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    Terminology and Acknowledgments

        Some of the terms in this book, even when they happen to be commonly used words, need to be explained:

        Stage: Connotes an individual aspirant's state of spiritual being which evolves through various realms of experience and attainment before merging with the Absolute.

        Brahman: The Absolute God-Energy, God Almighty. The root brahm simultaneously means changeless and changing, a paradox which resolves the apparent contradiction of being and becoming.

        Brahmin: Now identified as the priestly caste among the Hindus. Originally a Brahmin was someone who mystically attained wisdom of the laws of life which made him a leader.

        Caste: A stratification of Indian society evolved through centuries. The four main castes are the Brahmin -priest-, the Kshatriya -ruler-warrior-, Vaisya -trader-merchant- and Sudra -the low-born-. There is also a fifth strata, the adhakrita, the outcaste. Everyone was conceptually considered as being born a sudra and it was his action that would put him into one category or the other, thou nowadays, the story is totally different.

        Manu: The Archetypal Teacher who spiritually holds a vast stretch of time termed as the manvantara (a Manu's time) which is made up of seventy-one age-quartets, chaturyugas of Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali. Fourteen such

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    manvantaras make up a kalpa before Creation dissolves. We are believed to be in the Kali age of the twenty eight chaturyuga of the seventh manvantara of the present kalpa.

        Guru: Literally that which ends darkness, meaning the enlightened preceptor who dispels ignorance in people and helps them live and act righteously and thus enhancing their growth materially, psychologically and spiritually. There are gurus of varying stages of spiritual attainment.

        Pitrusuddhi: The cleansing of ancestral souls. A term taken from vedic rituals. The ritualistic cleansing of the ancients has now lost its power, what cleanses is the intercession of a Guru who is endowed with such power.

        The lack of pitrusuddhi could manifest in a variety of troubles for the descendants who are living.

        Samkalpa: Has come to mean imagining in common parlance but is an active and direct prayer to the Absolute. Sometimes this could be in the form of a repeated thought.

        Trimurti: The three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Siva of creation, sustenance and destruction.

    Acknowledgements

        For permitting me to attempt this translation and for being patient with my barrage of queries I remain indebted to Guru. I would like to express

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    my gratitude also to the renunciates and to a number of other inmates of the Ashram who gave me such information and help as have enriched my understanding of the Guru and enabled me to prepare the script.

    0. V. Usha

    Go to: Santhigiri Ashram

    Any Questions?