Sanskrit Terms

Arjuna. The warrior figure of the Bhagavad-Gita, one who goes through crisis of judgement as to the meaning of war. Krishna is his chariot-driver representing his higher self. Arjuna is a symbol of human aspiration to self-knowledge and ultimate union with truth.

Arti puja. Offering of lighted lamps before the symbolic image of a deity in the Hindu temple – lighted lamps being the symbol of life and consciousness of the devotee.

Avatar. Divine incarnation.

Bhakti. Literally devotion, service. A mystical movement of the 14th to 15th centuries, universal and humanist, with a blend of monistic and theistic emphases. It preached human equality and freedom from worldly status and social identity. Mathava(1302), Namdev (1344), Pipa (1425), Ramanand (1430), Ravidas (1430), Ramananda (1440), Mirabai (1504) and Kabir (1518) were some of the famous Bhakts who shaped the eclectic mood of medieval India in which Sufi Masters, particularly the Chishtiyas, joyfully participated.

Brahma. The hindu god of creation.

Brahmin. Member of the Hindu priest caste.

Om. Also Aum. The Sanskrit monosyllable for the supreme invocation of undifferentiated reality.

Pandit. Hindu scholar.

Radha. The cowherd girl who was the beloved of the Hindu god Krishna; she and the other cowherd girls who danced to his flute-playing represent the human soul in its dance before God.

Ram. The warrior-king and hero of the Ramayana. One of the most popular incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu.

Rishi. Hermit/sage who has renounced the world; the secluded one, the individual.

Sadhu. Literally, one who is without defect. Refers to a Hindu man who has renounced worldly life but remains independent of any order.

Samadhi. Literally, ecstasy. It refers to the trancelike state induced through contemplation of and absorption into the unity of existence.

Sanyasi. One who has renounced the world (feminine sanyasin).

Vedanta. Literally, culmination of the Vedas, the ancient sacred texts of India. Technically it refers to one of the six orthodox philosophies of classical Hinduism, but is now used to refer more generically to classical Hinduism.

(*see also “Solomons Ring – the life and teachings of a Sufi Master” & “Spiritual Quest” – chapter – “The Gita -A song and a secret” by Professor Hasan Askari)

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