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material success and social prestige, one of the four goals of life
one who renounces physical pleasures and worldly attachments for the sake of spiritual advancement; common in Hinduism and many other religious traditions, most notably Jainism
The eternal self, which the Upanishads identify with Brahman; often lowercase: the eternal Self or soul of an individual that is reincarnated from one body to the next and is...
An incarnation, or living embodiment, of a deity, usually of Vishnu, who is sent to earth to accomplish a divine purpose; Krishna and Rama are the most popular of these
A short section of the epic poem Mahabharata in which the god Krishna teaches the great warrior Arjuna about bhakti marga and other ways to God; Hinduism's most...
The most popular of the three Hindu paths to salvation, emphasizing loving devotion to one's chosen god or goddess. "The path of devotion"
The eternal essence of reality and the source of the universe, beyond the reach of human perception and thought
The highest of the four classes of the caste system, traditionally made up of priests
Traditional division of Hindu society into various categories: there are four main varnas or classes: brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya, and shudra; each class contains...
Ethical duty based on the divine order of reality; one of the four goals of life
One of the three Hindu paths to salvation, emphasizing knowing the true nature of reality through learning and meditation. "The path of knowledge"
Pleasure especially of sensual love; one of the four goals of life
The moral law of cause and effect of actions; determines the nature of one's reincarnation. "action"
One of the three Hindu paths to salvation, emphasizing performing right actions according to dharma. "The path of works"
The second of the four classes of the caste system, traditionally made up of warriors and administrators
Cosmic illusion brought about by divine creative power
Liberation or release of the individual self, atman, from the bondage of samsara; salvation; one of the four goals of life
The doctrine that reality is ultimately made up of only one essence
A collection of 1,017 Sanskrit hymns composed about 1500 BC or earlier; Hinduism's oldest sacred text
A trancelike state in which self-consciousness is lost, and the mind is absorbed into the ultimate reality; the culmination of the eight steps of Yoga
The wheel of rebirth or reincarnation; the this-worldly realm in which rebirth occurs
A system of Hindu philosophy and one approach within jnana marga, "the path of knowledge," asserting that reality comprises two distinct categories: matter and eternal slaves
A wandering ascetic who has advanced to the fourth and highest stage of life
The traditional practice of burning a widow on her husband's funeral pyre; outlawed in 1829, though it still occurs rarely
The lowest of the four classes of the caste system, traditionally made up of servants and laborers
A collection of over two hundred texts composed between 900 and 200 BC that provide philosophical commentary on the Vedas. "Sitting near a teacher"
The third of the four classes of the caste system, traditionally made up of producers, such as farmers, merchants, and artisans
A system of Hindu philosophy and one approach within jnana marga, "the path of knowledge," holding that all reality is essentially Brahman; most notable advocate is the...
A system of Hindu philosophy and one approach within jnana marga, "the path of knowledge," seeking to free the eternal self from the bondage of personhood, culminating in the...