a b c d e g h j k l m n p r s t u v y


a-bhayam-absence of fear
acamana-sipping water from the hand
a-dharma-unrighteousness, irreligion
adi-purusa the primordial Man
agneyi-a ceremony of bidding farewell to the ritual fire
agni-hotra-sacrifice to (or by) fire
aham asmi; aham brahma asmi-I am, I am Brahman
ahamkara-the conception of oneself as an individual; self-conceit
a-ja, ajata-unborn
a-jnani-one who lacks jnana
a-kama-without desire
akasa-space, the most subtle of the five elements
a-krita-not made, uncreated
a-linga-without sign

a-nama-without name
a-niketana-without dwelling-place
aranya-the forest
a-rupa-without form
asana-seat, posture (yogic)
a-sanga-free from ties, attachmenta-sat-unreal
asrama-(1) abode of ascetics, (2) stage of life
astasraddha-the final eightfold offering to devas, rishis, ancestors, and lastly to oneself as departed (Na.Pa.Up., 4.38)
ati-beyond; e.g.,
ati-dharma-beyond dharma
atman-the ‘self’, man’s innermost principle; the supreme Self
atyasrama-beyond every stage of life
avadhuta-one who renounces everything, including even the classical tokens of sannyasa
avyakta-not manifested

bhakti-devoted worshipper; heartfelt devotion
bhiksacharya-living on alms
bhutani-the elements; beings
brahmachari-a celibate student; one in the first asrama
brahmaloka-the world or heaven of Brahma

brahman-the supreme principle of all; the Absolute
brahmannistha-established in Brahman
brahmavadi-one who talks about Brahman, a theologian
brahmavidya-the knowledge of Brahman;
brahmavid-one who knows Brahman
buddha-awakened one
buddhi-intellect in its highest form

caturtha-the ‘fourth’ state of consciousness


danda-a wooden staff,
darsana-sight, vision; entering the presence of God, a saint, an image,etc.
deva-(plur) the Vedic gods; personfied divine powers at work in the cosmos and in man; manifestations of the Divine in itself (brahman), but never to be confused with it
dharana-concentration of attention

dharma-norm of religious and social life, expressive of the cosmic order; duty to conform to such norms; a particular religion, as comprising rites, laws, institutions and doctrines.
dharmatita-beyond all
dharmadhyana-meditation leading to complete inner silence
digambara-‘clothed in space’, i . e., naked
diksa-ceremony of initiation
dvandva-pair of opposites, like cold/heat, pleasure/pain, etc.
dvija-twice-born; a member of one of the three higher castes in Hindu society


ekam eva advitiyam,-One-only-without-a-second

evamvid, evamvidvan-one who knows ‘thus’


gayatri-a famous mantra from the Rig-Veda, whose use is obligatory for Brahmans
grihastha-a householder, married man; one in the second asrama

guha-cave; the secret place of the heart
guna-(lit.) strand; the three gunas (sattva, goodness; rajas, passion; ramas, darkness) are the three modes or qualities of prakriti (the primary substance), whose varied combination produces the diversity of beings.


hamsa-swan; a symbol of the atman and of the liberated one, whom nothing can bind and who is free to go anywhere (cp the kesi)

homa– ritual sacrifice


jivanmukta-one who has found liberation during his lifetime
jivanmukti-the state of a jivanmukta
jnana-wisdom, knowledge

jnani-a sage; one who has awaken to reality, realized the Self


kaivalyam-the state of absolute aloneness, unicity of the liberated one
kamachara-free to go anywhere, unrestrained ;
kamandalu-a gourd ”
karana-cause; instrument; agency
karma-action; work; the result of acts done in a previous life
kaupinam-ascetic’s loin cloth
kavi-saffron colour, worn by ascetics

kesi-‘hairy one’; an ascetic,completely acosmic
kirtana-devotional song
kosa-‘sheath’; one of a series of ‘bodies’ held to envelop the atman
krama-sannyasi-one who takes sannyasa as the final stage of life, as a means to attain moks
krita-something done or made
kritakritya-one who has performed all that he had to perform
kutacaka-a type of ascetic
kutira-a hut


lila-play; the Lord’s play in and through creation
loka-place, world


mahaprasthana-the great departure (for instance, of the Buddha when he left his palace for the forest)
mahatma-one who is a ‘great soul’
mahavakya-the great sentences, or mantras, which sum up the teaching of the Upanishads
manas-the mental faculty
manasa-with the mind
mantra-formula of prayer

maya-the undefinable condition of the world of manifestation, which cannot properly be described either as being (sat) or not-being (asat); hence, the power of illusion which keeps men in samsara
moksa-final liberation from samsara; salvation
muni-one who keeps silence; an ascetic
murti-image, icon; a particular form of the unique and transcendent divine mystery


namajapa-repetition of the divine name
namarupa-‘name and form’; this includes the world of phenomena and all the various signs used by men to express the unique mystery that is beyond all. To render by ‘individuality’ is inadequate.
namaskra-saying ‘namah,’ i.e., salutation,homageneti

(na-iti)-‘(saying) No;’ i.e., Not that’
nihitam gahayam-hidden in the cave (of the heart)
nirvikalpa samadhi-samadhi with complete suspension of all perception and thought


paramatman-the Supreme Self
paramahamsa-one of the most extreme forms of sannyasa
paramjyoti-the supreme light
parivrajya-the life of a wandering mendicant
pinda-rice-balls offered to the departed
pitri-departed ancestors
praja pati-the Lord of beings
prajapatya-a sacrifice in which a man’s entire property is given away before taking sannyasa
prajna, prajnana– intelligence
prana-breath, breath of life

propprasada-portion of an offering given back to the worshipper; grace
pratyahara-withdrawal of attention from objects (phase of yoga)
prayaga-sacred place of the confluence of rivers, as at Allahabad
pretya-departed (from this world)
puja-ritual worship given to a murti (image) accompanied by lustration, offerings and the recitation of sacred mantras
purusa-the archetypal man, one of the expressions of the unique and indivisible mystery of the atman-brahman

rishi-Vedic seer

sadguru-the true Guru
sadhana-spiritual exercises
sadhu-good, virtuous; a monk
sakti– force, power, energy; the active power of the Divinity
sahaja-natural manifested throughout the created universe
samadhi-the final ecstasy, or rather ‘enstasy’, on the spiritual path; contemplation; hence, death
sampratti-ceremony of handing over of possessions at death or on taking sannyasa
samsara-the world, seen as carrying all things along in its ceaseless flux; passage through successive births and deaths
samskara-‘sacramental’ rites which mark the successive stages in the life of the dvija (twice- born) Hindu
sanatana dharma-the traditional name of the religion which springs from the Vedas, the ‘eternal’ religion or law. The modern term ‘Hinduism’ was coined by foreigners.

sandhya-the ‘conjunctions’ of day and night at sunset and sunrise, times which are regarded as specially appropriate for prayer
sannyasa-life of total renunciation;
sannyasi- one who has renounced everything
sariram-the ‘body,’ including all physical and mental faculties
sarva(m)-all; the All
sarvaloka-belonging to every place
sat-being; real, true; the Real
satsanga-association with, meeting with, the good
skambha-a tree-trunk which symbolizes the axis of the world
soma-the juice of the some plant; nectar
sraddhâ-faith, confidence, humility, positive approach
sraddha-ritual sacrifice, especially to the ancestors
sruti-hearing; what is heard, especially the revealed Scriptures
sukrita-that which is well made or done
sunya-the void
sutra-thread; link; aphorism
susupti-the state of dreamless sleep
svarga-the localised heaven of the devas

tapas-austerity (literally,heat)
taraka-the ‘ferryman,’ symbol of a spiritual guide
tarana-the ‘raft’ for crossing to the ‘other shore’
tattva-element (e.g., in Samkhya philosophy)
tat tvam asi-‘That art thou’, one of the mahavakyas

tejas-brightness, glory;
tejomaya-composed of glory
turiya-the ‘fourth’ state of consciousness, beyond susupti
turiyatita-beyond the fourth asrama (stage of life)

udgitha-the chant of the Sama-Veda
upanayana-the samskara in which the dvija receives the sacred cord

upanisad-‘sitting at the feet of a guru’; secret lore; correlation
upasana-regarding with respect, reverence

vairagya-total indifference to all worldly objects; renunciation
vamsa-genealogy, lineage
vana-the forest
vanaprastha-dwelling in the forest; the third asrama
vayu-the wind
vedanta-‘the end of the Vedas;’ the teaching of the Upanishads; one of the darsanas which systematises that teaching
vidhriti-barrier, boundary
vidvan-one who knows

vidvat-sannyasi-one who takes sannyasa as the expression of the fact that he has already realized the Self (contrast the krama-sannyasi)
vijnana-understanding, intelligence
visvam-the universe
viveka-discrimination (between what is real and what is unreal)
vividisa, vivitsu-sannyasi-one who takes sannyasa as a means to moksavyastih-individuality

yajna-ritual sacrifice (to the devas)

yati-one who has restrained the passions; an ascetic