Mind is a Myth/Glossary

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Ahimsa: Non-violence.

Asana: Lit. Seat. A physical posture. One of the eight "limbs" of Patanjali's yoga.

Ashrama: A spiritual retreat.

Atma: Lit. The self. The interior self as distinguished from the empirical self which one experiences in everyday life. In the Upanishads and Advaita Vedanta, Atman is believed to be non-different from Brahman, the ultimate reality of the universe.

Avatara: Sanskrit term for a savior or sage.

Bhagavan: Lit. God. Also a form of addressing a liberated person, as such persons are believed to attained divinity.

Chakras: The nerve plexuses or centers along the spine and in the head through which the Kundalini (see below) energy is led.

Guru: A teacher, particularly of the spiritual kind.

Japa: Lit. Muttering or whispering. A muttered prayer consisting of reciting (and repeating) passages from scriptures, spells or names of a deity.

Jivanmukti: Liberation during one's lifetime.

Karma: The effects of a person's past actions on his or her present and future state.

Kundalini: A form of yoga practiced in India, primarily in the school of Tantra. The term means "serpent power", the energy which is believed to lie dormant in the human being and which through breath control and other means is made to travel through various chakras (see above) along the spine to be ultimately united with universal energy or Godhead in the Sahasrara chakra (the thousand-petaled lotus) located in the top of the head.

Lokasamgraha: Lit. Welfare of the world. Also the act of saving the world.

Mahatma: Lit. A great soul. The title of a spiritually enlightened person.

Moksha: Sanskrit term for liberation.

Mukti: Lit. Release. Liberation.

Murti: Lit. Form, shape. An idol in a temple. Also a suffix for some given names in the South of India.

Nirvana: Lit. Blown out. Buddhist term for explosion in consciousness leading to enlightenment.

Pranayama: Breath control. One of the eight "limbs" of Patanjali's yoga. Consists of controlled inhalation, retention, and exhalation of air.

Puja: Devotional ritual and prayer.

Pundit: A learned man. Also used as an honorary title.

Ram nam: A mantra ("the name of Rama") the repetition of which is used as part of meditation.

Sadhana: Spiritual practice.

Samadhi: Deep meditative trance state.

Samskara: Psychological conditioning or memory.

Sanskrit: The classical language of India in which most religious and spiritual literature was composed.

Savasana: The "corpse" posture--one of the asanas (see above) consisting of lying on the back and relaxing all limbs.

Swami: Lit. Master or lord. A form of addressing spiritual teachers or one's favorite deity.

Vedanta: A system of Hindu monistic or pantheistic philosophy based on the Vedas.

Yoga: Lit. Joining or union. In general, a path of liberation. More specifically, the system of physical and mental discipline propounded by Patanjali, the practice of which is believed to lead to "isolation" or liberation.