Hinduism Vocabulary

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advaita

Essentially all are 'one'; one supreme Spirit; one Consciousness, non-duality

ardha-nari-iswara

A form of Shiva. Half man and half woman

aryans

nomads from Europe and Asia who migrated to India and finally settled; vedas from this time suggest beginning of caste system

atman

In Hindu belief, a person's essential self

avatar

the manifestation of a Hindu deity (especially Vishnu) in human or superhuman or animal form

avidya

means ignorance. one of the 4 noble truths. Suffering has a cause. It is grounded in our ignorance about reality. - we are ignorant of the impermanence of all phenomena. - we desire/cling/thirst after illusions

bhagavad gita

The most important work of Indian sacred literature, a dialogue between the great warrior Arjuna and the god Krishna on duty and the fate of the spirit., (Hinduism) the sacred 'song of God' composed about 200 BC and incorporated into the Mahabharata (a Sanskrit epic)

bhakti

(Hinduism) loving devotion to a deity leading to salvation and Nirvana

brahma

A Hindu god considered the creator of the world.

brahman

Also, Brahmin. a member of the highest, or priestly, class among the Hindus, a member of the highest of the four Hindu varnas

brahmin

the highest of the four classes of the caste system, traditionally made up of priests

caste

(Hinduism) a hereditary social class among Hindus

cit

to call out , summon

darshana

viewing the statue of the deity in the temple

dalit

a member of a group of people in India, once known as "untouchables", who were outside the caste system; were considered lower than the lowest caste; have gained some rights under India's new constitution

dharma

in Hinduism, the duties and obligations of each caste , basic principle of the cosmos.

diwali

a New Years-type celebration in Hinduism, multi-day festival of lights

ganesha

Hindu god of wisdom or prophecy

guru

a Hindu or Buddhist religious leader and spiritual teacher

holi

The holiday that marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. On this holiday, the hindus go into the streets and spray each other with different colored paints in honor of Krishna.

ishvara

Ishvara literally means " lord of the universe."

jati

sub castes; were groups of people within each caste that worked together for one economic function

jnana

One of the three yogas in order to reach Moksha. Wisdom, Knowledge. This was normally only accomplish able by the Brahmin caste

kama

god of love and erotic desire

karma

(Hinduism and Buddhism) the effects of a person's actions that determine his destiny in his next incarnation

krishna

..., in Hinduism, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu

linga

a stone that symbolizes Hindu god Shiva (or Siva)

mantra

(Sanskrit) literally a 'sacred utterance' in Vedism

moksha

The Hindu concept of the spirit's 'liberation' from the endless cycle of rebirths.

om

a mantra used in contemplation of ultimate reality. Sound of the universe

puja

a Hindu ceremony of religious worship

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