Glossary

Ashram               

Spiritual hermitage or place for spiritual retreats

Asana

Yoga posture

Baba/Babaji      

Another familiar word for Sadhu; the affix Ji expresses respect/appreciation

Baba-bag

Handmade bag by a Sadhu, often made while meditating.

Bhajan

Devotional song

Bhandara

Feast held especially for sadhus and yogis

Baksheesh

Tip or bribe

Brahman

Priest, member of the highest Hindu caste

Chai

Indian milk tea. Frequently it is flavoured with cloves, ginger, cardamom and cinnemon

Chalo

Let’s go or go

Chana Masala

Indian chickpea curry

Chapati

Indian unleavened flatbread

Charas

Indian hashish

Charpoy

Indian light bedstead

Chela

Disciple, student

Chillum

Pipe made of clay. Used to smoke marihuana with tobacco

Dambru

Two-sided small hand drum with a string on each side;  played by shaking it

Dhaba

Local (Highway) Restaurant

Dhuni

Holy fire place

Ghat

Steps leading down to a body of water

Gurdwara

Sikh temple

Guru

Teacher/Spiritual master Gu=Darkness, Ru=Light; one who brings light into the darkness

Harmonium

keyboard instrument in which the notes are produced by air driven through metal reeds by foot-operated bellows

Ji

Suffix placed after a person’s name or title as a mark of respect

Karmapa

head of one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism

Kirtan

Chanting of devotional songs

Kurta

Knee-length collarless shirt

Lunghi

Cloth worn wrapped around the waist

Mala

a string/necklace of prayer beads

Mangalsutra

sacred necklace that a Hindu groom ties around the bride’s neck in a ceremony called Mangalya Dharanam

Mataji

Hindi term meaning “respected mother”, also used for female deities

Maya

Hindú term for the material world, Illusion

Milega

possible, available

Mudra

Gesture made with hand or fingeres used in yoga and meditation

Pandit

Hindu priest

Pakora

A piece of vegetable or meat, coated in seasoned batter and deep-fried.

Parantha

Flat bread stuffed with vegetable

Puja

Worship

Puri

a small, round flat bread made of unleavened wheat flour, deep-fried

Sadhu

Holy man, ascetic, wandering monk

Sampardaya

Tradition or religious system relating to a succesion of masters and disciples

Sarangi

Bowed, short necked string instrument

Sardarji

Title used for a man belonging to the Sikh religion

Saree

strip of unstitched cloth  worn by women, draped over the body in various styles

Seva

Selfless service performed without any expectation of result or award

Shakti

the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as ‘The Great Devine Mother’

Shiva Lingam

representation of the deity Shiva used for worship in temples. Shiva’s phallus is usually placed inside of the yoni (womb of Shakti) and thereby representing the “indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates”

Sindoor

Vermillion powder, traditionally applied at the beginning or completely along the parting-line of a woman’s hair or as a dot on the forehead. It is the mark of a married woman in Hinduism

Tabla

pair of small hand drums used in Indian music

Thali

Indian dish differs from region to region, usually containing vegetable, rice, lentils and chapati

Tikhe

Okay, good

Tilak

a distinctive spot of colored powder or paste worn on the forehead by Hindus

Trishul

Trident worn by Shiva; symbolizes the trinity; creation, preservation, destruction

Wallah

Big word with many uses.  Describes someone by  his/her action, origin or profession: e.g.  the milk wallah, taxi wallah, Delhi wallah. Or is used to say “this one”: red-wallah, big-wallah, etc. (Walli would be the female version)

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