(Arabic Arkan al-Islam, "pillars of Islam" or Arkan ud-Din, "pillars of the faith"). The five primary duties of every Muslim: profession of faith (shahada), ritual prayer (salat), fasting during Ramadan (sawm), pilgrimmage to Mecca (hajj) and charity (zakat). Fulfillment of these duties brings rewards on earth and in the afterlife.
("pervader"). Major deity and member of Hindu trinity with Brahma and Shiva. Seen as the preserver of the universe and embodiment of goodness and mercy. To Vaisnavites, Vishnu is the supreme deity (Isvara) who becomes incarnate in times of crisis and declining dharma. Vishnu is usually depicted standing, holding weapons, or reclining on a serpent.
("Lord of the hosts"). Also Ganesha, Vinayaka, Ekadanta, Lambodara, Siddhadata, Vighnaraja. God of wisdom and good fortune, represented with a pot belly and the head of an elephant. Ganesh has been one of the most popular Hindu gods since medieval times and is claimed by all sects as their own. As the remover of obstacles, he is invoked before religious ceremonies and worldly undertakings.
(Sanskrit; Pali Tipitaka, "three baskets"). The collection of Buddha's teachings, in three sections: sutra, vinaya, and Abhidharma. They are the oldest collection of Buddhist teachings, written around the 3rd century BCE.
Series of 14 events in the Passion of Christ, beginning with his condemnation and ending with his body being laid in the tomb. The stations are a popular subject of public and private devotion in Catholicism, especially during Lent.
("growth, expansion"). The impersonal Absolute, the unproduced Producer of all that is. In the Vedas, Brahman is the force behind the magical formulas. In the Upanishads it is the supreme, eternal principle behind the origin of the universe and of the gods. In Vedanta philosophy, it is the Self (atman) of all beings and knowledge of Brahman results in liberation (moksha).