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Glossary of Sathya Sai Baba's Vahinis



This glossary contains Sanskrit words, people, places, and literature that appear in the fifteen Vahinis and Sandeha Nivarini, all written in Telugu by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and translated into English by N. Kasturi. 

If you would like a copy of this glossary on your own computer --for personal use only, not to be sold or commercially distributed in any way-- click on the download link in the left column to obtain a zipped file. 

The Vahinis use standard spellings for Sanskrit. In addition, this glossary provides phonetic spellings, in parentheses after the standard ones, to help you pronounce the Sanskrit. Below, we provide a short explanation of the phonetic spelling. However, keep in mind that Sanskrit has more phonemes than other languages, while English has only 26 letters, so pronunciation based on English spellings will be deficient. Still, it's better than nothing! 

Vowels

The most frequent short and long vowels are spelled and pronounced as follows.
 
 

Vowel English equivalent Vowel English equivalent
a but,   up,   rur al fit,   fill
aa father,   tar ee feed,   police
ai  I,   eye,  Sai  u put,   full,   bush
au cow uu boo,   rude,   fool

 

For example, the spelling aanandha (bliss) alerts the reader to the fact that the first syllable is long, as in father, so that the accent is on the first, and not the second, syllable. 

Consonants

Phonetic spelling of Sanskrit consonants is difficult, because there are more consonants (as well as vowels) in Sanskrit than in English. Also, there are several d's, s's, and t's in Sanskrit, which are aspirated differently.
 

In the examples of consonants given below, the examples for bh, dh, and th are slightly misleading, in that they may give the impression that two sounds are said separately when they are not. The idea of the examples is to make it clear that the h is distinctly aspirated. 
 
Consonant English equivalent
b buck
bh abhor
d drum
dh adhere (said rapidly)
dh dice (more like this) 
g good
gh aghast 
h hear 
j jump
jh jjjjhah (with forceful expiration on hah)
jn as in Zulu word nyanga when the y is pronounced (sound falling between gna and jna).
k come, see
kh khaki
ksh compound of k and
p punish
ph impose (the p is harder)
s silver 
sh
shut 
t true
th putting 
th pothouse, nuthook (aspiration should be heard distinctly)