Glossary of Sanskrit and other terms.

By R. D. Awle, Shivapuri Baba, Swami Krishnananda (The Divine Life Society – Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, India),, Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Prakashananda (source: Baba Muktananda – A Biography).

The sacred syllable “OM”


Abhanavarana: Screening the outshining Bragman; one of the two Avarana Saktis which is removed by Aparoksha Jnana.

Abhanga: Devotional lyrics or poems written in a particular type of meter in the Marathi language. Saints like Namadev, Nivritti, Jnaneshwar and Tukaram have written literally thousands of abhangas which are still sung today.

Abhasa: Reflection, appearance, semblance, not true.

Abhasamatra: In name only.

Abhasavada: Doctrine holding that all creation is reflection of the Supreme Reality.

Abhati: Shines, illumines.

Abhava padartha: A thing which cannot have existence in reality, viz., horn of a hare, son of a barren woman.

Abhava: In which one’s self is meditated upon as zero or, as bereft of every quality or limitation whatsoever; absence; non-existence; negation.

Abhavamatra: Of a merely negative character.

Abhavana: Non-thought.

Abhavarupavritti: The function of thinking of a non-existent thing.

Abhayadana: Gift (boon) of fearlessness.

Abhayam: Fearlessness.

Abheda: Non-difference.

Abheda-ahamkara: The pure ego that identifies itself with Brahman or the Absolute.

Abheda-bhakti: Highest devotion that has culminated in the identity of the worshipper and the worshipped; devotion without the sense of duality.

Abhedabhava: Sense of non-separateness.

Abheda-buddhi: The Buddhi that beholds unity.

Abheda-chaitanya: Constant thought of the identity of the soul with Brahman; undivided Consciousness.

Abheda-jnana: Knowledge of the identity of the individual with the Absolute (Atman and Brahman).

Abhidharma: (Tibetan: choe ngon pa) The Buddhist teachings are often divided into the Tripitaka: the sutras (teachings of the Buddha), the vinaya (teachings on conduct,) and the abhidharma, which are the analyses of phenomena that exist primarily as a commentarial tradition to the Buddhist teachings. There is not, in fact, an abhidharma section within the Tibetan collection of the Buddhist teachings.

Abhigamana: Approach to the temple.

Abhijna: Direction; perception or recollection assisted by memory.

Abhijna-Jnana: Knowledge through perception.

Abhimana: Egoism; identification with the body.

Abhimani: One who has egoistic feeling.

Abhinaya: Controlling; training; disciplining.

Abhinivesa: Clinging to earthly life; will to live.

Abhivimana: As identical with himself; an epithet of the unlimited Supreme Being.

Abhivyakta: Manifested.

Abhokta: Non-enjoyer.

Abhyantara: Internal.

Abhyasa: Practice.

Abhyasa: Repetition; practice; one of the Shad Lingas.

Abhyasin: Yoga-practitioner; one who studies Veda.

Abhyudaya: Exaltation.

Absolute Truth: (Sanskrit: paramartha satya; Tibetan: dondam) There are two truths or views of reality: relative truth which is seeing things as ordinary beings do with the dualism of “I” and “other” and absolute truth, also called ultimate truth, which is transcending duality and seeing things as they are.

Abuddhi-purva: Unintelligent; insentient.

Achala: Not moving; fixed.

Achamana: Sipping water from the hollowed palm o the hand; a preliminary simple rite connected with ritualistic worship.

Achara: Right conduct, custom, practice, external observance of established rules and laws.

Acharana: Observance of right conduct.

Acharya: (Tibetan: Lopon) A spiritual master. (Similar to a Geshe scholar). Also used as a degree equivalent to master’s degree.

Acharya: A Spiritual Teacher; Ideal Teacher.

Acheta: Unintelligent.

Achetana: Unconscious.

Achintya Sakti: Inscrutable power.

Achintya: Unthinkable.

Achit Sakti (of Brahman): Tamas or great darkness; the root of matter.

Achit vastu: Non-sentient matter.

Achit: Inanimate matter.

Achyuta: The indestructible; the unchanging.

Adambhitva: Unpretentiousness.

Adarsa: Ideal.

Adarsa-purusha: A person whom you can take as an ideal; an exemplary person.

Adbhuta: Wonderful.

Adesa: A divine command from within the being.

Adhama uddharaka: Uplifter of the down-trodden.

Adhama: Low; degraded.

Adhara: Support; basis; Brahman; also, the system corn posed of the five principles constituting the physical, vital, mental, intellectual and the blissful sheaths; receptacle; that which supports.

Adhara-adheya-sambandha: Relation of the support and the thing supported; relation of location and the thing located; relation of abode and abiding.

Adharma: All that is contrary to the right and the law; demerit.

Adharmic: Unrighteous.

Adhi: Disease of the mind.

Adhibhautika sarira: Body composed of elements.

Adhibhautika Taapa: Pain caused by the Bhutas, as scorpion-sting, snake-bite, etc.; nature-extrinsic suffering.

Adhibhautika: Elemental.

Adhibhuta: Pertaining to the elements; the primordial form of matter.

Adhibhuta-vidya: Science of the physical or material world.

Adhidaiva-vidya: Science of the heavens.

Adhidaivika Taapa: Pain caused by gods or the heavens as thunder, rain, flood, etc.

Adhidaivika: Pertaining to the heaven or the celes­tial beings.

Adhika: Additional.

Adhikarana: Section; topic; substratum; receptacle.

Adhikari: Qualified person.

Adhikari-vada: The doctrine upholding the neces­sity of prescribing a distinct course of discipline for each spiritual aspirant according to his capacity.

Adhimatra (Vairagya): Degree of Vairagya when worldly enjoyment even becomes a source of pain.

Adhipatipratyaya: The defining cause.

Adhishthana: Background; support; basis; substratum; repository (Brahman); underlying truth or essence.

Adhishthatri Devata: Presiding divinity.

Adhiyajna: Pertaining to the sacrifice.

Adhokshaja: A being who cannot be perceived by the outer senses; a name of Bhagavan Narayana.

Adhvaryu: A priest who recites the Yajur-veda in a sacrifice. (Yajur-veda is one of the four Vedas or source-scriptures of Hinduism. The others are Rig-veda, Sama-veda and Atharvana-veda.)

Adhyaksha: Agent; supervisor.

Adhyaropa: Illusory attribution; superimposition; false attribution; one thing is mistaken for another; qualities of one are transferred to another; qualities of the Self arf transferred to the body.

Adhyaropita: Fictitiously ascribed.

Adhyasa: Superimposition or reflection of the attributes of one thing on another thing.

Adhyasta astitva: Reflected existence.

Adhyasta: Falsely-cognised thing.

Adhyatma Sastra: Spiritual science.

Adhyatma Vidya: Science of the Self.

Adhyatma: The Supreme Spirit; belonging to the true Self; the inherent nature of the individual.

Adhyatmavit: Knower of the Inner Self

Adhyatmika Taapa: Pain caused from within such as headache, etc.; nature-intrinsic suffering.

Adhyatmika Vidya: Science of Self.

Adhyatmika: Pertaining to the Atman.

Adhyavasaya: The determining function of the Buddhi or the intellect.

Adi Granth: A collection of spiritual and devotional poems of saints and devotees of different traditions, including Kabir, Namadev, Surdas, the Sufi Baba Farid, and others. It was compiled by the 5th Guru of the Sikh religion, Guru Arjan Dev in 1604 C.E.

Adi-tattva: The first principle; Brahman; Mula Prakriti; the first element (of matter) next but one above Akasa in the gradation of subtlety.

Aditya: Sun-god; Sun; a class of celestial beings.

Adivasis: Literally, ‘the original inhabitants’; those people living in the Ganeshpuri area. They are simple people who often live in poverty, and whose homes are usually made of thatched huts. Both Nityananda and Muktananda tried to relieve their poverty. Muktananda constructed proper housing for many of them, and also provided provisions of food, clothing and household items.

Adrishta: The unseen principle.

Adrishtam: Unperceived.

Adrisya: That which cannot be perceived by the physical eye (Brahman).

Advaita nishtha: Establishment in the state of non-duality.

Advaita vada: The theory that Brahman is the only existence; monism; Vedanta.

Advaita vedanta: Non-dualistic philosophy (of Sri Sankara.)

Advaita: Non-duality; monism, Not two, One only; non-dual; in Advaita Vedanta, it is the negation of any second principal independent of the Absolute (Brahman).

Advaita-avastharupa-samadhi: Nirvikalpa Samadhi of Advaitins where there is no Brahmakara Vritti. [This is the highest superconscious state in which there is no triad (knowledge, knower and known), but One alone exists in Its own state.]

Advaita-siddhi: Realisation of the non-dual Brahman or Oneness.

Advaitha/Adwaita: the philosophy of non-duality. Non-dualism, ie, only one Reality there is, which is the Supreme.

Advitiya: Without a second.

Advitiyata: State of being secondless.

Adya: Primordial; original.

Adyasakti: Primordial power; Avyaktam or Mula Prakriti.

Afflicted consciousness: (Tibetan: nyon yid) The seventh consciousness. It has two aspects: the immediate consciousness, which monitors the other consciousnesses making them continuous, and the klesha consciousness, which is the continuous presence of self. See Eight Consciousnesses.

Agadha: Unfathomable.

Agama pramana: The Veda as proof.

Agama: The Veda; manual of practical worship.

Agami (Karma): Karma now produced, to be en­joyed after.

Agandha: Smell-less, odourless.

Agati: Stability.

Aggregates: (Sanskrit: skandha; Tibetan phung po nga) literally “heaps,” These are the five basic transformations that perceptions undergo when an object is perceived. First is form, which includes all sounds, smells, etc. everything that is not thought. The second and third are sensations (pleasant and unpleasant, etc.) and identification. Fourth is mental events, which actually include the second and third aggregates. The fifth is ordinary consciousness such as the sensory and mental consciousnesses.

Aghamarshana: Some Vedic verses, the utterance of which, when bathing, purifies man; that which purifies.

Agni astra: Fire missile.

Agni: Fire.

Agni-hotra: A fire offering.

Agni-manavaka: Shining lad. (This illustrates Gauna Vritti or secondary sense. It literally means a lad who is fire itself. Instead of that, we should take the Guna (or quality) of fire and mean by that word a lad shining like fire).

Agnistut: He who sings the praises of Agni (in Vedic sacrifice).

Agni-tattva: The fire-principle.

Agni-vidya: The process of meditating, taking fire as symbolising Brahman.

Agrahya: Unfit to be taken; that which cannot be grasped.

Aguna: Without Guna or quality.

Ahaituka: Motiveless; without purpose.

Aham Atma: I am the Atman.

Aham Brahmasmi: I am Brahman.

Aham duhkhi: I am miserable.

Aham etat na: I am not this.

Aham idam: I (and) this.

Aham karta: I am the doer.

Aham pratyaya: ‘I’-feeling; self-consciousness.

Aham sukhi: I am happy.

Aham vritti: Self-arrogating thought.

Aham: I; the ego.

Ahameva sarvah: I alone am all.

Ahamgraha Upasana: A kind of meditation in which the aspirant identifies himself with Brahman or the Supreme Being. This is the Vedantic form of worship.

Ahamika: Egotism; pride.

Ahamkara: Ego or false self. Egoism or self-conceit; the self-arrogating principle ‘I’, ‘I am’-ness; self-consciousness. Rajasika ahamkara: Dynamic egoism with passion and pride. Sattvika ahamkara: Egoism composed in the sense of goodness and virtue. Tamasika ahamkara: Egoism as expressed in ignorance and inertia.

Ahamkara-avacchinna-chaitanya: Intelligence associated with egoism which is the migrating soul, Jivatman.

Ahamkara-tyaga: Renunciation of egoism.

Ahamta: I-ness.

Ahara: Food; object of senses; anything taken in by senses.

Ahavaniya: One of the three consecrated fires which oblations are offered by the householder.

Ahimsa: Non-injury in thought, word and deed. Non-violence. The practice of non-violence or injury, either physically or mentally, towards all living beings.

Ahuti: Oblation (poured into the fire in sacrifices).

Aisvarya: Material or spiritual wealth.

Aitihya: Rumour; one of the eight proofs of knowledge.

Aja: Unborn.

Ajahallakshana: Not abandoned but amplified, e.g., “A red is running”, where we have to add the word “horse”, for redness being a quality, cannot run.

Ajana Vriksha tree: A sacred tree growing near Jnaneshwar’s samadhi shrine at Alandi, in the state of Maharashtra, India.

Ajapa: The Mantra “Soham” (I am He) which is produced by the breath itself, without any conscious effort at repeating it: the inhalation sounding ‘So’ and the exhalation ‘ham’.

Ajapa-gayatri: Hamsah-soham Mantra.

Ajapa-japa: Japa of “Soham” Mantra.

Ajara: Without old age.

Ajati vada: The theory of non-evolution.

Ajita: The unvanquished; one of the epithets of Lord Vishnu.

Ajna Chakra: The sacred energy centre located at the ‘third eye’, in the centre of the forehead.

Ajna-chakra: The sixth lotus of the Yogis, opposite the junction of the eye-brows; this is the seat of the mind; has two ‘petals’.

Ajnana: Ignorance.

Ajnana-avrita-ananda: Ananda or Bliss enveloped by ignorance; the bliss that you get in deep sleep.

Akanksha: Desire (all round).

Akara: The first letter or the most fundamental sound which is represented by the first letter of the alphabet.

Akarma: Inaction.

Akarma:Useless work or activities.

Akarshana Sakti: Power of attraction.

Akarta: Non-doer.

Akartavya: That which should not be done.

Akarya: What ought not to be done.

Akasa Mandala: Region of ether.

Akasa Nila: Blueness of the sky.

Akasa Tattva: The ether-principle.

Akasa: See ether.

Akasaja: Born of Akasa (ether).

Akasamatra: Ether only.

Akasavani: Ethereal voice; heavenly voice.

Akash: See ether.

Akasha: The subtlest form of matter, ether, space, the first of the 5 elements evolved from Brahman. See ether.

Akasmika: Without a why; causeless.

Akhanda: Indivisible.

Akhanda-ananda: Unbroken Bliss.

Akhanda-brahmacharya: Unbroken celibacy.

Akhandaikarasa: The one undivided Essence.

Akhandaikarasa-vritti: The pure homogeneous Brahmakara Vritti that is produced by meditating on Brahman.

Akhandakara: Of the nature of indivisibility.

Akhanda-mauna: Unbroken silence.

Akhanda-samadhi: Unbroken Samadhi.

Akhyana: Narrative; a variety of mythological narratives.

Akrishna: Not black; white or pure.

Akritabhigama: Occurrence of fruits of actions that are not done.

Akrodha: Absence of anger.

Akshara vidya: The Imperishable knowledge-process of meditation on Brahman.

Akshara: Syllable; imperishable Brahman; that which never wastes.

Akshara-suddhi: Clear pronunciation of the letters of the Mantras.

Aksharatma: Imperishable Self.

Aksharat-paratah-parah: Purusha greater than Akshara.

Akshaya: Everlasting; undecaying.

Akshobha: Emotionless; undisturbed; absence of agitation.

Akshobhya: (Tibetan: mi bskyod pa) The sambhogakaya buddha of the vajra family, which is associated with the East.

Akshobhya: Emotionless (being undisturbed by emotion).

Akunchana: Contraction.

Alakshana: Without distinctive marks.

Alambana pratyaya: Primal idea or the base cause.

Alambana pratyaya: Primal idea or the base cause.

Alambana: Support.

Alata chakra: A stick burning at one end, when waved round quickly, produces an illusion of a circle of fire.

Alaya vijnana pravaha: Train of self-cogntion.

Alaya vijnana: Internal cognition; the Supreme State according to the Yogacharas.

Alayavijnana: (Tibetan: kun shi nam she) Alaya consciousness. According to the Chittamatra or Yogachara School this is the eighth consciousness and is often called the ground consciousness or storehouse consciousness.

Alinga: Without mark; noumenal.

Alochana: Deep thinking; attention; consideration; reflection.

Alpa: Small.

Amala: Without impurity.

Amalaka: Embelica myrobalan.

Amalam: Free from Maya; free from the impurity of Maya.

Amana, Amanaska: Mindless.

Amanahstha: One who has reached mindlessness.

Amanaskata: State of being mindless.

Amanava: Not a man.

Amara: Immortal; deathless.

Amara-purusha: Immortal person like Vyasa, Narada etc.; one who has no death.

Amarsha: The emotion of anger and jealousy combined.

Amatra: Having no measure or sign.

Amhara: Sky; ether; cloth; garment.

Amida Butsu: (Japanese) The term by which devotees call on Amitabha Buddha. They usually say “Praise to the Buddha Amitabha,” meaning “Namu Amida Butsu,” which can be shortened to “Nembutsu.”

Amitabha: One of the five buddha family deities known as “buddha of boundless light” Usually depicted as red, which is associated with the direction west. Also known as the Buddha of the Western Pureland, or the Blissful Pureland.

Amma: South Indian word for mother. Also, a common form of addressing women by sadhus.

Amrit: A honey-like jasmine-flavored nectar.

Amrita (sya)-putrah: Nectar’s son.

Amrita: (Tibetan: dut tsi) A blessed substance, which can cause spiritual and physical healing.

Amrita: Nectar.

Amritam: Immortality.

Amrita-nadi: A special psychic nerve branching from the heart.

Amritattva: Deathlessness; immortality.

Amsa: Part.

Amukhya karana: Subordinate cause; minor cause; not principal cause.

Amurta: Without form. (Amurta-elements: elements without form, viz., air and ether).

Anabhidya: Not coveting others’ goods; not thinking vain thoughts, and not brooding over injuries received from another.

Anadi: Beginningless.

Anadi-ananta: Without beginning and end; Infinite; This is Brahman.

Anadi-kala: Eternity; beginningless time.

Anadi-pravaha-satta: Beginningless flow; everlastingness; beginningless, but terminable.

Anadi-samskara: Beginningless impression.

Anadi-santa: Beginningless and terminable; Maya which terminates after the attainment of Brahma-Jnana.

Anagata: Belonging to the future.

Anaham: ‘Not-I’; non-ego.

Anahat Chakra: The sacred energy center located in the ‘heart area.’

Anahata dhvani: Mystic sounds heard by Yogis. Anamaya: Without disease (Brahman).

Anahata: The fourth lotus of the Yogis, opposite the heart; mystic sounds heard by the Yogis.

Analytical insight: In the Sutra tradition one begins by listening to the teachings, studying the Dharma. Then one contemplates this Dharma, which is analytical insight, by placing the mind in shamatha and focussing purely on these concepts. Finally one meditates, free from concept.

Ananda Abhava: Absence of spiritual bliss.

Ananda Ghana: Mass of bliss.

Ananda pada: Blissful seat.

Ananda sagara: Ocean of Bliss.

Ananda svarupa: Of the essential nature of bliss.

Ananda valli: A portion of the Taittiriya Upanishad.

Ananda: Bliss; happiness; joy. Spiritual joy

Ananda: Buddha’s friend, cousin, and favorite disciple, and the monk who remembered the Sutras.

Anandamaya Kosa: Blissful sheath or Karana Sarira, the seed body which contains Mula Ajnana or the potentialities.

Anandamaya: Full of bliss.

Ananta: Infinite; endless; the name of Sesha, the chief god of the serpent-world.

Ananta-amatra: Infinite and Immeasurable.

Ananta-ananda: Infinite bliss.

Ananta-drishti: Unlimited vision.

Ananta-jyoti: Infinite Light.

Ananta-matra: Having infinite signs; absolute.

Anantatvat: Because of being Infinite or endless.

Ananya Bhakti: Exclusive devotion to any single aspect of the Lord. Just as you see, through Vichara, the one essence (wood) in a chair, table, bench, door, stick, etc., you see Lord Narayana in all forms. This is Ananya Bhakti. When the meditator and the object of meditation become one, it is Ananya Bhakti. When you meditate on Lord Krishna as the Nirguna Brahman of the Upanishad, it is Ananya Bhakti. When the mind keeps up always one image of Lord Siva, to the exclusion of all other images, it is Ananya Bhakti.

Ananya: Unblemished, cent per cent, totally faithful.

Ananyata: Single-mindedness.

Anarabdha-karya: Works which have not yet begun to produce their effects.

Anartha: Evil; wrong; object of aversion.

Anasakti: Non-attachment; dispassion; Vairagya.

Anasrama: Not belonging to any one of the four orders of life.

Anatma: Not-Self; insentient. Anavacchinna-chaitanya: Undivideded con­sciousness which is the Real Self.

Anatman: (Pali: anatta) No-self, no-soul. The Buddhist understanding that there is no eternal soul. Each living person is an association of five skandhas, which literally dis-integrate at death.

Anavacchinnam: Unlimited.

Anavadhana: Non-attention.

Anavasada: Cheerfulness; non-dejection.

Anavastha: Fallacy arising from the absence of finality or conclusion.

Anavastha-dosha: Regressus ad infinitum.

Anavasthitva: Instability.

Andaja: Egg-born; oviparous.

Andolana: Swinging; revolving.

Andolana: Swinging; revolving.

Aneka: Not one; many.

Anga: Subordinate member; limb; step.

Angirasa: Brihaspati or the divine preceptor; the commander or the lord of wisdom.

Angushtha-matra: Of the size of the thumb.

Anima: Subtlety; the power of making the body subtle; reducing the physical mass and density at will, one of the eight Siddhis.

Anirdesya: Indescribable; indefinable.

Anirvachaniya: Indescribable; inexpressible; nei­ther existence nor non-existence.

Anirvachaniya-satta: Inscrutable being (Maya).

Anisa: Not Lord; not master of but subject to, nature; impotent.

Anisata: Impotence.

Anishta: Undesired; bad.

Anitya: Impermanent.

Annam: Matter; food.

Annamaya kosa: Food-sheath; gross physical body.

Annitya: (Pali: anicca; Tibetan: mitakpa) Impermanence of all phenomena, change.

Anrita: Falsehood or untruth.

Anta: End.

Antahkarana: Internal instrument; fourfold mind; mind, intellect, ego and subconscious mind.

Antahkarana-chatushtaya: The mind in its four aspects, viz., Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahamkara; fourfold internal organ.

Antahkarana-pratibimba-chaitanya: Reflection of the intelligence in the mind.

Antahkarana-sastra: Psychology; science of the internal organ, viz., mind, intelligence and ego.

Antahkarana-vyapara: Thought-construction; working of the mind.

Antah-prajna: Inner subjective consciousness.

Antar: Internal; middle; interspace.

Antaranga: Internal organ; mind.

Antaratma: The indwelling Self; inner soul.

Antardhauti: Inward cleaning.

Antar-drishti: Inner vision.

Antargata: Hidden; immanent.

Antarika prema: Whole-hearted, inward, divine love.

Antarika: Inward; whole-hearted.

Antariksha: Firmament; sky.

Antarjyoti: Inner Light.

Antarlakshya: Introvision.

Antarmukha: Introspective; gaze turned inwards.

Antarmukha-vritti: A state in which the mind is turned inwards and is withdrawn from objects.

Antarvaha-sarira: The subtle body of a Yogi by which he accomplishes entry into the bodies of others.

Antarveshtini: This is an important Nadi which is very delicate. In this Nadi there is the pure and resplendent Sakti called the Kundalini.

Antaryamana: Ruling within.

Antaryamin: Inner ruler; the Supreme Being present in every creation which guides all creatures.

Antevasin: Immediate pupil.

Anu: Atom; of minute size.

Anubandha-chatushtaya: Four indispensable requisites of a work, viz., (1) Vishaya or the subject to be dealt with (here it is Brahman). (2) Prayojana or the benefit to be obtained by studying it (here it is Moksha). (3) Sambandha or the connection between the work as a whole and the subject dealt with (here it is exposition). (4) Adhikari or the qualified student (here he is a person endowed with the prescribed Sadhanas, viz., the four means of salvation, or the Sadhana-chatushtaya).

Anubhava: Direct perception; experience; intuitive consciousness (Self-realisation); identity of the Jiva with Brahman; personal spiritual experience.

Anubhava-advaita: Actual living experience of Oneness.

Anubhava-gamyam: Obtainable by direct perception (through Samadhi).

Anubhavi guru: Preceptor who has had personal spiritual realisation.

Anudbuddha: Unawakened.

Anugraha: Grace.

Anukampa: Sympathy.

Anumana: Inference; one of the proofs of knowledge.

Anumanta: Giver of the sanction to the movements of nature.

Anupadaka: Receiverless; the root element of matter next above Akasa, so called because there is as yet no organ or “receiver” developed by humanity for it.

Anupalabdhi: One of the eight proofs of knowledge of the existence of the non-existent or negative.

Anuparimana: Atomic; of the size of the atom.

Anuraga: Intense Prema or love (towards God).

Anusandhana: Enquiry or investigation; in Vedanta, enquiry or investigation into the nature of Brahman.

Anusaya: The balance or residue of Karma which forces the soul to take rebirth in this or the other world after temporary freedom enjoyed in the higher spheres.

Anushthana: Systematic performance of religious practices undertaken usually for some definite period, say, 40 days, 90 days, one year, etc.

Anusmarana: Remembrance; constant memory of Brahman or God.

Anutapa: Subsequent repentance; remorse.

Anuttarayoga tantra: (Tibetan: nal jor la na me pay jue) There are four levels of the Vajrayana and Anuttarayoga tantra is the highest of these. It contains the Guhyasamaja, the Chakrasamvara, the Hevajra, and the Kalachakra tantras.

Anutva: Minuteness; smallness; subtlety.

Anuvada: An additional statement or exposition about something well known or already mentioned.

Anuvritti: Turning round and round.

Anuvyakhyana: Exposition; gloss; commentary.

Anuvyavasaya: Perception of a sentiment or judgment.

Anuyogin: When a jar appears as existent, it seems as if it were totally distinct from the rest of the world; the distinction has got the jar for its anuyogin and the rest of the world for its pratiyogin (opposite).

Anvaya: Direct, positive, co-existence; the natural connection of words in a sentence; grammatical order or relation; logical connection of cause and effect; logical continuance; in Nyaya, statement of the constant and invariable concomitance of the middle terms; hetu and the major term sadhya of an Indian syllogism.

Anvaya-vyatireka: Positive and negative assertions; proof by assertion and negation. (Just as several kinds of dal are mixed together, so also, Atman is mixed with the five Kosas. You will have to separate the Self from the five sheaths. You will have to separate name and form from Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. Anvaya and Vyatireka processes always go together. The Self exists in the five sheaths, yet it is not the sheaths. This is Vedantic Sadhana. The aspirant rejects the names and forms and the five sheaths and realises the one, all-pervading, indivisible, infinite, eternal unchanging essence, viz., Brahman.)

Anyat: Another.

Anyatha: Separateness; the state of being otherwise.

Anyathakhyati: The process of mistaken false picturisation of an object at the sight of another similar object through the revival of the impression of the past experience of the first object. The theory that the snake seen in place of a rope is on account of having seen a snake somewhere previous to the present illusion.

Anyonya: Mutual.

Anyonya-abhava: Mutual non-existence (e.g., a jar does not exist in a cloth nor the cloth in a jar.)

Anyonya-adhyasa: Mutual superimposition.

Anyonya-asraya: Mutual interdependence.

Apahatapapmatva: The state of being free from all sins; the Supreme Soul.

Apamana: Disrespect; disgrace.

Apana: The nerve-current which governs the abdominal region, which has its centre in the anus; it does excretory function of the faecal matter; it works for ejection; the down-going breath.

Apanchikarana: Unquintuplicated form of elements (the Linga Sarira is made up of subtle matter in Apanchikrita state); subtle state of matter before mixing to form these five gross elements.

Apara: Other; relative; lower; inferior.

Apara-brahman: Lower Brahman; Saguna Brahman or Isvara (personal god).

Aparadha: Fault; mistake.

Aparajita: Unconquerable.

Apara-paksha: The other side or wing.

Apara-parsva: Another side or the other flank.

Apara-prakriti: The lower cosmic energy through which God projects all forms in nature, gross and subtle.

Apara-vairagya: The lower kind of Vairagya or dispassion of the inferior variety.

Apara-vidya: Knowledge of the Vedas or lower knowledge; intellectual knowledge.

Aparicchinna: Infinite; never-ending.

Aparigraha: Freedom from covetousness; non-receiv­ing of gifts conducive to luxury; one of the five canons of Yama, the preliminary discipline of Yoga.

Aparimita-drishti: The view transcending the limitation of space, time and causation.

Aparinami: Changeless.

Aparoksha: Direct; immediate.

Aparoksha-anubhuti: Direct, actual experience.

Aparokshanubhava-svarupa: The essence of direct intuitive perception; of the nature or form of direct realisation.

Aparokshatva: Feeling of directness or immediateness.

Apas: Water.

Apasarpana: Moving away.

Apas-tattva: Water-principle.

Apataramaniya: Beautiful at first sight; looking beautiful to the non-discriminative; superficially attractive and beautiful.

Apatkala: Abnormal time of misfortune.

Apavada: Exception; negation; rejection; sublation, refutation, as of a wrong imputation or belief; rajjuvivartasya sarpasya rajjumatratvat vastubhuta brahmano vivartasya prapancha desa vastu bhutrupadaupadesah apavadah: just as you take the rope alone in a rope superimposed as a serpent, similarly, you will take to the original thing itself in the original thing superimposed as world (the five elements and others). This is Apavada.

Apavada-yukti: The employment of the logical method of Apavada.

Apavarga: Release; liberation; the last of the four Purusharthas, viz., Moksha or final emancipation (the other three being Dharma, Artha, and Kama); release from the bondage of embodiment.

Apavitra: Impure.

Apekshikya: Relative.

Apekshita: Relative.

Aprajnata: Unknown.

Aprakata: Not published; concealed; hidden.

Aprama: False or incorrect knowledge.

Apramatta: Careful; watchful; vigilant; not dull or intoxicated.

Aprameya: Immeasurable,

Aprana: Without Prana; Brahman.

Apratarkya: Inscrutable; unthinkable.

Apratisamkhyanirodha: Cessation not dependent on a sublative act of the mind.

Apta: Competent person; a sage or an adept; a well-wisher.

Apta-dharma: The duty laid down by the reliable great ones or sages.

Apta-kama: One whose desires have been fulfilled; Jivanmukta; a realised sage.

Apta-vakya: The evidence of the wise; testimony of the trustworthy; Veda or Sruti.

Apunya: Non-meritorious; sinful.

Apurna: Imperfect; not full; incomplete.

Apurva: Unseen; strange; extraordinary; the hidden power or force of a Karma which brings its fruits in the future.

Apurvata: Uncommon nature of proof.

Aradhana: Respectable worship of God special adoration.

Arambha: Mental initiation of an action; Sankalpa.

Arambhakopadhana: The material cause which gives birth to an effect as an essentially different entity, e.g. atoms of the Vaiseshika School.

Arambha-vada: The doctrine of the creation of the world by Isvara; the theory of a beginning, an origination, creation of the world by an agency external to the question; the doctrine of an absolute new creation; the theory of the Nyaya-Vaiseshika.

Arani: Sacrificial wood of sami tree, for creating fire through friction.

Arati: ‘The waving of lights’; the ritual waving of oil lamps before an altar, image of a deity, or a saint. Divine service performed to God, generally in the early morning or at dusk, with lamps, incense and must especially ringing of bells.

Archana: Offering of flowers and sacred leaves, etc., at the time of Puja or worship, uttering the names of the object of worship.

Archiradi-marga: The path of the gods or the northern path taken by the Jiva after death through which the Yogi, departing in Uttarayana ascends to the world of Brahman, after leaving the body on this earth.

Ardhangini: Better half; Partner in life (wife); especially Parvati, the wife of Lord Siva.

Arghya: Offering of water to Devatas and Rishis.

Arhat: (Tibetan: drachompa) Literally, foe-destroyer, one who distroys the foe which is the kleshas. A term used primarily in Theravada Buddhism to signify a person who has fulfilled its ultimate goal, the attainment of nirvana; these are accomplished Hinayana practitioners who have eliminated the klesha obscurations by realizing the truth of selflessness or egolessness. These are the arhats of shravakas and pratyekabuddhas.

Arjava: Simplicity; straightforwardness; rectitude conduct; uprightness.

Arjuna: The exalted disciple to whom Krishna imparted the immortal message of the Bhagavad Gita. One of the five Pandava princes in the great Hindu epic, the Mahabhaiata, in which he was a key figure.

Aroha: Ascent.     

Artha: Meaning; sense; purpose; object; object of perception; an object of desire; wealth.

Arthapatti: Presumption; one of the proofs of knowledge.

Arthartha: Longing for wealth.

Artharthi: One who longs for wealth.

Arthavada: Glorifying passage; persuasive expression; texts which contain censure or praise in an exaggerated manner; exaggerated glorifying with the definite purpose of inducing man to follow a certain line of action.

Arundhati-nyaya: The star Arundhati is rarely visible to the naked eye; to point it out, therefore, some very big star near it is shown at first as Arundhati; then it is rejected and a smaller star is pointed out as Arundhati and so on till the actual Arundhati is located. This method of leading from the gross to the more subtle is called Arundhati-nyaya. This method is followed specially in Indian philosophy where in the beginning men are goaded to have faith in the lower form of worship with the help of Agamas and Tantras; then guided to the Bhakti method or the dualistic religion of the Puranas; then, again, to the rigour of the Smritis, and finally, to the non-dual (Advaita) Vedanta of the Upanishads and Ajati-vada. (Compare this with the Bhramara-kita-nyaya which is a direct meditation on the Absolute at one stretch without any such preliminary stages of religion as in the case of the former.)

Arupa: Formless.

Arupa-mano-nasa: Destruction of the mind without form, as in Videhamukti.

Arurukshu: One who is attempting to climb to the state of Yoga.

Arya: (Tibetan: phakpa) A person who has achieved direct realization of the true nature of reality. This person has achieved the third (path of insight) of the five paths.

Aryadeva: (Tibetan: Phakpa Lha) The main student of Nagarjuna who subsequently became his heir. He was a great Madhyamaka and also became one of the dzamling gyenduk “six ornaments of the world/India.” He wrote the catuhshataka-shastra, The Four Hundred Verse Treatise, which extensively elucidates the intention of Nagarjuna.

Aryadharma: Religion of the Indo-Aryans; Vedic region.

Aryavarta: The tract in Northern India, occupied the Indo-Aryans in the early stage for their expansion.

Asa: Hope; expectation.

Asabda: Soundless.

Asabdam: Without sound; soundless. (Refers to Brahman.)

Asadavarana: A power of Avarana Sakti which screens the existence of Brahman and which makes us think there is no Brahman; screening the existence of a thing (Brahman); one of the aspects of Avarana Sakti. This is removed by Aparoksha Jnana.

Asadharana karana: Uncommon cause.

Asadharana: Extraordinary; uncommon.

Asadharana-nimitta: Special or chief cause.

Asakta: Unattached; resigned; unselfish.

Asamavaya-karana: A Nyaya terminology; non-concomitant cause; wheel and stick of the potter that help in the manufacture of the pot.

Asamavayi: Not intimately related; a cause forming part of an effect; not being the substance.

Asambhava: Impossibility.

Asambhavana: Spiritual doubt; this is one of the three Pratibandhas that stand in the way of Self-realisation. This is a kind of doubt; improbability; impossibility of thought; “I know quite well that the Upanishads are uniform in proclaiming the oneness of the Absolute. But, how can that be in the face of the potent distinctiveness of Isvara, Jiva and the universe?” This is the kind of doubt that arises in the minds of the aspirants. This is removed by Manana or reflection. This is one of the three Bhavanas; vain thought; this is the kind of doubt as to how Brahman which is Akarta and Abhokta can become a Karta and a Bhokta as seen in the case of Jivas for practical purposes in daily life.

Asamhita: Unsteady.

Asamprajnata-samadhi: Highest superconscious state where the mind and the ego-sense are completely annihilated.

Asamsakti: Fifth Jnana-bhumika or the fifth stage in the path of knowledge, wherein there is non-attachment to objects of the world to the highest degree.

Asamvedana: Non-receptivity of the mind; imperishable state of quiescent Jnana; Nirvikalpa Samadhi; thought­less state.

Asamyagdarsana: Consciousness of the objective universe; imperfect vision.

Asamyagdarsin: A person who has not risen to perfect knowledge; one who has no proper vision and has the consciousness of the world.

Asana: Posture; seat. A seat or mat on which one sits for meditation; a posture, or various bodily positions practiced to strengthen the body and purify the nervous system (nadis); one of the eight auxiliaries of Patanjali’s yoga.

Asanaya: Hunger; food-carrier.

Asanga: (Tibetan: Thokmay) A fourth century Indian philosopher who founded the Chittamatra or Yogachara school and wrote the five works of Maitreya, important Mahayana texts. He was also Vasubhandu’s brother.

Asanga: Non-attachment.

Asanga-bhavana: Feeling or attitude of the mind, of non-attachment.

Asango-ayam purushah: This Purusha is unattached (refers to Brahman, Who is unattached).

Asanti: Restlessness; absence of peace of mind; distraction.

Asara: Without essence; dry; barren.

Asariraka: Bodiless.

Asat: That which is not; non-existent; non-being as opposed to Sat or Being or existence or Reality; unreal.

Asaya-bija: Potent seed; seed containing future diverse growth.

Ashram: A spiritual hermitage; often a monastery. Place of striving, from sram, ‘to exert energy’; a place of refuge from worldly concerns; the abode of a saint or holy man; a spiritual community where spiritual disciplines are practiced; also, a term used for the traditional Hindu concept of the four stages of life: student, married life, retirement from worldly concerns, and sannyasa.

Ashrama: A Sannyasi’s Retreat; 4 Spiritual Orders of Life.

Ashramite: One who lives in, and follows the rules of the ashram.

Ashta Siddhis: The eight supernatural powers (siddhis). According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras these are: anima: the power of becoming as small as an atom. laghima: lightness, weightlessness, the power of levitation. mahiman: magnification, the power to increase one’s size or weight. praptih: extension, the power to touch even the moon with one’s fingertip. prakamya: unrestrained will, the power to move through solid earth in the same way one moves through water. vashitva: control, the power of control over others, as well as all the elements and their products. Ishitrtva: creative power, the ability to create, destroy and arrange all elements and their products. yatra-kamavasyitva: the power of fulfilling all desires. The ability to rearrange the elements according to one’s will. Other powers include clairvoyance, clairaudience, the ability to fly (dardura), the ability to enter another’s body (kaya-siddhi), the conquest of death (mrityunjaya), knowledge of the past, present and future (trikala-jnana), the ability to acquire hidden treasure (patala-siddhi), and the power to die at will (iccha-mrityu).

Ashtakshara mantra: Mantra with eight letters Om Namo Narayanaya

Ashtanga Yoga: Yoga with eight limbs; Raja Yoga of Patanjali Maharshi.

Ashtavadhani: One who does eight things at a time.

Asiddha: Not perfected; unrealised.

Asita: The astrologer who predicted Buddha’s fate.

Asmat: Pertaining to us or me.

Asmi: I am; I exist.

Asmita: Egoism; I-ness; “am”-ness.

Asmita-nasa: Destruction of egoism or I-ness.

Asmita-samadhi: Superconscious state immediately below.

Asmriti: Forgetfulness; state of unconsciousness.

Asparsa: Touchless; name of Brahman.

Asrama: Hermitage; order of life (of which there four, viz., Brahmacharya or studentship, Grihastha or household-life, Vanaprastha or forest-dwelling, and Sannyasa monastic life).

Asrama-dharma: Duties pertaining to the four orders or stages of life.

Asrama-karani: Duties of the four stages of life.

Asrupata: Flow of tears.

Asteya: Non-stealing; one of the five items of Yama in Ashtanga Yoga.

Asthi: Bone.

Asthira: Wavering and unsteady.

Asthula: Without grossness; subtle; Brahman.

Asti: Exists; is; Brahman.

Asti-bhati-priya: Sat-chit-ananda; the eternal qualities inherent in Brahman.

Astra: Missile; weapon invoked with a Mantra.

Astral body: Man’s subtle body of light, prana, it is the second of three sheaths that successively encase the soul: the causal body, the astral body and the physical body. The powers of the astral body enliven the physical body, much as electricity illumines a bulb. The astral body has nineteen elements: intelligence, ego, feeling, mind (sense-consciousness); five instruments of knowledge (the sensory powers within the physical organs of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch); five instruments of action (the executive powers in the physical instruments of procreation, excretion, speech, locomotion, and the exercise of manual skill); and five instruments of life force that perform the functions of circulation, metabolization, assimilation, crystallization, and elimination.

Astral light: The subtle light emanating from prana, the structural essence of the astral world. Through the all-inclusive intuitive perception of the soul, devotees in concentrated states of meditation may perceive the astral light, particularly as the spiritual eye.

Astral world: The subtle sphere of the Lord’s creation, a universe of light and colour composed of finer-than-atomic forces, i.e., vibrations of life energy or prana. Every being, every object, every vibration on the material plane has an astral counterpart, for in the astral universe (heaven) is the blueprint of our material universe. At physical death, the soul of man, clothed in an astral body of light, ascends to one of the higher or lower astral planes, according to merit, to continue his spiritual evolution in the greater freedom of that subtle realm. There he remains for a karmically predetermined time until physical rebirth.

Asu: Any pursuit for the maintenance of life; breath of life; the Prana-vayu or the five Pranas.

Asubha: Evil; inauspicious.

Asubha-vasana: Impure desire or tendency.

Asuchi: Impure; not clean.

Asuddha: Unpurified; not pure.

Asuddha-manas: Impure mind; lower mind with evil impressions.

Asuddha-maya: Maya preponderating with Rajas; this is Avidya Upadhi of Jiva; this is termed as Malina Maya or Malina-Sattva; impure Maya; this is Avidya or Malina-sattva or impure Sattva mixed with Rajas and Tamas.

Asuddha-sankalpa: Impure resolve.

Asuddhi: Impurity.

Asu-dravana sakti: Power of melting very quickly.

Asukla: Not white; black.

Asura : (Tibetan: ihamayin) This term is often translated as “demigods” or “titans.” They are one of the six states of existence that are in samsara. Different types of Buddhism view them differently. Asura is usually seen as positive, resulting from good karma, beings like humans and gods who dwell in the lower heavens. Other views treat the asuras as resulting from bad karma and hence they are seen as the enemies of the gods. Some types of Buddhism ignore this category altogether and have only five states of existence.

Asura: Demon; evil tendency in man.

Asuri-sampat: Devilish qualities; demoniacal wealth.

Asuya: Jealousy; envy.

Asvamedha-yajna: Horse-sacrifice; an elaborate Vedic ceremonial undertaken by kings to attain son or sovereignty.

Asvanaya: Horse-carrier.

Asvattha-vriksha: The sacred peepul tree.

Atadvyavritti: The process of knowing the truth through a thing opposed to it; e.g., The Self is distinct from the three bodies.

Atadvyavritti-samadhi: Samadhi that does not care or require the aid of other; Samadhi attained through the negation of Anatma.

Atanu: Bodiless; Brahman.

Atarkya: That which cannot be reasoned out; Brahman.

Atigraha: Object of sense.

Atilaghava: Exceeding lightness.

Atindriya sukha: Happiness beyond the reach of the senses; the Bliss of Brahman or the Absolute.

Atindriya: Beyond the reach of the senses.

Atiprasna: Too much questioning; questioning carried to the extreme; transcendental question.

Atisaya: Excess; pre-eminence; highest perfection.

Atisha: (Tibetan: Jowoje) (982-1055 AD) A Buddhist teacher at Vikramashila University in India who came to Tibet at the invitation of the king to overcome the damage done by earlier unpopular King Langdarma. He helped found the Kadam tradition.

Atisukshma: Extremely subtle.

Atita: Past; above; beyond; transcendent.

Atithi: Guest.

Atithi-yajna: Entertaining and feeding of the guests; one of the Pancha-maha-yajnas or daily duties enjoined upon the householder.

Ativahika-deva: Celestial being whose action it is to conduct the soul forwards after death, to the different worlds (to light, day, Deva-loka, Vayu-loka, Chandra-loka, Vidyulloka, Indra-loka, Prajapatiloka, etc.)

Ativahikatva: A stage of being able to convey to the other bodies; the deity appointed by God to help in the conveying of the Sukshma (subtle) body to other bodies at the expiry of good actions which contribute to the enjoyment of material pleasures.

Ativarnasrami: One who has transcended the order and stage of life. A Paramahamsa or an Avadhuta.

Ativyapti: Redundancy: this is one of the three tests of understanding an object. This arises when the characteristics pointed out are found in or are common to other objects also. For instance, the cows are four-legged. Here not only cows, but also other animals have four legs. Hence, redundancy.

Ativyapti-dosha: A fallacy in Nyaya where a definition is unwarrantedly stretched beyond its legitimate deno­tation, e.g., a cow is a horned animal. Here, the definition “horned animal” can be applied to all other horned animals also.

Atma (also, Atman): The Self.

Atma-anatma-viveka: Discrimination between the Self and the not-Self.

Atmabala: Soul-force.

Atma-bhava: Feeling that everything is the Self

Atma-bodha: Knowledge of the Self; also a work of !hat name by Sri Sankara.

Atma-chintana: Reflection on the Self or the A tman.

Atma-drishti: The vision of seeing everything as the Self.

Atma-ghata: Slaughter of the self; suicide, physical or otherwise; worldliness; ignorance of the nature of the Self.

Atmaha: Slayer of the self.

Atmajna: One who has known the Self; seer with Self-knowledge.

Atma-jnana: Direct knowledge of the Self; Brahma-jnana.

Atma-krida: One who rejoices in one’s own Self.

Atma-labha: Attaining realisation of the Self.

Atma-lakshya: Having the Self as the goal; Self as the object of meditation of Vedantins.

Atman (or Atma): The eternal and unchangeable Self, the inner Spirit; one’s true nature or Self. According to the Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad, the Self should be realized by reflection and meditation after hearing about it from one’s Guru.

Atman: (Sanskrit) The idea of a permanent “self” which exists after death. Divine Self, Real Self

Atma-nishtha: Established in the Self.

Atma-nivedana: Dedicating one’s entire self to the divine; self-surrender.

Atma-prakasa: The shining forth or light of the Self.

Atma-pratyaksha: Direct perception of the Self.

Atma-rati: Rejoicing in the Self; interested or centred in the Self

Atma-samarpana: Self-consecration; offering the self at the feet of the Lord.

Atma-santushti: Contentment in one’s own Self.

Atmasrayi: Dependent on the Self for existence, as the case of Isvara.

Atma-tripta: One who rests contented in the Self.

Atma-tripti: Satisfaction in one’s own Self.

Atma-vibhuti: Spiritual wealth consequent upon Self-realisation.

Atma-vichara: Enquiry into the Self.

Atma-vit: Knower of the Self.

Atmic: Pertaining to the Atman.

Atura-sannyasa: Sannyasa taken at the moment of death.

Atyanta: Too much; to the extreme.

Atyanta-abhava: Complete non-existence; extreme unreality, like the horn of a hare or a lotus in the sky or the son of a barren woman.

Atyanta-asat: Extremely non-existent (similar to Atyantabhava).

Atyantika: Final; ultimate.

Atyantika-pralaya: Immediate liberation; liberation of the individual wherein there is complete annihilation of all phenomena subjectively.

Audasinya: Indifference to all sense-experience and pairs of opposites; a high state of Jnana.

Aum (Om). The Pranava or the sacred syllable symbolising Brahman. The Sanskrit root word or seed-sound symbolizing that aspect of Godhead which creates and sustains all things, Cosmic Vibration. Aum of the Vedas became the sacred word Hum of the Tibetans, Amin of the Moslems and Amen of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians. The world’s great religions state that all created things originate in the cosmic vibratory energy of Aum or Amen, the Word or Holy Ghost. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Amen in Hebrew means sure, faithful. See Om Avadhuta: Literally, ‘one who has shaken off, discarded, expelled’; one who has transcended body-consciousness and is beyond the mind. One who always lives in the highest spiritual state. Such a being wanders freely, completely free from all social conventions; the highest class of renunciates; an Avadhuta is one who has achieved the highest state of renunciation which is neither attachment nor detachment, but beyond both. He seeks nothing, nor avoids anything; also, a name of Dattatreya.

Aupadhika: (Enjoyment) through the medium of the senses.

Aushadhi: Herb; medicine.

Avaccheda: Delimitation; section.

Avaccheda-upadhi: Limiting condition; limiting adjunct.

Avaccheda-vada: Doctrine of limitation; doctrine that the soul is the highest Self, limited by adjuncts.

Avacchinna-chaitanya: Consciousness limited by adjuncts.

Avadhuta: An ascetic who has renounced the world; the sixth order of Sannyasins, usually naked; the highest state of asceticism or Tapas.

Avahana: The invocation by Mantras of the deity of the purpose of manifestation during the time of worship.

Avaikalya: Perfection; non-distraction.

Avajna: Disdain; contempt.

Avalokiteshvara: (Tibetan: Chenrezig or Chenrezig Jigten wangchuk) Avalokiteshvara, he who sees or cares for all beings, is the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The popular six syllable mantra associate with him is: Om mani padme hung. Many prominent teachers including the Karmapas and the Dalai Lamas are regarded as his eminations.

Avangmanogochara: Beyond the reach of speech and mind; Brahman or the Self.

Avantara-vakya: In Vedanta, the secondary or intermediate saying or sentence employed to define Brahman before initiating the disciple into the significance of the highest Mahavakya of Absolute identity.

Avarana/Arvana:Veil or Darkness or Ignorance or Maya, which when lifted, God is seen.

Avarana-abhava: Absence of the covering veil.

Avarana-bhanga: Destruction of the veil of ignorance.

Avarana-sakti: Veiling power of Maya; Avidya the individual.

Avaroha: Descent,

Avasana: End; completion; termination.

Avastha: State.

Avasthantargataprapti: The state of the effect being resolved or involved into the cause.

Avasthasthiti: Permanent abiding; changeless­ness.

Avasthatraya: Three states of consciousness, waking, dreaming and deep sleep.

Avastu: Non-material; non-substance; nothing; without the characteristic of a thing as being space-bound and time-tied; unsubstantial.

Avatar: Incarnation of God. Divine incarnation, from the Sanskrit avataia, with roots ava, “down,” and tri, “to pass.” One who attains union with Spirit and then returns to earth to help mankind is called an avatar. Literally, ‘coming down, or descending’. The theory of incarnation or the descent of the Lord into a human form, not because of individual karma, but in response to the collective karma of the people. Examples are Rama, Krishna and Buddha. The concept is very similar to the Jewish Messiah.

Avatara: Descent; it is a coming down of the Divine into the human plane; incarnation.

Avatara-vada: The doctrine that holds that God takes human form.

Avayava: Limb; member.

Aveechi: Waveless; also the name of a region in hell.

Avibhaga: Non-separation; non-distinction.

Avicchinna: Continuous; undivided; not cut off.

Avidhi: Rites done not in accordance with the injunctions of the Sastras; not according to the formulae of the scriptures.

Avidya: (Pali: avijja) Ignorance, lack of awareness.

Avidya: Literally, “non-knowledge,” ignorance; the manifestation in man of maya, the cosmic delusion. Essentially, avidya is man’s ignorance of his divine nature and of the sole reality: Spirit. Ignorance; nescience; a Sakti or illusive power in Brahman which is sometimes regarded as one with Maya and sometimes as different from it. It forms the condition of the individual soul and is otherwise called Ajnana or Asuddha-maya. It forms the Karana Sarira of Jiva. It is Malina or impure Sattva.

Avidyanasa: Destruction of ignorance; liberation from bondage of embodiment.

Avidya-nivritti: Removal of ignorance; Moksha.

Avidya-samskara: The impression of basic ignorance.

Avidyopadhi-paricchinna: This is the Jiva’s nature. Paricchinna is divided, finite. Jiva is finite with the limiting adjunct of ignorance.

Avijnata: Unknown; Brahman.

Avikari: Immutable; Brahman.

Avimukta: The non-liberated soul.

Avinasi: Indestructible.

Avirati: Non-dispassion; sensual indulgence.

Avirodha: Without contradiction; the non-opposition of other means of right knowledge and other systems of philosophy to the same principle; the business of reasoning; the second chapter of the Brahma Sutras is called Avirodha-adhyaya.

Avisvasa: Distrust; suspicion.

Aviveka: Non-discrimination.

Avritta-chakshuh: One whose gaze is turned inwards.

Avyabhicharini-bkakti: Devotion to one thing alone; unswerving love to any particular aspect of the Lord.

Avyakrita: Undifferentiated; undefined.

Avyakta, Avyaktam: Unmanifest; invisible; when the three Gunas are in a state of equilibrium; the undifferentiated.

Avyakta-drishti: The view from the standpoint of the Infinite, Eternal, Whole.

Avyakta-nada: Unmanifested sound.

Avyapadesya: Indescribable.

Avyapti: Non-inclusion or exclusion of part of a thing defined. When you say, “the cow is of a tawny colour”, the object cow is subject to the fault of Avyapti, as the tawny colour is an attribute of one class of cows only and not of the whole class.

Avyavahara: Free from worldly activities or concern.

Avyavaharya: Non-usable; beyond worldly concerns.

Avyavahita: Near; immediate; direct; without any intervening object.

Avyaya: Inexhaustible; undiminishing; unchangeable.

Ayaama: Extent; extension.

Ayam ghatah asti: This jar is. (That existence is the Reality or Brahman, not the form, jar.)

Ayama: Non-restraint; indulgence.

Ayam-atma-brahma: This Self is the Absolute; this is one of the four Upanishadic Great Sentences.

Ayana: Movement; the sun’s passage northward and southward from the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Ayatanas: (Tibetan: kyeched) The eighteen constituents of perception include the six sensory objects (a sight, a sound, a smell, a taste, and bodily sensation); the six sense faculties (vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch) and the six sensory consciousnesses (visual consciousness, auditory consciousness, olafactory consciousness, taste consciousness, cutaneous consciousness).

Ayukta: He who has no concentration; one who is not a Yogi.

Ayuta: Detached; not connected; separate; uninterrupted; undisturbed.

Ayuta-siddha: Proved to be inseparable and inherent.

Ayuta-siddhi: The proof of inseparability of certain things and notions according to Vaiseshika philosophy.


Baba or Babaji: Respected father; a term of affection for a saint or one’s Guru.

Babaji: See Mahavatar Babaji.

Baddha: Bound; one who is in a state of bondage.

Badhita: Cancelled; refuted; contradicted.

Bahih: Outward; external.

Bahih-prajna: Objective consciousness as in the waking state.

Bahiranga-lakshya: Concentration upon an external object or point in space.

Bahir-dhauti: External washing and cleansing.

Bahirmukha: Externally faced; inclined outwards; extroversion.

Bahirmukha-vritti: The outgoing mode or tendency of the mind.

Bahirvrittinigraha: Restraint of the outgoing waves of the mind.

Bahishkrita: Outcast; a form of Antardhauti in which the belly is, by Kakini-mudra, filled with air, which is retained for an hour and a half, and then sent downwards.

Bahudaka: The second of the six types of Sannyasins, who wears a tuft of hair.

Bahudakshina: Asvamedha sacrifice in which many presents or great gifts are offered to the priests.

Bahudha: Variously; diversely; in many ways.

Bahusyam: May I be many.

Bahutva: Plurality.

Bahuvirya: Enormous power.

Bahya: External.

Bahya-karana: Outer instrument as the eye, ear, etc.

Bahya-vishaya-pratyaksha: External objective perception; direct cognition of sense-objects.

Bandha: Bondage; tie or knot; a certain class of exerci in Hatha Yoga.

Bandha-moksha: Bondage and liberation.

Bardo: (Tibetan) Literally, bardo means “in between.” There are six kinds of bardos, but generally the term refers to the time between death and rebirth in a new body.

Basti: The purificatory exercise for congested bowels; external cleansing of the bowels, thoroughly by drawing water through anus; the Yogic enema.

Bhaga: Portion; division.

Bhagatyaga-lakshana: Otherwise known Jahadajahallakshana; e.g., the expression “He is this Devadatta”, is so modified that a part of the idea is abandoned. Devadatta seen earlier appeared different: but those differences are eschewed to bring out the real person who is the same now and here as he was then and there. The method is employed in the Great Upanishadic Sentence “Tat-tvam-asi”. “That” and “thou” are the same, even thou That (God) and thou (a Jiva) appear to be different, if the appearance-part is removed, the identity will be revealed. The Vachyartha (literal meaning of Tat and Tvam) is abandoned and the Lakshyartha (real meaning) of Tat and Tvam, viz., Brahman in Isvara and the Kutastha in the Jiva, is taken.

Bhagavad Gita: “Song of the Lord.” An ancient Indian scripture consisting of eighteen chapters from the sixth book (Bhishma Paiva) of the Mahabhaiata epic. Presented in the form of a dialogue between the avatar Krishna and his disciple Arjuna on the eve of the historic battle of Kurukshetra, the Gita is a profound treatise on the science of Yoga (union with God) and a timeless prescription for happiness and success in everyday living. The Gita is allegory as well as history, a spiritual dissertation on the inner battle between man’s good and bad tendencies. Depending on the context, Krishna symbolizes the guru, the soul, or God; Arjuna represents the aspiring devotee.

Bhagavan: (Tibetan: Chomdenday) The blessed one, an epithet of the Buddha.

Bhagavan: The Lord; Narayana or Hari. God. Literally, ‘one who possesses the six attributes: viz., infinite spiritual power, righteousness, glory, splendor, knowledge, and renunciation; the Lord, God; also, a term used when addressing a revered person such as Bhagavan Nityananda.

Bhagavata: An adorer of Bhagavan or Vishnu as God. The Bhagavatam is the name of a Purana, regarded by the Vaishnavas as their scripture.

Bhagavata-dharma: The law of Vaishnava dispensation of adoration and love. Also known as Satvata Dharma.

BhagvadGita: The Hindu Bible.

Bhajana: Worship (of the Lord); praise (of the Lord); taking refuge (in the Lord).

Bhajans: Devotional hymns; worship; the singing of devotional songs or hymns, usually accompanied by musical instruments.

Bhajies: An Indian dish usually made from unripe bananas.

Bhakta: A man of devotion. Devotee; votary.

Bhakti Yoga: The spiritual approach to God that stresses all-surrendering love as the principal means of communion and union with God. See Yoga.

Bhakti: As in Bhakti Yoga; The yoga of devotion leading to union with God; a state of intense devotional love for God, or one’s Guru, and the desire to be united with him; also, the constant feeling of being united with God or Guru. Devotion; love (of God).

Bhakti-marga: The path of devotion to attain divinity.

Bhakti-yogi: One who strives to attain union with God through the prescribed spiritual discipline of the path of devotion.

Bhana: Manifestation; appearance.

Bhandara: A feast, a sumptuous meal; a multi dish feast usually held after celebrating a religious festival or other auspicious event.

Bhandara: Storehouse.

Bharta: Supporter; Isvara.

Bhati: Shines; illumines; intelligence; consciousness.

Bhautika: Pertaining to or composed of elements material ; physical.

Bhava padartha: A thing that exists.

Bhava: Attitude, mostly expressing a particular relationship God; any of the five such attitudes prescribed by Vaishnavism, viz., Santa, Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya and Madhurya (of peace, of servant, of friend, of maternal, and of a lover, respectively); mental attitude, feeling; subjective state of being; attitude of mind; state of realisation in the heart or mind; right feeling and frame of mind; right intention; right imagination; right mental disposition; purity of thought.

Bhava: Literally, ‘becoming, being’; a particular perspective of oneself, such as ‘I am a man, woman, mother, father, husband or wife’; a spiritual mood or attitude of identification or absorption. In this state the devotee identifies totally with the object of their devotion, whether a deity or one’s Guru.

Bhava-advaita: Advaitic unity in feeling.

Bhavana/Bhavanaa: Feeling; mental attitude. Feeling of GOD-LOVE

Bhavana-sakti: Power of imagination.

Bhava-rupa: Positive nature of factual being.

Bhava-samadhi: Superconscious state attained by Bhaktas or devotees through intense divine emotion.

Bhava-vastu: (same as Bhava-padartha): A thing that exists.

Bhaya: Fear.

Bheda: Difference; splitting.

Bheda-abheda: Difference and non-difference; a system of philosophy in which the individual is different from and one with the Supreme Soul.

Bheda-ahamkara: The differentiating ego; sense of separateness.

Bheda-buddhi: The intellect that creates differences, the Vyavaharika Buddhi that diversifies everything as opposed to Paramarthika Buddhi that unifies everything..

Bheda-jnana: Consciousness of difference; worldly consciousness.

Bhiantisukha: Illusory pleasure; deluding happiness.

Bhikkhu: bhikshu.

Bhiksha: Alms.

Bhikshu: (Sanskrit: Pali bikkhu; Tibetan: gelong) A fully ordained Buddhist monk.

Bhikshu: Monk; mendicant; Sannyasin.

Bhikshuni: (Sanskrit: Pali bikkhuni; Tibetan: gelongma) A fully ordained Buddhist nun.

Bhimeshwar: Literally, ‘Bhima’s Lord’; the name of the ancient Shiva temple in the town of Ganeshpuri.

Bhinna: Different; cut off; broken; variegated.

Bhoga: Experience; perception; enjoyment.

Bhogabhumi: Land of experience or enjoyment.

Bhogya: Object of experience or enjoyment.

Bhokta: Subject of experience or enjoyment.

Bhoktritva: The state of being an experiencer or enjoyer.

Bhootkhana: Haunted by spirits; a haunted house in which Muktananda lived for sometime.

Bhram: Misconception or misunderstanding.

Bhrama: A chief god in the form realm.

Bhrama: Illusion; delusion; rotation; wandering.

Bhramara-kita-nyaya: The analogy of the wasp and the caterpillar, which states how the caterpillar gets transformed into a wasp by intense thinking of the latter. Even so, the Jiva becomes Brahman itself by meditating intensely on the latter. (See also Arundhati-nyaya.)

Bhramsa: A definite fall from the principle of Yoga.

Bhranti: Delusion; wrong notion; false idea or impression.

Bhrantidarsana: Mistaken notion.

Bhrantija: Born of delusion or misconception.

Bhrantimatra: Mere illusion or delusion.

Bhrashta: Fallen from the way of Yoga.

Bhrigu Astrologer: Bhrigu astrologers are not like ordinary astrologers. They do not calculate a horoscope for the individual, but simply find the correct horoscope among stacks of thousands. These are said to be handed down from generation to generation from ancient rishis, in this case Bhrigu. Bhrigu is mentioned in some of the Puranas as one of the seven rishis. He was also said to be a great astrologer. Such rishis are said to have calculated the horoscopes of all individuals yet to be born. When an authentic collection is found, they reveal events of not only the person’s present life, but also their past and future births.

Bhrukuti: Space between the eyebrows.

Bhrumadhya-drishti: Gaze at the space midway between the eyebrows.

Bhuh: The earth-plane.

Bhujangasana: Cobra pose of the Hatha Yogin.

Bhukti: Material enjoyment.

Bhuma: The unconditioned; infinite; Brahman.

Bhumi: (Tibetan: sa) Also called the bodhisattva levels, these are the stages a bodhisattva goes through to reach enlightenment. These usually consist of ten levels in the sutra tradition and thirteen in the tantra tradition.

Bhumika: Step or stage; state; degree.

Bhuta/Bhoota: Materials from which the gross object is created. What has come into being; an entity as opposed to the unmanifested; any of the five elementary constituents of the universe; element or elemental.

Bhuta-bhavishyad-vartamana: Past, future and present.

Bhutadi: Tamasa Ahamkara, according to Vishnu Purana.

Bhutajanya: Born of the elements.

Bhutajaya: Conquest over the elements or the body.

Bhutapati: The Lord of beings; a name of Siva.

Bhutasakti: Power in matter; subtle material elements; permanent atoms; Bhutatanmatras or the root elements of matter.

Bhutasiddhi: Perfect control over the elements and the body. Purification of the elements of the body.

Bhutatma: The lower self.

Bhutayajna: An offering to the sub-human creatures; one of the five daily sacrificial rites enjoined on the Hindu householder.

Bhuvah: The higher etheric or the astral world.

Bhuvana: World.

Bija: Seed; source.

Bijakshara: The root-letter or the seed-letter in which there is the latent power of a Mantra.

Bijatma: The subtle inner Self-, also called Sukshmatma, Sutratma or Antaryamin.

Bikkhuni: bikshuni.

Bilva: (also called Bel); The wood-apple tree (Aegle Marmelos); a species of tree sacred to Lord Shiva; its fruit, when unripe, is used for medicinal purposes, and its leaves are used in the worship of Shiva.

Bimba: Original; (Brahman).

Bimba-pratibimba-vada: The doctrine that the Jiva is a reflection of Brahman; Jiva who is the reflecti of Brahman is not, therefore, a distinct thing from but is absolutely one with It. This is one phase of the theory of reflecti which lays stress on the identity of the reflection and the on final.

Bindu: (Tibetan: tigle) Drops or spheres of pure psychic energy, which are often visualized in Vajrayana practices.

Bindu: Point; dot; seed; source; the basis from which emanated the first principle, Mahat-tattva, according to th Tantra-Sastra. Literally, ‘dot, spot, or point’; the neela bindu, what Baba Muktananda has called the blue pearl, is a brilliant blue dot which appears to the meditator. It is actually the subtle abode of the inner Self; also, in yogic terminology, the word is often used to indicate semen.

Bindu-jagrat: The first Ajnana-Bhumika.

Boddhavya-lakshana: That which is to be known.

Bodh Gaya: A sacred pilgrimage town for both Hindus and Buddhists located in the Indian state of Bihar; one of the main Buddhist pilgrimage spots where the Buddha achieved Self-realization.

Bodha: Spiritual wisdom; knowledge; intelligence. Enlightenment or God-Realisation.

Bodhaikata: Oneness of consciousness.

Bodhgaya: A small town near the city of Gaya in Bihar, India, it is the place where Buddha was enlightened.

Bodhi Tree: (Sanskrit: Bodhivriksha; Tibetan: changchub shing) The tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment.

Bodhi: See Enlightenment. Enlightened wisdom; also, the sacred Bodhi (Pipal) tree under which Siddhartha became the Buddha.

Bodhicitta: (Tibetan: chang chup chi sem) Literally, the mind for enlightenment. There are two kinds of bodhicitta: absolute bodhicitta, which is the completely awakened mind that sees the emptiness of phenomena, and relative bodhicitta which is the aspiration to practice the six paramitas and free all beings from the suffering of samsara.

Bodhidharma: The popular Indian monk who brought Buddhism to China, establishing the Chan tradition.

Bodhisattva levels: (Sanskrit: bhumi; Tibetan: sa) The levels or stages bodhisattvas go through to reach enlightenment. These consist of ten levels in the sutra tradition and thirteen in the tantra tradition. Also called bhummis.

Bodhisattva vow: A vow in which one promises to practice in order to bring all other sentient beings to Buddhahood.

Bodhisattva: (Tibetan: changchup sempa) An individual who is committed to the Mahayana path of practicing compassion and the six paramitas in order to achieve Buddhahood, free all beings from suffering and guide them to enlightenment. More specifically, those with a motivation to achieve liberation from samsara and who are on one of the ten bodhisattva levels that culminates in Buddhahood. In Mahayana Buddhism, a person who has achieved enlightenment, but has who has chosen to remain in this world to help those who are suffering, instead of going on to nirvana. This is the highest ideal.

Bodhisattvayana: (Tibetan: Changsem thegpa) The vehicle of bodhisattvas; one of the three textually recorded yanas.

Bodhisattwa: In Northern Buddhism, one who renounces Nirvana in order to help all who continue to suffer.

Bon: (Tibetan) A Tibetan religious tradition claiming to have originated from the teachings of Toenpa Shenrab, whom the Bonpo believe achieved enlightenment many centuries before the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. This was the religion of Tibet before Buddhism was introduced. The orthodox Bonpo – the Black Bonpo (Bon nag) has ceased to exist in Tibet, but a reformed Bonpo or the White Bonpo (Bonkar) developed in the 10th century and remains today. It utilizes many elements and the framework of Buddhism, emphasizing Tantric practices similar to the Old Tantra tradition but with different deities.

Brahamin: A Hindu of the highest caste who usually performs the priestly functions.

Brahma Satyam Jaganmithya: Brahma alone is true – the world is false.

Brahma vihara: The four “sublime states” of the bodhisattva: Maitri, Karuna, Mudita, Upeksha.

Brahma/Brahmaa: Lord Brahma is the Creator, the first of the Hindu Trinity.The Ultimate Reality, Spirit or GOD.

Brahma: In the Hindu trinity, Brahma is the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Rudra the destroyer. God as creator; the first of the created beings. Hiranyagarbha or cosmic intelligence. The supreme deva, who convinced Buddha to teach.

Brahma-bhava(na): Feeling of identity with Brahman, as well as of everything as Brahman.

Brahmabhuta: One who has become Brahman.

Brahmabhyasa: Meditation on Brahman; Nididhyasana; reflection on Brahman; conversing on Brahman; discussing about Brahman; etc., that is calculated to the realisation of Brahman.

Brahmachari:Celibate student.Celibate; one who belongs to the first of the four Asramas or orders of life; one who lives in purity and studies the Veda.

Brahmacharya: The first stage of the Hindu’s life, viz., celibate student’s life.

Brahmacharya-asrama: Order of the students engaged in the study of the Vedas and the service of the Guru or the preceptor.

Brahma-chintana: Constant meditation on Brahman.

Brahmadvara: Door to Brahman; the entrance and exit of Kundalini in the passage to and from Siva.

Brahma-granthi: The knot of ignorance at the Muladhara Chakra.

Brahma-jnana: Direct knowledge of Brahman.

Brahmakaravritti: The sole ultimate thought of Brahman alone to the exclusion of all other thoughts that is arrived at through intense Vedantic meditation.

Brahmaloka: The world of the four-headed creator.

Brahma-muhurta: Literally, ‘the time of Brahma’; a period of time starting approximately an hour and a half before sunrise, a time which Hindu scriptures say is particularly conducive for meditation; A Muhurta is actually a time period equal to 48 minutes. Thirty Muhurtas make up one day, counting from sunrise to sunrise. The last two Muhurtas, or 96 minutes just before sunrise, are associated with Brahma, the Creator, hence the name, Brahma-Muhurta.

Brahman (Brahma): In the Upanishads, God as transcendental and absolute is called Brahman. From the root brih, to ‘grow, expand, increase.’ Absolute Spirit. The Supreme Reality; non-dual, formless pure Awareness, the Absolute. The Akhandaikarasa Satchidananda, the Absolute Reality; the Truth proclaimed in the Upanishads; the Supreme Reality that is one and indivisible, infinite, and eternal; all-pervading, changeless Existence; Existence-knowledge-bliss Absolute; the substratum of Jiva, Isvara and Maya; Absolute Consciousness; it is not only all-powerful but all-power itself; not only all-knowing and blissful, but all-knowledge and bliss itself.

Brahmana: A section of each of the Vedas dwelling on the meaning and the use of the Vedic hymns; the first of the four Varnas or castes of Hindu social order; man of wisdom; a sage of Self-realisation. An authority of Vedic Knowledge; a member of the 1st Vedic order

Brahmana: Priestly caste.

Brahmanadi: Sushumna; Pranic current that flows through the spinal canal according to Hatha-Yoga.

Brahmananda: Bliss of the Infinite Absolute; supreme transcendental joy.

Brahmanda: Brahma’s egg; the macrocosm.

Brahma-nishtha: One who is established in the direct knowledge owledge of Brahman.

Brahmanubhava: Self-realisation; God-realisation; Absolute experience.

Brahmanusandhana: Considering, thinking of, searching after, enquiring into, looking after, investigation exploration into the nature of Brahman; receiving of the Upadesa about Brahman and reflection upon it.

Brahma-parayana: One whose faith and sole refuge is in Brahman.

Brahma-randhra: Opening in the crown of the head; head-fontanelle.

Brahma-sakshatkara: Realisation of Brahman; direct experience of the Absolute Being.

Brahma-sakti: The power of the Supreme Being.

Brahma-samstha: Grounded in Brahman; Sannyasin.

Brahma-srotriya: He who has knowledge of the Vedas and the Upanishads.

Brahma-stithi (or Brahmisthiti): The establishment or dwelling in Brahman.

Brahma-tejas: The effulgent splendour of Brahman.

Brahma-vadin: He who advocates that there is one existence alone, viz., Param Brahman.

Brahma-vakya: Divine revelation, such as the Upanishads.

Brahma-vichara: Enquiry into Brahman.

Brahmavidvara: One who has reached the fifth Jnana Bhumika or Asamsakti.

Brahmavidvarishtha: A full-blown Jnani; a Jivanmukta who has attained to the seventh Jnana-Bhumika or Turiya.

Brahmavidvariya: One who functions in the sixth Jnana-bhumika or Padartha-abhavana.

Brahmavidya: Science of Brahman; knowledge of Brahman; learning pertaining to Brahman or the Absolute Reality.

Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva. Three aspects of God’s immanence in creation. They represent that triune function of the Kutastha Chaitanya/Chhst  Intelligence (Tat) that guides Cosmic Nature’s activities of creation, preservation, and dissolution. See Trinity.

Brahmavit: Knower of Brahman; one who is in the fourth Jnana-bhumika or Sattvapatti.

Brahma-Yoga: Wherein the Yogi finds himself and the whole universe as Brahman.

Brahmopasana: Worship of the Infinite Brahman.

Bramacharya: Continence; a religious student who practices celibacy. In the wider sense it stands for abstinence not only from sexual indulgence, but freedom from all sensual cravings. Also, according to traditional Hindu society, the first of four stages in life, that of a student.

Breath: “The influx of innumerable cosmic currents into man by way of the breath induces restlessness in his mind,” Paramahansa Yogananda wrote. “Thus the breath links him with the fleeting phenomenal worlds. To escape from the sorrows of transitoriness and to enter the blissful realm of Reality, the yogi learns to quiet the breath by scientific meditation.”

Brihat: Large; big; absolute.

Brihat-brahmanda: Great macrocosm.

Brihattva: Vastness; largeness; absoluteness.

Bubhuksha: Desire to eat; hunger; will to enjoy.

Buddha Shakyamuni: (Tibetan: sangye shakya tubpa) The Shakyamuni Buddha, see Buddha.

Buddha: The enlightened one; full of knowledge.

Buddha: (Tibetan: Sangye) The Buddha is Siddhartha who was the founder of Buddhism. He was the first to attain enlightenment, and then taught others how to attain it. His first name is Siddhartha, his family name was Gautama, therefore he is also known as Gautama Buddha—although Buddhists do not call him by that name. He was a member of the Shakya clan, and hence is called Shakyamuni, “the wise one of the Shakyas.” He is also known as Tathagata, “the Enlightened One.” He lived between 563 and 483 BC. Buddhism holds that there are a Thousand Buddhas who have/will manifest themselves in the earthly realm. Shakyamuni is the fourth one, and the fifth Buddha, who will come in the future, is known as Maitreya. In Mahayana, a buddha is someone who has attained enlightenment.

Buddhadharma: The teachings of the Buddha.

Buddha-fields: The Buddha-fields are the infinite number of paradises beyond the realm of samsara, which are populated by infinite buddhas and bodhisattvas. Those within them have reached enlightenment, but have not yet attained nirvana. This is where Amitabha has his Pure Land.

Buddha-nature: (Sanskrit: tathagatagarbha; Tibetan: de shin shek pay nying po) The original nature present in all beings which, when realized, leads to enlightenment. It is often called the essence of Buddhahood or enlightened essence.

Buddhi: Intellect; understanding; reason.Faculty of Discrimination

Buddhi-sakti: Intellectual power.

Buddhi-suddhi: Purity of intellect.

Buddhi-tattva: Principle of intelligence.

Buddhi-vyapara: Functioning of the intellect.


Caryatantra: The second of the four tantras emphasizing meditation and external rituals.

Caste: Caste in its original conception was not a hereditary status, but a classification based on man’s natural capacities. In his evolution, man passes through four distinct grades, designated by ancient Hindu sages as Sudra, Vaisya, Kshatriya, and Brahmin. The Sudra is interested primarily in satisfying his bodily needs and desires; the work that best suits his state of development is bodily labour. The Vaisya is ambitious for worldly gain as well as for satisfaction of the senses; he has more creative ability than the Sudra and seeks occupation as a farmer, a businessman, an artist, or wherever his mental energy finds fulfilment. The Kshatriya, having through many lives fulfilled the desires of the Sudra and Vaisya states, begins to seek the meaning of life; he tries to overcome his bad habits, to control his senses, and to do what is right. Kshatriyas by occupation are noble rulers, statesmen, warriors. The Brahmin has overcome his lower nature, has a natural affinity for spiritual pursuits, and is God-knowing, able therefore to teach and help liberate others.

Causal body: Essentially, man as a soul is a causal-bodied being. His causal body is an idea-matrix for the astral and physical bodies. The causal body is composed of 35 idea elements corresponding to the 19 elements of the astral body plus the 16 basic material elements of the physical body.

Causal world: Behind the physical world of matter and the subtle astral world of luminous life energy, is the causal, or ideational, world of thought. After man evolves sufficiently to transcend the physical and astral universes, he resides in the causal universe. In the consciousness of causal beings, the physical and astral universes are resolved to their thought essence. Whatever physical man can do in imagination, causal man can do in actual with the only limitation being thought itself. Ultimately, man sheds the last soul covering – his causal body – to unite with omnipresent Spirit, beyond all vibratory realms.

Central channel: (Sanskrit: avadhuti; Tibetan: u ma) This is a subtle vertical channel of the body, which is roughly located along the spine. The left, central, and right channels are the three principle channels within the body, which conduct the subtle airs.

Ch’an: (Chinese) The name for Zen, see Zen.

Chaarana: A class of superhuman beings.

Chaitanya: The consciousness that knows itself an knows others; absolute consciousness.

Chaitanyamayi: Full of (all-) consciousness; an at tribute of Maya.

Chaitanya-samadhi: The state of superconsciousness which is marked by absolute self-awareness and illumination as distinguished from Jada-samadhi in which there is no such awareness.

Chakra: (Tibetan: kor lo) Literally “wheels,” these are points along the central channel at the forehead, throat, heart, etc. where there is a broadening of channels.

Chakra: ‘Wheel, circle, disk’; the seven spiritual centers within the subtle body.

Chakra: Plexus; centre of psychic energy in the human system.

Chakras: The seven sacred energy centers within the spine of man. In Yoga, the seven occult centres of life and consciousness in the spine and brain, which enliven the physical and astral bodies of man. These centres are referred to as chakras (“wheels”) because the concentrated energy in each one is like a hub from which radiate rays of life-giving light and energy. In ascending order, these chakras are muladhara (the coccygeal, at the base of the spine); svadhisthana (the sacral, two inches above muladhara); manipura (the lumbar, opposite the navel); anahata (the dorsal, opposite the heart); vishuddha (the cervical, at the base of the neck); ajna (traditionally located between the eyebrows; in actuality, directly connected by polarity with the medulla; see also medulla and spiritual eye); and sahasrara (in the uppermost part of the cerebrum). The seven centres are divinely planned exits or “trap doors” through which the soul has descended into the body and through which it must reascend by a process of meditation. By seven successive steps, the soul escapes into Cosmic Consciousness. In its conscious upward passage through the seven opened or “awakened” cerebrospinal centres, the soul travells the highway to the Infinite, the true path by which the soul must retrace its course to reunite with God. Yoga treatises generally consider only the six lower centres as chakras, with sahasrara referred to separately as a seventh centre. All seven centres, however, are often referred to as lotuses, whose petals open, or turn upward, in spiritual awakening as the life and consciousness travel up the spine.

Chakrasamvara: (Tibetan: korlo dompa) Also commonly known as Khorlo Demchok, a yidam deity who belongs to the mother lineage of the anuttara teachings of the New Tantra.

Chakravartin: (Tibetan: kor loe jur wa) Literally, the turner of the wheel, also called a universal monarch. This is a king who propagates the dharma and starts a new era.

Chakrayudha: The weapon or discus of Lord Vishnu or Sri Krishna; Sudarsana.

Chakshu: Eye; the subtle organ of sight; sense of seeing.

Chala: Quibble.

Chanchala: Wavering; fickle.

Chanchalatva: Fickleness; tossing of the mind.

Chanchalavritti: The natural wavering tendency of the mind.

Chandaka: The main attendant of Buddha when he was a prince; he helped him leave his princely life.

Chandrakirti: (Tibetan: Dawatakpa) A seventh century Indian Buddhist scholar of the Madhyamika school who is best known for founding the Prasangika subschool and writing two treatises on emptiness using logical reasoning.

Chandranadi: Ida; the lunar psychic current that flows through the left nostril.

Chandrayana-vrata: This is an observance in which, beginning with 15 morsels of food on a full-moon day, a person lessens them one by one daily, until he takes no food on the new moon day; and again increases them one by one till he reaches the same 15 morsels on the next full-moon day.

Chang: (Tibetan) A Tibetan beer made from barley.

Chapalata: Activity; craving; fickleness.

Chara: Capable of moving about; unstable.

Charana: Foot; one-fourth; conduct.

Charanamrita: Water sanctified by the feet of a deity or of a holy man.

Charu: A preparation of boiled rice, milk, sugar and ghee, to be offered into the fire for gods; a Sattvic regimen usually taken by Yoga-practitioners and celibates.

Charvaka: The founder of the materialistic school of philosophy; pertaining to his school of thought.

Charvakas: A philosophical school in India, which rejects the sacred scriptures and vedas and the belief in reincarnation and karma; it also advocates hedonism and doing whatever one wants in self-interest.

Chaturvarga: Fourfold aims, viz., Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.

Chaturyuga: The four ages of the Hindu world-cycle, viz., Krita, Treta, Dvapara and Kali.

Chenrezig: (Sanskrit: Avalokiteshvara) The Tibetan term for Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Chenrezig is viewed as the founding father of the Tibetan people, and has had several manifestations. The most famous are King Songtsen Gampo who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the seventh century, Karmapas and the Dalai Lamas. The mantra associated with him is Om mani padme hung.

Cheshta: Endeavour; effort; activity.

Chetas: Subconscious mind.

Chidabhasa: Reflected consciousness; the reflection of intelligence (Jiva).

Chidabhasa-chaitanya: Reflection of consciousness from Kutastha-Brahman.

Chidakasa: Brahman in Its aspect as limitless knowledge; unbounded intelligence. This is a familiar concept of the Upanishads. It is not meant that the physical ether is consciousness. The Pure Consciousness (Chit) is like the ether (Akasa), an all-pervading continuum.

Chidakash: Literally, ‘The sky of consciousness’; the inner sky within the heart.

Chidakasha Gita: A collection of sayings attributed to Bhagavan Nityananda and written down about the middle of the 1920’s by one of his devotees.

Chidananda: Consciousness-Bliss.

Ching-T’u: (Chinese) Pure Land.

Chinmatra: Mere Consciousness; Consciousness alone.

Chinmatroham: I am Chinmatra; I am Pure Consciousness alone.

Chinmaya: Full of Consciousness.

Chinta: Sorrow; worry.

Chintana: Thinking; reflecting.

Chiranjivi: One who has gained deathlessness.

Chit: The principle of universal intelligence or consciousness.

Chit-dharma: The essential quality or nature of the mind.

Chit-ghana: Mass of Consciousness.

Chiti (or Chit): Divine consciousness; a feminized name for universal consciousness.

Chitsakti: Power of intelligence.

Chitsamanya: Basic universal consciousness.

Chitsunya: Grand vacuity; immaterial consciousness.

Chitsvarupa: Of the very form of pure intelligence or consciousness.

Chitta: Mind-stuff; subconscious mind. Mind, faculty of thought. Intuitive feeling; the aggregate of consciousness, inherent in which is ahamkara (egoity), buddhi (intelligence), and manas (mind or sense consciousness). Mind, intellect, heart, the subconscious mind; As used in yoga philosophy, it indicates consciousness and ‘mind-substance’; It is comprised of the three subtle inner instruments of consciousness, viz. the Intellect (buddhi), the Ego (ahamkara), which is the sense of ‘I am so and so,’ and, the mind (manas), which is associated with the senses, and is made up by an assortment of thoughts and emotions. Actually, chitta comprises all the levels of mind, and indicates the quality of awareness and consciousness.

Chittakasa: Mental ether; mind conceived of as ether (all-pervading).

Chittamatra also called the Mind-Only School: (Tibetan: semtsampa) A school founded by Asanga in the fourth century, it is usually translated as the Mind Only School, or Idealist. It is one of the four major schools in the Mahayana tradition; greatly simplified, its main tenet is that all phenomena are mental events, emphasizing that everything is mental.

Chittaprasadana: Peace or tranquillity of mind.

Chittasuddhi: Purification of the mind; purity of conscience.

Chittavidya: Psychology; science of the mind and the sub-conscience.

Chittavimukti: Freedom from the bondage of the mind.

Chod: (Tibetan) Pronounced “choe,” this literally means “to cut off” and refers to a practice that is designed to cut off all ego involvement and defilements. The mo chod (female chod) practice was founded by the famous female saint Machig Labdron (1031 to 1129).

Chota: Small; little; junior.

Christ (Kutastha) centre: The Kutastha or ajna chakra at the point between the eyebrows, directly connected by polarity with the medulla; centre of will and concentration, and of Kutastha Chaitanya/Christ Consciousness; seat of the spiritual eye.

Christ Consciousness: “Christ” or “Christ Consciousness” is the projected consciousness of God immanent in all creation. In Christian scripture it is called the “only begotten son,” the only pure reflection in creation of God the Father; in Hindu scripture it is called Kutastha Chaitanya or Tat, the cosmic intelligence of Spirit everywhere present in creation. It is the universal consciousness, oneness with God, manifested by Krishna, Jesus, and other avatars. Great saints and yogis know it as the state of samadhi meditation wherein their consciousness has become identified with the intelligence in every particle of creation; they feel the entire universe as their own body. See Trinity.

Citta: Basic mind or consciousness.

Clarity: (Tibetan: salwa) Also translated as luminosity. The nature of mind is that it is empty of inherent existence, but not just a void, because it has this clarity, an awareness or knowingness of mind. Clarity is a characteristic of emptiness (shunyata) of mind.

Coemergent wisdom: (Sanskrit: sahajajnana; Tibetan: lhen chik kye pay yeshe) The advanced realization of the inseparability of samsara and nirvana and how these arise simultaneously and together.

Compassion: (Sanskrit: karuna; Tibetan: nying je) In Buddhist terms this is the desire for the liberation of all sentient beings, regardless of who they are. This feeling can only be developed with extensive meditation and understanding of the Buddhist path.

Completion stage: (Tibetan: dzog rim) In the Vajrayana there are two stages of meditation: the development stage and the completion stage. The completion stage is a method of tantric meditation in which one attains bliss, clarity, and non-thought by means of the subtle channels and energies within the body.

Conditioned existence: (Sanskrit: samsara; Tibetan: khor wa) Ordinary existence that contains suffering due to attachment, aggression, and ignorance. It is contrasted to liberation or nirvana.

Consciousness: states of. In mortal consciousness man experiences three states: waking consciousness, sleeping consciousness, and dreaming consciousness. But he does not experience his soul, superconsciousness, and he does not experience God. The Christ-man does. As mortal man is conscious throughout his body, so the Christ-man is conscious throughout the universe, which he feels as his body. Beyond the state of Kutastha Chaitanya is cosmic consciousness, the experience of oneness with God in His absolute consciousness beyond vibratory creation as well as with the Lord’s omnipresence manifesting in the phenomenal worlds.

Conventional Truth: (Tibetan: kundzop) There are two truths: relative and absolute. Conventional or relative truth is the perception of an ordinary (unenlightened) person who sees the world with all his or her projections based on the false belief in self.

Cosmic Consciousness: The Absolute; Spirit beyond creation. Also the samfldhi-meditation state of oneness with God both beyond and within vibratory creation. See Trinity.

Cosmic energy: See prana. cosmic Intelligent Vibration. See Aum.

Creation Stage: See Developmental stage.


Dagdhavastha: State of being burnt up by the fire of knowledge; Jivanmukti in which all Karmas, ignorance and all Samskaras get burnt up, and the sage functions with past momentum without being subject to ignorance or Karma. He appears to be embodied though he is not attached to the body.

Daharakasa: Knowledge-space; ether of the heart.

Daitya: A class of mighty beings in whom the diabolical quality predominates; the demons of Hindu Puranas; giant.

Daiva: God who controls all beings and gives them what is their due; fate; destiny; controlling power.

Daivavani: Heavenly voice (actually heard by pure souls).

Daivi: Same as Divya, divine.

Daivisampat: Divine wealth; divine qualities.

Daka: (Tibetan: pawo) The male counterpart to a dakini.

Dakini: (Tibetan: khandro) A yogini who has attained the high realizations of the fully enlightened mind. She may be a human being who has achieved such attainments or a non-human manifestation of the enlightened mind of a meditational deity.

Daksha: Expert; intelligent; wise; able.

Dalai Lama: Reincarnated many times as teacher, since the fifth incarnation, the Dalai Lama has been a combination of religious and the political leader of Tibet. The present Dalai Lama is the 14th of his line; he lives in exile in India.

Dama: Restraint of outer instrument, eg. 10 organs-5 sensory & 5 motor.

Dambha: Hypocrisy; pride.

Dana/Daana:Charity; giving.

Danda: The staff of a mendicant or a Sannyasin; a kind of physical exercise common in India; punishment.

Dandasakti: Sceptre; the rod of power; power through autocracy or punishment.

Dantadhauti: Cleaning of the teeth.

Darasutaishana: Desire for wife and son (children).

Darbha: A kind of grass held sacred for religious and spiritual purposes.

Darna: Control of the outer senses; one of the sixfold virtues of the Niyama of Raja Yoga.

Darpa: Arrogance; pride.

Darsana: Insight; way of seeing; vision; system of philosophy; making visible.

Darshan dreams: special dreams given by God to his devotees, in which a form of God appears.

Darshan: Seeing a Saint. To see a great person and receive their blessings. (ashrams, ‘darshan’ specifically refers to the guru walking out among the devotees, giving everyone a chance to see his or her form), meeting, blessing.

Darshana: Literally, ‘seeing or looking at,’ from the root Drsh which means to ‘see’; vision, perception, observing, meeting, audience, vision; to be with, or have the sight of a deity, saint, or sacred place; a philosophical perspective; the six traditional philosophical systems of India which includes Yoga, Vedanta and the Sankhya.

Dasa: Slave; servant.

Dasavadhana: Doing ten things at a time.

Dashanami: Literally, ‘ten names’; the ten orders of sannyasins started by Adi Shankaracharya. These include the Sarasvati, Bharati, Tirtha, Giri, Puri, Vana, Sagara, Aranya, Parvata, and Ashrama. Muktananda, and all of his swamis, belong to the Sarasvati order of monks.

Dasya: The attitude of a devotee expressing the relationship of a servant with God.

Datta: Given; adopted; give.

Daurmanasya: Despair; evil disposition.

Daya: Mercy; compassion.

Deer Park: The place where Buddha gave his first sermon to the five sadhus. It’s in Sarnath, near Varanasi, India.

Definitive teaching: (Tibetan: ngedon) Teachings of the Buddha that give the direct meaning of dharma and are not changed or simplified for the capacity of the listener. This contrasts with the provisional meaning.

Deha: Physical body.

Dehabhimana: Egoistic attachment to the body.

Dehadhyasa: False identification with the body.

Dehasuddhi: Purity or purification of the body.

Dehatma-buddhi: The intellect that makes one to identify the Self with the body.

Dehavidya: Physiology.

Dehi: One who has a body; the conscious embodied self; Jiva or the individual soul.

Deity: (Sanskrit: devata Tib. yidam) Deities are the focus of meditation and means for attainment, through which one acheives ultimate awareness.

Demigods: (Sanskrit: asura; Tibetan: lha ma yin) A type of being residing in the six realms of samsara; they are characterized as being very jealous.

Dependent origination: (Sanskrit: pratityasamutpada; Tibetan: ten drel) The principal that nothing exists independently, but comes into existence only due to dependence on various previous causes and conditions. There are twelve successive phases of this process that begin with ignorance and end with old age and death.

Desa: Place; space; country.

Desa-kala: Space-time.

Desa-kala-sambandha: Extended in space and located in time; having connection with space and time; space-time relation.

Desatita: Spaceless; beyond space.

Desire realm: (Tibetan: doe kham) The realm where the six realms of samsara abide. It is called the desire realm because these beings are continually tempted by desire. see Three Realms.

Deva: (Tibetan: lha) Sanskrit for god. A more highly evolved being who is still part of samsara and therefore in need of Dharma teachings to reach enlightenment.

Deva: Literally, ‘shining one’; a celestial being and cosmic protector; similar to angels in Judaic, Christian, and Muslim religions.

Devadatta: Buddha’s “evil” cousin.

Devaloka: One of the higher subtler worlds; the world of the gods or the celestials.

Devas: Gods.

Devata: The deity that receives the worship of men and gives them what they desire. The term is also applied to the Lord Who receives the worship of all and gives them what they seek. He is known as the highest Devata.

Devayajna: One of the five daily sacrificial rites enjoined on all householders, in which oblations are offered to various deities.

Devayana: The path of the gods. One of the paths taken by the Jiva after leaving the physical body.

Development stage: (Sanskrit: utpanna krama; Tibetan: kyerim) In the Vajrayana tradition there are two stages of meditation: the development and the completion stage. The development stage is a method of tantric meditation that involves visualization and contemplating deities—and their retinues, palaces, mantras and such—for the purpose of realizing the purity of all phenomena.

Devi: Literally, ‘shining one’; the feminine form of Deva; the Goddess; a name used to indicate the Divine Mother; also, a name for the Kundalini.

Dhairya: Boldness; courage.

Dhamma: (Pali) see Dharma.

Dhana: Wealth; riches.

Dhanadhanyabala: Money-and grain-power; power of estate and wealth.

Dhanurasana: Bow-posture of the Hatha-yogins.

Dhara: Stream; continuous repetition.

Dharana: Concentration of mind.

Dharanasakti: Power of grasping and retaining the ideas.

Dharanayoga: The Yoga of concentration, before the stage of Dhyana and Samadhi.

Dharani: A short sutra containing mystical formulas of knowledge that are symbolic. They are usually longer than mantras.

Dharma of realization: (Tibetan: togpay choe) Teachings of the dharma that have been derived from the realization of their teachers. These contrast with the dharma of statements.

Dharma of statements:  (Tibetan: lunggi choe) Teachings based on the Buddhist scriptures. Also called scriptural dharma or the teachings of the Tripitaka.

Dharma protector: (Sanskrit: dharmapala; Tibetan: choekyong) An emanation of Buddha or a bodhisattva whose main function is to avert or counter inner and outer obstacles that prevent practitioners from attainment.

Dharma: (Pali: Dhamma; Tibetan: choe) There are many meanings for dharma. (1) The teachings of the Buddha, also known as Buddhadharma. Traditionally, Dharma is capitalized in this usage. (2) phenomena, things, existence, (a truly real predicate, event, entity, element or ultimate constituent of existence) usually in plural as dharmas. (3) Dharma (the Precious Dharma with eight qualities), religion. (4) quality, attribute, property, characteristic, ability. (5) a teaching, doctrine, text, scripture, sacred text. (6) right, virtue, duty, moral law, tenet, precept. (7) truth, order, law. (8) practice: dharma ~, religious ~ (9) mental object. (10) religion, religious system, way of belief.

Dharma: From the Sanskrit root dri, ‘to sustain’; divine law; the law of righteousness; religion; duty and obligation to one’s family and society; one of the four life goals of traditional Hindu society.

Dharma: Righteous way of living, as enjoined by the sacred scriptures; characteristics; virtue. Eternal principles of righteousness that uphold all creation; man’s inherent duty to live in harmony with these principles. See also Sanatan Dharma.

Dharmachakra: (Sanskrit) (Tibetan: choe chi khor lo) The “wheel of dharma.” The Buddha’s teachings correspond to three levels: the Hinayana, the Mahayana and the Vajrayana; each set corresponds to one turning of the wheel of dharma.

Dharmadasa: Slave of duty; lawful slave.

Dharmadhatu: (Tibetan: choe ying) The all-encompassing space, un-originated and without beginning, out of which all phenomena arises. The Sanskrit means “the essence of phenomena” and the Tibetan means “the expanse of phenomena” but usually dharmadhatu refers to the emptiness, which is the essence of all phenomena.

Dharmakaya: (Tibetan: choe ku) One of the three bodies of Buddha. It is the the all-pervasive wisdom of Buddha; it is enlightenment, which is wisdom beyond reference. See: kayas, three.

Dharmameghasamadhi: The state of superconsciousness or Samadhi is called ‘cloud of virtue’ in as much as it showers nectar drops of immortality through knowledge of Brahman, when all the hosts of Vasanas are entirely destroyed. The cloud of virtue is the name given to Samadhi in the Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali.

Dharmaparishat: Assembly of the wise.

Dharmashala: A building which houses pilgrims while on a pilgrimage.

Dharmata: (Tibetan: choe nyi) Dharmata is often translated as “suchness” or “the true nature of things” or “things as they are.” It is phenomena as they really are or as seen by a completely enlightened being without any distortion or obscuration so one can say it is “reality.”

Dharmi: Substratum; that which possesses the Dharma.

Dhatu: (Sanskrit) (Tibetan: kham) Element; metal; the vital force in man by conserving which, through celibacy, the Yogi develops Ojas and Tejas. There are five elements of everything in the world in Buddhism: earth, water, fire, wind, and space (or ether). The internal elements are the same but have a property associated with them: earth (solidity), water (fluidity), fire (heat), wind (movement), and space (the vacuities within the body).

Dhauti: The exercise for cleaning the stomach in Hatha Yoga.

Dhira: Steadfast; bold; courageous.

Dhivasana: The mind which assumes the finest stage and which then contains in bud-like form all the impressions of actions, has its Vasanas called thus.

Dhriti: (Spiritual) patience and firmness.

Dhumamarga: The path of smoke, as distinguished from the path of light, taken by the Jiva in its heavenward journey; Pitriyana or the path of the manes.

Dhvamsabhava: Non-existence at the third moment from its beginning.

Dhvani: Tone; sound; the subtle aspect of the vital Sakti of the Jiva in the vibration.

Dhvanyatmakasabda: Unlettered sound caused by the striking of two things together which is meaningless.

Dhyana meditation: (Tibetan: samten) Contemplation, meditation.

Dhyana: Meditation; contemplation. Concentration.

Dhyanagamya: Attainable through meditation.

Dhyanika: Pertaining to Dhyana or meditation.

Dhyeya: Object of meditation or worship; purpose behind action.

Dhyeyarupa: The form for the purpose of meditation.

Dhyeyatyaga: Renunciation of object in meditation; Absolute Experience or Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

Digambara: Naked; clad with the quarters.

Digvijaya: Conquest of the quarters (world), either military or cultural.

Diksakti: The power of illusion that produces the consciousness of space.

Diksha: Consecration; Spiritual initiation; from the Sanskrit verb-root diksh, to dedicate oneself. See also disciple and Kiiya Yoga.

Dina: Humble; helpless.

Dinabandhu: Friend of the poor and the helpless, God.

Dinacharya: Daily conduct; daily activity.

Dinadayalu: Merciful towards the helpless.

Dirgha: Long; prolonged.

Dirghasvapna: Long dream; usually referred to show the unreal nature of the world.

Disa: Quarter.

Disciple: A spiritual aspirant who comes to a guru seeking introduction to God, and to this end establishes an eternal spiritual relationship with the guru.

Dishtam: Unseen power in Karma that links up the act and its fruit; destiny or fate.

Disturbing emotion: (Sanskrit: klesha; Tibetan: nyoen mong) The emotional obscuration’s (in contrast to intellectual obscuration’s), which are also translated as “afflictions” or “poisons.” The three primary disturbing emotions are: passion or attachment; aggression or anger; and ignorance or delusion. Pride and envy or jealousy are also included.

Divine Mother: The aspect of God that is active in creation; the shakti, or power, of the Transcendent Creator. Other terms for this aspect of Divinity are Nature or Piakriti, Aum, Holy Ghost, Cosmic Intelligent Vibration. Also, the personal aspect of God as Mother, embodying the Lord’s love and compassionate qualities. The Hindu scriptures teach that God is both immanent and transcendent, personal and impersonal. He may be sought as the Absolute; as one of His manifest eternal qualities, such as love, wisdom, bliss, light; in the form of an ishta (deity); or in a concept such as Heavenly Father, Mother, Friend.

Divya: Divine; heavenly; celestial; sacred; luminous; supernatural.

Divyachakshu: Divine eye.

Divyachara: Conduct of the godly ones; a Tantric course of spiritual discipline meant for the pure and advanced aspirants.

Divyadrishti: Divine vision.

Divyagandha: Superphysical scent (smell).

Dogen: (1200-1253) The monk who brought Soto Zen to Japan.

Doha: (Tibetan: gur) A spiritual song spontaneously composed by a Vajrayana practitioner. It usually has nine syllables per line.

Dorje: (Sanskrit: vajra) Usually translated as diamond like, indestructible, or thunderbolt. This may be an implement held in the hand during certain Vajrayana ceremonies or it can refer to a quality that is so pure and so enduring that it is like a diamond.

Dosa: A rice crepe.

Dosha: Defect; shortcoming.

Doshadrishti: The vision that perceives defects.

Drashta: Subject; seer; perceiver.

Dravata: Liquidity.

Dravya: Substance.

Dravyadvaita: Unity of substance or matter.

Dravyagrahana: Appropriation of things.

Dream practice: (Tibetan: mi lam) One of the Six Yogas of Naropa this is an advanced vajrayana practice using the dream state. See: Six Yogas of Naropa.

Dridha: Firm; unshaken.

Dridhabhumi: Well-grounded in any state or state of Yoga.

Dridhasamskara: Well-grounded mental impression.

Dridhasushupti: Deep sleep state.

Dridhata: Firmness.

Drik: Seer; perceiver; vision.

Drikung Kagyu: (Tibetan) A branch of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism,

founded by Lingje Repa and Tsangpa Gyare.

Drishta: The visible; seen; that which is perceived.

Drishtanta: Instance; illustration; example.

Drishtisrishtivada: The doctrine holding that the existence of the world is purely the outcome of the faculty of perception, and that actually nothing exists beyond imagination.

Drisya: Perceived; seen; the world; that which can be seen by the physical sense.

Drisyaprapancha: Phenomenal world that is visible to the eye.

Droha: Treachery; offence.

Duhkha: (Pali: dukkha) The Buddhist understanding of the nature of life, especially human life. It is suffering, pain, misery, and death. This is the first noble truth.

Duhkha: Pain; misery; sorrow; grief.

Duhkhajihasa: Wish to avoid pain and sorrow.

Duradrishti: Distant vision.

Dushkrita: Demerit; sin; evil action.

Dushtanigraha: Destruction of the wicked.

Dusum Khyenpa: (1110-1193) The First Karmapa was a student of Gampopa; he founded the Karma Kagyu lineage and the tulku system in Tibet.

Dvadasanta: The twelfth centre; the twelfth centre is identified by some with the pituitary centre in the head, there being six centres in the brain, besides the six below the brain.

Dvaita-advaita-vivarjita: Beyond monism and dualism; destitute of both oneness and twoness or multiplicity.

Dvaita-bhava: Feeling of duality.

Dvaitavada: Dualism; the doctrine of dual existence propounded by Madhya.

Dvandva: Pair of opposites.

Dvandvata: State of duality.

Dvandvatita: Beyond the pairs of opposites, like heat and cold, hunger and thirst, pleasure and pain, etc.

Dvarakarana: Intermediate cause; Maya is supposed to be an intermediate cause of the universe, as the unchanging Brahman cannot be an independent cause. That which is not actually the cause but simply a conveying factor of the chief cause, is often found to inhere in the effect. As, for instance, smoothness, etc., of the earth, the actual material cause, are found to exist in the jar, the real effect. They are the intermediate causes, so to say, acting between earth, the actual cause, and the jar, the real effect.

Dvayam: Two; pair.

Dvesha: Also known as dosha. Hatred, anger, avoidance, repulsion, dislike.

Dvija: A term used to denote generally the first three of the four castes in Hindu society; twice-born; a Brahmana.

Dviparardha: The two halves of Brahma’s life.

Dvyanuka: Diatom.

Dwaita: Dualism consisting of Godand nature or PrakritiandPurusha.

Dwesha: Dislike, negative feeling.

Dzogchen: (Sanskrit: mahasampanna) The highest of the nine yanas according to the Nyingma tradition, this is known also as the great perfection, great completeness or atiyoga.


Egoism: The ego-principle, ahamkara (lit., “I do”), is the root cause of dualism or the seeming separation between man and his Creator. Ahamkaia brings human beings under the sway of maya, by which the subject (ego) falsely appears as object; the creatures imagine themselves to be creators. By banishing ego consciousness, man awakens to his divine identity, his oneness with the Sole Life: God.

Eight Consciousnesses: (Sanskrit: vijnana; Tibetan: namshey tsokgye) There are Eight Consciousnesses: The first five are the sensory consciousnesses: (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and bodily sensation). The sixth is mental consciousness; the seventh is afflicted consciousness; and the eighth is ground consciousness.

Eight Freedoms: (Sanskrit: ashtakshana; Tibetan: talwa gyed). The Eight Freedoms are: not living in the hell realm, not living in the hungry ghost realm, not living in the animal realm, not being a long-living god, not having wrong views, not being born in a country without dharma, not being mute, and not being born in an age without buddha.

Eight Freedoms: (Tibetan: dal ba gyad) These are: not holding wrong views, not being born in a barbaric land, being born in a Buddhist country, having all one’s senses, not being born in the hell realm, not being born in the hungry ghost realm, not being born in the animal realm, and not being born in the god realm.

Eight Mental Fabrications or Complications: Buddhists seek to not have the eight mental fabrications, and thus to be without a beginning, without cessation, without nihilism, without eternalism, without going, without coming, to not be separate, and to not be non-separate.

Eight Ornaments: The Eight Ornaments are the six main Mahayana teachers (Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Gunaprabha and Sakyaprabha, known as the six ornaments) plus Dignaga, and Dharmakirti.

Eight Worldly Dharmas: (Tibetan: jik ten choe gye) These keep one from the path. They are: attachment to gain, attachment to pleasure, attachment to praise, attachment to fame, aversion to loss, aversion to pain, aversion to blame, and aversion to a bad reputation.

Eighteen Constituents of Perception: See ayatanas.

Eightfold Path: The Noble Eightfold Path consists of the eight steps by which a person can cease to desire and thereby cease to suffer (See: dukkha). This path leads to a form of meditation which, similar to Raja Yoga in Hinduism, enables a person to reach enlightenment. The eight stages are: Right views, Right intent, Right speech, Right conduct, Right livelihood, Right effort, Right mindfulness, and Right concentration.

Eka: One.

Ekabhavika: Unigenital; uninatal; of the same source or nature.

Ekadandi: A Sannyasin who holds one staff only.

Ekadasi/Ekadashi: Eleventh day of the Hindu lunar fortnight. Scriptures recommend observing an (ideally waterless) fast from sunrise on the day of Ekadashi to sunrise on the day following Ekadashi.

Ekadesika: One-sided; localised.

Ekagrata: One-pointedness of the mind; concentration,

Ekamevadvitiyam: One alone, without a second; Brahman.

Ekamsa: One portion or fraction.

Ekanta: Solitude; seclusion.

Ekantabhava: Feeling of isolation or solitariness.

Ekantavada: Monism.

Ekantika: Final or ultimate; the Absolute.

Ekarasa: Homogeneous; uniform; one essence; Brahman.

Ekarnava: One boundless sea in which state the universe is described figuratively to exist during the dissolution the potential causes of the next creation being described as the waters, Karana Sarira, of this all-pervading sea.

Ekata: Oneness; homogeneity; absoluteness.

Ekatva: Unity; oneness.

Ekayana: Union of thoughts; monotheism.

Eko’ham bahusyam: May I, the One, become many; this describes the primal idea which manifested itself from the One Undivided Being prior to creation.

Empowerment: (Tibetan: wang; Sanskrit: abhisheka) To practice in the Vajrayana tradition, one must receive an empowerment from a qualified lama. This ceremony, which may come in the form of a blessing or a teaching, introduces the practitioner to a certain aspect of Buddhist thought. One should also receive practice instruction (Tibetan: thri) and readings (Tibetan: lung).

Emptiness: (Sanskrit: shunyata; Tibetan: tong pa nyi) The Buddha taught in the second turning of the wheel of dharma that both external and internal phenomena (the concept of self) have no real existence and therefore are “empty.” This emptiness can be understood as a way of saying that Ultimate Reality cannot be described. Thus emptiness and the phenomena of this world are the same, or as the Heart Sutra says, “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.”

Enlightenment: (Sanskrit: bodhi; Tibetan: sangye) Literally, awakening. It is achieved by following the Eight-fold Path and the Six Perfections. Enlightenment endows the wisdom of perceiving the ultimate reality, which entails the power and the ability to work to change that reality in certain ways—especially to help people in need. For example, Amitabha created the western land—the Pure Land—as a heaven for his followers.

Epistemology: Fundamental themes that coordinate the theory of knowledge with developing scientific thought.

Eshanatrayam: Three kinds of desires, viz., desire for wealth, son and wife.

Eternalism: (Tibetan: takta) A belief that one’s self has concrete existence and is eternal.

Ether: Sanskrit akash. Ether has for millenniums been referred to by India’s sages. Paramahansa Yogananda spoke of ether as the background on which God projects the cosmic motion picture of creation. Space gives dimension to objects; ether separates the images. This “background,” a creative force that coordinates all spatial vibrations, is a necessary factor when considering the subtler forces – thought and life energy (prana) -and the nature of space and the origin of material forces and matter. See elements.

Evam: Thus; so; in this manner.

Evil: The satanic force that obscures God’s omnipresence in creation, manifesting as inharmonies in man and nature. Also, a broad term defining anything contrary to divine law (see dhaima) that causes man to lose the consciousness of his essential unity with God, and that obstructs attainment of Godrealization.

Eye consciousness: see Eight Consciousnesses.


Factors of conditioned arising: There are twelve factors of conditioned arising: death, birth, craving, ignorance, consciousness, becoming, contact, sensation, the six senses, grasping, the power of formation, and mind and body.

Father tantra: (Tibetan: phagyued) There are three kinds of tantras. The father tantra is concerned with transforming aggression, the mother tantra with transforming passion and the non-dual tantra with transforming ignorance.

Five Actions of Immediate Result:     These are actions that, if committed, will lead to being immediately reborn in the lower realms. They are killing one’s father, killing one’s mother, killing an arhat, intentionally wounding a bodhisattva, and dividing the sangha.

Five Aggregates: (Sanskrit: skandha) Literally heaps. The aggregates are the five basic stages that perceptions pass through when an object is perceived. These are form, feeling, identification, formation, and consciousness.

Five Buddhas: (Tibetan: gyalwa riknga) These are the five aspects of the victorious one: Vairochana, Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, and Amoghasiddhi.

Five dhyani buddhas: (Tibetan: gyalwa riknga) The sambhogakaya deities, Vairochana, Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, and Amoghasiddhi. Each one represents one of the five wisdoms.

Five Elements: (Sanskrit: pancabhuta; Tibetan: jung wa nga) Earth, water, fire, wind, and space are both the constituents of external matter and the physical components of the body. The Cosmic Vibration, or Aum, structures all physical creation, including man’s physical body, through the manifestation of five tattvas (elements): earth, water, fire, air, and ether. These are structural forces, intelligent and vibratory in nature. In the body, prana enters the medulla and is then divided into the five elemental currents by the action of the five lower chakias, or centres: the coccygeal (earth), sacral (water), lumbar (fire), dorsal (air), and cervical (ether). The Sanskrit terminology for these elements is piithivi, ap, tej, piana, and akash.

Five major sciences: (Tibetan: rig gnas che ba lnga) These include the study of grammar, logic, arts, and medicine.

Five Noble Ones: (Tibetan: ngade sangpo) The first five disciples of the Buddha. They were Kaundinya, Ashvajit, Vashpa, Mahanaman, and Bhadrika.

Five Paths: (Tibetan: lamnga) Traditionally, a practitioner goes through five stages or paths to enlightenment. These are (1) The path of accumulation which emphasizes purifying one’s obscurations and accumulating merit. (2) The path of junction or application in which the meditator develops profound understanding of the four noble truths and cuts the root to the desire realm. (3) The path of insight or seeing in which the meditator develops greater insight and enters the first bodhisattva level. (4) The path of meditation in which the meditator cultivates insight in the second through tenth bodhisattva levels. (5) The path of fulfillment which is the complete attainment of Buddhahood.

Five Poisons: (Tibetan: dugnga) These are passion, aggression, delusion, pride, and jealousy.

Five Precepts: (Pancha Shila) The fundamental moral rules for Buddhism, practiced by both the lay people and the monks of the sangha. They forbid theft, improper sexual practices (adultery for lay people, sexual activity of any kind for monks), killing, lying and deceiving, and drinking alcohol.

Five sadhus: The five ascetics who practiced self-mortification with the Buddha.

Five sensory consciousnesses: The sensory consciousnesses include sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch or body sensation.

Five wisdoms: (Tibetan: yeshe nga) Upon reaching enlightenment, the eight consciousnesses are transformed into the five wisdoms: the mirror-like wisdom, discriminating wisdom, the wisdom of equality, the all-accomplishing wisdom, and the dharmadhatu wisdom.

Flower Adornment School: A sect which attempted to consolidate all forms of Buddhism. Also known as Hua-Yen or Kegon.

Form kayas: (Sanskrit: rupakaya; Tibetan: zug ku) The sambhogakaya and the nirmanakaya. see Kayas, three.

Form realm: (Tibetan: zuk kham) There are seventeen heavenly realms in which beings have bodies of light. see Three Realms.

Formless realm: (Tibetan: zuk may kham)The abode of an unenlightened being who has practiced the four absorptions. see Three Realms.

Four common foundations of meditation: (Tibetan: tun mong gi ngon dro shi) Meditation on four key thoughts turn the mind towards dharma. They are: precious human birth; impermanence and the inevitability of death; karma and its effects; and the pervasiveness of suffering in samsara.

Four empowerments: (Tibetan: wang shi) The vase, the secret, the wisdom-knowledge, and the name empowerment.

Four extremes: (Sanskrit: catushkoti; Tibetan: mu shi) These are a belief in the existence of everything (also called “eternalism”), a belief that nothing exists (also called “nihilism”), a belief that things exist and don’t exist, and the belief that reality is something other than existence and non-existence.

Four fearlessnesses: (Sanskrit: catvaravaisharadya; Tibetan: mi jig pa shi) Bodhisattvas must attain four stages: being fearless to abandon all faults, overcoming the fear of complete realization, being fearless in showing the path, and being fearless in pointing out obscurations on the path.

Four Immeasurables: (Sanskrit: apramanani; Tibetan: tse may shi) Complete enlightenment brings four qualities—inconceivable to ordinary people—that help others. They are limitless loving-kindness, limitless compassion, limitless joy, and limitless equanimity.

Four Inconceivables: see Four Immeasurables.

Four Noble Truths: (Tibetan: pakpay denpa shi) The Buddha began teaching with a talk in India at Saranath on the four noble truths. These are the truth of suffering (dukkha), the truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya), the truth of the cessation of suffering (nirodha), and the truth of the path (marga). These truths are the foundation of Buddhism. We must first recognize our problems, and then work with the causes of those problems. In doing so, using the right methods, it is totally possible that we can attain freedom from the problems.

Four particularities: The characteristics of buddha nature when it manifests as complete enlightenment. These are lucid clarity, purity, possessing buddha characteristics of enlightenment, and the presence of nonconceptual and analytical judgment.

Four special foundations: (Tibetan: ngoendro) Performing 100,000 of each of the following practices: taking of refuge with prostrations, doing Vajrasattva purification mantras, making mandala offerings, and practicing guru yoga supplications. see ngoendro.

Four thoughts that turn the mind: (Tibetan: lo dok nam shi) Realizing the preciousness of human birth, the impermanence of life, the faults of samsara, and that pleasure and suffering result from good and bad actions.

Four unfavorable obstacles: The four obstacles that hinder one from complete enlightenment: hostility or dislike of dharma, strong belief in self, fear of suffering so one doesn’t enter the Mahayana, and lack of helping others.


Gada: Club; mace; one of the weapons of Lord Vishnu.

Gada: Disease or fever.

Gadadhara: Wielder of the Gada; an epithet of Lord Vishnu or Krishna.

Gagana: Sky; firmament.

Gaganaravinda: Sky-lotus; a term used to denote an unreal or non-existent thing; the world.

Gamanakriya: Action of going.

Gambhira: Deep; magnanimous; dignified; grand; imperious; grave.

Gambhirya: Gravity of demeanour.

Gampopa: (1079-1153) One of the main lineage holders of the Kagyu lineage in Tibet. A student of Milarepa, he established the first Kagyu monastic monastery and is known for writing the Jewel Ornament of Liberation.

Ganachakra: (Tibetan: tog kyi kor lo) This is a ritual feast offering which is part of a spiritual practice.

Ganapati: A Hindu deity; success-bestowing aspect of God.

Ganapatya: A Hindu sect worshipping God as Ganapati; a member of this sect; pertaining to this sect.

Gandha: Smell; scent.

Gandharva: (Tibetan: dri za) A class of deities who are celestial musicians and live on odors.

Gandharvanagara: Fantastic formations of clouds giving the appearance of mansions and cities; therefore, any fanciful conception; the world.

Gandhatanmatra: Subtle principle or root element of odour.

Ganga (or Ganges): The most sacred river in India today, flowing down from the Himalayas and across the plains of Northern India; as a celestial river, it is the Milky Way.

Ganja: Marijuana.

Garbhodhaka: The primeval waters.

Garhapatya: Household.

Garhapatyagni: One of the three fires of rituals kept by the Hindu householder.

Garhasthya: The second stage of Hindu social life; the married householder’s life.

Garima: A power by which a Yogi becomes abnormally heavy; one of the eight major Siddhis.

Garuda: (Tibetan: khyung) A mythical bird which hatches fully grown.

Garva: Pride; egotism; arrogance.

Gatagati: Going and coming; passage after death.

Gati: State; movement; going. See States of existence.

Gauna: Secondary; indirect.

Gaunabhakti: Culture of devotion through rituals as a preliminary course on the path of love or Bhakti.

Gaunavritti: Figurative sense or secondary sense as in the instances: (1) He is a lion; he is not a lion, but he is as brave as a lion. (2) Agni-manavaka: student is fire; he is not fire, but his face is as brilliant as fire. This is a secondary power or Sakti of words.

Gautama: A family in ancient india, associated with Buddha’s family line. Before attaining enlightenment, as a prince Buddha was known as Siddhartha Gautama. However, normally Buddhists simply call him Prince Siddhartha.

Gayatri: One of the most sacred Vedic Mantras or texts of the Hindus.

Gayatrividya: The process of meditation taking Gayatri as the symbol of Brahman.

Gelug: The most recently founded of the four main schools of Buddhism in Tibet. Founded by Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) and headed by the Dalai Lama, it puts special stress on studying the scriptures and on the monastic tradition. It flourished in Tibet after it gained political power in Tibet in the 16th century. Also known as Gelugpa.

Generation stage: see Development stage.

Gerab Dorje: (Tibetan) Also called Pramoda Vajra. The forefather of the Dzogchen lineage who received the transmission from Vajrasattva.

Geshe: (Tibetan) A scholar who has attained a doctorate in Buddhist studies. This usually takes fifteen to twenty years.

Ghanaprajna: Massive and undifferentiated consciousness.

Ghatakasa: the space bounded by the jar.

Ghatasuddhi: Purification of the physical body.

Ghee: Hindi word for clarified butter. Butter which has been boiled and strained used not only for cooking but also as a substance offered in fire ceremonies (yajna), as well as fuel for temple lamps.

Ghrana: Nose.

Ghrina: Compassion; pity; aversion; contempt.

Gita: Song; conventionally refers to the renowned sacred text “Bhagavad Gita”; a philosophical text. The Hindu Bible.

God/Gods: The deity/deities: there are 333 million of them in Hindu mythology.

God: The Supreme, the Absolute, the Ultimate, the Truth, or Purusottama.

Gonaya: Cow-carrier.

Gopis: Lord Krishna’s cowherd-girl devotees.

Gotra: Family; lineage; mountain.

Graha: Grip; grasp; planet.

Grahaka: Cogniser; receiver; that which seizes or perceives; sense-organ.

Grahana: Organ; acceptance; reception, eclipse.

Grahya: Fit to be received; sense-object.

Grama: Village; multitude; collection.

Granthi: Tie or knot. Knots, usually meant as the doubts, ego, ignorance in the seeker.

Grihastha: Householder.

Ground consciousness: (Tibetan: kunshi namshe) The eighth consciousness which has the function of storing all the latent karmic imprints of experience. see Eight Consciousnesses.

Ground, path, and fruition: This is a logical method for describing something. First one describes the beginning causal conditions (ground), then the coming together of these causes towards some goal (path), and finally the result (fruition).

Guda: Anus.

Gudha: Hidden.

Gudhavasana: Hidden subtle desire.

Guha: Cave.

Guhya: Secret; genital.

Guhyabhashana: Private talk; one of the breaks of Brahmacharya.

Guhyasamaja tantra: (Tibetan: sang pa dus pa) This is the “father tantra” of the anuttara yoga which is the highest of the four tantras. Guhyasamaja is the central deity of the vajra family.

Guna: Quality born of nature. Human characteristic, three types – Satwa, Rajo & Tamo. In the Samkhya philosophy it indicates the three qualities or attributes which makes up the primordial cosmic substance (Prakriti). These are the qualities of intelligence (sattva), activity (rajas) and inertia (tamas).

Gunamaya: Full of qualities or attributes.

Gunaprabha: (Tibetan: yoenten woe) A scholar of the seventh century who was of the foremost students of Vasubandhu. He is known for his work called the Vinayasutra.

Gunas: Primordial qualities of nature, the three attributes of Nature: tamas, lajas, and sattva – obstruction, activity, and expansion, or, mass, energy, and intelligence. In man the three gunas express themselves as ignorance or inertia; activity or struggle; and wisdom.

Gunasamya: A state where the three Gunas are found in equilibrium; the Supreme Absolute.

Gunasraya: Dependent on Gunas; consort of the qualities.

Gunatita: Beyond the Gunas; one who has transcended the three Gunas, Master of the gunas.

Gunavada: A statement of quality.

Guni: Possessor of quality or qualities.

Guru Purnima: Literally, ‘the Guru’s full moon’; the word purnima means ‘full, complete, whole,’ and is used to indicate the full moon. This festival falls in June-July, and is the day when one’s Guru, or any true Guru, is honored. It is also called ‘Vyasa’s full moon’ in honor of that ancient sage, since it is said it was on the full-moon day of July when he achieved enlightenment, and also started writing the Brahma Sutras, a treatise on Vedanta. Traditionally, during the four months of the rainy season following this date, wandering monks stay in one place to meditate and study.

Guru yoga: (Tibetan: lamay naljor) A practice of devotion to the guru culminating in receiving his blessing and blending indivisibly with his mind. Also the fourth practice of the preliminary practices of ngoendro.

Guru: Literally, ‘one who removes darkness’; weighty, heavy, large: the spiritual teacher or preceptor; also, in Hindu astrology, Guru is the name for the planet Jupiter, also known as Brihaspati.

Guru: Spiritual teacher, though the word guru is often misused to refer simply to any teacher or instructor, a true God-illumined guru is one who, in his attainment of self-mastery, has realized his identity with the omnipresent Spirit. Such a one is uniquely qualified to lead the seeker on his or her inward journey toward divine realization. When a devotee is ready to seek God in earnest, the Lord sends him a guru. Through the wisdom, intelligence, Self-realization, and teachings of such a master, God guides the disciple. By following the master’s teachings and discipline, the disciple is able to fulfil his soul’s desire for the manna of God-perception. A true guru, ordained by God to help sincere seekers in response to their deep soul craving, is not an ordinary teacher: he is a human vehicle whose body, speech, mind and spirituality God uses as a channel to attract and guide lost souls back to their home of immortality. A guru is a living embodiment of scriptural truth. He is an agent of salvation appointed by God in response to a devotee’s demand for release from the bondage of matter. (Tibetan: lama) A supreme spiritual teacher in the Tibetan tradition; a tantric, yogic teacher; highest one, spiritual master, preceptor. See master.

Guru: Teacher; preceptor. Spiritual teacher. With a capital ‘G’, the word implies a fully Self-Realized Divine Master.

Gurubhakti: Literally, ‘devotion to the Guru.’

Gurubhava: The mood or mystical attitude of identification with one’s Guru as the inner Self; also, ‘he who feels or thinks about the Guru.’

Gurudeva: “Divine teacher,” a customary Sanskrit term of respect that is used in addressing and referring to one’s spiritual preceptor, sometimes rendered in English as “Master.”

Gurudeva: Literally, ‘the divine Guru’; God as Guru; an affectionate, yet respectful term used to address one’s Guru.

Gurukripa: Preceptor’s grace or blessings.

Gurumantra: Mantra in which one has been initiated by the Guru.

Gurus of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship: The Gurus are Bhagavan Krishna, Jesus Christ, and a line of exalted masters of contemporary times: Mahavatar Babaji, Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswarji, and Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda. To show the harmony and essential unity of the Yoga precepts of Bhagavan Krishna and the teachings of Jesus Christ is an integral part of the YSS/SRF dispensation.

Gyana: Knowledge, relative or Absolute or both.

Gyani: One who possesses Knowledge.


Halasana: The plough-pose when the body is made to imitate the Indian plough. Hala means plough.

Ham’Sa (or So’Ham) (also written as Hum’Sa & So’Hum): Literally, ‘I am That’; the natural mantra which is continually going on within each individual, with each incoming and outgoing breath; an individual soul; a swan, or more accurately, the wild Indian goose which symbolizes an adept class of renunciates or yogis called Paramahamsas; a name of Vishnu given in the Vishnu Sahasranama or thousand names of God. (see Paramahamsa)

Hamsamantra: The Mantra “Soham” automatically an involuntarily uttered by the Jiva with every act of inspiration and expiration.

Hamsayoga: The teachings of Lord Hari to Brahma an the Kumaras to clear some Yogic doubts. This occurs Srimad Bhagavatam.

Hana: Abandonment.

Hanuman: A powerful deity; the son of Wind-God; great devotee of Sri Rama; the famous Monkey who helpe Rama in His fight with Ravana.

Hari: A being who destroys the evil deeds of those who take refuge in Him. A name of Lord Narayana or Krishna.

Harmonium: The harmonium is a reed musical instrument with hand pumped bellows and keyboard. It is actually of European origin which was imported to India in the 19th century. Although it is a relatively recent introduction, it has spread throughout the subcontinent, and is used for virtually every musical genre.

Harsha: Exhilaration; joy.

Hashang Mahayana: (Tibetan: rgya nag gi hva shang) A Chinese meditation teacher whose view was repudiated by Kamalashila.

Hasya: Mirth or amusement; fun.

Hatha Yoga: A system of Yoga, for gaining control over the physical body and Prana; system of Asanas, Pranayama Bandhas, Mudras and Kriyas. Techniques and physical postures (asanas) that promotes health and mental calm. See Yoga. Literally ‘the forceful yoga’; various physical and mental exercises practiced specifically for purifying the countless network of nadis, and to bring about the even flow of the incoming (prana) and outgoing (apana) breath; also, the syllables ‘ha’ symbolizes the ‘sun,’ and ‘tha’ the ‘moon.’ Therefore, the word hatha also means ‘the Sun-Moon Yoga’, which symbolizes the yogis ability to experience himself as being beyond the rhythm of ordinary time, indicated by the sun and moon.

Healing nectar: (Sanskrit: amrita; Tibetan: dud tsi) A blessed substance which can cause spiritual and physical healing.

Heart Sutra: One of the central sutras in Mahayana Buddhism. It is particularly important in Zen because of its teaching about emptiness. The key idea of this teaching is: “Form is no other than emptiness, emptiness is no other than form.”

Heruka: (Tibetan: trak thung) A wrathful male deity.

Hetu: Cause; reason.

Hetupanaya: Application of reason.

Hetvabhasa: Fallacious inference or reason.

Hevajra tantra: (Tibetan: gyepa dorje or kye dorje) This is the “mother tantra” of the anuttara yoga, the highest of the four yogas.

Himsa: Injury.

Hinayana: (Tibetan: tekmen) Literally, the lesser vehicle. The term, relatively derogatory and mainly used by many Mahayanists, refers to the groups that assert that the first teachings of the Buddha emphasizing not doing harm, are the only true teachings of Buddha. Today, they are also known by one of their remaining schools: Theravada.

Hiranyagarbha: Cosmic intelligence; the Supreme Lord of the universe; also called Brahma, cosmic Pran Sutratma, Apara-brahma, Maha-brahma or Karya-brahma; Samashti-sukshma-sarira-abhimani (the sum-total of all the subtle bodies); the highest created being through whom the Supreme Being projects the physical universe; cosmic mind.

Hitanadi: The common name of several nerves leading from the heart where the individual soul enters in deep sleep.

Holy Ghost: See Aum and Trinity.

Hota: The priest who recites the Rig-veda in a sacrifice.

Ho-tei: (Japanese) see Pu-tai.

Hrasva: Short.

Hri: Modesty; shame felt in doing wrong action.

Hridaya: Heart; essential centre.

Hridaya-dhauti: Cleaning of the heart; cleaning the throat and the chest.

Hridayagranthi: The knot of the heart, viz., Avidya, Kama, and Karma.

Hridayaguha: The cave or chamber of the heart.

Hridayakamala: Lotus of the heart.

Hungry ghost: (Sanskrit: preta; Tibetan: yidak) A state of rebirth that is as lower than animals but higher than hell beings. They are called hungry because they always suffer from tremendious hunger and thirst, as a result of excessive greed in previous lifetimes. They are depicted as having an enormous stomachs and a thin throat. see Six realms of samsara.


Iccha/Ichcha: Desire.

Icchasakti: Omnipotent desire-force.

Ida: The psychic nerve-current flowing through the left nostril; it is the cooling lunar Nadi as distinguished from Pingala, the heating solar Nadi. Subtle channel (nadi) in which prana flows. It is located on the left side of the body and is said to be feminine in nature, indicating emotions and feelings. It is associated with the lunar principle.

Idam: This; here.

Idamta: This-ness.

Illusory body: (Tibetan: gyu lue) One of the Six yogas of Naropa. See: Six Yogas of Naropa.

Impermanence: (Sanskrit: anitya; Pali: anicca; Tibetan: mitak) This term refers to the Buddhist understanding that all things in samsara are impermanent. Once created, they decay and pass away. Although this is particularly true for human illness and death, the idea refers to the nature of all things. It is one of the reasons for suffering and is considered one of the three marks of existence.

Indra: ‘The powerful or mighty’; the king or lord of the gods; Vedic god of rain and thunder; also, the inner Spirit, the Atman.

Indra: The mind or the soul; the lord of the senses; a Hindu deity; chief of the celestials; the ruler of heaven; the rain-god. (Tibetan: gyachin) The chief god of the realm of desire, said to reside on top of Mt. Meru. Indra is said to have thousand eyes on his body. He is one of the two gods (the other being Bhrama) who requested Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma after his enlightenment.

Indrabodhi: (Tibetan: rgyalpo indra bodhi) The first Indrabodhi was an Indian king during the time of the Buddha who became an accomplished master. There are several Indrabodhis in Buddhist literature.

Indrajala: Illusion or jugglery.

Indrajalikamayasadrisa: Similar to the illusion created by jugglery; unreal appearances as in dreams.

Indriya/Indrriya: The sense of perception; sense-organ; this either the physical external Karma-Indriya (organ of action) or the internal Jnana-Indriya (organ of knowledge, cognition or perception).Sensory and Motor Organs, 5 each – total 10 in number.

Indriyajnana: Sense-knowledge or perception.

Indriyarthasannikarsha: Contact with or attraction of the objects to the appropriate sense-organs.

Initiation: (Sanskrit: Abhisheka; Tibetan: wang) Literally sprinkling. This ceremony introduces the practitioner to the powerfield of a certain Buddha aspect. It may be given as a blessing or at the start of a practice. For practice, one also needs a reading of the text (lung), and the instructions on how to use it (thri). The effectiveness of these methods in developing one’s awareness cannot be overestimated. see Empowerment.

Insight meditation: (Sanskrit: vipashyana; Tibetan: lhak tong) A meditation that develops insight into the nature of phenomena. In the Theravada tradition this involves observing every thought in daily life. In the Vajrayana tradition it involves a close examination of the emptiness of phenomena.

Interdependent origination:     (Sanskrit: pratityasamutpada; Tibetan: tren drel) Also called dependent origination. The principal that nothing exists independently, but comes into existence only due to various previous causes and conditions. In samsaric life, there are twelve successive phases of this process that begin with ignorance and end with old age and death.

Intuition: The all-knowing faculty of the soul, which enables man to experience direct perception of truth without the intermediary of the senses.

Isa: Lord.

Ishta: Object of desire; the chosen ideal; the particular form of God that one is devoted to; a sacrificial rite.

Ishtadevata: Favourite or tutelary deity.

Ishtamantra: The Mantra of the chosen or tutelary deity.

Ishtamurti: Favourite form or image of God.

Ishtapurta: Sacrificial rites (Ishta) and acts of charit like excavation of public wells (Purta).

Ishtasiddhi: Attainment of the desired object or goal the name of a book on Vedanta.

Isvarakoti: Of the degree of God.

Isvarapranidhana: Devotion to the Lord.

Isvaraprayatna: God’s Will.

Isvarapujanam: Worship of the Lord.

Isvarasrishti: That which has been created by the Lord such as the elements, etc.

Itara: The other one.

Iti: So; thus; this.

Itihans: Historical Account, for example the Mahabharata.

Itihasa: Epic; a book describing the life and adventures of a hero or heroes. The term is applied to Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The hero of the former is Sri Rama, the son of Dasaratha and of the latter, the five Pandavas.


Jada: Insentient; non-intelligent.

Jada-jada-bheda: Difference between various classes of matter.

Jada-samadhi: The state of Samadhi induced by Hatha Yogic process in which there is no awareness or illumination as opposed to Chaitanya Samadhi of the Vedantins.

Jadava Krishna: Jadava refers to the clan of which Krishna was king, and is one of many names by which Krishna is known. See Bhagavan Krishna.

Jagadguru: World preceptor.

Jagat: World; changing.

Jagat-vyapara: World-business.

Jagradavastha: State of waking consciousness; consciousness of the objective universe.

Jagrat: Waking condition.

Jai (or Jaya): Victory; hail; as in Jai Guru, meaning ‘victory to the Guru’; also, a name of Goddess Lakshmi.

Jala: Not real; a net; a snare; illusion.

Jalakasa: Ether which is reflected together wi clouds, stars, etc., in the water contained in the jar; ether belonging to the water of the jar.

Jalandharabandha: A Hatha Yogic exercise which the chin is pressed against the chest.

Jalpa: Wrangling; a method of argumentation in logic.

Jambunadam: Gold; pertaining to river Jamboo.

Jamgon Kongtrul: (1813-1899) Also known as Lodro Thaye. He was best known for founding the rimay movement, a non-sectarian, eclectic movement which preserved the various practice lineages that were on the verge of extinction. He also was a prolific writer of ninety volumes.

Janaloka: A particular region of the seven high planes; just below Tapoloka.

Janma: Birth; coming into being.

Japa: Repetition of God’s Name again and again; repetition of a Mantra. Recitation, repetition; the devotional repetition of the mantra, often while counting on a rosary. It may be done aloud or mentally. For meditation, japa is usually performed mentally.

Japamaala: Rosary (to count the number of repetitio done).

Japarahitadhyana: Meditation without repetition of a Mantra.

Japasahitadhyana: Meditation with the repetition a Mantra.

Jara: Old age.

Jarayu: Womb.

Jarayuja: Viviparous animals (of placental origin).

Jata: Matted hair.

Jatharagni: Gastric fire; digestive fire.

Jati: Species; class; creation.

Jatismara: Remembrance of the incidents of one’s previous births (whether spontaneously or through special voluntary effort).

Jatyantaraparinama: Transformation of one genus or species into another.

Jaya: Victory; mastery.

Jhana: (Sanskrit) (Tibetan: ye she) Enlightened wisdom which is beyond dualistic thought and can be reached by the practice of samadhi. There are five types of jhanas in enlightenment.

Jihva: Tongue or the organ of taste and speech.

Jijnasa: Desire to know.

Jijnasu: One who aspires after knowledge; spiritual aspirant.

Jitendriya: One who has controlled the Indriyas or the senses.

Jiva: Individual soul with ego. Literally, ‘alive, living, existing.’ From jiv ‘to live’; the individual soul or embodied spirit, conditioned by the body and the mind, and bound by the three malas or impurities of anava, karma and maya.

Jivachaitanya: Individual consciousness.

Jivagrama: Living things; multitude of Jivas or individual souls.

Jiva-jiva-bheda: Difference between one individual and another.

Jivakoti: Belonging to the category or class of the individual soul.

Jivanmukta: One who is liberated in this life.

Jivanmukti: Liberated in this life, while yet living. Literally, ‘liberated while still living,’ as opposed to, ‘liberation at death’ (videha-mukti); one who is fully enlightened; according to the Bhagavad Gita, a jivanmukti is one who constantly lives in the state of steady wisdom, without any mental agitation. Such a being neither dwells on the past, nor worries about the future, and he is indifferent to the present. He neither desires anything, nor rejects anything. According to Shaivism, a Jivanmukta is an individual soul who is freed from the three impurities (malas): anava-mala, maya-mala and karma-mala. Anava-mala is the root impurity which deludes the Spirit, which is infinite, to believe it is finite. It is the basic attitude of perceiving oneself as a limited being. As maya is the cosmic power of obstruction, maya-mala continues to reinforce the limited view we have about ourselves. Because of this, we continue to perform actions (karma), whose fruits continue to bind us from life to life (karma-mala). But a Jivanmukta is freed from all three malas.

Jivasrishti: That which has been created by the Jiva, viz., egoism, mine-ness, etc.

Jivatma: Individual soul.

Jivesvarabheda: Difference between the individ soul and God; the fundamental tenet of the dualistic school of thought.

Jnana Yoga: The path to union with God through transmutation of the discriminative power of the intellect into the omniscient wisdom of the soul.

Jnana: Enlightened wisdom; the highest yogic knowledge.

Jnana: Knowledge; wisdom of the Reality or Brahman, Absolute. Divine wisdom of the highest order. (One who truly has Jnana has reached the Goal of Life.)

Jnanabhumika: Step or stage or degree in the attainment of knowledge.

Jnanabhyasa: A term generally used for the Vedanta mode of Sadhana.

Jnanachakshu: Eye of wisdom or eye of intuition.

Jnanagni: Fire of spiritual knowledge or wisdom.

Jnanakanda: The section of the Vedas dealing main with the eternal verities or the Absolute Truth; the Upanishads dealing with the Param Brahman.

Jnanakara: Of the form of wisdom; Brahman; sage.

Jnanakasa: The ether of knowledge; Brahman.

Jnanamarga: The path of Knowledge; Jnana Yoga.

Jnanamaya: Full of knowledge.

Jnananishtha: Established in the knowledge of the Self.

Jnanasakti: Power of knowing; the omnipotent universal force of knowledge.

Jnanasphurti: Flash of knowledge.

Jnanasvarupa: Of the very nature or embodiment knowledge.

Jnanatantra: The Tantric text that treats of highe knowledge.

Jnanayajna: Dissemination of knowledge; the Sadhana for, and the attainment of, knowledge, conceived of as a offering or divine sacrifice; offering of the individual to the Supreme.

Jnanayoga: The path of knowledge; meditation through wisdom; constantly and seriously thinking on the true nature of the Self as taught by the Guru.

Jnanayogi: One practising the scheduled discipline of the path of knowledge.

Jnanendriya: Five internal organs of perception; sense of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell.

Jnani: One who has attained full Realization of the Atman. The term is most often applied to those who have attained Realization via the path of Self-enquiry.

Jnanodaya: Dawn of knowledge.

Jneya: Knowable; to be known.

Jodo: (Japanese) Pure Land.

Jodoshin: (Japanese) Pure Land.

Jyeshtha: A star.

Jyeshtha: The eldest; the best.

Jyotih: Illumination; luminosity; effulgence.

Jyotihsvarupa: Of the form of light.

Jyotirdhyana: Meditation on the supreme Light.

Jyotirlinga: Literally, ‘the linga of light’; there are said to be twelve jyoti-lingas throughout India, one of which is at Kedarnath high in the Himalayas.

Jyotirmaya: Full (mass) of light.

Jyotishmat: Full of light.


Ka: Brahma; Vishnu; Cupid; Fire; Wind; Death; Sun; a king; joint; peacock; bird; mind; body; time; cloud; so hair; light; wealth; joy.

Ka’ba: The house of Allah (God); Islam’s most sacred site; this Arabic word actually means ‘cube’ and indicates the square building housing the sacred stone in the Arabian city of Mecca. All Muslims face Mecca when they pray. The Ka’ba was an ancient place of pilgrimage even before Islam. Tradition says that the sacred stone was originally brought to Mecca from Sri Lanka by the Biblical Adam, while others say it was given to Abraham by the archangel Gabriel.

Kaala: Time; death or Yama.

Kaalachakra: Wheel of time.

Kaalatita: Beyond time.

Kadam: (Tibetan) One of the major Buddhist schools in Tibet, which was incorporated into the Gelug school; some teachings also inform the Kagyu school. It was founded by Atisha (993-1054) and his students. Their followers are known as Kadampa.

Kadampa: (Tibetan) A person who sincerely practices lamrim, and who intrgrates all the teachings of Buddha that they know into their practice.

Kagyu: (Tibetan) One of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. It was brought to Tibet by Marpa Lotsawa around 1050 and flourished for two generations. Being heavily practice-oriented, it is called the oral or meditational school; it derives its power from the close relationship between the teacher and student. It is known for holding the yogic teachings of the siddhas of the four directional transmissions of India. It became four major lineages and eight minor lineages. The best known are Karma Kagyu (major), Drukpa kagyu (minor) and Drigung Kagyu (minor). Also called Kagyupa.

Kailash: A mountain peak in the Himalayas, located in Western Tibet, and known as the abode of Lord Shiva. It is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists alike; also, the name of Baba Nityananda’s ashram in Ganeshpuri; and, in yogic terminology, it indicates the highest spiritual center located in the crown of the head, the thousand petalled lotus (sahasrara).

Kaivalya: Transcendental state of Absolute Indepenence; Moksha; isolation; final beatitude; emancipation.

Kaivalya-moksha: Isolated freedom. The Jnani at once gets Jivanmukti state by becoming one with Brahman while living. This is termed Pralaya also. Final emancipation.

Kala: Part; ray; art.

Kalachakra: (Tibetan: duekyi khorlo) One of the most well known meditational deities of the anuttarayoga tantra. This practice involves a complex system of cosmology and is related to the kingdom of Shambhala.

Kalasakti: The power or skill in arts, viz., literature, architecture, etc.

Kalatraputraishana: Desire for wife and children.

Kali: Evil; black. A name of the divine Mother: primal Energy.

Kaliyuga: Age of Kali; iron age; the last of the four Yugas; the present age; the dark, evil age.

Kalpa: (Tibetan) (Sanskrit: yuga) An aeon, age, period or cosmic period, it lasts millions of years.

Kalpa: A day of Brahma. 360 human years make one celestial year. 12,000 celestial years make one Chaturyuga Mahayuga. 71 such Mahayugas make one Manvantara. 1 such Manvantaras (with their twilight periods) make a Kalpa of 4,320,000,000 years. A night of Brahma is of an equal duration. He lives hundred such years. Brahma’s life is known as Para, being of a longer duration than the life of any other being, and a half of it is called Parardha. He has now completed the first Parardha and is in the first day of the second Parardha. This day or Kalpa is known as Svetavarahakalpa; Kalpa also means a code of rituals.

Kalpana: Imagination of the mind; creation.

Kalpanamatra: Mere imagination; resting only in imagination.

Kalpanika: That which is imagined; falsely created.

Kalpita: Imagined or created; dreamt.

Kalyana: Auspicious; blessed.

Kama: Desire; passion; lust.

Kamagni: Fire of passion.

Kamajata: Born of desire or passion.

Kamakanchana: Lust and wealth, the two great barrier; to Self-realisation.

Kamala Sutra: A sutra is named after the people to whom the Buddha gave the teachings. Kalamas were inhabitants of Kesaputta, in the Kosala State, one of the four great states in ancient India. The Shakya tribe to which Shakyamuni belonged was under the power and influence of Kosala. The capital of Kosala was Savatthi where the famous monastery Jetavanna Grove was located.

Kamalashila: An eighth century scholar in India who was a student of Shantarakshita and is best known for coming to Tibet, where he debated and defeated the Chinese scholar Hashang Mahayana at Samye monastery; he then wrote the Stages of Meditation.

Kamamaya: Full of desire and lust.

Kamana: Longing; pleasure-seeking; cupidity.

Kamasakti: Force of lust or desire.

Kamasankalpa: Thought born of desire.

Kamma: (Pali) Karma

Kampana: Shaking or trembling; twisting of muscles; tremor in the body or limbs.

Kamyakarma: Any action done with desire for fruits thereof.

Kanchuka: Limit or constriction; sheath whereby, from all-knowing, you have become little; from being almighty, you have become a little doer.

Kanda: The root; the source of all Nadis; the egg-shaped centre of nerves located below the region of the navel.

Kandamula: Roots and tubers.

Kangyur: (Tibetan) The Tibetan collection of 104 volumes of the words of the Buddha. The other great collection is the commentaries called the Tengyur.

Kanishthakotyadhikari: Qualified person of the most inferior type.

Kannada: The language spoken in the Indian state of Karnataka, and Muktananda’s mother tongue.

Kantha: Throat; neck.

Kanthaka:  Buddha’s horse

Kanthamula: The base of the neck (throat).

Kapaladhauti: A process for the removal of phlegm and is threefold: 1. Vatakrama: by inhalation and exhalation. 2. Vyutkrama: by water drawn through the nostrils and ejected through the mouth. 3. Sitkrama: the reverse process to No. 2.

Kapalarandhra: Hollow of the skull.

Kapata: Deceptive; cunning.

Kapha: Phlegm, one of the three humours or Doshas cording to Ayurveda.

Kapilavastu: The Shakyan  capital where Buddha grew up.

Karali: The terrific one; a flame of fire.

Karana: Cause; reason; the unmanifested potential cause that, in due time, takes shape as the visible effect; the material cause of the universe in such a state during the period of dissolution, i.e., cosmic energy in a potential condition.

Karanabrahman: The highest and the first manifestation of the Absolute; the Absolute qualified by Maya; Saguna Brahman.

Karana-jagat: Causal world.

Karana-salila: Primeval waters; the potential condition of the cosmic energy described figuratively as the water of an all-pervading ocean.

Karana-sarira: The causal body (where the individual rests during sound, deep, dreamless sleep, the intellect, mind and senses being reduced to an unmanifested potential condition); this is the proximate cover of the soul, known as the sheath of bliss.

Karanatma: The causal soul.

Karana-vairagya: Dispassion caused through some misery or shipwreck in life.

Karanavastha: Causal state or condition.

Karana-viveka: Accidental cause of slight discrimination at first.

Karatalabhiksha: Using hands (palms) as the begging bowl.

Karma Kagyu: (Tibetan) One of the four major lineages of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, which was founded by Duesum Khyenpa the first Karmapa. He was one of the three important students of Gampopa, known as Khampa Misum (three men from Kham).

Karma Pakshi: (1206-1283) The Second Karmapa who was known for his miraculous activities.

Karma Yoga: The path to God through non attached action and service. By selfless service, by giving the fruits of one’s actions to God, and by seeing God as the sole Doer, the devotee becomes free of the ego and experiences God. See Yoga.

Karma: Action or deed, both mental and physical; the law of cause and effect; the reservoir of past impressions; the belief that an individual will reap the fruits of their own past actions, whether in the present life or in some future one; results of one’s past actions; destiny; Karma is generally divided into three types or categories: Prarabdha-karma, Kriyamana-karma and Sanchitta-karma. 1. Prarabdha-karma (pra = ‘before’ + rabh = ‘begin’) is the fruit of one’s past actions which are now operative in the form of the present life conditions. It is this category of karma which is often referred to as one’s destiny. 2. The second category is called kriyamana-karma (‘being done’). This karma indicates the new actions which are being performed by the person in the present life, often in response to life’s circumstances. 3. Some of the kriyamana-karma will bear fruit in the person’s present life, but most will be stored in the Chitta for future births. These stored actions are called sanchitta-karma (from: sam = ‘together’ + chitta = ‘mind substance’).

Karma: Action, the cosmic law of cause and affect; ‘As you sow, so shall you reap.’ It is of three kinds: Sanchita (all the accumulated actions of all previous births), Prarabdha (the particular portion of such Karma allotted for being worked out in Ilse present life), and Agami (current Karma being freshly performed by the individual). It is the Karma operating through the law of cause and effect binding the Jiva or the individual soul to the wheel of birth and death. (Pali: kamma; Tibetan: lay) Literally action. An intentional or conscious act, karma is a universal law that when one acts wholesomely one’s circumstances will improve and when one acts unwholesomely negative results will eventually occur.

Karma: Effects of past actions, from this or previous lifetimes; from the Sanskrit kri, to do. The equilibrating law of karma, as expounded in the Hindu scriptures, is that of action and reaction, cause and effect, sowing and reaping. In the course of natural righteousness, every human being by his thoughts and actions becomes the moulder of his own destiny. Whatever energies he himself, wisely or unwisely, has set in motion must return to him as their starting point, like a circle inexorably completing itself. An understanding of karma as the law of justice serves to free the human mind from resentment against God and man. A person’s karma follows him from incarnation to incarnation until fulfilled or spiritually transcended. See reincarnation. The cumulative actions of human beings within communities, nations, or the world as a whole constitute mass karma, which produces local or far-ranging effects according to the degree and preponderance of good or evil. The thoughts and actions of every human being, therefore, contribute to the good or ill of this world and all peoples in it.

Karmabandha: Bondage caused by Karma.

Karmabhumi: Land of action; the earth-plane.

Karmadhyaksha: Controller or ruler of actions; God; soul.

Karmaja: Born of action or Prarabdha.

Karmakanda: The section of the Vedas dwelling only on the rituals mainly; the Samhitas and the Brahmanas of the Vedas.

Karmapa: The spiritual head of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism founded in the 12th century. Gyalwa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje Karmapa was the 16th Karmapa in this lineage (1923-1981). He took mahasamadhi on November 5, 1981 at Zion, IL. He visited Muktananda’s ashram in Ganeshpuri in 1973.

Karmapa: The title of seventeen successive incarnations, beginning with Dusum Khyenpa, who have headed the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. They are also known as the Black-hat lama of Tibet. Historically, the title was used for two teachers of the lineage, the Red-hat (Shamar) Karmapa, and the Black-hat (Shanak) Karmapa.

Karmapara: Dependent on Karma.

Karmaphala: The fruit of actions; the consequence of a deed in the shape of pain or pleasure.

Karmasakshi: Witness of actions.

Karmasaya: The receptacle or mass of actions; aggregate of works done.

Karmavada: The doctrine of Karma upholding that each deed, good or bad, is inevitably followed by pleasure or pain as its sure effect.

Karmayoga: The Yoga of selfless action; performance of one’s own duty; indifference to the body and the world; service of humanity.

Karmayogi: One going through the scheduled spiritual discipline of the path of action.

Karmendriya: Organ of action: tongue (speech), hands, feet, genital and anus are the organs of action.

Karta: Doer; the subject of action.

Kartavya: Duty; that which is to be done or ought to be done.

Kartritva: Doership; agency of action.

Kartrivada: The claim of being an independent doer.

Karuna: (Sanskrit) (Tibetan: Nyingje) Compassion or mercy, the special kindness shown to those who suffer. One of the four Brahma vihara.

Karuna: Mercy; compassion; kindness.

Karunavishta: Invaded by pity.

Karya: Effect (correlative of Karana); the physical body described as the Karya, in contrast to the causal body, the Karana; the world; Hiranyagarbha.

Karyabrahma: Hiranyagarbha; effected Brahman.

Karyakaranasambandha: Relation betwe the cause and the effect.

Karyatattvarthavit: One who knows the me ing of the essence of actions.

Karyavastha: Condition of an effect.

Karyavimukti: Liberation from activity; final emancipation.

Kashaya: The subtle influence in the mind produced by enjoyment and left there to fructify in time to come and distract the mind from Samadhi; hidden impressions.

Kashmir Shaivism: Shaivism as practiced in Kashmir. Vasugupta (circa 800) is considered the founder of this tradition. In this philosophy the Lord (Shiva) is considered both immanent and transcendent. In this tradition God-realization depends on the grace of the Satguru, whose method of spiritual transmission is shaktipat.

Kashyapa Buddha: (Sanskrit) (Tibetan: Sangye Oesung) The buddha who lived before the present Shakyamuni Buddha.

Kasturi: Musk; a perfume said to come from the naval of the musk deer; the plant Hibiscus Abelmoschus; the plant Amaryllis zeylanica; a species of jasmine.

Katha: Tale or story; history or narrative.

Kaupina: The Indian loin-cloth; suspensory bandag usually worn by men.

Kaya: Physical body.

Kayaklesa: Mortification and torment of the body.

Kayas, three: (Tibetan: kusum) There are three bodies of the Buddha: the dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya. The dharmakaya, also called the truth body, is the complete enlightenment or the complete wisdom of the Buddha, unoriginated wisdom that manifests in the sambhogakaya and the nirmanakaya forms. The sambhogakaya, the enjoyment body, manifests only to bodhisattvas. The nirmanakaya, the emanation body, manifests in the world and in this context manifests as the Shakyamuni Buddha.

Kayasampat: Perfection of the body so that it is equal to a wealth or treasure.

Kayasiddhi: Perfection of the body through Yoga.

Kayavyuha: Group of bodies (created by a Yogi, to exhaust his Prarabdha).

Kendra: Centre; heart.

Kevala asti: Pure Existence merely.

Kevala astitva: The state of Absolute Being.

Kevala: Alone; single; independent; the Absolute.

Kevalachaitanya: Pure Consciousness or intelligence, without thought.

Kevalajnana: Absolute knowledge; Brahma-jnana.

Kevalakumbhaka: Sudden restraint of breath, not preceded by either inhalation or exhalation.

Kevalanandasvarupa: Of the very form of mere Bliss; Brahman.

Key instructions: (Tibetan: Mengak) the quintessential instructions. These are instructions given directly from guru to student concerning meditation on the nature of mind. While some of these are written down, there are many passed on orally.

Keyura: An ornament worn on the arm of Lord Vishnu.

Kha: Sky; ether.

Khechara: What moves in the sky; the celestial being or the bird.

Khecharimudra: The Hatha Yogic pose whereby a person is able to fly in the sky.

Khenchen: (Tibetan) Great Khenpo.

Khenpo: (Tibetan) (Sanskrit: Upadhyaya) Literally expert. (1) Preceptor, principal officiator at the ordination of a monk or nun, (2) the abbot of a monastery, and (3) now also used as title for one who has completed the ten-year study of the traditional branches of Buddhist philosophy, logic, Vinaya and so forth.

Khichari: A rice and lentil dish considered to be a complete meal, often called “sadhu” food, because of its simple and nutritious value.

Khsatriya: A warrior or administrator; 2nd Vedic social order.

Khyati: Reputation; fame; knowledge.

Kiang: (Tibetan) A wild Tibetan horse.

Kirita: A crown; one of the ornaments of Lord Vishnu.

Kirtana: Singing the name and glory of God.

Kirti: Fame; reputation.

Klesa: Affliction; pain.

Klesha consciousness:   (Tibetan: nyoen yid) The seventh of the eight consciousnesses. see Eight Consciousnesses.

Klesha: (Sanskrit)(Tibetan: nyoen mong) see Disturbing emotions.

Knowledge of how-it-is: (Tibetan: jita khyenpa) Transcendent knowledge (jhana) of the true nature of reality, not “reality” as it appears to individuals in samsara.

Knowledge of variety: (Tibetan: jinye khyenpa) This is the transcendent knowledge (jhana) of the variety of phenomena.

Koan: A riddle-like puzzle used for teaching in Zen Buddhism by demonstrating the paradoxical nature of dualistic thinking. It cannot be solved by reason, but instead forces the student to solve it through a flash of insight. A well-known example is the question, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

Kosa: Sheath; bag; scabbard; a sheath enclosing the soul; there are five such concentric sheaths or the chambers one above the other, namely, the sheaths of bliss, intellect, mind, life-force and the gross body.

Koti: Crore (ten million); degree (Sadhana-koti or the degree of a spiritual aspirant, Siddha-koti or the order of perfected beings).

Krama: Order; rules regarding rituals.

Kramamukti: Progressive emancipation of the devotees wherein they proceed from this world to the world of Brahma and from there attain Kaivalya.

Kratu: Sacrifice; Yajna; action.

Kripa: Divine grace, compassion, mercy, blessing.

Krishna (Bhagavan Krishna): An avatar who lived in India ages before the Christian era. One of the meanings given for the word Krishna in the Hindu scriptures is “Omniscient Spirit.” Thus, Krishna, like Christ, is a spiritual title signifying the divine magnitude of the avatar – his oneness with God. The title Bhagavan means “Lord.” At the time he gave the discourse recorded in the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna was ruler of a kingdom in northern India. In his early life, Krishna lived as a cowherd who enchanted his companions with the music of his flute. In this role Krishna is often considered to represent allegorically the soul playing the flute of meditation to guide all misled thoughts back to the fold of omniscience.

Krishna Consciousness: Christ Consciousness; Kutastha Chaitanya. See Christ Consciousness.

Krishnadvaipayana: The famous Vyasa, the war of the Mahabharata, eighteen Puranas, and the compiler the Vedas.

Krishnajina: Special kind of deer-skin used as s during worship and Yogic meditation.

Kritabuddhi: (Very) intelligent; rational; discrimanative.

Kritakritya: One who has done all actions, i.e., Jnani.

Kritanasa: Destruction of what has been done; destruction of actions done or the rewards of actions that have bee done.

Kritatma: Pure soul who is extremely good and extremely self-sacrificing.

Kriya tantra: (Tibetan: ja way gyu) First of the four tantras which emphasizes personal purity.

Kriya Yoga: A sacred spiritual science, originating millenniums ago in India. It includes certain techniques of meditation whose devoted practice leads to realization of God. Paramahansa Yogananda has explained that the Sanskrit root of kriya is kri, to do, to act and react; the same root is found in the word karma, the natural principle of cause and effect. Kriya Yoga is thus “union (yoga) with the Infinite through a certain action or rite (kriya). “Kriya Yoga, a form of Raja (“royal” or “complete”) Yoga, is extolled by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita and by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. Revived in this age by Mahavatar Babaji, Kriya Yoga is the diksha (spiritual initiation) bestowed by the Gurus of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/SelfRealization Fellowship. Since the mahasamadhi of Paramahansa Yogananda, diksha is conferred through his appointed spiritual representative, the president of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship (or through one appointed by the president).

Kriya: Literally, ‘action, movement’; in Siddha Yoga it refers to the spontaneous physical or mental movements which occur after receiving shaktipat initiation and the kundalini is active.

Kriya: Physical action; particular exercises in Hath Yoga, such as Basti, Neti, Nauli, etc.

Kriyadvaita: Oneness in action or practical living of Oneness.

Kriyajnana: The intellectual processes which are the means taken to acquire Svarupajnana.

Kriyamana: (lit what is being done) the effect of the deeds of the present life to be experienced in the future; same as Agami.

Kriyanivritti: Relief from action; emancipation.

Kriyasakti: The power or faculty of acting.

Kriyayoga: Yoga of action; Yoga of self-purification through external service or worship.

Krodha: Anger; wrath.

Kruramati: One with a cruel mind or intention.

Krurata: Cruelty; pitilessness.

Kshama: Forgiveness.

Kshama: Moment.

Kshanabhangura: Liable to be destroyed at any time; utterly transient; evanescent.

Kshanika: Transitory; evanescent; momentary.

Kshanikatva: Momentariness.

Kshara: World; perishable.

Kshatradharma: Code of life and conduct of the warrior-class.

Kshatriyavidya: Military science of the warrior-caste.

Kshaya: Destruction; thinning; diminishing; annihilation.

Kshetra Gyan: Owner of the field or Soul or Purusha.

Kshetra: A holy place; field; also physical body in the philosophical sense. Field, or body or wife or womb or Nature or Prakriti.

Kshetrajna: The individual or the Supreme Soul.

Kshina: Powerless; weak.

Kshipta: Wandering state of the mind.

Kshiti: Earth.

Kshudrabrahmanda: Microcosm; human body.

Kuan Yin: (Chinese) (Japanese: Kwannon) The Chinese manifestation of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Although originally depicted as male, gradually from Song dynasty onwards, the bodhisattva is represented as female. She appears to all who need her help, especially those threatened by water, demons, sword or fire. Childless women often turn to her for help.

Kuladharma: The respective duty pertaining to the family.

Kumbhaka: Retention of breath; suspension of breath. Literally, ‘like a pot’; retention of breath; a process of pranayama or breath control practiced in hatha yoga, whereby the breath is retained in an expanded stomach. This form is called inner kumbhaka. When the breath is completely exhaled, and then held, it is called external retention. These are the two best known forms, however, the author of Hatha Yoga-Pradipika says that there are eight types. An advanced form of kumbhaka actually is not practiced at all but occurs spontaneously when kundalini-shakti is awakened. It occurs without inhalation or exhalation, but happens naturally without any strain. This type is called kevala-kumbhaka.

Kumkum: A red powder used in the worship of the Divine Mother.

Kundalini: The spiritual force latent within man, which remains dormant unless awakened through spiritual practices. The primordial cosmic energy located in the individual; it lies coiled up like a serpent with three and a half coils, with head downwards at the basal Muladharachakra. Literally, ‘coiled one’; the feminine form of Kundala, meaning ‘coiled’ or “circular”; the Primordial Energy (Shakti) or cosmic power that lies coiled like a serpent at the base of the spine of every individual. Through the Guru’s grace, or the intense practice of yoga, it is awakened and is made to rise through the central nadi (sushumna) to the spiritual center in the crown of the head (sahasrara).

Kuntuzangpo: (Sanskrit) see Samantabhadra.

Kusa: Sacred grass used for ritualistic purposes.

Kusali: (Tibetan) There are two approaches to practicing Buddhism; one is to study the Buddhist texts and the other is to meditate directly with little study which is the kusulu way. A meditator is known as a kusali.

Kushinagara: A town in India where Buddha died in a grove of sala trees.

Kutastha Chaitanya: See Christ Consciousness.

Kutastha: Absolutely changeless; He who is found without exception in all creatures from Brahma or the creator down to ants and Who is shining as the Self and dwells as witness to the intellect of all creatures, rock-seated, unchanging; another name for Brahman.

Kutasthachaitanya: Inner Self; individual Consciousness destitute of egoism.

Kutasthanitya: Eternal, without undergoing change; the changelessly permanent Self This is opposed Parinami Nitya or changing permanent.

Kutasthasatta: Rock-seated Being; firm being; being of the Self or Brahman.

Kutira: Hut or cottage; hermitage.

Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon: (1143-1217) The founder of the Drikung branch of the Kagyu lineage.


Laghava: Lightness of body through practice of meditation.

Laghima: Lightness; one of the eight major Siddhis of Yoga-practice.

Lahiri Mahasaya: Lahiri was the family name of Shyama Charan Lahiri (1828-1895). Mahasaya, a Sanskrit religious title, means “large-minded.” Lahiri Mahasaya was a disciple of Mahavatar Babaji, and the guru of Swami Sri Yukteswar (Paramahansa Yogananda’s guru). A God-realized master with miraculous powers, he was also a family man with business responsibilities. His mission was to make known a yoga suitable for modern man, in which meditation is balanced by right performance of worldly duties. He has been called a Yogavatar, “Incarnation of Yoga.” Lahiri Mahasaya was the disciple to whom Babaji revealed the ancient, almost lost science of Kriya Yoga, instructing him in turn to initiate sincere seekers. Lahiri Mahasaya’s life is described in Paramahansa Yogananda’s book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’.

Lajja: Shame; shyness.

Lakshana: Sign; definition; characteristic; condition.

Lakshanavritti: The inherent power in a sound that gives rise to a thought of certain qualities like name, form, etc., directly or indirectly associated with it.

Lakshya: Target; point of concentration.

Lakshyartha: Indicative meaning (in the exposition of Tat-tvam-asi Mahavakya); the Lakshyartha of Tat is Brahman and that of Tvam is Kutastha.

Lalleshwari: The mystical poetry of Lalla, a Kashmiri woman saint (circa 1300).

Lama: (Sanskrit: guru) A spiritual teacher. (1) In Tibetan a tantric master, now often used to refer to any respected monk. (2) In Vajrayana, the term for a teacher or guru, usually the head of a monastery or perhaps several monasteries. Some important lamas, such as the Dalai Lama, are considered to be bodhisattvas.

Lamdre: (Tibetan) (Sanskrit: margaphala) A set of instructions outlining the entire Mahayana path and emphasizing the deity Hevajra; these originated with the yogi Virupa and were passed on to the Sakya school.

Lamrim: (Tibetan) Stages of the path, gradual path, graded path.

Latent karmic imprints: (Sanskrit: vasana; Tibetan: pakchak) A person’s every action leaves an imprint which is stored in the eighth consciousness. When they are stimulated by external experience, these imprints leave the eighth consciousness and enter the sixth consciousness.

Laukika: Worldly; pertaining to the empirical phenomena.

Lauliki: The whirling of the belly from side to side.

Laya Yoga: This yogic system teaches the absorption of mind in the perception of certain astral sounds, leading to union with God as the cosmic sound of Aum. See Aum and Yoga.

Laya: Dissolution; merging.

Layachintana: Concentration of the mind with a view to dissolve it; that kind of Vedantic meditation where the mind is carried on progressively from grosser to subtler ideas until it is dissolved in the Unmanifested or Para Brahman; there is for instance, the Bhutalayachintana, the Antahkaranalayachintana, and the Omkaralayachintana.

Layakrama: The order of the dissolution of the Tattvas.

Layasthana: The place of dissolution.

Layayoga: Process of absorption of the individual soul into the Supreme Soul; another name of Nada-yoga or Kundalini-yoga.

Leela: Divine play, or sport. Many Hindus believe the whole universe is a ‘leela’, a play of God.

Left channel: (Sanskrit: lalana; Tibetan: kyangma) The left lateral subtle channel is parallel to the central channel and is usually visualized as white.

Lesa-avidya: Trace of ignorance.

Life maintaining energy: (Sanskrit: prana; Tibetan: lung) This subtle energy gives the inanimate body the energy to be a living system. It flows in channels called nadis.

Lila: Play; sport; the cosmos looked upon as a divine play.

Lilamayi: A connotative name of the divine force whom creation and dissolution are mere play or sport.

Lilavilasa: The splendour of divine sport.

Lina: Dissolved; merged; lost.

Linga: Mark; gender; sign; symbol.

Lingadeha: The astral body; the subtle body.

Lingam: A symbol of the Supreme Reality, used in the worship of Lord Shiva.

Lingasarira: The subtle or psychic body that become particularly active during the dream state by creating a world of its own; the three sheaths of intelligence, mind and vital energy constitute this body.

Lingatman: The subtle self.

Lobha: Covetousness; greed.

Loka: World of names and forms

Lokasangraha: Solidarity of the world; uplift of the world.

Lokayata: Materialist; Charvaka.

Loluta: Covetousness; cupidity; earthly enjoyment.

Lopon: (Sanskrit: Acarya) A spiritual master, similar to a Geshe scholar. Today used as a degree equivalent to a Masters Degree.

Lotsawa: (From Sanskrit) Translator. Used by Tibetans.

Lotus Sutra: The Lotus Sutra is probably the most important text of Mahayana Buddhism. It describes a lecture the Buddha gave and its ideas. He discussed all the things that differentiate Mahayana Buddhism from Theravada, such as the idea of a bodhisattva, in particular the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, the merit of the people who venerate the Lotus Sutra, and the key to nirvana and Buddhahood.

Lovingkindness: (Sanskrit: maitri; Tibetan: jampa) This is compassion for oneself and is a prerequisite to compassion for others (Sanskrit: karuna).

Lumbini Grove: A place in Nepal where Buddha was born, during his mother’s trip to her parents home.

Luminosity: (Tibetan: selwa) In the third turning everything is a void, but it is not completely empty because it has luminosity. Luminosity or clarity allows all phenomena to appear and is a characteristic of emptiness (Sanskrit: shunyata).

Lung: (Tibetan) Ritual reading. In order to perform a vajrayana practice, one must have a holder of the lineage read the text straight through, give an explanation of the practice (thri) and give the empowerment for the practice (wang).

Lungi: A piece of cloth worn by Indian men wrapped around the waist, and reaching the knees or ankles, according to one’s preference.


Maala: Rosary; beads used for counting the number of Japa done.

Mada: Pride.

Madhukaribhiksha: Alms collected from door to door like a bee collecting honey from flower to flower.

Madhuparka: An offering for the Lord containing honey, curd, etc.

Madhura: The attitude of a devotee expressing the emotion that exists between a lover and the beloved; the devotee looks upon God as his Beloved.

Madhuvidya: The process of meditation on Brahman taking the sun (honey) as a symbol of Brahman.

Madhyama: A slightly gross form of sound.

Madhyamaka: (Tibetan: umapa) Proponent of the Madhyamika or Middle Way School.

Madhyamakotyadhikari: Qualified person of the middle type.

Madhyamaparimana: Middle size.

Madhyamavairagya: Middle type of Vairagya; not intense Vairagya.

Madhyamika: (Tibetan: uma) The most influential of the four schools of Indian Buddhism founded by Nagarjuna in the second century C.E. The name comes from the Sanskrit word meaning the Middle-way; it means not holding extreme views, especially those of eternalism or nihilism. The main postulate of this school is that all phenomena—both internal mental events and external physical objects—is empty of any true nature, although phenomena do exist in conventional reality.

Maha ati: (Tibetan: dzogchen) The highest of the tantras.

Maha: A prefix meaning, ‘great, supreme, paramount.’

Mahabharata: An Epic describing the Great fratricidal war and Bhagvatgita.

Mahabhuta: Great element; primordial element.

Mahadbrahma: Hiranyagarbha; Sutratma; cosmic intelligence.

Mahadevi: The Buddha’s mother, who died seven days after giving birth to him.

Mahakala: (Tibetan: nagpo chenpo or goenpo) The wrathful form of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, offers protection from dangers and bad influences that might hinder a monk’s approach to enlightenment. Seen as the protector of the Dalai Lamas, he is also known as the “great black one”or Bernakchen.

Mahakalpa: The great cycle; hundred years of Brahma when the whole universe is dissolved in the Unmanifested.

Mahakashyapa: The monk who understood the silent sermon and led the first council.

Mahamandaleshwar: Literally, ‘the great lord of a community, province, or regiment (mandal)’; a religious title which is usually bestowed on a spiritual leader by the community of Mahamandaleshwars. Within the Hindu monastic orders there are also the Naga sannyasis. They were originally organized into seven groups called Akhadas or ‘regiments’, viz. Mahanirvani, Niranjani, Juna, Atal, Avahan, Agni and Ananda, and came under the tutelage of the Shankaracharyas. These naked naga monks were allowed to bear arms for the protection of not only the ten monastic branches of sannyasis, started by Adi Shankara, but also the Hindu religion, which was coming under attack by the invading Muslims. Centuries later, a controversy broke out between the Shankaracharyas of the time and the Akhadas. Instead of guiding them, the often class conscious successors of Adi Shankaracharya seemed to ignore the lower caste nagas. It was at that time that the Akhadas, in a unanimous vote, decided to accept Paramahamsa sannyasis as their spiritual guides (Acharyas). Paramahamsa sannyasis consider themselves free of all dogmas and orthodoxy, and will accept worthy disciples from any caste. At first, seven were chosen, one for each Akhada. They were called Mandaleshwars. As time passed, more were appointed, and when any of their disciples also became Mandaleshwars, they would then be known as Mahamandaleshwars. In time, the smaller Akhadas were also merged with other Akhadas, so today there are generally three main Akhadas: Mahanirvani, Niranjani and Juna. Mahasamadhi: Literally, ‘the great samadhi’; the final transcendental experience of a great being; the conscious exit from the physical body by a realized being; death; also, the shrine or tomb of great saints and yogis.

Mahamaya tantra: (Tibetan: gyu ma chen mo) The mother tantra of the anuttarayoga which is one of the four main tantras in Tibet.

Mahamaya: see Mahadevi.

Mahamudra: (Tibetan: Chakgya chenpo) Literally, great seal. All phenomena are sealed by their primordially perfect true nature. This is one of the four mudras (gya shi), a system of teachings that are fundamental to Vajrayana practice, the most direct practice for realizing one’s buddha nature.

Mahan: The Great; the evolute from Prakriti according to the Sankhya; Brahma or Hiranyagarbha.

Mahapandita: (Tibetan: pan di ta chen po) A very great Buddhist scholar (pandita).

Mahaprajapati: Buddha’s aunt and stepmother, founder of Buddhist nuns.

Mahapralaya: The great deluge and general annihilation of the world; the final destruction of the whole creation at the end of a cosmic cycle.

Mahapurusha: A great person; a great soul; a sage; the Supreme Lord.

Maharaja: Emperor.

Maharloka: The fourth of the seven planes above nether regions.

Maharshi: Great sage.

Mahasamadhi: Sanskrit maha, “great,” samadhi. The last meditation, or conscious communion with God, during which a perfected master merges himself in the cosmic Aum and casts off the physical body. A master invariably knows beforehand the time God has appointed for him to leave his bodily residence. See samadhi.

Mahashivaratri: see Shivaratri.

Mahasiddha: (Tibetan: drup thop chen po) A practitioner who has a great deal of realization. The term particularly refers to Vajrayana practitioners who lived in India between the eight and twelfth century and practiced tantra. The Eighty-four Mahasiddhas is a biography of some of the most famous.

Mahat: Great; the first product from Prakriti in evolution according to Sankhya philosophy, intellect.

Mahatahparah: Beyond the great; greater than the great; above the reach of the intellect.

Mahatma: Great soul; saint; sage.

Mahattattva: The great principle; the principle of intelligence or Buddhi; Hiranyagarbha or Brahma.

Mahattva: Greatness.

Mahavakya: (lit.) Great sentence. Upanishadic declarations, four in number, expressing the highest Vedantic truths or the identity between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul. They are:1/Prajnanam Brahma (Consciousness is Brahman) in Aitareya Upanishad of the Rig Veda. 2/Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman) in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad of Yajur Veda. 3/Tat Tvam Asi (That thou art) in Chhandogya Upanishad of Sama Veda. 4/Ayam Atma Brahma (This Self is Brahman) in Mandukya Upanishad of Atharva Veda.

Mahavakyanusandhana: Enquiry into the truth of the Mahavakyas.

Mahavatar Babaji: The deathless mahavatai (“great avatai”) who in 1861 gave Kiiya Yoga initiation to Lahiri Mahasaya, and thereby restored to the world the ancient technique of salvation. Perennially youthful, he has lived for centuries in the Himalayas, bestowing a constant blessing on the world. His mission has been to assist prophets in carrying out their special dispensations.

Mahavatar: ‘Great Divine Incarnation’.

Mahayana Buddhism: (Tibetan: tekpa chenpo) Literally, the great vehicle. The largest and most influential of the three main forms of Buddhism, it is based on the teachings of the second and third turning of the wheel of dharma, emphasizing shunyata, compassion, and the universal buddha nature. It is practiced in the East Asia and is similar to Vajrayana practice. Mahayana emphasizes the idea of the bodhisattva over that of the arhat. The goal of an individual is therefore not to pass out of this world into nirvana, but to attain enlightenment—with the wisdom, understanding and power that goes with it—and then to show compassion by returning to this world to help those in need. In East Asia, Pureland and Zen are the two most popular schools of Mahayana. It is also refered as Northern Buddhism.

Mahayoga: Literally, the ‘Great Yoga’; It is called the ‘great yoga’ because when it is activated it consists of hatha yoga, mantra yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, laya yoga, and raja yoga. This path is also known as Siddha Yoga, Kundalini Maha Yoga, and Guru Kripa. In this yoga the Guru initiates the disciple through the method known as shaktipat, in which he transmits his own spiritual energy into the disciple by either touch, word (mantra), look or thought in order to awaken the dormant kundalini.

Mahesvara: Great Lord; name of Siva.

Mahima: Glory; one of the eight major Siddhis; the power of assuming immense size.

Mahout: An elephant trainer and controller; the keeper and driver of an elephant. Mala: A string of beads, similar to a rosary, used to keep count the number of times a mantra is repeated. The material which the beads are made of vary according to sectarian traditions, but they may be seeds, wood, or mineral. The number of beads are usually 108, which corresponds to the 27 Lunar Mansions (Nakshatras) when each are divided into quarters.

Maitreya: (Tibetan: jampa) A bodhisattva who lived at the time of the Buddha, he represents all-encompassing love. Known to all schools of Buddhism, he is worshipped as a being who guides those who confess their wrongs, and teachers who become discouraged. He is sometimes depicted as the “Laughing Buddha” with his hands stretched over his head, a smile on his face, and a large, bare stomach. Maitreya is presently residing in the Tushita pure realm until he becomes the fifth buddha of this eon, in approximatley 30,000 years.

Maitri: Caring, loving kindness displayed to all you meet. One of the four Brahma vihara.

Maitri: Friendliness.

Majja: Marrow.

Makaara: The mystic syllable “m”, the third letter that concludes Om or the Pranava-nada.

Makara: Crocodile.

Mala: (Tibetan: trengwa) A rosary which usually has 108 beads.

Mala: Impurity of the mind; one of the three defects of the mind.

Malavasanarahita: Free from impurities and subtle desires.

Malinasattva: Impure Sattva; nescience; Avidya in the individual.

Mamakara: Mineness; the thought “this is mine” in relation to the body and the things connected with it, such as wife, children, relations, friends, home, wealth and the like.

Mamata: Mineness.

Mana: Respect; sense of self-respect.

Manah: Mind or the switch-board of the sense telephones, inner instrument of perception.

Manahkalpitajagat: The world created by the mind or imagination.

Manahpranasambandha: The relation between mind and vital energy.

Manahsuddhi: Purification of the mind.

Manana: Constant thinking; reflection; meditation on the eternal verities; the second of the three steps on the path of knowledge.

Mananasakti: Power of reflection and concentration.

Manas: Consciousness, mind, intelligence, the thinking faculty

Manasah-manah: Mind of mind; the Inner Ruler or the Self or Brahman.

Manasapuja: Mental worship; an item of ritualistic worship requiring the devotee to go mentally through the entire procedure of worship.

Manasika: Mental; pertaining to the mind.

Manasikajapa: Mental repetition of a Mantra.

Manasikakriya: Mental action.

Manasisakti: Power of mind; intelligence; understanding.

Manavadharma: The essential nature of man; reli of man; the duties of man.

Manda: Dull; thick.

Mandala offering: One of the four ngoendro practices. see Ngoendro.

Mandala: Region; sphere or plane, e.g., Suryaman or the solar region. (Tibetan: chin kor) In general, an art form based on a complex circle, the symbol of eternal continuity. In Vajrayana, it is a painting or tapestry based on concentric circles. Within the circles, the Buddha usually appears with other deities, bodhisattvas, and other symbolic imagery. For the monk, a mandala serves as a focus of meditation, and a symbolic representation of the reality of the identity of samsara and nirvana. In popular religion, the Buddhas and deities depicted in a mandala become the object(s) of worship. Mandela also denotes a sacred location such as the mandala of the dharmakaya.

Mandap: From mand, ‘to adorn, decorate’; an open hall or temple compound; an opened building or structure where the fire ritual (yajna) is performed.

Mandir: A Hindu temple or place of worship.

Mangala-arati: Worship through waving of lights before God or any adorable personage.

Manipura chakra: Literally, ‘wheel of the jeweled city’; the third spiritual center, indicative of willpower, located just below the naval; the solar plexus.

Manipura-chakra: The third of the Yogic centres situated in the region of the navel.

Manisha: Independent power of thinking.

Manjushri: (Tibetan: Jampalyang) The Bodhisattva of Wisdom, this meditational deity represents discriminative awareness (prajna). He is usually depicted as holding the sword of knowledge in his right hand and scripture, the Prajnaparamita Sutra, in his left. His wisdom casts away the darkness of ignorance.

Manodharma: Natural attributes or properties of mind.

Manolaya: Conquest of the mind. Involution and dissolution of the mind in its cause.

Manomatrajagat: Mind alone is world; world made up of mind only.

Manomayakosa: One of the sheaths of the Sel consisting of the mind.

Manomurchakumbhaka: Retention of brew wherein the mind lapses into unconsciousness; a variety of Pralaya.

Manonasa: Destruction of the mind.

Manonirodha: Control or annihilation of the mind.

Manorajya: Building castles in the air; mental kingdom.

Manoratha: Desire of the mind.

Mantra Yoga: Divine communion attained through devotional, concentrated repetition of root-word sounds that have a spiritually beneficial vibratory potency. See Yoga.

Mantra: ‘Instrument of thought’; a mystical or sacred word, verse, or formula given by the Guru at the time of initiation. When given by a Satguru, it is said to be a ‘conscious’ mantra, and becomes a vehicle for the transmission of the Guru’s spiritual power.

Mantra: Sacred syllable or word or set of words through the repetition and reflection of which one attains perfection or realisation of the Self. Prayer. (Tibetan: ngak) Literally, mind-guard, protecting the mind from ignorance. Often, a Sanskrit phrase or syllable is used to invoke various deities or represent various energies. Mantra can also refer to the teachings of Vajrayana as a whole.

Mantra-chaitanya: The dormant potency of Mantra.

Mantra-sakti: Power of the Lord’s Name; the potency of any Mantra.

Mantra-siddhi: Perfection in the practice of Mantrajapa; mastery over the Devata of a Mantra so that the Devata graces the votary whenever invoked.

Mantrayana: (Tibetan: Ngakgi thegpa) Mantra Vehicle, another term for Vajrayana. The related scriptures are ascribed to the Shakyamuni Buddha and his different manifestations. They describe the Mandala and the practice connected with an enlightened being.

Manvantara: The period of Manu’s rule consisting of 71 celestial Yugas.

Mara: (Tibetan: due) Difficulties encountered by the practitioner. There are four kinds of maras: skandha-mara which is an incorrect view of self, klesha-mara which is being overpowered by negative emotions, mrityu-mara which is death and interrupts spiritual practice, and devaputra-mara which is becoming stuck in the bliss that comes from meditation. Mara is also the name given to the personified force of evil which attempts to prevent Buddha from attaining enlightenment.

Mardava: Mildness; tenderness; smoothness.

Marga: Path; road. The Eightfold Noble Path, which is the Fourth Noble Truth.

Marks of Existence: There are three marks of existence: suffering (duhkha), impermanence (anitya), and “no-soul” (anatman).

Marpa: (1012-1097) Marpa founded the Kagyu lineage in Tibet. A Tibetan, he made three trips to India and brought back many tantric texts including the Six Yogas of Naropa, the Guhyasamaja, and the Chakrasamvara practices. His teacher was Tilopa.

Martanda: The Sun-God.

Martyaloka: The mortal world; earth-plane.

Marut: A certain class of heavenly bodies; the wind-god.

Masjid: Literally, ‘place of prostration; hall of prayers; the Arabic word from which mosque is derived; also, a Muslim structure in which Sai Baba of Shirdi lived.

Master: One who has achieved self-mastery. Paramahansa Yogananda has pointed out that “the distinguishing qualifications of a master are not physical but spiritual. Proof that one is a master is supplied only by the ability to enter at will the breathless state [sabikalpa samadhi) and by the attainment of immutable bliss [niibikalpa samadhi). See samadhi. Paramahansa Yogananda further states: “All scriptures proclaim that the Lord created man in His omnipotent image. Control over the universe appears to be supernatural, but in truth such power is inherent and natural in everyone who attains ‘right remembrance’ of his divine origin. Men of God-realization are devoid of the ego-principle (ahamkaia) and its uprisings of personal desires; the actions of true masters are in effortless conformity with rita, natural righteousness.

Mathakasa: Space bounded by a temple or a house or a room.

Mati: Thought; mind rightly directed towards knowledge revealed and practice enjoined by Sastras.

Matra: Unit; alone; element.

Matri-mana-mega: Knower, knowing and the known; measurer, measuring and the measured.

Matsarya: Jealousy.

Matsyasana: Fish-posture of the Hatha Yogins; a person can float on water like a fish for a considerable time if he steadily lies there in this posture.

Matsyavatara: The Fish-incarnation of God, according to Hindu mythology.

Matsyendranatha: A great siddha yogi (circa 900?) and the Guru of Gorakshanatha. Matsyendranatha is perhaps the best known Guru of the Natha lineage (sampradaya). His exact place of birth is not known. Some say it was the northwestern part of the Punjab, while others say that he was originally from Bengal. Today there is hardly any place in India which does not have a tradition relating to this great yogi’s influence. In many places, including south India, there are long traditions pointing to his direct influence. He is also the patron saint of Nepal.

Matsyendrasana: This posture was invented by Bhagavan Matsyendra, one of the pioneers of Yogic culture.

Maudgalaputra: (Tibetan: Mougalgyi bu) One of the two foremost disciples of the Buddha.

Mauna: Silence.

Maya: The illusive power of Brahman; the veiling and the projecting power of the universe. The cosmic illusion; the power which veils the truth and keeps us stuck in bondage. The screen hiding God; it is obstructive and therefore hides the truth. The delusory power inherent in the structure of creation, by which the One appears as many. Maya is the principle of relativity, inversion, contrast, duality, oppositional states; the “Satan” (lit., in Hebrew, “the adversary”) of the Old Testament prophets; and the “devil” whom Christ described picturesquely as a “murderer” and a “liar,” because “there is no truth in him” [John 8:44). The inscrutable, mysterious, and magical power of God (Ishwara) which is responsible for the perception of diversity; the cosmic creative force; the power of illusion, obscuration and concealment; the principle which makes the jiva experience itself as limited.

Mayadevi. see Mahadevi.

Mayamohajala: The jugglery or deception set by infatuation of Maya.

Mayasabalabrahma: Another name for Sagun Brahman or Isvara (the Brahman conjoined with attributes, enwrapped in and coloured with Maya).

Mayavada: Also known as Mithyavada; theory of illusion; doctrine of the phenomenal character of the universe.

Mayavi: Master-magician; great juggler; Brahman.

Mayopadhi: The Upadhi or the apparently limiting conditions produced by Maya or appearance.

Medha: Power of retaining the import of studies; intelligence or intellect; power of understanding.

Meditation instructions: (Tibetan: man ngag) Instruction given to a practitioner by a teacher or guru.

Meditation: Concentration upon God. The term is used in a general sense to denote practise of any technique for interiorizing the attention and focusing it on some aspect of God. In the specific sense, meditation refers to the end result of successful practise of such techniques: direct experience of God through intuitive perception. It is the seventh step (dhyana) of the eightfold path of Yoga described by Patanjali, achieved only after one has attained that fixed concentration within whereby he is completely undisturbed by sensory impressions from the outer world. In deepest meditation one experiences the eighth step of the Yoga path: samadhi, communion, oneness with God. (See also Yoga.)

Meditative absorption: (Sanskrit: samadhi; Tibetan: ting nge dzin) This is one-pointed meditation and is the highest form of meditation.

Medulla: The principal point of entry of life force (prana) into the body, into the seat of the sixth cerebrospinal centre, whose function it is to receive and direct the incoming flow of cosmic energy. The life force is stored in the seventh centre (sahasrara) in the topmost part of the brain. From that reservoir it is distributed throughout the body. The subtle centre at the medulla is the main switch that controls the entrance, storage, and distribution of the life force.

Meghakasa: Sky reflected in particles of water which resemble spray and which are inferable as existing in the canopy of clouds, which hangs in the expansive firmament from the subsequent showers of rain; cloud-environed ether.

Mental consciousness: (Tibetan: yid kyi namshe) The sixth consciousness responsible for analyzing the sensory perceptions of the five sensory consciousnesses. see Eight Consciousnesses.

Mental factors: (Tibetan: sem yung) Mental factors are long-term propensities of the mind. They include the eleven virtuous factors such as faith, detachment, and equanimity; the root defilements such as desire, anger, and pride; and the twenty secondary defilements such as resentment, dishonesty, harmfulness.

Merit: (punya) Merit is essentially “good Karma.” It can be gained in a number of ways. Many of these involve interaction between the sangha and the laity. For example, when a lay person gives a monk food, they gain merit. Acting in a moral manner, teaching the proper belief, preaching, and chanting also gain an individual merit. Worship of the Buddha can also bring merit. The notion of merit plays the largest role in Theravada Buddhism.

Merudanda: The spinal column.

Metta: (Pali) Maitri.

Middleway: (Tibetan: u ma) see Madhyamika School.

Milarepa: (1040-1123) A student of Marpa, Milarepa attained enlightenment in one lifetime. His student Gampopa founded the (Dagpo) Kagyu lineage.

Mimamsa: An enquiry into the nature of a thing; the science of philosophical logic enquiring into Vedic knowledge; Purvamimamsa or Uttaramimamsa.

Mind poisons: (Tibetan: duk) Literally, poison, but usually translated as defilement. The three main poisons are passion or desire, aggression or anger, and ignorance. see Five poisons.

Mind-Only School also called the Chittamatra: (Tibetan: semtsampa) A school founded by Asanga in the fourth century, it is usually translated as the Mind Only School, or Idealist. It is one of the four major schools in the Mahayana tradition; greatly simplified, its main tenet is that all phenomena are mental events, emphasizing that everything is mental.

Mipham Rinpoche: (Tibetan) A great Nyingma master and writer of the last century.

Mitahara: Moderate diet.

Mithya: False; unreal; illusory.

Mithyabhimana: False egoism.

Mithyachara: Sinful conduct; hypocrisy.

Mithyadrishti: The vision that this world is unreal.

Mithyahamkara: Same as Mithyabhimana.

Mithyajnana: False knowledge.

Mithyajnananimitta: Based on wrong knowledge.

Mithyasambandha: False relationship.

Mithyavada: Phenomenal doctrine; theory of illusion.

Moha: Infatuation; delusion caused by wrong thinking; false identification and deluded attachment.

Moksha/Mokshya: Release; The final spiritual Liberation, ie, Self-Realization. The term is particularly applied to the liberation from the bondage of Karma and the wheel of birth and death; Absolute Experience. Final Liberation from the cycle of births and deaths.

Moon days: Every lunar month has four moon days. The most important are the New Moon (which begins the month) and the Full Moon (which is the middle of the month). On these days the sangha gathers to read the rules of monk behavior and each monk examines himself to see if he has violated any of the rules. The other two moon days are halfway between these two. Thus, there is a moon day every seven days. Members of the laity often gather at the monastery on these days for religious activity.

Mosque: A Muslim hall of prayer; a gathering place for religious worship and instructions; French derivative of the Arabic Masjid. (see Masjid).

Mother tantra: (Tibetan: ma gyu) There are three kinds of tantras. The father tantra is concerned with transforming aggression; the mother tantra is concerned with transforming passion; and the non-dual tantra is concerned with transforming ignorance.

Mriduta: Gentleness; tenderness.

Mridya (Vairagya): Mild form of dispassion; intermittent, vague and weak.

Mrigatrishna: Mirage in the desert.

Mrisha: Vain; hollow; false; unreal.

Mrityu: Death; Lord Yama.

Mrityunjaya: Conqueror of death; one of the names of Lord Siva.

Mudhavastha: One of the five states of the mind; state of ignorance or forgetfulness of one’s real nature.

Mudita: Complacency; joy. Sympathetic joy, being happy for others, without a trace of envy. One of the four Brahma vihara.

Mudra: (Tibetan: chak gya) Symbolic hand gestures used in ritual or dance. The Buddha is often depicted with his hands in the meditation mudra or in the mudra symbolizing teaching. In Vajrayana, the gestures enlarge to involve the entire body, and they enable the gesturer to interact with Tantric deities. When performed in specific tantric ritual practices they symbolize certain aspects of the practice.

Mudra: A certain class of exercises in Hatha Yoga; symbols shown in hands during worship.

Mudra: Literally, ‘seal’; various advanced hatha yoga techniques; symbolic hand gestures used to control and direct the vital airs (prana) in the physical body. After receiving shaktipat these gestures may occur spontaneously, expressing ecstatic feelings. Among the best known are: 1. Chin-mudra (also known as jnana-mudra and yoga-mudra) where the thumb and index finger touch, forming a circle, while the other fingers are extended; 2. abhaya-mudra, in which the fingers are extended and the palm faces forward. This is the gesture of fearlessness (abhaya); 3. shambhavi-mudra, ‘the ecstatic mood.’ In this mudra the eyes may become wide open, or, the eyes become focused within, even though they remain half opened; 4. Anjali-mudra, the two hands are joined together in reverence at the level of the heart, eyes, or above the crown of the head.

Mugdhata: The state of very deluded forgetfulness of real divine nature through infatuation.

Muhurtam: Auspicious moment; a period equivalent to 48 minutes.

Mukhya: Chief; primary.

Mukhyaprana: Chief vital air.

Mukhyasamanyadhikarana: The great Vedantic text “Aham Brahmasmi: I am Brahman” teaches the identity of the individual soul and the Supreme Being. Here the soul designated as “I”, the doer and the enjoyer is not one with Brahman, but it is the noumenal Self Who is the basis of that “I” that is identical with Brahman. Thus “I” is to be deprived of its fictitious environments before establishing its identity with Brahman; the main common substratum. To illustrate the matter, let us take an ordinary instance of a rectified error. “That which was thought to be a pillar is a man.” Here the proposition does not mean that the pillar is one with the man. But, it simply teaches us that knowledge of the man dispels the notion of the pillar, and residuum of that idea of pillar is the same as man. In o words, the relation of subject and predicate is not based up direct identity (Mukhyasamanyadhikarana) but upon sublation of the falsity of the subject as such (Badhasamanyadhikarana).

Mukhyavritti: Primary sense; power or Sakti words.

Mukta: The liberated one.

Muktananda: Mukta = ‘set free, released’ + ananda = ‘bliss, joy’; the joy of spiritual freedom or liberation.

Muktapurusha: A person liberated from all kinds of bondage; one freed from birth and death.

Mukti: same as Moksha.

Mula: Origin; root; base; tuber.

Mula-avidya: Same as Mula-ajnana.

Muladhara Chakra: The sacred energy center located at the base of the spine.

Muladhara: (from ‘mula’ = ‘root’ + ‘adhara’ = ‘support’); the root center; the spiritual center at the base of the spine where the kundalini resides; symbolically represented as a coiled serpent, it indicates the spiritual potential when awakened.

Muladhara: The lowermost of the six Yogic centres the body.

Muladhauti: Cleaning of the anus.

Mulajnana: Primal ignorance which contains all potentialities.

Mulamantra: Root Mantra; the powerful and the most important of the Mantras of any deity.

Mulaprakriti: Avyaktam; the ultimate subtle cause for all matter.

Mumukshu: Seeker after liberation.

Mumukshutva: Intense longing for liberation.

Muni: A sage; an austere person; one observing the vow of silence (Mauna).

Murcha: Fainting.

Murkha: Fool.

Murta-amurta: Personal and impersonal.

Murti: Idol.

Murti: Image; form; statue.


Nabhi: Navel.

Nabhichakra: Manipurachakra; the third lotus at the navel, according to Hatha Yoga.

Nada: Mystic sound (of the Eternal); the primal sound or First vibration from which all creation has emanated; the first manifestation of the unmanifested Absolute; Omkara or Sabda Brahman; also the mystic inner sound or Anahata on which the Yogi concentrates.

Nadabindukalatita: Beyond the states of Nada, Bindu and Kala, in Tantric conception; the supreme state of Brahman.

Nadanusandhana: Enquiry or investigation into the Anahata sounds.

Nadi: (Tibetan: tsa) Channels through which the subtle energies (prana) flow. Nerve; channel; psychic current. Physical and subtle channels through which prana flows. According to Bhuti Suddhi Tantra there are 72,000 nadis; the Prapancha Sara Tantra says 300,000, while the Shiva Samhita says there are 350,000 nadis. In any case, this merely indicates that there are countless nadis in the human body, but the sushumna, ida and pingala are considered the three most important nadis. When kundalini is awakened, it is made to travel up the sushumna nadi, until it reaches the top most spiritual center in the crown of the head called sahasrara chakra.

Nadi: River

Nadisuddhi: Purification of the Nadis.

Naga: (Tibetan: Lu) Water-deities or spirits, great serpents or dragons, which may have a human upper body with a serpent tail. Generally living in fountains, lakes and ocieans, they are often the custodians of underground treasures, including texts. The king of the Nagas protected Buddha from a storm.

Naga: One order of Sadhus, who are nude.

Nagarjuna: (Tibetan: ludrup) An Indian Buddhist monk and scholar, probably of the second century who founded the Madhyamika philosophical school which emphasized emptiness. He systematized the teachings of the second and third turning of the wheel of Dharma; he also wrote extensive commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Sutra.

Naimittika: Occasional; not daily or permanent.

Naimittika-karma: Obligatory rites on special occasions, such as death anniversaries, eclipses, etc.

Naimittikapralaya: Occasional cosmic dissolution, during Hiranyagarbha’s sleep.

Naishkarmya: Cessation of works of Prakriti; the state of being actionless (in salvation).

Naishthikabrahmachari: One who has taken the vow of life-long celibacy, residing in the house of his preceptor.

Naivedya: Edible offerings to the deity in a temple or household altar.

Naiyayika: Follower of the Nyaya school of Indian philosophy.

Nakshatravidya: The science of stars; astronomy.

Nalanda: The greatest Buddhist University from the fifth to the tenth century, it was the seat of the Mahayana teachings, and many great Buddhist scholars studied there. Located near modern Rajgir, it is housed in the monasteries built by three merchants on the site of Shariputra’s tomb, where Ashoka had later built an altar.

Nama: Name.

Namarupa: Name and form; the nature of the world.

Namarupajagat: The world of names and forms.

Namarupavyakarana: Evolution of names and forms.

Namaskara (or Namaste): Literally, ‘homage to the divine within you’; the Indian greeting which honors the Divine in others, and is performed by joining the hands at the level of the heart (anjali-mudra). It is also used to show reverent devotion to an image of a deity, or one’s Guru.

Namasmarana: Remembrance of the Lord throu repetition of His Name.

Namastai Room: Literally, ‘the greeting room’; a room used by Muktananda to receive guests privately (see Namaskara).

Namo: (Sanskrit) (Tibetan: chaktsal) Homage.

Namrata: Humility.

Nanabhava: The feeling of plurality or multiplicity.

Nanatva: Many-ness; variety; diversity.

Narakas: Demons, hell beings.

Narasimha: A fierce manifestation of Vishnu in the form of a man-lion in which the Lord incarnated to kill Hiranyakasipu.

Narayana: A proper name of God; the term by etymology means a Being that supports all things, that is reached by them and that helps them to do so; when the compound Nara plus Ayana is understood as a Bahuvrihi compound, the word means one who pervades all things; one who sleeps on waters.

Naropa: (956-1040) An Indian master who is best known for transmitting many Vajrayana teachings to Marpa, who in turn took them to Tibet before the Moslem invasion of India.

Nasika: Nose; the subtle organ of smell corresponding to the outer organ, the nose.

Nasikagra: Tip of the nose.

Nasikagradrishti: Gaze at the tip of the nose.

Nataraj: Literally, ‘The Lord of Dance’; a name of Lord Shiva; an image symbolizing the five great Acts of God, viz.: Creation, Preservation, Destruction, Concealment, and Grace.

Nauli: Hatha Yogic Kriya, wherein the abdominal region is churned with the rotating motion of the rectus muscles.

Navadvarapuri: The nine-gated city; body.

Navanatha: Literally, the ‘Nine Lords, masters, or adepts’; usually this term refers to the nine yogis of the Natha tradition of which Matsyendranatha and Gorakshanatha are the two most famous. The founder of this tradition is said to be Adi Natha. Adi Natha simply means, ‘First Lord.’ He is therefore considered by many to be Lord Shiva Himself. The masters of this tradition are often called Siddha yogis, and they include Nivrittinatha, and his disciple and brother, Jnaneshwar. But the traditional list of the nine nathas is given in a verse by Revanasiddha where he writes: “Nine Nathas or Siddhas, whose names are Goraksha, Jalandhara, Carpata, Adbhanga, Kanipha, Machindara, Cauranga, Revana, and Bhartri, have flourished in this world.”

Navariddhis: The nine minor psychic powers.

Navashakti: Literally, the ‘nine powers.’

Navavidhabhakti: Nine modes of devotion, viz., hearing His Names and Glories, singing them, remembering the Lord, worship (service) of His Feet, adoration with flowers, prostrations, regarding oneself as His servant, as His friend, and total self-surrender.

Nembutsu: In Japanese, the term by which devotees call on the Amitabha Buddha. They usually say Namu Amida Butsu (Praise to the Buddha Amitabha), which can be shortened to Nembutsu.

Neti: Hatha Yogic Kriya for cleansing the nostrils, by passing a thread through the nostrils; one of the six Kriyas or preliminary purificatory exercises in Hatha Yoga.

Neti-neti: “Not this, not this”; the analytical process of progressively negating all names and forms in order to arrive at the eternal underlying Truth.

Ngoendro: (Tibetan) Preliminary practice. One usually begins the Vajrayana path by doing the four preliminary practices: 100,000 refuge prayers with prostrations, 100,000 vajrasattva mantras, 100,000 mandala offerings, and 100,000 guru yoga practices.

Nibbana: (Pali) see Nirvana.

Nichiren: A Japanese school popular in the west, named for its founder, which emphasizes chanting.

Nidhidhysana: Struggle.

Nididhyasana: Profound and deep meditation; third step in Vedantic Sadhana, after ‘hearing’ and ‘reflection’.

Nidra: Sleep; either dreaming or deep sleep state; also a name of Yogamaya.

Nigamana: Conclusion; the fifth member of a syllogism.

Nigrahasthana: The place of controlling and punishment.

Nihilism: (Tibetan: ched ta) The extreme view of nothingness, the nonexistence of a mind after death.

Nihsankalpa: Devoid of thought or imagination.

Nihspriha: Desirelessness.

Nihsreyas: Supreme Bliss; Moksha.

Nihsvasa: Outbreathing; exhalation.

Nijabodharupa: State of Self-awareness; Satchidananda Brahman; of the form of real knowledge.

Nilayam: ‘The abode of…’.

Nimesha: Twinkling of an eye; a moment or minute.

Nimitta: Cause; instrument.

Nimittakarana: Instrumental cause, as the potter who makes the pot.

Ninda: Rebuke; censure.

Nine steps for settling the mind: (Tibetan: semnegu) These are the ways to place the mind in meditation. They are: placing the mind, continuously placing, intermittent placing, taming the mind, pacifying the mind, complete pacification, single-mindedness, complete composure.

Nirabhimanata: State of mine-lessness; egolessness.

Nirabhimani: One who is devoid of Abhimana.

Niradhara: Without support.

Nirajana: Burning of camphor and the like; an offering or waving of camphor or any light before the deity during worship.

Nirakara: Formless.

Niralamba: Supportless.

Niramaya: Without disease.

Niranjana: Spotless.

Niranjano’ham: I am spotlessly pure.

Nirasaya: Without refuge or shelter. Without support.

Niratisaya-ghanibhuta-sakti: Infinitely massive power or potency; condensed or concentrated power which is limitless.

Niratisayananda: The highest bliss; above whit bliss there is none other.

Niravadhi-atitaram: Constant and profuse.

Niravarana: Without veil.

Niravayava: Without members or limbs.

Nirbharata: Excessiveness; fullness.

Nirbhaya: Fearless.

Nirbija: Seedless; without Samskaras.

Nirbijasamadhi: Nirvikalpa Samadhi, wherein the seeds of Samskaras are fried by Jnana.

Nirdvandva: Beyond the pairs of opposites such as pleasure and pain.

Nirguna: Without attribute. Beyond the Gunas.

Nirgunabrahman: The impersonal, attributeless Absolute.

Nirlina: Undissolved.

Nirlipta: Unattached.

Nirliptatva: The state of being unattached.

Nirmala: Without impurity; pure.

Nirmama: Without mine-ness.

Nirmana: Creation.

Nirmanachitta: Manufactured mind; manufacturing mind.

Nirmanakaya: (Tibetan: tulku) One of the three bodies of the Buddha, the nirmanakaya or “emanation body” manifests in the world as the historical Shakyamuni Buddha. see Kayas, three.

Nirmanakaya: Manufactured body.

Nirmoha: Without attachment; without delusion.

Nirnaya: Ascertainment; establishing.

Nirodha: Containment of suffering. This is the third noble truth.

Nirodha: Restraint; suppression; destruction.

Nirodhabhumi: The state in which the mind is, when tinder control.

Nirodhaparinama: Modification of control.

Niruddha: Controlled.

Nirudyoga: Without effort.

Nirukta: Etymology (of the Vedas).

Nirupadhika: Without any limiting adjunct.

Nirupana: Investigation or ascertainment.

Nirvana: (Pali: nibbana; Tibetan: nyangde) Literally, extinguished, or cool. Passing beyond the fire-like sufferings of samsara. Individuals live in samsara and with spiritual practice can attain a state of liberation in which all false ideas and conflicting emotions have been extinguished. Nirvana is the cessation of suffering, the liberation from karma, and therefore the passing over into another reality.

Nirvana: Liberation; final emancipation. A state in which ego-consciousness is “extinguished” or transcended.

Nirvedya: Unknowable.

Nirvichara: Without argumentation; without logic and enquiry.

Nirvicharasamadhi: Superconscious state where there is no intellectual enquiry.

Nirvikalpa Samadhi: Bliss of non-differentiation. (Bliss without God realisation, according to Shivapiri Baba). The superconscious state where there is no mind or the triad, viz., knower, known and knowledge, or any idea whatsoever. See Asamprajnata-samadhi.

Nirvikalpa: Without the modifications of the mind.


Nirvikara: Unchanging; without modifications.

Nirvisesha: Without any special characteristics.

Nirviseshachinmatra: Undifferentiated consciousness alone.

Nirviseshatva: Absence of distinctive attributes.

Nirvishaya: Without sense-activity; without object.

Nirvitarkasamadhi: Superconscious state where there is no intellectual argumentation or logic.

Nischaya: Conviction; determination.

Nischayatmaka: With firm conviction or determination.

Nischayavritti: The Vritti or state of mind where there is determination.

Nishedha: Prohibition (enjoined by the scripture).

Nishiddhakarma: Forbidden action according to Vedas or the Smritis.

Nishkala: Without parts; without taint; spotless.

Nishkama: Without desire.

Nishkamabhava: Motiveless, spontaneous feeling; the attitude of non-expectation of fruits of action.

Nishkamakarma: Action without expectation of fruits.

Nishkampana: Unshakable.

Nishkriya: Without action; without movement.

Nishkriyarupa: Of the form of actionlessness; a feature of the Supreme State or Brahman.

Nishtha: Steadfastness; establishment in a certain state.

Nitya: Eternal; daily; obligatory; permanent.

Nityabuddhi: Idea of stability; the intellect that considers the world as real.

Nityakarma: Daily obligatory rite, as Sandhyavandana, etc.

Nityamukta: Eternally free.

Nityananda: Literally, ‘Eternal bliss’; from Nitya = ‘eternal, constant’ + ananda ‘supreme bliss’; the great Siddha and Guru of Swami Muktananda.

Nityanityavastuviveka: Discrimination between the Real and the unreal.

Nityapralaya: Dissolution of everyday occurrence during the individual’s sound sleep.

Nityasarga: Daily creation; awakening of the individual in the morning.

Nityasiddha: Eternally perfect.

Nityasuddha: Eternally pure.

Nityasukha: Eternal happiness.

Nityata: Eternity.

Nityatripti: Eternal satisfaction.

Nityayukta: Eternally united (with the Absolute).

Nivarasuka: The tail end of a paddy.

Nivritti: Renunciation; retrospective life; stepping back from worldly activity.

Nivrittimarga: The path of renunciation or Sannyasa; the path of return to Para Brahman.

Nivrittirupa: Of the very form of renunciation and de tachment; Atman or Brahman.

Niyama: The second step in Raja Yoga; internal and external purification, contentment, mortification, study, and worship of God, constitute Niyama; observance. Restraint of oneself by following certain discipline or disciplines.

Niyamaka: He who controls; God or Isvara.

Niyamavidhi: An injunction on the method of carrying out or performing scriptural injunctions and observances.

Nritya: Dance. Lord Siva’s Dance is known as the Tandava Nritya.

Nriyajna: Service of human beings; one of the five daily sacrificial rites enjoined on all householders; feeding of the guest, the poor, etc.

Nyagrodha: The Indian fig (tree); the Sami tree.

Nyasa: Renunciation; laying down.

Nyaya: Logic; one of the six schools of Indian philosophy.

Nyingma: The oldest of the four main Tibetan Buddhist lineages, it dates to the eighth century when Buddhism first spread through Tibet. The formal structure and teachings were officially abolished by King Langdharma shortly after, but they remain today as an active lineage.


Obscurations: (Tibetan: drippa) There are many obstructions on the path to enlightenment, but two are widely recognized: emotional obscurations (Tibetan: nyon sgrib) and cognitive obscurations (Tibetan: shes sgrib).

Ogre: A translation of the word asura.

Ojas: Vigour; spiritual energy; vitality; the spiritual force developed through the creative power of celibacy Yoga Sadhana.

Om Namah Shivaya: Salutations (or homage, adoration) to Shiva (God); I bow to Shiva; the great mantra of Shaivism known as the Panchakshari, or ‘five syllable’ mantra which is found in the Krishna Yajur Veda.

Om: (pronounced as: AUM); The sacred syllable; the Word; the Transcendent; in Hinduism the mystical and sacred syllable representing the Absolute (Brahman). It is also the symbol representing the fourth state of consciousness, the transcendental state; in the Chandogya Upanishad it is associated with prana, and is therefore also called pranava; it may also be used in daily language to mean yes, as it also indicates agreement, or concurrence.

Om: The Pranava or the sacred syllable symbolising Brahman.

Omkara: Same as Om.

Omtatsat: A designation of Brahman; used as a benediction, a solemn invocation of the divine blessing.

Ordained: Formally becoming a Bhikshu (monk) or Bhikshuni (nun). This is seen both as the culmination of a period of intense preparatory cultivation and as the beginning of a new and fuller life in the Dharma.

Oshadhiyoga: Yoga in which herbal preparations administered to cure defective health.


Pada Puja: Foot-worship ceremony.

Pada: Foot; one-fourth portion.

Padartha: Substance; material.

Padarthabhavana: Knowledge of the Truth; the sixth of the Jnana-bhumikas or states of knowledge where the Jnani perceives the inner essence and not the outer physical form of things. Lotus; Chakra; a name for the plexus.

Padmasambhava: (Tibetan: Pema jungney) The Lotus Born Guru, also known as Guru Rinpoche, the master who established Buddhism in Tibet in the eighth century. Known as an emanation of the Amithaba Buddha, he spent more than fifty-five years in Tibet and is highly revered in Tibetan Buddhist traditions. His lineage is the Nyingma lineage. His special day is the tenth day after new moon.

Padmasana: The lotus pose; a meditative posture.

Padukas: Sandals; usually the Guru’s shoes or sandals; the traditional icon of the Guru, representing his feet as the source of grace.

Padya: Water offered to wash the feet with; one of the sixteen modes of honouring the deity in formal worship.

Pali canon: Sacred Buddhist texts written in Pali. see Tripitaka.

Pali: Pali is a dialect of Sanskrit and is thought to be the language the Buddha spoke, and in which the earliest scriptures were recorded in Sri Lanka. It is also the language of Theravada Buddhism.

Pancha shila: see Five precepts.

Pancha: Five.

Panchadashi: Literally, ‘fifteen’; a manual on Advaita (non-dual) Vedanta written by Sri Vidyaranya Swami, the head of the famous Sringiri Matha from 1380 to 1386 C.E. The book is called Panchadashi because it consists of fifteen chapters divided into three groups of three, each covering the three aspects of Brahman, Sat-Chit-Ananda. The first group deals with the process of discrimination between the real from the non-real (viveka-panchaka), the second group expounds the nature of the Self as pure consciousness (dipa-panchaka), and the third set of chapters discusses how to dwell in the bliss nature of Brahman (ananda-panchaka).

Panchagnividya: Science of five fires; esoteric explanation of five processes of sacrifices. (See Chhandogya Upanishad).

Panchakosa: Five sheaths of ignorance enveloping the Self.

Panchakshara: Mantra of Lord Siva, consisting of five letters, viz., (Om) Na-mah-si-va-ya.

Panchamrit: Literally, ‘The five nectars.’ These are: milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar. These are used in many rituals including ritual baths given to images.

Panchikarana: Quintuplication; according to the Vedanta school, a particular process by which the five kinds of the elementary constituents of the universe are said to be compounded with one another to form grosser entities that serve as units in the composition of the physical universe.

Panchikrita: Quintuplicated.

Panch-Pandava caves: Literally, “the five Pandava caves”; a number of caves located on the Kadri hill near Mangalore in southern Karnataka. It was the place where Swami Ramdass first met Nityananda.

Pandavas: The 5 warrior-brothers, the sons of the King Pandu.

Pandita (or Pundit): Scholar; priest; one who has acquired knowledge; a Hindu religious scholar or theologian; a man well versed in religious law and rituals.

Pandita: A learned man; a scholar; a man of wisdom ( Pundit). (Tibetan: pan di ta) A great scholar.

Panditya: Erudition; learning; intellectual mastery.

Panna: (Pali) Prajna.

Papa: Sin; a wicked action; evil; demerit.

Papapurusha: Evil personified; personification of the sinful part of the individual.

Para sabda: Supreme sound which is in an undifferentiated state; the first Avyakta state of sound.

Para: Supreme; other; enemy.

Parabhakti: Supreme devotion to God, when the devotee sees his Ishtham everywhere. Here the devotee transcends all forms of ritualistic worship. This leads to Jnana.

Parabrahman: The Supreme Being; God as the Absolute Reality beyond time, form and space.

Paradharma: Duty pertaining to another.

Paragati: Highest state; Moksha.

Parakayapravesa: Entering into another body;’ ower by which the Yogi can leave his own body and into and animate another body.

Parama: Highest; Supreme.

Paramadhama: Supreme Abode; Brahman, Moksha

Paramahamsa: Literally, ‘The Supreme swan’; from hamsa, meaning swan, or more accurately, the high flying Indian goose; a fully realized being; a class of liberated sannyasins.

Paramahamsa: The fourth or the highest class Sannyasins. A spiritual title signifying a master. It may be conferred only by a true guru on a qualified disciple. Paramahansa literally means “supreme swan.” In the Hindu scriptures, the hansa or swan symbolizes spiritual discrimination.

Paramahansa Yogananda said the manifestation of Christ Consciousness (Kutastha Chaitanya), within man’s own being, effortlessly destroys the illusions or ‘works of the devil.’ “Maya is the veil that each man must lift in order to see behind it the Creator.”

Paramakarana: The supreme cause of all causes.

Paramananda: Supreme Bliss.

Paramanandaprapti: Attainment of Supreme Bliss.

Paramanu: A sub-atomic particle, such as electron.

Paramapada: Supreme state; Moksha.

Paramarthadrishti: Right vision; intuition.

Paramarthika: In an absolute sense (as opposed Vyavaharika or relative).

Paramarthikasatta: The Absolute Reality; Transcendental Truth; Param Brahman.

Paramasanti: Supreme peace; absolute peace.

Paramatma: The Supreme Self. Supreme Divine Self. Supersoul.

Paramavasyata: Supreme control over the mind an the senses.

Param-brahma: The Supreme Absolute; the transendental Reality.

Paramesthi: The exalted one; a name generally applied It, Brahma or Hiranyagarbha, and sometimes even to Lord Narayana or the Supreme Purusha.

Paramesvara: The Supreme Lord.

Paramguru: Literally, “the preceding guru”; the guru of one’s guru.

Paramitas, six: (Sanskrit) (Tibetan: parol tu chinpa) Literally, perfection. These are the six virtues that a bodhisattva perfects during his development: Transcendent generosity (dana), transcendent discipline (shila), transcendent patience (kshanti), transcendent exertion (virya), transcendent meditation (dhyana), and transcendent knowledge (prajna). The ten paramitas are these plus aspirational prayer, power, and wisdom (yeshe).

Paramjyotih: Supreme Light; Brahman.

Paranirvana (or Mahasamadhi): Death.

Paraprakriti: The higher cosmic energy through which the Supreme Brahman appears as individual souls.

Parasamvit: Supreme knowledge or consciousness.

Parashakti: A name of the Divine Mother, meaning ‘Supreme Power’.

Parasparadhyasa: Mutual superimposition, viz., lie body is mistaken for the Self and the Self is considered as the body.

Paratantra: Dependent on another.

Paratantrasattabhava: Possibility of dependent existence.

Paratpara: Greater than the great; higher than the high.

Paravairagya: Highest type of dispassion; the mind turns away completely from worldly objects and cannot be brought back to them under any circumstances.

Paravastu: Supreme Substance; Brahman.

Paravidya: Higher knowledge; direct knowledge of Brahman.

Parayana: The ultimate ground; the sole refuge.

Parichhinna: Finite; conditioned; limited.

Parigraha: Grasping; accepting; covering.

Parinama: Transformation; modification; change; of result.

Parinamanitya: Changing eternal; Maya.

Parinamasrishti: Creation by evolution and actual change according to Sankhya.

Parinamavada: The doctrine of transformation (of the school of qualified non-dualism of Sri Ramanuja) holding that God actually transforms a portion of His Being into the universe.

Parinamopadana: That material cause w evolves out of itself an effect which is essentially one with e.g., the Pradhana of the Sankhyas.

Parinirvana: (Tibetan: yongsu nyangan le depa) The end of all rebirths. When the Buddha died, he did not die an ordinary death to be followed by rebirth; his death was the end of all rebirths because he had achieved complete enlightenment.

Pariplava: Stories prescribed for recitation in the intervals of performing the horse-sacrifice.

Paripurna: All-full; self-contained.

Parispanda: Vibration.

Parivara: Train of attendants.

Parivrajaka: Roaming ascetic; itinerant monk Sannyasin.

Parivrajya: The state of a wandering Sannyasin.

Paroksha: Indirect; that which cannot be perceived by eyes directly.

Parokshajnana: Indirect knowledge of Brah through the study of the Vedas, etc.

Paropakara: The good and welfare of others; service to others.

Parsi: Literally, ‘Persians’ in the Gujarati language. A follower of the ancient Zoroastrian religion. Descendants of a Zoroastrian community who migrated to India around the 8th or 9th century, after the Islamic conquest of Iran. No longer allowed to practice their religion freely, they settled in the western state of Gujarat, where they were welcomed. Today they are mainly living in Mumbai, as well as in Gujarat, and make up three fourths of the world’s approximately one hundred thousand Zoroastrians.

Parvati: An incarnation of the Divine Mother. One form of the Divine Mother. (Parvati is the consort of Lord Shiva.)

Pasupati: Lord of the individual souls (which are Pasus or cattle); a name of Lord Siva.

Pasvachara: Conduct of the brutes; a Tantric course spiritual discipline for the least advanced aspirants.

Pasyanti: The subtle or the second state of sound whi in its grossest form is manifest as the audible sound upon physical plane.

Patanjali: Ancient exponent of Yoga, whose Yoga Sutras outline the principles of the yogic path, dividing it into eight steps: (1) yama, moral conduct; (2) niyama, religious observances; (3) asana, right posture to still bodily restlessness; (4) pranayama, control of prana, subtle life currents; (5) pratyahara, interiorization; (6) dharana, concentration; (7) dhyana, meditation; and (8) samadhi, superconscious experience. See Yoga.

Path of skillful means: The skillful means used by enlightened beings to present the dharma, taking the student’s capabilities and propensities into account.

Path, Buddhist: (Tibetan: lam) The process of attaining enlightenment. It may also refer to part of the threefold logic of ground, path, and fruition.

Paths, five: (Tibetan: lam nga) Traditionally, a practitioner goes through five stages or paths to enlightenment. These are (1) The path of accumulation in which the meditator purifes his obscurations and accumulates merit. (2) The path of application in which the meditator develops profound understanding of the four noble truths and cuts the root to the desire realm. (3) The path of insight in which the meditator develops greater insight and enters the first bodhisattva level. (4) The path of meditation in which the meditator cultivates insight in the second through tenth bodhisattva levels. (5) The path of fulfillment in which the meditator attains Buddhahood.

Pativratadharma: The rules of life of a chaste woman devoted to her husband.

Pavana: Wind-god.

Payasa: A liquid offering to gods prepared with rice (boiled), milk, ghee or melted butter, and sugar, with necessary spices; also known as Paramannam.

Payovrata: A kind of austere observance where one lives on milk alone.

Payu: Organ of excretion; anus.

Phagmotrupa: (Tibetan: phagmo drubpa) A student of Gampopa who founded the eight lesser schools of the Kagyu lineage.

Phala: Fruit; effect; one of the Shadlingas; the last of the chapters in the Brahma Sutras.

Phalahara: Fruit-diet (usually taken by Yogis, spiritual aspirants and performers of austerities).

Phowa: (Tibetan) An advanced tantric practice concerned with the ejection of consciousness at death to a favorable realm.

Pinaka: The bow of Lord Siva.

Pindanda: The world of the body; microcosm; Kshudrabrahmanda as opposed to the macrocosm or cosmos ( Brahmanda).

Pingala: A Nadi or psychic nerve current which terminates in the right nostril; it is the solar Nadi; it is heating in its effect. Subtle channel (nadi) in which prana flows, and is located on the right side of the body. It is said to be masculine in nature, indicating intellectual and mental energy. It is symbolized with the solar principle.

Pippala: Holy fig (tree).

Pisuna: Treacherous; crooked.

Pitaka: Basket. see Tripitaka.

Pitambara: Celestial silk garment decorated with gold, worn by Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna.

Pitri: The departed ancestor; a divine hierarchy like Yama, consisting of deceased progenitors and ancestors; the manes.

Pitriloka: The world occupied by the divine hierarchy of ancestors.

Pitriyajna: Oblations for gratifying the manes; one of the five daily sacrificial rites enjoined on all householders; libations to ancestors.

Pitriyana: The path of the fathers or the manes, through which an individual soul, on doing good works of merit, ascends to the region of the moon after death to enjoy there the effects of his works. This is also called “Dhumamarga” or the path of the smoke.

Pitrya: Pertaining to the Pitris or the deceased ancestors.

Pluta: Elongated accent with three Matras.

Pointing-out instruction: (Tibetan: ngotoed kyi dampa or ngotroe chi dampa) An instruction on the nature of the mind which a guru gives only when the student is ready. It takes many forms—slapping the student with a shoe, shouting at him—and is individual to each teacher and each student.

Poornavatar: A full incarnation of God.

Praajna: A name according to Vedanta Philosophy of the individual in the causal state (as in sound sleep); the Supreme Reality appears as such through the veil of an individual casual body.

Prabhu: Lord.

Prabuddha: Awakened; conscious of the Ultimate Reality.

Pradakshina: Circumambulation; going round a holy place, temple or a holy person.

Pradesamatra: Measured by span.

Pradhana: A Sankhya term for Prakriti; the chief; the root base of all elements; undifferentiated matter; the material cause of the world in the Sankhya philosophy, corresponding to Maya in Vedanta. It, however, differs from Maya in the following points: It is real, while Maya is unreal or phenomenal; it is independent of Spirit, while Maya is dependent on God.

Pragabhava: Antecedent non-existence.

Prahara: A period of roughly three hours’ duration.

Prajakama: Desirous of offspring.

Prajapati: Progenitor; Creator; a Hindu deity, also called Brahma; the creator; the name given to Brahma’s ten sons who were the first and original ancestors of the human race.

Prajna: (Sanskrit) (Pali: panna) (Tibetan: she rab) Consciousness; awareness. Literally, perfect knowledge. Discriminative awareness, the wisdom of seeing things from a non-dualistic point of view. Considered by Mahayana Buddhism to be outside human experience and expression, it is insight into Emptiness, the true nature of the cosmos, attained during enlightenment. Also, the goddess of knowledge, of whom Buddha’s mother was considered an incarnation.

Prajnanaghana: Mass of consciousness; Brahman.

Prajnaparamita Sutra: A collection of 40 Mahayana sutras concerning prajna and its attainment. This was the focus of Nagarjuna’s writing and commentaries, and includes the Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra.

Prajnaparamita: (Tibetan: sherabkyi paroltu chinpa) Perfect or Transcendent Knowledge. The Buddhist literature outlining the Mahayana path and realization. see Prajnaparamita Sutra.

Prajnatma: The intelligent self; the conscious internal self.

Prakamya: A psychic power by which the Yogi touches the heaven; freedom of will; one of the eight major Siddhis.

Prakara: Mode.

Prakarana: Subect-matter; section.

Prakaranagrantha: A book which, being connected with a particular part of the scripture, serves a special purpose of it.

Prakasa: Luminosity; light; brightness.

Prakasaka: Revealer; illuminator.

Prakasha: Literally, ‘light’; from pra – ‘forth’, and the root-verb kash – ‘to shine’; shining forth; luminous; in Kashmir Shaivism it is the principal of Self-revelation; consciousness; the principle by which everything else is known; Lord Shiva.

Prakasya: Object revealed or illumined.

Prakata: Manifest; revealed.

Prakritapralaya: Cosmic dissolution at the end of Hiranyagarbha’s span of life, when He is liberated.

Prakriti: Causal matter; Sakti; name of Pradhana of the Sankhyas. Nature or Matter – differentiated or undifferentiated, the physical body of god.

Prakritilaya: He who is submerged in Prakriti.

Prakriyagrantha: Scripture that deals with categories of a subject.

Pramada: Carelessness; fault; guilt.

Pramana: (Tibetan: Tsema) Logic; true, proven, genuine; valid proof of three kinds: direct perception (Ngon sum), inference (Je pak), trustworthy scripture or testimony (yid ches pa’i lung); the study of pramana.

Pramana: Proof; authority (of knowledge).

Pramanachaitanya: Consciousness as knowing; the source of knowledge; proof.

Pramanagatasandeha: the doubt as regards the validity of the proofs of knowledge.

Pramata: Measurer; knower; the ego or the Jiva.

Pramatrichaitanya: A subject who knows the cognising consciousness which is determined by the internal organ.

Prameya: Object of proof (Brahman or the Absolute Reality); subject of enquiry; object of right knowledge; measured or known object.

Prameyagatasandeha: Doubt with respect to the nature of Brahman, the object of knowledge.

Pramoda: The pleasure which one gets through the actual enjoyment of an object; the third state of enjoyment of an object, after Priya and Moda, the attributes of the causal body.

Prana: A vital Breath that sustains life in a body. Vital energy; life-breath; life-force. Sparks of intelligent finer-than-atomic energy that constitute life, collectively referred to in Hindu scriptural treatises as prana. In essence, condensed thoughts of God; substance of the astral world and life principle of the physical cosmos. In the physical world, there are two kinds of prana: (1) the cosmic vibratory energy that is omnipresent in the universe, structuring and sustaining all things; (2) the specific prana or energy that pervades and sustains each human body through five currents or functions. Prana current performs the function of crystallization; Vyana current, circulation; Samana current, assimilation; Udana current, metabolism; and Apana current, elimination. (Tibetan: lung) Life-supporting energy.

Prana: Literally, ‘breathing forth’; vital air; life force or vital energy, from the root pran, ‘to breathe’; this indicates the life sustaining force of the individual’s body, as well as the whole universe. Also, the first of five vital airs (vayus). Prana in the human body manifests as five vital airs or winds (vayus) each performing a specific function, viz., prana (outgoing breath) apana (incoming breath), samana (equalizing breath), udana (ascending breath) and vyana (separating breath). Pranapratishtha: The ritual of infusing an image with the life force (prana). A ceremony whereby a statue is “enlivened”.

Pranajaya: Mastery of the Pranas, the vital airs; conquest of the life-force.

Pranakendra: Life-centre.

Pranam: A form of greeting in India. The hands are pressed, palms together, with the base of the hands at the heart and the fingertips touching the forehead. This gesture is actually a modification of the pranam, literally “complete salutation,” from the Sanskrit root nam, “to salute or bow down,” and the prefix pia, “completely.” A pranam salutation is the general mode of greeting in India. Before renunciants and other persons held in high spiritual regard, it may be accompanied by the spoken word, “Pranam.”

Pranamaya: One of the sheaths of the Self, consisting of the Pranas and the Karmendriyas.

Prananirodha: Control of the vital airs.

Pranapratistha: A Tantric ritualistic process by which an image or symbol of God or any deity is said to be visualised.

Pranasakti: Subtle vital power.

Pranatattva: Principle of the vital airs.

Pranava: the sacred monosyllable “Om”.

Pranavadhina: Dependent on the Pranava or Om.

Pranavajapa: Repetition of Om.

Pranayama: Breath control, regulation and restraint of breath, the fourth limb of Ashtanga Yoga. Conscious control of prana (the creative vibration or energy that activates and sustains life in the body). The yoga science of pranayama is the direct way to consciously disconnect the mind from the life functions and sensory perceptions that tie man to body-consciousness. Pianayama thus frees man’s consciousness to commune with God. All scientific techniques that bring about union of soul and Spirit may be classified as yoga, and pianayama is the greatest yogic method for attaining this divine union.

Pranayama: Literally, ‘restraining the breath’; the control of prana or life force. Certain types of hatha yoga techniques to bring about the even flow of prana in order to still the mind. When the kundalini is awakened, these may occur spontaneously, without any conscious effort on the part of the individual.

Pranidhana: Self-surrender; prostration.

Prapanchavishaya: Worldly objects.

Prapatti: An appeal made to a capable and willing personage (God) by a person (devotee) who strongly desires a thing (liberation), but is helpless to attain it and feels his helplessness. The object desired may be anything for the matter of that, as the regaining of the lost property as when Aditi made Preapatti to the Lord, or release from the bondage of Karma.

Prapti: A power by which the Yoga gets everything; one of the eight major Siddhis.

Praptiprapya: Attainment of whatever there is to be attained.

Prarabdha karma: (see karma)

Prarabdha: Errors of Omission & commission for which man has to pay back before he goes to god, the Ultimate. Karmic destiny. The portion of Sanchita Karma that determines one’s present life.

Prasad: Purity, grace, blessings; a word which means, ‘containing blessings or sacred power’; consecrated food, and other offerings, which has been first offered to the deity, saint, or one’s Guru; also, anything given by a saint or one’s Guru is called prasad, such as a gift, or a mantra.

Prasada: Food dedicated to God at His worship and thereafter eater by the faithful devotees as something holy; tranquillity; grace.

Prashanti: Supreme Peace.

Prasiddha: Famous; well-known.

Prasraya: Credulity.

Prasthanatraya: The three authoritative landmarks in spiritual literature, viz., the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, on which the entire Vedanta philosophy is based.

Prasvasa: Expiratory breath.

Pratibandhaka: That which obstructs Self-realisation or acts as an obstacle to the dawn of Self-knowledge; generally any obstacle on the path of Sadhana.

Pratibandhakabhava: Power that removes the obstruction hindering realisation of the Self; absence of obstacles.

Pratibha: Intelligence; splendour of knowledge; intuition.

Pratibhasika: Illusory; appearing.

Pratibhasikasatta: Dream-reality; apparent or unreal as dream.

Pratibimbavada: The doctrine that the soul is a reflection of the Self in the Buddhi.

Pratijna: Vow.

Pratika: An image or symbol of God for worship and spiritual contemplation.

Pratikopasana: Meditation in which Brahman is thought of with and through a symbol.

Pratiksha: Anticipation.

Pratikulata: State of being unfavourable.

Pratima: A copy; an image (of God) made of any metal, wood or similar material for worship or spiritual contemplation.

Pratimoksha vows: (Tibetan: sosor tarpa) The vows of not killing, stealing, lying, drinking or engaging in sexual activity which are taken by monks and nuns.

Pratipaksha: Opposite; inimical.

Pratipakshabhavana: The method of substituting the opposite through imagination; thus, fear is overcome by dwelling strongly upon its opposite, viz., courage.

Pratisamkhyanirodha: Cessation dependent on a sublative act of the mind.

Pratistha: Reputation; fame; Rini resting; establishment; installation.

Pratiyoginisakti: Opposite power or force.

Pratyabhijna: Knowing; recognition or recovering consciousness; recollection.

Pratyabhijnahridayam: Literally, ‘the heart of the doctrine of Self-recognition’; an 11th century treatise by Kshemaraja, which summarizes the Pratyabhijna philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism.

Pratyabhijnajnana: Same as Pratyabhijna.

Pratyagatma: Inner Self; Kutastha; Brahman.

Pratyahara: Abstraction or withdrawal of the senses from their objects, the fifth limb of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga.

Pratyaksha: Direct perception; intuition.

Pratyakshapramana: Proof of direct perception or intuition.

Pratyakshatva: Directness (of realisation or divine experience).

Pratyakshayogya: Fit for direct perception.

Pratyavaya: The sin of commission.

Pratyaya: Cause; mental effort; imagination; idea of distinction.

Pratyekabuddha: (Tibetan: rang sang gye) Literally, solitary realizer. A realized Theravada practitioner who has achieved the knowledge of reality, but who has not committed him or herself to the bodhisattva path of helping all others.

Pratyekabuddhayana: (Tibetan: Rangsangye thegpa) The vehicle of solitary realizers; the Theravada practice.

Pravaha: Flood-tide.

Pravrajin: Wandering mendicant (Sannyasin).

Pravrittimarga: The path of action or life in worldly society or according to the nature of the world.

Pravrittivijnana: Quasi-external consciousness.

Prayala: Complete merging; dissolution when the cosmos merges into (1) its unseen immediate cause, viz., the unmanifested cosmic energy, or (2) the Ultimate Substratum of Absolute Reality. Dissolutions are of four kinds, Nitya, Naimittika, Prakrita and Atyantika. The first three are of type (1) and the last of type (2).

Prayaschitta: Expiation; mortification.

Prayaschittakarma: Expiatory action; bodily mortification; penance.

Prayatna: Attempt; effort.

Prayojana: Result; fruit; the final end.

Prayopavesa: A stern resolve to fast unto death.

Preliminary practices: (Tibetan: ngoendro) The four preliminary practices which are done before yidam practice. see Ngoendro.

Prema: Divine love (for God).

Premabhava: Feeling of love.

Prerana: Goading or stirring; impulse; urge; prompting.

Preta: (Sanskrit) Usually translated as hungry ghost, one of the six states of existence.

Prithivi: The element of earth with density and fragrance as its characteristic features.

Prithivi-tattva: Principle of earth-element.

Priya: Bliss; joy derived on seeing a beloved object.

Provisional teaching: (Tibetan: drangdoen) The teachings of the Buddha which have been simplified or modified to the capabilities of the audience. This contrasts with the definitive meaning.

Puja: (Sanskrit) Worship ceremony; adoration. A act of worship dedicated to a buddha or a bodhisattva, in which offerings and other acts of devotion are performed. Worship; actions performed with the feelings of devotion towards God or one’s Guru; also, an altar with images of the Guru or deity, as well as other objects used for worship.

Pulaka: Horripilation.

Pundit: (see pandita). A scholar.

Punya: (Sanskrit) Merit; virtue. An act that gains good karma.


Punyamati: Virtuously inclined.

Punyapunya: Virtue and vice; merit and demerit.

Puraka: Inspiration; inhalation of breath.

Puranas: Illustrated Truths, Applied Truths. Literally, ‘ancient, old’; sacred books of the Hindus containing ancient stories, legends, and hymns about the creation of the universe, the incarnations of God, the history of kings, and the instructions of various deities and sages. There are 18 major Puranas.

Purascharana: An observance consisting of the repetition of a Mantra, as many hundred thousand times as there are syllables (letters) in it. This is done with rigid rules regarding diet, number of Japa to be done per day, seat, etc.

Pure Land Buddhism: Ching-T’u, Jodo and Jodoshin, forms of Buddhism focused on the Buddha Amitabha and the “Pure Land” he created. Appearing in China in the fourth century C.E. and later in Japan, Korea and other nations, this is the most prevalent form of Buddhism. Pure Land is aimed at the average person, recognizing that most people cannot achieve enlightenment and so are doomed forever to stay in samsara. Amitabha set up a Pure Land in the west—a paradise—to which people can go when they die. To gain entrance, people simply have to call on the power of Amitabha, by uttering Namu Amidha Butsu, Japanese for “Praise to Amitabha Buddha.”

Pure realm: (Tibetan: dagpay shing) Realms created by buddhas which are totally free from suffering, where dharma can be received directly. These realms are presided over by various buddhas such as Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara, and Maitreya who presides over Tushita.

Puri-bhaji: A combination of a fried bread (puri) and vegetables (bhaji).

Puris: A type of deep fried Indian bread.

Puritat-nadi: One of the astral tubes or subtle passages in the body.

Purna: Full; complete; infinite; absolute; Brahman.

Purnayogi: A full-blown Yogi.

Purnoham: I am full, the absolute, the infinite; I am Brahman.

Purta: Charitable construction of tanks, etc., for the benefit of humanity.

Purusha: Soul. Male or Individual Soul or the Jivatman.

Purusha: The Supreme Being; a Being that lies in the city (of the heart of all beings). The term is applied to the Lord. The description applies to the Self which abides in the heart of all things. To distinguish Bhagavan or the Lord from the Jivatma, He is known as Parama (Highest) Purusha or the Purushottama (the best of the Purushas).

Purushartha: Effort or Struggle in order to attain GOD. Human effort; individual exertion; right exertion; Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha; ideal of man. The spiritual Goal of Life, ie, Self-Realization.

Purushottam: God.

Purushottama: The Supreme Person; the Lord of the universe. God or the Supreme, the Ultimate or the truth.

Purvamimamsa: The name of the philosophy by sage Jaimini, regarding the portion of the Vedas on sacrificial works and other religious ceremonies.

Purvapaksha: The prima facie view.

Pushan: The Sun-god.

Pushti: Nourishment.

Pu-tai: The laughing buddha, chinese monk, incarnation of Maitreya.

Putreshti: A sacrificial rite performed with the object of getting a son.


Raaga: Liking.

Rachana: Creation; construction.

Radha: Beloved of Krishna.

Raga: Blind love; attraction; attachment that binds the soul to the universe.

Raga-dvesha: Attraction and repulsion; like and dislike; love and hatred.

Raga-ragini: Melodic structures in music.

Rahula: Buddha’s son.

Rain Retreat: In the earliest centuries of Buddhism, monks were itinerant, wandering for nine months of the year. Then in July, when the monsoons began, they gathered for instruction, meditation and encouragement. Theravada Buddhism, which flourishes in the area of the monsoons, still keeps the rain retreats, even though its monks have long ago ceased to wander.

Raja Yoga: The “royal” or highest path to God-union. It teaches scientific meditation as the ultimate means for realizing God, and includes the highest essentials from all other forms of Yoga. See Yoga.

Raja: King.

Rajarajesvari: The name of a supreme incarnation of the Sakti representing the supreme, divine, cosmic power.

Rajarshi: One who is a king and also a seer of spiritual truths.

Rajas: One of the three aspects or component traits of cosmic energy; the principle of dynamism in nature bringing about all changes; through this is protected the relative appearance of the Absolute as the universe; this quality generates passion and restlessness.

Rajasa-ahamkara: Egoism born of passion and ac tivity

Rajasic: Active. One of the 3 Gunas or modes of nature.

Rajasika: Passionate; active; restless.

Rajasuya: A sacrifice performed by a monarch as a mark of his sovereignty over other kings

Rajayoga: A system of Yoga; the royal Yoga of meditation; the system of Yoga generally taken to be the one propounded by Patanjali Maharshi, i.e., the Ashtanga Yoga.

Rajjusarpanyaya: The analogy of the rope and the snake used to illustrate the appearance of the world in Brahman.

Rakshasas: A demon, particularly one who is fond of human flesh and blood.

Rakta: Blood; red; amoured; affected with love.

Rama: The ‘joyful or delightful’; hero of the Sanskrit epic poem, the Ramayana, composed by sage Valmiki. According to the Vaishnavites, Sri Rama is believed to be the 7th incarnation (Avatara) of Vishnu. He represented an ideal son, king and husband.

Ramayana: The life or tale of Rama; an epic poem composed by sage Valmiki in 24,000 verses.

Ramkund: Literally ‘Ram’s pool, pond or tank’; a name for one of the hot springs in Ganeshpuri.

Rangjung Dorje: (1284-1339) The Third Karmapa, known for writing a series of texts widely used in the Kagyu school.

Rasa dance: Krishna’s dance with the Gopis, in which he manifested himself into many different forms so he could personally dance with each Gopi.

Rasa: Essence (of enjoyment); water; mercury; taste; sweet feeling; food-chyle; Brahman.

Rasakrida: Transcendental sport that Lord Krishna played with the Gopis of Brindavana.

Rasana: Tongue; the organ of taste.

Rasasvada: Tasting the essence or the bliss of Savikalpa Samadhi; this is an obstacle to the higher Advaitic realisation, as it keeps away the meditator from attempting for Nirvikalpa Samadhi or Asamprajnata Samadhi.

Rasatanmatra: The subtle essence of taste or flavour; the subtle essence of the sense of taste.

Ratipriti: Intense attachment and love; joy derived from physical love.

Ratna: (Tibetan: rinchen) Literally a jewel. The three jewels: the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha.

Ratna: Gem; jewel; the best.

Ratnasambhava: (Tibetan: rinchen jungne) The sambhogakaya buddha of the ratna family.

Rechaka: Exhalation of breath.

Refuge: (Tibetan: kyab; Sanskrit: sharana) In the Buddhist context, to take refuge means to accept the Buddha and the Buddhist teachings as the path one wants to takes. One vows to take refuge in the Buddha, the dharma and the sangha.

Reincarnate: Distinguished Dharma practitioners intentionally take rebirth to help others. see Tulkus.

Reincarnation: The doctrine that human beings, compelled by the law of evolution, incarnate repeatedly in progressively higher lives – retarded by wrong actions and desires, and advanced by spiritual endeavours – until Self-realization and God-union are attained. Having thus transcended the limitations and imperfections of mortal consciousness, the soul is forever freed from compulsory reincarnation. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out” (Revelation 3:12)

The concept of reincarnation is not exclusive to Eastern philosophy, but was held as a fundamental truth of life by many ancient civilizations. The early Christian Church accepted the principle of reincarnation, which was expounded by the Gnostics and by numerous Church fathers, including Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and St. Jerome. It was not until the Second Council of Constantinople in A.D. 553 that the doctrine was officially removed from church teachings. Today many Western thinkers are beginning to adopt the concept of the law of karma and reincarnation, seeing in it a grand and reassuring explanation of life’s seeming inequities.

Relative Truth: (Tibetan: kun sop) There are two truths or views of reality: relative and absolute. Relative truth is the perception of an ordinary unenlightened person who sees the world with all his or her projections, based on the false belief in self and the dualism of “I” and “other.” Absolute truth, also called ultimate truth, transcends duality to see things as they are.

Remay movement: A non-sectarian movement which promotes respect for all traditions without bias. The movement came to its height in 19th century Tibet, with the intention of minimizing sectarian rivalry and revitalizing spiritual practice by making use of the texts, commentaries and procedures from many different Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

Retas: Semen; virile seed.

Riddhi: Highest sensual delight; wealth; nine varieties of extraordinary exaltation and grandeur that come to a Yogi as he advances and progresses in Yoga, like the supernatural powers or Siddhis; Riddhis are, like Siddhis, great obstacles in Yoga.

Right channel: (Sanskrit: rasana; Tibetan: roma) The right lateral subtle channel is parallel to the central channel and is usually visualized as red.

Rik: Mantras, verses, of the Rig Veda.

Ringsel: (Tibetan) (Sanskrit: shariram) Tiny round rocks of sacred substances found in cremation ashes; relics.

Rinpoche: (Tibetan) Literally, precious one. It is generally used as honorific term for masters or lamas in Tibetan Buddhism, who are highly valued for their spiritual knowledge. It is particularly used for someone identified as the rebirth of an earlier distinguished Dharma practitioner, also called tulku or incarnate lama.

Rinzai Zen: A Zen sect that makes extensive use of koans.

Rishi: A Hindu Sage or Saint of ancient India to whom the Vedas were intuitively revealed, Seer of the Truth, Seer, an exalted being who manifest divine wisdom. ‘Seer, sage’; the Vedic seers; a term for an enlightened being, emphasizing a visionary wisdom. The Rig Veda mentions seven rishis who guide mankind throughout its countless life-cycles.

Rishimandala: Literally, ‘the community of sages.’

Rishiyajna: Study of the scriptures for gratifying the seers of Truth; one of the five sacrificial rites enjoined on all householders for daily performance; also known as Brahmayajna.

Rita: True; correct; real.

Ritambharaprajna: Consciousness full of Truth (according to Raja Yoga of Patanjali.)

Ritvik: Priest performing (officiating in) a sacrifice.

Rochaka: Pleasure-inducing.

Rolang: (Tibetan) A Tibetan zombie.

Romancha: Rapture or thrill with horripilation; a stage in Bhakti Bhava.

Rongton: (Tibetan) The Madhyamika or Middle-way school divided into two major schools: Rongton, which maintains that emptiness is devoid of inherent existence; and Shentong, which maintains that emptiness is indivisible from luminosity.

Root lama: (Tibetan: tsaway lama) A teacher from whom one has received the instructions and empowerments that form the core of one’s practice.

Ruchi: Taste; appetite; liking; desire.

Rudrabhumi: Literally, ‘Rudra’s earth or ground’; Rudra is a name of Shiva meaning, ‘the howler, or one who roars’; a well-known ghat in Varanasi where cremations are performed.

Rudraksha: (lit.) Eye of Lord Siva; a kind of berries of which the seeds are worn by some religious sects of the Hindus as rosary, around their necks, heads, arms, etc., as sacred to Lord Siva. Literally, ‘the eye of Rudra’; multi-faced, reddish-brown seeds from the species Eleocarpus ganitrus. The tree and its seeds are considered sacred to Shiva (Rudra) and are used as a rosary for mantra repetition.

Rupa: Appearance; form; sight; vision. Form, the physical body and senses.

Rupakaya: (Tibetan: zukkyi ku) The form bodies which encompass the sambhogakaya and the nirmanakaya.

Rupasakti: The power that creates forms.

Rupaskandha: The group of sensation of form.

Rupatanmatra: Subtle principle of colour and form.


Sa: She.

Sabda: Sound; word; Vedas: Omkara.

Sabdabheda: Difference in word (name) only.

Sabdabrahma: Word-Absolute; Omkara or the Veda.

Sabdantara: Difference of words or terms; another word.

Sabdapramana: Scriptural proof.

Sabdatanmatra: Subtle principle of sound.

Sabha: Assembly.

Sachetana: Possessed of consciousness.

Sadachara: Right conduct.

Sadaikarasa: Eternal homogeneous essence.

Sadajagrat: Ever wakeful.

Sadbhashana: Right speech.

Sadguna: Good quality; virtuous quality.

Sadhaka: (Spiritual) aspirant; one who exerts to attain an object. One who dedicates himself to spiritual practices.

Sadhaks: Dedicated full-time spiritual seekers.

Sadhana: Self-effort; tool; implement; spiritual practice. Spiritual practices such as meditation, contemplation, Self-enquiry, and repetition of the Divine Name. Path of spiritual discipline. The specific instruction and meditation practices prescribed by the guru for his disciples, who by faithfully following them ultimately realize God. (Tibetan: Dupthab) Method of accomplishment. Tantric liturgy and practice usually emphasize the development stage. The typical sadhana structure involves a preliminary part, including the taking of refuge and arousing bodhichitta, a main part involving visualization of a Buddha and recitation of mantras, and a concluding part with a dedication of merit to all sentient beings.

Sadhana: Spiritual practices; a technique used to achieve a desired goal, such as meditation, yoga, japa and austerities. The practice or disciplines which produces success or perfection (siddhi), from sadh, meaning ‘to go straight to the goal.’

Sadhanachatushtaya: The four kinds of spiritual effort: discrimination, dispassion, sixfold virtues and desire for liberation.

Sadharana: Ordinary; common.

Sadharana-karana: Common cause.

Sadharmya: Becoming of one law of being and action (with the Divine).

Sadhu: Pious or righteous man; a Sannyasin. A mendicant, a renunciate, devoted, detached, wise.

Sadhu: The holy, or virtuous; an ascetic or holy man. From sadh, meaning ‘one who goes straight to the goal.’ According to Adi Shankaracharya, a sadhu is one who is endowed with sattva-guna, the quality of purity, has good conduct, and who is well versed in every branch of learning. A sadhu may or may not be a yogi or sannyasin.

Sadi: With beginning.

Sadrisaparinama: Homogeneous change; change in its own given conditions; a change which is not different from the original, like gold into an earring.

Sadrisyata: Similarity.

Sadvichara: Right enquiry; enquiry into Truth.

Sadyomukti: Immediate liberation.

Saguna: One with attributes.

Sagunabrahma: The supreme Absolute conceived of as endowed with qualities like mercy, omnipotence, omniscience, etc., as distinguished from the undifferentiated Absolute.

Sah: He.

Sahaja: Natural; true; native.

Sahaja-kumbhaka: Natural retention of breath.

Sahajananda: State of bliss that has become natural.

Sahaja-nirvikalpa-samadhi: Natural non-dual state of Brahmic Consciousness.

Sahajanishtha: Natural and normal establishment; establishment in one’s own essential nature of Satchidananda.

Sahajavastha: Superconscious state that has become natural and continuous.

Sahakarimatra: A helping factor only. (Maya is Sahakarimatra of Brahma’s world-projection.)

Saham: She I am (Mantra of Saktas).

Sahasrara: A region in the top of the head in the form of a thousand-petalled lotus, where Kundalini Sakti unites with Lord Siva.

Sahasrara: The highest spiritual center located at the crown of the head. The seat of the Supreme Lord, symbolized as a thousand petalled lotus.

Sahastita: Co-existence.

Sahija Samadhi: Savikalpa Samadhi wherein the seed of Sarnskaras is not destroyed.

Sainanvaya: Unification; the agreement of all Upanishads in proving the Highest Reality.

Saiva: One who considers Lord Siva to be the highest Lord; pertaining to Lord Siva.

Sajatiyabheda: Difference by which one individual of a species is distinguished from another, e.g., the difference between one man and another man.

Sakala: With parts; all; everything.

Sakamabhakti: Devotion with expectation of fruits, and with selfish motives.

Sakamabhava: Attitude or feeling where there is desire as motive force.

Sakara: Having form (as opposed to Nirakara).

Sakha: Division; branch.

Sakhya: The attitude of a devotee, expressing the relationship of a friend with God; examples are Arjuna, Uddhava and the cowherds of Brindavana.

Sakshatkara: Direct realisation; experience of Absoluteness; Brahmajnana.

Sakshi: Witnessing principle; seer; Kutastha which passively observes the actions of the body and the senses; witness.

Sakshi-bhava: The attitude of remaining as a witness.

Sakshi-chaitanya: Witnessing intelligence or consciousness.

Sakshi-chetana: Witnessing soul; Kutastha; same as Sakshi-chaitanya.

Sakshi-drashta: Witnessing subject; witnessing seer.

Sakta: One who worships the Divine Mother Sakti as the most supreme deity; pertaining to Sakti.

Sakti: Power; energy; force; the Divine Power of becoming; the apparent dynamic aspect of Eternal Being; the Absolute Power or cosmic energy, also a name of the Divine Mother.

Saktipata: Descent of power (through Upasana).

Sakti-sanchara: Transmission of power to the disciple by the Guru.

Sakya Pandita: A great scholar (1181-1251 C.E.) who was an outspoken opponent of the Kagyu teachings. The hereditary head of the Sakya lineage, he also became head of the Tibetan state under the authority of the Mongol emperors.

Sakya: One of the four main schools of Buddhism in Tibet, the tradition derived from the Path & Fruit teachings of Virupa through Drogmi Lotsawa in 11th century. There are both hereditary and incarnate successions. This school has contributed some of the most important philosophical commentaries.

Salabhasana: Locust-pose of the Hatha Yogins; Salabha means a locust.

Salokya: Being in the same plane or world as God.

Salwa: (Tibetan) Luminosity. In the Vajrayana teaching, everything is empty, yet has luminosity. This luminosity or clarity allows all phenomena to appear.

Sama: Restraint of inner instrument, e.g. Manah, Chitta, Buddhi and Ahamkara. Tranquillity; control of mind; calmness of mind; the mind is kept in the heart and not allowed to externalise; it is the constant eradication of the mental tendencies, according to ‘Aparoksha-Anubhuti’ of Sankara.

Samabhavana: Feeling of equality.

Sama-Dana-Bheda-Danda: A method of persuasion used by Hindu Kshatriyas.

Samadhana: Equal fixing; proper concentration.

Samadhi Shrine: A saint’s tomb or burial shrine.

Samadhi: (Tibetan: tingnge zin) Also called meditative absorption or one-pointed meditation, this is the highest form of meditation, and is widely practiced in Theravada Buddhism. The mind is concentrated on a single object and gradually calmed until only the object is known; the ultimate goal is for the distinction between the object and the meditator to disappear, which is the realization of non-dualism. This state is a prerequisite to entering the four levels of jhana and enlightenment.

Samadhi: A state of Yogic absorption in the Supreme Being, in which the mind is completely stilled. The state of superconsciousness where Absoluteness is experienced attended with all-knowledge and joy; Oneness; here the mind becomes identified with the object of meditation; the meditator and the meditated, thinker and thought become one in perfect absorption of the mind. Going beyond distinction of subject and object. Perfect equanimity, Communion with God. Union of the subject and the object into one. The highest step on the Eightfold Path of Yoga, as outlined by the sage Patanjali. Samadhi is attained when the meditator, the process of meditation (by which the mind is withdrawn from the senses by interiorization), and the object of meditation (God) become One. Paramahansa Yogananda explained that “in the initial states of God-communion [sabikalpa samadhi) the devotee’s consciousness merges in the Cosmic Spirit; his life force is withdrawn from the body, which appears ‘dead,’ or motionless and rigid. The yogi is fully aware of his bodily condition of suspended animation. As he progresses to higher spiritual states (nirbikalpa samadhi), however, he communes with God without bodily fixation, and in his ordinary waking consciousness, even in the midst of exacting worldly duties.” Both states are characterized by oneness with the ever new bliss of Spirit, but the niibikalpa state is experienced by only the most highly advanced masters.

Samadhi: Literally, ‘even, sameness’; It is samadhi when ‘dhi’ (Buddhi or intellect) attains ‘sama’ (equanimity); intense or sustained concentration; the state of profound meditative union with the Absolute; according to yoga philosophy, the last stage in the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. There are two main types of samadhi, savikalpa (with seed, or form) and nirvikalpa (without seed, formless); also, the tomb or burial shrine of a saint.

Samadrishti: Equal vision.

Samana: One of the five Pranas or vital airs of the human body, that does the function of digestion.

Samanadhikarana: Co-ordination; the relation of abiding in a common substratum, Brahman; the ether in the pot and the ether in the cloud have a common substratum, viz., the universal ether, where only the limiting adjuncts differ.

Samantabhadra: (Sanskrit) (Tibetan: Kuntuzangpo) The primordial dharmakaya buddha. It is said that at the beginning Samantabhadra saw the separation of “I” and “other” and was not fooled by it, like everyone else. Also, the last of the Eight bodhisattvas is known as Samantabhadra.

Samanya: Common; ordinary; having common characteristics or common nature.

Samanyaguna: General quality; common nature or characteristic.

Samanyavastha: Undifferentiated condition; unmanifested state.

Samanyavijnana: Pure consciousness; homogeneous intelligence; Kutastha; Brahman.

Samarasattva: A term which is ordinarily applied to sexual union, but used symbolically to the union of Kundalini Sakti with Siva in the head; merging of ‘becoming’ into ‘Being’.

Samashti: An integrated whole of the same class of entity, e.g., Samashti-buddhi (cosmic intelligence).

Samata: Balanced state of mind.

Samatha: (Pali) see Shamatha.

Samatva: Equanimity (under all conditions); equanimity of outlook (making no distinction between friend and foe, pleasure and pain, etc.)

Samavaya: Combination; union; conjunction; constant and inseparable connection or inherence; existence of one thing in another.

Samavayakarana: Concomitant cause.

Samaya: (Tibetan: damtsig) The vows or commitments made in the Vajrayana, either to a teacher or to a practice.

Sambandha: Relationship; connection.

Sambhavimudra: The vacant externalised gaze of a Hatha Yogi where the mind is directed inwards; the Yogi appears to be looking at external objects but is not actually perceiving them as his mind is indrawn.

Sambhogakaya: (Tibetan: longjoe dzokku) Also called the enjoyment body. A realm of the dharmakaya which only manifests to bodhisattvas. see Kayas.

Sambhuti: Birth; origin; production.

Samgha: see Sangha.

Samhara: Destruction.

Samhita: Collection; one of the two primary sections of each of the Vedas, containing hymns and sacred formulae, the other section being the Brahmanas.

Samipya: Being near God.

Samit: Sacrificial fuel.

Samjna: Perception.

Samjnana: Consciousness; intelligence.

Samkhya: (Tibetan: drangchenpa) A Buddhist school which holds the non-Buddhist view that all objects of knowledge can be enumerated into 25 categories of phenomena. They believe in the “fundamental principle” which is indivisible, permanent, and pervades all phenomena.

Samkhya: An analytical system which discussing the spirit & matter; Kapil’s system of Devotion or Love of God.

Sampannakrama: (Tibetan: dzogrim) In the vajrayana there are two stages of meditation: the development and the completion stage. This is the completion stage, a method of tantric meditation in which one attains bliss, clarity, and non-thought by means of the subtle channels and energies within the body.

Sampat: Perfection; wealth; virtue.

Sampatti: Same as Sampat.

Sampradaya: Sect; custom; conventional procedure or course of action. A spiritual lineage. Sanatkumara: ‘Ever youthful’; one of four mind born sons of the Creator, Brahma, known as the Sanakadis or Kumaras. Their names are: Sanatkumara, Sanaka, Sanandana and Sanatana. They took to the life of renunciation from their very childhood. In their search for the Truth, they went to Lord Shiva, who took the form of the South facing Guru (Dakshinamurti) and taught them the non-dual Truth by simply forming the jnana-mudra and remaining silent. They are said to remain eternally youthful.

Samprajnata-samadhi: Cognitive trance; state of superconsciousness, with the triad of meditator, meditation and the meditated; Savikalpa-samadhi.

Samprasada: Peace; serenity; calmness; tranquillity.

Samprayoga: Contact of the senses with the objects.

Samsara: (Tibetan: khorwa) Cyclic existence. The circle of birth, death and rebirth within the six realms of existence, characterized by ignorance and dualistic perception, karma and disturbing emotions; the state of ordinary sentient beings. It is contrasted to nirvana.

Samsara: Life through repeated births and deaths; the process of worldly life. Wheel of life & death.

Samsarachakra: The wheel of birth and death.

Samsari: The transmigrating soul.

Samsaya: Doubt; suspicion.

Samsaya-bhavana: Feeling of doubt or suspicion.

Samskara: Impression; ceremonial purification; prenatal tendency. Mental formations (emotions and impulses).

Samskara-skandha: The group of old impressions.

Samslesha: Mutual embrace; intimate connection.

Samuccayavada: The doctrine that Karma and Jnana are both necessary for Self-realisation.

Samudaya: Arising, the root of suffering. This is the Second noble truth.

Samvara: A Buddhistic religious observance; restraint.

Samvit: Knowledge; consciousness; intelligence.

Samvriti: Relative truth; covering; concealment; suppression.

Samvriti: World-process; same as Samsara.

Samyagdarsana: Proper perception; equal vision; highest Advaitic realisation; complete intimation; perfect knowledge.

Samyama: Perfect restraint; an all-complete condition of balance and repose, concentration, meditation and Samadhi.

Samyavastha: State of equilibrium; harmony of the three Gunas; the state of the unmanifested being.

Samye temple: The first monastery build in Tibet, probably in 750-770 AD.

Samyoga-sambandha: Relation by contact, e.g., the stick and the drum.

Samyukta: United; combined.

Sananda: With bliss (a kind of Samadhi).

Sanatana Dharma: The ancient Wisdom, the eternal path of Righteousness. Literally, “eternal religion.” The name given to the body of Vedic teachings that came to be called Hinduism after the Greeks designated the people on the banks of the river Indus as Indoos, or Hindus. See dharma.

Sanatana: Eternal; everlasting.

Sancharana: Movement.

Sanchitakarma: The sum-total of all actions done by the Jiva during countless previous births, out of which a portion is allotted for every new birth.

Sandalpaste: A paste made from the fragrant sandalwood tree, and is used in ritual worship, as well as sacred marks on the forehead called tilika.

Sandhyavandana: A religious ablution and prayer among the twice-born of the Hindus performed in the morning, noon and evening.

Sandilya-vidya: The process of meditation on Brahman as the ideal effulgent indwelling spirit in its all-pervading aspect.

Sanga: Attachment; company.

Sangam: ‘Coming together’; the confluence of the three sacred rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati near the city of Allahabad.

Sanga-tyaga: Renunciation of company or association.

Sangha: (Tibetan: gendun) A general term that refers to a community of four or more practitioners who are followers of Buddha; these are the companions on the path. Noble Sangha refers to realized practitioners.

Sangraha: Collection.

Sangraha-buddhi: The intellect that wants to accumulate and possess.

Sankalpa: Thought, desire; imagination.

Sankalpamatra: Mere thought; existing in thought only.

Sankalparahita: Without thought; without idea.

Sankalpasunya: Devoid of thought.

Sankalpavikalpa: Thought and doubt.

Sankhya: A system of philosophy propounded by Kapila.

Sankhya: Philosophy of dualism.

Sankocha: Contraction; involution; hesitation.

Sanmatra: Mere existence; mere Being; only That which is; mere Be-ness.

Sannyasa: Literally, to ‘throw down or abandon’; the Hindu monastic path of renunciation; also, the fourth and last stage of life according to ancient Hindu culture.

Sannyasa: Renunciation of social ties; the last stage of Hindu life, viz., the stage of spiritual meditation. The state of wandering mendicant.

Sannyasi (or Sannyasin): A monk; one who has embraced the life of complete renunciation; one belonging to the fourth or the highest stage of life, viz., Sannyasa.

Sannyasin: Literally, one who ‘throws down or abandons’; one who has renounced or abandoned the worldly life in favor of the monastic life. Sannyasa is a personal dedication to the path of God-realization and service to humanity.

Sanskrit: An early language of ancient India, one of the Indo-European languages. It is used in both Hinduism and Buddhism.

Santa: Peaceful; calm; tranquil.

Santirupa: Of the form of peace.

Santosha: Contentment; joy; happiness.

Sanyasa: Last stage of the 4 stages or Ashramas of life.

Sanyasi: One who has taken to renunciation, one who lives in the forest, one who does not live as a part of the family.

Sanzen: This is the twice-daily meeting between the student and the master in Zen Buddhism to discuss the student’s progress in meditation. The main purpose is to determine whether the student has solved their Koan. If not, the incorrect answer is rejected, and the master must then spur the student on to find a correct solution.

Saptah: Literally, ‘seven’; the event of continuous chanting of God’s name for seven days.

Saraha: One of the eighty-four mahasiddhas of India; he was known for his spiritual songs about mahamudra.

Sarana: Refuge.

Saranagati: Self-surrender; coming under refuge.

Saranagati-yoga: Yoga of self-surrender; Bhakti Yoga.

Sarasvati: From saras ‘flowing’ + vati ‘having’; flowing with speech and knowledge; the universal mother as the goddess of learning and the arts; Shakti; name of a sacred river in North India now dried up; one of the ten orders (dasnami) of sannyasins started by Shankaracharya. The monastic order to which Swami Muktananda belonged to, as well as all his renunciate disciples.

Sarira: Body.

Sarpadevajanavidya: The science of snake-charming and fire arts.

Sarupya: Having the same form as God.

Sarva: All; everything.

Sarvabhokta: All-enjoyer; an epithet of the Supreme Lord.

Sarvabhutantaratma: The Inner Self of all beings.

Sarvadesika: Pertaining to all places; present everywhere.

Sarva-duhkha-nivritti: Removal of all pains.

Sarvagata: Present in all (things); omnipresent.

Sarva-himsa-vinirmukha: Against injury of all kinds.

Sarvajna: Omniscient; knowing everything.

Sarva-kalyana: All auspicious qualities.

Sarva-karana: Cause of everything; causality of creation, preservation and destruction.

Sarva-karana-karana: The cause of all other causes.

Sarva-karta: All-doer; doer of everything.

Sarvangasana: Pan-psychical pose of the Hatha-yogin; it influences the thyroid gland and through it the whole body and its functions.

Sarvaniyantratma: The Inner Soul that controls everything.

Sarvantaryami: The Inner Ruler of everything.

Sarvapindavyapi: He who permeates all bodies and also who permeates the entire body.

Sarva-prani-hite-ratah: Ever rejoicing in the good of all beings.

Sarva-sakshi: Witness of everything.

Sarva-sakti-samanvita: With all powers; omnipotent.

Sarva-sankalpa-rahitah: Devoid of all thoughts or resolves.

Sarva-sastrartha-vetta: Knower of the meaning of all scriptures.

Sarvatitavadi: Transcendentalist; one who argues that Truth is transcendental.

Sarvatmakatva: Universality; the state of being the soul of everything.

Sarvatva: State of being everything.

Sarvatyaga: Renunciation of everything.

Sarvavit: All-knowing.

Sarvavyapi: All-pervading; omnipresent.

Sarvesvaratva: Supreme rulership over all.

Sarvopadanatva: The state of being the material cause of all.

Sarvosmi: I am all.

Sasmita: With the feeling of individuality or the egoistic feeling of “I exist” (a kind of Samadhi).

Sastra: Scripture; words of authority. Treatise. A type of Buddhist text; generall a philospohical treatise or commentary; scriptures composed by accomplished or learned masters.

Sastras: Sacred instructions by God-realised people, also calledalso called Srutu; transmitted by “hearing”. Being God-made Laws, they do not change with time, for example the Vedas.

Sasvatapada: Everlasting abode.

Sat: ‘True, existing, real.’ Existence; being; reality; Truth. The Real, which transcends time, place and causation, ie, Omnipresent.

Satan: Literally, in Hebrew, “the adversary.” Satan is the conscious and independent universal force that keeps everything and everybody deluded with the unspiritual consciousness of finiteness and separateness from God. To accomplish this, Satan uses the weapons of maya (cosmic delusion) and avidya (individual delusion, ignorance). See maya.

Satavadhana: Doing or paying attention to one hundred things at a time.

Satchidananda: Existence-knowledge-bliss Absolute. (Also, Sat-chit-ananda.)

Satchidanandasagara: The ocean of Existence-knowledge-bliss, a metaphorical expression suggesting the indescribable Absolute Reality.

Sat-chit-ananda: Absolute, ‘Existence, Consciousness, Bliss’, said to be the three essential aspects of the Supreme Being.

Satguru (or Sadguru): The true Guru; one who has realized the ultimate truth and is able to lead others along the spiritual path; a spiritual preceptor of the highest attainment, considered to be an embodiment of God.

Sat-Guru-Nath-Maharaj-ki-Jai: ‘Hail to the true guru, the great king and Lord’; an expression or exclamation of joy, gratitude and love towards one’s guru.

Sathya: Truth.

Sati: (Pali) see Smrti.

Satkama: Pure desire (of a liberated sage); desire for Moksha.

Satkarma: Righteous action.

Satkaryavada: The doctrine which holds that the effect is inherent in the cause and that the effect is only a change of the cause.

Satori: Zen Buddhism’s term for enlightenment.

Satsamanya: Common substratum; homogeneous essence; Being; Brahman.

Satsang: Literally, ‘the company of Truth’; the company or association of saints and devotees; a group of people coming together to hear scriptures, chant, meditate, or just to sit in the presence of the Guru.

Satsanga: Association with the wise (good), the company of realised souls.

Satsankalpa: True resolve; pure desire; perfect will.

Sattasamanya: Homogeneous existence; Existence Absolute; Brahman.

Sat-Tat-Aum: Sat, Truth, the Absolute, Bliss,- Tat, universal intelligence or consciousness; Aum, cosmic intelligent creative vibration, word-symbol for God. See Aum and Trinity.

Sattva: Light; purity; reality.

Sattvaguna: Quality of light, purity and goodness.

Sattvagunapradhana: Sattva-prevailing; Sattva-predominating.

Sattvapatti: Fourth state of Jnana where there is an abundance of Sattva or purity and light.

Sattvasamsuddhi: Purity of heart; purity of feeling; increase of light and purity.

Sattwika: Clear.

Satwaguna: Mode of goodness; one of the 3 Gunas or modes of nature.

Satya: Truth; Brahman or the Absolute.

Satyakama: He who longs or desires for Truth. Satyasankalpa: Pure will.

Satyatva: State of Truth.

Saucha: Purity (internal and external); cleanliness; one of the five Niyamas in Ashtanga Yoga.

Sautrantika school: (Tibetan: dodepa) One of the four major schools of Indian Buddhism. It is a Hinayana school.

Savayava: With limbs or members.

Savichara: With deliberation and reasoning or enquiry.

Savikalpa: With doubt and change.

Savikalpa-samadhi: Samadhi with the triad of knower, knowledge and known.

Savisesha: With distinction; distinguished by qualities; associated with attributes.

Savisesha-brahman: Brahman with attributes; Saguna Brahman.

Saviseshatva: Presence of distinctive attributes.

Savitarka: With logic and argumentation.

Savitarka-samadhi: Samadhi with argumentation.

Sayujya: Becoming one with God.

Secret mantra: (Tibetan: sang ngak) A name for the Vajrayana.

Self: Capitalized to denote the atman or soul, the divine essence of man, as distinguished from the ordinary self, which is the human personality or ego. The Self is individualized Spirit, whose essential nature is ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss. The Self or soul is man’s inner fountainhead of love, wisdom, peace, courage, compassion, and all other divine qualities.

Self-knowledge: (Tibetan: rang rig) A high meditation in which one looks directly at the mind itself, eliminating all concepts, to determine the characteristics of reality.

Selflessness: (Tibetan: dagme) (Sanskrit: Selflessness of person: pudgalanairatmya; Selflessness of phenomena: dharma-nairatmya) Egolessness. In two of the Hinayana schools (Vaibhashika and Sautrantika) this refers exclusively to the fact that a person is not a real permanent self, but simply a collection of transitory thoughts and feelings. In two of the Mahayana schools (Chittamatra and Madhyamika) this extends to external phenomena, which also have no inherent existence.

Self-realization: Paramahansa Yogananda has defined Self-realization as follows: “Self-realization is the knowing – in body, mind, and soul – that we are one with the omnipresence of God; that we do not have to pray that it come to us, that we are not merely near it at all times, but that God’s omnipresence is our omnipresence; that we are just as much a part of Him now as we ever will be. All we have to do is improve our knowing.”

Sending and taking practice: (Tibetan: tonglen) A meditation practice promoted by Atisha in which the practitioner takes on the negative conditions of others and gives out all that is positive.

Sensory consciousnesses: (Tibetan: Wang shey) These are the five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch), plus bodily sensation. see Eight Consciousnesses.

Sentient being: (Sanskrit: Sattva) A sentient being is generally defined as any living creature which has developed enough consciousness and awareness to experience feelings, particularly suffering. This includes all animal life and excludes botanical life forms. These are the object of Buddhist ethics and compassion; Buddhism’s goal is not simply to aid its membership in their own personal liberation, but also to function within the world to improve the conditions of life for all sentient beings.

Sesha: Balance; remainder.

Seva: Service.

Seven patriarchs: (Tibetan: terab dun) The seven great teachers and major holders of Buddhism: Mahakashyapa, Ananda, Sanavastri, Upagupta, Dhitika, Krisna, and Sudarshana.

Shad-ayatana: The abode of the six (senses).

Shad-darsana: Six systems of thought; six philosophies of the Hindus, viz., Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedanta.

Shad-linga: Six lingas or signs of a perfect exposition or a text viz., 1. Upakranza-Upasarnhara-Ekavakyata (unity of thought in the beginning as well as in the end), 2. Ahhyasa (reiteration or repetition), 3. Apurvata (novelty or uncommon nature of the proof), 4. Phala (fruit of the teaching), 5. Arthavada (eulogy, praise or persuasive expression) and 6. Upapatti (illustration). Some consider Yukti (reason) as the sixth sign instead of Upapatti.

Shad-urmi: Six waves, viz., grief, delusion, hunger, thirst, decay and death.

Shad-vikara: Six modifications of the body, viz., existence, birth, growth, change, decay and death.

Shaiva Siddhanta: ‘Siddhanta’, ‘the final view, or settled conclusion’; Shaiva Siddhanta is the Southern branch or school of Shaivism. Shaiva-Siddhanta teaches a non-dualistic philosophy, and follows the Agamic literature.

Shaivism: Pertaining to Shiva. The religion and philosophy of the followers of Shiva, the ‘auspicious One’.

Shakti: The Female Principle or Power or nature or Prakriti or Maya. Power; energy; strength; skill or ability; active power or energy; the Supreme Primordial Energy (Parashakti) which creates, maintains, and dissolves the universe; a term for the Kundalini Shakti within each individual.

Shaktipat: Literally, ‘descent of shakti’: the power of grace; the descent of grace; a specific method of initiation in the lineage of Siddhas. The transmission of spiritual power (shakti) from the Guru to the disciple in order to awaken the dormant kundalini. This is accomplished by the guru’s touch, word, look or his mere willing it.

Shakyamuni Buddha: (Tibetan: shakya tubpa) The Shakyamuni Buddha, often called the Gautama Buddha, refers to the latest Buddha who lived between 563 and 483 BC.

Shakyamuni: Sage of the Shakyas, a name for the Buddha. The Shakya is the clan into which the Buddha was born.

Shakyas: A noble clan, which ruled an area of southern Nepal.

Shamatha: (Pali: samatha; Tibetan: shiney) Tranqulity meditation; the meditative practice of calming the mind in order to rest free from the disturbance of thought. This is a basic sitting meditation in which one usually follows the breath while observing the workings of the mind while sitting in the cross-legged posture.

Shambhavi Mudra: ‘The blissful or ecstatic mood,’ from sham ‘bliss, joy, happiness’ + bhava ‘mood, attitude’; a mystical expression in which the eyes are either wide open, or, half closed with the gaze directed within towards the center between the eyebrows. It is said to be the mudra of Shiva. (see mudra) Shankaracharya (also Sri Shankara): (788-820 C.E.?) Although many modern scholars place Shankara in the 8th century, this date is disputed by many of his successors. But unfortunately they do not all agree with each other, giving dates that range from around 2nd century B.C. to the 2nd century C.E. Adi Shankar, philosopher and saint, taught the non-dual (Advaitic) system of Vedanta. He also founded the ten orders (dasnami) of sannyasins, and established ashrams (mutts) in the four corners of India through his four main disciples: Padmapada, Hastamalaka, Totaka (Anandagiri) and Sureshwara. In his short life of 32 years he wrote commentaries on the principle Upanishads, Brahma Sutras and Bhagavad Gita, as well as several poems and numerous other works, including the Atma-Bodha and Viveka Chudamani. In the following verse Shankara expresses the core of all his teachings: Brahma Satyam Jagan’Mithya, Jivo Brahmai’va Naparah Brahman is true, the universe illusory; The individual soul is verily not different from Brahman.

Shankara, Swami: Sometimes referred to as Adi (“the first”) Shankaracharya (Shankara + acharya, “teacher”). India’s most illustrious philosopher. Many scholars assign him to the eighth or early ninth century. He expounded God not as a negative abstraction, but as positive, eternal, omnipresent, ever new Bliss. Shankara reorganized the ancient Swami Order, and founded four great maths (monastic centres of spiritual education), whose leaders in apostolic succession bear the title of Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya. The meaning of Jagadguiu is “world teacher.”

Shantarakshita: An abbot of Nalanda University in the 8th century C.E. Invited to Tibet by King Trisong Detsen, he established Samye Monastery and thus helped introduce Buddhism in Tibet.

Shantideva: (675- 725 AD) A great Indian bodhisattva known for his two works on the conduct of a bodhisattva.

Shariputra: (Tibetan: shariepu) One of the two foremost disciples of the Buddha. He is known for his intelligence; when the sutras say, “Thus have I heard…” it is Shariputra reciting.

Shastra: (Tibetan: tenchoe) Treatise, a type of Buddhist text; generally a philosophical treatise or a commentary on Buddha’s teachings; scriptures composed by accomplished or learned masters.

Shastri: (Sanskrit) (Tibetan: tenchoepa) One who has a perfect understanding of shastras or treatses; also used as a degree equivalent to bachelor’s degree.

Shatchakranirupana: Investigation into or ascertainment of the six Chakras.

Shat-karma: Cleaning processes in Hatha Yoga, viz., Neti, Dhauti, Nauli, Basti, Kapalabhati and Trataka.

Shat-sampat: Sixfold wealth, viz., Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana.

Shehnai: An Indian musical instrument resembling a clarinet, usually played during auspicious functions.

Shentong: (Tibetan) The Madhyamika or middle way school divided into two major schools: the Rongton which maintains that emptiness is devoid of inherent existence and Shentong which maintains that emptiness is indivisible from luminosity.

Shikantaza: Mindfulness meditation in Zen Buddhism.

Shila: (Sanskrit)(Pali: sila) Morality, precept or rule. It usually refers to the Five or Ten Precepts which form the basic guidelines for the sangha’s behavior.

Shinay: see Shamatha.

Shiva Linga: An ‘emblem, mark or sign’ of Shiva; a symbol representing the Absolute Being in His unmanifested state. A rounded, elliptical, aniconic image made of stone, metal, crystal, wood, or any natural substance, either carved or natural. Shiva Mahimna: A hymn in praise of Shiva sung in the evenings at Muktananda’s ashram.

Shiva: (Lord Shiva) Literally, ‘the auspicious, kind, gracious or compassionate One’; the name given to the Absolute when viewed as the dissolver of the universe; according to Shaivism, the Supreme Lord who is transcendent, as well as immanent. In His immanent form He is the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of the universe.

Shiva: The demigod in-charge of the mode of ignorance and the destruction of the material universes.

Shivaratri: Literally, ‘the night of Shiva’; the 14th night of each dark lunar month (from full moon to new moon); this night, when falling in February-March, is called Maha Shivaratri. It is celebrated by fasting, meditating or chanting throughout the night.

Shivasutras: The main scripture of Kashmir Shaivism, said to have been found by Sage Vasugupta (circa 800) written on a huge rock, after its whereabouts was revealed to him in a dream by Lord Shiva Himself.

Shivo’ham: Literally, ‘I am Shiva’; the experience of one who has achieved the highest transcendental state. Siddha: A perfected being; one who has attained the highest spiritual goal. From the verb-root sidh, ‘to attain’; one who has achieved siddhi, the mystical powers; a perfected spiritual master of great purity and power. A Siddha is one who lives in a state of total freedom. His mind is completely steady, and he always maintains the awareness of ‘I am pure consciousness.’

Shodasi: A particular aspect of Goddess conceived of in a sixteen year old maiden; the Brahmavidya of the Saktas, consisting of 16 letters; a modification of the Agnistoma sacrifice.

Shramana: (Tibetan: gejong) Literally virtuous endeavor. A spiritual practitioner. Often has the connotation of an ascetic or mendicant.

Shravaka: (Tibetan: nyenthoe) Literally, those who hear, meaning disciples. One who needs the help of others to become enlightened. A type of realized hinayana practitioner who has achieved the realization of the nonexistence of personal self. see Arhat.

Shravakayana: (Tibetan: Nyenthoe thegpa) The vehicle of the listeners. One of the Theravada.

Shuddodana: Buddha’s father.

Shunyata: (Tibetan: tong pa nyi) see Emptiness.

Siddha: Realised; perfected; a perfected Yogi. Literally, “one who is successful.” One who has attained Self-realization. (Tibetan: druptop) An accomplished Buddhist practitioner.

Siddha-Loka: Literally ‘the world of Siddhas’; a world where those who have achieved full spiritual liberation live. Such beings may take birth on earth for some purpose, or they may subtly guide seekers through dreams or visions. The bodies of those Siddhas are made of consciousness, and they are able to move with great velocity and speed. Swami Muktananda has often said that this world exists on the planet Jupiter.

Siddhanta: Established tenet or doctrine.

Siddhantavakhyasravana: Hearing of scriptural conclusions or established truths, as by study of Vedanta; coming to the ultimate right conclusion.

Siddha-Pitha: The place or seat of a Siddha; Sri Shailam and Girnar are considered as the two Siddha Pithas in India, while the third is said to be Mount Kailash located in Tibet.

Siddhartha Gautama: He who has reached his goal.

Siddhartha: The Buddha’s given name, or first name. His surname was Gautama.

Siddhasana: A meditative posture.

Siddhi: (Tibetan: ngodrup) Spiritual accomplishments of accomplished practitioners.

Siddhi: ‘Perfection, accomplishment, attainment’; spiritual realization; full spiritual attainment; the achievement or completion of the spiritual goal; also, supernatural powers attained through mantra repetition, meditation, austerities, and other yogic techniques. (see Ashta-Siddhis)

Siddhi: Perfection; psychic power.

Siddhis: Yogic powers, ie, the power to work miracles. Supernatural powers – physical, mental and astral.

Siksha: Phonetics; instruction; teaching.

Sila: (Pali) see Shila.

Sirovrata: Vow of the head; a vow in which fire is carried on the head or in which the head is shaven; Sannyasa.

Sirshasana (or Sirasasana): Topsy-turvy pose; king of Asanas; the headstand of the Hatha Yogins.

Sivapada: The state of Lord Siva; blessedness.

Sivo’ham: I am Siva.

Six ornaments: Major historical teachers and followers of Buddha: Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Dignaga, and Dharmakirti.

Six realms of samsara: (Tibetan: rikdruk) The possible rebirths for beings in samsara: The god realm, characterized by great pride; the asura realm, in which the jealous gods try to maintain what they have; the human realm, the best because one has the possibility of achieving enlightenment; the animal realm (naraka), characterized by stupidity; the hungry ghost realm (preta), characterized by great craving; and the hell realm, characterized by aggression.

Six yogas of Naropa: (Tibetan: Naro choedruk) These six special yogic practices were transmitted from Naropa to Marpa and consist of the subtle heat practice, the illusory body practice, the dream yoga practice, the luminosity practice, the ejection of consciousness practice, and the bardo practice.

Skandha: (Tibetan: pungpo) Literally, heaps. These are the five basic transformations that perceptions undergo when an object is perceived: form (visual, acoustic, olafactory), feeling (pleasant, unpleasant, neutral), perception, formation, and consciousness. Also, the five elements of a human which come together at birth and separate at death, forming the sense of self: body, feelings/senses, perceptions, habits and inclinations, and consciousness.

Skillful means: (Sanskrit: upaya; Tibetan: thab) In Mahayana practice this refers to dedicating the merits of all one’s deeds to the benefit of all sentient beings. In Vajrayana practice it refers to practices of the internal yogas, which manipulate the internal energies and channels.

Sloka: Verse of praise; a verse generally consisting of 32 letters.

Smarana: Remembrance.

Smarta: Pertaining to or enjoined by the Smriti.

Smriti: (Pali: sati; Tibetan: drenpa) Mindfulness, remembrance, recollection; to think; to be mindful; to recall.

Smriti: Memory; code of law. Man-made instructions or laws; they change with the change of time. e.g. Manu-smriti.

Smritihetu: Cause of memory.

Sneha: Adhesiveness; friendship.

Sodhana: Cleansing, by the six processes or Shatkarmas, (the first part of Hatha Yoga).

Soka: Grief.

So’kamayata: He (God) desired.

Son: (Korean) Zen Buddhism.

Soshana: Drying.

Soto Zen: A Zen sect emphasizing Shikantaza meditation.

Soul: Individualized Spirit. The soul or Self (atman) is the true and immortal nature of man, and of all living forms of life; it is cloaked only temporarily in the garments of causal, astral, and physical bodies. The nature of the soul is Spirit: ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new joy.

Space: (Sanskrit: dhatu; Tibetan: ying).

Spanda: Movement; vibration.

Spandabhasa: Reflection of vibration or movement.

Spandavastha: State of vibration or motion.

Sparsa: Touch; feeling with skin.

Sparsana: Touching.

Sparsatanmatra: The essence of the sense of touch.

Sphota: Manifestor; the idea which bursts or flashes on the mind when a sound is uttered; the impression produced on the mind on hearing a sound.

Sphurana: Throbbing or breaking; bursting forth; vibration.

Spiritual eye: The single eye of intuition and omnipresent perception at the Christ (Kutastha) centre (ajna chakra) between the eyebrows. The deeply meditating devotee beholds the spiritual eye as a ring of golden light encircling a sphere of opalescent blue, and at the centre, a pentagonal white star. Microcosmically, these forms and colours epitomize, respectively, the vibratory realm of creation (Cosmic Nature, Holy Ghost); the Son or intelligence of God in creation (Kutastha Chaitanya/Christ Consciousness); and the vibrationless Spirit beyond all creation (God the Father). The spiritual eye is the entryway into the ultimate states of divine consciousness. Jesus also spoke of the spiritual eye: “When thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness” (Luke 11:34-35)

Spiritual song: (Sanskrit: doha; Tibetan: gur) A religious song spontaneously composed by a vajrayana practitioner. It usually has nine syllables per line.

Spriha: Desire; hankering.

Sraaddha: An annual ceremony when oblations are offered to the manes.

Sraddha: Faith.

Sramanera: (Tibetan: Getshul) Novice monk, novitiate. They are bound by a somewhat less severe version of the bhiksu’s discipline. The vow includes the five basic vows, plus refraining from afternoon food, singing and the wearing of ornaments.

Srauta: Pertaining to or enjoined by the Sruti.

Sravana: Hearing of the Srutis or scriptures; ear.

Sreyas: Good; blessedness; Moksha.

Sri Yukteswar: Swami. Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri (1855-1936), disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya and guru of Paramahansa Yogananda. At the behest of Lahiri Mahasaya’s guru, Mahavatar Babaji, Yukteswar wrote The Holy Science, a treatise on the underlying unity of Hindu and Christian scriptures, and trained Paramahansa Yogananda for his spiritual world-mission: the dissemination of Kriya Yoga. The story of Yukteswar life is in Paramahansa Yogananda’s book Autobiography of a Yogi.

Sri: Goddess Lakshmi; wealth; prosperity.

Srishti: Creation.

Srishti-bheda: Difference in creation, i.e., one ego is the result of the predominance of Sattva, another of Rajas, and a third of Tamas, etc.

Srishti-kalpana: Creative ideation.

Srishtisthitilaya (samhara): Creation, preservation and destruction or absorption.

Srishti-unmukha: Ready or prone to create.

Srotra: Ear; organ of hearing.

Sruti: The Vedas; the revealed scriptures of the Hindus; that which has been heard; ear. Revealed Truths to the seers; they cannot be changed.

Srutipradhana: Superiority or the supremacy of the Srutis over all other proofs of knowledge.

Srutipramana: Testimony or proof based on the Veda.

Srutu: Sacred instructions by God-realised people, also calledalso called Sastras; transmitted by “hearing”. Being God-made Laws, they do not change with time, for example the Vedas.

Stabdhavastha: Stunned state of the mind wherein its movements are arrested; this is a negative state which is an obstacle in meditation.

Stambhana: Arresting; stopping.

States of Existence: (Sanskrit: gati) There are six states of existence. The highest three are the gods, the asuras, and human beings; they result from good karma. The lowest three are animals, hungry ghosts, and demons (hell-dwellers); they result from bad karma. Some forms of Buddhism view the asuras as stemming from bad karma and others ignore them completely, having only five states of existence.

Sthanumanushya: Man in the post; a simile used to describe false superimposition due to wrong imagination.

Sthavara: Immovable; immobile; stationary.

Sthaviravada: (Sanskrit) (Pali: Theravada) Way of the Elders. It is one of the 18 Shravaka schools.

Sthirata: Steadiness or firmness either of mind through concentration or of body through Asanas, Mudras, etc.

Sthitaprajna: He who is unshakably established in superconsciousness.

Sthiti: Steadiness; condition or state; existence; being; subsistence; preservation.

Sthula-avidya: Gross ignorance that envelopes all objects.

Sthulabuddhi: Gross intellect.

Sthulasamadhi: The state of Samadhi which is of a Jada type in which there is no intuitive awareness.

Sthulasarira: Gross body; physical body.

Sthulavairagya: Gross dispassion; dispassion or renunciation of a lower type.

Stotra: A religious hymn. Sushumna: The central, and most important subtle nerve (nadi) located within the spinal column, and extending from the base of the spine to the top of the head. The awakened kundalini travels upwards within the sushumna towards the highest spiritual center located in the crown of the head.

Stupa: (Tibetan: choe ten) A shrine which often contains relics and remains of the Buddha or great bodhisattvas. The center is a raised temple which is usually surrounded by a series of terraces.

Stuti: Praise; glorification.

Subha: Auspicious; blessed.

Subhavasana: Pure desire or tendency; good impression of the past.

Subheccha: Good desire; right aspiration to cross Samsara; the first Jnana-bhumika or stage of knowledge.

Subramaniam: The second son of Lord Shiva and Parvati.

Subtle channels: (Sanskrit: nadi; Tibetan: tsa) The internal paths through which psychic energies or “winds” (Sanskrit: prana; Tibetan: lung) travel.

Subtle heat: (Tibetan: tummo) An advanced Vajrayana practice for combining bliss and emptiness which produces heat as a byproduct.

Suchi: Pure; untainted.

Suchness: (Sanskrit: tathata/tattva; Tibetan: deshinnyi/dekhonanyi) Things as they really are, not as they appear.

Suddha: Pure; clear; clean; untainted.

Suddhabhakti: Pure devotion to God.

Suddhabhavana: Pure feeling or attitude.

Suddhabrahma: Pure Brahman, free from Maya; Nirguna Brahman.

Suddhakalpana: Pure imagination (as that of “I am Brahman”.)

Suddhamanas: Pure mind.

Suddhaprema: Pure love; divine love devoid of carnality.

Suddhasankalpa: Pure resolve.

Suddhavichara: Pure enquiry into the nature of Brahman.

Sudra: Of the fourth Varna or caste; of the servant class. An unskilled laborer, the 4th of the Vedic Social order.

Suffering: see Dukkha.

Sugamata: The faculty of reproducing the passage after reading it once or a few times.

Sugatagarbha: (Tibetan: desheg nyingpo) Buddha nature or that enlightened essence present in all beings that allows them to have the capacity to achieve enlightenment. It is closely related to tathagatagarbha.

Sugupta: Well-concealed; very secret.

Sujata: The village girl who gave Buddha milk-rice.

Sukha: Pleasure; happiness; joy.

Sukhachintana: Thought of happiness; happy thinking.

Sukhavati: (Sanskrit) (Tibetan: Dewachen) Blissful Land, the Pure Land of Amitabha.

Sukhi: One who is happy.

Sukla: Semen; white.

Sukrita: Good act; merit.

Sukshma: Fine; subtle; invisible; belonging to a subtler order of existence than the physical.

Sukshmabhuta: Tanmatra; subtle essence or state of elements.

Sukshmadarsi: Seer of the subtle essence of things; one who has developed the subtle inner eye; a man of wisdom; a sage.

Sukshmadhyana: Subtle type of meditation such as on abstract ideas.

Suktika-raj ata: Silver-in-the-mother-of-pearl, an example of superimposition where one thing is wrongly taken for another thing.

Sulohita: Very red.

Sundara: Beautiful.

Sunya: Void; nothingness; zeroness; vacuity; nullity.

Sunyavada: Doctrine of nihilism; doctrine of non-existence of anything.

Sunyavadi: Nihilist; a follower of Nagarjuna.

Superconscious mind: The all-knowing power of the soul that perceives truth directly. Intuition.

Superconsciousness: The pure, intuitive, all-seeing, ever-blissful consciousness of the soul. Sometimes used generally to refer to all the various states of samadhi experienced in meditation, but specifically the first state of samadhi, wherein one transcends ego consciousness and realizes his self as soul, made in the image of God. Thence follow the higher states of realization: Kutastha Chaitanya/Christ consciousness and cosmic consciousness.

Supreme yogi: An epithet for the Buddha.

Suryanadi: Another name for the psychic nerve, Pingala.

Sushka: Dry; essenceless.

Sushumna: The important psychic nerve current that passes through the spinal column from the Muladhara to the Sahasrara or the thousand-petalled lotus, through which the Kundalini is made to rise through the Yoga process.

Sushupti: Deep sleep without dreams.

Susila: He whose nature is purified, i.e., the man who regularly practises Yama and so forth and has trained himself.

Sutra: Thread; string; an aphorism with minimum words and maximum sense; a terse sentence. (Pali: sutta; Tibetan: dodey) Literally, thread or a concise sentence. Sacred text, a discourse by or inspired by the Buddha; the Sutra Pitaka, one of the three divisions of the tripitaka; the foundational texts for Mahayana Buddhism, which differentiate Mahayana from Theravada Buddhism, often contrasted with the tantras which are the Buddha’s vajrayana teachings and the shastras which are commentaries on the words of the Buddha.

Sutradhara: The holder of the string; Hiranyagarbha or the Lord of the universe.

Sutratma: The immanent deity of the totality of the subtle bodies; the lower Brahman; Hiranyagarbha.

Sutrayana: (Tibetan: Doyi thegpa) Sutra Vehicle. The sutra approach to achieving enlightenment, which includes the Hinayana and the Mahayana.

Suvichara: Right enquiry.

Svabhava: One’s own nature or potentiality; innate nature.

Svabhavikakaya: (Tibetan: ngowonyi kyi ku) The essence body; the dharmakaya of the Buddha.

Svaccha: Pure; transparent; clean.

Svadha: Offerings made to the manes; an exclamation made when offering oblations to the manes.

Svadharma: One’s own prescribed duty in life according to the eternal law.

Svadhisthana: The second of the six Chakras according to Hatha Yoga.

Svadhyaya: Study of religious scriptures, especially the Vedas.

Svagatabheda: Intrinsic difference as the difference between waves, eddies, etc., in a mass of water; the difference between parts like hands, legs, head, feet, etc., in a person; difference between fruit, flower, twigs, leaves, etc., in a tree; that by which one part of a substance is discriminated from another.

Svaha: An oblation or offering made to gods; an exclamation used in offering oblations to gods.

Svajatiyavrittipravaha: The constant flow of the idea of one’s own essential state, i.e., of the idea of “I am Brahman”.

Svamahimapratishthita: One who is established in or is dependent on his own greatness or glory.

Svanubhuti: Direct experience of one’s own Self TER’ Svapna: Dream; illusion.

Svapnakalpita: Imagined in a dream; dream creation.

Svapnamayasvarupa: Of the form of a dream illusion.

Svapnavastha: Dream state.

Svapnavat: Like a dream.

Svaprakasa: Self-luminous.

Svara: Sound; accent; tone.

Svarabhanga: Falling of the voice; choking of the voice; one of the marks of divine emotion.

Svarasadhana: Regulation of breath; a particular kind of Sadhana where the flow of breath is continuously watched and regulated.

Svargaloka: Heaven-world; the celestial region.

Svarupa: Essence; essential nature; the essential nature of Brahman; Reality; Satchidananda; True Nature of Being.

Svarupadhyana: Meditation on the Reality, i.e., on one’s own essential nature.

Svarupajnana: Knowledge of one’s essential nature; knowledge of pure consciousness, which is the highest end of life.

Svarupalakshana: Definition of the essential nature of Brahman; Satchidananda or Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute.

Svarupanyathabhava: Being other than one’s own real nature.

Svarupapratishtha: Being established in one’s own Self.

Svarupasambandha: Connection with one’s own essential nature.

Svarupasthiti: Getting oneself firmly established in one’s own essential nature.

Svarupavastha: State of being one with Brahman; resting in the Absolute Reality or Brahman.

Svarupavisranti: Resting in one’s own essential nature.

Svasa: Breath.

Svatahsiddha: Self-proved; self-obtained or realised.

Svatantra: Independent.

Svatantrasattabhava: Possibility of independent existence.

Svatantratva: State of (Absolute) independence.

Svayam jyotih: Self-illumined; self-luminous.

Svayambhava: Feeling of independence.

Svayambhu: Self-existent; self-created; self-born.

Svayamprabhasamvit: The self-luminous consciousness.

Svedaja: Organism born spontaneously or generated automatically from inorganic matter through the action of moisture and heat, such as the maggot in decaying flesh or bugs out of sweat; sweat-born.

Swadharma: Right Life. Right Life as modernized by Shivapuri Baba. As explained to Arjun and Uddhav by Lord Krishna.

Swami or Swamiji: Lord; ‘One who is lord of his senses’; he who knows himself; a prefix to a sannyasin’s name; a religious title of a Hindu holy man, usually a sannyasin; also, a term of respect for any sadhu.

Swami: Spiritual preceptor. A member of India’s most ancient monastic order, reorganized in the eighth or early ninth century by Swami Shankara.A swami takes formal vows of celibacy and renunciation of worldly ties and ambitions. He devotes himself to meditation and other spiritual practices and to service to humanity. There are ten classificatory titles of the venerable Swami Order, as Giri, Puri, Bharati, Tirtha, Saraswati, and others. The Sanskrit word swami means “he who is one with the Self (Swa).”


Taapatraya: Sufferings or afflictions of three kinds, to which mortals are subject, viz., (1) those caused by one’s own body (Adhyatmika), (2) those caused by beings around him (Adhibhautika), and (3) those caused by Devas (Adhidaivika).

Tabla: A set of small Indian drums.… Tambura: A four stringed unfretted lute of India used as a harmonic drone.

Tadakara (or Tadrupa): Of that form, i.e., of the same form as That, viz., Brahman.

Tadatmya: Identity; of the nature of that.

Tadatmyasambandha: Identical relation, e.g., iron becomes fire, water becomes white when mixed with milk.

Taijasa: A name used in Vedanta philosophy for an individual in the subtle state (as in dream) when the Supreme Reality is veiled and coloured by an individual’s subtle body.

Tailadhara: Continuous flow of oil; parallel used to denote the continuous flow of one thought in meditation, as well as the unbroken current of love of the devotee to his Beloved, God.

Talatala: A nether region.

Talumula: Root of the palate.

Tamas: Ignorance; inertia; darkness; perishability.

Tamasahankara: The lowest or grossest type of egoism characterised by delusion, inertia and deep arrogation.

Tamasika Tapas: Extreme austerity of an unnecessary, fearful and dire type; self-torture practised by an ignorant person mistaking it for real Tapas.

Tamasika: Inert.

TamoGuna: Inertia; one of the 3 gunas or modes of nature.

Tandra: Drowsiness; half-sleepy state; an obstacle in meditation.

Tanmatra: Atom; rudimentary element in an undifferentiated state before Panchikarana or quintuplication.

Tanmayata: State of absorption into.

Tansa River: (also known as Tejasa); A river flowing near the town of Ganeshpuri. Tapas or tapasya: Literally, ‘to create heat’; severe austerities or penance; bearing or enduring the pairs of opposites; performing difficult tasks; in order to purify the ego, the person practices tapas willingly, and accepts any pain or suffering which comes naturally in the course of life.

Tantra: (Tibetan: gyue) Primarily the texts of the Vajrayana practices. One can divide Tibetan Buddhism into the sutra tradition (the academic study of the mahayana sutras) and the tantra tradition (practicing the vajrayana practices). see Tantrism.

Tantra: A manual of or a particular path of Sadhana laying great stress upon Japa of a Mantra and other esoteric Upasanas. An ancient spiritual path.  (‘Right-handed tantra’ involves worship of the Divine Mother through mantras and meditation, whereas ‘Left-handed tantra’ additionally involves the direct use of sexual energy and, sometimes, intoxicants, to awaken the spiritual power within man.)

Tantrayana: see Vajrayana.

Tantrika: Pertaining to Tantra; a Hindu sect worshipping God as the Divine Mother in a particular form.

Tantrism: Tantrism and tantric ideas begin with the fundamental Buddhist premise that Ultimate Reality is a singular Unity. It is not the apparent multiplicity of the present world around us (maya). Tantrism is a key component of Vajrayana, then goes beyond these notions to their representation in the symbol of the sexual union between male and female (see Yabyum). In some schools, the symbol of intercourse is reenacted as part of meditation.

Tanu: Body; thin.

Tanu-avastha: Thinned state of mind.

Tanumanasi: Thread-like state of mind; the third of the Jnana-Bhumikas.

Tapah: Austerities, which a student must undergo voluntarily through his body, mind and soul, called the Three Disciplines by Shivapuri Baba.

Tapana: Burning.

Tapas: Purificatory action; ascetic self-denial; austerity; penance; mortification.

Tapasvi: Ascetic; one who is practising Tapas.

Tapoloka: One of the higher worlds, just below Satya Loka.

Taptapinda: Heated ball.

Tara: Name of God as the Divine Mother in a particular form. A female manifestation in Tibet of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, whose Tibetan form is Chenrezig. She can appear in 21 different forms, which differ in attributes and are known by their color; Green Tara and White Tara are the best known. She appears in both peaceful and wrathful manifestations. She is often revered as a yidam, guiding Vajrayana monks towards enlightenment. Included in her earthly manifestations are the two consorts of King Songtsen Gampo who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the seventh century, who is himself considered an manifestation of Chenrezig.

Tarakajnana: The knowledge that leads to Moksha.

Tarana: Liberation; crossing over Samsara.

Taranga: Wave.

Tarka: Logic.

Tarpana: Libation of water for gratifying the manes.

Tashi Namgyal: (1512-1587) A famous teacher who wrote many texts and acted as Gampopa’s regent and presided over Gampopa’s Dakla Gampo monastery in later years.

Tatastha-lakshana: An indirect notion of what a thing is; in Vedanta it is the accidental definition of Brahman, as given by the definition that Brahman is the cause of creation, preservation and destruction of the universe.

Tatastha-vritti: A Vritti of indifference; neutrality wherein there is neither attraction nor repulsion.

Tathagatagarba: (Tibetan: deshin shekpai nyingpo) Literally, the seed or essence of tathagatas, usually translated as Buddha-nature or buddha essence. It is the seed or essence of enlightenment possessed by all sentient beings and which allows them to have the potential to attain Buddhahood.

Tathagatas: (Tibetan: dezhin shekpa) Literally, thus gone or those who have gone to thusness. A title of the Buddha and bodhisattvas.

Tattva: Reality; element; truth; essence; principle.

Tattvadarsi: One who sees the subtle nature of things; a sage; Sukshmadarsi.

Tattvajnana: Knowledge of Brahman; same as Brahma Jnana.

Tat-tvam-asi: That thou art; one of the four Mahavakyas; this is found in the Chhandogya Upanishad of the Sama Veda; this is the Abheda-bodha-vakya or the sentence which reveals non-difference between the Self and Brahman; this is Upadesa-vakya or Instruction given by the Self-realised sage to the disciple.

Tattvatita: Beyond the elements.

Tattvavit: Knower of the essence of things; sage or Brahmajnani.

Tavaivaham: I am Thine alone.

Tejas: Brilliancy (specially spiritual); the element of fire; Agni; heat.

Tejomaya: Full of light; resplendent.

Ten directions: The four cardinal directions (north, south, east, west), their mid-directions (northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest), plus up and down.

Ten powers of the Buddha: Special miraculous powers of the Buddha.

Ten Precepts: This is the code of monastic discipline for the monks. It consists of the Five Precepts (no stealing, inappropriate sexual activity, killing, lying, or alcohol) which apply to all Buddhists, and five further restrictions designed specifically for members of the sangha. These are: Not to take food from noon to the next morning; not to adorn the body with anything other than the monk’s robe; not to participate in or watch public entertainment; not to use high or comfortable beds; not to use money.

Ten Riches: (Sanskrit: dashasashpada; Tibetan: jorpa chu) Also known as the ten endowments, these are part of “the eight freedoms and ten riches,” the factors conducive to practicing the dharma. There are personal endowments: being human, being born in a Buddhist place, having sound senses, being free from extreme evil, having faith in the dharma, having compassion towards others; and historical endowments: Buddha having appeared, Buddha having taught, the flourishing of Buddha’s teachings, people following the teachings.

Tendai: see White Lotus School.

Tengyur: (Tibetan) The great Tibetan collection of over 100 works of the commentaries (shastras) on the Buddhist works. see Kangyur.

Terma: Literally, hidden treasure. Works which were hidden by great bodhisattvas and later rediscovered. They might be actual physical texts or they may come from “the sky” as transmissions from the sambhogakaya.

Terton: (Tibetan) Treasure-revealer, revealer of texts concealed mainly by Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal in the 9th century.

Thangka: (Tibetan) A Tibetan religious scroll; a traditional Tibetan painting of a holy being.

Theravada: (Pali) (Sanskrit: Sthiravada; Tibetan: Neten depa) Literally, the path of the Elders. The division of elders (sthavira) of the Shravakas, sometimes derogatively called the Hinayanas by Mahayanists, it is the only surviving form of what is called Southern Buddhism. The Sravaka school branched into 18 divisions, though only a few remain. In contrast to Mahayana and Vajrayana, Theravada emphasizes the individual liberation, holding that the individual must reach nirvana on their own. The main social group is therefore the sangha, the monks and nuns who support and teach each other as each one strives to achieve enlightenment.

Three bodies: see Kayas.

Three immutables: The Hinayana, the Mahayana, and the Vajrayana.

Three jewels: (Tibetan: koenchok sum) These are the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha.

Three kayas: see Kayas.

Three marks of existence: Literally birth, present life, and death. These are the characteristics of impermanent objects and metaphorically, means the object has a beginning, it has a solid existence in the present, and it decays or disintegrates into smaller constituents in the future.

Three poisons: (Tibetan: duksum) The causes of suffering, also known as the three major defilements: desire or attachment, anger or aggression, and ignorance or bewilderment.

Three realms: Existence in samsara is in one of three realms: the desire realm, in which beings are reborn into bodies based on their karma (described as the six desire realms or the six realms of samsara); the form realm in which beings, due to the power of their meditations, are born with immaterial bodies; and the formless realm in which beings have entered a state of meditation after death, where the processes of thoughts and perception have ceased, and there are thus no bodies and no environments.

Three roots: (Tibetan: tsawa sum) The lamas, the yidams, and the dharma protectors.

Thrisong Deutsen: (790-858) The king of Tibet who invited great Indian saints and yogis to Tibet. He also directed the construction of Tibet’s first monastery (Samye Ling).

Thunderbolt: (Sanskrit: vajra; Tibetan: dorje) Literally, Diamond Thunderbolt. The key symbol for Vajrayana Buddhism, it symbolizes the indestructible character of emptiness, the true nature of all things. Tibetan Buddhists use a crafted metal image of a thunderbolt in their rituals.

Tilopa: (928-1009) One of the eighty-four mahasiddhas, he was the guru to Naropa, who in turn transmitted his teachings to the Kagyu lineage in Tibet.

Tirobhava: Veiling.

Tirtha: Holy waters; place of pilgrimage; sacred place usually containing a bathing place; also, a name of a Dasanami Sannyasin belonging to the Dvaraka Matha.

Tirthika: (Tibetan: mutegpa) A religious person who believes in a personal self. Also referred to as icchantikas.

Titan: see Asura.

Titiksha: Bearing with equanimity the pairs of opposites, heat and cold, pleasure and pain, and respectful and disrespectful treatment; endurance.

Tivra: Intense; keen; sharp.

Tivravairagya: Intense dispassion.

Torma: (Tibetan) (Sanskrit: bali) A ritual object made of dried barley and butter and put on the shrine as a symbolic offering to the deities. see Tsampa.

Tranquility meditation: (Sanskrit: shamatha; Tibetan: shinay) A basic meditation practice aimed at taming and sharpening the mind. It is also called basic sitting meditation.

Trataka: Steady gazing; the process of fixing the gaze on a small dot, point, etc. In Hatha Yoga, the Yogi gazes without winking at some minute object until tears flow profusely from his eyes; by this the celestial vision is acquired.

Tribidha Taapa: The threefold miseries of existence-adhibhautic, adidaivicandadhyatmic – physical, mental and spiritual, viz. pain, worries & fears.

Trigunamayi: A connotative name of God as the Divine Mother suggesting that She possesses the three Gunas.

Trigunatmika: Characterised by three Gunas, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas; of the cosmic energy or the divine power.

Trikaladarsi: Seer of the three periods; by the knowledge acquired by Yoga, the Yogi sees everything in the past, present and future.

Trikalajnana: Knowledge of the three periods.

Trikalajnani: One who knows the past, present and the future.

Trikuta: The space between the eyebrows.

Trinity: When Spirit manifests creation, It becomes the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Ghost, or Sat, Tat, Aum. The Father (Sat) is God as the Creator existing beyond creation. The Son (Tat) is God’s omnipresent intelligence existing in creation. The Holy Ghost (Aum) is the vibratory power of God that objectifies or becomes creation. Many cycles of cosmic creation and dissolution have come and gone in Eternity (see yuga). At the time of cosmic dissolution, the Trinity and all other relativities of creation resolve into the Absolute Spirit.

Tripitaka: (Sanskrit) (Pali: tipitaka; Tibetan: denoed sum) The primary texts. Literally, Three Baskets: Vinaya pitaka, Sutra pitaka, and Abhidharma pitaka, one for each of the three main sacred scriptures of Buddhism. It is believed that during the first council to compile the teachings of the Buddha, the scriptures were stored in three baskets, dividing Buddha’s teachings into the code of discipline (vinaya) for monks, his sermons and discourses (sutra), and the higher doctrines of Buddhist philosophy and psychology (abhidharma).

Triplistic thought: The belief in the solidity of relative reality by dividing all actions into subject and object and the exchange between the two. For example, on the relative level, one (subject) does a prostration (the action between) to a buddha statue (object).

Tripti: Satisfaction

Triputa: The triad (seer, sight, seen).

Trishna: (Pali: tanha; Tibetan: sedpa) Thirst, craving, desire. Thirsting (for objects); internal craving (for sense-objects).

Trisula: Trident; weapon wielded by Lord Siva.

Triveni: ‘Three rivers’; a term often used for the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the invisible Sarasvati near Allahabad.

Triveni: The place where three holy rivers meet; the space between the eyebrows.

Trivritkarana: Triplication; intermixture of three visible elements, viz., fire, water and earth, for the formation of bodies.

Tryanuka: Combination of three atoms; consisting of three atoms.

Tsampa: (Tibetan) Dried barley flour that Tibetans eat by mixing with butter. see Torma.

Tuccha: Trifling; mean.

Tulasi: The Indian (holy) basil plant, sacred to Lord Vishnu, and venerated by the Vaishnavas as most divine.

Tulku: (Tibetan) (Sanskrit: nirmanakaya) A manifestation of a buddha that is perceived by an ordinary person. The term has commonly been used for a discovered rebirth of any teacher, especially a reincarnated bodhisattva.

Tulya: Equal.

Tummo: (Tibetan) An advanced Vajrayana practice for combining bliss and emptiness which produces heat as a byproduct. This is one of the Six Yogas of Naropa.

Turiya: Superconscious state; the noumenal Self of creatures which transcends all conditions and states; oneness. The 4th state beyond waking, dreaming and sleeping; Superconsciousness. ‘The fourth’; the transcendental state; the state of witness consciousness; the fourth state beyond waking, dream, and deep sleep, in which the true nature of reality is directly perceived; the state of samadhi.

Tushita: (Tibetan: gadan) One of the Buddha’s heaven fields. Tushita is in the sambhogakaya and therefore is not located in any place or time.

Tushnimbhuta-avastha: A state of the mind where there is neither attraction nor repulsion; the state of being silent.

Tushti: Contentment; satisfaction.

Tvach: Skin.

Twelve deeds of the Buddha:   Traditionally, the Buddha performed 12 major deeds in his life.

Two truths: (Sanskrit: dvisatya; Tibetan: denpa nyi) There is the conventional or relative truth: life as we normally experience it, filled with solid objects. The other truth is ultimate or absolute truth: ultimately all phenomena are empty.

Tyaga: Renunciation (of egoism and Vasanas, and the world)


Ubhayatmaka: Belonging to both.

Ucchvasa: Outgoing breath; breathing out.

Udanavayu: One of the five vital airs functioning in the human body.

Udarata: Magnanimity; generosity; expansion.

Udaravastha: Expanded state.

Udaravritti: Generous nature; expanded state of psychosis.

Udasina: Indifferent.

Udasinata: Indifference (to objects and sense-attractions); state of being indifferent.

Udbhijja: Born from seeds; a plant.

Udbhuta: Such as can be comprehended by the senses; born (out of the elements).

Udbodhaka: Stimulus; awakener.

Uddharsha: Excessive joy.

Uddiyana: A Hatha Yogic Kriya; it is a Yogic exercise for raising the diaphragm; it starts with a complete exhala tion; the muscles of the abdomen are then fully relaxed and pushed well under the ribs.

Udgatri: The priest who recites Sama Veda.

Udghata: Awakening of the Kundalini Sakti that is lying dormant in the Muladhara Chakra.

Udgita: Pranava; sonorous prayer, prescribed in the Sama Veda to be sung aloud; Om.

Ultimate level: (Tibetan: dondam) This ultimate truth, which can only be perceived by an enlightened individual, is that all phenomena both internal (thoughts and feelings) and external (the outside physical world) does not have any inherent existence.

Umadevi: Consort of Lord Siva; She imparted knowledge to Indra.

Unmadana: Intoxication.

Unmani-avastha: Mindless state of Yogia.

Unmanibhava: Mindlessness.

Upadana: Material.

Upadana-karana: Material cause as the clay for making the pot. This is termed Samvayakarana in the Nyaya philosophy.

Upadhi: A superimposed thing or attribute that veils and gives a coloured view of the substance beneath it; limiting adjunct; instrument; vehicle; body; a technical term used in Vedanta philosophy for any superimposition that gives a limited view of the Absolute and makes It appear as the relative. Jiva’s Upadhi is Avidya; Isvara’s Upadhi is Maya.

Upadhi-dharma: Charastistic of the limiting adjunct.

Upadrashta: Supervisor.

Upaharana: Bringing near; fetching; taking; seizing.

Upahitachaitanya: Intelligence associated with Upadhis; individual soul.

Upakrama: Beginning; commencement.

Upakrama-upasamhara-ekavakyata: The unity of thought in the beginning as well as in the end; the first of the Shad-lingas.

Upakurvana: One who will become a householder after religious study.

Upakurvana-brahmachari: A student who takes the ‘vow of continence for a limited period only.

Upalabdhi: Perception; knowledge; attainment.

Upalabdhri: The perceiving or knowing subject.

Upali: A barber, the first person ordained as a monk by the Buddha; he remembered the Vinaya or code of the monks.

Upamana: Comparison; simile.

Upamsu-japa: Japa done with a humming sound; semi-verbal repetition of a Mantra.

Upanishad: Literally, ‘sitting near’; also meaning, ‘esoteric knowledge’; the scriptures embodying the teachings of the ancient sages of India, and which are a part of the Vedas. Traditionally, the number of Upanishads is given as 108, but only ten to sixteen are considered to be ‘major’ or ‘principle’ Upanishads.

Upanishads : Hindu religious texts dating from the seventh century BC.

Upanishat: Knowledge portion of the Vedas; texts dealing with the ultimate truth and its realisation. Upanishads are mainly 108 in number, of which 10 are regarded most important.

Upapataka: A minor sin.

Upaprana: One of the five minor vital breaths.

Uparama: Satiety; Vairagya; renunciation of actions.

Uparamata: Calmness of mind; cessation of action.

Uparati: Satiety in the enjoyment of sense-objects; surfeit; discontinuance of religious ceremonies following upon renunciation; absolute calmness; tranquillity; renunciation.

Upasaka: One who does Upasana; worshipper.

Upasana: (lit.) Sitting near; worship or contemplation of God or deity; devout meditation.

Upasanamurti: That form of God chosen for worship.

Upasarga: Obstacle.

Upastambhaka: Instrumental cause; supporting; encouraging.

Upastha: Genital.

Upasya: Fit to be worshipped.

Upaya: (Tibetan: tap) Literally, skillful means. This is used by enlightened beings to present the dharma while taking the person’s capabilities and propensities into account. Means or device.

Upeksha: (Pali: upekkha) Equanimity, levelness, or grace. One of the four brahma vihara.

Upeksha: Indifference.

Urdhvaretoyogi: The Yogi in whom the seminal energy flows upwards.

Urmi: A wave; an evil; reference is often made to six evils; they are hunger and thirst, old age and death, grief and delusion or loss of consciousness.

Ushnisha: Prominence above the crown of the head; this is one of the thirty-two major marks of a Buddha.

Utkarsha: Superiority; eminence.

Utkranti: Departure of the soul from the body.

Utpatti: Origin; creation.

Utpattinasa: Beginning and destruction.

Utsaha: Cheerfulness; enthusiasm.

Utsava: Festivity.

Uttama: Best.

Uttamakoti-adhikari: Qualified person of first degree.

Uttamapurusha: Highest person; God.

Uttamarahasya: Highest secret of things.

Uttarayana: The six months of the year, corresponding approximately to the time from 15th January to 15th July; six months of the northern solstice.

Utthana: Rising (from the ground).


Vaasudeva: The name of Bhagavan Narayana; Sri Krishna; etymologically the term means a god who abides in all things and in whom all things abide.

Vach: Speech.

Vacharambhana: Ornament of speech (like pot in the mud) existing in speech only; not real. Mud is the truth; pot is only an ornate expression. Gold is the reality; ornament is only an expression.

Vachya: That which is denoted by speech.

Vachyartha: Literal meaning.

Vada: Discussion.

Vahnisara: A form of Antardhauti in which the navel is made to touch the spinal column.

Vaibashika school: (Tibetan: jetrak mawa) One of the main Hinayana schools. One of their sub-schools is called Sarvastivadins.

Vaidhi bhakti: Formalistic devotion (at the initial stage on the Path of Love); practice of devotion through a set code of rituals, as a preparatory course for developing intense love for God.

Vaidhi: According to a set code of injunctions; formalistic.

Vaidya: ‘Versed in science’; learned; an Ayurvedic doctor.

Vaijayanti: The name of the garland on Lord Vishnu.

Vaikhari japa: Articulate or loud repetition of a Mantra.

Vaikhari: Articulate form of sound.

Vaikriti: Modification.

Vaikuntha: The abode of Lord Vishnu; the highest world presided over by Lord Vishnu, destined for persons of final emancipation.

Vairagya: Indifference towards and disgust for all worldly things and enjoyments; dispassion.

Vairochana: (Tibetan: nampar nangdze) The Sambhogakaya Buddha of the buddha family.

Vaishamyavastha: A state wherein the equilibrium of the three Gunas is disturbed; a state opposite to Samyavastha which is a state of equilibrium of the three Gunas.

Vaishnava: Worshipper of Lord Vishnu, the preserver, one incarnation of Whom is Krishna; a Hindu sect worshipping God Vishnu; a member of this sect; the Saivas are the worshippers of Lord Siva, the destroyer, while the Saktas are the worshippers of Sakti or energy, the consort of Siva; the worshippers of Lord Krishna are mainly found in Brindavan in Mathas.

Vaishnavasastra: The scripture treating of Vishnu.

Vaishnavi: The Sakti or the divine power of Vishnu.

Vaishnavite: A devotee of Vishnu. Vajra Crown: Literally, ‘the thunderbolt crown’; the black crown of the Karmapas.

Vaisvanara: The god of fire; the digestive fire; the gastric fire; the sum-total of the created beings; Brahma in the form of the universe; Virat-purusha.

Vaisvanaravidya: The process of meditation on Brahman, taking the digestive fire of the animal body as the symbol; method of meditation on the Virat.

Vaitarani: A fearful river for the sinful to cross.

Vaitrishnya: Non-attachment; cravinglessness.

Vajra posture: The full-lotus posture in which the legs are interlocked. When one leg is placed before the other, as many Westerners sit, it is called the half-lotus posture.

Vajra: (Tibetan: dorje) Diamond like. An implement held in the hand during certain Vajrayana ceremonies; also, a quality which is so pure and so enduring that it is like a diamond.

Vajra: Adamantine firmness; thunderbolt.

Vajradhara: (Tibetan: Dorje Chang) The Dharmakaya Buddha, source of many of the teachings of the Kagyu lineage.

Vajrapani: (Tibetan: Chakna Dorje) A major bodhisattva said to be lord of the mantra and a major protector of Tibetan Buddhism.

Vajrasattva: (Tibetan: Dorje Sempa) The Buddha of purification. Vajrasattva practice is part of four preliminary practices.

Vajravarahi: (Sanskrit) (Tibetan: Dorje Pamo) The dakini who is the consort of Chakrasamvara. She is the main yidam of the Kagyu lineage and the embodiment of the highest wisdom of the Buddhas. The pig on the crown represents the transformation of basic ignorance into the highest wisdom.

Vajrayana: (Tibetan: Doje thekpa) Vehicle of indestructible reality. The indestructible approach to the teaching; the practices of taking the result as the path. The vajrayana is based on the tantras and emphasizes the clarity and blissful aspects of phenomena and is widely practiced in Tibet. Through it, one can achieve enlightenment within one life-time.

Vajrayogini: (Tibetan: Dorje Naljorma) A semi-wrathful yidam, one of mother tantra deity.

Vaksamudaya: The collection of speech or words.

Vaksiddhi: Perfection in speech, in which state whatever one speaks turns out to be true; the result of observance of truthfulness.

Vamanadhauti: Cleaning the throat and stomach by drinking water and vomiting.

Vanamala: The picturesque garland worn by Lord Vishnu.

Vanaprastha: Forester; one who leads the third stage of life.

Vanchana: Cheating.

Vandhyaputra: Barren woman’s son; a symbol of non-existence.

Vanhi: Fire

Varaha: One of the incarnations of God, according to Hindu mythology; the Boar, the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Varanasi: A famous city in North India located on the banks of the river Ganga. The word is derived from the names of the two rivers Varana and Nasi, which flanks the city on the North and South.

Varisara: A form of Antardhauti by which the body is filled with water which is then evacuated by the anus.

Varna: A form of letter; colour; caste.

Varnashram Dharma: Division of society into castes.

VarnashramaDharma: The Vedic Social system of 4 social & 4 spiritual orders.

Varnasrama: Related to the four primary groups and the four stages of Hindu life; the laws of the caste and stage of life.

Varnatmakasabda: Lettered sound which has meaning.

Varuna: The divine intelligence presiding over the element of water.

Varunabija: The syllable “Vam”.

Varunaloka: The world of the Lord of Waters.

Vasana: Subtle desire; a tendency created in a person by the doing of an action or by enjoyment; it induces the person to repeat the action or to seek a repetition of the enjoyment; the subtle impression in the mind capable of developing itself into action; it is the cause of birth and experience in general; the impression of actions that remains unconsciously in the mind.

Vasanakshaya: Annihilation of subtle desires.

Vasanarahita: Without subtle desires.

Vasanas: Desires. Mental tendencies; oft-repeated patterns of thought and action which create unwanted habits and mental bondage.

Vasanatyaga: Renunciation of subtle desires.

Vase breathing: An advanced breathing practice which has to be learned under the supervision of an experienced teacher; it involves retaining the breath in the abdomen, like an air-filled vase.

Vasikara: Control; highest stage of lower Vairagya.

Vasitva: One of the eight Siddhis by which the Yogi gets control over everything.

Vastu: Object; substance; Brahman.

Vasubandu: (Tibetan: yiknyen) A great fourth century Indian scholar who was brother of Asanga and wrote the Hinayana work the Abhidharmakosha explaining the Abhidharma.

Vata: Wind; one of the three humours of the body; rheumatism.

Vatasara: A form of Antardhauti or inner cleansing by which air is drawn into the belly and then expelled.

Vatsalya: The attitude of a devotee expressing parental relationship with God, looking upon Him as a child.

Vatsiputriya: (Tibetan: gnas mabupa) One of the 18 Shravaka schools, which claims existence of an inexpressible self. This school is named after its leader Vatsiputra.

Vayu: (Tibetan: lung) In Sanskrit and Tibetan can mean wind or the air that is breathed, as well as the subtle airs of the body. Different kinds of vayu regulate different functions to maintain life.

Vayu: The Wind-god; air; vital breath; Prana.

Vayubhakshana: Eating air; this is a means of subsisting without food, practised by Hatha Yogis.

Vayudharana: Concentration on a particular vital air; one of the five modes of concentration in Hatha Yoga.

Vayutattva: Principle of air.

Veda(s): ‘Knowledge, wisdom’; the revealed scriptures of the Hindus; the world’s oldest scriptures; there are four Vedas: Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva.

Veda: The highest authority among the Aryans of India; it is held that this was never written by anyone and it is, therefore, free from the imperfections to which human productions are subject. When it is forgotten, it is reproduced by Rishis by doing meditation. As the sounds forming the text of the Veda occur in the same order and are pronounced in the same manner, it is said to be eternal; it teaches who and what Brahman is, and how He should be worshipped. Smritis, Itihasas and Puranas only amplify its teaching. It is the most ancient, authentic scripture of the Hindus.

Vedana: Feeling; sensation; knowledge; percept (a Buddhistic terminology).

Vedana: Sensation, feeling.

Vedanasakti: Power of cognition or sensation.

Vedanaskandha: Group of feeling (a Buddhistic term).

Vedanga: An auxiliary to the Vedas. The Vedangas are six in number: 1. Siksha The science of proper articulation and pronunciation. 2. Kalpa Rituals and ceremonies. 3. Vyakarana Grammar. 4. Nirukta Etymological explanation of different Vedic words. 5. Chhandas The science of prosody. 6. Jyotisha Astronomy.

Vedanta: Literally, ‘ultimate knowledge, the final conclusion of the Vedas’; Vedic philosophy or knowledge indicating ultimate wisdom; one of the six orthodox schools of Indian philosophy arising from discussions in the Upanishads about the nature of the Absolute. The three main scriptures of this philosophy are: the Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita.

Vedanta: Literally, “end of the Vedas”; the philosophy stemming from the Upanishads, or latter portion of the Vedas. The school of Hindu thoughts (based primarily on the Upanishads) upholding the doctrine of either pure non-dualism or conditional non-dualism (the original text of this school is Vedanta-darsana or Uttaramimamsa or the Brahma-sutras compiled by sage Vyasa). Vedanta is Vedic Philosophical knowledge, one of the six systems of Hindu Philosophy. Shankara (eighth or early ninth century) was the chief exponent of Vedanta, which declares that God is the only reality and that creation is essentially an illusion. As man is the only creature capable of conceiving of God, man himself must be divine, and his duty therefore is to realize his true nature.

Vedanti: One who follows the path of Vedantic Sadhana.

Vedas: Original Revealed Scriptures. The most sacred scriptures of Hindu Religion. The four scriptural texts of the Hindus: Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda. They are essentially a literature of chant, ritual, and recitation for vitalizing and spiriutalizing all phases of man’s life and activity. Among the immense texts of India, the Vedas (Sanskrit root vid, “to know”) are the only writings to which no author is ascribed. The Rig Veda assigns a celestial origin to the hymns and tells us they have come down from “ancient times,” reclothed in new language. Divinely revealed from age to age to the iishis, “seers,” the four Vedas are said to possess nityatva, “timeless finality.”

Vega: Momentum; force.

Venkateshwara: A form of Lord Vishnu, worshipped in Tirupathi, Tamil Nadu.

Vibhaga: Division.

Vibhu: All-pervading; great.

Vibhuti: Manifestation; divine glory and manifestation of divine power; pervasion; the special forms in which the Lord exhibits Himself. ‘Sacred ash’, often manifested by Sai Baba for His devotees. Vibhuti carries a spiritual and/or medicinal blessing. ‘Resplendent, powerful, mystical powers, wealth’; consecrated ash; ash from the sacred fire; symbolizing purity, devotees often smear sacred ash on their foreheads, as well as other bodily limbs, such as the throat, arm joints and rib cage.

Vicchinnavastha: Hidden state (of Vasanas).

Vichara: Enquiry into the nature of the Self, Brahman or Truth; ever-present reflection on the why and wherefore of things; enquiry into the real meaning of the Mahavakya Tat-tvam-asi; discrimination between the Real and the unreal; enquiry of Self.

Vicharasakti: Power of enquiry.

Victorious one: One of the epithets given to the Buddha.

Videha: Bodiless.

Videhakaivalya: Disembodied salvation.

Videhamukti: Disembodied salvation; salvation attained by the realised soul after shaking off the physical sheath as opposed to Jivanmukti which is liberation even while living.

Vidhi: Injunction; method; rule.

Vidhipurvaka: In accordance with the scriptural injunctions.

Vidvan: A knowing person; the term is particularly applied to one that knows the real nature of the Self as distinct from the body.

Vidvatsannyasa: Renunciation after the attainment of the knowledge of Brahman.

Vidya: Knowledge (of Brahman); there are two kinds of knowledge, Paravidya and Aparavidya; a process of meditation or worship.

Vidyadhara: One of a class of celestials.

Vidyut-loka: The region of lightning.

Vighna: Obstacle.

Vighnesa: The god who removes obstacles; same as Ganesa, son of Lord Siva.

Vijara: Ageless; without old age.

Vijjnanavada: School that emphasizes the primacy of consciousness. Also known as the Chittamatra School or Yogichara.

Vijnana: ‘Enlightened wisdom’; realization; pure intellect; consciousness; according to Sri Shankara, vijnana is knowledge which arises when one has the direct experience of the Self.

Vijnana: Consciousness or mind. The principle of pure intelligence; secular knowledge; knowledge of the Self.

Vijnanamayakosa: One of the sheaths of the soul consisting of the principal intellect or Buddhi.

Vijnanaspandita: Movement of consciousness.

Vijnanatma: Cognitional Self; soul; intellectual Self.

Vikalpa: Imagination; oscillation of the mind.

Vikara: Modification or change, generally with reference to the modification of the mind, individually or cosmically.

Vikarma: Harmful action. Harmful activities which make you earn Prarabdhas.

Vikarshanasakti: Power of repulsion.

Vikasa: State of expansion, as in the evolution of the world.

Vikrita: Changed; modified; ready or prone to create.

Vikriti: Change; derivative products of Prakriti, as Mahat, Buddhi, mind, the senses and the Tanmatras.

Vikshep: Projecting power of Maya, taking man away from God to illusory things.

Vikshepa: The tossing of the mind which obstructs concentration.

Vikshepasakti: The power of Maya that projects the Universe and causes movement and superimposition.

Vikshipta: Distracted; scattered; not collected.

Vimarsha: Dissatisfaction, displeasure; impatience.

Vinasa: Destruction.

Vinasi: Perishable.

Vinaya: Discipline, one of the three parts of the Tripitaka: the Buddha’s teachings concerning ethics; the moral conduct that is the foundation for all Dharma practice, both for lay and ordained people.

Vinaya: Humility or sense of propriety; manners; education; mental culture and refinement.

Viniyoga: Application.

Vipaka: The consequences of a deliberate act.

Viparita: Contrary; perverted.

Viparitabhavana: Wrong conception, such as conceiving the body as the Self; perverted understanding or imagination.

Viparitata: Dissimilarity in objects; reversion.

Viparyaya: Wrong knowledge; wrong cognition; distraction of mind.

Vipashyana: (Sanskrit) (Pali: vipassana; Tibetan: lakthong) Superior seeing, usually referring to insight into emptiness. This form of meditation, widely practiced in Theravada Buddhism, develops insight into the nature of reality. Its goal is the realization of the three marks of existence: suffering, impermanence, and “no-soul.” It leads to the realization of the true character of Emptiness.

Virachara: A Tantric course of discipline for the heroic type of devotees.

Viraha: Burning agony due to the separation from the Lord.

Viraja: Free from Rajas or passion; a river which has to be crossed before the world of Brahma is to be reached and which only eminent and saintly men, devoid of passion and desire can cross.

Virakti: Same as Vairagya.

Virasa: Without essence.

Virat Roopa: Cosmic form.

Virat: Macrocosm; the physical world that we see; the Lord in His form as the manifested universe.

Viratpurusha: The deity presiding over the universe; the cosmic or universal aspect of the deity.

Virya: Seminal energy; strength; power.

Visadrisaparinama: A change different from the original, like that of milk into curd; one relation of the Gunas changes into another different from it and so on.

Visarjana: Removal; the final item in Upasana or worship by which the worshipper devotedly prays to the divine presence invoked in the idol, to return to its original abode.

Visesha: Special; distinctive qualification.

Viseshaguna: Special quality. Special knowledge; detailed knowledge.

Viseshana: Attribute; property; an invariable and distinguishing attribute; specification.

Viseshavastha: Differentiated condition.

Viseshavijnana: Special knowledge; knowledge of the Self, as opposed to the knowledge of phenomenal science.

Vishada: Sadness; dejection.

Vishaya: Object of perception or enjoyment.

Vishayabhoga: Sensual enjoyment.

Vishayachaitanya: Consciousness as objects; the object known; the consciousness determined by the object cognised.

Vishayakara: Of the form of the objects perceived; the condition of the mind in perception.

Vishayasakti: Attachment to sensual objects.

Vishayasamsara: Objective or sensual world.

Vishayavritti: Thought of sensual objects.

Vishayavrittipravaha: The continuous thought-current of worldly objects; the flow of objective thinking.

Vishistadwaita: Non-dualism, i.e., The Purushaand Purusottama, individual soul and Supreme Spirit are the same.

Vishnu Sahasranama: Literally, ‘the thousand names of Vishnu (God)’; a beautiful hymn chanted in Muktananda’s ashram.

Vishnu: The ‘Preserver’ in the great Hindu Trinity, ‘Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.’  Many Hindus worship Vishnu as the Supreme Lord. Krishna’s expansion in Vaikuntha for creation and maintenance of material universes. “All-pervasive”; a name given to the Absolute when viewed as the sustainer of the universe; He is conceived of as having his special abode in the realm or region known as Vaikuntha (Heaven).

Vishnugranthi: The knot of ignorance at the Manipura Chakra.

Vishnumaya: Illusion wielded by the Supreme Lord so that the unreal seems real; the illusory form of Lord Vishnu usually conceived of as a female deity which makes the universe appear as real.

Vishnuvrata: A vow to propitiate Vishnu.

Visishta: Complex; qualified.

Visishtadvaitavada: The doctrine of conditioned non-dualism (of a Vedantic school upholding that the One actually becomes many).

Vismriti: Loss of memory; forgetfulness.

Vistara: Expansion.

Visuddhachakra: One of the centres in the Yogic system located in the region of the throat.

Visva: Cosmos; a name of the Jiva in the waking state.

Visvarupa: Cosmic form; multiform having all forms.

Visvasa: Faith.

Visvataijasaprajna: Jiva in the waking, dreaming and deep sleep states respectively, in the individual aspect.

Visvedeva: A class of divine beings operating as medium in funeral ceremonies between the granter and the grantee of the oblations.

Vitanda: Cavilling; idle carping; a frivolous or fallacious argument or commentary.

Vitaraga: One who has abandoned desire.

Vitarka: Discussion; counter-argument.

Vitthala: Literally, ‘one who stands on a brick’; a name of Vishnu (God); the name of the deity in the famous temple of Pandharpur in the state of Maharashtra. It is said that when the Lord appeared to the pious Brahmana named Pundalika ( or Pundarika), he was engaged in caring for his aged parents. Not wishing to insult the Lord, yet not wishing to interrupt caring for his parents, he threw a brick towards the Lord to use as a raised seat. The Lord was so moved by Pundalika’s one pointed devotion to his parents, that he stood on the brick akimbo, permanently remaining there in that form.

Vivarta: Illusory appearance; a doctrine of the non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy explaining creation as an illusory appearance of the Absolute; apparent variation; illusory manifestation of Brahman; apparent or unreal or seeming change; superimposition; appearance.

Vivartasrishti: Creation where the original reality remains what it is and yet apparently brings about the effect, according to Advaita school of thought.

Vivartavada: Phenomenalism. (See Vivarta.)

Vivartopadana: A material cause which does not undergo the slightest substantial change in the production of the effect, but presents an inseparable phenomenal effect. It is opposed to Parinami-Upadana, which is actually transformed into the effect. Brahman is Vivartopadana of the universe according to Sri Sankara. A piece of rope is mistaken for a snake. This is an example of Vivartopadana. A fictitious material cause is Vivartopadana.

Viveka: Discrimination between the Real and the unreal, between the Self and the non-Self, between the permanent and the impermanent; right intuitive discrimination; ever-present discrimination between the transient and the permanent.

Viveki: A man of discrimination.

Vividisha-sannyasa: Renunciation with the intention of knowing Brahman.

Vrata: A resolution to carry out a particular vow under strict rules, as to food, sleep, bath, and the like.

Vratya: Unpurified one; supremely purified one.

Vrishadhvaja: Lord Siva, Whose banner is of the Bull.

Vritti: Thought-wave; mental modification; mental whirlpool.

Vrittijnana: Secular science; knowledge obtained through the mind; experience of the world.

Vrittilaya: Dissolution of the mental modification.

Vrittisahita: Associated with thought.

Vrittivyapti: The mind assuming the form of objects perceived; pervasion of the psychosis.

Vyabhicharini bhakti: Wavering, unsteady devotion.

Vyadhi: Disease of the body.

Vyahriti: The sacred syllables, Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svah.

Vyakhyana: Explanation and commentary.

Vyakta: Manifested.

Vyaktitva: Personality.

Vyakti-upasana: Meditation on manifested God.

Vyana: One of the five functions of Prana, i.e., circulation of blood; one of the five vital forces that pervades the whole body.

Vyapaka: All-pervading.

Vyapakatma: All-pervading Soul.

Vyapi: One who pervades.

Vyasa: Literally, ‘the compiler’; a great sage who is credited with compiling the four Vedas, and the author of the great epic the Mahabharata, as well as all the Puranas. He was the son of sage Parashara, and himself had a son named Shukadev muni. His given name was Krishna Dwaipayana.

Vyashti: Individual; microcosm.

Vyatireka: Separate; negation.

Vyavahara: Worldly activity; relative activity as opposed to Absolute Being; phenomenal world; worldly relation.

Vyavaharapeksha: With a view to the world of appearance or relativity.

Vyavaharika: Practical; phenomenal; empirical; relative.

Vyavaharikasatta: Empirical reality.

Vyavasaya: Settled concentration and perseverance; application; cultivation.

Vyavasayatmika: One with resolution and determination.

Vyoma: Ether.

Vyuha: The name of three forms in which Bhagavan Narayana appears, for the creation, sustenance and destruction of the universe. As Sankarshana, he destroys; as Pradyumna, he creates; as Aniruddha, he sustains. The Lord appears in five forms. The form in which he appears in the highest heaven for the enjoyment of its residents is known as Para and he is then known as Vaasudeva. Reference has been made to the Vyuha forms. The Avatara or the Vibhava are those in which he comes to the universe and appears as a Neva, a human being or a beast; the other form is that in which he appears in the heart of every intelligent being capable of doing meditation. It is of the size of one’s thumb and the Lord in this form is referred to as Antaryamin. The Archa form in which he appears as images which have been consecrated, is worshipped by his devotees. It is of the same size as the image; the indweller is the all-pervading Lord.


Wangchuk Dorje: (1556-1603) The ninth Karmapa.

Wheel of dharma: (Sanskrit: dharmacakra) The Buddha’s teachings correspond to three levels: the Hinayana, the Mahayana and the Vajrayana with each set being one turning of the wheel.

Wheel of Life: (Sanskrit: Bavachakra; Tibetan: sipa khorlo) The wheel of existence. In Tibetan Buddhism especially, the Wheel of Life is a symbol consisting of three concentric circles held by Yama, the lord of the underworld. It signifies samsara. The innermost circle contains symbols of the three sources of suffering: the pig (ignorance), the snake (hate), and the cock (desire). The next circle is divided into six sections, each depicting one of the six states of being. The outside ring is divided into twelve sections, each representing a symbol of one of the twelve factors of conditioned arising (death, birth, craving, ignorance, consciousness, etc).

White Lotus School: T’ien T’ai or Tendai. The sect focusing on the Lotus Sutra.

Wisdom of nature of phenomena: (Tibetan: ji ta ba or ji nye pa) Also known as Wisdom of multiplicity or variety. This is the transcendent knowledge of of the true nature of reality, not reality as it appears to individuals in samsara.

Wisdom: Prajna.

Wish-fulfilling jewel: (Tibetan: yidshin norbu) A jewel said to exist in the naga or deva realms which gave the owner whatever he or she wanted. Now used mostly metaphorically.

Worldly dharmas, eight: (Tibetan: jigten choegyed) Eight emotions that keep one from the path: attachment to gain, attachment to pleasure, attachment to praise, attachment to fame, aversion to loss, aversion to pain, aversion to blame, and aversion to a bad reputation.


Yabyum: In Tibetan Buddhism, or Vajrayana Buddhism, this is the symbol of the male and female sexual union–usually a union of a god or a bodhisattva and his consort–which represents the completeness of the cosmos. The male represents action, usually that of compassion, in this multi-partite, finite world, and the female represents wisdom, the unity of the infinite cosmos.

Yagya: Worship, Sacrifice.

Yajamana: The performer of a sacrifice; the master of a sacrifice.

Yajna: A sacrifice.

Yajna: From the root yaj, ‘to worship, to sacrifice’; sacrificial fire ritual in which different materials such as fragrant wood, ghee, spices and different grains are offered to the flames while sacred mantras are chanted; also, any work done in the spirit of surrender to the Lord; a sacred ritual.

Yajnopavita: Sacred thread worn by a twice-born.

Yajus: The Mantra of Yajur-Veda.

Yaksha: A being controlled by Kubera, the god of wealth.

Yama: The lord of death, the king of the 18 hells. The God of Death and dispenser of justice; the first limb of Raja Yoga; restraint. Self control while doing one’s duties.

Yana: (Tibetan: thekpa) Literally, vehicle. Often refers to the level of teaching. There are three main yanas: Shravakayana, Pratyekabuddhayana, and Bodhisattvayana, also known as Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.

Yantra: ‘Device’; from yam ‘to hold, sustain’; sacred geometric diagrams often used for worship.

Yasas: Fame.

Yashodhara: Buddha’s wife.

Yatamana: One who attempts to disallow the mind from running in the sensual grooves; a state of Vairagya.

Yathartha: Real.

Yatharthasvarupa: Essential nature.

Yati: An ascetic or a Sannyasin or a monk.

Yatra: A pilgrimage

Yava: Barley, usually used for oblations in all sacrifices.

Yidam: (Sanskrit: ishtadevata) A bodhisattva or other deity assigned to a Vajrayana monk by his guru as his personal guide and protector. Once established, this link will last the monk’s lifetime, and will help him work towards attaining enlightenment. Mental image of a deity or other entity used for meditation.

Yoga Sutras: ‘Aphorisms on Yoga’; a systematic treatise on yoga by the sage Patanjali (circa 2nd century B.C.E.).

Yoga Vasishtha: A famous treatise on Vedanta presented in the form of a conversation between the sage Vasishtha and his disciple Sri Rama. It is attributed to Sage Valmiki and contains 36,000 verses.

Yoga: Literally, ‘union’; from yuj, to ‘yoke or join’; one of the six systems of Hindu philosophy. Yoga teaches the means by which the individual spirit can be joined or united with the Universal Spirit.

Yoga: (Sanskrit) From Sanskrit yuj, “union.” Spiritual Discipline to join oneself to the Supreme. Yoga means union of the individual soul with Spirit; also, the methods by which this goal is attained. Within the larger spectrum of Hindu philosophy, Yoga is one of six orthodox systems: Vedanta, Mimamsa, Sankhya, Vaisesika, Nyaya, and Yoga. There are also various types of yoga methods: Hatha Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Raja Yoga. The sage Patanjali, foremost exponent of Yoga, has outlined eight definite steps by which the Raja Yogi attains samadhi, or union with God. These are (1) yama, moral conduct; (2) niyama, religious observances; (3) asana, right posture to still bodily restlessness, (4) pianayama, control of piana, subtle life currents; (5) piatyahaia, interiorization; (6) dharana, concentration, (7) dhyana, meditation; and (8) samadhi, superconscious experience. (Tibetan: naljor) Literally, union. Esoteric practices of tantra.

Yogabhrashta: One who has fallen from the high state of Yoga.

Yogabhyasa: Practice of Yoga.

Yogacara: see Vijnanavada.

Yogadanda: A wooden stick of about 2 ft. in length, with one end of ‘U’ shape, used for the regulation of breath.

Yogadarsana: Yoga philosophy; Yoga view of seeing the Reality.

Yogadrishti: Yoga-vision.

Yogaksheman Vahamyaham: Provision of all needs.

Yogamaya: (The power of) divine illusion.

Yogamudra: The symbol of Yoga. The word Mudra means ‘symbol’. This exercise awakens the spiritual forces dormant in man. It is specially useful in liberating the serpent power called Kundalini.

Yoganidra: A state of half-contemplation and half-sleep; light Yogic sleep when the individual retains slight awareness; state between sleep and wakefulness, particularly the sleep of Vishnu at the end of a Kalpa.

Yogaroodha: One established in Yoga.

Yogarudha: One who is established in Yoga.

Yogavasistha: A monumental work on Vedanta.

Yogayukta: One who is established in Yoga or linked up through Yoga.

Yogesvara: Lord of Yoga; a Name of Lord Krishna.

Yogi: (Sanskrit) One who practices yoga, usually a male; also, one who has achieved yoga or union. The name for a female practitioner of yoga is Yogini. One who has attained union with God through the practice of Yoga. One who practises Yoga. Anyone who practises a scientific technique for divine realization is a yogi. He may be either married or unmarried, either a man of worldly responsibilities or one of formal religious ties. A spiritually advanced person with a perfectly unruffled mind under all conditions; a Siddha. (Tibetan: naljorpa) A Buddhist practitioner who has chosen an unconventional path of practicing; one who attained the realization of the happy state of meditation through esoteric practices of tantra.

Yogigamya: Attainable only by a Yogi.

Yogis: Practitioners of yoga.

Yogyata: Fitness.

Yojana: A measure of distance said to be equivalent to 8 or 10 miles.

Yoni: Source; womb.

Yonimudra: That Mudra in which one closes the ears, eyes, nose and mouth with the thumbs and fingers of the hands to enable one hear the Anahata sounds.

Yuga: One of the divisions of time, a cycle or subperiod of creation, outlined in ancient Hindu texts. There are four Yugas, known as Krita, Treta, Dvapara and Kali. All the four together are known as a Chaturyuga, the duration of which is twelve thousand divine years, a divine year being equivalent to three hundred and sixty human years. Krita is four times as long as the Kali age; Treta is three times as long; and Dvapara twice as long. Sri Yukteswar describes in the book ‘The Holy Science’ a 24,000-year Equinoctial Cycle and mankind’s present place in it. This cycle occurs within the much longer universal cycle of the ancient texts, as calculated by the ancient rishis and noted in the book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, chapter 16: “The universal cycle of the scriptures is 4,300,560,000 years in extent, and measures out a ‘Day of Creation.’ This vast figure is based on the relationship between the length of the solar year and a multiple of pi (3.1416, the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle). “The life-span for a whole universe, according to the ancient seers, is 314,159,000,000,000 solar years, or ‘One Age of Brahma.’“ See Kalpa

Yukti: Skill; cleverness; device; also union or Yoga.


Zazen: In Zen Buddhism, the practice of extended periods of mediation, usually in a group in a meeting hall. The monks sit quietly for long periods of time in the cross-legged Lotus position. Although each individual meditates with a different goal, often meditation focuses on solving a Koan.

Zen Buddhism: (Japanese) (Chinese: Ch’en; Sanskrit: Dhyan). Literally, Meditation. A branch of Mahayana Buddhism, it is probably the most common form of Buddhism in the West. It has its origin in the esoteric teachings of the Buddha, when the Buddha stood on Vulture Peak holding a lotus and remained silent before his disciples. Through the silence, the disciple Mahakasyapa achieved nirvana, or enlightenment, and from him the “lamp of enlightenment” was passed on to the twenty-eighth patriarch, Bodhidharma, who carried the “lamp” to China in 520 CE; it arrived in Japan in the 12th century. Zen concentrates on making clear that reality is beyond words and language and logic. To accomplish this, it makes use of the koan, zazen, and sanzen.

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