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Glossary of Terms

See also: Sanskrit Dictionary and Language Links

Aum - (om)is a sacred syllable in the Sanskrit language, similar in meaning to the English amen. It might well be translated, So it shall be. It was supposed to be uttered at the beginning of every Vedic recitation and again at its close. This gave assurance that the understanding of what was spoken should not be lost. In Sanskrit Aum/Om has its own symbol instead of being separate letters that come together to spell it as a word. It looks somewhat like the number three. It is also often drawn resembling the symbol for a heart. Later the syllable referred to the Hindu Trinity of Vishnu, Brahma, and Siva. It symbolized the abstract unity of the universe:
Absolute (a) and Relative (u) are related (m). The three letters a-u-m are pronounced om. There have been references and parallels to Om and the Holy Trinity as well as Bible passages ... "The word made flesh." The word Om is mighty and practically omnipresent throughout spiritual prayers in various forms of many cultures. It is believed the Om is an ancestor to the word Amen. In some Native American Indian circles, at the end of a gathering, the men exclaim, Ho, while the women M-m-m.
Om is included in many chants and is supposed to emphasize balance or enhance the meaning and power of the chant. A great chant practiced with prayer wheels in Tibet is Om Mani Padme Hum. This particular chant is used in many ways. Kwan Yin, an Asian goddess of compassion, is associated with this chant about putting the "consciousness as the jewel of the heart."
According to Autobiography of a Yogi, classic by Paramahansa Yogananda, "The infinite potencies of sound derive from the Creative Word, Aum, the cosmic vibratory power behind all atomic energies. Any word spoken with clear realization and deep concentration has a materializing value. Loud or silent repetition of inspiring words has been found effective in Coueism and similar systems of psychotherapy; the secret lies in the stepping-up of the mind's vibratory rate."

Infinity - Unbounded.

Namaste - is a divine salutation. The classical sun salutations of Hatha Yoga are called Suya Namaskara. An good interpretation is: "The light (spirit, soul, higher self) within me recognizes, bows, and honors the light within you; and together we are one with this light (connected by a soul recognition with/to God and/or power of the universe and beyond)."

Om - The most famous mantra (prayer, repeated sacred word, etc.). Aum is considered a truer spelling.

Sanskrit - the language spoken in India about 3,000 years ago. It is difficult at best to translate Sanskrit because it is a conceptual language that rarely translates word for word to our modern English. The Sanskrit language is divided into two periods. Old Sanskrit is the language in which the holy Vedas, sacred Hindu books, were written. Old Sanskrit is also called Vedic Sanskrit, or simply Vedic. The second period is that of classical Sanskrit. Its literature deals chiefly with subjects other than religion.
It is not definitely known when Sanskrit was introduced into India, but 1500 B.C. is the date generally accepted. For a period Sanskrit was the common speech of the people, as well as the literary language. But by the 500's B.C., local dialects had sprung up. Buddha preached his doctrine in one of these. Panini (300's B.C.) was the first and greatest Indian grammarian. He fixed the characteristics of Sanskrit ("purified, cultivated") in contrast with the common spoken language Prakrit ("natural, unpurified").
The Sanskrit Language became widely known to Europeans in the late 1700's. This knowledge enabled Franz Bopp (1791-1867), a German linguist, to lay the foundations for the comparative study of languages. Many words in the Greek, Latin, English, German, Persian, and other languages are also found in Sanskrit. The Sanskrit word mata became mater in Latin mutter in German, and mother in English. The English words brother, sister, daughter, and son are directly related to the Sanskrit bhrätä, svasr, duhita, and sunu. Scholars's study the Rig-Veda to compare it with the myths and religions of other lands.
Sanskrit Literature began with the Vedas. They constitute the oldest work in any Indo-European language. The works of the Vedic period are religious and were long transmitted orally. They consist of the Rig-Veda (about 1000 B.C.), the Sama-Veda, the Tajur-Veda, and the Atharva-Veda. The Brahmanas (about 800-600 B.C.) discuss the Vedas. Religious philosophy is taught in the Upanishads (about 600-300 B.C.).
In its second, or classical, period the literature was mostly secular, or nonsacred. The outstanding epics are the Mahabharata (200 B.C.?) and the Ramayana. Dramas were produced in India as early as in the Western world, first appearing in the 400's B.C. The author Kalidasa appears to be India's Shakespeare. There are also lyric and instructive poems, Manu (laws), and philosophical works of various schools, such as the Vedanta, Sankhya, and Yoga. India's chief contributions to Western literature are in the fields of fiction and fable. Indian fairy-tale motifs appear in the Arabian Nights and in medieval legends and stories. The Panchatantra is the chief Sanskrit collection of fables.
For more information view the Sanskrit Dictionary.

Shanti - means peace. Namaste, Aum Shanti!

Symbolic Logic Use of symbols instead of words to stand for logical units. Logicians, or scholars who study logic, have used symbolic logic in order to make deductive logic a purely mechanical procedure like mathematics. Symbolic logic has extended the knowledge of logic a great deal.
For more information on logic, you may visit: Philosophy

Taoism - one of the three great religions of China. The name Taoist comes from the Chinese word Tao, which means the way or the channel. The Tao Te Ching (The Way and it's Power) is the sacred book of Taoism, written by Lao-Tse (604?-531 B.C.) which seeks to teach man how to live in harmony with the great impersonal power that controls the universe.
Legend holds that Lao-tse was a librarian at the court of Chou. When the kingdom began to decay, Lao-tse left and was never heard of again.) Taoism teaches that Tao rules heaven, heaven rules earth, and earth rules man.
According to Taoism, man has lost "the way" and created disharmony by substituting his own designs. The religion teaches that man can find harmony by returning to simplicity and humility, imitating the universe, which endures because it does not live for itself. He must stop struggling for wealth and prestige, and instead give himself up to the Tao, in service to others. He must be good to all things, avoid distinctions and honors, and be humble and quiet. like the forces of nature. Then he will find peace of mind and will enjoy a long and fruitful life.
According to tradition, the Chinese philosopher Lao-tse founded Taoism and wrote the Tao Te Ching in the 500's B.C. But some scholars believe that Taoism developed in the 300's B.C. as a product of many thinkers, including Chuang Tzu (369-286 B.C.).
Taoism was profoundly philosophical in its earliest stages. Later, it turned to magic and superstition. Its philosophy of returning to nature for peace and harmony has had a great influence in the Far East.

Language and Fonts

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