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india vocab

TermDefinition
Aryans Indo-European speaking nomads who entered India from the Central Asian steppes between 1500 and 1000 BC and greatly affected Indian society.
Asceticism the idea of self denial, self sacrifice, even self mutilation that was done to communicate with the gods and began to take the place of sacrifice in ancient India
Atman the individual soul
Ashoka a ruler of the Mauryan Empire who converted to Buddhism
Bhagavad Gita a portion of the long poem Mahabharata (see below) that contains the story of Arjuna (above) that include a lesson on dharma or duty
Bodhisattva a person who has attained enlightenment but who has postponed Nirvana in order to help others achieve enlightenment
Brahmins the priestly caste who led ceremonies
Brahman the Universal Soul or Great Life force (Hinduism)
Brahma one of the main three gods in Hinduism; he was the Creator
Buddhism a religion that was started by Siddhartha Gautama, who is also known as Buddha and whose purpose was to stop suffering
Bodhi means wisdom; Bodhi is achieved when worldly matters are abandoned, and is the source of the term “Buddhism.” Bodhi is a key step on the way to nirvana
Caste Western name for India’s rigid social system in which all members of that society are assigned by birth to specific ranks and inherit specific roles and privileges
Dharma duty
Dharma Teachings of the Buddha
Ganges a river in India that flows into the Bay of Bengal; in Hinduism, it is known as a sacred river
Harappan a civilization that based itself on the Indus River
Hinduism the main religion in India, it emphasizes reincarnation, based on the results of the previous life, and the desirability of escaping this cycle.
Indus a river in Pakistan that flows into the Arabian Sea
Jati sub castes; were groups of people within each caste that usually worked together in a similar job
Karma consequences of actions that determine reincarnation
Kshatriya the warrior caste
Maharaja an Indian king or prince that was ranked higher than a raja
Mohenjo-Daro a city in the Harappan civilization that is located on the Indus River
Monsoon strong winds that change with the seasons. Monsoons symbolize the great god Indra.
Mahabharata one of the two Sanskrit epics of Ancient India. It is the longest epic poem in the world. It is translated as “Great India” and is primarily about wars
Moksha in Hinduism, it is seen as the liberation of the soul from the body
Nirvana The Buddhist belief of the extinction of desire and individual consciousness, also spiritual enlightenment
Pariahs the name of the group of people outside the caste system; they were the outcasts of society and untouchables and were not considered a part of Indian society or the caste system
Raja the title given in India to a king or prince
Ramayana A Hindu epic written in Sanskrit that describes the adventures of the king Rama and his queen
Rigveda one of the Vedas, a sacred writing of Hinduism that contained a collection of Hindu poems and hymns that were used for religious reasons
Samsara the Hindu cycle of death and rebirth
Sanskrit an Indo-European language that was the language of the Vedas
Shakyamuni another name for Siddhartha Gautama; it means Sage of the Shakya clan
Shiva an important Hindu deity who in the trinity of gods was the Destroyer
Siddhartha Gautama founder of Buddhism who achieved enlightenment of the meaning of life while sitting under a tree and later preached his conclusions that came to be known as Buddhism
Stupas religious buildings that originally housed Buddha relics. Stupas developed into familiar Buddhist architecture
Sudras the lowest of the castes (but not as low as the pariahs or untouchables) in the Indian social system; they were not twice born; consisted of peasants and artisans, which was most of the Indian population
Upanishads commentaries on the Vedas that are considered sacred texts in the Hindu religion
Vaisya the third highest caste that was made up of merchants and commoners, twice born
Varnas Indian word for social groups that we know as castes
Vedas sacred texts in the Hindu religion, they are a set of four collections of hymns and religious ceremonies transmitted by memory through the centuries by Aryan priests
Vishnu Vishnu is a Hindu god who, in the trinity of gods, is the Preserver
Created by: jessewessie1