Abhikya : Non-begging.
Advaita: Non-duality; literally, “not two.”
Ahankara: Egoism or self-conceit; the self-arrogating principle “I,” “I” am-ness; self-consciousness.
Ahimsa: Non-injury in thought, word, and deed; non-violence; non-killing; harmlessness.
AkhandaMandaleshwer Swami Swarupananda Paramhansha
Swami Swarupananda Paramhansha (Bankim Chandra Ganguly, Nickname Baltu) was born on 26th December 1989 at Duali in Dhaka (Undivided India), was the founder of Ajachak Ashram. He gives diksha Pranava "OM" to all his disciples. He gives the right to utter the mahamantra "GAYATRI" to all his disciples (AKHANDAS) either male or female, either Brahmin or non-Brahmin. He used to tell all his disciples that all my sons are Brahmin if they follow my works & words. His main teachings are Brahmacharya, Abhikha (Non-begging) and Self-dependence. This great man of twenth century used to tell "I AM AN ORDINARY MAN" but all his works, writings always proved that he was never an ordinary person.
Ananda: Bliss; happiness; joy.
Anandamaya kosha: “The sheath of bliss (ananda).” The causal body. The borderline of the Self (atman).
Annamaya kosha: “The sheath of food (anna).” The physical–or gross–body, made of food.
Aparigraha: Non-possessiveness, non-greed, non-selfishness, non-acquisitiveness.
Arjuna: The third of the five Pandava brothers. A famous warrior and one of the heroes of the Indian epic, the Mahabharata. Friend and disciples of Krishna, it was to Arjuna that Krishna imparted the knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita.
Asana: Posture; seat; Hatha Yoga posture.
Asmita: I-ness; the sense of “I am;” “I exist.”
Ashtanga Yoga: The “eight-limbed” Yoga of Patanjali consisting of yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi (see separate entries for each “limb”).
Atma(n): The individual spirit or self.
Asteya: Non-stealing; honesty; non-misappropriativeness.
Sri Aurobindo Aurobindo Ghosh, Sri: One of India’s greatest yogis and spiritual writers, he was at first involved in the Indian freedom movement, but came to see that yoga was the true path to freedom. His ashram in South India became one of the major spiritual centers in modern India, and his voluminous spiritual writings are read and prized throughout the world.
Avatar: A Divine Incarnation.
Bhagavad Gita: “The Song of God.” The sacred philosophical text often called “the Hindu Bible,” part of the epic Mahabharata by Vyasa; the most popular sacred text in Hinduism.
Bhakti: Devotion; love (of God).
Bindu: Point; dot; seed; source; the point from which the subtle Omkara arises that is experienced in meditation.
Brahma: God as creator (Prajapati) of the three worlds of men, angels, and archangels–bhur, bhuwah, and swah; the first of the created beings; Hiranyagarbha or cosmic intelligence.
Brahma Sutras: A treatise by Vyasa on Vedanta philosophy in the form of aphorisms. Also called the Vedanta Sutras or Vedanta Darshana.
Brahmacharya: Continence; self-restraint on all levels; discipline.
Brahman: 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 (Satchidananda); Absolute Consciousness; it is not only all-powerful but all-power itself; not only all-knowing and blissful but all-knowledge and bliss itself.
Brihaspati: The guru–priest and teacher–of the gods.
Buddhi: Intellect; understanding; reason; the thinking mind.
Chakra: Wheel. Plexus; center of psychic energy in the human system, particularly in the spine or head.
Chidakasha: “Conscious ether” or “conscious space.” The infinite, all-pervading expanse of Consciousness from which all “things” proceed; the subtle space of Consciousness in the Sahasrara (Thousand-petalled Lotus). The true “heart” of all things.
Chitta: The subtle energy that is the substance of the mind.
Dakshinamurti: A name for Lord Shiva as the silent teacher. Vedic Religion declares that in every cycle of creation God manifests as Dakshinamurti and becomes the guru of the first human beings–those who were most spiritually evolved in the previous creation–teaching them the path to liberation (moksha).
Dayananda (Maharishi Swami): A leading reformer within Hinduism in the nineteenth century and the founder of the Arya Samaj.
Darshan: Literally “sight” or “seeing.” Darshan is the seeing of a holy being as well as the blessing received by seeing such a one.
Deva: “A shining one,” a god–greater or lesser in the evolutionary hierarchy; a semi-divine or celestial being with great powers, and therefore a “god.” Sometimes called a demigod. Devas) are the demigods presiding over various powers of material and psychic nature.
Dharana: Concentration of mind; fixing the mind upon a single thing or point.
Dharma: The righteous way of living, as enjoined by the sacred scriptures and the spiritually illumined; characteristics; virtue.
Dhvani: Tone: sound; word; the subtle aspect of the vital shakti or the jiva in the vibrations.
Dhyana: Meditation; contemplation.
Gandharva: A demigod–a celestial musician and singer.
Gita: The Bhagavad Gita.
Guru: Teacher; preceptor.
Guru Nanak Guru Nanak: Founder of the Sikh religion.
Ekakshara: A common term for Om meaning “the Single Syllable” or “the Single Letter.”
Indra: King of the lesser “gods” (demigods).
Ishwara: “God” or “Lord” in the sense of the Supreme Power, Ruler, Master, or Controller of the cosmos. “Ishwara” implies the powers of omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience.
Ishwarapranidhana: Offering of one’s life to God (Ishwara).
Japa: Repetition of a mantra.
Jivatma(n): Individual spirit.
Jnana: Knowledge; wisdom of the Reality or Brahman, the Absolute.
Jnanamaya kosha: “The sheath of intellect (buddhi).” The level of intelligent thought and conceptualization. Sometimes called the Vijnanamaya kosha. The astral-causal body.
Kabir: An Indian mystic of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Kosha: Sheath; bag; scabbard; a sheath enclosing the soul; body. There are five such concentric sheaths or bodies: the sheaths of bliss, intellect, mind, life-force and the physical body–the anandamaya, jnanamaya, manomaya, pranamaya and annamaya bodies.
Karma: The law of action and reaction, the metaphysical equivalent of the principle, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). It is karma operating through the law of cause and effect that binds the jiva or the individual soul to the wheel of birth and death.
Krishna: A Divine Incarnation born in India about three thousand years ago, Whose teachings to His disciple Arjuna on the eve of the Great India (Mahabharata) War comprise the Bhagavad Gita.
Kundalini: The primordial cosmic energy located in the individual; it is usually thought of as lying coiled up like a serpent at the base of the spine.
Mahabharata: The world’s longest epic poem (110,00 verses) about the Mahabharata (Great Indian) War that took place about three thousand years ago. The Mahabharata also includes the Bhagavad Gita, the most popular sacred text of Hinduism.
Mahapralaya: The final cosmic dissolution; the dissolution of all the worlds of relativity (Bhuloka, Bhuvaloka, Swarloka, Mahaloka, Janaloka, Tapaloka, and Satyaloka), until nothing but the Absolute remains. There are lesser dissolutions, known simply as pralayas, when only the first five worlds (lokas) are dissolved.
Mahat Tattwa: The Great Principle; the first product from Prakriti in evolution; intellect. The principle of Cosmic Intelligence or Buddhi; universal Christ Consciousness, the “Son of God,” the “Only Begotten of the Father,” “the firstborn of every creature.”
Manas: The sensory mind; the perceiving faculty that receives the messages of the senses.
Manomaya kosha: “The sheath of the mind (manas–mental substance).” The level (kosha) of the sensory mind. The astral body.
Mantra: Sacred syllable or word or set of words through the repetition and reflection of which one attains perfection or realization of the self. Literally, “a transforming thought” [manat trayate], or more exactly, “a transubstantiating thought.”
Manu: The ancient lawgiver, whose code, The Laws of Manu (Manu Smriti) is the foundation of Hindu religious and social conduct.
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.
Nada: Sound; the resonance of sound; mystic inner sound; the primal sound or first vibration from which all creation has emanated; the first manifestation of the unmanifested Absolute; Omkara or Shabda Brahman. The inner sound of Om experienced in meditation.
Nataraj Nataraja: “King of the Dance,” a title of Shiva the Cosmic Dancer. The whole creation is the dance of Shiva.
Neem Karoli Baba: One of India’s most amazing and mysterious spiritual figures. The life of this great miracle-worker and master spanned from two to four centuries (at the least), including most of the twentieth century.
Niyama: Observance; the five Do’s of Yoga: 1) shaucha–purity, cleanliness; 2) santosha–contentment, peacefulness; 3) tapas–austerity, practical (i.e., result-producing) spiritual discipline; 4) swadhyaya–self-study, spiritual study; 5) Ishwarapranidhana–offering of one’s life to God.
Nityananda (Avadhuta Paramhansa): A great Master of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the most renowned Om yogi of our times. His Chidakasha Gita contains some of the most profound statements on Om and Its application by the yogi.
Om: The Pranava or the sacred syllable symbolizing and embodying Brahman.
Pandavas: The five sons of King Pandu: Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva. Their lives are described in the Mahabharata.
Paramatma(n): The Supreme Self, God.
Parameshwara: The Supreme (Param) Lord (Ishwara).
Paramhansa: Literally: Supreme Swan, a person of the highest spiritual realization, from the fact that a swan can separate milk from water and is therefore an apt symbol for one who has discarded the unreal for the Real, the darkness for the Light, and mortality for the Immortal, having separated himself fully from all that is not God and joined himself totally to the Divine, becoming a veritable embodiment of Divinity manifested in humanity.
Patanjali: A yogi of ancient India, the author of the Yoga Sutras.
Pitri: A departed ancestor, a forefather.
Pradhana: See Prakriti.
Prajapati: Progenitor; the Creator; a title of Brahma the Creator.
Prakriti: Causal matter; the fundamental power (shakti) of God from which the entire cosmos is formed; the root base of all elements; undifferentiated matter; the material cause of the world. Also known as Pradhana.
Prana: Vital energy; life-breath; life-force.
Pranamaya kosha: “The sheath of vital air (prana).” The sheath consisting of vital forces and the (psychic) nervous system.
Pranava: A title of Om. It means “Life-ness” or “Life-Giver.” It is the expression or controller of prana–the life force within the individual being and the cosmos.
Pranayama: Control of the subtle life forces, often by means of special modes of breathing. Therefore breath control or breathing exercises are usually mistaken for pranayama.
Pratyahara: Abstraction or withdrawal of the senses from their objects, the fifth limb of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga.
Premeshananda, Swami: Affectionately known as “Premesh Maharaj,” Swami Premeshananda was a disciple of Sri Sri Ma Sarada Devi, the wife of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, and a renowned monk of the Ramakrishna Order.
Swami Rama Tirtha Purusha: “Person” in the sense of a conscious spirit. Both God and the individual spirits are purushas, but God is the Adi (Original, Archetypal) Purusha, Parama (Highest) Purusha, and the Purushottama (Best of the Purushas).
Rama Tirtha: One the key spiritual figures in late nineteenth and early twentieth century India. A former university professor of mathematics in the Punjab, Swami Rama Tirtha traveled throughout India and even into the West, preaching the truths of Advaita Vedanta and vigorously teaching the practice of Om Yoga.
Ramakrishna: Sri Ramakrishna lived in India in the second half of the nineteenth century, and is regarded by all India as a perfectly enlightened person–and by many as an Incarnation of God.
Ramana Maharshi: A great sage of the twentieth century who lived in Arunachala in South India. He taught the path of Self-Inquiry (Atma Vichara) wherein, whatever the mode of spiritual practice, the yogi keep focussed on the fundamental attitude, “Who am I?” until the self (atma) is revealed
Ramdas (Swami): One of the best-known and most influential spiritual figures of twentieth-century India, founder of Anandashram in South India and author of the spiritual classic In the Vision of God as well as many other inspirational books.
Rishi: Sage; seer of the Truth.
Sadguru: True guru, or the guru who reveals the Real (Sat–God).
Sadhaka: A spiritual aspirant who practices sadhana.
Sadhana: Spiritual practice.
Saguna: With attributes or qualities (gunas).
Sahasrara chakra: The “thousand-petalled lotus” of the brain. The highest center of consciousness, the point at which the spirits (atma) and the bodies (koshas) are integrated and from which they are disengaged.
Samadhi: 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. See Samprajñata Samadhi, Asamprajñata Samadhi, Savikalpa Samadhi, and Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
Samsara: Life through repeated births and deaths; the wheel of birth and death; the process of earthly life.
Samskara: Impression in the mind produced by previous action or experience; prenatal tendency. See Vasana.
Sanskrit: The language of the ancient sages of India and therefore of the Indian scriptures and yoga treatises.
Sannyasi: A renunciate; a monk.
Santosha: Contentment; peacefulness.
Satchidananda: Existence-knowledge-bliss Absolute; Brahman.
Satya: Truth; the Real; Brahman, or the Absolute; truthfulness; honesty.
Shabda: Sound; word; Vedas: Omkara.
Shabda Brahman: Sound-God; Brahman in the Form of Sound; Omkara, or the Veda.
Shakti: Power; energy; force; the Divine Power of becoming; the apparent dynamic aspect of Eternal Being; the Absolute Power or Cosmic Energy.
Shankara: Shankaracharya; Adi (the first) Shankaracharya: The great reformer and re-establisher of Vedic Religion in India around 300 B.C. He is the unparalleled exponent of Advaita (Non-Dual) Vedanta. He also reformed the mode of monastic life and founded (or regenerated) the ancient Swami Order.
Shaucha: Purity; cleanliness.
Shirdi Sai Baba: Perhaps the most renowned spiritual teacher of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in India. His fame continues to grow in this century as well.
Shiva: A name of God meaning “One Who is all Bliss and the giver of happiness to all.” Although classically applied to the Absolute Brahman, Shiva can also refer to God (Ishwara) in His aspect of Dissolver and Liberator (often mistakenly thought of as “destroyer”).
Siddhi: Spiritual perfection; psychic power.
Swami Sivananda Sivananda (Swami): A great twentieth-century Master, founder of the world-wide Divine Life Society, whose books on spiritual life and religion are widely circulated in the West as well as in India.
Spanda: Vibration; flutter; throb; movement; creative shakti; pulsation; creative pulsation; apparent motion in the motionless Shiva which brings about the manifestation, maintenance, and withdrawal of the universe; the principle of apparent movement from the state of absolute unity to the plurality of the world.
Sphota: The Sanskrit original of our English word “spot;” manifester; the idea which bursts or flashes–including the Pranava which burst or flashes forth from the Absolute and becomes transformed into the Relative.
Sushumna: A subtle passage in the midst of the spinal column, corresponding to the spinal cord, that extends from the base of the spine to the medulla oblongata in the head.
Sushupti: The dreamless sleep state.
Sutra: An aphorism with minimum words and maximum sense; a terse sentence.
Swadhyaya: Introspective self-study or self-analysis leading to self-understanding.
Taimni, I. K.: A professor of chemistry in India. He wrote many excellent books on philosophy and spiritual practice, including The Science of Yoga, a commentary on the Yoga Sutras. For many years he was the spiritual head of the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society headquartered in Adyar, Madras (Tamilnadu), and traveled the world without publicity or notoriety, quietly instructing many sincere aspirants in the path to supreme consciousness.
Tapas (tapasya): Austerity, practical (i.e., result-producing) spiritual discipline; spiritual force. Literally it means the generation of heat or energy, but is always used in a symbolic manner, referring to spiritual practice and its effect, especially the roasting of karmic seeds, the burning up of karma.
Tejas: Radiance; brilliancy (especially spiritual); the element of fire; Agni; heat.
Tejomaya: Full of tejas; full of light; resplendent.
Tukaram: A poet-saint of seventeenth century India (Maharashtra) devoted to Krishna in his form of Panduranga (Vittala).
Udgitha: The Pranava [Om] when it is sung aloud in Vedic recitation.
Upanishads: Books (of varying lengths) of the philosophical teachings of the ancient sages of India on the knowledge of Absolute Reality. The upanishads contain two major themes: (1) the individual self (atman) and the Supreme Self (Paramatman) are one in essence, and (2) the goal of life is the realization/manifestation of this unity, the realization of God (Brahman). There are eleven principal upanishads: Isha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitaryeya, Chandogya, Brihadaranyaka, and Svetashvatara, all of which were commented on by Shankara, thus setting the seal of authenticity on them.
Vachaka: That which is denoted by speech.
Vasana: A bundle or aggregate of similar samskaras. 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.
Vedanta: Literally, “the end of the Vedas;” the Upanishads; the school of Hindu thought, 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-darshana or the Brahma Sutras compiled by the sage Vyasa.
Vedas: The oldest scriptures of India, considered the oldest scriptures of the world, that were revealed in meditation to the Vedic Rishis.
Vedic: Having to do with the Vedas.
Swami Vivekananda Vivekananda (Swami): The chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, who brought the message of Vedanta to the West at the end of the nineteenth century.
Vyasa: One of the greatest sages of India, commentator on the Yoga Sutras, author of the Mahabharata (which includes the Bhagavad Gita), the Brahma Sutras, and the codifier of the Vedas.
Yama): Restraint; the five Don’ts of Yoga: 1) ahimsa–non-violence, non-injury, harmlessness; 2) satya–truthfulness, honesty; 3) asteya–non-stealing, honesty, non-misappropriativeness; 4) brahmacharya–continence; 5) aparigraha–non-possessiveness, non-greed, non-selfishness, non-acquisitiveness.
Yoga: Union; abstract meditation or union with the Supreme Being; the name of the philosophy by the sage Patanjali, teaching the process of union of the individual with the Universal Soul; union with God; any practice that makes for such union.
Yoga Nidra: A state of half-contemplation and half-sleep; light yogic sleep when the individual retains slight awareness; state between sleep and wakefulness.
Yoga Sutras: The oldest known writing on the subject of yoga, written by the sage Patanjali, a yogi of ancient India, and considered the most authoritative text on yoga. Also known as Yoga Darshana, it is the basis of the Yoga Philosophy which is based on the philosophical system known as Sankhya.
Yoga Vashishtha: A classical treatise on Yoga, containing the instructions of the Rishi Vashishtha to Lord Rama on meditation and spiritual life.
Swami Yogananda Yogananda (Paramhansa): The most influential yogi of the twentieth century West, author of Autobiography of a Yogi and founder of Self-Realization Fellowship in America.
Yogi: One who practises Yoga; one who strives earnestly for union with God; an aspirant going through any course of spiritual discipline.
Yogic: Having to do with Yoga.
Yogiraj: “King of Yogis,” a title often given to an advanced yogi, especially a teacher of yogi.