Glossary of AHAM Terms and Radical Realizations
by A. Ramana


Alphabetical Directory


This glossary of terms is taken from the book, “Radical Realizations and Frequently Used AHAM Terms,” written by A. Ramana and published by AHAM Publications. The book is available from our bookstore. It contains far-reaching insights into the deeper meaning of certain spiritual terms, as well as a few foreign words with Sanskrit or other foreign meanings, often used by Ramana.

People reading Ramana’s writings or listening to his recorded talks, and those taking AHAM programs, may occasionally have difficulty understanding the meaning of uncommon vernacular or colloquial words and phrases, and even coined words often used by him, due to their unfamiliarity. There are also many ordinary English words used by Ramana in a sense, way or manner that are often different than their regularly believed or usual meaning. For example, the words “consciousness,” and “transformation,” and even everyday terms such as “mind,” and “life,” and “self” are employed in ways peculiar or perhaps unique to their common definitions.

Often Ramana gives precise definitions (if not more elaborate explanations) of certain important spiritually used words and terms. These have been seen and felt as particularly meaningful to many serious students seeking a higher level of understanding or insight into these very often difficult to grasp or comprehend spiritual terms.

Ramana also cautions his listeners that, “A definition or meaning of my words has to be considered in the context in which they are being used.”  He often warns us, “Don’t forget that what can be misunderstood, will be misunderstood.” Also, “A definition of a word very often ‘ties its meaning down’ to that definition. Therefore, it may later need to be ‘set free’ to be used again, in a new or different way or manner, having another different definition or meaning.”

For example, what is meant by the word, “board?” Obviously, you must consider the context in which it is being used. Here is a story to illustrate this:

“I was expected to be present at the meeting of the board on Tuesday. On the way to the meeting, I had to run fast to board the train, for it was just pulling away from the station as I got there. During the trip, I sat next to a friend who had a small chess set, and we played a game by placing the board between us.

“It was raining heavily when we arrived. We learned later the panel board containing the engineer’s digital displays had gone down and he was not able to switch rails into the terminal, and our car stopped beside a wide puddle of muddy water. You would have thought we needed a diving board. To not get our shoes muddy, a worker had placed a wide, thick board over the place where we had to step down.

“Before returning home, I met my son who told me he had found a nice place to live across the street from his college campus that offered room and board.”

The word “board” is used a total of eight times in the above short story, each time with an entirely different meaning. Without knowing or considering the context and content of how it is used, you could not know what it actually means, in itself, as a word—or if it is being used correctly or not.

You may can understand, by this simple example, the often difficult task of using common words and their meanings for clear communication, when it comes to dealing with spiritual ideas. That is, when it means using words, terms and phrases pertaining to vital issues of one’s life and well-being, and particularly to spiritual transformation or enlightenment. Even though many standard words can be used to effectively convey the appropriate meaning and desired intention, the usual and literally correct meanings of some other words, however, are quite inadequate or don’t fully do the job. So, we have to either give these words different meanings, or coin new words.

The enormous risk in this however, one that we must always watch out for, is the common tendency of developing a “new language.” The result is the danger of creating a division or schism in people’s minds that can separate AHAM, with its most beneficial and effective principles and processes for attaining spiritual enlightenment, from one’s simple need for practical living in everyday life. Thus we create a false gulf or division with mainstream society that can quite unfortunately give the very wrong impression that AHAM is some sort of a “strange cult.”

The truth is, that AHAM is comprised entirely of very ordinary people—from all cultures, all walks of life, and all social and educational levels—who are daily living very ordinary lifestyles!

(NOTE: Some words appearing in the definitions or explanations of the main words and terms in this glossary, themselves also have definitions contained in this list of terms. For your convenience, these words are in turn cross-linked with their definitions. They should also be read, to have a clearer or more specific understanding of them, and of the definitions in which they appear. However, some of these descriptive words are commonly used – such as “God,” and “Being,” and “Self,” for example – and so may not all be linked with their respective definitions.)

Terms or definitions that contain the initials [LMT] in brackets, indicate particular terms that are likely to be heard or used in AHAM’s Living Meditation Training program.

Copying of the phrase- or word-meanings contained in this glossary is prohibited without prior consent from AHAM Publications.




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