Glossary (Basic Terms)

Glossary (Basic Terms) - GLOSSARY Source Noss David S and...

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GLOSSARY Source: Noss, David S. and John B. Noss. A History of the World’s Religions . Ninth edition. New York: MacMillan College Publishing Company, 1994. EARLY  HINDUISM 1) Agni:  the sacred fire, as Agni, the ritual priest-god of fire and light. 2) Aryans:  (Indo-Europeans) semi-nomadic peoples who migrated from eastern Europe and central  Asia westward to become the ancestors of the Greeks, Romans, Celts, and Teutons, and eastward to  Persia and India  (ca. 1500  B.C.E.). Their Sanskrit culture infuses the dominant tradition in India today. 3) Atman:  the essence of consciousness, the soul; ultimately the subjective component of  brahman. 4) Brahma  (bru-ma') (masculine) the Creator; although less popular than Shiva and Vishnu, he is a  member of the supreme triad  (trimurti)  with them and a sharer of the title Ishvara ("Lord"). 5) Brahman:  (neuter) in Vedic literature a manalike magical potency especially associated with sacred  utterances (mantras) and prayer. In later philosophical works  Brahman is  the ultimate ground of all  forms and phenomena, the World Soul. 6) Brahman-Atman:  a compound term to indicate the essential identity of individual consciousness  with the eternal  Brahman,  the universal World Soul. 7) Brahmin:  (conventional English spelling) a member of the  Brahmana  or priestly class of castes, the  highest group in the vama ordering of society. 8) Dravidians: a major racial and linguistic family of darkskinned non-Aryan peoples most numerous in south India. Whether they are descendants of the Indus Valley culture is uncertain. 9) Indra: god of storms and the monsoon, slayer of Vritra in a mythic cosmogony in the Rig-Veda. 10) Jiva: the principle of vitality, the empirical self, or the embodied atman. 11) Karma: "deeds," "works," the principle of inexorable cause and effect. 12) Kshatriyas: (ksha'-tri-yuz) (Rajanyas) the warrior-chieftain class of castes, the second ranking group in varna. 13) Moksha: release, liberation from the cycle of samsara. 14) Monism: the metaphysical view that ultimate reality is made up of only one substance; diversity is only apparent and can be traced to one substrate. 15) Prakriti: the eternal self-subsisting material world, Nature. 1
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16) Purusha: as Purusha,  the original cosmic Person; in later philosophies, pure consciousness, the nonmaterial, coeternal counterpart to prakriti. 17) Samsara: sequence of change, impermanence, the cycle of rebirth-redeath that afflicts every living being until release (moksha). 18) Shudra: worker class of castes, fourth and lowest ranking in the varna  social order. 19) Upanishads: "sitting near a teacher," commentary treatises expanding on the philosophical meanings found in the Vedas.  See chart on p.110.
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