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In Hinduism, a swami (Sanskrit: स्वामी svāmī [sʋaːmiː]; sometimes abbreviated sw.) is an ascetic or yogi who has been initiated into a religious monastic order.[1] The meaning of the Sanskrit root of the word is '[he who is] one with his self' (swa stands for 'self').[2] The term is applied to religious gurus as well as yogis, with or without disciples. The term is also used in Advaita Vedanta.[citation needed] As a direct form of address, or as a stand-in for a swami's name, it is often rendered Swamiji (also Swami-ji or Swami Ji).

The Oxford English Dictionary gives the etymology as:[3]

Hindi svāmī 'master, lord, prince', used by Hindus as a term of respectful address, < Sanskrit svāmin in same senses, also the idol or temple of a god.

In Bengali, the word (pronounced [ˈʃami]), while carrying its original meaning, also has the meaning of 'husband' in another context. The word also means 'husband' in Malay, in which it is spelled suami,[4] and in Khmer and Odiya. The Thai word for 'husband', sami (สามี), like the Tagalog word for 'spouse', asawa, are also cognates of the word.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Brewer, E. Cobham (2009). Rockwood, Camilla (ed.). Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. London: Chambers Harrap. "Swami" entry. ISBN 9780550104113. OL 2527037W..
  2. ^ Yogananda, Paramhamsa (1997). Autobiography of a Yogi. Mumbai: Jaico Publishing House. p. 14.[unreliable source?]
  3. ^ "swami". Oxford English Dictionary (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Istilah Malaysia". Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Malaysia. Retrieved 31 May 2013.