Glossary of Spiritual Terms

There a number of terms used in spirituality, which are very apt in Hindi, however, english language sometimes does not lend to exact words suited to translate it. As each of these terms are sometimes concepts in themselves, a need was felt to describe them at greater length to avoid confusion in the minds of readers who are new to this path or do not have a very good grip on Hindi terms.


Hindi Word


Nearest English Translation






Time or Universal Mind

Also referred to as the Negative Force, Kaal is the creator and lord of the material, astral and causal regions and controls the individual mind. While, it is not unfair and allows for just rewards and punishments to all beings as per their actions, it does hinder the soul’s emancipation by keeping the mind engaged in material pursuits and not allowing the veil of illusion to lift.While, as everything else, Kaal also operates under the power of the one God, in some senses it is also distinct from Him. As the souls are separated from the Lord and seem to be operating independently, Kaal is also a force separated from God, though in no measure superior to Him, but apparently acting independently. This dichotomy is the greatest mystery to have been solved by the saints, who belong to a purely spiritual region above the Kaal and are above his domain and power.



Action or Destiny

The law of Karma dictates that every action, whether in thought, speech or deeds, causes an equal effect, though it may be separated in time (even across different births). Our current destiny is a result of our past actions (including in previous births) and new actions keep causing it to alter gradually. In simple terms violence begets more violence and forgiveness begets peace. If we kill animals or cause them to be killed (to enjoy a non-vegetarian diet), we pay by being killed by those, we so mercilessly killed. 

It is the Karma, which causes the soul to take a body after death and not emancipate. Thus, the cycle of birth and death continues till one transcends through it by getting attached to theNam. Bad Karmas cause us to take a inferior body (that of an insect or animal) and suffer through bad deeds, whereas Good Karmas give us a better body and family of birth and better results. However, both Good and Bad Karmas keep us bound to the cycle of birth and death till we are blessed withNamby the grace of God.




Maya refers to us not having the correct knowledge. 

That is the illusion of us being a body and not seeing our true selves as the soul. Maya in its embodiment is also Adhya, i.e. the primal female energy, which created this material world along with Kaal. Maya word is sometime incorrectly used for wealth – saints say that wealth is not bad, the attachment to the wealth is (or for that matter to any other thing or relationship) – it is an illusion that it is ours. If we are not the body, all possessions related to the body are truly not ours.



Initiation or the charged words given for repetition at initiation.The internal Sound Current.


First outward meaning in whichNamis used is for initiation given by a saint onto the spiritual path. At the time of initiation, the saints give charged words to the disciple to repeat mentally, this stays with the disciple forever and helps him to start and progress in his spiritual journey.The deeper meaning in which Namis used is the internal Sound Current (Shabad) – please see meaning below. The meaning has to be deciphered according to the context.

Sachkhand or Satlok

Purely Spiritual Region Sachkhand is the fifth region from the bottom, amongst the eight regions in which saints divide the creation. It is the lowest of the spiritual regions, which is not subject to dissolution and souls which reach this region are free from the cycle of birth and death. The eight regions are: 

  1. Astral
  2. Causal – this is where Kaal presides
  3. Top of the Causal or Supra Causal – this is where the three attributes of Satas, Rajas and Tamas cease to be. Presided by Mahakaal.
  4. Sohang – I am as you are, i.e. I have the same essence as you or are part of you. This is where the soul sees itself in its true form, which is as resplendent as light from twelve suns.
  5. Sachkhand – Literally, the region of Truth. The first of the purely spiritual regions. There is a vast dark region to be crossed after the fourth region to reach Sachkhand. The soul with all its resplendence cannot breach the heavy darkness and find its way on its own – it is only the Satguru, who can guide the soul through this darkness to reach Sachkhand. 
  6. Alakh – Literally, which one cannot describe.
  7. Agam – Literally, which one cannot conceive.
  8. Anami – Nameless. The abode of the Absolute Lord




A spiritual Guru or Satguru (i.e. Guru in touch with Sator the Lord), is a person who is emancipated and is connected all the time with the Lord. Such a person is beyond the cycle of births and death and his or her sole task in this world is to emancipate us.A number of people mistakenly call anyone who is somewhat spiritually advanced as a Satguru, not realizing that the power of a Satguru is no less than the power of the Lord, as he / she is His emissary on earth and only does His bidding with all His attendant powers. Only one who has traversed through the astral, causal and supra-causal planes to reach the purely spiritual realms of Sachkhand is entitled and should be called a Satguru. Blessings or sometimes even a look of such a person is sufficient to break the shackles of our mind and start us on the spiritual journey. 

Though possessing the power to move the world, and more powerful than the Kaal, they do not disturb the laws of Kaal as their mission is to awaken the souls and empower them to undertake the spiritual journey and not to disturb the natural order. Though, of their own will, they do sometimes quietly help their disciples beyond their destiny to remove obstacles, which stop him / her from pursuing the spiritual journey. 

It is imperative to remember that Satguru is the power in a body like ours but the power is not the body, which withers away with time as does every body. The power however remains and operates even when a Satguru has left his / her mortal frame, but only for those, who were initiated by the Satguru in his/ her lifetime.



Spiritual discourseBeing in presence of a Satguru


Literally means to be in presence of Sat or Lord. A spiritual discourse delivered by the Satguru or by an advanced disciple on behest of the Satguru, with the grace of the Satguru.Satsang is a strong medium of both understanding the finer points of the spiritual path, a sweet reminder of our duties on the path and a boost provided by the magnificent presence of the Satguru or if physically absent, presence of his grace. 

As above, Satsang is a term incorrectly used by many for any kind of religious or spiritual discourses. If a Satguru or his munificence is not present, one cannot be said to be in touch with the Sat.



Sound Current

Shabad refers to the eternal sound current, which emanated from the Lord when he became from one to many and connects the souls to Him. The entire material, astral and causal regions are sustained because of the connection with the Sound Current and merging our soul into the Sound Current is the way to reach back to the source, the Almighty.




Repetition of theNamor constant sweet remembrance of the Lord. Simran not only protects us from thinking worldly thoughts but takes us closer to meditation and Satguru.

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