Lakshmi: (Sanskrit) "Mark or sign," often of success or prosperity. Shakti, the Universal Mother, as Goddess of wealth. The mythological consort of Vishnu. Usually depicted on a lotus flower. Prayers are offered to Lakshmi for wealth, beauty and peace. See: Goddess, Shakti.

Lakulisha: (Sanskrit) The most prominent guru (ca 200) of the ancient Pashupata school of Saivism. The Pashupata Sutras are attributed to him. See: Saivism.

Lalla: (Lalasa (Sanskrit) in Sanskrit.) (Sanskrit) A woman Kashmir Saivite saint (ca 1300) whose intensely mystical poems, Lalla Vakyani, describe her inner experiences of oneness with Siva. See: Kashmir Saivism.

lance: A spear. See: vel, Karttikeya.

larder: Pantry; room in a house where food supplies are kept.

laud: To praise. To sing, chant or speak the qualities or glories of.

lavish: Very abundant or generous in giving or spending.

left-handed: Vama marga. A term describing certain tantric practices where the instincts and intellect are transcended, and detachment is sought through practices and behavior contrary to orthodox social norms. See: tantra, tantrika, tantrism.

legend: A story of uncertain historical basis, transmitted from generation to generation. See: folk narratives, katha, mythology.

legislate: To make or pass laws.

legitimate: According to the rules or the law. Authentic; reasonable.

lekhaprartha havana: (Sanskrit) "Written-prayer-burning rite." A coined term for the ancient practice of sending written prayers to the Gods by burning them in a sanctified fire in a temple or shrine. Alternately this rite can be performed at other appropriate sites, with four persons sitting around a fire and chanting to create a temporary temple. Prayers can be written in any language, but should be clearly legible, in black ink on white paper. The devas have provided a special script, called Tyaf, especially for this purpose.

lest: For fear that a thing might happen.

liberal Hinduism: A synonym for Smartism and the closely related neo-Indian religion. See: neo-Indian religion, Smartism, universalist.

liberation: Moksha, release from the bonds of pasha, after which the soul is liberated from samsara (the round of births and deaths). In Saiva Siddhanta, pasha is the three-fold bondage of anava, karma and maya, which limit and confine the soul to the reincarnational cycle so that it may evolve. Moksha is freedom from the fettering power of these bonds, which do not cease to exist, but no longer have the power to fetter or bind the soul. See: mala, jivanmukti, moksha, pasha, reincarnation, satguru, Self Realization, soul.

licentious: Morally unrestrained, especially in sexual behavior.

light: In an ordinary sense, a form of energy which makes physical objects visible to the eye. In a religious-mystical sense, light also illumines inner objects (i.e., mental images).--inner light: light perceived inside the head and body, of which there are varying intensities. When the karmas have been sufficiently quieted, the meditator can see and enjoy inner light independently of mental images.--moon-like inner light: Inner light perceived at a first level of intensity, glowing softly, much like the moon. The meditator's first experience of it is an important milestone in unfoldment.--clear white light: Inner light at a high level of intensity, very clear and pure. When experienced fully, it is seen to be permeating all of existence, the universal substance of all form, inner and outer, pure consciousness, Satchidananda. This experience, repeated at regular intervals, can yield "a knowing greater than you could acquire at any university or institute of higher learning." See: Siva consciousness, tattva.

Linga: (Sanskrit) "Mark." See: Sivalinga, svayambhu Linga.

Lingachara: (Sanskrit) Daily worship of the Sivalinga. One of the five essential codes of conduct for Vira Saivites. See: Panchachara, Vira Saivism.

Linga Diksha: (Sanskrit) The Vira Saiva initiation ceremony in which the guru ties a small Sivalinga (Ishtalinga) around the neck of the devotee and enjoins him-her to worship it twice daily. This initiation replaces the sacred thread ceremony, upanayana. See: Vira Saivism.

Linga Purana: (Sanskrit) One of the six principal Siva Puranas. This text explains the purusharthas (the four goals of life) and the significance of Sivalinga worship. See: Purana.

Lingashtakam: (Sanskrit) A short hymn of eight verses in praise of the Sivalinga.

Lingavanta: (Sanskrit) "Wearer of the Linga." (Hindi: Lingayat.) Alternate term for Vira Saivite. See: Vira Saivism.

liturgy: The proper, prescribed forms of ritual.

livelihood: Subsistence, or the means of obtaining it. One's profession, trade or employment. See: dharma, caste.

loka: (Sanskrit) "World, habitat, realm, or plane of existence." From loc, "to shine, be bright, visible." A dimension of manifest existence; cosmic region. Each loka reflects or involves a particular range of consciousness. The three primary lokas are 1)--Bhuloka: "Earth world." The world perceived through the five senses, also called the gross plane, as it is the most dense of the worlds. 2)--Antarloka: "Inner or in-between world." Known in English as the subtle or astral plane, the intermediate dimension between the physical and causal worlds, where souls in their astral bodies sojourn between incarnations and when they sleep. 3)--Sivaloka: "World of Siva," and of the Gods and highly evolved souls. The causal plane, also called Karanaloka, existing deep within the Antarloka at a higher level of vibration, it is a world of superconsciousness and extremely refined energy. It is the plane of creativity and intuition, the quantum level of the universe, where souls exists in self-effulgent bodies made of actinic particles of light. It is here that God and Gods move and lovingly guide the evolution of all the worlds and shed their ever-flowing grace. Its vibratory rate is that of the vishuddha, ajna and sahasrara chakras and those above. From the perspective of the seven worlds, the Sivaloka is of three levels: Janaloka, "creative plane" (vishuddha chakra); Tapoloka, "plane of austerity" (ajna chakra); and Satyaloka, "plane of reality" (sahasrara chakra); also called Brahmaloka.

The Antarloka and Sivaloka are the ever-present substratum of physical existence, most frequently experienced by humans during sleep and deep meditation. Each loka is a microcosm of the next higher world, which is its macrocosm, e.g., the physical plane is a microcosm (a smaller and less-refined version) of the Antarloka. See: three worlds.

lotus asana: The most famous of hatha yoga poses and the optimum position for meditation. It is known as the padmasana (lotus pose), as the legs are crossed, turning the soles of the feet up, which then resemble a lotus flower. See: asana, hatha yoga.

lute: A stringed instrument of highly pleasant sound.