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92 definitions by World_Religions

Prescribed forms of ceremony, worship, or veneration used for purposes of strengthening communal values or increasing spiritual potency.
Rites of intensification is a ritual or ceremony performed by a community in a time of crisis that affects all members such as a rain dance during a drought.
by World_Religions August 03, 2010
In Hinduism and Indian mythology Krishna is the eighth avatar or reincarnation of the god Vishnu. Also Krishna is one of the most popular Hindu gods. Tradition holds that Krishna saw Vishnu in a vision in which the former deity told Krishna to destroy Kamsa son of a demon, a tyrannical ruler of the world. Krishna's mother, Devaki, was Kamsa's half-sister. Kamsa already killed her first six sons because he had been told one of her sons would kill him. Krishna' brother, Devaki's seventh child, Balarama was miraculously saved by Vishnu. Krishna was also saved when exchanged by his parents for the daughter of a herdsman Nanda and his wife Yasoda (the daughter was also a divine being, an incarnation of Maya). With his foster parents Krishna spent a happy life playing boyish pranks and seducing the gopis (cow girls) and other rustic maidens. They found his flute playing irresistible. Legend has it he may have had 16,000 wives. But his favorite was Radha, daughter of his foster father, and his childhood lover, although they did not marry.
According to legend Krishna was not only divine, but heroic as well. He is alleged to have defeated numerous dragons and monsters, and eventually as predicted, killed his half-uncle the tyrannical king Kamsa. In the epic poem 'Mahabharata' he helps the Pandavas against the Kauravas, two families in contention. In the poem Krishna is depicted as divine. Also in the poem he delivers his celebrated oration 'Bhagavad-Gita' on duty and life to the troubled Hero Arjuna, for who he was a charioteer, on the eve of the decisive battle. This speech persuaded Arjuna that it was right to fight against his kinsmen. His "Song of the Adorable One" is one of the great philosophical poems. There are certain parallels between his birth and infancy and that of Christ's which tend to link these two important figures together. In art Krishna is usually portrayed as blue-skinned.
by World_Religions August 04, 2010
A member of a Celtic order of priest magicians or wizards whose rituals, centering on animal and tree worship, were said to include human sacrifice.
A druid was a member of the priestly class in Gaul and likely other parts of Celtic Western Europe during the Iron Age. Following the invasion of Gaul by the Roman Empire, the druids were suppressed by the Roman government from the 1st century CE and disappeared from the written record by the 2nd century, although there may have been later survivals in the British Isles. Very little is currently known about the ancient druids as they left no written accounts about themselves, and other than a few descriptions left by Greek and Roman authors, and in stories created by later mediaeval Irish writers, the accuracy of all of which are disputed, we have no evidence about them.
by World_Religions August 23, 2010
The epic about the struggles of Rama and his allies in rescuing Sita from the demon Ravana.
The Ramayana tells the story of Rama. Rama is an avatar of the great god Vishnu, incarnated to destroy Ravana, the demon king of Sri Lanka. When Ravana steals Rama’s wife Sita, he goes to retrieve her aided by his brother and the monkey king Hanuman. He rescues Sita and kills Ravana, but when the people question Sita’s honor, he sends her away. This sets a model for the responsibilities of husbands, rulers, and wives.
by World_Religions August 30, 2010
The ancient Aryan horse sacrifice.
Asvamedha was a Hindu, Vedic, ritual of horse sacrifice. It was performed by kings as a symbolic representation of their supreme power and authority, and, sometimes, for such blessings as the birth of a son to ensure succession. For the previous year the chosen horse wondered unmolested as he pleased in a pasture while protected by an armed guard. If he trespassed into another kingdom, the ruler was obliged to fight to keep the animal or surrender him. At the end of year the animal was brought back to the capital with appropriate ceremony, and sacrificed along with other animals. The fertility of this ceremony is evident from the way in which, symbolically, the senior queen would lie beside the dead horse. Jaya Sinah II of Jaipur was the last prince to perform this ceremony in the 18th century.
by World_Religions August 30, 2010
"Cooled" or "quenched," the unconditioned state of liberation, release from the cycle of rebirth-redeath; Pali: Nibbana.
When someone reaches nirvana, it means that he or she has broken free of samsara, the cycle of reincarnation and suffering which characterizes all life on Earth. In addition to being free from suffering, the individual is also beyond obsessions and earthly concerns. He or she has a high level of wisdom and compassion, and has reached a state of perfect peace with all life. For Buddhists, nirvana is the highest state one can attain, and it can take a very long time to reach this state. The term “nirvana” literally means “to extinguish,” although the term refers to the extinction of life as one knows it, not to a final end. Buddhists strive to attain nirvana by following the Eightfold Path and other precepts of their faith, and many believe that they have no way of knowing how long they have been on Earth, working towards eventual nirvana. It is also believed that people must achieve enlightenment in order to reach nirvana, but that enlightenment is not necessarily an automatic ticket to nirvana.
by World_Religions September 14, 2010
An ancient Indic language used in eary Theravada scripture.
Among early Buddhists Pali was considered linguistically similar to, or even a direct continuation of, the Old Magadhi language. Many Theravada sources refer to the Pali language as "Magadhan" or the "language of Magadha." This identification first appears in the commentaries, and may have been an attempt by Buddhists to associate themselves more closely with the Mauryans. The Buddha taught in Magadha, but the four most important places in his life are all outside of it. It is likely that he taught in several closely related dialects of Middle Indo-Aryan, which had a very high degree of mutual intelligibility.
by World_Religions September 14, 2010