Vedic Sanskrit Words Literary Meaning in Hinduism

Adivasi: Aboriginal tribal people living off forest produce.

Advaita: Vedantik doctrine of non-dualism of Atman and Brahman.

Agama: Scriptures dealing with working of temples.

Aghnya: Forbidden to be killed, used for Cow during Vedic time.

Aghori: Person following extreme practices under worship.

Vedic Sanskrit Words Literary Meaning in Hinduism
Sanskrit Words Meaning

Ahamkara: Involving atman and brahman.

Ahimsa: Lack of desire to harm loosely called non-violence.

Ajivika: One of the nastic school of Philosophy.

Akhara: Organization of ascetics having unique set of traditions.

Amrita: Nectar, a source of immortality of Devas.

Anartha: Finances earned with morally wrong means.

Antyesthi: Last rites performed after death of human.

Artha Shastra: Text book of political science.

Anulom Vilom: A combination of breath control exercises.

Ayurveda: The Veda of long life.

Apsara: Beautiful supernatural female being.

Arya: A term used for a noble being; 'nobles'.

Aryans: English borrowing of the word 'Arya'.

Aryavarta: Area of north India as referred in Classical Sanskrit literature-from Himalaya to Vindhya and from Arabian Sea to Bay of Bengal-Land of Aryans.

Asana: Place offered to a guest to make him get comfortable and feel welcome.

Ashram: Stages of life and dwelling place of sages where they lived and run academies for training young pupils.

Ashtanga Yoga: The 8 fold Yoga by Patanjali Yoga Sutras. Atman: True self of any individual; inner-self; soul.

Aum: Sacred incantation; mystical sound of Hindu origin; mantra par excellence.

Avatar: Deliberate descent of a deity to earth; incarnation.

Avidya: Lack of correct knowledge; antonym of 'Vidya'.

Bhakti: Devotion of a devotee in the worship of the divine.

Bhasm: Also called Vibhuti is residue ash after incineration.

Bhastrika: Yet another exercise under Pranayam.

Bhukti: Enjoyment of all worldly and carnal desires.

Brahma: Hindu God of creation; one of the Tri-murti Gods.

Brahman: Unchanging, highest, ultimate reality; sat-cit-anand.

Brahmin: Top class of 'Varna Vyavastha' having absolute dominance on all activities in learning and teaching.

Brahmvarta: State on confluence of Sarasvati and Drishadvati rivers where sages are said to have composed Rig-Veda.

Buddhi: Intellect.

Cankam: Early Tamil literary assembly.

Carvaka: One of the Nastik school of Indian Philosophies which believed in materialism; also called Lokayats.

Darshana: Sanskrit word to refer Indian Philosophy.

Dharana: Aspect of mind which is attracted to Brahman and makes wisdom possible; a divinely oriented intellect.

Dharma Sankat: Crossroads where following path of moral high ground is made difficult by unpleasant and unwanted alternatives.

Dualism: School that differentiates between God and universe.

Doab: The area irrigated by Ganga and Yamuna, the cradle of Vedic culture.

Dvaita: School of Vedanta Philosophy by Madhavacharya.

Ekagrata: A stage in meditation - total concentration on object of choice.

Ekdandi: Wandering ascetics carrying a single stick.

Guna: "Quality", term for the three strands of matter under Sankhya school of philosophy.

Garbha Griha: The central space in a temple housing main deities.

Gopuram: The outer precincts of Hindu Temples in South India.

Grihaspati: The male head of the family in Vedic societies.

Grihaswamini: The wife of head of the family in Vedic societies.

Hath Yoga: Present day Yoga emphasizing difficult physical postures, exercises and techniques rather than philosophical content.

Havan Kunda: The place where offerings are made into consecrated fire under a Vedic ritual for pleasing Gods.

Isht Devta: The Deity of personal choice.

Zazia: Tax imposed on subjects who did not participate in military services of Muslim rulers.

Janeu: The three strand thread worn by all twice born Hindus.

Kalpa-taru: The mythological tree offering any object of choice.

Kamadhenu. The mythological cow offerings choice of food at all times.

Kapalbhati: Yet another breathing exercise under Pranayam.

Khap panchayat: The caste congregations held to address social issues of their respective castes and sub castes infamous for taking orthodox lines on many social norms.

Khariboli: A western Hindi dialect popular in and around Delhi and West UP.

Kshatriya: The class under Varna Vyavastha for all military matters.

Kumkum: Colored powder made of turmeric and saffron used for markings in Hindu religion.

Kundalini: Spiritual energy capable of awakening with practice.

Linga: Sign of the male sexual organ of Lord Shiva; also used as abstract symbol of Lord Shiva.

Mahesh: A name of Lord Shankar.

Mandir: Space designed for bringing human and God together.

Mantra: Sacred sound, word or syllable having psychological and spiritual power.

Matha: Monastic religious establishment.

Maya and Bhram: Illusions and secrets.

Maryadapurushotam: An ultimate human ideal, an address for Shri Rama.

Mimansa: A astika school of Indian Philosophy; literal meaning being 'investigation'; the philosophy of logic.

Moksha: Also known as Vimoksha, Mukti or Vimukti; ultimate liberation or release from the cycle of death and rebirth.

Mukti: Same as Moksha.

Nastika: People who believe "it does not exists"; atheists.

Naga Sadhu: Naked ascetics in Hindu traditions.

Nilakantha: Another name of Lord Shankara, man with blue color neck.

Nirakar: One without any form; reference to Paramatma, the Ultimate God at the helm of entire Universe.

Nirguna: Same as Nirakar.

Nirvikalp Samadhi: Stage of Samadhi where all mental activities are absorbed within Self vanishing distinction on knower and knowing.

Nishkama: Unique concept of Gita, Selfless or desire-less actions.

Niyam: Obligations to be adopted by a spiritual aspirant; must dos.

Nyaya Darshan: An Astika school of philosophy based on 'examination'.

Para Brahma: Same as Nirakar God.

Parmartha: Combination of Param and Artha; 'The Right Way'.

Prakrit: Several vernacular languages of Vedic society from which Sanskrit originated as a much superior language.

Pramana: Correct knowledge of any object based on full reasoning.

Prana: Life force or cosmic energy responsible for life in body.

Pranayama: Set of Breath exercises combining inhaling, retaining and discharging vital life energy (Purak, rechak and kumbhak).

Prasad: Edible food offered to deity and than distributed.

Pratima: Idol, a perceived object having God's manifestation.

Pratyahara: Withdrawal of senses, 5th stage of 8 stage Patanjali Yoga.

Pratyaksha: Clear and distinct direct evidence beyond any doubt.

Puja Vidhi: Way of worship which is proper and complete in all respect.

Punar Janm: Re-incarnation, an Hindu concept of constant cycle of death and re-birth called, 'Samsara'.

Parana: Ancient Hindu texts eulogizing various deities through divine stories; compendium of myth, ritual and history.

Purva Paksha: Unique concept of ancient India where full understanding of opponent's point of view was necessitated before criticizing it.

Purusha: The Primeval Man from Vedas; used as 'spirit' or 'self' in Samkliya philosophy school.

Purushartha: That which is sought by man; human purpose or aim.

Pushpak Vimana: Originally referred to flying chariots used by Gods but Epics using the term to refer to flying object.

Rama Rajya: Ideal state ruled by a just king with happiness all around.

Raja Yoga: Just another name of Classical or Ashtanga Yoga by Panini.

Rajas: One of three Gunas rep. excitation/action/motion/energy.

Rudra: A Vedic God later promoted to be Shiva or Shankara.

Sadachar: Combo of 'Sat and Achar'; Behavior suitable for pure soul.

Sadhna Kriya: A stellar all-around Kundalini Yoga workout.

Saguna: God represented by definite form.

Sakar: Same as Saguna, a God with definite form.

Sakshatkar: To be visibly present before eyes.

Samadhi: Superior stage of still mind, one-pointed consciousness. Samsara: The Hindu doctrine of cycle of birth, life and death.

Sandhi: A system of rules based phonology in many Indian languages used for combining sounds and words.

Sankhya: Yet another Indian Astika School of Philosophy; number.

Sannyasa: The last and final life stage of Renounces

Samskara: Imprints left on the subconscious mind impacted by present or previous lives.

Sapta Sindhu: Seven rivers of north India mentioned in Rig-Veda.

Sarasvati: One of the main Rig-Vedic river, having Sutlej and Yamuna as major contributories, later got completely dried up.

Sati: The custom where a women was made to end her life upon untimely death of her husband; technically means a good women or a devoted wife.

Sattva: One of the three Gunas representing purity and knowledge.

Satyam Vada: The doctrine of speaking truth and nothing but truth.

Shastra: Type of Sanskrit literature having detailed technical or specialized knowledge in a defined subject area.

Shloka: Largest used metered verses of classical Sanskrit poetry almost exclusively used in Mahabharata/Ramayana.

Shraddha: A unique combination of qualities like Faith, Trust, loyalty; Devotion, Dedication but without exact word in English.

Shramana: A religious movement parallel to Vedic system contributing to rise to Yoga, Jainism and Buddhism.

Shunya: Nothing, empty and vacuum; zero.

Siddhi: Supernatural/magical powers/abilities/practices obtained using spiritual practices of Meditation/Yoga.

Smriti: Type of Sanskrit literature compiled by contribution from multiple verbal and or written sources.

Somras: Special beverage made for Gods having curative powers, made from some botanical source since extinct.

Sruti: Ancient Sanskrit literature including Vedas, Upanishads, Shastras, Sutras where no alteration was admissible.

Sudra: Lowest placed traditional social class - artisans and laborers.

Sva-dharma: One's own particular dharma in contrast to common dharma called 'sadharana dharma'.

Svetasvatara: One of the prominent Upanishads.

Swarga loka: One of the many planes as per Hindu cosmology.

Swastika: Avery sacred and auspicious symbol of Hinduism like cross.

Swayamvar: Ancient competitive system of choosing a husband by a girl of marriageable age from among the invited guests.

Tamas: One of three Gunas representing ignorance and inertia.

Tantra: One sect of Hinduism and texts of that tradition.

Tilak: Mark worn on forehead to denote sectarian identity.

Trimurti: The trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

Tripitaka: One of the religious text book of Buddhism.

Vaani: Speech.

Vairagya: Renunciation of worldly passions.

Vaisheshika: One of the major Upanishads.

Vaishya: The third of the four classes of ancient Indian society included entrepreneurs, merchants and farmers.

Vanprastha: The third of four stages of life focused on meditation.

Varna: The system of social class division based on professions. 

Vasana: Smell; the memory traces left by the previous lives.

Vatta, Pitta, Vayu Dosha: Three category of bodily humors that makes one's bodily constitution, the foundation under Ayurveda.

Vichchheda: Breaking up of words under well defined Grammar rules.

Virah: An unique type of feeling of separation from lover.

Vishishtaadvaita: Qualified Advaita school, one of the Vedanta school.

Yagyopaveet: Sacred thread ceremony before initiation to schooling.

Yajna: The fire ritual under Vedic system.

Yama: The prohibitions advised under Yoga school of Philosophy.

Yuga: Era within four age cycle of Satya, Treta, Dwapar and Kali.

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