Glossary of Sanskrit Terms for the Ayurvedic Practitioner
November 2004 by Marisa Laursen and Robert Talbert
This reference guide evolved naturally out of our studies of Ayurveda and deepening interest in the original language of this sacred science. It was compiled with the loving intent of helping to make the ancient language of Sanskrit more accessible to students and practitioners of Ayurveda. This reference contains the terms used in the primary textbooks utilized by the California College of Ayurveda plus terms drawn from a variety of other sources. The language of Sanskrit is vast, and this guide represents only a starting point for one’s studies. It is the intention of the authors to provide updated versions as a continuing reference.
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A abadha abhyanga abhyaïga That which produces constant discomfort. Ayurvedic massage; specifically, the application of herbal oils to the body and its subsequent absorption into the body. abhyantara krimi abhyantara snehana abhysyandis Advaita Vedänta Advaita Vedänta äbhyaïtara snehana Herbs which block the channel of rasavaha srota, causing congestion. One of the three systems of thought in Vedanda philosophy popularized by Shankara. It teaches that the manifest creation, the soul, and God are identical. This non-dualist form argues that we are the whole and that parts are simply illusion. agni Fire; the force residing within the body that creates digestion; responsible for the transformation of one substance into another; metabolism. Agni is contained within pitta. agnidosa agnisadana aham brahmasmi ahamkara ahara rasa ajna ajna chakra ahamkära ähära rasa äjïä äjïä chakra faulty agni Herbs which reduce appetite. I am Brahma (in Vedanta philosophy) Sense of self or separateness; loosely translated as ego The elemental form, or essence, of food (the quality of the food as opposed to the food itself). Command The sixth chakra, located in the region commonly called the "third eye" between the eyebrows. The "command station" of the body and mind. Contains the qualities of subtle ether. akasha akruti aksepaka alochaka pitta ama älochaka pitta äma äkäsha äkruti Ether; the idea of connectedness or space; the space that exists between all things. The volume and tension of the pulse Convulsions. Subdosha of pitta. Digests light/visual impressions. On higher level, related to perception. Resides in eyes (pupils). Toxic residue that is left behind as a by-product of poor digestion. Internal parasites. Internal oleation.
ama vata amadosha amasaya amavataghana amavatham ambu ambuvaha srota
äma väta ämähaya
Rheumatoid arthritis (vata carrying ama into the joints). The vitiation of poorly digested food. Stomach Anti-rheumatic herbs. Anti-rheumatic herbs. Water The channel that carries water; also called the udakavaha srota; the water metabolism system of the body, consisting of all the metabolic functions that regulate retention and elimination (those functions residing outside of the urinary system including the production of ADH by the pituitary gland, insulin by the pancreas, and the desire for water contained within the palate); it originates in the kloman (pancreas) and the palate.
amla amrit anada anagni sveda änada
Sour Sacred nectar; the highest form of ojas; the source of immortality and eternal bliss. Also called soma. bliss, absolute joy Non-direct fire fomentation; therapeutic actions that do not require a formal source of heat, including exercise, wearing heavy clothing, wrapping a patient in blankets, exposure to the sun, and fasting.
anahagna anahata chakra ananda anandagni anähata chakra änanda änandagni
Laxative The fourth chakra, located at the center of the chest. Contains the qualities of the air element. Bliss The agni that metabolizes ether, which in this context is pure joy. Faulty metabolism causes diseases that are spiritual in nature such as...
References: Feuerstein, Georg, Shambala Encyclopedia of Yoga, Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, 1997. Fischer-Schreiber, Ingrid, The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion, Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, 1986, translation 1989. Halpern, Marc, Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine, 5th edition, Student’s Textbook, Part One, California College of Ayurveda, Grass Valley, California, January 2003. Halpern, Marc, Clinical Ayurvedic Medicine, 4th edition, Student’s Textbook, Part Two, California College of Ayurveda, Grass Valley, California, August 2003. Lad, Vasant, Secrets of the Pulse, The Ayurvedic Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1996. Lad, Vasant, Textbook of Ayurveda, The Ayurvedic Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2001. Macdonell, Arthur Anthony, A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary with Transliteration Accentuation and Etymological Analysis Throughout, Manohar Publishers & Distributors, New Delhi, 2001. Tirtha, Swami Sada Shiva, The Ayurveda Encyclopedia, Ayurveda Holistic Center Press, Bayville, New York, 1998.
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