(Sanatana meaning "eternal" or "ageless" and Dharma meaning "religion") is an alternative label for Hinduism
Aryan Invasion Theory
The theory that argues that the Vedas were products of the Aryan invaders and not of indigenous Indians.
Religious texts often referred to as the foundations of Sanntana Dharma.
those among the Indo-European tribes thought to have migrated outward from the steppes of southern Russia during the second millennium BCE.
The ancient language whose origins are also not definitely established.
hymns of praise in worship of deities, the earliest collection of scared hymns in the Vedas.
directions about performances of the ritual sacrifices to the deities.
"forest treaties" writings of people who went to the forests to meditate as recluses.
consisting of teaching from highly realized spiritual masters. They explain the personal transformation that results from psychic participation in the ritual process.
According to the orthodox Hindus, the Vedas are not the work of any humans. They are the breath of the eternal, as "heard" by the ancient sages called Rishis. They explain that the bodily senses are made for looking outward .
the oldest of the known Vedic scriptures. This praises and implores the blessings of the devas.
the controlling forces in the cosmos, deities who consecrate every part of life. Major devas included: Indra- god of thunder, bringer of welcome rains, Agni- god of fire, Soma- associated with the scared drink, and Ushas- goddess of dawn. Devas included both opaque earth gods and transparent deities of the sky and celestial realms.
the subtle self or soul.
the idea that the soul leaves the body and enters a new one.
It means action, and also the consequences of action.
the karma-run wheel of birth and rebirth.
liberation from the limitations of space, time, and matter through realization of the immortal Absolute. To escape samsara is to achieve moksha.
a philosophical system related to the Vedas. It holds that there are two states of reality. One is the Purusha (the self) which is eternally wise, pure, and free, beyond change, beyond cause. The other is Prakriti, the cause of the material universe. All suffering stems from our false confusion of Prakiti with Purusha, the eternal Self. A dualistic understanding of life is essential, according to the system, if we are to distinguish the ultimate transcendent reality of Purusha from the temporary appearances of Prakriti, which brings us happiness but also misery and delusion.
it is a generally monistic, positing a single reality. It is based on the Upanishads (the view that the human self [atman] is an emanation of Brahman) The Vedanta claims that the atman and Brahman are one. Material life is an illusion.
The absolute spirit.
the illusion that the world as we perceive it is real.
the desired state of balance, purity, wisdom, and peacefulness of mind.
The practices for increasing sattvic qualities. It means "yoke" or "union" referring to the union with the true Self.
the path of mental concentration. (for meditative people)
The path of rational inquiry. (for rational people)
the path of right action. (for naturally active people)
the path of devotion. (for emotional people)
physical postures used to cleanse the body and develop the mind's ability to concentrate.
invisible life energy. (you want to increase this during yoga)
subtle energy centers along the spine.
referring to the latent energy at the base of the spine.
scared formulas. The sound of the mantras was believed to evoke t he reality they named. The language used is Sanskrit.
a linear image with complex cosmic symbolism.
a way of steadying and elevating the mind is concentration on some visual form- a candle flame, a picture of a saint or guru is an OM symbol also considered a yantra.
the ultimate goal of yogic meditation. A super-conscious state of union with the Absolute.
the Absolute, the Supreme Reality
a caste of manual laborers and artisans.
intense devotion to a personal manifestation of Brahman. The heart of Hinduism as the majority of people now experience it.
people who worship a mother goddess. An estimated 50 million Hindus worship the goddess. Lushly erotic, sensual imagery is frequently used to symbolize her abundant creativity.
people who worship the god Siva.
people who worship the god Vishnu.
The mother goddess's power, often linked with kundalini energy.
the goddess and is often represented as a beautiful woman with a gentle face but 10 arms holding weapons to vanquish the demons who threaten the dharma, she rides a lion. She is the blazing splendor of god incarnate, in benevolent female form.
the divine goddess in it's fierce form. She may be portrayed dripping with blood, carrying a sword and a severed head, and wearing a girdle of severed heads and a necklace of skulls symbolizing her aspect as the destroyer of evil. With her merciful sword she cuts away all personal impediments to realization of truth, for those who sincerely desire to serve the Supreme. Kali wears a mask of ugliness. She encompasses wholeness and destruction.
scared texts that instructs worshipers how to honor the feminine divine. Ways of worship include concentration on yantras, meditation with the hands in murdas, kundalini practices, and use of mantras.
positions that reflect and invoke a particular spiritual reality.
is a personal, many-faceted manifestation of the attribute-less supreme deity. In older systems he is one o three major aspects of deity: Brahma (creator), Vishnu (Preserver), and Siva (destroyer). Siva is sometimes depicted dancing above the body of the demon he has killed, reconciling darkness and light, good and evil, creation and destruction, rest and activity in the eternal dance of life. He is also the god of yogis, for he symbolizes asceticism. He is often shown in austere meditation on mount Kailas, clad in only tiger skin, with a snake around his neck. The latter signifies his conquest of the ego.
The spouse of Siva. Through their union cosmic energy flows freely, seeding and liberating the universe.
used in Siva worship, are naturally occurring or sculpted cylindrical forms. Those shaped by nature are the most highly valued, with rare natural crystal lingams being especially precious.
a symbol of the female vulva. It is the Sanskrit word for "divine passage", "place of birth", "womb" in the sense of 'source of life' rather than a human organ, or "sacred temple".
Siva's son, a deity with the head of an elephant, guards the threshold of space and time and is, therefore, invoked for his blessings at the beginning of a new venture.
is the beloved as the tender, merciful deity. He is considered to have appeared in many earthly incarnations, some of them animal forms. The most beloved of his incarnations are Rama and Krishna.
(an incarnation of Vishnu) is regarded as the transcendent Supreme Lord, the worshiper humbly lowers himself/herself. If Krishna is seen as master, the devotee is his servant. If he loved as a child, then the devotee takes the role of the loving parent. If he is the divine friend, the devotee is is friend. And if he is the beloved, the devotee is his lover. The devotee then makes himself (if male) like a loving female in order to experience the bliss of Lord Krishna's presence. These followers are known as the Hare Krishnas.
Vishnu's consort. She is a goddess in her own right. Associated with prosperity and power, she is often depicted as a radiant woman sitting on a water-borne lotus flower.
The flower that floats on the water, but has roots deep in mud, representing the refined spiritual energy that rises above worldly contamination. The lotus also symbolizes the fertile growth of organic life, as the world is continually reborn on a lotus growing out of Vishnu's navel.
is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation.
are a group of important Hindu religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the Universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of the kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography. Puranas usually give prominence to a particular deity and most use an abundance of religious and philosophical concepts. There are a total of 18 Puranas- 6 about Vishnu, 6 about Bhrama, and 6 about Siva.
is an ancient Sanskrit epic thought to have been compiled between approximately 400 BCE and 200 CE. It tells the story of Lord Rāma, whose wife Sita is abducted by the demon (Rākshasa) king of Lanka, Rāvana. Thematically, the epic explores themes of human existence and the concept of dharma.
It is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. The epic is part of the Hindu history, and forms an important part of Hindu mythology. Its discussion of human goals (artha or purpose, kāma or pleasure, dharma or duty, and moksha or liberation) takes place in a long-standing tradition, attempting to explain the relationship of the individual to society and the world (the nature of the 'Self') and the workings of karma. It is one of the longest epics ever, it is ten times the size of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined.
in Hindu philosophy is the name of an 'epoch' or 'era' within a cycle of four ages. These are the Satya Yuga (or Krita Yuga), the Treta Yuga, the Dvapara Yuga and finally the Kali Yuga. According to Indian astronomy, the world is created, destroyed and recreated every 4,320,000 years.
often translated into English as incarnation, literally means descent (avatarati) and usually implies a deliberate descent from higher spiritual realms to lower realms of existence for special purposes. Example: Vishnu is said to have incarnated great avatars such as Krishna and Rama to help uplift humanity.
the 18th book in the Mahabharata, which may have originally been an independent mystical poem. Means Song of the Supreme Exalted One.
is a word of Sanskrit (गोपी) origin meaning 'cow-herd girl'. In Hinduism specifically the name gopi (sometimes gopika) is used more commonly to refer to the group of cow herding girls famous within Vaishnava Theology for their unconditional devotion (Bhakti) to Krishna as described in the stories of Bhagavata Purana and other Puranic literatures.
the path of extreme devotion.
public worship usually performed by a pujaris (brahmin priests) conduct worship ceremonies in which the scared presence is made tangible through devotions employing all the senses.
visual contact with the divine.
food that has been sanctified by being offered to the deities and or one's guru, is passed around to be eaten by devotees, who experience it as scared and spiritually changed.
scared fire place.
four major occupational groups. Top group were brahmins, the second group called kshatriyas, were the nobility- kings, warriors, and vassals. Vaishyas were the net group, made up of economic specialists- farmers and merchants. Shudra, the final caste, were the manual laborers and artisans.
considered the "outcasts" of the caste system, lower than the shudra. They were people who removed human waste and corpses, swept streets, and worked with leather from the skins of dead cows.
the lowest caste renamed by Mahatma Ghandi. Means "children of God"
is the renounced order of life within Hinduism. It is considered the topmost and final stage of the varna and ashram systems and is traditionally taken by men at the age of 75.
a spiritual teacher. Gurus do not declare themselves teachers, people are drawn to them because they have achieved spiritual status to which the seekers aspire.
the power of a glance, word, touch, or thought.