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Name of a religious ideology enshrined in Vedic literature and embodied in members of the brahmin class.


God or goddess. Hinduism is characterised by its multiplicity of deities believed to perform different roles for their workshippers.


Language of the Vedas and a huge body of later literature; regarded by Hindus throughout history as a sacred language.


"Sacred knowledge, sacred texts" - the most ancient and sacred Indian scriptures (approximately 1200-600 BCE) organised in four collections (rig, Sama, Yajur, Atharva) and consisting of hymns of praise, ritual/ceremonial manuals and mystical/philosophical treaties (Upanishads).


Originally ritual action; later meaning all human actions. The law of karma refers to the belief that all human actions have consequences that affect not only one's present life but also future lives until moksha is achieved.


The male priestly class (Varna).


the name given to Ultimate Reality or Cosmic Self.


The essence or principal of life; Ultimate Reality as present within a human being - not a 'soul' or 'spirit'.


The act of performing bodily austerities designed to acquire magical power or purify the body.


liberation or release from samsara; the end of rebirth for the human being. Different philosophical and religious strands in Hinduism describe Moksha differently- for instance, the attainment of union with God or knowledge of one's identity with Brahman.


Worship; the ritual that honours a god or goddess as a divine guest, usually in a temple, but can also be a domestic ritual.


Seeing God; viewing the image of the divine indwelled by a God or goddess in a temple or other holy place

Sva dharma

(own dharma) This is the framework of duties and obligations in which each person works out his/her religious practice


A name for existence seen as bondage to a set of ongoing rebirths caused by karmic action


A religious teacher; often regarded as an enlightened being; sometimes the central object of worship in a cult


Loving devotion to a personal God or Goddess and sharing in the loving grace of the divine person


the earthly manifestation of a God or Goddess taken with the specific intention of restoring dharma when it is in a state of decline.


Class into which a person is born; there are four classes in Ancient Indian society (not caste)


the laws of the cosmos and also the moral and religious duties, laws and customs that are in harmony with the natural law. Sadharana dharma is the general code of Hindu ethics.




A Hindu god considered the preserver of the world

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