Glossary of Sanskrit Terms
by Swami Krishnananda


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.
Madhyamakotyadhikari: Qualified person of the middle type.
Madhyamaparimana: Middle size.
Madhyamavairagya: Middle type of Vairagya; not intense Vairagya.
Mahabhuta: Great element; primordial element.
Mahadbrahma: Hiranyagarbha; Sutratma; cosmic intelligence.
Mahakalpa: The great cycle; hundred years of Brahma when the whole universe is dissolved in the Unmanifested.
Mahan: The Great; the evolute from Prakriti according to the Sankhya; Brahma or Hiranyagarbha.
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.
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.
Mahesvara: Great Lord; name of Siva.
Mahima: Glory; one of the eight major Siddhis; the power of assuming immense size.
Maitri: Friendliness.
Majja: Marrow.
Makaara: The mystic syllable "m", the third letter that concludes Om or the Pranava-nada.
Makara: Crocodile.
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.
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: Mind; 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: Region; sphere or plane, e.g., Suryaman or the solar region.
Mangala-arati: Worship through waving of lights before God or any adorable personage.
Manipura-chakra: The third of the Yogic centres situated in the region of the navel.
Manisha: Independent power of thinking.
Manodharma: Natural attributes or properties of mind.
Manolaya: Conquest of the mind.
Manolaya: 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: Sacred syllable or word or set of words through the repetition and reflection of which one attains perfection or realisation of the Self.
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.
Manvantara: The period of Manu's rule consisting of 71 celestial Yugas.
Mardava: Mildness; tenderness; smoothness.
Marga: Path; road.
Martanda: The Sun-God.
Martyaloka: The mortal world; earth-plane.
Marut: A certain class of heavenly bodies; the wind-god.
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.
Matsyendrasana: This posture was invented by Bhagavan Matsyendra, one of the pioneers of Yogic culture.
Mauna: Silence.
Maya: The illusive power of Brahman; the veiling and the projecting power of the universe.
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.
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.
Merudanda: The spinal column.
Mimamsa: An enquiry into the nature of a thing; the science of philosophical logic enquiring into Vedic knowledge; Purvamimamsa or Uttaramimamsa.
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: Release; liberation; the term is particularly applied to the liberation from the bondage of Karma and the wheel of birth and death; Absolute Experience.
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.
Mudra: A certain class of exercises in Hatha Yoga; symbols shown in hands during worship.
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.
Muktapurusha: A person liberated from all kinds of bondage; one freed from birth and death.
Mukti: same as Moksha.
Mula: Origin; root; base; tuber.
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.
Mula-avidya: Same as Mula-ajnana.
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.


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: River
Nadi: Nerve; channel; psychic current.
Nadisuddhi: Purification of the Nadis.
Naga: One order of Sadhus, who are nude.
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.
Nama: Name.
Namarupa: Name and form; the nature of the world.
Namarupajagat: The world of names and forms.
Namarupavyakarana: Evolution of names and forms.
Namasmarana: Remembrance of the Lord throu repetition of His Name.
Namrata: Humility.
Nanabhava: The feeling of plurality or multiplicity.
Nanatva: Many-ness; variety; diversity.
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.
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.
Nauli: Hatha Yogic Kriya, wherein the abdominal region is churned with the rotating motion of the rectus muscles.
Navadvarapuri: The nine-gated city; body.
Navariddhis: The nine minor psychic 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nirasraya: Without support.
Niratisayananda: The highest bliss; above whit bliss there is none other.
Niratisaya-ghanibhuta-sakti: Infinitely massive power or potency; condensed or concentrated power which is limitless.
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.
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: Manufactured body.
Nirmoha: Without attachment; without delusion.
Nirnaya: Ascertainment; establishing.
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: Liberation; final emancipation.
Nirvedya: Unknowable.
Nirvichara: Without argumentation; without logic and enquiry.
Nirvicharasamadhi: Superconscious state where there is no intellectual enquiry.
Nirvikalpa: Without the modifications of the mind.
Nirvikalpasamadhi: The superconscious state where there is no mind or the triad, viz., knower, known and knowledge, or any idea whatsoever. See Asamprajnata-samadhi.
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.
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.
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.