Agnimide – ‘ I magnify Agni (god of fire)”—first words of the Rig-veda, used by Swami Vivekananda to indicate ritualistic religion.
Anasuya – (Lit., Charity) In the Ramayana, a devotee of Rama, living in a forest hermitage with her husband, the sage Atri.
Ashrama – A religious retreat or hermitage.
Atman – The Self or Spirit, considered by the Nondualistic (Advaita) Vedanta as identical with Brahman or God.
Bhagavata – One of the best known of the eighteen Puranas, dedicated to the life of Sri Krishna and other religious heroes and containing many religious and philosophical discourses.
Bhakti – Intense devotion to God.
“Bhakti Yoga” ‘’The Path of Devotion”—a book by Swami Vivekananda.
Brahma or Brahman – The one self-existent impersonal Spirit, the Divine Essence from which all created things’*emanate, by which they are sustained and to which they return.
Brahma-Sutras – An authoritative text of the Vedanta Philosophy, consisting of aphorisms, ascribed to Badarayana Vyasa.
Brahminical thread – The sacred thread worn over the left shoulder by men of the Brahmana caste.
Chandala – An outcaste or pariah.
Christine, Sister Christine Greenstidel of Detroit, – an American disciple of Swami Vivekananda who renounced the world and went to India to carry on his work for the education of women.
Darshan – (Lit., seeing, perception) The blessing of seeing and being in the presence of a great spiritual person.
Durbar – A royal court or royal administration.
Gunas – (Lit., ropes) The three qualities or constitutive elements of every phenomenon: tamas (stagnation), rajas (activity) and sattva (purity, illumination).
Hathayoga – A system of physical practices for the attainment of physical and psychic powers.
Hathayogis – Followers of the system of Hathayoga.
Hinayana – (Lit., the Small Vehicle or Method) One of the main schools of Buddhist doctrine, now chiefly found in southeast Asia.
Ishwara-kalpa – Nearly equal to or like God.
Jnana yoga – The path of union with God through Self-knowledge.
“Jnana Yoga” “The Path of Knowledge”—a book containing the lectures of Swami Vivekananda on monistic Vedanta.
Karma yoga – The path of union with God through selfless action.
“Karma Yoga” – A work on the path of action by Swami Vivekananda.
Karma-yogin – One who, in order to realize God, practices karma yoga, performing action without attachment to results.
Kartabhajas – Members of an esoteric sect of Bengal Vaishnav-ism.
Lakshmi – The goddess of fortune and beauty, consort of Vishnu.
Mahabharata – A Sanskrit epic, attributed to Vyasa, which describes the dynastic war between the Kuru princes and the sons of Pandu. It is virtually an encyclopedia of Hindu mythology, legendary history, philosophy and moral and spiritual teachings.
Mahamaya – The Divine Mother as the Creatrix of the universe, or as the power of illusion which makes the nonexistent universe appear as existent.
Mahasamadhi – Deatfejof an illumined person.
Mahayana – (Lit., the Great Vehicle or Method) One of the main schools of Buddhist doctrine, said to have been promulgated by Nagarjuna; its many variations are found in Tibet, China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia.
Mimamsakas – Followers of Purva Mimamsa, one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy, which emphasizes Vedic ritual.
Naiyayikas – Followers of Nyaya, a dualistic system of Indian philosophy, which embraces the science of logic.
Nara – The primeval Man or eternal Spirit pervading the universe (always associated with Narayana). Both are considered either as gods or sages.
Narayana – (Lit., He whose abode was the deep) A name of Vishnu, God as all-pervading yet transcendent.
Nirvikalpa samadhi – Supreme superconscious state in which the spiritual aspirant realizes absolute oneness with the Supreme Spirit.
Nivedita, Sister (Lit., Dedicated) – The monastic name of Miss Margaret £. Noble, British disciple of Swami Vivekananda who renounced the world and went to India to help in his work, particularly in that of women’s education.
Puranas – Eighteen well-known Sanskrit treatises containing accounts of creation, mythologies, stories of saints and kings, and many philosophical and religious discourses.
Radha – Sri Krishna’s most intimate companion during his boyhood in Brindavan, regarded as the incarnation of the goddess Lakshmi.
Rajas – One of the three gunas or constitutive elements of phenomena, the quality of activity.
Raja yoga – (Lit., royal yoga) The science of conquering the mind for the purpose of realizing the pure Self as separate from prakriti or nature, i.e. body, mind etc.
“Raja Yoga” a book on raja yoga by Swami Vivekananda, including his translation of and commentary on Patanjali’s “Yoga Aphorisms.”
Ramanuja – A great Vaishnava teacher who lived in the twelfth century in southern India, the chief expounder of the Vishishtadvaita Vedanta, or Qualified Monism.
Ramayan or Ramayana – A Sanskrit epic relating the life of the divine hero Rama, ascribed to the sage Valmiki.
Ranee of Jhansi Lakshmi Bai, ruler of an Indian state, who led her troops in the Mutiny against the British and died on her own sword rather than be captured.
Rig-veda – Oldest and most important of the four Vedas, containing over a thousand hymns.
Samadhi – Superconscious experience in which the mind, attaining to the ultimate state of calmness and concentration, experiences communion with the Divine Reality.
Sankhya – Oldest of the six systems of Indian philosophy, usually ascribed to Kapila. It maintains that there are an infinite number of conscious beings called purushas (souls) and an insentient principle called prakriti, from which the universe is derived.
Sarasvati or Saraswati – The goddess of learning and speech.
Sashtanga pranama – Salutation by prostration so that eight (ashta) parts (anga) of the body touch the ground.
Sattva – One of the three gunas or constitutive elements of phenomena, the quality of tranquillity, purity, virtue and illumination.
Shaivas – Members of a Hindu sect worshiping God as Shiva.
Shaktas – Members of a Hindu sect worshiping Shakti, the Divine Energy.
“Shakuntala” “Abhijnana-Shakuntalam”—a celebrated Sanskrit drama by Kalidasa, India’s greatest poet and dramatist in that language. The play is based on the life of Shakuntala, wife of King Dushyanta and mother of fiharata, ancestor of a long race of Indian kings.
Shankara – A great philosopher and knower of God of the eighth century A.D., who was the foremost exponent of and commentator on monistic Vedanta.
Shanti Ashrama – (Lit., Peace Retreat) A retreat belonging to the Vedanta Society of Northern California.
Shariraka-Sutras – The Vedanta-Sutras of Badarayana Vyasa, the aphorisms on the Vedanta philosophy which give it an organized form. Shariraka—the embodied spirit; Sutras— aphorisms.
Shiva – (Lit., the Auspicious One) A name of God, specifically in His aspectsdkf destruction and compassion. Shiva, is said to be the refuge even of demons.
Shivoham – “I am Shiva, the Absolute God”—a mantra used in the practice of monistic Vedanta.
Shruti – (Lit., sound, hearing, listening) That which has been heard by or communicated to the sages; the Vedas, including the Upanishads.
Sita – Wife of the Divine Incarnation Rama, revered in India as an ideal woman.
“Surata-vardhanata” – A phrase from the Bhagavatam, meaning “that which increases intense joy.”
Sutras of Vyasa – The Vedanta-Sutras. A sutra is an aphorism.
Tamas – One of the three gunas or constitutive elements of phenomena, the quality of darkness, inertia or ignorance.
Tat Sat – (Lit., That Existence) A phrase to indicate Brahman, the Absolute, used by Swami Vivekananda to indicate the highest conception and realization of God.
Tulsidas – A great sixteenth century saint and poet who wrote the life of Rama in Hindi verse and also a book of prayers.
Udayanacharya – A tenth century philosopher of the Nyaya school.
Upanishads – Sanskrit texts, numbering more than a hundred, which embody the spiritual realizations of the seers of ancient India and are regarded as the source of the Vedanta philosophy.
Vaishnava – Pertaining to the Hindu sect worshiping God as Vishnu.
Vedanta – (Lit., End of the Vedas) The final philosophy of the Vedas as expressed in the Upanishads. It is one of the six systems of philosophy accepted in India, and is interpreted from either the monistic, the qualified monistic or the dualistic point of view. It maintains the ultimate reality to be Brahman.
Vedanta-Sutras Aphorisms on the Vedanta philosophy, treating . of the knowledge of Brahman, ascribed to Badarayana Vyasa.
Vedas – Ancient scriptures of the Hindus, considered to have been revealed to seers. The Vedas are divided into four books: Rig-veda, Sama-veda, Yajur-veda and Atharva-veda.
Virat – (Lit., Sovereign) Brahman or Supreme Consciousness as associated with the aggregate of gross forms composing the universe.
Vishishtadvaita – Qualified Nonduality, the doctrine that the individual spirit has a qualified identity with the one Spirit, a school of Vedanta of which the chief exponent was Ramanuja.
Vishnu – The Supreme Being in the aspect of Preserver.
Vyasa – A celebrated sage and author of ancient India, compiler of the Vedas and reputed author of the Mahabharata and the Puranas and of the Vedanta-Sutras.
Yoga – Superconscious experience of Divine Reality in which there is cessation of all modifications of the mind; union of the individual and the Supreme Soul; a particular path by which this union can be attained, as for example, karma, bhakti or jnana yoga.
Yoga – One of the six principal systems of Indian philosophy, ascribed to Patanjali; it aims chiefly at teaching the different methods of discipline needed for the attainment of Self-realization, giving specific emphasis to concentration and dispassion.
Yogi – One who has attained to the state of yoga; one who is practicing some form of yoga as a means to Self-realization or God-realization.