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Dasavatar     -    The Ten Major Incarnations of Vishnu

Matsya मत्स्य -  the Fish

Kurma कुर्म - the Tortoise

Varaha वराह- the Boar

Nara-Simha नरसिंह - the Man-Lion

Vamana  वामन, - the Dwarf

Parasurama  परशुराम,-  the Vibrant Manifestation of Divinity

Rama  राम - One who is everywhere; one who plays the perfect role – Perfection in all Aspects

Krisna कृष्ण- versatile Divinity or Divine Manifestation

Buddha बुद्ध- the Compassionate One

Kalki कल्कि- Modern Divine Manifestation


Anup  - extraordinary form

Bhumi - the Earth

Dhenu - the cow

Dhanu - the bow

Eka - one

Ekagrata - one-pointedness

Eka-pada - focused pose for achievement

Eka-padahastasana - one – legged yoga pose

Gurukul - spiritual school, university where young aspirants are taught by the Preceptor; House of the Guru

Moha - attachment, delusion, infatuation, etc

Mohan - the male energy who attracts positively- one who draws you towards him

Mohini - female of Mohan

Lingam - symbol of creation - Shiva Lingam

Loka - different realm in the Cosmos

Priti - joy

Priti Bhojan - joyful feast

Purna Svarupa - complete or whole Self     

Rupa - form, face, pleasant face

Svarupa -  lit: true form

Svaha - self-affirmation

Syama  - Lit: “of dark or dark-blue complexion” name of Siva (Shiva); also name of Krisna


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Sankh  -  a conch – may be used for making libations of water or as a wind instrument, especially in the battles of epic poetry

Sankhya  सांख्य   One of the six schools of orthodox Indian philosophy, the origin of which is generally attributed to Sage Kapila: founder of the Sankhya School

Saṅsāra or Saṃsāra संसार   lit: to flow on, continuous flow;  the cycle of life through repeated births and deaths; the wheel of birth and death; the process of worldly life.

Satsang(a)  –  lit: association with Truth, with the Divine – often in the form of a gathering of like-minded aspirants focusing on the teachings of Truth

सदगुरू  Sat – Truth - the true and ultimate Guru, the guru who reveals the ultimate Truth – an Enlightened Being

Sastro bhushan   Lit:  invocation, praise, recitation; also: jewel

Sarasvati  - सरस्वती  -  Name of the goddess and symbol of speech, wisdom,  learning and the arts, especially music, often depicted with her veena.          Consort of Brahma -  also name of a river and a region abounding in pools and lakes

Saswath   always new, perennially intoxicating new and joyful

 Sankalpa  desires, wishes, intentions with determination, commitments
(opposite to vikalpa)

Seva    selfless service without the expectation of recognition or reward; also: worship, homage, reverence, devotion to...




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 Rasayana Shastra   - regarded as the treatise for the science of alchemy – a process which comprises several compounds suitable to the treatment of certain ailments. It is also used to strengthen the immune system and to further longevity.

rasa – juice, extract, essence or elixir
ayana refers to ‘the path’

Rishi   ऋषि    lit: seer of Truth, sage

Sadhaka  साधक  lit: in the process of accomplishing and completing - a spiritual aspirant - One who practices spiritual discipline

Sadhana साधना   lit: leading straight to the goal, guiding well, furthering the art of mastering and overcoming one’s human limitations  - spiritual practice for the purpose of upliftment through discipline

Sadhu   साधु  lit: honorable, virtuous and righteous – someone focused on his spiritual goal without becoming entangled in diversions – often: a mendicant monk

Sam yata – held together, self-contained, self-controlled with regard to one’s sadhana

Sam Purna – filled, completely full (also refers to the moon), complete, whole entire

Sam pari purna vidya  – perfected in knowledge

 संस्कार - latent ingrained tendencies of the personality – residue of either conscious or subconscious impressions, resulting from previous action or experience in this or previous lives

Samadhi  समाधि  lit: putting together, joining, union, ultimate accomplishment; intense contemplation, profound meditation which identifies the meditator with the object of mediation – the eighth and last stage of yoga - highest level of consciousness, the state of super consciousness where absoluteness is experienced with all knowledge and bliss


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Nadam - Lit: to resound or to vibrate; the resonance of sound and original vibration of creation; also:  the sound of silence

Nada Brahman – “vibrating with the sound of the Ultimate”;   the embodiment of sound: GOD;   also: sounds perceived during yogic meditation

Nirvana - निर्वाण   lit: blown out or extinguished, calmed, final emancipation from matter; dissolution of individual existence and reunion with the Supreme Spirit

OM (AUM)  वेद -   Sacred mystical monosyllable of beginning, middle and end – the highest spiritual sound and vibration; manifestation of the Supreme God as sound. The syllable OM is considered to be the first sound of creation. The highest spiritual efficacy is being attributed not only to the whole syllable but also to the three sounds: a, u, m, of which it consists.

In later times OM became the concept for the Hindu triad and represents the union of the three Gods:  – Vishnu for preservation;   – Siva for dissolution and   - Brahma for creation.

Parivrajakacharya  – the preceptor who is always on the move, like water that retains its purity by never coming to rest (also refer to Acharya)

Paramatman  - परमात्मन्  lit: para : beyond, far distant, superior and supreme                                   atman,the Individual soul;  Paramatman:  the Ultimate Being, the Divine

Pralaya – lit: dissolution, annihilation, universal dissolution and re-absorption; destruction of the whole world at the end of a kalpa  (a measurement of time in the cosmic cycles of creation and dissolution of the universe)

Pranayamaप्राणायाम  prana – vital life force, breath;  yama – restraint, control
                       pranayama – control of life force – also: control of breath

 There are expressed to be five types of prana in the human body:

  • Prana : the energy that moves upward;
  • Apana: the energy that moves downward, supporting the eliminating functions;
  • Vyana:  the energy that combines both prana and apana and is responsible for the maintenance of circulation in the body;
  • Samana: the energy that carries the gross nutritional components to the apana thereby bringing the subtle substance to the extremities and providing the general force for digestion; and
  • Udana: the energy which provides prana and apana with the essence of what has been consumed as the general energy of absorption and assimilation into the body.

Prakriti प्रकृति considered the original or primary substance, form or condition of everything – the physical material manifestation and female counterpart of Spirit (Purusha) with the passive power of creating; Nature, Maya (with its three constituents: the three Gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas)

Purusha - पुरुष   the original source of the universe; the personal and animating principle in all beings;  the Soul or Supreme Being;  the male principle   as a passive spectator of Prakṛti, its female counterpart.


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Avatar:  (अवतार) a Divine Incarnation (ten major divine incarnations of Vishnu are considered)

  •  Matsya  मत्स्य  the Fish
  •  Kurma  कुर्म the Tortoise
  •  Varaha  वराह the Boar 
  •  Narasimha नरसिंह  the Human-Lion 
  • Vamana  वामन  the Dwarf  
  • Parashuram   परशुराम Rama with the Axe
  • Rama  राम  the perfect manifestation of all roles on earth  and model to humanity for them to  look upon their relationships and how they should be , such as father, son, disciple etc , that is perfection in all relationships and eternal inspiration for humanity including ruler and  King – King of Ayodhya – and Ram Raj (the dream of Mahatma Gandhi for India), the Kingdom of Rama with perfect governance and complete democracy where everyone’ s voice is  heard
  • Krishna  कृष्ण  the Divine Statesman
  • Buddha also known as Siddhartha Gautama  सिद्धार्थ गौतम   the Compassionate One or Tathagat  तथागत the Peace Maker
  • Kalki  कल्कि the mighty warrior also considered the apocalyptic horse rider – yet to come

Much detail can be given about the individual avatars but for the purpose of this glossary, let the above suffice - more detail at a future time.

Brahma  ब्रह्मा   Personification of God as the Creator

Brahman  ब्रह्मन्  the Divine Essence, The Imperishable Creative Principle - God

Danda   डण्डा  stick  - also part of punctuation, similar to a single vertical stroke

Dharma धर्म  law, duty, right conduct, righteousness.  It is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion and it refers to one's personal moral and religious obligations

Its opposite is: Adharma: Unrighteousness - failure to perform one’s appropriate duty; lawlessness and absence of all virtue - all that is unnatural or immoral

Guna(s) गुण lit: string or thread – as an abstraction it refers to ‘tendencies’; to the three subtle qualities; the fundamental operating principles or predispositions of prakṛti, the universal nature.  Each being is subject to these tools of maya, the great illusion. In fact, creation could not have taken place without these three subtle qualities:

  • Sattva  सत्त्व -  the quality of light and positivity
  • Rajas रजस्  – the driving force for passion and activity
  • Tamas तमस्  - the signature of darkness, inertia and negativity

These three qualities are Maya’s (worldly illusion) media of manifestation.  They rotate in twenty-four hours, in a year, in a lifetime… and reflect the moods of the average human being.  Only one who has gone beyond, who has attained mastery over illusion is no longer subject to the influences of these subtle qualities. 

Isvara   ईश्वर  a philosophical concept of the Supreme Deity - God

Jiva      जीव  the individual soul  -also referred to as – Jivatman,  the embodied individual soul which is not destroyed during physical death

Kriya  action or performance as a religious or spiritual discipline; can also refer to a rite or ceremony.  Kriyas can purify the body as well as the subtle body to further spiritual growth

Lila  लीला  play, sport pastime; the Divine Play, divine love actively engaged in worldly affairs