Sanskrit Glossary of Vedantic Terms – 2

Definitions found in book “Vision of Oneness” by Neema Majmudar & Surya Tahora. A brilliantly lucid and overly practical book on implementing Vedantic wisdom in one's life.

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  • Abhyasa: The process of repetition, repeated effort, practice.
  • Adhyasa:  Superimposition. Can be mistaking one object for another or attributing positive (sobana adhyasa) or negative (asobana adhyasa) value to an object, person, situation.
  • Ahimsa: Non-violence or not hurting oneself and others through oral, mental, or physical actions.
  • Dharma: Righteousness, universal ethical values.


  • Gayatri: Vedic mantra used for initiation and daily worship whose meaning is: “Om, the cause of everything, earth, the space in between and the worlds above. That (Lord) is the one who is the most worshipful. We invoke that effulgent, all knowing (Lord). May (the Lord) set our minds in the right direction.”


  • Isvara: The intelligent and material cause of the universe; all knowledge and all power; the total.


  • Japa: Repetition of a mantra for a certain length of time.
  • Jijnasu: Seeker of knowledge; one who wants to know the nature of the cause of the universe and the nature of I.
  • Jnani: The wise person or the person who knows the ultimate reality.


  • Mananam: One of the parts of the process of knowing which involves removing of ones doubts through reasoning and analysis.
  • Maya: The all knowledge and all power which was un-manifest, un-differentiated before the creation.
  • Mithya: That which depends upon something else for its existence. It is a term describing an object in terms of its reality.
  • Moksa: Absolute freedom from limitations.
  • Mumuksu: A desirer or seeker of moksa, absolute freedom.


  • Nididhyasanam: Contemplation. Part of the process of knowing. It involves bringing the teaching back to our mind again and again to do away with our past habitual patterns, orientations, and disposition.


  • Punya/Papa: Unseen results of our actions which accrue to the individual at some time in the future. Punya is pleasurable events or situations stemming from actions in keeping with dharma. Papa is difficult events resulting from the transgression of values or dharma).


  • Raga/Dvesha: Desires of two types: things that I want to have (raga or likes); and things that I want to avoid (dvesha or dislikes). They can be binding or non-binding.


  • Sattva/Rajas/Tamas: Three different dispositions or gunas that people generally have in different measures. A person who has predominantly sattva disposition (or a sattvic person) is one who is mature and cheerful; a rajasic person (with predominant rajas disposition) is active, ambitious and mostly guided by his personal benefits in choice of actions. A tamasic person (with predominant tamas disposition) is characterized by negligence, slackness or sloppiness in his actions.
  • Samsara: A life of becoming.
  • Satyam: That which exists independently. It is a term describing an object in terms of its reality. It is also defined that which exists in the three periods of time, past present and future.
  • Svadharma: Our own (sva) specific duties/to be done actions (dharma/karma). Svadharma is doing what is to be done by each individual in a given situation.
  • Sastras: The texts of Vedanta such as Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.
  • Sraddha: One’s conviction on the veracity/truth unfolded by the Upanishads based on analysis and inquiry into reality.
  • Sravanam: Part of the process of knowing. It involves listening to the teaching and ascertaining what is intended to be conveyed.


  • Tat tvam asi: You are that. It is the equation between individual (tvam, you) and the cause of the universe, the total or Isvara (tat) which sums up the whole teaching.


  • Yajna: A Vedic ritual that is meant to acknowledge our co-existence with other beings and forces of the universe and showing our gratitude for everything that we are endowed with by making an offering in return.