Zodiac.

The signs of the zodiac in Indian astrology (jyotisha) are almost similar to those in Western astrology, and it is widely assumed that the Greek zodiac was carried to India through Greek kingdoms in modern Afghanistan in the first to third centuries.

The Indian zodiac uses Dhanus ("bow") instead of Sagittarius, Makara (a sea monster that is commonly mistaken for a crocodile) instead of Capricorn, and Kumbha ("[water] pot") instead of Aquarius.

Each of the twelve signs, like Western astrology, has its own set of qualities that those born under them are infused with.

Although both begin with the sign of Aries, the two systems vary significantly in how they calculate the yearly beginning point.

The Western astrological zodiac starts on the spring equinox, with the sign of Aries being the first sign.

According to Indian legend, the zodiac begins when the sun touches the midway of a group of stars known as Ashvini.

It is therefore based on the sun's position in relation to the fixed stars, while the Western zodiac is based on the sun's position in relation to the earth—that is, when it meets the equator—and hence is independent of the fixed stars.

These disparities have resulted in a discrepancy between the two systems, which is now more than three weeks apart—Aries begins on March 21 in the Western zodiac, but not until around April 14 in the Indian zodiac.

This inconsistency may also be found in the accounts of Makara Sankranti and Karka Sankranti, which are considered the winter and summer solstices yet fall in the second weeks of January and July, respectively.

Given the three-week time gap, it's not surprising that the astrological calculations between these two systems diverge significantly.

 


Yuga.

 A moniker for a unit of cosmic time that might have two meanings.

Traditional thinking is that time has no origin or conclusion, but rather rotates between cycles of creation and activity, followed by halt and silence.

The active period of each of these cycles is known as the Day of Brahma, while the calm phase is known as the Night of Brahma.

The Day of Brahma is split into a thousand mahayugas ("great cosmic eras"), each lasting 4.32 million years in cosmic time, and this is one probable definition of the term yuga.

The term is most often used to refer to the Krta Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga, which are the four yugas that make up a mahayuga.

 

Yudhishthira is the name of the god Yudhishthira.

("strength in combat") Yudhishthira is the oldest of the Pandava brothers, the epic's heroes, in the Mahabharata, the later of the two major Hindu epics.

When Yudhishthira's mother, Kunti, performs a strong mantra to have a son by Dharma, the deity of righteousness, Yudhishthira is miraculously born.

Yudhishthira is his father's son in every aspect; the epic describes him as the earthly incarnation of Dharma.

He is well-known for his steadfast allegiance to the truth, politeness for everybody, and commitment to virtue.

His only personal flaw is a gambling addiction, which is only matched by his complete lack of gaming skill, and this flaw has serious consequences.

Yudhishthira is chosen as successor to the kingdom by his uncle, Dhrtarashtra, because of his merits.

Duryodhana, Dhrtarashtra's son, is enraged by this decision.

He seeks to murder the Pandavas by constructing a highly flammable mansion.

The Pandavas manage to escape unscathed despite the home being set on fire.

Duryodhana decides to win Yudhishthira's right to the throne in a game of dice later.

Yudhishthira's gambling addiction gets the better of him here, when he is pitted against Duryodhana's maternal uncle, Shakuni, who is a competent player.

As Yudhishthira continues to lose, he bets more and larger amounts in an attempt to recoup his losses.

Yudhishthira bets himself and his brothers after losing their kingdom and all their possessions.

He wagers and loses the Pandava brothers' common wife, Draupadi, after losing this bet.

Draupadi is humiliated as a result of her miscarriage, and Duryodhana and his brother, Duhshasana, parade her around the assembly hall, her clothing smeared with her monthly blood.

This event accentuates the two groups' already strong enmi relations.

Duryodhana's father, King Dhrtarashtra, is shocked by the treatment and restores the Pandavas' freedom.

However, due to the loss in the dice game, the Pandavas agree to go into exile for twelve years and live incognito for the thirteenth, with the caveat that if they are discovered in the thirteenth year, the cycle will begin all over again.

Peacefully, Yudhishthira and his siblings complete their twelve-year exile.

They spend the thirteenth year at King Virata's court, where they stay undetected despite Duryodhana's spies' frantic searches.

Yudhishthira and his brothers return to claim their share of the kingdom after the thirteen years have gone.

Yudhishthira hopes for a peaceful resolution and sends Duryodhana a note suggesting that they would be content with only five villages, one for each brother.

Yudhishthira recognizes that they would not gain their rights without a fight as Duryodhana says that they will not get as much land as could fit beneath the tip of a needle.

He unwillingly enlists his siblings in the war effort.

He battles courageously in the big war, and after their triumph, he is anointed king.

Yudhishthira, after reigning for many years, sets off towards the Himalayas with his brothers and their bride, Draupadi, accompanied by a little dog.

Draupadi and his brothers die one by one as they ascend the mountains, but the dog stays with Yudhishthira.

Yudhishthira finds the deity Indra, the ruler of heaven, waiting for him in a gilded chariot at the summit of the Himalayas.

Yudhishthira is told by Indra that he would transport him to paradise, but that he will have to leave his dog behind.

Yudhishthira is adamant about not abandoning his loyal buddy, even if it means he will miss out on paradise.

The dog then exposes himself to be the disguised deity Dharma.

The moral of the narrative is that Yudhishthira never allows himself to wander too far from righteousness throughout his life; even at the end, he refuses to abandon it.

 


Yoni.

 Although it has become a pejorative term for female genitalia in contemporary Hindi, its most literal meaning is "womb," both literally as the location of conception and metaphorically as any place of origin, source, or generative force.

 

Yogmaya is a powerful Goddess form known for her capacity to bewitch and perplex people—in other words, her ability to wield maya, the power of illusion.

Yogmaya is mentioned as the divinity who assumes the shape of a newborn girl and is subsequently slain by Krishna's cruel uncle, Kamsa, according to certain modern texts.

All the inmates of Kamsa's palace fall slumber under her enchantment the previous night, according to these texts, and Krishna's father, Vasudeva, is able to take the child away.

Yogmaya is said to have facilitated Krishna's clandestine rendezvous with the ladies of Braj later in his career—when Krishna plays his flute, the women come to him, but all the others fall under Yogmaya's influence and are oblivious of their absence.

Yogmaya is a strong goddess because of her capacity to manipulate maya; she is honored on the fourth day of Navaratri, the festival of the "nine nights" that are holy to the Goddess in her many incarnations.

 

Yogini Ekadashi 

The eleventh day (ekadashi) of the dark (waning) half of the lunar month of Ashadh (June–July) is a religious celebration.

This, like other eleventh-day celebrations, is devoted to the worship of Vishnu, especially in his avatar as Narayana.

Most Hindu holidays have mandated ceremonies, which generally include fasting (upavasa) and devotion, and frequently promise particular rewards if performed faithfully.

Giving presents to needy brahmins is the recommended activity on this day; following the festival sincerely takes away the sin of chopping down a pipal tree (ashvattha) and also brings one birth in heaven.

 

Yogi Bhajan

Harbhajan Singh Puri, Sikh Dharma Brotherhood founder and modern Hindu missionary.

In 1969, he arrived in the United States, leaving behind a job as a customs agent at the Delhi airport.

His first teachings were classical hatha yoga and kundalini yoga disciplines, with his followers grouped into the "Happy, Healthy, Holy Organization" (3HO).

Hatha yoga is a religious discipline (yoga) based on a sequence of body postures known as asanas.

It is commonly thought that this practice provides a variety of physical advantages, including enhanced bodily flexibility and the potential to treat chronic diseases.

Kundalini yoga is a spiritual practice whose main goal is to awaken the kundalini, the dormant spiritual power that lives in everyone's subtle body.

The kundalini is supposed to be awakened by a mix of yoga practice and ritual action, and it is said to provide further spiritual capacities and, eventually, total soul liberation (moksha).

Yogi Bhajan claims to be a master of tantra, a hidden, ritually based religious practice, but his teaching expanded in the 1970s to incorporate ancient Sikh beliefs and symbols.

The most visible of these symbols are the "five Ks," which include uncut hair (kesh), a comb (kangha), a jewelry on the right wrist (kara), shorts (kacch), and a ceremonial sword (kacch) (kirpan).

Many of Yogi Bhajan's followers adhere to Sikh symbols considerably more rigidly than most individuals born as Sikhs, yet there are two major differences between the movement and the traditional Sikh society.

One of them is its concentration on tantra, which isn't very popular with Sikhs.

The most notable distinction, however, is Yogi Bhajan's religious authority over his followers, which is considerably different from the traditional Sikh community's decentralized, essentially democratic structure.

 


Yogi.

 In practice, the term "yogic adept" refers solely to a yogic adept—someone who "possesses" yoga in the sense of mastering it—rather than to someone who just does yoga.

True yogis are often thought to possess superhuman abilities (siddhi) as a result of their lengthy spiritual growth, which they may and will use for the benefit of their disciples—for physical cure, psychiatric assistance, or spiritual and mundane advice.

The yogi is seen as a spiritually developed individual, and their authority is entirely based on this attribution, which, ironically, is not susceptible to external proof.

As a result, there are major differences of opinion over whether or not someone is a yogi.

 

 

Yoga Sutras.

 ("yoga aphorisms") A collection of short sayings attributed to the sage Patanjali that serve as the basic texts for the Yoga school, one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy.

The sage Vyasa's commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is often read alongside the text, and it has been considered as an important component of the book.

The Yoga Sutras are split into four sections, each of which focuses on a different theme: The first part is about concentration (samadhi), the second part is about the mechanics of spiritual development (sadhana), the third part is about various attainments (vibhuti), including magical powers (siddhi), and the last part is about yogic isolation (kaivalya), which the text calls liberation.

The Yoga school is often considered the "practical" articulation of Samkhya theory, and the text presupposes the cosmology taught by the Samkhya school, another of the six schools.

 

Yoganidra

("yoga slumber") The Goddess's epithet appears in the first episode of the Devi Mahatmya, the oldest and most authoritative document on the Goddess's mythology.

In this episode, the Goddess uses her power of illusion to lull Vishnu into a coma, rendering him unconscious to Brahma's screams for aid when he is threatened by the demons Madhu and Kaitabha.

When Brahma praises the Goddess, she withdraws her yogic slumber from Vishnu, allowing him to restore consciousness and save Brahma by destroying the demons.

 

Yogananda, Paramahamsa, Mukunda Lal Ghosh was born in 1893 and died in 1952.

Self-Realization Fellowship founder and modern Hindu instructor.

Yoga nanda was one of the first Hindu missionaries to arrive in the United States.

In 1920, he traveled to Boston to speak at the International Congress of Religious Liberals, but he never returned to India.

He finally made his home outside of Los Angeles, where he created a center and spent the remainder of his life.

He was considered somewhat of a curiosity during his early years in America, and there are photographs of him with President Calvin Coolidge.

Yogananda's teachings were primarily based on the ancient Yoga Sutras' ash tanga yoga, but he also emphasized the theory of kriya ("active") yoga, which is said to hasten spiritual achievement.

The Self Realization Fellowship is basically an American organization with historical origins in India, and most of Yogananda's adherents and both of his successors were Americans.

See Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi, published in 1997, for further details.

 

 

Yoga Mudra is a kind of mudra used in yoga.

A symbolic hand gesture (mudra) in Indian dance, sculpture, and ritual in which the right hand is put flat on the left, both palms facing up, and the joined hands are lay on the crossed legs.

This mudra signifies that the figure is a yoga master in a sculptural depiction.

 


Yoga.

The English term "yoke" is connected with the word yoga, which literally means "act of joining." Similarly to how the latter term may apply to both the act of yoking and the item to which animals are yoked, yoga can refer to both the act or process of spiritual growth as well as a particular body of teachings that support this development.

The term "discipline" may express both of these connotations, and it is one of the most popular interpretations.

There are a variety of specialized teachings that call themselves yogas.

The earliest is described in the Yoga Sutras, which are attributed to the sage Patanjali; this method is referred regarded as ashtanga ("eight-limbed") yoga because of its eight components.

The three "paths" outlined by the deity Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, an important religious literature, are also well-known yogas: the yogas of action (karma), knowledge (jnana), and devotion (bhakti).

Another well-known yoga is kundalini yoga, which is purely internal and takes place in the subtle body, an alternate physiological system.

Kundalini yoga focuses on reawakening the kundalini, a dormant spiritual force that dwells in everyone, and reaping spiritual benefits as a result.

These are the most common categories of teachings, however many religious groups may refer to their religious practice as yoga: The Radha Soamis' surat-shabd yoga, the Brahma Kumaris' Raja Yoga, and the SYDA Foundation's Siddha Yoga are examples.

In some circumstances, the term is used to describe a religious group's distinctive teaching, which frequently contains aspects from traditional yoga articulations.

 


Yellamma.

Presiding deity of the sanctuary atop Yellama hill in Saundatti, Karnataka's Belgaum district.

Yellama's temple is famous for being a historic center for devadasis ("[female] servants of the Lord"), a class of women held in temples as singers and dancers in the service of the temple's presiding goddess, to whom they were traditionally considered "married." Both boys and girls may be consecrated in Yellama's temple.

Although the devadasi tradition has been associated with common prostitution for the past two centuries, it was far more common in earlier times for a devadasi to live with a single man for the rest of her life, despite the fact that she could not marry him because she was considered dedicated to the deity.

This devotion is sometimes done in response to a demand from the goddess herself, which is revealed via possession; in other situations, the parents undertake it in the hopes of gaining some tangible benefit, most notably recovery from sickness.

Yellamma is linked to fire, as well as causing (and maybe treating) skin disorders, which can be seen as a metaphor for "burning." According to the old paradigm, devadasis possessed a distinct social status and unique legal privileges, including the right to family inheritance and the ability to conduct religious ceremonies that were not available to other women.

These privileged powers vanished with the banning of the devadasi system, which was partially carried out by the British and was finally carried out in post-independence India.

Although such dedications continue to occur, they are often used as a cover for procuring the girls, who are then transferred to brothels in Bombay, Pune, and other central Indian towns.

Most of the girls come from very impoverished families, and their devotion to Yellamma is a method for them to avoid having to pay for a wedding, which is a big expenditure in modern Indian culture.

The dedications are said to be common and take place on the full moon in the lunar month of Magh (January–February), although the laws prohibiting them are seldom enforced due to secrecy.

See Frederique Apffel Marglin's Wives of the God-King, 1985, for a more in-depth look at the devadasi system at the Jagannath temple in Puri.

 

Year 

Both the solar and lunar calendars are used to establish the Hindu ritual year.

There are two indigenous Hindu solar year estimates, both of which feature twelve solar months, in addition to the Gregorian calendar and the common era.

These months correlate to the twelve zodiac signs in northern India, and they vary as the sun goes through them.

The year starts when the sun enters Aries, as it does in the Western zodiac, albeit in Indian astrology, this shift occurs around April 14, rather than March 21, as it does in Euro-American astrology.

A similar solar calendar exists in southern India, with names derived from the names of certain nakshatras or lunar asterisms.

Apart from the solar months, the solar year is split into two parts depending on the sun's movement: the Uttarayana for when the sun is travelling north and the Dakshinayana for when the sun is going south.

On Makara Sankranti, January 14, the sun starts its northward trip, which is considered the more auspicious period; six months later, on Karka Sankranti, July 14, the sun begins its southbound journey, which is considered the less auspicious time.

The lunar calendar, which has twelve lunar months, is far more important for religious purposes: Chaitra (March–April), Baisakh (April–May), Jyeshth (May–June), Ashadh (June–July), Shravan (July–August), Bhadrapada (August–September), Ashvin (September–October), Kartik (October–November), Margashirsha (November–December), Paush (December–January), Magh (January–February), The calendar in northern India normally starts on the first day of the brilliant half of Chaitra, and ends on the first day of the dark half of the same month.

The festivals designated by this lunar calendar happen at various times each year in relation to the solar calendar since these lunar months are based on the phases of the moon (ending with the full moon in northern India and the new moon in southern India).

Because the twelve lunar months take around 354 solar days to complete, each lunar year starts eleven days sooner than the previous one.

This mismatch is remedied every 212 years by the insertion of an additional lunar month, known as the intercalary month, which brings the solar and lunar calendars into broad agreement.

The intercalary month is added to each lunar month during which the sun does not enter a new zodiac sign, allowing it to fall in any month of the year.

Although the solar calendar is less significant in daily life, it aids in maintaining the basic correlation between the lunar calendar and the periodic festivals linked with it.

The three primary seasons (hot, monsoon, and cool) have strong linkages with the festival calendar, at least in northern India.

The chilly season, from October and February, is the most ritually busy period; in many locations, this is also the time after the harvest, when many people have more time and money to devote to religious observances.

Many ceremonies are related with heat in the hot season, but the rainy season, as a period of hazard, is often associated with rites of protection.

 

Yayati.

Ruler Nahusha's son and a king of the lunar dynasty in Hindu mythology.

 

Yatri.

The term yatri refers to a novitiate Bairagi, a renunciant ascetic society made up of worshippers of the deity Vishnu (bhakta).

As a common term, it refers to a person who is embarking on a yatra ("journey"; more specifically, a travel of religious meaning).

 

Yatra means "travel" in Hindi.

Although the term yatra may apply to any kind of travel in its literal sense, its semantic scope in contemporary Hindi is more smaller, and connotes serious travel rather than a walk around the block or a tourist excursion.

The most essential aspect of the term yatra is religious travel, notably pilgrimage to holy locations (tirthas).

A yatra is therefore a voyage, but one of a specific kind.

 

Yati 

 (from the Sanskrit word yam, which means "to restrict") The word yati has been used to identify an ascetic, as someone who has attained control over oneself, from the time of the Vedas, the oldest Hindu holy books.

Since the storm-god Indra is reported to have battled with the yatis during the period of the Vedas, there seems to be some ambiguity about the yatis, but later on the name takes on an absolutely good sense.

 

Yathakhyati

("discrimination in the state of things") Satkhyati is another term for the theory of mistake.

Satkhyati is another word for satkhyati.

 


Yaska.

 (5th century BCE?) Traditionally credited with writing the Nirukta, a Vedic treatise that provides etymological explanations for ancient terms.

Nearly a fourth of the Vedic terms occur just once.

As the spoken language evolved, the meanings of many of these terms had become either ambiguous or altogether forgotten by Yaska's time.

Although it is evident that Yaska is guessing at times—for example, when contemporary linguists may draw parallels with the Iranian Avesta, a comparable religious text—his work proved invaluable to subsequent readers.

 


Yashoda.

Krishna's foster mother in Hindu mythology, who welcomes him the night he is born and raises him until he is old enough to return to Mathura and claim his kingdom.

Yashoda, who loves Krishna as if he were her own child, is a model of unselfish devotion.

Rupa Goswami, a devotee (bhakta) of the god Krishna and a follower of the Bengali saint Chaitanya, has used her mythic example of loving, motherly care as the model for vatsalya bhava, one of the five modes of devotion most prominently articulated by Rupa Goswami, a devotee (bhakta) of the god Krishna and a follower of the Bengali saint Chaitanya Devotees who practice vatsalya consider themselves to be God's parents, lavishing love and care on the god in the same way as a cow does for her calf.

 

 

Yantra is a Sanskrit word that means "circle of life." (“instrument”) The term yantra most usually refers to a symbolic design, generally thought to impart magic or spiritual power on those who know how to employ it in astrology (jyotisha) and tantra, a secret, ritually based religious practice.

In other circumstances, such yantras are seen to represent an aniconic form of a deity, like in the example of the Shriyantra or Shrichakra, which is employed in rituals to worship the goddess Tripura Sundari.

In an astrological context, the yantras of the different planets are utilized in rituals to modify their effects, mainly to control or lessen the power of planets thought to be malefic or inauspicious.

 


Yamunotri.

Sacred location (tirtha) in the Himalayas near the Yamuna River's sources.

Yamunotri is regarded the Yamuna's ritual source, despite the fact that the real source is farther upstream, at the foot of the Bandarpunch Mountain.

Because of its great altitude, it is only accessible from late April to October, after which it closes for the winter months, as are the other three main Himalayan pilgrimage sites of Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath.

The river itself is a sacred site in Yamunotri, where pilgrims wash (snana) in the freezing waters.

There are numerous temples, the oldest of which was erected by one of Nepal's monarchs, but they are small in comparison to those at Gangotri, and the sole significant one was completed in the 1980s.

Aside from the holy river and its tributaries, Yamunotri is known for many hot springs, some of which have been diverted into a tank, and many pilgrims take use of the hot baths.

 

Yamuna River is a river in India.

The Yamuna River is a northern Indian river that originates in the Himalayas and flows west and south of the Ganges River before joining it at Allahabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Along with the Ganges, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Indus, and Cauvery, the Yamuna is regarded one of India's seven holy rivers.

The Yamuna runs through the Braj area south of Delhi, which is historically associated with Krishna's country, and his followers (bhakta) hold it in higher regard than the Ganges.

Places around the Braj area have great connotations with Krishna's life for his devotees, but Mathura and Brindavan are the most noteworthy.

 

 Yamunacharya (10th c.) According to legend, Ramanuja's teacher was a devotee (bhakta) of the deity Vishnu, who is said to be the grandson of Nathamuni.

The Nalayira Divyaprabandham, the collected hymns of the Alvars, a group of poet-saints who lived in southern India between the sixth and eleventh centuries, was compiled by Nathamuni.

The Alvars were all worshippers of Vishnu, and they conveyed their love via impassioned lyrics sung in Tamil; these hymns are so sacred among southern Indian Vaishnavas (devotees of Vishnu) that they are known as the "Tamil Veda." Ramanuja, on the other hand, was a philosopher who collected and systematized this devotional outpouring into a coherent philosophical viewpoint, and is therefore regarded as the religious community's founder.

Yamunacharya was thought to be Nathamuni's grandson, and hence heir to the religious tradition that his grandfather had helped establish.

The allegation that he was Ramanuja's religious teacher (guru) is considerably more contested, since it is more probable that Yamuna's effect on Ramanuja was passed down via Yamuna's pupils.

Still, it is undeniable that these three figures played pivotal roles in the development of the Shri Vaishnava tradition, and that Yamunacharya is one of them.

 

Yamaha ("restraint") is the first and most fundamental of the eight component aspects of ashtanga ("eight-part") yoga, which was defined by Patanjali (1st century C.E.?) Refraining from harming other living things (ahimsa), abstaining from stealing, honesty, celibacy (brahmacharya), and abstaining from avarice are five of them, according to Patanjali.

These are all "restraints" because their intent is negative—they don't call for positive actions as much as they call for avoiding certain thoughts or actions that are deemed particularly harmful.

 


Yama.

God of Death and Personification of Death.

Yama is one of the eight Guardians of the Directions, and he is connected with the south, which is why it is considered an unlucky direction.

Yama is mentioned for the first time in the Vedas, the earliest Hindu sacred books, where he is referred to as the first mortal.

He was regarded as ruling over the World of the Fathers, where the good dead feasted and enjoyed themselves, since he was the first person to die (much as they had on earth).

Yama's image altered as the tradition progressed, until he was seen as the judge of the dead, reigning mostly over the areas of punishment, chiefly hells, where individuals suffered until they were reborn.

Yama is often shown with a noose, which he uses to drag out a person's spirit upon death and lead it bound to judgment.

Yama is shown in modern poster art as the ruler of the dead, sitting on a throne that is magnificent and black in hue; on his left is the scribe Chitragupta, who maintains a ledger book documenting human acts.

Yama is dreaded in Hindu society because of his function as the judge of the dead.

Yama is also known as Dharmaraja, the "Lord of Righteous Action," and one of his names is Dharmaraja, which means "Lord of Righteous Action" in Sanskrit.

In Hindu mythology, there are also stories of individuals who outwit Yama, the most famous of whom is Savitri, who manages to resurrect her spouse, Satyavan.

 


Yaksha 

(feminine yakshi) A group of minor deities who are mostly nature spirits and are typically linked with certain locations.

Yakshas are the attendants of the god Kubera, who is revered as the ruler of riches and the protector of the northern direction.

The yakshas are typically seen as good to humans, and because of their ties to nature's reproductive force and Kubera's riches, they are often regarded as giving prosperity and fertility.

Yakshas have a long history of appearing in Indian sectarian literature, where they are depicted as either protective spirits or depraved examples.

The sole comprehensive monograph on yakshas is Ananda Coomaraswamy's Yaksas, published in 1971.

 

The Yajur Veda is a Hindu scripture.

The third of the four Vedas, according to tradition.

The Yajur Veda, like the Rg Veda and the Sama Veda, was linked with sacrificial rites, and the book itself is mostly composed of mantras to be recited while the sacrifice was being performed.

There are five primary recensions of the Yajur Veda, four of which are "black" and one of which is "white." Their variances are due to the placement of explanatory notes on the mantras and the significance of these annotations: The annotations are included in the text of the Black Yajur Veda recensions, but the White Yajur Veda collects them in an appendix known as a Brahmana—specifically, the Shatapatha Brahmana—and this Brahmana literature forms the next major layer of Vedic texts.

 


Yajnopavit.

The holy thread has another name in this term.

Look up the 'Sacred thread' for more information.

 

Yajnavalkya or "remembered" writings, a genre of literature that is significant but not as authoritative as the shrutis, or "heard" scriptures.

This smrti is attributed to the sage Yajnavalkya and is an example of a Dharma Shastra, which were texts that prescribed principles for proper human conduct and ideal social life.

Unlike the Dharma Sutras, which are attributed to identifiable individuals, the Dharma Shastras are usually attributed to mythic sages in order to strengthen the authority of these texts.

There are around a thousand verses in the existing text, split into parts on religious custom (achara), justice administration (vyavahara), and expiation (prayashchitta).

The Yajnavalkya Smrti was the subject of numerous commentaries, one of which, the Mitakshara, was given the status of a legal code for the greater part of India during the British empire.

Estimates on its date of composition range from the first to the sixth century, but it is clearly later than the Manu Smrti because some parts of the middle section are far more developed.

 

Yajnavalkya is mentioned in the Upanishads, the theoretical books that make up the Veda's most recent textual layer, as a sage affiliated with King Janaka's court who was able to demonstrate that he had higher knowledge than the rest.

Based on the pattern of legendary ascription present in these works, he is also assigned as the author of the Yajnavalkya Smrti, one of the books that make up the dharma literature.

 

Yajna is a Sanskrit word that means "religion." (“sacrifice”) The basic religious act in the oldest stratum of Indian religion was a fire sacrifice.

The Brahmana literature elaborates on this worship of sacrifice in considerable detail, portraying sacrifice as the mechanism by which the cosmos came into existence.

The sacrifice required highly skilled priestly technicians (rtvij), who were in charge of singing portions of the Rg, Sama, and Yajur Vedas, as well as creating and keeping the holy fire at the center of the sacrificial activity.

This sacrificial ritual was focused on burning items in a holy fire, which was thought to be the deity Agni, so that Agni might deliver the sacrifices to the other gods.

These ceremonies were so intricate and costly that they soon fell out of favor; by the turn of the common period, there was also a lot of skepticism regarding the animal sacrifices that were formerly a big element of many of these rites.

These old ceremonies are no longer practiced, but the term yajna may now be used to any ceremony involving the holy fire, especially one conducted by a brahmin for a patron.

 

Yajamana 

("sacrifice's patron").

The yajamana was the person who commissioned the sacrifice and paid for its fulfillment, and therefore stood to profit from its expected benefits, according to the Vedas, the earliest Hindu religious literature.

This word distinguishes the connection between the priest and the patron: the former were erudite men and ritual technologists who understood how to execute elaborate sacrificial rituals, but they were reliant on the patronage of their sponsors for their subsistence.

 

Yadunandana 

The term means, "the Yadus' delight". 

This is the deity Krishna's epithet.

Krishna's clan was the Yadus, and he was their source of pleasure and joy. 

Thus this name describes Krishna through the effect he has on his tribe.

Take a look at Krishna.

 


Yadava.

 The tribe from whom the deity Krishna is claimed to have sprung and over which he reigned after establishing his dominion in the city of Dwaraka, according to Hindu legend.

Between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Indian history, the Yadava dynasty ruled the Deccan area in present Maharashtra.

This is the name of a specific jati in northern Indian culture, an endogamous social grouping organized (and whose social position dictated) by the group's hereditary vocation.

The Yadavas had a low social status in previous generations, but they have recently risen to prominence in politics—Mulayam Singh Yadav has twice been elected chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and has also served as India's defense minister; Laloo Prasad Yadav has served as chief minister of Bihar (either directly or indirectly through his wife) throughout the 1990s.

 


Worship of Tools.

 A ritual historically done by members of specific artisan communities on the fes tival of Dussehra.

There are two different charter stories associated with this celebration, both of which depict the victory of good over evil.

It is commemorated as the day when the hero Rama defeated the demon Ravana, as well as the Goddess's victory over a demon called Mahishasura.

For the craftsmen, such worship symbolizes the value of their instruments as a way of earning a living, and it is also thought that such propitiation would ensure prosperity the following year.

Weapons Worship is a term used to describe the worship of weapons.

On the holiday of Dussehra, a popular ritual among the warrior classes used to be performed (usually occurring within October and November).

There are two separate founding stories for this event, both of which celebrate the victory of good over evil.

It is commemorated as the day when the hero Rama defeated the evil Ravana, as well as the Goddess's victory over a demon called Mahishasura.

Given the martial tone of both charter stories, it's easy to understand how it'd be connected with soldiers and combat, and therefore a day to worship one's weapons as a symbol of the god.

According to traditional belief, any activity undertaken on this festival day would unfailingly succeed, hence Dussehra has long been a favorite day for military campaigns to begin.

Because Dussehra falls after the conclusion of the monsoon rains, when travel is practically impossible, it is also a good time from a strategic standpoint.

 

Worship.

Hindu devotion may be described using two different terms, each with two different sets of assumptions.

Darshan ("seeing") is the original and most prevalent form of devotion, in which devotees (bhakta) stare at the god's image and think that the deity is also gazing at them.

Darshan is therefore an exchange of looks between the god and the devotee that conveys comprehension.

Puja ("homage") is the term used to describe worship with offerings and artifacts.

 

Sir John Woodroffe (1865–1936) was a Calcutta High Court Justice who also translated and published writings on tantra, a hidden, ritual-based religious practice, under the alias Arthur Avalon.

Woodroffe was one of the early European proponents of tantra as a cohesive religious path, and he defended the texts' purportedly "impure" or "immoral" ceremonial actions.

In his tantric expositions, Woodroffe was attempting to persuade two audiences, both of whom were outraged by the licentiousness detailed in the tantric scriptures, which included breaking deeply established taboos on nonvegetarian cuisine, alcohol use, and illicit prostitution.

On the one hand, Woodroffe was speaking to the British, who were the political overlords of the moment, and on the other, educated Indians, many of whom would have dismissed the tantras as a fad.

Although more thorough academic work has been done since then, his publications and lectures were crucial in helping to make tantrism acceptable.

Representatives from major global religions, including Asian religions, were invited to the World Parliament of Religions Meeting in Chicago in 1893.

It was a turning point in the Euro-American perception of non-Christian faiths, when they were no longer dismissed as mere idolatry but were considered seriously as legitimate religious pathways.

It's also worth noting that many mainline Christian churches were not represented, with historically black congregations providing the majority of the Christian presence.

The presentation by Swami Vivekananda, in which Hinduism—in its logical, Vedantic form—was first seriously acknowledged by his Western hearers, was one of the highlights of the Parliament.

Vivekananda's charm was such that he spent the following four years in America, where he created the Vedanta Society in 1897.

 


Women.

Women from all socioeconomic categories were deemed shudras in the dharma literature, which meant they couldn't have another child, couldn't hear the Vedas, couldn't execute certain religious ceremonies, and in many regions couldn't possess land or resources unless they were married to a shudra.

At the same time, as daughters, mothers, wives, and patrons, women played (and continue to play) a vital role in Hindu religious life.

Women had their own specific role to play in traditional dharma literature, depending on their position as women.

Also see stridharma.

 


Witchcraft.

 Many sectors of contemporary Hindu society, including many "modern" urban Hindus, recognize the reality of witchcraft.

Malevolence, jealousy, and greed are the driving elements of witchcraft, and some individuals use them to hurt others or destroy what they have.

Witches may use spells, the evil eye (nazar), or pronounce curses on people to accomplish their goals.

Pregnant women and small children are supposed to be more vulnerable to their abilities, and these individuals are also thought to be more prone to be cursed, since jealousy over their good fortune is said to arouse a witch's rage.

The suitable countermeasure is to execute numerous rituals of protection, which will shield the individual from harm.

Witchcraft may manifest as an exceptionally prolonged disease or weird behavior in those who are affected; harsher cures are required for these folks.

The language of possession and exorcism may be regarded as a "idiom" (using traditional Indian cultural categories) for what contemporary psychiatrists could term the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, as Sudhir Kakar skillfully demonstrates.

Sudhir Kakar, Shamans, Mystics, and Doctors, 1991; and David F. Pocock, "The Evil Eye," in T. N. Madan (ed. ), Religion in India, 1991, for further details.

 


Wind is one of the five elements in Indian cosmology, along with earth, fire, water, and akasha.

Each of the elements is related with one of the five senses in certain philosophical traditions; here, wind is associated with touch.

Inside the body, the numerous "vital winds" (prana) are linked to a variety of biological activities, including respiration and circulation.

 


Widows.

 Given the traditional belief that a Hindu woman's primary function is that of a wife and mother, being a widow is seen as the worst tragedy that can befall a woman and is viewed as the karmic fulfilment of some heinous past act.

Because the basic idea of the marriage rite is that the bride's identity is amalgamated with the groom's, a woman without a spouse was seen to have lost her individuality.

Remarrying was also out of the question for her since she had already assumed her late husband's identity.

A lady was obliged to remove all the symbols of a married woman as soon as her husband died, including wiping red vermilion from her hair part, shattering her glass bangles, and, in southern India, cutting the thread on her mangal sutra.

She was banned to wear jewelry, colorful clothes, or other physical adornments for the rest of her life, was required to keep her hair trimmed short, and was required to dedicate herself to religious deeds in honor of her deceased spouse.

She was deemed an unhappy and unfavorable person since she had been widowed, and she was barred from any auspicious ceremonies, spending the rest of her life performing the domestic chores.

The practice of burning a widow on her husband's funeral pyre, known as sati, was popular in certain areas of India, although it was uncommon in others.

In reality, there was a lot of variance on this bleak image.

The age of a woman when she was widowed, whether she had children, and the social position of her husband's family were the most important determinants.

A widowed lady in her eighties would most certainly remain the family matriarch, a young widow with boys would keep her family status via her offspring, and even a child widow in a rich family might live a somewhat comfortable life, although with various constraints.

A widow's situation would be considerably more insecure if one or more of these characteristics were missing, and there is little question that many widows had tough lives in the past.

Even in contemporary times, a lady whose spouse dies early is often seen as unlucky and hence a source of ill luck.

One of the main aims of nineteenth-century Hindu reformers was to improve the situation of widows, and it has grown increasingly frequent for widows to remarry, despite the fact that some of the most traditional Hindus do not accept this.

 

Yajur Veda in White.

This is one of the two principal versions of the Yajur Veda, one of the earliest Hindu holy writings, together with the Black Yajur Veda.

The most significant distinction between these two versions is the insertion of explanatory comments on the Vedic mantras and their significance.

The "White" Yajur Veda collects these observations in an appendix known as a Brahmana—specifically, the Shatapatha Brahmana, which gives the Vedic scriptures their name.

The four recensions of the Black Yajur Veda, on the other hand, incorporate these remarks in the text itself.

 West Indies is a country in the Caribbean.

A group of Caribbean islands having a sizable Hindu diaspora community.

They were sent to the West Indies as indentured agricultural workers, primarily on sugar plantations, as in many other instances, but have now stayed there long enough to become part of the local population.

Hindus have built temples and erected holy places (tirthas) on several of the islands, notably Trinidad, to connect their religious life to their local surroundings.

 

Week 

The Hindu week, like the European calendar, has seven days.

Each day has a governing planet, is associated with one or more presiding deities, and is seen as more or less auspicious (in line with the overall Indian attitude toward time).

Tuesday and Saturday are the unluckiest days, since they are associated with the planets Mars and Saturn, respectively.

Monday (moon), Thursday (Jupiter), and Friday (Venus) are considered fortunate days since these planets are considered compassionate and strong.

Sunday (the sun) and Wednesday (Mercury) have no significant connections since, although benign, these bodies are nevertheless seen as having a limited impact.



 West Bengal is a state in modern India.

After India's independence in 1947, the state of Bengal was partitioned into West Bengal and West Pakistan, the latter of which is today known as Bangladesh.

The majority of the state is located in the Ganges River delta's lowlands, however Darjeeling stretches into the Himalayas in the north.

Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal, served as the administrative hub of British India until the turn of the century.

It was also a hotbed of anti-British resistance and is now one of India's most important cultural and intellectual hubs.

Kalighat, in the center of Calcutta, as well as Dakshi neshwar, Tarakeshvar, Tarapith, and Navadvip, are all prominent holy places in West Bengal.

Christine Nivin et al., India, 8th ed., Lonely Planet, 1998, is an accessible reference for general information on West Bengal and all of India's provinces.

 


Wednesday.

 (Budhvar) The fourth day of the week, with Mercury as its ruling planet (Budh).

Although not insignificant, the day has few strong associations and is not associated with any prominent deity's devotion.

Mercury is regarded as a fortunate yet vulnerable planet due to its tiny size and rapid spin around the sun.

 

 


Water is one of the five elements in Indian cosmology, along with earth, fire, wind, and akasha.

Each of the elements is related with one of the senses in certain philosophical traditions; here, water is associated with taste.

Water is also linked to a number of biological activities, including reproduction (which involves the mixing of fluids) and the disposal of fluid wastes.

 


Vyasa.

 A sage who is traditionally thought to be the creator of the Mahabharata, the second of the two major Sanskrit epics, according to Hindu mythology.

As a consequence of his dalliance with the ferrywoman Satyavati, Vyasa is the son of the sage Parashara.

Satyavati marries King Shantanu later in life, but only after securing the guarantee that their offspring will govern instead of Shantanu's firstborn son, Bhishma.

Satyavati's first son dies as a youngster, and his second son dies after marrying but before producing children.

Satyavati begs Vyasa to sleep with the brides of her younger sons, Ambika and Ambalika, in order to save Shantanu's dynasty.

Vyasa is a terribly unattractive man, according to legend, and both ladies respond automatically when he comes in their beds.

Ambika conceals her eyes, causing her son Dhrtarashtra to be born blind, while Ambalika becomes pale, leading her son Pandu to be born with an unusually pale complexion.

Vyasa also has intercourse with Ambika's maidservant, who freely submits herself to him, and Vidura is born from her.

The Pandavas and Kauravas, respectively, are the descendants of Pandu and Dhrtarashtra, the two warring groups whose rivalry propels the Mahabharata.

As a result, Vyasa is not only the Mahabharata's author, but also the source of the Mahabharata's two families' fight.

 


Vyas.

Vyas is the term given to the stage directors in the traditional Ram Lila (the name given to any public theatrical production of the Ramayana, the first of the two major Hindu epics).

The Ramnagar Ram Lila is the longest, most ornate, and perhaps the most ancient of these plays.

In the Ramnagar Ram Lila, one vyas is in charge of the svarups, brahmin youths who are portraying divinities and are regarded embodiments of the deities while they are "on stage." The other members of the cast are in charge of the other vyas.

They switch the action between the chorus and the cast, give the performers specific acting cues, and remind them of their lines when they forget them.

As a result, they are both visible agents and integral members of the Ram Lila.

 


Vyapti.

 ("pervasion") is a word that comes to mind when you think of the word "pervasion."

Vyapti is a basic requirement in traditional Indian philosophy that determines whether an inference is legitimate (anumana).

Three words are used in the recognized form of an inference: an assertion (pratijna) that contains the object to be proven, a reason (hetu) that contains evidence to support the statement, and supporting instances (drshtanta).

The statement is that there is fire on the mountain, and the explanation is that there is smoke on the mountain, with the underlying premise that smoke usually follows fire.

The reason accounts for every example of the object to be demonstrated in a valid inference; this invariable relationship between cause and effect is known as vyapti, or pervasion.

Presuppositions of India's Philosophies, edited by Karl H. Potter, was published in 1972.

 


Vyana.

One of the five physical "winds" responsible for fundamental physiological activities, together with prana, apana, udana, and samana, according to traditional Indian physiology.

Unlike the others, which are associated with particular parts of the body, the vyana wind is said to pervade the whole body, keeping everything flowing and intermingled.

 


Vyakhyana ("teaching" or “to instruct”) Mudra.

 A symbolic hand gesture (mudra) in Indian dance, sculpture, and ritual in which the tips of the thumb and index finger meet, with the rest of the fingers extended and the palm facing the spectator.

The sandarshana ("expositing") mudra is the hand motion used to indicate explanation or exposition.

The chin ("awareness") mudra is another name for the teaching gesture, which signifies a person of greater spiritual development.

 

Vyakarana, 

Vyaka (“analysis”) Vedangas is one of the six Vedangas.

The Vedangas were auxiliary fields of knowledge related with the Vedas, the earliest Hindu sacred books, and all of the Vedangas were linked to the Vedas' usage.

Vyakarana is, at its core, the study of Sanskrit gram mar, which was plainly necessary for reading the Vedic writings.

Grammar is the queen of the ancient learned disciplines, and it is what is understood by the word vidya ("knowledge") in many situations, thanks to Vyakarana's status as the gatekeeper of the Sanskrit language.

Other Vedangas include shiksha (proper pronunciation), chandas (Sanskrit prosody), kalpa (ritual instructions), nirukta (etymology), and jyotisha (astrology).

 


Vrtra.

(“obstruction”) In one of the hymns from the Rg Veda (1.32), the earliest Hindu holy literature, the name of the demon slain by the storm-god Indra.

Vrtra is characterized in this hymn as a snake who obstructs the free flow of water, thus his name.

The action in this hymn is one of Indra's defining acts, in which he kills the snake, slices it up, and lets the rivers flow freely.

Some interpreters who view the Vedas as historical records have perceived in this song the approaching Aryans bursting the dams built by the Indus Valley civilization, however there is scant evidence that such an episode really occurred.

 


Vrindavan.

Variant version of Brindavan, the place in Uttar Pradesh's southeastern region where the deity Krishna is said to have spent his childhood and youth.

Brindavan is an antiquated place in India, as well as a mythological and eternal spiritual abode that extends to the realm of Goloko Vrindavan where Lord Krishna and all the others beings in the context of that Avatar are believed to be manifest.

 


Vratya.

The vratyas were a class of itinerant ascetics who were priests of a non-Vedic fertility cult, according to the Atharva Veda, one of the oldest Hindu religious writings.

Because there are no additional records, nothing is known about them, although they were certainly outside the Vedic cult and hence looked down upon.

Later on, the term was used to describe someone who has lost their caste due to a failure to follow one of the requisite samskaras.

 


Vrat.

 Term referring to a religious pledge, said to be derived from the verb "to select." Vrats are an essential element of contemporary Hindu life as religious observances.

They can refer to one-time religious observances associated with specific festivals, such as the Shivaratri vrat, or more regular religious observances, such as those associated with the monthly lunar calendar (e.g., the ekadashi rites) or those performed on the day of the week associated with a specific patron deity.

The particular prescriptions for these vrats vary a lot, but there are a few things that they all have in common.

They frequently include dietary changes, sometimes via fasting (upavasa) and other times by consuming or avoiding certain foods.

Worship of the ruling god is another continuous feature.

The vrat's charter myth, which recounts how the vrat was created, how it should be performed, and what kind of blessings it offers, is frequently recited or heard as part of this devotion.

Vrats associated with festivals are practiced by a wide range of individuals, but weekly vrats (such as the Santoshi Ma Vrat) are most often practiced by married women in order to improve the health, safety, and prosperity of their families.

Despite the fact that such weekly vrats are ostensibly optional, they have become an anticipated component of women's religious life, through which women may protect their families' wellbeing via their sacrifices.

See Mary McGee, "Desired Fruits: Motive and Intention in Hindu Women's Votive Rituals," in Julia Leslie, ed., Roles and Rituals for Hindu Women, 1991; and Doranne Jacobson and Susan S. Wadley, Women in India, 1992, for more on women's rites.

 


Vraj.

Braj is a variant version of the area.

This is the southwestern area of the state of Uttar Pradesh, directly south of Delhi, the national capital, where the deity Krishna is said to have dwelt.

Take a look at Braj.

 

 

Swami Vivekananda (Narendranath Datta, 1863–1902).

The first Hindu missionary to the West and a well-known follower of Bengali mystic Ramakrishna.

Narendranath had a solid education and had planned to become a lawyer; when he first met Ramakrishna, he was cautious and distrustful, but over the course of a year, he was changed.

After Ramakrishna's death, he spent many years wandering around India, eventually realizing that religious life needed to serve both India's material and spiritual problems.

Vivekananda is most known for his speech to the First World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, in which he introduced Hinduism—in its logical, Vedantic form—to his Western audience for the first time.

He spoke throughout America and England for the following four years before returning to India to great acclaim.

He spent the remainder of his brief life promoting the Ramakrishna Mission, a religious organization dedicated to both social and religious improvement.

For more information, see Christopher Isherwood's Ramakrishna and His Disciples, 1965; Swami Vivekananda's Swami Vivekananda's Complete Works, 1970; and George M. Williams' "Swami Vivekananda" and "The Ramakrishna Movement: A Study in Religious Change," both in Robert D. Baird's Religion in Modern India, 1998.

 


Vivasvan is a term that is used to describe a person who is passionate about something.

Vivasvan  or "shining out" is a phrase that is used to describe anything that is brightor luminous.

In the Hindu Pantheon, it is Surya's (Sun) epithet. 

Take a look at Surya for more information.

 


Vivartavada.

 The world is described as an illusory transformation of the Ultimate Reality or Realities, according to this philosophical model.

The Advaita Vedanta philosophical school is known for its vivartavada model.

The Advaitins believe in a causal model known as satkaryavada, which assumes that effects already exist in their causes and that when they appear, they are simply transformations (parinama) of those causes.

Milk is transformed into curds, butter, and clarified butter as a classic example.

Each of these effects was already present in the cause, according to proponents of asatkarya, and emerges from it through a natural transformation of the cause.

The Advaita school adheres to the philosophical position of monism, which holds that everything is merely different manifestations of a single Ultimate Reality.

Despite the appearance of difference and diversity in the world, Advaita proponents claim that reality is nondual (advaita), that is, that all things are "actually" nothing but the formless, unqualified Brahman.

The Advaitins' belief that an effect already exists in its cause is based on the principle that all things in the universe ultimately rely on Brahman as the first cause.

Simultaneously, the Advaitins refuse to acknowledge that Brahman ever changes because this would negate its eternal and unchanging nature.

As a result, they talk about a fictitious transmission (vivartavada).

The Advaitins believe that Brahman never truly changes because it is eternal and thus unchanging; the apparent changes are only illusory, based on human ignorance through shifting superimposition patterns (adhyasa).

Advaitins are able to maintain Brahman's transcendence while also accounting for (apparent) changes in the phenomenal world in this way.

Proponents of a different approach, which portrays the perceivable world as an actual trans creation of this unified reality, argue against this stance.

Proponents of the Samkhya, Vishishthadvaita Vedanta, and Bhedabhada philosophical traditions, who, like Advaitins, believe in satkaryavada, hold this position.

Each of these three schools thinks that the world as we see it is real, that it is rooted in a single ultimate source, and that this fundamental principle undergoes a genuine metamorphosis through which the universe is born.

This parinama connection permits these schools to explain the phenomenal world, but in a manner that undermines the transcendence of these initial principles by incorporating them within it.

Philosophically, they struggle to explain how the sublime might become commonplace, then transcendent again.

 


Vivarana Advaita  is a Sanskrit phrase that means "to live in the present moment."

Shankaracharya was the greatest figure in one of the later Advaita Vedanta schools, a philosophical school.

The Advaita school adheres to the philosophical position of monism, which is the belief in a single impersonal Ultimate Reality, which they refer to as Brahman.

Despite the appearance of difference and diversity in the perceptible world, Advaita proponents believe that reality is "nondual" (advaita), that is, all things are nothing but the formless Brahman.

This assumption of diversity is a manifestation of avidya for Advaitins, who believe it is a fundamental mental misunderstanding of the ultimate nature of things.

Although frequently translated as "ignorance," avidya refers to a lack of genuine understanding that leads to karmic bonds, reincarnation (samsara), and suffering.

Because the Advaitins' real problem is this erroneous understanding, realization (jnana) was the most effective spiritual path for achieving ultimate liberation (moksha).

The Vivarana Advaita school is based on the ideas of Padmapada (9th century), one of Shankaracharya's disciples, but takes its name from a commentary written by Prakashatman in the thirteenth century.

Traditionally, the latter was a Padmapada disciple, but this appears to be problematic.

The Vivarana school, like the Bhamati school, took firm positions on a number of issues where Shankaracharya had been silent.

One of these was on the locus of ignorance, described by the Vivarana school as being in Brahman.

The Vivarana Advaitins use the theory of reflectionism to explain the apparent difference between Brahman and the Self, despite the fact that the Selves are identical with Brahman, because it appears to compromise the integrity of Brahman.

Their position appears to be based on an unwavering affirmation of Brahman as the sole "reality," to which everything that exists must belong.

 


Vivaha ("strengthening") Samskara.

 The fifteenth of the life cycle ceremonies (samskaras) is when a man and a woman become husband and wife.

Except for the few individuals who remained lifelong celibates (naisthika brahmacharin), marriage was a necessary part of every man's (and woman's) life, because the children born through marriage allowed him to pay off one of the three debts, this one to the ancestral spirits (pitr).

The literal translation of the word vivaha—it means "to uplift" and "complete" a man—is one indication of the importance attached to marriage.

Marriage has always been a serious matter in Indian society, and for many Indians, it is still the most important day of their lives.

The importance of marriage is highlighted in the dharma literature, which lists eight different types of marriage.

Eight classical forms of marriage are also available.

 

Vitthalnath.

(1566–1585)

His father, Vallabhacharya, founded the Pushti Marg (a religious community).

Vitthalnath continued the Pushti Marg's consolidation, especially the organization of its rites and the encouragement of song and poetry composition to accompany them.

The eight ashtachap poets were active during his reign, according to legend, though four of them are more closely associated with his father.

Vitthalnath's four poets were clearly Pushti Marg members, as hymns praising him and his leadership can be found among their works.

He was succeeded by his son Gokulnath, who oversaw the final writing down of the lives of these and other saints, each with a Vallabhite emphasis.

 


Vitthala.

Vithoba, the ruling deity of a well-known temple in Pandharpur, Maharashtra, is known by this epithet.

According to Deleury, the oldest attested name for the Pandharpur deity is Vitthala, which is a more literary form.

 


Vithoba.

 The presiding deity of the same-named temple in Pandharpur, Maharashtra; Vithoba's other epithets include Vitthala and Pandurang.

Vithoba was a deified hero who was assimilated into the larger Hindu pantheon as a form of the god Vishnu, according to some theories.

Vishnu is drawn to Pandharpur by the filial piety of a young boy named Pundalika, according to the temple's founding legend.

When Vishnu arrives, Pundalika is massaging his father's feet, and when Vishnu requests the hospitality due to any guest, Pundalika only stops long enough to throw a brick over his shoulder, allowing the god to stand out of the mud.

Vishnu becomes rooted to that spot and has remained there ever since, impressed that Pundalika's devotion to his parents exceeds even his devotion to God; Vithoba's image depicts him with his hands on his hips (still waiting, perhaps, for Pundalika).

Apart from this story, Vithoba has a surprising lack of mythic history, despite becoming a powerful regional deity.

The Varkari Panth religious community, Vithoba's devotees (bhakta), make pilgrimages to Pandharpur twice a year.

Pilgrims travel from all over the world to visit Pandharpur, which is located in the Bhima River valley on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border.

Individual pilgrims travel in small groups known as dindis, which are usually made up of people from the same neighborhood or area.

The dindis are organized into palkhis, which are led by a palanquin (palkhi) bearing the san dals of one of the Varkari poet-saints.

Each palkhi leaves from a location associated with a particular saint—for example, Jnaneshvar's palkhi leaves from Alandi, where he lived, and thus he and all the other saints are still symbolically traveling to Pandharpur twice a year.

Each of these palkhis follows a predetermined route, and pilgrims time their departure and arrival in Pandharpur to coincide with the eleventh day (ekadashi) in the bright half of Ashadh (June–July) in the summer and the eleventh day in the bright half of Kartik (October–November) in the fall.

Pilgrims liken their journey to a small stream merging with other streams, eventually forming a mighty river that flows into Pandharpur.

Pilgrims sing devotional songs composed by poet-saints such as Jnaneshvar, Namdev, Eknath, Tukaram, Chokamela, Gora, Janabai, and Bahina Bai while on their journey.

By walking in the footsteps of the saints before them and singing their devotional songs, the pilgrims are emulating them.

The pilgrimage ends with the entry into Pandharpur and the worship of Vithoba, but the journey itself is the most important part.

G. A. Deleury's The Cult Of Vithoba, 1960; I. B. Karve's "On the Road," Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 22 No. 1, 1962; and Digambar Balkrishna's Digambar Balkrishna's Digambar Balkrishna's Digambar Balkrishna's Digambar Balkrishna's Digambar Balkrishna Palkhi: An Indian Pilgrimage, edited by Mokashi, was first published in 1987.

 


Vital Winds .

Prana is the collective name for the five internal winds that are said to be responsible for all human physiological functions.

 

Vismaya ("surprise") is a Sanskrit word that means "surprise." Hasta A hand gesture (hasta) in Indian dance, sculpture, and ritual in which the forearm and fingers point upward with the back of the hand turned toward the spectator.

This hasta is used to express any kind of surprise, such as amazement and astonishment.

 


Vishvedevas.

 Based on the literal meaning of the word ("all the gods"), this name might be interpreted as referring to all gods, or it can refer to a group of deities known as the sons of Vishva, the celestial sage Daksha's daughter.

The number of sons varies across manuscripts and is either 10 or thirteen.

Although the Manu Smrti, one of the most important scriptures in the dharma literature, requires daily gifts to the Vishvedevas, they are especially venerated during memorial services for the deceased known as shraddhas.

They are claimed to have received these daily offerings as a reward for performing exceptionally severe asceticism.

 


Vishvanath.

 At the Vishvanath temple in Benares, the deity Shiva appears in his manifestation as the "Lord of the Universe." Shiva is represented in Vishvanath with a linga, a pillar-shaped image that represents Shiva's symbolic form; the Vishvanath linga is one of Shiva's twelve jyotirlingas, a network of locations thought extremely important to Shiva and where Shiva is uniquely present.

Benares, also known as Varanasi, is one of India's most holy towns; it is especially dedicated to Shiva, with Vishvanath being the most significant of all the Shiva temples there.

The original temple was destroyed by the Moghul emperor Aurangzeb, who built a mosque on the site, and the only part of the original temple that has survived is the Gyan Vapi ("well of knowledge"), into which the original Shiva linga was reportedly cast (to prevent it from being desecrated by Aurangzeb's soldiers).

The original temple was established in 1776 on a location next to the pre-sent temple by the Maratha queen Ahalya Bai Holkar.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore eventually covered the temple in gold, earning it the moniker "Golden Temple." Even in previous centuries, the closeness of the Vishvanath temple and Aurangzeb's mosque made for tense relations between the Hindu and Muslim populations, and Benares, like many other northern Indian towns, has seen its share of bloodshed.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu activist group pushing for the "return" of this and other northern Indian landmarks by force if necessary, has recently taken up the demolition of the old Vishvanath temple as a political issue.

The existence and activities of the VHP have heightened tensions between Hindus and Muslims in general.

Given the political benefits that these confrontational techniques have yielded, it is probable that they will continue in the future, and that the Vishvanath temple will remain a focus of strife.


 Vishva Nirmala Dharam (Vishva Nirmala Dharam) Nirmala Devi (b. 1923), a contemporary Hindu guru, formed this religious organization to spread her teachings over the globe.

 


Vishvamitra.

 One of the Seven Sages in Hindu mythology, whose names denote exogamous clan "lineages" (gotra; exogamous clans allow members to marry outside their own clan); the others are Gautama, Bharadvaja, Kashyapa, Bhrgu, Atri, and Vasishtha.

All brahmins are said to be descended from these seven sages, with each family receiving their progenitor's name as their gotra name.

Marriage inside the gotra is outlawed in contemporary times, thus these gotra divides are still crucial.

The new bride takes on her husband's gotra as part of her new identity after their marriage.

Vishvamitra is most well-known for his long-running quarrel with the sage Vasishtha, which has resulted in several battles.

The rivalry arises because of the kshatriyas and brahmins' differing social position.

Vishvamitra is a king who visits the woodland ashram of the brahmin Vasishtha with a contingent of retainers.

Vishvamitra is astounded by Vasishtha's cow, the Kama dhenu's capacity to feed everyone when he requests food.

Vishvamitra attempts to purchase the Kamadhenu first, then tries to seize it by force, but Vasishtha's tapas defeats his henchmen (ascetic practices).

Vishvamitra acknowledges defeat and undertakes ascetic activities in order to generate his own strength.

Two of their most famous fights are over King Trishanku and his son, Harishchandra; in both cases, the actual problem is the sages' mutual hatred.

Marriage bans may also be referred to in this context.

 

Vishvakarma is a term that refers to a cycle of good and bad deeds ("doing everything") is a phrase that is used to describe a person who does everything A minor deity who is the architect of the gods, the designer of many handicrafts, decorations, and weapons, the best sculptor, and the inventor of the gods' airborne chariots.

He is the patron and model for all skilled trades involving the shaping and shaping of materials, and he is credited with establishing the canons for carving godly pictures.

Sanjna, Vishvakarma's daughter, is married to Surya, the sun, but she cannot stand to be with him because of the sun's splendour, according to one account.

Vishvakarma brings the sun to his studio and reduces his radiance to a level that Sanjna can tolerate.

He then carves the sun's cut-off fragments into Vishnu's discus (Sudarshana), Shiva's trident (trishul), numerous heavenly weapons, and the Pushpak Viman, the most renowned of the airborne chariots.

In the Vedas, the earliest Hindu sacred books, Vishvakarma is frequently mistaken for Tvashtr, the god's workman.

Despite this, it seems that they are two distinct gods who have been homologized by their same role.

Tvashtr's name means "maker of carriages," and it seems that this was his major duty, but he is also known for manufacturing godly weapons, including the mace with which the storm-god Indra slays the snake Vrtra.

Nonetheless, his name seems to imply that his primary role is the construction of carriages, which is seen to be quite crucial in a Vedic religious literature, since numerous Vedic songs reference the usage of war chariots.

Vishvakarma, on the other hand, has a considerably broader set of abilities, implying that the two deities are not the same.

 


 Vishva Hindu Parishad (Vishva Hindu Parishad) is a Hindu religious organization based in India.

(VHP) Modern Hindu religious group connected with the Rashtriya Svayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a conservative Hindu organization whose avowed mission is to produce the leadership cadre for a rejuvenated Hindu India.

When RSS leader Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar met with a group of Hindu religious leaders in Bombay in 1964, the VHP was created.

Their immediate concern was Pope Paul VI's planned visit to India, which they saw as a covert effort to convert Hindus to Christianity, which they intended to combat by founding an organization committed to Hinduism propagation.

With little fanfare and little influence on public perception, the VHP concentrated its concentration for the next fifteen years on opposing Christian missionary operations in northeastern India.

The conversion of some untouchables to Islam in the Tamil Nadu hamlet of Minakshipuram in 1982 was a watershed moment in the VHP's public image.

The VHP seized on this widely reported incident as proof that Hindu identity was in jeopardy, and responded by undertaking a series of inventive public activities, first in Tamil Nadu and then throughout the country.

The VHP's resurgence coincided with the RSS's shift toward activism, as well as the BJP's decision to adopt a more militantly Hindu character.

Many of the VHP's national campaigns coincided with national or state elections, and many of them were concentrated on the effort to erect a temple to the deity Rama in the city of Ayodhya, at the alleged birthplace of Rama.

The intended temple location was occupied by the Babri Masjid, a Muslim mosque erected after the ancient Rama temple was demolished, according to the VHP.

As a result, the temple campaign evoked strong memories of historical persecution as well as the boldness of a resurgent Hindu identity.

The VHP's political involvement has helped the BJP become the dominant political party in most of northern India.

Throughout India, the VHP's advocacy has evoked a wide range of feelings.

Proponents refer to the organization's long history of charitable work and its role in strengthening and defining modern Hindu identity.

Detractors object to the RSS's disdain for legal formalities, as was shown by the destruction of the Babri Masjid in December 1992, as well as its sometimes caustic anti-Muslim rhetoric and, despite its unique institutional identity, its ultimate control by the RSS.

Others have chastised the VHP for seeking to define and regulate the character of "Hinduism" by declaring some "necessary" Hindu practices as antithetical to Hindu heritage.

Other opponents reject the VHP's claim to speak for all Hindus, pointing out that its genuine authority resides in the hands of brahmins and other privileged castes; these critics perceive the VHP as an organization meant to hide its true objective, which is to maintain upper-class power and privilege.

For more information, see Walter K. Andersen and Shridhar D. Damle's The Brotherhood in Saffron (1987); James Warner Björkman's Fundamentalism, Revivalists, and Violence in South Asia (1988); Tapan Basu et alKhaki .'s Shorts and Saffron Flags (1993); Lise McKean's Divine Enterprise (1996); and Christophe Jaffrelot's The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India (1996) 

 


Vishuddha Chakra.

The vishuddha chakra is one of the six psychic centers (chakras) thought to exist in the subtle body, according to several schools of yoga and tantra, a hidden, ritually oriented religious practice.

The subtle body is a separate physiological system that is thought to exist on a different level than coarse matter yet has some similarities to it.

It's depicted as a group of six mental centers joined by three vertical channels and shaped like multipetaled lotus flowers flowing approximately along the spine's route.

Each of these chakras has significant symbolic associations, including varying human capacities, subtle components (tanmatras), and seed syllables (bijaksharas) constructed from Sanskrit alphabet letters, embracing all holy sound.

Shiva (consciousness) and Shakti (power), the two divine principles through which the whole cosmos came into existence, have physical abodes above and below these centers.

The homology of macrocosm and microcosm, a key Hindu notion from the time of the mystical scriptures known as the Upanishads, is therefore the basic premise underpinning this concept of the subtle body.

The vishuddha chakra is the fifth of the six chakras, which are generally numbered from the bottom up.

It resembles a sixteen-petaled lotus and is found in the neck area.

Each of the petals has a seed phrase made up of a letter from the Sanskrit alphabet, in this instance all sixteen Sanskrit vowels, which are necessary linking factors in any meaningful speech.

The vishuddha chakra is linked to the human ability to speak and breathe on a symbolic level.

It is also said to be the physical seat of the subtle element of space (akasha), through which hearing is thought to occur.

See Arthur Avalon's (Sir John Woodroffe's) Shakti and Shakta (1978) and Philip S. Rawson's The Art of Tantra (1973) for further details.

 


Vishnuswami  is a Sanskrit word that means "Vishnu Swami." ("Vishnu is [his] Lord") The Vaishnava ascetics' Rudra Sampraday is said to have been founded by him.

(The Rudra Sampraday is one of the four "sampraday" branches of the Bairagi Naga ascetics, who are devotees of the god Vishnu; vaishnava refers to Vishnu devotees.)

According to some sources, Vishnuswami was the guru of both Jnaneshvar and Namdev.

Vishnuswami was a Vaishnava, as his name implies, but nothing is known about him other than that.

His ascetic path and status as one of the four Vaishnava ascetic sampradays have been seized by Vallabhacharya's Shuddadvaita, or "Pure Monism," which emphasizes Krishna's adoration with Radha as his wife.