Monday, 6 April 2015

Hinduism Words and Meanings

Easy to understand meanings:
AartiInvocation ceremony or a welcoming ceremony. Normally involves waving a lamp gently in front of the deity.
AcharyaSpiritual teacher who teaches by setting an example.
Advaita VedantaNon-dualism. Philosophy of Monism in Vedanta. Teaches that the individual soul and God cannot be different.
AhimsaVirtue of non-violence. Abstain from harming any living thing. Not to hurt harm or kill by word, deed or even in thought.
Antim KriyaCremation of the body. The final rite (Samskar).
AryaNoble one.
Arya SamajHindu reform movement started by Dayananda Saraswati (1825 - 1883). Literally means society of nobles. Believes in formless God. Brought many social reforms. Revived ancient ritual of 'Havan' - worship through fire.
AsceticismAustere practices to control the mind and body.
AshramaFour stages of life. Hermitage or monastery. 'That which is obtained by effort.'
AstangaThe eight limbs of Raja Yoga. Disciplines for the mind and body.
AtmanUltimate reality manifesting as the 'I' in the individual. The real self. The silent witness. Without any attributes. It is imperishable and eternal. It does not die with the body.
AumSacred symbol and the sound representing God.
AvatarLiterally 'One who descends'. God descends to earth for the good of mankind; to establish religion and destroy evil. Vishnu is said to come to descend ten times.
AyodhyaPopular place of pilgrimage. Rama's birthplace. On bank of river Saryu in North India.
Bhagvad Gita'Song of the divine'. Contains 700 verses in eighteen chapters. Spiritual dialogue between Krishna and Arjun. Book of authority for Hindus. Teaches renunciation and love of God in the form of Krishna.
BhagvatPopular Purana. Dealing with the life story of Krishna.
BhajanDevotional singing. Normally sung communally.
BhaktiStrong love for God. Devotional approach to spirituality.
Bhakti margWay to God through devotion. Involves worship and adoration in order to build relationship with the divine.
BrahmaGod viewed as the creator in puranic stories. Has four heads. Holds scriptures. Shown sitting on a white lotus.
Brahma-charyaCelibate living. 'Acting in a manner to reflect that everything is manifestation of 'Brahman'.
Brahama-charya AshramStudent life. Celibacy. Concentrate on studies. Respect elders. Begins with Upanayana ceremony at the age of about eight. Kind of Baptism. Introduction to the main prayer in Hinduism called the Gayatri.
BrahmanUltimate reality manifesting or projecting itself as the universe and everything. Hence Sanskrit word for the universe is Shrusti (projection). Considered to be without qualities (nirguna). Nearest words to describe Brahman are: -Asti - existence itself. Bhati - consciousness. Priya- blissful. Brahman with qualities (saguna) is described as the personal God.
Brahmo SamajSocial reform movement started by Rammohun Roy in nineteenth century. Advocates formless God with qualities.
Buddha'The enlightened one'. Siddhartha Gautama (~500BC) attained this state. Hindus consider him to be the ninth avatar of Vishnu.
CamphorBurnt during Puja ceremony, to signify the burning of the ego.
Caste systemDivision of society into groups reflecting and defining division of labour. Degenerated as it was deployed as a hereditary trait. Outlawed by the Government of India.
ChakrasPsychic nerve centres - mainly along the spinal column.
ChastityAbsolute celibacy in word deed or thought. It is considered to be desirable for spiritual progress.
DanaAct of giving - charity.
Darshan'To catch sight of' - refers to visiting a holy place to see the image of God.
DeviFemale form of God.
DeityForm of God being worshipped.
Dharma (sanatan)Religion of right conduct. Righteous living. That which sustains society and civilization. The intrinsic, innermost quality of everything (including the physical universe). Cosmic order. (Sanatan means:- eternal, everlasting, universal).
DhyanaOne pointed concentration on the object of meditation.
DiwaliFestival of light. Autumn festival celebrated with lamps to mark the day Rama returned from exile.
Durga'The inaccessible.' Mother goddess in the form of the warrior. Holding divine weapons. Sitting on a tiger (ego) for destruction of evil. Seen wearing a red sari.
DussehraTen day autumn festival honouring Goddess Durga
Dvait VedantaDualistic form of Vedanta. Teaches that the individual soul is essentially different from God.
FastingTotal or partial abstinence from food. Austerity practiced for spiritual merit on special dates.
GaneshElephant headed God originates from the puranic tales. Son of Shiva and Parvati. God of good luck. Remover of obstacles. Shown with mouse as his vehicle. Holding sweets - symbol of the sweet nature of the divine.
GangesMost sacred river for Hindus. Flows from Himalayas. Puranic story of how it washes away the sins of those who bathe in it. The ashes of departed are immersed in it.
GayatriMost important prayer in Hinduism. Ascribed to sage Vishwamitra."Let us meditate on the glorious effulgence of that supreme being who has created the world. May she enlighten our hearts and direct our understanding"
Grihasta AshramHouseholder stage of life. Graha means house. This stage provided the financial support for all other stages. Teaches righteous living. Looking after the family and society. Begins with the marriage ceremony.
GunasMeans qualities. The Universe is considered to be composed of a mixture of these three qualities called 'Gunas'. These three gunas are: Sattva (balance, calmness, knowledge) Rajas (action, passion, forces in the universe) and Tamas (darkness, inertia, ignorance)
GuruSpiritual teacher.
HanumanMonkey faced God from story Epic Ramayana. Great devotee of Rama. Personification of strength. Sometimes shown holding mace and sometimes a mountain both symbolic of strength.
HavanAncient ritual of worshipping God through fire. Relationship built with higher beings by offering ghee and grains to the fire.
HinduWord derived from mispronunciation of name of river Sindhu. (Sindhu means river or ocean).
HoliSpring festival. Celebrated by sprinkling coloured powders and waters. Also related to the puranic story of Prahalad.
IncenseUsed in Puja ceremony. It burns and gives forth a sweet scent.
Jain (Jin)One who has conquered. Name of the religion founded by 'The Jins' is called Jainism.
JapaRepetition of God's name (normally using beads).
Jnana margWay to God through 'knowledge'. Using discrimination.
KaliMother Goddess in the role of the all destroyer. She clears the slate to restart the cycle of creation. Shown wearing a necklace of skulls. Shown standing on Shiva - (represents Brahman - her support).
KalkiFrom Puranic tales. The 10th avatar of Vishnu - yet to come.
Karma(law of)Law of Karma (action) is used to mean the law of cause and effect on personal terms. 'What you sow, is what you will reap.' We have to bear the consequences of all our actions - if not immediately then in later life. Does away with God sitting in judgement. We are responsible for our own destiny. If misunderstood can cause indifference to the suffering of others or can cause fatalistic behavior.
Karma margWay to God through 'action'. Path of Selfless action. Action is considered better than 'inaction'.
KrishnaEighth incarnation of Vishnu. Author of the Gita - book of authority for Hindus. Teaches selfless action.
KundaliniThe coiled up energy at the base of the spinal column. Through practice of Raja Yoga (meditation) one hopes to awaken this energy to rise up along the spinal column and reach the inner brain. This experience produces super-consciousness. Union with God - called Samadhi.
LakshmiConsort of Vishnu, goddess of wealth and beauty. Shown wearing red sari and offering gold coins to her devotees.
Maha-bharataEpic of Hinduism - 100,000 verses. Story of Pandav and Kaurav brothers. One of the smriti texts dealing with issues of politics, philosophy and spirituality.Credited to Sage: Ved Vyas.
Mahatma Gandhi(1869-1948)Mahatma means great soul. Gandhi used spiritual tools like satya (truth) and ahimsa (non-violence) which won independence for India from the British rule. He called his method Satyagraha, Insistence on truth.
MalaRosary. Beads - turned during Japa.
MandalaGeometric shape as symbol of divinity.
Mantra'That which leads the mind to God.' Usually a sacred verse. Often name of God.
ManusmritiBook dealing with ethics, morality and codes of conduct written by sage Manu.
MargaPath - a way to God. The four methods used are: Jnana Marga (through intellect), Karma Marga (through selfless deeds), Bhakti Marga (through love and devotion) and Raja Yoga (through meditation).
MayaThe power that makes God 'appear' as the universe.
MokshaLiberation from the cycle of rebirth. Final union with God.
MonismAdvaita philosophy which teaches of one underlying unity hidden under all diversity. Does not differentiate between souls and God.
MurtiThe image of God being worshipped. Pratima better word - means the image that leads one (Prati-towards) to God.
NamasteSalutation meaning: 'Reverence to God as you'
Natraj'Lord of the dance'. Shiva shown in dance of creation. Holding drum -symbol of creation. Fire - symbol of destruction. Standing on a dwarf - symbol of ignorance.
PantheismBelief that all of reality is in essence divine.
ParvatiConsort of Shiva. Mother Goddess. Personification of power. Shown as an ordinary woman.
PatanjaliFounder of the Yoga school of philosophy and the practice of meditation called Raja Yoga.
PrashadSanctified food. Food that was offered to the deity at the time of worship.
PratikSymbols of God. (From Prati - 'that which leads to')
PratimaImage of God. The image that leads to God.
PrayersPrayers Including the Gayatri…..Prayers
PujaMeans 'Adoration'. Worship in the home or temple.
PuranasMythological texts of Hinduism (there are 18 maha- puranas).
PuriPlace of pilgrimage. City on the East-coast on the Bay of Bengal. Considered to be the abode of Vishnu. Krishna worshipped here as 'Jagganath' -lord of the universe.
RadhaConsort of Krishna. Depicts love of the individual soul for the supreme soul - God.
RamaHero of the epic Ramayana. Considered to be the Ideal man. Ideal son. Ideal King and Ideal personality.
Ramakrishna(1836-1886)Recent day prophet of Hinduism. Portrayed unity behind different sectarian and religious movements.
RamayanaOne of the two epics of Hinduism. Relates the story of Rama and Sita - ideal man and woman. Written by sage 'Valmiki'
Re-incarnationBelief that: - Individual souls are born again and again. Cycle of rebirth.
RishiComes from Sanskrit Drish (to see). Refers to the founders of Hinduism. Rishis claim first hand spiritual experience. They hold authority in spiritual matters.
Sacraments(Rituals) Outward signs of inward spiritual progress. Samskars. Rites of passage.
Saha-dharminiName given to wife after marriage ceremony - meaning companion for spiritual progress.
Samsara'Stream of existence'. Cycle of birth and death. Theory of reincarnation.
SamskarasRites of passage - religious ceremonies to mark entry into different stages of life. 16 main ones. Literally means 'Purification ceremony'.
Sanatan DharmaAnother name given to Hinduism. Sanatan means 'eternal or universal'. Dharma means: Righteous living; That which sustains (society and civilization); The intrinsic nature of everything - external and internal.
Sannyas AshramThe final stage of life as an ascetic. Renounce individual family as the whole world has become your family. Give up trivial things in order to gain something majestic.
Sannyasi'One who renounces'. Monk. One who enters the final stage in life. Can begin when one has strong urge to find God. Aims of sannyas - personal salvation and for the good of mankind.
SanskritAncient language of India. Considered to be the basis of all Indo- European languages. Means - polished.
SannyasFinal stage in life. Complete renunciation - time spent in search of God. Treating whole mankind as the real family.
SaptapadiSeven steps taken during the marriage ceremony.
SaraswatiMother Goddess as the mother of all learning, art and music. Shown wearing a white sari - holding Veena and scriptures.
SatyaSanskrit word for 'truth'.
ScriptureWriting believed to be divinely inspired.
ShaivismApproach to God in the form of Shiva.
Shakti'Energy' - depicted as mother goddess, the consort of Shiva.
ShankaraPhilosopher-teacher of the Advaita school of philosophy.
Shiv PuranaPuranic tales to do with Lord Shiva.
ShivaOne of the forms of God in Hinduism. Shown in meditation with a snake curled round his neck. Smeared in ashes. Shown with three eyes.
Shruti'That which is heard' - The books of authority for Hindus. Consists of the four Vedas (Rig, Sama, Yajur, Atharva).
SitaIdeal wife of Rama. Depicts patience, calmness and grace. Ideal role model for Hindu women.
Smriti'In Memory' - Books written by men - has less authority. Contain the mythological texts (puranas), epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata). Manu smriti -the text on ethics and codes of conduct for society.
SwadhyayaStudying scriptures.
LordSwaminarayanHead of the 'Swami Narayan movement'. Set up by Sahajananda Swami (1781-1830).
Swami'Master'. Term for holy man or monk.
SwastikaSymbol of auspiciousness from the four corners of the world. Swasti - means well being.
TheologySystematic formulation of beliefs.
TilakMark on the forehead - to awaken spirituality.
Tirtha'Crossing over place'. Name applied to places of pilgrimage, place to cross over to a spiritual plane. Places chosen for geographic, historic or mythological reasons.
UpanayanaOne of the Samskars. Sacred thread ceremony. Involves rite of initiation. Introduction to Gayatri. Begin first stage of life as a celibate.
UpanishadsThe texts normally found in the end portion of the Vedas dealing with the philosophy of Hinduism. Means to 'Sit near to destroy ignorance'. 108 main upanishads.
Vanaprasta'Forest dweller'. Third stage of life (retirement). Withdraw from worldly desires. Spend time in prayers and meditation.
Varanasi(Kashi) Most holy place of pilgrimage for Hindus. In North India, on the bank of river Ganges. Considered to be the abode of Shiva. Place of learning. Temples of Shiva and mother goddess (Annapurna).
VedaFrom Sanskrit word 'Vid' - to know. Books of knowledge. Books of authority in Hinduism. Divided into four texts.(Rig, Sama, Yajur, Atharva)
VedantaThe conclusion of the Vedas. The philosophy of contemporary Hinduism. Explores the essential nature of man, God and the universe.
VishnuGod in the form of the preserver of the universe. Normally shown with four arms holding discus, shell, mace and a lotus. He is said to descend to earth ten times as the 'Avatars' for the good of mankind.
VivahMarriage ceremony. Taking on responsibility.
Vivekananda(1863-1902)Disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. Major advocate of Hinduism to the West. Emphasizes on divinity in all living things and rational approach to spirituality.
VrindavanPlace of pilgrimage, where Krishna sported as a child. On bank of Jamuna river in north India. Near Govardhan mountain.
YatraSpiritual journey.
YogaLiterally means: 'To be one with'. Means: Path to God through meditation (psychic control).

Source: Internet

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