Shravan Sud 4, Tuesday 14 Aug 2018


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Aarti - A hymn sung with offering of lamp, incense, flower and water, praising the divine qualities and actions of Lord and calling upon Him to bless His devotee. This ceremony involves waving a lamp gently in front of the deity
Acharya - A spiritual teacher. A spiritual person who is a leader of a particular Hindu sect
Advaita - Non- dualism, philosophy of the absolute, which teaches that individual soul and that God, cannot be different
Ahinsa - Non- violence, respect for life. Not to harm or kill by word, deed or even in thought. Not to basically harm any living thing
Agni - Fire
Anand - Bliss
Antim Kriya - Cremation of a body. The final rite
Anna - Food
Artha - The second aim of life, which includes wealth, power and prosperity acquired by legitimate means. One of the four purusharthas (aims) or goals in life
Atharva Veda - The fourth Veda
Atma - It is invisible, invulnerable, indestructible and eternal. The self of the soul. It does not die with the body
Ashram - Four stages of life, student or bramcharya; householder or grahasta; retired life or vaanprastha and renounced life or sanyas. Monastery
Asur - Demons in this present day. Sinners are also referred to as asurs
Avguna - The bad qualities of an individual
Aum - A sacred symbol, which is most sacred of the Hindu word
Avatar - Literally means 'one who descends'. The Lord Supreme descends on this earth in whatever form to establish religion and destroy evil. While the avatars have great powers and carry out miraculous deeds, the power of the Lord Supreme is immeasurable in comparison

Bhagwad Gita - Spiritual dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjun.It has 18 chapters and is one of the most important scripture for Hindus. Traditionalists date it between 3000 to 5000 BCE
Bhajan - Normally a communally sung devotional song
Bhakta - An ardent devotee practicing Bhakti
Bhakti - Total love and devotion to God. There are nine different types of Bhakti:

  • Sharawan (to listen to the glory of the Lord from holy books and scriptures)
  • Kirtan (to sing songs of the greatness and glory of the Lord)
  • Smaran (to meditate upon the Lord)
  • Archana (to worship His idols)
  • Padseva (to serve the Lord, his saints, devotees, etc)
  • Vandan (to bow at his feet)
  • Das (to serve the Lord as his obedient servant)
  • Sakha (to please and pray to him as a friend)
  • Atma nivedan (to dedicate oneself personally in Lords service

Brahm - The absolute or ultimate reality
Brahma - God considered as the creator in puramic stories. (Not to be confused with brahm and Brahmin)
Brahman - The first of the four varna. Principal grouping from which priests are drawn
Brahmcharya - celibate living, control of sexual energy
Brahmacharya Ashram - Student life. Celibacy, the first stage of life, the learning stage, during which the student remains celibate

Chit - Consciousness

Daan - Charity, giving to worthwhile causes
Darshan - Have sight of
Dharma - The righteous pathway of life to attain salvation. One of the four purusharthas or goal in life
Devi - Female God
Dhyan - The focus of the mind and all senses on the Lord
Deity - Form of God being worshipped
Diwali - Also called Deepavali, Festival of lights to celebrate to mark the day Lord Ram returned from exile. Hindu New Years Eve
Dukh - Suffering

Ekadashi - A day of fasting and control of body and senses. The 11th day of the Hindu calendar

Ganesh - Elephant faced God who is believed to remove obstacles. Son of Shiva & Parvati. He is the God of good luck
Ganga - River Ganga (Ganges) is the most sacred river for all Hindus. The river washes away all the sins of the people who bathe in it
Grahastha - Householder stage of life
Guna - Qualities of nature. There are three types

  • Sattva - Binding soul with purity, happiness and knowledge
  • Rajas - Binging soul with intense desire, passion and action
  • Tamas - Binding the soul with darkness, ignorance and delusion

Gynan - Knowledge
Guru - Spiritual leader or teacher

Hanuman - Monkey faced devotee of Lord Ram and Sita. Also a panvansut (son of wind God). Personification of strength
Haribhagat - A person who is ardent devotee of Lord Supreme
Havan - Worship of God through fire. The ceremony in which offering of grain and ghee are made
Holi - Festival of colors, sprinkling of colored powder or colored water on devotees. Changing of season

Ishwar - Cosmic creator

Janoi - Sacred thread (3 strands of string) warn from left shoulder down to one's right hand side
Janmasthami - Is the day for celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna
Japa - A form of worship involving repetition of Gods name
Jaati - Caste

Kal - Time
Kali Yug - Fourth of the ages, the dark ages, and the current age is Kali Yug
Kam - Pursuit of regulated desire. Third of the four aims of life
Karma - The law of cause and its effect. Cumulative effect of ones actions (in this and previous life)
Katha - Gathering at temples or homes for spiritual discussions and recital of religious scriptures
Kirtan - singing of devotional poems written praising the appearance, qualities, acts and glories of the Lord
Kshatriya - Second of the four Varna of traditional Hindu society

Lakshmi - Goddess of wealth, power of wealth. Consort of Lord Vishnu
Mahabharat - The longest Hindu epic, story of Pandav and Kaurav brothers. Deals with issues relating to philosophy, spirituality and politics. This includes the Bhagwad
Mala - Rosary, circle of stringed beads. Also used during Japa - turned during Japa
Mantra - That which leads the mind to God'. A sacred verse. Usually chanting the name of a God. E.g. 'Aum Shree Swaminarayan Namah
Marg - Taking a spiritual path or course of action to God
Maya - Illusion; power that distracts one from concentrating in God
Moksha - Liberation from cycle of birth and death. On of the four purusharths (aims or goals) in life
Mukti - Deliverance from the pain and sufferings of the materialistic world
Murti - The scared image of God being worshipped. The image is used as a focus of worship

Nirvana - See Moksha
Niyamas - Spiritual observances

Parvati - Consort of Lord Shiva; mother of Lord Ganesh
Pooja/Puja - Hindu worship
Prashad - Sanctified food distributed to devotees after offering to God
Pratakshya - The Lord being physically present in the world
Pravachan - A talk based on Hindu scriptures
Purans - Mythological texts of Hindu scriptures
Pradakshina - consists of walking around in a 'circle' as a form of worship in Hindu ceremonies in India. The devotees walk around the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost chamber of the shrine housing the temple deity. It is performed around sacred fire (Agni), trees and plants as well. Thus Pradakshina is performed around Tulsi plant and Peepal tree. Pradakshina or Parikrama is performed in pilgrimage centres also. Parikrama around the Govardhana mount near Mathura (UP) is very famous. This parikrama involves a walk of 26 miles around Govardhana hillock which is related to Shri Krishna's life as a child

Radha - Consort of Krishna
Rajas - Passion or desire towards worldly objects
Raksha Bandhan - A festival when a woman ties a sacred thread with a sacred prayer on her brother's right wrist to protect him
Rama - Hero of epic Ramayan
Ramayan - Great Hindu epic that relays the story of Lord Ram, Sita, Laxman and Hanuman. Composed by sage Valmiki
Ramnavmi - Birthday of Lord Ram
Re - incarnation - Belief that individual soul is born repetitively depending on his 'karma'
Rig Veda - First of the oldest four Hindu scriptures
Rishi - A spiritual wise person

Sadhu - Holy man, an ascetic who has renounced the world
Samadhi - State of bliss or trance, attained from concentrated meditation of the Lord Supreme
Sampraday - A religious fellowship
Sanatan Dharma - Another name for Hinduism
Sannyas - Final stage of life as an ascetic. Renunciation of all ties of the material world
Sansar - The cycle of birth and death. Theory of reincarnation
Sanskaras - Rites of passage, religious ceremonies to mark entry into different stages of life. There are 16 main sanskaras
Santosh - Contentment with what one has
Sanskrit - Ancient language of India
Satya - Truth
Shaligram - Symbol of Lord Vishnu, usually in the form of stone
Shakti - creative energy or power
Shiva - Form of the Hindu trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva)
Swaminarayan - Head of the Shree Swaminarayan movement
Swami - 'master', term for holy man or monk
Shruti - Books of authority for Hindus, consists of 4 vedas (rig, samma, yajur and atharva)
Sita - Consort of Lord Ram
Smruti - Category of ancient scriptures that are written from memory of great persons of time e.g. Purans, Ramayan, Mahabharat
Shivratri - Festival celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva, the dissolver of materialistic world
Swastik - A very old Hindu sign. Symbol of auspiciousness from four corners of the world. Swasti - means well being

Tilak & Chandlo - Mark on the forehead - to awaken spirituality; it's also a mark that sanctifies a devotees body as a temple of Lord and symbolizes ones membership of the sampraday
Tamas - Lowest of the three Gunas. It is a destructive or ignorance quality of darkness
Tapasya - Meditation; the control of body and mind to please the God
Trimurti - The three Gods; Brahma (creations), Vishnu (preserver), Shiva or Mahesh (dissolver)
Trith - names applied to places of pilgrimage

Upnishads - It means 'sit near to destroy ignorance'. They are end parts of the Vedas dealing with philosophy of Hinduism

Vairagya - Non-attachment to materialistic objects and values. Attachment only to God
Vaisnavism - Group of Hindus who are devotees of Lord Vishnu
Vaishyas - Third of the four Varna of Hindu society - these are people of commercial value i.e. Merchants, traders, farmers etc
Varanasi - City on the holy river Ganges. One of the holiest pilgrimage sites. This city was also referred to as Banaras and Kasi in the past
Varna - The four principal divisions of Hindu society. The word 'caste' refers to sub divisions within each Varna, and not to the Varna themselves
Varnashram - The Hindu system in which the society is divided into four varnas (divisions) and life into four ashrams (stages)
Veda - Sanskrit word 'vid' means 'to know'. Books of knowledge - books of authority in Hinduism. Four parts (rig,ved;yajur ved, atharva ved)
Vidvan - A person with great knowledge of religious scripture
Vishnu - God in the form of the preserver of the universe
Vivah - marriage
Vrat - A vow (often includes abstaining from eating certain types of food)
Vrindavan - Place of pilgrimage. It is situated on the banks of Jamuna River near Govardhan mountain

Yagna - A sacred ceremony or ritual performed to please God
Yamuna - A holy river in India
Yatra - holy pilgrimage, spiritual journey
Yoga - Literally means 'to be one with'. Path to God through meditation
Yug - Extended period of defined time of which there are four - Satyug; Dwapuryug; Tetrayug and Kaliyug. Kaliyug is the current period of cycle