Hinduism Glossary

  1. Ahimsa – nonviolence (Sharma)
  2. Artha – one of the four goals in life (wealth/possessions) along with dharma, karma, and moksha (Menon 688)
  3. Asura – any of a class of demons (Menon 688)
  4. Atman – the self (Gethin 319)
  5. Avatara – an incarnation of God, especially Vishnu (Menon 688)
  6. Ayana – a journey (Menon 688)
  7. Ayudha – a weapon (Menon 688)
  8. Bhagavan – popular name of God: the worshipful one (Sharma)
  9. Bhakti – devotion, worship (Menon 688)
  10. Brahman – ultimate godhead (Menon 688)
  11. brahmana – a member of the priesty class; also known as “Brahma’s people” (Menon 689)
  12. Brahmavidya – knowledge of Brahman (Menon 689)
  13. Buddhi – intelligence (Sharma)
  14. Carvaka – a point of view which considers wealth and enjoyment as the ends of human activity (Clark 198)
  15. Deva – any of a class of celestial, elemental beings; God (Menon 689)
  16. Dharma – truth, justice, duty (Menon 689)
  17. Dhyana – meditation (Menon 689)
  18. Gayatri – sacred verse for the Vedas (Rg Veda III, 62.10) which plays an important ritual and liturgical role in Hinduism (Sharma)
  19. Isvara – Lord, God (Sharma)
  20. Jati – “birth-status”; one of the distinguishing features in social stratification (Renard 161)
  21. Kama – “pleasure”; one of the four legitimate goals of life (Renard 161)
  22. Karma – from kamma (action-cause) and vipaka (reaction-effect); the law of moral causation; it includes past and present actions and is not to be confused with fate or predestination: good or bad karma results from our own actions (Soccio 46)
  23. Kshatriya – a member of the caste of royal warriors (Menon 691)
  24. Lingam – conical representation of Shiva, often considered phallic (Sharma)
  25. Nirvana – annihilation of the ego; a state of bliss; “pure consciousness” that leads to release from suffering while remaining conscious (Soccio 43)
  26. Manas – mind (Sharma)
  27. Mandala – a dimension, galaxy (Menon 691)
  28. Moksha – liberation, salvation, enlightenment (Menon 692)
  29. Nivrtti – a purely spiritual life (Clark 200)
  30. Om – the primal, holy syllable (Menon 692)
  31. Prana – life breaths (Menon 693)
  32. Pravrtti – a life of worldly activity (Clark 200)
  33. Puja – ritual worship (Menon 693)
  34. Purnima – the full moon (Menon 693)
  35. Purushartas  – Hindu axiological doctrine which classifies the goal of human endeavor as dharma, artha, kama, and moksha (Sharma)
  36. Rta – a word with three layers of meaning: natural order, moral order, and ritual order (Sharma)
  37. Samsara – the round of rebirth (Gethin 321)
  38. Sat/Satya – truth (Sharma)
  39. Sannyasa – the condition of being a hermit (Menon 694)
  40. Sloka – a sacred verse (Menon 695)
  41. Smriti – “remembered”; the later scriptures, including the epics and puranas, for example (Renard 160)
  42. Trimurti – the Hindu ‘Trinity’ comprising Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva (Sharma)
  43. Varna – “color” (popularly but erroneously understood as “caste”); referring to one of the four major traditional socio-religious distinctions: priest, warrior, merchant, peasant (Renard 161)
  44. Veda – originally one, became four; the ancient collections of sacred Hindu prayers and hymns (Menon 696)
  45. Vedanta – “end of the Veda”; originally referring to the Upanishads; a school of thought dedicated to the path of knowledge (Renard 161)
  46. Vishnu – the preserver of the Hindu trinity (Menon 696)

 

Works Cited

Clark, Walter Eugene. “Some Misunderstandings about India.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 46 (1926): 198-200. JSTOR. Web.

Gethin, Rupert. The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998. Print.

Renard, John. Responses to 101 Questions on Hinduism. Mahwah: Paulist, 1999. Print.

Sharma, Arvind. Classical Hindu Thought: An Introduction. New Delhi: Oxford UP, 2000. Print.

Soccio, Douglas J. Archetypes of Widsom: An Introduction to                   Philosophy. Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.

Valmiki, and Ramesh Menon. The Ramayana. New York: North Point, 2003. Print.

 

 

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