Teachings Glossary

Hard Light Center of Awakening






Showing persistent effort in one’s attempt to maintain a stable state of awareness; it also means repeated practice. The great sage Patanjali wrote in the Yoga Sutras that spiritual practice must be done for a long time, without taking a break and with strong conviction – if the deeper experiences we yearn for in our spiritual development are to occur. Right at the beginning of the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says “Control over the mind’s fluctuations comes from persevering practice (abhyasa) and nonattachment (vairagya)” (1.14)

Ajapa Japa

Japa means repetition of a mantra. When ‘a’ precedes a word in Sanskrit, it gives negation to the following word, so ajapa means non-repetition. Ajapa-japa means the nonrepeated repetition of a mantra – in other words, a spontaneous repetition, such as the natural sound of the breath. A mantra is a sacred syllable used as an object of attention in meditation. By lightly holding a focal-point, such as a mantra or attention to the breath, the mind is able to stay alert as it naturally sinks into deeper levels of silence.

A – Ka – Tha

Within the cerebrum of the brain are many aspects of the subtle body. The triangle referred to in the Guru Gita is a formation that is in the physical brain as well as the subtle body. Inside this triangle is absolute void, infinite black consciousness, without form and without quality. This triangle is located in the center of the Brahmarandhra and is formed by the Sanskrit alphabet. Each of the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet are understood to be sacred mantras. The first letter of the alphabet is “A” (pronounced ah). It and the next 15 letters form the first side of the triangle. The next set of letters beginning with “Ka” form the second side of the triangle and the last set of letters beginning with “Tha”  (pronounced ta) form the third side. A, Ka and Tha are at each of the three points. The Guru’s two lotus feet, which are Ham and Sa are in the center of this sacred triangle.



The fifth element in Vedic thought: ether or space. It is the etheric substance that is the support of mind. It is sometimes also known as the space of consciousness.

Akashic Record

The universal storehouse in which all the records of all of our past present and future actions, through countless incarnations, are stored, on the causal or mental plane.


Anuttara Yoga Tantra is one of the highest nondual classes of the yoga tantras and is sometimes related to visualizations of chosen deities. It is based on the realization of emptiness.

“Beyond which there is nothing”. The highest, the supreme, the absolute. In Kashmir Shaivism, this is a term for Reality, beyond which there is nothing. In Buddhism, anuttara yoga tantra is often translated as Unexcelled Yoga Tantra or Highest Yoga Tantra, and is a term used in Tibetan Buddhism in the categorization of esoteric tantric Indian Buddhist texts that constitute part of the Kangyur , or the ‘translated words of the Buddha’ in the Tibetan Buddhist canon

. In the New Schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Anuttarayoga Tantra is the highest of four classes and is associated with the Mahamudra route to enlightenment.


or anava-upaya; see upaya

Ancient One

The Ancient One is a reference to the Original Soul, the avatar; see Original Soul


The action of the kundalini moving in the outer body of transportation. There are three systems in which it moves: the  outer sphere of nadis and the 100 fibers that flow off the six chakras; the ida and pingala; the central nerve of the sushumna. “It is equivalent to setting fire to fuel, as if the body were a dry log and you were to set the fire at the base of the log, and that fire were to begin to capture itself around the dry bark of the log and the outer skin of the log, before it starts to fuse into the center.”

As Mark further adds: “It is the Kundalini moving between the Subtle Body and the physical transport body, in the ganglia of the nervous system, the meridians and the Micro and Macro Orbits.”


or anandopaya; see upaya


“Beyond which there is nothing”. The highest, the supreme, the absolute. In Kashmir Shaivism, this is a term for Reality, beyond which there is nothing. In Buddhism, anuttara yoga tantra is often translated as Unexcelled Yoga Tantra or Highest Yoga Tantra, and is a term used in Tibetan Buddhism in the categorization of esoteric tantric Indian Buddhist texts that constitute part of the Kangyur , or the ‘translated words of the Buddha’ in the Tibetan Buddhist canon

. In the New Schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Anuttarayoga Tantra is the highest of four classes and is associated with the Mahamudra



route to enlightenment.


The Self; the presence of the Divine within the individual. The Soul.


adjective; of the nature of Atman, The Self; the presence of the Divine within the individual.


A lock; it also means bond or bondage or control. From the verb bandh, meaning ‘to bind’. In the practice of hatha yoga, there are three main locks performed in pranayama and asana practice: 1) jaalandhara bandha, in whcih the head is bent forward and the chin is pressed against the chest; 2) uddiyaana bandha, in which the stomach muscles are pulled inward toward the spine; and 3) muula bandha in which the anus is pulled inward. In each of these moves, the idea is to lock the prana within the body and thereby generate increased flow of kundalini. A practicioner may also spontaneously experience these movements as the action of the kundalini purifies the system.


One of the forms of the Supreme Deity. Bhadra in Sanskrit means blessed, auspicious; fair, beautiful; good; fortunate, prosperous.

She is considered the auspicious and fortunate form of Kali. She is generally considered the consort of Shiva when he is in the form of Rudra. She is represented with three eyes, and four, twelve or eighteen hands. She carries a number of weapons, with flames flowing from her head, and a small tusk protruding from her mouth.


In Tibetan, this literally means “the interval”. There are usually six bardos that are spoken of. In this book, Mark is referring to the bardo thodol, the intermediate state that enlightens upon contact. The six bardos are: the bardo of the waking state (the interval between birth and death); the bardo of the dream state (the interval between going to sleep at night and awakening in the morning); the bardo of meditation (the interval between the breaths); the bardo of death, chikhai bardo (the interval between life and the afterlife); the bardo of luminosity, the chonyid bardo (the interval between death and rebirth); and the bardo of rebirth, the sidpabardo (the interval between the afterlife and the new experience of the waking state). The bardo thodol comprises the three last bardos, chikhai, chonyid and sidpa, as it is possible to spontaneously gain enlightenment during any of these states by direct recognition of reality.


Also written Bhagwan or Bhagavan; “possessing fortune, blessed, prosperous” (from the Sanskrit noun bhaga, meaning “fortune, wealth”). It is also used to reference that aspect of the Supreme Being that is possessing a personality. It is a title of veneration that is often translated as “Lord”, or a liberated person who is believed to be an incarnation of God.


A philosophical term of three syllables. The syllable ‘bha’



represents the idea of projection of consciousness. The syllable ‘ra’ represents the maintenance of consciousness and the syllable ‘va’ is the symbol of the withdrawal of consciousness. And this idea of consciousness moving through this cycle, eternally and simultaneously at all times and in all places, gives you an idea of the relationship between the ocean of consciousness and the creation, the expression of the Guru and the power of that expression of the Guru. These correspond to the first three aspects of the Five Functions (see below).


literally: point, dot or drop. A compact mass of spiritual power or energy, gathered into an undifferentiated point.

The seat at the back of the skull. In the bicameral brain, with the  left and right sides, if you cut through the center, you see that it’s all white material, highly conductive material, between white and gray matter in the brain, cutting through from the back of the skull, straight through to the third eye.

Of all of the seats and places in the subtle physical body, the third eye is the easiest point to control everything in the subtle body, because it is both conscious and unconscious, dark and light; because it brings into equilibrium the left and right side, ida and pingala, as well as the void essence between formless consciousness and consciousness with form.

With most of the chakras, energy goes in and out on the same current; but at the throat it’s like a highway that is divided, like hitting a “Y” in the road, a soft left or soft right. One part goes straight up the spine, up the back of the head, engaging this seat called “bindu”, at the back of the head, over the crown of the head, and down into the ajna chakra in the third eye. Now when it comes down to the third eye, there’s also a current that goes straight from the back of the head to the third eye. When you look at the brain, the two lobes of the brain are on that axis, and it’s just a core of nerves through that center piece. The kundalini will start firing from the back of the brain, straight to the forehead, and opening these nadis. When that occurs, it’s like a seam opens at the back of the head, and it kind of unfurls and opens at the front of the head – it’s extremely blissful.

Blue Pearl

A scintillating blue light or bindu, the size of a tiny seed that can appear during meditation. It is said to be the doorway to the inner Self and contains the entire universe. It is the form of the fourth body. It is also known as the rupa in the Guru Gita.


Bodhicitta is a purely mystical act of directing the totality of one’s being towards enlightenment. Bodhicitta is, essentially, the process of the unfoldment of awakening. The entire dynamic of the process of awakening is an expression of Bodhicitta, the revelation of the



indwelling Self in all things.


“the Bodhicitta: first we say it is an ideal of enlightenment, and the burning sword of the love of that enlightenment, the burning sword of truth, that is the Bodhicitta. Then we say that the Bodhicitta is a place in the body at the breastbone, towards the center of the body and down a little, where we would say the anchor of the deep heart rests; and that this geographically, is a place where all four bodies intersect: the physical body of matter, the subtle physical body of energy, the causal body of mind and mental formations, and even Atman, the throb of that pure light, that pure consciousness. We come to understand even further that the Bodhicitta, from this seat in the base of the heart, becomes a fountain of one hundred fibers, that go upward and connect into the brain – forty-eight pacific energies, fifty-two wrathful energies, that animate the space between the heart and the brain, and produce the event of existence, all of the dynamics of separate existence, all of the qualities of being.” ~ Mark


A great Buddhist monk who traveled from India to live in China during the 6th century. He is credited with beginning the Ch’an sect of Buddhism, which became Zen.


One who has attained liberation, but rather than choosing to merge with the Infinite Ocean of Pure Consciousness, elects to repeatedly reincarnate to help others also achieve enlightenment.

Body Speech and Mind

“When I say body, speech and mind, I’m talking about the physical body and the subtle body. When I say “speech”, I am talking about energy; energy is the speech of spirit. And when I say “mind”, I’m talking about awareness. They are the three relative sheathes that all must be cultivated to align with pure consciousness.” ~ Mark Griffin


(“the hole of Brahman”) Located in the thousand-petaled chakra at the crown of the head, it is the soft spot at the brain found in  infants; the point where the infusion of life takes place in the human being. It is just underneath the skull embedded in the upper layer of the cerebrum, which is the part of the brain that is dedicated to the highest brain functions. This is also the seat of the Guru. It is the superior place to exit the body upon death.


(from the Sanskrit verb root budh = “to enlighten, to know”). One of the many aspects of mind, specifically the intellect. The intellect is the discriminative or ascertaining faculty of the mind that is capable of differentiation.


The stopping of the mind. In his Yoga Sutras, the great sage Patanjali begins by explaining that Yoga is the cessation of the



fluctuations of the mind: “Yogah Chitta Vritti Nirodhah”. In the remainder of the Sutras, he then goes on to carefully explain how to do this by outlining the eight arms of Yoga with great exactness. Over time, these eight areas of attention work together to deliver one to the state of complete realization and enlightenment. Of these eight, the first three are principally devoted to facets of how to best lead one’s life: the yamas, the niyamas and asanas. These set the stage for a quiet mind. The remaining five arms are aimed at the practice of meditation itself, and

are Pranayama; Dharana; Dhyana; Pratyahara;Samadhi. In other words, stopping the mind, or cessation, is the doorway to samadhi or enlightenment.


literally: wheel. They are axes of energy within the subtle body and there are seven of them. Six are relative and one is absolute. The relative chakras are at the forehead, the throat, the heart, the navel, the genitals, and at the base of the spine. Each of the chakras are resting on the sushumna like decorations on a Christmas tree, and they have channels that flow out from them. At the base of the spine there are four channels, also known as petals. At the genitals there are six. At the navel there are ten. At the heart there are twelve. At the throat, sixteen. At the forehead there are two.


In Greek mythology, a Chimera is a fire-breathing female monster, usually part lion, goat, and serpent. Chimera mean something illusory, fantastical, hoped-for but impossible.


the mind-stuff; consciousness, awareness.

Chitshakti Vilas

Chit = consciousness; shakti = power; vilas = to shine, to flash, to glitter; to appear, arise or become manifest; to sport, amuse oneself, play, frolic about sportively. Baba Muktananda titled his autobiography chitshakti vilas, and translated this phrase as a play of consciousness.


a specific and very focused form of sadhana.


To have sight of, to see a great or holy being or presence. To come into awareness of a quality or of someone.


Concentration. Focusing one-pointedly on an idea or object of meditation to the exclusion of anything else. Common objects of meditation may be the breath, a mantra, a chakra center, the movement of the prana, the energy of the Kundalini, the Guru or a deity.


literally, that which upholds, supports or maintains Law or Natural Law. As well as referring to Law in the universal or abstract sense dharma designates those behaviors considered necessary for the



maintenance of the natural order of things, and may encompass ideas such as duty, vocation, religion and everything that is considered correct, proper or decent behavior.


(from the Sanskrit root “dhi” = intellect) Meditation. The mind becomes aware of all things simultaneously. It is a state of encompassing awareness wherein one merges and fuses with the object of attention. The stage of meditation in which the mind is able to comprehend its oneness with everything, and all mental activity ceases, so that all sense of separate Self disappears.


Initiation, or consecration. When one receives instuction or a  mantra from an enlightened being, one who has used that same mantra or path of sadhana to achieve his own awakening, that instruction comes bundled with the awakened vibration of the master himself. It is chaitanya (see month one). So when Mark mentions at the end of this talk that SoHam diksha was given, he means that the use of SoHam by those present who received it, will forever more be a powerful path. The use of the mantra for the recipient will be entirely different than for someone who simply read the mantra in a book, for instance.


The ability to discern subtle differences.


An aspect of the subtle body, a concentrated area or plexus of bliss. Drop is the Buddhist term; in Sanskrit they are known as bindus, in Tibetan they are known as thigle. They have been described as red and white subtle liquid energy that exists throughout the channels of the body. The drops are always together in all the channels but the red drops predominate at the navel chakra, and the white drops at the crown chakra.

The drop of the waking state assembles in the forehead. The drop of the dream state assembles in the throat. The drop of deep sleep, no thought, assembles in the heart.


A state which is beyond all imputed terms. It has nothing to do with an empty or lonely feeling or an empty glass of water. It is the state of void, containing nothing and yet containing everything. There is nothing similar to it and nothing different from it.


From neuropsychology: the physical basis of an individual memory in the brain; it is hypothesized to be a biochemical change, possibly in the neural tissue, that represents a memory. They are also sometimes thought of as a neural network or fragment of memory, sometimes using a hologram analogy to describe its action, in light of recent results showing that not all memory appears to be localized in the brain. The existence of engrams is posited by some scientific theories to explain the persistence of memory and how memories are stored in the brain. The existence of neurologically



defined engrams is not significantly disputed, though their exact mechanism and location has been a focus of persistent research for many decades.

Five Acts

Five Acts ~ (In Sanskrit, pañchakritya = “five fold activity”) Creation, maintenance, concealment, destruction and the bestowal of grace. The often seen statue of Shiva Nataraj symbolizes these five acts. In this statue Shiva is shown having four arms. His right hand holds a small drum, where the sound of creation is born. His other right hand is raised in the traditional mudra or position granting protection, which represents sustenance in his function as the maintainer. His left hand holds fire, which symbolizes destruction.

His other left hand turns inward, shielding, signifying concealment. His raised left foot signifies the bestowal of grace. His balanced and serene posture shows that he remains the eternal witness even while performing all of these acts simultaneously. Another great text of Kashmir Shaivism, the Pratyabhijñahrdayam, states that as human beings, we perform these five acts every moment and it is only because of our ignorance and delusion, that we are not fully aware of this power. Gaining the awareness that we do indeed initiate the same five acts as Shiva does, allows the mind to rise to the state of pure consciousness and attain union with Shiva.

Five-Fold Yogas

This refers to the five arms or yokes of the eight limbs of Yoga, as taught by the Sage Patanjali. They are Pranayama > Dharana > Dhyana > Pratyahara > Samadhi.


Fontanelles are soft spots on a baby’s head which, during birth, enable the bony plates of the skull to flex, allowing the child’s head to pass through the birth canal. The ossification of the bones of the skull causes the fontanelles to close over by a child’s second birthday. The closures eventually form the sutures of the neurocranium. The principal fontanelle at the crown of the head is also known as the Brahmarandra.


An indo/Tibetan alliteration, referring to the condensed essence of ignorance. It looks like a black tar, smeared all over the system and weighing you down.


A small village in the Maharashtra district of India, most noted for the residence of Shri Bhagawan Nityananda in the first half of the twentieth century. His temple is the center of the town, which is his mahasamadhi shrine, where he is buried. Baba Muktananda also established an ashram there and his mahasamadhi shrine is also located there.


A complex bundle of nerve cells within the physical body.

Generation Stage

An early stage of spiritual training in which a seeker is acquiring spiritual energy. It includes the sheer mechanics of the unwinding



or unspooling of karmic impressions, brought about

through cessation. Then the application of energy and the isolation of energy systems within one’s being, filling and illuminating these systems. The stages of work with Mark in Hard Light typically go through the arc of initiation, generation, development and completion.

Gravity Well

Mark talks about the spiritual centers of the subtle body being like gravity wells. Literally speaking, a gravity well is the pull of gravity exerted by a large body in space. The larger the body (the more mass) the greater the gravity well it has. The Sun has a large and deep gravity well. Asteroids and small moons have much shallower gravity wells. Anything on the surface of a planet or moon is considered to be at the bottom of the gravity well. Entering space from the surface of a planet or moon means climbing out of the gravity well, something that often takes a huge amount of energy. The larger a planet or moon’s gravity well is, the more energy it takes to achieve escape velocity and blast a ship off of it. In physics, a gravity well is the gravitational potential field around a massive body (a particular kind of potential well).


(“strand, thread or quality”) The three basic qualities or attributes of nature which underlie all manifestation: sattva, rajas and tamas. All manifest creation is made up of a combination of these three gunas. Sattva is ruled by Vishnu, is of the nature of integration, and is characterized as white. It is the highest frequency and is buoyant with light. Sattva is knowledge, happiness, integration and infinite existence without differentiation. Rajas is ruled by Brahma and characterized as red. The nature of rajas is cyclic revolution – passion, churning and violent spinning – that which is spinning towards the center and that which is spinning out into infinite expansion. Tamas is ruled by Shiva. It is characterized as the abysmal, infinite black. It is a quality that is so dense that it is thought of as a black hole. Nothing emerges from it. It is absolute, dense, infinite blackness, with no light emerging and all qualities crushed into a compression so deep that nothing can be discerned. It is the origin of creation. To say that the Guru is beyond the three gunas means that he is the source of creation even before creation itself came into manifestation.


Hamsa means swan in Sanskrit. The swan is a symbol for the soul. Many great saints and siddhas, such as Baba Muktananda Paramahamsa, share the name ‘Paramahamsa’, meaning great swan, or great soul. Also, see SoHam.


..दयम The heart center in the subtle body; also the mind or soul. The interior or essence of anything; true or divine knowledge.



Will power.


Known as the moon nadi, this channel or prana current ascends up the left side of the central channel, the sushumna. It is red in color, and is female or yin. It is connected to the parasympathetic  nervous system and has a calming and cooling effect on the mind when it is activated. It originates at the base of the spine and terminates at the left nostril. The ida is essentially empty in nature and is of the reflective quality of mind.

Imputed Terms

To attribute a quality to something. The ocean of consciousness that is beyond all qualities. Notice that even when you call something holy or sacred, it sets up a relationship with other things. If something is holy, there must be something that is more holy or less holy, and on and on it goes. To say something is beyond imputed terms is to understand that there is nothing to compare it to, nothing to match it up against. It also means that it is the same for everyone who experiences it. Normally when we experience something, we each have a unique perception of it. For example, smelling a rose brings up different impressions for each person and an entirely different impression for a honeybee. This is not the case with that which is beyond imputed terms. Thus, that which is beyond imputed terms is referred to as “empty”, devoid of all relative qualities.


(from the Sanskrit root ish = “to rule”) The Supreme Lord. The Eternal One. All that humanity can know of God, both transcendent and immanent. (Also spelled Ishvara).


The name of our world system, also known as 13 of 25. This translates as endurance, or the tolerable. It is tolerable because of the presence of dharma.

“In the Book of Life, our particular world is called Jambudvipa. It means endurance. It’s referred to as such because it has the existence of suffering, all of the lower realms, but it also has the presence of the divine, with consciousness of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Wheel Monarchs, and even the manifestation of the original soul is known to appear here. But at the same time, the collective force of karmic activity operates here. In other words, there is cause and effect. There are other world systems where cause and effect doesn’t operate. The various other world systems have beautiful titles, one called Covered, one is Stainless, one is Unsurpassed, one is Variously Emerged, one is Saffron Banner. All have different qualities. Unsurpassed is the world system through which the consciousness of the Gods, Goddesses, Bodhisattvas, and the beings that are operating in the highest levels of all realms of existence flow into the world of Jambudvipa, the world of endurance. Jambudvipa is a great name. It’s very informative. It’s



like you have to get across this water, and all you’ve got is your endurance.”


the individual person. Jivanmukti = liberated while in the body. Jivatman = the Soul of the individual. Jivatman = the soul of the individual.


Knowledge. The path of the mind.


The Hindu goddess associated with eternal energy. “She who destroys”. The name Kali comes from kaala, which means “the black one”. Since Shiva is called Kaala – the eternal time, Kaali, his consort, also means “the Time” or “Death”. Hence, Kali is considered the goddess of time and change. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, she is essentially a figure of annihilation of all that which binds. She is also revered as Bhavatarini (literally “redeemer of the universe”). Kali is  represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing. She is the foremost among the Dasa Mahavidyas, ten fierce Tantric goddesses, and is associated with many other Hindu goddesses like Durga, Bhadrakali, Sati, Rudrani, Parvati and Chamunda.

Kali Yuga

There are four periods of time or yugas. The Kali Yuga is the last of these four, and is the period of time or age in which we live now. It is an age that is defined by the arising of negative forces dominating the positive energies of the world. One effect is the shortening of the lifetime. In previous ages, the life span was up to 3,000 years, then down to 1,000 years to 900 to 300, and now down to 70 years. (see yuga).


“action” or “deed”; that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect.


The ancient name for the modern city of Varanasi in India, or Benares, or as it was historically known. It is one of the Wonders of the World. This is Shiva’s city, one of the most holy cities in India, and is sacred to both Hinduism and Buddhism. It is said that Shiva dove into the world in the Himalayas, and resurfaced, like a diver coming up for air, in Kashi. Varanasi is said to be over 12,000 years old, with a population living there on the banks of the Ganges throughout that time period, making it the oldest continually inhabited city on earth. Varanasi itself is considered a gateway to liberation, in that many believe that simply dying in Shiva’s city is powerful enough to break the cycle of rebirth.

Kashmir Shaivism

a school of thought born in the northern regions of India near Kashmir during the 8th-9th century CE., which holds that there is not a gap or difference between God and the world. Unlike Vedantic schools of thoughts, which contend that the world is an



illusion, Kashmir Shaivism holds that the only illusion is the perception of duality. The main deity is held to be Shiva. The main texts of Kashmir Shaivism include the Shiva Sutras and the Pratjñabhijnahridiyam (The heart of recognition).

Klesha-born proliferating obscurations

“defilements”, “corruptions” or “poisons”. These are mental states which temporarily cloud the mind’s nature and manifest in various forms as unskillful actions of body, speech, and mind. Three main kinds of klesha are often spoken of: greed, lust and attachment; hatred and aversion; delusion, sloth and ignorance. Mark tells us the kleshas are born from primal ignorance – the ignorance that makes us think we are the body and not the infinite Self. That is the cause, and from that we then reap results of primal ignorance. As he says: “The reason it’s called “proliferating obscuration” is because once you produce one false premise and act upon it, you generate the cause and effect, and that single cause will produce a result that will produce ten more causes, that will each produce twenty more effects, and on and on. So it expands geometrically.”


Action. This word is often used to also mean spontaneous actions of the kundalini during meditation, which may manifest as physical movements of the body, etc.


A form of pranayama involving inner retention of breath. After an inhalation, the breath is held. The container is full.


“wellspring, a source of continuous supply”. In the Kunda Series, Mark Griffin explains and demonstrates the nature and experience of profound subjects dealing with advanced consciousness in the human form.


(“coiled one”) The primordial Shakti lies dormant, coiled like a serpent, three and a half times at the base of the spine in the muladhara chakra. Once this mystical energy or life force is awakened, it then ignites the quest for spiritual knowledge in the seeker. Through shaktipat, a Siddha master is able to activate this divine cosmic energy so that it can arise and expand consciousness through the purification that it brings about.

Laya Samadhi

The form of samadhi that is within each person as a form of potential. It is the condition of the samadhi present but not fully experienced, not fully realized, and is seen in all forms of peak experiences in our everyday life.


also spelled Leela. Sanskrit word for play, pastime or sport. It carries the connotation of the divine play of the Lord, which include all acts of divinity, such as creation of the entire world.


A representation of the Hindu deity Shiva used for worship in temples. The Lingam has also been considered a symbol of male



creative energy or the phallus. A complementary theory suggests that the Lingam represents the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva. The lingam is often represented with the Yoni, a symbol of the goddess or of Shakti, female creative energy.


The photo shows the Shiva Lingam in Nimboli / Ganeshpuri India, which is said to be spontaneously self-born. Click the photo to enlarge it.

Lunar Return

Many holidays in the Hindu calendar are celebrated on the full  moon most closely associated with the date. In the West, almost all holidays are celebrated on the solar return. In the Hard Light Center, many important dates are celebrated both on the lunar and solar dates, and the period between the two is also considered very powerful portals of the celebrated anniversary.


Sanskrit meaning great, large or massive. Maha chakra = great chakra, the sahasrara.


One of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other  being the Ramayana. It is the epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and describes the fates of the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The Mahabharata contains much philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four “goals of life”: dharma (right  action), artha (purpose), kama (pleasure), and moksha (liberation). The Bhagavad Gita is contained within the Mahabharata . The Mahabharata contains 1.8 million words in total and is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Ramayana.


A 12 petalled lotus near the crown of the head. When it opens, it becomes a vessel to store Soma, which accelerates the transformation of the brain chemistry.


The great seal – the point of unification between emptiness and formation. The eternal knot, the twin awareness of infinite consciousness and infinite unconsciousness arising simultaneously.


one of the main 28 states in India, in which Ganeshpuri is located. (Click image to enlarge it).


(maha = “powerful, noble”; samadhi = “the great union”) This symbolizes a state of consciously leaving one’s physical body at death. It is also a celebration of the anniversary of such a passing. Baba Muktananda’s solar mahasamadhi is October 2nd, 1982.


A group of ten aspects of the Divine Mother or Devi in Hinduism. The Ten Mahavidyas are Wisdom Goddesses, who represent



feminine divinity. Mark also refers to them as the ten states of God. The name Mahavidyas comes from the Sanskrit roots, maha meaning ‘great’ and vidya meaning, ‘revelation, manifestation, knowledge, or wisdom. (Click image to enlarge it).


  1. Kali: The ultimate form of Brahman, “Devourer of Time” (Supreme Deity of Kalikula systems)
  2. Tara: The Goddess as Guide and Protector, or Who Saves.Who offers the ultimate knowledge which gives salvation(also known as Neel Saraswati).
  3. Lalita-Tripurasundari (Shodashi): The Goddess Who is “Beautiful in the Three Worlds” (Supreme Deity of Srikula systems); the “Tantric Parvati” or the “Moksha Mukuta”.
  4. Bhuvaneshvari: The Goddess as World Mother, or Whose Body is the Cosmos
  5. Bhairavi: The Fierce Goddess
  6. Chinnamasta: The Self-Decapitated Goddess
  7. Dhumavati: The Widow Goddess,or the Goddess of death.
  8. Bagalamukhi: The Goddess Who Paralyzes Enemies
  9. Matangi: the Prime Minister of Lalita (in Srikula systems); the “Tantric Saraswati”
  10. Kamala: The Lotus Goddess; the “Tantric Lakshmi”


मथनु Union, paired, coupled, united by marriage; often used in the context of sexual union.


A garland, usually used by Baba Muktananda in reference to a garland of letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, so you’ll often see ‘malini’ and matrika’ used together. Matrika refers to the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet themselves, strung together into garlands of words and concepts.


The mind. It is associated with the fiber in the third eye which is the ‘flame in a windless place’.


A mountain in the Thane River Valley in India, near Ganeshpuri and Nimboli, and very near the Fire Mountain retreat site of the Hard Light Center.

Agni means fire.


(“circle” or “center”) Symbolizes the wholeness of creation.


The dissolution of the mind. The term nasha means ‘destruction’. It is not the willful obliteration of one’s rational faculties. Rather it stands for the yogic process of transcending the conventional mind, which revolves around the pivot of the ego-identity.


A sacred word or energetic vibration, which leads the mind inwards



towards increased stillness and emptiness.


(from the Sanskrit root maarg “to seek, to strive”) Means the way or the path and is used here in conjunction with Guru, as in Guru margena, to denote the path of the Guru. The path of the Guru really has three meanings: One – the instructions given by the Guru for the specific practices of spiritual training that he      recommends. Two – the connotation that Guru Yoga itself is the swiftest road to realization. In verse 2 of the Guru Gita, Parvati  asks Shiva, “kena margena” – which path shall I take to awaken?

And three – the inner road that the Guru awakens, between the inner heart and the crown of the head; the key section of the sushumna.


The letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. It is believed that the fifty  letters of the Sanskrit alphabet are infused with the power of the Divine Mother herself. The Matrikas are considered to be the subtle form of the letters (varna). These letters combined make up syllables (pada) which are combined to make sentences (vakya) and it is of these elements that mantra is composed. It is believed that the power of mantra derives from the fact that the letters of the alphabet are in fact forms of the goddess.


In the passing between the two layers of consciousness there is a kind of frequency of forgetfulness, a loss of knowledge of Self; and thus a cycle is generated from the beginning of the creation of this and that, the ocean of consciousness and the creation of the manifest universe. This forgetfulness arises as a subtle form of ignorance. In Eastern philosophy it is referred to as maya.


Singular. Philosophy: an indivisible and hence ultimately simple entity, such as an atom or a person.

Mount Meru

A sacred mountain in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology as well as in Jain cosmology, which is considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes. It is also considered to be the abode of Lord Brahma and the Demi-Gods (Devas).

Mount Meru finds mention innumerable times in Hindu lore. The Puranas and Hindu epics, often state that Surya, i.e. the sun-God, along with all its planets and stars together as one unit, circumambulate Mount Meru every day.


Formation. Mudras are also hand gestures or poses of the body, seen in dance or religious ceremony expressing a specific thought, feeling or concentrating an energy transmission.


(mukta = “freedom” and ananda = “bliss”) Swami Muktananda Paramahansa or Baba Muktananda was a Shiva Guru from the Siddha lineage in India. He was a perfected master who was instructed by his guru, Bhagawan Nityananda, to come to America



in the early 70’s and introduce devotees to meditation through the gift of shaktipat. Mark Griffin is part of the Siddha lineage and was a student of Baba Muktananda’s.


(“liberation”) A release from the bondage of birth, death, and rebirth. Same as moksha, freedom from the awareness of duality. Also referred to as enlightenment.


Sound; a celestial or divine sound heard in deep meditation; the sound of the first movement of Shiva-Shakti towards manifestation;


A very complex psychic network of 72,000 subtle fibers, interconnecting the chakras in the subtle body. The life force, the prana, circulates through the nadis. The sushumna, ida and pingala are the three principle nadis. (See sushumna, ida, pingala)


(raj = “lord”; Nata = “dance) The lord of dance. (See the five fold actions)

Nirvikalpa Samadhi

The form of samadhi wherein one is without thought, imagination or identity. The identity remains extinguished but the body stays animate. “Kalpa” means thought-form. “Vikalpa” translates as imagination, or a created thought-form. “Nir” means without.


The second limb of the eight limbs of yoga as identified in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Niyamas are the observances. They include:


  • Sauca — Cleanliness;
  • Santosa — Contentment.;
  • Tapas — Austerity;
  • Svadhyaya — Self-study;
  • Isvara pranidhana — Surrender of the self to God.

Om Point

Absolute ground zero for reality at a universal level. There’s not  one Om point in each person, there’s only one Om point, and it pervades the totality of everything. The impact of the Om point is to transform everything it touches into the fabric of reality itself. It is beyond quality or condition, it is pure consciousness.

Om Swa Ha

Om Swa Ha is the mantra expression of the everything and the nothing. It is the speech of ‘end of paragraph, end of sentence, period, new paragraph’. It is a way of bringing the entire operation of the three relative bodies that operate in the unconscious into consciousness.


The Om Swaha should come from the center of speech. You can deal with it in any quality of expression, both the deeply internal



and external manifestations. This mantra is extremely dynamic and is often said to conclude a dharmic operation. It carries a quality of celebration, acknowledgement of truth and that the expression of one’s being in relationship to dharma, body, speech and mind has occurred, and it is complete and well done. That is its emotion.


As you recite the mantra you should feel that the entire sushumna, which is of the nature of consciousness, vibrates and becomes completely filled with unified consciousness, from the very crown to the very base.


OM – This is the thunderbolt; bringing the thunderbolt of consciousness into the unconsciousness.


SWA – The ida runs the entire left side, from the crown of the head on the left side down below the base of the spine. The ida is essentially empty in nature and of the reflective quality of mind.


HA – The pingala that runs on the right side. It comes from the space over the crown of the head, goes down the right side, terminates just below the second chakra, and just above the first chakra. Almost the entire matrika, the alphabet of the creation, is suspended inside the pingala. It is the expression of the creation of the world.


And thus we say… Om, arises as consciousness, pervades through the mind as Swa, and then enters diversity of the matrika and formation in the right side as Ha. The idea is to bring that quality of emptiness into the expression of the mantra.


OM. . . SWA. . . HA. End of paragraph, end of sentence, period. Completely done. There’s a space there. Then a new paragraph. It’s a brisk wash of pure consciousness. Everything is brought together, absorbed into emptiness and ends. And the next moment is fresh sunrise.


And thus you have that emptiness of OM which is the vibration of the throb from consciousness to unconsciousness arising simultaneously. The OM should come up from the throat, vibrate in the skull and the brain pan and end on the vibration of the lips.

OM… mmm your lips should vibrate with the mmm sound.

One Hundred Fibers

The six principal chakras of the subtle body each have a different number of petals. (see chakras). Together they add up to 50. From each petal comes two fibers, one male and one female in nature.

50 * 2 = 100 fibers. The 50 male fibers flow through the pingala on



the right side of the body. The 50 female fibers flow through the ida on the left side of the body. All 100 fibers flow up into different  lobes of the brain. All samskaras are stored in the 100 fibers, which begin to be purified with Shaktipat.

Original Soul

The Avatar, as explained by Meher Baba. He taught that beyond the five Perfect Masters of the age, (distinguished as those God- realized souls who fulfill the office of Perfect Master temporarily until they drop their physical bodies), there is also the Avatar. The Avatar, according to Meher Baba, is a special Perfect Master who was the original Perfect Master, or the Ancient One, who never ceases to incarnate in spite of his original attainment of God- realization. Baba says that this particular soul personifies the preserver or sustainer state of God, which in Hinduism is called Vishnu and in Sufism is called Parvardigar. According to Meher Baba the Avatar appears on Earth every 700–1400 years, and is brought down into human form by the five Perfect Masters of that age to aid in the process of moving creation in its never ending journey toward Godhood. He said that in other ages this role was fulfilled by Zoroaster, Rama, Krishna, Gautama Buddha, Jesus, and lastly by Muhammad.


(“foot”) In Hindu tradition, the feet of the Guru, both the literal feet of the outer Guru and the subtle spiritual feet of the inner Guru, are considered to be very sacred and are worshipped with great devotion.


literally “lotus-born”; also known as Guru Rinpoche. He is said to have transmitted Vajrayana Buddhism to Bhutan and Tibet and neighbouring countries in the 8th century. Some hold him to be the second Buddha. He is said to have incarnated as an eight-year-old child appearing in a lotus blossom floating in Lake Dhanakosha.

Padmasambhava hid a number of religious treasures in lakes, caves, fields and forests of the Himalayan region to be found and interpreted by future spiritual treasure-finders, including the Bardo Thodol (the Tibetan Book of the Dead).


supreme, most high, ultimate, perfect.


Para translates as supreme, most high, ultimate, perfect. Atman is the Self, thus paramatma refers to the supreme universal Self.

Para Kundalini

The unmanifest ocean of Consciousness, the Void, the Nothing.

Perfect Masters

Meher Baba says that at all times on Earth there are fifty-six incarnate God-realized souls, and that of these souls there are always five who constitute the five Perfect Masters of their era. When one of the five perfect masters dies, Baba says, another God-realized soul among the fifty-six immediately replaces him or her by taking up that office. At the time of his own God-realization



the five perfect masters were Sai Baba of Shirdi, Upasni Maharaj, Hazrat Babajan, Hazrat Tajuddin Baba and Narayan Maharaj and that these five brought him down to human consciousness as the Avatar on Earth in this cycle of time. “During the Avataric period, the five Perfect Masters make God incarnate as man.” He also said, “What I am, what I was, and what I will be as the Ancient One        is always due to the five Perfect Masters of the Age. Sai Baba, Upasni Maharaj, Babajan, Tajuddin Baba and Narayan Maharaj – these are the five Perfect Masters of this age for me.” All of these have since died and Meher Baba did not say who their replacements were, except to indicate that for the time being they will be in the East. He further indicated that although the ‘offices’ of the five Perfect Masters are always filled, when they drop their bodies they ‘also shed forever their Subtle and Mental vehicles and pass away utterly as God, retaining infinite Individuality and experiencing the Infinite Power, Knowledge and Bliss’. Meher Baba also said on more than one occasion that while there are numerous planets in the Universe with human life on them, Earth is the only planet where God realization is possible and where the five perfect masters take birth.


Known as the sun nadi, this channel or prana current ascends up the right side of the central channel, the sushumna. It is white in color and is male or yang. It is connected to the sympathetic nervous system and has a heated or energizing effect on the mind when it is activated. It originates near the base of the spine, between the first and second chakras, and terminates at the right nostril. Almost the entire malini, the alphabet of the creation, is suspended inside the pingala. It is the expression of the creation of the world.


A seat, throne or chair; the center or essence of a tradition, lineage or monastery.


The vital life force energy that sustains the body. It animates all physical and material forms including the human body and is absorbed into the body through the breath. There are five principal forms of prana: the rising force known as prana; the descending force known as apana; the cyclical revolution force known as samana; the splitting and attracting force known as vayana; and the force of infusion known as udana.

Prana Kundalini

The envelope of the manifest creation


OM, the primeval word; omkara, the word which refers to the mystic syllable om, the Eternal. According to the Upanishads, all words are said to be but various forms of the one sound – om. It is the sound symbol for the ultimate reality.



All creation arises as prana. The pranavayu is the wind of the creation. Vayu means wind.


The use of the breath and specific breathing techniques to rouse and engage the kundalini, which then powers the meditation, charging it with spiritual force and vitality and direction. It is this super-charging of the system which enables success with the remaining aspects of the meditation techniques. Pranayama ~ (prana = “the life force or the vital energy that sustains the body”; yama = “control”) The fourth limb of the eight limbs of yoga as expounded by the great sage Patanjali that refers to disciplined yogic breathing exercises. Yama also means death, and in this sense it carries the connotation of bringing the breath to a standstill at the still point in the space between each breath. It is in this silence that awareness of pure consciousness can be realized.


Buddhist, concept meaning Perfection of Wisdom. From the Sanskrit: Prajña (wisdom) + paaramitaa (perfection).


Your own destiny. Prarabdha is the chunk of all our accumulated karma that we bring in to the present life to deal with.


A sacred offering or a blessed or divine gift given by the Guru. The bestowal of grace or divine help. Anything that the Guru blesses carries his shakti or divine energy, and a disciple is then able to partake of this energy through this offering.


The withdrawal of sensory input to the brain, achieved by going to the root of the senses and switching them off through specific techniques taught in the Shiva Sutras and Yoga Sutras.


(also spelled Prithivi) – Earth, the earth element. In the Vedas, the earth is known as the mother of all beings. It represents the principle of form and structure.


Verb: to worhip, to honor, to offer devotion towards. noun: A puja is an altar or place of worship.


पुmय:तf’थ punya means holy, sacred or pure, meritorious, auspicious, favorable. It refers to the merit one can gain by honoring a great soul on the day of his passing, known as Mahasamadhi.


Spirit, individual soul. Depending on the context the meaning may be either individual soul or God, the Supreme. In its use as individual soul, it is understood to mean the universal Self appearing under limitation of time (kaala), restriction (niyati), desire (raaga), knowledge (vidyaa) and portion of time (kalaa). In its use as God, it is understood as the eternal witness, the one beyond modification, pure consciousness, unattached and unrelated to anything.


Rainbow Body

“The final condition of enlightenment, called the diamond body, or the rainbow body, where the very physical cells have been so permeated with the light of truth, that the cell itself has become void. You will see when a being has gone through this process, the body moves out of its material assembly, into an etheric assembly, into a causal assembly, into an Atmic assembly, and just dissolves into light, called the rainbow body, where the cells themselves are overwhelmed by the vibration of the highest truth.”


Rajas is ruled by Brahma and characterized as red. The nature of rajas is cyclic revolution – passion, churning and violent spinning – that which is spinning towards the center and that which is spinning out into infinite expansion. see gunas


A demon or goblin; from the verb root raksh = “to guard against”. The rakshasas are of three types: semi-divine and benevolent, relentless enemies, and nocturnal imps or goblins.


A form of pranayama involving outer retention of breath. After an exhalation, the breath is held. The container is empty.


(“form”) The bindu, the enduring vision of the Blue Pearl, that is the true form of the Universe. It is seen as a scintillating blue light or bindu, the size of a tiny seed that can appear during meditation. It is said to be the doorway to the inner Self and contains the entire universe.

Sad Gurunath Maharaj Ki Jay

“Victory To All Gurus.” Sad means true. Maha means great or huge. Raj means king or noble one. Jay means life. May long life come to the noble and kingly great guru.


(Pronunciation note: the ‘th’ is not pronounced like baTH or THe; it is a ‘T’ sound with air after it, an aspirated T sound.)


(from the Sanskrit root saadh = “to go straight to the goal”) Spiritual practices or disciplines designed to lead to enlightenment, such as meditation, mindfulness, sitting with the teacher, dream yoga, etc.

Sahaj Samadhi

The form of samadhi wherein one exists in the super void position of THAT and they’re in a kind of animate expression of creation and absorption at all times, without anything occurring, without anything arising, without any intent or without any result. Sahaj means twin.


(“thousand”) The thousand-petaled spiritual chakra at the crown of the head. This seventh chakra is the gateway to the highest states of consciousness and is considered to be the abode of Shiva.


(from the Sanskrit root sam = “completely together”; and dhaa = “to hold”) To hold completely together, as in one-pointed concentration or absorption. The eighth and final limb of yoga as expounded by



the great sage Patanjali. The union of oneness and the highest state of super-consciousness, which occurs through the full awakening and unfoldment of the kundalini shakti. There are four states of samadhi: laya samadhi, savikalpa samadhi, nirvikalpa samadhi and sahaj samadhi.


see The Wheel of Cyclic Existence. (“continual movement”) The cyclic existence of reincarnation: birth, death and rebirth or transmigration. This word points to the idea of being stuck in the relative ever-changing aspect of creation without experience of the absolute non-changing reality. The conditioned endless karmic cycle of worldly existence that is transcended once one achieves the highest state of enlightenment.


Impression, gained from the residual effect of actions, feelings and encounters that we are storing from this life and countless past lives. Samskaras are visible to one with an awakened eye as though they were little grains of rice on the strands of the nadis, the subtle nerve fibers of the pranic body. Negative impressions show as dark grains, and positive impressions as whiter grains. In either case, it is the residual samskaras that act as impurities in the system and create activity in the subtle body, and thus keep the mind active. To fully perceive the Self, the mind must be completely still. So it is critical that these impressions are purified from the system. This is achieved through the grace of the Guru, through meditation and through conscious breathing. (adjective: Samskaric)


Self-control. It also means ‘combined practice’, in the sense that it is a combination of three of the eight limbs of yoga: dharana, dhyana and samadhi.


The moutain of all the karma you’ve accumulated over all your lifetimes; the totality of cause and effect, that has not yet begun to bear fruit in this lifetime.


Sanskrit meaning “association”, “assembly,” “company” or “community” and most commonly refers to the community of spiritual seekers.


Will, intention. (From the Sanskrit root: sam = “completely”; klrp = “to come into existence”) Spiritual resolve, volition, intention, determination, thought, will, mental activity, directed towards a specific result.


Seven; ofen used to mean a long and great celebration, with feasting or chanting and dancing, and often is held for an entire week. Sapta literally means seven – hence the idea of engaging in a specific sadhana for 7 days.


Sat means true or truth. It also means existence, reality or being.



Sat is one of the three essential attribues of pure consciousness (sat chit ananda). The Satguru is the ultimate highest Guru.


Sattva is ruled by Vishnu, is of the nature of integration, and is characterized as white. It is the highest frequency and is buoyant with light. Sattva is knowledge, happiness, integration and infinite existence without differentiation. See Gunas

Savikalpa Samadhi

The form of samadhi wherein one has a direct apprehension of the light of the ocean of consciousness. It’s formless – without quality. At the same time there is a sense of perceiver that is existent in the event. There’s still a subtle sense of ‘I’-identity. It is the experience of the light of infinite consciousness, but at the same time, there is an aftertaste of identity. “Kalpa” means thought-form. “Vikalpa” translates as imagination, or a created thought-form. “Sa” means truth, or an experience of truth where the imagination has been extinguished and the direct truth is being experienced.

Seven Planes

Levels of awareness or domains of existence, best described by Meher Baba in his book God Speaks. The gross material world is the first plane. There is a demarcation as the soul begins the process of involution and begins to discover and get the first glimpse of the subtle world that is the second plane. When one is established in the second plane, they are then so fully conscious of the subtle world that they are unconscious of the gross physical world, though they continue to function as an ordinary person. The soul on the third plane experiences greater finite power and is capable of performing miracles and siddhhis. On the fourth plane, the soul is fully conscious of infinite energy and is on the threshold of the mental world. The fifth and sixth planes are those of the mind. The fifth plane is the state of full consciousness and mastery of thought; the sixth plane is the state of full consciousness and mastery of emotions. On the sixth plane, the soul feels that he is in conscious of the feeling of seeing God face to face continuously in everything and everywhere. This draws him into longing to merge with God, which is the seventh plane, where all sense of duality  has vanished entirely.


or shakta-upaya; see upaya


Power. Prana shakti is the power of prana. Guru shakti is the power of the Guru, the universal principle of awakening. Shakti ~ (“energy” or “power”)

Often referred to as the Goddess Shakti, the consort of Shiva. The second tattva, it is the life giving force, the potency of the female energy, the creative principle and its expression. Through training with a true Guru, one’s spiritual energy or shakti builds up or accumulates, gradually empowering the seeker with the ability to realize the truth.



(shakti = “energy” and pat = “descent or falling down”) The transmission or descent of grace from a Guru to his disciple through touch, sight, sacred word or thought. Shaktipat activates the dormant kundalini in a person who is open to receiving it. This transference of energy from the Guru to the disciple is known as the bestowal of grace. Shaktipat is a gift given by the Guru.


another name for Shiva


or Shambhava-upaya; see upaya

Shakti Kundalini

The kundalni that travels back and forth between the manifest creation and the unmanifest Ocean of Consciousness.


an Indian philosopher of Advaita Vedanta and sage, and perhaps the author of the famed treatise the Crest Jewel of Discrimination. Also known as Shankaracharya, thought to have lived 788 CE – 821 CE. He travelled throughout India and founded four mathas or monasteries, one in the north, one in the east, one in the south and one in the west, which are still very active today. Advaita Vedanta holds that Brahman is without attributes. Shankara reformed Hinduism with a monistic interpretation of the Vedanta, which ascribed all reality to a single unitary source, which he identified as “Brahman”. He declared all plurality and differentiation as nothing but an illusion.


(“good or auspicious”) The ruling force in our contemporary (or current) world system; the dominant law and the primordial Guru. The God of creation, regeneration and rejuvenation as well as destruction and annihilation, Shiva is often represented sitting on a tiger skin, holding a trident with snakes coiled around his neck and arms. He is shown sitting in meditation with his third eye open, hence the reference in the Guru Gita to Shiva with his three eyes.


There are two aspects to Shiva: the Shiva who is transcendent and pervades everything, known as para-Shiva; and the Shiva who is immanent and exists in this world – the apara-Shiva. It is the para- Shiva, the transcendent Shiva, who is the author of the five acts. In order to perform the first three of these acts, he expresses himself as Brahma, Vishnu and the apara-Shiva. Brahma is responsible for the creative impulse; Vishnu is responsible for sustaining creation; and Shiva is responsible for destruction, bringing each phase of creation to a close.


Kashmir Shaivism holds Shiva to be the pre-eminent God of all Gods. In his capacity as supreme Godhead, Shiva is recognized as the author of the Guru Gita. Mark Griffin is in the Siddha Lineage, which is a Shiva lineage that has its roots in the mystical tradition of Kashmir Shaivism. The Guru Gita springs from this tradition as




Shiva Lingam

see Lingam


Acharya means teacher, master. Shiva in his role as the instructor.


Loka means world or place (like ‘location’) – the abode of Shiva.

Shiva Sutras

Shiva Sutras are a collection of seventy seven aphorisms that form the foundation of the tradition of spiritual mysticism known as Kashmir Shaivism. They are attributed to the sage Vasugupta of the 8th century C.E.


Literally means accomplished; one who has accomplished the goal of life: achieving full realization, liberation.


Loka means world; siddhaloka is the world of the Siddhas. It is an actual place, as though in another dimension. It is an off-planet encampment of enlightened people.

Six Session Vajra Guru Yoga

The text of the Six Session Vajra Guru Yoga is very old. It traces back some 30,000 years and in its form, the Six Session moves through all of the conditions of existence and consciousness from the dynamics of heart and mind, ethics, the moral aspect of right action, right thought, all the way down to the underlying  architecture of the four bodies and their awakening condition. Each line is a step-wise explanation of the progression of the Guru  Shakti as a seed inside your individual continuum, inside the stream of the architecture of the four bodies. It describes line by line its progression and its awakening impact as it moves through the subtle channels of the prana, the three rivers, each of the six chakras and their elemental forces, all of the nadis that flow, the subtle fibers in the brain, the seat at the crown of the head, and their movement from the winds that generate obstacles and their elimination of those obstacles, progressing them all the way through to the moment that is defined in the Pratyahara where the breath and the prana stop and thus the mind stops. And when that occurs, all consciousness begins to convert to its original condition, which is empty, without qualities.


Mountains of samskaric data; literally a group or aggregate. These aggregated bodily and physical states define our identity in an un- awakened condition.


Said to be the natural sound of the breath moving in and moving out. At different stages of sadhana you may experience the So and Ham reversing. SoHam is the same as the Hamsa mantra; the syllables are switched reflecting the nature of the mantra to reverse. Literally the syllables translate to I Am That (Sah = that, and Aham = I), where That is understood to be the Infinite Ocean of Consciousness. Ham is the pool of energy at the crown of the



head; So is the pool of energy at the base of the spine.


The seminal fluid in its super heated form. It is the essence of eternal life. Soma has the power to change the chemistry of the endocrine system, and change the biochemistry of the brain – sweetening them and accelerating the onset of Samadhi. The transformation of the seminal fluid into soma is the fuel that drives the transformation psychologically, mystically, physically, and metaphysically. “It’s a very important process because it’s a bridge that gets you from one condition of being to another”.


Vibration, pulse, the first impulse of creation.


higher mind, unified consciousness; the point where the no-mind connects with the higher mind, and the higher mind connects into the lower mind. From the Sanskrit root su = good + manas = mind. It often refers to the person who has a good mind, as well as referring to the state of mind itself.


Emptiness. Sanskrit: svi (swollen) + ta (-ness) = hollowness, zero or void.


The central prana channel through which the Kundalini rises. Starting at the base of the spine where the Kundalini serpent power is coiled, the sushumna rises up through the center of the body to the crown of the head. This subtle principle nerve is the only nadi that connects the first six chakras with the seventh chakra at the crown of the head. It, along with the ida and pingala nadis, are the three principle nadis of the subtle human body.

Tai Chi

a Chinese system of physical exercises that is believed to facilitate the flow of Qi (life force) in the body, promoting good health and vitality. Tai Chi utilizes movements that are Yin Yang opposites: softness and strength, forward and backwards, action and calm.

The Qi is the Kundalini. Tai Chi attunes awareness to the rhythm of the Great Ocean.


Tamas is ruled by Shiva. It is characterized as the abysmal, infinite black. It is a quality that is so dense that it is thought of as a black hole. Nothing emerges from it. It is absolute, dense, infinite blackness, with no light emerging and all qualities crushed into a compression so deep that nothing can be discerned. It is the origin of creation. Also Tamo Guna. see gunas


see yoga tantra


from the Sanskrit root tap = “to burn”; The performance of austerities, concentrated discipline; the concentrated energy of the spiritual seeker.

Tattva – Guru Tattva

(“principle”) The principle of the Guru. This points to the idea that the Guru is more than just a person; it is also a universal concept –



a force of awakening. The Guru Gita refers to the Guru as the ‘prime tattva’: the Guru as the first or highest principle, Shiva himself.

Tattva – 36 Tattvas

The thirty-six principles. This concept originating from Kashmir Shaivism, states that all of reality can be viewed as thirty-six levels of different principles. The progression of tattvas continues from most abstract and subtle to progressively more manifest principles of creation. The first and most subtle layer is the principle known as Shiva, representing pure transcendence without any object. The second principle is Shakti and represents the first stirring of manifestation. The third tattva is Sadashiva, the level where Shiva has begun to stir and come into relationship with the universe. The fourth tattva is Ishvara, and is a level of supreme divinity. The fifth tattva is shudda vidya, which is pure knowledge. Maya is the sixth tattva and generates the next five tattvas, known as the five kanchukas (“jackets”), which are mixed values of purity and impurity. They represent omnipotence and a sense of limited power (kalaa); omniscience and a sense of limited knowledge (vidyaa); perfection and a sense of limitation of desire (raaga); eternity and a sense of limitation based on time (kaala); and omnipresence and a sense of limitation of space (niyati). The next five tattvas are the individual soul (purusha), the basic matter of the universe composed of the three gunas (prakriti), and the aspects of mind: the intellect (buddhi), the ego (ahamkara) and the mind itself     (manas). The next five tattvas are the sense organs: the ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose. The next five are the organs of action: speech, locomotion, dexterity, sexual organs, organs of excretion; The next five are the essence of what is experienced by the senses: sound, touch, form, taste and smell. The last five tattvas               are the five elements of the material world: ether, air, fire, water  and earth.


Fire, splendor, light, heat or brilliance. In Indian philosophy, there are considered to be four kinds of fire: Terrestial, celestial, fire of the stomach (digestion), and mineral. In the Hard Light Guru Gita, the word tejas is seen in two verses:


Verse 14: Gukaaras tvandha karash cha, rukaaras teja uchyate. The word Guru is composed of two sacred syllables. Gu, which represents the darkness and Ru, which represents light.


Verse 40: Shoshanam paapa pankasya, deepanam

jñaana tejasaam; Guru paado dakam samyak, samsaarar nava taarakam. The stream of Shakti from the Guru’s lotus feet removes all obstacles, lights the flame of knowledge and takes one across the ocean of samsara, the endless cycle of birth, decay, death and





The infinite ocean of pure consciousness is often referred to as That. It is the use of a word in an attempt to point to That which is beyond any imputed terms or descriptions.

Third Eye

There is an entire set of five subtle chakras between the bridge of the nose and the top of the forehead. There’s the chakra that controls the three gunas; then the seat of the ajña chakra which is right between the eyebrows just at the crook of the brow; then the crescent moon, which represents the Mahashakti; then the flame, which represents the mind; then a bindhu above the mind that represents the stopping of the mind. The third eye is known as the control panel for the entire subtle body.

Thirteen of Twenty-Five

Our world system is one of a class of twenty-five world systems. We are actually the thirteenth world system inside a class of twenty-five, that in turn is one of one thousand world systems.

Our world system would be considered an ocean of consciousness, is just a bubble, inside a vast ocean of oceans. It’s like a huge infinitesimal atom tha has infinite universes, and it has an outer rim from which flows waters of consciousness to a kind of center. We are one of twenty-five world systems. And we are in the thirteenth  of twenty-five in our particular world system of a thousand world systems. In the Book of Life, our particular world is called Jambudvipa. It means endurance. It’s referred to as such because  it has the existence of suffering, all of the lower realms, but it also has the presence of the divine, consciousness of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Wheel Monarchs, even the manifestation of the original soul is known to appear here. But at the same time the collective force of karmic activity operates here. In other words, there is cause and effect. There are other world systems where cause and effect doesn’t operate. The various other world systems have beautiful titles, one called Covered, one is Stainless, one is Unsurpassed, one is Variously Emerged, one is Saffron Banner. All have different qualities. Unsurpassed would be considered the world system through which the consciousness of the Gods, Goddesses, Bodhisattvas, the beings that are operating in the highest levels of the existent realms, realms of existence, it’s the doorway through which they flow into the world of Jambudvipa, the world of endurance. It’s a great name. Very informative. It’s like you have to get across this water, and all you’ve got is your endurance.

Three Rivers

The Sushumna, The Ida and the Pingala; the three principal pychic nerves or nadis of the subtle body.

Tiger’s Milk

Absolute, penetrating pure energy. Mark Griffin says “It is said to  be so pure that a single drop is enough to shatter the container that holds it, if that container is not pure. Baba Muktananda was fond of



saying that a vessel had to be pure gold to hold a drop of Tiger’s Milk.

Treta Yuga

Yuga means an age or a cycle of time. There are said to be four yugas: Satya Yuga, the Golden Age; Treta Yuga, the Silver Age; Dvapara Yuga, the Bronze Age; Kali Yuga, the Iron Age (present time). Treta-yuga lasted for 1,296,000 human years. The incarnation of Vishnu known as Rama took place in the Treta Yuga. The maximum life span during Treta Yuga was as much 10,000 years.


the state of pure consciousness, or the experience of ultimate reality and truth, which is beyond waking, dream and deep sleep states.


the bindu or point of no-mind. That which transcends the mind. It is associated with the bindhu at the top of the third chakra, and is blue-black. Contact with it brings utter stillness to thought.


the means, the methods, the skill set employed to move from individual consciousness to universal consciousness. The ancient text of the ShivaK Sutras doesn’t use the word ‘yoga’ to describe the path of awakening, rather it speaks of four upayas. These are also referenced throughout the treatises on Kashmir Shaivism, which is very much at the heart of the approach Mark offers through the Hard Light Center of Awakening.


The first is anava-upaya, or anavopaya, and it refers to individual effort. It is also known as kriyopaya; kriya meaning action. This is usually what we think of when we talk about sadhana. It encompasses all the practices such as hatha yoga asanas, pranayama breathing exercises, meditation, mantra repetition, chanting, mindfulness of the breath and so on. Anava upaya uses the prana, body, mind and senses to purify the physical and subtle bodies enough to be able to hold the experiences of higher states of awareness. Enlightenment can be achieved entirely through this upaya, or it may be a doorway leading to the other upayas.


The second upaya is Shakta-upaya, or shaktopaya, and it refers to the way of power (shakti = power). It is also known as  jñanopaya; jñana meaning knowledge. Through the means of this upaya, one uses the power of the mind to remember or realize that there is no distance separating you from your own awakening. It could be the constant recollection of one of the great truths such as “I Am That”. It’s not so much a practice as a state of cultivated awareness.


The third upaya is shambhava-upaya, or shambhopaya, which



refers to the way of Shambava, which is another name for Shiva. This implies plugging directly into the Divine Will and the sankalpa of the divine. Thus shambava-upaya is also known as iccha-upaya, because iccha means will. So in this upaya, the will is used to very subtly maintain that awareness of one’s awakened status. Thus it’s not a mental remembering, as would be seen with shaktopaya; it is rather a shift of awareness.


The fourth upaya is anupaya or anandopaya (the way of bliss). In Sanskrit grammar, when an ‘a’ is placed before a word, it give the meaning of the opposite of that word. In this case upaya, because upaya also starts with a vowel ‘u’, the ‘a’ is extended to ‘an’. So anupaya really means “no-upaya” or the means of no method whatsoever. With anupaya, there is no practice, no method, no memory, no will power being used to maintain the higher states of awareness; one simply rests in the Self, absorbed in the Ocean of Pure Consciousness. This comes about through through the grace of the Guru.


Nonattachment, dispassion, detachment, renunciation. The great sage Patanjali wrote in the Yoga Sutras that “Control over the mind’s fluctuations comes from persevering practice (abhyasa) and nonattachment (vairagya)” (1.14). Nonattachment or renunciation can be thought of relative to material objects, or to more subtle phenomena – such as thought itself. The practice of pratyahara is the ultimate vairagya.


(“thunder” or “diamond”) Thought of as a thunderbolt, the weapon of Indra represents adamantine strength. In Tibetan and Buddhist culture the vajra, the “diamond” scepter, is used by deities as a ritual tool and represents the Bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment.


(from Vajra = diamond or thunderbolt; Yana = vehicle or path) also known as Esoteric or Tantric Buddhism, the Diamond Vehicle or the Fast Path. It is one of the three major schools of Buddhism (the others being mahayana and hinayana). It emerged in India in the first millenium AD, and spread to Tibet, where it became the foundation of Tibetan Buddhism. It emphasizes the possibility for a rapid path towards liberation or enlightenment in this lifetime, and the unity of emptiness and form.


from the Sanskrit root vid -”to know”, veda translates as knowledge or wisdom. The Vedas are the oldest sacred texts from ancient India and are considered to be divinely revealed. There are four primary vedas: the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda.


(from the Sanskrit root vi = “apart”; jñaa = “to know”) Insight, discrimination, cognition, wisdom – the ability to distinguish the real



from the unreal.

Vijñana Bhairava

A key text of the Trika school of Kashmir Shaivism. Cast as a discourse between the god Siva and his consort, it briefly presents 112 methods of meditation. These include several variants of breath awareness, non-dual mottos, chanting, exercises of visualisation and imagination and contemplation through each of the senses. Some translations include more verses.


To shine, to flash, to glitter; to appear, arise or become manifest; to sport, amuse oneself, play, frolic about sportively. Baba Muktananda titled his autobiography chitshakti vilas, and translated this phrase as A Play of Consciousness.


fluctuations of the mind, thoughts. Like the ripples on the surface of a lake, any activity in the mind keeps it in motion and masks the realization of its true nature as formless energy.

Wheel of Cyclic Existence

Also known as samsara, or the Twelve Spokes of Dependent Origin. It describes the journey from birth through death to rebirth. The cycle goes from ignorance > dispositions > consciousness > name and form > six sense fields > contact > feeling > desire > appropriation > becoming > rebirth > aging and dying. Ignorance results from believing you are the body and knowing only the three states of relative consciousness: waking, dreaming and deep sleep, with complete ignorance of the fourth state of consciousness, the transcendental ocean of consciousness. This ignorance gives rise to the condition of dispositions, which is interdependent cause and compound effect. This in turn gives rise to consciousness, which is a sense of singular identity and the beginning of the ego. As identity is formed, we then see the development of name and form, which represents a separation of “I” and “That” and we begin to define ourselves as separate perceivers. This perception occurs through the development of the six sense fields (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell and intuition).

With the development of the six sense fields, we then begin to reach out and touch the universe. This is the quality of contact. As soon as contact is generated, it gives rise to a condition of feeling and this produces a psychic imprint of sensation. These in turn lead to desire or grasping. Having experienced something, we try to  hold on to it. This gives rise to the condition of appropriation, which is the process of saying, “This is my experience”. It is attachment.

The cumulative effect of all this emotion, desire and grasping, leads to a large collection of “baggage”, which we have become and are now identified with. The fruit of this mass of identity consciousness seeks a form dedicated to repeating those experiences again and again, and thus we have rebirth. As soon as we are born, we immediately begin aging, decaying and dying. We experience this



death as suffering, but the Wheel of Cyclic Existence shows us that it is really just a result of one condition having led to the next condition, which leads to the next condition, and so on. The intervention of the Guru allows this cycle to be broken at any number of spokes of this wheel, which frees us from the cyclic nature of samsara.

World (or Loka) of the Thirty-Three

This is located above the crown of the head at the upper realm of the sushumna. There is found all of the supraconscious structures of gods and goddesses, the supraconscious worlds, the seat of the ten Mahavidyas, the seats of the savikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi, and the seat of great unio. They are all in this space up over the crown of the head.


The first limb of the eight limbs of yoga as identified in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Yamas are the abstentions. They include:



  • Ahimsa — Non-violence;
  • Satya — Truthfulness;
  • Asteya — Non-stealing;
  • Brahmacarya — Sexual responsibility;
  • Aparigraha — Abstention from greed.


Spiritual pilgrimage, travel


Tibetan: a fully enlightened being, often the focus of meditation. The word is often translated as ‘meditation deity’. In Sanskrit it is known as ishta-devata.

Yoga Sutras

196 sutras summarizing the essential tenets of yoga, authored by the great sage Patanjali in the 2nd century BCE. In the Yoga Sutras, Patañjali prescribes adherence to eight “limbs” or steps to quiet one’s mind and achieve liberation. The Yoga Sutras are divided into 4 chapters or books (known in Sanskrit as pada), divided as follows: Samadhi Pada (51 sutras): Samadhi refers to a blissful state where the yogi is absorbed into the Self.

Sadhana Pada (55 sutras): Sadhana is the Sanskrit word for “practice” or “discipline”.

Vibhuti Pada (56 sutras): Vibhuti is the Sanskrit word for “power” or “manifestation”, or siddhis (supra-normal powers).

Kaivalya Pada (34 sutras): Kaivalya literally means “isolation”, but is used in the Sutras for emancipation, liberation or moksha.

Yoga Tantra

The combined body of wisdom encompassing the teachings of how to get enlightened, including religious and mystical literature and the cognitions of the seers gained from direct perception. Yoga




literally translates as union. It is a science, not a religion. Tantra means loom, and refers to the weave of the fabric of reality.

Mark has said that the tantras are like maps.


Yuga means an age or a cycle of time. There are said to be four yugas:

Satya Yuga, the Golden Age, lasting 1,728,000 human years; Treta Yuga, the Silver Age, lasting 1,296,000 human years; Dvapara Yuga, the Bronze Age, lasting 864,000 human years; Kali Yuga, the Iron Age (present time, starting about 5000 years ago), lasting 432,000 human years; There are four yugas in a day of Brahma, which lasts 4,320,000,000 years.


Each of these yugas is said to have a certain quality of life. Kali yuga is the worst of times because it is the time of quarrel and deceit. The level of morality and spirituality is greatly decreased  and the maximum span of life one can expect is only 100 years. In the previous yuga, Dvapara Yuga, life is said to have been much better. The lifetime of a human being during the Dvapara Yuga could be as much as 1000 years. Life was more vibrant and spirituality was greatly increased. It is described how a human  being stood as much as 12 feet tall and how the trees and animals are much larger as well. The Treta yuga was an even better time with the maximum life span as much 10,000 years. Spirituality is even higher, and finally, in the best of times, the Satya Yuga the life of a human being could be up to 100,000 years!



  • Glossary of Words in the DYP Course
    Glossary of Words in the DYP Course

    Hard Light Center of Awakening • Glossary of Words in the DYP Course

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