Glossary of Spiritual Terms

Reference: The Bhagavad Gita

The purpose of this Glossary is to express ancient Vedic knowledge using modern scientific language. The “translation” may not be exactly right at first, but, hopefully, it shall improve as better input is received.


The Vedas start with homage to Agni. Agni implies energy in all its forms. It is animated by an innate impulse. Energy is the basic substance of the universe. Everything physical, spiritual, real, imaginary, postulated or considered, is made of energy.

Assimilation mean absorbing incoming perception in the data matrix of the mind. This requires arranging new data in existing patterns, modifying the patterns and extending them where necessary, supplying the correct time stamp, and removing duplicate data elements. Assimilation resolves related discontinuities, disharmonies and inconsistencies.

Ideally, new perceptions are continually assimilated. Assimilation does not take place when incoming perceptions are very distorted because of pain and confusion. The unassimilated perceptions get bunched up like a tumor in the mental matrix . They have only a few connections with rest of the matrix. See MIND, TRAUMA.

Atman is the innate impulse that animates a being. Atman carries samskaras (karmic impressions). When atman becomes embodied after birth, it is called jivatman. In jivatman the karmic impressions become activated and they influence the viewpoint, identity and behavior of the individual being. After death, the disembodied atman simply carries karmic impressions in a potential state. It has no individual identity or beingness (see The Bhagavad Gita, verse II:28). Life after life, karmic impressions come about and are also discharged. As net karmic impression become less, atman rises toward the state of paramatman (supreme atman). When net karmic impressions reduce to zero, the atman converges into the state of paramatman. Also see BRAHMA.

To “become one” is to know something so intimately that there is no distance left. For example, when you are expert in riding a bicycle, you have become one with that bicycle. You push pedals and apply brakes without putting attention on them. But you are fully aware of those actions, and you can change them whenever you want. To “become one with God” is to know the universal laws so well that you operate according to them without having attention on them. When one says, “the seer and scenery has become one,” it implies knowingness. See KNOWINGNESS.

A being is an energy form animated by an innate impulse.

Bhagavān literally means “fortunate”, “blessed”, and hence “illustrious”, “divine”, “venerable”, “holy”, etc. Please see Etymology and meaning.
“He who understands the creation and dissolution, the appearance and disappearance of beings, the wisdom and ignorance, should be called Bhagavān.” — Vishnu Purana, VI.5.78


Brahma is the innate impulse manifested as energy in the form of the whole universe.

In modern language one would say that the highest metaphysical reality is the innate impulse, which is the characteristic of all energy. This impulse, on a universal scale, is understood as Brahma (the universal viewpoint). But, on the scale of an entity, it is understood as Atman (the individual viewpoint). There is quite a distance from Atman (or Paramatman) to Brahma in terms of broadness of the viewpoint.

Consciousness is the level of awareness of the mind. The greater is the refinement of the data elements (and the relationships among them) from perception, the higher is the consciousness. Human consciousness is much higher than the consciousness in animals, because the data elements are much more refined with greater number of relationships among them. See MIND.

Gross Body

Jeevatma (embodied atman)

Dharma means, literally, “the Law of Being.”  It refers to the natural purpose of something. For example, the “Dharma” of the sun is to shine and give warmth.

The basic substance of the universe is energy, which is animated by an innate impulse. The innate impulse is evident in the propagation of light. Per the Law of conservation, energy is neither created nor destroyed. It only transitions from one form to another. Everything physical, spiritual, real, imaginary, postulated or considered is made of energy.

God is the experience of the innate impulse that underlies all energy.

The viewpoint, identity and individuality of jivatman (embodied atman)

ISHVARA (ईश्वर)
The composite word, Ishvara literally means “owner of best, beautiful”, “ruler of choices, blessings, boons”, or “chief of suitor, lover”. As a concept, Ishvara in ancient and medieval Sanskrit texts, variously means God, Supreme Being, Supreme Soul, lord, king or ruler, rich or wealthy man, god of love, deity Vishnu… [in Vedas,] the contextual meaning, however as the ancient Indian grammarian Pāṇini explains, is neither god nor supreme being. Please see Etymology.

It is how the universe appears to a person

State of freedom from all samskaras (karmic impressions)



One day of Brahma equal to 1000 Yugas, equal to 4320 million years. See Hindu units of time.


Knowingness is to know something so intimately that it has become part of you. For example, an expert has knowingness in his area of expertise. He knows his area so well that he can skillfully carry out the actions in that area without thinking. We associate absolute knowingness with God, but that is an ideal one holds. In reality, there is no absolute knowingness.

Maya consists of filters generated by karmic impressions that cloud one’s vision.

The mind is the organ of mental sense. In a normal functioning mind, the perceptions are received through the senses of touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. These perceptions break down into fine data elements, which are then arranged in a matrix type structure. Experience is stored as patterns of relationships among these data elements. The duplication of data elements is minimized. New perception is assimilated by arranging them in existing patterns with the correct time stamp and removing duplicate data elements. The existing patterns are modified and extended as necessary. Also see ASSIMILATION.

A presence, which is free of assumptions, bias and fixed ideas


Reality and unreality are the opposite ends of the scale of Is-ness, where is-ness is the sense of reality of the person. His is-ness on this scale improves as his viewpoint broadens.

Sacrifice is surrendering one’s self-interests and devotedly working for the sake of the welfare of the world.

SAMĀDHI (समाधि)
Samādhi means concentration of the thoughts, profound or abstract meditation, intense contemplation of any particular object (so as to identify the contemplator with the object meditated upon); this is the eighth and last stage of yoga; with Buddhists samādhi is the fourth and last stage of dhyāna or intense abstract meditation. The deep sleep like state of samadhi is the period of assimilation in which you completely reset your system. But you don’t live in that state. Samadhi leads you toward the universal viewpoint. Being “established in God” would means being established in the universal viewpoint.

Karmic impressions brought about by one’s actions and their consequences

The bliss of pure thought energy

Self refers to viewpoint. Some use “self” (lower case) for the human viewpoint, and “SELF” (upper case) for the universal viewpoint.

Subject Clearing is the general technique employed to clear up the confusion of relationships among data elements in the matrix of the mind. As this is done on a continual basis, the underlying traumas, ultimately, come into view and blow apart. This handles the source of many problems the person is having. See MIND, ASSIMILATION, TRAUMA.

SURRENDER (in yoga)
Surrendering is “not avoiding, not denying, not resisting, and not suppressing.” It is experiencing fully what is there. You free yourself from an unwanted condition only by becoming fully aware of it. Suppressing is not the same thing as surrendering. If a person is suppressing bad habits to become good, he has not surrendered yet. After you have surrendered, only your basic nature is left. The basic nature operates according to the universal laws

Thought energy is the fundamental energy on which the spectrum of radiative energy and matter rest. The thought energy resides in the mind, which then transitions into physical energy of the body.

The traumas are like “tumors” in the data matrix of the mind. They are made up of painful perceptions that did not get assimilated. They have only a few connection with the data matrix. They get reactivated when perception comes through these few connections. These “traumas” have their own unhealthy patterns that are backed up by the force of mental pain. The continual reactivation of traumatic experiences then gradually infects and conditions the healthy parts of the mental matrix by forcefully imposing unhealthy patterns. These unhealthy patterns contain all the emotional baggage, phobias, fixed ideas, prejudices, biases, etc., that you encounter. The traumas are not easy to access because they are not assimilated into the mental matrix. Repairing infected circuits in the mental matrix may allow, ultimately, to uncover these traumas and blow them; at which point many deep rooted problems also resolve. See ASSIMILATION, MIND.

The universal viewpoint uses the whole universe as the context for its contemplation, and it is free of all impressions and filters. It is much broader than the human viewpoint. The “I” or “Me” used by Krishna refers to this universal viewpoint. It is the clearest expression of BRAHMA as the innate impulse that constitutes the fabric of the universe. PARAMATMAN, from this viewpoint, is manifested as all forms in the universe and not just the human form. Of course, the universal viewpoint is neither created or destroyed. Ultimate authority resides in universal principles, that are personified as Gods in Hinduism. The universal viewpoint is focused on the universal principles, which, also, are neither created or destroyed. Being “established in God or Self” means being established in the universal viewpoint.

Unreality manifests itself in the form of inconsistencies, disharmonies and discontinuities. You resolve these things and the unreality disappears. It does not continue. Only the reality continues.

Vidhata means “inherent principles of existence.” Duality is a natural consequence of these principles. Any imbalance straightens out by itself.

Viewpoint is the frame of reference that a person is using. It is made up of that person’s considerations.

Yajna means selfless action done for the welfare of the world. For example, Jnana yajna is performed to spread jnana for larger benefit of community. The ritual of yajna is a symbol for such action. See SACRIFICE.


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  • vinaire  On June 8, 2020 at 6:55 AM

    In Scientology, the disembodied thetan seems to carry the same individuality that he had when embodied; but I don’t think that is the case with the Hindu concept of atman. Any specific individuality or identity is the result of samskaras (karmic impressions).

  • vinaire  On June 8, 2020 at 7:03 AM

    Note for me: Check out Duality and Dualism on this blog.

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