Sanskrit Dictionary

Ganesh-Hd-Wallpaper-Wallpapers-4K-8UTThis page will serve as a Glossary for all the many confusing Sanskrit words and terms out there. It is mainly for Jyotish students, but even if a word is not closely related to Jyotish, I may include it here if it is an especially important word for the study of the Vedas and Vedangas, or yoga in general.  This will be an ongoing work in progress, and if you would like to submit words and terms, feel free to do so by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page…even just fun tidbits about a word or the etymology of a word, please do share.  I study the basics of Sanskrit but am by no means a Scholar. If something is wrong, please let me know, but we must remember that Sanskrit words have more than one meaning and are used variously depending on the context, and somewhat loosely at times. I will not list every possible meaning of a word, just what I think is relevant to Jyotish.  Many of the words that I will be listing here will be just those that do not have any clear English counterpart whatsoever, thus the need for an easy to find translation.

Many of these definitions can also be found on this website: Spoken Sanskrit

In alphabetical order:

Aham- “I”

Ahamkara- the “I-maker”. In other words, the ego. The thing that makes us think “I”, “Me”, “Mine”.

Aksha – comprised of, pervading through.

Amsa- A fraction of a rashi. A portion or division within a sign. For example the saptamsa chart is the chart made from dividing each sign up by 7 (sapt-“seven”) equal parts and creating a new chart from that. The navamsa chart is based on a chart made from dividing each sign up 9 (nav-“nine”) times.

Ardra- A nakshatra ruled by Rudra, the god of storms. Ardra is the 6th nakshatra counting from aswhini.

Ashadha- “not to be overcome”. Name of two nakshatras, a pair of “invincible” stars.

Ashta- 8

Ashwini- “Possessed of horses”. “Consisting of horses.” “A Cavalier.” Often counted as the first nakshatra in modern listings. This is the star of the twin horsemen, the physicians to the gods; posessed with the divine powers to heal and accomplish anything through intelligence and aptitude.

Ashvayujau- “A saddled horse” An ancient name of the star Ashwini in the old days and used in the krishna yajur veda sutra on ashwini nakshatra.

Atma-  Soul. Self. The deepest unchanging aspect of one’s Self. (Capital S represents the unchanging Self, not the changeable ego that we think of as our self.)

Atmakaraka- Soul producer. Soul maker. Significator of Self.

Avastha- “condition”, or a “state” of a planet. The avasthas of a planet show the states that the planet is in and can show good and bad karmas connected to a planet.

Aya- “gain” often can refer to the eleventh house, the house of gains.

Ayana – The state of being “I”. A journey, a way to pass the time. A state of being. A 6 month northern or southern journey of the sun.

Bha- This means many things but one is “rashi” or a sign. So sometimes you will just see this sound referring to a sign. Bhe in the locative case.

Bhava- “the existing” It is the word for a house cusp in the Sanskrit texts. Similarly, Bhãvah is a word for Vishnu/Shiva, and means “The absolute existence”. “Being” “state” are other definitions.

Bharani- “the bearer”, the sustainer, the nourisher. The 2nd or last nakshatra depending on the listing.

Bhuta- Anything that has been created.

Bhuj- to eat, enjoy, feast upon.

Bhoga- Feasting, enjoying, physical/carnal pleasure.

Bhojana- the act of preparing food, making a meal.

Chandra- A name for the Moon in Vedic Astrology.

Cara- Movable. The word for the movable rashis, Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. The root is the same as “acharya”, one of the words for a teacher. Cara means to move or go. Acharya refers to going towards the goal, hence someone who is walking the walk and not just talking it, which qualifies them to teach. You may also hear the word “carakaraka”. This refers to the changeable karakas that are based on the degrees of planets, such as Atmakaraka, Darakaraka, etc.

Chat- The number 4. Where we get “chaturthamsa”, the 4th divisional varga.

Da- “give”

Dadati- He gives

Dara – Wife, or spouse.

Deepta – “radiant” – A planet in its state of exaltation, is considered to be radiant. This planet will express in very high ways and often have a very “radiant” quality that is noticeable about a person.

Deeptamsa –   Deepta is explained above, and “amsa” means “division”.  Therefore it is the  “division of radiance” of a planet. This is the same thing as the “Orb of influence” in Western Astrology.  It is the space within which an aspect is truly being felt. Each planet was given different deeptamsas such as 15 degrees for the Sun, and 9 for Saturn and these can be used within a Prashna context very well. They are explained in the Prashna Tantra text of Neelakantha. What is very interesting is that William Lilly gave the same exact degrees of each planets Orb in his 1647 book Christian Astrology.  Perhaps more evidence of the unity underlying the various traditions.

Dhatu- “element” or “mineral”. A constitutent element or base unit of a thing.

Dhyo- Sky, root of “dhyaus” a name for sky as well. “Dhyaus pitr”, or “sky father” is most likely where the name “jupiter” originates.

Go- A cow or bull

Graha- “grasper” “seizer” “thing that takes hold of you”. The sanskrit term for a planet. In vedic astrology it is never a planet we are talking about, it is a graha. This is why Rahu and Ketu are still considered grahas, even though they are not physical points in space. But the grab hold of our consciousness in the very same way. This word is also the origin of the english words: grab, gravity, grasp, gratify, gratitude.

Gramah- Village, community, a gathering place. A city but not the specific word for a city, (nagara) but could mean any inhabited place.

Girih- mountain

Ishta- “desired” or “desirable”.  A point scale measurement of how much of the desirable good effects a planet can bring forth, particularly with regards to judgement of yogas. The same yoga can be formed for a rising sign for a whole two hour period, but at certain times within that two hour period it will be a stronger or weaker yoga, due to the varying ishta score given at any moment. This is one of a number of reasons why many children may be born at the same 2 hour time period as a powerful leader, but dont also become powerful leaders, at least to the same extent.

iSuh- arrow

Iva- “as if”

Iti- Essentially the equivalent of quotation marks coming after a statement. But it can also capture what someone is thinking. It expresses the mental state of something when placed after a sentence.

Ja- “born”. Common in many words, “aja”-the unborn, kuja the earthborn, etc.

Japa – repetitions, in the sense of repeating a prayer or a mantra.

Jala- “water”

Janma- birth, or born. So this word is common when used in reference to a birth chart. From the root jan- “be born”. Jayate means to “be generated”. (We can also see that this is the origin of the words “generate” and “genesis”.)

Jeeva – An incarnated living being. Signs, planets, and nakshatras are assigned to be either in the jeeva/living beings kingdom, the dhatu/mineral/elemental kingdom, or moola/plant kingdom.

Jyotish- The word in Sanskrit for Astrology and its study, both astronomical and astrological, because from the standpoint of Veda they are the same. The root “jyoti” means “light” or “brightness”. “ish” means God, the Divine. (Like how Ishvara is the word for God in the Yoga Sutras) So “Jyotish” means the “light of God”, AKA astrology.

Karaka- Producer. Significator. Maker. The thing that makes something. All the planets are considered to be karakas or significators of things in the world. Jupiter is the karaka of children, and so if we want to see if someone will have children, we want to assess Jupiter in the chart as the signifier of children.

Kashta- “ill” This is the opposite of Ishta. A point measurement of the undesirable, ill effects that a graha can produce. Ishta and Kashta are not to be used independently but along with other factors that Parashara gives for assessing the strength of a yoga.

Ketu – “flag” It literally means a flag, so Ketu is the planet that symbolizes your conquered territory from past lives. Ketu also rules flags themselves. Ketu can also refer to a comet in mundane astrology. This is because a comet leaves a trail of dusty rocks, glowing different colors. These can appear as “flags” or banners if you will. Varahamihira gives results to different types of ketus seen in the sky and how they will impact mundane events.

Ku- A sanskrit root meaning “earth”, or the base of a triangle.

Kuja- “earth-born”. A name for Mars as Mars is said to be born of the earth.

Lagna- “to touch” the word implies the point where the heavens touch the earth. This is where we read the chart from normally and is the same as the “ascendant” or “rising sign” in western astrology.

laghu – light, nimble

Mangala – A name of Mars. It means “auspicious” and also conveys the concept of crossing a border or threshold.

Mi- Sanskrit root meaning “union”. It can also mean a contract or agreement. This word is the root of the name of the deity “Mitra”, the aditya of friendship and unions.

Na- root meaning “no” or expressing negation. Ex: Vadati means “he says”. Saying “na vadati” would be saying “he does not say”.

nagara- city/town

Nau – Ship. Most likely where we get the word “nautical” from.

Ni- Sanskrit root meaning “to lead”.

Nayami – “I lead”

NayAvah – “we two lead”

NayAmah- “we lead”

NayAsi – “you lead”

Nayathah – “you two lead”

Nayatha- “you all lead”

Nayati – “he leads”

Nayatah- “the two of them lead”

Nayanti- “they lead”

Nimitta- निमित्त  “Omen” or a “cause”. The Sanskrit word for an omen.

Nirukta – Sanskrit etymology, a limb of the veda.

Pacati- He cooks. (for someone else)

Pacate- “he cooks” (for himself)

Pada- “foot” Also a name for a part of the chart that represents what one comes to “stand on”, we could say, more and more as time goes on. There is also the “Upapada” which is the secondary pada and also important to examine for certain things. Upa means “secondary”, among other meanings.

Prasad- Serenity, grace, a gift. Food presented to God.

Priya- “beloved”, “favorite”, darling, etc.

Rai- Riches, wealth. The root of the word “revati”.

Raivat- possessing wealth

Revati- “endowed with wealth, posessions”

Rasi- “arc” “a quantity” “volume” It is the word for a zodiac sign, and implies a 30 degree arc. In Vedic mathematics, they even use the term rasi to mean a 30 degree segment. So if they are saying to make an arc of 44 degrees, they could say to make one of 1 rasi plus 14 degrees.

Raghu – swift, light

Rohini- “the red growing” or “an arousing woman” “a blushing woman”. It implies something that is blushing or turning red with arousal or excitement. Also the name for the favorite nakshatra of the moon.

Sa- This root means “to take in”, “to energize”, “to inhale”, “to rule”, “to set in motion” “to hold”. This sound is the natural sound of inhalation of the breath, and this is where it gets its meaning.

Sam- “together”, “with”, “completely”; “absolutely”. This word comes before other words often, such as “samjaya”, “samskrita”. It can mean “to unite, concentrate, or focus”. This refers to being (sat) and symbolizes the power of time and endurance. It is also the seed sound of Saturn, and it also means “peace” and is the root of the word “shanti”. It also relates to Shamkara who is the maker (kara, doer) of peace (sham). It can also mean “to quiet, calm, soothe, stop, or dissolve.” It can also represent beauty, and shining.

Sama- This is one of the names of Vishnu given in the Vishnu Sahashranama Text (The Thousand Names of Lord Vishnu).  According to the text this means “equal”, “balanced”.  But “Sa” means “with” in Sanskrit, and “Ma” means “Laxmi” as well.  So together the word that means “equal” also means “with Laxmi”. There is a lot to appreciate here for us astrologers, as Laxmi is like Venus, the planet that rules the sign of balancing scales (Libra). Venus rules balance and harmony.

Sarovara – A lake or pond.

Shastra- The name for a scientific text or treatise on a subject. Jyotish foundational texts are often referred to as  “Jyotish Shastra”.

Sena- “a person who takes orders” “a soldier”

srj- “release”. to let fly, cast.

Surya- Name for the Sun, as a Graha or as a Diety.

Swa or Sva- Self. The capital S indicates the real Self, not the changeable ego mind that we normally identify with. Thus a “Swami” is one who is focused on realizing the true Self, which is God.

Svabhava- your innate nature, which is the basis of your paradigms in life. It is said that Saturn, the planet of our most difficult life lessons, can no longer affect us once we have completely conquered our “svabhava”.  Another way to say it is that once one is free from psychological complexes and issues caused by over-identification with the separate sense of self, one cannot be seriously bothered by much of anything that happens to them in life.

Svamsha- “Self-division”. The sign that your Atmakaraka falls in the Navamsha chart is called the “Svamsha” as it is the division of the Navamsha that the planet that represents your deepest self is falling in. This is one of the most important signs of an individual’s path in life.

Svap- Sleep

Tara- Star, or a constellation. As a suffix it means “more”. For example “priya” means “beloved”. Priyatara means “more beloved” and priyatama would mean “most beloved”.

Te- “they”

Tra- A suffix that means “a tool”, or “a maker”.

Trishodaya- A term that refers to the 3rd, 6th, and 11th houses. One can remember this if they break down the word, into Tri-shod-aya. Tri means three in Sanskrit. Shod means six. Aya means “gain” and refers to the eleventh house, the house of “gains”.  These houses are all considered to be “yoga breakers” in the context of yoga formations and their evaluations.

Tvam – “you”

Upa- “next to”, “secondary”, “in the direction of”, “subsidiary”.  There are “upagrahas”, secondary grahas such as gulika, mandi, etc. There is also the “upapada”, a secondary pada to examine along with the pada.

Upapada- The “secondary” pada. A very important part of the chart to examine, just like the pada.

Upaya- “method” An astrological remedy, a way to work with an issue or karma. A means of attaining a desired goal.

Vadati – “He says”

Vakra- “crooked” A name for Mars, as well as a name for when a planet goes retrograde (the case then changes to Vakri, I believe, but someone may correct me).  This is very interesting, and (as was first pointed out to my knowledge in the book Light On Life by Robert Svoboda and Hart de Fouw) Mars has a more crooked appearing path that he takes through the heavens.  He will go retrograde in more irregular and longer patterns than the rest of the planets.  He normally spends only 2 months in a sign, but when he goes retrograde he can spend 8 months in a sign! And if you map this out astronomically Mars will be making a very “crooked” line of orbit, actually.  Interestingly enough, Mars will also have a tendency to make the part of your body that he sits in or rules more crooked than usual. For example, Mars in the 2nd house can give one more crooked teeth, or a more crooked broken looking nose, as the 2nd house rules the teeth and face.

Vana- A forest

Vara- Day. Each planet rules a day, or “vara”. The most obvious one may be Sunday, but each planet rules a day of the week. (Monday-Moon, Tuesday-Mars, Wednesday-Mercury, Thursday-Jupiter, Friday-Venus, Saturday-Saturn) This was actually the case in almost every ancient culture! It is a fascinating thing that so many civilizations had a seven-day week and named them after the planets. There is very old evidence of this in both Indian and Northern European cultures. From the root ‘vart’-turn, as each planet was thought to take their turn at ruling a day out of the week in ancient times.

Varga- A “set” or “division”. A “divisional chart” is the common english translation. There are 16 divisional charts, or vargas that are commonly used in vedic astrology, with the rashi chart being only 1 of these. The rashi chart is the 1st varga.  The birth chart can be divided into many other charts by mathematically dividing the chart up by 36 instead of 12, for example in the drekkana chart. The navamsa is made by dividing the chart up into 108 sections.

Vas- To dwell, or reside. To live in, or remain in. Where we get the word “Vastu” from. This word is also where we get the origin of “was” and “were” in english.

Vastu- The science and art of dwellings, and architecture. The science of space and design. This art works harmoniously with jyotisha.

Veda- True Knowledge. That which is real. Not intellectual information but Self-revealed knowledge.The ultimate aim of life is to know the Veda.

Vi- “divided” “apart” “different”. This prefix comes in front of many sanskrit words. It implies cutting into. Dissecting. Separating from.

Vishakha- “At the branched”. Shakha means a branch or limb. Vi implies being at the fork where the branch splits into two. A name for a nakshatra that also is sometimes called Radha.

Vidya- Knowledge. It is related to “Veda”. (Note: V and W sounds were somewhat interchangeable in the older tongues it seems, such as in Sanskrit and other Eastern European languages. So Vidya could have sounded like Widya often, and this is said to be the etymological origin of the english words “wit” and “wisdom”.)

Vipareet- “reverse”. There are certain specific yogas called “Vipareet” Yogas wherein a normally troublesome factor in the horoscope is reversed and turned into a positive thing.

Vishati- he enters