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An asterisk (*) preceding a Sanskṛt word herein means ‘derived from the verbal root …’



Sādhyas A class of divine beings: in the Vedas represented as dwelling in regions superior to the gods – in later works they are placed in Bhuvar-loka (between heaven and earth). In Manu the Sādhyas are stated to be the offspring of the Soma-sads from Viraj, i.e., children of the Ancestors from the Moon – the Pitṛs (q.v.). The Sādhyas are termed ‘divine sacrificers,’ “the most occult of all” the classes of the Pitṛs (in S.D. II 605) – the reference being to the Manasaputras. *sadh,to be fulfilled, completed, attained. Bh.G. 81)

Sahadeva The son of Madrī (the second wife of Pāṇḍu) and the twin sky-gods, the Aśvinau: brother of Nakula (q.v.). Regarded as the youngest of the five Pāṇḍava princes. Sahadeva excelled in the science of astronomy, which he studied under Drona (q.v.). He was also very proficient in the management of cattle. (Bh.G. 4)

Saibya The king of the Sibis (an ancient people of India): an ally of the Pāṇḍavas. (Bh.G. 2)

Sāman A metrical hymn, or song of praise; especially a sacred verse which is to be sung, rather than recited or muttered – one of the four kinds of Vedic composition. (Bh.G. 66)

Sañjaya A suta (i.e., a charioteer, as well as a royal bard who recounted the heroic actions of the king, etc.) of the monarch Dhṛtaraṣṭra, also an ambassador of that king, bearing the family-name Gavalgani. He was granted by Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa the divine sight of seeing everything in minutest detail, so that he might thus recount all that he saw in regard to the conflict at Kurukshetra to the blind monarch Dhṛtaraṣṭra. Therefore, as the opening stanzas tell, Sañjaya relates the preliminaries of the battle, at which time the dialog between Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna occurs – this dialog being known as the Bhagavad-Gītā.(m. completely victorious. Bh.G. 1)

Saṅkalpa (or Saṁkalpa) Conception or idea formed in the mind or heart; hence the word has the further meaning of will, volition, desire. *sam-kṛp,to be brought about, to come into existence. Bh.G. 31)

Śaṅkara (or Śaṁkara) lit. ’The auspicious’: a name of Śiva (q.v.), in his aspect of chief of the Rudras (or Maruts, q.v.). Also and especially in his auspicious or beneficent character: that of regenerator, hence popularly regarded as the creator. (Bh.G. 73)

Sāṅkhya (or Sāṁkhya) The name of the third of the six darśanas or Hindu schools of philosophy, which may be rendered ‘the school of reckoners.’ It was so called because this school divided or ‘reckoned’ the universe (and likewise man, as a child of the universe) into 25 elementary principles (tattvas) – 24 of which formed the vehicles or bodies in which the true self (Puruṣa) works. This school was founded by Kapila (q.v.). H. P. Blavatsky states that the system was established by the first Kapila (as stated in the Purāṇas) and written down by the last Kapila, the sage and philosopher of the Kali-yuga period. (S.D. II, 572) There were several sages of the name of Kapila. *khya+sam,m. to reckon, to enumerate. Bh.G. 15)

Sannyāsa Renunciation of the world and material affairs and the taking up of the path leading to mystic knowledge. (comp. sam,with; *ni-as,to reject, to resign worldly life.) One who practices Sannyāsa is called a Sannyāsin. (Bh.G. 44)

Śāntanu (or Śamtanu) The son of Pratīpa (of the Lunar Dynasty), a king of the Kurus, and younger brother of Devakī who became a hermit when Śāntanu usurped his throne. He married Ganga, who gave birth to Bhīṣma (q.v.). He later wedded Satyavatī by whom he had two sons, Chitrāngada and Vichitravīrya (q.v.). Santanu was the fourteenth descendant of Kuru and was remarkable for his devotion, charity, modesty, constancy, and resolution. It was further related of him that every decrepit man whom he touched became young again. (Bh.G. p. iii)

Sat Being, or rather Be-ness – thestate of existence. The term is used as the Real (true being), in contradistinction to Asat (the illusory world). In the Vedānta it is equivalent to the self-existent or Universal Spirit (Brahman). ”Sat is in itself neither the ‘existent,’ nor ‘being.’ SAT is the immutable, the ever present, changeless and eternal root, from and through which all proceeds. But it is far more than the potential force in the seed, which propels onward the process of development, or what is now called evolution. It is the ever becoming, though the never manifesting.” (S.D. II, 449) (present participle of *as,to be. Bh.G. 119)

Sattva (or Sattwa) The quality of truth, goodness, purity: one of the three qualities (Triguṇas) running through the web or fabric of Nature. (See Bh.G. chs. xiv and xviii.) (sat,being; tva – a noun-suffix, hence: ‘true essence.’ Bh.G. 16)

Sātyaki A member of the Vṛṣni family, kinsman of Kṛṣṇa, and acting as his charioteer. He also lent his aid to the Pāṇḍavas in the battle to regain their kingdom. (Bh.G. 4)

Sātyavatī The daughter of Uparichara, a king of Chedi and Adrikā, about whom it is related that although an Apsaras (‘celestial nymph’), she was doomed to live on earth in the form of a fish. Satyavatī was the mother of Vyāsa by the Ṛṣi Parāśara, giving birth to him on an island (dvīpa) – hence he was called Dvaipayana. Later Satyavatī wedded king Śāntanu (king of the Kurus) giving birth to Chitrāngada and Vichitravīrya (q.v.). (Bh.G. iii)

Savyasāchin He who van shoot arrows very expertly in the field. A name for Arjuna.(Bh.G. XI 33)

Siddhas A class of semi-divine beings of great purity and perfection, represented as possessing the eight supernatural faculties (the Siddhis), and inhabiting Bhuvar-loka (the region between earth and heaven). In later mythology they are often confused with the Sādhyas (q.v.). “According to the Occult teachings, however, Siddhas are the Nirmaṇakāyas or the ‘spirits’ (in the sense of an individual, or conscious spirit) of great sages from spheres on a’ higher plane than our own, who voluntarily incarnate in mortal bodies in order to help the human race in its upward progress. Hence their innate knowledge, wisdom and powers.” (S.D. II, 636) *sidh,to attain; hence ‘the perfected ones.’ Bh.G. 81)

Śikhandin A son of Drupada, king of Pañchala, who accomplished the death of Bhīṣma in the great conflict. The story regarding Śikhandin, is one of the specific instances portraying reincarnation, with which the Mahābhārata isstudded. The epic relates that the eldest daughter of the king of Kāśī, Ambā (q.v.), was rejected by her betrothed through the fault of Bhīṣma, whereupon she retired into the forest and by severe penances and sacrifices obtained a boon from Śiva promising her immediate rebirth as a man in order to mete out judgment upon her wrongdoer, Bhīṣma. She thereupon ascended her funeral pyre and was forthwith reborn as Śikhandin. (Bh.G. 4)

Śiva The third aspect of the Hindu Trimūrti commonly called the destroyer, but with the idea intimately associated therewith of regeneration, hence also the regenerator. The name Śiva does not appear in the Vedas, nor does the concept of the Trimūrti; but the deity Rudra does occur (associated in the Vedas with Agni the fire god), and in later times Śiva is known under the name of Rudra, hence the association of the two has been made. Rudra is hailed in the Ṛg-Veda as the lord of songs and sacrifices, the lord of nourishment, he who drives away diseases and removes sin – the beneficent aspect of Śiva. In the Mahābhārata,Śiva’s place in the Trimūrti is maintained, although he is not quite as prominent as Viṣṇu (the preserver), nevertheless the deity comes in for his share of reverence.

Śiva is described as the beautiful white deity with a blue throat – blue because of the poisons he drinks in order to preserve mankind thereby; his hair is of a reddish color and piled on his head in matted locks – for Śiva is the patron deity of ascetics. He is depicted with three eyes, one placed in the center of his forehead, representing the eye of wisdom (Called by Occultists the eye of Śiva or the third eye): the three eyes represent Time, present, past, and future. A crescent moon above his forehead indicates Time measured by the phases of the moon, while a serpent around his neck indicates the measure of Time by cycles: a second necklace (of human skulls) refers to the races of men which Śiva continuously destroys in order to regenerate new races. The serpents which surround him represent the deity as king of the Nāgas (q.v.), standing also for symbols of spiritual immortality. Śiva is often represented with five faces – representing the five manifested elements.

In many of the Purāṇas Śiva is regarded as the greatest of deities, hence he is called Mahadeva (the great god). He is also spoken of as the patron deity of Esotericists and as the divine protector of the mystic Occultists. For Śiva is “the howling and terrific destroyer of human passions and physical senses,which are ever in the way of the development of the higher spiritual perceptions and the growth of the inner eternal man – mystically,” (S.D. I, 459).

Siva, although the destroying deity, is Evolution and Progress personified, he “is the regenerator at the same time; who destroys things under one form but to recall them to life under another more perfect type.” (S.D.II, 182)

In the Bhagavad-Gītā Śiva is referred to under his alternative name of Śaṅkara (Bh.G. 73).

Skanda The name of the god of war, also known as Karttikeya (so called because he was reared by the six Pleiades, Kṛttikas), hence he is described as six-headed. For the purpose of destroying the Daitya Tāraka, who had become a potential source of trouble to the deities because of the austerities he had performed and his strict religious observances, Skanda was produced, springing from the seed of Śiva which had been cast into the fire and then carried to Gaṅgā (the Ganges river). He is represented as riding the peacock, Paravāṇi holding a bow in one hand and an arrow in the other.

Skanda is also the regent of the planet Mars. (Bh.G. 74)

Śloka A stanza, especially a particular kind of epic meter, also called the Anushtubh, which consists of 4 padas (quarter verses) of 8 syllables each; or it may be 2 lines each containing 16 syllables. The syllables of each line may be altered as desired except for the 5th, 13th, 14th, and 15th syllables which have a fixed method for composition. The following indicates this:

. . . . , . . . | . . . . , – , .

The dots represent syllables which may be either long or short. The 6th and 7th syllables should be long; but if the 6th is a short syllable then the 7th is short also. As an example the first śloka of the Bhagavad-Gītā is given illustrating this (although the 14th syllable is short in both lines):

Dharmakṣetre kurukṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ,
, , , , / , , , , | , , , – / , , , ,
māmakāḥ Pāṇḍavaś chaiva kim akurvata sañjaya.
– , – / – , – – , | , , , , , / , , ,

The Ramāyāna relates that the first śloka was composed by Valmiki who was moved to such sorrow by seeing the mate of a bird killed by a hunter during the wooing of the pair, that in his grief he developed the spirit of poesy. The word śloka means sound, or noise; in the Ṛg-Veda it means a hymn of praise. (cf. *śru,tohear. Bh.G. p. i)

Soma Astronomically, the Moon – an occult mystery, for the moon as a symbol stands for both good and evil. “Soma is the mystery god and presides over the mystic and occult nature in man and the Universe” (S.D.II, 45).

In mystical phraseology Soma is a sacred and mystic beverage which was drunk by Brahmanas and Initiates, during their mysteries and sacrificial rites, producing mystic visions. “The partaker of Soma finds himself both linked to his external body, and yet away from it in his spiritual form. The latter, freed from the former, soars for the time being in the ethereal higher regions, becoming virtually ‘as one of the gods,’ and yet preserving in his physical brain the memory of what he sees and learns.” (S.D. II, 499).

“The Soma-drink known to Europeans is not the genuine beverage, but its substitute; for the initiated priests alone can taste of the real Soma; and even kings and Rajas, when sacrificing, receive the substitute.” (Theos. Gloss. 304) (Bh.G. 67)

Somadatta A favorite name in ancient times: many kings bore this appellation. The son of one so named sided with the Kurus. (m. gift of Soma. Bh.G. 3)

Subhadra The daughter of Vasudeva: a younger sister of Kṛṣṇa, wife of Arjuna, and mother of Abhīmanyu (the son referred to in the text of Bh.G. 2). Subba Row suggests that the gift of Kṛṣṇa’s sister to Arjuna typifies the union between the sixth and fifth principles in man’s constitution, i.e., Buddhi and Manas. (N.Bh.G. 9) (m. very auspicious. Bh.G. 2)

Śūdra The fourth and lowest of the four castes of Vedic India, whose duty consisted in serving the three higher classes. (Bh.G. 69)

Sughoṣa The name of the conch-shell of Nakula. (m. making a loud noise. Bh.G. 4)

Sura A king of the Yādava line of the Lunar Dynasty, who ruled over the Surasenas at Mathura. He was the father of Vasudeva and Kuntī (q.v.), hence the grandfather of Kṛṣṇa. (Bh.G. p. iv)

Sura(s) (Sanskṛt) Sura-s Used in the Vedas for gods in general, equivalent to devas; originally solar deities, as is shown by the name Sūrya (sun), and correspond in many instances to the manasapūtras and agniṣvattas of theosophy. Later by the Indian exotericists the suras arbitrarily became asuras (not suras), yet “the ‘Ancestors’ breathed out the first man, as Brahma is explained to have breathed out the Suras (Gods), when they became ‘Asuras’ (from Asu, breath)” (SD 2:86). See also Asura (Bh.G. XI 22)

Surendra Of Indra (the king of the gods in svarloka, ;heaven’)

Sursooty The modern name of the ancient Sarasvatī river: although small it was held very sacred by the Hindus. In ancient times it marked with the Dṛṣadvatī river one of the boundaries of the region Aryadeśa and of the sacred district called Brahmavarta (Manu, ii, 17). The river joins the Ganges and Yamuna (Jumna) at Allahabad. (Bh.G. iii)

Svabhāva[from sva self + bhū to become, grow into] Self-becoming, self-generation, self-growing into something; the unfolding of the self or monadic essence by inner impulse, rather than by merely mechanical activity in nature — self-becoming or self-directed evolution. Each entity is the result of what it is in its own higher nature. “Its Svabhāva can bring forth only that which itself is, its essential characteristic, its own inner nature. Svabhāva, in short, may be called the essential Individuality of any monad, expressing its own characteristics, qualities, and type, by self-urged evolution. . . . Consequently, each individual Svabhāva brings forth and expresses as its own particular vehicles its various svarūpas, signifying characteristic bodies or images or forms” (Occult Glossary (OG)166-7). The essential self, like a sun, sends a ray from itself into manifestation, and the vehicles formed by this ray express its own unique individual essence and path of evolutionary growth and experience. Every entity, in all ranges of its being, reflects its own essential individuality which is stamped on its inmost essence. (From (From Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary (ETG))

Svasti An interjection: well, happily: hence a salutation meaning, may it be well with thee! hail! so be it! (As a noun the word means success, prosperity. Bh.G. 81)