The category “attention” is distributed in Indian anthropology between the terms “buddhi“, “manas“, “chitta” on one side and “indriyas” on the other. What we would call “directedness of attention” the Indian author would describe as “attachment” (baddha, bandha, quila) of manas or indriyas to an object, or being touched (sakta) by them.
Such a description is somewhat more accurate than what we are used to. Indeed, we do not distinguish between the direction of external attention, for example, when we look with interest at a certain object, and internal – when we think about this object. There is no such problem in the “Indian” description. The existence of these two types of attention was first emphasized by Abhinavagupta in Tantraloka using the example of pratyahara, which he defined as withdrawal of thoughts and feelings (akṣa-dhiyām) from objects (arthebhyaḥ).
There was no indication early that these are two are different processes.
We also distinguish between voluntary and involuntary attention. The first takes place when we concentrate on something consciously, by our own will, the second when attention is focused on the subject in itself. Indian anthropology describes such a situation as “capture” (grahana) of manas or indriyas by an external object. However, in everyday language we describe it in the same way: “the theme captured me”, “I can’t take my eyes off it”, “the melody took it away”, etc. Involuntary attention is perceived as an act of self-control, correlated with dharana and samyama.
I must say that the main terminological problem inherent in both methods of description is the lack of convex separation of active and passive attentions.
Active attention is associated with the acquisition of new knowledge (for example, when we do not just look, but look closely in search of previously an unnoticed detail or we solve a problem that we don’t know how to solve). Passive attention, on the other hand, is holding attention without such a task. For example, a gaze at one point or a mechanical repetition of a mantra. In practice, it is easy to notice the difference between these types of attention, but there are no special terms that distinguish them.
Feminine word, literal meaning ‘ringed’ or ‘coiled’, in colloquial usage ‘snake’.
This is how the Chakra Kaumudi describes the kundalini:
Kundalini is one of the most obscure concepts of yoga, as many sources speak of it, however in very different ways:
1. The location of the kundalini varies in different texts. From anahata (Vijnana-bhairava-tantra), to manipura (Yoga-yajna-valkya) and muladhara (Sharada-tantra, Shat-chakra-nirupana, Gheranda-samhita, etc.).
2. The essence of kundalini is also different. In some texts, this is the energy that moves through the channel in the spinal column – sushumna (most often). But some texts consider the opposite: Kundalini is something blocking the possibility of energy movement in this channel (Padma-samhita, Vasishtha-samhita, Yoga-yajna-valkya). Incidentally, this was precisely the view held by Krishnamacharya and his disciple Mohan.
3. Various texts consider the kundalini movement not accompanied by physiological effects (Vijnana-bhairava-tantra) or, on the contrary, associated with it (Hatha-yoga-pradipika). Moreover, it is bilaterally connected: Kudalini in these texts can be awakened by pranayamas, mudras, and even contraction of the anus.
It follows from all this that the term kundalin in different texts conceptualizes completely different mystical and psychotechnical experiences.
In Jung’s understanding, Kundalini is the anima.
“Meditation”—the word comes from the Latin “meditare” (to consider, to reflect).
The word got into philosophical usage thanks to Descartes in the 17th century. In the 20th century, thanks to the first translations from Sanskrit, the word got back into yoga.
In Sanskrit, there was no term that covered all practices with those parts of ourselves that we call “memory”, “attention”, “sensation”, “thinking”.
Is it possible to consider any actions with attention, feelings, thinking as meditation—wandering thoughts from object to object in a circle, studying information by heart, uncontrolled mentions, fantasizing?
If we consider conscious actions that have a goal as meditation, then not all types of mental activity are meditation, since not all of them are conscious and most of them arise involuntarily.
We define meditation not only by its form, but also by its effect – the birth of existential experiences, as well as the appearance of deep and stable transformations of a person’s personality.
Meditation combines psychic activity and existential experience. That is, it changes self-awareness, motivation, identity, as if “accelerating” the mental to the spiritual.
The most extensive list of meditations is given in the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra text.