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Hinduism Key Terms

Hinduism Key Terms

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Hinduism
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religion that began ~2000 BC; mix of beliefs from Aryan tribes and Himalayas
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polytheistic
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believing in many gods
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Vedas
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one of the oldest writings in the world that tells of Hindu gods
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Brahma
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one of 3 main gods; mystical creator, supreme presence
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Vishnu
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one of 3 main gods; the preserver who maintains balance between good & evil
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Shiva
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one of 3 main gods; the destroyer or purifier
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Dharma
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ultimate moral balance of all things
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Karma
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belief that people experience the effects of their actions
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Samsara
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cycle of life, death, and rebirth, or reincarcation
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Moksha
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state of changeless bliss when one has lived a life of integrity
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Guru
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a spiritual parent or teacher
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Communal
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for or by a group rather than an individual
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Sacred
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holy
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Sanskrit
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language of Hindu holy books
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Jiva
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the physical, psychological, social 'self' that is not eternal
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Atman
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the eternal self
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Avatar
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living embodiment of a deity, usually of Vishnu
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Caste System
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social structure in which class is determined by heredity
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