Dancing with Śiva


Śabda Kośaḥ


imagehallowed: Sacred.§

haṁsa: हंस “Swan;” more accurately, the high-flying wild goose Anser indicus. The vāhana, vehicle, of the God Brahmā. It has various meanings, including Supreme Soul and individual soul. It is a noble symbol for an adept class of renunciates (paramahaṁsa)—winging high above the mundane, driving straight toward the goal, or of the discriminating yogī who—like the graceful swan said to be able to extract milk from water—can see the Divine and leave the rest. The haṁsa mantra indicates the sound made by the exhalation (ha) and inhalation (sa) of the breath. See: paramahaṁsa.§

Hari-Hara: हरिहर “Vishṇu-Śiva.” Also known as Śaṅkaranārāyaṇa, an icon of the Supreme One, in which the right half is Śiva and left half is Vishṇu. It symbolizes the principle that Śiva and Vishṇu are not two separate Deities. See: Brahmā, mūrti, Parameśvara, Vishṇu.§

hatḥa yoga: हठयोग “Forceful yoga.” Haṭha yoga is a system of physical and mental exercise developed in ancient times as a means of rejuvenation by ṛishis and tapasvins who meditated for long hours, and used today in preparing the body and mind for meditation. Its elements are 1) postures (āsana), 2) cleansing practices (dhauti or shodhana), 3) breath control (prāṇāyāma), 4) locks (bandha, which temporarily restrict local flows of prāṇa) and 5) hand gestures (mudrā), all of which regulate the flow of prāṇa and purify the inner and outer bodies. Haṭha yoga is broadly practiced in many traditions. It is the third limb (aṅga) of Patanjali’s rāja yoga. It is integral to the Śaiva and Śākta tantra traditions, and part of modern āyurveda treatment. In the West, haṭha yoga has been superficially adopted as a health-promoting, limbering, stress-reducing form of exercise, often included in aerobic routines. Esoterically, ha and ṭha,respectively, indicate the microcosmic sun (ha) and moon (ṭha), which symbolize the masculine current, piṅgalā nāḍī, and feminine current, iḍā nāḍī, in the human body. The most popular haṭha yoga manuals are Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā and the Gheraṇḍa Saṁhitā. See: āsana, kuṇḍalinī, nāḍī, rāja yoga, yoga.§

Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā: हठयोगप्रदीपिका “Elucidation of haṭha yoga.” A 14th-century text of 389 verses by Svatmarama Yogin that describes the philosophy and practices of haṭha yoga. It is widely used in yoga schools today.§

havana: हवन “Fire pit for sacred offering; making oblations through fire.” Same as homa. Havis and havya name the offerings. See: Agni, homa, yajña.§

heart chakra: Anāhata chakra. Center of direct cognition. See: chakra.§

heaven: The celestial spheres, including the causal plane and the higher realms of the subtle plane, where souls rest and learn between births, and mature souls continue to evolve after moksha. Heaven is often used by translators as an equivalent to the Sanskrit Svarga. See: loka.§

hell: Naraka. An unhappy, mentally and emotionally congested, distressful area of consciousness. Hell is a state of mind that can be experienced on the physical plane or in the sub-astral plane (Naraka) after death of the physical body. It is accompanied by the tormented emotions of hatred, remorse, resentment, fear, jealousy and self-condemnation. However, in the Hindu view, the hellish experience is not permanent, but a temporary condition of one’s own making. See: asura, loka, Naraka, purgatory, Satan.§

heterodox: “Different opinion.” Opposed to or departing from established doctrines or beliefs. Opposite of orthodox, “straight opinion.” See: nāstika.§

heterosexual: Of or characterized by sexual attraction for only members of the opposite sex. See: bisexual, homosexual, sexuality.§

hierarchy: A group of beings arranged in order of rank or class; as a hierarchy of God, Gods and devas.§

higher-nature, lower nature: Expressions indicating man’s refined, soulful qualities on the one hand, and his base, instinctive qualities on the other. See: kośa, mind (five states), soul.§

Himalayan Academy: An educational and publishing institution of Saiva Siddhanta Church founded by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami in 1957. The Academy’s objective is to share the teachings of Sanātana Dharma through The Master Course trilogy, travel-study programs, the magazine HINDUISM TODAY and other publications as a public service to Hindus worldwide. See: Hinduism Today, Subramuniyaswami.§

Himalayas (Himālayas): हिमालय “Abode of snow.” The mountain system extending along the India-Tibet border and through Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan.§

hiṁsā: हिंसा “Injury; harm; hurt.” Injuriousness, hostility—mental, verbal or physical. See: ahiṁsā.§

Hindu: हिन्दु A follower of, or relating to, Hinduism. Generally, one is understood to be a Hindu by being born into a Hindu family and practicing the faith, or by professing oneself a Hindu. Acceptance into the fold is recognized through the name-giving sacrament, a temple ceremony called nāmakaraṇa saṁskāra, given to born Hindus shortly after birth, and to self-declared Hindus who have proven their sincerity and been accepted by a Hindu community. Full conversion is completed through disavowal of previous religious affiliations and legal change of name. While traditions vary greatly, all Hindus rely on the Vedas as scriptural authority and generally attest to the following nine principles: 1) There exists a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both creator and unmanifest Reality. 2) The universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution. 3) All souls are evolving toward God and will ultimately find moksha: spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth. Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny. 4) Karma is the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds. 5) The soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved. 6) Divine beings exist in unseen worlds, and temple worship, rituals, sacraments, as well as personal devotionals, create a communion with these devas and Gods. 7) A spiritually awakened master or satguru is essential to know the transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, self-inquiry and meditation. 8) All life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore one should practice ahiṁsā, nonviolence. 9) No particular religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others. Rather, all genuine religious paths are facets of God’s pure love and light, deserving tolerance and understanding. See: Hinduism. §

Hindu cosmology: See: loka, three worlds.§

Hinduism (Hindu Dharma): हिन्दुधर्म India’s indigenous religious and cultural system, followed today by nearly one billion adherents, mostly in India, but with the large diaspora in many other countries. Also called Sanātana Dharma, “Eternal Religion” and Vaidika Dharma, “Religion of the Vedas.” Hinduism is the world’s most ancient religion and encompasses a broad spectrum of philosophies ranging from pluralistic theism to absolute monism. It is a family of myriad faiths with four primary denominations: Śaivism, Vaishṇavism, Śāktism and Smārtism. These four hold such divergent beliefs that each is a complete and independent religion. Yet, they share a vast heritage of culture and belief—karma, dharma, reincarnation, all-pervasive Divinity, temple worship, sacraments, manifold Deities, the guru-śishya tradition and a reliance on the Vedas as scriptural authority. From the rich soil of Hinduism long ago sprang various other traditions. Among these were Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism, which rejected the Vedas and thus emerged as completely distinct religions, dissociated from Hinduism, while still sharing many philosophical insights and cultural values with their parent faith. Though the genesis of the term is controversial, the consensus is that the term Hindu or Indu was used by the Persians to refer to the inhabitants of the Indus Valley as early as 500 BCE. Additionally, Indian scholars point to the appearance of the related term Sindhu in the ancient Ṛig Veda Saṁhitā. Janaki Abhisheki writes (Religion as Knowledge: The Hindu Concept, p. 1): “Whereas today the word Hindu connotes a particular faith and culture, in ancient times it was used to describe those belonging to a particular region. About 500 BCE we find the Persians referring to ‘Hapta Hindu.’ This referred to the region of Northwest India and the Punjab (before partition). The Ṛig Veda (the most ancient scripture of the Hindus) uses the word Sapta Sindhu singly or in plural at least 200 times. Sindhu is the River Indus. Panini, the great Sanskrit grammarian, also uses the word Sindhu to denote the country or region.” While the Persians substituted h for s, the Greeks ignored the h and pronounced the word as ‘India’ for the country and ‘Indoi’ for the people.§

Dr. S. Radhakrishnan similarly observed, “The Hindu civilization is so called since its original founders or earliest followers occupied the territory drained by the Sindhu River system corresponding to the Northwest Frontier Province and the Punjab. This is recorded in the Ṛig Veda, the oldest of the Vedas, the Hindu scriptures, which give their name to this period of Indian history. The people on the Indian side of the Sindhu were called Hindus by the Persians and the later Western invaders. That is the genesis of the word Hindu” (The Hindu View of Life, p. 12) . See: Hindu. §

HINDUISM TODAY: The Hindu family magazine founded by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami in 1979 and published by Himalayan Academy to affirm Sanātana Dharma and record the modern history of a billion-strong global religion in renaissance. This award-winning, lavishly illustrated, all color, computer-produced news and information resource reaches thousands of readers in over 150 countries throughout the world. See: Himalayan Academy.§

Hindu solidarity: Hindu unity in diversity. A major contemporary theme according to which Hindu denominations are mutually supportive and work together in harmony, while taking care not to obscure or lessen their distinctions or unique virtues. The underlying belief is that Hinduism will be strong if each of its sects, and lineages is vibrant. See: Hinduism.§

holy feet: The feet of God, a God, satguru or any holy person, often represented by sacred sandals, called śrī pādukā in Sanskrit and tiruvadi in Tamil. The feet of a divine one are considered especially precious as they represent the point of contact of the Divine and the physical, and are thus revered as the source of grace. The guru’s sandals or his feet are the object of worship on his jayantī (birthday), on Guru Pūrṇimā and other special occasions. See: pādapūjā, pādukā, satguru.§

holy orders: A divine ordination or covenant, conferring religious authority. Vows that members of a religious body make, especially a monastic body or order, such as the vows of renunciation made by a sannyāsin at the time of his initiation (sannyāsa dīkshā), which establish a covenant with the ancient holy order of sannyāsa. Sannyāsins, the wearers of the ocher robe, are the ordained religious leaders of Hinduism. See: sannyāsa dīkshā.§

homa: होम “Fire-offering.” A sacred ceremony in which the Gods are offered oblations through the medium of fire in a sanctified fire pit, homakuṇḍa, usually made of earthen bricks. Homa rites are enjoined in the Vedas, Āgamas and Dharma and Gṛihya Śāstras. Many domestic rites are occasions for homa, including upanayana and vivāha. Major pūjās in temples are often preceded by a homa. See: agni, havana, yajña. §

homosexual: Of or characterized by sexual attraction for members of one’s own gender. Self-appellation is gay, especially for males, while female homosexuals generally use the term lesbian. See: bisexual, gay, heterosexual, sexuality.§

hrī: ह्री “Remorse; modesty.” See: yama-niyama.§

Hsüen Tsang (Xuan-zang): Chinese pilgrim who toured India ca 630. His travel diary is a rare and colorful source of information about the India of his day.§

hued: Having specific color. §

human dharma: The natural growth and expression through four stages of life. Known as āśrama dharma. See: āśrama dharma, dharma.§

humors (or bodily humors): See: āyurveda, bodily humor, dosha.


imageicçhā śakti: इच्छाशक्ति “Desire; will.” See: Śakti, triśūla.§

icon: A sacred image, usually of God or a God. English for mūrti. See: aniconic, mūrti.§

iconoclastic: Literally “icon breaker.” Also opposed to the worship or use of religious icons, or advocating their destruction. Metaphorically: irreverently opposed to, or disparaging widely accepted ideas, beliefs and customs. §

iḍā nāḍī: इडानाडी “Soothing channel.” The feminine psychic current flowing along the spine. See: kuṇḍalinī, nāḍī, odic, piṅgalā.§

illusion (illusory): A belief, opinion or observation that appears to be, but is not in accord with the facts, truth or true values, such as the illusion created by a magician. See: avidyā.§

illustrious: Very luminous or bright; distinguished, famous; outstanding.§

immanent: Indwelling; inherent and operating within. Relating to God, the term immanent means present in all things and throughout the universe, not aloof or distant. Not to be confused with imminent, threatening (about) to happen; emanate, to issue from; eminent, high in rank. §

immature: Not ripe; not fully grown, undeveloped. Still young. —immature soul: See: ātman, evolution of the soul, soul. §

immemorial (from time immemorial): From a time so distant that it extends beyond history or human memory.§

immutable: Never changing or varying. See: Absolute Reality, relative.§

impasse: A dead end; a point of no progress. A difficulty with no solution.§

impede: To obstruct or delay something; make difficult to accomplish. (Noun form: impediment.)§

impediment: “That which holds the feet.” Hindrance; obstacle. Anything that inhibits or slows progress.§

impending: About to happen; “overhanging” and thus threatening.§

imperishable: That which cannot die or decay; indestructible; immortal. With capital I, Imperishable denotes God—the Eternal, Beginningless and Endless.§

impermanence: The quality of being temporary and nonlasting.§

impersonal: Not personal; not connected to any person. See: Satchidānanda§

impersonal being: One’s innermost nature, at the level of the soul’s essence, where one is not distinguished as an individual, nor as separate from God or any part of existence. The soul’s essential being—Satchidānanda and Paraśiva. See: ātman, essence, evolution of the soul, soul.§

impersonal God: God in His perfections of Pure Consciousness (Parāśakti) and Absolute Reality beyond all attributes (Paraśiva) wherein He is not a person. (Whereas, in His third perfection, Parameśvara, Śiva is someone, has a body and performs actions, has will, dances, etc.) §

impetus: Anything that stimulates activity. Driving force; motive, incentive.§

implore: To ask, beseech or entreat earnestly.§

impoverished: Poor; reduced to a condition of severe deprivation.§

inanimate: See: animate-inanimate.§

inauspicious: Not favorable. Not a good time to perform certain actions or undertake projects. Ill-omened. See: auspiciousness, muhūrta.§

incandescent: Glowing with heat; white-hot. Radiant; luminous; very bright.§

incantation: Mantraprayoga. The chanting of prayers, verses or formulas for magical or mystical purposes. Also refers to such chants (mantra). Vaśakriyā is the subduing or bewitching by charms, incantation or drugs. Incantation for malevolent purposes (black magic) is called abhichāra. See: mantra.§

incarnation: From incarnate, “made flesh.” The soul’s taking on a human body. —divine incarnation: The concept of avatāra. The Supreme Being’s (or other Mahādeva’s) taking of human birth, generally to reestablish dharma. This doctrine is important to several Hindu sects, notably Vaishṇavism, but not held by most Śaivites. See: avatāra, Vaishṇavism.§

incense: Dhūpa. Substance that gives off pleasant aromas when burned, usually made from natural substances such as tree resin. A central element in Hindu worship rites, waved gently before the Deity as an offering, especially after ablution. Hindi terms include sugandhi and lobāna. A popular term for stick incense is agarbatti (Gujarati). See: pūjā.§

incisive: “Cutting into.” Sharp or keen, such as a penetrating and discriminating mind. See: discrimination.§

incognito: Without being recognized; keeping one’s true identity unrevealed or disguised.§

increment: An amount of increase, usually small and followed by others; a measure of growth or change.§

individuality: Quality that makes one person or soul other than, or different from, another. See: ahaṁkāra, āṇava, ego, soul. §

individual soul: A term used to describe the soul’s nature as a unique entity, emanated by God Śiva (the Primal Soul), as a being which is evolving through experience to its fully mature state, which is complete, indistinguishable oneness with God. See: ātman, essence, kośa, Parameśvara, soul.§

indomitable: Not easily discouraged, defeated or subdued. Unconquerable.§

Indra: इन्द्र “Ruler.” Vedic God of rain and thunder, warrior king of the devas.§

indriya: इन्द्रिय “Agent, sense organ.” The five agents of perception (jñānendriyas), hearing (śrotra), touch (tvak), sight (chakshus), taste (rasana) and smell (ghṛāṇa); and the five agents of action (karmendriyas), speech (vāk), grasping with hands (pāṇi), movement (pāda), excretion (pāyu) and generation (upastha). See: kośa, soul, tattva.§

induce: To bring about, cause, persuade.§

Indus Valley: Region of the Indus River, now in Pakistan, where in 1924 archeologists discovered the remains of a high civilization which flourished between 5000 and 1000 BCE. There, a “seal” was found with the effigy of Śiva as Paśupati, “Lord of Creatures,” seated in a yogic posture. Neither the language of these people nor their exact background is known. They related culturally and carried on an extensive trade with peoples of other civilizations, far to the West, using sturdy ships that they built themselves. For centuries they were the most advanced civilization on Earth. See: Śaivism.§

indwell: To dwell or be in. “The priest asks the Deity to indwell the image,” or come and inhabit the mūrti as a temporary physical body. See: mūrti.§

I-ness: The conceiving of oneself as an “I,” or ego, which Hinduism considers a state to be transcended. See: ahaṁkāra, āṇava, mind (individual).§

inexhaustible: Cannot be exhausted, used up or emptied. Tireless. §

inexplicable: Beyond explaining or accounting for.§

inextricable: Cannot be disentangled or separated from another thing.§

infatuation: The magnetic condition of being captured by a foolish or shallow love or affection.§

infinitesimal: Infinitely small; too small to measure.§

inflict: To give or cause pain, wounds, damage, etc.§

infuse: To transmit a quality, idea, knowledge, etc., as if by pouring. To impart, fill or inspire.§

ingest: To take food, medicine, etc., into the body by swallowing or absorbing.§

inherent (to inhere in): Inborn. Existing in someone or something as an essential or inseparable quality. —inherent sin: See: sin.§

inherit: To receive from an ancestor, as property, title, etc.—or to reap from our own actions: “...seed karmas we inherit from this and past lives.” §

initiation (to initiate): Entering into; admission as a member. In Hinduism, initiation from a qualified preceptor is considered invaluable for spiritual progress. See: dīkshā, śaktipāta, sannyāsa dīkshā.§

injunction: An urging; an order or firm instruction. §

inmost: Located deepest within.§

innate: Naturally occurring; not acquired. That which belongs to the inherent nature or constitution of a being or thing. §

inner (innermost): Located within. Of the depths of our being. —inner advancement (or unfoldment): Progress of an individual at the soul level rather than in external life. —inner bodies: The subtle bodies of man within the physical body. —inner discovery: Learning from inside oneself, experiential revelation; one of the benefits of inner life. —inner form (or nature) of the guru: The deeper levels of the guru’s being that the disciple strives to attune himself to and emulate. —inner law: The principles or mechanism underlying every action or experience, often hidden. Karma is one such law. —inner life: The life we live inside ourselves, at the emotional, mental and spiritual levels, as distinguished from outer life. —inner light: A moonlight-like glow that can be seen inside the head or throughout the body when the vṛittis, mental fluctuations, have been sufficiently quieted. To be able to see and bask in the inner light is a milestone on the path. See: vṛitti. —inner mind: The mind in its deeper, intuitive functions and capacities—the subsuperconscious and superconscious. —innermost body: The soul body. —inner planes: Inner worlds or regions of existence. —inner self: The real, deep Self; the essence of the soul, rather than the outer self with which we usually identify. —inner sky: The area of the mind which is clear inner space, free of mental images, feelings, identifications, etc. Tranquility itself. The superconscious mind, Satchidānanda. See: ākāśa. —inner truth: Truth of a higher order. —inner universes (or worlds): The astral and causal worlds. See: kośa, three worlds.§

innumerable: So many as to be beyond counting.§

inscrutable: That cannot be analyzed or understood. Mysterious; beyond examining.§

insignia: Sign or symbol of identity, rank or office, such as a badge or emblem. §

instinctive: “Natural” or “innate.” From the Latin instinctus, “impelling, instigating.” The drives and impulses that order the animal world and the physical and lower astral aspects of humans—for example, self-preservation, procreation, hunger and thirst, as well as the emotions of greed, hatred, anger, fear, lust and jealousy. The first steps on the spiritual path consist in learning to harness these tendencies and impulses and transmute their energies into the higher nature. See: manas, mind (individual), mind (three phases), yama-niyama.§

instinctive mind: Manas chitta. The lower mind, which controls the basic faculties of perception, movement, as well as ordinary thought and emotion. Manas chitta is of the manomaya kośa. See: manas, manomaya kośa, yama-niyama.§

instrumental cause: Sahakāri kāraṇa. Cosmologically, the means of implementing creation. See: cause.§

intellect: The power to reason or understand; power of thought; mental acumen. See: buddhi, intellectual mind.§

intellectual mind: Buddhi chitta. The faculty of reason and logical thinking. It is the source of discriminating thought, rather than the ordinary, impulsive thought processes of the lower or instinctive mind, called manas chitta. Buddhi chitta is of the manomaya kośa. See: buddhi, mind (individual).§

internalize: To take something inside of oneself. §

internalized worship: Yoga. Worship or contact with God and Gods via meditation and contemplation rather than through external ritual. This is the yogī’s path, preceded by the charyā and kriyā pādas. See: meditation, yoga.§

interplay: Interaction between two or more factors.§

intervene: To come between, especially two people or parties, with the intent to effect a change between them. See: mediatrix.§

interweave (interwoven): To weave together, as threads into cloth. To closely interrelate; to blend. §

intimacy: The state of being intimate or very close. Having a close rapport.§

intrigue: Secret plotting or scheming.§

intrinsic: Essential; inherent. Belonging to the real nature of a being or thing. —intrinsic evil: See: evil.§

intuition (to intuit): Direct understanding or cognition, which bypasses the process of reason. Intuition is a far superior source of knowing than reason, but it does not contradict reason. See: cognition, mind (five states).§

invigorate: To give vigor, life or energy. §

invocation (to invoke): A “calling or summoning,” as to a God, saint, etc., for blessings and assistance. Also, a formal prayer or chant. See: mantra.§

Iraivan: இறைவன் “Worshipful one; divine one.” One of the most ancient Tamil appellations for God. See: San Marga Sanctuary.§

Iraivan Temple: See: San Marga Sanctuary. §

irul: இருள் “Darkness.” The first of three stages of the sakala avasthā where the soul’s impetus is toward pāśa-jñāna, knowledge and experience of the world. See: pāśa-jñāna, sakala avasthā.§

iruvinai oppu: இருவினையொப்பு “Balance.” The balance which emerges in the life of a soul in the stage of marul, or paśu-jñāna, the second stage of the sakala avasthā, when the soul turns toward the good and holy, becomes centered within himself, unaffected by the ups and downs in life. See: marul, paśu-jñāna, sakala avasthā.§

Īśa: ईश “Lord,” master of all; superior, commanding, reigning. Īśa and its derivative Īśāna are very old names of God Śiva found in the Ṛig Veda. §

Isanya Guru (Īśānya Guru): ईशान्यगुरु Śaivite brāhmin of the Kālāmukha sect from whom Basavanna, principal founding teacher of Vīra Śaivism, received instruction in his youth. See: Basavanna, Vīra Śaivism.§

Īśa Upanishad: ईश उपनिषद् Last of the 40 chapters of Vājasaneyi Saṁhitā of the Yajur Veda. A short, highly mystical scripture. See: Upanishad.§

Ishṭa Devatā: इष्टदेवता “Cherished or chosen Deity.” The Deity that is the object of one’s special pious attention. Ishṭa Devatā is a concept common to all Hindu sects. Vaishṇavas may choose among many Divine forms, most commonly Vishṇu, Bālāji, Kṛishṇa, Rādhā, Rāma, Lakshmī, Hanumān and Narasiṅha, as well as the aniconic śālagrāma, a sacred river rock. Traditionally, Smārtas choose from among six Deities: Śiva, Śakti, Vishṇu, Sūrya, Gaṇeśa and Kumāra (or any of their traditional forms). For Śāktas, the Divine is worshiped as the Goddess, Śakti, in Her many fierce and benign forms, invoking the furious power of Kālī or Durgā, or the comforting grace of Pārvatī, Ambikā and others. Śaivites direct their worship primarily to Śiva as represented by the aniconic Śiva Liṅga, and the anthropomorphic mūrtis, Naṭarāja and Ardhanārīśvara. In temples and scriptural lore, Śiva is venerated in a multitude of forms, including the following 23 additional anthropomorphic images: Somāskanda, Ṛishabarudra, Kalyānasundara, Chandraśekhara, Bhikshātana, Kāmadahanamūrti, Kālāri, Jalandara, Tripurari, Gajari, Vīrabhadra, Dakshināmūrti, Kirātamūrti, Nīlakaṇṭha, Kaṅkāla, Chakradāna, Gajamukhānugraha, Chandesānugraha, Ekapāda, Liṅgodbhava, Sukhāsana, Umā Maheśvara and Haryardha. See: mūrti, Śakti, Śiva.§

Ishṭaliṅga: “Cherished, chosen or personal mark of God.” (Ishṭa: “sought, desired.”) For Vīra Śaivites it is the personal Śivaliṅga, ceremonially given by a priest shortly after birth, and worn on a chain or cord around the neck thereafter. See: Śivaliṅga, Vīra Śaivism. §

Islam: The religion founded by Prophet Mohammed in Arabia about 625 CE. Islam connotes submission to Allah, the name for God in this religion. Adherents, known as Muslims, follow the “Five Pillars” enjoined in their scripture, the Koran: faith in Allah, praying five times daily facing Mecca, giving of alms, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and pilgrimage. One of the fastest growing religions, Islam has over one billion followers, mostly in the Middle East, Pakistan, Africa, China, Indochina, Russia and neighboring countries. See: Koran, Mohammed.§

issue forth: To come out; be created. To start existing as an entity, e.g., as creation issues forth from Naṭarāja’s drum. See: emanation, Naṭarāja, tattva.§

Īśvara: ईश्वर “Highest Lord.” Supreme orPersonal God. See: Parameśvara. §

Īśvarapūjana: ईश्वरपूजन “Worship of God.” See: yama-niyama.§

Itihāsa: इतिहास “So it was.” Epic history, particularly the Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata (of which the famed Bhagavad Gītā is a part). This term sometimes includes the Purāṇas, especially the Skānda Purāṇa and the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (or Śrīmad Bhāgavatam). See: Mahābhārata, Rāmāyaṇa, Smṛiti. §

itinerant: Traveling from place to place, with no permanent home. Wandering. See: monk, sādhu, vairāgī.


imageJābāla Upanishad: जाबाल उपनिषद् Belongs to the Atharva Veda. This short scripture teaches of knowledge attained in renunciation. §

Jagadāchārya: जगदाचार्य “World teacher.” In 1986 the World Religious Parliament of New Delhi named five world leaders who were most active in spreading Sanātana Dharma outside India: H.H. Swami Chinmayananda of Chinmaya Missions, India; Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami of Saiva Siddhanta Church and Himalayan Academy, USA; Yogiraj Amrit Desai of Kripalu Yoga Center, USA; Pandit Tej Ramji Sharma of Nepali Baba, Nepal; and Swami Jagpurnadas Maharaj, Mauritius. §

Jaimini: जैमिनि Founder of the Mīmāṁsā Darśana. See: shaḍ darśana.§

Jaiminīya Brāhmaṇa Upanishad: जैमिनीय ब्राह्मण उपनिषद् A philosophical discourse of the Sāma Veda dealing with death, passage to other worlds and reincarnation. See: Upanishad.§

Jainism: (Jaina) जैन An ancient non-Vedic religion of India made prominent by the teachings of Mahavira (“Great Hero”), ca 500 BCE. The Jain Āgamas teach reverence for all life, vegetarianism and strict renunciation for ascetics. Jains focus great emphasis on the fact that all souls may attain liberation, each by his own effort. Their worship is directed toward their great historic saints, called Tīrthaṅkaras (“Ford-Crossers”), of whom Mahavira was the 24th and last. Jains number about six million today, living mostly in India. See: Mahavira. §

Janaloka: जनलोक “Plane of creativity, or of liberated mortals.” The third highest of the seven upper worlds, realm of viśuddha chakra. See: loka. §

jaṅgama: जङ्गम “Moving; wanderer.” A term used by Vīra Śaivites, originally to name their mendicant, renunciates who walked as homeless sādhus, uplifting others. Now an order of Vīra Śaivite teachers. See: Vīra Śaivism.§

japa: जप “Recitation.” Practice of concentrated repeating of a mantra, often while counting the repetitions on a mālā or strand of beads. It may be done silently or aloud. Sometimes known as mantra yoga. A major sādhana in Hindu spiritual practice, from the simple utterance of a few names of God to extraordinary feats of repeating sacred syllables millions of times for years on end. It is recommended as a cure for pride and arrogance, jealousy, fear and confusion. It harmonizes the doshas and quiets the vṛittis. Filling the mind with divine syllables, awakening the divine essence of spiritual energies in the physical body, japa brings forth the amṛita. For Śaivites, Namaḥ Śivāya in its various forms is the most treasured mantra used in japa. The mantra Hare-Rāma-Hare-Kṛishṇa is among the foremost Vaishṇava mantras. Japa yoga is said to be of 14 kinds: daily (nitya), circumstantial (naimittika), the japa of desired results (kāmya), forbidden (nishiddha), penitential (prāyaśchitta), unmoving (achala), moving (chala), voiced (vāchika), whispered (upānśu), bee, or murmured (bhramara), mental (mānasa), uninterrupted (akhanda), nonuttered (ajapa) and circumambulatory (pradakshina). See: amṛita, mantra, yama-niyama, yoga.§

jātakarma: जातकर्म “Rite of birth.” See: saṁskāras of birth.§

jāti: जाति “Birth; genus; community or caste.” See: varṇa dharma.§

jayantī: जयन्ती “Birthday.” See: Guru Jayantī. §

jīva: जीव “Living, existing.” From jīv, “to live.” The individual soul, ātman, during its embodied state, bound by the three malas (āṇava, karma and māyā). The jīvanmukta is one who is “liberated while living.” See: ātman, evolution of the soul, jīvanmukta, purusha, soul.§

jīvanmukta: जीवन्मुक्त “Liberated soul.” One who has attained nirvikalpa samādhi—the realization of the Self, Paraśiva—and is liberated from rebirth while living in a human body. (Contrasted with videhamukta, one liberated at the point of death.) This attainment is the culmination of lifetimes of intense striving, sādhana and tapas, requiring total renunciation, sannyāsa (death to the external world, denoted in the conducting of one’s own funeral rites), in the current incarnation. While completing life in the physical body, the jīvanmukta enjoys the ability to reenter nirvikalpa samādhi again and again. At this time, siddhis can be developed which are carried to the inner worlds after mahāsamādhi. Such an awakened jñānī benefits the society by simply being who he is. When he speaks, he does so without forethought. His wisdom is beyond reason, yet it does not conflict with reason. Nor does he arrive at what he says through the process of reason, but through the process of ājñā-chakra sight. See: jīvanmukti, jñāna, kaivalya, moksha, Self Realization, Śivasāyujya, videhamukti.§

jīvanmukti: जीवन्मुक्ति “Liberation while living.” The state of the jīvanmukta. Contrasted with videhamukti, liberation at the point of death. See: death, jīvanmukta, moksha, reincarnation, videhamukti.§

jīvayajña: जीवयज्ञ “Self sacrifice.” See: yajña. §

jñāna: ज्ञान “Knowledge; wisdom.” The matured state of the soul. It is the wisdom that comes as an aftermath of the kuṇḍalinī breaking through the door of Brahman into the realization of Paraśiva, Absolute Reality. The repeated samādhis of Paraśiva ever deepen this flow of divine knowing which establishes the knower in an extraordinary point of reference, totally different from those who have not attained this enlightenment. Jñāna is the awakened, superconscious state (kāraṇa chitta) working within the ordinary experience of the world, flowing into daily life situations. It is the fruition of the progressive stages of charyā, kriyā and yoga in the Śaiva Siddhānta system of spiritual unfoldment. Jñāna is sometimes misunderstood as book knowledge, as a maturity or awakening that comes from simply understanding a complex philosophical system or systems. Those who define jñāna in this way deny that the path is a progression of charyā-kriyā-yoga-jñāna or of karma-bhakti-rāja-jñāna. Rather, they say that one can choose his path, and that each leads to the ultimate goal. See: door of Brahman, God Realization, Śaivism, samādhi, Self Realization.§

Jnanadeva (Jñānadeva): ज्ञानदेव See: Jñāneśvarī.§

Jñānāmṛita: ज्ञानामृत A versified treatise by Gorakshanatha on the duties of a yogī. See: Gorakshanatha. §

jñāna pāda: ज्ञानपाद “Stage of wisdom.” According to the Śaiva Siddhānta ṛishis, jñāna is the last of the four successive pādas (stages) of spiritual unfoldment. It is the culmination of the third stage, the yoga pāda. Also names the knowledge section of each Āgama. See: jñāna, pāda.§

jñāna śakti: ज्ञानशक्ति “Power of wisdom.” One of Śiva’s three primary śaktis. Also a name for Lord Kārttikeya’s vel. See: Kārttikeya. śakti, triśūla. §

jñāna yoga: ज्ञानयोग “Union of knowledge.” Describes the esoteric spiritual practices of the fully enlightened being, or jñānī. An alternative meaning, popularized by Swami Vivekananda, is the quest for cognition through intellectual religious study, as one of four alternate paths to truth, the other three being bhakti yoga, karma yoga and rāja yoga. See: jñāna, yoga.§

Jnanesvar (Jñāneśvara): ज्ञानेश्वर See: Jñāneśvarī.§

Jñāneśvarī: ज्ञानेश्वरी Foremost religious treatise in the Marāṭhi language. Written by the Nāthasaint Jnanesvar (or Jnanadeva) about 1290. It is a verse-by-verse commentary on the Bhagavad Gītā.§

jñānī: ज्ञानी “Sage.” One who possesses jñāna. See: jīvanmukta, jñāna.§

joint family: Kuṭumba or kula. The Hindu social unit consisting of several generations of kindred living together under the same roof or in a joining compound. Traditionally, joint families live in a large single home, but in modern times accommodations are often in individual, nuclear homes within a shared compound. The joint family includes the father and mother, sons, grandsons and great-grandsons with their spouses, as well as the daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters until they are married—thus often comprising several married couples and their children. The head of the joint family, called kuṭumba mukhya (also mukhya or kartṛi), is the father, supported by the mother, and in his absence, the elder son, guided by his mother and supported by his spouse. From an early age, the eldest son is given special training by his father to assume this future responsibility as head of the family. In the event of the father’s death, sacred law does allow for the splitting of the family wealth between the sons. Division of family assets may also be necessary in cases where sons are involved in different professions and live in different places, with an inability for all to get along under one roof, or when the family becomes unmanageably large.§

The main characteristics of the joint family are that its members 1) share a common residence, 2) partake of food prepared in the same kitchen, 3) hold their property in common and, 4) ideally, profess the same religion, sect and sampradāya. Each individual family of husband, wife and children is under the guidance of the head of the joint family. All work together unselfishly to further the common good. Each joint family extends out from its home to include a second level of connections as an “extended family (bṛihatkuṭumba or mahākuṭumba).” See: extended family, gṛihastha dharma.§

juncture: A critical point in the development of events.§

jyotisha: ज्योतिष From jyoti, “light.” “The science of the lights (or stars).” Hindu astrology, the knowledge and practice of analyzing events and circumstances, delineating character and determining auspicious moments, according to the positions and movements of heavenly bodies. In calculating horoscopes, jyotisha uses the sidereal (fixed-star) system, whereas Western astrology uses the tropical (fixed-date) method. §

jyotisha śāstrī: ज्योतिषशास्त्री “Astrologer.” A person well versed in the science of jyotisha. See: jyotisha. §

Jyotisha Vedāṅga: ज्योतिषवेदाङ्ग “Veda-limb of celestial science (astronomy-astrology).” Ancient texts giving knowledge of astronomy and astrology, for understanding the cosmos and determining proper timing for Vedic rites. (Jyoti means light, of the sun, fire, etc.) See: jyotisha, Vedāṅga.


imageKadaitswami (Kadaitswāmī): கடையீற்சுவாமி “Marketplace swāmī.” The 159th satguru of the Nandinātha Sampradāya’s Kailāsa Paramparā. Born ca 1804; attained mahāsamādhi October 13, 1891. Renouncing his career as a judge in Bangalore, South India, Kadaitswami became a sannyāsin and trained under the Rishi from the Himalayas, who sent him on mission to Sri Lanka. He performed severe tapas on an island off the Jaffna coast, awakening many siddhis. For decades he spurred the Sri Lankan Śaivites to greater spirituality through inspired talks and demonstrating siddhis. He initiated Chellappaswami as the next satguru in the paramparā. Kadaitswami’s initiation name was Muthyanandaswami (Muthyānandaswāmī). See: Kailāsa Paramparā, Nātha Sampradāya.§

Kadavul: கடவுள் “Beyond and within.” An ancient Tamil appellation for Lord Śiva meaning, “He who is both immanent and transcendent, within and beyond.” See: Śiva.§

Kailasa (Kailāsa): कैलास “Crystalline” or “abode of bliss.” The four-faced Himalayan peak in Western Tibet; the earthly abode of Lord Śiva. Associated with Mount Meru, the legendary center of the universe, it is an important pilgrimage destination for all Hindus, as well as for Tibetan Buddhists. Kailasa is represented in Śāktism by a certain three-dimensional form of the Śrī Chakra yantra (also called kailāsa chakra). See: Śrī Chakra.§

Kailāsa Paramparā: कैलासपरंपरा A spiritual lineage of 162 siddhas, a major stream of the Nandinātha Sampradāya, proponents of the ancient philosophy of monistic Śaiva Siddhānta. The first of these masters that history recalls was Maharishi Nandinatha (or Nandikesvara) 2,250 years ago, satguru to the great Tirumular, ca 200 BCE, and seven other disciples (as stated in the Tirumantiram): Patanjali, Vyaghrapada, Sanatkumara, Sivayogamuni, Sanakar, Sanadanar and Sananthanar. Tirumular had seven disciples: Malangam, Indiran, Soman, Brahman, Rudran, Kalanga, and Kanjamalayam, each of whom established one or more monasteries and propagated the Āgamic lore. In the line of Kalanga came the sages Righama, Maligaideva, Nadantar, Bhogadeva and Paramananda. The lineage continued down the centuries and is alive today—the first recent siddha known being the “Rishi from the Himalayas,” so named because he descended from those holy mountains. In South India, he initiated Kadaitswami (ca 1810–1875), who in turn initiated Chellappaswami(1840–1915). Chellappan passed the mantle of authority to Sage Yogaswami (1872–1964), who in 1949 initiated Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927–2001), who in 2001 ordained the current preceptor, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami (1942–). See: Chellappaswami, Kadaitswami, Nātha Sampradāya, Patanjali, Subramuniyaswami, Tirumular, Yogaswami. §

kaivalya: कैवल्य “Absolute oneness, aloneness; perfect detachment, freedom.” Liberation. Kaivalya is the term used by Patanjali and others in the yoga tradition to name the goal and fulfillment of yoga, the state of complete detachment from transmigration. It is virtually synonymous with moksha. Kaivalya is the perfectly transcendent state, the highest condition resulting from the ultimate realization. It is defined uniquely according to each philosophical school, depending on its beliefs regarding the nature of the soul. See: jñāna, moksha, samarasa, Śivasāyujya.§

Kaivalya Upanishad: कैवल्य उपनिषद् A philosophical text of the Atharva Veda. This treatise teaches how to reach Śiva through meditation. §

kāla: काल 1) “Time,” “calculation.” 2) “Black” (of a black or dark blue color); “death.” §

kalā: कला “Part, segment;” “art or skill.” 1) Cultural arts. (See: kalā–64) . 2) A fivefold division of the cosmos based on the 36 tattvas, as explained in the Śaiva Āgamas. The five kalās—spheres, or dimensions of consciousness—are: 1) Śāntyatītakalā, “sphere beyond peace,” the extremely rarified level of śuddha māyā (actinic energy) in which superconsciousness is expanded into endless inner space, the realm of God Śiva and the Gods; 2) Śāntikalā, “sphere of peace,” the level within śuddha māyā where forms are made of inner sounds and colors, where reside great devas and ṛishis who are beyond the reincarnation cycles; 3) Vidyākalā, “sphere of knowing,” the level within śuddhāśuddha māyā (actinodic energy) of subsuperconscious awareness of forms in their totality in progressive states of manifestation, and of the interrelated forces of the actinodic energies; 4) Pratishṭākalā, “sphere of resting, tranquility,” the level within aśuddha māyā (odic energy) of intellect and instinct; 5) Nivṛittikalā, “sphere of perdition, destruction; returning,” the level within aśuddha māyā of physical and near-physical existence, conscious, subconscious and sub-subconscious mind. See: tattva.§

kalā–64 (chatuḥ shashṭi kalā): चतु: षष्टिकला “Sixty-four arts.” A classical curriculum of sacred sciences, studies, arts and skills of cultured living listed in various Hindu śāstras. Its most well-known appearance is in the Kāma Sūtra, an extensive manual devoted to sensual pleasures. The Kāma Sūtra details as its primary subject matter the 64 secret arts, abhyantara kalā, of erotic love. In addition to these it lists 64 bāhya kalās, or practical arts, as required study for cultured persons. They are: 1) singing, 2) instrumental music, 3) dancing, 4) painting, 5) forehead adornments, 6) making decorative floral and grain designs on the floor, 7) home and temple flower arranging, 8) personal grooming, 9) mosaic tiling, 10) bedroom arrangements, 11) creating music with water, 12) splashing and squirting with water, 13) secret mantras, 14) making flower garlands, 15) head adornments, 16) dressing, 17) costume decorations, 18) perfumery, 19) jewelry making, 20) magic and illusions, 21) ointments for charm and virility, 22) manual dexterity, 23) skills of cooking, eating and drinking, 24) beverage and dessert preparation, 25) sewing (making and mending garments), 26) embroidery, 27) playing vīna and drum, 28) riddles and rhymes, 29) poetry games, 30) tongue twisters and difficult recitation, 31) literary recitation, 32) drama and story telling, 33) verse composition game, 34) furniture caning, 35) erotic devices and knowledge of sexual arts, 36) crafting wooden furniture, 37) architecture and house construction, 38) distinguishing between ordinary and precious stones and metals, 39) metal-working, 40) gems and mining, 41) gardening and horticulture, 42) games of wager involving animals, 43) training parrots and mynas to speak, 44) hairdressing, 45) coding messages, 46) speaking in code, 47) knowledge of foreign languages and dialects, 48) making flower carriages, 49) spells, charms and omens, 50) making simple mechanical devices, 51) memory training, 52) game of reciting verses from hearing, 53) decoding messages, 54) the meanings of words, 55) dictionary studies, 56) prosody and rhetoric, 57) impersonation, 58) artful dressing, 59) games of dice, 60) the game of akarsha (a dice game played on a board), 61) making dolls and toys for children, 62) personal etiquette and animal training, 63) knowledge of dharmic warfare and victory, and 64) physical culture.§

These are among the skills traditionally taught to both genders, while emphasizing masculinity in men and femininity in women. Their subject matter draws on such texts as the Vedāṅgas and Upavedas, and the Śilpa Śāstras, or craft manuals. Through the centuries, writers have prescribed many more skills and accomplishments. These include sculpture, pottery, weaving, astronomy and astrology, mathematics, weights and measures, philosophy, scriptural study, agriculture, navigation, trade and shipping, knowledge of time, logic, psychology and āyurveda. In modern times, two unique sets of 64 kalās have been developed, one for girls and one for boys. See: Śilpa Śāstra.§

Kālāmukha: कालामुख “Black-faced”(probably for a black mark of renunciation worn on the forehead). A Śaiva sect issued from Pāśupata Śaivism at its height (ca 600–1000). As no Kālāmukha religious texts exist today, this sect is known only indirectly. They were said to be well organized in temple construction and worship, as well as eccentric and unsocial: eating from human skulls, smearing their bodies with ashes from the cremation ground, carrying a club, wearing matted hair, etc. See: left-handed, Pāśupata Śaivism, tantrism.§

Kalanga (Kalaṅga): क्लगं One of the seven disciples of Rishi Tirumular. See: Kailāsa Paramparā.§

kalaśa: कलश “Water pot,” “pitcher,” “jar.” In temple rites, a pot of water, kalaśa, topped with mango leaves and a husked coconut represents the Deity during special pūjās. Kalaśa also names the pot-like spires that adorn temple roofs.§

Kālī: काली “Black” Goddess. A form of Śakti in Her fierce aspect, worshiped by various sects within Śāktism. She is dark, nude, primordial and fiercely powerful, as of a naked energy untamed. But from the perspective of devotees, She is the incomparable protectress, champion of sādhana and mother of liberation. The Goddess Durgā, seated on a tiger, has similar characteristics and is often identified with Kālī. See: Śakti, Śāktism.§

Kali Yuga: कलियुग “Dark Age.” The Kali Yuga is the last age in the repetitive cycle of four phases of time the universe passes through. It is comparable to the darkest part of the night, as the forces of ignorance are in full power and many subtle faculties of the soul are obscured. See: cosmic cycle, mahāpralaya, Timeline, –3102, yuga.§

Kallata (Kallaṭa): कल्लट An exponent of Kashmīr Śaivism (ca 875) who wrote the Spaṇda Kārikās. Kallata was a disciple of Vasugupta. See: Kashmīr Śaivism.§

kalpa: कल्प From kṛlip, “arranged, ordered.” 1) Rules for ceremony or sacred living, as in the Kalpa Vedāṅga. 2) Determination or resolve, as in saṅkalpa. 3) A vast period of time also known as a day of Brahmā, equaling 994 mahāyugas, or 4,294,080,000 years. See: cosmic cycle, Kalpa Vedāṅga, saṅkalpa, yuga. §

Kalpa Vedāṅga: कल्पवेदाङ्ग “Procedural (or ceremonial) Veda-limb.” Also known as the Kalpa Sūtras—a body of three groups of auxiliary Vedic texts: 1) the Śrauta Sūtras and Śulba Sūtras, on public Vedic rites (yajña), 2) the Gṛihya Sūtras (or Śāstras), on domestic rites and social customs, and 3) the Dharma Śāstras (or Sūtras), on religious law. There are numerous sets of Kalpa Sūtras, composed by various ṛishis. Each set is associated with one of the four Vedas. See: Dharma Śāstra, Gṛihya Sūtras, Śrauta Śāstras, Śulba Śāstras, Vedāṅgas.§

Kalyan (Kalyāṇa): कल्याण A town in Maharashtra, South India.§

kāma: काम “Pleasure, love; desire.” Cultural, intellectual and sexual fulfillment. One of four human goals, purushārtha. See: Kāma Sūtras, purushārtha.§

kamaṇḍalu: कमण्डलु “Vessel, water jar.” Traditionally earthen or wooden, carried by sannyāsins, it symbolizes the renunciate’s simple, self-contained life. The tree from which kamaṇḍalus are traditionally made is the kamaṇḍalutaru. See: sannyāsa dharma, sannyāsin.§

Kāma Sūtra(s): कामसूत्र “Aphorisms on pleasure.” A fifth-century text by Vātsyāyana on erotics. The Kāma Śūtra and other Kāma Śāstras are sometimes classed as an Upaveda. See: Upaveda. §

Kāmika Āgama: कामिक आगम An important scripture among the 28 Śaiva Siddhānta Āgamas,widely available today. The verses from its kriyā pāda, on ritual and temple construction, are a crucial reference for South Indian priests. See: Śaiva Āgamas.§

Kanada (Kaṇāda): कणाद Founder of the Vaiśeshika Darśana, author of the Vaiśeshika Sūtras. See: shaḍ darśana.§

Kandar Anubhuti: கந்தர் அனுபூதி A mystical 51-verse poem in praise of Lord Kārttikeya-Murugan composed by the Tamil saint, Arunagirinathar (ca 1500). It describes the narrator’s arduous path to Ultimate Reality. §

Kanjamalayam (Kañjamalayam): कञ्जमलयम् One of the seven disciples of Rishi Tirumular. See: Kailāsa Paramparā.§

Kannada: One of four modern Dravidian languages, and principal medium for Vīra Śaivism. It is spoken by 20 million people, mostly in Karnataka. §

Kānphaṭi: कान्फटि (Hindi.) “Split-eared,” from the custom of splitting the cartilage of the ear to insert large earrings. The name of the ascetic order of men and women founded by Gorakshanatha (ca 950), proponents of kuṇḍalinī-haṭha yoga still today. See: earrings, Gorakshanatha, Siddha Siddhānta. §

Kāpālika: कापालिक An ascetic sect which developed out of the Pāśupatas around 500 CE and largely vanished around 1400. They earned a reputation for extreme practices. Possible predecessors of Gorakshanātha Siddha Siddhānta yogīs. See: Pāśupata Śaivism.§

kapha: कफ “Biological water.” One of the three bodily humors, called dosha, kapha is known as the water humor. Principle of cohesion. Kapha gives bodily structure and stability, lubricates, heals and bestows immunity. See: āyurveda, dosha.§

Kapila: कपिल Founder (ca 500 BCE) of the Sāṅkhya philosophy, one of the six darśanas of Hinduism. See: shaḍ darśana.§

Karaikkal Ammaiyar: காரைக்காலாம்மையார் “Respected lady from Karaikkal.” The 23rd of the 63 canonized saints of Tamil Śaivism. Great mystic, poet and yoginī, she composed important hymns, which are part of Tirumurai.§

Kāraṇa Āgama: कारण आगम One of the 28 Śaiva Siddhānta Āgamas widely available today. Its kriyā pāda forms the basis for temple rituals performed in nearly all South Indian Śiva temples. See: Śaiva Āgamas.§

kāraṇa chitta: कारणचित्त “Causal mind.” The intuitive-superconscious mind of the soul. It corresponds to the ānandamaya kośa, bliss sheath, also called kāraṇa śarīra, causal body. See: kośa, mind (five states), soul. §

Kāraṇa Hasuge: कारणहसुगे A central Vīra Śaiva scripture authored by Chennabasavanna. See: Chennabasavanna.§

kāraṇa śarīra: कारणशरीर “Causal body,” the actinic body or soul body. See: actinic, actinodic, kośa, odic, soul, subtle body.§

Kāravaṇa Māhātmya: करवणमाहात्म्य See: Pāśupata Śaivism.§

karma: कर्म “Action,” “deed.” One of the most important principles in Hindu thought, karma refers to 1) any act or deed; 2) the principle of cause and effect; 3) a consequence or fruit of action” (karmaphala) or “after effect” (uttaraphala), which sooner or later returns upon the doer. What we sow, we shall reap in this or future lives. Selfish, hateful acts (pāpakarma or kukarma) will bring suffering. Benevolent actions (puṇyakarma or sukarma) will bring loving reactions. Karma is a neutral, self-perpetuating law of the inner cosmos, much as gravity is an impersonal law of the outer cosmos. In fact, it has been said that gravity is a small, external expression of the greater law of karma. The impelling, unseen power of one’s past actions is called adṛishṭa.§

The law of karma acts impersonally, yet we may meaningfully interpret its results as either positive (puṇya) or negative (pāpa)—terms describing actions leading the soul either toward or away from the spiritual goal. Karma is further graded as: white (śukla), black (kṛishṇa), mixed (śukla-kṛishṇa) or neither white nor black (aśukla-akṛishṇa). The latter term describes the karma of the jñānī, who, as Rishi Patanjali says, is established in kaivalya, freedom from prakṛiti through realization of the Self. Similarly, one’s karma must be in a condition of aśukla-akṛishṇa, quiescent balance, in order for liberation to be attained. This equivalence of karma is called karmasāmya, and is a factor that brings malaparipakam, or maturity of āṇava mala. It is this state of resolution in preparation for samādhi at death that all Hindus seek through making amends and settling differences.§

Karma is threefold: sañchita, prārabdha and kriyamāna. —sañchita karma: “Accumulated actions.” The sum of all karmas of this life and past lives. —prārabdha karma: “Actions begun; set in motion.” That portion of sañchita karma that is bearing fruit and shaping the events and conditions of the current life, including the nature of one’s bodies, personal tendencies and associations. —kriyamāna karma: “Being made.” The karma being created and added to sañchita in this life by one’s thoughts, words and actions, or in the inner worlds between lives. Kriyamāna karma is also called āgāmi, “coming, arriving,” and vartamāna, “living, set in motion.” While some kriyamāna karmas bear fruit in the current life, others are stored for future births. Each of these types can be divided into two categories: ārabdha (literally, “begun, undertaken;” karma that is “sprouting”), and anārabdha (“not commenced; dormant”), or “seed karma.”§

In a famed analogy, karma is compared to rice in its various stages. Sañchita karma, the residue of one’s total accumulated actions, is likened to rice that has been harvested and stored in a granary. From the stored rice, a small portion has been removed, husked and readied for cooking and eating. This is prārabdha karma, past actions that are shaping the events of the present. Meanwhile, new rice, mainly from the most recent harvest of prārabdha karma, is being planted in the field that will yield a future crop and be added to the store of rice. This is kriyamāna karma, the consequences of current actions.§

In Śaivism, karma is one of three principal bonds of the soul, along with āṇava and māyā. Karma is the driving force that brings the soul back again and again into human birth in the evolutionary cycle of transmigration called saṁsāra. When all earthly karmas are resolved and the Self has been realized, the soul is liberated from rebirth. This is the goal of all Hindus.§

For each of the three kinds of karma there is a different method of resolution. Nonattachment to the fruits of action, along with daily rites of worship and strict adherence to the codes of dharma, stops the accumulation of kriyamāna. Prārabdha karma is resolved only through being experienced and lived through. Sañchita karma, normally inaccessible, is burned away only through the grace and dīkshā of the satguru, who prescribes sādhana and tapas for the benefit of the śishya. Through the sustained kuṇḍalinī heat of this extreme penance, the seeds of unsprouted karmas are fried, and therefore will never sprout in this or future lives. See: dīkshā, grace.§

Like the fourfold edict of dharma, the threefold edict of karma has both individual and impersonal dimensions. Personal karma is thus influenced by broader contexts, sometimes known as family karma, community karma, national karma, global karma and universal karma. See: āṇava, fate, māyā, moksha, pāpa, pāśa, puṇya, sin, soul. §

karmasāmya: कर्मसाम्य “Balance or equipoise of karma.” See: karma.§

karmāśaya: कर्माशय “Holder of karma.” Describes the body of the soul, or ānandamaya kośa. See: karma, kośa. §

karma yoga: कर्मयोग “Union through action.” The path of selfless service. See: yoga.§

Karnataka (Karṇāṭaka): कर्णाटक Southwest state of modern India, where Vijayanagara flourished. Vīra Śaivism is centered here. Population 25 million, area 74,043 square miles.§

karṇavedha: कर्णवेध “Ear-piercing.” See: saṁskāras of childhood.§

Kārttikeya: कार्त्तिकेय Child of the Pleiades, from Kṛittikā, “Pleiades.” A son of Śiva. A great Mahādeva worshiped in all parts of India and the world. Also known as Murugan, Kumāra, Skanda, Shaṇmukhanātha, Subrahmaṇya and more, He is the God who guides that part of evolution which is religion, the transformation of the instinctive into a divine wisdom through the practice of yoga. He holds the holy vel of jñāna śakti,which is His Power to vanquish darkness or ignorance. §

Kārttikeya Stotram: कार्त्तिकेयस्तोत्रं A subdivision (Rudrāyamala Tantra) of the Śākta Tantras dedicated to God Kārttikeya. See: Kārttikeya.§

karuṇā: करुणा “Compassionate; loving, full of grace.” §

Kāruṇa Āgama: कारुण आगम One of the 28 Āgamas of Śaiva Siddhānta. See: Śaiva Āgamas.§

Karunakara Kadavul: கருணாகரக் கடவுள் Hymn by the Tamil saint, Tayumanavar (1705‒1742), in praise of Lord Śiva. See: Tayumanavar. §

kāruṇya: कारुण्य “Compassion, kindness, love.” In Śaivism, an alternate term for Śiva’s revealing grace, anugraha śakti. See: anugraha śakti, grace.§

kāshāya: काषाय “Brownish-red.” The color of sannyāsins’ robes. See: kavi. §

Kashmir (Kaśmīra): कश्मीर The northernmost area of India, part of the present-day state of Jammu and Kashmir. It figures prominently in the history of Śaivism. Area 115,000 square miles, under dispute between India and Pakistan. Population is six million in the Indian sector. §

Kashmīr Śaivism: कश्मीरशैव In this mildly theistic and intensely monistic school founded by Vasugupta around 850, Śiva is immanent and transcendent. Purification and yoga are strongly emphasized. Kashmīr Śaivism provides an extremely rich and detailed understanding of the human psyche, and a clear and distinct path of kuṇḍalinī-siddha yoga to the goal of Self Realization. The Kashmīr Śaivite is not so much concerned with worshiping a personal God as he is with attaining the transcendental state of Śiva consciousness. Sādhana leads to the assimilation of the object (world) in the subject (I) until the Self (Śiva) stands revealed as one with the universe. The goal—liberation—is sustained recognition (pratyabhijñā) of one’s true Self as nothing but Śiva. There are three upāya, or stages of attainment of God consciousness: āṇavopāya (yoga), śāktopāya (spiritual discrimination), śāmbhavopāya (attainment through the guru’s instruction) and anupāya, or “no means” (spontaneous realization without effort). Kashmīr Śaivite literature is in three broad divisions: Āgama Śāstras, Spanda Śāstras and Pratyabhijñā Śāstras. Today various organizations promulgate the esoteric teachings. While the number of Kashmīr Śaivite formal followers is uncertain, the school remains an important influence in India. See: Śaivism, upāya.§

kathā: कथा “Story; discussion.” Also, the literary form involving the telling of stories. Kathakas are bards, storytellers. See: folk-narratives, mythology. §

Kaṭha Upanishad: कठ उपनिषद् One of the major Upanishads, belonging to the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇaof the Yajur Veda. This scripture contains the famous story of Nachiketas who extracts from Yama, Lord of Death, the knowledge of liberation to be had through realization of the Supreme. §

Kathirgāma Purāṇa: कथिर्गामपुराण A secondary scripture regarding the famous central Sri Lankan abode of Lord Murugan (Kārttikeya).§

Kaundinya (Kauṇḍinya): कौण्डिन्य Author of a commentary on the Pāśupata Sūtras (ca 500). See: Pāśupata Śaivism, Pāśupata Sūtras.§

Kaurusha: कौरुष One of four known disciples of Lakulisa. See: Lakulisa, Pāśupata Śaivism.§

Kaushītakī Upanishad: कौषीतकी उपनिषद् A major Upanishad belonging to the Ṛig Veda. It discusses: 1) the course of souls after death, 2) the doctrine of prāṇa as related to ātman, 3) attainment of moksha.§

Kautiliya (Kauṭilīya): कौटिलीय See: Arthaveda. §

kavadi: காவடி A penance offered to Lord Murugan-Kārttikeya, especially during Tai Pusam, consisting of carrying in procession a heavy, beautifully decorated, wooden object from which pots of milk hang which are to be used for His abhisheka. Often the penitent’s tongue and other parts of the body are pierced with small silver spears or hooks. See: penance.§

kavi: காவி “Ocher-saffron color.” A Tamil term referring to the color taken on by the robes of sādhus who sit, meditate or live on the banks of the Ganges. Names the color of the sannyāsin’s robes. The Sanskrit equivalent is kāshāya. §

kāya siddhi: कायसिद्धि In Siddha Siddhānta, as well as Śaiva Siddhānta and other yoga traditions, the process by which a yogī transforms his body from physical to spiritual substance to attain deathlessness. See: siddhi.§

Kayavarohana (Kāyāvarohaṇa): कायावरोहण Birthplace of Lakulisa, most prominent guru of Pāśupata Śaivism, in India’s present-day state of Baroda. See: Lakulisa.§

Kedaresvara Temple: केदारेश्वर A temple in Karnataka which belonged to the Kālāmukha sect of Śaivism. Inscriptions upon it (1162) are a main source of knowledge about this now nearly extinct sect. See: Kālāmukha. §

Kena Upanishad: केन उपनिषद् Belongs to the Talavakāra Brāhmaṇaof the Sāma Veda. It is a discourse upon Brahman, Absolute Reality and His worship as personal God. See: Upanishad.§

Kerala: केरल The small Indian state, formerly called Konkan (Koṅkaṇ), along the southwestern tip of India. Area 15,000 square miles, population 25 million.§

keśānta: केशान्त “Beard-shaving.” See: saṁskāras of adulthood.§

kevala avasthā: केवल अवस्था “Stage of oneness, aloneness.” (Tamil: avasthai.) In Śaiva Siddhānta, the first of three stages of the soul’s evolution, a state beginning with its emanation or spawning by Lord Śiva as an etheric form unaware of itself, a spark of the Divine shrouded in a cloud of darkness known as āṇava. Here the soul is likened to a seed hidden in the ground, yet to germinate and unfold its potential. See: āṇava, avasthā, evolution of the soul, sakala avasthā, soul, śuddha avasthā.§

kindred: Family, relatives, kin. See: extended family, joint family.§

kīrtana: कीर्तन “Praising.” Devotional singing and dancing in celebration of God, Gods and guru. An important form of congregational worship in many Hindu sects. See: bhajana, congregational worship.§

knower: One who knows. In philosophy, that within conscious beings which understands or is conscious. See: awareness, chit, jñāna, sākshin. §

konrai: கொன்றை The Golden Shower tree, Cassia fistula; symbol of Śiva’s cascading, abundant, golden grace. §

Koran: The Islamic religion’s sacred book, God’s word transmitted through the angel Gabriel to Mohammed, the prophet of Islam. Its official version appeared around 650, 18 years after Mohammed’s death.§

kośa: कोश “Sheath; vessel, container; layer.” Philosophically, five sheaths through which the soul functions simultaneously in the various planes or levels of existence. They are sometimes compared to the layers of an onion. The kośas, in order of increasing subtlety, are as follows. —annamaya kośa: “Sheath composed of food.” The physical or odic body, coarsest of sheaths in comparison to the faculties of the soul, yet indispensable for evolution and Self Realization, because only within it can all fourteen chakras fully function. See: chakra. —prāṇamaya kośa: “Sheath composed of prāṇa (vital force).” Also known as the prāṇic or health body, or the etheric body or etheric double, it coexists within the physical body as its source of life, breath and vitality, and is its connection with the astral body. Prāṇa moves in the prāṇamaya kośa as five primary currents or vayus, “vital airs or winds.” Prāṇamaya kośa disintegrates at death along with the physical body. See: prāṇa —manomaya kośa: “Mind-formed sheath.” The lower astral body, from manas, “thought, will, wish.” The instinctive-intellectual sheath of ordinary thought, desire and emotion. It is the seat of the indriyas, sensory and motor organs, respectively called jñānendriyas and karmendriyas. The manomaya kośa takes form as the physical body develops and is discarded in the inner worlds before rebirth. It is understood in two layers: 1) the odic-causal sheath (buddhi) and 2) the odic-astral sheath (manas). See: indriya, manas. —vijñānamaya kośa: “Sheath of cognition.” The mental or cognitive-intuitive sheath, also called the actinodic sheath. It is the vehicle of higher thought, vijñāna—understanding, knowing, direct cognition, wisdom, intuition and creativity. —ānandamaya kośa: “Body of bliss.” The intuitive-superconscious sheath or actinic-causal body. This inmost soul form (svarūpa) is the ultimate foundation of all life, intelligence and higher faculties. Its essence is Parāśakti (Pure Consciousness) and Paraśiva (the Absolute). Ānandamaya kośa is not a sheath in the same sense as the four outer kośas. It is the soul itself, a body of light, also called kāraṇa śarīra, causal body, and karmāśaya, holder of karmas of this and all past lives. Kāraṇa chitta, “causal mind,” names the soul’s superconscious mind, of which Parāśakti (or Satchidānanda) is the rarified substratum. Ānandamaya kośa is that which evolves through all incarnations and beyond until the soul’s ultimate, fulfilled merger, viśvagrāsa, in the Primal Soul, Parameśvara. Then ānandamaya kośa becomes Śivamayakośa, the body of God Śiva.§

The physical body (annamaya kośa) is also called sthūla śarīra, “gross body.” The soul body (ānandamaya kośa) is also called kāraṇa śarīra, “causal body.” The prāṇamaya, manomaya and vijñānamaya kośas together comprise the sūkshma śarīra, “subtle body,” with the prāṇamaya shell disintegrating at death. See: actinic, actinodic, manomaya kośa, niyati, odic, śarīra, soul, subtle body. §

Kṛishṇa: कृष्ण “Black.” Also related to kṛishṭiḥ, meaning “drawing, attracting.” One of the most popular Gods of the Hindu pantheon. He is worshiped by Vaishṇavas as the eighth avatāra, incarnation, of Vishṇu. He is best known as the Supreme Personage depicted in the Mahābhārata, and specifically in the Bhagavad Gītā. For Gauḍīya Vaishṇavism, Kṛishṇa is the Godhead. §

Kṛittikā Dīpam: कृत्तिकादीपम् A joyous one-day festival on the Kṛittikā nakshatra (Pleiades constellation), in November-December, when God Śiva is worshiped as an infinite pillar of light. Great bonfires are lit at night on hills and in villages in India and elsewhere to represent the divine, all-permeating light of Parāśakti. See: festival.§

kriyā: क्रिया “Action.” 1) In a general sense, kriyā can refer to doing of any kind. Specifically, it names religious action, especially rites or ceremonies. 2) In yoga terminology, kriyā names involuntary physical movements occuring during meditation that are pretended or caused by lack of emotional self-control or by the premature or unharnessed arousal of the kuṇḍalinī. 3) Various traditional haṭha yoga techniques for cleansing the mucous membranes. 4) The second stage of the Śaiva path, religious action, or kriyā pāda. See: pāda.§

Kriyākramadyotikā: क्रियाक्रमद्योतिका A manual by Aghorasiva (ca 1050) detailing Āgamic Śaiva ritual. It is used widely by South Indian priests today. §

kriyamāna karma: क्रियमानकर्म “Actions being made.” See: karma. §

kriyā pāda: क्रियापाद “Stage of religious action; worship.” The stage of worship and devotion, second of four progressive stages of maturation on the Śaiva Siddhānta path of attainment. See: pāda. §

kriyā śakti: क्रियाशक्ति “Action power.” The universal force of doing. See: Śakti, triśūla.§

kshamā: क्षमा “Forebearance.” See: yama-niyama. §

kshatriya: क्षत्रिय “Governing; sovereign.” The social class of lawmakers, law-enforcers and military. See: varṇa dharma.§

Kūḍalasaṅgama: कूडलसङ्गम A name of Śiva meaning “Lord of rivers’ confluence.” §

kula: कुल “Family; home; group of families.” See: extended family, joint family.§

kula guru: कुलगुरु The spiritual preceptor of the family or extended family. §

Kulārṇava Tantra: कुलार्णवतन्त्र A leading scripture of the Kaula school of Śāktism. It comprises 17 chapters totaling 2,058 verses which focus on ways to liberation, with notable chapters on the guru-śishya relationship.§

Kumāra: कुमार “Virgin youth; ever-youthful.” A name of Lord Kārttikeya as an eternal bachelor. See: Kārttikeya.§

kumbha: कुम्भ “Jar or pot; water vessel.”§

kuṇḍalinī: कुण्डलिनी “She who is coiled; serpent power.” The primordial cosmic energy in every individual which, at first, lies coiled like a serpent at the base of the spine and eventually, through the practice of yoga, rises up the sushumṇā nāḍī. As it rises, the kuṇḍalinī awakens each successive chakra. Nirvikalpa samādhi, enlightenment, comes as it pierces through the door of Brahman at the core of the sahasrāra and enters! Kuṇḍalinī śakti then returns to rest in any one of the seven chakras. Śivasāyujya is complete when the kuṇḍalinī arrives back in the sahasrāra and remains coiled in this crown chakra. See: chakra, door of Brahman, nāḍī, samādhi, spiritual unfoldment, tantrism.§

kuṇḍalinī yoga: कुण्डलिनीयोग “Uniting the serpent power.” Advanced meditative practices and sādhana techniques, a part of rāja yoga, performed to deliberately arouse the kuṇḍalinī power and guide it up the spine into the crown chakra, sahasrāra. In its highest form, this yoga is the natural result of sādhanas and tapas well performed, rather than a distinct system of striving and teaching in its own right. §

kuṅkuma: कुंकुम “Saffron; red.” The red powder, made of turmeric and lime, worn by Hindus as the pottu or bindu, dot, at the point of the third eye on the forehead. Names the saffron plant, Crocus sativus, and its pollen.§

Kūrma Purāṇa: कूर्मपुराण “The Tortoise Saga.” One of the six Śiva Purāṇas, it glorifies the worship of Śiva and Durgā. §

Kurukshetra: कुरुक्षेत्र An extensive plain near Delhi, scene of the great war between the Kauravas and Pandavas (Pāṇḍavas). See: Bhagavad Gītā, Mahābhārata.§

Kusika (Kuśika): कुशिक One of four known disciples of Lakulisa. §

kuttuvilaku: குத்துவிளக்கு A standing metal lamp kept in the temple, shrine room or home. It is made of metal, with several wicks fed by ghee or special oils. Used to light the home and used in pūjā. Part of temple and shrine altars, the standing lamp is sometimes worshiped as the divine light, Parāśakti or Parajyoti. Returning from the temple and lighting one’s kuttuvilaku courts the accompanying devas to remain in the home and channels the vibration of the temple sanctum sanctorum into the home shrine. Called dīpastambha in Sanskrit. §

kuṭumba: कुटुम्ब “Joint family.” See: extended family, joint family.


imageLakshmī: लक्ष्मी “Mark or sign,” often of success or prosperity. Śakti, the Universal Mother, as Goddess of wealth. The mythological consort of Vishṇu. Usually depicted on a lotus flower. Prayers are offered to Lakshmī for wealth, beauty and peace. See: Goddess, Śakti.§

Lakulisa (Lakulīśa): लकुलिस The most prominent guru (ca 200) of the ancient Pāśupata school of Śaivism. The Pāśupata Sūtras are attributed to him. See: Śaivism.§

Lalla (Lallā): (Lalāsa ललास in Sanskrit.) A Kashmīr Śaivite saint (ca 1300) whose intensely mystical poems, Lallā Vākyāni, describe her inner experiences of oneness with Śiva. See: Kashmīr Śaivism.§

lance: A spear. See: Kārttikeya, vel.§

larder: Pantry; room where food supplies are kept.§

laud: To praise. To sing, chant or speak the glories of.§

lavish: Very abundant in giving or spending.§

left-handed: Vāma mārga. A term describing certain tantric practices where the instincts and intellect are transcended, and detachment is sought through practices and behavior which are contrary to orthodox social norms. See: tantra, tantrika, tantrism.§

legend: A story of uncertain historical basis, transmitted from generation to generation. See: folk narratives, kathā, mythology.§

legislate: To make or pass laws. §

legitimate: According to the rules or the law. Authentic; reasonable.§

lekhaprārtha havana: लेखप्रार्थहवन “Written-prayer-burning rite.” A term coined for the ancient practice of sending written prayers to the Gods by burning them in a sanctified fire in a temple or shrine. Alternately this rite can be performed at other appropriate sites, with four persons sitting around a fire and chanting to create a temporary temple. Prayers can be written in any language, but should be clearly legible, in black ink on white paper. The devas have provided a special script, called Tyēīf, especially for this purpose. Its letters, from A to Z, which replace the letters of the Roman script, looks like this: §


lest: For fear that a thing might happen.§

liberal Hinduism: A synonym for Smārtism and the closely related neo-Indian religion. See: neo-Indian religion, Smārtism, universalist.§

liberation: Moksha, release from the bonds of pāśa, after which the soul is liberated from saṁsāra (the round of births and deaths). In Śaiva Siddhānta, pāśa is the threefold bondage of āṇava, karma and māyā, which limit and confine the soul to the reincarnational cycle so that it may evolve. Moksha is freedom from the fettering power of these bonds, which do not cease to exist, but no longer have the power to fetter or bind the soul. See: jīvanmukti, mala, moksha, pāśa, reincarnation, satguru, Self Realization, soul. §

licentious: Morally unrestrained, especially in sexual behavior.§

light: In an ordinary sense, a form of energy which makes physical objects visible to the eye. In a religious-mystical sense, light also illumines inner objects (i.e., mental images). —inner light: light perceived inside the head and body, of which there are varying intensities. When the karmas have been sufficiently quieted, the meditator can see and enjoy inner light independently of mental images. —moon-like inner light: Inner light perceived at a first level of intensity, glowing softly, much like the moon. The meditator’s first experience of it is an important milestone in unfoldment. —clear white light: Inner light at a high level of intensity, very clear and pure. When experienced fully, it is seen to be permeating all of existence, the universal substance of all form, inner and outer, pure consciousness, Satchidānanda. This experience, repeated at regular intervals, can yield “a knowing greater than you could acquire at any university or institute of higher learning.” See: Śiva consciousness, tattva.§

Liṅga: लिङ्ग “Mark.” See: Śivaliṅga, svayambhū Liṅga. §

Liṅgāchāra: लिङ्गाचार Daily worship of the Śivaliṅga. One of the five essential codes of conduct for Vīra Śaivites. See: Pañchāchāra, Vīra Śaivism. §

Liṅga Dīkshā: लिङ्गदीक्षा The Vīra Śaiva initiation ceremony in which the guru ties a small Śivaliṅga (Ishṭaliṅga) around the neck of the devotee and enjoins him to worship it twice daily. This initiation replaces the sacred thread ceremony, upanayana. See: Vīra Śaivism.§

Liṅga Purāṇa: लिङ्ग पुराण One of the six principal Śiva Purāṇas. This text explains the purushārthas (the four goals of life) and the significance of Śivaliṅga worship. See: Purāṇa.§

Liṅgāshṭakam: लिङ्गाष्टकम् A short hymn of eight verses in praise of the Śivaliṇga.§

Liṅgavanta: लिङ्गवन्त “Wearer of the Liṅga.” (Hindi: Liṅgāyat.) Alternate term for Vīra Śaivite. See: Vīra Śaivism. §

liturgy: The proper, prescribed forms of ritual.§

loka: लोक “World, habitat, realm, or plane of existence.” From loc, “to shine, be bright, visible.” A dimension of manifest existence; cosmic region. Each loka reflects or involves a particular range of consciousness. The three primary lokas are 1) Bhūloka: “Earth world.” The world perceived through the five senses, also called the gross plane, as it is the most dense of the worlds. 2) Antarloka: “Inner or in-between world.” Known in English as the subtle or astral plane, the intermediate dimension between the physical and causal worlds, where souls in their astral bodies sojourn between incarnations and when they sleep. 3) Śivaloka: “World of Śiva,” and of the Gods and highly evolved souls. The causal plane, also called Kāraṇaloka, existing deep within the Antarloka at a higher level of vibration, it is a world of superconsciousness and extremely refined energy. It is the plane of creativity and intuition, the quantum level of the universe, where souls exist in self-effulgent bodies made of actinic particles of light. It is here that God and Gods move and lovingly guide the evolution of all the worlds and shed their ever-flowing grace. Its vibratory rate is that of the viśuddha, ājñā and sahasrāra chakras and those above. From the perspective of the seven worlds, the Śivaloka is of three levels: Janaloka, “creative plane” (viśuddha chakra); Tapoloka, “plane of austerity” (ājñā chakra); and Satyaloka, “plane of reality” (sahasrāra chakra); also called Brahmaloka.§

The Antarloka and Śivaloka are the ever-present substratum of physical existence, most frequently experienced by humans during sleep and deep meditation. Each loka is a microcosm of the next higher world, which is its macrocosm, e.g., the physical plane is a microcosm (a smaller and less-refined version) of the Antarloka. See: three worlds.§

lotus āsana: The most famous of haṭha yoga poses and the optimum position for meditation. It is known as the padmāsana (lotus pose), as the legs are crossed, turning the soles of the feet up, which then resemble a lotus flower. See: āsana, haṭha yoga.§

lute: A stringed instrument of highly pleasant sound.


imagemacrocosm: “Great world or universe.” See: microcosm-macrocosm, piṇḍa, three worlds. §

Madhumateya: मधुमतेय A Śaiva Siddhānta monastic order founded by Pavanasiva, preceptor of the Kalachuri kings of Central India.§

Madhva (Mādhva): माध्व South Indian Vaishṇava saint (1197–1278) who expounded a purely dualistic (pluralistic) Vedānta in which there is an essential and eternal distinction between God, soul and world, and between all beings and things. He is also one of the few Hindus to have taught the existence of an eternal hell where lost souls would be condemned to suffer forever. See: dvaita-advaita, Vedānta. §

mahā: महा An adjective or prefix meaning “great.”§

Mahābhārata: महाभारत “Great Epic of India.” The world’s longest epic poem. It revolves around the conflict between two kingdoms, the Pandavas (Pāṇḍavas) and Kauravas, and their great battle of Kurukshetra near modern Delhi in approximately 1424 BCE. Woven through the plot are countless discourses on philosophy, religion, astronomy, cosmology, polity, economics and many stories illustrative of simple truths and ethical principles. The Bhagavad Gītā is one section of the work. The Mahābhārata is revered as scripture by Vaishṇavites and Smārtas. See: Bhagavad Gītā, Itihāsa.§

Mahādeva: महादेव “Great shining one; God.” Referring either to God Śiva or any of the highly evolved beings who live in the Śivaloka in their natural, effulgent soul bodies. God Śiva in His perfection as Primal Soul is one of the Mahādevas, yet He is unique and incomparable in that He alone is uncreated, the Father-Mother and Destiny of all other Mahādevas. He is called Parameśvara, “Supreme God.” He is the Primal Soul, whereas the other Gods are individual souls. It is said in scripture that there are 330 million Gods. See: Gods, monotheism, Parameśvara, Śiva.§

Mahādeva Mountain: See: Vasugupta.§

Mahākāla: महाकाल “Great time,” or “dissolver of time.” One of the names and forms of Śiva. Mahākāla is Time beyond time, who devours all things and forms and, by so doing, helps the soul transcend all dualities. Mystically, time devours itself and thus the timeless state is achieved. See: tattva.§

mahākuṭumba: महाकुटुम्ब “Great or extended family.” See: extended family. §

mahāmaṇḍapa: महामण्डप “Great hall.” Main, outer assembly hall in the temple where devotees gather for ceremony. See: maṇḍapa, temple.§

Mahānārāyaṇa Upanishad: महानारायण उपनिषद् A philosophical text of the Kṛishṇa Yajur Veda.§

Mahānirvāṇa Tantra: महानिर्वाणतन्त्र “Treatise on the great emancipation.” An 11th-century advaita scripture dealing with mantra and esoteric rituals. §

mahāpralaya: महाप्रलय “Great dissolution.” Total annihilation of the universe at the end of a mahākalpa. It is the absorption of all existence, including time, space and individual consciousness, all the lokas and their inhabitants into God Śiva, as the water of a river returns to its source, the sea. Then Śiva alone exists in His three perfections, until He again issues forth creation. During this incredibly vast period there are many partial dissolutions, pralayas, when either the Bhūloka or the Bhūloka and the Antarloka are destroyed. See: cosmic cycle, pralaya.§

mahāprasthāna: महाप्रस्थान “Great departure.” Death. See: death, transition.§

mahārāja: महाराज “Great king.” Indian monarch. Title of respect for political or (in modern times) spiritual leaders. §

Maharashtra (Mahārāshṭra): महाराष्ट्र Central state of modern India whose capital is Mumbai. Area 118,717 square miles, population 63 million. §

maharishi (maharshi): महर्षि “Great seer.” Title for the greatest and most influential of siddhas. §

Maharloka: महर्लोक “Plane of greatness.” From mahas, “greatness, might, power, glory.” Also called the Devaloka, this fourth highest of the seven upper worlds is the mental plane, or higher astral plane, realm of anāhata chakra. See: loka. §

mahāsākāra-piṇḍa: महासाकार पिण्ड “Great manifest body.” In Siddha Siddhānta Śaivism, the first manifestation of Śiva out of the transcendent state. From it all of existence issues forth. See: piṇḍa. §

mahāsamādhi: महासमाधि “Great enstasy.” The death, or dropping off of the physical body, of a great soul, an event occasioned by tremendous blessings. Also names the shrine in which the remains of a great soul are entombed. mahāsamādhi day: Anniversary of the transition of a great soul. See: cremation, death, reincarnation, samādhi, transition.§

Mahāśivarātri: महाशिवरात्रि “Śiva’s great night.” Śaivism’s foremost festival, celebrated on the night before the new moon in February-March. Fasting and an all-night vigil are observed as well as other disciplines: chanting, praying, meditating and worshiping Śiva as the Source and Self of all that exists. See: festival.§

mahātala: महातल Sixth netherworld. Region of consciencelessness. See: chakra.§

mahātma: महात्म “Great soul.” Honorific title for those held in highest esteem, especially saints. See: ātman.§

mahāvākya: महावाक्य “Great saying.” A profound aphorism from scripture or a holy person. The most famous are four Upanishadic proclamations: Prajanam Brahma, “Pure consciousness is God,” (Aitareya Upanishad); Aham Brahmāsmi, “I am God” (Bṛihadāraṇyaka Upanishad); Tat tvam asi, “Thou art That” (Çhandogya Upanishad); and Ayam ātma Brahma, “The soul is God” (Māṇḍūkya Upanishad).§

Mahavira (Mahāvīra): महावीर Founder of Jainism, ca 500 BCE.. See: Jainism.§

maheśa: महेश “Great God.” Term used by Vīra Śaivites to mean charity, seeing all as God. See: shaṭsthala.§

Maheśvara: महेश्वर “Great Lord.” In Śaiva Siddhānta, the name of Śiva’s energy of veiling grace, one of five aspects of Parameśvara, the Primal Soul. Maheśvara is alsoa popular name for Lord Śiva as Primal Soul and personal Lord. See: Cosmic Dance, Naṭarāja, Parameśvara. §

Maitreya: मैत्रेय One of four known disciples of Lakulisa. See: Pāśupata Śaivism.§

Maitrī Upanishad: मैत्री उपनिषद् Belongs to the Maitrāyaṇīya branch of the Kṛishṇa Yajur Veda. A later Upanishad covering Aum, outer nature, the Self, control of the mind, etc.§

mala: मल “Impurity.” An important term in Śaivism referring to three bonds, called pāśa—āṇava, karma, and māyā—which limit the soul, preventing it from knowing its true, divine nature. See: liberation, pāśa.§

mālā: माला “Garland.” A strand of beads for holy recitation, japa, usually made of rudrāksha, tulasī, sandalwood or crystal. Also a flower garland. §

Malangam (Malaṅgam): मलगंम् One of the seven disciples of Rishi Tirumular. See: Kailāsa Paramparā.§

malaparipakam: மலபரிபாகம் “Ripening of bonds.” The state attained after the three malas, āṇava, karma and māyā, are brought under control during marul, the second stage of the sakala avasthā. At this time, the Lord’s concealing grace, tirodhāna śakti, has accomplished its work, giving way to anugraha, His revealing grace, leading to the descent of grace, śaktinipāta. See: āṇava, anugraha, karma, malas, marul, māyā, sakala avasthā, śaktinipāta, tirodhāna śakti.§

Mālatī-Mādhava: मालतीमाधव A Sanskrit play by Bhavabhuti (Bhavabhūti) (ca 500). Primarily a love story, it contains incidental descriptions of the Kāpālika Śaivite sect of ascetics.§

malice: Ill will; desire or intent to do harm to another, generally without conscience. See: mahātala, pātāla.§

Maligaideva (Māligaideva): मलिगैदेव See: Kailāsa Paramparā.§

manana: मनन “Thinking; deep reflection.” See: self-reflection.§

manas: मनस् “Mind; understanding.” The lower or instinctive mind, seat of desire and governor of sensory and motor organs, called indriyas. Manas is termed the undisciplined, empirical mind. Manas is characterized by desire, determination, doubt, faith, lack of faith, steadfastness, lack of steadfastness, shame, intellection and fear. It is a faculty of manomaya kośa, the lower astral or instinctive-intellectual sheath. See: awareness, indriya, instinctive mind, manomaya kośa, mind (individual). §

manas chitta: मनस् चित्त “Instinctive mind.” See: instinctive mind, manas, manomaya kośa.§

maṇḍala: मण्डल “Circle; orb;” “mystic diagram.” A circle. Name of the chapters of the Ṛig Veda Saṁhitā. A circular diagram without beginning or end—which indicates the higher and the lower and other possibilities—upon which one meditates. A tapestry, picture or grouping of words used in meditation to enter the realms depicted.§

maṇḍapa: मण्डप From maṇḍ, “to deck, adorn.” Temple precinct; a temple compound, open hall or chamber. In entering a large temple, one passes through a series of maṇḍapas, each named according to its position, e.g., mukhamaṇḍapa, “front chamber.” In some temples, maṇḍapas are concentrically arranged. See: mahāmaṇḍapa, temple.§

mandira: मन्दिर Temple; abode.” See: devamandira, temple. §

Māṇḍūkya Upanishad: माण्डूक्य उपनिषद् A “principal” Upanishad (belonging to the Atharva Veda) which, in 12 concise verses, teaches of Aum and the four states (avasthā) of awareness: waking (viśva), dreaming (taijasa), dreamless sleep (prājña) and transcendent, spiritual consciousness (turīya). §

maṅgala kriyā: मङ्गलक्रिया “Auspicious action or practice.” Hindu culture.§

Mangalavede (Maṅgalavede): मङ्गलवेदे A town in Karnataka, South India. §

manifest: To show or reveal. Perceivable or knowable, therefore having form. The opposite of unmanifest or transcendent. See: formless, tattva.§

manifold: Varied. Having many forms, aspects, parts.§

Manikkavasagar: மாணிக்கவாசகர் “He of ruby-like utterances.” Tamil saint who contributed to the medieval Śaivite renaissance (ca 850). He gave up his position as prime minister to follow a renunciate life. His poetic Tiruvasagam, “Holy utterances”—a major Śaiva Siddhānta scripture (part of the eighth Tirumurai) and a jewel of Tamil literature—express his aspirations, trials and yogic realizations. See: Nalvar, Tirumurai.§

maṇipūra chakra: मणिपूरचक्र “Wheeled city of jewels.” Solar-plexus center of willpower. See: chakra.§

mankolam: மாங்கோலம் “Mango design.” The paisley, a stylized image of the mango, symbol of auspiciousness, associated with Lord Gaṇeśa.§

manomaya kośa: मनोमयकोश “Mind-made sheath.” The instinctive-intellectual aspect of the soul’s subtle body (sūkshma śarīra), also called the odic-astral sheath. It is the sheath of ordinary thought, desire and emotion. The manomaya kośa is made up of odic prāṇa and is almost an exact duplicate of the physical body. However, changes that appear upon the physical body, such as aging, first occur within the structure of this sheath of the astral body. This is the sheath of the subconscious mind; it can be easily disturbed and is sometimes called the emotional body. See: astral body, instinctive mind, kośa, odic, soul, subtle body, vāsanā.§

mānsāhāra: मांसाहार “Meat-eating.” §

mānsāhārī: मांसाहारी “Meat-eater.” Those who follow a non-vegetarian diet. See: meat-eater, vegetarian.§

mantra: मन्त्र “Mystic formula.” A sound, syllable, word or phrase endowed with special power, usually drawn from scripture. Mantras are chanted loudly during pūjā to invoke the Gods and establish a spiritual force field. Certain mantras are repeated softly or mentally for japa, the subtle tones quieting the mind, harmonizing the inner bodies and stimulating latent spiritual qualities. Hinduism’s universal mantra is Aum. To be truly effective, such mantras must be given by the preceptor through initiation. See: Aum, incantation, japa, pūjā, yajña. §

Mantra Gopya: मन्त्रगोप्य The collected writings of Allama Prabhu. See: Allama Prabhu.§

Manu Dharma Śāstra: मनुधर्मशास्त्र Sage “Manu’s law book.” An encyclopedic treatise of 2,685 verses on Hindu law assembled as early as 600 BCE. Among its major features are the support of varṇa dharma, āśrama dharma, strī dharma and seeing the Self in all beings. Despite its caste-based restrictions, which determine one’s status in life unrelentlingly from birth to death, it remains the source of much of modern Hindu culture and law. These “Laws of Manu” are the oldest and considered the most authoritative of the greater body of Dharma Śāstras. Even during the time of the British Raj in India, law was largely based on these texts. The text is widely available today in several languages. (Bühler’s English translation is 500 pages.) See: caste, dharma, Dharma Śāstras, Kalpa Vedāṅga. §

mārga: मार्ग “Path; way.” From mārg, “to seek.” See: pāda.§

marital: Having to do with marriage. See: gṛihastha, gṛiheśvara and gṛihaṇī.§

Mariyamman: மாரியம்மன் “Smallpox Goddess,” protectress from plagues. See: Amman, Śakti, Śāktism.§

marriage: The joining of a man and woman for a lifetime as husband and wife for the purpose of establishing a stable family unit in which to experience the joys and challenges of bringing forth and rearing their children and perpetuating the Śaiva Dharma. Marriage is a threefold bond: a religious sacrament, a human contract and a civil institution.§

marriage covenant: The written (or verbal) statements of bride and groom expressing the promises and expectations of their marriage. Known in Sanskrit as vāṅniśchaya, “settlement by word.” §

marul: மருள் “Confusion.” The second of the three stages of the sakala avasthā, when the soul is “caught” between the world and God and begins to seek knowledge of its own true nature (paśu-jñāna). See: paśu-jñāna, sakala avasthā.§

Mātaṅga Parameśvara Āgama: मातङ्गपरमेश्वर आगम Among the 28 Śaiva Siddhānta Āgamas, containing 3,500 verses, deals at length with the categories of existence (tattvas). The Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia is thought to have been built using the temple section of this scripture. See: Śaiva Āgamas.§

material cause: Upādāna kāraṇa. The substance of creation, māyā, Śiva’s “mirific energy.” In Śaivism, material cause, māyā, is threefold: śuddha (“pure”) māyā, śuddhāśuddha (“pure-impure”) māyā and aśuddha (“impure”) māyā. Śuddha māyā, or bindu, is the material cause of the causal plane. Śuddhāśuddha māyā is the material cause of the subtle plane. Aśuddhamāyā (or prakṛiti) is the material cause of the gross plane. See: cause, māyā, tattva.§

materialism (materialistic): The doctrine that matter is the only reality, that all life, thought and feelings are but the effects of movements of matter, and that there exist no worlds but the physical. Materialists usually hold that there is no God—a cosmic, material, prime mover perhaps, but no personal God. An Indian school of thought which propounded this view was the Chārvāka. See: atheism, Chārvāka, worldly.§

mati: मति “Cognition, understanding; conviction.” See: yama-niyama.§

matrimonial: Related to marriage.§

Matsyendranatha (Matsyendranātha): मत्स्येन्द्रनाथ A patron saint of Nepal, guru of Gorakshanatha and a mystic in the Nātha tradition (ca 900). Some consider him to have been the foremost teacher of haṭha yoga. See: haṭha yoga.§

Mattamayūra Order: मत्तमयूर A Śaiva Siddhānta monastic order founded by Purandara (successor to Rudrasambhu), centered in the Punjab. Members of this order served as advisors to the king.§

matter: Substance, especially of the physical world. May also refer to all of manifest existence, including the subtle, nonphysical dimensions. See: māyā.§

mature: Ripe; fully grown or developed. §

mauna: मौन The discipline of remaining silent.§

maya: मय “Consisting of; made of,” as in manomaya, “made of mind.”§

māyā: माया “She who measures;” or “mirific energy.” The substance emanated from Śiva through which the world of form is manifested. Hence all creation is also termed māyā. It is the cosmic creative force, the principle of manifestation, ever in the process of creation, preservation and dissolution. Māyā is a key concept in Hinduism, originally meaning “supernatural power; God’s mirific energy,” often translated as “illusion.” The Upanishads underscore māyā’s captivating nature, which blinds souls to the transcendent Truth. In Adi Sankara’s Vedāntic interpretation, māyā is taken as pure illusion or unreality. In Śaivism it is one of the three bonds (pāśa) that limit the soul and thereby facilitate its evolution. For Śaivites and most other nondualists, it is understood not as illusion but as relative reality, in contrast to the unchanging Absolute Reality. In the Śaiva Siddhānta system, there are three main divisions of māyā, the pure, the pure-impure and the impure realms. Pure or śuddha māyā consists of the first five tattvas—Śiva tattva, Śakti tattva, Sadāśiva tattva, Īśvara tattva and Śuddhavidyā tattva. The pure-impure realm consists of the next seven tattvas. The impure realm consists of the māyā tattva and all of its evolutes—from the kāla tattva to pṛithivī, the element earth. Thus, in relation to the physical universe, māyā is the principle of ever-changing matter. In Vaishṇavism, māyā is one of the nine Śaktis of Vishṇu. See: loka, mind (universal), mirific, tattva, world. §

mayil: மயில் “Peacock.” See: mayūra.§

mayūra: मयूर “Peacock.” The vāhana, or mount, of Lord Kārttikeya, symbolizing effulgent beauty and religion in full glory. The peacock can control powerful snakes, such as the cobra, symbolizing the soulful domination of the instinctive elements—or control of the kuṇḍalinī, which is yoga. See: Kārttikeya, vāhana.§

mean: As a verb: “to signify.” As an adjective: base, low-minded; selfish.§

meat-eater: Mānsāhārī. Those who follow a nonvegetarian diet. They are described in a passage from the obscure Mānsāhāra Parihāsajalpita Stotram as “Those who eat the flesh of other creatures are nothing less than gristle-grinders, blood-drinkers, muscle-munchers, sinew-chewers, carcass-crunchers, flesh-feeders—those who make their throat a garbage pit and their stomach a graveyard—mean, angry, loathsomely jealous, confused and beset by covetousness, who without restraint would lie, deceive, kill or steal to solve immediate problems. They are flesh-feeders, loathsome to the Gods, but friendly to the asuras, who become their Gods and Goddesses, the blood-sucking monsters who inhabit Naraka and deceptively have it decorated to look like the Pitṛiloka, the world of the fathers. To such beings the deluded meat-eaters pay homage and prostrate while munching the succulent flesh off bones.” See: vegetarianism. §

mediatrix: The feminine form of mediator. A go-between, intermediary or reconciler between two parties. §

meditation: Dhyāna. Sustained concentration. Meditation describes a quiet, alert, powerfully concentrated state wherein new knowledge and insights are awakened from within as awareness focuses one-pointedly on an object or specific line of thought. See: internalized worship, rāja yoga, Satchidānanda. §

mediumship: Act or practice of serving as a channel through which beings of inner worlds communicate with humans. See: folk-shamanic, trance.§

mendicant: A beggar; a wandering monk, or sādhu, who lives on alms.§

menses: A woman’s monthly menstruation period, during which, by Hindu tradition, she rests from her usual activities and forgoes public and family religious functions.§

mental body (sheath): The higher-mind layer of the subtle or astral body in which the soul functions in the Maharloka of the Antarloka or subtle plane. In Sanskrit, the mental body is vijñānamaya kośa, “sheath of cognition.” See: intellectual mind, kośa, subtle body. §

mental plane: Names the refined strata of the subtle world. It is called Maharloka or Devaloka, realm of anāhata chakra. Here the soul is shrouded in the mental or cognitive sheath, called vijñānamaya kośa.§

merge: To lose distinctness or identity by being absorbed. To unite or become one with.§

merger of the soul: See: evolution of the soul, viśvagrāsa.§

meritorious: Having merit, deserving of praise or reward. See: puṇya.§

mesmerizing: Hypnotizing; spell-binding; fascinating.§

metamorphosis: Complete transformation, as in a caterpillar’s becoming a butterfly. See: kuṇḍalinī, reincarnation.§

metaphysics: 1) The branch of philosophy dealing with first causes and nature of reality. 2) The science of mysticism. See: darśana, mysticism.§

Meykandar: மெய்கண்டார் “Truth seer.” The 13th-century Tamil theologian, author (or translator from the Raurava Āgama) of the Śivajñānabodham. Founder of the Meykandar Sampradāya of pluralistic Śaiva Siddhānta. See: Śaiva Siddhānta, Śivajñānabodham. §

Meykandar Śāstras: Fourteen Tamil works on Śaiva Siddhānta written during the 13th and 14th centuries by seven authors—Meykandar, Arulnandi, Uyyavanda Deva I and II, Umapati, Sivajnana (Śivajñāna) Yogin and Manavasagam Kadandar. See: Śaiva Siddhānta, Śivajñānabodham. §

microcosm-macrocosm: “Little world” or “miniature universe” as compared with “great world.” Microcosm refers to the internal source of something larger or more external (macrocosm). In Hindu cosmology, the outer world is a macrocosm of the inner world, which is its microcosm and is mystically larger and more complex than the physical universe and functions at a higher rate of vibration and even a different rate of time. The microcosm precedes the macrocosm. Thus, the guiding principle of the Bhūloka comes from the Antarloka and Śivaloka. Consciousness precedes physical form. In the tantric tradition, the body of man is viewed as a microcosm of the entire divine creation. “Microcosm-macrocosm” is embodied in the terms piṇḍa and aṇda. See: apex of creation, piṇḍa, quantum, tantra, tattva. §

milestone: An event which serves as a significant marker in the progress of a project, history, etc. Originally a stone marking distances on a road.§

milieu: Environment; social or cultural setting.§

millennium: A period of 1,000 years. millennia: Plural of millenium.§

Mīmāṁsā: मीमांसा “Inquiry.” See: shaḍ darśana.§

mind (five states): A view of the mind in five parts. —conscious mind: Jāgrat chitta (“wakeful consciousness”). The ordinary, waking, thinking state of mind in which the majority of people function most of the day. —subconscious mind: Saṁskāra chitta (“impression mind”). The part of mind “beneath” the conscious mind, the storehouse or recorder of all experience (whether remembered consciously or not)—the holder of past impressions, reactions and desires. Also, the seat of involuntary physiological processes. —subsubconscious mind: Vāsanā chitta (“mind of subliminal traits”). The area of the subconscious mind formed when two thoughts or experiences of the same rate of intensity are sent into the subconscious at different times and, intermingling, give rise to a new and totally different rate of vibration. This subconscious formation later causes the external mind to react to situations according to these accumulated vibrations, be they positive, negative or mixed. —superconscious mind: Kāraṇa chitta. The mind of light, the all-knowing intelligence of the soul. The Sanskrit term is turīya, “the fourth,” meaning the condition beyond the states of wakefulness (jāgrat), “dream” (svapna), and “deep sleep” (sushupti). At its deepest level, the superconscious is Parāśakti, or Satchidānanda, the Divine Mind of God Śiva. In Sanskrit, there are numerous terms for the various levels and states of superconsciousness. Specific superconscious states such as: viśvachaitanya (“universal consciousness”), advaita chaitanya (“nondual consciousness”), adhyātma chetanā (“spiritual consciousness”). —subsuperconscious mind: Anukāraṇa chitta. The superconscious mind working through the conscious and subconscious states, which brings forth intuition, clarity and insight. See: chitta, consciousness, saṁskāra, Satchidānanda, vāsanā.§

mind (individual): At the microcosmic level of individual souls, mind is consciousness and its faculties of memory, desire, thought and cognition. Individual mind is chitta (mind, consciousness) and its threefold expression is called antaḥkaraṇa, “inner faculty” composed of: 1) buddhi (“intellect, reason, logic,” higher mind); 2) ahaṁkāra (“I-maker,” egoity); 3) manas (“lower mind,” instinctive-intellectual mind, the seat of desire). From the perspective of the 36 tattvas (categories of existence), each of these is a tattva which evolves out of the one before it. Thus, from buddhi comes ahaṁkāra and then manas. Manas, buddhi and ahaṁkāra are faculties of the manomaya kośa (astral or instinctive-intellectual sheath). Anukāraṇa chitta, subsuperconsciousness, the knowing mind, is the mind state of the vijñānamaya kośa (mental or intuitive-cognitive sheath). The aspect of mind corresponding directly to the ānandamaya kośa (causal body) is kāraṇa chitta, superconsciousness. See: ahaṁkāra, antaḥkaraṇa, buddhi, chitta, manas, mind (universal). §

mind (three phases): A perspective of mind as instinctive, intellectual and superconscious. —instinctive mind. Manas chitta, the seat of desire and governor of sensory and motor organs. —intellectual mind. Buddhi chitta, the faculty of thought and intelligence. —superconscious mind: Kāraṇa chitta, the strata of intuition, benevolence and spiritual sustenance. Its most refined essence is Parāsakti, or Satchidānanda, all-knowing, omnipresent consciousness, the One transcendental, self-luminous, divine mind common to all souls. See: awareness, consciousness, mind (five states). §

mind (universal): In the most profound sense, mind is the sum of all things, all energies and manifestations, all forms, subtle and gross, sacred and mundane. It is the inner and outer cosmos. Mind is māyā. It is the material matrix. It is everything but That, the Self within, Paraśiva, which is timeless, formless, causeless, spaceless, known by the knower only after Self Realization. The Self is the indescribable, unnameable, Ultimate Reality. Mind in its subtlest form is undifferentiated Pure Consciousness, primal substance (called Parāśakti or Satchidānanda), out of which emerge the myriad forms of existence, both psychic and material. See: chitta, consciousness, māyā, tattva, world.§

minister: Someone charged with a specific function on behalf of a religious or political body, especially in serving the spiritual needs of the people. In Hinduism, this term may be applied to temple priests, monks, preceptors, scriptural scholars and others. §

minutiae: Small or relatively unimportant details.§

Mirabai (Mīrābāī): मीराबाई A Vaishṇava saint (ca 1420), poet and mystic, said to be a Rajput princess who abandoned the world in total surrender to Lord Kṛishṇa. Her life story and songs are popular today, especially in Gujarat. §

mirific: “Wonder-making; magical; astonishing.” See: material cause, māyā.§

misconception: A wrong idea or concept; misunderstanding, avidyā. See: avidyā, illusion.§

mitāhāra: मिताहार “Measured eating; moderate appetite.” A requisite to good health and an essential for success in yoga. The ideal portion per meal is described as no more than would fill the two hands held side by side and slightly cupped piled high, an amount called a kuḍava. All the six tastes should be within these foods (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent), and the foods should be well cooked and highly nutritious. See: yama-niyama.§

modaka: मोदक “Sweets.” A round, lemon-sized sweet made of rice, coconut, sugar, etc. It is a favorite treat of Gaṇeśa. Esoterically, it corresponds to siddhi (attainment or fulfillment), the gladdening contentment of pure joy, the sweetest of all things sweet. See: Gaṇeśa. §

Mohammed: Founder of the Islam religion (570–632), a preacher of the Quraysh Bedouin tribe, who called for an end to the “demons and idols” of the Arab religion and conversion to the ways of the one God, Allah. See: Islam.§

moksha: मोक्ष “Liberation.” Release from transmigration, saṁsāra, the round of births and deaths, which occurs after karma has been resolved and nirvikalpa samādhi—realization of the Self, Paraśiva—has been attained. Same as mukti. See: jīvanmukta, kaivalya, kuṇḍalinī, nirvikalpa samādhi, Paraśiva, rāja yoga, videhamukti.§

monastic: A monk or nun (based on the Greek monos, “single,” “alone”). A man or woman who has withdrawn from the world and lives an austere, religious life, either alone or with others in a monastery. (Not to be confused with monistic, having to do with the doctrine of monism.) Terms for Hindu monastics include sādhaka, sādhu, muni, tapasvin, vairāgī, ūdāsin and sannyāsin. (Feminine: sādhikā, sādhvī, munī, tapasvinī, vairāgīnī, and sannyāsinī.) A monastery-dweller is a maṭhavāsi, and sādhu is a rough equivalent for mendicant. See: monk, nun, sannyāsin, sannyāsinī, vairāgī.§

monism: “Doctrine of oneness.” 1) The philosophical view that there is only one ultimate substance or principle. 2) The view that reality is a unified whole without independent parts. See: dvaita-advaita, pluralism. §

monistic theism: Advaita Īśvaravāda. Monism is the doctrine that reality is a one whole or existence without independent parts. Theism is the belief that God exists as a real, conscious, personal Supreme Being. Monistic theism is the dipolar doctrine, also called panentheism, that embraces both monism and theism, two perspectives ordinarily considered contradictory or mutually exclusive, since theism implies dualism. Monistic theism simultaneously accepts that God has a personal form, that He creates, pervades and is all that exists—and that He ultimately transcends all existence and that the soul is, in essence, one with God. Advaita Siddhānta (monistic Śaiva Siddhānta, or Advaita Īśvaravāda Śaiva Siddhānta) is a specific form of monistic theism. See: advaita, Advaita Īśvaravāda, Advaita Siddhānta, dvaita-advaita, panentheism, theism. §

monk: A celibate man wholly dedicated to religious life, either cenobitic (residing with others in a monastery) or anchoritic (living alone, as a hermit or mendicant). Literally, “one who lives alone” (from the Greek monachos, “alone”). Through the practice of yoga, the control and transmutation of the masculine and feminine forces within himself, the monk is a complete being, free to follow the contemplative and mystic life toward realization of the Self within. Benevolent and strong, courageous, fearless, not entangled in the thoughts and feelings of others, monks are affectionately detached from society, defenders of the faith, kind, loving and ever-flowing with timely wisdom. A synonym for monastic. Its feminine counterpart is nun. See: monastic, nun, sannyāsin. §

monotheism: “Doctrine of one God.” Contrasted with polytheism, meaning belief in many Gods. The term monotheism covers a wide range of philosophical positions, from exclusive (or pure) monotheism, which recognizes only one God (such as in Semitic faiths), to inclusive monotheism, which also accepts the existence of other Gods. Generally speaking, the sects of Hinduism are inclusively monotheistic in their belief in a one Supreme God, and in their reverence for other Gods, or Mahādevas. However, such terms which arose out of Western philosophy do not really describe the fullness of Hindu thinking. Realizing this, Raimundo Panikkar, author of The Vedic Experience, offered a new word: cosmotheandrism, “world-God-man doctrine,” to describe a philosophy that views God, soul and world (Pati, paśu, pāśa) as an integrated, inseparable unity. See: Advaita Īśvaravāda, monistic theism, Pati-paśu-pāśa. §

mortal: Subject to death. Opposite of immortal. See: amṛita, death.§

mortal sin: See: sin.§

Mṛigendra Āgama: मृगेन्द्र आगम First subsidiary text (Upāgama) of the Kāmika Āgama,one of the 28 Śaiva Siddhānta Āgamas. It is especially valuable because its jñāna pāda (philosophical section) is complete and widely available. Other noted sections are on hand gestures (mudrā) used in pūjā and on establishing temporary places (yāgaśālā) of special worship. See: pāda, Śaiva Āgamas.§

mudrā: मुद्रा “Seal.” Esoteric hand gestures which express specific energies or powers. Usually accompanied by precise visualizations, mudrās are a vital element of ritual worship (pūjā), dance and yoga. Among the best-known mudrās are: 1) abhaya mudrā (gesture of “fear not”), in which the fingers are extended, palm facing forward; 2) añjali mudrā (gesture of reverence); 3) jñāna mudrā (also known as chin mudrā and yoga mudrā), in which the thumb and index finger touch, forming a circle, with the other fingers extended; 4) dhyāna mudrā (seal of meditation), in which the two hands are open and relaxed with the palms up, resting on the folded legs, the right hand atop the left with the tips of the thumbs gently touching. See: abhaya mudrā, añjali mudrā, haṭha yoga, namaskāra.§

muhūrta: मुहूर्त “Moment,” “hour.” 1) A period of time. 2) A certain division of a day or night. Muhūrtas vary slightly in length as the lengths of days and nights change through the year. There are at least three muhūrta systems . The first defines one muhūrta as 1/8th of a day or night (90 minutes in a 12-hour night), the second as 1/15th of a day or night (48 minutes), and the third as 1/16th of a day or night (45 minutes). 3) Muhūrta also refers to the astrological science of determining the most auspicious periods for specific activities. See: auspiciousness, brāhma muhūrta, sandhyā upāsanā.§

mukhya: मुख्य “Head;” “chief.” From mukha, “face, countenance.” Leader, guide; such as the family head, kuṭumba mukhya (or pramukha). See: extended family, joint family.§

Muktananda, Swami (Muktānanda): स्वमी मुक्तानन्द A satguru of the Kashmīr Śaiva tradition (1908-1982) who brought Siddha Yoga to the West in the 1970s, teaching meditation, establishing coed aśramas and giving śaktipāta initiation to thousands of spiritual seekers. He founded Gurudev Siddha Peeth as a public trust in India to administer the work there, and the SYDA Foundation in the United States. He was succeeded by Swami Chidvilasananda.§

mukti: मुक्ति “Release,” “liberation.” A synonym for moksha. See: moksha. §

Mukti Upanishad: मुक्ति उपनिषद् A 14th-century writing dealing, in part, with yoga.§

mūla: मूल “Root,” “foundational.” The root, base or bottom or basis of anything, as in mūlādhāra chakra. Foundational, original or causal, as in mūlagrantha, “original text.” §

mūlādhāra chakra: मूलाधारचक्र “Root-support wheel.” Four-petaled psychic center at the base of the spine; governs memory. See: chakra.§

mūla mantra: मूलमन्त्र “Root mystic formula.” See: Aum. §

multitude: A very large number of things or people.§

Muṇḍaka Upanishad: मुण्डक उपनिषद् Belongs to the Atharva Veda and teaches the difference between the intellectual study of the Vedas and their supplementary texts and the intuitive knowledge by which God is known. §

muni: मुनि “Sage.” A sage or sādhu, especially one vowed to complete silence or who speaks but rarely and who seeks stillness of mind. A hermit. The term is related to mauna, “silence.” In the hymns of the Ṛig Veda, munis are mystic shamans associated with the God Rudra.§

mūrti: मूर्ति “Form; manifestation, embodiment, personification.” An image, icon or effigy of God or a God used during worship. Mūrtis range from aniconic (avyakta, “nonmanifest”), such as the Śivaliṅga, to vyakta “fully manifest,” e.g., anthropomorphic images such as Naṭarāja. In-between is the partially manifest (vyaktāvyakta), e.g., the Mukhaliṅga, a Śivaliṅga on which the face of Śiva is carved. Other Deity representations include symbols, e.g., the banyan tree, and geometric emblems or designs such as yantras and maṇḍalas. Another important term for the Deity icon or idol is pratimā, “reflected image.” See: aniconic, Ishṭa Devatā, teradi.§

Murugan: முருகன் “Beautiful one,” a favorite name of Kārttikeya among the Tamils of South India, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. See: Kārttikeya.§

muse: To think deeply. Contemplate.§

Mūshika: मूषिक From mūsh, “to steal.” The mouse, Lord Gaṇeśa’s mount, traditionally associated with abundance. Symbolically, the mouse carries Lord Gaṇeśa’s grace into every corner of the mind. See: Gaṇeśa, vāhana.§

Muslim: Literally, “surrendered,” “submitted” to, or “reconciled” with God’s will. “True believer.” A follower of Islam. See: Islam, Mohammed.§

mutual: Something thought, done or felt by two or more agents toward each other. Shared.§

mysticism: Spirituality; the pursuit of direct spiritual or religious experience. Spiritual discipline aimed at union or communion with Ultimate Reality or God through deep meditation or trance-like contemplation. From the Greek mystikos, “of mysteries.” Characterized by the belief that Truth transcends intellectual processes and must be attained through transcendent means. See: clairaudient, clairvoyance, psychic, trance.§

myth: Traditional story, usually ancient and of no known author, involving Gods, devas and heroes, and serving to illustrate great principles of life, customs, the origin of the universe, etc. See: folk narratives, kathā.§

mythology: Body of tales and legends. All the myths of a given people, culture or religion. India’s mythology is among the world’s most bountiful. See: folk narratives, kathā.