First Exam: Review Terms


Terms in this set (...)

Asceticism is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from worldly pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their practices or continue to be part of their society, but typically include a frugal lifestyle, without desire for any material possessions or physical pleasures, fasting with time spent practicing religion or reflecting on spiritual matters.

Asceticism has been historically observed in many religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The practitioners of these religions eschewed worldly pleasures and led an abstinent lifestyle, in the pursuit of redemption or spirituality.
Authoritative collection of writings, works, etc., applying to a particular religion or author.

In Hinduism, moral order, righteousness, religion. In Buddhism, the doctrine or law, as revealed by the Buddha; also the correct conduct for each person according to his or her level of awareness.
Collectively, the practitioners of a faith living beyond their traditional homeland. When spelled with a capital "D", the dispersal of the Jews after the Babylonian exile.
In Hinduism and Buddhism, our actions and their effects on this life and lives to come.

In Jainism, subtle particles that accumulate on the soul as a result of one's thoughts and actions.
A sound or phrase chanted to evoke the sound vibration of one aspect of creation or to praise a deity.
A mudra is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudras involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers. A mudrā is a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity employed in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions.

One hundred and eight mudras are used in regular Tantric rituals.

In yoga, mudras are used in conjunction with pranayama (yogic breathing exercises), generally while seated in Padmasana, Sukhasana or Vajrasana pose, to stimulate different parts of the body involved with breathing and to affect the flow of prana in the body.
* The 'Problem of Evil/Suffering'
In the philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil with that of a deity who is, in either absolute or relative terms, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. An argument from evil attempts to show that the co-existence of evil and such a deity is unlikely or impossible if placed in absolute terms. Attempts to show the contrary have traditionally been discussed under the heading of theodicy.

A wide range of responses have been given to the problem of evil in theology. There are also many discussions of evil and associated problems in other philosophical fields, such as secular ethics, and scientific disciplines such as evolutionary ethics. But as usually understood, the "problem of evil" is posed in a theological context.
In some forms of Christianity, part of the body or clothing of a saint.
Śramaṇa means "seeker, one who performs acts of austerity, ascetic". The term refers to several Indian religious movements parallel to but separate from the historical Vedic religion. The Śramaṇa tradition of mendicants is mentioned in 8th-century BCE Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, but the term later evolved to mean a variety of heterodox Indian religious traditions such as Jainism, Buddhism of 6th-century BCE, and others such as Ājīvika.

The Śramaṇa movements arose in the same circles of mendicants in ancient India that led to the development of Yogic practices, as well as the popular concepts in all major Indian religions such as saṃsāra (the cycle of birth and death) and moksha (liberation from that cycle).

The Śramaṇic traditions have a diverse range of beliefs, ranging from accepting or denying the concept of soul, fatalism to free will, idealization of extreme asceticism to that of family life, wearing dress to complete nudity in daily social life, strict ahimsa (non-violence) and vegetarianism to permissibility of violence and meat-eating.
*Soteriology and the 3 types/'ways' of soteriology

Soteriology is the study of religious doctrines of salvation. Salvation theory occupies a place of special significance in many religions.

In the academic field of religious studies, soteriology is understood by scholars as representing a key theme in a number of different religions and is often studied in a comparative context; that is, comparing various ideas about what salvation is and how it is obtained.
*The 4 traditional stages of life
An Ashrama in Hinduism is one of four age-based life stages discussed in ancient and medieval era Indian texts. The four asramas are: Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired) and Sannyasa (renunciation).

The Ashramas system is one facet of the Dharma concept in Hinduism. It is also a component of the ethical theories in Indian philosophy, where it is combined with four proper goals of human life (Purusartha), for fulfillment, happiness and spiritual liberation
*The 3 main theistic sects
Hinduism is the dominant religion of the Indian subcontinent. It comprises three major traditions, Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism, whose followers considered Shiva, Vishnu and Shakti (also called as Devi) to be the supreme deity respectively. Most of the other deities were either related to them or different forms (incarnations) of these deities. Hinduism has been called the "oldest religion" in the world, and many practitioners refer to Hinduism as "the eternal law". (Sanātana Dharma).

Hindus are persons that believe they may obtain moksha (union with Brahman) by practicing either good karma, bhakti, or jnana. The main denominations of Hinduism are Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism. These four denominations may share rituals, beliefs, and traditions, but each denomination has a different philosophy on how to achieve life's ultimate goal, Atma Jnana (self-realization). There are also smaller denominations, and newer movements. Cross-denominational influences are the Bhakti-movement, and the six orthodox schools of thought.

Shaivism - Shaivism or Saivism is one of the four most widely followed sects of Hinduism, which reveres the God Shiva as the Supreme Being. It is also known as śaiva paṁtha and Saivam. Followers of Shaivam are called "Shaivas". They believe that Shiva is All and in all, the creator, preserver, destroyer, revealer and concealer of all that is. Shaivism, like some of the other forms of Hinduism, spread to other parts of Southeast Asia, including Java, Bali, and parts of the Southeast Asian continent, including Cambodia.

Shiva is sometimes depicted as the fierce God Bhairava. Saivists are more attracted to asceticism than adherents of other Hindu sects, and may be found wandering India with ashen faces performing self-purification rituals. They worship in the temple and practice yoga, striving to be one with Shiva within.

Vaishnavism - Vaishnavism (Vaisnava dharma) is one of the major branches of Hinduism along with Shaivism, Smartism, Shaktism. It is focused on the veneration of Vishnu. Vaishnavites, or the followers of the Vishnu, lead a way of life promoting the central importance of Vishnu and his ten avatars.

Followers worship Vishnu, the Supreme Lord and preserver of the Hindu Trimurti ('three images', the Trinity), and his ten avatars, including Rama and Krishna. The adherents of this sect are generally non-ascetic, monastic and devoted to meditative practice and ecstatic chanting. They are deeply devotional. Vaishnavism is rich in saints, temples and scriptures.

Its beliefs and practices, especially the concepts of Bhakti and Bhakti Yoga, are based largely on the Upanishads, and associated with the Vedas and Puranic texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, and the Padma Purana, Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata Purana.

Shaktism - Shaktism or Shaktidharma is a denomination of Hinduism that focuses worship upon Shakti or Devi - the Hindu Divine Mother - as the absolute, ultimate Godhead. It is, along with Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and Smartism one of the primary schools of devotional Hinduism and is especially popular in Bengal and Assam.

Shaktism regards Devi (lit., 'the Goddess') as the Supreme Brahman itself, with all other forms of divinity, considered to be merely her diverse manifestations. In the details of its philosophy and practice, Shaktism resembles Shaivism. However, Shaktas, practitioners of Shaktism, focus most or all worship on Shakti, as the dynamic feminine aspect of the Supreme Divine. Shiva, the masculine aspect of divinity, is considered solely transcendent, and his worship is usually relegated to an auxiliary role.

Cults of goddess worship are ancient in India. The branch of Hinduism that worships the goddess, known as Devi, is called Shaktism. Followers of Shaktism recognize Shakti as the power that underlies the male principle, and Devi is often depicted as Parvati the consort of Shiva or as Lakshmi the consort of Vishnu. She is also depicted in other guises, such as the fierce Kali or Durga. Shaktism is closely related with Tantric Hinduism, which teaches rituals and practices for purification of the mind and body. The Mother Goddess has many forms. Some are gentle, some are fierce. Shaktas use chants, real magic, holy diagrams, yoga and rituals to call forth cosmic forces.

Over the course of its history, Shaktism has inspired great works of Sanskrit literature and Hindu philosophy, and it continues to strongly influence popular Hinduism today. Shaktism is practiced throughout the Indian subcontinent and beyond, in numerous forms, both Tantric and non-Tantric; however, its two largest and most visible schools are the Srikula (lit., family of Sri), strongest in South India, and the Kalikula (family of Kali), which prevails in northern and eastern India.
'Aryan Invasion' Theory
Speculation originally advanced by Western scholars that the Vedas were written by people invading India rather than by people already there.
In Hinduism, the earthly incarnation of a deity
**Bhagavad Gita and some of the themes expressed in it
A portion of the Hindu epic Mahabharata in which Lord Krishna specifies ways of spiritual progress.

The eighteenth book of the Mahabharata, which may have originally been an independent mystical poem.

"Song of the Supreme Exalted One"

Krishna, revered as a glorious manifestation of the Supreme, appears as the charioteer of Arjuna, who is preparing to fight on the virtuous side of a battle that will pit brothers against brothers. The battle provides the occasion for a treatise about the conflict that may arise between our earthly duties and our spiritual aspirations.

-Krishna instructs Arjuna in the Arts of self transcendence and realization of the eternal - instruction still central to Hindu spiritual practice.

Instructed to withdraw from the impetuous demands of the senses, feelings of attraction or aversion - this will give him a steady, peaceful mind.

Instructed to offer devotional service and to perform the prescribed Vedic sacrifces, but for the sake of discipline, duty, and example - not reward.

Those who do everything for love of the Supreme (rather than reward, etc.) transcend the notion of duty and will feel peace, freedom, from earthly entanglements, and unassailable happiness.

Krishna has taken human form again and again to teach the true religion. Everything springs from Krishna's being. Not apparent to most people, as only those who love him will see him.

Whatever you do, any small act of love, do it for him and it will become a path to him.
In Hinduism, intense devotion to a personal aspect of the deity.

The impersonal Ultimate Principle in Hinduism

Our ordinary experience of the world is that our self is separate from the world of objects that we perceive. But this dualistic understanding may be transcended in a moment of enlightenment in which the Real and our awareness of it becomes one. For the Hindu, this is the prized attainment of moksha in which one enters into awareness of the eternal reality known as Brahman. This reality is then known with the same direction apprehension with which one knows oneself.

Specified verbal formulas, sacred cahnts, and sacred actions were to be used by brahmins to invoke the breath behind all of existence. This universal breath was later called Brahman, the Absolute, the Supreme Reality.
In Hinduism, the soul
Visual contact with the divine through encounters with Hindu images or gurus.
*Dvaita Vedanta
Dvaita, also known as Bhedavāda, Tattvavāda and Bimbapratibimbavāda, is a school of Vedanta founded by Madhvacharya (c. 1238-1317) who was also known as Pūrṇaprājña and Ānandatīrtha. Dvaita stresses a strict distinction between God—the Brahman (Paramātman)—and the individual souls (jīvātman). According to Madhvacharya, the individual souls of beings are not created by God but do, nonetheless, depend on Him for their existence.

Dvaita Vedanta, a dualistic understanding of the Vedas, espouses dualism by theorizing the existence of two separate realities. The first and the more important reality is that of Vishnu or Brahman. Vishnu is the supreme Self, God, the absolute truth of the universe, the independent reality. The second reality is that of dependent but equally real universe that exists with its own separate essence. Everything that is composed of the second reality, such as individual soul, matter, and the like exist with their own separate reality. The distinguishing factor of this philosophy, as opposed to Advaita Vedanta, a monistic understanding of the Vedas, is that God takes on a personal role and is seen as a real eternal entity that governs and controls the universe.
Advaita Vedanta
Non-dualistic Hindu philosophy, in which the goal is the realization that the self is Brahman.
In Hinduism, an enlightened spiritual teacher.
The guru-shishya tradition, lineage, or parampara, denotes a succession of teachers and disciples in traditional Indian culture and religions such as Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism(Tibetan and Zen tradition). It is the tradition of spiritual relationship and mentoring where teachings are transmitted from a guru "teacher" to a śiṣya "disciple" or chela. Such knowledge, whether it be Vedic, agamic, architectural, musical or spiritual, is imparted through the developing relationship between the guru and the disciple. It is considered that this relationship, based on the genuineness of the guru, and the respect, commitment, devotion and obedience of the student, is the best way for subtle or advanced knowledge to be conveyed. The student eventually masters the knowledge that the guru embodies.
*Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma
The "eternal religion" of Hinduism

An alternative label preferred today over the term Hinduism, which was introduced in the 19th century under colonial British rule as a category for census taking.

Ideas central to Sanatana Dharma: Reincarnation, karma, castes and social duties, Bhakti (intense devotion to a personal manifestation of Brahman) and the stories within the Ramayana and the Mahabharata that embody this principle, and spiritual discipline.
*Indus Valley Civilization/Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro
Many of the threads of Sanatana Dharma may have existed in the religions practiced by the aboriginal Dravidian peoples of India.

Advanced urban centers existed in the Indus Valley since about 2500 BCE, or perhaps as early as 1500 BCE.

Ancient major cities have been found at Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, and Dholavira.

Early Indus people placed a religious sort of emphasis on hygiene and.or ritual purification. They venerated life-giving power. Knew about meditation practices and were worshipper sof a deity who bore the attributes of the later god Siva. Honored a great godess associated with the feminine as the receptacle of the primeval stuff of life. Worship of local dieties by stone altars placed beneath sacred trees.


In Hinduism, the preserving aspect of the Supreme or the Supreme Itself, incarnating again and again to save the world.
In Indian thought, the attractive but illusory physical world.

In Hinduism, liberation of the soul from illusion and suffering.
A Murti literally means any form, embodiment or solid object, and typically refers to an image, statue or idol of a deity or person in Indian culture. In Hindu temples, it is a symbolic icon. A Murti is itself not the god in Hinduism, but it is an image of god and represents emotional and religious value. Murtis are also found in some nontheistic Jainism traditions, where they serve as symbols of revered persons inside Jain temples, and are worshipped in Murtipujaka rituals.

A Murti is typically made by carving stone, wood working, metal casting or through pottery. Medieval era texts describing their proper porportions, positions and gestures include the Puranas, Agamas and Samhitas. The expressions in a Murti vary in diverse Hindu traditions, ranging from Ugra symbolism to express destruction, fear and violence (Durga, Kali), as well as Saumya symbolism to express joy, knowledge and harmony (Saraswati, Lakshmi). Saumya images are most common in Hindu temples.Other Murti forms found in Hinduism include the Linga.

A Murti is an embodiment of the divine, the Ultimate Reality or Brahman to some Hindus. In religious context, they are found in Hindu temples or homes, where they may be treated as a beloved guest and serve as a participant of Puja rituals in Hinduism. In other occasions, it serves as the center of attention in annual festive processions and these are called Utsava Murti.

In Hinduism, the primordial sound.
The lowest caste in Brahmanic Hindu society.
Hindu ritual worship.
The Cosmic Spirit, soul of the universe in Hinduism; in Samkhya philosophy, the eternal self
Rig Veda

Possibly the world's oldest scripture, the foundation of Hinduism
The literary language of classic Hindu scriptures.
Shakti and some of the forms of Shakti

Shakti embodies the active feminine energy of Shiva and is identified as Tripura Sundari or Parvati.

Siva - In Hinduism, the Supreme as lord of yogis, absolute consciousness, creator, preserver, and destroyer of the world; or the destroying aspect of the Supreme.

Parvati - Siva's spouse, sweet daughter of the Himalayas.
Shiva and some of His forms

Siva - In Hinduism, the Supreme as lord of yogis, absolute consciousness, creator, preserver, and destroyer of the world; or the destroying aspect of the Supreme.
**Shruti and Smirti
Hinduism has no single scripture but many. They include the Vedas and their corollaries sometimes called collectively "the Vedic scriptures." There are two main divisions: shruti - that which is heard (revealed truth) smriti - that which is remembered (realised truth)
Shruti means "that which is heard" and refers to the body of most authoritative, ancient religious texts comprising the central canon of Hinduism. It includes the four Vedas including its four types of embedded texts - the Samhitas, the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas and the early Upanishads.

Shrutis have been considered revealed knowledge, variously described as of divine origin, or nonhuman primordial origins. In Hindu tradition, they have been referred to as apauruṣeya (authorless). All six orthodox schools of Hinduism accept the authority of śruti, but many scholars in these schools denied that the shrutis are divine. Nāstika (heterodox) philosophies such as the Cārvākas did not accept the authority of the shrutis and considered them to be flawed human works.

Shruti differs from other sources of Hindu philosophy, particularly smṛti "which is remembered" or textual material. These works span much of the history of Hinduism, beginning with the earliest known texts and ending in the early historical period with the later Upanishads. Of the śrutis, the Upanishads alone are widely known, and the central ideas of the Upanishadic śrutis are at the spiritual core of Hindus.
Smriti literally "that which is remembered," refers to a body of Hindu texts usually attributed to an author, traditionally written down but constantly revised, in contrast to Śrutis considered authorless, that were transmitted verbally across the generations and fixed, Smriti is a derivative secondary work and is considered less authoritative than Sruti in Hinduism, except in Mimamsa school of Hindu philosophy.

The Smrti literature is a corpus of diverse varied texts. This corpus includes, but is not limited to the six Vedāngas (the auxiliary sciences in the Vedas), the epics (the Mahābhārata and Rāmāyana), the Dharmasūtras and Dharmaśāstras (or Smritiśāstras), the Arthasaśāstras, the Purānas, the Kāvya or poetical literature, extensive Bhasyas (reviews and commentaries on Shrutis and non-Shruti texts), and numerous Nibandhas (digests) covering politics, ethics (Nitisastras), culture, arts and society.

Each Smriti text exists in many versions, with many different readings. Smritis were considered fluid and freely rewritten by anyone in ancient and medieval Hindu tradition.
**'That You Are'/tat tvam asi
Tat Tvam Asi, a Sanskrit phrase, translated variously as "That art thou," "That thou art," "Thou art that," "You are that," or "That you are," is one of the Mahāvākyas (Grand Pronouncements) in Vedantic Sanatana Dharma. It originally occurs in the Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7, in the dialogue between Uddalaka and his son Śvetaketu; it appears at the end of a section, and is repeated at the end of the subsequent sections as a refrain. The meaning of this saying is that the Self - in its original, pure, primordial state - is wholly or partially identifiable or identical with the Ultimate Reality that is the ground and origin of all phenomena.

Major Vedantic schools offer different interpretations of the phrase:

Advaita - absolute equality of 'tat', the Ultimate Reality, Brahman, and 'tvam', the Self, Atman.

Shuddhadvaita - oneness in "essence" between 'tat' and individual self; but 'tat' is the whole and self is a part.

Vishishtadvaita - identity of individual self as a part of the whole which is 'tat', Brahman.

Dvaitadvaita - equal non-difference and difference between the individual self as a part of the whole which is 'tat'.

Dvaita of Madhvacharya - "Sa atmaa-tat tvam asi" in Sanskrit is actually "Sa atma-atat tvam asi" or "Atman, thou art not that". In refutation of Mayavada (Mayavada sata dushani), text 6, 'tat tvam asi" is translated as "you are a servant of the Supreme (Vishnu)"

Acintya Bheda Abheda - inconceivable oneness and difference between individual self as a part of the whole which is 'tat'.
The philosophical part of the Vedas in Hinduism, intended only for serious seekers.
**Varna/Caste and the names of the four traditional varnas
Varna is a Sanskrit word which means character, quality or nature. Due to the polysemic nature of Sanskrit, one word can have many meanings. Varna can also mean colour or class. Ancient Hindu literature classified all humankind, and all created beings, in principle into four varnas:

the Brahmins: priests, teachers and preachers.
the Kshatriyas: kings, governors, warriors and soldiers.
the Vaishyas: cattle herders, agriculturists, artisans and merchants.
the Shudras: labourers and service providers.
This quadruple division is an ancient stratification of society is not to be confused with the much more nuanced jati or "caste".

The varna system is discussed in Hindu texts, and understood as idealised human callings. The concept of Varna is generally traced to the Purusha Sukta verse of the Rig Veda, however modern scholarship believes that this verse was inserted at a later date, possibly to create a charter myth.

The commentary on the Varna system in the Manusmriti is oft-cited. Counter to these textual classifications, many Hindu texts and doctrines question and disagree with the Varna system of social classification.

Caste - Social class distinction on the basis of heredity or occupation.
Vedanta, or Uttara Mīmāṃsā, is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy. The term veda means "knowledge" and anta means "end", and originally referred to the Upanishads, a collection of foundational texts in Hinduism.By the 8th century, it came to mean all philosophical traditions concerned with interpreting the three basic texts of Hinduist philosophy, namely the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, and was eventually recognized as distinct from the other five astika schools. Vedanta is the most prominent and philosophically advanced of the orthodox schools and the term Vedanta may also be used to refer to Indian philosophy more generally. There are at least ten schools of Vedanta, of which Advaita Vedanta, Vishishtadvaita, Achintya-Bheda-Abheda and Dvaita are the best known.

Ancient scriptures revered by Hindus.
Vishnu and some of His forms
In Hinduism, the preserving aspect of the Supreme or the Supreme Itself, incarnating again and again to save the world.
Yoga (different forms)

A systematic approach to spiritual realization, one of the major Hindu philosophical systems.
**The '5 Great Vows'
Followers of Jainism take five major vows: non-violence, not lying, not stealing (asteya), chastity, and non-attachment. Self-discipline and asceticism are thus major focuses of Jainism.

In Jainism, both ascetics and householders (śrāvaka) have to follow five major vows (vratas). Jainism encourages spiritual development through cultivation of personal wisdom and self-control through these five main vows:

Ahimsa: Ahiṃsā means nonviolence or non-injury. The first major vow taken by Jains is to cause no harm to living beings. It involves minimizing intentional and unintentional harm to other living creatures by actions, speech or thoughts. The vow of ahiṃsā is considered the foremost among the 'five vows of Jainism'.
Satya: Satya means truth. This vow is to always speak the truth. Given that nonviolence has priority, other principles yield to it whenever they conflict: in a situation where speaking truth could lead to violence, silence may be observed.
Asteya: Asteya means not stealing. Jains should not take anything that is not willingly offered. Attempting to extort material wealth from others or to exploit the weak is considered theft. Fair value should be given for all goods and services purchased.
Brahmacharya: Brahmacharya means chastity for laymen and celibacy for Jain monks and nuns. This requires the exercise of control over the senses to control indulgence in sexual activity.
Aparigraha: Aparigraha means non-possessiveness. This means non-attachment to objects, places and people. Jain monks and nuns completely renounce property and social relations.
Monks and nuns are obligated to practise the five cardinal principles of nonviolence, truthfulness, not stealing, celibacy, and non-possessiveness very strictly, while laymen are encouraged to observe them within their current practical limitations.
**Jain principles
Practitioners believe non-violence and self-control are the means to liberation. The three main principles of Jainism are non-violence, non-absolutism (anekantavada) and non-possessiveness (aparigraha).

Self-discipline and asceticism are thus major focuses of Jainism.

Non-violence (ahimsa)

The hand with a wheel on the palm symbolizes Ahimsa in Jainism. The word in the middle is "ahiṃsā". The wheel represents the dharmachakra, which stands for the resolve to halt the saṃsāra through relentless pursuit of truth and nonviolence.
The principle of ahiṃsā is the most fundamental and well-known aspect of Jainism. In Jainism, killing any living being out of passions is hiṃsā (injury) and abstaining from such act is Ahiṃsā (noninjury or nonviolence). The everyday implementation of ahiṃsā is more comprehensive than in other religions and is the hallmark for Jain identity. Non-violence is practised first and foremost during interactions with other human beings, and Jains believe in avoiding harm to others through actions, speech and thoughts.

In addition to other humans, Jains extend the practice of nonviolence towards all living beings. As this ideal cannot be completely implemented in practice, Jains recognize a hierarchy of life, which gives more protection to humans followed by animals followed by insects followed by plants. For this reason, Jain vegetarianism is a hallmark of Jain practice, with the majority of Jains practising lacto vegetarianism. If there is violence against animals during the production of dairy products, veganism is encouraged.

After humans and animals, insects are the next living being offered protection in Jain practice with avoidance of intentional harm to insects emphasized. For example, insects in the home are often escorted out instead of killed. Intentional harm and the absence of compassion make an action more violent according to Jainism.

After nonviolence towards humans, animals and insects, Jains make efforts not to injure plants any more than necessary. Although they admit that plants must be destroyed for the sake of food, they accept such violence only inasmuch as it is indispensable for human survival. Strict Jains, including monastics, do not eat root vegetables such as potatoes, onions and garlic because tiny organisms are injured when the plant is pulled up and because a bulb or tuber's ability to sprout is seen as characteristic of a living being.

Jainism has a very elaborate framework on types of life and includes life-forms that may be invisible. Per Jainism, the intent and emotions behind the violence are more important than the action itself. For example, if a person kills another living being out of carelessness and then regrets it later, the bondage of karma (karma bandhan) is less compared to when a person kills the same living being with anger, revenge, etc. A soldier acting in self-defense is a different type of violence versus someone killing another person out of hatred or revenge. Violence or war in self-defense may be justified, but this must only be used as a last resort after peaceful measures have been thoroughly exhausted.


The second main principle of Jainism is anekantavada (non-absolutism). For Jains, non-absolutism means maintaining open-mindedness. This includes the recognition of all perspectives and a humble respect for differences in beliefs. Jainism encourages its adherents to consider the views and beliefs of their rivals and opposing parties. The principle of anekāntavāda influenced Mahatma Gandhi to adopt principles of religious tolerance and ahiṃsā.

Anekāntavāda emphasizes the principles of pluralism (multiplicity of viewpoints) and the notion that truth and reality are perceived differently from diverse points of view, no single one of which is complete.

Jains illustrate this theory through the parable of the blind men and an elephant. In this story, each blind man feels a different part of an elephant: its trunk, leg, ear, and so on. All of them claim to understand and explain the true appearance of the elephant but, due to their limited perspectives, can only partly succeed.The concept of anēkāntavāda extends to and is further explained by Syādvāda.


The third main principle in Jainism is aparigraha (non-attachment). According to Tattvarthasutra (compendium of Jain principles), "Infatuation is attachment to possessions". Jainism emphasizes taking no more than is necessary. While ownership of objects is allowed, non-attachment to possessions is taught. Followers should minimise the tendency to hoard unnecessary material possessions and limit attachment to current possessions. Further, wealth and possessions should be shared and donated whenever possible. Jainism believes that unchecked attachment to possessions can lead to direct harm to oneself and others.
Non-violence, a central Jain principle.
The Jain principle of relativity or open-mindedness.
The Jain principle of non-acquisitiveness.
A highly ascetic order of Jain monks who wear no clothes.
Sallekhanā (also Santhara, Samadhi-marana, Sanyasana-marana), is the Jain practice of facing death voluntarily at the end of one's life. It is prescribed both for the householder and ascetics. Sallekhana is made up from two words sal (meaning 'properly') and lekhana, which means to thin out. Properly thinning out of the passions and the body is 'Sallekhanā'. Sallekhana is allowed only when a person is suffering from incurable disease or great disability or when a person is nearing his end. It is a highly respected practice among the members of the Jain community. According to Jain Agamas, sallekhanā leads to ahimsā (non-violence or non-injury), as person observing sallekhanā subjugates the passions, which are the root cause of himsā (injury or violence).

Observance of the vow of sallekhanā starts much before the approach of death. A householder persistently meditate on the verse: "I shall certainly, at the approach of death, observe sallekhanā in the proper manner." The duration of the practice could be up to twelve years or more.

Five transgressions of the vow of sallekhanā are:

desire to live
desire to die
recollection of affection for friends
recollection of the pleasures enjoyed
longing for the enjoyment of pleasures in future
The person observing sallekhana does not wish to die nor he is aspiring to live in a state of inability where he / she can't undertake his / her own chores. In Jainism, there is a daily prayer where a person wishes to be able to face death after having taken the vow of sallekhana. Due to the prolonged nature of sallekhana, the individual is given ample time to reflect on his or her life. The purpose is to purge old karmas and prevent the creation of new ones.

Sallekhana (also Santhara, Samadhi-marana, Samnyasa-marana), is the Jain religious ritual of suicide by fasting. Due to the prolonged nature of sallekhana, the individual is given ample time to reflect on his or her life.
Jainism, traditionally known as the Jina śāsana or Jain dharma,belongs to the śramaṇa tradition and is one of the oldest Indian religions. It prescribes a path of nonviolence (ahinsa) towards all living beings. Practitioners believe non-violence and self-control are the means to liberation. The three main principles of Jainism are non-violence, non-absolutism (anekantavada) and non-possessiveness (aparigraha). Followers of Jainism take five major vows: non-violence, not lying, not stealing (asteya), chastity, and non-attachment. Self-discipline and asceticism are thus major focuses of Jainism. Parasparopagraho Jivanam is the motto of Jainism. Notably, Mahatma Gandhi was influenced by and adopted several Jain principles.

Sculpture depicting Ahimsa, the fundamental tenet of Jainism (Photo:Ahinsa Sthal)
Jain cosmology postulates an eternal universe and divides worldly cycle of time into two parts or half-cycles, ascending (utsarpani) and descending (avasarpani). According to Jains, in every half-cycle of time, twenty-four tirthankaras (makers of the ford) grace this part of the Universe to teach the unchanging doctrine of right faith, right knowledge and right conduct. The last tirthankara, Mahavira (6th century B.C.) and his predecessor Parsvanatha are historical figures whose existence is recorded.

In reality, however, these qualities are found to be obstructed due to the soul's association with a substance called karma. The ultimate goal in Jainism is to obtain moksha, which means liberation or salvation of the soul completely freeing it from karmic bondage.

According to Jains, souls are intrinsically pure and possess the qualities of infinite knowledge, infinite perception, infinite bliss and infinite energy in their ideal state. In reality, however, these qualities are found to be obstructed due to the soul's association with a substance called karma. The ultimate goal in Jainism is to obtain moksha, which means liberation or salvation of the soul completely freeing it from karmic bondage.

The relationship between the soul and karma is explained by the analogy of gold. Gold is always found mixed with impurities in its natural state. Similarly, the ideal, pure state of the soul is always mixed with the impurities of karma. Just like gold, purification of the soul may be achieved if the proper methods of refining are applied. The Jain karmic theory is used to attach responsibility to individual action and is cited to explain inequalities, sufferings and pain.

The following three jewels of Jainism constitute the threefold path to liberation (moksha).:

Right View (samyak darsana) - Belief in substances like soul (Ātman) and non-soul without delusions.
Right Knowledge (samyak jnana) - Knowledge of the substances (tattvas) without any doubt or misapprehension.
Right Conduct (samyak charitra) - Being free from attachment, a right believer doesn't commit hiṃsā (injury).

Jainism rejects the idea of a creator or destroyer god and postulates that the universe is eternal. Jainism believes every soul has the potential for salvation and to become god. In Jainism, perfect souls with body are called Arihantas (victors) and perfect souls without the body are called Siddhas (liberated souls). Tirthankara is an Arihanta who help others in achieving liberation. Jainism has been described as a transtheistic religion, as it does not teach the dependency on any supreme being for enlightenment. The tirthankara is a guide and teacher who points the way to enlightenment, but the struggle for enlightenment is one's own.

Arihanta (Jina)- A human being who conquers all inner passions and possesses infinite knowledge (Kevala Jnana). They are also known as Kevalins (omniscient beings). There are two kinds of Arihantas
Sāmānya (Ordinary victors) - Kevalins who are concerned with their own salvation.
Tirthankara - Tīrthaṅkara literally means a 'ford-maker', or a founder of salvation teaching. They propagate and revitalize the Jain faith and become role-models for those seeking spiritual guidance. They reorganise the fourfold order (chaturvidha sangha) that consists of monks (śramana), nuns (śramani), male followers (srāvaka) and female followers (śravaika). Jains believe that exactly twenty-four tirthankaras are born in each half cycle of time.

Siddhas (the liberated beings), although they are formless, this is how they are depicted in Jain temples
Siddha- Siddhas are Arihantas who attain salvation (moksha) and dwell in Siddhashila with infinite bliss, infinite perception, infinite knowledge and infinite energy.


In Jainism, monasticism is encouraged and respected. Monks and nuns live extremely austere and ascetic lifestyles. They follow the five main vows of Jainism absolutely. Jain monks and nuns have neither a permanent home nor possessions. They do not use vehicles and always travel barefoot from one place to another, irrespective of the distance. They wander from place to place except during the months of Chaturmas. They do not use telephones or electricity. They do not prepare food and live only on what people offer them. Jain monks and nuns also usually keep a cloth for ritual mouth-covering to avoid inadvertently harming micro-organisms in the air.[citation needed] Most will carry a broom-like object called a rayoharan made from dense, thick thread strands to sweep the ground ahead of them or before sitting down to avoid inadvertently crushing small insects.

The monks of Jainism, whose presence is not needed for most Jain rituals, should not be confused with priests. However, some sects of Jainism often employ a pujari, who need not be a Jain, to perform special daily rituals and other priestly duties at the temple.


Jains have developed a type of meditation called samayika, a term derived from the word samaya. The goal of samayika is to achieve a feeling of perfect calmness and to understand the unchanging truth of the self. Such meditation is based on contemplation of the universe and the reincarnation of self.[53] Samayika is particularly important during the Paryushana religious festival. It is believed that meditation will assist in managing and balancing one's passions. Great emphasis is placed on the internal control of thoughts, as they influence behavior, actions and goals.

Jains follow six duties known as avashyakas: samayika (practising serenity), chaturvimshati (praising the tirthankara), vandan (respecting teachers and monks), pratikramana (introspection), kayotsarga (stillness), and pratyakhyana (renunciation).

Main article: Jain rituals and festivals

Jains praying at the feet of a statue of Bahubali
There are many Jain rituals in the various sects of Jainism. The basic worship ritual practised by Jains is "seeing" (darsana) of pure self in Jina idols.

One example related to the five life events of the tirthankaras called the Panch Kalyanaka are rituals such as the Panch Kalyanaka Pratishtha Mahotsava, panch kalyanaka puja, and snatra puja. Every morning in a Jain temple starts with abhishek of Jina idols.
In Jainism, one who has realized the highest, omniscient aspect of his or her being and is therefore perfect.
The soul in Jainism.
In Hinduism and Jainism, ajiva is anything that has no soul or life, the polar opposite of jiva. Because ajiva has no life, it does not accumulate karma and cannot die. Examples of ajiva include chairs, computers, paper, and plastic. Ajiva can be divided into two kinds, with form and without form.

In Jainism, there are five categories which Ajiva can be placed into. Out of these, four categories, Dharma (medium of motion), Adharma (medium of rest), Akasha (space) and Pudgala (matter) are described as the asti-kaya dravya's (substances which possess constituent parts extending in space) while the fifth category Kala is an anasti-kaya dravya (which has no extension in space).

The supremely perfected state in Jainism.
In the highest state of perfection, known as kevala, all gross activities have come to an end, and the liberated being has "boundless vision, infinite righteousness, strength, perfect bliss, existence without form, and a body that is neither light nor heavy."
**Kevala Jnana
Kevala jñāna means omniscience in Jainism and is roughly translated as absolute knowledge or supreme knowledge.

Kevala jnana is believed to be an intrinsic quality of all souls. This quality is masked by karmic particles that surround the soul. Every soul has the potential to obtain omniscience by shedding off these karmic particles. Jain scriptures speak of twelve stages through which the soul achieves this goal. A soul who has attained kevala jnana is called a kevalin According to the Jains, only kevalins can comprehend objects in all aspects and manifestations; others are only capable of partial knowledge.

The views of two sects of Jainism, Digambara and Śvētāmbara Jains slightly differ on the subject of kevalins. According to Digambaras, a kevalin does not experience hunger or thirst, whereas according to Svetambaras, a kevalin has normal human needs. According to both traditions, the last kevalin was a disciple of one of the eleven chief disciples of the last tirthankara, Mahāvīra; his name is recorded as Jambu. It is also believed that no one after Jambu will have the ability to obtain kevala jnana.
Jainism's major teacher for this age is Mahavira "The Great Hero"). He was a contemporary of the Buddha and died approximately 527 BCE. Like the Buddha he was the prince of a kshatrya clan and renounced his position and his wealth at the age of thirty to wander as a spiritual seeker.

After twelve years of meditation, silence, and extrene fasting, Mahavira achieved liberation and perfection. For thirty years until his death at Pava, he spread his teachings. His followers came from all castes as Jainism does not officaly acknowledge the caste system.

The Jain teachings are not thought to have originated with Mahavira, however. He is considered the last of twenty-fource Tirthankaras ("fordmakers") of the current cosmic cycle.

Likened karma to coats of clay that weight down the soul.

In Hinduism, liberation of the soul from illusion and suffering

**In Jainism, moksa and nirvana are one and the same. When a soul (atman) achieves moksa, it is released from the cycle of births and deaths, and achieves its pure self. It then becomes a siddha (literally means one who has accomplished his ultimate objective). Attaining Moksa requires annihilation of all karmas, good and bad, because if karma is left, it must bear fruit.

The continual round of birth, death, and rebirth in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.
The great enlightened teachers in Jainism, of whom Mahavira was the last in the present cosmic cycle.
The 'Eightfold path'
The '5 Precepts'
The 'Four Noble Truths'
The 'Four Sights'
In Buddhism, the impermanence of all existence.
A "Worthy One" who has followed the Buddha's Eightfold Path to liberation, broken the fetters that bind us to the suffering of the Wheel of Birth and Death, and arrived at nirvana; the Theravadan ideal
Bhiksu (Pali: bhikkhu; feminine: bhikshuni or bhikkhuni)
A Buddhist monk or nun who renounces worldliness for the sake of following the path of liberation and whose simple physical needs are met by lay supporters.
In Mahayana Buddhism, one who has attained enlightenment but renounces nirvana for the sake of helping all sentient beings in their journey to liberation from suffering.
Preached another alternative to the ritual bound Brahmanism of India in the 6th century BCE. Taught about earthly suffering and its cure.

Buddhism was different from other religions in that it taught that our salvation from suffering lies only in our own efforts. In understanding how we create suffering for ourselves we can become free.

Title means "Enlightened One"

Prince of a kshatriya clan and renounced his position and his wealth at the age of thiry to wander as a spiritual seeker.
Was predicted to either become a king of all India or one who retired from an earthly life to become an enlightened being, sharing his own awakening with the world.

Siddhartha Gautama "wish-fulfiller"/"He who has reached his goal"

Gods had arranged for him to se the "four sights": A bent old man, a sick person, a dead person, and a monk. The first three would dismay him with the impermanence of life and show him the suffering of existence, while the last would urge him to a life of renunciation.

"In most Buddhist traditions, Siddhartha Gautama is regarded as the Supreme Buddha (Pali sammāsambuddha, Sanskrit samyaksaṃbuddha) of the present age. Gautama taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the śramaṇa movement common in his region."
A fully awakened consciousness.
A Chinese and Japanese Buddhist school emphasizing that all things have Buddha-nature, which can only be grasped when one escapes from the intellectual mind.
According to the Buddha, a central fact of human life, variously translated as discomfort, suffering, frustration, or lack of harmony with the environment.
In Mahayana Buddhist terminology, the label "lesser vehicle," given to the orthodox southern tradition now represented by Theravada; in Tibetan terminology, one of the three vehicles for salvation taught by the Buddha.
In Zen Buddhism, a paradoxical puzzle to be solved without ordinary thinking.
The "greater vehicle" in Buddhism, the more liberal and mystical Northern School, which stressed the virtue of altruistic compassion rather than intellectual efforts at individual salvation.
A symmetrical image, with shapes emerging from a center, used as a meditational focus.
In Buddhist terminology, loving-kindness.
In Buddhism, the ultimate egoless state of bliss.
Pali Canon
The Indian dialect first used for writing down the teachings of the Buddha, which were initially held in memory, and still used today in the Pali Canon of scriptures recognized by the Theravadins.
The foundational "Three baskets" of Buddha's teachings
Pratitya Samutpada
Pure Land
A Buddhist sect in China and Japan that centers on faith in Amid Buddha, who promised to welcome believers to the paradise of the Pure Land, a metaphor for enlightenment.
Enlightenment, realization of ultimate truth, in Zen Buddhism.
In Theravada Buddhism, the monastic community; in Mahayana, the spiritual community of followers of the dharma.

Voidness, the transcendental ultimate reality in Buddhism.
Siddhartha Gautama
A rounded monument containing Buddhist relics or commemorative materials.
Literally, a thread on which are strung jewels - the discourses of the teacher; in yoga, sutras are terse sayings.
The remaining orthodox school of Buddhism which adheres closely to the earliest scriptures and emphasizes individual efforts to liberate the mind from suffering.
The 'Triple Gem'/Three Refuges'

The three jewels of Buddhism: Buddha, dharma, and sangha.
The ultimate vehicle used in Mahayana, mainly Tibetan, Buddhism, consisting of esoteric tantric practices and concentration on deities.
In Buddhism, meditation based on watching one's own thoughts, emotions, and actions.
4 Understandings of 'Guru'
The '5 Evils'
The '5 Ks'
Akal Purakh/Waheguru
A Sikh temple
Gurmukh and Manmukh
Guru Arjan
Guru Granth Sahib/Adi Granth

The sacred scripture compiled by the Sikh gurus
Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Nanak
Jap-ji Sahib

The first morning prayer of Sikhs, written by Guru Nanak.

The body of the pure, as inspired by the Sikh guru Gobind Singh.

Devotional singing of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib in Sikhism.
In Sikh tradition, a free communal meal without caste distinctions.
Mul Mantar
Nam, Daan, and Ishnan

The 3 petitions - Naam, Daan, Ishnan.

Daan - Charity.
Ishnan - Purity of mind and body.
Nam - The holy Name of God reverberating throughout all of Creation, as repeated by Sikhs.
Naam Simaran
Operation 'Blue Star'

In Sikhism, the religious community.
Sach Khand
Sant 'Movement'

(Sant - a Sikh holy person)
Shabd (Shaabd) - possibly Shabad
The Sikh term for a name of God that is recited for a hymn from the Guru Granth Sahib, considered the Word of God.
"Student," especially one who practices the teachings of the ten Sikh Gurus.