Tuesday, 10 July, 2007


Adi Saiva One who bears the marks of Siva.
Adhyatma vidya Knowledge of the Atman (Self).
Advaita Non-duality. The doctrine that nothing exists apart from
the Self, but everything is a form assumed by the Self.
Agamic Relating to the Agamas, one of the Hindu scriptures.
Aham I, embodied Self.
Ajnana Ignorance.
Ajnani One who has not realised the Self.
Akasvani Voice coming from the sky.
Amba An intimate name for the Divine Mother or a Goddess.
Amrita Immortal.
Artha Pertaining to material plane.
Ashram Hermitage, establishment that grows up around a sage
or guru.
Atma The Spirit of Self.
Avadhuta An ascetic who has given up everything.
Avatar Incarnation, descent of God in a worldly form,
divine manifestation.
Bhagavan The term ‘Bhagavan’ is used for those few supreme sages
who are recognised as being completely one with God.
Brahma In the Hindu Trinity, the god of creation.
Brahmachari A celibate.
Brahma Jnana Knowledge (Realization of Brahman).
Brahman The Supreme Being, the Absolute.
Brahmapuri Heart, abode of Brahma.
Brahma Vidya The knowledge of Brahman.
Brahmin The Hindus were divided traditionally into four
castes, of whom the brahmins were the highest being
devoted to a life of spirituality and study.
Bhajan Singing of God’s praises, especially in chorus.
Bhakta Devotee, one who approaches God through love and
Bhakti Devotion to a personal God.
Chakra A Yogic centre in the body.
Chinmudra A hand-pose indicating illumination.
Chitakash The space in the heart, Brahman.
Darsan Lit: ‘sight’, seeing a holy man.
Dasi Courtesan.
Devas Celestial beings.
Devi The Divine Mother or a Goddess.
Dharma Harmony, harmonious life or action. Also a man’s role
in life, since what is harmonious conduct for one may
not be so for another.
Dhyana Meditation, contemplation.
Dikshitar A priest.
Ganapathi The eldest son of Siva, whose head is that of an elephant.
Gandharvas Semi divine beings expert in dance and singing.
(Ganesa) A name for Ganapathi.
Gayathri A well-known Vedic mantra.
Gowri (Gouri) A name for Parvati, the wife of Siva.
Guru Spiritual guide or master.
Hara A name for Siva
Harikatha A religious discourse interspersed with devotional
Iswara (Isvara) Personal God, the Supreme Being in His aspect of
the Lord of the World. An intimate reference to God.
Jagrat Waking state.
Japa Repetition of a sacred word, syllable or name of God.
Jivanmukti Liberated while one is alive.
Jnani One who is the repository of jnana, (knowledge), A
Self-realised sage.
Kailas A mountain in the Himalayas reputed to be the abode
of Lord Siva.
Kalpa The end of a period in time.
Karma Action, deeds. The destiny that a person makes for
himself by the law of cause and effect.
Karnam One who keeps accounts on landed property.
Kolaru Padikam: A hymn in praise of Lord Siva explaining that the
planets are powerless and can do no harm to the
devotee if only the Lord condescends to bless him.
(Kaupeenam) Loin cloth.
Linga A symbol representing Siva or the Absolute. Lit: ‘that
in which all beings are absorbed.’
Mahadeva A name for Siva.
Maharshi Great Seer, Great Rishi.
Mahatma Enlightened person.
Mahendra A name for Siva.
Maheswara A name for Siva.
Mantra Sacred syllables, through repetition of which one
attains perfection.
Marga Mode of approach in the spiritual quest.
Mauna (Mouna) Silence.
Maya Illusion; the power inherent in Brahman by which it
manifests the world.
Moksha Liberation, spiritual freedom.
Mount Meru The mountain which, in Hindu mythology is the
spiritual centre of the universe.
Mutt (Math) A monastery where mendicants live
Nayana diksha Initiation by sight.
Parameswara A name for Siva.
Parvati In Hindu mythology the consort of Siva.
Prakriti Nature, Maya.
Pranayama Regulation or control of breath.
Prarabdha The part of one’s karma which is to be worked out in
this life.
Periapuranam An ancient Tamil work depicting the lives of 63 Saivite
Rama An incarnation of Vishnu.
Ramayana An Indian epic depicting the life of Rama.
Rati In Hindu Mythology the wife of Cupid.
Rishi (Rshi) Sage, Seer.
Rudraksha Lit. Siva’s eyes. Beads used for Japa.
Sadhaka A spiritual aspirant, a seeker.
Sadhana Method of spiritual practice.
Sadhu Ascetic. One who has renounced home.
Saivite Worshipper of Lord Siva.
Samadhi Absorption in the Spirit or Self, with or without trance
and suspension of the human faculties.
Sama Veda One of the Vedas.
Sambhu A name of Siva, Siva as the bounteous.
Sannyasa Asceticism, the fourth stage of life.
Sannyasi An ascetic, one who has renounced home, property,
caste and all attachments in the spiritual quest.
Sastra Any branch of knowledge or science.
Sati Self-immolation by a wife on the funeral-pyre of her
Siddha Purusha A sage possessing supernatural powers.
Siddhi Supernatural power, attainment.
Sita In Hindu Mythology the wife of Rama.
Siva Lord of the Universe, in the Hindu Trinity, the god of
Siva Bhakti
Vilasam Collection of stories on Siva.
Siva Lingam The symbol of Siva which is an object of worship.
Srutis Scriptural texts passed on by the verbal medium.
Subrahmanya In Hindu Mythology the second son of Siva.
Sushupti Dreamless sleep.
Swapna Dream.
Swarupa Nature, real form, self.
Tapas Penance or austerities.
Tapasvini A female who performs tapas.
Tapasaya Intense Spiritual discipline.
Tapo Brashta One who has fallen from his tapas.
Tirtha Sacred water.
Turiya The Fourth state beyond waking, dreaming and
Upadesa Spiritual instruction.
Van Thondan The name for Sundaramurthy Nayanar, one of the
four principal Saivite saints.
Vasanas Latencies or tendencies inherent in man.
Vedas The earliest Hindu scriptures, revealed to the ancient
Venba A type of verse in Tamil.
Vichara Enquiry.
Vichara Marga The spiritual path of enquiry.
Vishnu Supreme Lord. In the Hindu Trinity, the god of
Yoga Lit. Union (with the Supreme Being).
Yagna Ritualistic sacrifice.
Yogi One who follows or has mastered the path of Yoga
(path of union).

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