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Hinduism
A Selected Glossary
Ahimsa
Respect for life
Dharma
Law of conduct or custom
Arti
Offering of light
Divali
Hindu festival of lights
Atman
Soul spirit or self
Dussehra
‘Ten days’: a Hindu festival
Aum (or Om)
The Hindu sacred symbol
Ganesha
A Hindu god with the head of an
elephant. Son of Shiva.
Avatar
Incarnation of a deity
Bhagavad Gita
‘Song of the Lord’: the most popular
Hindu scripture
Bhakti
A path to moksha through devotion to a
deity
Brahma
A Hindu god. Creator.
Brahman
The impersonal ultimate reality,
underlying all things.
Caste
The ancient Indian class system
Holi
Hindu spring festival
Kali
The great goddess after whom
Calcutta is named. Consort of
Shiva
Karma
Ritual or moral action the law of
cause and effect
Krishna
An avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu
Lakshmi
Goddess of good fortune.
Consort of Vishnu
Mahabharata
The great epic of which the
Bhagavad Gita forms a small part
Getting Started with World Religions
Mala
Rosary used in meditation
Mandir
A Hindu temple
Mantra
Sacred text often chanted
Moksha
Freedom from the cycle of rebirth
Murti
The statue used as a focal point for
worship
Navaratri
The nine nights festival preceding
Dassehra
Nirvana
The state of peace
Om (or Aum)
The Hindu sacred syllable. A major
symbol in Hinduism
Puja
Hindu worship
Purana
‘Ancient’ Hindu scriptures
Rama
Prince in the Ramayana. An avatar of
Vishnu
Ramayana
Hindu epic associated with festival of
Divali
Rig Veda
Most sacred scripture of
Hinduism
Samsara
The cycle of rebirth
Shiva
A Hindu god. The destroyer
Sita
Princess in Ramayana
Trimurti
The three major gods. Brahma,
Vishnu and Shiva
Upanishads
Hindu scriptures, the last part of
the Veda
Varanasi
City of Benares on the river
Ganges. A place of pilgrimage
Veda
‘Knowledge’. The most ancient
Hindu scriptures, revealed by the
gods.
Vishnu
A Hindu god. The preserver
Yoga
‘Yoke’ or discipline. The ancient
Indian tradition of spiritual,
mental and Physical culture. Also
‘path’ or ‘way’
Getting Started with World Religions
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