“What does the word Jaya mean anyway?”
by Jacqualine Haller
(Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Centre and voice/creator of Jaya Meditation,
“List of 11,” The “AUM” Project and the Inflight Base Manager for YYZ)
Many people often ask me how I got the name Jaya. It is actually surprising the number of people who want to know who gave it to me. I wanted to use this opportunity to share with everyone how to pronounce it, where it came from and what it means.
Jaya, pronounced “Jie – ya” or “Jay – a” is Sanskrit for the word Victory.
What is Sanskrit?
Sanskrit is an ancient Indian sacred language. Some argue it is the oldest of all human languages dating as far back as 4,000+ years old. Famous Hindu scriptures such as the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, Veda (poems and hymns) and mantra (kirtan) are written in Sanskrit. Similar to chanting “OM,” Sanskrit is available to all of us, and yet belongs to none of us at the same time. When we repeat Sanskrit words over and over again (which is the experience of Kirtan), it allows us to regain our focus and calm our minds. Sanskrit words are energetically charged, extremely powerful and invite a beautiful vibration connecting our mind and our body.
The word Jaya, is a Sanskrit word often used in mantra.
How did I get the name?
As mentioned previously, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have been approached by people who already know what the name means, but want to know how I got it. After all, I am Canadian when it comes to the look and feel of me. I know it raises eyebrows.
The name was given to me by my teachers Yogi Vishvketu and Chetana Jessica Torrens when I completed my yoga teacher training in Rishikesh India. We knew when we graduated from the course, that we would be gifted a spiritual name, something we were all curious and excited about. They chose our names through meditation. The name that came forward, is the name that we were given.
I remember that day clearly. We had officially graduated. We were at a fire puja in the Ashram, which is a fire offering in the form of a ceremony. The swami’s (yogic monks and nuns) from the ashram were chanting continuous mantra. One by one we were called up to receive our names. Every name so beautiful in its own way, specifically chosen for each of the students. I remember when they called my name. They presented me with the name Jaya written on a card that had a paragraph on it with a blessing and a dharma.
I won’t share what that dharma is here, as it is extremely personal to me. But I remember that moment like it was yesterday. I came up, offered a gift to each of them individually as a thank you for the knowledge and training, and sat back down with my fellow students to let the experience settle in.
In 2011, I opened Jaya Yoga Centre in Toronto. I am sure some people think I named the studio after myself, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I chose that name for two reasons. First of all, I chose it as a thank you to my teachers for granting me that name. I don’t take the experience or the name lightly, and I am deeply thankful to them both. Secondly, I want people in North America who are not familiar with Sanskrit, to know the word Jaya. Victory is available to each and every one of us, no matter who we are. It is not kept for only the chosen few, but is something everyone can tap into for themselves.
Jaya is my spiritual name, it is the name of my yoga studio and it is the name of my meditation sequence.
Jaya is the Sanskrit for Victory. May you experience Victory in all areas of your life.