Hinduism

Ravidas

Ravidas was a 16th century poet and singer, an outcaste or untouchable whose vision of bhakti, the devotional love of the Supreme, leveled all caste distinctions. His songs are loved by many, especially those who have been considered untouchables. The Ravidas movement continues in India and now has a temple in New York. Some of the songs of Ravidas were also included in the Sikh scripture, the Adi Granth.

Vedanta

Vedanta means the “end of the Veda” and refers to the Upanishads, those teachings which investigate the nature of the soul and ultimate reality and which are the last part of the Vedic corpus. The term also designates the philosophical system of classical Hindu thought that has been primarily based on the exegesis of the Upanishads (along with the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita). Most adherents of Vedanta share the following assumptions: Brahman is the underlying Reality pervading the universe; the transmigration of the soul; and the possibility of moksha or liberation from this cycle of... Read more about Vedanta

Lakshmi Narayana

The Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu, also called Narayana, are worshipped together as the Divine couple.

Rama Navami

Rama Navami is the annual festival celebrating the birth of Rama and his marriage to Sita. It is observed on the ninth day (navami) of the waxing fortnight of the lunar month of March/April.

Upanishads

The Upanishads, dating largely from the 8th to the 6th centuries BCE, are the “wisdom literature” of the Vedas. Most Upanishads take the form of dialogues between teachers and students. They turn from the rites of the fire altar that had been the main focus of discussion in the earlier Vedic literature to the question of the deeper, inner meanings of ritual, especially as it can give insight into the origin, basis, and support of the universe. The Upanishads and their interpretations are sometimes called Vedanta, literally the “end of the Vedas.”

Brahman

Brahman is a term used in the Hindu tradition to refer to the Supreme Reality that is the source of all being and all knowing, pervading and yet transcending all that is. Brahman is said to be one with Atman, the inner reality of the self or soul.

kirtan

In the religious traditions of India the term kirtan refers to singing the praises of God in communal worship.

Puranas

The Puranas are eighteen collections of “ancient stories” which preserve traditions of myth, legend, and ritual, especially those concerning the Hindu deities Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, and Devi. Beginning in about the 5th century, the Puranas continued to be composed and expanded as late as the 15th century.

Swaminarayan

The Swaminarayan Hindu movement began in early 19th century Gujarat with a religious and social reformer named Sahajanand Swami. It is a devotional bhakti movement, focusing on Vishnu in the form of Krishna and Radha and also on Sahajanand Swami himself, who became known to his followers as Swaminarayan, a human form of the highest divine reality. In the last two centuries, the Swaminarayan movement has become known for its emphasis on social reform and social action, as well as its deep devotionalism. The two main branches of the movement are the International Swaminarayan Satsang... Read more about Swaminarayan

bhakta

In the Hindu tradition, a bhakta is a devotee of God, one whose heart is filled with devotion or love (bhakti).

japa

Japa is the devotional repetition of a sacred syllable, mantra, or divine name, either aloud or to oneself. Some devotees count each repetition on a mala or rosary.

Parvati

Parvati is the “mountain born” goddess, daughter of the Himalayas, the spouse of Shiva.

Guru Nanak

Guru NanakWhen Guru Nanak was approximately 30 years old, he had what he described as a direct encounter with God. Following this experience, Nanak began preaching about the oneness of God through hymns called shabads. Nanak eventually established a village where he continued to preach and shape what later became the Sikh tradition.... Read more about Guru Nanak

Hindu Revival on Campus

Hindu Revival on CampusThe non-profit Hindu Students Council (HSC) is the most extensive Hindu student organization in the United States. The organization, present on college campuses across the United States, allows members to learn about the spiritual and cultural elements of Hinduism and provides opportunities for educational and service events. The HSC is notable for providing a welcoming environment to cultivate the Hindu tradition, though its members also raise questions about its affiliation with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) of America, which promotes Hindu nationalist agendas.... Read more about Hindu Revival on Campus

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