ceremonial bathing of a statue or sacred image
founder of a math and/or line or succession of gurus
non-duality, i.e. the absolute is not two; the fundamental teaching of Vedanta; a philosophical school
agamas source of the teaching, holy scriptures, traditional textsannas 16 annas are 1 rupee; today the coin is no longer in circulation
(lit. ‘the sight of Shiva’). On this day the victory of Shiva Nataraja over the demon Andhaka (the dark, the blind) is celebrated. When Shiva defeated the demon, he danced his cosmic dance which is an expression of highest joy and keeps the whole universe alive.
a Sanskrit work on Advaita-Vedanta from the time of the younger Upanishads. It is a dialogue between Ashtavakra and his disciple Janaka in which they discuss the highest flights of advaita.
one of the works of Shankara
the Self, the inner principle of the human being; originally: life-breath
hard, dark red nut, whose juice aids digestion
the song of God; spiritual teaching poetry with 700 verses; the teaching of Sri Krishna
God; also used when referring to a Saint, who is seen to be One with God (or Self); it expresses the special veneration of the disciple towards his master. Sri Ramana neither suggested that people should address him like this, nor contradicted them when they did.
love, devotion; with particular reference to spiritual love and devotion to God, Self and/or Guru
alms received through begging
the one impersonal universal spirit (Brahman) manifested as a personal Creator; the Creator, seen as part of the Trinity, together with Vishnu, the preserver, and Shiva, the destroyer. Worship of Brahma, as the Creator, is not as popular as the worship of Shiva and Vishnu.
(celibate) student; the first of four stages of life according to the vedic view
the route >brh< means, lit. growth, expansion, evolution, strength, intensity; the absolute; the source of all being, the essence in all things, the absolute unmanifest. Brahman and atman are one according to the teaching of the Upanishads, Vedanta and also according to Ramana Maharshi. The absolute is sat-chit-ananda (being–awareness–bliss).
member of the upper caste, originally of the priest caste
the sanctum sanctorum in a temple
pyramid-shaped energy diagram, which symbolises the godly order of the cosmos. It often is worshipped as a sacred design. Sri Chakra is the universe expressed and resolved in a circular diagram (yantra) which can be used for deep contemplation. Mount Meru is, symbolically, the axis at the centre of the body (microcosm) and at the centre of the universe (macrocosm).
the south-facing god; Shiva as the young god, who teaches through silence
a hymn by Shankara in honour of Dakshinamurti
vision; the formal visit of a pupil to his guru; sight, especially the graceful glance, which the master gives his pupil
dish made of different kinds of lentils
essential characteristics; true nature
long strip of cloth, which is worn by men like a skirt
pancakes made with flour of rice or lentils; popular in the Southern Indian breakfast
Vedanta text from the 19th century
god with an elephant head, son of Shiva and Parvati
circuit of the hill
temple tower, especially in Southern Indian temple compounds
priest in a Shiva-temple
round, steamed cakes made with the flour of rice and chickpeas
god as the Highest Lord and Creator of the universe; usual form of address for Shiva; also the personal god
whisper, muttered prayer; the incessant, focussed repetition of a name of god or a mantra, with the aim of silencing and steadying the mind
path to realization through knowledge; the immediate realization of the advaita teaching
one who has reached the goal of jnana-yoga, which is realization through knowledge
famous Tamil scripture, circa 15th century
water vessel used by ascetics
action; result of action; the results of the good or bad actions carried on in this or another life; law of balanced justice; cause and effect
Tamil month in November/December
light festival on Arunachala, in which Shiva manifests himself as a lingam of fire
a kind of loincloth; a strip of cloth which just covers the abdomen
sanctification; opening of a temple
mark, sign, symbol for Shiva: a stone in form of a cylinder which is rounded on top
great (or final) liberation; here: death of a great human being
maha = big; the big puja; feast on occasion of the day of death of Sri Ramana’s mother
maha = great, rishi = seer, singer, sage; great rishi, especially those saints of early time, who had the vision of the vedic revelation. This title was given to Sri Ramana by Ganapati Muni.
hall, especially a columned hall in or near a temple
a short formula from the holy scriptures, a word or only a syllable. The mantra is repeated (see japa). The ultimate mantra is the syllable ‘om’.
institution of spiritual education in remembrance of a saint. In the bigger maths, sadhus live in groups, similar to a monastery.
silence; the condition of the Sage (muni)
one who has taken a vow of silence
illusion; the power of Brahman which appears as the manifest condition of the world
The king’s daughter Meenakshi (the fish-eyed) is an incarnation of Shiva’s consort Parvati.
liberation, redemption from the circle of birth, death and reincarnation
identical with moksha
natya = dance; king of the dancers; Shiva’s cosmic dance symbolises creation, preservation and destruction, but likewise rebirth, life and liberation
the highest atman (the highest Self), which is identical with Brahman
singing of the Vedas or other religious texts
sweet thick paste of grain, milk, sugar and sometimes with fruits
collection of legends about saints from the 12th century AD; it is the second volume of the Tamil-Veda (Tirumurai), a canonical collection of Tamil religious literature. The 63 Nayanars (saints) shaped the bhakti-period, which started around 600 AD in India and which heralded a new spiritual awakening of devotion to God Shiva, finding expression in simple poetical language. The famous trinity amongst them are the saints Appar, Sundarar and Sambandar, who visited many of the Southern India temples and shrines and composed many songs which epitomise the highest flights of devotion in their praise.
pra = forwards, dakshina = southern, in southern direction; clockwise circuit of an object of devotion. The origin of pradakshina is rooted in the observation of astronomical events and represents a simple imitation of the course of the sun. Therefore the circuit always starts in the east and is carried out clockwise, with the venerated object always on the right-hand side. The sun is the symbol of life. Contra-rotation is the symbol of death. Therefore in the cult of the dead the funeral pyre of the deceased is rounded by the eldest son in an anti-clockwise direction.
that part of karma which must be worked out in this life
grace; gift or consecrated food, which has been offered to a saint, guru or God and then given back to the believer or distributed among the devotees; a gift from a saint
ceremonial worship with flowers, water etc.
a class of holy texts from the 6th to 16th century AD, which contains extensive collections of legends about the trinity of gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
unleavened bread made from wheat
system of yoga, as taught by Patanjali
very spicy soup
advaitic Sanskrit-text of round 2000 verses
seer, enlightened, interpreter of the vedic hymns; see also Maharshi
fully enlightened guru; the true Guru
methodical spiritual practice
one who is dedicated to God; a wandering monk or ascetic; a spiritual seeker, who renounces profession and family; often used as a synonym of sannyasin
the natural state of effortless, permanent Self Realization, in which the ego-mind has dissolved completely. For the realized, sahaja is the natural state.
absorption in the Self, highest state of meditation; also used when referring to bodily death and/or a place of burial
very spicy sauce taken with rice in South Indian meals
circle of birth and death
renunciation, fourth stage of life for a Brahmin
wandering monk, someone who has taken a vow of sannyasa and dedicates his life to striving to attain enlightenment and therefore gives up family and profession; as an outer sign s/he often wears the ochre robe. Shankara, the reviver/codifier of Advaita-Vedanta in the 8th century AD founded the four main sannyas-orders/maths, in the south, north, east and west.
leader of an institution; here: Ashram-manager
scholar of holy scriptures and traditions
pure Being; Truth; Reality
a description of Brahman and atman as ‘Being (sat), Consciousness (chit) and Bliss (ananda)’
association with Being; association with the wise or inner contact with the Self
power of Shiva, the godly power, through which creation comes into being; the consort of Shiva, the Mother Goddess, who is worshipped throughout India under various names
788-820; main representative of Advaita-Vedanta and reviver of Hinduism
holy scriptures of Hinduism; the Vedas and other scriptures, statute books and commentaries
Shiva is the double-faced God, who embodies the aspect of dissolving and destruction and likewise as the beneficent lets all come into being. He symbolises absolute Being and is the destroyer of ignorance and ego.
hearing, listening; the holy scriptures of the Hindus
supernatural power; accomplishment, attainment
lit. jumper or hopper; name of the god of war and the son of Shiva and Parvati
saint, blessed; today also used as a general address of respect like ‘Sir’
younger son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha’s brother
owner, lord, master; a form of address for the spiritual teacher; occasionally it is also used as a form of respect (e.g. Mr.); (also an epithet of Skanda)
heat, fire; austerity, ascetic exercise
holy place of bathing; often it is a square pond with steps leading down to the water
consists of the first 7 books of the 12 volume Tamil-Veda (Tirumurai) and contains the collection of hymns of the three great Tamil poets and saints Sambandar, Appar and Sundarar from the 7th and 8th century AD
saint of the 18th century, whose religious poems have become very popular
8th book of the Tamil-Veda
secret teaching, these texts are the basis of Vedanta. The oldest Upanishads perhaps codified circa 800-700 BCE.
thick wheat-paste with fried vegetables and spices
habits of the mind, mindstuff; latent tendencies in the mind which originate out of former thoughts, desires and actions
the earliest scriptures of Hinduism
the end and likewise fulfilment of the Vedas; the teaching of the Upanishads
sacred ash; manifestation of Shiva’s eightfold power
preserver, protector and sustainer of the universe; one of the Trinity
a well known scripture, credited to Shankara, which examines the path of discrimination and enquiry
one of the major works on advaita (6th-11th century)