How to Look Up a Sanskrit Word

Thanks to the labor of Thomas Malten and Jim Funderburk of the University of Cologne, and others, The Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary is online at

Be sure to NOT bother them for technical support. This resource is for students and scholars.

What you will see is something like this:
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Examine the settings carefully. You will have to select the ones you want, each time. You can input either a Sanskrit word (in various transliteration schemes), and see the dictionary entry, or do a reverse search by inputting an English word and seeing every Sanskrit word that has it in its definition somewhere.

When entering English words, use the British spelling - for example, colour, instead of color. Took me awhile to figure that out!

You can select the output number, from 5 to 1000. I usually go with 200.

Searching the Sanskrit Dictionary from an iPhone or iPad or other digital device

When I search from my iphone, I set it for 5 or 20. You can tell it to output in Devanagari Unicode or Roman. Be sure to not use capitols when you enter a search term. I have the auto-spelling thing set to automatic, so each time, I have to undo the capital.

I find this most useful as a reverse search. That is, enter an English term and look at all the Sanskrit words that have it as part of their definitions. I am always interested in why, in the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, a specific word was selected to describe something when there are many synonyms. Often, that specific word has little jokes in it, sexual innuendo, puns, or resonance that goes with the verse.

Here is a search for “senses.”

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Here is a search for “rasa.”

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If you want to type in a Sanskrit word and see what is listed, you can experiment with the Monier-Williams New DIsplay.

Another useful dictionary is the Spoken Sanskrit Dictionary here:
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Searching for Usage with Google Books

A wonderful tool for seeing how a Sanskrit word is used in classic Sanskrit literature, and scholarly, academic, Tantric literature, and also popular books, is Google Books, You can type in any of several transliteration schemes - for example Shakti or sakti, and get different results. (unfortunately, in my glossary of the VBT here, both types of spelling are used, my apologies for the confusion.)

Typing Shakti

Shakti: multidisciplinary perspectives on women's empowerment in India
Ranjana Harish, V. Bharathi Harishankar - 2003 - 327 pages - Snippet view

Shakti Mantras: Tapping Into the Great Goddess Energy Within
Thomas Ashley-Farrand - 2003 - 272 pages - Google eBook - Preview
Emphasizes the transformative and healing powers of the Shakti, the Great Feminine power, in a guide that includes a host of mantras designed to help control bad habits, overcome fear, treat and cure specific health ailments, and promote ...
Shakti and Shâkta: essays and addresses on the Shâkta Tantrashâstra
Sir John George Woodroffe - 1951 - 734 pages - Full view
INDIAN RELIGION AS BHARATA DHARMA FRIEND of mine who read the first edition of this book suggested that I should add to it an opening Chapter, stating the most general and fundamental principles of the subject as a guide to the . . .

Typing Sakti

Sakti: the power in Tantra : a scholarly approach
Rajmani Tigunait - 1998 - 220 pages - Preview
Gives a clear view of the profound depths of tantric wisdom and leads the reader step-by-step to the deepest levels of authentic tantric doctrine.
Mother Sakti: Meditations on the Divine
Raj Arumugam - 2006 - Preview
Faces of the Divine Introduction * Indian philosophy, practical as it is, proposes four inter-related domains which an individual can explore for a rich and fulfilling life: - dharma (righteousness; a life in harmony with all laws) ...
Kashmir Shaivism: The Secret Supreme - Page 19
John Hughes, Lakshman - 2007 - 176 pages - Preview
As these two energies, cit sakti and ananda sakti, have this understanding, therefore, they begin anew to create this ... So cit sakti and ananda sakti, the energies of consciousness and bliss, which are represented in the vowels a and ...
More editions Add to My Library▼

The doctrine of vibration: an analysis of the doctrines and ... - Page 110
Mark S. G. Dyczkowski - 1989 - 297 pages - Preview
The Nature of Sakti Inherent in Siva is His infinite power. Essentially one with Him, His power represents the freedom of His absolute nature from the ... However, even in this condition destitute of power (sakti- daridra) the fettered , ..

If you click on the above links, you are taken to the current page of that book as it exists online. Google books offers Snippet view, which is just a paragraph, and sometimes a full Preview of the book. If you like the book, you can often but it for $15 to $20 as a Google e-book you can read in a browser. Google gives you a certain amount of viewing for free, but if you read a book online over and over, it will eventually say, “you have reached your viewing limit,” and gently suggest you purchase it.

I find that it is worth it to purchase the book, because that lets me see the whole text. In this way, I’ve bought many books that I have as physical objects, right over there on my shelf. In general, Google Books works flawlessly, and when I but a book, it immediately is available on my computers, on my iPhone, and iPad.

The Kindle Store at has some of the classic Sanskrit literature available for free:
books of the east

The whole Vijnana Bhairava Tantra is less than 2000 words, (although some are long compounds such as śaktisaṃgamasaṃkṣubdhaśaktyāveśāvasānikam or jagdhipānakṛtollāsarasānandavijṛmbhaṇāt.

On this page, I have posted the entire text in two transliterations, one with diacriticals and one without. If you have this page open, and hit Command-F on a Mac, or whatever “search” is in Windows, you can see the occurrence of that word in the text.