Friday, June 15, 2012

Glossary of Oneness/Deeksha Terms

[Footprints at Chiesa del Domine Quo Vadis, a church just outside Rome, mythically attributed to Jesus.]

Although many of the terms used in Oneness derive from Sanskrit, they correspond to universal truths found across spiritual traditions.
Bhakti: (Sanskrit, bhakti, “devotion, love”.)  There are many spiritual paths: prayer, scholarship, helping others in need, etc.  Bhakti is the way of love, connecting to God through heart felt devotion.   
Chakra:  (Commonly pronounced as “shock-ra”, but technically “chak-ruh”, like chalk, with the “r” slightly rolled.)  Energy flows through the subtle body along channels called nadi (Sanskrit, nāḍi, “flow, river, conduit”).  The body has three main nadi, one in the spinal column and two that wrap around it.  A vortex of energy called a chakra (Sanskrit, cakra, “wheel, circle, turning”) is produced where they intersect, traditionally depicted as a spoked wheel or lotus flower.  Their number, location, and symbolic associations like color vary between sources.  However a seven chakra model that originated in Hinduism is the version most recognized in the West, slightly altered by a rainbow color scheme.
The chakras are centers of consciousness, the organs of our spiritual anatomy.  Many of their positions correspond to nerve plexuses that connect the spine to specific parts of the body, showing a relationship between the spiritual and material.  Although primarily located on the back, they are often visualized at trigger points on the front of the body called kshetram (Sanskrit, “place, field, location of a sacred site, like a temple”).  For example, the Heart Chakra is located on the spine at heart level but we focus our awareness on the middle of the chest.
Chakra Dhyana: (Sanskrit, “meditation on the chakras”.)  See also, Chakra.
Individual Chakra Sounds:
Lam: Pronounced “lah-ng”.  Lam represents the element of earth.  Chanting it balances the Root Chakra, represented as red, located at the base of the spine.

Vam: Pronounced “vah-ng”.  Vam represents the element of water.  Chanting it balances the Second Chakra, represented as orange, located on the spine at the sacrum.

Ram: Pronounced “rah-ng”.  Ram represents the element of fire.  Chanting it balances the Third Chakra, represented as yellow, located on the spine at the level of the navel.

Yam: Pronounced “yah-ng”.  Yam represents the element of air.  Chanting it balances the Heart Chakra, represented as green, located on the spine at the level of the physical heart.

Ham: Pronounced “hah-ng”.  Ham represents the fifth element, akasha (Sanskrit, “aether, space, sound”).  Chanting it balances the Throat Chakra, represented as light blue, located on the spine at the level of the throat.

Om: Pronounced “aum”.  Om balances the Third Eye, represented as dark blue, located in the skull at the level of the forehead.

Ogum Satyam Om: Pronounced “oh-goom saught-yahm aum”.  This phrase balances the Crown Chakra, represented as purple, located above the skull.  

(Ogum is difficult to find information on.  It is not found in Sanskrit dictionaries.  Mantras can have slight regional variations.  For example, the longer version of the Gayatri mantra prefixes some words with Om, other versions include Ogum.  In that context, each "Om/Ogum + word" group represents a level of the cosmos.  Satyam means “absolute truth, goodness, divine reality” in Sanskrit.  Om/Ogum Satyam symbolizes the highest heavens and the phrase is used to bless the head.    The Oneness meaning may be related.  Bhagavan was born in Tamil Nadu and Tamil versions of the longer Gayarti use Ogum.)

(Other versions of chakra dhayna use Om alone for the Crown Chakra, adding Sham for the Third Eye, or use silence instead to represent it.)
Kundalini Visualization:
Om Kundalini Arohanam. (Sanskrit, arohanam, “climb, rise, ascend”.)  See also, Kundalini.
Deesksha: (Sanskrit, dīkṣā, “dedication, consecration, initiation into a mantra, spiritual practice, or religious order”.)  The term generally means a transfer of divine energy between a guru (“spiritual teacher”) and student, passed by touch, sight, or word.  For example during mantra diksha, the guru not only teaches a mantra to the student, they unlock its spiritual potency.  In the Oneness community, the term deeksha is also used for the Oneness blessing, a transfer of divine energy via a blessing giver, by placing their hands on the recipient’s head or by intent.  
Kundalini:  (Sanskrit, kuṇḍalinī, either from kunda “coiled, in a spiral” or kund, “to burn”.)  (Commonly pronounced as “kun-duh-lee-nee” but technically kun-duh-leh-nee. The first “i” is like the “i” in bit, the last “i” is like the “ee” in feet, said twice as long as the first “i”.)  A dormant spiritual force resting in the Root Chakra, coiled like a serpent.  When awakened it travels up the spine like a ladder until it reaches the Crown Chakra, producing mystical union with God.  See also, Chakra.
Mala: (Sanskrit, mālā, “a garland of flowers, prayer beads”.)  The ancestor of the rosary, a mala is a circle of prayer beads.  It supports meditation by passively counting the number of mantras or breaths. They are typically made from 108 beads or one of its divisors like 54, 27, or 18.  The number itself is richly symbolic.  For example, there are 9 planets and 12 zodiac signs in Indian astrology.  9 X 12 = 108.  Other symbolic numbers like 21 are also used.
An additional one, two, or three beads hold the loop together, known as the guru (“spiritual teacher”), Meru (“mythical cosmic mountain”), or Buddha bead.  It is not counted but marks both the start and end of recitation.  Begin with the bead next to it, moving forward one with each repetition.  Some sources also recommend spinning the bead as you say the mantra.  If doing more than one round, do not cross over the guru bead.  Instead flip the mala over your fingers, making the last bead the first and begin again.  Malas are typically counted with the thumb and middle or ring finger of the right hand in Hinduism or the thumb and index finger of the left hand in Buddhism.
Mantra: (Sanskrit, mantra, from man-, “mind, to think” and -tra, “tool, instrument”, “protection”, or “release, free”.)  Mantras are sacred Sanskrit sounds, ranging in length from a single syllable to paragraphs long, repeated to focus the mind.  Many religions teach a relationship between sound, divinity, and the true nature of reality.  "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (Bible, John 1:1)  Beyond an object of concentration, mantras are also spiritually charged.  For example, in Hindu thought the six lower chakras support a copy of the Sanskrit alphabet on their petals, the Crown Chakra another twenty on its one thousand petals.  Saying a mantra activates them like a keyboard, changing the way energy flows through our mind, body, and surroundings.
Moola Mantra:  (Sanskrit, mūlā, “root, foundation, base”.)  The term generally refers to the main mantra associated with a spiritual being.  In the Oneness community, it specifically refers to the mantra: Om Sat Chit Ananda Parabrahma Purushothama Paramatma Sri Bhagavathi Sametha Sri Bhagavathe Namaha.     
Om: Om symbolizes the primordial sound of creation.  Often found at the start of mantras to bless the beginning.

Sat Chit Ananda: Meaning “existence (also translated as ‘truth’), consciousness, and absolute bliss”.  The three main attributes of divine nature in Hinduism.

Parabrahma: Meaning “Beyond Brahman”. The formless transcendent aspect of God.

Purushothama: Meaning “Supreme Being”.  When God incarnates in human form (Christ, Krishna, etc.)

Paramatma: Meaning “Supreme Soul”.  The aspect of God that dwells within the consciousness of all living beings.

Sri: Sri is formally placed before a name or title to show respect.  

Bhagavathi: Meaning "the feminine aspect of God".

Sametha: Meaning "together with".

Sri: Sri is formally placed before a name or title to show respect.

Bhagavathe: Meaning "the masculine aspect of God".

Namaha: A traditional mantra ending, translated many ways: “Salutations, I offer obeisance (a gesture of homage, like bowing), I respectfully call upon the name”.
Many mantras follow the pattern Om + (Name) + Namaha, calling on one representation of God.  The Oneness Moola Mantra instead honors whatever form is appropriate to that individual, ranging from the abstract (Parabrahma), in a human form, either male or female (Purushothama), or the higher consciousness within all living things (Paramatma).  The mantra moves from the most abstract to that with the most form, like gender.  See also, Mantra.
Sri Murthi: (Sanskrit, śrī, “blessed, auspicious, holy”, often formally placed before a title or name to show respect.  Sanskrit, mūrti, “representation, form, image”.)  The term generally refers to a physical representation of God, like a statue or painting.  Murthi is similar to the Christian term icon (Greek, eikon, “image”): art that supports God’s presence manifesting in the material world but not confused with the divine itself.  In the Oneness community, Sri Murthi specifically refers to an image of the teachers Sri Amma Bhagavan, believed to have attained an elevated state.  See also, Puja and Paduka.
Paduka: (Sanskrit, pādukā, “sandals, footwear”.)  In many ancient cultures, washing the feet was an act of hospitality, performed by a servant or even the host for a highly respected guest.  An unnamed woman anoints the feet of Jesus in the Bible, washing it with her own tears and hair (Luke 7:36), and Jesus later shows he is the servant to all, by washing the feet of his disciples (John 13).  Likewise in India, the feet of an elder, guru, or depiction of God are touched or offered to as a sign of respect.  A pair of sandals (“paduka”) or footprints alone may be used to represent God or our teachers. See also, Sri Murthi and Puja.
Puja: During a puja (Sanskrit, pūjā, “to worship, honor, show respect”), God is invited into a representation like a statue and treated as a guest; given water to drink, a place to freshen up, and food.  Many religious traditions believe the divine can manifest in material objects during ceremony, often as a charge of spiritual energy.  Since God does not get thirsty, dirty, or hungry, the materials offered are instead conduits for that energy and also help turn our senses and mind towards the divine. See also, Sri Murthi and Paduka.
Shavasana: (Sanskrit, shava “corpse-like, lying down flat on your back without moving”, and asana, “yoga posture”).  If physically possible, laying down after receiving deeksha, to assimilate the energy.
ऊँ सत् चित् आनन्द परब्रह्मा
पुरुषोत्तम परमात्मा
श्री भगवती समेत श्री भगवते नम:।
(Oneness Moola Mantra in Sanskrit)
“Om Sat Chit Ananda Parabrahma
Purushothama Paramatma
Sri Bhagavathi Sametha Sri Bhagavathe Namaha”

For more information about Oneness Bhakti Yoga, Sri Murthi Archana, see:

Oneness Bhakti Yoga, Sri Murthi Archana

© 2012, C. L. Matthews, Version 2
[Image Source: Wikipedia Commons]

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