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Vedas:
The ancient scriptures of India. Name means \"knowledge\" or \" sacred lore.\"
Sanatana Dharma:
Sanskrit phrase meaning \"eternal law.\" (Eternal duty.)
Upanishads:
Written meditations on the spiritual essence of the universe and self. Follows the four vedas.
Ramayana and Mahabharata:
Part of the epics. Mahabharata contains the Bhagavadgita.
Bhagavadgita:
Story of Arjuna and Krishna. Teaches about the 3 yogas, and that the caste system is not a barrier to moksha.
Puranas:
Ancient stories of the gods.
Brahman:
The unchanging, eternal reality in and underlying the unending cycles of creation, sustenance, and destruction.
Atman:
Individual soul, which is a fraction of Brahman. Present in all beings and things.
Moksha:
Liberation from the cycles and union of Atman and Brahman.
Maya:
Illusion that keeps one from seeing the unity of Atman and Brahman
Purusha:
The cosmic man. Part of creation story and inspiration for caste system.
Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaisya, Sudra:
The caste system. Priests, Nobles/Warriors, Merchants/Farmers, Peasants/Laborers.
Dalit:
\"Untouchables.\" Sudra or members of low caste as punishment for bad Karma in past life.
Harijan:
New term for dalits from Gandhi. Means \"children of god,\" not untouchables.
Karma:
Moral law of cause and effect that determines the direction of rebirth.
Dharma:
Social duty or role. Defined by caste system.
Samsara:
Everyday world of change and suffering leading to rebirth.
Krishna:
A god associated with divine playfulness. Form of Vishnu. Taught Arjuna about the three yogas.
Arjuna:
Prince from Bhagavad Gita. Learned from Krishna about the three yogas.
Jnana Yoga:
Path of knowledge. Meditation leads to association of Atman with Brahman.
Karma Yoga:
Path of Action. Requires faithful fulfillment of one\'s Dharma.
Bhakti Yoga:
Path of Devotion. Requires intense devotion and worship of one\'s god, leads to association of god with Brahman.
Sati:
Self-immolation of a widow on her husband\'s funeral pyre. Done in protest of Islam, deter forced conversion.
Brahmo Samaj:
\"Society of seekers of Brahma.\" Attempt to recast Hinduism in western world. Rejection of many gods, temple rituals, and caste.
Arya Samaj:
\"Society of the Aryans.\" Formed in protest of British. Revived orthodox Hinduism, Vedic rituals.
Ramakrishna:
19th century mystic saint who taught harmony of all religions, since in his view they all lead to same ultimate reality.
Vivekenanda:
19th century disciple of Ramakrishna who introduced Hinduism to the West at the World\'s Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893.
Gandhi:
20th cent reformer for Indian independence from British rule. Emphasized non-violence and belief in Satyagrahna, truth has force of own over violence.
B.R. Ambedkar:
20th cent Indian thinker. Member of sudra caste. Criticized Hinduism for role in oppressing lower castes and Gandhi for calling sudra harijan. Advocated conversion to Buddhism
Ahimsa:
Non-harm, non-violence.
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