These are concepts that we consider to be foundational to the practice and methodology of Ayurveda. We believe that one must understand and respect the source of these teachings in order to engage with this work and with this healing. These teachings (Vedas, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali etc) are some of the world’s oldest medicinal, spiritual, and philosophical texts. Sanskrit concepts, passed through written and oral traditions, inform our practices as part of the philosophical discourse that is foundational to our work. We will actively continue to add to our glossary in an effort to share the wisdom and build our community.
Avidya: (अविद्या) | [əweɪʔzà] - often translated as ignorance or “unwisdom.” An ignorance or misunderstanding the state of reality or the metaphysical reality (as it pertains to non-self doctrines/anātman - this is a Buddhist school of thought) and impermanence. IE: “mistaking illusion to be reality, suffering and bliss, permanence and impermanence”
Citta: (चित्त) | [/t͡ʃɪt̪] - Consciousness or perception with recognition versus Prana which is “pure awareness, pure perception without recognition” ( Dr. V Lad). Citta means consciousness, a nature that is aware of its object.
Jnana or Gyan: ( ज्ञान) | [ɡjɑ́ː.n̪ɐ]- “world transcending wisdom.” It is a moment that is recognized when experienced, a cognitive event that is integral and in total communion with reality, but also the divine reality. It is pure awareness, and during meditation “knowledges” are revealed in order. It is also a yoga practice with a specific pathway to moksha.
Mantra: (मन्त्र) | [/ˈmʌntrə-/] a sound that resonates within the body and causes vibration that is powerful, transformative. ॐ (Aum, Om) is believed to be the very first sound that originated on earth. It is a simple and powerful mantra that voiced at a particular “frequency” can be transformational. Mantra were thought to have magical and spiritual powers.
Asatao ma sadgamaya / Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya / Mrtyorma amrtam gamaya / Om shanti shanti shanti
A mantra from the Upanishads, one of the ancient philosophical yogic texts from India for Ganesha Ji. The translation is “Lead me from the untruth to truth, lead me from darkness to light, lead me from death to immortality, Om peace, peace, peace.”
(Aum Gum Shreem Maha Lakshmiyei Namaha --- GANESHA JI MANTRA).
Maṇḍala: मण्डल - 'circle' a ritualistic and spiritual symbol of the universe in Buddhism and Hinduism. The forms can vary with representations usually of gates within a circle that has a universal center point.
Nadi: नाडी | [n̪ə.d̪iː] - A term that is used a lot in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Nadis are a system of conduits, or channels within the subtle body that circulate prana or life force (energy). When they get disrupted, clogged, and/or imbalanced the body and mind are no longer clear. They connect from the base of the spine to the head.
Prajna: प्रज्ञ | [pɹʌd͡ʒnə] - this is the purest form of wisdom. It is superior to knowledge “obtained by reasoning and inference.” A more apt definition of this complicated concept is “insight” or “non-discriminating knowledge” it is an understanding of the truest nature of the world and it’s phenomena.
Prakriti: प्रकृति | [prʌkɾit̪i] - The sanskrit word means “original creation” or “nature.” In Ayurveda one of the pathways of focus is on a patient’s prakriti. This is their constitution, the natural combination (balance or imbalance) of the 3 doshas at the time of their creation. These are unchanging and unchangeable.
Vikruti: विकृति | [vikɾʌt̪i] Meaning, “after creation.” This is the state of being you are in at the present time and how your doshas are expressing themselves in the mind and body, this is the shaping that takes place by the interaction of your doshas with life events. The variation that can be imbalance, and the source to which healing must be focused. In the most favorable environments, the vikruti and prakriti are the same.