The Sanskrit word for knowledge is vidya, which can be used to describe both intellectual knowledge obtained through study (apara vidya) and spiritual or higher knowledge (para vidya). The Hindu goddess who personifies knowledge is known as Vidya.
To attain this spiritual knowledge, various meditation techniques may be used. Dating back to ancient times, some of these methods were popularized in the 20th century through the Techniques of Knowledge by Prem Rawat (Maharaji):
- Focus on sight – This technique is intended to open the divine inner eye. The thumb and middle finger are placed on the eyes and the forefinger touches the middle of the forehead (location of the inner eye).
- Focus on sound – In this second technique, the ears are sealed off by the thumbs, then the practitioner listens to the silence and inner voice.
- Focus on breath – Western cultures recognize this technique as a key component of yoga practice. The practitioner concentrates on feeling the inhale and exhale while meditating.
- Focus on taste – This final technique is an advanced mudra (gesture or seal), also known as khecari mudra, which is designed to awaken spiritual energies. The tongue is rolled back and up into the nasal cavity above the soft palate. Symbolically, the tongue tastes the knowledge of the third eye energy center.