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Unit 2: Hinduism

Sanatana Dharma The eternal way/religion; what Hinduism was called before outsiders gave it its current name
Brahman The Supreme Reality
Vedas Revered ancient scriptures
Upanishads The philosophical part of the Vedas; concerned with how the atman is related to the Brahman
Bhagavad-Gita 18th book of the Mahabharata; Story of Arjuna and Krishna; Leads to the four paths of yoga and extreme devotion to the gods
Ramayana Series of epics detailing human incarnations of Vishnu's conquests. Focuses on the balance of good and bad. Shows of people who act as perfect sons, husbands, friends, etc.
Vishnu The Preserver. Uses human incarnations (avatars) to assist mortals in dire times of need.
Shiva/Siva The Destroyer. Often cited as the totality of gods. Embodies a lot of dualism (male & female, creator & destroyer, etc.)
atman The individual soul
reincarnation After death, rebirth in a new life
karma Our actions and their effects on this life and lives to come
moksha Liberation
samsara The worldly cycle of birth, death, and rebirth
bhakti Intense devotion to a personal manifestation of Supreme Reality
caste Originally an occupational category; hereditary classes into which people are born
mantras A sound or phrase chanted to evoke sound vibration of one aspect of creation or to praise a deity
yantras A linear image with complex cosmic symbolism
yoga Practices for union with the true Self
guru Spiritual teacher
dualism The idea of two separate realities (material and Absolute)
monistic Atman and Brahman are one, because you can't distinguish a single drop from the ocean
puja Ritual worship
darshan Visual contact with the divine; gods choose to make themselves present in statues or pictures constructed for them
Agni God of fire
Brahmin Priest or member of the priestly caste
OM (AUM) Most common mantra, thought to be the sound that brought the universe and the gods into existence
shudras Members of the lowest caste; manual labourers
ahimsa Principle of nonviolence toward all living thigs
Rig Veda The oldest Veda (sacred text)
kshatriyas Rulers and Warriors; 2nd highest caste level
vaishyas Farmers and Merchants; 2nd lowest caste level
Kali Yuga The present degraded era
karma yoga The way of selfless, right action; overcoming negative karma; obeying your duty without concern for consequences
raja yoga The way of meditation to remove one self from the material world; goal is to achieve samadhi
shakti Feminine divine power
ashram A usually ascetic spiritual community of followers gathered around their guru
samkhya Focuses on two realities- purusha (eternally wise and pure Self) & prakriti (the material world; All suffering confuses these two realities, so forget the heights from which we came to devote ourselves to life now
samadhi Ultimate union between the consciousness and the Absolute
Purusha Celestial giant the god sacrificed to create the world; his head, arms, legs, and feet were divided into the four castes
Arjuna Ruler that was conflicted with his caste dharma (go fight) and don't kill anyone; Confronted by Krishna who commanded him to follow his dharma in the name of Krishna, so he can't fail
Krishna One of the great human incarnations of Vishnu; Often was very mischievous to bring about trust in humans
Ganges (Ganga) Holy river that is said to flow from the goddess; Hindus use the water in the river for everything from bathing to scattering ashes of cremated bodies
Mahabharata Major Hindu epic
bhakti yoga The way of worship and devotion to a deity; a way of circumventing samsara by winning the favour of a god to deliver you into Moksha; based on the women's devotion to Krishna in the Bagavad-Gita
jnana yoga The way of intellectual and philosophical inquiry; understanding the difference between the supreme Brahman and the temporary earthly life
Kali Punishes evil doers; wheres a necklace of skulls and is depicted as a hideous monster
sannyasin Renunciate spiritual seeker
Gandhi Non-violent rebel against Britain; reformed Hinduism to decrease discrimination against "untouchables"
Mahavira Founder of Jainism
Advaita Vendanta Focusing on how the greater power disguises itself; the material world is an illusion to mask the supreme reality; atman and brahman are essentially one
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