Notes to the Glossary of Sanskrit Terms in Sri Aurobindo's Works

Scope of the Glossary

This is an index to terms which appear in Sri Aurobindo's works; it is not a general glossary of Sanskrit terms. Most sanskrit and modern words and phrases contained in the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library are included in this glossary. Omissions are noted below:
  1. Long passages which are translated or paraphrased where they occur and also words from these passages which are examined separately.
  2. Words occurring in poetical works and translations
  3. Philological examples, such as those given in "The Origins of Aryan Speech" and elsewhere.
  4. Many proper names, e.g., most names of historical personages, names of less important mythological figures, most titles of texts, etc.
  5. Words and phrases printed in devanagari or Bengali script.
  6. Adjectives and nouns which are formed from Sanskrit nouns but which are not themselves Sanskrit words, e.g., Pranic, Asurism.

Arrangement, Transliteration and Pronunciation

The words and phrases are listed alphabetically (English alphabet) according to the standard internationally accepted system of transliteration. The diacritical marks of the standard transliteration scheme are omitted.

In the works of Sri Aurobindo, words are transliterated not only according to the standard system, but according to a freer system, in which diacritical marks are omitted and a more natural English equivalent to the Sanskrit letter is employed. Sri Aurobindo preferred to use this freer system for most words of common occurrence.

In the glossary if a word spelled according to the freer system differs from the standard form in the letters used (disregarding diacritical marks), it is given after the standard form within parentheses. If there is no such difference, the standard form alone is listed.

In the texts the plural has often been formed by adding the English "s". For example, Vasus as the plural of Vasu. The proper Sanskrit plural here would be Vasavah.

There are no capital letters in the devanagari script, however in the glossary transliterated proper names have been capitalised.


As far as possible, definitions have been made using Sri Aurobindo's own words. Where it was necessary for the compilers to provide all or part of a definition they have placed their work within square brackets.

The definitions given are meant to bring out the significance of words only as they are used by Sri Aurobindo and are not intended as full and complete meanings of the words.

Note that Sanskrit words used in the definitions are shown in italics and are themselves defined in their own places.

Inflected Forms

Most Sanskrit nouns and adjectives are listed under their "crude" or uninflected forms. If inflected forms also occur they are placed under the uninflected form, e.g., hota under hotr, anandam under ananda. Very brief (and therefore technically incomplete) grammatical descriptions of the inflected forms are given; these descriptions indicate only how the form, as used by Sri Aurobindo, differs from the crude form.


The sources of most phrases cited by Sri Aurobindo (excluding those of common occurrence in Sanskrit texts) are given after the definitions within square brackets. If the phrase as cited differs in some respect from the Sanskrit text, "cf." is prefixed before the citation. If a word has been omitted from the citation, the omission is indicated by ellipsis points ( ... ) in the devanagari spelling.


Beng.	Bengali
Hind.	Hindi/Hindustani (in this glossary applied to words common to
	several modern Indian Languages)

Ved.	Veda/Vedic (Sanskrit words which are exclusively Vedic or of
	which the meanings given apply only to the words as used in
	the Veda)

RV.	Rg-veda
Ait.	Aitreya Upanisad
Brhad.	Brhadaranyaka Upanisad
Chand.	Chandogya Upanisad
Mand.	Mandukya Upanisad
Mund.	Mundaka Upanisad
Svet.	Svetasvatara Upanisad
Tait.	Taitriya Upanisad

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Last modified on Jul 04, 1996