Hindu Terms


Absolute: Lower case "absolute", real, not dependent on anything else, not relative. Upper case "Absolute", Ultimate Reality, the unmanifest, unchanging and transcendent Parabrahm — utterly non-relational to even the most subtle level of consciousness.
ācāra or achara (Sanskrit: "conduct, mode of action, behavior; good conduct") — also, custom, tradition; rule of conduct, precept.
ācārya, acariya, or acharya (Sanskrit: आचार्य, "going toward; approaching") from a, "towards" + the verbal root car, "to proceed, practice, conduct oneself" and thus literally connotes "one who teaches by conduct or example" or "one who knows or teaches the ācāra, the rules of right conduct" — is a guide or instructor in spiritual matters; founder, or leader of a sect; a title affixed to the names of learned men; a traditional teacher or head of sampradaya or school of religious thought.
adharma (Sanskrit: ) — the opposite of dharma that denotes unrighteousness; disorder; evil; immorality; impiety, non-performance of duty; what is not right or natural; or not in accordance to śāstras. Thoughts, words or deeds that transgress divine law in any of the human expressions. It brings the accumulation of demerit, called papa, while dharma brings merit, called punya.
adhikara (Sanskrit: ) literally means "authority and ownership." — being spiritually competent for spiritual study; the ability or authorization to do; rule; jurisdiction; privilege, ownership; property.
adhyatma (Sanskrit: "Spiritual; Self") — the inner, spiritual Self or Spirit. See: atman.
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.
adhyatma vikasa
adhyatma vikasa (Sanskrit: "Spiritual unfoldment" — he blossoming of inner or higher (adhi), atma (the Self) qualities as a result of religious striving, sadhana. Vikasa means, "becoming visible, shining forth, manifestation opening," as a flower unfolds its petals, or the chakras unfold theirs as a result of kundalini awakening. See: spiritual unfoldment.
ādi or aadi (Sanskrit: आदि) — the original, the first, in the beginning; supreme, or primordial.
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.
Advaita Siddhanta
Advaita Siddhanta (Sanskrit: "non-dual perfect conclusions") — Saivite philosophy codified in the agama which has at its core the advaita (non-dual) identity of God, soul and world. This monistic-theistic philosophy, unlike the Shankara, or Smarta view, holds that maya (the principle of manifestation) is not an obstacle to God Realization, but God's own power and presence guiding the Self's evolution to perfection. While Advaita Vedanta stresses Upanishadic philosophy, Advaita Siddhanta adds to this a strong emphasis on internal and external worship, yoga sadhanas and tapas. Advaita Siddhanta is a term used in South India to distinguish Tirumular's school from the pluralistic Siddhanta of Meykandar and Aghorasiva. This unified Vedic-Agamic doctrine is also known as Shuddha Saiva Siddhanta. It is the philosophy of this contemporary Hindu catechism. See: Advaita Ishvaravada, dvaita-advaita, Saiva Siddhanta.
Advaita Vedānta
Advaita Vedānta, (Sanskrit: अद्वैत वेदान्त) is the dominant sub-school of the Vedānta (literally, end or the goal of the Vedas). The other major sub-schools of Vedānta are dvaita-advaita and Viśishṭādvaita. Advaita (literally, non-duality) is often called a monistic system of thought. The word "Advaita" essentially refers to the identity of the atman (Self) and the Brahman (Whole). The key source texts for all schools of Vedānta are the Prasthanatrayi — the canonical texts consisting of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras. The first person to explicitly consolidate the principles of Advaita Vedanta was Adi Shankara.
Agama (Sanskrit: आगम, "that which has come down") i.e., that which has been handed down to the people of the present from the past — are an enormous collection of Sanskrit scriptures which, are revered as are revered as shruti (revealed scripture). The Agamas are the primary source and authority for ritual, yoga and temple construction. Each of the major denominations — Saiva, Vaishnava and Shakta — has its unique Agama texts. Smartas recognize the Agamas, but don't necessarily adhere to them and rely mainly on the smriti texts.
agama karma
agama karma (Sanskrit: "coming, arriving," and vartamana, "living, set in motion.") Is the actions that we are planning for the future. Actions that will or will not be achieved depending on the choices (free will) that we are making now and those that we have made in the past. See: karma
Agastya (Sanskrit) One of 18 celebrated Saiva siddhas (adepts), and accepted as the first grammarian of Tamil language. He is said to have migrated from North India to the South. His name appears in the Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Puranas and was known to ancient Indonesians. See: siddha.
agni (Sanskrit: "fire") — 1) One of the five elements, panchabhuta. 2) Agnideva, God of the element fire, invoked through Vedic ritual known as yagna, agnikaraka, homa and havana. The Agnideva is the divine messenger who receives prayers and oblations and conveys them to the heavenly spheres.
agnikaraka (Sanskrit: "fire ritual") — the Agamic term for yagna.
Aham Brahmasmi
Aham Brahmasmi (Sanskrit: "I am Brahman") — is one of the great Vedic Dicta or Mahavakya. Famous phrase often repeated in the Upanishads. In this ecstatic statement of enlightenment, "I" does not refer to the individuality or outer nature, but to the essence of the Self which is ever identical to Brahman, the Supreme Being as Satchidananda.
ahańkāra or ahamkara (Sanskrit: अहंकार) from aham (ego, I) + kara (maker, doer) from the verbal root kri (to do) — is the sense of “I-am-ness” the individual Ego, which feels itself to be a distinct, separate entity. It provides identity to our functioning, but ahańkāra also creates our feelings of separation, pain, and alienation as well. In its lower aspect, the egoistical and mayavi principle, born of avidya (ignorance), which produces the notion of the personal ego as being different from the universal self. ahańkāra is one of the four parts of the antahkarana ("inner conscience" or "the manifest mind") and the other three parts are buddhi (the intellect), chitta (the memory) and manas (the mind).
ahimsã (Sanskrit: अहिंसा, "non-harming") is derived from the root hims, "to strike". Himsã is injury or harm. A-himsã is the opposite of this, non harming. ahimsã means abstaining from causing harm or injury. It is gentleness and non-injury, whether physical, mental or emotional. It is good to know that nonviolence speaks only to the most extreme forms of forceful wrongdoing, while ahimsã goes much deeper to prohibit even the subtle abuse and the simple hurt.
akasha or akash, aakaashá, ākāśa, (Sanskrit: आकाश) — meaning space or sky and is the basis and essence of all things in the material world; the smallest material element created from the sukshmaloka (astral world). It is one of the panchamahābhūtas (five great elements), the others being prthivi (earth), apa (water), agni (fire) and vayu (air). Its main characteristic is shabda (sound).
Anahata Chakra
Anahata Chakra, Lit. “the centre (lotus) of unstruck sound”; — the fourth of the seven primary Chakras; it is associated with Vayu, the “air” element; physically related to the heart region and associated with the cardiac plexus and the thymus glands.
anandamaya kosha
anandamaya kosha (bliss-apparent-sheath), literally the bliss sheath is associated with the karana-sharira or causal body. This is the stage in which atma (the Self) experiences the eternal bliss, a perfect state of peace, comfort, stability and carefree nature. This svarupa (inmost Self form) is the ultimate foundation of all life, intelligence and higher faculties. This state is explained as the state of sthitaprajna. This is also known as the state of samadhi. The sadhaka who has reached anandamaya kosha understands all the previous koshas better and realizes how incomplete they are. He also understands how transitory the world is. By understanding this difference, he gives importance to philosophy, reality and subtleness. In this light, he feels all the worldly problems insignificant and he finally attains a state of peace and content.
anātmā (Sanskrit: "non-Self, not the real Self") — different from the atman (Self).
annamaya kosha
annamaya kosha (food-apparent-sheath) is translated as food sheath, corresponds roughly to the sthula-sharira (coarse body, physical body). This is the sheath of the physical self, named from the fact that it is nourished by food. Living through this layer man identifies himself with a mass of skin, flesh, fat, bones, and filth, while the man of viveka (discrimination) knows his own Self, the only reality that there is, as distinct from the body. It has the most dense and slow vibrational frequency. This body cannot exist without contact with the other koshas (subtle sheaths) or bodies (the pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya, and anandamaya koshas), yet for the most part it remains barely activated in regards to its highest evolutionary potential. The physical or odic body, coarsest of sheaths in comparison to the faculties of the atma (the Self), yet indispensable for evolution and Self Realization, because only within it can all fourteen chakras fully function.
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).
Antarloka (Sanskrit, "Inner or in-between world."). The astral plane. See: loka.
apauruṣeya (Sanskrit: "being unauthored") — is used to describe the Vedas, the main scripture in Hindu Dharma This implies that the Vedas are not authored by any agency, be it human or divine. Apaurusheya shabda ("unauthored word") is an extension of apaurusheya which refers to the Vedas.
arishadvarga — the six passions of mind or enemies of desire, kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy), the negative characteristics which prevent man from realizing the atman (Reality that is his True Being).
artha (Sanskrit: अर्थ, "worldly wealth; material facility; the pursuit of wealth and social status") — refers to the idea of material prosperity, not to be understood solely as material assets, but all kinds of wealth including non-tangibles such as knowledge, friendship and love. artha is one of the four goals of life, known as purusharthas. It is considered to be a noble goal as long as it follows the dictates of dharma. The concept includes achieving widespread fame, garnering wealth and having an elevated social standing. It is the second lowest rung on the ladder of purusharthas, above kama (physical or emotional pleasure) but below dharma (righteousness) and moksha (liberation).
ā́rya (Sanskrit: "noble") — the root of the word means "noble." . The ancient name of India found in many Hindu scriptures is 'Aryavarat', meaning the abode of noble people.
Opposite of sat, non-being, impermanent, false, evil, unreal, sometimes used to refer to matter or to the body.
ashram (Sanskrit: , "a place that removes the fatigue of worldliness") — a place of retreat where seekers engage in spiritual practices and study the philosophy of yoga. An ashram is a sanctuary where all things external are directed towards empowering and deepening the experience of inner exploration and transformation.. Some ashrams are graced with the physical presence of a spiritual Master.
Atma Tattva
Atma Tattva — Principle of the Self; the truth or the essential nature of the Self.
atman (Sanskrit: आत्मन् — "the True Self") — one's True Self, "generally translated into English as Self", beyond identification with the phenomenal reality of worldly existence. Just as a man living in a house is called a householder, atman (meaning “Self within”) living in a human body is called an individual. When this “human house” becomes old and irreparable, atman leaves the house and we say that the individual has died.
aum, also om (Devanagari: ॐ) is the most sacred syllable in Hindu Dharma, first coming to light in the Vedic Tradition. The character is a composite of three different letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. The syllable is sometimes referred to as the udgitha or pranava mantra (primordial mantra); not only because it is considered to be the primal sound, but also because most mantras begin with it. In Devanagari it is written ॐ, and in Tibetan script ༀ.
avasthas. The most comprehensive study of the Science of Consciousness. It expounds the various levels of consciousness, states of consciousness, the nature of consciousness at each level, the nature of Truth at each level of consciousness and methods to attain those levels.
avatara (Sanskrit: avataranam means "the decent of Supreme Being on earth for the ascent of man"), means ‘descent’, and usually implies a deliberate descent of the Divine into the mortal realms to reveal the Absolute Truth to humanity and remind them of their true divine nature. This voluntary ‘descent’ into the world out of boundless compassion for all creatures is called avatara and has 4 basic purposes; 1. Protection of the righteous; 2. Elimination of the wicked; 3. Re-establishment of Dharma (righteousness) and 4. Bestowing of Grace.
avidya (Sanskrit) Spiritual "ignorance." Wrongful understanding of the nature of reality. Mistaking the impermanent for the everlasting. The state of ignorance which needs to be dispelled at the outset , before one can begin the journey in earnest towards self fulfillment and Moksha. 'Ignorance is bliss ' or so the satire goes. Ignorance most certainly is not bliss. Avidya (pAra or apAra) is an unpardonable excuse and as soon as a person determines he/she is in a state of Avidya, they should take steps to remedy the situation.
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.


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.
bhagavān, bhagwan or bhagawan (Sanskrit: "possessing fortune, blessed, prosperous;") from the noun bhaga, "fortune, wealth" — indicate the Supreme Being or Absolute Truth, but with specific reference to that Supreme Being as possessing a personality (a personal God). Bhagavan used as a title of veneration is often translated as "Lord", as in "Bhagavan Krishna" and "Bhagavan Shiva". The title is also used as a respectful form of address for a number of contemporary spiritual teachers in India. The feminine of Bhagavat is Bhagawatī.
Bhāgavata Purana
Bhāgavata Purana or also known as Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, or simply Bhāgavatam (Sanskrit: "Ancient Book of the Lord") — is the most celebrated text of a variety of Hindu sacred literature in Sanskrit that is known as the Purāṇas. The Bhāgavatam takes the form of a story being told by a great rishi known as Suta Goswami, to a host of assembled sages, who ask him questions in regard to the various avatars, or descents of Vishnu within the mortal world. Suta Goswami then relates the Bhāgavatam as he has heard it from another sage, called Sukadeva.
bhajana (Sanskrit) Spiritual song. Individual or group singing of devotional songs, hymns and chants. See: kirtana.
bhakta (Sanskrit: "devotee;") — a disciple practicing bhakti yoga, Devotee of God.
bhakti (Sanskrit: भक्ति, "devotion"), from Sanskrit verb root bhaj, whose meanings include "to share in", "to belong to", and "to worship" — is an expression of devotional Love for God; single-minded devotion to one's Iswara, or personal deity. One who practices bhakti is called a bhakta, while bhakti as a spiritual path is referred to as bhakti marga, or the bhakti way.
Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti Yoga or Bhakti Marga (Devanāgarī: भक्ति योग) — denotes the spiritual practice of fostering bhakti (loving devotion) to a personal form of God that involves devotion, attachment and love for God. bhakti is a Sanskrit term that signifies an attitude of devotion to a personal God that is typically based on a number of human relationships such as beloved-lover, friend-friend, parent-child, and master-servant. The Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana are two important scriptures which explain and develop the attitude of bhakti.
bhārata (Sanskrit: भारत ) : Ancient name of India.
Bhāratavarṣa, Bharatavarsham or Akhanda Bharatam (Sanskrit: "Indian subcontinent") literally means the varsha (continent) that is rata (dedicated) to bha (light, wisdom) — is encompassed from north to south by sagarmatha (forehead of the ocean), and extending into the mahasagar (Indian Ocean). The region where Bharatiya (Hindu) Civilization developed and was in force which includes the country we call today as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Ladakh, Sri Langka and even parts of Tibet. Bharata is a legendary king in Hindu history. He was the first to conquer all of Greater India, uniting it into a single entity which was named after him as Bhāratavarṣa. According to some Puranas, the term Bhāratavarṣa applies to the whole Earth and not just to India. According to the Mahābhārata, Bharata's empire covered all of the Indian subcontinent, Bactria, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgistan, Turkmenistan, and Persia.
(Sanskrit: भाषा ) : Language
Bhaumika Manvantara
Bhaumika Manvantara or Bhaumika Pralaya (Sanskrit: ";") from bhumi (earth, land) from the verbal root bhu (to become, grow) — the terrestrial manvantara, or manvantara of earth. The terrestrial or planetary dissolution or manifestation. The bhaumika pralaya is similar to the naimittika pralaya (occasional pralaya) or Night of Brahma.
Bhuloka (Sanskrit: "Earth world.") The physical plane. See: loka.
(Sanskrit: भूमि ) : Earth
Bhuvarloka (Sanskrit, "Plane of atmosphere.") The second of the seven upper worlds, realm of svadhishtana chakra, consisting of the two astral regions closest to the physical plane: pitriloka, "world of ancestors," and pretaloka, "world of the departed." See: loka.
Brahma is the God of Creation and He is attributed to the creation of the brahmãnd (entire universe) and the life forms within it. Brahma is the first member of the Trimurthi, Vishnu being the second and Shiva, the third.
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.
brahmana — a member of the traditional priestly class. The brahmana was the first of the four varnas in the social system called varnasrama dharma. Literally the word means “in relation to brahman.” A brahmana is one who follows the ways of Brahman. Traditionally a brahmana, often written as brahmin, filled the role of priest, teacher and thinker.
Brahmavidya or Paravidya (metaphysics metaknowledge or higher knowledge) is the vehicle for attaining Moksha in the path known as Jnana Yoga and Yoga sastra (the means to attain the same) is the practical discipline needed to attain Brahmavidya.
buddhi (Sanskrit: "intellect; the faculty of discrimination") from the root budh (to be awake; to understand; to know) — the determinative faculty of the mind that makes decisions; sometimes translated as "intellect." Another translation is the higher mind, or wisdom. At a more gross level buddhi is the aspect of mind that knows, decides, judges, and discriminates. It can determine the wiser of two courses of action, if it functions clearly and if manas will accept its guidance. buddhi is one of the four parts of the antahkarana ("inner conscience" or "the manifest mind") and the other three parts are manas (the mind), chitta (the memory) and ahankara (the ego)..
buddhi manas
buddhi manas (Sanskrit: "Intuitional-Mind.";) — higher mind.


chakra (Sanskrit: “wheel”;) — the psycho-energetic centers of the subtle body known as the pranamaya kosha; in yoga there are considered to be twelve major chakras, six higher, and six lower. However, the six higher chakras are typically group as one. Thus seven chakras are commonly spoken of. They are Muladhara Chakra at the base of the spine, Svadhishstana Chakra at the genitals, Manipura Chakra at the navel, Anahata Chakra at the heart, Vishuddha Chakra at the throat, Ajna Chakra the forehead, and Sahasrara Chakra (comprised of the six higher chakras) at the top of the head.
Çhandas Vedanga
Çhandas Vedanga (Sanskrit: "meter") — auxiliary Vedic texts on the metrical rules of poetic writing. Çhanda is among four linguistic skills taught for mastery of the Vedas and the rites of yagna. Çhandas means "desire; will; metrical science." The most important text on Çhandas is the Çhanda Shastra, ascribed to Pingala. Its knowledge is most essential for the correct pronunciation of the Vedic mantras.
chatuh sashti kala
chatuh sashti kala or 64 kala (Sanskrit: "sixty-four arts.") — a classical curriculum of sacred sciences, studies, arts and skills of cultured living listed in various Hindu shastras.
chitta (Sanskrit: "memory";) — derived from the root chit, "to be conscious". Chitta is the Subconscious mind. It is the mind-stuff. It is the store-house of memory. Samskaras or impressions of actions are imbedded here. It is one of the four parts of antahkarana.


darśanas or darshanas (Sanskrit: "views") from the term darshan, "sight" — is divided into six āstika ("orthodox") schools of thought in Hindu philosophy which based the Vedas such as Mimamsa, Vedanta, Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisheshika, and three nāstika ("heterodox") schools, which is not based on the Vedas.
darshan, darśan or darśana (Sanskrit: दर्शन, "a sight of; in the sense of an instance of seeing or beholding") from a root dṛś, "to see" — vision, apparition, or glimpse — is most commonly used for "visions of the divine," e.g., of a God or a very holy person or artifact.
daya (Sanskrit: "compassion") — is not mere display of kindness or sympathy to someone in distress. It calls for complete identification with the suffering experienced by another and relieving that suffering as a means of relieving the agony experienced by himself.
deva (Sanskrit: "Lord; God") derived from the root div, "to shine or become bright". A deva is therefore a “shining one.” The word is used to refer to God, or any exalted personality. The female version is devî.
Devaloka (Sanskrit: "Plane of radiant beings.") — a synonym of maharloka, the higher astral plane, realm of anahata chakra. See: loka.
Dhama — Self-control; restraining the sense organs which run after sense objects seeking pleasure. This is an important discipline for an aspirant practising yoga.
dharana (Sanskrit: "immovable concentration of the mind; that which gives stability") from the root Dhar, which means to “bind together”, “to make stable” — the willful act of concentration of the mind; the sixth of Patanjali’s “eight limbs of yoga”. The essential idea is to hold the concentration or focus of attention in one direction. This is not the forced concentration of, for example, solving a difficult mathematics problem; rather dharana is a form of closer to the state of mind, which could be called receptive concentration. See: Ashtanga Yoga
Dharma (Sanskrit: "way of righteousness." From dhri, "to sustain; carry, hold.") refers to the underlying order in nature and human life and behavior considered to be in accord with that order. The word Dharma is used to mean nyaya (Justice), what is right in a given circumstance, moral values of life, pious obligations of individuals, righteous conduct in every sphere of activity, being helpful to other living beings, giving charity to individuals in need of it or to a public cause or alms to the needy, natural qualities or characteristics or properties of living beings and things, duty and law as also constitutional law. Dharma is the law that maintains the cosmic order as well as the individual and social order. Dharma sustains human life in harmony with nature. When we follow dharma, we are in conformity with the law that sustains the universe.
Dharma Shastra
Dharma Shastra or Dharmaśāstra (Sanskrit: धर्मशास्त्र, "Religious law book.") — a term referring to all or any of numerous codes of Hindu civil and social law composed by various authors. The best known and most respected are those by Manu and Yajnavalkya. The Dharma Shastras are part of the Smriti literature, included in the Kalpa Vedanga, and are widely available today in many languages.
This is one of the oldest Hindu festivals occurring in the month of Kartik, which commemorates the return of Rama to Ayodhya after an exile of 14 years. It also marks the beginning of the New Year and is celebrated with the lighting of lamps.
duḥkha or dukkha (Sanskrit: दुःख; literally means "bad-space"; "suffering"). A “bad” space is a closed and confined space which does not permit growth, learning, expansion of being and the unfolding of one’s potential. The opposite of duḥkha is sukha (good space) — is an open and free space, one in which there is growth, unfoldment, learning and freedom. Duhkha can also be defined as the deferential between our expectations and what we actually achieve. The greater the differential between expectation and outcome the greater the intensity of the suffering. Although duḥkha is often translated as "suffering", its root meaning is more analogous to "disquietude" as in the condition of being disturbed. As such, "suffering" is too narrow a translation with "negative emotional connotations".
dwapara yuga
dwapara yuga or dvapara yuga (Sanskrit: द्वापर युग, ";") — is the third out of four yugas, or ages. This yuga comes after treta-yuga and is followed by kali-yuga. The living and moral standard of the people overall in the Dvapara Yuga drops immensely from the Treta Yuga. The average life expectancy of humans begins to fall to only 1,000 years in this era because of neglect of the Varnashram, Vedas and Yagyas. The Vedas especially become less active.


Hindu Vaishnavas observe Ekadashi (alternatively called 'Gyaars') by fasting on that day.



Ganita (Sanskrit: for mathematics; is derived from the root ‘gana’, which means to count or to enumerate.)
garbhadhana or "samskaras of birth" (Sanskrit: "Womb-placing.") from the rite of conception to the blessings of the new-born child. Rite of conception, where physical union is consecrated with the intent of bringing into physical birth an advanced atman. — punsavana (Sanskrit: "Male rite; bringing forth a male.") A rite performed during the third month of pregnancy consisting of prayers for a son and for the well-being of mother and child. A custom, found in all societies, based on the need for men to defend the country, run the family business and support the parents in old age. The need for male children in such societies is also based on the fact that women outlive men and leave the family to join their husband's family. — simantonnayana, "Hairparting." A ceremony held between the fourth and seventh months in which the husband combs his wife's hair and expresses his love and support. — jatakarma, "Rite of birth." The father welcomes and blesses the new-born child and feeds it a taste of ghee and honey.
Gâyatrî Mantra
The Gâyatrî Mantra is the most revered mantra in Hinduism. It consists of the prefix om bhur bhuvah svah, a formula frequently appearing in the Yajurveda, and the verse 3.62.10 of the Rig Veda. Gayatri is the name of the 24-syllable meter of this verse (excluding the prefix), and also the name of the goddess considered the personification of the mantra.
A term applied to a clan, a group of families, or a lineage - exogamous and patrilineal - whose members trace their descent to a common ancestor.
Grihya Shastras
Grihya Shastras or Grihya Sutras (Sanskrit: "Household maxims or codes") — an important division of classical smriti literature, designating rules and customs for domestic life, including rites of passage and other home ceremonies, which are widely followed to this day. The Grihya Sutras (or Shastras) are part of the Kalpa Vedanga, "procedural maxims" (or Kalpa Sutras), which also include the Shrauta and Shulba Shastras, on public Vedic rites, and the Dharma Shastras (or Sutras), on domestic-social law. Among the best known Grihya Sutras are Ashvalayana's Grihya Sutras attached to the Rig Veda, Gobhila's Sutras of the Sama Veda, and the Sutras of Paraskara and Baudhayana of the Yajur Veda.
guna (Sanskrit: "cord; quality; positive attributes; virtues, or characteristic;") — is translated as phase or mode and of three kinds: sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna. The qualities of sattva (serenity), rajas (passion), and tamas (ignorance) are general universal characteristics of all kinds of mental tendencies and actions/thoughts, which are prompted by specific kinds and mixtures of these three qualities. The word guna also means a rope or thread and it is sometimes said that beings are “roped” or “tied” into matter by the three gunas of material nature. For example, sattvic food is health-giving, strength-giving and delightful; rajasic food is spicy, sour, or salty and brings on diseases; and tamasic food is impure, old, stale, tasteless, or rotten.
guru (Sanskrit: गुरु) from gu (darkness), and ru (light) — is a person who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom and authority in a certain area, and uses it to guide others. Literally a preceptor who shows others knowledge (light) and destroys ignorance (darkness). It is also used for teacher or guide in the religious or sense. The guru is seen as a sacred conduit for wisdom and guidance, and finding a satguru (True Guru) is often held to be a prerequisite for attaining self-realization.
Guru Purnima
The day, also known as Vyasa Purnima is observed by devotees who offer pujas (worship) to their beloved Gurus. . The festival is usually celebrated as an occasion for initiation of new disciples by their Gurus. On the purnima (day of full moon) in the month of Aashadh in the Hindu Calendar is traditionally celebrated as Guru Purnima by many Hindus. On this day devotees offer worship (puja) to their guru. According to tradition this was the day when Vyasadeva, author of the Mahabharata and the Puranas was born. All religious teachers (gurus) are revered on this day by remembering their life and teachings.


Hanuman Jayanti
It is celebrated largely in North India to commemorate the birth of the monkey god, Hanuman, during Chaitra. It marks a symbolic acceptance of the human race's peaceful co-existence with nature and the worship of an animal.
A Hindu is an adherent of Sanatana Dharma which is known today as Hinduism or Hindu Dharma, that represents a set of religious, spiritual, philosophical, scientific and cultural systems that originated in bharatavarsha (Greater India). Briefly a Hindu is basically any person who is born into the indigenous religion of Bharatvarsh.
This colorful festival of the Hindus, celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna, heralds the advent of spring.
homa, or Deva-yajna, is the making of offerings to Fire. which is the carrier thereof to the Deva. A kunda (firepit) is prepared and fire when brought from the house of a Brahmana is consecrated with mantra. The fire is made conscious with the mantra – Vang vahni-chaitanyaya namah, and then saluted and named. Meditation is then made on the three nadis (vide ante) – Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna – and on Agni, the Lord of Fire. Offerings are made to the Ishta-devata in the fire. After the puja of fire, salutation is given as in Shadanga-nyasa, and then clarified butter (ghee) is poured with a wooden spoon into the fire with mantra, commencing with Aum and ending with Svaha. Homa is of various kinds, several of which are referred to in the text, and is performed either daily, as in the case of the ordinary nitya-vaishva-deva-homa, or on special occasions, such as the upanayana or sacred thread ceremony, marriage, vrata, and the like. It is of various kinds, such as prayashchitta-homa, srishtikrit-homa, janu homa, dhara-homa, and others, some of which will be found in the text.


îsa (Sanskrit: "lord, master, or controller") — one of the words used for God as the supreme controller. The word is also used to refer to any being or personality who is in control.
Ishvarapranidhana or Ishvara Pranidhana represents surrender to the divinity within the individual. Ishvarapranidhana is to live an ethical lifestyle of non-harming, honesty, charity, purity, contentment, and discipline. All we have to do is let God handle the details.
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.


Janaloka: (Sanskrit, "Plane of creativity, or of liberated mortals.") The third highest of the seven upper worlds, realm of vishuddha chakra. See: loka.
Janmapatrika. Birth Chart. An astrological map of the sky drawn for a person's moment and place of birth. Also known as rashi chakra or zodiac wheel, it is the basis for interpreting the traits of individuals and the experiences, prarabdha karma, they will go through in life. See: jyotisha, karma.
jiva (Sanskrit: "the embodied atman") Individual Self.
A person who is liberated (enlightened) while living.
jivanmukti — the state of being liberated (enlightened) while alive.
jñåna (Sanskrit: ) derived from the root jñå, "to know, to learn, to experience". In the context of Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, jñåna is generally used in the sense of spiritual knowledge or awareness.
jyotisha (Sanskrit: "The science of the lights or stars") from jyoti, "light." — Hindu astrology, the knowledge and practice of analyzing events and circumstances, delineating character and determining auspicious moments, according to the positions and movements of heavenly bodies. In calculating horoscopes, jyotisha uses the sidereal (fixed-star) system, whereas Western astrology uses the tropical (fixed-date) method.
Jyotisha Vedanga
Jyotisha Vedanga (Sanskrit: "Veda-limb of celestial science or astronomy-astrology") — ancient texts giving knowledge of astronomy and astrology, for understanding the cosmos and determining proper timing for Vedic rites. (Jyoti means light "of the sun, fire, etc.") See: jyotisha, vedanga.


kâla or kaala (Sanskrit: "Time"), is the word for Time as the source of all things. The absolute undivided time or duration, and of manifested or divided time: the former as causal or noumenal, the latter as effectual or phenomenal, and therefore mayavi (illusional). kâla is an illusion produced by the succession of our states of consciousness as we travel through eternal duration, and it does not exist where no consciousness exists in which the illusion can be produced; but 'lies asleep'.
kālachakra (Sanskrit: "cycles of time;") from kāla (Time) + chakra (wheel) — refers to cycles of time. The Sanskrit word for time is kāla which has been derived from kalana or motion and it implies that, time manifests itself through motion. At the same time, time is eternal (nitya and śāśvata) and without beginning and end (anādi and ananta). The Time is mahākāla the lord of destruction and nothing can withstand the assault of time.
kali yuga
kali yuga (Sanskrit: कलियुग, "age of Kali"; "age of vice") — is one of the four stages of development that the world goes through as part of the cycle of Yugas, the others being satya-yuga, treta-yuga and dwapara-yuga. The human civilization degenerates spiritually throughout the Kali Yuga — it is mostly referred to as the Dark Age, mainly because people are the furthest possible from Divinity. During the Kali Yuga righteousness has diminished by three-quarters, and the age is one of devolution, culminating in the destruction of the world prior to a new creation and another Krita Yuga in an endless cycle of time.
kalpa (Sanskrit: "period of time; or a cycle of time.") from a verb-root klrip (to be in order) — a sequence of one thousand mahayugas is called a kalpa which is one day in the life of Brahma. The universe exists during Brahma's day and is dissolved during Brahma's night.
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.
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).
kama manas
kama manas (Sanskrit: from kāma, "desire" + manas, "mind"). The lower part of manas in conjunction with kāma is attracted below to material things, and in human life is commonly called the personal ego. This personal ego is mortal, although the monad of which it is the expression lasts through the ages.
kāma rupa
kāma rupa (Skr: , "desire-form") is a "form" or subtle body created of mental and physical desires and thoughts, a form that survives the death of the body.
kāmadeva (Sanskrit: कामदेव) is the deity of love. His other names include Ragavrinta ("stalk of sassion"), Ananga ("incorporeal"), Kandarpa ("inflamer even of a God"). Kamadeva, is son of Goddess Sri and, additionally, is the incarnation of Pradyumna, Krishna’s son.
Karana Chitta
karana chitta (Sanskrit) "Causal mind." The intuitive-superconscious mind of the soul. It corresponds to the anandamaya kosha, bliss sheath, also called karana sharira, causal body.
Karana Sharira
Karana Sharira or Kaarana Sareeram (the vehicle of the consciousness). The intuitive superconscious mind of the atman (Inner Self). Causal body which carries the impressions and tendencies in seed state. It corresponds to the anandamaya-kosha, bliss sheath; the innermost of the five sheaths.
karma, kárma or kárman (Sanskrit: कर्म, "act, action, performance") — is a noun-form coming from the root kri meaning "to do," "to make." Literally karma means "doing," "making," action. Karma is pronounced as "karmuh," the "uh" being subtle. Karma can best be translated into English by the word consequence. It corresponds to the "action" or "deed" which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called saṃsāra). It applies to all levels of action, including thought, word, feeling and deed, and the effects of it.
Karma Yoga
karma yoga (Sanskrit: "Union through action.") The path of selfless service. See: yoga.
karmaphala — the fruit (consequence) that a persons gets (either enjoys or bears) depending on his past-Karma.
klesha (Sanskrit: "knot of the heart; impurities of the heart") hindrance, to spiritual evolution / progress — which hinder spiritual growth and higher realizations.
kosha (Sanskrit: "Sheath; vessel, container; layer.") — five sheaths through which the Self functions simultaneously in the various planes or levels of existence. There are five or six classical koshas as presented in the Upanishads. Classically there are five traditional koshas called the annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya, and anandamaya koshas. These five sheaths cover the atman (the Self), which is the innermost reality or the jiva and is untouched by the characteristics of the sheaths. See: panchakosha.
Krishna Janmashtami
Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Gokulashtami, Shri Krishna Jayanti, or sometimes just Janmasthami is a festival celebrating the appearance of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatara (incarnation) of Vishnu. Literially janma means birth and ashthami means eighth.
kriyamana karma
kriyamana karma (Sanskrit: "Being made.") The karma being created and added to sanchita in this life by one's thoughts, words and actions, or in the inner worlds between lives. What we are currently creating through our choices right now. It is our creativity that is unfolding, it is our "free will". See: karma
krodha or krodh (Sanskrit: , "wrath, anger or rage") — One of the arishadvarga (six passions of mind) or enemies of desire, the others being kama (lust), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy).
ksatriya — a member of the traditional military or warrior class. The ksatriya was the second varna in the system of varnasrama dharma.
Kshama (Sanskrit: "patience; forbearance and pardon") — restraining intolerance with people and impatience with circumstances. Implies remaining serene, patient and observing self-restraint under all circumstances, doing good to all, even to those who may want to harm you. The closest translation of Kshama in English is possibly Forbearance, though it is still not accurate. Kshama is much more. It also includes Forgiveness. Spiritual aspirants striving to progress in the spiritual path need to develop Kshama.
Kumaras, the four
The four Kumaras (Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanat kumara) —the four Manasputras created by Lord Brahma. When Brahma decided to commence the sequence of creation, he first of all created four Kumaras by just having a wish in his mind. They were Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanat kumara. These four Kumaras are eternaly liberated souls. All of them are pious and virtuous right from their birth and engaged themselves in activities like chanting the name of the Lord, listening about the lords divine activities, pastimes etc. Not for a single moment in their minds, came the desires for worldly matters. These four Kumaras, as siddhesvaras, had achieved all the yogic siddhis (perfectional achievements), and as such they travel in outer space without machines. Prithu and sage Narada were fortunate to receive knowledge from these Kumaras.
Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela (Devanagari: कुम्भ मेला) is a mass Hindu pilgrimage. It occurs four times every twelve years and rotates among four locations: Allahabad (Prayag) at the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati river, Haridwar along Ganga river, Ujjain along the Kshipra river and Nashik along the Godavari river, so a Kumbh Mela is practically held every three years across the four locations.
Kundalini (Sanskrit: "a coiled female serpent") from kundala, "coil of a rope" meaning either coiled up or coiling like a snake — is the divine cosmic energy. It is a term in yoga, referring to a reservoir of psychic energy at the base of the spine. Kundalini is curled up in the back part of the root chakra in three and one-half turns. This force or energy is symbolized as a coiled and sleeping serpent lying dormant in the lowest nerve centre at the base of the spinal column, the Muladhara-chakra. This latent energy has to be aroused and made to ascend the main spinal channel, the Susumna piercing the chakras right up to the Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus in the head. Then the Yogi is in union with the Brahman (Supreme Universal Soul).


Lakshmi Puja
Lakshmi Puja is performed to propitiate Goddess Lakshmi and to thank her for the bestowal of her blessings on the humans.
lobha (Sanskrit: "covetousness; cupidity; avarice; greed; craving; possessiveness;") from the verbal root lubh (to desire greatly) — stands for impatience, eager desire for or longing after. It is regarded as one of the arishadvarga (six passions of mind) or enemies of desire, the others being kama (lust), krodha (anger), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy).
loka, (Sanskrit: "world"; "realm"; "abode"; "dimension"; or "plane of existence") from loc, "to shine, be bright, visible." — the universe or any particular division of it. A dimension of manifest existence; cosmic region. Each loka reflects or involves a particular range of consciousness. The most common division of the universe is the triloka, or three worlds (Bhuloka, Antarloka and Brahmaloka), each of which is divided into seven regions. Corresponds to any of the 14 worlds (visible and invisible) inhabited by living beings.


mada (Sanskrit: "pride, being maddened, of the intoxication of pride;") — regarded as one of the arishadvarga (six passions of mind) or enemies of desire, the others being kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion) and matsarya (jealousy).
Madhvacharya (Kannada: ಶ್ರೀ ಮಧ್ವಾಚಾರ್ಯರು) — South Indian Vaishnava saint (11971278) who expounded a purely dualistic Vedanta in which there is an essential and eternal distinction between God, Self and world, and between all beings and things. The chief proponent of Tattvavāda (True Philosophy), popularly known as dvaita-advaita or dualistic school of Hindu thought. He wrote several commentaries on the Vedas, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.
Maha Shivaratri
Literally, the “Great Night of Shiva” is celebrated every year on the new moon night in the month of Phalguna, this Hindu festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
maharloka: (Sanskrit: "Plane of greatness.") from mahas, "greatness, might, power, glory." Also called the Devaloka, this fourth highest of the seven upper worlds is the mental plane, realm of anahata chakra. See: loka.
Mahāvākyas (Sanskrit: "Grand Pronouncement; Great Sayings") — more specifically it refers to four Upanishadic quotations which affirm the reality of atman (the Self): (1) Tat Tvam Asi, "That thou art", (2) Aham Brahmasmi, "I am Brahman", (3) Ayam Atma Brahma, "This Self is Brahman", (4) Prajnanam Brahma, "consciousness is Brahman". The four statements indicate the ultimate unity of the atman (individual) with Brahman (Supreme Being).
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.
manas (Sanskrit: मनस्, "mind") from the root man, "to think" or "mind" — is the recording faculty; receives impressions gathered by the sense from the outside world. It is bound to the senses and yields vijnana (information) rather than jnana (wisdom) or vidya (understanding). That faculty which coordinates sensory impressions before they are presented to the consciousness. Relates to the mind; that which distinguishes man from the animals. One of the inner instruments that receive information from the external world with the help of the senses and present it to the higher faculty of buddhi (intellect). manas is one of the four parts of the antahkarana ("inner conscience" or "the manifest mind") and the other three parts are buddhi (the intellect), chitta (the memory) and ahankara (the ego).
mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, "circular; orb; diagram; region, sphere."). A circle, ball, wheel, ring, or circumference, as the orbit of a heavenly body, and hence a great circle in astronomy, an orb. Also one of the ten mandalas (circles, divisions) of the Rig-Veda Samhita.
manomaya kosha
manomaya kosha (mind-stuff-apparent-sheath) is the mental and emotional sheath which also is included in the sukshma sharira (subtle body). Manomaya means composed of manas or mind. The manas (thought, will, wish) along with the five subtle sensory organs is said to constitute the manomaya kosha. The instinctive-intellectual sheath of ordinary thought, desire and emotion. It is the seat of the indriyas, sensory and motor organs, respectively called jnanendriyas and karmendriyas. The manomaya kosha takes form as the physical body develops and is discarded in the inner worlds before rebirth. It is understood in two layers: 1) the buddhi (odiccausal sheath) and 2) the manas (odic-astral sheath). The manomaya kosha, is said more truly to approximate to personhood than annamaya kosha and pranamaya kosha. It is the cause of diversity, of I and mine.
mantra (Sanskrit; Devanāgarī: मन्त्र) or mantram, consists of the root man- "to think" (also in manas "mind") and the suffix -tra meaning, "tool or protection" — hence a literal translation would be "instrument of thought". They are primarily used as spiritual conduits, words or vibrations that instill one-pointed concentration in the devotee.
manu is a title accorded to the progenitor of mankind, and also the very first king to rule this earth, who saved mankind from the universal flood. He was absolutely honest which was why he was initially known as "Satyavrata" (One with the oath of truth).
manvantara or manuvantara (Sanskrit: "patriarchate of one Manu;") from manu (progenitor of mankind) + antara (within or between), hence the compound paraphrased means "within a manu," or "between manus" — literally meaning the duration of a Manu, or his life span. A manvantara is the period of activity between any two manus, on any plane, since in any such period there is a root-manu at the beginning of evolution, and a seed-manu at its close, preceding a pralaya (dissolution, or rest). Manvantara implying here simply a period of activity, as opposed to pralaya — without reference to the length of the cycle.
matsarya or matsara (Sanskrit: "envy or jealousy;") — regarded as one of the arishadvarga (six passions of mind) or enemies of desire, the others being kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), and mada (pride).
mãyã (Sanskrit: माया, "consisting of; made of") from roots ma, "to measure, to limit, give form" and ya, generally translated as an indicative article meaning "that" — is the principal concept which manifests, perpetuates and governs the illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal Universe. The substance emanated from Brahman through which the world of form is manifested. Hence all creation is also termed maya. It is the cosmic creative force, the principle of manifestation, ever in the process of creation, preservation and dissolution. Denotes to the false identification of atman (Self) through anatma (non-Self — consists of body, senses, emotion, mind and intellect). The Upanishads underscore maya's captivating nature, which blinds atman (Self) to the transcendent Truth.
(Sanskrit: मेरु ) : An ancient mountain and mythical centre of the universe on which was situated the city of Brahma. Becoming jealous of Meru, the Vindya began to grow very high obstructing the sun, the moon and the planets. Agastya whom the Vindhya mountain respected asked it to stop growing until he crossed it on his way to the south and returned to the north again. But he did not return at all, having settled in the south.
Mīmāṃsā (Sanskrit: "investigation") is the name of an astika ("orthodox") school of Hindu philosophy whose primary enquiry is into the nature of dharma based on close hermeneutics of the Vedas. Its core tenets are ritualism (orthopraxy), anti-asceticism and anti-mysticism. The central aim of the school is elucidation of the nature of dharma, understood as a set ritual obligations and prerogatives to be performed properly. The nature of dharma isn't accessible to reason or observation, and must be inferred from the authority of the revelation contained in the Vedas, which are considered eternal, authorless (apaurusheyatva), and infallible. Mimamsa is more accurately known as Pūrva Mīmāṃsā "prior inquiry" since it investigates the "earlier" (pūrva) portions of the Vedas, while Uttara Mīmāṃsā ("posterior or higher inquiry") is the opposing school of Vedanta. This division is based on the notion of a dichotomy of the Vedic texts into a karma-kanda, including the Samhitas and Brahmanas and the jnana-kanda of the Upanishads.
moha (the delusion caused by false evaluation). The delusion that some people are nearer to one than others and the desire to please them more than others, leading to exertions for earning and accumulating for their sake. It makes a false thing appear as true. The world appears as real on account of moha. The body is mistaken for atman (or pure Self) owing to the delusive influence of moha. Regarded as one of the arishadvarga (six passions of mind) or enemies of desire, the others being kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy).
moksha (Sanskrit: मोक्ष mokṣa, "liberation") or mukti (Sanskrit: मुक्ति, "release") is liberation from samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth or reincarnation and all of the suffering and limitation of worldly existence. It is a state of absolute freedom, peace and bliss, attained through Self-Realization. This is the supreme goal of human endeavor, the other three being, dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth and power) and kama (sense-pleasure). It is seen as a transcendence of phenomenal being, a state of higher consciousness, in which matter, energy, time, space, karma (causation) and the other features of empirical reality are understood as maya.
mukti or mukhti (Sanskrit: "liberation") is deliverance from the samsara (cycle of birth and death). The condition of freedom from ignorance (avidyâ) and the binding effect of karma. Liberation from material existence. See: moksha.
mumukshuthwam (Sanskrit: "yearning for liberation.") — the longing for moksha or Liberation. This longing cannot arise from either riches or from the scholarship that may be won at great expense of money. Nor can it emerge from wealth or progeny, or rites and rituals recommended in the scriptures or acts of charity, for moksha (liberation from grief and acquisition of bliss) can come only from the conquest of ajnana (ignorance).


Naimittika Manvantara
Naimittika Manvantara or Naimittika Pralaya (Sanskrit: ";") from naimittika (occasional, unusual, due to external cause), from nimitti (occasional dissolution or manifestation). Refers to pralayas or manvantaras which are unusual or occasional because occurring at wide intervals, either of time or circumstance, especially those separated by Brahma's Days and Nights. A naimittika pralaya occurs when Brahma slumbers: it is the destruction of all that lives and has form, but not of the substance, which remains more or less in statu quo till the new dawn after that Night of Brahma. At the end of a Day of Brahma there occurs what is called in the Puranas a recoalescence of the universe, called Brahma's "contingent or naimittika recoalescence or pralaya," because Brahma is this universe itself.
namakarana or "samskaras of childhood" (Sanskrit: "Name-giving") from naming to education — formal entry into one or another sect of Hinduism, performed 11 to 41 days after birth. The name is chosen according to astrology, preferably the name of a God or Goddess. At this time, guardian devas are assigned to see the child through life. — annaprashana: (Sanskrit) "Feeding." The ceremony marking the first taking of solid food, held at about six months. (Breast-feeding generally continues). — karnavedha: "Ear-piercing." The piercing of both ears, for boys and girls, and the inserting of gold earrings, held during the first, third or fifth year. See: earrings. — chudakarana: (Sanskrit) "Head-shaving." The shaving of the head, for boys and girls, between the 31st day and the fourth year. — vidyarambha: (Sanskrit) Marks the beginning of formal education. The boy or girl ceremoniously writes his/her first letter of the alphabet in a tray of uncooked rice. — upanayana: Given to boys at about 12 years of age, marks the beginning of the period of brahmacharya and formal study of scripture and sacred lore, usually with an acharya or guru. — samavartana: Marks the end of formal religious study.
Namaste is made of two words, namas and te. Namas comes from the verbal root nam which means to bow and so namas is a bow or salutation. “Te” means, to you. And so namaste literally means, "bowing to you". There is a variation of this in the form “namaskara.” The Sanskrit word “kara” means, doing. So namaskara literally means, doing salutations.
naraka (Sanskrit: "abode of darkness", literally "pertaining to man.") — an unhappy, mentally and emotionally congested, distressful area of consciousness in the lower worlds. Naraka is a state of mind that can be experienced on the physical plane or in the sub-astral plane after death of the sthula-sharira (physical body). It is accompanied by the tormented emotions of hatred, remorse, resentment, fear, jealousy and self-condemnation. Naraka is a congested, distressful area where demonic beings and young souls may sojourn until they resolve the darksome karmas they have created. Here beings suffer the consequences of their own misdeeds in previous lives. However, in the Hindu view, the hellish experience is not permanent, but a temporary condition of one's own making. See: asura, loka.
(Sanskrit: नारायण ) : Nārāyaṇa is an important Sanskrit name for Vishnu. The name is also associated with Brahma and Krishna. He is also identified with, or as the son of, the original man, Purusha.
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.
'without form', referring to Brahman as Unmanifest.
nirdaya — one without compassion.
Nirukta Shastra
Nirukta Vedanga (Sanskrit: "etymology Veda-limb.") — auxiliary Vedic texts which discuss the origin and development of words; among the four linguistic skills taught for mastery of the Vedas and the rites of yagna. Nirukta relies upon ancient lexicons, nighantu, as well as detailed hymn indices, anukramani. Five nighantus existed at the time of sage Yaska, whose treatise is regarded a standard work on Vedic etymology.



panchakosa (Sanskrit: पञ्च कोश; "five sheaths") from root pancha, "five" + kosha, "body" — is the “five bodies,” or discernible “aspects” of man, arranged successively from the grosser to the increasingly more subtle. There is annamaya-kosha, the kosha of matter, the physical vehicle. There is the pranamaya-kosha, the kosha of prana, the "vital" vehicle. There is manomaya-kosha, the kosha of manas, the mental vehicle. There is the vijnanamaya-kosha, the kosha of vijnana, the vehicle of Higher Reason. There is the anandamaya-kosha, the kosha of anand (joy or Cosmic Consciousness). And when that vehicle is well developed there is that self-realization which involves ultimate experience of Unity with All.
panchamahābhūtas (Sanskrit: ) from pancha (five) + maha (great) + bhuta (element), means "five great elements", which are prthivi (earth), apa (water), agni (fire), vayu (air or wind), and akasha (aether).
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".
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.
påpa (Sanskrit: "is what brings one down") — sometimes translated as sin or evil.
Parabrahm or Parambrahmam (Sanskrit: "Beyond Brahma") — the Supreme Infinite Brahma, the "Absolute" - the attributeless, the secondless reality. The impersonal and nameless universal Principle.
paramarthika (Sanskrit: ) from parama highest + arthika true substance of a thing, real — relating to a high or spiritual object or to supreme truth; real, essential verity; in Vedanta philosophy, one of the three kinds of existence: the only real or true existence. See: pratibhasika; vyavaharika
paramātmā or paramātmān (Sanskrit: परमात्मा, "supreme atma;") from roots param, "supreme or highest", and ātman, "individual spirit or Self" — is the supreme ātman situated in the hearts of all living entities as the witness and source of remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness.
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.
Paurusha Manvantara
Paurusha Manvantara or Paurusha Pralaya (Sanskrit: ";") from paurusha (human), from purusha (man) — the manvantara, or period of activity, of man. The death, or the life, of a human being.
Pitriloka (Sanskrit: "World of ancestors.") — the upper region of bhuvarloka. See: loka.
prajñā or pragna (Sanskrit: "wisdom;") — true or transcendental wisdom based on insight, discriminating knowledge, or intuitive apprehension.
Prakritika Manvantara
Prakritika Manvantara or Prakritika Pralaya (Sanskrit: "from prakriti or nature;") — universal manvantara. The dissolution and manifestation of prakriti or nature; also called the elemental pralaya because the universe then returns to its original elements. Hence in one sense it is partial because the dissolution reaches as far as the elements and there stops. The inner portions or constitution of the universe remain as it were in statu quo, which does not signify that they are inactive — any more so than the reincarnating ego is inactive when the lower quaternary of the human constitution undergoes its prakritika pralaya or death.
prakṛti or prakriti (Sanskrit: प्रकृ्ति, ";") — material nature. According to the Bhagavad Gita, the basic nature of intelligence by which the Universe exists and functions. It is described in Bhagavad Gita as the "primal motive force". It is the essential consituent of the universe and is at the basis of all the activity of the creation. In sankhya philosophy prakrti is comprised of eight elements: earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect and ego. It is characterized by the three gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas. prakṛti is female while purusa is male.
pralaya (Sanskrit: ";") — A period of obscuration or repose - planetary, cosmic or universal - the opposite of manvantara.
prana (Sanskrit: प्राण, "life force, or vital energy, particularly, the breath") from the root pran, "to breathe." — the vital breath, which sustains life in a physical body; the primal energy or force, of which other physical forces are manifestations. Prana in the human body moves in the pranamaya-kosha as five primary life currents known as vayus, "vital airs or winds." and described as having five modifications, according to its five different functions. These are prana (the vital energy that controls the breath), apana (the vital energy that carries downward unassimilated food and drink), samana (the vital energy that carries nutrition all over the body), vyama (the vital energy that pervades the entire body), and udana (the vital energy by which the contents of the stomach are ejected through the mouth). Each governs crucial bodily functions, and all bodily energies are modifications of these. Usually prana refers to the life principle, but sometimes denotes energy, power or the animating force of the cosmos. The word prana is also a name of the Cosmic Energy, endowed with activity.
pranamaya kosha
pranamaya kosha (air-apparent-sheath) — sheath of vital energy also known as the pranic body. It consists of five vital principles and five subtle organs of action. It is endowed with the power of action. It coexists within the physical body as its source of life, breath and vitality, and is its connection with the sukshma sharira (astral body). It interconnects the annamaya kosha (physical body) with the other more subtle sheaths (the manomaya, vijnanamaya, and anandamaya koshas). It is associated with the sukshma-sharira (subtle body). prana moves in the pranamaya kosha as five primary currents or vayus, "vital airs or winds." Pranamaya kosha disintegrates at death along with the sthula sharira (physical body).
pranava — the cosmic sound AUM; from the roots pra, "pre", and nava, "new"; Lit. “that which existed before anything (that is new)”, or “that which existed before existence itself”. The sacred seed-sound and symbol of Brahman, considered to be the “Mantra of Mantras”. According to the Nada Bindu Upanishad, it consists of 3½ measures: one for each of the Bijas (Aa, Uu and Mm), with the additional half-measure as the ending “nasalized” echo sound of the “Mm”. It is the most exalted syllable in Vedas which is used in meditation on God and uttered first before a Vedic mantra is chanted.
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.
prarabdha karma
prarabdha karma (Sanskrit: "Actions begun; set in motion.") That portion of sanchita karma that is bearing fruit and shaping the events and conditions of the current life, including the nature of one's bodies, personal tendencies and associations. See: karma
pratibhasika (Sanskrit: ), from prati-bhas to look like from the verbal root bhas to appear — appearing as the similitude of something, hence illusory. In Vedanta philosophy, one of the three kinds of existence: the apparent or illusory life. See: paramarthika; vyavaharika
prema (Sanskrit: "real, spontaneous, divine love"), the result of sraddhâ and bhâva.
Pretaloka (Sanskrit: "World of the departed.") — the realm of the earth-bound souls. This lower region of bhuvarloka is an astral duplicate of the physical world. See: loka.
pūjā (worship). "Respect, homage, worship." The offering of food, flowers, incense, and other items to a deity. Often the food will be distributed and consumed afterword and is thought to impart the goodwill of the deity.
punya (Sanskrit: "is what elevates") is the opposite to papa — is virtue or moral merit. Papa and punya generally go together as negative and positive “credits.” One reaps the reward of these negative or positive credits in life. The more punya one cultivates the higher one rises in life, whereas papa will cause one to find a lower position on life. Punya leads to happiness, papa leads to suffering.
purusa (Sanskrit: "man, male"). In sankhya philosophy purusa denotes the Supreme Male Principle in the universe. Its counterpart is prakrti.
purusharthas (Sanskrit: "objectives of man") purusha means human being and artha means object or objective. Purusharthas means objectives of man. According to Hindu way of life, a man should strive to achieve four chief objectives (Purusharthas) in his life. They are: 1. dharma (righteousness), 2. artha (material wealth), 3. kama (desire) and 4. moksha (salvation). Every individual in a society is expected to achieve these four objectives and seek fulfillment in his life before departing from here. The concept of Purusharthas clearly establishes the fact that Hinduism does not advocate a life of self negation and hardship, but a life of balance, achievement and fulfillment.
purusottama (Sanskrit: "Godly man") — comprised of two words: purusa + uttama literally meaning “highest man” — means God.



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).
rajas (Sanskrit: "passion, activity, restlessness, aggressiveness;"). rajasic — adjective form of rajas, passionate, emotional. Associated with color red. See guna.
rajo guna
rajo guna quality of passion, activity restlessness, aggressiveness — the second of the three gunas of matter. Sometimes translated as passion, the phase of rajas is characterized by action, passion, creation, etc.
rasatala (Sanskrit: "Subterranean region.") — the fifth chakra below the muladhara, centered in the ankles. Corresponds to the fifth astral netherworld beneath the earth's surface, called rijisha ("expelled") or rasatala. Region of selfishness, self-centeredness and possessiveness. Rasa means "earth, soil; moisture." See: chakra, loka, naraka.
rishi (Sanskrit: "seer; one who sees") — is a word that simply means a sage or a divine seer in general. the great sages of ancient India who, in deep states of meditation (communion with the cosmos), and through spiritual experimentation, discovered the underlying, fundamental truths of the Universe, and whose teachings formed the basis for the spiritual culture of the ancient Vedic civilization. In more specific usage the rishis are divine beings distinct from devas (Gods), asuras (demons) and men who “heard” the Vedic hymns and passed them on down to mankind.
ritukala or "samskaras of adulthood" (Sanskrit: "Fit or proper season.") from coming-of-age to marriage. Time of menses. A home blessing marking the coming of age for girls. — keshanta: Marking a boy's first beard-shaving, at about 16 years. Both of the above are home ceremonies in which the young ones are reminded of their brahmacharya, given new clothes and jewelry and joyously admitted into the adult community as young adults. — nishchitartha "Settlement of aim." Also called vagdana, "word-giving." A formal engagement or betrothal ceremony in which a couple pledge themselves to one another, exchanging rings and other gifts. — vivaha: Marriage." An elaborate and joyous ceremony performed in presence of God and Gods, in which the homa fire is central.


sadhaka (Sanskrit: "spiritual aspirants").
sâdhana or sādhanam (Sanskrit: साधनम्, "the means of attainment") is a term for "a means of accomplishing something" or more specifically "spiritual effort or practice" leading to siddhi (“perfection” or “accomplishment”). Sincere spiritual endeavor or practices; Self-effort, spiritual discipline both physical and mental such as puja, yoga, meditation, japa, fasting and austerity. The effect of sadhana is the building of willpower, faith and confidence in oneself and in God and Guru. Sâdhana harnesses and transmutes the instinctive-intellectual nature, allowing progressive spiritual unfoldment into the superconscious realizations and innate abilities of the atman (True Self). A sadhaka is an aspirant devoted to the practice of sâdhana.
samadhi (Sanskrit: "standing within one's Self; sameness; contemplation; union, wholeness; completion, accomplishment.") which represents "super consciousness"; "complete absorption into the absolute", "Universal Consciousness" — is the state of true yoga, in which the meditator and the object of meditation are one. The separation of manas (mind) from the body, and its union with the paramatma (Universal Consciousness, Godhead); the complete “forgetting” of the “small self” (Jivatman) and mergence with the unchanging “Higher Self” (paramatma). The eighth of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga (“eight limbs of Yoga”).
samhita (Sanskrit: "Collection.") 1) Any methodically arranged collection of texts or verses. 2) The hymn collection of each of the four Vedas. 3) A common alternate term for Vaishnava Agamas.
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.
saṃsāra (Sanskrit: संसार; "flow") — refers to the phenomenal world. Transmigratory existence, fraught with impermanence, change and cycle of reincarnation or rebirth. The cycle of birth, death and rebirth; the total pattern of successive earthly lives experienced by atman (the Self). According to the Vedas the atman is bound in a "cycle", the cycle of life and death. Endlessly the atman transcends from possessing one form to the next, this is the concept of saṃsāra (reincarnation). So the logical inference is that the aim is to break free! Freedom. Freedom from every constraint, this is the aim of life, the aim of all the Hindu teachings.
samsari (Sanskrit: "One in samsara; wanderer.") — the atman (Self) during transmigration, immersed in or attached to mundane existence, hence not striving for moksha (liberation). A samsari is someone who is not "on the path."
samskara (Sanskrit: "patterned or conditioned behaviors; subconscious tendencies; worldly life; impression.") — 1. The imprints left on the subconscious mind by experience (from this or previous lives), which then color all of life, one's nature, responses, states of mind, etc. 2. A sacrament or rite done to mark a significant transition of life. These make deep and positive impressions on the mind of the recipient, inform the family and community of changes in the lives of its members and secure inner-world blessings. The numerous samskaras are outlined in the Grihya Shastras. Most are accompanied by specific mantras from the Vedas.
Sanatana Dharma
Sanatana Dharma is is the original name of what is now popularly called Hinduism or Hindu Dharma. The terms Hindu and Hinduism are said to be a more recent development, while the more accurate term is Sanatana Dharma. It is a code of ethics, a way of living through which one may achieve moksha (enlightenment, liberation). It is the world's most ancient culture and the socio, spiritual, and religious tradition of almost one billion of the earth's inhabitants. Sanatana Dharma represents much more than just a religion; rather, it provides its followers with an entire worldview, way of life and with a coherent and rational view of reality.
sanchita karma
sanchita karma (Sanskrit: "Accumulated action.") — the accumulated consequence of an individual's actions in this and past lives. See: karma.
sånkhya (Sanskrit: "calculating, enumeration, analysis, categorization). Modern science can be said to be a form of sånkhya because it attempts to analyze and categorize matter into its constituent elements. Sånkhya also refers to an ancient system of philosophy attributed to the sage Kapila. This philosophy is so called because it enumerates or analyzes reality into a set number of basic elements, similar to modern science. See: prakriti, purusha, shad darshana, tattva.
Contenment. The second of the yogic niyamas listed by sage Patanjali.
(Sanskrit: सन्यासिन) One who has renounced the world and its concerns.
saptarshis (Sanskrit: सप्तर्षि; saptarṣi; "seven sages") from sapta, "seven" + rishi, "sage" — are the seven rishis or the 'prajapatis', the mind born sons of Brahma who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and Hindu literature. They are Atri, Gautama, Bharadwaja, Vasishta, Viswamitra, Jamadagni and Kashyap. The Mahabharata presents them as Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya andVasishta. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic Tradition. The seven rishis are also said to mark the time and the duration of events in our septenary life cycle.
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.
saccidānanda, satchidananda, or sat-cit-ānanda (Sanskrit: सच्चिदानंद, "existence, consciousness, and bliss") is a compound of three words, sat (सत्), "Ultimate Being", cit (चित्), "Pure Consciousness", and ānanda (आनंद), "Perfect Bliss" — reality, seen through the realization of Brahman.
satsanga or satsang (Sanskrit: "association with the real;") from roots sat, "existence absolute, which is Brahman" and sanga, "company or union" — the practice of being in the presence of the wise, in whose company it is easier to learn and practice. Satsanga is association with the wise. Live in the company of sages, saints, sadhus, yogis and sannyasins; hear their valuable upadesa or instructions and follow them implicitly.
sattva or sathwa (Sanskrit: "purity, calmness, serenity, joy, strength, goodness;"). sattvic — adjective form of sattva; serene, pure, good, balanced. Associated with color white. See guna.
sattva guna
sattva guna, quality of purity, calmness, serenity, joy, strength, goodness — the first of the three gunas of matter. Sometimes translated as goodness, the phase of sattva is characterized by lightness, peace, cleanliness, knowledge, etc.
satya or satyam (Sanskrit: "unchangeable; that which has no distortion; that which is beyond distinctions of time, space, and person; that which pervades the universe in all its constancy") from the root sat (Truth) — is truthfulness in accordance with one's words, thoughts and deeds. Satya is also defined in Sanskrit as "sate hitam satyam" which translates to "The path to Ultimate Truth or sat is satya (i.e. the real truth)".
satya yuga
satya yuga or sat yuga, also called krta yuga and krita yuga (Sanskrit: सत्य युग, "age of Truth and Purity") — is the yuga (age or era) of sat (Truth), when mankind is governed by divinity, and every manifestation or work is close to the purest ideal and mankind will allow intrinsic goodness to rule supreme.
Satyaloka (Sanskrit: "Plane of reality, truth.") also called brahmaloka; the realm of sahasrara chakra, it is the highest of the seven upper worlds. See: loka.
Saurya Manvantara
Saurya Manvantara or Saurya Pralaya (Sanskrit: ";") from surya (sun) + pralaya (dissolution) — manvantara manifestation. The dissolution, or manifestation, of the solar system; frequently termed a mahapralaya or mahamanvantara.
Self with capital 'S' means the same as atman, jiva, or jivatman. The Self is characterized by consciousness. The Self is naturally immortal, having no beginning and no end to its being. It is atomic in size and undergoes ‘embodiment’ which means that it takes birth in the bodies of plants, animals, humans, or gods. In the embodied state the atman is technically referred to as “jiva”. In embodiment, the natural attributive consciousness has become obscured and veiled by ignorance and delusion. The jiva mistakenly identifies itself with the physical body /mind complex and this is the basis of all sorrow and delusion. All sentient beings are essentially non-different from each other in their Essence Nature. In the embodied state the difference between them is the degree of ignorance predominating.
Self Realization
Self Realization — the understanding of one's basic Reality.
The word seva comes from the Sanskrit root, sev, meaning to "attend" or "to go towards." Seva is generally understood to be "service" and mostly is used in the context of religious service as in the case of a person doing Deity seva by bringing fruits and flower and bowing down before a form of God in a temple.
shad darshana
shad darshana (Sanskrit: "Six views or insights; six philosophies.") Among the hundreds of Hindu darshanas known through history are six classical philosophical systems: Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta. Each was tersely formulated in sutra form by its "founder," and elaborated in extensive commentaries by other writers. They are understood as varied attempts at describing Truth and the path to it. Elements of each form part of the Hindu fabric today.
Shakta (Sanskrit: "doctrine of power.") The spiritual tradition followed by those who worship the Supreme as the Divine MotherShakti or Devi — in Her many forms, both gentle and fierce. Shakta is one of the four primary sects of Hinduism. In philosophy and practice, Shaktism greatly resembles Saiva, both faiths promulgating, for example, the same ultimate goals of advaitic union with Shiva and moksha. But Shaktas worship Shakti as the Supreme Being exclusively, as the dynamic aspect of Divinity, while Shiva is considered solely transcendent and is not worshiped. There are many forms of Shaktism, with endless varieties of practices which seek to capture divine energy or power for spiritual transformation. See: Amman, Goddess, Ishta Devata, Kali, Shakti.
shanti or śāntiḥ (Sanskrit: शान्ति, "serenity, inner peace").
sharira (body). There are three sharira, the sthula-sharira (gross body), sukshma-sharira (subtle body), and the karana-sharira (causal body). The karana sharira is called the body of the seed of all seeds.
shauca or shaucha (Sanskrit: "Purity.") — avoiding impurity in body, mind and speech.
Shrauta Shastra
Shrauta Shastra or śrauta sūtra (Sanskrit: "texts on the revelation") 1) Refers to scriptures or teachings that are in agreement with the Vedas. 2) A specific group of texts of the Kalpa Vedanga, and part of the essential study for Vedic priests. The Shrauta Shastras offer explanation of the yagna rituals.
Shulba Shastra
Shulba Shastra — practical manuals giving the measurements and procedures for constructing the sites of Vedic yajna rites. A division of the Kalpa Vedanga (Veda limb on rituals), these sutras employ sophisticated geometry and are India's earliest extant mathematical texts. Shulba means "string or cord," denoting the use of string for measuring.
siddha (Tamil: சித்தா, "one who is accomplished") — refers to perfected masters who according to Hindus have transcended the ahańkāra (ego or I-maker), have subdued their minds to be subservient to their Awareness, and have transformed their bodies composed mainly of dense Rajo-tama gunas into a different kind of bodies dominated by sattva. This is usually accomplished only by persistent meditation over many lifetimes.
siddhi or siddhiḥ (Sanskrit:सिद्धि; "perfection", "accomplishment", "attainment", or "success") — extraordinary powers of the atma (Self), developed through consistent meditation and deliberate, grueling, often uncomfortable tapas, or awakened naturally through spiritual maturity and yogic sadhana. Through the repeated experience of Self Realization, siddhis naturally unfold according to the needs of the individual. Before Self Realization, the use or development of siddhis is among the greatest obstacles on the path because it cultivates ahankara, I-ness, and militates against the attainment of prapatti, complete submission to the will of God, Gods and guru. The mastery of specific Siddhis is taught to be attained through the right kind of Samyama. There are eight primary siddhis, and ten secondary siddhis and five siddhi's specific for concentration in yoga.
Sivaloka (Sanskrit: "Realm of Siva.") See: loka.
A hymn or verse of praise, a stanza or verse in general, a stanza in anustubh metre (the most common metre used in Sanskrit consisting for 4 lines of 8 syllables), fame.
śraddhā or shraddha (Sanskrit: "faith") — anything or any act that is performed with all sincerity and faith.
sthula sharira
sthula sharira is the physical body (sthula, coarse or bulky), the vehicle of all the other principles during life and the means by which man is able to function on earth. The physical body, sthula sharira comprises annamaya-kosha, the material substance and pranamaya-kosha.
sudra — member of the traditional working class. The sudra was the fourth varna in the system of varnasrama dharma.
sukshma sharira
sukshma sharira (Sanskrit: sukshma, "subtle, unmanifest, dormant") — is the energy body, the subtle body, the light body of form consists of manas (mind), buddhi (intelligence) and ahankara (ego). The atma (the Self) functions in the sukshmaloka (astral plane), the inner world also called antarloka. The suksmah sharira includes pranamaya-kosha (the pranic sheath), manomaya-kosha (the instinctive-intellectual sheath), and vijnanamaya-kosha (the cognitive sheath) kosha) — with the pranic sheath dropping off at the death of the sthula-sharira (physical body). The subtle body is the vehicle of consciousness with which one passes from life to life and to accompany us even after the death of the physical body. See: kosha, atma.
The subtle world, or Antarloka, spanning the spectrum of consciousness from the vishuddha chakra in the throat to the patala chakra in the soles of the feet. The astral plane includes: 1) the higher astral plane, maharloka, "plane of balance;" 2) mid-astral plane, svarloka, "celestial plane;" 3) lower astral plane, bhuvarloka, "plane of atmosphere," a counterpart or subtle duplicate of the physical plane (consisting of the pitriloka and pretaloka); and 4) the sub-astral plane, naraka, consisting of seven hellish realms corresponding to the seven chakras below the base of the spine. In the astral plane, the soul is enshrouded in the astral body, called sukshma-sharira. See also: sukshma-sharira, loka, naraka, triloka.
Supreme Brahman
The Supreme Infinite Brahman. See: Parabrahm.
(Sanskrit: सूत्र ) Literally `thread`. Sutras as threads or aphorisms are concise statements and a technical format in which spiritual teachings have been laid out, for purposes of brevity and to allow teachers of various sampradayas throughout the ages to deliver their own commentaries on. Eg. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, The Bhakti Sutras of Narada.
sūtra (Sanskrit: सूत्र, "a rope or thread that holds things together") metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or large a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual — is a distinct type of literary composition, based on short aphoristic statements, generally using various technical terms. The literary form of the sutra was designed for concision, as the texts were intended to be memorized by students in some of the formal methods of svādhyāya (scriptural and scientific study). Since each line is highly condensed, another literary form arose in which bhāṣya (commentaries) on the sūtras were added, to clarify and explain them.
svadhyaya (Sanskrit: "Self-reflection; scriptural study"). See: yama-niyama.
Svarloka (Sanskrit: "Celestial or bright plane."). The third of the seven upper worlds, the midastral region (equated in some texts with Svarga), realm of manipura chakra. See: loka.


"Timemeasure." In Indian music, the organization of time into meter andrhythmic pulse with sometimes complex subdivisions. Tala issimilar to "time signature" in Western notation except thattala includes the unique emotional or mystical mood.
tamas or thamas (Sanskrit: "dullness, ignorance, delusion, inactivity, passivity, inertia, sloth;"). tamasic — adjective form of tamas; dull, ignorant, passive. Associated with color black. See guna.
tamo guna
tamo guna quality of dullness, ignorance, delusion, inactivity, inertia, sloth — the third of the three gunas of matter. Sometimes translated as darkness, the phase of tamas is characterized by darkness, ignorance, slowness, destruction, heaviness, disease, etc.
"Exuberant dance." Any vigorous dance sequence performed by a male dancer. There are many forms of tandava. Its prototype is Siva's dance of bliss, ananda tandava. The much softer feminine dance is called lasya, from lasa, "lively." Dance in general is nartana.
A synonym for the `Agamic` teachings, spiritual teachings revealing meditation, ritual procedures, the history of the world, stories of deities and the many ways of worship, in the form of a dialogue between Shiva and his spouse. For the following reasons Tantra has had much popularity: Tantric practices demonstrate the sacredness inherent in all situations and events; Tantric teachings are accessible to all, independent of caste; Shakta tantrism places emphasis on the worship of the feminine force Shakti; Tantra has had much impact on the evolution of hatha yoga practises.
Taparloka or Tapoloka (Sanskrit: "Plane of austerity.") The second highest of the seven upper worlds, realm of ajna chakra. See: loka.
tapas (Sanskrit: "Warmth, heat,") — hence psychic energy, spiritual fervor or ardor. 1) Purificatory spiritual disciplines, severe austerity, penance and sacrifice. The endurance of pain, suffering, through the performance of extreme penance, religious austerity and mortification. By comparison, sadhana is austerity of a simple, sustained kind, while tapas is austerity of a severe, psyche-transforming nature. Tapas is extreme bodily mortification, long term sadhanas, such as meditating under a tree in one place for 12 years, taking a lifetime vow of silence and never speaking or writing, or standing on one leg for a prescribed number of years. Scriptures warn against extreme asceticism that harm the body. 2) On a deeper level, tapas is the intense inner state of kundalini "fire" which stimulates mental anguish and separates the individual from society. Life does not go on as usual when this condition occurs. The association with a satguru, Sadasiva, brings the devotee into tapas; and it brings him out of it. The fire of tapas burns on the dross of sanchita karmas. This is the source of heat, dismay, depression and striving until final and total surrender, prapatti. The individual can mollify this heated condition by continuing his regular sadhana as outlined by the guru. The fires of self-transformation may be stimulated by the practice of tapas, or come unbidden. One can "do" tapas, but the true tapas is a condition of being and consciousness which is a state of grace, bringing positive change, transformation and purification of one's nature. Guru bhakti is the only force that can cool the fires of tapas. See: kundalini, sadhana.
Tat Tvam Asi
Tat Tvam Asi (Sanskrit: तत् त्वम् असि or तत्त्वमसि, "Thou art that," "That thou art," or "You are that") — is one of the Mahāvākyas (Grand Pronouncements).
tattva (Sanskrit: "Truth, Reality or True Essence") from tad, that which is strictly speaking, there is only One Reality. That Reality is Brahman (the Supreme Being and Highest Truth), the Para Tattva. This is the original teaching of all true Scriptures. Tattvas are the primary principles, elements, states or categories of existence, the building blocks of the universe. The entire Universe consists of various manifestations of Brahman (the Universal Consciousness) which together form the basis of all our experiences. As these are just forms of Brahman (the Ultimate Reality), they are themselves called Primary Realities, Principles or Categories of Existence. In short, Tattvas.
Thaipusam (Tamil: தைப்பூசம்) is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (Jan/Feb). It is also referred to as Thaipooyam or Thaippooyam in the Malayalam language. Pusam refers to a star that is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates both the birthday of Lord Murugan (also Subramaniam), the youngest son of Shiva and Parvati, and the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (spear) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman.
treta yuga
treta yuga or trétha yuga (Sanskrit: त्रेता युग, ";") — is the second out of four yugas, or ages of man following the satya-yuga of perfect morality and preceding the dwapara-yuga. In the treta yuga changes in relationships start to occur. Duties are no longer the spontaneous laws of human behaviour, but have to be learned. Sacrifices are needed; people follow truth and devote themselves to righteousness through ceremonies, which are regarded as a means of obtaining specific objects.
triloka (Sanskrit: "three worlds"). The ‘triple world’ of saṃsāra or rebirth. The three worlds of existence, triloka, are the primary hierarchical divisions of the cosmos. 1) bhuloka: "Earth world," the physical plane. 2) antarloka: "Inner or in-between world," the subtle or astral plane. 3) Sivaloka: "World of Siva," and of the Gods and highly evolved souls; the causal plane, also called Karanaloka.
Truth — When capitalized, "ultimate knowing" which is "unchanging". Lower case (truth): "correctness", "according with fact", "honesty", "integrity"; "virtue". See: Satya.
Abandonment, renunciation, the performance of actions without attachment to the results of action.



Shri Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya (Sanskrit: ) "Beloved." Vaishnava saint (ca 1475-1530) whose panentheistic Shuddha Advaita (pure nondualism) philosophy became the essential teaching of the nonascetic Vaishnava sect that bears his name. He composed 17 works, most importantly commentaries on the Vedanta and Mimamsa Sutras and the Bhagavata Purana. The stories of his 84 disciples are often repeated on festive occasions by followers. The sect is strongest in Gujarat. See: Vedanta.
vairāgya or vairaagya (Sanskrit: वैराग्य, "dispassion; detachment; or renunciation") — desire and ability to give up all transitory enjoyments. In particular renunciation from the pains and pleasures in the material world. Vairāgya is a compound word joining vai meaning "to dry, be dried" + rāga meaning "color, passion, feeling, emotion, interest" (and a range of other usages). This sense of "drying up of the passions" gives vairāgya a general meaning of ascetic disinterest in things that would cause attachment in most people. It is a "dis-passionate" stance on life. An ascetic who has subdued all passions and desires is called a vairāgika.
vaishnava or vaishnavam (Sanskrit: vaiṣṇava), which is the vriddhi form of Vishnu meaning "relating, belonging, or sacred to Vishnu" or "a worshiper or follower of Vishnu".
vaisya — a member of the traditional mercantile or business community. The vaisya was the third varna in the system of varnasrama dharma.
vanaprastha ashrama
vanaprastha ashrama or "samskaras of later life". Age 48 marks the entrance into the elder advisor stage, celebrated in some communities by special ceremony. — sannyasa ashrama vrata: The advent of withdrawal from social duties and responsibilities at age 72 is sometimes ritually acknowledged (different from sannyasa diksha). See: sannyasa dharma. — antyeshti: (Sanskrit) The various funeral rites performed to guide the soul in its transition to inner worlds, including preparation of the body, cremation, bone-gathering, dispersal of ashes, home purification. See: pinda, shraddha, samskara, shashtyabda purti.
The traditional social system of four varnas and four asramas. The word varna literally means, “color” and it refers to four basic natures of mankind: brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra. The asramas are the four stages of an individual’s life: brahmacarya (student), grhastha (householder), vanaprastha (retired) and sannyasa (renounced).
vasana (Sanskrit: "subconscious inclination; conditioning, tendencies, or self-limitations; predispositions and habits") from vas (living, remaining) — the subliminal inclinations and habit patterns which, as driving forces, color and motivate one's attitudes and future actions. Vasanas are the conglomerate results of samskaras (subconscious impressions) created through experience. Samskaras, experiential impressions, combine in the subconscious to form vasanas, which thereafter contribute to mental fluctuations, called vritti. The most complex and emotionally charged vasanas are found in the dimension of mind called vasana chitta (the subsubconscious).
Veda (Sanskrit: "Knowledge.") from the root vid, meaning to know without limit — the scriptures that are the basis of Hindu belief and practice. The Vedas were "heard" or "seen" by sages from a divine source and passed orally through the family line. The word Veda covers all Veda-sakhas known to humanity. The Veda is a repository of all knowledge, fathomless, ever revealing as it is delved deeper. It means knowledge. These and associated books contain knowledge on philosophy, mathematics, medicine, astronomy, navigation, music, dance, drama etc.
The Vedāṅga (Sanskrit: ""Veda-limb; member of the Veda") are six auxiliary disciplines for the understanding and tradition of the Vedas. The four Vedas form the body of the Veda Purusha or the Vedic Being. The six Vedāṅgas are the limbs of the Veda Purusha. Four Vedangas govern correct chanting of the Vedas: 1) śikṣā (phonetics), 2) Çhandas (meter), 3) Nirukta, "etymology", 4) Vyākaraṇa, "grammar". The two other Vedāngas are 5) Jyotisha Vedanga, "astronomy-astrology" and 6) Kalpa Vedanga, "procedural canon" which includes the Shrauta and Shulba Shastras, "ritual codes", dharma-shastra, "social law" and Grihya Shastras, "domestic codes".
Vedānta (Devanagari: वेदान्त) a compound of veda, "knowledge" and anta, "end, conclusion", translating to "the culmination of the Vedas" — is a school of philosophy within Hinduism dealing with the nature of reality. An alternative reading is of anta as "essence", "core", or "inside", rendering the term "Vedānta" — "the essence of the Vedas". It is a principal branch of Hindu philosophy. As per some, it is a form of Jnana Yoga (one of the four basic yoga practices in Hinduism; the others are: Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga), a form of yoga which involves an individual seeking "the path of intellectual analysis or the discrimination of truth and reality."
vidya: (Sanskrit) "Knowledge, learning, science." The power of understanding gained through study and meditation. Contrasted with avidya, ignorance.
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.
vijñåna or viññāṇa (Sanskrit: विज्ञान, "transcendental knowledge"; "realized spiritual understanding"; "pure knowledge") the prefix vi added to a noun tends to diminish or invert the meaning of a word — if jñåna is spiritual knowledge, vijñåna is practical or profane knowledge. Sometimes vijñåna and jñåna are used together in the sense of knowledge and wisdom.
vijnanamaya kosha
vijnanamaya kosha (wisdom-apparent-sheath) or the prajna (wisdom) sheath is part of sukshma-sharira (subtle body). Vijnanamaya means composed of vijnana, or intellect, the faculty which discriminates, determines or wills. Vignanamaya kosha is the fourth covering of atma. It is the combination of intellect and the five sense organs. It is the sheath composed of more intellection, associated with the organs of perception. It is the vehicle of higher thought, vijnana — understanding, knowing, direct cognition, wisdom, intuition and creativity.
viveka (Sanskrit: "discrimination") — act or ability to distinguish or perceive differences. The ability to distinguish between right and wrong, real and apparent, eternal and transient. The reasoning by which one realizes what is real and permanent and what is non-real and impermanent.
Vyākaraṇa Vedanga
Vyākaraṇa Vedanga or Vyākaraṇa Shastra (Sanskrit: "grammar") — auxiliary Vedic texts on Sanskrit grammar. Vyakarana is among four linguistic skills taught for mastery of the Vedas and the rites of yagna. The term literally means "separation, or explanation." The most celebrated Vyakarana work is Panini's 4,000-sutra Ashtadhyayi, which set the linguistic standards for classical Sanskrit.
vyavaharika (Sanskrit: ), from vy-ava-hri, "to act or behave in affairs" from the verbal root hri, "to carry, receive, obtain, hold" — relating to business or practice, hence practical. Pertaining to the ordinary pragmatic affairs of life or custom. In Vedanta philosophy one of the three forms of existence in human life in contradistinction to the only paramarthika (real life) and the pratibhasika (illusory life). Appearing as the similitude of something, hence illusory. In Vedanta philosophy, one of the three kinds of existence: the apparent or illusory life. See: pratibhasika; paramarthika




yajña, yagna, or yagya (Sanksrit: यज्ञ, "worship, prayer, praise; offering, oblation, sacrifice; fire ceremony") comes from the root yaj, "to worship" — is an outer form of worship in which offerings are made to different deities in a prescribed and systematic manner by qualified priests to supplicate them, so that they would assist the worshiper in achieving certain results in life. The outer aspect of yajna consists of building an altar, generally with bricks, kindling fire using specific types of grass and wood and then pouring into it oblations such as ghee or clarified butter, food grains, sesame seeds, and water to the accompaniment of chanting of sacred verses from the Vedas. The inner or hidden aspect of yajna is known to those who are familiar with the Vedic rituals. The yajna is the means of worshiping the Brahman or ones own Inner Self. In concept, yajna is any work or spiritual practice that is offered as worship to God. See: agnihotra, homa, agnihoma, havan, panchamahayajna.
Yama Dharmaraja
Yama Dharmaraja (Sanskrit: यम) is the Lord of Justice and is sometimes referred to as Dharmaraja in reference to his unswerving dedication to maintaining order and adherence to harmony. Sometimes refered as the Lord of Death, it is said that he is also one of the wisest of the devas. Yama's name can be interpreted to mean "twin", and in some accounts he is paired with a twin sister Yamī. Yama is assisted by Chitragupta who is assigned with the task of keeping complete records of actions of human beings on the earth, and upon their death, deciding to have them reincarnated as a superior or inferior organism, depending on their Karma (actions on the earth).
yamas (Sanskrit: "") — the yogic `restraints` from the verb root yam to hold or check. Sage Patanjali presents five ethical observances for yogis — ahimsa (non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity), aparigraha (greedlessness). There are other important Yamas listed in traditional texts, such as patience, compassion, forgiveness, giving, steadfastness and moderation in diet. See: Yama and Niyama.
Yamas and Niyamas
The yamas and niyamas have been preserved through the centuries as the foundation, the first and second stage, of the eight-staged practice of yoga: yamaniyamaasanapranayamapratyaharadharanadhyanasamadhi. Yet, they are fundamental to all beings, expected aims of everyone in society, and assumed to be fully intact for anyone seeking life's highest aim in the pursuit called yoga.
Yoga (Sanskrit: योग, "union of atman (individual Self) with paramåtma (Universal Self)") derived from the root yuj, "to join, to unite, to attach" — spiritual practices performed primarily as a means to enlightenment (or bodhi). Traditionally, Karma Yoga (through action), Bhakti Yoga (through devotion), jñåna-yoga (through knowledge), and dhyåna-yoga (through meditation) are considered the four main yogas. In the West, yoga has become associated with the asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga, popular as fitness exercises. Yoga has many other meaning. For example, in astronomy and astrology it refers to a conjunction (union) of planets.
yuga (Sanskrit: युग, "age or cycle; aeon; world era;") — an age of the world, of which there are four — satya-yuga or krita yuga (Golden Age), treta-yuga (Silver age), dwapara-yuga (Bronze Age), and kali-yuga (Iron Age) — which proceed in succession during the manvantara cycle. Each Yuga is preceded by a period called in the Puranas Sandhya, "twilight, or transition period", and is followed by another period of like duration called Sandhyansa, "portion of twilight". Each is equal to one-tenth of the Yuga. The group of four Yugas is first computed by the divine years, or " years of the Gods" — each such year being equal to 360 years of mortal men. The cycles are said to repeat like the seasons, waxing and waning within a greater time — cycle of the creation and destruction of the universe. Like Summer, Spring, Winter and Autumn, each yuga involves stages or gradual changes which the earth and the consciousness of mankind goes through as a whole. (see: yuga dharma)
yuga dharma
yuga dharma (Sanskrit: युगधर्म) an aspect of dharma that is valid for a yuga. In Satya-Yuga or the golden age there was a different set of Dharmas or laws; in Treta, they changed into another form; in Dvapara, the Dharmas were different from the Dharmas of other Yugas; and in Kali-Yuga, they assumed still another form. The Dharma changes according to the changes of the cycles. Man is undergoing change. His nature gets transformed through experiences. Hence, his external form of Dharmas also should change. The other aspect of dharma is Sanatana Dharma, dharma which is valid for eternity.



Add New Word


Page Map

Bookmark and Share

Rate this post:

rating: 0+x

Comments: 1

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License