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Glossary

Abishekam: The deity is bathed by liberal pouring of specific liquid or semi-liquid items like Milk, Rose Water, Curd, Panchamrutham and so on. This is one of the several prescribed upacharams to God. On special occasions, this upacharam is, also extended to spiritual guru or king also.

Acharya: A teacher.

Adhi Parasakthi: The moolasakthi of Siva Peruman without begining or end.

Adhishtanam: Abode.

Agama Sastra: Scriptures mainly dealing with formation of temples, installation of deities, rules of periodical poojas and celebrations and so on.

Alankaram: Decoration.

Ambaj: Siva Sakthi.

Ani: Third month of Tamil Year corresponding to Mithunam in Malaiyalam year. (June July)

Anaiya dheepam: A jyothi always kept alive

Aradhana: Formal worship.

Arul vakku: Message conveyed by somebody, by the grace of a deity, without self-consciousness.

Ashram: Hermitage. Abode of the sages and Munivars. A peaceful residential complex, away from mundane crowds, meant for undisturbed spiritual efforts.

Ashtama siddhis: The eight great supernatural powers, attributed to Siva Peruman, that can be attained by yogis after completing severe austerities with devotion. They are: (1) Anima the power of reducing the size of one’s self or anything else to the size of an atom; (2) Mahima the power of infinitely increasing one's size; (3) Lagima the power of becoming exceedingly light, making gravitational law irrelevant; (4) Karima the power of increasing oneas weight and solidity; (5) Prapthi the power of attaining anything desired; (6) Prakamiyam the power to reach any place overcoming the normal natural obstacles; (7) Eesathvam the power to dominate any animate or inanimate object; and, (8) Vasithvam the power of attraction, the power of changing the course of nature anywhere and the power of assuming any form. Such powers attained by the yogis are to be used for the welfare of the people only and not for selfish ends.

Atithi: Dear or welcome guest.

Atma jyothi: Inner light, self realization.

Avathar: Incarnation of God.

Avyaja: without a reason.

Bhajan: Devotional singing by group of devotees.

Bheejaksharam: The mystical syllable or letter that is the essential part of the moolamanthra of deities.

Bilvam: Better known as Vilvam. A sacred tree for Saivites. Bael, Aegle marmelos. The trifoliate bael leaves represent the Ichai, Kiriai and Gnana Sakthis of Siva Peruman. He caused the Vilvam to appear in Gomayam (cow-dung). They are highly sought after in Siva Puja.

Brahmacharyam: The first spiritual stage, marked by strict adherence to the rules of studentship, avoidance of sensual pleasures etc.

Chandanam: Sandal wood paste.

Dattathreya: A sage, son of Athri munivar. He is an incarnation of Mahavishnu.

Dharshan: Holy sight of a deity, spiritual guru, a highly respected person and so on.

Ekadasi: The eleventh day of lunar fortnight.

Ekantham: Solitude.

Gnananandhar: A great sage, whose samadhi is at Tapovanam (Thirukkovilur).

Gurukulam: The residential school of the olden times.

Guruvandhanam: Paying obeisance to the Guru.

Idly: A famous tiffin item of Tamil Nadu. A cake prepared by mixing rice dough with black-gram in proper ratio. The cakes are placed in pits of special porous plates and are steamed inside a vessel.

Iluppai: Long-leaved Bassia. (Bassia longifolia)

Irumudi: A special cloth bag with two compartments, one in the front meant for the offerings to the deity and the other meant for personal effects, with a single opening to be carried on head by the pilgrims, to Sabarimala.

Japamala: A rosary for keeping the count of incantations of a manthra or hymn.

Jyothi: Light.

Kalasam: A pot-like structure on the top of the temple tower; Metal pot used on the occasions of sacrificial rites.

Kanji: Semi-liquid food. Gruel.

Karthikeya: A sacred name of Lord Muruga

Kathyayini: A sacred name of Sri Durga

Kshathriya: Belonging to the second varna, engaged in administering the country, maintaining law and order and giving protection to the people from external and internal dangers. (See Varnashrama)

Kuladeivam: (Kuladevathai) The deity mainly worshipped by the family for generations.

Kundalini: 'Kundala' means the coil of a rope and 'kundalini' means a coiled female serpent. The Kundalini refers to the cosmic divine energy. This energy is symbolically mentioned as a coiled serpent, sleeping in the Mooladhara chakra located at the bottom of the spine. It is said to be sleeping because mostly such a vast source of energy is dormant in almost all of us. Yogi arouses this energy, makes it rise through other chakras to the Sahasrara chakra and experiences oneness with the Supreme Reality.

Kundam: A sacrificial fire-pit.

Kumkum: Better known as 'kumkumam' or 'chenchanthu'. Vermilion.

Leela: A divine play. An unimaginably big task or an impossible thing, being performed by God, in a very simple manner.

Lingam: Generally this means a symbol. Siva Peruman manifests Himself in three ways viz., with Form (Uruvam), with Formless Form (Aruvam) and without Form (Aruvuruvam). Of these three, the formless form is called Sadhasivam. The usual example for this is the steam emanating from the milk. It has a form and it is also formless. Like that, Lingam is a form and it is also not a form. Lingam is the aformless forma of Siva Peruman.

Loukika: Worldly. Mundane.

Mahan: A great soul.

Mahimai: Greatness.

Manasika Guru: Guru as revered in mind, in the absence of any physical presence.

Mandala kalam: A period of 41 days. (Some hold it as 45 days also).

Mangala Arathi: At the conclusion of a pooja or some other religious exercise, camphor is burnt in front of the deity and the light is shown to enable the devotees to have a dharshan. 'Mangalam' is auspiciousness and this is one of the several aupacharamsa to denote the happy conclusion of a pooja.

Mangal Suthra: Auspicious marriage badge linked with a chain.

Manthram: Sacred syllable or word or verse, the incantation of which secures specific divine power.

Mari Amman: A form of Adhi Sakthi.

Mayil: Peacock, Peafowl, Pavo cristatus

Mohini attam: A form of Dance art famous in Kerala (like Bharatha Natyam in Tamil Nadu).

Moola vigraham: The chief idol in a temple. Usually this is in unwrought granite and stationary within a shrine.

Mouna vratham: A vow of keeping silence.

Mudra: The poses adopted, especially by hands, during the poojas.

Mukham: Face.

Mundu: An under girdle-cloth of four cubits. (Kerala usage)

Muni: Munivar One who is beyond likes and dislikes. Siva Peruman Nagam: Cobra.

Namam: Sacred name.

Navagrahas: The nine heavenly bodies governing the life in this Earth They are, Suryan (the Sun), Chandhran (the Moon), Chevvai (the Mars), Bhudhan (the Mercury), Guru (the Jupitor), Shukran (the Venus), Shani(the Saturn), Rahu and Kethu

Navami: The ninth day of the lunar fortnight.

Neivedyam: Offering specific items, like fruits, food etc., to God, usually at the end of the pooja.

Padi: Step.

Paduka: Sandals or wooden slippers.

Panchaloham: A combination of five simple metals viz., Gold, Silver, Copper, brass and Lead or Tin in a given proportion. (To these, sometimes, two mixed metais are added. They are 'Venkalam' a mixture of Copper and Tin; and, 'Thara' a mixture of Copper and Zinc.)

Panchamrutham: A delicious mixture consisting of honey, sugar, milk, curd and ghee. Sometimes, fruits like plantain and grapes are also added. Especially, this is used for abishekam for Murugan.

Parayanam: Recitation of the Vedha manthras or other hymns with devotion, in accordance with a prescribed procedure and schedule.

Pariharam: A remedial measure.

Pavadai: Full Skirt.

Pavazhamalli thara: 'Pavazhamalli' also called Pavalamallikai is a species of Jasmine (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) The red stalk of this flower has given this name to this flower. This is a small tree variety. This flowers in night. In the morning the flowers drop off themselves and lie scattered on ground, spreading a very pleasant fragrance. 'Thara' means ground.

Peetam: The headquarters of a religious leader or spiritual guru.

Pithur Shrardham: A formal worship of with faith of the ancestors.

Poornahudhi: The final offering in the sacred fire as a concluding ceremony of the homams.

Pradhosham: A sacred time, especially for the Siva devotees, in the evening of the thirteenth day of the lunar fortnights.

Prasadham: Anything that has been offered to God with devotion and distributed among the devotees, as conveying His benevolence.

Prathishtha: Installation.

Punyam: Result of good and noble deeds. Such deeds are also sometimes referred to as punyam.

Pushpabishekam: Performing abishekam with flowers.

Rahukaiam: A portion of time of one and half hours considered inauspicious. This time is a fixed one for each of the seven days of the week.

Rakshai: Talisman having protective powers also.

Roopam: Shape, Form.

Rudhraksham: The nuts of the eloeocarpus garritrus worn as sacred beads by the devotees of Siva Peruman.

Sadhana: A sincere, systematic effort for Self Realization.

Samadhi: The highest stage of yogic efforts, marked by oneness of the yogi, his meditation and the object meditated upon. A stage of remaining in sachithanandha.

Sambar: A sauce prepared in tamarind mix, by adding condiments and pieces of vegetables.

Sampradhayam: Traditional practice.

Sankalpam: A conscious decision to do or complete a thing.

Sannadhi: (Also mentioned as sannidhi or sannidhanam) A divine presence. Colloquially, refers to the place or hall in front of the Deity, where the devotees stand in rows and have dharshan.

Sanyasi: One who has renounced the worldly attachments and desires

Sapthaham: A system of exposition of the religious books like the Bhagavatham in seven days.

Saranagathi: A conscious surrender of everything in the possession or command of a sadhaka to God or spiritual guru as a method of religious evolution.

Sareeram: Body.

Sarpam: Snake.

Sasthras: Scripture, Written works of Science, Philosophy and so on.

Sathpurusha: A holy and wise person, striving to show the right path to others.

Sathsang: An association or assembly of good people working harmoniously for common good.

Shesham: That which remains.

Siddha Purusha: One who has attained supernatural powers and gnanam through rigorous sadhanas. Broadly, there are three kinds of siddhars, viz., Gnana Siddhar, Nadha Siddhar and Raseswara Siddhar. Agasthiyar, Siva Vakkiyar, Thirumoolar and several other Gnana Siddhars have shown the right path of spiritual development to us. Adhinadhar, Gorakka nadhar, Vakulinadhar and several other Nadha Siddhar have lived in our punya bhumi. The Raseswara Siddhar are those who have left a number of works on Medicine, Metallurgy and so on.

Siddhis: Yogic attainments. There are eight such great attainments referred to generally as 'Ashtma Siddhis'.

Siva: Supreme Being

Sivacharya: Brahmins, who adhere to the Sivagamas as distinguished from those who follow the Vedhas (Vaidheekas)

Sivarathri: It is the fourteenth day in the dark lunar fortnight in the month of Kumbam (Masi in Tamil) February-March. 'Sivam' means removal of sorrow. 'Rathri' means the period which gives 'sukham' or happiness. Sivarathrj is the time when the living beings can get their sorrows eliminated and attain sachithanandham. The devotees of Siva keep awake during the entire night and perform Siva Pooja. Particularly, the 'muhoorthakalam' after 14 nazhikas in that night, (from 11.30 pm. to 1.00 am) is called 'Lingodhbhava kalam' is the most auspicious and sacred time and doing Siva Pooja during this time is capable of conferring enormous benefits.

Sloka: A verse.

Soolam: Trident. A weapon held by Siva Peruman and Kali.

Spatikam: Crystal or Glass.

Suvasini: Sumangali. Ambal. A woman of auspiciousness.

Swami: The Supreme Being. Also used to refer spiritual guru, master and respectable persons.

Tanthram: Subtle stratagem or movement of limbs by the sadhaka in a particular way, as a part of his religious efforts.

Tanthri: A practitioner of thanthram.

Thil: Sesame seed.

Upacharam: An accepted method of showing respect to God and other respected persons.

Upasana: Worship, Adoration as a religious practice.

Upadhesam: Instruction on a formal and religious subject.

Vahana: Vehicle. Includes a conveyance of any kind.

Vanavasam: Residing in the forest

Varnashramam: The mankind is divided by God into four vamas (Bhagavath Gita ch.4-13) based on gunas and karmas. They are called Brahmana, Kshathriya, Vaisya and Sudhra varnas. The 'birth' is not mentioned here as a decisive factor. Ashramasaxe different life-positions of an individual, according to his spiritual development. They are Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa ashramas.

Vasana: The dynamic trace of earlier experiences (of even earlier janmad) alive at the bottom of the mind, which gives rise to desires and longing at the slightest chance of realizing them.

Vel: Spear. The weapon associated with Lord Murugan.

Vishu kani: Vishu is the first day of Malaiyalam year. It is enthusiastically celebrated by the Keralites. A cucumber fruit (cucumis sativus) called vellarippazham in malayalam is prominently placed in a big brass vessel called Periya Uruli after filling it up with some rice. A white silk, jack fruit, dhal, coins, jewels and other auspicious items are beautifully arranged by the elders in the previous might in the Pooja room. A mirror is placed in such a way to reflect all these items and the person who sit in front to view them, as well. The first sight in the New Year should fall on these auspicious items. After getting up on the Vishu day, everybody goes straight to the Swamias place and look at these auspicious things first. Gifts are given to the children by the elders.

Vyshya: The third varna engaged in mercantile services.

Yagna: Regligious oblation. Broadly any serious effort dedicated to God.

Yathasthanam: The original and appropriate place.