam.
varuṇaḥ Presiding deity of water.
vāsaḥ Home; house; residence; (nivāsaḥ, absolute abode).
vāsanāWhatever 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 vāsanā in the subtle body, in the subconscious. These ever-unseen (adṛṣṭa), subtle impressions, inclinations and influences, developed previously, take form as memories and involuntary thoughts or responses that induce a person to initiate or avoid actions or experiences, or to seek or prevent their repetition. Physical, mental and oral actions spring from and in turn influence a person's refinement of being, saṃskāraḥ, for better or worse.
Good vāsanās aid spiritual progress while bad ones are antithetical to it. A bad vāsanā can be rendered impotent by assiduously cultivating a vāsanā of the opposite kind. So a spiritual aspirant should neutralise the impure vāsanās that plague him by developing appropriate pure vāsanās.
vasiṣṭhaḥ Name of a great and famous sage of legendary wisdom; preceptor of Lord Rāmaḥ and owner of Nandinī (Kāmadhenuḥ) the wish-fulfilling cow of plenty.
vastram Cloth; clothes; garment; dress; cover.
vastu That which exists; reality itself and hence the very existence of whatever nāma-rūpam manifests from it. "The vastu alone is free; nothing else in saṃsāraḥ is free."*
vāsudevaḥ A name of Kṛṣṇaḥ; son of Vasudevaḥ.
vaṭa-vṛkṣaḥ Banyan tree.
vāyuḥGod of wind; the element Air; subtle aspect of touch; appreciable through sound and touch; also see pāñcabhautikam the five-element model of the universe – ākāśaḥ, space; vāyuḥ, air; agniḥ, fire; āpaḥ, waters; pṛthivī, earth.
vedaḥRevealed knowledge in a sacred, ancient 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.
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
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. What is revealed by the Vedaḥ is not a matter for belief. Being a pramāṇam, it is universal.
vedāṅgaḥTexts of six auxiliary sciences required for understanding the Vedaḥ, namely:
was compiled into four texts: Ṛgvedaḥ, Sāmavedaḥ, Yajurvedaḥ, Atharvavedaḥ
by the mahāmuniḥ
(great sage) known as Veda-vyāsaḥ
vedāntaḥEnd, 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.
, the ultimate and primary means to mokṣaḥ
. Discovery of absolute reality is discovery of Vedāntaḥ
, being not subject to negation, is not a philosophy, not a school of thought, not a system of ideas, not a set of contentions. It is a means of knowledge, a pramāṇam,
for a vision of reality that has to be understood rather than believed.
Vedāntaḥ, by not replacing one set of notions with another, but by showing the error in mistaken ones, reveals the non-dual nature of reality. Hence, the term Advaita Vedāntaḥ is a tautology.
Vedāntaḥ is 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.
veśaḥ Dwelling; entrance; house.
vibhu All-pervasive (by being the invariable reality of all); not spatially limited; powerful.
vibhūtiḥ A manifest exression of the glory and greatness of Īśvaraḥ, e.g. a flower, a tree, a painting, music, etc.; all that is manifest is an expression of the glory and greatness of the Lord.
vicāraḥEnquiry; investigation into the reality of oneself and the world, chiefly by śravaṇam, etc., of the scriptures with the help of a competent ācāryaḥ.
vicāraṇīya Must be investigated; should be enquired into; must be considered; to be deliberated upon.
vicetasaḥ One lacking discriminate understanding; unthinking person; unintelligent; someone unable to discern what is proper or improper and so unable to learn from his/her experiences in life.
videhaḥ Free from the body; dead; (sadehaḥ, embodied, alive).
videhamuktiḥ 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.
vidhiḥ Rule; law; order; stipulation; mandate; injunction; duty.
vidhi-vākyam 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.
vidvān Scholar; learned person; wise person.
vidyā Knowledge; it is two-fold: parā-vidyā and aparā-vidyā.
vidyamāna Prevailing; prevalent (as); obtaining (as); be in force (as); hold good; being found (as); existent; present.
vighnaḥ Obstacle; impediment; hindrance.
vihita-karma 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 what 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.
vijātīya Of a different species; unlike.
vijaya Absolute victory.
vijñānam Pure knowledge; truth itself; pure intelligence; assimilated knowledge; secular knowledge.
vijñānamaya-kośaḥThe kośaḥ consisting of the intellect, buddhiḥ, together with the five powers of perception, jñānendriyāṇi (hearing, touching, seeing, tasting, smelling). It is pervaded by the ānandamaya-kośaḥ. The vijñānamaya-ātmā (ātmā identified with the vijñānamaya-kośaḥ) pervades and identifies with the manomaya-kośaḥ and hence the lowest two as well.
Some erroneously think that mokṣaḥ
is inevitable after death, but if one does not see that one is the paramātmā
before death, it is another birth that is inevitable!
, 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) and by making use of the prāṇamaya-kośaḥ
becomes the doer, kartā,
as well (I achieved that, I am guilty of that, etc.). Everything else in the mind (including the world) is looked upon as 'this', idaṃ-vṛttiḥ,
vijñānātmanā The one knower in all intellects. It is non-different from Brahman.
vijñeyam That which is to be (should be) known – implies ātmā.
vikalpaḥ Doubt; alternative idea or option; imagination; division.
vikāraḥ Change; transformation; alteration; effect; product; malady.
vikriyā Transformation; modification; change for the worse.
vikṛtiḥModification, (vikāryam) 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.
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.
vikṣepaḥThe 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.
vikṣepa-śaktiḥRajas, 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).
vikṣipta Distracted, scattered (attention); unfocused (thought); bewildered (mind) – all caused by vikṣepa-śaktiḥ.
vilakṣaṇa Distinct; distinguished (from).
vimocanam Liberation; deliverance; release; unharnessing.
vināśaḥ Destruction; annihilation.
viparināmaḥ Modification; change; morphing; alteration; transformation; ripening; maturing; see bhāva-vikāraḥ.
viparīta Contrary; perverse; wrong; false; erroneous; the very opposite of the truth.
viparīta-bhāvanāHabit-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) that 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.
vipaścit Learned; wise; one who sees clearly; person of right perception.
vipraḥ One who, through study of the śāstram and strict adherence to dharmaḥ (having learnt its value) becomes relatively mature, is known as a vipraḥ, a learned person.
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
virāga (adj.) Passionless; objective; dispassionate; free from attachment (as a noun, it's masc. of vairāgyam).
virāṭ The one who shines in varied forms, with their names. The entire gross, perceptible universe, experienced in the waking state – and looked upon as a manifestation of the knowledge that is Brahman – is known as Virāṭ. In religious or purānic language Virāṭ is known as Viṣṇuḥ. Virāṭ and Vaiśvānaraḥ are synonyms. See antaryāmī, Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ, Vaiśvānaraḥ.
vīryam Strength; capacity; power. The capacity to create, sustain and resolve the jagat. See bhagaḥ.
visargaḥ Setting forth; letting go; voiding; dismissal; removal; discarding; action of offering during a fire ritual.
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
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
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 (aha), hariḥ (ihi), guruḥ (uhu).
viṣayaḥAny 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 alone what is perceived of any object.
viṣaya-dhyānam Thinking of an object. Objects are dwelt upon because they are liked. Liking leads to manorājyam, emotional dependence upon the world for one's happiness and security, in which desire is inevitable. When the expectation in a desire is frustrated, anger arises and with it the incapacity to discriminate true from false, appropriate from inappropriate. Anger is a state of delusion in which memory of what has been learnt to be appropriate or inappropriate is no longer available. Impulse displaces discrimination, leading to destruction (loss and decline). (See 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.
viṣaya-doṣaḥ The limitations of objects (being inert, objects cannot bring happiness, and anyway happiness is one's svarūpam). See doṣaḥ, pratyavāya-doṣaḥ and vaiṣamya-nairghṛṇya-doṣaḥ.
viśeṣaḥ Attribute; distinguishing quality; peculiarity; that which is particular to.
viśeṣa-dharmaḥ Particular or individually applicable dharmaḥ; universal dharmaḥ as it is applicable in this particular or specific situation now; correct interpretation and application of universal or sāmānya-dharmaḥ in a particular context. See sāmānya-dharmaḥ and dharmaḥ.
viśeṣa-jñānam Awareness of variety. Consciousness appears varied and variable (but only) because of association with varied thoughts. See śuddha-caitanyam.
viśeṣaṇam Adjective; that which qualifies a word; that which distinguishes an object (a noun) by negating other objects.
viśeṣaṇa-viśeṣya-bhāva-sambandhaḥ 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 in the past and the meaning of the word ‘this’ is Devadatta existing 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, consciousness. See sāmānādhikaraṇyam and lakṣya-lakṣaṇa-bhāvaḥ.
viśeṣyam 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 recipient of named, distinguishing attributes); that which is subject to being distinguished (vyāvartya) from other items or phenomena by an adjective, viśeṣaṇam.
viśiṣṭa Qualified (by); distinguished (by); the attributed (that which has attributes).
viśiṣṭādvaitam 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.
viṣṇuḥĪśvaraḥ, the Lord, as the all-pervasive reality sustaining the universe; see Brahmā, Śivaḥ, Virāṭ.
vistāraḥ Manifestation; expansion; projection; elaboration; ennumeration; becoming large or great. The universe is a manifestation, projection or expansion of consciousness.
viśvaḥA complete, manifest jīvaḥ. A term for 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. Note that for a jīvaḥ to be identified with the gross body there must be identification with and use of the subtle and causal bodies too, hence the use of the term "a complete, manifest jīvaḥ". The corresponding universal or samaṣṭiḥ term is Virāṭ. See prājñaḥ, taijasaḥ.
viśvamAll; all-pervading; whole; entire; universal; omni-present; that which is constituted of innumerable forms, names and functions; synonym for the jagat (which is mithyā); also an epithet for Viṣṇuḥ (and hence for Īśvaraḥ).
viśvarūpaḥThe Lord, Īśvaraḥ, in the form, rūpam, of the 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.
viśvāsaḥ Trust; faith; belief; reliance.
vitaṇḍa-vādaḥ 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.
vītarāgaḥFree from attachment; free from the hold of likes and dislikes; not dependent on the world for one's happiness.
vittam An acquisition; a gain; property; wealth; power.
vivakṣā Intended meaning; that which the speaker/writer wishes to express or hopes to communicate; see grahaṇam.
vivaraṇam An explanation, a scriptural elucidation within Vedāntaḥ that, since the ātmā is ever-experienced, śravanam, hearing, is sufficient for its full ascertainment as it provides aparokṣa-jñānam, immediate knowledge in a suitably prepared hearer. Both mananam and nididhyāsanam of course have their place, but the emphasis is on śravanam. Not only Pujya Swami Dayanandaji (Arsha Vidya) and his disciples follow the vivaraṇam view, it is also confirmed numerous times by Ādi-Śaṅkaraḥ in his many commentaries. See bhāmatī.
vivartaḥ Apparent change of one object or material into another while retaining its original nature; alteration; transformation. For example, water appears to take the form of a wave while retaining its original nature of being H2O. See upādāna-kāraṇam, pariṇāmaḥ.
vivarta-upādāna-kāraṇamMaterial cause in which there is an apparent change of one object or material into another without any change in the nature of the original item itself; alteration; transformation; for example, water appears to take the form of a wave while retaining its original nature of being H2O; see upādāna-kāraṇam, pariṇāma-upādāna-kāraṇam.
vivekaḥDiscriminative knowledge or understanding that the timeless, infinite vastu is one and all else is time-bound, finite. This is the first and foremost of the qualifications required for self-knowledge. There are two types of vivekaḥ needed in life: discrimination between what is real and unreal, and discrimination between what is to be done and not done. These two constitute jñānam. See sādhana-catuṣṭayam.
vivikta Secluded; solitary; isolated; separated.
vivikta-deśaḥ A quiet, undisturbed place that is by nature free from causes for fear; one who tends to go there is called a vivikta-deśa-sevitvī and his state of mind is vivikta-deśa-sevitvam, a state in which solitude is not just valued but, due to emotional independence, is also found comfortable and free from feelings of loneliness and lack.
vratam A solemn vow carried out under strict rules on food, sleep, etc., usually to attain greater self-control or to expiate sins.
vṛddhiḥ Growth; increase; success.
vṛttiḥThought; conduct; mode of being; behaviour; disposition; commentary (vartikam).
It is often thought that satyam, jñānam, anantam
are merely adjectives of Brahman,
but that is not true. They are not svarūpa-viśeṣaṇa
s, ordinary adjectives that reveal attributes, they are lakṣaṇa-viśeṣana
s, 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, viśeṣa
s, and is limited). See viśeṣyam
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 vṛtti
s or pratyaya
s, that are momentary (changing very rapidly like a succession of frames in a movie camera) and relevant to that object. The vṛttiḥ
pervades the data presented to the mind by the senses and becomes the very form of it (a process called vṛtti-vyāptiḥ)
like water taking the form of a wave or clay of a pot. Only that vṛttiḥ
is seen in the mind, so if the external object is a rope and the vṛttiḥ
is a snake, what is seen is that snake, not the rope. The sensory data is interpreted by the mind (manas)
as a vṛttiḥ
that is presented to the buddhiḥ
for cognition and decision. That interpretation will be influenced by memory and hence by habit, prejudice, preconception, like, dislike, etc.
Consciousness pervades 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.
The mind is nothing but transitory vṛttis that need to be individually and successively 'lit' by consciousness for perception to happen.
vṛtti-jñānamKnowledge manifest in the mind as a thought.
vṛtti-viśeṣaḥA particular, limited state of mind; a mental modification.
vṛtti-vyāptiḥA 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 thought 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, what is perceived is a snake. See the second step: phala-vyāptiḥ.
vyabhicāraḥ Inconsistence; ever changeable; deviation; subject to arrival and departure; a contradiction; fallacious or erroneous reasoning.
vyāhṛtiḥSacred utterance; a term for any of the sacred utterances (always preceded by om) namely bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ, mahaḥ, janaḥ, tapaḥ, satyam. See gāyatrī-mantraḥ.
vyākaraṇamSanskrit grammar; one of the six auxiliary sciences, Vedāṅgas, of the Vedas – also see śikṣā, chandas, niruktam, jyotiṣaḥ, kalpaḥ.
vyākhyānam Exposition or commentary on a text that is not a śrutiḥ text.
vyakta Manifest; (vyaktiḥ, manifestation; appearance; perceptibility; being available for experience).
vyānaḥName attributed to the vital air governing the circulatory system in the body – an aspect of prāṇaḥ; also see apānaḥ, elimination; samānaḥ, digestion; udānaḥ, upward breath.
vyaṅgyārthaḥ The suggested or implied sense or meaning; the meaning 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.
vyañjanamA 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.
s into five kinds: pramāṇam,
a means of (correct) knowledge; viparyayaḥ,
incorrect knowledge; vikalpaḥ,
doubt or imagination; nidrā,
sleep; and smṛtiḥ,
vyāptiḥ Pervasiveness; inherent, inseparable presence.
vyāpti-jñānam 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.
vyāsaḥCompiler; the great saint known as Veda-Vyāsaḥ (also known as Bādarāyaṇa) 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.
vyaṣṭiḥIndividual; microcosmic being (N.B. there is no vyaṣṭiḥ without samaṣṭiḥ, no ocean wave without an ocean, no gold ornament without gold); see samaṣṭiḥ.
vyatirekaḥ Contrast – implies vyāvṛttiḥ, discontinuance; removal; cessation; exclusion; see anvayaḥ.
vyatiriktaḥ Distinct; separate.
vyavahāraḥ Transaction; vyāvahārika, transactional.
vyāvahārika-satyam Phenomenal, experiential, transactional, empirical, ephemeral reality, namely the (mithyā) universe (the Īśvara-sṛṣṭiḥ) and all that is in it, including its laws, its means and ends, and also one's body, mind and senses. See pāramārthika-satyam, prātibhāsika-satyam.
vyāvarttakam That which distinguishes something from everything else.
vyavasāyaḥ Resolution; decision; settled determination; being definite.
vyomā (vyoman)Space in the heart, hṛdayam, in which the mind is figuratively said to abide.
yajamānaḥ Worshipper; performer of a ritual; the one to whom goes the benefit of the ritual.
yajñaḥVedic form of worship; fire ritual; worship in general. Synonyms of yajñaḥ are yāgaḥ, kratuḥ, homaḥ, all of which are fire rituals in which oblations are offered.
Note that 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 'wedaha' – an 'e' in IAST always means the vowel sound in came, plane, etc. – and although the word swami is often written with a 'w', the correct IAST transliteration is svāmī,
pronounced phonetically as 'swaamee' (not 'swaami').
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.
yakṣaḥ A mysterious, divine appearance (ref. Kena Upaniṣad, Ch. 3 & 4).
yamaḥ Set of five prohibitions in aṣṭāṅga-yogaḥ, namely:
There are 18 time-bound factors (four priests for each of the four Veda
s, the yajamānaḥ
and his patnī,
wife) involved in performing any ritual in which mantra
s from all the Veda
s are used. Note that no timebound action (such as a ritual), no matter how meritorious, can produce a timeless result and so cannot produce the limitlessness that is mokṣaḥ
. Nāsti akṛtaḥ kṛtena,
the uncreated cannot be created (the limitless cannot be gained by limited action).
yaśaḥ (yaśas) Fame; renown; glory. See bhagaḥ.
yatiḥ One of proper, adequate and appropriate effort; a sannyāsī.
yogaḥ Joining; absolute knowledge (wisdom); discipline.
or action performed with the proper attitude, in conformity with universal values, that serves as a preparatory discipline for the knowledge that is mokṣaḥ
, is known as karma-yogaḥ
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 karmasu kauśalam Discretion in action is yogaḥ. "Kauśalam is your capacity to interpret correctly. This capacity to interpret with reference to norms for human interaction is discretion, the proper exercise of which is an expertise. The norm for human interaction is called dharmaḥ and the opposite is called adharmaḥ. Dharmaḥ and adharmaḥ form the standard norms. They are not absolutes in that they have to be interpreted according to the given situation. The person who can interpret them properly is called kuśala, skilful, competent, expert. Dharmaḥ and adharmaḥ are not to be interpreted according to convenience, but must be in line with what is proper. Proper interpretation of dharmaḥ is what is meant by kauśalam. Kauśalam is yogaḥ because you are not in the hands of your rāga-dvesas when you exercise discretion in your choice of action."* See Gītā 2.50 and also karma-yogaḥ.
yogārūḍha One who is adequately disciplined and mentally prepared for the pursuit of knowledge having gone through the discipline of karma-yogaḥ. An ethical and religious person committed to and prepared for the spiritual pursuit.
yoniḥ Womb; cause; (any) place of origin.
yugamAstronomical time period; see caturyugam, manvantaram, kalpaḥ.
yukta Integrated with; endowed with; engaged in; united with; yuktaḥ, person of integrated personality, person of integrity.
yuktiḥ Reasoning; logic. Ātmā is differentiated from anātmā by śruti-pramāṇam (specifically Vedānta-vicāraḥ) supported by yukti-pramāṇam, use of reason or logic. Mere logic lacks finality, but logic that has scripture as its basis is decisive and deserves to be resorted to.
*His Holiness Parama Pujya Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1930-2015)
also has a worldly meaning: the gaining of the not yet gained (see kṣemaḥ)
na nirodho na cotpattirna baddho na ca sādhakaḥ |
na mumukṣurna vai mukta ityeṣā paramārthatā ||32||
There is no dissolution, no birth, none bound; none aspiring for wisdom, no seeker of liberation, and indeed none liberated! This is the absolute truth.
Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad, Gaudapāda kārikā, 2.32