Ahankara is a Sanskrit word that describes the ego, the image a person has of him/herself or the conscious mind as he/she perceives it.
The term comes from the root, aham, which translates as “I am”; and kara, which means “doing” or “making.” A related term, asmita, is sometimes used as a synonym for ahankara, but whereas the latter describes the ego, the former describes egoism or attachment to what the ego desires.
Ahankara can also be thought of as the yogi’s sense of who he or she is. It can be either positive or negative and include self-worth, desires, thoughts and personality.
Desavakasika is a Sanskrit disciplinary vow. Developed by the Jain monks, desavakasika, is the vow a person makes for how they will approach and live their life in their immediate environment. While the monks were known to sacrifice relationships and many comforts of life, they created a tiered set of vows that included the guna vratas, or “merit vows,” and the siksa vratas, or “disciplinary vows,” to help all yogis develop an intentional life.
Mehndi, also spelled mehendi, is the ancient art of decorating the skin using henna paste. It is also the name of the paste. The elaborate decorations are most typically done on the hands and feet. Although the use of henna as a dye appears to have originated in Egypt, its use in skin decoration may have developed in India.
Today, mehndi as an art form is practiced around the world, particularly in India, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In India, decorating the feet and hands of the bride is a popular and often elaborate pre-wedding ceremony, but mehndi is also a part of many Hindu festivals and ceremonies. Yogis and yoginis also decorate their skin with mehndis that have symbolic significance.
Divya is the Sanksrit term for “divine,” “fate” or “fortune.” Divya is also a popular first name for girls, especially in India and among those who practice Hinduism.
Within yoga philosophy, divya often refers to divine insight, or divya-drishti. Divya-drishti, once attained, helps yogis communicate and connect with the Divine and can permit a yogi to see into the future as well as the past.
Amba is a Sanskrit word meaning “mother.” It is also one of the more popular names of the Hindu goddess Druga, particularly in western India. As Druga, she is frequently referred to as Amba Bhavani and represents shakti, the feminine divine energy.
Sakshi is a Sanskrit term with several meanings, including “witness,” “Supreme Being” and “the ego.” The word is derived from the roots, sa, meaning “with,” and aksha, meaning “senses,” “eyes” or “spiritual wisdom.” This wisdom is the insight a yogi gains through awakening his/her inner witness, or sakshi.
In Hindu philosophy, sakshi refers to the concept of pure awareness in which the yogi witnesses the world, but does not get involved or become affected by worldly things.
In Buddhism, vimala is the second of the 10 bhumis, or “lands” through which the bodhisattva must travel on his/her journey to becoming a buddha. It has similarities to the yogic path to enlightenment.
Vimala bhumi is described as the “land of purity” and is sometimes called “the stainless.” In this stage, the bodhisattva renounces all defilements and cultivates sila paramita, which translates as the “perfection of morality.” In vimala, the bodhisattva gains compassion for all living beings.
Sparsa is a Sanskrit word meaning “touch” and referring to the touching of material objects. As a Buddhist concept, sparsa means “sense impression” and defines the abilities used to sense objects in the physical world. This concept of sense impression brings together three sub-concepts: the object, the sense of the object and the consciousness of the ability to sense said object.