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200 Key Sanskrit Yoga Terms

Discerning dharma from kharma or bhakti from shakti is an important lesson for all yoga students—whether you are a beginner or a long-time yogi.

By Georg Feuerstein

a b c d g h i j k l m n o p r s t u v

Bandha ("bond/bondage"): the fact that human beings are typically bound by ignorance (avidya), which causes them to lead a life governed by karmic habit rather than inner freedom generated through wisdom (vidya, jnana)

Bhagavad Gita ("Lord's Song"): the oldest full-fledged yoga book found embedded in the Mahabharata and containing the teachings on karma yoga (the path of self-transcending action), samkhya yoga (the path of discerning the principles of existence correctly), and bhakti yoga (the path of devotion), as given by the God-man Krishna to Prince Arjuna on the battlefield 3,500 years or more ago

Bhagavata-Purana ("Ancient [Tradition] of the Bhagavatas"): a voluminous tenth-century scripture held sacred by the devotees of the Divine in the form of Vishnu, especially in his incarnate form as Krishna; also called Shrimad-Bhagavata

Bhakta ("devotee"): a disciple practicing bhakti yoga

Bhakti ("devotion/love"): the love of the bhakta toward the Divine or the guru as a manifestation of the Divine; also the love of the Divine toward the devotee

Bhakti-Sutra ("Aphorisms on Devotion"): an aphoristic work on devotional yoga authored by Sage Narada; another text by the same title is ascribed to Sage Shandilya

Bhakti Yoga ("Yoga of devotion"): a major branch of the yoga tradition, utilizing the feeling capacity to connect with the ultimate Reality conceived as a supreme Person (uttama-purusha)

Bindu ("seed/point"): the creative potency of anything where all energies are focused; the dot (also called tilaka) worn on the forehead as indicative of the third eye

Bodhi ("enlightenment"): the state of the awakened master, or buddha

Bodhisattva ("enlightenment being"): in Mahayana Buddhist yoga, the individual who, motivated by compassion (karuna), is committed to achieving enlightenment for the sake of all other beings

Brahma ("he who has grown expansive"): the Creator of the universe, the first principle (tattva) to emerge out of the ultimate Reality (brahman)

Brahmacharya (from brahma and acarya "brahmic conduct"): the discipline of chastity, which produces ojas

Brahman ("that which has grown expansive"): the ultimate Reality (cf. atman, purusha)

Brahmana: a brahmin, a member of the highest social class of traditional Indian society; also an early type of ritual text explicating the rituals and mythology of the four Vedas; cf. Aranyaka, Upanishad, Veda

Buddha ("awakened"): a designation of the person who has attained enlightenment (bodhi) and therefore inner freedom; honorific title of Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, who lived in the sixth century B.C.E.

Buddhi ("she who is conscious, awake"): the higher mind, which is the seat of wisdom (vidya, jnana); cf. manas

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Reader Comments

Sunta

Namaste: The light in me honours that place in you which is the light in you !

Sarai

In response to Padma's comment about alleged "intellectual dishonesty" - I would like to respectfully clarify....

The term "hindu" comes from the Persian invaders mispronoucing the name of the Sindhu River (in India), and thereby they misnamed the people of that location and their religion as "hindu". The true name of the spiritual path to which "hindu" now refers is actually SANATANA DHARMA. Never in the vedas will one find the bastardized term "hindu", though this term has been generally accepted as appropriate by the modern people who practice this path of spirituality, it would not necessarily be less "intellectually dishonest" to refer to Ayurveda or Yoga having their roots in "hinduism". However, SANATANA DHARMA is ancient, and the Sindhu River IS in India, so to say that Yoga and Ayurveda have their roots in ancient india is equally as accurate, in my opinion. Truly, however, it would be with the utmost accuracy to say that their roots are from Sanatana Dharma.

I am not sure whether Padma's contention comes from (perhaps) being an Indian by nationality and not wanting nationality confused with Spiritual Path or Religions affiliation. This, I would understand. There is no national religion of India, and even in ancient times, India was ripe with diverse religious populations. Nonetheless, Sanatana Dharma DOES indeed spring forth out of ancient India, and I do not believe that when people say that Yoga and Ayurveda have their roots in ancient india, that there is any "intellectual dishonesty" being perpetrated.

Thabo

I just wanted to know what namaste meant, and I did not get the answer.

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