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a body of religious and philosophical beliefs and cultural practices native to India and characterized by a belief in reincarnation and a supreme being-of many forms and natures, by the view that opposing theories are aspects of one eternal truth


a form of ultimate reality; the supreme force in all beings and all things in universe


the individual duty to seek to know this ultimate reality


world soul


meaning "union"; a method of training developed by Hindus that is supposed to lead to "oneness" with God


the creator of the universe, who often holds a lotus; has four heads, each reciting one of the four Vedas


the destroyer; first portrayed as Natarja (king of dance); the ring of flames symbolize the universe, as his/her drum symbolizes the sound of creation; Shiva's foot stamps out ignorance (seen as a human)


the preserver, who appeared in ten different avatars (one being the color of clouds); holds a spinning disc, which represents a weapon, but also enlightenment; the throne Vishnu sits upon represents a deity in the form of a snake (immortality)


the belief that the individual soul is reborn in a different form after death

note: "Warn-out garments are shed by the body/Worn out bodies are shed by the dweller" -Krishna, Bhagavad Gita


the force generated by a person's actions that determines how the person will be reborn in the next life


the divine law that rules karma; requires all people to do duty based on status in society

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