Hinduism – A Short Glossary

Given its vast scope and variety, a comprehensive glossary of Hinduism would likely run into hundreds of pages.

Instead of writing a tome, we offer below a short glossary of some key terms (and famous people) in Hinduism:

* Ayodhya – Birthplace of Lord Ram
* Bhakti – Devotion
* Brahma – Creator
* Bhagavad Gita – Song Celestial
* Devi – Goddess
* Dharma – Duty
* Diwali – Festival of lights
* Ganesh – Elephant headed god, a favorite of New Jersey Hindus
* Havan – Sacred fire ceremony
* Kali – Form of Shakti
* Karma – Duty
* Krishna – Form of Vishnu
* Kurukshetra – Site of the famous battle between the righteous Pandavas and their evil Kaurava cousins
* Lakshmi – Goddess of wealth
* Mahabharat – Holy book about the good Pandavas and their evil cousins, Kauravas
* Mantra – Short prayer
* Moksha – Freedom from the cycle of birth and death
* Murtis – Sacred images
* Nava Ratri – Nine Nights
* Puja – Prayers, worship of sacred images
* Ramana Maharshi – Famous spiritual leader of Tiruvannamalai (in South India) who passed away on April 14, 1950
* Ramakrishna Paramahamsa – 19th century spiritual leader
* Ramayana – Holy book detailing the story of Rama and his victory over the Sri Lankan demon king Ravan
* Saraswathi – Godess of learning
* Shirdi Sai Baba – 19th Century Indian saint from Maharashtra
* Shiva – Destroyer
* Vedas – Knowledge as summarized in the four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva).
* Vishnu – Maintainer
* Vivekananda – Hindu philosopher and disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
* Yagna – A great sacrifice
* Yuga – Age, epoch

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