Sanskrit Terms in the Gita
Sanskrit Terms in the Bhagavad Gita
Atman lies at the core of every human personality. The purpose of life is to experience this inner reality. Hindus believe that each human being feels this reality. It is same from person to person. In the climax of meditation, when consciousness is focused and withdrawn from the body and mind, the sense of a separate ego disappears. During these moments one may discover a core of consciousness that is atman.
Brahman is the utterly transcendent God. It is changeless, infinite, indivisible reality. In humans it resides as Atman. The Self within each human being is not different from Brahman. It is a changeless reality beneath the world of “name and form.”
Dharma is that law or duty that maintains the cosmic unity and keeps the harmony of creation. It is the virtue or essence of the thing that makes it what it is. If each one follows its dharma the universe will have integrity and move harmoniously. Chao is would be avoided. Because all things are interconnected any lapse in dharma, any disturbance in one place have ripple effect everywhere.
Gunas are three strands of energy in prakriti. When the equilibrium of prakriti is disturbed it divides in gunas. They are the very fabric of existence and born of mind. Every state in the world of mind and matter is an expression of the gunas where one guna always predominates. The interplay of three gunas (sattva, rajas & tamas: see below) is the dynamics of individual personality. Atman is not involved in the interactions of the gunas. It witnesses but does not participate.
Karma is the web of cause and effect. Our each and every act and thought has consequences. Life is an intricate web of these interconnections. Karma refers to physical as well as mental activity. Whatever you do will come back to you. We can change what happens to us by changing our thinking and behavior.
Moksha is the spiritual liberation, freedom or salvation from the cycles of birth and rebirth. It is life’s supreme goal.
Prakriti is a field of forces of gunas. It is matter, energy and mind. It is what we experience in “name and from.” Every state of matter and mind is a combination of three energy strands or gunas: tamas, rajas and sattva. Each guna can be converted into the other gunas.
Purusha is similar to Atman. It is the pure spirit-consciousness itself, and belongs to a wholly different reality than the material world.
Rajas is uncontrolled energy in an individual. A rajasi person is egocentric who desires, angers, schemes, competes and is extremely energetic.
Sattva is harnessed energy. This state is of natural harmony that comes with unity of purpose, character and desire. Sattvic person is detached, unruffled, self-controlled.
Samsara is the cycle of birth, death, rebirth and re-death.
Samadhi is the highest stage of mediation in which unity of life is apprehended directly.
Tamas is frozen energy that is rigid; it is the lowest level of energy. It locks in the repository of past experiences including the human being’s animal past. When its energy is released it becomes uncontrollable. A tamasi individual is indifferent, insensitive, and sluggish. He is completely ignorant of the unity of life and only cares for his own selfish urges.