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Sanskrit non-Translatables

Every culture has its unique flavor that comes with a completely different context. Often it is not possible to provide a one-to-one translation for keywords loaded with meaning, so we have to provide a commentary. This is inspired by Rajiv Malhotra's seminal book Being Different in which he urges each culture, particularly Hindu culture, to retain its original identity for the sake of preserving diversity and avoiding a bland sameness.


This list is intended to be an open reference for Sanskrit words used in Yoga, hence it is in Blog format.

Please suggest changes/inclusions.

Since Yoga is a technology based on Vedic science, we also include a possible analog from the physical sciences so that we can better grasp the Sanskrit term in its full richness. We are not implying direct equivalence, but we are suggesting a bridge between Metaphysics and Physics.

Of course, we hope that when it is objectively proven that we live in a subjective universe, then we may well merge Metaphysics and Physics!

Each Sanskrit non-translatable term is paired with one more English terms with which it may be

  • much greater > in meaning
  • not equal ≠ in meaning
  • approximately equal ~= in meaning.

Click on a term for a detailed explanation

Āchārya (> teacher)

Ātman (~= soul)

Bhārath (> India)

Brahman (≠ god)

Deva (= divine beings)

Dharma (≠ religion)

Karma (≠ fate)

Namaste (≠ hi)

Punar-janma (> reincarnation)

Yagnya (≠ sacrifice)

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