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~Lila~

Lila is a Sanskrit term that has a range of translations and uses within Hinduism and yogic philosophy. Primarily, its meanings tend to derive from its rough translation as the noun, “play”; although, it is said that the word has more richness and depth than this simple translation.

One use of the term, lila, is by non-dualist philosophical schools to describe all reality. According to these schools, the entire cosmos and all the activity within them is simply the outcome of the creative play of Brahman, or The Absolute. Therefore, all reality is lila. In dualistic schools, such as Vaishnaivism, lila can refer to the activities of God, as well as the actions of the manifest universe.

~Klesha~

In Hinduism and Buddhism, a klesha is a negative mental state that clouds the mind causing suffering and the conditions for suffering to arise. Klesha means “poison” in Sanskrit. Kleshas also refer to the obstacles that prevent a person from reaching a state of enlightenment and freedom from samsara.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras describe kleshas as impediments to spiritual growth. Yogic practices such as meditation and pranayama breathing exercises provide methods to overcome kleshas.

~Maitri~

Maitri is one of the four virtues of Buddhism, collectively known as Brahmaviharas or ‘the immeasurables’. The term maitri can be translated from Sanskrit as “loving-kindness,” “benevolence,” or “friendliness.” The concept is central to the Buddhist practice of loving-kindness meditation and is also referenced in ancient Hindu and Jain scriptures.

Maitri was recently popularised by Buddhist teacher, author and nun, Pema Chodron. In her book How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind, she describes maitri as “unconditional friendliness,” not only towards others but towards oneself.

As such, it is an essential facet of mindfulness meditation, enabling the practitioner to cultivate a non-judgmental, non-critical and non-goal oriented attitude towards the practice.

Maitri is also known as metta in Pali.

~Ekam~

Ekam is a Sanskrit word meaning “one” and refers to the entity from which the universe was formed. Synonymous with God, it is also the name used for the “the supreme oneness” in the holy book of the Ayyavazhi branch of Hinduism.

Within a spiritual practice of yoga, yogis may wish to connect with Ekam through meditation, pranayama and asana.