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Glossary
Advaita
Non-duality. A school of philosophy associated with the Indian philosopher, Shankaracharya (788-820), which believes that there is only one Absolute Truth; all else is appearance.
Ahimsa
Nonviolence, positively the practice of love.
Ashram
Hermitage; a quiet place where people having common ideals lead a community life and follow a particular discipline. The place where Gandhi resided with his co-workers and disciples was referred to as the ashram.
Ashrama
Hindu idealism prescribes four stages or periods of good life, called ashramas: the period of study and self-discipline; of life as a householder and man of the World; of contemplation and gradual withdrawal from worldly ties; of total renunciation.
Atma
Soul, self.
Avatar
A divine incarnation.
Bania
Member of the third caste among the Hindus, whose traditional occupation is trade and commerce.
Bhagavat
A sacred book of the Hindus dealing also with the life and teachings of Lord Krishna.
Brahmacharya
Celibacy; a life of self-discipline and continence dedicated to higher pursuits.
Brahmin
Member of the first caste among the Hindus whose traditional occupation is priesthood or devotion to learning.
Chapati
Cake of unleavened bread.
Charkha
Spinning wheel.
Dharma
Religion; moral law or practice; duty.
Diwan
Chief minister of a princely State.
Himsa
Violence.
Kalma
Designates the profession of faith whereby a Muslim witnesses the unity of God.
Khaddar
Hand-spun and hand-woven doth.
Mahatma
Lit. A great soul; a title generally given to saints. In later years Gandhi was generally referred to in India as the Mahatma.
Manu
An ancient preceptor and author of the Code of Laws, named after him.
Moksha
Emancipation from earthly attachments; liberation from the cycle of births.
Muni
Seer; sage; particularly a Jain saint.
Nawab
Muslim dignitary or ruler.
Purdah
Veil worn by woman in some eastern countries.
Rishi
Sage.
Sadavrata
Giving of alms to the poor
Samskar
Indelible impression left by past action.
Satyagraha
Lit. Holding on to truth. Name given by Gandhi to the technique of non-violent resistance as practiced by him and under his guidance.
Seva Samiti
A society for voluntary social service.
Shastra
Hindu scripture.
Swadeshi
Love of one's own country or patronage of things indigenous and native.
Swaraj
Self-rule.
Upanishad
Ancient discourses on philosophy which are generally regarded as the source material of Hindu metaphysics. There are more than a hundred such Upanishads of which ten are considered as principal.
Vakil
Pleader; lawyer.
Vedas
The earliest and most sacred writings of the Hindus.