Tattvas. See elements.
Trinity. When Spirit manifests creation, It becomes the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Ghost, or Sat, Tat, Aum. The Father (Sat) is God as the Creator existing beyond creation (Cosmic Consciousness). The Son (Tat) is God’s omnipresent intelligence existing in creation (Christ Consciousness or Kutastha Chaitanya). The Holy Ghost (Aum) is the vibratory power of God that objectifies and becomes creation.
Many cycles of cosmic creation and dissolution have come and gone in Eternity (see yuga). At the time of cosmic dissolution, the Trinity and all other relativities of creation resolve into the Absolute Spirit.
Upanishads. The Upanishads or Vedanta (lit., “end of the Vedas”), which occur in certain parts of the four Vedas, are essential summaries that form the doctrinal basis of the Hindu religion.
Vedanta. Literally, “end of the Vedas”; the philosophy stemming from the Upanishads, or latter portion of the Vedas. Shankara (eighth or early ninth century) was the chief exponent of Vedanta, which declares that God is the only reality and that creation is essentially an illusion. As man is the only creature capable of conceiving of God, man himself must be divine, and his duty therefore is to realize his true nature.
Vedas. The four scriptural texts of the Hindus: Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda. They are essentially a literature of chant, ritual, and recitation for vitalizing and spiritualizing all phases of man’s life and activity. Among the immense texts of India, the Vedas (Sanskrit root vid, “to know”) are the only writings to which no author is ascribed. The Rig Veda assigns a celestial origin to the hymns and tells us they have come down from “ancient times,” reclothed in new language. Divinely revealed from age to age to the rishis, “seers,” the four Vedas are said to possess nityatva, “timeless finality.”
Yoga. From Sanskrit yuj, “union.” The highest connotation of the word yoga in Hindu philosophy is union of the individual soul with Spirit through scientific methods of meditation. Within the larger spectrum of Hindu philosophy, Yoga is one of six orthodox systems: Vedanta, Mimamsa, Sankhya, Vaisesika, Nyaya, and Yoga. There are also various types of yoga methods: Hatha Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Karma Yoga, Gyana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga, the “royal” or complete yoga, is that which is taught by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship, and which Bhagavan Krishna extols to his disciple Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita: “The yogi is greater than body-disciplining ascetics, greater even than the followers of the path of wisdom or of the path of action; be thou, O Arjuna, a yogi!” (Bhagavad Gita VI:46). The sage Patanjali, foremost exponent of Yoga, has outlined eight definite steps by which the Raja Yogi attains samadhi, or union with God. These are (1) yama, moral conduct; (2) niyama, religious observances; (3) asana, right posture; (4) pranayama, control of prana, subtle life currents; (5) pratyahara, interiorization, withdrawal of the senses from external objects; (6) dharana, concentration, (7) dhyana, meditation; and (8) samadhi, superconscious experience; union with God.
Yogi. One who practices Yoga (q.v.). Anyone who practices a scientific technique for divine realization is a yogi. He may be either married or unmarried, either a man of worldly responsibilities or one dedicated to formal religious vows.
Yogoda Satsanga Society of India. The name by which Paramahansa Yogananda’s society is known in India. The Society was founded in 1917 by Paramahansa Yogananda. Its headquarters, Yogoda Math, is situated on the banks of the Ganges at Dakshineswar, near Kolkata. Yogoda Satsanga Society has a branch Math at Ranchi, Jharkhand (formerly Bihar), and many branch centres. In addition to Yogoda meditation centres throughout India, there are twenty-two educational institutions, from primary through college level. Yogoda, a word coined by Paramahansa Yogananda, is derived from yoga, union, harmony, equilibrium; and da, that which imparts. Satsanga is composed of sat, truth, and sanga, fellowship. For the West, Sri Paramahansa Yogananda translated the Indian name as “Self-Realization Fellowship.”
Yogoda Satsanga Lessons. The teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, sent to students throughout the world in a series of lessons for home-study, available to all earnest truth-seekers. These lessons contain the yoga meditation techniques taught by Paramahansa Yogananda, including, for those who qualify, Kriya Yoga (q.v.).
Yogoda Satsanga Magazine. A quarterly journal published by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, featuring the talks and writings of Paramahansa Yoganandaji; and containing other spiritual, practical, and informative articles of current interest and lasting value.
Yogoda Satsanga Monastic Order. Part of the ancient Swami Order established by the first Shankaracharya for those who feel called to complete renunciation in a life of seeking and serving God through the yoga ideals of meditative and dutiful activities. Monks of the Order reside in the society’s ashram centres and serve Paramahansa Yogananda’s worldwide work in many capacities, including: conducting retreats, classes, and other spiritual and ministerial functions; providing spiritual counsel and guidance to thousands of students of the teachings each month; and administering the society’s various charitable activities. The monastics, of many different backgrounds and ages, come from all parts of the country.
Yuga. A cycle or subperiod of creation, outlined in ancient Hindu texts. Sri Yukteswar (q.v.) describes in The Holy Science a 24,000-year Equinoctial Cycle and mankind’s present place in it. This cycle occurs within the much longer universal cycle of the ancient texts, as calculated by the rishis of aeons past and discussed in Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 16.