author: Vladimir Iatsenko
last revision: June 22, 2015
abhidharma, (Sanskrit), ‘abhidhamma’ (Pali), the Buddhist philosophy.
abhva, nescience, non-being; usually translated as ‘terrible’, ‘monstrous’ etc.
ācārya, a teacher, a spiritual guide who knows what to do and how to proceed, from ācāra, ‘practice’.
adbhuta, transcendental, beyond being/becoming, ‘wonderful’.
adharma, that which is not upholding existence, a-dharma, or not in accordance with dharma (see ‘dharma’).
ādhibhautika, belonging to the five elements, elemental.
ādhidaivika, belonging to the gods, or faculties of consciousness known as ‘annam prāṇam cakṣuḥ śrotraṃ mano vācam’ (TaitUp 3.2); see also KeUp 1.1-9 etc.
ādhyātmika, belonging to the Self; in epistemology of consciousness, psychological.
aditi, infinite Consciousness, the divine Mother, the mother of the godheads named Ādityas; in the later philosophical language she is known as parā prakṛti (Gītā etc.).
āditya-gaṇa, the group of solar deities, children of Aditi: Varuṇa, Mitra, Aryaman, Bhaga, Dakṣa, Aṃśa, Sūrya or Savitṛ; later there were mentioned a few more: Indra, Viṣṇu, Dhātṛ etc., the number of which grows up to 12 in the later literature of Brāhmaṇas symbolising the Sun in the 12 months of the year (ŚBr 220.127.116.11 etc.).
āditya, a solar deity, a child of the Infinity, Aditi; there are seven original Ādityas mentioned in the Veda (see ‘āditya-gaṇa’); in the later literature it is used as the name of the Sun.
ādityas, see ‘āditya-gaṇa’.
advaita, non-dualistic, unique, monistic, identity of spirit and matter.
āgama, a tradition handed down; Tantra of the Śaiva and Śākta traditions.
agni, a sacrificial fire; universal godhead growing within the creation, incarnating and manifesting the gods.
ahambhāva, see ‘ahaṃkāra’, ego-sense; lit. ‘saying or making “I”’; conception of one’s individuality, self-consciousness (ChaUp etc.); the making of self, thinking of self, egotism (MBh etc.); the third of the eight sources of creation; the conception of individuality, individualization (in Sāṁkhya phil.).
aitareya, prop. name of ṛṣi; son of Itarā, he is known as Mahīdāsa Aitareya, the author of the Ṛg Vedic tradition of Aitareya Brāhmaṇa, Āraṇyaka and Upaniṣad.
ājñā, a command, an order; the fifth cakra in sūkṣma śarīra, subtle body, located in-between the eye brows, the cakra of will power, known as the third eye.
ājñāna, one of the four major faculties of consciousness, the operation by which consciousness dwells on an image of things so as to hold, govern and possess it in power (see ‘prajñāna’).
akṣara, ‘imperishable’, sound or syllable AUM. In the eighth chapter of the Gītā: akṣara and kṣara puruṣa: imperishable and perishable spirit.
amṛta, immortal, immortality, the nectar of immortality.
aṃśa, N. of one of the seven Ādityas; lit. ‘a portion of the divine’; a soul created for the sake of manifestation on the Supramental plane.
anāhata, lit. ‘unbeaten’, the fourth cakra in the heart centre of the sūkṣma śarīra, subtle body.
ānanda, bliss, the transcendental Bliss as a part and result of relation of sat and cit, divine Being and Consciousness.
anātman, not self, another, ‘having no self’, ‘something different from spirit or soul’.
annamaya, material, lit. ‘made of matter’.
annamayapuruṣa, ‘self of material body’, puruṣa made out of matter (TaitUp 2).
antaḥkaraṇa, the internal organ, the seat of thought and feeling, the mind, the thinking faculty, the heart, the conscience, the soul.
antarātman, the inner self, the psychic being (SA), the soul, the internal feelings, the heart or mind (MaitrS etc.).
antarikṣa, the space between heaven and earth; the internal space of life, vital plane of consciousness.
apāna, the breathing out; one of the five major prāṇas, the lower breath located in the navel and connected with mṛtyu, death; it is by apāna that ātman could come into material body, by death it could stay in the material form (AitUp 1.3); in the later literature it is located in the anus.
aparā, lit. ‘not higher’, ‘lower’ nature.
artha, aim, purpose, meaning, reason, object, thing, wealth etc.
aryaman, one of the seven Ādityas, always mentioned together with Mitra and Varuṇa; the light of the divine Consciousness working as Force (SA).
āsana, lit. ‘sitting’; sitting in a particular posture (eighty-four postures are mentioned, such as: padmāsana, bhadrāsana, vajrāsana, vīrāsana, svastikāsana etc.).
asmitā, lit. ‘I-ness’, egoism.
āśrama, a hermitage, a place in the forest for ascetics and sages to live; four major periods in the life of a Brahmin: brahmacārin, ‘the student of the Veda’; gṛhastha, ‘the household’; vānaprastha, ‘living in the woods’; sannyāsin, ‘the ascetic’.
aṣtāṅga, consisting of eight parts; the Yoga-sūtra of Patañjali is sometimes called ‘aṣtāṅgayoga’.
asura, lit. ‘asu-ra’, ‘having power of being’; asu is a power of existence. In the Veda the great godheads, such as Varuṇa, Mitra, Aryaman, Agni, Indra etc., are called Asuras. They have their own power of existence. In the later literature this power to endure was assigned to the spirits of the lower hemisphere only, to the demons and the whole interpretation of the word has changed into a-sura, lit. ‘no light’. In the Purāṇas, Asuras are the elder brothers of the gods and are in constant battle with them. Asuras belong to the first stage of creation, the fall of the Spirit, and therefore are older and stronger than gods in the field of manifestation. Gods belong to the second stage of creation, who came down to upraise the fallen spirits.
asūyā, envy, jealousy.
aśvins, aśvinā du., lit. ‘two charioteers’, two gods, who come in a golden chariot in the sky before dawn; they bring treasures and cure illnesses; they are known as the physicians of heaven (RV).
ātma-bhāva, lit. ‘becoming of the Self’; existence of the soul (ŚvetUp); (in Buddhism) the self, proper or peculiar nature; the body.
ātmabodha, lit. ‘knowledge of the Self’; the work of Śrī Śaṅkarācārya.
ātman, the self; the soul, the principle of life; used often as the word ‘self’ is used in English; distinguished from and one with Brahman, universal Spirit. When Brahman becomes self-aware it is distinguished as ātman. Ātman has three major poises: 1) Paramātman, the supreme universal Self, 2) Ātman, the supreme individualised Self, unborn and everpresent and 3) Antarātman, the individual soul involved in manifestation, the evolving Psychic Being (SA).
avatāra, lit. ‘descending down’, incarnation of a deity on earth; 10 avatāras of Viṣṇu are well-known.
avidyā, lit. ‘not knowing’, ‘not finding’, searching but not finding; partial knowledge as compared to vidyā, ‘full knowledge’; ignorance; partial knowledge in time and space (ĪśUp 9-11).
avyakta, lit. ‘unmanifest’; in Sāṁkhya philosophy ‘the unevolved (Evolver of all things)’, the primary germ of nature, primordial element or productive principle whence all the phenomena of the material world come into being (KaṭhUp, Sāṁkhyak etc.).
āyu, living being, a group of living beings (mankind); a life force.
āyurveda, the science of health or medicine (it is classed among sacred sciences, and considered as a supplement of the Atharva-veda).
bhaga-vat, Nom. ‘bhagavān’; lit. ‘the Possessor or the Lord of Bliss’, usually translated as ‘Blissful Lord’, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu etc.
bhaga, a Bliss; from the root bhaj, ‘to share the enjoyment’; one of the seven Ādityas; a solar deity, a godhead representing bliss in the Veda.
bhagavad-gītā, lit. ‘The Song of the Blissful Lord (Kṛṣṇa)’.
bhāgavata, lit. ‘about the Blissful Lord (Kṛṣṇa)’; N. of one of the major Purāṇas.
bhakta, lit. ‘shared’, or ‘whose joy is shared’, implying ‘with the Lord’; a devotee.
bhakti, lit. ‘sharing’, implying ‘joy with the Lord’; devotion, devotional love.
bhaktiyoga, ‘the yoga or union with the Divine through love and devotion’.
bharadvāja, N. of a ṛṣi; in the Ṛg Veda he is the author of the sixth book.
bhāva, lit. ‘a state of being’; can be any state of emotion, feeling etc., in the later literature means mainly the emotion.
bhoga, ‘enjoyment’, from the root bhuj, to enjoy.
bhoktā, ‘the enjoyer’; phil. the one who partakes of all the happenings, sacrifices or offerings (see ‘adhiyajña’ in the Gītā).
bhū, ‘earth’, lit. ‘a level of being/becoming’.
bhūmīḥ, ‘earths’; tisro bhūmīḥ, ‘three earths’ are supporting the three spaces, trī rajāṃsi, which support the three heavens, tisro dyāvaḥ, which are projected from the three luminous worlds of Svar, trī rocanā, which are the product of the triple power of the Supermind, tri aryamā (RV 5.29.1).
bhūta, lit. ‘that which has become’, ppp from root bhū, to become, to be; ‘the past’, ‘creature which is born on earth’; an element, there are five great elements, pañca mahābhūtāni, known as ether, air, fire, water, earth: ākāśa, vāyu, agni, āpaḥ, pṛthivī (TaitUp 2.1); a spirit (good or evil), the ghost of a deceased person, a demon etc. (Up, Mn etc.); see also ‘ādhibhautika’.
bodhisattva, m. ‘one whose being is awakened’, one who is on the way to the attainment of perfect knowledge (i.e. a Buddhist saint when he has only one birth to undergo before obtaining the state of a supreme Buddha and then Nirvāṇa). The early doctrine had only one bodhi-sattva, viz. Maitreya; the later reckoned many more.
brahmā, Nom. from brahman m.; lit. ‘the speaker of brahma, a mantra’; a priest in the sacrificial ceremonies; ‘a creator’ known in the later literature as Prajāpati; in the Purāṇas he is spoken of as part of the divine Trinity of Brahmā-Viṣṇu-Śiva, Creator-Preserver-Destroyer.
brahma, Nom. from brahman n.; Veda, lit. ‘expanding one’, a mantra rising from the heart, the lord of which is Brahmaṇaspati, the Guru of the gods in the Veda. In the later literature Brahma is the all-embracing Spirit.
brāhmaṇa, n. Brahmanic literature (Aitareya Brāhmaṇa, Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa, Kauṣitaki Brāhmaṇa etc.); m. a person in the varṇa of brāhmaṇa, Brahmin.
brahmāsmi, one of the mahāvākya of the Upaniṣads: ‘I am Brahman’.
bṛhadāraṇyaka, N. of Upaniṣad, which is a part of Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa of Śukla Yajurveda.
buddhi, f. reason, intellect (Mn, MBh etc.); comprehension, apprehension, understanding. The second tattva of 25 tattvas of Sāṁkhya philosophy; the higher mind as distinguished from the sense-mind, manas.
caitanya, lit. ‘conscious’; soul, spirit; N. of a reformer of the Vaishnava tradition (1485 AD).
caitya, (fr. cit) the individual soul (BhP iii, 26); the Psychic Being (SA), see ‘antarātman’.
cakra, wheel, discus; there are seven cakras in the sūkṣma śarīra, these are sahasrāra, ājñā, viśuddha, anāhata, maṇipūra, svādhiṣṭhāna, mūlādhāra.
carakasaṃhitā, Caraka’s book on medicine.
cārvāka, N. of a materialistic philosopher (whose doctrines are embodied in the Bārhaspatya-sūtras).
cetana, percipient, conscious, sentient, intelligent; soul, mind; (ā) f. consciousness, understanding, sense, intelligence.
chāndogya, doctrine of the chando-gas, ‘the singers in meters’; a Brāhmaṇa of the Sāma Veda (incl. the ChaUp).
cikitsā, medical attendance, practice or science of medicine.
cit-śakti, the power of Consciousness or ‘Consciousness-force’.
cit, thought, intellect, spirit, soul; pure Thought; the divine Consciousness.
citta-vṛtti, state of mind, feeling, emotion; continuous course of thoughts (opposed to concentration), thinking, imagining.
citta, lit. ‘noticed’, ‘perceived’, ‘realised in consciousness’; the stuff of consciousness realised as memory.
cūḍāmaṇi, lit. ‘a jewel worn by men and women on the top of the head’ (MBh); N. of the work of Śaṅkarācārya.
dakṣa, one of the seven Ādityas; represents the power of Thought, the all-discerning and all-distributing power of the divine Mind (SA).
dakṣiṇa, able, clever; right (not left); south, southern (also N. of a fire on the altar of Agnihotra rite) (RV); a donation, gift (for the priest of the sacrificial ceremony), reward.
darśana, lit. ‘view’; 6 major philosophical systems: Pūrva-Mīmānsā by Jaimini, Uttara-Mīmānsā by Bādarāyaṇa, Nyāya by Gotama, Vaiśeṣika by Kaṇāda, Sāṁkhya by Kapila, Yoga by Patañjali.
dehin, lit. ‘one who has a body’, corporeal, man, a soul.
devās, gods, divine beings; lit. ‘shining beings’ from root div, to shine.
dhairya, intelligence (from root dhī, to think); firmness, steadfastness (from root dhṛ, to hold).
dhammapada, Buddhist treatise on dharma (3rd century BC).
dhāraṇā, lit. ‘holding’, ‘concentrating (mind upon)’; the sixth stage of Patañjali Yoga before dhyāna, ‘meditation’.
dhātu, lit. ‘an establishment or placement’ from root dhā; a basic layer, stratum, constituent part, ingredient; element, such as mahābhūta or a constituent element of the body or primary element of the earth; in gram. a verbal root or stem.
dhī, thought, esp. religious thought, reflection, meditation, devotion, prayer; pl. holy thoughts personified (RV); understanding, intelligence, wisdom; personified as the wife of Rudra-Manyu (BhP).
dhṛti, lit. ‘holding steady’ from the root dhṛ, to hold; steadfastness, steadiness, firmness etc.
dhyāna, meditation, thought, reflection; the seventh stage of Patañjali Yoga before samādhi; (in Buddhism) divided into 4 stages.
diti, lit. ‘dividing’; in the Veda the Creatrix of a lower hemisphere of darkness and division in opposition to Aditi, the infinite Consciousness-Power; in the Epics daughter of Dakṣa and wife of Kaśyapa and mother of the Daityas; the Maruts are also described as her progeny.
dṛṣṭi, from root dṛś, to see; a vision, revelation, direct knowledge.
duḥkha, lit. ‘difficult or spoilt space’; suffering, sorrow, pain.
durgā, lit. ‘the inaccessible or terrific [goddess]’, N. of the daughter of Himavat and wife of Śiva.
dvaita, lit. ‘dualism, duality’.
dveṣa, hatred, dislike.
dyaus, lit. ‘shining one’ from root div, to shine; heaven, sky, in the Vedas the father of all creatures whereas the earth, pṛthivī, is the mother; very often the dvandva is used: dyāvapṛthivī, heaven and earth, indicating the higher and lower hemispheres of the world, many times called as rodasī, ‘two shining ones’; when used in feminine gender they indicate the mental and physical being (SA).
dyāvaḥ, heavens; in the Veda three heavens are mentioned, tisro dyāvaḥ, ‘two are in the world of Savitṛ and one in the world of Yama’ (RV 1.35.6).
ekāgratā, lit. ‘onepointedness’, concentration, the state of absorption.
garbha, the inside; a fetus or embryo, child (RV, AV); hiraṇya-garbha, ‘the golden child’, ‘the golden embryo’, is a symbol of the divinity growing within its own manifestation.
gītā, lit. ‘a song’, ppp of root gai, ‘to sing’; Bhagavad-Gītā, the song of the Blissful Lord (Śri Kṛṣṇa).
gotra, lit. ‘enclosure for the cows’, a family, family name, lineage; all brāhmaṇas are supposed to have a gotra descending from the ancient sages such as Gautama, Kaśyapa, Bharadvāja etc.
gṛhastha, lit. ‘staying home’, a household; the second āśrama in the life of a brāhmaṇa, the period of marriage.
guṇa, a single thread or strand of a cord or rope; a garland, a bow-string; the string of a musical instrument, chord; subdivision, species, kind; a quality; an attribute of the 5 elements; (in Sāṁkhya phil.) three major qualities of prakṛti: sattva, rajas and tamas, i.e. tranquillity, activity and inertia; (in Nyāya phil.) a property or characteristic of all created things.
harṣa, (from root hṛṣ) excitement, erection (esp. of the hair in a thrill of rapture or delight); joy, pleasure, happiness (also personified as a son of dharma).
hāsa, laughter, a joke.
hāsya, lit. ‘laughable’, funny, comical etc.
haṭhayoga, lit. ‘yoga of persistence’.
hetu, a motive, a reason, a course, a manner.
hiraṇya, gold, golden.
hrī, modesty, shyness; also personified as daughter of Dakṣa and wife of Dharma.
icchā, wish, desire.
indra, the Lord of the Divine Mind (SA), who in the Veda with his striking Lightning destroys all the demons: Vṛtra, Vala, Śuṣṇa etc.
indriya, lit. ‘the power of Indra’, cognitive faculty of consciousness, sense: hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell, known in Sāṁkhya as jñānendriyās, the senses of cognition corresponding with five elements: pañca mahābhūtāni: ākāśa, vāyu, agni, āpaḥ, pṛthivī.
īrṣya, envy or jealousy.
īś, master, lord.
īśvara, master, lord, king; the Lord of Creation manifesting himself through his Śakti with no difference between Him and Her (SA).
jāgrat, lit. ‘waking’, a waking state of consciousness; there are also svapna, a sleeping state with dreams, suṣupti, a sleeping state without dreams and the transcendental state of turīya (MāṇḍUp 3-5).
jāti, lit. ‘birth’; position by birth, lineage, cast, family, kind, class, species etc.
jijñāsā, lit. ‘desire to know or realize oneself’.
jijñāsu, lit. ‘one who desires to know or realize oneself’.
jīva, lit. ‘living being’, from root jīv, ‘to live’; the principle of life, the living or personal soul (as distinguished from the universal soul, see ‘jīvātman’); the individual soul involved in manifestation.
jīvātman, the living individual soul, not involved in manifestation but present as witness from above, distinct from the paramātman or universal soul.
jñāna, lit. ‘knowledge’, ‘self-realization’ (SA); there are many types of self-realization of consciousness: saṃjñāna, ājñāna, vijñāna, prajñāna (AitUp 3).
jñānayoga, the yoga of knowledge; the last six chapters of the Gītā.
jñānī, lit. ‘the knower’.
jugupsā, dislike, disgust.
kaivalya, lit. ‘alone-ness’, the state of being alone, where there is no other; absolute unity; detachment of the soul from matter.
kālī, black, of a dark colour, dark-blue; the goddess of utmost power of destruction, most powerful, furious and intolerant goddess, destroying the demons, also the universe and all creatures. The divine Mother in the form of divine Love, most intolerant of falsehood (SA).
kāma, (fr. kam), wish, desire, longing; desire for, longing after (gen. dat., or loc.), love, affection, object of desire or of love or of pleasure; pleasure, enjoyment, love, especially sexual love or sensuality; N. of the god of love (in Purāṇas represented as son of Dharma and husband of Rati). In the yogic literature it is considered to be one of the major enemies of the yogin (BhG etc.) together with krodha, anger, and moha, bewilderment.
kāraṇa, lit. ‘what causes to do’; a cause, reason; motive, origin, principle; an element.
karman, lit. ‘work’; from root kṛ, ‘to do’; duty, occupation; any religious act or rite; labour, activity; product, result, effect etc. In linguistics it is the second kāraka of Accusative case, indicating an object of action. In the Vedic literature it mainly means a ‘sacrificial action’, for the sacrifice in general was seen as the only right action to be performed here in the lower hemisphere, which is to accommodate the higher powers of consciousness (the gods) into the narrow life of Ignorance and thus to transform it into its higher prototype.
karmayoga, yoga of works; the first six chapters of the BhG describe it in great detail; according to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the long forgotten path of the Ancients, where the dynamic way of self-discovery and self-realization was accepted as the most efficient way to reach the Divine. There are three major liberations in karmayoga: 1) freedom from the fruit of action; 2) freedom from attachment to any particular action; and 3) freedom from the notion of the doer.
kartā, lit. ‘a doer’; in linguistics the first kāraka of the Nominative Case.
karuṇa, pity, compassion.
kḷeśa, pain, affliction, distress; (in Yoga) five kleśas: a-vidyā, ‘ignorance’, asmi-tā, ‘egotism’, rāga, ‘desire’, dveṣa, ‘aversion’, and abhiniveśa, ‘tenacity of mundane existence’; (in Buddhism) ten: three of the body (murder, theft, adultery), four of speech (lying, slander, abuse, unprofitable conversation), three of the mind (covetousness, malice, skepticism).
kṣara, lit. ‘perishable’, ‘what is melting away’, in opposition to ‘akṣara’, imperishable. In the Gītā kṣara puruṣa and akṣara puruṣa are mentioned. Kṣara represents the world of becoming where nothing is permanent, whereas akṣara the transcendental world of permanent existence.
kṣetra, lit. ‘a field’, land, county; a field for manifestation of the soul; the body.
kṣetrajña, lit. ‘a knower of the field’, the embodied soul, the indwelling spirit.
kuṇḍalinī, lit. ‘a coiling one’; in Tantra the power hidden in the mūlādhāra cakra coiling in three (or sometimes in three and a half) coils, which, when awakened, rises to the sahasrāra cakra, opening on her way all the cakras in the sūkṣma-śarīra, to meet and to unite with her Lord, Śiva, seated above in sahasrāra cakra. Mahākuṇḍalinī is the mahāśakti which is descending from above (sahasrāra cakra) and opens all the cakras one by one from above (SA).
lakṣaṇa, lit. ‘indication’, characteristic, a mark, sign, symbol, token, attribute, quality; definition, illustration etc.
laukika, lit. ‘belonging to the world’, worldly, common, habitual, not sacred (in opposition to vaidika etc.).
līlā, a play, amusement, ‘child’s play’, pretence, disguise; in the Vaiṣṇava tradition it is the līlā of Kṛṣṇa which creates the world.
liṅga, a mark, characteristic; the male organ or phallus; in ling. ‘gender’; the image of a god, an idol.
loka, lit. ‘shining [space]’; from root ruc, ‘to shine’; in the Veda u-loka or uru-loka, ava-loka, ‘the vast world’ is mentioned; country, world; in the Purāṇas seven lokas are mentioned: bhūrloka, the earth; bhuvarloka, the space between heaven and earth, the sky, inhabited by siddhas; svarloka, the heaven above the Sun and below the Polar Star, Indra’s kingdom; maharloka, the great world above the Polar Star, inhabited by Bhargavas and other ṛṣis; janarloka, the world of Bliss, ānanda; taparloka, the world of Consciousness-Force, tapas; satyaloka, the world of the divine Existence, sat.
lokāyata, (śāstra or mata or tantra) materialism, the system of atheistic philosophy taught by Cārvāka.
madhyamaka, or ‘mādhyamika’ lit. ‘middle’, ‘middlemost’; N. of a Buddhist school.
mahābhārata, epic of the Bhāratas.
mahārasa, lit. ‘great essence’.
mahas, lit. ‘the great [world]’; the fourth world of the Taittirīya Upaniṣad, the world of Brahman, known as Vijñāna, translated by Sri Aurobindo as ‘Supermind’.
mahāyāna, lit. ‘great path’, or ‘great vehicle’ (opp. to hīnayāna); N. of the later system of Buddhist teaching by Nāgārjuna in the Mahā-yāna-sūtras.
mamakāra, lit. ‘saying “my”’; selfishness; interest in oneself.
manana, lit. ‘thinking’.
manas, sense-mind or mind (in its widest sense as applied to all the mental powers), intellect, intelligence, understanding, perception, sense, will (RV etc.); in philosophy the internal organ or antaḥ-karaṇa of perception and cognition, the faculty or instrument through which thoughts enter or by which objects of sense affect the soul; in this sense manas is always regarded as distinct from ātman and puruṣa, ‘self or soul’ and belongs only to the body. In RV sometimes joined with hṛd or hṛdaya, the heart; or with cakṣus, the eye; thought, imagination, reflection, opinion, intention, inclination, affection, desire, temper, spirit.
mānava, lit. ‘the descendent of Manu’, man, mental being.
manomaya puruṣa, lit. ‘puruṣa made out of manas’, the self of mind, mental being, mental self in man; in the system of five puruṣas it is the third puruṣa (TaitUp).
marut, usually in pl., prob. the ‘flashing or shining ones’; the storm-gods (Indra’s companions; said in the Veda to be the sons of Rudra and Pṛśni, or the children of heaven or of ocean; and described as armed with golden weapons, lightnings and thunderbolts, as having iron teeth and roaring like lions, as residing in the north, as riding in golden cars drawn by ruddy horses; in the later literature they are the children of Diti, either seven or seven times seven in number, and are sometimes said to be led by Mātariśvan).
māruta-gaṇa, lit. ‘the host of Maruts’.
mātā, Nom. from mātṛ, lit. ‘a measuring one’, creatrix, mother.
mati, lit. ‘thought’; worship, hymn, sacred utterance (RV, VS); intention, determination, inclination, wish, desire; opinion, notion, idea, belief, conviction, view, creed; the mind, perception, understanding, intelligence, sense, judgment.
māyā, lit. ‘creative power’, ‘measuring power’; in the Vedas it is a ‘power manifesting the Supreme’; later in the post-Vedic literature an ‘illusion’.
māyāvāda, the doctrine of Māyā, based on the belief that the material world is an illusion, asserting the permanence of the Spirit, and the temporality of material creation, brahma satyaṃ jaganmithyā, (Śrī Śaṅkarācārya).
medhā, mental vigour or power, intelligence, prudence, wisdom, (RV. etc.).
mīmāṁsā, lit. ‘desire or wish to think over’; an examination of the Vedic texts, having two great divisions Pūrva Mīmāṁsā or Karma Mīmāṁsā by Jaimini, and Uttara Mīmāṁsā or Brahma Mīmāṁsā (Brahma sūtras) by Bādarāyaṇa with Śaṅkara’s commentaries which constitutes Advaita Vedānta, known also as Śaṅkara Mīmāṁsā.
mokṣa, liberation, ultimate emancipation, (see ‘mukti’).
mūḍha, lit. ‘unconscious’, ‘bewildered’; ppp. from muh, to become unconscious.
mudita, lit. ‘delighted’, ppp from mud ‘to be happy’; joyful, glad, rejoicing etc.
mukti, liberation, from muc ‘to free’; setting or becoming free, release, liberation; final liberation or emancipation, final beatitude (= mokṣa). The concept of mukti is changing over the period of time from the Vedic understanding, where mukti is only a condition for a more effective action in manifestation of a freed spirit, to the concept of mukti where the manifestation itself is seen as an ultimate prison which is to be gotten rid of altogether as soon as possible (Māyāvāda doctrine).
mūlādhāra, lit. ‘the foundation of the root of being’, the lowest cakra in the sūkṣma-śarīra (see ‘cakra’).
mumukṣutvam, lit. ‘a tendency towards freedom’, a desire to be free.
muni, a sage, seer, monk etc.
nāḍi, any tube or pipe, (esp.) a tubular organ (as a vein or artery of the body); there are 72,000 nāḍis in the sūkṣma deha, subtle body, of man, of which 5 major prāṇas are mentioned: prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, samāna, udāna.
naiṣṭhikī, from ni-ṣṭhā; forming the end, final, last; highest, perfect, complete.
nāma, a name, a characteristic mark or sign, form, nature, kind, manner (RV, VS, AV); name, appellation (RV); in ling. a noun (as opp. to a verb) (Nir); substance, essence (in the Mīmānsā phil. opp. to guṇa, as accidental quality). In the Upaniṣads it is that which presents the being in its proper meaning and purpose, whereas rūpa, form, addresses its formal manifestation.
nara-loka, lit. ‘the world of men’; earth or people of earth.
nara, a man, a hero, an individual soul, (from nṛ); in the Veda nṛ is the power of the soul, which is assigned to different gods and godheads in their sacrificial actions. Many great gods, such as Mitra, Varuṇa, Aryaman, Maruts etc. are called by this name nṛ, expecially when they are participating or expected to participate in the sacrifice.
nārada, N. of a sage, known as deva-ṛṣi, the divine Ṛṣi.
naraka-loka, hell (distinguished from pātāla); people of hell.
nārāyaṇa, N. of Viṣṇu; the universal Soul, whereas nara is the individual soul.
nāṭyaśāstra, a treatise of nāṭya, drama, by sage Bharata.
nididhyāsana, profound and repeated meditation (Vedāntas); from Desir. of ni-dhyai, ‘to think over in depth’.
nidrā, lit. ‘deep sleep’; from ni-drā, ‘to fall deep into sleep’.
niḥsvabhāva, lit. ‘without one’s own characteristic or essential nature’; want of property, poverty; void of peculiarities etc.
nimitta, from ni-mā ‘to measure totally’; mark, target, sign, omen; cause, motive, ground, reason; (in philosophy) instrumental or efficient cause; opp. to upādāna, the operative or material cause (Vedāntas).
nindā, hate, blame, defamation, outrage.
nirguṇa, void of qualities, or beyond any qualities; when applied to Brahman, Spirit, it means ‘pure Spirit’, which is beyond manifestation, in opposition to sa-guṇa brahma, ‘spirit with qualities’, or ananta-guṇa brahma, ‘spirit of infinite qualities’ (SA).
nirodha, lit. ‘total obstruction’, from ni-rudh; restraint, check, control, suppression, destruction; aversion, dislike etc.
nirvāṇa, lit. ‘extinguished state’, ‘without a breath’; from nir-vā, ‘to blow out’, to live without life, as it were; a state of ultimate peace in which the whole world is seen as unreal, as if in a movie (SA); the ultimate goal of Buddhism and Jainism as an absolute extinction or annihilation (= śūnya) of individual existence or of all desires and passions; perfect calm or repose or happiness, highest bliss or beatitude.
nirvikalpa, lit. ‘without any modification’; not admitting an alternative, free from change or differences; there are two major kinds of samādhi, sa-vikalpa, including temporal modulations, and nir-vikalpa, excluding all temporal modulations of consciousness, which is considered to be the highest.
niṣkāma, lit. ‘without desire’; desireless, disinterested, unselfish.
niṣprapañca, subject to no expansion or manifoldness.
niṣṭhā, lit. ‘totally stable’; situated within.
nitya, one’s own; continual, perpetual, eternal (RV); constantly dwelling or engaged in, intent upon.
nivṛtti, returning, ceasing; disappearance; leaving off, ceasing from worldly acts, inactivity, rest, repose.
niyama, lit. ‘fixed rule’ or ‘vow’; the second stage in the eightfold discipline of Yoga: yama-niyama-āsana-prāṇāyāma-pratyāhāra-dhāraṇā-dhyāna-samādhayo aṣṭāva aṅgāni (YS 2.29); five yamas are: ahiṃsā-asatya-asteya-brahmacarya-aparigrahā yamāḥ (YS 2.30); and five niyamas: śaucha-santoṣa-tapaḥsvādhyāya-īśvarapraṇidhānāni niyamāḥ (YS 2.32).
nyāya, lit. ‘going to the bottom of things’, a logic; an original type, method, rule, esp. a general or universal rule, system; a logical or syllogistic argument or inference, consisting of five members: pratijñā (a proposition), hetu (an argument, deduction, or reason for an inference), udāharaṇa (example), upanaya (application), nigamana (conclusion); a system of philosophy delivered by Gotama or Gautama (see also ‘darśana’).
padmapāda, lit. ‘lotus-foot’.
pāpa, bad, wicked, evil, low; sin, crime, guilt etc.
parā, lit. ‘beyond’, ‘transcendent’; supreme.
parama, see ‘parā’.
paramātman, lit. ‘transcendental self’, ‘the supreme universal Self’ as in opposition to the individual self which is ātman, or jīvātman, ‘unborn or uninvolved individual self’ or antarātman, ‘an involved individual self’.
paramparā, a tradition; an uninterrupted lineage, succession, continuation.
paśu-loka, ‘the world of creatures who can see/perceive’, the animal world in general.
patañjali, N. of the author of Yogasūtras; N. of the author of Mahābhāṣya on Pāṇini Aṣṭādhyāyī (2 cent. BC).
piśācas, the lowest kind of demons, who like to eat flesh (piśa).
prahlāda, lit. ‘delight’; N. of a pious daitya, son of the Asura Hiraṇyakaśipu.
prajñā, ‘discrimination’, ‘knowledge by apprehending cognition’; wisdom etc.
prajñāna, one of the four major operations of consciousness, saṃjñāna, ājñāna, vijñāna, prajñāna, mentioned in Aitareya Upaniṣad (3.2); according to Sri Aurobindo, ‘the outgoing of apprehensive consciousness to possess its object in conscious energy, to know it’.
prakāśa, lit. ‘light’, ‘shining forward’; illumination, elucidation; clear etc.
prakṛti, lit. ‘making or placing before or at first’, the original or natural form or condition of anything, original or primary substance; cause, original source; nature, character etc.; (in Sāṁkhya phil.) ‘the original producer’ of the material world (consisting of 3 constituent essences or guṇas called sattva, rajas and tamas); Nature as distinguished from puruṣa, Spirit, just as Māyā is distinguished from Brahman in the Vedānta.
prāṇa, lit. ‘breath’; there are five major prāṇas: prāṇa, ‘breathing in’, apāna, ‘breathing out’, vyāna, ‘pervading breath’, samāna, ‘equalizing breath’, udāna, ‘rising up breath’.
prāṇamaya puruṣa, lit. ‘self made out of vital’, the self of the vital sheath of the puruṣa. According to the Taittirīya Upaniṣad there are five selves, ātman in the form of puruṣa, puruṣa-vidhaḥ, which constitute the manifestation of the Divine in the individual frame (TaitUp 2.): annamaya (material), prāṇamaya (vital), manomaya (mental), vijñānamaya (supramental), ānandamaya (transcendental, blissful) puruṣa.
prāṇāyāma, ‘breath-exercise’; there are three major breaths on which prāṇāyāma is built: pūraka (breathing in), recaka (breathing out), kumbhaka (holding).
prapañca, lit. ‘spreading forward’; from root pañc, ‘to expand’; expansion, development, manifestation; phenomenon; (in philosophy) the expansion of the universe, the visible world.
pratibimba, a reflection, reflected image, mirrored form; a resemblance or counterpart of real forms, a picture, image, shadow.
pratyāhāra, lit. ‘withdrawing’; in Yoga ‘withdrawing of the senses (indriya)’ from the object of sense (artha). It is the sixth stage of Patañjali Yogasūtras (see ‘niyama’).
prevalence, recitation, oral instruction, teaching, expounding, exposition, interpretation.
pravṛtti, lit. ‘rolling forward’; moving onwards, advance, progress; coming forth, appearance, manifestation; rise, source, origin.
prayatna, effort, endeavour, activity, action.
prekṣā, seeing, viewing, regarding; consideration, reflection.
prema, love, affection, kindness.
preta-loka, lit. ‘the world of the dead’.
preta, lit. ‘gone’, dead.
preyas, lit. ‘more loved’, more desired; desirable.
puṇya, moral or religious merit.
purāṇa, lit. ‘ancient’; N. of a class of sacred works. 18 major Purāṇas are grouped in 3 divisions: 1) Brahmā of the Brahma, Brahmāṇḍa, Brahmavaivarta, Mārkaṇḍeya, Bhaviṣya, and Vāmana Purāṇā; 2) Viṣṇu of the Viṣṇu, Bhāgavata, Nāradīya, Garuḍa, Padma, and Varāha Purāṇa; 3) Śiva of the Śiva, Liṅga, Skanda, Agni or in place of it the Vāyu, Matsya, and Kūrma Purāṇa.
puruṣa, a man, a principle of man, a person; in the Vedas the transcendental or universal Man, embodying all the faculties of Consciousness, who was sacrificed (RV 10.91) or whose faculties were sacrificed (AitUp 1-2) projecting the universal Consciousness in the terms of faculties of consciousness into manifestation and thus evoking the evolution of individual being; in Sāṁkhya the principle of the Soul, a witness whose engagement with prakṛti creates the Universe.
puruṣārtha, lit. ‘an object of human pursuit’; pl., the four aims of existence: kāma, the gratification of desire; artha, acquirement of wealth; dharma, discharge of duty; mokṣa, liberation or final emancipation (Mn etc.).
puruṣottama, lit. ‘the highest Puruṣa’, the supreme Person, Soul, transcendental to the transcendental, as it were, who oversees and rules over both vyakta and avyakta, kṣara and akṣara, vidyā and avidyā, who is simultaneously transcendental, universal and individual and greater than all of them.
rāga, lit. ‘colour’; red colour, redness; any feeling or passion, (esp.) love, affection; a musical note, harmony, melody. In the later system a particular musical mode; Bharata speaks of 6 rāgas: bhairava, kauśika, hindola, dīpaka, śrī-rāga, and megha; other writers give other names, sometimes 7 or 26 rāgas are mentioned.
rāhu, lit. ‘a seizer’; N. of a daitya or demon who seizes the sun and moon and thus causes eclipses.
rajāṃsi, airy spaces or vital spaces, in the Veda trīṇi rajāṃsi, three vital regions are mentioned.
rajas, ‘coloured or dim space’, the sphere of vapour or mist, region of clouds, space; in the Veda the lower and higher atmospheres; sometimes also three vital spaces; (in phil.) the second of the three guṇas or qualities (see also ‘sattva’, and ‘tamas’); sometimes identified with tejas.
rājasika, of the quality of rajas guṇa, energetic, full of passion etc.
rājayoga, lit. ‘the King Yoga’.
rākṣasa, lit. ‘of rākṣas quality’; an evil or malignant demon; in the post-Vedic literature divided into 3 classes: a semi-divine nature and ranking with Yakṣas; corresponding to Titans, relentless enemies of the gods; demons going about at night, haunting cemeteries, disturbing sacrifices and even devouring human beings; this last class is the one most commonly mentioned.
rāmāyaṇa, great epic poem of Vālmīki about Rāma and Sītā; it contains about 24000 verses.
rasa-bhāva, the feeling of rasa (see ‘rasa’).
rasa, lit. ‘essence’, a juice, a marrow, a liquid; taste, flavour, there are 6 original tastes — madhura, sweet, amla, sour, lavaṇa, salt, kaṭuka, pungent, tikta, bitter, kaṣāya, astringent. In Rhet. the taste or character of a work, the feeling or sentiment prevailing in it, śṛṅgāra, love, vīra, heroism, bībhatsa, disgust, raudra, anger or fury, hāsya, mirth, bhayānaka, terror, karuṇa, pity, adbhuta, wonder, śānta, tranquillity or contentment, vātsalya, paternal fondness.
rāśi, a heap, a pile.
rati, lit. ‘rest’ from root ram, ‘to rest, to calm’; repose; pleasure, enjoyment, delight; the pleasure of love, sexual passion or union, amorous enjoyment; one of the two wives of Kāma-deva, together with Prīti.
raudra, lit. ‘belonging to Rudra’, ‘having Rudra’s qualities’.
ṛg, from ṛc, the sacred word or hymn of the Ṛg Veda.
rocanā, lit. ‘the shining ones’; there are three shining worlds of Svar world, known in the terminology of Sri Aurobindo as Overmental Gnosis, Overmind and Intuition, which constitute the link between the Supermind and the lower hemisphere. The three heavens of the mental consciousness are the highest layers of the lower hemisphere, tisro dyāvaḥ; in Sri Aurobindo’s language these heavens are the Illumined Mind, Higher Mind and Mind proper.
rodasī, lit. ‘two shining ones’, usually applied to dyāvāpṛthivī, heaven and earth.
roga, a disease, sickness.
rogī, ill, sick.
ṛṣi, a seer, an inspired poet, a composer of the Vedic hymns. There are two kinds mentioned in the Veda: pūrva ṛṣayaḥ, the first ṛṣis and nūtanāḥ, the modern ones. In the Brāhmaṇas seven ṛṣis are often mentioned; according to ŚBr xiv, 5, 2, 6, these are: Gotama, Bharadvāja, Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni, Vasiṣṭha, Kaśyapa, and Atri. In astronomy the seven ṛṣis constitute the Great Bear constellation. For each manvantara there is a different set of seven ṛṣis who bring the Veda into action within the human consciousness.
ṛta, the dynamic Truth, divine law, divine truth in its dynamism, manifesting the world. The concept of the dynamic truth, ṛtam, was lost in the post-Vedic literature and only the static truth, satyam, remained. All what was related to the action of ṛtam was seen only in the context of illusion, māyā, and thus lost its true value, and manifestation of the Divine was thus regarded impossible and unnecessary. The aim of life changed from manifesting the Divine to escaping from his manifestation and dissolving oneself in his static truth, satyam.
ruci, light, lustre, splendour, beauty.
rudra, lit. ‘roarer’, by some ‘the shining one’; N. of the father and ruler of the Rudras and Maruts in the Veda; he is closely connected with Indra and still more with Agni; he has also the epithet Śiva, ‘benevolent’, which later replaced the name of Rudra.
rūpa, a form, shape, figure; in the Brāhmaṇas it is mentioned together with nāman, ‘name’, as two major means for manifesting Brahman, (ŚBr). It represents the visual faculty of consciousness whereas nāman, its auditory faculty of knowledge.
saccidānanda, Existence-Consciousness-Bliss; the transcendental Divine.
ṣaḍ-darśana, 6 major philosophical systems: Pūrva-Mīmānsā by Jaimini, Uttara Mīmānsā by Bādarāyaṇa, Nyāya by Gotama, Vaiśeṣika by Kaṇāda, Sāṁkhya by Kapila, Yoga by Patañjali.
sadānanda, perpetual bliss, N. of Śiva.
sadguṇa, lit. ‘having good qualities’.
sādhaka, effective, efficient, accomplishing, fulfilling, completing, perfecting, finishing; an efficient or skilful person, an adept, magician; the follower on the path of yoga.
sādhanā, means of realising the goal, a discipline of yoga.
sādhāraṇīkaraṇa, making equal.
sādhusaṅga, ‘communion with sādhus’.
saguṇa, lit. ‘with qualities’, as in opposition to nirguṇa, ‘without qualities’.
sahasradala, lit. ‘thousand-petalled’ lotus; the cakra at the top of the head; the seat of Śiva in Tantra, where Śiva and Śakti meet and become one.
sahasrāra, see ‘sahasradala’.
sahṛdaya, lit. ‘with the heart’, sincere etc.
sākṣī, lit. ‘with an eye’, a witness; in phil. ‘subject’; puruṣa, unborn soul, witnessing silently the actions of prakṛti.
sākṣibhāva, the state of witness.
śākta, belonging to the tradition of Śāktas; relating to power or energy, or worshipping the śakti or divine energy, especially as identified with Durgā, wife of Śiva.
śakti, lit. ‘force, power, ability’, from root śak, ‘to be able to’; the power of the Divine, known as Mahāśakti, in the post-Vedic tradition known in her four aspects: Maheśvarī, Mahākālī, Mahālakṣmī, Mahāsarasvatī, representing Knowledge, Power, Beatitude and Perfection, respectively (SA).
śaktipatha, an initiation into the sacred power of guru.
samabuddhi, esteeming all things alike, indifferent.
samādhi, lit. ‘becoming one with’, union with, completion; concentration of the thoughts, intense absorption or a kind of trance; profound meditation, intense contemplation of any particular object (so as to identify the contemplator with the object meditated upon); this is the eighth and last stage of Yoga; (in Buddhism) the fourth and last stage of dhyāna.
sāmājika, social, related to the social gathering etc.
samāna, see ‘prāṇa’.
samatā, equality, equanimity etc.
sambandha, lit. ‘binding together’; association, relation, relative, friend etc.
saṃjñā, lit. ‘knowledge in complete agreement with all possible views’; consciousness, clear knowledge, understanding, conception (ŚBr etc.).
saṃjñāna, see ‘samjñā’; ‘the essential sense’; according to Sri Aurobindo, ‘the inbringing movement of apprehensive consciousness which draws the object placed before it back to itself so as to possess it in conscious substance, to feel it’.
sāṁkhya-yoga, yogic practice based on the Sāṁkhya philosophy, yoga of Sāṁkhya.
sāṁkhya, N. of a philosophical system, ascribed to the sage Kapila, meaning lit. ‘enumerating’ the major essential categories or twenty-five tattvas (twenty-three of them evolved out of prakṛti, ‘the first-producer’, these are buddhi, ahaṃkāra, manas, the five tan-mātras, the five karmendriyas, the five jñānendriyas, the five mahā-bhūtas; the twenty-fifth is the puruṣa, spirit or soul, which is neither a producer nor production); there are many puruṣas and one prakṛti; each separate puruṣa causes by its union with prakṛti a separate creation out of prakṛti; the object of this philosophy is to effect the final liberation of the puruṣa from the bondage caused by that creation. The Yoga branch of the Sāṁkhya recognizes a supreme spirit, the universal puruṣa, dominating each individual puruṣa. The Tantras identify prakṛti with the wives of the gods, esp. with the wife of Śiva.
saṃsāra, a course, passage, passing through a succession of states, the world, secular life.
saṃśaya, doubt; in Nyāya, doubt about the point to be discussed; difficulty etc.
saṁskāra, lit. ‘putting together’ or ‘making perfect’, accomplishment etc.; a sacred or sanctifying ceremony; faculty of memory, mental impression or recollection; impression on the mind of acts done in a former state of existence (one of the 24 qualities of the Vaiśeṣikas); (pl., in Buddhism) a mental conformation or creation of the mind (such as that of the external world).
saṁyoga, lit. ‘uniting together’, union, conjunction, connection etc.
sañcāribhāva, a transitory feeling.
saṅga, ‘coming together’, community, association etc.
saṅkalpa, intention, determination; conception or idea or notion formed in the mind or heart.
śaṅkara, lit. ‘making peace’ or ‘causing prosperity’, beneficent; N. of Śiva; N. of Śrī Śaṅkarācārya (788 and 820 A.D.), the founder of Advaita Vedānta philosophy.
sannyāsa, lit. ‘dropping totally off’, resignation, renunciation of the world; the fourth āśrama in the life of a brāhmaṇa.
sansārin, the one who is in sansāra, in the worldly life.
santoṣa, ‘happiness’, total satisfaction.
sarasvatī, lit. ‘who possesses the stream’; N. of a river; the river-goddess who in the Vedas has seven sisters and is herself sevenfold; in the Brāhmaṇas she is identified with vāc, ‘speech’; N. of the goddess of eloquence and learning in the post-Vedic period; truth-audition, inspiration, the divine word (SA).
śarīra, body, physical body.
śāstra, instruction, rule, order, a manual, a treatise, a book of knowledge etc.
sattva, lit. ‘the quality of that which is’; true existence, the highest of the three guṇas, qualities, of prakṛti, that of purity and knowledge (see ‘rajas’ and ‘tamas’).
satya, truth; ‘that which is’; in the Veda distinguished from ṛta, the dynamic truth.
satyayuga, lit. ‘the age of Truth’; the first and the longest of the four yugas in every manvantara.
śava, a corpse, a dead body.
śavāsana, the āsana of full relaxation.
savitṛ, lit. ‘the impeller’, from root su/sū, ‘to press upon, to push on, to compel’, or ‘to create’ etc.; in the Veda the god of the Sun, the Divine in Manifestation, who represents all the godheads in their rising movement towards the Truth.
sāvitrī, a verse in gāyatrī meter addressed to the god of the Sun, Savitṛ, (RV III. 62, 10); the daughter of Savitṛ, the divine Word (SA); the wife of Brahmā, the creator of the world; the wife of Satyavān, in the story of Sāvitrī in the MBh.
sevā, service, attendance to, worship etc.
siddha, lit. ‘realised’, ‘whose goal is achieved’; semidivine being of great purity and perfection who possesses the eight supernatural faculties, siddhis; they inhabit, together with the munis, the bhuvar-loka, the space between heaven and earth; in the later literature they are regarded as sādhyas.
siddhis, accomplishment, fulfilment, complete attainment; there are eight siddhis usually mentioned, given in the following śloka: aṇimā laghimā prāptiḥ prākāmyam mahimā tathā īśitvaṃ ca vaśitvaṃ ca tathā kāmāvasāyitā; sometimes 26 are added, e.g., dūra-śravaṇa, sarvajña-tva, agni-stambha etc., (Sāṁkhyak, Tattvas, Sarvad).
śikṣaka, a teacher, instructor.
śilpa, any manual art or craft, any handicraft or mechanical or fine art (64 such arts or crafts, sometimes called bāhya-kalā, ‘external or practical arts’, such as carpentery, architecture, jewellery, farriery, acting, dancing, music, medicine, poetry etc.; and 64 abhyantara-kalā, ‘secret arts’, e.g., kissing, embracing, and various other arts of coquetry) (Mn. MBh. etc.).
śloka, a verse in anuṣṭubh meter, probably from root śru, ‘to hear’; Vālmīki seeing the death of a bird in the forest, experiencing deep grief and compassion, composed the first śloka.
smaraṇa, memorizing, remembering, recollecting; mental recitation, remembering the name of God.
smita, smiled, smiling or smile.
smṛti, memory, the whole tradition which was handed down by composing and memorizing the text, in opposition to śruti, a direct revelation of the inspired Word, which was not composed but ‘heard’ by a deeper listening of the soul.
śoka, lit. ‘burning’, from root śuc, ‘to burn’; flame, glow, heat; sorrow, affliction, anguish, pain, trouble, grief etc.
sphuraṇa, lit. ‘trembling’, ‘bursting out’, breaking forth; expansion, manifestation.
śraddhā, lit. ‘holding one’s heart’; having faith, believing; faith, belief, trust etc.
śrama, austerity, labour, toil, exercise, hard work of any kind whether mental or physical.
śravaṇa, lit. ‘hearing’, from root śru, to hear; learning, study etc.
śreyas, lit. ‘better’, ‘more splendid’, from śrī; in Kaṭha Upaniṣad it is used as a concept of the ultimate good, in opposition to preyas, which is ‘more desirable’, so that one can choose the path between what is ‘liked or desired’ and what is ‘better or best’, respectively.
śrī, probably from śrī ‘diffusing light or radiance’; light, lustre, radiance, splendour, glory, beauty, grace, loveliness; wealth etc.; the N. of Lakṣmī the wife of Viṣṇu.
śṛṅgāra, the rasa of love and affection.
śruti, the body of the Vedic canon, the literature which was not composed by men (apauruṣeya) but revealed to his inner hearing (śruta), consists of Saṃhitā, Brāhmaṇa, Āraṇyaka, Upaniṣad in different branches (śākhā).
stambha, pillar, column etc.
sthāyibhāva, a feeling or a state of steadiness.
sthāyin, stable, steady etc.
sthitaprajña, lit. ‘whose wisdom is steady’.
śuddhi, lit. ‘purity’, cleanliness, purification etc.
sukha-duḥkha, happiness and unhappiness; the yogin is to be equal to both according to the Gītā.
sukha, lit. ‘good space’, from su-kha; happiness, well-being; in opposition to duḥ-kha, ‘bad space’, as suffering, grief, unhappiness, sorrow etc.
śūnyatā, lit. ‘emptiness’, void, nothingness etc.
śūnyavāda, the doctrine of nothingness.
supta, ‘asleep’, ppp. from svap, ‘to sleep’; sleeping etc.
sura-loka, the world of the gods.
sūrya, the sun; the Sun god in the Veda, symbolizing according to SA the supramental consciousness force.
suśrutasaṃhitā, the collection of verses dedicated to medical studies by Suśruta, who is its author and a son of Viśvāmitra (see also another medical treatise Carakasaṃhitā).
suṣupti, ‘a state of deep sleep without dreams’.
sūtra, ‘a thread’, a cord, a string, which connects or holds many beads; a short sentence or aphoristic rule; major works of smṛti literature were composed in this style; we have śrauta-sūtras, gṛhya-sūtras, dharma-sūtras etc.
svabhāva, lit. ‘one’s own nature’; according to the nature of the individual soul.
svadharma, lit. ‘one’s own law or way of action’; according to the law supported by one’s svabhāva.
svādhyāya, lit. ‘reading for oneself’; a technique of reading the scripture for oneself in order to realize its deeper significance.
svapna, dream, a ‘sleeping state with dreams’ as in opposition to suṣupti, ‘a state of deep sleep without dreams’.
svar, the sun, sunshine, light, lustre; bright space created by the rays of the Sun; sky, heaven as distinguished from div; there are three luminous regions of svar in the Veda: trī rocanā. It is distinguished as a higher region from div, which is also triple, tisro dyāvaḥ. Svar is linking the Sun with the lower hemisphere, bringing the dynamic truth, ṛtam, into the manifestation. In the later tradition this region becomes regarded as a region of māyā, an illusion, and as such loses its creative aspect, becoming unimportant. The Sun itself becomes a part of the lower hemisphere and heaven, div, takes a higher position than the Sun, thus the Supramental region disappears altogether from the memory of post-Vedic tradition.
tamas, lit. ‘darkness’; mental darkness or ignorance; one of the three modes of prakṛti constituting inertia and dullness in the being.
tāmasika, ‘that of the tamas quality’, dull, ignorant, inert etc.
tantra, lit. ‘the principal or essential part’, characteristic feature, model, type, system, framework; a class of works which presents the Vedic knowledge in the kali yuga. There are three kinds of Tantra: Vaiṣṇava, Śaiva and Śākta.
tāntrika, the tāntric who practices Tantra.
tattva, lit. ‘that-ness’; the essential quality; a true principle; truth etc.; in Sāṁkhya there are 25 tattvas: a-vyakta, buddhi, ahaṃkāra, manas, the 5 tan-mātras, the 5 mahā-bhūtas, the 10 organs of action and perception, and puruṣa.
theravāda, N. of a Buddhist school.
titikṣā, endurance, patience.
trāsa, fear, terror.
triguṇa, lit. ‘of three qualities’, of sattva, rajas and tamas.
triguṇātīta, lit. ‘gone beyond three qualities’; liberated etc.
trikāladṛṣṭi, lit. ‘the vision of the three times’; the direct knowledge of the past, the intuitive knowledge of the present and the prophetic knowledge of the future.
turīya, the fourth state of spirit; pure impersonal Spirit.
udāna, one of the five prāṇas of the human body (that which is in the throat and rises upwards).
udāsīna, lit. ‘sitting above’; sitting apart, indifferent, free from affection.
uddīpana, lit. ‘lighting up’; inflaming, exciting, illuminating.
unmāda, mad, insane.
upaniṣad, lit. ‘sitting down close to’; the sacred texts which are a part of Brāhmaṇa literature.
upāya, lit. ‘coming near’, ‘approaching’; ‘that by which one reaches one’s aim’, a means, way, craft.
upekṣā, overlooking, disregard, negligence, indifference, contempt.
uṣas, dawn, morning light; in the Vedas the sister of Ādityas and the twin sister of Naktā, Night; also daughter of Heaven, Dyaus. She is the beloved wife of the Sun, Sūrya, who follows her path to the lower hemisphere, where he realizes all his desires with her. She is the symbol of spiritual illumination of consciousness.
utsāha, effort, resolution; perseverance.
uttara, lit. ‘higher’.
vaidya, lit. ‘belonging to Veda’; medical: a learned man, a doctor.
vairāgya, lit. ‘loss of colour’; disgust, distaste for; freedom from all worldly desires, asceticism.
vaiśeṣika, philosophical doctrine by Kaṇāda about the distinct nature of the nine substances: air, fire, water, earth, mind, ether, time, space, and soul, of which the first five, including mind, are held to be atomic.
vaiśya, lit. ‘belonging to people, viś’, one of the varṇas of traders and agriculturists.
vajrayāna, lit. ‘the diamond path’ in Buddhism.
varuṇa, lit. ‘covering’, ‘enveloping’; all enveloping sky (cp. Uranus in Greek mythology); one of the greatest Ādityas, symbolizing the manifestation of infinite Existence, later known as Sat (SA).
vāsana, lit. ‘clothing’, ‘dress’; or from Caus. of vas, ‘causing to dwell’.
vasu-gaṇa, see ‘vasu’.
vasu, lit. ‘bright’; wealth, goods, riches, property (RV etc.); N. of the gods, esp. of the Ādityas, Maruts, Aśvins, Indra, Uṣas, Rudra, Vāyu, Viṣṇu, Śiva, and Kubera (RV, AV, MBh, Rm); N. of a class of gods, whose number is usually eight, and whose chief is Indra, later Agni and Viṣṇu; the names of the Vasus, according to the Viṣṇu-Purāṇa, are: Āpa, ‘Waters’, Dhruva, ‘the Pole-star’, Soma, ‘the Moon’, Dhava or Dhara, ‘Earth’, Anila, ‘Wind’, Anala or Pāvaka, ‘Fire’, Pratyuṣa, ‘the Dawn’, Prabhāsa, ‘Light’.
vāsudeva, lit. ‘the son of Vasudeva’, N. of Kṛṣṇa.
vāyu, wind; the second element in pañca mahābhūtāni, five great elements; in the Veda ‘the god of wind’, often associated with Indra; in post-Vedic literature is considered to be the essence of antarikṣa, the space between heaven and earth, as Āditya is the essence of dyauḥ, and Agni is the essence of pṛthivī; the union of Agni, Vāyu and Āditya is considered the aim of the Vedic Sacrifice.
vedanā, lit. ‘letting know’ or ‘announcing’; perception; pain.
vedānta, lit. ‘the end of Veda’; Upaniṣads; there are different interpretations of Vedānta: Advaita, Dvaita, Viśiṣṭādvaita.
vibhāva, any condition which excites or develops a particular state of mind or body; any cause of emotion occurring in the persons and circumstances represented in a drama, as opp. to the anu-bhāva or external signs or effects of emotion.
vidyā, knowledge; as in opposition to avidyā, ignorance or partial knowledge; knowledge of phenomena in time and space; vidyā and avidyā, according to the Īśopaniṣad, are both necessary for the realisation of the Supreme Consciousness.
vijñāna, lit. ‘knowing or realising oneself in detail’; in the TaitUp it is indicating the Supramental Consciousness (SA); according to Sri Aurobindo, ‘Vijnana … holds an image of things at once in its essence, its totality and its parts and properties’. See also ‘prajñāna’.
vikalpa, variation, difference in perception, doubt.
vikāra, alteration, distortion, modification, transformation. In Sāṁkhya vikāras are derived from prakṛti; there are 7 vikāras: buddhi, ahaṃkāra, and the 5 tan-mātras, these are also producers; from them come the 16 vikāras which are only productions: the 5 mahā-bhūtāni, 5 buddhīndriyāṇi, the 5 karmendriyāṇi, and manas.
vinaya, lit. ‘leading away’ or ‘separating’; leading, guidance, training, education, discipline, control; in Buddhism the rules of discipline for monks; decency, modesty.
vipassanā, (Pali) lit. ‘seeing clear’; Buddhist technique of meditation.
vīra, a hero; strong, powerful.
viṣāda, depression, despair, disgust, fear, dullness.
viśiṣṭādvaita, philosophical doctrine of Vedānta by Rāmānuja (12th century AD), lit. ‘specified non-duality’, where the souls of men have and preserve their own unique identity in the Brahman, in opposition to Advaita Vedānta of Śaṅkara, where the souls of men lose their separate identity in Brahman, like the drop of water in the ocean.
viṣṇu, lit. ‘vi-ṣnu, who broadens the oneness’; in the Veda the godhead of vastness, Overmental Consciousness, the younger brother of Indra, who is the godhead of the Divine Mind (SA). In the post-Vedic literature is described as having 10 avatāras, becomes one of the major gods of Hinduism.
viśve-devās, lit. ‘all the gods collectively’; a class of gods; according to the Viṣṇu Purāṇa and other texts they are the sons of Viśvā, daughter of Dakṣa (RV etc.).
vitarka, lit. ‘guess’, ‘supposition’; reasoning etc.
vivasvat, lit. ‘with the light shining forth’; N. of the Sun, Āditya; in the Veda the eighth son of Aditi.
viveka, lit. ‘discrimination’, distinction; in Vedānta the power of separating the invisible Spirit from the visible world (or spirit from matter, truth from untruth, reality from mere semblance or illusion).
viyoga, lit. ‘dis-union’, separation.
vṛtti, lit. ‘rolling’, ‘that which is repeating itself’; conduct, behaviour, character, practice etc.
vyādhi, lit. ‘sickness’, from root vyadh, ‘to be pierced’.
vyakti-viṣaya, vyakti, lit. ‘appearance’, distinctness, individuality; viṣaya lit. ‘extention’, sphere, scope etc.
vyāsa, N. of a legendary ṛṣi, the composer of Mahābhārata and a compiler of the Vedas and Purāṇas.
yajña, sacrifice, lit. ‘the conscious act of advancing towards more conscious manifestation’; ‘manifesting the Spirit in a conscious way’; ‘bringing the powers of light into the darkness’; ‘offering the powers of darkness to the Light for transformation’.
yama, lit. ‘restrain’, (see ‘niyama’); In the Veda he is one of the Aṅgirasa ṛṣis; the first of men who was born from Vivasvat, the god of the Sun, and his wife Saraṇyū; in Post-vedic mythology he becomes the lord of Death, judging and punishing people for their deeds after death, whereas in the Veda he is the saviour of the soul in the time of death rather than the Death incarnate.
yoga-nidrā, lit. ‘sleeping yoga’, ‘meditation-sleep’, a state of half meditation/half sleep (which admits the full exercise of the mental powers); light sleep, esp. the sleep of Viṣṇu at the end of a yuga.
yoga-sūtra, N. of a work by Patañjali (2nd cent. BC).
yoga, (fr. yuj) the act of yoking, joining, uniting (RV, MBh); an abstract contemplation, meditation, (esp.) self-concentration; practised as a system taught by Patañjali and called yoga darśana, it is the second of the two Sāṁkhya systems, its aim is to teach the means by which the human spirit may attain complete union with Īśvara; in the practice of self-concentration it is closely connected with Buddhism (Up, MBh, Kāv etc.). In Sāṁkhya it means the union of soul with matter (one of the 10 mūlikārthās or radical facts, tattvas); with Jainas, contact or mixing with the outer world; in astronomy, conjunction, lucky conjuncture (MBh etc.). There are many kinds of yoga. Karmayoga, bhaktiyoga, jñānayoga are dealt with in detail in the Bhagavad Gītā. There are also other kinds of yoga: dhyāna-yoga, rājayoga, haṭhayoga, kriyāyoga, pūrṇayoga etc. Patañjali defines yoga in the Yogasūtra as ceasing the activities of citta: yogaś-citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ, which can be translated as: ‘yoga is a cessation of the habitual movements of consciousness.’ Generally speaking, any practice which leads the practitioner eventually to union with the Divine can be called yoga.
yogavāsiṣṭha, N. of a work on yoga in the form of a dialogue between Vasiṣṭha and Rāma as his disciple.
yogī, lit. ‘one who practices yoga’.
yoni-mudrā, N. of a particular position of the fingers.
Abbreviations of source-texts used in the Glossary
Other abbreviations used in the Glossary
|imperf.||Imperfect (Past Tense)|
|ppp.||Participle Perfect Passive (Participle II in English)|