Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Dictionary of common Sanskrit spiritual words
bAdha - buddhi

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Note that words appear in order of the Roman alphabet, not the Sanskrit alphabet.

English ITRANS Sanskrit Meaning
badha bAdha bax sublation or subration. This is the process by which an accepted point of view or understanding is superseded by a totally different one when some new information is received. An example is seeing a lake in the desert and then realising that it is only a mirage. The adjective is bAdhita, meaning negated, contradictory, absurd, false.
bahiranga bahira~Nga bihr¼ exterior, external, worldly as opposed to inner (antara~Nga), (in relation to spiritual disciplines).
bala bala bl strength (of mind), power.
bandha / bandhana bandha bandhana bNx bNxn bondage, attachment to the world.
bhaga tyaga lakshana bhAga tyAga lakShaNa Éag Tyag l][ technique used by scriptures to point to aspects that cannot be explained directly in words. The oneness that is pointed to (lakShaNa) is understood by "giving up" (tyAga) the contradictory parts (bhAga). An example would be in the apparent contradiction of the jIva being "created" while Ishvara is the "creator." Both are given up in order to recognize their identity as brahman.
Bhagavad bhagavat Égvt! generic term for one of the four "stages" in the life of a Hindu brahmin, viz. brahmacharya, gRRihastha, saMnyAsa, vanaprastha.
Bhagavad Gita bhagavadgItA ÉgvÌIta the scriptural text forming part of the Hindu epic, the mahAbhArata. It is a dialogue between Krishna, the charioteer/God, representing the Self and the warrior Arjuna, representing you and me, on the battlefield of Kurukshetra prior to the commencement of battle. The scripture is regarded as smRRiti. See Bhagavad, smriti.
bhaj bhaj Éj! to pursue, practice, cultivate or seek. (As in the work attributed to Shankara - bhaja govindam, "Practice, Govinda.")
bhakta bhakta É´ one who practices bhakti yoga. See bhakti yoga.
bhakti bhakti Éi´ devotion or worship as a means to enlightenment. See also karma and jnana.
bhamiti bhAmitI ÉaimtI literally "lustrous"; name of one of the two schools of Advaita, also called the vAcaspati school, after the philosopher vAcaspati mishra. The other school is the vivaraNa school.
Bhartihari bhartRRihari Ét&Rhir poet and grammarian in 7th century AD; composer of vAkyapadIya.
bhashya bhAShya Éa:y explanatory work, exposition or commentary on some other scriptural document. Thus Shankara, for example, has written bhAShya-s on a number of Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutra.
bhasyakara bhASyakAra Éa:ykar various commentators (on a philosophy).
bhati bhAti Éait evidence, perception, knowledge.
bhava bhAva Éav condition or state of body or mind.
bhavana bhAvana Éavn reflection, contemplation.
bhavarupa bhAvarUpa Éavêp really existing, real, actual.
bhavat bhavat Évt! being, present.
bhavishya bhaviShya Éiv:y to be about to become or come to pass, future, imminent.
bheda bedha bex separation, distinction, division, difference; change, modification. There are three types of difference: different family or species (vijAti), difference within the family (sajAti) and internal difference (svagata).
bhoga bhoga Éaeg enjoyment, experiencing, feeling.
bhoktri bhoktRRi Éae´« one who enjoys (or eats), an experiencer or feeler.
bhrama bhrama æm confusion, perplexity, mistake (N.B. Not to be confused with brahma or brahman!).
bhranti bhrAnti æaiNt perplexity, confusion, error, false opinion.
Bhuma bhUmA ÉUma the supreme reality, Brahman (used in the Chandogya Upanishad); literally the aggregate of all existing things (plural). bhUman, the singular noun, means abundance, plenty, wealth.
bhuta bhUta ÉUt (noun) element (e.g. fire or water). (adj.) past (something that actually happened).
bija bIja bIj seed, germ, primary cause.
bodha bodha baex knowing, understanding, as in the classic work attributed to Shankara - 'Atmabodha', knowledge of Atman.
Brahma brahma äü God as the creator of the universe in Hindu mythology (the other key ones in the 'trinity' are Vishnu, viShNu, the preserver and Shiva, shiva, the destroyer). N.B. Not to be confused with Brahman!
Brahma Sutra brahmasUtra äüsUÇ a book (in sutra form, which is terse verse!) by Vyasa. This book is the best known of the third accepted source of knowledge (nyaya prasthana). Effectively, it attempts to summarise the Upanishads. It has been extensively commented on by the three main philosophical branches of Indian thought, dvaita, advaita and vishishtadvaita, and the proponents of each claim that it substantiates their beliefs. Shankara has commented on it and provided extensive arguments against any interpretation other than that of Advaita. See bhashya, nyaya prasthana, sruti, smriti.
brahmacharya brahmacharya äücyR the first stage of the traditional Hindu spiritual path, in which the Brahman begins his life as an unmarried, religious and chaste student. (charya means 'due observance of all rites and customs'.) One of the five yama-s in Raja yoga. See also grihasta, sanyasa, vanaprastha.
Brahman brahman äün! the universal Self, Absolute or God. There is only Brahman. It derives from the Sanskrit root bRRih, meaning to grow great or strong and could be thought of as the adjective 'big' made into a noun, implying that which is greater than anything. See also atman, Brahma, jiva, jivatman, paramatman.
brahmana brAhmaNa äaü[ an aspirant; a member of the first of the traditional four castes in India (also called Brahmin); alternatively a portion of the Vedas, containing information relating to the use of mantras and hymns in sacrifices.
brahmanishta brahmaniShTha äüinó one who is absorbed in contemplating brahman and committed only to that purpose. niShTha means "devoted to."
brahmavidya brahmavidyA äüiv*a knowledge of the one Self. (Also brahmavitva, with someone with this knowledge being called a brahmavit.) See brahman.
Brihadaranyaka bRRihadAraNyaka b&hdar{yk one of the major Upanishads (and possibly the oldest). The word derives from bRRihat - great, large, wide, tall etc. and Aranyaka - produced in (or relating to) a forest. See Upanishad.
buddhi buddhi buiÏ the organ of mind responsible for discrimination and judgement, perhaps nearest equated to the intellect in Western usage. See also, ahankara, antakarana, manas and chitta.
Page last updated: 10-Jul-2012