("Great Tale of Bharata's descendents"). Epic tale of over 100,000 verses in length composed between about 400 BCE and 400 CE. The Mahabharata recounts the battle between the Pandavas and Kauravas for kingship. It contains the Bhagavad-Gita, in which the god Krishna assists the Pundava hero Arjuna at a moment of decision.
One of the names of Shiva.
("great" + "knowledge"). Ten Hindu goddesses who represent the ten forms of transcendent knowledge and tantric power. They are personifications of Brahman's Sakti, so through worship of them, one can gain knowledge of Brahman. They are: Kali, Tara, Sodasi, Bhukanesvari, Bhairavi, Chinnamasta/Viraratri, Dhumavati, Bagala, Matangi and Kamala. The Mahavidyas were especially popular in medieval Bengal.
("Great Lord"). Epithet of Shiva, sometimes of Vishnu.
A Saivite text attributed to Shiva, dealing with the four ways that lead to ultimate insight: yoga, vedanta, language and music.
Consort of Mahesvara; a name for Shakti; one of the goddesses created by Shiva who constitute the Divine Mothers (Matrkas).
Greek, "blessed." Used in Homer and possibly in rites of initiations in mystery cults.
Sacred sound believed to possess supernatural powers.
Path or way to moksa.
A person who is killed because of their religion.
A practice mentioned in tragedies, which may or may not have been common in real life, of cutting off the extremities of a murder victim and placing them under the corpse's armpits (maschalai). The purpose was probably humiliation, but may have also served to avoid pollution or prevent the corpse from taking vengeance.
Many gods, including Itzamná, Kukulcán, Bolon Tzacab, and Chac
Mental concentration for the purpose of relaxation, enlightenment, communion with the divine, or all of the above.
(Greek christos; "anointed one"). The future hero or king of Israel predicted by the Hebrew prophets.
(Hebrew, "doorpost") is a small parchment inscribed with short Torah passages in Hebrew.
(Greek mitra, "turban"). Liturgical headdress of a bishop. In the Eastern Church it resembles a crown similar in form to that worn by Byzantine Emperors. In the Western Church it is shield-shaped and made of embroidered satin, which is often jewelled. Two fringed pieces hang down in the back.
In ancient India, foreigners, especially those considered barbarians or less civilized.
Belief system in which God consists of a single person who reveals himself in different modes. Thus the Son is divine, but the same person the Father. Declared heretical in the early church. Closely related to patripassianism and Sabellianism.
("release"). Liberation from the cycle of rebirth, which is believed by most philosophical schools to be the ultimate goal of life.
General term for early Christian heretical beliefs that focused on safeguarding the oneness of God by denying the Trinity. In dynamic monarchianism, Jesus was a man who was given the power of God. In modalist monarchianism, Jesus was the Father incarnate.
A man who is a member of a monastic order.
First month in the Islamic calendar. Also a name for al-Hijra, the Islamic New Year.