The Yoga Dictionary


The Sanskrit language is rich in words to communicate ideas about spiritual life, yoga, and God realization. This dictionary, appearing by installments in BACK To GODHEAD, focuses upon the most importance of these words (and, occasionally, upon relevant English terms) and explains what they mean.”

Devahuti—The princess Devahuti was the daughter of King Manu and the wife of the sage Kardama. She and her husband underwent severe austerities, and later she became the mother of the incarnation of God known as Kapiladeva, who appeared many thousands of years ago, in the age known as the Satya-yuga.

Devahuti accepted her own son, Lord Kapiladeva, as her spiritual master, and He taught her the philosophy known as Sankhya, which culminates in pure devotional service. Kapiladeva, the son of Devahuti, is the original teacher of the Sankhya philosophy. His teachings to His mother are described in the Third Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam.

Devaki—the devotee who served as the mother of Lord Krsna when Lord Krsna appeared on earth.

To enact His transcendental pastimes, the Supreme Lord arranges, by His spiritual potency, to be born as the son of His devotee. As explained in Bhagavad-gita; this “birth” is entirely different from the birth of an ordinary living being, for the Lord is born not as a result of natural forces but by His own supernatural desire. The Lord is the father of all living beings, but He enjoys awarding the roles of father and mother to certain special devotees and acting as their son.

Just as Devahuti became the mother of Lord Kapiladeva, the incarnation of Godhead, Devaki became the mother of Krsna, the Personality of Godhead in His original transcendental form, the origin of all incarnations.

Because of appearing as the son of Devaki, Krsna is also known as Devakinandana. Later in His pastimes He became the foster son of Yasoda and her husband, Maharaja Nanda, the king of the cowherd men in the village of Vrndavana. Therefore Lord Krsna is also known as Yasoda-nandana and Nanda-nandana. Lord Krsna has innumerable transcendental names on account of His unlimited pastimes.

Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita that simply by understanding the transcendental nature of His birth and activities one can gain freedom from material existence and return to the spiritual world.

Dhanvantari—the incarnation of Lord Krsna who inaugurated the medical science. The ancient Vedic literature deals with all types of knowledge, material and spiritual. It therefore includes a scientific system of medicine, known as Ayur-veda, to cure the diseases of embodied living beings.

In embodied life, one is inevitably afflicted by diseases, and embodied life itself is a symptom of the ultimate disease—the disease of repeated birth and death.

Because Dhanvantari is an incarnation of the Supreme Lord, by remembering His name one becomes free from this material disease. The chanting of the holy name of the Supreme Lord is the cure for the disease of birth and death.

Dharma—The word dharma is most often translated as “religion,” but this translation is inaccurate because dharma refers to the inherent quality of an object, that which does not change. It is the dharma of fire to give off heat and light, the dharma of water to be wet. Religion can change, as one can change his faith from Christian to Muslim, or from Hindu to Jew. To understand our dharma, then, we must ascertain the constant quality of a living being.

That constant quality is service. One person serves another: husband serves wife, employee serves boss, student serves teacher, comrade serves the state; the list is endless.

But the only service fully true to our eternal nature is service to God. We are eternal, God is eternal, and service to God is also eternal. Therefore our eternal occupation is to render devotional service to God. This service is also known as sanatana-dharma, the eternal religion of every living being.

Dhira—The Sanskrit word dhira means “sober” or “undisturbed.”

Life in the material world is compared to a whirlpool, swirling with the dualities of heat and cold, desire and disdain, happiness and distress, success and failure. One whose consciousness is steady and undisturbed amidst this whirlpool, who is fixed in transcendental consciousness, is called dhira.

Lord Krsna explains in Bhagavad-gita that such a person clearly sees that the changing circumstances of the material world affect only the temporary material body but not the real self, the eternally existing soul within the body.

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