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Adharma:
contrary to what is right; evil. See ‘dharma’

Aditi:
Vedic goddess, the 'mother' of the gods

Adityas:
Vedic sun deities, offspring of Aditi

Advaita Vedanta:
non-dualistic Vedantic philosophy

Agamas:
mystical scriptures pertaining to specific Hindu sects such as Vaisnavaites or Saivites

Agni:
fire; sacred fire; fire god

Ahimsa:
non-violence

Amma:
mother, a compound often used in the names of female goddesses

Amrta:
a nectar which was believed to bestow immortality

Ananda:
bliss; the bliss of union with Brahman

Anna:
food, rice

Aranyaka Vedic:
forest texts or writings

Arjun:
one of the sons of Pandu and the main (human) character of the Bhagavad Gita

Artha:
worldly wealth, pursuit of wealth and social status

Arti:
act of worship celebrating light

Aryans:
the migrant invaders of India from approximately 1500 BC; people of spiritual values

Asanas:
yogic postures

Asat:
non-being, that is to say the unreality of the world as opposed to the true Being (sat) which is
Brahman.

Ashram:
hermitage, retreat or place of quiet and solitude, often in a forest, where a Hindu sage lives alone or with his disciples

Asramas:
the four stages of life in Hinduism

Asvamedha:
probably the most prestigious of Vedic sacrificial rites, where a horse is sacrificed in a yajna by the king whose supremacy has been acknowledged by the neighbouring kings

Atharva Veda:
Knowledge of Incantations', the fourth Veda

Atman:
the presence of Brahman as the deepest essence of the self in all entities; the Divine Self, a synonym of Brahman

Aum:
the sacred sound and symbol which represents Brahman in its unmanifest and manifest aspects

Avatar:
literally 'descents', incarnation of God, usually the incarnations of Visnu and his consort Laksmi

Avidya:
ignorance

Ayurveda:
Vedic medical system

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