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Glossary of Siddha Yoga Terminology

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A devotional song composed in the Marathi language (the language of the Indian state of Maharashtra) and handed down orally over the centuries. See also BHAJAN; MAHARASHTRA.

A Siddha who was also a philosopher, poet, scholar, prolific author, and one of the central figures of nondual Kashmir Shaivism; his major works were written between 975 and 1025; his best-known disciple was Kshemaraja. See also KASHMIR SHAIVISM; KSHEMARAJA; SIDDHA; TANTRALOKA.

A ritual bathing offered as worship (puja) to a statue, sandals (padukas), or another representation of a deity. The ritual bath is traditionally composed of five forms of nectar (panchamrita): milk, honey, yogurt, clarified butter (ghee), and sugar. These are followed by warm water and fragrant oil. After the bathing, offerings such as fruits and flowers are made to the deity.

The highest Reality; supreme Consciousness; the pure, untainted, changeless Truth. See also CONSCIOUSNESS.

A Sanskrit word meaning benevolence, grace, and compassion. It connotes the compassionate vibrations of the heart.

An act of worship during which a flame, symbolizing the light of the Self, is waved before the form or an image of the Guru or a deity. Also, the name for the specific devotional chants sung in praise of the Guru or the deity, which traditionally accompany the waving of the flame. Each day in Siddha Yoga Ashrams, aratis are performed in honor of the Guru. See also ASHRAM; GURU; SELF; SIDDHA YOGA.

One of the warrior heroes from the Indian epic Mahabharata; a disciple of Lord Krishna. It was to Arjuna that Krishna imparted his teachings in the Bhagavad-gita. See also BHAGAVAD-GITA; KRISHNA.

This Sanskrit word denotes an offering to God or to the Guru made with a pure intention, loving attention, focus, and surrender. This offering can be tangible, such as flowers, incense, fruits, or money, as well as intangible, such as mental worship, the repetition of mantras, or selfless service.

A place of disciplined retreat, where seekers engage in spiritual practice and study sacred teachings.

Lit., "crooked in eight places." A sage of ancient times, crippled at birth, who taught King Janaka about the nature of Reality; author of the Ashtavakra-gita, a scripture explaining the path to God-realization. See also JANAKA.

See VEDA(S).

Disciplined spiritual practice, performed to purify both mind and body of any residue of past experience that obscures the direct experience of God; any focused effort in sadhana. See also SADHANA.

An enlightened being who lives in a state beyond body-consciousness and whose behavior is not bound by ordinary social conventions.

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Lit.,"father; grandfather." A term of affection and respect for an elderly person, a saint or holy man. Swami Muktananda was widely known as Baba.

(lit., elder father) An affectionate name for Bhagavan Nityananda, Swami Muktananda's Guru.

Lit., "song of the Lord." One of the world's treasures of spiritual wisdom, the centerpiece of the Indian epic Mahabharata. In its eighteen chapters, Lord Krishna instructs his disciple Arjuna about steady wisdom, meditation, the nature of God, the supreme Self, and spiritual knowledge and practice. See also KRISHNA; MAHABHARATA; SELF.

Lit., "the blessed Lord, the blessed One." One who is glorious, illustrious, and venerable.Swami Muktananda’s Guru is known as Bhagavan Nityananda. See also NITYANANDA, BHAGAVAN.

A devotional song composed in the Hindi language and handed down orally over the centuries. See also ABHANGA.

A devotee, a lover of God; a follower of bhakti yoga, the path of love and devotion.

The path of devotion; a path to union with the Divine based on the continual offering of love and the constant remembrance of the Lord.

A feast prepared and served to large group of people in honor of a special day, such as an anniversary or a holiday, or to commemorate a sacred cause. Bhandaras are often held in temples and ashrams.

Ash from a sacred fire ritual (yajna), charged with the power of mantra. Bhasma is used to draw three horizontal stripes on the forehead and other parts of the body, representing the three qualities of nature reduced to ash by spiritual practices and the power of grace.

Lit., "becoming; being." On the Siddha Yoga path, the attitude or feeling with which a seeker approaches the practices or an act of worship.

A red dot worn between the eyebrows marking the location of the third eye, the eye of inner vision or spiritual wisdom.

The point of pure Consciousness within each individual that is the core of our true identity and the source of all our powers of perception and action. It is depicted as shining in the space in the crown of the head; a vision of it is considered to be an auspicious glimpse of the innermost Self. See also CONSCIOUSNESS; SELF.

In Indian cosmology and mythology, the creator of the universe and grandfather of the gods. In Shaivism, it is understood that Brahma is empowered to create by the will of the supreme Deity, Shiva. See also SHAIVISM; SHIVA.

Lit., “the time of Brahma.” The peaceful interval that immediately precedes dawn. The Indian scriptures consider this period of about an hour and a half to be the most sacred time for performing worship and spiritual practice.

A member of a hereditary social class of India, from which Hindu priests and scholars have traditionally been drawn.

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Consciousness, intelligence, life, vitality. See also CHAITANYA-SHABDA.

Lit., "Consciousness-sound." Words, sounds, or teachings that are charged with the power of divine Consciousness through the grace of the Siddha who composes or transmits them. See also CONSCIOUSNESS; GRACE; SIDDHA.

Lit., "wheel." A subtle energy center in the body; a nexus point of subtle energy channels(nadis) through which Kundalini Shakti passes on her journey as she moves through the central energy channel (sushumna nadi). The subtle body is depicted as having seven lotus-like cakras, extending from the muladhara at the base of the spine to the sahasrara in the crown of the head. See also KUNDALINI SHAKTI; MULADHARA-CHAKRA; SAHASRARA; SUBTLE BODY.

Swami Chidvilasananda, the current Siddha Guru and head of the Siddha lineage. Her name literally means the bliss of the play of Consciousness and was given to her by Swami Muktananda when she took the vows of monkhood in 1982.

Lit., "Consciousness." The all-pervasive dynamic power of supreme Consciousness that creates, sustains, and dissolves the entire universe; also, the power that conceals and reveals the Truth in human beings. Often personified as the Goddess, and sometimes more specifically as Kundalini Shakti, the power of spiritual evolution in a human being. See also CONSCIOUSNESS; TRUTH.

The luminous, self-aware, and creative Reality that is the essential Self of all that exists; a name for God, the Absolute, the supreme Truth. See also SELF.

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(lit., south field) A beautiful, twenty-five-acre field in Gurudev Siddha Peeth, the Siddha Yoga ashram near Ganeshpuri, India. The field is ringed by a tree-lined path, which is used for walking contemplation.

A core Siddha Yoga practice of making monetary offerings to the Guru. In the practice of dakshina, the student honors the Guru, the source of grace and the highest knowledge, through giving. Siddha Yogis practice dakshina with regularity and discipline as part of their sadhana and offer it without specifying its use or expecting personal gain.

An aspect of Shiva as the Guru and bestower of knowledge, j├▒ana.

Lit., “seeing, perceiving, knowing.” Derived from the Sanskrit darshana, darshan is a Hindi term that means “being in the presence of a holy person.” On the Siddha Yoga path, darshan is seeing, perceiving, knowing the Guru through being in the Guru’s presence or having the experience of the Guru’s presence within.

A divine incarnation known as the lord of avadhutas and often revered as the embodiment of the supreme Guru.

A four-day festival, falling in October-November, celebrated by displaying lights and worshiping Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.

A deity or god.

A goddess; a feminine form of the divine power. See also SHAKTI.

A centering technique or spiritual exercise in which holding a steady inner focus intensifies one’s awareness, with the goal of connecting with the Heart, the divine Self. See also SELF

Right action, that which supports and upholds; one's duty, especially the highest spiritual duty; actions that are ultimately beneficial for all; behavior that is in alignment with the cosmic order, with one's religion or spiritual path, and with one's role in life.

Initiation by a Guru into the spiritual path. In Siddha Yoga, diksha takes the form of the awakening of a seeker’s Kundalini energy by the grace of the Siddha Guru; this initiation is known as shaktipat diksha. See also KUNDALINI SHAKTI; SHAKTIPAT; SIDDHA GURU.

One who has received initiation from a spiritual master and then follows the path shown by the master.

The bestowal of divine initiation, shaktipat.

Vision, usually in the context of seeing with the outlook of God.

The fierce aspect of the universal Shakti or divine Mother, who destroys limitations and evil tendencies. She is often depicted as the eight-armed warrior goddess who rides a tiger and carries weapons.

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A faculty of the mind (antah-karana) which, in Indian philosophy, constructs one's sense of limited identity, creates the illusion of a separate self with a specific personality and qualities, and appropriates specific objects and experiences to itself. The limitations of the ego can be transcended by engaging in the spiritual practices of sadhana. See also SADHANA.

The final attainment on the spiritual path, when the limited sense of "I" merges into supreme Consciousness.

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The elephant-headed god, also known as Ganapati. Son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, he is worshiped at the beginning of any undertaking and in many festivals as the god of wisdom, the destroyer of sorrows, and the remover of obstacles.

The infinite power of divine love that creates, maintains, and pervades the universe. When awakened within a seeker by a Siddha Guru, this power leads the seeker to Self-realization.

The three basic qualities of nature that determine the inherent characteristics of all created things. They are sattva (purity, light, harmony, intelligence); rajas (activity, passion); and tamas (dullness, inertia, ignorance).

Lit., "a venerable person, a spiritual preceptor, a teacher." A teacher (in any field); also, a spiritual master. See also SIDDHA GURU.

The open-air meditation hall adjoining the courtyard in Shree Gurudev Siddha Peeth, the Siddha Yoga ashram in Ganeshpuri, India.

Formerly called Shree Gurudev Ashram. The foundational Ashram of
Gurumayi Chidvilasananda and the Siddha Yoga path, located near Ganeshpuri village, in Maharashtra, India. Initially constructed in 1956 for Swami Muktananda at the command of his Guru, Bhagavan Nityananda, and established as a public trust in 1962, Gurudev Siddha Peeth is also the location of the samadhi shrine (final resting place) of Swami Muktananda. See also ASHRAM.

(lit., Song of the Guru) A sacred text consisting of mantras that describe the nature of the Guru, the power of the Guru’s grace, the importance of devotion and service to the Guru, and the ways the Guru leads the disciple to the knowledge of the Self.

The universal power of grace present as the inner Self of all beings.

In India, the full moon of the month of Ashada (July-August) is honored as the most auspicious and important of the entire year. This moon's luminous brilliance and perfect form are seen as expressions of the Guru's gift of grace and the attainment of Self-realization. Siddha Yogis focus on the practice of dakshina during this holiday. See also DAKSHINA; GURUPURNIMA.

The Indian scriptures revere the Guru's feet, which are said to embody Shiva and Shakti, knowledge and action, the emission and reabsorption of creation. Powerful vibrations of shakti flow from the Guru's feet. They are a mystical source of grace and illumination, and a figurative term for the Guru's teachings.

The Indian scriptures revere the Guru's feet, which are said to embody Shiva and Shakti, knowledge and action, the emission and reabsorption of creation. Powerful vibrations of shakti flow from the Guru's feet. They are a mystical source of grace and illumination, and a figurative term for the Guru's teachings.

In Vedic times, spiritual aspirants would serve the Guru at his house or ashram for a period of time, studying the scriptures, and practicing self-inquiry and other spiritual disciplines under the guidance of the Master. Siddha Yoga ashrams are modeled on these Gurukulas of old.

The affectionate name for Swami Chidvilasananda by which she is most often called. She received the power and authority of the Siddha Yoga lineage from Swami Muktananda before he passed away in 1982 and is the current Siddha Guru and head of the Siddha lineage.

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One of the heroes of the Indian epic, the Ramayana, Hanuman is a warrior and chieftain of a semidivine mythological race of monkeys devoted to God in the form of Rama. Son of the Wind, he performs many acts of courage and daring in defense of his Master, Lord Rama. He is a symbol of perfect devotion, surrender and courage.

Yogic practices, both physical and mental, performed for the purpose of purifying and strengthening the physical and subtle bodies.

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The inner enemies spoken about in Vedanta: desire, anger, delusion, pride, greed, and envy.


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Lit., "universal teacher." An epithet for the Guru whose teachings and grace have transformative power on the whole world.

A royal sage of ancient India who attained liberation through perfect fulfillment of his duties as king, while remaining completely unattached to the pain and pleasures associated with them. See also LIBERATION

Repetition of a mantra, either silently or aloud.

Beads strung on thread or metal wire and used to support a seeker in practicing mantra japa. With each repetition of the mantra, one bead is moved with the fingers.

True knowledge.

(1275-1296) Foremost among the saints of Maharashtra and a child yogi of extraordinary powers. His verse commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, the Jnaneshvari, written in the Marathi language, is acknowledged as one of the world's most important spiritual works. He also composed a short work, the Amritanubhava, and over one hundred abhangas, or devotional songs in Marathi, in which he describes various spiritual experiences following the awakening of kundalini.

A chant; an invocation to the Guru asking for the flame of divine love in the disciple's heart to be kindled with the Guru's own heart flame.

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(lit., action) 1) Any action--physical, verbal, or mental. 2) Destiny, which is caused by past actions, mainly those of previous lives.

A branch of the Shaivite philosophical tradition, propounded by Kashmiri sages, that explains how the formless supreme Principle, known as Shiva, manifests as the universe. Together with Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism provides the basic scriptural context for Siddha Yoga meditation.

Lit., "dark one." The eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, called Krishna because of the blue-black color of his skin. See also BHAGAVAD-GITA; VISHNU.

A physical, mental, or emotional movement initiated by the awakened kundalini. Kriyas purify the body and nervous system, thus allowing a seeker to experience higher states of consciousness.

An eleventh-century philosopher whose writings did much to increase the influence of nondual Shaivism in Kashmir, and who was the foremost disciple of Abhinavagupta. See also ABHINAVAGUPTA; KASHMIR SHAIVISM.

Lit., "coiled one"; The Goddess Kundalini; also, the power of spiritual evolution in a human being. The dormant form of this spiritual energy is represented as lying coiled at the base of the spine; when awakened and guided by a Siddha Guru and nourished by the seeker's disciplined effort, this energy brings about purification of the seeker's being at all levels, and leads to the permanent experience of one's divine nature. See also SHAKTIPAT; SIDDHA GURU.


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Freedom from the cycle of birth and death; the realization of one's own divine Self. See also SELF.

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An epic poem in Sanskrit, attributed to the sage Vyasa, which recounts the struggle between the Pandava and Kaurava princes over a disputed kingdom. A vast narrative encompassing a wealth of Indian secular and religious lore, it also contains the spiritual treasure of the Bhagavad-gita. See also BHAGAVAD-GITA.

A state on the west coast of central India, where Gurudev Siddha Peeth, the mother ashram of Siddha Yoga meditation, is located. Many of the great poet-saints lived in Maharashtra and the Samadhi Shrines of Bhagavan Nityananda and Swami Muktananda are there.

1) A realized yogi's conscious departure from the physical body at death. 2) A celebration on the anniversary of a great being's departure from the physical body. 3) A shrine erected at the place where a yogi has taken mahasamadhi.

(lit., night of Shiva) The night of the new moon in late February that is especially sacred to Lord Shiva. Devotees repeat the mantra Om Namah Shivaya throughout the night; on this night each repetition is said to equal the merit of a thousand repetitions.


The Sanskrit word mandala literally means “circular.” A mandala is an image in the form of a circle that radiates from a central point. The use of mandalas as sacred images has its roots in the Tantras and Agamas, ancient scriptures of India. For eons, sages and yogis have had visions of mandalas in meditation and understood such images to represent the power of the Supreme Self. Drawings and paintings based on these mandalas have been used as tools for contemplation and meditation. Focusing one’s awareness on a mandala is conducive to experiencing the divine within oneself and the entire universe.


A Sanskrit word that literally means “middle or center.” In the philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism this term refers to supreme Consciousness, the Self, the Heart. It also refers to the sushumna-nadi, the central channel of energy in the subtle body, along the spine, through which Kundalini Shakti rises. See also CONSCIOUSNESS; KASHMIR SHAIVISM; KUNDALINI; SELF; SUBTLE BODY; SUSHUMNA.

Sacred syllables with the power to purify, protect, and transform the one who repeats them. A mantra received from the Siddha Yoga Guru is enlivened by the power of the Guru’s attainment. The Siddha Yoga mantras include Om Namah Shivaya, Guru Om, and So’ham. See also OM NAMAH SHIVAYA.

The power that veils and obscures the true nature of the Self and creates a sense of differentiation. It makes the universal Consciousness, which is One, appear as duality and multiplicity.

Swami Muktananda (1908 - 1982) who brought the Siddha Yoga teachings and practices to the west in the 1970s on his Guru's behalf. He is Gurumayi Chidvilasananda's Guru and often referred to as Baba. He brought the venerable tradition of his master's lineage to the West, giving the previously little-known shaktipat initiation to untold thousands of spiritual seekers. His name literally means the bliss of liberation.

Liberation from the cycle of birth and death; freedom from the sense of duality and limitation.

Lit., "root-support (muladhara) wheel (cakra)." The spiritual center in the subtle body located at a point corresponding to the base of the spine in the physical body; the dwelling place of the coiled Kun d alini, or divine power, in her dormant form. See also KUNDALINI; SUBTLE BODY.

(lit., embodiment; figure; image) A representation of God or of a chosen deity that has been sanctified and enlivened by worship. A murti can be a symbolic embodiment of the presence of God or a recognizable human figure, as in the image of a saint.

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Spontaneous inner sounds that may be heard during advanced stages of meditation; nada may take the form of sounds such as bells, the blowing of a conch, and thunder.

A channel in the subtle body through which the vital force flows.

Repetition of the divine name in song. On the Siddha Yoga path, namasankirtana refers both to the practice of chanting the divine name and to the chant itself. A namasankirtana is often chanted in a group, in a call-and-response fashion, with musical accompaniment. One can also practice namasankirtana individually and a capella. Namasankirtana is a core Siddha Yoga practice.

A greeting of respect in India that means “I honor the divine light within you.” The salutation is made with the hands gently pressed together in front of the chest, palms touching, fingers pointing toward the sky. It is accompanied by a slight bow of the head to indicate respect.

(lit., king of the dance) A name of Shiva, referring to the dancing Shiva. The object of his dance is to free all souls from the fetters of illusion.

(lit., nine nights) A festival celebrating the worship of the divine Mother, Shakti, in the three forms of Durga/Kali, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. It begins with the new moon of September-October and continues for nine nights.

The Blue Pearl. A point of pure Consciousness within each individual that is the core of our true identity and the source of all our powers of perception and action. It is depicted as shining in the space in the crown of the head; a vision of it is considered to be an auspicious glimpse of the innermost Self.

(d. 1961) A Siddha Master, and the Guru of Swami Muktananda; also known as Bade Baba ("senior" or "elder" Baba). Born a Siddha, he lived his entire life in the highest state of awareness. This natural yogi began his life in northwestern Karnataka, and later settled in Ganeshpuri, Maharashtra, to which thousands of devotees eventually came in order to be in his presence. Baba Muktananda started visiting him in the 1930s, and received shaktipat initiation from him in 1947. His samadhi shrine, or final resting place, is located in the village of Ganeshpuri, near the Siddha Yoga Ashram known as Gurudev Siddha Peeth.

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Lit., “regulation.” One of the five moral prescriptions taught in Sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra—in conjunction with the five yamas, or moral proscriptions (such as refraining from doing harm, lying, and stealing)—as the first of eight steps leading to samadhi. The five prescriptions are: shaucha, internal and external cleanliness; santosha, contentment; tapas, spiritual discipline; svadhyaya, the study and recitation of the scriptures; and ishvara-pranidhana, surrender to God. See also YAMA; PATANJALI; SAMADHI; YOGA SUTRA.

The primal sound from which the universe emanates; the inner essence of all mantras. Also written aum.

The initiation mantra of the Siddha Yoga lineage, known as the great redeeming mantra for its power to grant both worldly fulfillment and spiritual realization. OM is the primordial sound; namah is an expression of reverence or honor; shivaya denotes "to Shiva" or "to divine Consciousness" (the Lord who dwells within you as you). See also CONSCIOUSNESS; MANTRA; SIDDHA YOGA; SHIVA.

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The Guru's sandals, objects of the highest veneration. Vibrations of the inner shakti flow out from the Guru's feet, which are a mystical source of grace and illumination and a figurative term for the Guru's teachings. The Guru's sandals are also said to hold this divine energy of enlightenment.

Sage who lived around the third century CE and who wrote the Yoga Sutra, the authoritative text on one of the six orthodox philosophies of India. See also YOGA SUTRA.

An act of worship performed by walking in a clockwise direction around a sacred place such as a temple or shrine; a Siddha, a saint, or other great being; or a murti of a great being or of a deity. This sacred circumambulation may be performed physically or in one’s imagination. See also MURTI.

The vital life-sustaining force of both the body and the universe.

To bow; to greet with respect.

A blessed or divine gift from God or the Guru.

Worship; actions performed in worship; also, an altar with images of the Guru or deity and objects used in worship.

Actions and deeds that bring good merits, good fortune, or blessings. According to the scriptures of India, punya refers to that which is auspicious, meritorious, virtuous, and sacred. The word karma refers both to actions performed and to the result or consequence of actions performed over time. In India, it is considered one’s duty to earn merit through good actions. Feeding others is one example of punya-karma.

The anniversary of a great being's passing. The two parts of this term are punya, meaning “spiritual merit,” and tithi, meaning “observance, remembrance.” The observance of a saint’s punyatithi brings great merit.

Lit., "ancient." Sacred books of India, containing accounts, stories, legends, and hymns about the creation of the universe, the incarnations of God, the teachings of various deities, and the spiritual legacies of ancient sages and kings.

(lit., full or complete offering) The culmination of any celebration, especially a saptah or a yajna. The final chant of a purnahuti is an arati, an invocation to the Guru entreating him to kindle the flame of divine love in the disciple's heart. Tradition states that to attend a purnahuti is to gain the merit of the entire celebration.

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Lit., "color." A collection of melodic patterns having characteristic phrases and embellishments, used as a basis for improvisation and composition in Indian music. Traditionally described as that which "colors the mind and heart," a raga evokes specific qualities and moods in both the listener and the performer.

This festival has its origins in an ancient folk custom: sisters affectionately tie a rakhi, or bracelet, on the wrists of their brothers who, in turn, promise always to protect them. To celebrate this day, many Siddha Yoga meditation students offer each other rakhis, representing a bond of love and protection.

(lit., one who is pleasing, delightful) The seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Rama is seen as the embodiment of dharma and is the object of great devotion. He is the central character in the Indian epic Ramayana.

(lit., one who is pleasing, delightful) The seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Rama is seen as the embodiment of dharma and is the object of great devotion. He is the central character in the Indian epic Ramayana.

One of the great epic poems of India; attributed to the sage Valmiki, the Ramayana recounts the life and exploits of Lord Rama. This story, so rich with spiritual meaning, has been told and retold down through the ages by saints, poets, scholars, and common folk.

A design, usually geometric, drawn on the ground in front of a house or other dwelling in the colors of the morning sun, to represent inner awakening.

1) Flavor, taste. 2) A subtle energy of richness, sweetness, and delight.

The oldest of the four Vedas; it is composed of more than one thousand hymns, including those that invoke the gods of the fire ritual. See also VEDAS.

The Lord as destroyer, a form of Lord Shiva. As the fierce aspect of God, Rudra inspires both great love and great fear among his worshipers.

Seeds from a tree sacred to Shiva, often strung as beads for malas. Legend has it that the rudraksha seed was created from the tears of Lord Rudra, thus endowing it with great spiritual power.

A text chant from the Krishna Yajur Veda in which Lord Shiva is offered repeated salutations in his many manifestations; the first of these to be honored is Rudra.

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A true Guru; divine Master.

A Hindi phrase that means “Hail to the True Guru!” In the Siddha Yoga tradition, it is recited at the beginning and completion of a spiritual activity to invoke the Guru’s grace and express gratitude.

A seeker on the spiritual path.

Lit., “to go straight to the goal; to accomplish.” Sadhana is disciplined practice undertaken to attain the goal of a spiritual path. The four foundational practices of Siddha Yoga sadhana are meditation, chanting, seva, and dakshina. The goal of Siddha Yoga sadhana is spiritual transformation leading to liberation. See also DAKSHINA; LIBERATION; SHAKTIPAT; SEVA; SIDDHA YOGA.

The thousand-petaled spiritual energy center at the crown of the head, where one experiences the highest states of consciousness.

The practice of absorption in the object of meditation. Also, the final stage of that practice, in which the meditator is absorbed in the Self. See also SELF.

The final resting place of a great yogi’s body. Such shrines are places of worship, permeated with the saint's spiritual power and alive with blessings.

Derived from the Sanskrit word sangha. A community, society, or group; also, the individuals within a community, society, or group. The term global Siddha Yoga sangham refers to the worldwide community of individuals who practice the teachings of the Siddha Yoga path.

In the Siddha Yoga tradition, sankalpa means intention in the sense of a prayer or resolution formed for the attainment of a spiritual purpose that is for the benefit of all.

1) Monkhood. 2) The ceremony and vows of monkhood.

Lit., “refined, polished, perfected, ornamented.” An ancient language of India, traditionally considered to be deva-vani, the language of the gods; the source language for most of the chants, recited texts, and foundational scriptures of the Siddha Yoga path.

(lit., seven) A term introduced by Swami Muktananda to refer to the continuous chanting of the name of God, which also may be accompanied by dancing in a circle in a series of measured steps as an act of devotion and a joyful experience of meditation in motion. Saptahs were often held in the ashram for seven days at a time.

A traditional Indian women’s garment that consists of several yards of lightweight cloth draped so that one end forms a skirt and the other a head or shoulder covering. On the Siddha Yoga path women often wear saris to offer arati and on holidays.

(lit., the company of the Truth) The company of saints and devotees; a gathering of seekers for the purpose of chanting, meditation, and listening to scriptural teachings or readings.

The pure Consciousness that is both the divine core of a human being and the essential nature of all things. See also CONSCIOUSNESS.

The state of enlightenment in which the individual merges with pure Consciousness.

Lit., "service, honoring, worship." In Siddha Yoga contexts, selfless service: work offered to God and the Guru, performed as a pure offering, without attachment to the results of one's actions and without desire for personal gain.

One who performs seva.

The Indian religious and philosophical traditions that use the name Shiva to denote the ultimate Reality. In Siddha Yoga, the term Shaivism is generally used to refer to the nondual Shaivism of Kashmir. The English word Shaivite refers to one who practices Shaivism. See also KASHMIR SHAIVISM; SHIVA.

Spiritual power; the divine cosmic power that creates and maintains the universe; may be defined as the goddess Shakti.

Lit., "descent of power, descent of grace." In Siddha Yoga, the initiation (diksha) by which a Siddha Guru transmits the divine grace that awakens Kundalini Shakti, the inner spiritual energy in an aspirant; shaktipat diksha signals the beginning of Siddha Yoga sadhana, which culminates in spiritual liberation. See also KUNDALINI; LIBERATION; SADHANA; SIDDHA GURU.

The primary Siddha Yoga meditation program, which was designed by Swami Muktananda to give spiritual initiation, or shaktipat, by awakening the kundalini energy.

(lit., state of supreme Shiva) A state of spontaneous or effortless meditation, in which the eyes become focused within and the mind delights in the inner Self without any attempt at concentration.

Lit., "auspicious." In nondual Shaivism, the transcendent, immanent, and all-pervasive Reality, the one source of all existence. Also, absolute Reality personified as the supreme Deity, Lord Shiva. See also SHAIVISM.

(lit., night of Shiva) The night of the new moon in late February that is especially sacred to Lord Shiva. Devotees repeat the mantra Om Namah Shivaya throughout the night; on this night each repetition is said to equal the merit of a thousand repetitions.

1) A term or respect that means sacredness, abundance, beauty, grace, and auspiciousness, and signifies mastery of all these. 2) Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty and prosperity.

A perfected, fully accomplished, Self-realized yogi; an enlightened yogi who lives in the state of unity consciousness; one whose experience of the Self is uninterrupted and whose identification with the ego has been dissolved. See also EGO; SELF.

A perfected spiritual Master who has realized his or her oneness with God, and who is able both to bestow shaktipat initiation and to guide seekers to spiritual liberation. Such a Guru is also required to be learned in the scriptures and to belong to a lineage of Masters. See also LIBERATION; SHAKTIPAT; SIDDHA.


The spiritual path taught by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda and her Guru, Swami Muktananda. The journey of the Siddha Yoga path begins with shaktipat diksha (spiritual initiation). Through the grace of the Siddha Yoga Master and the student's own steady disciplined effort, the journey culminates in the constant recognition of divinity within oneself and within the world. See also SADHANA; SHAKTIPAT.

A group of about three to seven Siddha Yogis who meet regularly to study the Siddha Yoga teachings.

The virtual space in which Siddha Yoga teaching and learning events are held via the Siddha Yoga path website. As in any satsang hall in a Siddha Yoga Ashram or meditation center, Siddha Yogis and new seekers gather in the Universal Hall to engage in the Siddha Yoga practices and study the Siddha Yoga teachings.


Activities that purify and strengthen the mind and body for the spiritual path. Siddha Yoga practices include chanting, meditation, dakshina, and seva.

The second of four bodies within a human being (the physical, subtle, causal, and supracausal bodies), which is experienced in the dream state.

The most important of all the nadis; the central channel, which extends from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. It is the pathway of the awakened kundalini.

Aphorism; a condensed and cryptic statement that usually can be understood only through commentary. In India, the major points of an entire philosophical system may be expressed in a series of sutras.

The study of the Self; the regular disciplined practice of chanting and reciting spiritual texts such as the Guru Gita.

A term of respectful address for a sannyasi, or monk.

A term of respectful address for a sannyasi, or monk.

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The state of higher consciousness between sleeping and waking that is experienced in meditation.

The masterwork written by the Kashmiri philosopher Abhinavagupta, covering the whole of nondual Shaivite philosophy and practice in nearly six thousand Sanskrit verses. See also ABHINAVAGUPTA; KASHMIR SHAIVISM.

1) Austerities. 2) The experience of heat that occurs during the process of practicing yoga. The heat is generated by friction between the senses and renunciation. It is said that this heat, called "the fire of yoga," burns up all the impurities that lie between the seeker and the experience of the Truth.

Lit., “nurturing the youthful spirit.” The name of the department in the SYDA Foundation that oversees Siddha Yoga teaching and learning events for children, young people, and families around the world. Gurumayi Chidvilasananda gave the name “Taruna Poshana” to this department in 2002.

In Kashmir Shaivism, the basic categories or principles of the process of universal manifestation from pure Consciousness to matter; that which is the essence of each stage of manifestation.

Swami Muktananda has dedicated a temple of meditation to his Guru, Bhagavan Nityananda Temple in both Shree Muktananda Ashram and Gurudev Siddha Peeth.

A name of God. Silent repetition or audible chanting of the divine Name is considered to be the most effective means of redemption in Kali Yuga, the present age. Chanting and japa open the heart to the love and joy contained within it.

When capitalized: the highest Reality. See also CONSCIOUSNESS; SELF.

The fourth, or transcendental state, beyond the waking, dream, and deep-sleep states, in which the true nature of reality is directly perceived; the state of samadhi, or deep meditation.

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The inspired teachings, visions, and mystical experiences of the ancient sages of India; the concluding portion of the Vedas and the basis for Vedantic philosophy. With immense variety of form and style, all of these scriptures (exceeding one hundred texts) give the same essential teaching: that the individual soul and God are one.

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Dispassion; the power of renunciation by which a yogi is able to pursue the true rather than the false, the eternal rather than the ephemeral.

One of the four main categories of the manifestation of awakened Kundalini. It may include the awakening of previously dormant vocal powers in the seeker, the spontaneous uttering of mantras, creative literary inspiration and intuitive wisdom.

Lit., "knowledge." The earliest scriptural compositions of ancient India, regarded as divinely revealed, eternal wisdom. The four Vedas are, in order of antiquity, the Rg-veda ("Knowledge of the Hymns"), the Yajur-veda ("Knowledge of the Sacrificial Formulas"), the Sama-veda ("Knowledge of the Songs of Praise"), and the Atharva-veda ("The Knowledge of [Sage] Atharvan").

A scripture of the nondual Shaivite tradition that teaches 112 methods for meditative focus.

In the Puranas, the deity in charge of maintaining and preserving creation. In some religious traditions of India, Vishnu is the name for the supreme Deity. See also PURANA(S).

(lit., discrimination; distinction) The faculty of discretion that enables a human being to distinguish between true and false, reality and illusion.

Fluctuation or movement of the mind; thought.

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The transcendental Consciousness that lies at the root of the mind and from which the mind can be observed.

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1) A sacrificial fire ritual in which Vedic mantras are recited while wood, fruit, grain, oil, yogurt, and ghee are poured into the fire as an offering to the Lord. 2) Any work or spiritual practice that is offered as worship to God.

Lit., “restraint.” One of the five “restraints,” or moral proscriptions, taught in Sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra—in conjunction with the five niyamas, or moral prescriptions (such as contentment and spiritual discipline)—as the first of eight steps leading to samadhi. The five proscriptions are: ahimsa, harmlessness; satya, truthfulness; asteya, nonstealing; brahmacharya, chastity; and aparigraha, nongrasping. See also NIYAMA; PATANJALI; SAMADHI; YOGA SUTRA.

(lit., union) The spiritual practices and disciplines that lead a seeker to evenness of mind, to the severing of the union with pain, and through detachment, to skill in action. Ultimately, the path of yoga leads to the constant experience of the Self.

A collection of aphorisms, written by the sage Patanjali around the third century CE, that expounds a set of specific and practical methods for the attainment of the goal of yoga, or mental tranquility, when the movement of the mind ceases and the Self rests in its own blissful nature as the witness of the mind. See also PATANJALI; SELF; YOGA.

1) One who practices yoga. 2) One who has attained perfection through yogic practices.

1) One who practices yoga. 2) One who has attained perfection through yogic practices.

In Indian scriptural texts, the name of an era within a cycle of four ages.