In the Light of Wisdom
by Swami Krishnananda

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Glossary of Sanskrit Terms

A

adhibhuta: pertaining to the elements
adhidaiva: presiding deity
adhiyajnah: entire administration of the cosmos in its various facets
abhyasa: repetition, practice
abhyasa yoga: the yoga of persistent practice
adhyatma: the subjective self
advaita: non-dual
Advaita Vedanta: non-dualistic philosophy
aham: I
ahamkara: egoism
ahimsa: non-injury in thought, word and deed
ajnachakra: the point between the eyebrows
ajnana: spiritual ignorance
akshara: imperishable
anahata: mystic sounds heard by the yogis
ananda: bliss, happiness, joy
anatma(n): non-Self, insentient
ananya chintana: completely absorbed thinking or contemplation
annamaya kosha: gross body, physical sheath
antahkarana: inner instrument or organ; the fourfold mind: mind, intellect, ego and subconscious mind
arati: waving of light before the Lord
artha: an object of desire, wealth
asana: posture, seat
ashram: hermitage
ashtanga yoga: the eight-limbed raja yoga of Maharshi Patanjali
asparsayoga: the yoga of non-contact
asura: demon, evil tendency in man
Atma(n): the Self
atma’nubhava: experience of the Self
avarana: a covering, veil of ignorance
avatara: incarnation
avidya: ignorance, nescience

B

Bhagavan: the Lord
Bhagavad Gita: 700 verses from the great Hindu epic Mahabharata recording the discourse between Lord Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, prior to the commencement of the great war and giving in clear and concise form the highest teachings and truths
bhajan: devotional singing, worship, praise of the Lord
bhakta: devotee
bhakti: devotion, love of God
bhakti yoga: path of devotion
bhav(a): mental attitude, feeling, purity of thought
bheda: soliciting political alliances against an opponent
bhokta: subject of experience or enjoyment
bhrumadhya: concentration on the centre between the eyebrows
bhuloka: the earth plane
bhuma: the unconditioned, infinite, Brahman
bija mantra: seedmantra or originalmantra
brahmaloka: highest heaven
bhumika: stage
Brahman: the Absolute Reality, Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute, it is not only all-powerful but all-power itself, it is not only all-knowing and blissful but all-knowledge and bliss itself.
brahmacharya: purity, celibacy
brahma-jnana: direct knowledge of Brahman
brahmakara vritti: thought of Brahman alone
brahmatva: the principle of Brahman
brahma-vidya: science of Brahman, knowledge of Brahman, learning pertaining to Brahman or the Absolute Reality
brahmatatsat­tva: universal knowledge
brahmin: priest class
buddhi: the discriminating faculty, intellect, understanding
buddha: one who is awakened

C

chaitanya: the consciousness that knows itself and knows
others; Absolute Consciousness
chakra: plexus, discus, circle, cycle
chit: absolute consciousness or intelligence
chitta: subconscious mind

D

daivi: divine
dakshina: offering, monetary gift
dakshina marg: the southern path
dama: control of senses
dana: charity, giving
danda: direct conflict with the opponent
darshan: vision, making visible, sight
daya: compassion, mercy
deva: god
dharana: concentration
dharma: righteous way of living as enjoined by the sacred scriptures, virtue, properties, duty
dharma megha: cloud of virtue
dhyana: meditation, contemplation
dukhya: sorrow
dvaita: dualism

G

ghee: clarified butter
Gita: see the BhagavadGita
guna: quality born of nature; sattva, rajas and tamas
guru: teacher, spiritual preceptor

H

Hiranyagarbha: cosmic intelligence

I

ida nadi: the psychic nerve current through the left nostril
istha devata: chosen deity for worship
Ishwara: God

J

japa: repetition of the Lord’s Name, repetition of a mantra
jigjnasu: one who seeks knowledge or reality
jitaatma: one who has attained self-control
jitendriya: one who has restrained the senses
jiva: individual soul with ego
jivanmukta: one who is liberated in this life
jivatma(n): individual soul
jnana: knowledge, wisdom of the Reality or Brahman
jnana indriya(s): organs of knowledge
jyoti: light

K

kama: desire, passion, lust, legitimate desires
kapha: one of the doshas (humours) of Ayurveda, meaning “phlegm”
karma: actions operating through the law of cause and effect
karma bandhana: the bondage of karma
karma bhumi: land of action, the earth plane
karmakaushala: dexterity in action  
karma-phala-bhoga: experience of fruit of actions
karma yoga: the yoga of selfless service
karma yogi: one who practises karma yoga
kirtan: singing the name and glory of God
kramamukti: progressive emancipation
kosha: sheath
krisattva: integrality
kritsnam: completeness
kshara: perishable
kripa: grace, mercy, blessing
kshatriya: warrior class
kshetra: field, holy place, physical body in the philosophical sense
kshetrajna: knower of the field
kumbhaka: form of breath control involving breath retention
kuta­stachaitanya: the changeless, permanent Self

L

loka: world of names and forms

M

mahatma: great soul, saint, sage
mahatattva: the great principle, principle of intelligence
mahat: great, lofty, or, the primordial evolution of prakriti
Makara Sankranti: movement of the sun across the Tropic of Capricorn that begins summer in the northern hemisphere
mala: rosary
manana: pondering the meaning of the scriptures
mantra: sacred syllable or word or set of words through the repetition and reflection of which one attains perfection or realisation of the Self
mara: mortal, perishable
marga: path
maya: the illusory power of Brahman, the veiling and projecting power
moksha: liberation, Absolute Experience
mrityuloka: world of suffering
mukta: the liberated one
mulaprakriti: the ultimate subtle cause for all matter
muni: a silent person

N

nadabindukalatita: the supreme state of Brahman
nam(a): name
niddhyasana: deeply meditating on the meaning of the scriptures
nirakara: formless
nirguna: without attribute
nirvana: liberation, final emancipation
nirvitarka: unchanging

O

omkara: OM

P

parabhakti: highest level of devotion
pravesa: to dissolve oneself
pingalanadi:the psychic nerve current which terminates in the right nostril
pitta: one of the doshas (humours) of Ayurveda, meaning “fire”
prakriti: nature, causal matter
pralaya: dissolution, complete merging
pramada: heedlessness, carelessness
prana: vital energy, life-force, life-breath
prana sakti: subtle vital power arising from the control of prana and self-restraint  
pranava: the sacred monosyllable “ OM”
pranayama: regulation and restraint of breath
prasad: food dedicated to a deity during worship and then eaten by devotees as something sacred
pratyahara: abstraction or withdrawal of the senses
puja: worship, adoration
pundit: scholar, learned man
Puranas: Hindu scriptures containing the whole body of Hindu mythology (major Puranas are eighteen in number)
purusha: the Supreme Being, the Self which abides in the heart of all things
purushartha: right exertion
purushottama: the Supreme Person

R

rajas, rajo guna: one of the three aspects of cosmic energy,
the principle of dynamism in Nature bringing about all
change, activity, passion, restlessness
rajasuya: a sacrifice performed by a monarch
raja yoga: the royal yoga of meditation; the system of yoga generally taken to be the one propounded by Patanjali Maharshi
raja yogi: one who practises raja yoga
rishi: sage, seer of truth

S

samyavastha: equilibrated condition of the cosmos
sadhak(a): spiritual aspirant
sadhu: a pious or righteous person, a sannyasin, a holy person
saguna: with attributes or qualities
sama: control of mind, tranquillity, or, political conciliation between opponents
samadhi: the state of superconsciousness where Absoluteness is experienced, attended with all-knowledge and joy, Oneness
samadhana: proper concentration
samatva: evenness of mind, equanimity
Samkhya: correct understanding, knowledge of reality; a school of philosophy
samkhyabuddhi: correct understanding, higher reason
samsara: life through repeated births and deaths, the process of worldly life
samskara: mental impression, subconscious tendency
samyam(a): perfect restraint, an all-complete condition of balance and repose, concentration, meditation and samadhi
sankalpas: imaginations
santi(h): peace or transitional period
sannyasi(n): a monk, one who has embraced the life of complete renunciation
sat: Existence Absolute, Being, Reality, Truth
satchidananda: Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute
satta: Reality
satsang(a): association with the wise
sattva: light, purity, reality
sattvic: pure
satyaloka: heaven
satyamukti: immediate salvation
savitarka: with logic and argumentation
seva: service
shakti: power, energy, force, the Divine Power of becoming, the dynamic aspect of Eternal Being, the Absolute Power or cosmic energy
sharanagati: self-surrender
shastra: scriptures, words of authority
siddhi: psychic power, perfection
sloka: verse
sraddha: faith
sravana: listening or hearing the scriptures
sukha purvata: type of breath control
sunya: merit
sushumnanadi: the psychic nerve current that terminates in the sahasrara
sutratman: the cosmic thread
svabhava: one’s own nature or potentiality, innate nature
svadharma: one’s own prescribed duty in life according to the eternal law
swami: a Hindu monk

T

tamas, tamo guna: ignorance, inertia, darkness
tanmatras: rudimentary element in an undifferentiated state
tantra: path of spiritual practice laying emphasis on japa and various esoteric practices
tapas(ya): asceticism, austerity
tattva: reality, element, truth, essence, principle

U

upadhis: limiting adjuncts or additions, superimposition that gives a limited view of the Absolute and makes It appear as the relative
Upanishads: knowledge portion of the Vedas, texts dealing with the ultimate Truth and Its realisation. 108 Upanishads are regarded as important ones of which ten are regarded as most important
upasana: worship, devout meditation
uttaramarga:northern path

V

vairagya: dispassion, indifference towards sensual objects and enjoyments
vata: one of the doshas or humours of Ayurveda, meaning “wind”
Vedanta: the end of the Vedas (lit.), the Upanishads
Vedas: the most ancient authentic scripture of the Hindus, a revealed scripture and therefore free from imperfections
vibhuti: manifestation
vichar(a): enquiry into the nature of the Self, Brahman, Truth Absolute
virat: the physical world
vitarka: projection, emanation, ejection, bringing forth

Y

yajna: sacrifice
yoga: union (lit.), abstract meditation or union with the Supreme Being, unruffled state of mind under all conditions; yoga is mainly of four types; karma, bhakti, raja and jnana
yogi(n): one who practises yoga
yogayukta: established in yoga
yugas: divisions of time
yugasanti: one power colliding with another power