Glossary of Hinduism terms

The following is a glossary of terms and concepts in Hinduism. The list consists of concepts that are derived from both Hinduism and Hindu tradition, which are expressed as words in Sanskrit as well as other languages of India. The main purpose of this list is to define the concept in one or two lines, to make it easy for one to find and pin down specific concepts, and to provide a guide to the concepts of Hinduism all in one place.

A

  • Abhimanyu (अभिमन्यु): Son of Arjuna and Subhadra who was married to Uttara, daughter of King Virata. He was deceitfully killed by the Kauravas during Kurukshetra.[1]
  • Āchārya (आचार्य): Teacher or Guru.
  • Achyuta (अच्युत): A synonym of Sri Vishnu.
  • Adhiratha (अधिरथ): Karna's foster-father.
  • Adi Shankara (आदि शङ्कर): The first Hindu philosopher who consolidated the principles of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy.
  • Aditi (अदिति): A goddess of the sky, consciousness, the past, the future and fertility.
  • Advaita Vedanta (अद्वैत वेदान्त): A school of Hindu philosophy often called a monistic or non-dualistic system which refers to the indivisibility of the Self (Atman) from the Whole (Brahman).
  • Agastya (अगस्त्य): A great sage whose life-story the Pandavas learnt while on pilgrimage to holy places, his wife Lopamudra was equally a great sage in her own right.
  • Aghāsur (अघासुर): A dragon sent by Kamsa to destroy Krishna
  • Āgneyāstra (आग्नेयास्त्र): Āgneyāstra is the fire weapon, incepted by God Agni, master of the flames.
  • Agni (अग्‍नि): The sacred Hindu fire god.[2]
  • Agnihotra (अग्निहोत्र): A sacrifice to God Agni.
  • Ahi (अहि): Means ("snake"), Vritra was also known in the Vedas as Ahi cognate with Azhi Dahaka of Zoroastrian mythology and he is said to have had three heads.
  • Ahamkara (अहंकार): A Sanskrit term that refers to the ego of one's self, the identification of one's own ego.
  • Ahimsā (अहिंसा): A religious concept which advocates non-violence and a respect for all life.
  • Airāvata (ऐरावत): Indra's elephant.
  • Ajasat (अजसत):The Prince who plots with Devadatta to kill Buddha
  • Ajatashatru (अजातशत्रु): Having no enemy, friend of all born things, an epithet of Yudhishthira.
  • Akampana (अकम्‍पन): Meaning (Unconquerable) - A rākshasa, maternal uncle of Ravana, slain by Hanumaān at seize.
  • Akshayapatra (अक्षयपत्र): A wonderful vessel given to Yudhishthira by the Sun god which held a never-failing supply of food.
  • Alara (अलर) : A famous sage, sought out by Buddha
  • Alambasa (अलम्‍बस): A Rakshasa friend of Duryodhana who had joined his forces but Satyaki compelled him to flee from the battlefield.
  • Amarāvati (अमरावती): The city of Indra
  • Amarkantak (अमरकंटक): Amarkantak is a unique natural heritage area in eastern Madhya Pradesh, India. This is the meeting point of the Vindhyas and the Satpuras, with the Maikal Hills being the fulcrum. This is the place from where the Narmada River, the Sone River and Johila River emerge.
  • Ambā (अम्‍बा), Ambikā (अम्‍बिका), Ambālikā (अम्‍बालिका): The three daughters of King of Benares, Eldest daughter Ambā was in love with King Shālwa
  • Amrit (अमृत): Ambrosia, the food of the gods, which makes the partaker immortal.
  • Ananta (अनन्‍त): Ananta may be 1. The thousand-headed nāga that issued from Balrāma's mouth 2. Author and commentator of Katyayana sutra 3. Ananta was the name of present Shekhawati region of Rajasthan in India.
  • Andhaka (अंधक): Andhaka was the demon son of Shiva, and was created from a drop of his sweat. He was born blind. After birth, Andhaka was given to Hiranyaksha to be raised, as he had no sons. Later, Andhaka became the king of Hiranyaksha's kingdom.
  • Anga (अंग): Mlechchha kings, a Kaurava supporter.
  • Angada (अंगद): One of the monkey host; Son of Valī
  • Aniruddha (अनिरुद्ध): Son of Pradyumna (a rebirth of Shatrughana who married with Chārumati and Ushā
  • Anjalikā (अंजलिका): The greatest of Arjuna's arrows with which he slays Karna
  • Anjanā (अंजना): Mother of Hanumāna
  • Anshumat (अंशुमत): A mighty chariot-fighter
  • Anusuya (अनुसूया): Sati Anusuya was wife of the sage Atri and mother of Dattatreya (दत्तात्रेय) who is considered by some Hindus (in western India) to be an incarnation of the Divine Trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
  • Apsarās (अपसरा): Heavenly nymphs, The dancing girls of Indra's court
  • Aquila (अक्‍विला): Equivalent, Garuda; the divine eagle
  • Araṇi (अरणि): An upper and a lower piece of wood used for producing fire by attrition.
  • Āraṇyaka (आरण्यक): Part of the Hindu Śruti that discuss philosophy, sacrifice and the New Year holiday.
  • Arjuna (अर्जुन): The third of Pāndavas and Krishna's cousin. His doubts on the battle field led to Krishna expounding the Gita.[1]
  • Artha (अर्थ): Wealth, one of the objects of human life, the others being Dharma, (righteous- ness), Kama (satisfaction of desires), Moksha (spiritual salvation).
  • Arundhati (अरुंधति): Wife of sage Vashishta. She was one of the nine daughters of Kardama Prajapati and his wife Devahuti.
  • Arya: 'Noble or Pious.' Was also used as another name for ancient vedic bharatas tribe, whose main rival tribe were the Dasas.
  • Asamanja (असमंज): Son of Sāgra
  • Ashtavakra (अष्‍टवक्र): A towering scholar while still in his teens.
  • Ashta Lakshmi: Eight aspects of goddess Lakshmi, symbolising eight sources of wealth
  • Ashvatthāman (अश्‍वत्‍थामां): Son of Dronacharya and last supreme commander of the Kaurava force, strong as a horse
  • Ashvins (अश्‍विन): The divine twins
  • Ashwamedha (अश्‍वमेध): The horse sacrifice
  • Asvamedha Yajna (अश्‍वमेध यज्ञ): A horse sacrifice.
  • Ashwapati (अश्‍वपति): Uncle of Bharata and Shatrughna
  • Ashwasena (अश्‍वसेन): Son of Naga Takshaka, who was saved by Indra, while Khandavavana was put into flame by Pandavas. Five mighty arrows shot by Karna
  • Asita (असित): A sage who held that gambling was ruinous and should be avoided by all wise people.
  • Asmaka (अस्मक): A Kaurava warrior who attacked Abhimanyu.
  • Astra (अस्त्र): A missile charged with power by a holy incantation.
  • Asuras: mythological lord beings in Indian texts who compete for power.
  • Ātma (आत्‍मा): The underlying metaphysical self, sometimes translated as spirit or soul.
  • Ayodhyā (अयोध्या): Unconquuerable, The city in the country of Koshala