Glossary

Ashram: a Hindu monastery.

Ayurvedic medicine: The ancient holistic Indian system of medicine and health.

Brahmin: The priestly caste in Indian society.

Darshan: Direct visual contact with the Deity (usually through a murthi), which brings blessings to the devotee.

Ganges: India's most sacred river, running from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, often thought of as a Goddess in Her own right, Ganga.

Ghat
: An entrance into the water for pilgrims who wish to take a sanctifying dip.

Krishna and Radha: Krishna is an incarnation of the God Vishnu, the Preserver. He and His Consort, Radha, symbolize the perfect union of humanity with the Divine.

Murthi: An image or icon of a Deity used during worship. Hindus do not worship the image itself but use it as a means of focusing the mind and heart on God. Adya Ma said, "I shall reveal myself in any image you may invoke me in with devotion."

Moksha: Release from the suffering of the material world.

Om:
the most powerful syllable in Sanskrit; the most sacred mantra in Hinduism. Also spelled Aum.

Prasad
or prasadam: food that has been blessed by having been offered to God.

Puja: A ritual or ceremony honoring the Divine through reciting sacred chants and offering food, flowers, incense, etc.

Sadhu: a wandering holy man such as are still common in India today.

Sangha: "Organization" or "Association."

Sannyasin: a religious renunciate or monk.

Tantra: An ancient system of religious philosophy that seeks union with the Divine Mother through specific rites and practices.

Thakur: A Bengali title of respect for any Brahmin, but especially for someone of high spiritual esteem.

Vedanta: A system of Hindu philosophy that views God as pure "isness"--Absolute Existence, Absolute Knowledge, and Absolute Bliss, without any form or attributes.

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