GLOSSARY

Adharmic - That which goes against dharma or the universal physical, psychological and moral laws as governed by Ishvara (God).

Brahman - Pure awareness. The original source of consciousness.

Causal body - One of the Three Bodies (Gross, Subtle, Causal) that make up the jiva (person, or being). The Causal Body is the seed state from which all objects manifest, including thoughts.

Dharma - The universal physical, psychological and moral laws as governed by Ishvara.

Gross Body - The physical body.

Gunas - The three powers (sattva, rajas, tamas) as used by Ishvara to create, sustain and dissolve the world. Within the Subtle Body, the gunas act as the three mental conditions that must be managed by the jiva in order to lead a peaceful life.

Ishvara - The creator, sustainer and dissolver of the field of experience. Ishvara is pure awareness plus maya. Ishvara is sometimes referred to as God.

Jagat - The world, Ishvara’s creation.


Jnani - A Self-realized human being. One who has Self-knowledge.

Jiva - Person or being, including animals and plants.

Karma - Action, results of action. With every action there is a result administered by Ishvara. Vedanta talks about karma being like an account that a person accrues. The jiva accrues both good and bad karma, therefore setting the conditions for their life.

Manana - The second stage of Self-inquiry that involves resolving any doubts or confusion regarding the teaching.

Maya - A mysterious power that creates the world of objects out of awareness. Maya has the ability to both veil and project, therefore hiding the truth from the jiva.

Mithya - Apparently real. All objects are mithya due to their changing nature and dependency on other factors. Vedanta defines "real" as that which is always present and never changes.

Moksha - Liberation from samsara, or inner freedom from object-oriented happiness.

Nididhyasana - The final stage of Self-inquiry that involves the contemplation and assimilation of the teachings.

Non-duality - The logical conclusion that everything comes out of, is sustained by, and resolves back into awareness.

Prarabdha karma - The karma that continues even after Self-actualization or “enlightenment.”

Prasad - Gift from God.

Rajas - One of the three gunas or powers. Rajas provides the energy to create, sustain and dissolve Ishvara’s creation. On a more subtle level, rajas is
one of the three mental conditions that needs to be managed by jivas. Rajas can effect the jiva in both positive and negative ways. On one hand, rajas helps to motivate and move the jiva. On the other hand, too much rajas can create anxiety and strong desire. Rajas has the power to project and therefore, hide the truth from the jiva.

Samsara - A negative psychological condition brought on by the misinterpretation of reality. Also, defined as the world or duality.

Satya - That which is real, never changes and is always present.

Sattva - One of the three gunas or powers. Sattva provides the intelligence to create, sustain and dissolve Ishvara’s creation. On a more subtle level, 

sattva is one of the three mental conditions that needs to be managed by jivas. Sattva is clarity of mind, and the ability to see things as they are. Sattva is generally, perceived as a healthy state of mind and one that should be cultivated for Self-inquiry.

Self - Awareness. The unchanging, always present “light” that vivifies the jiva and makes life possible. The Self is sometimes described as limitless conscious existence (sat-chit-ananda). It has no attributes and cannot be objectified, and yet, it is the single source and essence of our very being.

Shravana - The first stage of Self-inquiry requiring an openness to sustain disbelief and hear the teachings.

Subtle body - The mind, intellect and ego.

Svadharma - One’s personal dharma. Vedanta suggests that we honor our own innate abilities and avoid action that conflicts with our nature.

Tamas - One of the three gunas or powers. Tamas provides the matter to create, sustain and dissolve Ishvara’s creation. On a more subtle level, tamas is one of the three mental conditions that needs to be managed by jivas. Tamas can effect the jiva in both positive and negative ways. On one hand, tamas helps to keep us grounded and is required in order to fall asleep at night. On the other hand, too much tamas can make us lazy, doubtful and fearful. Tamas has the power to veil and therefore, hide the truth from the jiva.

Upadhi - A limiting adjunct or conditioning agent. An upadhi is something that makes an object appear different when placed in close proximity, like
the color of a crystal when placed next to a rose. Vedanta uses the term to describe how jivas mistake their identity as a person. In the case of the jiva, the body is the upadhi. In the case of Ishvara, maya is the upadhi. However, the true identity of both jiva and Ishvara is awareness.

Vasana - Conditioned tendency. Once a like or dislike is established and reinforced through thoughts and action, it becomes a conditioned tendency or vasana. Vasanas can develop to have a life of their own, influencing our actions at an unconscious level.