Many of the following terms are the subject of books. The definitions offered here are very simple, to enable a reader unfamiliar with these terms to read with reasonable degree of understanding.
That portion of the Hindu worship service in which lights (usually in the form of wicks burning ghee (purified butter)) are waved before an image of God, as a symbol of light overcoming the darkness of human ignorance.
Generally, a mat or blanket on which a person sits, cross-legged, on the ground or floor. Also refers to a more elaborate seat to which a yogi or saint sits to perform worship or to receive devotees.
In modern usage, a religious community, a place for spiritual training or renewal
‘Demons’, Hindu mythology is filled with references to asuras and their ceaseless struggle with the gods
Divine incarnation of God.
A renunciate or saint; Father, in the sense of priest or God.
A devotee of God, or of a guru, or a devotional path
‘Fervent devotion to God’; implies the belief in a personal god of absolute love, mercy and grace; absolute faith and devotion to the deity; the main obstacle is not ignorance but unbelief.
Relious scripture which contains the essense of Lord Krishna’s teachings in the form of a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, Krishna’s greatest devotee. The Gita is a segment of the Mahabharata.
Generally, hymns to God. Also used in the sense of expression of worship through several forms, including the devotee’s prayers, meditation. Worship – even his or her work dedicated to God.
Bhole Baba ki Jai
Honor or glory (jai) to the simple (bhole) Father!
One of the triumvirate of Hindu forms of God who are responsible for creating, maintaining/sustaining and destruction or purification of the universe. Brahma is the Creator
The Hindu concept of God as beyond or above form of human attributes – totally detached, Pure Consciousness, the blissful Source from which comes everything that exists.
Sandalpaste marking applied to forehead
God’s punishing rod.
A meeting of a king’s or of God’s royal court.
The enjoyment of the presence of a respected or revered person or of God, in any of His forms.
Duty or religion
The fire-pit where havan is performed.
See Bhagavad Gita.
A spiritual teacher who undertakes to guide his disciples to realization of God.
A disciple’s term for his or her guru. It refers to the guru as God (devi), reflecting the disciple’s surrender tot the guru, who then leads the disciple to God.
Herakhan (or Haidakhan) Vishwa Mahadham
Shri Babaji’s ashram and the surrounding sacred area. The words translate as Herakhan, the most wonderful/greatest place in the Universe. Sacred site, 27 km east of Haldwani, Distr. Nainital, U.P. near Mt. Kailasa of the Kumaon Hills of the Himalayas, place of appearance of Baba Haidakhan during the two periods of manifestation 1840 – 1922 and 1970 – 1984. The cave spoken of in the text is at the foot of Mt. Kailash.
Jai Maha Maya ki Jai
Honor or Glory to the Great (maha) Illusory Force. Hail to to Primordial energy of the Universe. Hail to the Universal Mother.
Jap or Japa
The continual repetition of a mantra, using mala-beads
A suffix reflecting respect and love, as in Babaji, Prabhuji etc.
The Age (Yuga) in which materialistic forces dominate the activities of the world, spiritual values decline.
Cause and effect from life to life. Work or activity offered to God, as in Karma Yoga
Religious songs which repeat the names of God. For example, the mantra OM Namah Shivay is sung for minutes on end of any of a dozen or more tunes.
Lord Krishna, a manifestation of God on earth, in India in prehistoric times. The Mahabharata, a great Indian epic, contains the stories of His lifetime. The Bhagavad Gita, which is contained within the Mahabharata, summarizes Lord Krishna’s spiritual teachings.
Leela (or lila)
The activities of God in one of His human forms. What we see as specifically God’s action.
The story of Lord Krishna’s period in human form on earth. The era was a time of a great war symbolic of the destruction of evil in society.
Greatest Mantra (OM Namah Shivay).
Maha means great; prabhu means Lord or God. Mahaprahbu means Supreme God. The suffix -ji is used as an added term to reverence and love.
An avatar is a being devinely sent to earth, born of a woman. A mahavatar (maha avatar) is a manifestation of God, not born of a woman.
One of the many names of Lord Shiva, Who is seen by some as the destructive or purificatory aspect of the Hindu trinity of Gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara).
String of prayer beads like rosary; can also be a garland of flowers.
“Man” means mind; “tra” means control; a mantra is a means for the control of the mind. A mantra is a Sanskrit phrase used to quiet, then to control the mind – to keep the mind from racing unproductively from thought to thought, which keeps it and the soul of the person attached to the material world rather than to the spiritual world. Sacred verse containing profound and subtle significance, based on rhythmic sound as correspondence to organs of the body, states of being and consciousness, uniting all three. The power of mantras depends on their repetition, correct pronunciation and right timing. There is nothing beyond the power of mantra.
Illusion. In Rig-veda, used in the sense of ‘magical power’, illusion, in Upanishads, it means ‘false knowledge’ and stands for the negative principle apart from the true reality, which is brahman; in later non-dualistic (advaita) philosophy the phenomenal world and all identities are illusory, as a veil over true existence, which is the nature of the divine.
An enlightened person
Blessed Statue of a holy person or deity.
Hello, I salute the God within you.
Sanskrit version of Namaste.
OM Namaha Shivaya
Also written and pronounced OM Namah Shivai. Said to be the first words uttered by the Creative Source; the oldest mantra. It can be translated as I bow to/surrender, to/take refuge in Shiva. Lord Shiva is known as the Doer of Good, and the mantra is also interpreted to mean, I bow to whatever Good is happening and to Whomsoever is doing it.
Lotus; is the divine plant par exellence. It opens at day-time and closes at night, has its roots in muddy waters, its flower above water level; is the symbol of perfection and beauty.
A form ob obeisance and respect, in which one touches the head to the ground or touches the feet of the form or person who is being worshipped or to whom great respect is being shown.
A gift from God or a saint, or a reminder of what has been offered to and blessed by him and given for distribution.
Worship honouring the Divine.
Lord Ram, a manifestation of God on earth, in India, prior to Lord Krishna’s manifestation. The Ramayana, one of the greatest epics of the world literature, contains the story of His life.
The epic tale of Lord Ram’s life.
A demon embodying and representing the forces of evil in the Ramayana.
A great, learned saint.
Religious practice; one’s spiritual path.
The eternal duty or religion; the original spiritual path by which Creation was formed and operated in harmony; the Source of all existing religions, which partially reflect it
An ancient Indian language, the language of the early Hindu scriptures.
(Sanskrit sat = true, sanga = company) is in Indian philosophy that involves (1) the company of the “highest truth,” (2) the company of a guru, or (3) company with an assembly of persons who listen to, talk about, and assimilate the truth. This typically involves listening to or reading scriptures, reflecting on, discussing and assimilating their meaning, meditating on the source of these words, and bringing their meaning into one’s daily life. Contemporary spiritual teachers in the West frequently come from the East but can come from any part of the world
The hight, blisful spiritual qualities which must predominate in the person who is nearing God-realization. These qualities include inner peace, absence of attachment to things of the material world, bliss, divine love.
A person learned in the Vedas and Puranas – the early Hindu scriptures. One earns the title after many years of study.
A title of respect, especially for God or a holy man.
An Indian religious sect which follow the teachings of Guru Nanak, a 16th century saint.
The consort of Lord Ram, She is the ideal of Indian womanhood.
Hymne in Sanskrit or liturgical poem honouring the divine
The earliest of the scriptures; the base of the the Hindu religion.
One of the three major Gods in the Hindu religion; the Maintainer or Sustainer of the Creation. Ram and Krishna were manifestations of Vishnu.
A special (usual nine-day) sacred fire ceremony, accompanied by the reading of the scriptures and other religious activities.
Literally, yoke or union. A yoga is a pathway to union with God. Babaji stresss dedicated work as the best means (yoga) of attaing God in this Age.
One who practices yoga; a renunciate.
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