bīja

(‘the seed’)

Though the word means the seed of any plant or a tree, it has been used in a more fundamental sense as the origin or the cause of anything. As the cause of life it means the semen of living beings. As the cause of saṁsāra or transmigratory existence, it represents avidyā or ajñāna (nescience). In dramaturgy it stands for a root-cause out of which the whole play ultimately evolves. In Haṭhayoga, it is a kind of mudrā or pose of hand and figures with a mystic significance (Bījamudrā). As part of mantras, it is the most important letter or letters, the recitation of which leads to desired results.

See BĪJAMANTRA.