Introducing World Religions:
The eBook

Introducing World Religions Online:
Comprehensive Glossary of Terms

Term Definition


Hindu devotee of Viṣṇu, most often of his incarnations as Kṛṣṇa or Rāma.


(1475-1531) Founder of a Vaiṣṇava spiritual community called the Way of Nourishment (Pushtī Marg); his disciples developed the art of cooking to feed the idols during pūjā, and thus sparked a theological debate as to whether a deity inhabits an image.


Duty according to the caste, life stage, and gender of a person in Hindu society.


Term for the corpus of Hindu foundational scriptures, including four collections (Samhitās); the ancient religion of India (pre-Hindu) is named with reference to this group of texts.


ranch of Buddhist meditation leading to insight into the three marks of existence.

vision quest

A way of prayer used by Native Americans in which an individual spends time alone, fasting, in an isolated place.


A divine manifestation with characteristics of both Śiva and Kṛṣṇa; worshipped by Sants from Mahārāṣṭra; devotees trace their lineage through Jñāneśvara back to Gorākhnāth.


West African term for spirit.


Sacred place in North India where the Hindu deity Kṛṣṇa is said to carry out his pastimes; devotees of Kṛṣṇa are said to experience in this place on different levels of subtlety.

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