Study your flashcards anywhere!

Download the official Cram app for free >

  • Shuffle
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Alphabetize
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Front First
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Both Sides
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Read
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off

How to study your flashcards.

Right/Left arrow keys: Navigate between flashcards.right arrow keyleft arrow key

Up/Down arrow keys: Flip the card between the front and back.down keyup key

H key: Show hint (3rd side).h key

A key: Read text to speech.a key


Play button


Play button




Click to flip

31 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Vedas: Hindu.

Four collections of ancient prayers and rituals.

Originally preserved only in oral form but eventually were written down.

Earliest sacred books of Hinduism.

Means "knowledge" or "sacred lore".

Rig Veda is most important. Chants to Aryan Gods.

Vedas were revealed to "rishis" (holy men), who did not create the Vedas, but heard them and transmitted them to later generations.

Ends with Upanishads.
Upanishads: Hindu.

Written meditations on the spiritual essence of the universe and the self.

Continuation of religous speculation to include other classes than the priestly class.

Techniques of meditation, fasting, celibacy explored.

Reaction against the elitism of the Vedas.

Possibly arose from experiments of forest dwellers of the Aranyakas.

Often in dialogue form.
Atman: Hindu.

The spiritual essence of all individual human beings.

Important concept developed in the Upanishads.

Brahman and Atman interchangeable terms. Atman refers to experience of the sacred withing oneself whereas Brahman is the experience of the sacred in nature and the external universe.

"Deepest self"

Person who realizes his deepest self, realizes he is one with Brahman.
Brahman: Hindu.

The spiritual essence of the universe.

Divine reality at the heart of things.

Upanishads insist that Brahman can be known.

Cannot be put fully into words.

Unity of all things.

Synonymous with Atman.

Concept developed in the Upanishads.
Maya: Hindu.

"Illusion"; what keeps us from seeing reality correctly; the world, viewed inadequately.

eg. Rope in the dark appears to be a snake.

Not that world is false. World is changing. Not as we see it being separate.

Important concept developed in the Upanishads.
Karma: Hindu.

The moral law of cause and effect that determines the direction of rebirth.

Literally "Action".

What goes around, comes around.

Important concept developed in Upanishads.
Samsara: Hindu (also Buddhist).

The everyday world of change and suffering leading to rebirth.

Refers to the Wheel of Life. Circle of constant rebirth determined by Karma.

Important concept developed in the Upanishads.
Moksha: Hindu.

"Liberation" from personal limitation, egotism, and rebirth.

Freedom from Samsara. Rebirth.

Ultimate human goal in the Upanishads.

Attaining Moksha is losing oneself and becoming one with Brahman.

Related to Buddhist term "Nirvana".
Bhagadvad Gita: Hindu.

A religious literary work about Krishna.

Practical sythesis of ideas found in Upanishads and Vedas.

Strikes a balance between mystical and practical needs of everyday life.

Action and adherence to duty are approved and viewed as spiritual path.

Warriors must fight.

Reinforces castes system.

Part of the Mahabharata epic.
Caste: Hindu.

One of the major social classes sanctioned by Hinduism.

First developed in Vedas. Receives approval in Bhagadvad Gita.

Upward social mobility is achieved by doing ones duty in this life and being reborn to a higher caste.
Brahmins: Hindu.

Member of the priestly caste.
Highest caste.

Traditionally performs Vedic rituals (fire sacrifice) and acts as a counselor. In modern times, members of this caste are also in demand as cooks, which is seen as a natural extension of the priestly relationship with fire and sacrifice.
Sannyasin: Hindu.

A wandering holy man.


One of the Stages of Life.
Student, Householder, Retiree, Sannyasin.

Last stage of life.
Not expected of everybody.
Simply an option.

Lives entirely free from society, begging food and making pilgrimages to sacred sites.

May also settle in an Ashram.

Purpose is to hasten mystical insight to free oneself of all attachments, to end rebirth and obtain moksha.
Ashram: Hindu.

A spiritual community.

Made up of Sannyasins who are attempting to atain moksha.
Jnana Yoga: Hindu.

The spiritual discipline of knowledge and insight.

Yoga means union.

Studying of Upanishads and Bhagadvad Gita and commentaries.

Also learning from teachers who have attained insight.

Suited to priests and intellectuals.
Karma Yoga: Hindu.

The spiritual discipline of selfless action.

All useful work, done unselfishly, can be a way to perfection.

Deeds performed without a desire for reward are the heart of karma yoga.
Bhakti Yoga: Hindu.

The spiritual discipline of devotion to a deity or guru.
Puja: Hindu.

Offerings and ritual in honour of a deity.

Element of Bhakti Yoga.
Followed by majority of Hindus as other paths are out of reach because they are too busy.

Performed at an altar. Involves the offering of flowers, food, fire, and incense to images of a god or gods.
Also the occasional singing of hymns.
DHYANA: Hindu (also Buddhist).


Focusing of the mind on only the object of concentration. Blocking out all other thought.

Emptying of the mind.

Goal is to achieve Samadhi; losing the sense of being separate from the rest of the universe.
Guru: Hindu.

A spiritual teacher.

Can be the being worshiped in Bhakti Yoga.

Common to touch or kiss feet of the guru.

Thought to radiate their divine nature.
Concept of DARSHAN where being near the guru brings benefits.

Looking into the guru's eyes to experience divine energy that shines out.
Mantra: Hindu.

A short sacred phrase, often chanted or used in meditation.

Associated with Raja Yoga.

eg. OM.
Kundalini Yoga: Hindu.

A form of raja yoga that envisions the individual's energy as a force that is capable of being raised from the center of the body to the head, producing a state of joy.

Combines elements of Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga.
System of chakras along the spinal column.

Lifting spiritual energy perceived as a coiled snake through each of the chakras

When practitioner raises energy to topmost chakra at crown of the head, he/she experiences profound bliss.
Hatha Yoga: Hindu.

The spiritual discipline of postures and bodily exercises.

Common form of Yoga in the west.

Originated from techniques to make long periods of meditation easier.

Involves stretching, balancing and breathing.
Brahma: Hindu.

God of creation.

Part of the Trimurti: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

Not widely worshiped anymore.

Creative force that made the universe.

Commonly depicted as thoughtful king sitting on throne.

Four faces (each direction), eight arms each holding his symbols.
Vishnu: Hindu.

A god associated with preservation and love.

Force of preservation.

Part of Trimurti with Brahma and Shiva.

Four arms. Companion is eagle, Garuda.

Associated with loving-kindness. Appears in times of need on earth in different forms (AVATARS).
Believed to have had ten major incarnations.

Rama - hero of Ramayana epic.

Krishna - Bhagadvad-Gita.
Often appears blue in colour.
Avatars: Hindu.

An earthly embodiment of a deity.
Rama: Hindu.

A god and mythical king; a form of Vishnu.
Krishna: Hindu.

A god associated with divine playfulness; a form of Vishnu.
Shiva: Hindu.

A god associated with destruction and rebirth.

Part of Trimurti along with Brahma and Vishnu.

Shiva Nataraja - Ruler of the Dance.

As he dances, Shiva is surrounded by a ring of fire which shows his ability to destroy and transform.
Four arms, which signify his many powers.

Drum - creation and beginning of time.

Flame - destruction.

Finger pointing to foot - suggests everyone should join him in his dance to be as free as he is.

Lower right hand extended in blessing - symbolically saying "Don't be afraid".

Dances on dwarf-demon, representing ignorance of all who do not understand that death is a part of the divine process.

Sometimes represented as lingam - suggesting aspect that brings re-creation.
Devi: Hindu.

"Goddess"; the Divine Feminine, also called the Great Mother.

Frequently worshiped with extreme human feeling.
Durga: Hindu.

"Awe-inspiring", "distant"; a mother-goddess, a form of Devi.

Ten arms holding implements to destroy evil.

Crown. Rides tiger to help conquer dangerous obstacles.
Kali: Hindu.

"Dark", a form of Devi; a goddess associated with destruction and rebirth.

Necklace of human skulls.
Fanged teeth.
Arms holding weapons.

Dangerous to enemies.
Protective of her children.