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A a (the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet) Being the first manifest sound that emerged out of the damaru (miniature drum) of Lord Siva during his famous dance (tandavanrtya), it is the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet and the funda¬mental sound without which no other letter can be pronounced. Hence it is identified with God himself or used as his symbol. The Sanskrit lexicons give as many as 31 meanings and it is used in six different ways in grammar. abadhita (‘not contradicted’) In Indian philosophical systems, the word badha and its derivatives are often used as technical terms, in the sense of objection or contradiction. Hence ‘abadhita’ means that which is not contradicted, ‘a’ representing the negative particle. For instance, truth or reality is defined as that which is abadhita, never contradicted. Obviously what is contradicted can never be considered true or real in the ultimate sense. abhangas Lyrical poems, the compositions of the mystics of Maharashtra, are popularly known as ‘abhangas.’ ‘Abhanga’ literally means ‘unbroken or indivisible.’ The story goes that when Sant Tukaram, one of the greatest saints of Maharashtra, was compelled by his detractors to consign his poetical works to the river Indrayani, Lord Vitthala (Visnu) restored them to their author saying that the works were ‘abhanga’ (‘indestructible’). That apart, it is true that these poems and songs abound in philosophical, mystical and ethical teachings which are ‘abhanga’ and hence true for all time. Besides Tukaram, several other saints like Jnanesvar, Namdev, Eknath and Ramdas, including women saints like Janabai and Kanhopatra have composed these abhangas. Impor¬tance of the divine name and its repetition in spiritual life, God-realisation as the summum bonum of life, the necessity of acquiring guru’s grace, the harmony of worldly life and spiritual life, the need for inculcating moral values in day-to-day life are some of the oft-recurring themes of these compositions. If making the abstract spiritual truths intelligible and practicable to the common masses is the measure of success of religious reform movements, the Bhakti Movement of the saints of Maharashtra through their abhangas has succeeded admirably. Even today these abhangas are sung by the common folk. abhasa (‘appearance’) Literally the word means a ‘reflec¬tion,’ an ‘appearance,’ hence, a false phenomenon which shows itself as the real. For instance, the reflection of an object in a mirror is an ‘abhasa.’ The word is widely used in Advaita Vedanta in the context of the relationship between the jiva (individual self) and Brahman (the Supreme Self). The jiva according to one of the schools of Advaita Vedanta, is only