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FINAL RLGA01H3 2012 Fall Key Terms (Hinduism) (3).docx

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Henry Shiu
Study Guide

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RLGA01 2012 Fall Key Terms for Hinduism
Sanatana Dharma
Sanātana Dharma, a Sanskrit phrase meaning "the eternal law", or the "eternal way"
Sanātana means 'eternal', 'perennial', or 'forever'
Dharma as upholding both this-worldly and other-worldly affairs.
Sanātana Dharma signifies that it is the dharma that has neither beginning nor end
Represents a code of conduct and a value system that has spiritual freedom as its core
Any pathway or spiritual vision that accepts the spiritual freedom of others may be considered part of
Sanatana Dharma
Definition of Hinduism is further complicated by the frequent use of the term "faith" as a synonym for
Experience based rather than belief based, without any ideological divisions
Essence a term that is devoid of sectarian leanings or ideological divisions
Its approximate meaning is "Natural Law," or those principles of reality which are inherent in the
very nature and design of the universe.
Thus the term Sanatana Dharma can be roughly translated to mean "the natural, ancient and eternal
Tilak (Or Tilaka)
mark worn on the forehead and other parts of the body
Tilaka may be worn on a daily basis or for special religious occasions only, depending on different
Brahman tilak - Urdhapundra - marking of two vertical lines on forehead (now it is more of a U-
shaped tilak.)
Kshatriya tilak - Ardhachandra - half moon tilak, with a bindi or circular mark in middle of the half arc
Vaishya tilak - Tripundra - three arc-like vertical lines on the forehead with a circular mark on top of
Shudra tilak - Partal - large circular mark on forehead
major tilak variant is often worn by the followers of Lord Shiva and the different forms of Devi
Shakti. It consists of three horizontal bands across the forehead with a single vertical band or circle
in the middle.
has been used as a self-ascribed name by people of the Indian Subcontinent and the Republic of
Bhārata is the official Sanskrit name of the country, Bhārata Gaarājya
the name is derived from the ancient Indian texts, the Puranas, which refers to the land that
comprises India as Bhārata varam, and uses this term to distinguish it from other varas or
Karma" literally means "deed" or "act", and more broadly names the universal principle of cause and
universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction, that governs all life
Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle
of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called sasāra) originating in ancient India and treated in the
A summary of this theistic view of karma is expressed by the following: "God does not make one
suffer for no reason nor does He make one happy for no reason. God is very fair and gives you
exactly what you deserve."
extended expression or consequence of natural acts
causality through a system where beneficial effects are derived from past beneficial actions and
harmful effects from past harmful actions, creating a system of actions and reactions throughout a
soul's reincarnated lives forming a cycle of rebirth

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literally meaning "continuous flow", is the repeating cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth
The literal meaning of the word ―samsara‖ is ―to wander across.‖
It signifies that, in Indian thought, a person's life force does not pass on with the death of the body,
but instead wanders across. That is, the life force migrates to another time and body, where it
continues to live.
closely associated with the belief that one continues to be born and reborn in various realms in the
form of a human, animal, or other being (depending on karma)
it is avidya (ignorance) of one's true self that leads to ego-consciousness of the body and the
phenomenal world
Each person at the time of death possesses a karmic account balance; whether the actions are good
or bad determines that agent's future destiny.
Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley culture flourished between 3000 to 1500 BCE
one of the world's earliest urban civilizations
largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and one of the world's earliest major
urban settlements
Most important of the excavating sites are Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa.
two greatest cities, Mohenjo-daro and Harappa
emerged circa 2600 BCE along the Indus River valley in Punjab and Sindh
The civilization, with a writing system, urban centers, and diversified social and economic system,
was rediscovered in the 1920s after excavations at Mohenjo-daro (which means "mound of the
dead") in Sindh near Sukkur, and Harappa, in west Punjab south of Lahore
Harappan people were literate and used the Dravidian language.
in Sanskrit and related Indic languages, Arya refers to one who does Noble deeds
They were not highly organized.
They were nomads rather than settled agriculturalists
historical Indo-Aryan language, the primary liturgical language of Hinduism
Aryan language evolved into the Sanskrit, the official language of the Hindu religion.
Sanskrit verbal adjective skta- may be translated as "put together, constructed, well or
completely formed; refined, adorned, highly elaborated"
The language referred to as saskta "the cultured language" has by definition always been a
"sacred" and "sophisticated" language, used for religious and learned discourse in ancient India
wholly sacred origin to the language, describing it as the language of the gods
genre of important Hindu religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the
universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and
descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography
give prominence to a particular deity, employing an abundance of religious and philosophical
are usually written in the form of stories related by one person to another
―old tales‖, stories about deities that became important after the Vedic period.
a new collection of texts composed to extol the glories of the deities and specify the forms of
Many Hindus today revere the Puranas as the fifth Veda
By the classical era, purana texts asserted the existence of 330 million deities.

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Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata.
Said to be the longest poem in the world
War btwn Pandavas and the Kauravas (cousins)
Kauravas trying to cheat Pandavas out of their share of the kingdom and will not accept peace
Krishna (ninth incarnation of god Vishnu) is on the side of Pandavas
Arjuna (hero emerging victorious from several battles) becomes distressed at the thought of fighting
his relatives
Asks Krishna if it‘s right to fight and kill a bunch of ppl
She says its right to fight for what is right if peaceful means fails, must take righteous means
Teaches love and devotion to Krishna and the importance of selfless action as Krishna instructs
Arjuna on the nature of God on the nature of god
Arjuna told if he doesn‘t fight for righteousness he will be guilty of moral cowardice and will have to
face the consequences of quitting at a time when it was his duty to wage war and protect people
Krishna reveals himself as the ultimate deity, a personal god, filled with love for human beings
Scripture shows three ways to liberation (1) the way of action, (2) the way of knowledge and (3) the
way devotion
o -in the Gita, it is said what is desired, selfless devotion
o -through selfless devotion, what you a cultivating is your actions are not built upon your evil self
o -desired actions are subject to all consequences
o -develop path towards enlightenment
large body of texts originating in ancient India
Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest
scriptures of Hinduism
collection of writings known as the Veda.
So important is the Veda that Hinduism is sometimes called Vaidik dharma, meaning the religions of
the Veda
words of the Veda, according to traditional conviction, were revealed to ancient seers called ‗rishis‘.
Veda divides into four samhitas or collections: (1) Rig-Veda (2) Yajur-Veda (3) Sama-Veda (4)
the four collections of hymns and ritual texts that constitute the oldest and most highly respected
Hindu sacred literature
Almost everything we know about them comes from a collection of writings known as the Veda –“to
The words of the Veda, according to traditional conviction, were revealed to ancient seers called
Rig Veda expressed uncertainty and was not dogmatic, the Brahmanas express confidence in the
infallible power of the mantras
ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns
several mythological and poetical accounts of the origin of the world, hymns praising the gods, and
ancient prayers for life, prosperity
contains the liturgy (mantras) needed to perform the sacrifices of the Veda, and the added Brahmana
and Shrautasutra add information on the interpretation and on the details of their performance
"compilation of knowledge"
basic metrical (mantra) text of each of the Vedas
the Samhitas form the first part of each of the four Vedas.
As Samhita is the collection of the mantras, so sometimes Samhitas are referred to as Mantras.
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