The philosophical and psychological terms in this glossary are defined almost entirely in the words of Sri Aurobindo.
Absolute, the — the supreme reality of that transcendent Being which we call God. Indian thought calls it Brahman, European thought the Absolute because it is a self-existent which is absolved of all bondage to relativities.
adhara — support, receptacle; the mental-vital-physical system as a vessel of the spiritual consciousness.
adverse forces — see hostile forces
Agni — the godhead of fire; the fire of aspiration, purification, transformation.
Ananda — delight, beatitude, bliss.
Ashram — a spiritual community; the house or houses of a Teacher or Master of spiritual philosophy in which he receives and lodges those who come to him for the teaching and practice.
Asura — a hostile, anti-divine being, in revolt against the Divine, against the Light and the Truth.
Avatar — a divine incarnation, one in whom the divine consciousness has descended into human birth for a great world-work. The word avatara means a descent: it is the coming down of the Divine below the line which divides the divine from the human world or status.
Brahma — the creator Deity; in the Veda the Power of the Divine which creates the worlds by the Word.
Brahman — the Reality, the Eternal, the Infinite, the Absolute, the Supreme Being, the One beside whom there is nothing else existent.
Brahmin — the priest of knowledge, the man of learning and thought and knowledge.
Chit — pure consciousness, pure awareness; the essential consciousness of the Spirit.
Conscious Force — the Power of the Divine Mother which dominates all existence and builds the worlds; the universal Energy that is the Power of the Cosmic Spirit working out the cosmic and individual truth of things.
consciousness — the self-aware force of existence. The essence of consciousness is the power to be aware of itself and its objects; but it is not only power of awareness of self and things, it is or has a dynamic and creative energy.
Cosmic Spirit — the universal aspect of the Divine, the one Self inhabiting the universe and containing everything in it.
creation, the — the manifestation; the self-projection of Brahman into the conditions of Space and Time.
dharma — the truth or law of our being; the right law of individual and social life. ,
Divine, the — the Supreme Being from which all comes and in which all lives. In its supreme Truth, the Divine is absolute and infinite peace, consciousness, existence, power and delight.
Divine Consciousness — the spiritual consciousness to which the Divine alone exists, because all is the Divine. Force, Light, Knowledge and Ananda together make up the higher, spiritual or Divine Consciousness.
ego — the separative sense of individuality which makes each being conceive of itself as an independent personality. Ego implies the identification of one’s existence with the outer mental, vital and physical self.
evolution — the progressive unfolding of Spirit out of the density of material consciousness; the method by which the One Being and Consciousness, involved here in Matter, liberates itself from matter into life, from life into mind, from mind into the Spirit.
Force, the — the Divine Force, the one Energy that alone exists and alone makes universal or individual action possible, for this Force is the Divine itself in the body of its power. In the individual, it is a Force for purification, illumination, transformation.
Gita, the — short form of Bhagavad Gita, “the Song of the Blessed Lord”, being the spiritual teachings of Sri Krishna spoken to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra: it occurs as an episode in the Mahabharata.
gnostic — of the nature of Gnosis, a supreme totally self-aware and all-aware Intelligence having the truth-vision of things.
God — the Absolute, the Spirit, the Self spaceless and timeless, the Self manifest in the Cosmos and Lord of Nature. God is the All and that which transcends the All.
Gods, the — in origin and essence the Gods are permanent Emanations of the Divine put forth from the Supreme; in their cosmic action they are Powers and Personalities of the Divine each with its independent cosmic standing, function and work in the universe.
Grace, the — the Divine Grace, the help of a higher Divine Force other than the force of Karma, which can lift the sadhak beyond the present possibilities of his nature.
Guru — spiritual teacher; the Guide in the Yoga; one who has realised the Truth and himself possesses and is able to communicate the light, the experience.
higher consciousness — the higher spiritual or divine consciousness.
higher mind — a luminous thought-mind whose instrumentation is through an elevated thought-power and comprehensive mental sight. The higher mind is the range of spiritualised mind just above the normal mind.
higher vital — the mental vital and emotional vital parts of the vital being taken together. The mental vital gives a mental expression by thought, speech or otherwise to the emotions, desires, passions, sensations or other movements of the vital being; the emotional vital is the seat of various feelings such as love, joy, sorrow, hatred and the rest.
hostile forces — anti-divine, not merely undivine forces that are in revolt against the Divine, against the Light and Truth, and opposed to the Yoga.
Ignorance, the — the ignorance of oneness; the separative consciousness and the egoistic mind and life that flow from it and all that is natural to them.
inconscience, the — see inconscient, the
inconscient, the — the Supreme’s state of self-involved, self-oblivious consciousness and force which is at the basis of the material world.
inner being — the inner mind, inner vital, inner physical, with the psychic behind as the inmost.
inspiration — something that comes out of the knowledge planes like a flash and opens up the mind to the Truth in a moment.
integral — of or relating to all the parts of the being, mental, vital, physical, psychic, spiritual.
Integral Yoga — a union (yoga) in all the parts of our being with the Divine and a consequent transmutation of all their now jarring elements into the harmony of a higher divine consciousness and existence; this yoga implies not only the realisation of God but the entire consecration and change of the inner and outer life till it is fit to manifest a divine consciousness and become part of a divine work.
intuition — an edge or ray or outleap of a superior light; it gets the Truth in flashes and turns these flashes of Truth-perception into intuitions — intuitive ideas.
Karma — action, work; the work or function of a man; action entailing its consequences, the chain of act and consequence.
kartavyam karma — the work to be done.
Knowledge, the — the knowledge of the One Reality, the consciousness of Unity.
Life — Being at labour in Matter to express itself in terms of Conscious Force; an energy of Spirit subordinated to action of mind and body, which fulfils itself through mentality and physicality and acts as a link between them.
Light, the — primarily a spiritual manifestation of the Divine Reality illuminative and creative. Spiritual Light is not knowledge, but the illumination that comes from above and liberates the being from obscurity and darkness.
lower nature — the universal lower Nature is a mechanism of active Force put forth for the working of the evolutionary Ignorance. The lower nature of the individual is his mind, life and body.
lower vital — the part of the vital being made up of the smaller movements of human life-desire and life-reactions. The lower vital is occupied with small desires and feelings, such as food desire, sexual desire, small likings, dislikings, vanity, quarrels, love of praise, anger at blame, little wishes of all kinds, etc.
Mahabharata — the epic poem dealing with the great war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas.
Mahasaraswati — the Divine Mother’s Power of Work and her spirit of perfection and order.
manifestation, the — see creation, the
mantra — set words or sounds having a spiritual significance or power; sacred syllable, name or mystic formula,
material vital — the part of the lower vital plane or being turned entirely to physical things, full of desires and greeds and seekings for pleasure on the physical plane.
Matter — Being manifest as substance; substance of the one Conscious Being; a form of the force of Conscious Being.
mental, the — see mind
mental being — the mental conscious being, the mental self.
mind — the part of the nature which has to do with cognition and intelligence, with ideas, with mental or thought perceptions, the reactions of thought to things, with the truly mental thoughts and formations, mental vision and will etc. that are part of man’s intelligence. The ordinary mind has three main parts: mind proper, vital mind and physical mind.
Mother, the — the Divine Mother, the consciousness and force of the Divine, which is the Mother of all things; the Divine in its consciousness force. The Mother is the divine Conscious Force that dominates all existence, upholding us and the universe.
Nature — the outer or executive force of the Conscious Force which forms and moves the worlds; a mechanism of active Force put out for the working of the evolutionary Ignorance.
Nirvana — nothingness; the extinction of all being as we know it.
occultism — the knowledge and right use of the hidden forces of Nature.
overmental — of or relating to the Overmind.
Overmind — the highest plane of spiritualised mind. Full of lights and powers, the Overmind sees calmly, steadily, in great masses and extensions of space and time and relation; it creates and acts in the same way. The Overmind is a delegate of the Supermind, its delegate to the cosmic Ignorance. The Supermind is the total Truth-Consciousness; the Overmind draws down the truths separately and gives them a separate identity,
physical, the — the part of the individual nature which includes the physical body and the physical consciousness.
physical being — the physical conscious being; the physical self.
physical consciousness — the physical mind and the physical vital as well as the body consciousness proper.
physical mind — the part of the mind which is concerned with physical things only; limited by the physical view and experience of things, it mentalises the experience brought by the contact of outward life and things, but does not go beyond that.
plane — a level of world-existence; a world or level in the scale of being; a settled poise or world of existence and consciousness.
Pralaya — dissolution, disintegration, destruction; the end of a cycle of aeons; the temporary disintegration of a universal form of existence and all the individual forms which move in its rounds.
Presence, the — the Divine Presence; the sense and perception of the Divine as a Being felt as present in one’s existence and consciousness or in relation with it.
psychic — of or relating to the soul (as distinguished from the mind and vital). Used in the sense of the Greek word “psyche”, meaning “soul”, the term “psychic” refers to all the movements and experiences of the soul, those which rise from or directly touch the psychic being; it does not refer to all the more inward and all the abnormal experiences in which the mind and vital predominate.
psychic, the — the soul; the psychic essence; the psychic being.
psychic being — the evolving of the individual, the divine portion in him which evolves from life to life, growing by its experiences until it becomes a fully conscious being. From its place behind the heart centre, the psychic being supports the mind, life and body, aiding their growth and development.
Ramayana — the life-story of Rama, a celebrated epic poem of Valmiki.
realisation — the reception in the consciousness and the establishment there of the fundamental truths of the Divine.
rebirth — the evolution and growth of the individual into a more and more developed and perfect consciousness through a succession of lives on earth.
reincarnation — see rebirth
revelation — the direct sight, the direct hearing or the inspired memory of the Truth.
Rishi — seer, sage.
Sachchidananda — Sat-Chit-Ananda, the One Divine Being with a triple aspect of Existence (Sat), Consciousness (Chit) and Delight (Ananda). God is Sachchidananda.
sadhak — one who practises a spiritual discipline; one who is getting or trying to get spiritual realisation.
sadhana — spiritual practice or discipline; the practice of Yoga.
Samadhi — inner or yogic trance; the sanctuary or tomb of a saint.
sannyasi — an ascetic; one who has renounced the world.
Sat — Being, Existence; pure existence.
sattwic — of the nature of Sattwa, the quality of Nature that illumines and clarifies. Sattwa is the quality of light, harmony, purity and peace.
Self — the universal Spirit, the self-existent Being, the conscious essential Existence one in all.
Shakti — Force, Power; the Divine Power; the consciousness and force of the Divine.
siddhi — perfection, accomplishment of the aims of Yoga.
soul — the psychic essence; the divine element in the individual; a spark of the Divine that comes down into the manifestation to support the evolution of the individual. In the course of the evolution, the soul grows and evolves in the form of a soul-personality, the psychic being. The term “soul” is often used as a synonym for “psychic being”.
Spirit — the Consciousness above mind; the Self which is always in oneness with the Divine.
spiritual — of the Spirit. All contacts with the Self, the Higher Consciousness, the Divine above are spiritual.
spiritualised mind — the higher ranges of mind overtopping our normal mind and leading to Supermind. These successive states, levels or graded powers of being are hidden in our own superconscient parts; in ascending order they are: Higher Mind, Illumined Mind, Intuitive Mind, Intuition and Overmind.
subconscient, the — a nether diminished consciousness which lies between the Inconscient and the conscious mind, life and body; it is an automatic, obscure, incoherent, half-unconscious realm in which light and consciousness can with difficulty come. The subconscient is not to be confused with the subliminal; the subconscient is that which is below the ordinary physical consciousness, the subliminal that which is behind and supports it.
subconscious, the — see subconscient, the
subliminal, the — the inner being taken in its entirety of inner mind, inner vital, inner physical, with the soul or psychic entity supporting them. The subliminal in man is the largest part of his nature; it is not subconscient, but conscient and greater than the waking consciousness.
subliminal being — see subliminal, the
subtle body — a subtler material existence behind our outer body which provides the substance not only of our physical but of our vital and mental sheaths.
subtle physical, the — the plane of consciousness closest to the physical; it may also be considered as a sub-plane of the physical with a vital and mental character.
superconscient, the — something above our present consciousness from which the higher consciousness comes down into the body; it includes the higher planes of mental being as well as the native heights of supramental and pure spiritual being.
superman — the intermediary being between man and the supramental being; the next superior type after man, he who will consciously evolve out of man, rise above ego and mind and possess himself universalised and divinised in a divine force, a divine love and joy and a divine knowledge.
Supermind — see Supramental, the
Supramental, the — the Supermind, the Truth-Consciousness, the highest divine consciousness and force operative in the universe. A principle of consciousness superior to mentality, it exists, acts and proceeds in the fundamental truth and unity of things and not like the mind in their appearances and phenomenal divisions. Its fundamental character is knowledge by identity, by which the Self is known, the Divine Sachchidananda is known, but also the truth of manifestation is known because this too is that.
supramental being — the spiritual being beyond the human being, possessed of the supramental consciousness and force, who shall impose on his mental, vital, bodily workings a higher law than that of the dividing mind.
Supreme, the — the transcendent Divine Being.
Titan — an Asura.
transformation — not just a change of consciousness, but the bringing down of the higher, divine consciousness and nature into the lower nature of mind, life and body, and the replacement of the lower by the higher.
Truth-Consciousness — the Supramental, the Supermind; the consciousness of essential truth of being (satyam), of ordered truth of active being (ritam) and the vast self-awareness (brihat) in which alone this consciousness is possible.
Upanishads — a class of Hindu sacred writings, regarded as the source of the Vedanta philosophy.
Veda — a generic name for the most ancient Indian sacred literature; the term “Veda” is sometimes reserved for the mantras or metrical hymns of the Rigveda.
Vedanta — a system of philosophy and spiritual discipline based on the Upanishads and teaching the culminating knowledge of the Absolute.
vital, the — the life-nature made up of desires, sensations, feelings, passions, energies of action, will of desire, reactions of the desire-soul of man and all that play of possessive and other related instincts, anger, greed, lust, etc. that belong to this field of nature. The vital has three main parts: the higher vital, the central vital or vital proper, and the lower vital being.
vital being — the vital conscious being, the vital self.
vital plane — the plane connected with the life-world or desire-world a plane in which life and desire find their untrammelled play and their easy self-expression and from there throw their influences and formations on our outer life.
Will, the — the Divine Will, something that has descended here into the evolutionary world of Ignorance, standing at the back of things, pressing on the Darkness with its Light, leading things presently towards the best possible in the conditions of a world of Ignorance.
Witness, the — the witness consciousness calm and detached from the outer actions of Nature.
Yoga — union (yoga) with the Divine and the conscious seeking for this union. Yoga is in essence the union of the soul with the immortal being and consciousness and bliss of the Divine, effected through the human nature with a result of development into the divine nature of being.
Yogi — one who practises Yoga, but especially one who has attained the goal of Yoga and is already established in spiritual realisation.