mantra diksha, nama diksha, sannyas diksha, and others.
Dualism - A philosophical concept which maintains that life is full of opposites like good and bad, male and female, suffering and happiness, with separate entities known as man and God. All religions have this framework. Non-dualism (Adwaita Vedanta) maintains that the apparent existence of differences and opposites is only an illusion (maya) of the unenlightened, and that Atman and Brahman (the individual soul and the supreme soul) are in fact one and the same.
Gunas - The 3 qualities of matter or energy. See tamas, rajas and sattva.
Guru - Literally: Darkness (gu) and light (ru). A guide who leads us from spiritual darkness and ignorance to spiritual enlightenment.. Commonly used to mean any teacher or expert on any topic, but the term should strictly refer to a master in the spiritual traditions.
Guru Chakra - Same as Ajna Chakra.
Gyana (Gyan or Gyanam) - Spiritual knowledge.
Gyana Yoga - A branch of yoga in which enquiry, examination and contemplation of truth is practised through use of the intellect. The end result is the same as all other branches, that is of self transcendence, intellectual transcendence, and supreme knowledge.
Gyanendreya (Gyanendriya) - Organ of knowledge. Each of the 5 physical senses (smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing) and their corresponding chakra, has an associated sensory organ: the nose, tongue, eyes, skin, ears. The sixth sense, the mind, is its own organ for acquisition of knowledge.
Gyani - One who has spiritual knowledge (Gyanam).
Hara - Seat of physical energy and power in the abdomen. Manipura Chakra.
Hatha Yoga - A branch of yoga concerned with balance of the two opposites, "ha" (the solar force) and "tha" (the lunar force). Traditionally this was done only through the cleansing techniques (the shatkarmas or shatkriyas), but is now commonly considered to also include the techniques of asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha.
Hiranyagarbha - The golden cosmic womb or primordial egg. The abode of all creation which contains only supreme consciousness.
Hridayakash - The space (akasha) of heart consciousness (hridaya) as experienced in the centres of the chest. A psychic space of devotion and love.
Ida Nadi - One of the 3 major nadis (energy passages). Ida is the lunar force or manas shakti, which travels in the left side of the spinal column (also considered to alternate from left to right) and controlling the parasympathetic nervous system, the flow of breath in the left nostril, and the psychic energy in the right side of the brain.
Ishta (Ishta Devata) - One's personal form or symbol of God. An image of worship or meditation.
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Jagatguru - Worldly guru, or guru of the world. A spiritual teacher who exists in physical form to guide seekers.
Jalandhara Bandha - The chin lock. It stems the loss of prana upwards from the neck and compresses the prana in the trunk.
Japa - Literally: repetition, rotation. Usually used in the context of with Mantra Japa, a form of meditation done with a mantra and the rotation of a mala of beads to aid concentration.
Jivanatma - The individual's soul.
Jnana - same as Gyana.
Jnana Yoga - Same as Gyana Yoga.
Jyoti - The eternal flame which burns in the heart centre.
Karma - Literally: action. As all actions cause reactions in some way, karma also has the meaning of action-reaction, hence the doctrine of karmic retribution. Since all actions arise from instincts, thoughts or feelings (conscious or unconscious), the seeds of all actions are called karmas (see also samskaras).
Karma Yoga - The branch of yoga in which every type of action (karma) is done with awareness (yoga) and selfless purpose (seva). Work performed with detachment.
Karmendreya (Karmendriya) - Organ of action. Each of the 5 physical senses (smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing) and their corresponding chakra, has an associated organ of action or self expression: the legs and anus, genitals, feet, hands and arms, vocal cords. The sixth sense, the mind, is its own organ for self expression of knowledge.
Kirtan - Devotional chanting using repetition of mantras and ragas (scales).
Kriya - Kriya means movement. The term is often used to mean any practice of yoga which has a cleansing effect, an awakening effect. A technique which gets things moving.
Kriya Yoga - Kriya Yoga is an advanced style of tantric meditation in which the practitioner's consciousness is moved around the chakras and nadis in prescribed pathways, as opposed to most other forms where the consciousness is brought to focus in one place. It combines many aspects of other yogas such as asana, pranayama, mudra, bandhas, mantra, kundalini, dharana.
Kumbhaka - Breath retention. May be wilfully held internal (antar) or external (bahir), but the ultimate state is spontaneous cessation of all breath movement (maha kumbhaka).
Kundalini (Kundalini Shakti) - The psychic spiritual energy. "Kunda" means pit and "shakti" means energy, so the root place of this energy is at the base of the spinal column, at the position of Mooladhara Chakra in a tiny glandular pit. In most people, this energy is mainly in a sleeping state and is likened to a coiled snake, ready to awaken, hence the kundalini is often called the serpent power.
Kundalini Yoga - An branch of tantra and yoga which aims at developing the kundalini (or kundalini shakti) through awakening
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the 6 chakras. The methods used are drawn from many other forms of yoga including asanas, pranayamas, mudras, bandhas, dharana, dhyana, mantra which all awaken the chakrasand stimulate kundalini energy in various ways.
Kunjal (Kunjal Kriya) - Stomach cleansing (also good for the lungs). One of the Hatha Yoga cleansing techniques (shatkarmas or shatkriyas).
Laghoo Shankaprakshalana - See Shankaprakshalana.
Laya Yoga - An advanced branch of yoga utilising unconsciousness to cause dissolution of the mind through particular meditation methods.
Lingam - Lingam means a form of consciousness. Consciousness is represented as the male or Shiva aspect of creation. A lingam is sometimes represented as a phallus, sometimes as an oval (or egg) that which fills the womb of, and thereby permeates, Shakti or the energy principle.
Lingam Prana - The male energy, the mental force, same as manas shakti.
Maha Shakti - Literally: great energy. The sum total of the minor forms of energy. Equates with mother nature.
Maha Nadi - Same as Sushumna Nadi.
Maithuna - Metaphysically, union between two opposite poles of energy. Also means sacrifice of the individual state for the greater union. In some branches of tantra, the term maithuna is used for sexual intercourse, but this must be done solely for worship of the unitive God-force and not for mere pleasure.
Mala - String of beads (rosary) used in meditation practise to aid concentration and counting. Also used for decoration. Beads may be of plain or aromatic wood, crystal or precious stones, seeds. Each type has different subtle effects upon the user.
Manas - Mind (finite, relative and individual). Sum of the normal human mental faculties including thinking and feeling.
Manas Shakti - Mental energy. That type of shakti which powers the mind and is expressed through the mind. Channelised through Ida Nadi, the lunar channel.
Mandala - A 3-dimensional form, statue or artefact, usually used for ritual or worship.
Manipura Chakra - The abdominal or solar plexus chakra, associated with the digestive system, vitality, dynamism, sense of ego, personal power. For more details see Table 4 on page 65, and also the specific Chakras Section, page 71.
Mantra - Literally: man = mind, tra = liberation. A sound or a combination of sounds used for concentrating awareness in meditation to assist transcendence of individual consciousness or the lower mind. Mantras exist in all ancient and spiritual cultures. They can have healing properties or destructive properties. Mantra meditation can be done out loud, whispering or silently.
Maya - The false perception of everyday life being a reality. Maya is likened to a curtain, behind which lies ultimate reality. Personified as the Goddess Maya, who is a dancing temptress, an ever changing creative force which traps us into a life away from spirit.