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41 Cards in this Set

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Aranyakas
means "forest books";transitional writings which begin a more philosophical interpretation of the Vedas and which eventually develop into the Upanishads
Aryans
Indo-Europeans who entered the Indus Valley prior to 1000B.C. eventually conquering the Dravidian people, and expressing their evolving religion in the four Vedas, primarily the Rig-Veda.
Atman
Brahman as manifested in individuals; the essence of true self; the ultimate as discovered within oneself.
Avatar
a god in animal or human form on earth; an incarnation of god, such as Krishna the divine charioteer in the Bhagavad-Gita.
Bhagavad-Gita
means "song of the lord" India's most cherished religious document, an epic poem of 18 chapters emphasizing Bhakti Yoga and recounting the conversion between the warrior Arjuna and his charioteer (who is Vishna incarnated as Kirshna)
Bhakti Yoga
the path of release (one of four traditional paths to "salvation") based on systematic devotion to ones chosen deity.
Brahma
the three faced creator god (sometimes four-faced) of popular Hinduism;Brahma Shiva and Vishnu are the three major manifestations of Brahman.
Brahman
absolute reality; the source and essence of all existence; the being in and beyond all things; being as such, stripped of all qualifying predicates; God.
Brahmanas
commentaries and manuals for instructing priests in the meaning and performance of the sacrificial rites of the Vedas.
Brahmin
the highest caste, the priestly cast, who conduct religious rituals, memorize and chant vast portions o scriptures, and are "twice born".
Caste
the permanent social group into which a person is born and by which social and religious obligations are determined for the person's lifetime; caste is a result of the karma from a person's previous lives.
Dharma
the law; the cosmic moral order of the universe ; also, personal righteousness and virtue as lived in accord with the moral law.
Dravidians
dark-skinned original inhabitants of India.
Guru
spiritual leader.
Jnana Yoga
the path of release (one of four traditional paths to "salvation") based on intellectual knowledge and rational understanding.
Karma
(means "works") causal consequences of a person's thoughts and deeds, in accord moral dharma (law) of the world, that bring release or continued bondage in the cycle of rebirth.
Karma Yoga
the path of release(one of four traditional paths to "salvation") based on the work which is in accord with one's caste.
Krishna
the divine charioteer (an avatar of Vishnu) for the warrior Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita.
Kshatriya
the Hindu caste of warriors and administrators who may hear the reciting of the Vedas because they are "twice born".
Mahabharata
an epic of over 100,000 stanzas (the world's largest poem) which recounts the great war between the five sons of Pandu and their cousins; contains the Bhagavad-Gita.
Mantra
a short sacred formula used in prayer or meditation.
Maya
illusion;the delusory appearance of the phenomenal world.
Moksha
release of the soul form the cycle of rebirth; attainable only after death.
OM
a mystic symbol of the fundamental reality of the universe; its letters (actually AUM) came to represent the three major Vedas and the unity of the tree major deities (Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu)
Raja Yoga
the path of release (one of four traditional paths to "salvation")based on disciplining the body and mind through correct posture, breathing, and mental exercises.
Ramayana
an epic poem of the adventures of Rama; a major source of popular devotion in India.
Rig-Veda
earliest and most significant of the Vedas, and the oldest record of the Aryan religion.
Rishis
seers; ancient holy men who composed the Vedas.
Samadhri
temporarily trance-like state in which a person experiences absorption into ultimate reality.
Samhitas
"collecions" of the four Vedas.
Samsara
the Wheel of Rebirth; perpetual reincarnation (until the soul reaches perfection)
Shiva
"the Auspicious One" the destroyer god; one of three major manifestations of Brahman (the other two gods being Brahma and Vishnu).
Shudra
the fourth caste; the cast of common laborers and servants who are not permitted to hear the reading of the Veda because they are not "twice born".
Shruti
meaning "that which is heard"; a category of sacred writings which include the Vedas, the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, and the Upanishads.
Smriti
meaning "that which is remembered"; a category of writings based upon what writers remembered of revelations and teachings of ancient sages; includes the Laws of Manu, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and a variety of sutras.
Sutra
meaning "thread";writings which began as aphorisms ("threads of discourse") chosen for ease of recollection in oral communication.
Upanishads
highly philosophical interpretations of the Vedas, they were originally continuations of the Aranyakas; the Upanishads complete the collection of sacred scriptures recognized as shruti.
Vaishya
the third caste; the caste of merchants, artisans and farmers who may hear the reciting of the Vedas because they are "twice born".
Vishnu
the popular god of devine love who appears in numerous incarnations; Brahma and Shiva join him as the three major manifestations of Brahman.
Vedas
meaning "knowledge"; the most ancient collection of India's sacred writings (originals in Sanskrit), regarded as divinely revealed to ancient holy men (rishis);the four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva) constitute the Samhita collection.
Yoga
a path or way of self-discipline and mediation leading to release from the cycle of rebirth.