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A Conceptual Dictionary of Technical Terms in Yoga Philosophy

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Item Code: NAL095
Author: Anita Swami
Publisher: Vidyanidhi Prakashan, Delhi
Language: Sanskrit Text with Transliteration and English Translation
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 9789380651668
Pages: 311
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.5 inch X 7 inch
Weight 780 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

A Conceptual Dictionary of Technical Terms in Yoga Philosophy Comprises 145 technical terms of immense importance that were identified and extracted from 15 original Sanskrit Yoga Texts such as Yogasutra, Vyasabhasya, Tattvavaisaradi, Yogavarttika and their commentaries. To maintain authenticity, the terms have been explained on the basis of concerned original Sanskrit lines available in the above texts. The original Sanskrit lines have been presented in Romanized form and also translated into Hindi and English. The unique contributory aspect of this Dictionary lies in the psychological interpretation of some of the important terms from Western perspective. The Dictionary is especially meant for academicians, practitioners who seek the deeper meaning of Yoga’s symbols and metaphoric language and serious researchers interested in the area of Indian Philosophy in general and Yoga and Western Psychology in particular.

About the Author

Anita Swami was born at Bikaner, Rajasthan. She received her education up to M.A. at her native place. After completing her M.A., she taught as lecturer in the Department of Sanskrit, Jain Girls College, Bikaner from July 2001 to Feb. 2003. She joined M.Phil./Ph.D. programme in 2004 and completed her M.Phil. and Ph.D. in the area of “Cognitive Process in Yoga Philosophy” under the supervision of Dr. Ram Nath Jha, Associate Professor, SCSS, JNU, New Delhi in 2006 and 2011 respectively. During her M.Phil. / Ph.D. Programme she taught three courses in three consecutive semesters at SCSS, JNU. After the completion of her M.Phil., she joined as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sanskrit, Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi, Delhi in 2007. She has presented 15 research papers in National / International Seminars / Conferences. She has more than twelve research papers published in reputed National and International Journals / Volumes to her credit. Her special interest is in inter-disciplinary research particularly in the area of Indian Philosophy and Science.


Understanding reality is a natural process for any rational individual. Reality can be understood either through internal process of an individual or by the experimentation of external nature. Indian seers and truth-seekers applied primarily the former whereas Western thinkers later. Vedic seers accept an individual as the replica of the whole cosmos, hence alive body of an individual is a nature-given laboratory for experimentation and that is possible through natural instruments such as senses, mind, intellect etc. They think that it is easy for a truth-seeker to realize all layers of personality through inner journey and hence they developed a specific method known as Yoga. This method is a contribution of Vedic seers to the humanity. Without developing any external infrastructure, one can realize truth by applying this method. This is not only helpful for realizing truth, but also for maintaining health, peace, social system, business and other day-to-day life-activities. This method is also useful for developing sustainable society, the dream of deep-ecologist and also Vedic seers.

The external and artificial method was primarily preferred by Western scientists. Galilio, Newton and other sixteenth century scientists developed material instruments and started experimenting external reality with a specific mechanistic world-view of Rene Decartes. In the beginning, they set aside the emotional and qualitative aspects of reality and moved forward only with the gross material things. But, later on, in the nineteenth century, scientists felt that qualitative aspects of an individual are also equally important for understanding reality. In this way, Western Psychology came into existence. Though inner layer of an individual was the main content of understanding, nevertheless the mechanistic-reductionist-analytic method remained intact. After a certain period of time, particularly in the last part of twentieth century and in the beginning of twenty first century, quite a considerable number of psychologists and experts of Yoga started thinking on the same line. They became interested in drawing parallels between psychological and yogic way of psychic analysis and understanding an individual. They became also interested in applying both of the methods for preventing and curing disease. If Psychology is the part of medical treatment, Yoga has also been accepted as the part and parcel of all endeavours of health issues. Recently Yoga has been accepted as the scientific and spiritual way of life by UNO. Now globally it is well-known fact that Yoga is the holistic and natural way of leading healthy and happy life.

The above facts validate the complementary relationship between Psychology and Yoga. They can be helpful to each other and through synthesis new method can be developed. However compartmentalized structure of educational institutes sometimes does not provide smooth way for interdisciplinary research. Experts in one discipline are hardly interested in collaborating with the experts of other disciplines. Exceptionally, some of the scholars are accepting such challenges and by hard labour trying to develop something new that can further new area of researches. Dr. Anita Swami and her project team are one-such group of scholars who accepted this academic challenge and completed an interdisciplinary research project on To Prepare a Glossary of Technical Terms in Yoga Philosophy.

In this project, conceptual terms of Yoga have been explained on the basis of traditional texts and most of the terms have also been interpreted on the basis of Western Psychology. This was a quite difficult task for the project team, but they completed it successfully. This Dictionary will go a long way to bridge the gap between Western Psychology and Indian yogic knowledge systems. By going through this Dictionary, psychologists can get yogic inputs and develop many new things for the welfare of humanity. From the core of my heart, I wish Dr. Anita Swami and her project team all success in this interdisciplinary academic endeavour.


Compartmentalized studies were started by Newtonian model of scientific research. This was the output of reductionism in contrast with the Aristotelian deductionism. Consequently the holistic model of teaching and research was discarded and a new way of understanding fragmented worldview was developed that prompted anthropocentric behaviours by dominating over entities other than human being for utilitatrian purposes. By dividing any reality into pieces, analyzing that divided entity in isolation and putting them together as sum total was the method and scientists claimed to provide absolute scientific model for society and future generation to get happiness with material achievement. This model became beneficial for material development but at the same time detrimental for under-mining other aspects of reality i.e. the study of consciousness, feeling, state of pleasure, pain, subtle entities etc.

This Newtonian and Cartisian model of understanding was severly criticized by so many western scholars, but, it was the findings of modern sciences which unfolded the nature of subtle aspect of reality and declared that all entities are related with each other. Hence relationship and dependence are the nature of this dynamic universe. This worldview changed the classical way of thinking and initiated once again the integrated and interdisciplinary method of teaching and research. It is this kind of teaching and research that can contribute something new for the sustainable development of society. This newly established method spread over all parts of this globe and inspired many great institutes of higher learning to apply this. University of Delhi is one such institute which initiated interdisciplinary research for holistic learning and all-round personality development for students and faculty by awarding Innovation Projects. The project, To Prepare a Glossary of Technical Terms in Yoga Philosophy, was awarded under this scheme to the Sanskrit and Psychology Departments of Indraprastha College for Women to promot interdisciplinary research by interpreting technical terms available in original Sanskrit Yoga texts and presenting them with modern psychological interpretations in glossary form so that students and faculty of Psychology discipline can understand yogic terms and vice-versa. In this way, a gap created by compartmentalized study could be bridged between Indian psychological theories viz. yogic wisdom and western psychological theories.

This is also to be understood that initially this project was meant for brief interpretation of technical terms, but after realizing its-gravity and depth, experts suggested to change its title as A Conceptual Dictionary of Technical Terms in Yoga Philosophy. Now the title of this dictionary is A Conceptual Dictionary of Technical Terms in Yoga Philosophy. This one year project created a fruitful interdisciplinary environment of teaching and research among students and faculty at I.P. College in general and Sanskrit and Psychology in particular.

In this Dictionary, we have selected 145 technical terms from Yoga Philosophy and presented them through yogic and psychological Interpretation wherever possible. As per University rule, three faculty members and 10 students from Sanskrit and Psychology Departments have been involved in this project. The names of faculty and students are as follows:

Dr. Anita Swami (Principal Investigator), Department of Sanskrit

Dr. Suman Mehandru (Investigator), Department of Sanskrit

Dr. Nidhi Malik (Investigator), Department of Psychology

B.A. (Hons.) Sanskrit: Shikha, Sweety, Ritika Pal, Vaishali, Aakanksha

B.A. (Hons.) Psychology: Saniya Bedi, Nikita Jain, Pallavi Gulati, Sakshi Anandam, Priyambada Mohanty

Our faculty and students, with their best effort, made this project a success and inspiring one. From the core of my heart, I pay my hearty thanks to all of them, especially, Dr. Nidhi Malik for making psychological interpretation and Dr. Suman Mehandru for constant elderly support.

I, on behalf of project team, pay my heartfelt thanks to our Mentor Dr. Ram Nath Jha for his cooperation right from the conceiving of this project to the state of completion. His wide vision, untiring support, valuable inputs and long lasting inspiration made us mentally prepared for taking up this challenging inter-disciplinary research project. We, project team, can only realize his goodness which is beyond description. We pay our respectful homage to him and wish him a happy and healthy life.

We also thank Professor Giriswar Mishra for visiting our college, giving valuable inputs and inspiring us at each step.

Our Principal Dr. Babli Moitra Saraf always helped us by initiating administrative process as quickly as possible and solving all problems immediately. We, the team members of this project, will be grateful to her forever. We also thank our Administrative Officer Mr. Dinesh Sundriyal for all kinds of official support. This is our essential duty to pay our gratitude towards University authorities, especially, the Vice- Chancellor and Dean of Academics, University of Delhi, for their holistic vision, dynamic support and liberal approach which helped us to initiate, prepare and finalize this project in this form.

The passages or lines drawn from the original Sanskrit texts play an important role in making this Conceptual Dictionary. While translating the Sanskrit text, organized on the basis of collected passages or lines, I availed maximum help from four translations of my worthy predecessors Dr. Vimala Kamatak on Yogadarsanam (Hindi Translation of Vyasabhasya, Tattvavaisaradi, Yogavarttika), Dr. T.S. Rukmani, eminent scholar and translator of Yogavarttika & Yogavivarana (English Translation) and Dr. P.N. Mukerji, eminent scholar and translator of Vyasabhasya & Bhasvati (English Translation). I owe to these giants of Yoga Philosophy for their indirect, unforgettable help to this modest venture.

It has been our sincere endeavour to present this Conceptual Dictionary in an authentic and lucid manner to the best of our ability. If it helps and appeals to the mind of the reader, I will feel our efforts have borne fruit. I, wholeheartedly and with an open mind, invite your kind suggestions for the improvement of this Dictionary.


The term ‘Philosophy' etymologically stands for love for knowledge. Generally it is defined as the search for reality through logical means. The Indian term for Philosophy is known as Darsana derived from the vdrsir iksane i.e. perceiving the truth. The peculiar difference between Philosophy and darsana is that Philosophy is the probing of the truth through logical analysis or searching while darsana stands for the perception of the truth through meditational means in which an extra-ordinary eye is said to open that perceives the truth directly. Carvaka, Nyaya, and Vaisesika adhere to the path of rational analysis while all other systems of Indian Philosophy bank upon rational analysis and preferentially and primarily on meditational revelations. Hence Indian Philosophy on the whole is not Philosophy in the etymological sense as given above. It is an amalgam of rational and religious life systems.

Yoga Philosophy, in particular, is a psycho-spiritual craft used for personal transformation, and to alleviate suffering in the human condition. It is unique in its contribution towards developing the meditational method as a means of realizing the ultimate truth. Yoga stands either for union of an individual to the universal principle or to control mental modifications by fixing mind on a particular object. Though the fixation of mind on a particular object is not the final means for the realization of Purusa or pure consciousness, it surely leads a seeker after truth towards complete restraint of mental modifications i.e. asamprajnata samadhi. The meditational path as developed by Yoga Philosophy is thus useful for sharpening the mind which is necessary for any intellectual activity in any knowledge system.

Patanjali’s Yoga aphorisms are called the Indian practical Psychology, as they not only enunciate the laws and principles of controlling the mind, but also teach how to translate them into action. So it is a perfect Psychology as well as Science. Psychology is the science of the psyche or soul. The function of the Psychology of Yoga is to prepare the mind, so as to catch a glimpse of the resplendent Atman, or to appreciate the real status and undying glory of the Absolute. The Yoga Psychology of Patanjali discloses the secret of bringing under control the divergent modifications (vrttis) of the mind, and thus, transcendental Atman, which is the foundation-head of knowledge, intelligence and bliss. To truly appreciate the rich phenomenology of mind and consciousness and use it to promote cognitive science and psycho-diagnostics, it is thus important to understand classic Indian thought as exemplified in Yoga Philosophy.

Scope and Relevance of the Research Project

Yoga Philosophy in general is instrumental in enhancing mental ability to grasp reality and to analyse it as per the demand of concerned systems and in particular is a complete philosophical system in itself with its own metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. Yoga Philosophy is also known for its psychological nature. Indeed it is accepted as Indian Psychology for dealing with the nature of different internal organs (antahkarana), their activities, their roles for cognizing external as well as internal world of experience, the nature of their ultimate material cause, the nature of pure consciousness (Purusa), and finally the source of the whole cognitive process. The concept of four essential constituents such as knower, the means of knowledge, the object of knowledge and knowledge itself for cognitive process are also dealt with by Yoga system. Various practices of the Patanjali's Yogasutras are also quite relevant to research in Parapsychology. In this way, Yoga is useful for Psychology.

Yoga philosophy is also directly related with the teaching and research in Psychology and Philosophy Departments in College as well as in University, since it is a part of undergraduate syllabi in Indian Psychology and Philosophy. We also know that from health point of view, the role of Yoga cannot be underestimated. The world wide acceptance of Yoga for health purpose establishes its proximity with Ayurveda system. Now Govt. of India has also recognized Yoga as an aid to be used for improving health of common people. WHO includes mental and spiritual health as essential components in a healthy individual besides physical and social health, which can be maintained or improved by applying Yoga.

In view of above-mentioned discussion, the inter-disciplinary and contributing nature of Yoga is already established. But to take maximum advantage from Yoga Philosophy, it is necessary to understand its thought and method in its pure form as recorded in Sanskrit language. Generally it is observed that this important system is understood and taught on the basis of secondary text which reflects inadequacy of understanding and consequently partial application of the wisdom Yoga contains. To meet and achieve this purpose, it is the demand of the hour to prepare A Conceptual Dictionary of Technical Terms in Yoga Philosophy. The proposed Dictionary is in trilingual form and has been designed to aid academicians and practitioners who seek the deeper meaning of Yoga's symbols and metaphoric language. Although there are many dictionaries already available in the area of Philosophy, they do not meet the purpose as proposed by the researcher. They neither collect all technical terms of Yoga nor present them in tri-lingual form.


The above-mentioned A Conceptual Dictionary of Technical Terms in Yoga Philosophy has been prepared with the following objectives:

1. It presents meanings of technical terms of Yoga Philosophy on the basis of original lines as available in the texts.

2. It provides a tool for the readers of Psychology and Philosophy Departments.

3. It will be helpful in improving the quality of teaching in the above- mentioned Departments.

4. It will also be helpful to bridge gap between many streams of thought.

5. It will also help individuals to improve their understanding of Yoga Philosophy.

6. Generally Yoga is known for its eight-fold path. But it is more than that. This Dictionary will help to understand the deeper aspect of Yoga Philosophy.

7. It will explain many technical terms of Yoga directly related to Ayurveda which will play an important role in the health sector.

8. It will also be helpful for the researchers working in the area of Indian Philosophy in general and in the area of Sanskrit, Psychology, Philosophy, Neurology and Ayurveda in particular.


The project was begun with the identification of original Sanskrit texts from Yoga Philosophy. Yoga tradition possesses number of Sanskrit texts in which technical terms, related with Yoga Philosophy and Psychology, are contained with their Sanskrit explanations. At first stage, 15 Sanskrit texts have been identified and out of these 15 identified texts, after proper study and perusal, 145 technical terms of immense importance were extracted. These terms with their Sanskrit explanations were compiled from the identified original Sanskrit texts. After compilation, terms and explanatory Sanskrit sentences were presented in Romanized and transliterated form using diacritical marks. The act of Romanization and transliteration is essential part of this project, because non-sanskritists and other readers not knowing Devanagari script can also go through and understand this Dictionary. Transliteration also equips a person to pronounce a Sanskrit word as it is. In this way, a world class research standard can be maintained and research work can go a long way to benefit researches worldwide.

In the next step, terms with Sanskrit explanation as compiled from original Sanskrit source, have been translated into Hindi and English so that Hindi and English readers could also go through the Dictionary and by understanding those technical terms of Yoga, could apply them in other areas of learning as well as in their day to day behaviour.

The other important aspect of this project is to present yogic technical terms with modern psychological interpretation wherever possible so that the knowledge contained in Yoga could be fully utilized by modern psychologists and students of Psychology. The gap between traditional Indian yogic wisdom and modern Psychology can only be bridged when this kind of project of Interdisciplinary nature can be taken up.

The whole project is based on analytic and comparative method. By using analytic method, the identification of technical terms as data extraction, analysis, explanation, translation etc. has been done. By using comparative method, the yogic technical terms have been compared with modern Psychology, wherever required.


Transliteration Key19
List of Identified Original Sanskrit Texts20
Diagrammatic Presentation of Original Sanskrit Texts23
Diagrammatic Presentation of the Concepts of Yoga Philosophy24
List of Selected Technical Terms37
A Conceptual Dictionary of Technical Terms in Yoga Philosophy0
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