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Purusartha

Purusartha Puruṣārtha (Purusartha or पुरुषार्थ) literally means an “object of human pursuit”. It is a key concept in Hinduism, and refers to the four proper goals or aims of a human life. The four puruṣārthas are Dharma (righteousness, moral values), Artha (prosperity, economic values), Kama (pleasure, love, psychological values) and Moksha (liberation, spiritual values). All four Purusarthas are important, but in cases...

Roti with Baigan (Brinjal) subji and curd

Mitahara

Mitahara Mitahara (मिताहार, Mitāhāra) literally means the habit of moderate food. Mitahara is also a concept in Indian philosophy, particularly Yoga, that integrates awareness about food, drink, balanced diet and consumption habits and its effect on one’s body and mind. It is one of the ten yamas in ancient Indian texts. Definition...

Illustrative Hindu meals

Diet in Hinduism

Diet in Hinduism Diet in Hinduism varies with its diverse traditions. The ancient and medieval Hindu texts recommend ahimsa (non-violence) against all life forms including animals because they believe that it minimizes animal deaths. Many Hindus follow a vegetarian or lacto-vegetarian diet that are in sync with nature, compassionate, respectful of other life forms....

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Sattvic Diet

Sattvic Diet Sattvic diet is a diet based on foods in ayurvedic and yogic literature that contain the quality (guna) sattva. In this system of dietary classification, foods that decrease the energy of the body are considered tamasic, while those that increase the energy of the body are considered rajasic. A sattvic diet is meant to include foods...

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Hindu Temple

Hindu Temple A Hindu temple is a symbolic house, seat and body of divinity. It is a structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, using symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism. The symbolism and structure of a Hindu temple are rooted in Vedic traditions, deploying circles and...

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Hindu Festivals

Hindu Festivals There are a great number of Hindu religious festivals held throughout the world. The festivals typically celebrate events from Hindu mythology, often coinciding with seasonal changes. There are many festivals which are primarily celebrated by specific sects or in certain regions of the Indian subcontinent. The festive season is widely celebrated. These events...

A fancy Indian wedding taking place in Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, India

Hindu Wedding

Hindu Wedding A Hindu wedding is Vivaha (विवाह) and the wedding ceremony is called Vivaah Sanskar in North India and Kalyanam (generally) in Tamil Nadu. The wedding ceremonies are very colourful, and celebrations may extend for several days. The bride’s and groom’s home—entrance, doors, wall, floor, roof—are sometimes decorated with colors, balloons, and other decorations. The rituals and...

Grihasta Ashrama

Ashrama in Hinduism

Ashrama in Hinduism Ashrama in Hinduism is one of four age-based life stages discussed in Indian texts of the ancient and medieval eras. The four ashramas are: Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired) and Sannyasa (renunciate). The Ashrama system is one facet of the Dharma concept in Hinduism. It is also a component of the ethical theories in Indian philosophy, where it is...

Hindus at Har Ki Pauri, Haridwar near river Ganges in Uttarakhand state of India.

Hindus

Hindus Hindus are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism. Historically, the term has also been used as a geographical, cultural, and later religious identifier for people living in the Indian subcontinent. The historical meaning of the term Hindu has evolved with time. Starting with the Persian...

A Hindu monk walking during sunrise in a mango garden in Dinajpur, Bangladesh

Sannyasa

Sannyasa Sannyasa (saṃnyāsa) is the life stage of renunciation within the Hindu philosophy of four age-based life stages known as ashramas, with the first three being Brahmacharya (bachelor student), Grihastha (householder) and Vanaprastha (forest dweller, retired). Sannyasa is traditionally conceptualized for men or women in late years of their life, but young brahmacharis have had...

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Hindu Reform Movements

Hindu Reform Movements Several contemporary groups, collectively termed Hindu reform movements or Hindu revivalism, strive to introduce regeneration and reform to Hinduism, both in a religious or spiritual and in a societal sense. The movements started appearing during the Bengali Renaissance. The religious aspect mostly emphasizes Vedanta tradition and mystical interpretations of Hinduism (“Neo-Vedanta“), and the societal...

Shaktism is a Goddess-centric tradition of Hinduism. From left: Parvati/Durga, Kali and Lakshmi

Hindu Denominations

Hindu Denominations Hindu denominations are traditions within Hinduism centered on one or more gods or goddesses, such as Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, and Brahma. Sometimes the term is used for sampradayas led by a particular guru with a particular philosophy. Hinduism has no central doctrinal authority and many practising Hindus do not claim to belong to any...

Amarnath temple

Hindu Pilgrimage Sites in India

Hindu Pilgrimage Sites in India In Hindu religion and spirituality, the pilgrimage has great significance. Members of the faith participate in the following types of pilgrimage. The pilgrimage to each sacred site has its own religious significance. Holy Place: Tirupathi Himalayan Char Dham – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Varanasi/Kashi, Prayagraj, Haridwar-Rishikesh, Mathura-Vrindavan, Somnath,...

Shingon Buddhist priests practice homa ritual, which sometimes includes beating drums and blowing horagai (lower, conch).

Homa (Ritual)

Homa (Ritual) Homa is Sanskrit for a ritual, wherein an oblation or any religious offering is made into fire. A homa is sometimes called a “sacrifice ritual” because the fire destroys the offering, but a homa is more accurately a “votive ritual“. The fire is the agent, and the offerings include those that...

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Ajativada

Ajativada Ajātivāda (अजातिवाद) is the fundamental philosophical doctrine of the Advaita Vedanta philosopher Gaudapada. According to Gaudapada, the Absolute is not subject to birth, change and death. The Absolute is aja, the unborn eternal. The empirical world of appearances is considered unreal, and not absolutely existent. Gaudapada’s perspective is based on the Mandukya Upanishad, applying the philosophical concept of...

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Śrauta

Śrauta or Srauta Śrauta or srauta is a Sanskrit word that means “belonging to śruti“, that is, anything based on the Vedas of Hinduism. It is an adjective and prefix for texts, ceremonies or person associated with śruti. The term, for example, refers to Brahmins who specialise in the śruti corpus of texts, and Śrauta Brahmin traditions in...

Brahmins in white dress performing the Bhumi Puja ritual yajna around fire

Brahmin

Brahmin Brahmin or The Brahman (ब्राह्मण) is a varna (class) in Hinduism specialising as priests (purohit, pandit, or pujari), teachers (acharya) and protectors of sacred learning across generations. The traditional occupation of Brahmins was that of priesthood at the Hindu temples or at socio-religious ceremonies and rite of passage rituals such as solemnising a wedding with hymns and prayers....

22 Avatars of Vishnu in Bhagavata Purana

Vaishnavism

Vaishnavism Vaishnavism is one of the major Hindu denominations along with Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism. It is also called Vishnuism, its followers are called Vaishnavas or Vaishnavites, and it considers Vishnu as the Supreme Lord. The tradition is notable for its avatar doctrine, wherein Vishnu is revered in one of many distinct incarnations. Rama, Krishna,...

Smarta Brahmins in western India (c. 1855–1862).

Smarta Tradition

Smarta Tradition Smarta tradition (स्मार्त) is a movement in Hinduism that developed during its classical period around the beginning of the Common Era. It reflects a Hindu synthesis of four philosophical strands: Mimamsa, Advaita, Yoga, and theism. The Smarta tradition rejects theistic sectarianism, and it is notable for the domestic worship of five shrines with five deities,...

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Shaivism

Shaivism Shaivism is one of the major traditions within Hinduism that reveres Shiva as the Supreme Being. The followers of Shaivism are called “Shaivites” or “Saivites”. It is one of the largest sects that believe Shiva, worshipped as a creator and destroyer of worlds, is the supreme god over all. The Shaiva have many sub-traditions...