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Hinduism: Topic Page
The Western term for a religious tradition developed during the first millennium and intertwined with the history and social system of India.
Reincarnation: Topic Page
Belief that after death the human soul or the spirit of a plant or animal may live again in another human or animal.
Shiva: Topic Page
In Hinduism, the third chief god (with Brahma and Vishnu) making up the Trimurti. As Mahadeva (great lord), he is the creator, symbolized by the phallic lingam, who restores what as Mahakala he destroys. He is often sculpted as Nataraja, performing his fruitful cosmic dance.
Ganesh: Topic Page
Hindu god of prophecy, son of Shiva and Parvati; he is represented as elephant-headed and is worshipped as a remover of obstacles.
Krishna: Topic Page
Eighth avatar (incarnation) of the Hindu god Vishnu. The devotion of the bhakti movement is usually directed towards Krishna.
Bhagavad Gita: Topic Page
Sanskrit poem incorporated into the Mahabharata, one of the greatest religious classics of Hinduism.
Mahabharata: Topic Page
Classical Sanskrit epic of India, probably composed between 200 B.C. and A.D. 200. The Mahabharata, comprising more than 90,000 couplets, usually of 32 syllables, is the longest single poem in world literature.
Yoga: Topic Page
[Skt.,=union], general term for spiritual disciplines in Hinduism, Buddhism, and throughout S Asia that are directed toward attaining higher consciousness and liberation from ignorance, suffering, and rebirth.
Vedanta: Topic Page
One of the six classical systems of Indian philosophy. The term "Vedanta" has the literal meaning "the end of the Veda" and refers both to the teaching of the Upanishads, which constitute the last section of the Veda, and to the knowledge of its ultimate meaning.
Christianity: Topic Page
Religion founded in Palestine by the followers of Jesus . One of the world's major religions, it predominates in Europe and the Americas, where it has been a powerful historical force and cultural influence, but it also claims adherents in virtually every country of the world.
God: Topic Page
Divinity of the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as many other world religions.
Islam: Topic Page
The Arabic word for ‘submission’ to the will of God (Allah), the name of the religion originating in Arabia during the 7th Century through the Prophet Mohammed. Followers of Islam are known as Muslims, or Moslems, and their religion embraces every aspect of life.
Muhammad: Topic Page
c.570-632 Arab prophet and religious leader who founded Islam. He was born in Mecca.
Qur'an: Topic Page
The Qur'an is the Holy Book of Islam. Muslims treasure the text in its original Arabic as the literal word of God, the last of God's books revealed to humanity, transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad.
Buddha: Topic Page
[Skt.,=the enlightened One], usual title given to the founder of Buddhism. He is also called the Tathagata [he who has come thus], Bhagavat [the Lord], and Sugata [well-gone]. He probably lived from 563 to 483 B.C.
Buddhism: Topic Page
Religion and philosophy founded in India c.525 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha. The basic doctrines of early Buddhism include the "four noble truths": existence is suffering (dukhka); suffering has a cause, namely craving and attachment (trishna); there is a cessation of suffering, which is nirvana; and there is a path to the cessation of suffering.
Sikhism: Topic Page
Religion professed by 14 million Indians, living mainly in the Punjab. Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak. Sikhs believe in a single God (monotheism) who is the immortal creator of the universe and who has never been incarnate in any form, and in the equality of all human beings; Sikhism is strongly opposed to caste divisions.