Path of Self-Knowledge
|Abheda:||No-otherness (see bheda).|
|Adi-Guru:|| The ancient or primordial or original Guru.|
The Divine Source from which the power of initiation and guidance descends to a line of Gurus. An epithet of Sri Shankaracharya and sometimes also of Dakshinamurti.
|Adina-Guru:|| The founder of a line of Gurus. Except in the|
case of the founder of a new path, initiation (like ordination) is valid only when given by one who is duly authorised and whose authorisation goes back in an unbroken chain to the founder of his line.
|Advaita:|| Non-duality, the doctrine that nothing exists|
apart from the Spirit, but everything is a form assumed by the Spirit (see the third paragraph of Chapter IX). The principal doctrinal division among the Hindus is between the schools of Advaita and Dvaita. The Dvaitists or Dualists worship a Personal God separate from the worshipper. The Advaitists, while recognising the truth of this conception on its own plane, go beyond it to the conception of the Absolute in which a man is absorbed back into That which is his Source and real Self, surviving in the pure Bliss and boundless Consciousness of Being.
|Ajnana:|| Ignorance. The prefix `a' (as in abheda) is a|
negative, so the word literally means `lack of knowledge'.
|Ardra Darshan:|| Ardra (Arudra) literally means `wet'. Siva's birth|
star is Ardra signifying the Lord's overflowing compassion for his devotees. Siva granted darshan to Patanjali, Vyaghrapada and others on this day. Hence its importance. Sri Bhagavan was born on the night of this day at 1 a.m. under the star Punarvasu -- that is, the star next to Ardra, which was the presiding star during the day. Both the stars are under the constellation of Mithuna (Gemini). Arunachaleswar : God in the form of Arunachala, a contraction
|Ashram:|| The establishment or colony that grows up|
around a Sage or Guru; sometimes mistranslated as `monastery'. Ashtavadhana : The ability to attend to eight different matters
|Asramam:||The Tamil form of `ashram'.|
|Asuric:|| Diabolical, evil.
Atma: or Atman The Spirit or Self.|
|Atman:||The Spirit or Self.|
|Atmaswarupa:|| Literally the `form of the Spirit'; a term used|
for the universe to indicate that the universe has no intrinsic reality but exists only as a manifestation of the Spirit.
|Avatar:|| An incarnation or manifestation or Vishnu,|
that is of God as the Preserver and Sustainer of the universe. Within the manvantara or cycle stretching (according to Christian symbolism) from the Earthly Paradise (the state of Adam before the fall) to the Heavenly
Jerusalem (the consummation after the second coming of Christ) there are ten Avatars. The seventh is Rama, commemorated in the Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic; the eighth is Krishna, commemorated in the Bhagavad Gita ; the ninth is described as the non-Hindu Avatar and is identified as Buddha or Christ or both, the tenth is Kalki, the destroyer of sin with whose coming the Kali Yuga or dark age is to be ended. He is still to come and is equivalent to the second coming of Christ awaited by the Christians and Muslims and the Maitreya Buddha of the Buddhists. Sometimes the term Avatar is used more loosely to indicate a divine manifestation.
|Ayurveda:||The traditional Hindu system of medicine.|
|Bhagavad Gita:|| Literally the `Divine Song' or, more correctly,|
`God-Song', since `Bhagavad' is a noun used adjectivally. The scripture of Sri Krishna, the eighth Avatar, probably the most widely studied and followed Hindu scripture. It occurs as an episode in the Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata.
|Bhagavan:|| The same word as `Bhagavad' with a different|
case-ending; the commonly used word for `God'. Terms such as Iswara, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and names for the various aspects of God are more technical or philosophical. In ordinary conversation a man says either `Bhagavan' (God) or `Swami' (the Lord). The term `Bhagavan' is used by general consent for those few supreme Sages who are recognised as being completely One with God.
|Bhakta:|| Devotee. Also one who approaches God|
through love and devotion. Bhakti-marga : The approach to God through love and
|Bhakti:||Love or devotion.|
|Bheda:|| Otherness. The difference between bheda and
abheda is substantially the same as that between dvaita and advaita. The exponent of bheda regards himself as `other than God', whereas the exponent of abheda regards God as the Absolute or Infinite apart from which there can be no other.|
|Bhiksha:|| An offering of food to the Guru or to a sanyasin.|
In the case of Bhagavan this came to mean providing an ashram meal, since he would accept nothing that was not shared by all.
|Brahma:|| Iswara, Personal God, is conceived of under|
the threefold aspects of Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver, and Siva, the Destroyer. There are temples to Vishnu and Siva but not to Brahma, as man is concerned with God as Preserver or God as Destroyer of forms in the Bliss of Union rather than with God as Creator.
|Brahman:|| The highest and ultimate conception, the|
Absolute, about which nothing can be postulated, since any assertion would be a limitation. The first stage in the manifestation of Brahman is Iswara, the Personal God.
|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. Next came the Kshatriyas, who were the rulers, warriors and administrators. The Vaishyas were the middle classes and the Shudras the labourers. The castes were not at first exclusively hereditary, but since each caste married within itself, even the law of heredity made them so practically. In course of time they became strictly so and also subdivided into hereditary sub-castes, largely on a professional basis, like mediaeval guilds in Europe. Also they tended to abandon their caste functions and engage in those of other castes. Today caste has little functional meaning. The Indian government is trying to destroy it.
|Chakra:|| The yogic and tantric paths (see marga) unfurl|
the spirit-force in man (kundalini) from its latency at the base of the spine and cause it to ascend through a series of spiritual centres in the body. Each of these is called a disc or chakra. Each represents a different stage of development which is franchised as the kundalini attains it.
|Chit:||Consciousness. (see Satchitananda)|
|Daivic:|| God-like or Divine. An English adjectival
form from deva, meaning angel or holy spirit.|
Dakshinamurti : Siva manifested in ancient times as a youth who
taught in silence, initiating and guiding his disciples by direct transmission of the Spirit. He is particularly associated with Arunachala, the centre of silent and purely spiritual initiation and guidance, and therefore also with Sri Bhagavan, who was Siva teaching in silence.
|Darshan:|| Literally `sight'. Since one speaks of a holy|
man giving darshan, it could best be translated as `silent audience'. To have darshan of a Sage could be translated as to enjoy the grace of his presence.
|Dharma:|| Harmony, harmonious life or action. Also a|
man's role in life, since what is harmonious conduct for one (say, a soldier) may not be so for another (say, a priest).
|Dhoti:|| A white cotton cloth that Hindu men in South|
India wear. It is wound round the waist and hangs down like a skirt from waist to ankles.
|Giripradakshina:|| Pradakshina is the circuit that is made of any|
holy place, walking round with one's right side inward, that is from south to west. Giri is a hill; so giripradakshina is used for circuit of Arunachala.
Guru: Spiritual guide or Master. For the various
grades of meaning see page 165.
|Jnana:|| Knowledge, Divine Wisdom or Understanding.|
|Jnana-marga:|| The Path of Knowledge. This does not mean|
a path requiring great theoretical elaboration but one based on intuitive knowledge or spiritual understanding (see Marga).
|Jnani:|| A Man of Knowledge. It may be used to mean|
one who follows the Jnana-marga, but in its correct meaning it is one who has attained complete Enlightenment and is established in the Absolute Knowledge which is liberation
from all illusion of duality. It thus means the same as Mukta, the liberated or perfectly realized man.
|Iswara:||The Personal God. (see under Brahma)|
|Japa:||Invocation or incantation.|
|Kali Yuga:|| The Dark Age, equivalent to the Iron Age of
Graeco-Roman traditions, said to have begun in 3101 B.C. with the Battle of Kurukshetra, that is with the teaching of Sri Krishna recorded in the Bhagavad Gita and to be now approaching its end (see Yuga).|
|Karma:|| The destiny that a man makes for himself|
by the law of cause and effect. There are three kinds of karma: prarabdha, or that which is to be worked out in this life, sanchitha, or that which existed at the beginning of this life but is held over, and agamya or the new karma which is accumulated in this life and added to the sanchitha. (See the first paragraph of Chapter X.) The law of karma combines the two theories of predestination and cause and effect, since a man's present actions cause or predestine his future state. Karma also means action. It is sometimes used to mean ritualistic actions performed as a marga or path to salvation. Just as karma is accumulated by a man's actions and desires, so it can be destroyed by divine love and knowledge and by renunciation
of desires. Therefore it is said that karma is like a mountain of gunpowder that can be burnt up by a single spark of Jnana (Divine Knowledge).
|Karma-marga : The approach to God through harmonious|
and disinterested actions, that is, as is said in the Bhagavad Gita, by acting without being attached to the fruits of one's actions, doing one's duty simply because it is one's duty, not for profit or ambition, and not being deflected from it by fear or favour. This is normally accompanied by ritualistic acts.
| One whose speech is like poetry. A brilliant|
improvisor of poetry.
|Krishna:|| The eighth Avatar. The Divine Teacher whose|
doctrine is contained in the Bhagavad Gita. Kumbhabhishekam: Consecration.
|Lingam:|| An upright pillar of stone often used to|
represent Siva or the Absolute on the grounds that any image or idol is limiting and therefore misleading. The word comes from linga, to get absorbed, and the root meaning is `that in which all beings are absorbed'.
|Maharshi:|| Maha Rishi, the Great Rishi or Sage. The|
name is used for one who opens a new path to Realization. It is also a name of Vishnu as the fountain-head of initiation and paths to Realization.
|Mahasamadhi:|| The great or final or complete samadhi or|
absorption in the Self or Spirit. The term is
sometimes used for the physical death of a great Saint, but for the Maharshi even this is inappropriate since he was already in Mahasamadhi while wearing a body, and the body's death made no difference to him.
|Mantapam:|| A shrine or bare stone hall, with or without|
the image of a God inside.
|Mantra:|| A sacred formula used as an incantation.
||Mantradhyana:|| Meditation or spiritual awareness induced or|
supported by the use of incantations.
|Marga:|| Mode of approach in the spiritual quest.|
Basically, there are three margas: the Jnana- marga, bhakti-marga and karma-marga. Jnana-marga is the approach through Knowledge or understanding, by which is meant not mental but spiritual knowledge. Physical knowledge is direct, as when you burn your finger and know pain; mental knowledge is indirect, as when you know that fire burns; spiritual knowledge is again direct, though quite different. Bhakti-marga is the approach through love and devotion to God. Karma-marga is the approach through harmonious and disinterested activity. The three margas are not mutually exclusive. There can be no spiritual knowledge without love. Also, love and devotion to God leads to understanding and to Union, which is Knowledge. For activity to be perfectly harmonious and disinterested it must be inspired by love and understanding. Jnana- marga leads to disinterested activity free from the thought: `I am the doer of this and should have the praise or reward for it.' Bhakti-marga leads to dedicated activity, seeing God manifested in all his creatures and serving him by serving them. Nevertheless, although the margas merge and all lead to the same goal, they start from different points and their methods are different in practice. Apart from the three basic margas, there are two less direct and more elaborate developments of Bhakti-marga, that is the yogic and tantric paths. They are very far from the teaching of Bhagavan and need not be described here.
|Math:|| A private temple or shrine, something like the|
chantries of Mediaeval England. Matrubhuteswara: God (Iswara) in the form of the Mother. Maulvi (Arabic): A Muslim learned in Islamic doctrine and law.
The Islamic equivalent of a pandit.
|Moksha:|| Liberation or Deliverance. Salvation is
generally used in a dualistic sense to mean the salvation of a purified soul in the presence of God; Moksha is used in the complete and ultimate sense of liberation from all ignorance and duality through realization of identity with the Self.||Mouna:|| Silence.
||Mouna diksha:|| Initiation through silence (see pp. 171-2). Mouni: One who has taken a vow of silence.
||Mount Meru:|| The mountain which, in Hindu mythology, is|
the Spiritual Centre of the universe. Bhagavan affirmed that Arunachala is Mount Meru.
|Mukta:|| One who has attained Moksha or Deliverance.|
One who attains Moksha during the life on earth is sometimes called Jivanmukta, that is `Mukta while living'.
|Mukti:|| Deliverance; the same as Moksha.
||Nataraja:|| A name for Siva. Siva in the cosmic dance of|
creation and destruction of the universe.
|Nirvikalpa samadhi:|| Samadhi in a state of trance, with suspension|
of the human faculties (see page 45).
|Nishkamyakarma:|| Action without attachment to the outcome,|
that is without egoism. Action which does not create new karma.
|OM:|| The supreme mantra, representing the|
substratum of creative sound which sustains the universe. It is written with the three letters AUM but pronounced OM.
|Pandit:|| One learned in the Hindu scriptures,|
doctrines and law. Sometimes transliterated `pundit'.
|Paramatman:|| The Supreme Atma or Spirit. Actually, the|
word Atma itself is often used in this sense and was so used by Bhagavan.
|Parayanam:|| Singing or chanting.
||Pial:|| A raised platform or stone or concrete couch|
often built outside a Hindu house or in the porch of it.
|Pradakshina:|| See Giripradakshina.
||Prana:|| Breath or vital force.
||Pranayama:|| Breath-control, either regulating or|
|Prarabdha:|| See karma.
Prarabdhakarma: See karma.||Prasadam:|| Some object given by the Guru as a vehicle of|
his Grace. When food is offered to the Guru it is usual for him to return a part of it as prasadam.
|Puja:|| Ritualistic worship.
||Pujari:|| One who performs puja.
||Purana:|| Mythological scriptural story carrying a|
|Purusha:|| The Spirit. Atma is used in the pure sense|
of Spirit, whereas Purusha is used more in the masculine sense where Spirit is contrasted or coupled with Substance (Prakriti). In common speech it can be used for `man' or `husband'.
|Rishi:|| Sage, literally Seer.
||Rudra:|| A name for Siva as He who proclaims himself|
||Sadhaka:|| Spiritual aspirant or seeker.
||Sadhana:|| Spiritual quest or path. The technique of|
|Sadhu:|| This word should correctly mean one who|
has attained the goal of sadhana but is in fact
used for one who has renounced home and property in the quest, whether there is attainment or not.
|Sahaja Samadhi:|| Continuous samadhi not requiring trance or|
ecstasy but compatible with full use of the human faculties. The state of the Jnani (this term is not used traditionally but used only by Sri Bhagavan).
|Saivite:|| From the point of view of Siva. A devotee|
of Siva. The main division in Hinduism is between Saivism and Vaishnavism, the standpoints represented by Siva and Vishnu respectively. This corresponds to the difference between Advaita and Dvaita, since the devotees of Vishnu stop short at duality, while Saivism is the doctrine of non-duality. It also corresponds to the difference between Jnana-marga and Bhakti-marga, since the Advaitist proceeds by spiritual understanding and the Dvaitist by love and devotion to God. These differences are not similar to those between Christian sects, since both paths are recognised as legitimate and a man follows whichever suits his temperament.
|Sakti:|| The Force, Energy or Activity of a Divine Aspect|
or Principal. In Hindu mythology a Divine Aspect or Principle is represented as a God and its Energy or Activity as the Consort of Siva.
|Samadhi:|| (1) Absorption in the Spirit or Self, with or|
without trance and suspension of the human faculties.
(2) The tomb of a Saint. Sometimes any tomb is so described. (3) A euphemism for death. Instead of saying that someone died it is customary to say that he attained samadhi.
|Samatva:|| The practice of treating all equally, with like|
consideration, seeing all alike as manifestations of the Spirit.
|Sambhu:|| A name of Siva, Siva as the Bounteous.
||Samsara:|| The endless chain of births and deaths to be|
broken only by Self-realization. Human life. The cares and burdens of life. Samsaram -- commonly used in Tamil to mean `wife'.
|Sankalpas:|| Inherent tendencies, desires and ambitions.
||Sanyasin:|| One who has renounced home, property, caste|
and all human attachments in the spiritual quest. The renunciation is permanent and definitive, whereas a sadhu is free to return to family life. A sanyasin wears the ochre robe as a badge of renunciation, whereas a sadhu wears a white dhoti.
|Sari:|| The normal attire of women in most parts of|
India. The lower half is wound round the body like a skirt and the upper half taken up and draped over the left shoulder.
|Sarvardhikari:|| Master or ruler. Sastraic: Based on or in accordance with the Sastras.|
The Sastras are scriptural rules governing conduct, art, science, government, etc.
|Sat:|| Pure Being. (See Satchitananda).
||Satchitananda:|| Literally Being-Consciousness-Bliss. A term|
for the Divine State, since spiritually to know is to be, and to know or be the Self is pure Bliss.
|Sadguru:|| The Guru of Divine power as distinguished from|
guru in a more limited sense (see page 165).
|Sattvic:|| The universe is brought into being and|
maintained in equilibrium by the combined action of the three gunas (stresses, tensions or tendencies), sattva, rajas and tamas. Tamas is the movement downwards from Spirit to matter, from Unity to multiplicity; rajas is the expansion outwards into activity and multiplicity; sattva is the ascent to the Spirit. Cosmically, the gunas are neither good nor evil but simply the mechanism of manifestation; however, in a human being tamas is the tendency to evil, malice and ignorance; rajas is the tendency to outer activity; sattva is the tendency to spirituality, involving freedom from worldly passions and attachments. `Sattvic' and `unsattvic' are English adjectival forms used respectively of anything that aids or impedes spiritual effort.
|Sattya-Yuga:|| The golden age (see Yuga).
Shahada (Arabic): The Islamic creed: La ilaha ill' Allah, "There|
is no god but God".
|Siddha:|| This may mean one who has attained Self-|
realization but is commonly used to mean one who has supernatural powers whether or not he has spiritual attainment. Siddha Purusha : A Sage (embodied or disembodied) possessing
|Siddhi:|| Supernatural powers.
||Siva:|| In the simple theoretical sense Siva may be|
regarded (see under Brahma) as an aspect of Iswara (the Personal God). However, to his devotees Siva is the Destroyer of the prison walls in which the Spirit of man is held, the Destroyer of the ego, of the duality of man and Iswara, of all limitations, leaving only Absolute Being, which is perfect Knowledge and pure Bliss. Therefore Siva is the Absolute personified, containing Iswara and all the gods and worlds as a dream within himself.
|Sivaswarupa:|| The form of Siva; a name sometimes given|
to the universe to indicate that it has no intrinsic reality but exists only as a form assumed by Siva.
|Sri:|| Blessed or beatific. In modern times it is often
used as a form of address, almost equivalent to `Mr.'; however, it is still applied in its true sense to a Saint.||Sruti:|| Scriptural text.
Suddha Manas : Purified, sattvic mind.
||Swami:|| Lord. It is used to mean `the Lord' in speaking|
of God; also for a spiritual master or teacher whether or not he has attained any higher state; sometimes also as a mere sign of respect.
|Swarupa:|| One's true form.
Taluq (Urdu) : A local governmental district.||Tao:|| In Chinese teaching `Tao' is used both for the|
path (sadhana) and the Goal, that is the Self or Absolute (Atma).
|Tapas:|| Penance or austerity. For a fuller explanation|
see page 44.
|Tirtha:|| Sacred tank.
||Upadesa:|| The instruction or guidance given to a disciple|
by his Guru.
|Vairagya:|| Dispassion, detachment.
||Vasanas:|| Latencies or tendencies inherent in a man,|
resulting from his actions in a previous life and governing those in this life unless overcome by tapas or by the Grace of his Guru.
|Vedas:|| The earliest Hindu scriptures, revealed to the|
|Vichara:|| Discrimination. The path of Self-enquiry|
taught by Sri Bhagavan, since this path implies discrimination between the Real and the unreal, the Self and the ego.
|Vijnana:|| Specialised knowledge. Knowledge of the Self|
and also of the outer world.
|Vishnu:|| God in His Aspect of Preserver and Sustainer|
of the universe.
|Yoga:|| Literally `Union'. An indirect approach (see|
Marga) which starts from the standpoint of duality and seeks to develop a man's latent powers by very technical means, with the final object of attaining Divine Union.
|Yogi:|| One who follows or has mastered the path|
|Yuga:|| Age. According to Hindu, as to Graeco-|
Roman and Mediaeval, teaching there are four ages in the manvantara or cycle from the `Earthly Paradise' of Adam before the fall to the `Heavenly Jerusalem' or consummation after the tenth Avatar (see Avatar). They are called the Satya Yuga (Age of Truth or Purity), Dwapara Yuga (Second Age), Treta Yuga (Third Age) and Kali Yuga (Dark Age). Their duration is said to be in the proportion of 4: 3: 2: 1, so that the Kali Yuga is one-tenth of the entire manvantara.
Path of Self-Knowledge