Resources - Glossary of Terms

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Glossary of Terms  
     
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Aakaash: The subtlest sky-space, which can never be confined. Out of this finest field come the four other elements: air, fire, water and earth.

Aanand: The eternal, infinite and formless field of Pure Bliss; the state of absolute satisfaction. Aanand is neither joy nor bliss nor pleasure nor happiness, though it gives rise to all these states of experience. Whoever meditates on this indivisible field, or wholeness, becomes increasingly satisfied and is always alert, peaceful and dynamic.

Aatma: The Self; one absolute Being; the essence, which is the source, truth, or underlying reality of all that which can be perceived, and all that which is imperceptible.

Absolute: The unmanifest Self; the underlying substance, source, or field of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss.

Awareness: All-permeating, all knowing Consciousness; moment-to-moment knowledge that one’s true nature is perfect and complete. When one meditates, the sense of separation starts to dwindle and the awareness of the vision of Oneness arises.

Bhakti: Devoted research into one’s true nature; knowledge of the Self; devotion to and love of the Whole. Bhakti is the highest form of devotion because it unfolds the awareness that the devotee and the object of devotion are forever one.

Brahm: The highest reality, the Self, which manifests the entire universe out of itself. In its unmanifest aspect it is without any wave or motion and is beyond the perception of the physical senses. Brahm is directly perceived by the Self itself, Brahm alone.

Chaytan: Pure Consciousness; all-permeating Intelligence; the pure Knower; the pure, conscious Being. Its existence can be grasped as the life force which animates all beings. This pure Intelligence can be known directly through the technique of meditation.

Chit: The all-permeating field of Pure Consciousness which never changes or dies. Chit is the unseen power of Consciousness which animates the entire universe in general as well as the senses, mind, intellect and ego of every individual in particular.

Chitt: The human mind, or sense of duality; the mind lake; the reflection of Chit, or Pure Consciousness which projects out of itself the ego, intellect and mind. Thus the field of chitt is nothing other than the localization of infinite Creative Intelligence.

Darshan: The philosophy, or vision, that evolves the consciousness into the knowledge of one’s own unchanging Self, the inner being that is indestructible and indivisible.

Dhyaan: Meditation; alertness; the unbroken flow of consciousness onto one object, person or space. Shyam Dhyaan, or meditation on Space, is a definite state of consciousness that can be unfolded from within by paying attention to the underlying Pure Space or Consciousness. This technique enables one to realize that the Knower of the Pure Space and the Pure Space itself are one and the same. Shyam Dhyaan is the direct experience of oneself as immortal and blissful – the qualities of Pure Space.

Dwaysh: Aversion; recoil from any pain-causing object. When one becomes insulted or troubled by a person, object or happening, one experiences pain or unhappiness. This pain begins to create a sense of aversion or dislike for the object that appears to have caused the unhappiness. Through the practice of meditation on the Self, one starts to grasp that pain is not due to outside causes. The cause is, rather, the waking state of consciousness, the sense of otherness, the sense of duality.

Gunas: The three modes of the creative power of nature: sattwa, which brings things and thoughts to the light of consciousness; rajas, which sustains action; and tamas, which halts the appearance of consciousness and action. The entire world is the result of the combination of these three modifications, energies or qualities.

Guru: Literally, "the dispeller of darkness"; the power that can dispel the darkness of ignorance and reveal the pure light of the Self, which shines in every being. A spiritual seeker must listen to the voice of the Guru within, sometimes think of the Guru without, and remain united with both. The words and vibrations of the Guru help unrealized beings to realize their true nature, not all at once, but in accordance with the capacity of each seeker. In this way a tradition of knowledge is established, and Gurus or Masters are created.

Gyaan: Fully integrated knowledge of the Self; the vision of Oneness; awareness of the Self as the only reality.

Hatha Yog: A branch of the science of Yog that emphasizes purification of the physical body through a system of postures, or aasans.

Jarh: Insentience; that which does not see, know, think or speak by itself. Jarh, or material existence, is the unconscious form of Chaytan, or formless Pure Consciousness.

Jeev, Jeevaatma: The individual consciousness in all beings which gives them life and the knowledge of their own existence; the individual self; the soul. Jeev is a manifestation of the Self, Pure Consciousness. Even when individual consciousness arises, the Being within never becomes anything other than the Self itself.

Karm: Action. Also, the result of action performed with the idea of individual doership, gain and loss. Every action, vibration or motion originates in the Absolute. Forgetting this truth, one believes himself or herself to be the doer or initiator of action, and in so doing reaps the benefits or suffers the consequences of any action. This ownership of action results in karm. But action performed in the knowledge that the Self alone acts and the body and mind are merely instruments is called Karm Yog, Nishkaam Karm Yog, non-doership, or de-identification.

Kayval Kumbhak: The natural cessation of breath; the technique of gently stopping the breath for some time so that the entire nervous system, including the mind, can take a rest. This state of perfect stillness and peace often arises spontaneously in meditation.

Knower: All experience is comprised of three aspects: the object that is experienced; the mind-knower, or the one who experiences; and the knowledge that links the two. These three aspects are all the manifest forms of the one formless, eternal, pure Knower.

Kundalini, Yog Shakti: Absolute pure Energy; the power of the Self which is permeating every visible and invisible reality, including the mind which grasps them. Every meaning, every sound and every thing manifests out of Kundalini. The practice of meditation awakens this energy which has become confined to the mind, body and senses, and allows it to reunite with the universal source.

Kusang: Bad company; those thoughts, actions, situations, or persons that lead one towards, weakness, ignorance, pain and suffering. Just as kusang leads one towards duality and forgetfulness, satsang, or good company, leads one towards knowledge, fulfilment, and the vision of Oneness.

Leela: The cosmic dance; the game, sport or play of the Creator, the Self. Through this play, the entire universe is created by the Self out of itself, and the Self experiences all the forms of its own manifestation.

Mantr: Literally, "mind release." A mantr is a word, sound, or phrase such as "Amaram Hum Madhuram Hum" which releases the mind’s attention from the external forms of things and thoughts. The vibrations of the mantr create a lucid and peaceful state of mind in which the meditator reunites with the source of thought.

Praan: All-permeating energy or vital force; the power that animates all forms of life.

Raag: Attraction and attachment to any joy-giving object. When human beings forget their true nature and feel happiness on account of a person, object or happening, they begin to desire that person or object and cherish the memory of that happening. When some change occurs in the object or in their appreciation for the object, dwaysh, or aversion, is often the result.

Raaj Yog: The science of purifying the body, mind, intellect and ego to attain Self-realization. This science makes the mind free from doubts, skepticism and questions that cover a person’s intelligence and create suffering.

Rajas: One of the three gunas, or constituent principles of creation. Its nature is activity, movement or agitation.

Saadhana: Spiritual practice; the means or practical techniques to attain Self Realization. Saadhana is an on-going process that purifies the body, mind, intellect and ego. This includes hatha yog (physical exercises), praanayaam (breathing exercises), gyaan yog (the knowledge of the Self), bhakti yog (devotion to this highest knowledge), karm yog (remaining free from the sense of duality while acting), and dhyaan yog (meditation on the Self).

Samaadhi: The answered state; the state that reveals one intelligence alone is everywhere; union of the mind with the Self. In Samaadhi, the unlimited human mind loses its sense of separation from the Whole and expands into an infinity of fulfilment and ease.

Sanskaar: A mental groove or impression based on the sense of duality that colours one’s perceptions, thinking, feelings and actions. Numerous sanskaars lie dormant in the mind until something triggers or awakens them. Once one completely purifies the nervous system and becomes free from the root sanskaar, the sense of duality, these latent impressions will no longer arise to create pain in the mind.

Sat: Pure Existence, or Truth, which never changes or dies. It is the source or underlying reality of every being’s existence.

Sat-Chit-Aanand: Pure Existence, Pure Consciousness, and Pure Bliss. Life is nothing other than eternal Consciousness and Bliss, forever the Existence. The more one remains focused on the unmanifest, unseen or unobvious source of life through the practice of meditation, the more these qualities of immortality, consciousness and bliss manifest in one’s daily life.

Satsang: The company of the highest knowledge and Truth; the company of a Guru; contact with a person or an assembly of persons who listen to, talk about, and assimilate the Truth. This highest company also takes the form of hearing or reading the words of highest awareness, reflecting on, discussing and assimilating their meaning, meditating on the source of these words, and bringing this awareness into one’s daily life.

Sattwa: One of the three gunas, or constituent principles of creation. Its nature is illumination or consciousness.

Self: Indivisible life as a whole, One without a second. The Self does not change at all. Unborn, undying, unmoved, unseen, unheard – it simply is.

Shakti: Pure energy; absolute dynamism; the creative power of the Self which animates the entire universe, seen and unseen.

Shyam: The Space that is perceived when the outer eyes are closed and the inner eye of Consciousness opens. That Space is the colourless colour of dynamic intelligence which manifests out of itself the full spectrum of colours or forms. Shyam is also a name of Krishna, the blue-black and infinitely attractive space of Pure Consciousness.

Swami: One who is the Master of his own Self; a Guru or Self-Realized teacher who guides others towards their own Realization. The term ‘-ji’ is a common Hindi suffix used to show respect and endearment, so ‘Swami-ji’ means ‘respected master of Self Realization’.

Tamas:  One of the three gunas or constituent principles of creation. Its nature is to veil wisdom and to induce inertia, unconsciousness or dullness.

Turiya: The vision of Oneness; the fourth sate of consciousness; the samaadhi state. Turiya is the super state of consciousness which exists independent of the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep, yet permeates them all.

Vritti:  A wave of perception or knowledge; the impulse or movement of consciousness that gives rise to any thought. In meditation, the vritti turns inward and reunites with the Pure Consciousness, the source of all thought.

Yog:  Oneness. Also, the science that includes numerous techniques or methods to unfold the vision of Oneness, or the state of perfection. Yog literally means ‘to join or add’. Thus, by adding the knowledge of the Self one transforms one’s mind and becomes fulfilled.

Yogi:  A spiritual seeker who has started the practice of Yog. Also, one who has attained the final state of Yog.