Glossary - List Sanskrit Words





Aaram: relaxation; rest.

Abhyasa: practice; discipline.

Adharma: unrighteousness.

Adwaitha: non-duality.

Aham: I

Amrit(h)a: immortal; divine nectar.

Ananda: joy; bliss; eternal bliss or peace.

Angavastram: a cloth, usually brocaded, slung over the shoulder.

Arati: to offer a camphor flame before one's guru or deity.

Artha: wealth; purpose.

Asana: posture.

Ashram: a meeting place or residence for spiritual aspirants.

Asura: demon.

Atmanivedanam: self-surrender.

Ayurveda: a traditional Indian system of medicine.


Bhadram: careful; secure; happy; full of joy and confidence.

Bhajan: devotional song or hymn.

Bhakti: devotion; self-surrender.

Bhakti yoga: path of devotion.

Bharat: India.

Bhavan: Hall.

Bilva: a sacred tree, associated with Lord Siva.

Bodhaka: teacher.

Brahman: the Absolute; the Creator.

Brahmajnani: one who has known Brahman.


Chakra: wheel.

Chamatkara: inexplicable, miraculous act.

Charanamrit: water sanctified by washing the feet of one's guru or deity.

Chit(th)a: consciousness.


Daivic: of or like a god; godly.

Dal: petal.

Dana: charity.

Darsan: the act, by a saint or a revered person, of giving an audience to devotees.

Deha: the body.

Dhanya: grain.

Dharana: inward concentration; the negation of all activity.

Dharma: duty; nature; a code of ethics.

Dhoti: loin cloth.

Dhyana: meditation; contemplation.

Dosa: a South Indian dish.


Ghats: slopes; mountain range.


Haldi: turmeric.

Homa: rituals that involve making offerings in the fire alongside a recitation of hymns.


Idlies: a South Indian dish

Iswara: the Lord.


Jala: water.

Janata: the people.

Japa: prayer; meditation; contemplation on the Divinity.

Japamala: rosary.

Jaya: glory; victory, success.

Jhoota: false; fake.

Jnana: knowledge; wisdom; knowledge of the Attributeless.

Jnana yajna: a fire ritual performed in search of knowledge.

Jyoti: flame.


Kaliyuga: the last of the four 'ages' as described in the Puranas.

Kalyana: well-being; prosperity; success; freedom.

Kalyana mantap: a structure raised for the purpose of an auspicious occasion or event.

Kama: fulfilling the legitimate pleasures of life.

Karma: action; deed.

Koham: who am I.

Kshetra: field; region; place.

Kumkum: vermillion powder, considered auspicious.


Laddu: an Indian sweetmeat.

Leela: miracle; divine sport.

Lingam: an oval-shaped symbol of the Absolute.


Mahima: an expression, a manifestation of divine glory.

Mala: rosary; garland

Mai: mother.

Mandir: temple.

Mangala: auspicious; propitious.

Mangala sutra: auspicious thread, worn by married women.

Mantap: a commemorative structure.

Mantra: a word or group of words having power to illumine the mind.

Mata: mother.

Matha: a cult; a school of thought.

Mathi: mind.

Maya: illusion; ignorance; erroneous perception; the perceptible world.

Moksha: liberation; freedom from all bondage.

Mithya: illusion.


Nagarsankirtan: an early morning chorus of street singers, usually the residents of that area.

Namaskara: an Indian way of paying obeisance, by joining one's hands and lowering one's head.

Namaste: see namaskara.

Namavali: a lyrical string of names expressing divine attributes or the nature of the Divinity.

Nava: nine.

Nishkama: selfless; without desire.

Nityavadhan: constant vigilance.

Nirguna: attributeless; the Absolute.

Nirvikalpa: the ultimate stage of mergence with the Divinity.

Niyama: self control.


Om: an Upanishadic symbol which unfolds the Absolute.


Pada: feet.

Pan: betel.

Pandal: an outdoor seating arrangement.

Parabhakti: absolute devotion; complete self-surrender.

Paramatman: the Universal Atman; the Absolute.

Peetha: base; a place.

Parinirvana: total liberation from all bondage.

Paropkara: service (rendered to others).

Poorna: full; whole; complete

Pradesh: region.

Pranamaya: the vital sheath

Pranayam: to discipline, have control over one's breath.

Prasad: anything received with devotion to god.

Prasanthi: perfect peace or bliss.

Pravesh: entry; advent.

Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses (sense-urges).

Prema: love; devotion.

Puja: worship.

Pujari: priest.

Purusha: an individual consciousness.

Purushottama: the Universal Consciousness.

Putra: son.


Raga: attachment.

Rudra-adhyaya: a section in the Vedas dealing with the hymns of Rudra (Siva).


Sadhaka: spiritual aspirants; students or seekers of spiritual knowledge.

Sadhana: prayer; spiritual values; spiritual discipline.

Saguna: having specifically definable attributes.

Sakshatkara: Realization.

Sakhya: friendship; companionship.

Samadhi: tomb; absorption in the Absolute.

Sambhasan: dialogue; discussion; speech.

Samsayatman: a person (an atman) afflicted with doubts.

Samsara: a life of limited existence, of joys and sorrows; the world.

Samskara: refinement.

Sanathana: timeless, eternal.

Sanathana Dharma: a way of life followed to discover the Absolute; another name for Hinduism.

Sankalpa: will.

Sankirtan: singing aloud the praises of God.

Santhi: peace; inner peace.

Sanyas: (a life of) renunciation or ascetic.

Sanyasin: a male or female renunciate or ascetic.

Sakthi: power; power of creation.

Sarathi: charioteer.

Sathwic: pure.

Sath(yam): truth (absolute)

Savikalpa: the penultimate stage of mergence with the Divinity.

Seva: service, usually that rendered to others.

Siva(m): auspiciousness; goodness (absolute)

Sivoham: I am the Absolute.

Soham: I am That.

Siddhi: ascetically acquired power.

Sundara(m): beauty (absolute)

Swaroopa: embodiment; essential nature.

Swa-swaroopa: one's own truth or reality.


Tantra: mystical techniques followed in worship in order to accomplish a material objective.

Tapas: spiritual discipline.

Thath: that.

Thwam: thou.

Trisul: trident (usually referred to the one wielded by Lord Siva)

Tulsi: basil leaf.


Udasina: a posture of complete relaxation and detachment.

Upadesh: teachings; the imparting of spiritual knowledge.

Upasana: contemplation upon a limited form of the Absolute.


Vahini: stream.

Vairagya: detachment; dispassion.

Vibhuti: sacred ash; a manifestation of divine glory.

Vichakshana: analytical; discriminating.

Vidya: learning.

Vidya peeth: a place where knowledge is imparted.

Viveka: intelligence.


Yajna: a fire ritual.

Yama: self-control; having mastery over the senses.

Yatra: journey; trip

Yogasana: any posture prescribed in yoga.


Zari: brocade.



Written by N. Kasturi M.A., B.L.