Glossary of Sanskrit Terms
by Swami Krishnananda


Ojas: Vigour; spiritual energy; vitality; the spiritual force developed through the creative power of celibacy Yoga Sadhana.
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.
Oshadhiyoga: Yoga in which herbal preparations administered to cure defective health.


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.
Padmasana: The lotus pose; a meditative posture.
Padya: Water offered to wash the feet with; one of the sixteen modes of honouring the deity in formal worship.
Pancha: Five.
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.
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.
Pandita: A learned man; a scholar; a man of wisdom ( Pundit).
Panditya: Erudition; learning; intellectual mastery.
Papa: Sin; a wicked action; evil; demerit.
Papapurusha: Evil personified; personification of the sinful part of the individual.
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.
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.
Param-brahma: The Supreme Absolute; the transendental Reality.
Parama: Highest; Supreme.
Paramadhama: Supreme Abode; Brahman, Moksha
Paramahamsa: The fourth or the highest class Sannyasins.
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.
Paramavasyata: Supreme control over the mind an the senses.
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.
Paramjyotih: Supreme Light; Brahman.
Paraprakriti: The higher cosmic energy through which the Supreme Brahman appears as individual souls.
Para sabda: Supreme sound which is in an undifferentiated state; the first Avyakta state of sound.
Parasamvit: Supreme knowledge or consciousness.
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.
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.
Parvati: An incarnation of the Divine Mother; Consort Lord Siva.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Pippala: Holy fig (tree).
Pisuna: Treacherous; crooked.
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.
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: Consciousness; awareness.
Prajnanaghana: Mass of consciousness; Brahman.
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.
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.
Prakritilaya: He who is submerged in Prakriti.
Prakriyagrantha: Scripture that deals with categories of a subject.
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).
Pramada: Carelessness; fault; guilt.
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: Vital energy; life-breath; life-force.
Pranajaya: Mastery of the Pranas, the vital airs; conquest of the life-force.
Pranakendra: Life-centre.
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: Regulation and restraint of breath, the fourth limb of Ashtanga Yoga.
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: The portion of Sanchita Karma that determines one’s present life.
Prasada: Food dedicated to God at His worship and thereafter eater by the faithful devotees as something holy; tranquillity; grace.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prema: Divine love (for God).
Premabhava: Feeling of love.
Prerana: Goading or stirring; impulse; urge; prompting.
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.
Puja: Worship; adoration.
Pulaka: Horripilation.
Punya: Merit; virtue.
Punyamati: Virtuously inclined.
Punyapunya: Virtue and vice; merit and demerit.
Puraka: Inspiration; inhalation of breath.
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.
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: 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: Human effort; individual exertion; right exertion; Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha; ideal of man.
Purushottama: The Supreme Person; the Lord of the universe.
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.
Putreshti: A sacrificial rite performed with the object of getting a son.


Rachana: Creation; construction.
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.
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
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.
Rakta: Blood; red; amoured; affected with love.
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: Gem; jewel; the best.
Rechaka: Exhalation of breath.
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.
Rik: Mantras, verses, of the Rig Veda.
Rishi: Sage; seer of the Truth.
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.
Romancha: Rapture or thrill with horripilation; a stage in Bhakti Bhava.
Ruchi: Taste; appetite; liking; desire.
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.
Rupa: Appearance; form; sight; vision.
Rupasakti: The power that creates forms.
Rupaskandha: The group of sensation of form.
Rupatanmatra: Subtle principle of colour and form.