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About A Brief Sanskrit Glossary

A Brief Sanskrit Glossary header

This sanskrit glossary contains full translations and explanations of many of the most commonly used spiritual sanskrit terms, and will help students of the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and other indian scriptures and philosophical works to expand their vocabularies to include the sanskrit terms contained in them, and gain a fuller understanding in their studies.

If you are reading the writings of Swami Sivananda and other Indian spiritual writings you will find a many untranslated Sanskrit words which often have no explanation, as they assume readers have a background in Hindu philosophy. For writings like these, this book is invaluable, as it lists frequently used sanskrit terms used in writings on yoga and Hindu philosophical thought.

This is not a sanskrit grammar, and those wanting to know sanskrit pronunciation will need other books, as it does not have the diacritical markings sometimes used in books on the sanskrit language.

As the title says, this is a spiritual students guidebook, listing not only commonly used spiritual terms, but also giving brief information about spiritual teachers and writers, both modern and ancient.


Excerpts from A Brief Sanskrit Glossary

Advaita: Non-dualism; non-duality; literally: not [a] two [dvaita].

Advaita Nishtha: Establishment in the state of non-duality.

Advaita vada: The theory that Brahman is the only existence; monism; Vedanta.

Advaita Vedanta: The teaching that there is only One Reality (Brahman-Atman), as found in the Upanishads. Non-dualistic philosophy, especially that of Shankara.

Advaitic: Non-dual; having to do with the philosophy of Advaita (Non-Dualism).

Advaitin: A proponent of Advaita philosophy.

Advaitist: A proponent of Advaita philosophy.

Adwitiya: Without a second.

Adya: Primordial; original.

Adyasakti: The Primal Energy; Avyaktam. or Mula Prakriti.simple mandala

Madhava: Descendant of Madhu (a Yadava or Madhava patriarch). A title of Krishna.

Madhavacharya: The thirteenth century Vaishnava founder and expounder of the Dvaita (Dualist) Vedanta philosophy.

Madhu: Honey; sweet substance; sweet.

Madhukari bhiksha: 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.

Madhusudana: Destroyer of the Demon Madhu (properly an epithet of Vishnu)–a title of Krishna

Madhyama: Moderate; the middle stage of sound as it develops from silent to fully audible or spoken. Sound in its subtle form as it exists in the mind/psyche before its gross manifestation.

Maha: A prefix meaning “great,” the root of the Latin word magna.

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.

Mahabhutas: The Five Elements (Panchabhuta): ether (akasha), air (vayu), fire (agni), water(ap), and earth (prithvi).

simple mandala

Purana: Literally “The Ancient.” The Puranas are a number of scriptures attributed to the sage Vyasa that teach spiritual principles and practices through stories about sacred historical personages which often include their teachings given in conversations.

Purana Purusha: The Ancient Person; God.

Purascharana: An observance consisting of the repetition of a mantra–as many hundred thousand times as there are “letters” (Sanskrit consonants) in it. This is done with rigid rules regarding diet, number of japa to be done per day, seat, etc.

Purna: Full; complete; infinite; absolute; Brahman.

Purnayogi: A full-blown Yogi.

Purnima: Full moon day.

Purohit: Priest; particularly a family priest.

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 (Highest or Best of the Purushas).

Purushartha: The four goals of human life: wealth (artha), desire (kama), righteousness (dharma), and liberation (moksha). The first is the economic value, the second is the psychological value, the third is the moral value, and the fourth is the spiritual value. Human effort; individual exertion; right exertion

Purushottama: The Supreme Person; Supreme Purusha; the Lord of the universe. (See Purusha.)

Purva karma: Previous karma; karma from the past, in this life or other life or lives.

Purva samskaras: Previous samskaras; that is, samskaras brought over from previous lives.

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