Hinduism Study Guide Terms

Arati
Stage in puja when you use candles/incense to invite the divine presence
Arjuna
Protagonist of Bhagavad Gita
Artha
The human desire to acquire worldly possessions/money
Atman
The Self
Avatara
Gods’ representation on earth in human form
Bhagavad Gita
Dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna (smriti)
Brahma
The Creator God
Brahman
Universal soul found in everything, piece of divinity
Brahmin
Have spiritual qualities, priestly caste/religious teachers, moral judgment; Upper class, very highly educated
Kshatriya
Martial qualities of kings/administrators; political class
Vaishya
Merchants, large farmers/economic class
Shudra
Lower class, unskilled laborers & artisans
Untouchable
Not considered citizens, social stigma
Devas
Deities that represent different aspects of humankind
Dharma
Duty/obligations, religious & belief system
Ganges
Holy Hindu River
Guru
Religious/spiritual teacher
Hindu
Follower of Hinduism; not all Hindus have the same strict set of beliefs, many variations but one religion
Idolatry
Worship of idols
Kama
Satisfying animal/base instincts
Karma
Every action has an effect (good actions have good effects, bad actions have bad effects)
Lokas
Heavenly realm before reincarnation
Mahabarata
One of the primary epics within the Smirti category-Bhagavad Gita is a piece of it
Mantra
Holy words associated with god
Moksha
Liberation achieved through God-realization
Myth
Story that conveys teachings/truths (isn’t necessarily accurate)
Nirguna Brahman
Impersonal god, beyond all understanding
Prarabdha karma
Past karma being spent during this life (kinetic energy)
Puja
Hindu prayer rituals
Puranas
religious literature that is presented in an easy to understand way
Rishis
saints (tribal religious leaders) thought celibacy will enhance focus on the religion
Sadhu
Monks/ascetics who live apart from society to try to attain liberation
Saguna Brahman/Ishvara
Personalized form of Brahman, allows god to be embodied in different aspects, inspires devotion and connection
Samsara
Cycle of repeated births and deaths
Sanchita karma
accumulated karma (potential energy)
Sannyasa/in
Stage of life where one rejects society and family comforts
Shiva
God of Destruction
Shruti
‘what is heard,’ oral traditions and memories, considered to be the result of teachings of early sages
Tantras
Sacred text, euphoric hymns & poetry
Trimurti
Three major gods: Shiva, Vishnu, & Brahma
Upanishads
religious texts dealing with philosophy, most abstract discussions of how the Divine works
Vedas
Most authoritative and oldest forms of scripture
Vishnu
The Preserver/Sustainer God
Yoga
Attempting to attain physical and mental oneness with god through physical actions