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Glossary of Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary. If the term you are looking for starts with a digit or symbol, choose the '#' link.

- A -


Advaita Vedanta--non-dualistic form of Vedantic philosophy

Agamas Shaivite--scriptures

Agni Vedic--sacred fire



Aranyaka Vedic--forest texts

Artha--pursuit of wealth

Aryan--people of spiritual values

Asanas--yogic postures

Ashram--state or stage of life

Atharva Veda--fourth Veda

Atman--the Divine Self

Avatar--incarnation of God

Ayurveda--Vedic Medicine

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- B -


Bhagavad Gita--scripture of the avatar Krishna

Bhakti Yoga--Yoga of Devotion

Bhuktis--planetary time periods, minor

Brahmacharya--control of sexual energy; state of life of learning and purity

Brahma--form of the Hindu trinity governing creation

Brahman--the Absolute or ultimate reality

Brahmanas--Vedic ritualistic texts

Brahmins--people of spiritual values

Brihaspati--Vedic God of the ritual, the planet Jupiter

Buddha--ninth avatar of Vishnu

Buddhism--non-orthodox form of Vedic\Aryan teaching founded by the Buddha or enlightened one

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- C -


Chakras--nerve centers of the subtle body

Charvakas--materialistic philosophers of ancient India


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- D -


Dashas--planetary time periods, major

Dharana--yogic concentration or attention

Dharma--teaching or religion; honor or status

Dhatus--bodily tissues in Ayurvedic Medicine


Doshas--biological humors of Ayurvedic medicine

Durga--the Goddess as the destroyer of demons

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- G -


Ganesh--elephant faced God who destroys all obstacles

Gayatri--Vedic chant for awakening the soul

Grihastha--householder stage of life

Gunas--prime qualities of nature

Guru--spiritual teacher

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- H -


Hanuman--the monkey God

Hatha Yoga--Yoga of the physical body

Hinduism--modern name for the Vedic teaching

Homa--Vedic worship, Fire offerings

Hum--great mantra of Agni and Shiva

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- I -


Indra--Vedic God of being or life

Ishwara--the cosmic Creator

Itihasas--Hindu epics

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- J -


Jainism--non-orthodox form of Vedic/Aryan teaching emphasizing non-violence

Jnana Yoga--Yoga of Knowledge

Jyotish--Vedic Astrology

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- K -


Kailas--the world mountain

Kali--the dark form of the Goddess

Kali Yuga--dark or iron age

Kalki--tenth avatar of Vishnu

Kama--pursuit of desire

Kapha--biological water humor

Kapila--great Hindu sage, founder of the Sankhya system of philosophy

Karakas--planetary significators

Karma--Law of Cause and Effect

Karma Yoga--Yoga of Work or Service

Kashmiri Shaivism--Shaivite philosophy of medieval Kashmir

Ketu--south node of the Moon, dragon's tail

Krishna--eighth avatar of Vishnu

Kriya Yoga--yoga of technique

Kshatriya--people of political values

Kundalini--serpent power, power of subtle body

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- L -


Lakshmi--Goddess of prosperity and beauty; consort of Vishnu

Lalita--Goddess of bliss

Laya Yoga--Yoga of absorption into the sound-current (nada)

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- M -


Mahabharata--epic story of Krishna

Mahavakyas--great sayings of Vedantic knowledge

Mahayana--great vehicle, northern school of Buddhism

Manas--mind or emotion

Mantra--spiritual or empowered speech

Manu--Vedic original man, founder of human culture

Marmas--sensitive bodily points used in Ayurvedic treatment


Mayavada--doctrine that the world is unreal

Meru--the world mountain

Mimamsa--ritualistic form of Vedic philosophy

Moksha--pursuit of liberation

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- N -


Nada--the sound current of the subtle body

Nadis--nerves of the subtle body

Nataraj--Shiva as lord of the cosmic dance

Nirvana--liberation, the state of peace

Niyamas--yogic observances

Nyaya and Vaisheshika--Hindu philosophies; two of the six systems

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- O -

Om--The mantra of the Divine
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- P -


Pancha Karma--five Ayurvedic purification methods

Parashurama--sixth avatar of Vishnu

Parvati--the consort of Shiva

Patanjali--main teacher of classical Yoga system

Pitta--biological fire humor

Prakriti--great Nature, matter

Prana--breath or life-force

Prana Yoga--Yoga of the life-force

Pranayama--yogic control of the breath

Pratyahara--yogic control of mind and senses

Puja--Hindu worship, flower offerings

Puranas--Hindu mythological texts

Purusha--pure consciousness, spirit

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- R -


Radha--consort of Krishna

Rahu--north node of the Moon; dragon's head

Rajas--quality of energy or agitation

Raja Yoga--integral or royal yoga path of Patanjali

Rama--seventh avatar of Vishnu

Ramayana--epic story of Rama

Rasayana--Ayurvedic rejuvenation methods

Rig Veda--oldest Hindu scripture; Veda of chant

Rishis--ancient Vedic seers

Rudra--terrible or wrathful form of Shiva

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- S -


Sama Veda--Veda of song

Samadhi--absorption, bliss

Sankhya--Vedic philosophy of cosmic principles

Sanskrit--Vedic and mantric language

Sannyasa--stage of life of renunciation and liberation

Santana Dharma--the eternal teaching; traditional name for the Hindu religion

Saraswati--Goddess of speech, learning, knowledge and wisdom


Sattva--quality of truth or light

Sautrantika--Buddhist philosophy of the momentariness of all things

Savitar--Vedic Sun god as the guide of Yoga

Shakti--the power of consciousness and spiritual evolution

Shankara--the great philsopher of non-dualistic Vedanta

Shiva--form of the Hindu trinity governing destruction and transcendence

Shudras--people of sensate values

Shunyavada--Buddhist philosophy that everything is void


Sita--consort of Rama

Skanda--the war God

So'ham--natural mantric sound of the breath

Soma--Vedic God of bliss

Srotas--channel systems used in Ayurvedic medicine

Surya--Vedic Sun God or god of the enlightened mind

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- T -


Tamas--quality of darkness and inertia

Tantra--medieval yogic and ritualistic Indian texts

Tara--the Goddess in her role as savior

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- U -

Upanishads--Vedic philosophical texts
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- V -


Vaishyas--people of commercial values

Vak--Divine Word, the Goddess

Vanaprastha--hermitage stage of life

Varna--Social Value or Class

Vata--biological air humor

Vedas--ancient scriptures of India

Vedanta--Vedic philosophy of Self-knowledge

Vedic Science--integral spiritual science of the Vedas


Vijnanavada--Buddhist philosophy that consciousness alone exists

Vishnu--form of the Hindu trinity governing preservation

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- Y -


Yajna--sacrifice, sacred ritual

Yajur Veda--Veda of ritual or sacrifice

Yamas--yogic attitudes

Yantra--geometrical meditation designs

Yoga--techniques of developing and integrating energy

Yoga Sutras--classical text of Patanjali on Yoga

Yogi--practitioner of yoga


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Revised: June 28, 1997.
Copyright 1997 by Hindu Students Council
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