Sanskrit U – Y

Ured rule

Uchchaishravas: The name of Indra’s horse (or the horse of the Sun god, Surya), that was born of the amrita that was churned from the ocean by the gods. The name means “high-sounding” and refers to the power of mantra.

Uchchishta[m]: The remnants of food eaten by others, the actual leavings from someone’s plate, considered extremely unclean physically and psychically. (This does not apply to food left in a serving dish or cooking vessel unless someone ate from it rather than serving it on their own dish.)

Udana: The prana which brings up or carries down what has been drunk or eaten; the general force of assimilation.

Udgitha: The Pranava [Om] when it is sung aloud in Vedic recitation.

Uma: See Parvati.

Upadesha: Spiritual instruction.

Upadhi: Adjunct; association; superimposed thing or attribute that veils and gives a colored view of the substance beneath it; limiting adjunct; instrument; vehicle; body; a technical term used in Vedanta philosophy for any superimposition that gives a limited view of the Absolute and makes It appear as the relative.

Upanayana(m): Investure with the sacred thread (yajnopavita) and initiation into the Gayatri mantra.

Upanishads: Books (of varying lengths) of the philosophical teachings of the ancient sages of India on the knowledge of Absolute Reality. The upanishads contain two major themes: (1) the individual self (atman) and the Supreme Self (Paramatman) are one in essence, and (2) the goal of life is the realization/manifestation of this unity, the realization of God (Brahman). There are eleven principal upanishads: Isha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brihadaranyaka, and Shvetashvatara, all of which were commented on by Shankara, thus setting the seal of authenticity on them.

Uparati: Uparati is the power–once the sense have been restricted–to ensure that they may not once again be drawn toward worldly objects; indifference toward the enjoyment of sense-objects; surfeit; discontinuance of religious ceremonies following upon renunciation; absolute calmness; tranquillity; renunciation.

Upasana: “Sitting near” or “drawing near;” worship; adoration; contemplation of God or deity; devout meditation; both teaching and learning.

Upasaka: One who engages in upasana.

Urdhvareta yogi: The yogi in whom the seminal energy flows upwards.

Ushmapas: A class of ancestors (pitris) which live off subtle emanations or vapors.

Utsava: Festival; celebration.

Utsava murti: The image of a deity that is taken out in procession rather than the main image in the temple which is usually permanently affixed to a stone pedestal.

Uttama: Highest; superior; best.

Uttara: Higher.

Uttarayana: “Northern way.” The half of the year beginning on the winter solstice (December 21) when the sun appears to be moving northward.

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Vred rule

Vach: Word; Divine Word; logos; speech.

Vachaka: That which is denoted by speech.

Vachya: That which is denoted by speech.

Vahana: Vehicle; conveyance.

Vaidika: Vedic.

Vaikhari: Sound that is spoken and heard.

Vaikuntha: The celestial abode (loka) of Vishnu and His devotees.

Vairagi: A renunciate.

Vairagya: Non-attachment; detachment; dispassion; absence of desire; disinterest; or indifference. Indifference towards and disgust for all worldly things and enjoyments.

Vaishnava: A devotee of Vishnu.

Vaishvanara: Universal Being; the Self of the waking state; the sum-total of the created beings; Brahman in the form of the universe; Cosmic Fire.

Vaishya: A member of the merchant, farmer, artisan, businessman caste.

Vajra: Diamond; thunderbolt–the special weapon of Indra, king of the gods.

Vak: Speech; voice, world; Primoridal Word (Om); Logos.

Vakya: Word or statement.


Valmiki: The first poet of India, author of the Ramayana.

Vanaprastha: Literally: a forest (vana) dweller. The third stage of life (ashrama) in which, leaving home and children, the husband and wife dwell together in seclusion and contemplation as a preparation to taking sannyasa.

Varna: Caste. (Literally: color.) In traditional Hindu society there were four divisions or castes according to the individual’s nature and aptitude: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra.

Varnashrama: Related to the four castes and the four stages (ashramas) of Hindu life; the laws of caste and ashrama.

Varnashram dharma: The observance of caste and ashram.

Varshneya: Clansman of the Vrishnis–a title of Krishna.

Varuna: A Vedic deity considered the sustainer of the universe and also the presiding deity of the oceans and water. Often identified with the conscience.

Vasana: A bundle or aggregate of similar samskaras. Subtle desire; a tendency created in a person by the doing of an action or by enjoyment; it induces the person to repeat the action or to seek a repetition of the enjoyment; the subtle impression in the mind capable of developing itself into action; it is the cause of birth and experience in general; the impression of actions that remains unconsciously in the mind.

Vasanakshaya: Annihilation of subtle desires and impressions.

Vashikara: Mastery; control (especially complete control); power.

Vashishtha: One of the most famous of Vedic seers (rishis).

Vasudeva: “He who dwells in all things”–the Universal God; the father of Krishna, who is also sometimes called Vasudeva.

Vasuki: The king of the serpents. He assisted at the churning of the milk ocean.

Vasus: Eight Vedic deities characterized by radiance.

Vasyata: Mastery; control; obedience.

Vayu (1): The Vedic god of the wind.

Vayu (2): Air; the element of air, from which the sense of touch (sparsha) arises.

Veda: Knowledge, wisdom, revealed scripture. See Vedas.

Vedanta: Literally, “the end of the Vedas;” the Upanishads; the school of Hindu thought, based primarily on the Upanishads, upholding the doctrine of either pure non-dualism or conditional non-dualism. The original text of this school is Vedanta-darshana or the Brahma Sutras compiled by the sage Vyasa.

Vedanta Sutras: The Brahma Sutras.

Vedantin: A follower of Vedanta.

Vedas: The oldest scriptures of India, considered the oldest scriptures of the world, that were revealed in meditation to the Vedic Rishis (seers). Although in modern times there are said to be four Vedas (Rig, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva), in the upanishads only three are listed (Rig, Sama, and Yajur). In actuality, there is only one Veda: the Rig Veda. The Sama Veda is only a collection of Rig Veda hymns that are marked (pointed) for singing. The Yajur Veda is a small book giving directions on just one form of Vedic sacrifice. The Atharva Veda is only a collection of theurgical mantras to be recited for the cure of various afflictions or to be recited over the herbs to be taken as medicine for those afflictions.

Vedic: Having to do with the Vedas.

Vega: Motion; velocity; inertia.

Vibhu: All-pervasive; great.

Vibhuti (1): Manifestations of divine power or glory; might; prosperity; welfare; splendor; exalted rank; greatness; miraculous powers; superhuman power resembling that of God (Ishwara). The quality of all-pervasiveness (omnipresence). Also sacred ash from a fire sacrifice.

Vibhuti (2): Sacred ash from a fire sacrifice.

Vichara: Subtle thought; reflection; enquiry; introspection; investigation; enquiry/investigation into the nature of the Self, Brahman or Truth; ever-present reflection on the why and wherefore of things; enquiry into the real meaning of the Mahavakya Tat-twam-asi: Thou art That; discrimination between the Real and the unreal; enquiry of Self.

Videha: Bodiless.

Videhamukti: Disembodied salvation; salvation attained by the realized soul after shaking off the physical sheath as opposed to jivanmukti which is liberation even while living.

Vidvan: A knower; usually applied to a knower of the Self as distinct from the body; one who is learned; an expert in all aspects of the Sanskrit language.

Vidvat sannyasa: Renunciation after the attainment of the knowledge of Brahman. Asceticism resorted to by the wise (jnanis) and perfected ones (siddhas). Renunciation by the wise.

Vidya: Knowledge; both spiritual knowledge and mundane knowledge.

Vidyapith(a): A school.

Vijaya: Victory; triumph.

Vijnana: Supreme knowledge; supreme wisdom; supreme realization.

Vijnana: Buddhi; intellect.

Vijnanamaya kosha: The jnanamaya kosha, the buddhi.

Vijnani: One endowed with vijnana.

Vikalpa: Imagination; fantasy; mental construct; abstraction; conceptualization; hallucination; distinction; experience; thought; oscillation of the mind.

Vikara: Change, change of form, or modification–generally with reference to the modification of the mind, individually or cosmically.; gluiness; manifestation.

Vikshepa: Distractions; causes of distractions; projection; false projection; the tossing of the mind which obstructs concentration.

Vilwa: See Bel.

Vimala: Purity; unblemished; without stain or defect.

Vimarsha: Consideration; examination; test; reasoning; discussion; knowledge; intelligence; reflection.

Vinaya: Humility; sense of propriety; manners; rule of conduct; education; mental culture and refinement; discipline.

Vipaka: A type of transformation; ripening; resultant; fruition.

Viparyaya: Erroneous congition; wrong knowledge; illusion; misapprehension; distraction of mind.

Vipra: “Twice-born.” A term usually applied to those that have been invested with the yajnopavita (sacred thread) and initiated into the Gayatri mantra. Since the Kshatriya and Vaishya castes no longer do this, today vipra almost exclusively means a Brahmin. Vipra can also be meant in a spiritual manner, indicated one that has been “born” spiritually as well as physically.

Viraj: The macrocosm; the manifested universe; the world man–the masculine potency in nature in contradistinction to the feminine potency.

Viraja homa: “Universal homa;” the final fire sacrifice done just before taking sannyas in which offerings are made to all living beings in petition for their releasing of the prospective sannyasin from all karmic obligations he might have in relation to them.

Virat: The cosmic form of the Self as the cause of the gross world; the all-pervading Spirit in the form of the universe.

Virochana: King of the demons (asuras). According to the Chandogya Upanishad, along with Indra he went to the Creator to learn the nature of the Self. Misunderstanding the teaching: “Virochana, satisfied for his part that he had found out the Self, returned to the demons and began to teach them that the body alone is to be worshiped, that the body alone is to be served, and that he who worships the body and serves the body gains both worlds, this and the next.”

Virodhat: Opposition; conflict; contradiction.

Virya: Strength; power; energy; courage.

Vishaya (1): Object; object of perception (sensory experience) or enjoyment; subject matter; content; areas; range; field-object domain; sphere; realm, scope; matters of enjoyment or experience.

Vishaya (2): Doubt.

Vishaya-chaitanya: Consciousness as objects; the object known; the consciousness determined by the object cognized.

Vishayavritti: Thought of sensual objects.

Vishesha: Special; distinctive qualification; distinguishable; particularity; propriety.

Vishishta: Qualified; particularity.

Vishishtadvaita Vedanta: The philosophy of Qualified Non-Dualism formulated by Sri Ramanuja.

Vishnu: “The all-pervading;” God as the Preserver.

Vishoka: Blissful; serene; free of grief, suffering or sorrow.

Vishuddha: Supremely pure; totally pure.

Vishuddha chakra: “Supreme purity.” Energy center located in the spine opposite the hollow of the throat. Seat of the Ether element.

Vishuddhi: Supreme purity; total purity.

Vishwa: Universe; all pervasive.

Vishwa-devas: A group of twelve minor Vedic deities.

Vishwanatha: “Lord of the Universe;” a title of Shiva, often applied to his temple in Varanasi (Benares).

Vishwaprana: Universal Life or Prana.

Vishwarupa: Universal/Cosmic Form (see chapter eleven of the Bhagavad Gita); multiform having all forms.

Vitaraga: Free from attachment (raga); one who has abandoned desire/attachment; a sannyasi.

Vitarka: Thought; reasoning; cogitation with sense perception; discussion; debate; logical argument.

Vittaishana: Desire for wealth.

Vitthala: A title of Krishna, meaning “the one standing on a brick,” a reference to the image of Krishna worshipped in Pandharpur in Western India.

Vivarta: Illusory appearance; doctrine of creation as an illusory appearance/manifestation of the Absolute; seeming change; superimposition; appearance..

Vivarta-vada: Phenomenalism. See Vivarta.

Viveka: Discrimination between the Real and the unreal, between the Self and the non-Self, between the permanent and the impermanent; right intuitive discrimination.

Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda

Vivekananda (Swami): The chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, who brought the message of Vedanta to the West at the end of the nineteenth century.

Viveki: One who possesses discrimination (viveka).

Vividisha sannyasa: Renunciation for the purpose of knowing Brahman.

Vrata: Vow; a resolution; rule of conduct.

Vritti: Thought-wave; mental modification; mental whirlpool; a ripple in the chitta (mind substance).

Vyadhi: Disease of the body.

Vyakta: Manifest(ed); revealed.

Vyana: The prana that holds prana and apana together and produces circulation in the body.

Vyasa: One of the greatest sages of India, commentator on the Yoga Sutras, author of the Mahabharata (which includes the Bhagavad Gita), the Brahma Sutras, and the codifier of the Vedas.

Vyasti: Individual; microcosm.

Vyavahara: Worldly activity; relative activity as opposed to Absolute Being; empirical/phenomenal world; worldly relation.

Vyoma: Ether (akasha); the sky.

Vyutthana: Rising up; awakening; emergence; externalization; outgoing; rising; waking state; a stage in Yoga.

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Wred rule

Word-Brahman: Om; Shabda Brahman.

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Yred rule

Yajna: Sacrifice; offering; sacrificial ceremony; a ritual sacrifice; usually the fire sacrifice known as agnihotra or havan.

Yajnavalkya: A great Vedic seer whose teachings are found in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

Yajnaypitha: See Yajnasthala.

Yajnasthala: An open sided, roofed structure in which the fire sacrifice is performed.

Yajnopavita: Sacred thread. A triple thread worn by the twice-born (dwijas) that represents the threefold Brahman. It is essential for the performance of all the rites of the twice-born. Usually worn only by Brahmins, originally it was worn by Kshatriyas and Vaishyas as well.

Yajnopavitin: Wearer of the sacred thread (yajnopavita).

Yaksha: There are two kinds of yakshas: 1) semidivine beings whose king is Kubera, the lord of wealth, or 2) a kind of ghost, goblin, or demon.

Yama (1): Restraint; the five Don’ts of Yoga: 1) ahimsa–non-violence, non-injury, harmlessness; 2) satya–truthfulness, honesty; 3) asteya–non-stealing, honesty, non-misappropriativeness; 4) brahmacharya–continence; 5) aparigraha–non-possessiveness, non-greed, non-selfishness, non-acquisitiveness.

Yama (2): The Lord of Death, controller of who dies and what happens to them after death.

Yantra: Geometrical designs of the energy patterns made by mantras when they are recited or which, when concentrated on produce the effects of the corresponding mantras. Though often attributed to deities, they are really the diagrams of the energy movements of those deities’ mantras.

Yasha(s): Fame; celebrity; good repute.

Yati: “Wanderer;” a wandering ascetic.

Yatra: Pilgrimage.

Yatri: Pilgrim.

Yoga: Literally, “joining” or “union” from the Sanskrit root yuj. Union with the Supreme Being, or any practice that makes for such union. Meditation that unites the individual spirit with God, the Supreme Spirit. The name of the philosophy expounded by the sage Patanjali, teaching the process of union of the individual with the Universal Soul.

Yoga Darshan(a): Hinduism embraces six systems of philosophy, one of which is Yoga. The basic text of the Yoga philosophy–Yoga Darshana–is the Yoga Sutras (also called Yoga Darshana), the oldest known writing on the subject of yoga, written by the sage Patanjali, a yogi of ancient India. Further, the Yoga Philosophy is based on the philosophical system known as Sankhya, whose originator was the sage Kapila.

Yoga Marga: The path of meditation and inner purification leading to union with God.

Yoga Maya: The power of Maya–divine illusion. Maya in operation rising from the presence (union–yoga) of Ishwara within it, and therefore possessing delusive power.

Yoga Nidra: A state of half-contemplation and half-sleep; light yogic sleep when the individual retains slight awareness; a state between sleep and wakefulness. In its higher sense Yoga Nidra is the state in which the yogi experiences pure consciousness within the state of dreamless sleep, when he is neither awake nor asleep in the usual sense. And in the highest sense Yoga Nidra is the state in which the three “normal” states of waking, sleep, and deep sleep have become transmuted into the turiya state of pure consciousness and the yogi remains “asleep” in relation to those three lesser states.

Yoga Siddhi: Spiritual perfection or psychic power resulting from the practice of Yoga.

Yoga Sutras: The oldest known writing on the subject of yoga, written by the sage Patanjali, a yogi of ancient India, and considered the most authoritative text on yoga. Also known as Yoga Darshana, it is the basis of the Yoga Philosophy which is based on the philosophical system known as Sankhya.

Yoga Vashishtha: A classical treatise on Yoga, containing the instructions of the Rishi Vashishtha to Lord Rama on meditation and spiritual life.

Yogabhrashta: One who has fallen away from the practice of Yoga.

Yogabhyasa: Practice of Yoga.

Paramhansa Yogananda

Yogananda (Paramhansa): The most influential yogi of the twentieth century in the West, author of Autobiography of a Yogi and founder of Self-Realization Fellowship in America.

Yogeshwara: Lord of Yoga; a Master Yogi; a title of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.

Yogi: One who practises Yoga; one who strives earnestly for union with God; an aspirant going through any course of spiritual discipline.

Yogic: Having to do with Yoga.

Yogin: Yogi.

Yogini: A female practicer of yoga.

Yogiraj: “King of Yogis,” a title often given to an advanced yogi, especially a teacher of yogi.

Yogyata: Fitness.

Yojana: A measure of distance equivalent to nine or ten miles.

Yuga: Age or cycle; aeon; world era. Hindus believe that there are four yugas: the Golden Age (Satya or Krita Yuga), the Silver age (Treta Yuga), The Bronze Age (Dwapara Yuga), and the Iron Age (Kali Yuga). Satya Yuga is four times as long as the Kali Yuga; Treta Yuga is three times as long; and Dwapara Yuga is twice as long. In the Satya Yuga the majority of humans use the total potential–four-fourths–of their minds; in the Treta Yuga, three-fourths; in the Dwapara Yuga, one half; and in the Kali Yuga, one fourth. (In each Yuga there are those who are using either more or less of their minds than the general populace.) The Yugas move in a perpetual circle: Ascending Kali Yuga, ascending Dwapara Yuga, ascending Treta Yuga, ascending Satya Yuga, descending Satya Yuga, descending, Treta Yuga, descending Dwapara Yuga, and descending Kali Yuga–over and over. Furthermore, there are yuga cycles within yuga cycles. For example, there are yuga cycles that affect the entire cosmos, and smaller yuga cycles within those greater cycles that affect a solar system. The cosmic yuga cycle takes 8,640,000,000 years, whereas the solar yuga cycle only takes 24,000 years. At the present time our solar system is in the ascending Dwapara Yuga, but the cosmos is in the descending Kali Yuga. Consequently, the more the general mind of humanity develops, the more folly and evil it becomes able to accomplish.

Yukti (1): Union or Yoga.

Yukti (2): Reasoning (about something; skill; cleverness; device.

Originally posted 2016-04-18 15:13:05.

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