Avahan

An invocation of grace often sung at the opening of a talk by the Guru.

Guru Gita

A Sanskrit text whose title literally means “the auspicious song of the Guru.” Shri Guru Gita is a sacred text consisting of Sanskrit mantras that describe the nature of the Guru and the Guru-disciple relationship as well as techniques for meditation on the Guru and the benefits that accrue from this. The recitation of Shri Guru Gita is one of the central practices of Siddha Yoga students.

Gurudev Siddha Peeth

The Siddha Yoga Ashram in Maharashtra, India; the first Siddha Yoga Ashram. The Ashram’s first three buildings were constructed for Swami Muktananda at the command of his Guru, Bhagavan Nityananda, in 1956 near the village of Ganeshpuri.

Kundalini Shakti

The primordial shakti; the power of spiritual evolution as it manifests in a human being. The Sanskrit word kundalini literally means “coiled one.” Kundalini Shakti is so named because the dormant form of this spiritual energy is represented as lying coiled in a subtle energy center near the base of the spine. This energy—when awakened and guided by the Siddha Yoga Guru and its progress aided by the seeker’s own disciplined effort—brings about purification on all levels, physical and subtle, and leads to the permanent experience of one’s divine nature.

Namasankirtana

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 cappella. Namasankirtana is a core Siddha Yoga practice.

Raga

A collection of melodic patterns having characteristic phrases and embellishments, used as a basis for improvisation and composition in Indian music. The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word raga is “color.” Raga is traditionally described as “that which colors the mind and heart” because a raga evokes specific qualities and moods in both the listener and the performer.

Sadhana

A Sanskrit word that means “leading straight to the goal; a means of accomplishing (something); spiritual practice.” The sadhana of Siddha Yoga students includes committed engagement with the essential Siddha Yoga practices and focused study of the Siddha Yoga teachings. The goal of Siddha Yoga sadhana is spiritual transformation that leads to liberation.

Satsang

A Sanskrit word that literally means “the company of the good; the company of the Truth,” and by extension “the company of spiritual seekers.” Satsang is a gathering of seekers for the purpose of meditating, chanting, listening to scriptural teachings, and discussing spiritual topics. A seeker can also have satsang by keeping their own good company through doing spiritual practices, holding good thoughts, and cultivating the divine virtues.

Self

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

Shaktipat

A Sanskrit term that means “descent of power.” On the Siddha Yoga path, shaktipat is an act of grace—the initiation (diksha) by which the Siddha Yoga Guru transmits divine energy to an aspirant and awakens that person’s Kundalini Shakti, the inner spiritual energy. Shaktipat diksha signals the beginning of Siddha Yoga sadhana, an inner journey that culminates in spiritual liberation.