Terms
Brahman
Brahman (Sanskrit: ब्रह्म, "the Supreme Being; the Absolute Reality; Godhead"), from the verb brh, "to grow", and connotes "immensity" — is the impersonal and immanent, infinite cause and support of the universe that has no form or attributes. The uncaused cause of the Universe; satchidānanda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute), The Eternal Changeless Reality, not conditioned by time, space and causation. Brahman is the basis, source and support of everything — the transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this universe. Its nature consists of the three incommunicable attributes of (1) sat (Absolute Being), (2) chit (Consciousness), (3) ananda (Bliss). This Supreme Being assumes a dual nature — Male and Female. The male aspect is known as Purusha which means “that-which-fills” — and the Female aspect is known as Shakti which translates as “Energy” or “Dynamic Force” or Prakriti — material nature. Also called as Paramātman (Universal Self), Parasiva, Ultimate Reality, Supreme Being or the Absolute.
Kalpa Vedanga
Kalpa Vedanga or also known as the Kalpa Sutras (Sanskrit: "Procedural or ceremonial Veda-limb") — a body of three groups of auxiliary Vedic texts: 1) the Shrauta Sutras and Shulba Sutras, on public Vedic rites (yagna), 2) the Grihya Sutras (or Shastras), on domestic rites and social custom, and 3) the dharma-shastra (or Sutras), on religious law. Among all the literature related with the Vedanga, Kalpa holds a very prominent and primary place. Kalpa means the scripture, which contains the systematic imagination of all the activities as described in the Vedas. So the Kalpas are the 'precept scriptures' which systematically describe about the various religious activities and ceremonies like Yagya (oblation), marriage and sacred thread ceremony etc propounded by the Vedas. There are numerous sets of Kalpa Sutras, composed by various rishis. Each set is associated with one of the four Vedas.
panchanga
The name for the Hindu calendar is a panchanga. In Sanskrit the word panchanga is made of two parts: pancha and anga. Pancha means five and anga means a part. The panchanga is, therefore, something made of five parts. As a calendar, these five parts are the lunar day (tithi), day of the week (vara), lunar mansion (naksatra), luni-solar day (yoga) and half lunar day (karana). Along with other information, a panchanga especially records the movements of the sun and the moon. Traditionally no religious festival, family event, or even a civic affair is performed without first consulting a panchanga to know the favorable movements of these celestial bodies.
sudra
sudra — member of the traditional working class. The sudra was the fourth varna in the system of varnasrama dharma.
Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term, made up of the words "ayus" and "veda." "Ayus" means life and "Veda" means knowledge or science. The term "ayurveda" thus means 'the knowledge of life' or 'the science of life'. According to the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Charaka, "ayu" comprises the mind, body, senses and the soul. Ayurveda can be defined as a system, which uses the inherent principles of nature, to help maintain health in a person by keeping the individual's body, mind and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.
Truth
Truth — When capitalized, "ultimate knowing" which is "unchanging". Lower case (truth): "correctness", "according with fact", "honesty", "integrity"; "virtue". See: Satya.
prânâyâma
prânâyâma (Sanskrit: प्राणायाम, "lengthening of the prana or breath") from prāna, "life force, or vital energy, particularly, the breath", and āyāma, "to suspend or restrain." — technique of breath control, such as breath retention and deliberate methods inhalation and exhalation for specific mental and physical benefits. It also means maintenance of prana in a healthy state at all ages and in all circumstances. The fourth limb of raja yoga.
Īśvara
Īśvara, Ishvara or Eashwara (Sanskrit: "the Supreme Ruler; the Personal God") — is Brahman associated with Maya but has it under His control unlike the jiva who is Maya's slave. He has a lovely form, auspicious attributes and infinite power to create, sustain and destroy. He dwells in the heart of every being, controlling it from within. He responds positively to true devotion and sincere prayer. When God is thought of as the supreme all-powerful person (rather than as the infinite principle called Brahman), he is called Īśvara or Bhagavān.
Bhagavad Gītā
The Srimad Bhagavad Gītā (Sanskrit: भगवद्गीता, "Song of God") is a Sanskrit text from the chapter Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata epic, comprising 700 verses. The Bhagavad Gita is also called Gītopaniṣad as well as Yogupaniṣad, implying its status as an 'Upanishad'. Since it is drawn from the Mahabharata, it is a smṛti text, however referring to it as an Upanishads is intended to give it status comparable to that of śruti, or revealed knowledge.
Navaratri
This nine-day festival of the Hindus is celebrated in almost all parts of India in the month of Ashvina, and is marked by fasting and praying to different aspects of Devi.
Sivaloka
Sivaloka (Sanskrit: "Realm of Siva.") See: loka.
sampradaya
sampradaya (Sanskrit: "Tradition," "transmission;") derives from the verb samprada, meaning "gift, grant, bestowing or conferring; handing down by tradition; bequeathing." Sampradaya is thus a system borne down through history by verbal transmission — is the lineage or living tradition of spiritual knowledge. A traditional school of religious teaching, transmitted from one teacher to another. Sampradaya is a living stream of tradition or theology within Hinduism, passed on by oral training and initiation. The term It is more inclusive than the related term parampara which names a living lineage of ordained gurus who embody and carry forth a sampradaya. A sampradaya may be represented by many paramparas. See: parampara.
raga
raga, craving; attraction and attachment to experiences and objects of the material world; exterior attachments; passion; desire, emotions/feelings; one of the panchakleshas (five “hindrances” to spiritual growth).
ācāra
ācāra or achara (Sanskrit: "conduct, mode of action, behavior; good conduct") — also, custom, tradition; rule of conduct, precept.
mahayuga
mahayuga (Sanskrit: "great age;") from maha (great) + yuga (age, period of time) — the 1000th part of a kalpa or Day of Brahma. The scriptures divide the endless passage of time into a cycle of mahayugas or aeons. A mahayuga lasts 4.32 million years and is made up of a sequence of four different yugas, each with its own characteristics. These four yugas are the satya-yuga, treta-yuga, dwapara-yuga and kali-yuga. In the Satya Yuga, the age of Truth, righteousness is at its peak. As time passes by, there's a gradual decline in virtue which reaches its nadir in the Kali Yuga. At the end of the Kali Yuga, the Divine Will intervenes and restores the universe to its original state of virtue. This marks the beginning of the next mahayuga and the cycle thus continues.
Patala
patala (Sanskrit: "Fallen or sinful region.") The seventh chakra below the muladhara, centered in the soles of the feet. Corresponds to the seventh and lowest astral netherworld beneath the earth's surface, called Kakola ("black poison") or Patala. This is the realm in which misguided souls indulge in destruction for the sake of destruction, of torture, and of murder for the sake of murder. Patala also names the netherworld in general, and is a synonym for Naraka. See: chakra, loka, naraka.
rajas
rajas (Sanskrit: "passion, activity, restlessness, aggressiveness;"). rajasic — adjective form of rajas, passionate, emotional. Associated with color red. See guna.
adhyatma prasara
adhyatma prasara (Sanskrit: "evolution of the Self") — the Self's evolution is a progressive unfoldment, growth and maturing toward its inherent, divine destiny, which is complete merger with Brahman. In its essence, the Self is ever perfect. But as an individual soul body emanated by Brahman, it is like a small seed yet to develop. As an acorn needs to be planted in the dark underground to grow into a mighty oak tree, so must the Self unfold out of the darkness of the malas to full maturity and realization of its innate oneness with Brahman. The Self evolves by taking on denser and denser sheaths — cognitive, instinctive-intellectual and pranic — until finally it takes birth in physical form in the bhuloka. Then it experiences many lives, maturing through the samsara (reincarnation process). Thus, from birth to birth, the Self learn and mature. See: mala, moksha, samsara, vishvagrasa.
vidya
vidya: (Sanskrit) "Knowledge, learning, science." The power of understanding gained through study and meditation. Contrasted with avidya, ignorance.
Jivanmukta
A person who is liberated (enlightened) while living.
sastra
sastra (Sanskrit: "sacred text; teaching.") is used to denote education/knowledge in a general sense. The word is generally used as a suffix in the context of technical or specialized knowledge in a defined area of practice. For example, Astra Sastra means, knowledge about "Handling of weapons", Astra means weapons, and sastra is their knowledge. Sastra is also a by-word used when referring to a scripture. Extending this meaning, the sastra is commonly used to mean a treatise or text written in explanation of some idea, especially in matters involving religion.
kāma
kāma or kām, (Sanskrit: काम, "self-indulgence; sensual gratification; pleasure; lust") — the passionate desire for all sensual and material pleasures such as for riches, property, honor, status, fame, children etc. and abnormal desire which includes drugs, alcoholic drinks, tobacco, or foods eaten only for taste. It is the principle of sickness and degradation in the Kali Yuga. kāma is regarded as one of the four purusharthas (goals of life), the others are artha (worldly status), dharma (duty) and moksha (liberation). It is also one of the arishadvarga (six passions of mind) or enemies of desire, the others being krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy).
Karma Yoga
karma yoga (Sanskrit: "Union through action.") The path of selfless service. See: yoga.
antahkarana
antahkarana (Sanskrit: "inner conscience" or "the manifest mind") — the Mental faculty of the sukshma-sharira (astral body), comprising intellect, instinct and ego. It consists of 1. manas (the mind), 2. chitta (the memory), 3. buddhi (the intellect) and 4. ahańkāra (the ego).
purusottama
purusottama (Sanskrit: "Godly man") — comprised of two words: purusa + uttama literally meaning “highest man” — means God.
panchamahayajna
panchamahayajna — five great daily yagna (sacrifices) that are to be performed by every householder. They are: (1) Brahma Yajna, called also Veda Yajna, "homage to Brahman or the Vedas or the sages"; (2) Deva Yajna, "homage to Gods and elementals."; (3) Pitri Yajna, "homage to ancestors"; (4) Bhuta Yajna, "homage to beings"; and (5) Manushya Yajna, "homage to men".
purusa
purusa (Sanskrit: "man, male"). In sankhya philosophy purusa denotes the Supreme Male Principle in the universe. Its counterpart is prakrti.
Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term, made up of the words "ayus" and "veda." "Ayus" means life and "Veda" means knowledge or science. The term "ayurveda" thus means 'the knowledge of life' or 'the science of life'. According to the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Charaka, "ayu" comprises the mind, body, senses and the soul. Ayurveda can be defined as a system, which uses the inherent principles of nature, to help maintain health in a person by keeping the individual's body, mind and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.
Vijaya Dashami
Also known as Dussehra, Vijaya Dashami is the celebration of Rama’s victory over the asura Ravana. Vijaya means victory and dashami means tenth and so Vijaya Dashami is the victory on the 10th lunar day.
advaita
advaita (Sanskrit: "non dual; not twofold") — non-duality or monism. The philosophical doctrine that Ultimate Reality consists of a one principal substance. Opposite of dvaita, "dualism". Advaita is the primary philosophical stance of the Vedic Upanishads, and of Hinduism, interpreted differently by the many rishis, gurus, panditas and philosophers. See: dvaita-advaita,Vedanta.
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