The practice is known by various names. When the vomiting is induced by tickling the back of the throat it is called kunjal kriya or vaman dhauti. Both kunjal and vaman mean 'vomiting'; kriya means 'practice' and dhauti means 'wash'.

When the water is expelled by muscular contraction ofthe abdomen, it is called kunjara kriya or gaja karma. Both the words kunjara and gaja mean 'elephant'. The word karma in this context means the same as kriya, namely practice or action. Therefore, in English this technique is called the elephant action. It is so called because it imitates the ability of an elephant to suck in water and to expel it at will, though actually an elephant expels water from the trunk, not from the stomach.

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