Acharya - a teacher, especially of scriptures.
Agya - the command of the Master.
Agya chakra - 'Third Eye', the centre of spiritual energy between the eyebrows.
Ajapa jap - the unchantable mantra.
Akhand - indivisible.
Arti - hymn of praise sung morning and evening.
Arya Samaj - an influential socio-religious reform movement started in 19th century by Swami Dayanand.
Asana - seat, bodily posture.
Ashram - hermitage, a retreat for spiritual practice.
Atmagyan - Knowledge of the soul.
Aum - the mystic syllable symbolizing God.
Avatar - a Divine Incarnation.
Baba - old man, respectful term of address or elders.
Bai Ji - a lady mahatma.
Bhagavad Gita - the great Hindu scripture written in the form of a dialogue between Krishna and his disciple, Arjuna.
Bhakti - devotion.
Brahm(an) - the Absolute Reality.
Brahrnacharya - vow of celibacy.
Brahm Muhurta - The holy time between 2 and 4 am. most suitable for meditation.
Brahma-Vishnu-Silva - Creator, Preserver, Destroyer - the Hindu Trinity.
Brahmin - the priestly caste.
Chakras - the centres of spiritual energy along the spine.
Charnamrit - sanctified Water in which the Master has dipped his feet.
Das Bodh - the classic work of St Samarth Ramdas dealing with all aspects of devotion.
Darshan - the sanctifying and elevating presence of the Master.


Dharma - righteousness, the innate and natural religion of all human beings
Dhyana - meditation.
Giridhar Gopal - epithet of Krishna.
Guru Granth Sahab - holy scripture of the Sikhs.
Gurudwara - Sikh temple.
Guru Puja - festival honouring the spiritual Master, held on the full moon day in July.
Gunas - qualities, the active forces of Nature.
Gyani - a realized soul, one who has Knowledge of Soul.
Hanuman Chalisa - a forty-Couplet text praising Hanuman.
Holi - spring festival (commemorating Prahlad's victory over his wicked aunt Holika) during which Indians throw coloured water on one other.
Ida - psychic nerve current flowing into left nostril and along the left side of the spine.
Jiva - the embodied soul.
Kali Yuga - one of the four Ages in a cycle of Creation. The other three are Sat Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapar Yoga
Lakshmi-Uma-Saraswati - the consorts of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.
Mahanirvana - a realized soul passing from the body into eternal Samadhi, i.e. physical death.
Mahatma - lit. 'great soul', a devotee who has taken the vow of renunciation and who is empowered by the Master to initiate others into Holy Knowledge.
Manasrovar Lake - the holy lake in Tibet.
Mandaleshwar - the head of an ashram, an abbot.
Mantra - incantation.
Marwari - a Rajasthani autt, wealthy business community.
Maya - the illusory power of God.
Moksha, mukti - liberation.
Nirguna - attributeless.
Nirvikrapa - without any mental fluctuations.


Niyama - Observances.
Patwari - village notary or accountant who registers land transactions and revenue.
Pingala - the psychic nerve current flowing through the right nostril and along the right side of the spine.
Prakriti - Nature.
Prana - vital energy, life-form.
Pranayama - control of breath and prana.
Prashad - sanctified offerings to Guru or deity.
Pratyahara - disconnection of the senses from their stmuli.
Prem - Divine Love.
Pundit - brahmin who is learned in scripture, rituals, astrology,
R.S.S. - Rarshtriya Swayam Sewak Sangham - a quasi-political party.
Raksha Bandhan - Hindu festival during which girls tie special bracelets on their brothers and ask for their protection. Devotees do the same with their Guru.
Ramayana - the great Hindu epic portraying the life of Rama, originally written in Sanskrit by the sage Valmiki.
Ramacharitamanasa - vernacular rendition of the Ramayana by Tulsidas.
Saddhu (sannyasi) - Hindu holy man, a renunciate.
Samadhi - the superconscious state in which God is realized.
Satguru - the spiritual Master who can reveal the True Name, and Light of God.
Satsang - lit. 'company of Truth', fellowship of devotees of the Satguru.
Shabri - another name for Bhilni, the devotee of Rama.
Shastri - a degree, roughly equivalent to B.A., awarded for proficiency in Hindu theology.
Sushumni - psychic channel in the spine through which spiritual energy is directed to the Sahasradalkamal chakra in the crown of the head.
Swayambhu Manu-Satrupa - the Adam and Eve of Hindus.


Tansen - famous musician in Akbar's Court.
Tapasya - sacrifice or penance done to gain spiritual merit.
Tilak - the sign of Ida-Pingala-Sushumna drawn on the forehead.
Veda - the ancient revealed scriptures of the Hindus. There are four - Rig, Sama, Yajur and Artharva Vedas.
Yagya - sacrificial ritual during which oblations such as herbs are offered to a sacrifice.
Yoga - union of the individual consciousness with God and the spiritual path for attaining this.
Yogi - practitioner or adept in Yoga.