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200 Key Sanskrit Yoga Terms

Discerning dharma from kharma or bhakti from shakti is an important lesson for all yoga students—whether you are a beginner or a long-time yogi.

By Georg Feuerstein

a b c d g h i j k l m n o p r s t u v

Kaivalya ("isolation"): the state of absolute freedom from conditioned existence, as explained in ashta-anga-yoga; in the nondualistic (advaita) traditions of India, this is usually called moksha or mukti (meaning "release" from the fetters of ignorance, or avidya)

Kali: a Goddess embodying the fierce (dissolving) aspect of the Divine

Kali-yuga: the dark age of spiritual and moral decline, said to be current now; kali does not refer to the Goddess Kali but to the losing throw of a die

Kama ("desire"): the appetite for sensual pleasure blocking the path to true bliss (ananda); the only desire conducive to freedom is the impulse toward liberation, called mumukshutva

Kapila ("He who is red"): a great sage, the quasi-mythical founder of the Samkhya tradition, who is said to have composed the Samkhya-Sutra (which, however, appears to be of a much later date)

Karman, karma ("action"): activity of any kind, including ritual acts; said to be binding only so long as engaged in a self-centered way; the "karmic" consequence of one's actions; destiny

Karma Yoga ("Yoga of action"): the liberating path of self-transcending action

Karuna ("compassion"): universal sympathy; in Buddhist yoga the complement of wisdom (prajna)

Khecari-mudra ("space-walking seal"): the Tantric practice of curling the tongue back against the upper palate in order to seal the life energy (prana); see also mudra

Kosha ("casing"): any one of five "envelopes" surrounding the transcendental Self (atman) and thus blocking its light: anna-maya-kosha ("envelope made of food," the physical body), prana-maya-kosha ("envelope made of life force"), mano-maya-kosha ("envelope made of mind"), vijnana-maya-kosha ("envelope made of consciousness"), and ananda-maya-kosha ("envelope made of bliss"); some older traditions regard the last kosha as identical with the Self (atman)

Krishna ("Puller"): an incarnation of God Vishnu, the God-man whose teachings can be found in the Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavata-Purana/p>

Kumbhaka ("potlike"): breath retention; cf. puraka, recaka

Kundalini-shakti ("coiled power"): according to Tantra and hatha yoga, the serpent power or spiritual energy, which exists in potential form at the lowest psycho-energetic center of the body (i.e., the mula-adhara-cakra) and which must be awakened and guided to the center at the crown (i.e., the sahasrara-cakra) for full enlightenment to occur

Kundalini-Yoga: the yogic path focusing on the kundalini process as a means of liberation

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Reader Comments

Sunta

Namaste: The light in me honours that place in you which is the light in you !

Sarai

In response to Padma's comment about alleged "intellectual dishonesty" - I would like to respectfully clarify....

The term "hindu" comes from the Persian invaders mispronoucing the name of the Sindhu River (in India), and thereby they misnamed the people of that location and their religion as "hindu". The true name of the spiritual path to which "hindu" now refers is actually SANATANA DHARMA. Never in the vedas will one find the bastardized term "hindu", though this term has been generally accepted as appropriate by the modern people who practice this path of spirituality, it would not necessarily be less "intellectually dishonest" to refer to Ayurveda or Yoga having their roots in "hinduism". However, SANATANA DHARMA is ancient, and the Sindhu River IS in India, so to say that Yoga and Ayurveda have their roots in ancient india is equally as accurate, in my opinion. Truly, however, it would be with the utmost accuracy to say that their roots are from Sanatana Dharma.

I am not sure whether Padma's contention comes from (perhaps) being an Indian by nationality and not wanting nationality confused with Spiritual Path or Religions affiliation. This, I would understand. There is no national religion of India, and even in ancient times, India was ripe with diverse religious populations. Nonetheless, Sanatana Dharma DOES indeed spring forth out of ancient India, and I do not believe that when people say that Yoga and Ayurveda have their roots in ancient india, that there is any "intellectual dishonesty" being perpetrated.

Thabo

I just wanted to know what namaste meant, and I did not get the answer.

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