|Absolute, The: perfect; complete; whole;
not mixed; pure. In philosophy: ultimate reality regarded as uncaused,
unmodified, unified and complete, timeless etc.
Agni: the god of fire in Hindu; in Sanskrit literally meaning "fire" (cf. ignite), of great importance especially in the Vedic period. He lies at the center of sacrifice as the messenger of god. Agni mediates between humans and gods. He witnesses all sacred transactions, and sacrifices must pass through him (fire) to reach the divine. He guards the south east quadrant of the universe. He acts as the source of knowledge for priests and is the enemy of darkness (Krishna). He embodies youth and bestows immortality.
allegiance: devotion or loyalty to a person, group or cause; the quality or state of being faithful; a pledge of loyalty to a certain religion or cause.
alms bowls: bowls held up by the samanas for gifts of food. Alms giving is part of the general ethical practice built into Buddhist life. What counts is the intention and unselfishness of the act, although in actual practice it may be done to earn devine merit for the donor. Alms can be gifts of food, money, clothing. As a duty to give to the poor, alms played a significant role in biblical culture. These obligations were derived from the rise of a large poor class during the Greek era. Alms served to maintain community relations and loyalty.
Anathapindika ("who gives to the needy"), Buddha’s most renowned lay followers, was a wealthy merchant in Sravasti who built the monastery for him in the Jetavana Grove at great expense. His actual name was Sudatta.
ardent: extreme interest in pursuit of something; showing great warmth or intensity of feeling; eagerness
Ascetic is a person who renounces material comforts and leads a life of austere self-discipline, especially as an act of religious devotion and penance. The word "Asceticism" (cf. Grk. Asketikos) derives from the Greek philosophical, spiritual, ethical, and gymnastic exercises (Grk. askein > to exercise) of the will, mind, and body. It is the opposite of sensuality and is expected to lead to the development of virtue and strength through exercises, self-denial and mortification. Exercises include celibacy, fasting, posture, silence, unpleasant tasks and withdrawal from human companionship. It was designed to free the spirit from the body's demands, to subdue one's appetites and discipline oneself to reach a high state, spiritually and intellectually. The first to believe in the idea of reincarnation were ascetics. (cf. Harper Collins Dictionary of Religion, © 1995, American Academy of Religion)
assiduous: marked by careful and unremitting attention, something tended to with persistent application.
Atharva-Veda: means "the Veda of the Atharvan" or knowledge of magic formulas. This word, originally dating back to the Indio-Iranian period literally means "fire priest." Atharva-Veda is the forth section of the Vedas and contains material that may be as old as the first section (731 hymns), the Rig-Veda, although most is later than other portions of Veda. Atharva-Veda contains hymns to the gods of the Vedic pantheon and magical spells and incantations for disease curing, rain, material prosperity, and subduing enemies.. Atharva Veda is similar to yoga. It describes an Aryan group (an Indoeuropean-speaking people) called the Vratyas who practiced austerities and breathing exercises suggestive of yogic control. It also desccribes Brahman. As a collection of hymns, magic spells, and incantations it represented a more popular (cruder) level of religion and remained partly outside the Vedic sacrificial tradition. . It was not strictly fixed in content , so a series of brief Upanishads was appended to it. It usually represents textbooks for later schools of Hinduism. It is also the oldest book of Indian medicine.
Atman: in the Rig-Veda it means "breath" (German: "Atem"), the Hindu word for "self", it is the process where the individual discovers that he lives in the shadow of the Real (Brahman); so that the quest for the "self" is transformed into the quest for the Transcendent, and the reality of the world around begins to fade from view. It can also be defined as the eternal core, the innermost essence of the individual, nameless and formless, that survives after death and that transmigrates to a new life or is released from the bonds of existence. Siddhartha works toward the goal of of recognizing the relationship between the Atman (self) and Brahman (reality) as he changes roles in life, moving to understand himself and his relationship with reality.
atonement traditionally means to cleanse the body or mind or to reconcile one's past actions. In religious functions such as those of churches, temples, etc., atonement is usually sought through repentance. Atonement is just what is says, cleansing oneself of sins (The Bath of A.), to get to be "at one" again and reconcile with some higher principle, be it the rule of government, the law, morality, religion, or with one's own conscience. In the Chrsitian tradition it means that reconciliation with God is accomplished through the death of Christ. There is also a Day of Atonement. In Vedic tradition, people would bathe in holy water (River Ganges) not only for hygienic reasons, but mostly in order to atone for their errors and sins.
austere: severe or stern in disposition or appearance; somber and grave. Strict or severe in discipline; ascetic. Having no adornment or ornamentation; bare. This deals with the samanas in the story in the way that they are very somber, also Siddhartha’s attitude at the time when he is leaving his father. To prove his devotion he does not move in his place until his father gives him permission.
bamboo: any of a number of semitropical or tropical grasses often resembling trees, with perennial, jointed stems that are woody, hard, springy, and often hollow and sometimes grow to a height of 120 ft.; the stems are used in light construction and for furniture, canes, etc., and the young shoots of some are eaten.
Banyan (fig-) tree (ficus benghalensis) originated in tropical India and the East Indies and is also found in tropical Africa. It is quite ornamental, has large oval leaves, reddish fruit, and is widely spread by many aerial roots which descend from branches, supporting them and then taking root thus becoming new trunks. They often grow very wide and to an average height of 70-100 feet and live many ages. Merchants often use the enclosures formed by the trees as market shelter. They are considered sacred in the Hindu religion. This explains why Siddhartha and Govinda meditate under it early in the novel. The tree is honored as "Our Mother" by the Sauras in India. It is said it saved two motherless children by feeding them milk.
benediction: an utterance of good wishes. The form of blessing briefly pronounced by an officiating minister as at a close of divine service; coming from the Latin verb benedicere (to bless, to speak well of), it is considered something that promotes goodness or well-being.
besmirch: to make dirty; soil; to bring dishonor to; sully
blanched: turned pale
Bo tree: The sacred Bo Tree is grown from a sapling of the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. It is the oldest living tree in documented history. In its vicinity are the remains of the Brazen Palace, the towering Riwanreliseya Dagaba, the seated Buddha, temples, palaces and parks – all of which bear testimony to a proud and imaginative people. A mere eight miles away is Mihintale – the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is a mountain monastery connected with Arahat Mahinda who brought Buddhism to the Island in 247 B.C.
Brahman: as the origin of the universe, Brahman is the supreme, all-pervading spirit. It is also seen as the impersonal Absolute. The earliest use of the word is found in theVedas, where its meaning is the mysterious force behind a magical formula. It is a ritual power for those who teach it. In the Upanishads it takes on the meaning of the source of power, the principle behind the origin of the universe and the gods. It is taught that Brahman is the essence of the self in all beings. Brahman is the ultimate goal as it releases one from the ongoing cycle of suffering and rebirth.
Brahmin: a believer in the ultimate reality called Brahman, possessing that state of mind. Brahman, which makes possible time, space, and natural order, is external unity lying beyond all limits and description. A Brahmin belongs to the first of the four Hindu castes, which is considered the sacerdotal class, the members of which may be, but are not necessarily, priests who serve the spiritual needs of the Hindu community. Brahmins are the only people who could perform correct worship. Most Brahmins were highly literate and hold jobs in law and the medical professions. According to strict dietary rules, they could not consume any meat products or alcohol. According to Hindu mythology, a Brahmin is the chief of all created beings, his person is inviolate, he is entitled to all honor, and enjoys many rights, privileges, and much wealth. Under the law of Manu, the life of a Brahmin was divided into four ashramas or stages (1) Brahmchari; (2) Grishastha; (3) Vanaprastha; and (4) Sannyasi. The divisions and sub-divisions of the Brahma caste are almost innumerable but the five divisions are the main ones: (1) Kanyakubja; (2) Saraswata; (3) Gauda; (4) Mithila; and (5) Utkala.
Buddha: the Sanskrit word means "awakened" (to the truth), "enlightened." The Japanese use the word "butsu". It is a honorific title applied to a wise person or sage, a fully enlightened individual who has achieved perfect knowledge of the truth thus breaking the cycle of existence and reaching Nirvana. Reportedly there were six Buddhas preceding Gotama, and since then he has not been the last. Because of the three-body doctrine, the buddha-nature can manifest itself in accessible form, so there have been many transcendent Buddhas. But the term "Buddha" is most often used to refer to Gotama more than any other. The perfect knowledge, made known by a Buddha, eventually becomes lost to the world, and then has to wait for the emergence of a new Buddha in order to be known and proclaimed again. A being who is enlightened and discovers truth, and is thus a Buddha, and who does not proclaim it, is an isolated, 'private' (non-teaching) Buddha (pratyeka), as compared to the teaching Buddha (samyak Buddha) who expounds his teaching for the welfare of all. Related to the concept of Buddha is Bodhisattva, the state of being which precedes the final state of Buddhahood. After the final state is reached, the Buddha endures as long as his physical life lasts, then he has no further relations with the world of space and time.
As stated above (cf.Gotama), the word Buddha is most often applied to Siddhartha Gotama, the historical founder of Buddhism, who was born in Kapilavastu, India, north of Benares and just inside present-day Nepal and who probably lived 563-483 BC. He was the son of the Rajah (princely head of lower nobility) of the Sakya tribe and warrior caste, with the given name of Siddhartha; in later life he was also known as S(h)akyamuni. Hesse used this name as well as Gautama and Buddha interchangeably. He spent his youth in great luxury.
Gotama Siddhartha left his wife and son Rahula (cf. Hesse's Siddhartha) to experience extreme asceticism and wandered as a mendicant over northern India. He first investigated Hinduism. He took instruction from some famous Brahman teachers, but he found the Hindu caste system repellent and Hindu asceticism futile in that it did not lead to the escape from suffering and death. He continued his search, attracting but later losing five followers. Disillusioned he reverted to "the middle way" which is now known as Buddhism. At age 36, in Buddh Gaya, in what is now the state of Bihar, while sitting under a Bo tree (Skr. bodhi -> light; ficus religiosa -> tree of enlightenment) and concentrating on things as they really are, Buddha passed through the four stages of insight and reached the great enlightenment, which revealed the way of salvation from suffering. By giving out the Four Noble Truths, the primary and fundamental doctrines of Sakyamuni, he answered man's question for the reasons of suffering. He taught that people's suffering was of their own making, and that the focusing of desire on the material and ephemeral caused all despair, hatred, and competition. This is why "man found himself living in the realm of death - the realm of physical being …" The truth he found was that humans are like lotuses in a pool: all rooted in mud, most swamped below the surface, a few struggling to the light and some already blossomed. Coming approximately 500 years before Christ, the Buddha was a manifestation of the wisdom aspect of God, just as Christ is the embodiment of the love aspect. Gotama had a career of traveling widely in the Ganges valley, making disciples, and preaching his Dharma for 40-45 years. He died in Kusinagara, Nepal at age 80.
Buddha was one of the greatest human beings, a man of noble character, penetrating vision, warm compassion, and profound thought. Not only did he establish a great religion, but his revolt against Hindu hedonism, asceticism, extreme spiritualism, and the caste system deeply influenced Hinduism itself. His rejection of metaphysical speculation and his logical thinking introduced an important scientific strain heretofore lacking in Oriental thought. In Hinduism, the Buddha is considered ninth in the standard list of Vishnu's incarnations (avatars) the purpose of whose manifestation was to abolish sacrifices, out of compassion for animals. Buddha's teachings have influenced the lives of billions of people for nearly 2500 years.
Buddhism: The religious practices of Buddhism began in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C.E. in India with the enlightenment of Gotama. Although hesitant initially, he was persuaded to share the truth of and way to enlightenment by Brahma on behalf of the gods. His teaching were called Dharma (the law). Dharma is the maintenance of order which makes life possible. It is a cosmic law, according to the law of karma. Buddha made himself a manifestation of the truth that is dharma. It then becomes the practice of truth, the path towards nirvana, where dharma becomes the same. The dharmas exhibit the constitution of all appearances and how they function. The Buddha was seen as a guide and thought of himself as a physician of the mind, diagnosing sickness and offering treatment. His teachings included components of Hindu cosmology and psychology, but he modified them drastically. He taught of the soul (self, Atman) which is continually reborn and moves toward salvation, controlled by Karma. The integrity of one’s Karma determined whether he/she would move up the ladder of worldly existence until finally Nirvana, or enlightenment, was realized. He changed it into his belief that there is no soul; this doctrine is is referred to as anatman. Also, there cannot be an external God who creates it. Gods are part of the process. The teaching of the Buddha are summarized in the Four Noble Truths including the Eightfold Path to salvation or reincarnation, and the twelve-step chain of cause. The Four Noble truths are as follows: (1) the world is full of suffering (or dukkha), (2) thirst or cravings (tanha) give rise to suffering (thirst for pleasure satisfaction), (3) dukkha can end by elimination of tanha which leads to nirvana, (4) the eightfold path is the means to that elimination. The first truth is the recognition of the universal nature of suffering, or the fact of transience which involves suffering. Buddhists do not, however, deny that some things are pleasant; the second truth is the recognition of the cause of suffering which is the thirst for permanence; the third truth is that suffering be stopped by attaining nirvana; the fourth truth is the summary in the Eightfold Path, the means to eradication.
Chandogya-Upanishad, one of the earliest Upanishads, also one of the thirteen principal Upanishads. It shows that if any ritual is done without proper knowledge, it is worse than useless. The Ch.U. holds the story of Sceta Ketu (about a young boy who was told to split the fruit of the Banyan tree until he could see nothing, although he learned that you can only get nothing out of nothing). It deals with the mystical image of of selves/souls as sparks from the divine fire, and that of Atman as smaller than a grain of rice yet greater than the sky. The Ch.U. helped develop ideas Hinduism would later follow, such as that the self is identified with Brahman. Siddhartha often said to himself the word from one of the Chandogya-Upanishads: "In truth, the name of Brahma is Satya. Indeed he who knows it enters the heavenly world each day."
contemplation, art of -: a form of meditation or non-discursive prayer in which the person actively contemplates an object, concept, or holy verse from a religious text, working to keep other things at bay. It is the ability to concentrate on spiritual thoughts or ideas as a way of showing private devotion. With the idea of elevating the mind over matter, the art of contemplation is a widespread practice throughout virtually all of the major religions, including Judeo-Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. Before becoming the Buddha, Prince Siddhartha Gautama sat under the Bodhi tree in contemplation for several days. This resulted in his becoming "The Enlightened One." The term contemplation is used throughout the book, because the idea of contemplation is present in all religions. Contemplation is essential to meditation, because it is one of the main acts practiced in meditation.
countenance: (from Lat. "holding together") bearing, demeanor.
courtesan: (originally: woman courtier) a prostitute, paramour, kept woman often with a clientele drawn from a court or from the wealthy or the upper class.
covet(ousness): to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others; greed. Siddhartha uses this term to describe the type of person he has become, and how he hates it. He used to be hospitable and generous, now he is after the riches – gambling his self away and loving it.
disdain: contempt for what is beneath one; an attitude or feeling of scorn; overly proud of oneself.
Divine, The: (aka deva = celestial power). It is a term for all Vedic gods. Believed to have originated from the union of heaven and earth , but later they were thought to have come from Prajapati. The Divine are immortal in a provisional sense, keeping death at bay through the sacrifices offered to them. Deva is also used to describe enlightened people who have had direct experiences of the Divine. In Buddhism, the soul (or spirit) of the human is the product of conditions and causes. Buddhism does not conceive of the soul as ultimately real; it parts company with the Hindu and Jain concept of the soul as identical with the divine self (Atman). The soul is more essential to a person’s identity than his body, which is made from clay and is but a possession, something one has rather than what one is.
Eightfold Path, The: (Astangika-marga) is a doctrine taught by Gotama Buddha in his first sermon at the deer park near Benares in India. It provides a way for people to free themselves from desire and overcome misery of life and to find release from dukkha (transience, suffering) and the suffering involved in it. It is not seen in early Buddhist writings, and is believed to have been derived from the original threefold path. Its contents are the last of the Four Noble Truths, and one of the thirty-seven "limbs" of enlightenment. Together with the Four Noble Truths, it sums up the whole of Buddhist teaching. The Eightfold Path is also called the Middle Paths, as it steers a course between the sensual pleasures of the materialists and the self-mortification of the ascetics. The path does not necessarily consist of sequential steps (since the perfect ways of behavior ( cf. 3-5) precede all else). The path is listed as follows: (1) perfected view which understands the Four Noble Truths and their dependence on no persistent substantiality, (2) perfected resolution in the direction of non-attachment (perfect aspiration avoiding desires and ill will), (3) perfected speech free from malice, gossip, idle talk, lies, slander, abuse and harsh words etc., (4) perfected conduct or action, respect for life (do not kill), property (do not steal), and personal relationship (no sexual misconduct), (5) perfected livelihood, avoiding work which harms others, abstaining from any of the forbidden modes of living such astrading in animals for slaughter, dealing in weapons, dealing in slaves, dealing in poison and dealing in intoxicants, (6) perfected endeavor (zeal, progress) in setting forward that which produces good karma, unintermitted perseverance, suppressing the rise of evil states and stimulating good states, and to perfect those which have come to beings, (7) perfected mindfulness, right memory, avoiding distracted and clouded state of mind, awareness, and being self-possessed, (8) perfected concentration, right abstraction, meditation, focusing the mind without distraction, preparing the mind to attain wisdom. Systematically, the paths can be divided into three sections. (A) Morality (shila) includes right speech, right conduct, and right livelihood. (B) Mental discipline (samadhi) consists of right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration (bringing the mind to a single, stable point). (C) Intuitive insight or wisdom (prajna) is wisdom that involves grasping the reality beneath the surface of things. In everyday life, the Eightfold Path requires that the individual do no harm to any creature. Also forbidden are theft, falsehood, unchastity, strong drink, and the taking of the life. The ultimate goal is to find Nirvana, or Elightenment. Some Buddhist teachings have held that to enter this path in itself implies an experience of Nirvana. The Eightfold Path exists on two levels, the ordinary path and the holy path. Most people seek to achieve the ordinary path.
enlightenment: a coming to awareness and realization of the truth after being ignorant and unaware of it. Buddha was enlightened because his knowledge and experience crystallized, revealing to him the existential and theoretical meaning of life. In Buddhism enlightenment is achieved by following the eightfold pass. Enlightenment is repeatedly misunderstood as an experience of light, and experiences of light are mistaken for "enlightenment," the English word having been derived from Christian mysticism. Because of this, the more preferred term is awakening. Achieving enlightenment can only be attained by a person awakening to a "nowness of emptiness" which he himself is - as the entire universe is emptiness - this alone enables a person to comprehend the true nature of things. Buddhism is based on and centered around achieving this experience, without enlightenment there would be no Buddhism. Although enlightenment by its nature is always "the same," there are many different degrees of the experience. The differences in clarity and accuracy of insight are huge, even though the same world is seen in both cases. In Christian mysticism in the Middle Ages, enlightenment preceded the mystical union with God. In 18th century Europe, the term acquired a new secular meaning (Aufklärung) when it was used to describe a lively questioning of authority, keen interest in matters of politics and general culture, and an emphasis on the empirical method in science.
ennui: a feeling of utter weariness and dissatisfaction resulting from satiety, inactivity, or lack of interest; boredom. Siddhartha feels this extreme, almost dangerous boredom after he leaves Kamaswami. Hesse describes him to be full of ennui, full of misery, full of death.
erudition: profound, recondite, or bookish learning; extensive knowledge acquired by study, research, etc. chiefly from books; learning, scholarhsip.
exaltation: rapturous excitement and stimulation to greater activity.
exhortation: a didactic address conveying advice or knowledge. Advice, warnings, or recommendati ons with an urgent tone regarding beliefs.
expiation: the act of making or achieving atonement.
fasting: see Siddhartha’s comments later in his conversation with the merchant Kamaswami: "Very well and what can you give? What have you learned that you can give?" "I can think, I can wait, I can fast." "Is that all?" "I think that is all." ."And of what use are they? For example, fasting, what good is that?" "It is of great value, sir. If a man has nothing to eat, fasting is the most intelligent thing he can do. If, for instance, Siddhartha had not learned how to fast, he would have had to seek some kind of work today, either with you, or elsewhere, for hunger would have driven him. But as it is, Siddhartha can wait calmly. He is not impatient, he is not in need, he can ward off hunger for a long time and laugh at it. Therefore, fasting is useful, sir."
fig tree: any of the genus of fig-bearing trees of the mulberry family, especially any of the many cultivated varieties bearing edible fruit. The hollow, pear-shaped false fruit of the fig tree, with sweet, pulpy flesh contains numerous tiny, seedlike true fruits.
folly: lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight, foolish actions that are reflected on as just that.
funeral pyre: from Greek "pyr" = fire, a combustible heap of wood or other burning material for burning a dead body as a funeral rite. In the Buddhist religion cremation is the preferred rite and is inherited from Indian culture. A sermon is given on the nature of death and transience and on the deceased. The ceremony is carried out with monks and is followed by a meal. The entire process often lasts a week and is sometimes celebrated on the anniversary as well. In Hinduism the funeral is also known as antyesti (antyeshti) and the rite is described as the 16th sacrament. Cremation today is similar to what was prescribed in the Vedic tradition where, with some variations in the Rig-Veda, the deceased is bathed, dressed in new clothes, and is usually burned near a river. Strict rituals are are the rule and the ceremony lasts three days.
Gotama (Gautama) is the surname of the
S(h)akya clan and the name of the historical Buddha by which non-Buddhist
contemporaries called him in order to distinguish him from other Buddhas.
The legend of Gotama is as follows: he was a member of the
S(h)akya tribe which lived in the Himalayan foothills and in the swampy
lowlands north of the Ganges (Terai)and belonged to the subjects of the
hostile Kos(h)alan king. Gotama was the son of Suddhodana, ruler of Kipalavatthir,
and his mother was Maha Maya. He was of the Gotama Klan (gotra),
his name being Sidattha. While he was still in his mother's womb (the day
he was born) she had a dream that she was carried to the Himalayas where
she was bathed by the wives of the gods and then dressed in the clothes
of the goddesses. Then she lay on a couch where the Buddha-to-be entered
her body in the form of a white elephant. Thus his birth could be described
as parthogenetic (virgin birth). Maha Maya delivered the child from her
right side while standing upright holding on to a tree in Lumfini Garden
(sala grove) and died a seven days after his birth as is the tradition
for mothers of Buddhas. Her sister Maha Prajapati Gotami married the king
and brought up Siddhartha. Maha Maya was reborn in the place where, after
Buddha’s enlightenment, he went to teach her the Dharma. Gotama Siddhartha
lived an easy life. At 29 or 30 he went for a ride in the royal park and
saw four signs that were to decide his career: an aged man, a sick man,
a corpse, and a wandering religious mendicant. He recognized in the first
three signs the presence of suffering in the world, and, in the serenity
of the mendicant, he saw the virtues of an ascetic life and his destiny.
He renounced his life of luxury, left the royal palace, forsook his wife,
Yashodhara and infant son, Rahula, and adopted the ascetic life, wandering
for six years and suffering extreme self-mortification.. Gotama studied
with two teachers, leaving each in turn when he felt that their doctrines
were inadequate. One day he sat down under a pipal tree at Bodh Gaya determined
not to leave his seat until the riddle of human misery was solved. The
Bodhisatva withstood the temptations and torments cast by Mara, the Evil
One, and on the 49th day, he was rewarded for his holy asceticism
by "the great enlightenment" or Nirvana. He became ateacher, gathered disciples,
who were the first Buddhist monks and spread the results of his vision
abroad. The Buddha preached his first sermon in the Deer Park at Sarnath,
near Benares. He returned home briefly where he converted his father, wife,
and son. His cousin Devadatta, jealous of Buddha, tried to kill him by
driving a wild elephant in his path, but the Buddha calmed the animal with
gentleness. For 45 years the Buddha traveled and preached his ministry
and in time he came to be called Bhagavan, Tathagata, and the Buddha. Early
represntations of the Buddha often took the form of an empty throne, a
pair of footprints, a wheel, or a pipal tree, symbols of his having attained
Nirvana and having left the world. The Gandhara and Mathura schools of
art which flourished in the 1st and 2nd century A.D.
and which were much influenced by Greek ideas, produced the first image
Govinda, now a common Hindi name for boys, was the name of Krishna, given to him by Indra, the highest Vedic god, after having preserved the cattle by raising the mountain Govardhana. Govinda is he who knows, finds, or tends cattle. As the Indra of cows he was called Govinda. Pilgrims invoke Govinda when traveling to Tripati. It was also the name of the famous 12th century poet Gita Govinda, as well as the name of a famous Buddhist scholar of German origin and contemporary of Hesse who practiced Tibetan Buddhism and whose many religious publications made it into Western culture when translations appeared in Western languages.
gravity: here graveness, seriousness.
heron: any of about sixty species of wading birds found throughout the world. They are moderate to large in size and have long, slender necks, legs, toes, and long, straight, dagger-like bills to grasp prey. They also have short btails and long, broad wings. Both sexes are similar in coloration, some species are only white. They have well-developed powder downs and have elongated plumes on the head, necks, breasts, and back. For food they generally wade in shallow water, and are usually aggressive in capturing their prey.
Holy ablutions: a religious rite and prescribed ritual washing in one of the holy rivers of India of part or all of the body or of possessions, such as clothing or ceremonial objects, with the intent of purification, cleansing of sins, or dedication in preparation for prayer. Holy ablutions are performed in the morning and evening. Water, or water with salt or some other traditional ingredient, is most commonly used. But washing with blood is not uncommon in the history of religions, and urin of the sacred cow has been used in India.
hypnotize: put in a state of hypnosis (Gr. hypnos -> sleep), a sleeplike state usually induced psychically by another in which the subject loses consciousness but responds, with certain limitations, to the suggestions of the hypnotist.
incantation: (cf. Lat. cano -> I sing, sound, chant) can mean the uttering, singing, or chanting of words, meaningless to outsiders, having to do with magical powers. It is usually associated with magical spells or charms in ceremonies. Its meaning differs from one culture to another. Overall it is understood as the authorized use of rhythmically organized words of power that are chnated, spoken or written to accomplish a desired goal by binding spiritual powers to act in a favorable way. The practice is related to other uses of sacred language, such as prayer, invocation, blessing and cursing. Verbal formulas associated with incantation are designed to perform the desired result by "obliging" spiritual powers.
inertia: inactivity, sluggishness; tendency to maintain a straight line.
jackals: any of several nocturnal wild dogs of the genus canis. They scavenge or hunt in packs. A second meaning is a person who performs dishonest deeds as a follower or accomplice. A third meaning is a person who performs menial or degrading tasks for another.
Jetavana Grove, a grove on the southern outskirts of Sravasti, the capital city of Kosala, often frequented by the Buddha. The Buddha is often described as residing there, in particular during nineteen rainy seasons. The grove was donated to the Sangha (order, community of monks) by the wealthy merchant Anathapindika who paid its owner, Prince Jeta, enough gold to cover the ground. Prince Jeta had specially laid out the garden for the stay of the Buddha and built the houses for the Buddha and his followers. It became the famous monastery Bodhimandala of Sakyamuni, a "vihara" where Bhiksus (monks) and Bhiksunis (nuns) practice and teach the Buddhist Dharma (Skr."law"). It became the model for the oldest monastery in China. Jetavanavama is the mightiest temple of its kind on earth. It was originally more than 400 feet high, and the crystal finial of its modern restoration glitters 500 feet above the beholder. Its base, 370 feet in diameter, stands upon a brick foundation 26 feet in thickness, which in turn rests on a raft of concrete. The entire structure occupies eight acres of land. It is larger than all but two of the pyramids.
Kamala: a name, but it refers to kama. Kama is sensual desire or erotic love in Sanskrit, longing, and sexual pleasure, occasionally applied to longing in general. The Rig-Veda represents desire as the first movement towards manifestation of the Absolute, the primal germ of mind, the creative impulse. In Buddhism, kama is seen as one of the primary obstacles on the spiritual path and a major obstacle to progress toward enlightenment. Kama belongs to the lowest of the three domains (triloka), the domain of desire (kamaloka). The five types of sensual desire are: desire toward form, sound, smell, taste, and bodily feeling. Of the Four Noble Truths in Buddhism, the second refers to elucidating cravings, specifically the craving for sensual pleasures. It is also listed as one of the "impurities" in Buddhism and one of the five hinderances in meditation training. Kama acts as desire through creative energy in the Atharva-Veda; it is first to be born. In mythology, Kama shot the ascetic god Shiva with the arrow of fascination so that he decided to marry Parvati and rid himself of desire. Kama is burnt to ashes by Shiva’s powers of asceticism. Kamala is also a name of Lakshmi.
Kamaswami: Siddhartha’s mentor. The name is a combination of the Sanskrit words kama and swami. Swami means "owner" or "master" and is the Indic title of respect for a religious teacher or member of an ascetic order. Since kama is used to mean a distraction or obstacle from achieving enlightenment, Kamaswami, the merchant, is a distraction to Siddhartha’s search for enlightenment, as Siddhartha learns from him to appreciate material possessions. Kamaswami teaches him the way of the merchant; the business and economics of it. Siddhartha learns quickly, but will always carry a sense of himself in his transactions. He is not overly self-confident the way Kamaswami is. He is friendly to the people and hospitable to the children. Although he is grateful to his teachers Kamaswami, he can never be exactly like him.
Krishna: Sanskrit. meaning: "black" or "dark"; Krishna is a dark-complexioned Hindu god and one of the most popular and accessible figures of Hindu religion.. Krishna is the eighth and most admired of the incarnations of Vishnu, but is more important than Vishnu. He is the son of the Vedic Devaki and her husband Vasudeva. In the Upanishads he is referred to as a scholar. He longed for a more personal than philosophical focus for religious devotion. As titled Vasudeva, he acts as a liberator from evil. In dance he represents the passionate union with God. He is sometimes represented as destroying the snake who poisoned the life-giving waters of the Yamuna River. In recent centuries Krishna has been worshipped primarily as a mischievous child and peerless lover. In earlier centuries, the didactic and heroic aspects were more prominent.
Lakshmi: (Laksmi, Laxmi => "fortune") In Hinduism, the goddess of wealth, a kindly and gracious being, and later in her history the consort of the great deity Vishnu, sometimes called the "Lotus Goddess", associated with Dewali (Skr. "row of lights, also: Divali), the new year festival of lights in October, when people light lamps for her and leave their doors open to allow her to enter. She seems to embody the miraculous vitality of vegetation. She is also the goddess (and model) of beauty, sometimes with four arms, but often portrayed with only two arms (for the sake of beauty). She is also known as S(h)ri (Skr. fortunate, glorious, holy, reverend - commonly used in speaking of a person, king, or divinity, with special respect, as in Sri Krishna.) The letters of this alternative title of hers are written on walls, books, and papers to ensure good fortune. In the most widely received account of Lakshmi’s birth, she sprang from the milky ocean seated on a lotus and holding another blossom in her hand when the gods churned it for the nectar of immortality. Conroversy arose between the gods and demons over possession of her. She is sometimes conceived of as being the embodiment of the Lord’s mercy. While Vishnu is in the role of the heavenly king, she represents the bounty, order and fertility brought into being by his just cosmic rule. She is embodied as Radha, Padma (Kamala), Dharani, and Sita, but plays only a secondary role in the Hindu scriptures. Lakshmi is said to have taken different forms in order to be with Vishnu in each of his incarnations. Thus when he was the dwarf Vamana, she appeared from a lotus and was known as Padma or Kamala; when he was the ax-wielding Parashurama, the destroyer of the warrior caste, she is his wife of Dharani; when he was King Rama, she was his queen Sita. In modern Hinduism Lakshmi continues to be very popular among businessmen and merchants, who believe material prosperity can't be found without her presence and and blessing. She is worshipped in the home and on regular festival days throughout the year. She is greatly revered by members of the Jainist faith.
life cycle: Buddhists believe life is not linear (birth-life-death), but cyclical (birth-life-death-rebirth). The whole goal is to attain Nirvana and break free of the cycle of life.
Lotus flower: a plant of the water lily family; in Buddhism, the lotus is a symbol of the true nature of beings which remains unstained by the mud of the world (samsara and ignorance). It is also a symbol of the world with the stem as its axis. As an icon, it is a form of the seat or throne of Buddha. It is also considered a symbol of beauty and sacredness, yet one of unattachment as well since it floats on the water, yet remains dry.
Magadha: one of the four great kingdoms (i.e. Magadha, Kosala, Vansa, and Avanti) in ancient (5th century B.C.) India, and one of the sixteen N.Indian states (Mahajanapadas) mentioned in Buddhist sources which consider it the region in which Buddhism (as well as Jainism) had its birth. The region is first found in the Rig-Veda and later in the Atharva-Veda. After the 3rd Buddhist Council, Buddhism spread to other parts of India. At the time of the Buddha, Magadha was flanked on the east by the river Campa, the west by the river Sone, on the north by the Ganges, and on the south by the Vindhyas. It was the central power of India from the 6th century B.C. to the 6th century A.D. (at the decline of the Gupta dynasty) and covers what is now roughly the districts of Patha and Gaya in the South of the state of Bihar. Nalanda, a city in Magadha, became a famous seat of Buddhist learning. The capital of Magadha was Rajagaha (Rajagriha) and then Pataliputra. Magadha rose to a position of dominance under its first great king, Bimb(l)isara, who became the follower of Sakyamuni. He was the one who built Bamboo Grove Park in Rajagaha, the first Bodhi mandala in Buddhism. During early Buddhist times, Magadha was a center of trade and was thronged with numerous people, who also came to study. Its corn fields were luxuriant and fertile and its people prosperous. The town was known for the grace and beauty of its women and for its magnificent singers (minstrels). By the 4th century B.C. Magadha included most of northern India. Falling briefly under the sway of Alexander the Great and his Macedonian successors, it was conquered in 321 B.C. by Chandragupta, who made it the center of his Mauryan Empire. Later it fell to the Muslims and became a mere province of the Delhi sultanate. Magadhi is also known as the ancient Indian language (Prakrit, Pali), its most widespread script being Brahmi, which was thought to have been used as the main language to spread Buddhism. The Buddha, on the other hand, spent most of his life outside of Magadha.
Mango: is the most important edible tropical fruit in India, cultivated for thousands of years and in almost every part of India. It is yellow-red with thick rind, somewhat acid and juicy pulp, and a hard stone; it is eaten when ripe, or preserved or pickled when unripe. The mango tree is grown in groves (orchards), and the home gardens in the villages and provides excellent shade in the heat of the tropical sun. Several varieties are grown, from the large Alfonso variety and the extremely sweet Bengarappally variety found in Andhra Pradesh, to small indigenous ones. The mango tree requires a high temperature with a heavy rainfall in the period before flowering, and a dry season for ripening of the fruit.
Mara: (Skr. for death, murder, destruction, the killer) the Buddhist "Lord of the Senses", also the "Evil One", or: "Namuci" (the tempter), parallel to the devil in Western religion. In Hindu Mara is the god of pestilence and mortal disease, the attraction of sensual pleasure which makes human action reckless. Mara is regarded as a demonic being who is arch-enemy of all who seek to live the holy life, and the main opponent of the Buddha and his religion. Mara, Lord of the Sixth Heaven of Kamaloka (the world of desire), is often depicted with a hundred arms riding an elephant. According to Buddha "there is no power so hard to subdue as the power of Mara." Mara tries to block Buddhists from transcending his realm by achieving enlightenment. Mara disturbs the efforts of prayer and meditation, as well as trying to lead celibate monks and nuns astray. As legend goes, the evil Mara appeared in the guise of a messenger to the Buddha who was waiting for enlightenment under the Bo tree. He brought the news that a rival, Devadatta, had usurped the Sakya throne from Gotama’s family. Next Mara sent forth a great storm of rain, rocks, ashes, and darkness, frightening away all the gods who had gathered to honor the future Buddha. He challenged Gotama’s right to sit beneath the tree, provoking the future Buddha to call upon the earth to give witness to his previous charities. Mara sent forth his three daughters, Trsna, Rati, and Raga (thirst, desire, delight), to seduce Gotama, but to no avail. After Buddha had achieved supreme enlightenment, he experienced doubt as to whether the truth could be understood by men, and Mara pressed him to abandon any attempt to preach. But when the gods implored him to preach the law, the Buddha put aside his doubts. Mara may assume human or animal forms as disguise but he is unable to effect any evil purpose against Buddha who sees through his disguise. He is also the symbol for anything likely to keep one under the spell of material existence (samsara). (The Harper Collins Dictionary of Religion)
Maya (Veil of…): in early Vedic literature it is an extraphysical, wonder-working power. It is the power to bring things into apparent form, to make the spirit/soul into a human physical form. Maya in Sanskrit means an illusion, deception, appearance, or magic like one produced by a magician. It is the powerful force that creates the cosmic illusion that the phenomenal world is real. This comes down to the broad statement: "Maya is God's creative energy." Maya draws a veil over brahman and veils our vision, so we see only the diversity of the universe rather than the one reality. It is a force that eternally and inseparably coexists with the Brahman. Together Maya and Brahman form Ishvara. Ishvara is the personal God who creates, upholds, and destroys the universe. Maya has two aspects, one of ignorance (avidya) and one of knowledge (vidya). Avidya leads a man away from God and toward worldliness and materialism which turns to passion and greed. Vidya, the knowledgeable aspect, leads to God-realization and finds expression in spiritual virtues. Humans trascend avidya and vidya by realizing Brahman, the Absolute. There is a mahayana (Skrt. maha => grand, yana => ferry) school which believes the world is an illusion (maya) and that dharmas (laws, teachings) are conditioned and have no being themselves. Among Sikhs, maya is the real part of God’s creation; preoccupation with maya leads to separation from God and continual rebirth.
Meditation: religious discipline, the practice of mental concentration on a single point of reference leading ultimately through a succession of stages to the final goal of spiritual freedom, nirvana. Buddhists describe the culminating trancelike state as transient; final nirvana requires the insight of wisdom. Meditation consists of techniques such as Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, Contemplation, assorted forms of prayer, and abstraction and is regarded as conducive to heightened spiritual awareness or somatic calm and restfulness as beliefs and inner being become one. Meditation may be a means of invoking divine grace, as in the contemplation by Christian mystics of a spiritual theme, question, or problem; or it may be a means of attaining conscious union with the divine, e.g., through visualization of a deity or inward repetition of a prayer or mantra (sacred sound). Employed since ancient times in various forms by all religions, the practice gained greater notice in the postwar U.S. as interest in Zen-Buddhism rose. In the 1960s and 70s the Indian Maharishi Mahesh Yogi popularized a mantra system called transcendental meditation. Meditation is now used by many non-religious adherents as a method of stress reduction; it is known to lessen levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress. The practice has been shown to enhance recuperation and improve the body’s resistance to disease.
mockery: scornfully contemptuous ridicule, a false, derisive, or impudent imitation.
monks: (or bikkhus), third of the "Three Jewels" of Buddhism, forming a sangha which is translated as assembly (order). Monks are the followers of the Buddha who leave behind their household and family to become wandering almsmen. They are allowed to possess only a minimum of personal belongings: robes, alms bowl, needle, rosary, razor, filter for water. This is an outward sign of dedication to the religious life. The code of discipline by which they live is found in the Patimokkha. In Buddhism, monasticism arises naturally from the Indian tradition of the homeless wanderer as a private option which develops into an institution. It lies at the heart of religion, and taking refuge in a group of monks is one of the Three Jewels. Sakyamuni Buddha is the model monk, having composed the monastic regulations. The monks practice renunciation, a mild form of asceticism, in which clothing is worn, hair and beard are shaved and general cleanliness practiced.. From the beginning, women have been accepted as nuns, just as Kamala is accepted into Gotama’s followers. The original habit was made from aged yellow cloth. The original humble shelters of monks have developed into large walled cities resembling universities.
Mortification (of the flesh): penitential discipline of the body and control over the appetites by self-denial or self-inflicted privation, the killing through ascetic practices of unruly or disordered appetites and desire for sin which militate against spiritual advance. In the Christian religion it means "to put to death what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, desire and covetousness." And: "If by the spirit you put to death the habits originating in the body, you will have life." (Rom 8.13) In essence: the ascetics are working to make themselves free of sin through self-inflicted torture. Unlike Christians who feel there is a connection between "mortification" and the crucifixion of Christ, Buddhists follow a different form of discipline. They believe there is a transformative effect aiding in the transition from a life devoted to gratification of desires of the body to a higher, sanctified life in the spirit through ascetic resistance. The term is also applied to ascetic rigour in other religions. Medically it can be applied to death or decay of one part of a living body -> gangrene, necrosis.
Nirvana: the word is Sanskrit for "extinguishing" as in "blowing out a candle" (nabbati -> "to cool by blowing"). As such it is ultimately indescribable and non-debatable, as it can be know only directly. It was applied in Kala philosophy before the advent of Buddhism, and has been much discussed in Western scholarship. In the major forms of Hinduism it is described metaphorically as the extinction of the flame of life; final emancipation; reunion with Brahma (the Absolute) in ultimate release (Skt.moksa). In all forms of Buddhism the dying out in the heart of the threefold fire ("unwholesome roots") for lack of fuel: raga (passion, greed, lust), dosa (hatred), and moha (delusion, false knowledge, ignorance). This emancipation involves a beatific (serene) spiritual condition of bliss or "calm joy", and freedom from the necessity of future transmigration, i.e. the endless cycle of rebirth (reincarnations). There is no arising, subsisting, changing, and passing away, no birth or death, no increase or decrease. Nirvana is the state corresponding to the highest form of enlightenment, liberation, and illumination and it frees the person from suffering, death, and rebirth, and other worldly bonds. It is the highest transcendent consciousness, the opposite of ignorance, in which the known and knowledge become one, denoting the absence of anything different, distinct, or distinguishable from itself. It was a phase though beyond the pale of perfect freedom and transcendental bliss. In this Nirvana there were two elements, sunya and vijnana, the former implying non-existence or infinite energy or void (attained at death -> Parinirvana), while the latter, vijnana, meant consciousness (before death). Attaining Nirvana is the goal and attainment of spiritual practice such as following the Eightfold Path in all branches of Buddhism, indeed all Indian religion. Some Buddhists interpret nirvana as one's innermost nature, not as an external goal.
Om: a Sanskrit syllable or word meaning
"One" or "Universal", composed of the three letters a, u, m. It is declared
in the Katha Upanishads, where it first appears, to have mystic power and
to be worthy of the deepest meditation:
ostracized: banished; excluded from common privileges or socail acceptance by common consent or popular vote (without trial or special accusation, as practiced in ancient Greece; basically, Siddhartha was shutting out nature and beauty because he did not think that it pertained to Atman.
pike: any of several large, slender, voracious freshwater game and food fishes of the genus esox lucius, having a long, flat snout and attaining a length of over four feet.
pilgrimage: a round-trip journey taken by those who consider their destination sacred. A prilgrimage is a religious custom that involves three factors, a holy place, an attraction of individuals or crowds to that holy place, a specific aim for example, to obtain some spiritual or material benefit, transitory as this may be. Besides hope of spiritual benefits or healing, pilgrimage often held social attractions, they generally brought material advantages to places concerned with pilgrimage shrines. These shrines became rich with the offerings of the pilgrims, and economic benefits extended to many persons. In Hinduism, there are both an interior and exterior pilgrimage. The interior refers to to the visits to the seven sacred cities during meditation, while the exterior pilgrimage is characterized by the obvious constant movement to the seven cities. Buddhist pilgrimages are common especially to sites holding relics and places associated with Buddha. Destinations of importance: Kandy, which holds Buddha’s tooth, Buddha’s birthplace, sites of his first sermon and enlightenment, Buddha’s footprint, sites growing cuttings from the Bo Tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. In general, a pilgrimage is the movement to a condition or place of holiness or healing. It may be interior or exterior. In Buddhism it is exterior.
pomade: a perfumed ointment made from apples; a fragrant hair dressing worn by those displaying wealth who belong to a higher class or caste.
Prajapati is the supreme being and father of all Hindu gods (and demons), also referred to as Brahma, the "Lord of Creatures," in later literature. In the Vedas Prajapati is used to refer to Indra, Savitri and other deities. It is said that he sacrificed himself in "exhausting fervor" of ascetic and erotic heat, thus creating the sacred verbal power and creation of the gods and humans and giving them life through his imagination. The Vedic ritual is often conceived as a restorative act that reunites Prajapati's dispersed parts (the manifest universe) into a constructed whole. According to Vedic traditions and discourses, he symbolizes the sacrifice, asceticism and self-mortification, and the concept of salvation representative of the samanas. He is one of the "Trinity" or "Absolute", which includes Brahma, S(h)iva the destroyer, and Vishnu the preserver. He appears in the Brahmanas to be the individual creator (of creative activity). He is described as self existent and as evolving from primal waters, from an egg, which brings the doctrine of the cosmic egg. After undertaking ascetic practices (tapas), and with the help of his female counterpart Vac, Prajapati produces the universe and all of its creatures. The Mahabhavata (one of the most epic, monumental and voluminous pieces of Hindu or Indian literature) speaks of twenty-one Prajapatis. Siddhartha questions if it was really Prajapati who created the world, or was it Atman. This shows Siddhartha's move away from the religion he was brought up in, and his curiosity to find the truth of his chosen religion.
procurement: to get possession of or to attain by particular care and special effort. To devore oneself to attaining a specific item or goal.
Rig Veda: (Veda = wisdom, divine knowledge, Skt.), the first of four parts of Veda, a collection of 1028 hymns in ten books making up the most sacred books of the Hindus, dating before the second millennium B.C. and thus the oldest religious scripture in the world. Its language is archaic Vedic Sanskrit transmitted in the oral tradition by various professional bards from ancient times and eventually written down. The Vedas focus primarily on praising cosmic order and address various deities, primarily Agni, god of fire, and Sama, god of immortality or "nondeath". Vedic literature begins with the Rig-Veda, probably dating from about 12-1300 B.C. The Rig-Veda, Atharva-Veda, and Sama-Veda are purely metrical texts used by Priests in their rituals.
river: among Hindus, rivers and all water are particuylarly sacred. There are seven which are especially revered: Ganges, Godavari, Saravati, Narmada, Sindhu, Kaveri, and Yamuna. Yamuna is the river which Krishna protected by killing the snake which poisoned it. Water in general is a cleansing entity.
sacrifices: are an act or offering to a deity of something precious, i.e. the killing of a victim on an altar. It is the destruction or surrender of something for something else, as is often the case to please a God or gods. It is to suffer the loss of, give up, injure, or destroy for an ideal, belief, or end.
sage: wise through reflection and experience; a mature or venerable man of sound judgment distinguished by wisdom; a person looked up to because of their possession of wisdom and knowledge.
Sakya (Shakya): derived or descended from the Sakas, from whom the historical Buddha came, whence his honorific Sakymuni, “Sage of the Sakyas.” As the major migration of the Sakas and Parthians (Indoeuropeans, Mongolians?) to India does not appear to have taken place before the fourth century B.C., the establishment of a tribe of the Sakas in north-eastern India would seem to have been one of the minor infiltrations from the Caucasus in the later part of the second millennium B.C. Their form of government was that by an assembly of elders. Many people of the Sakya tribe followed the Buddha after his enlightenment.
Sakyamuni (Shakyamuni): The author or reviver of Buddhism, whose birth appears to have occurred in the seventh, and death in the sixth century before Christ. He was the son of Suddhodama, king of Kapila-Vastu (Kapilavatthu) or of Magadha. He was also called Sakyasimha ("lion of the Sakyas"). The epithet probably originated in Tibet. It was applied to Gotama Siddhartha after he separated himself from his teachers and went to find enlightenment himself. The word "muni" means capability and kindness and refers to a sage.
sallow wood, of sal trees, a willowlike shrub growing about 8 feet high with narrow leaves that are silvery on the underside. It produces orange-yellow fruits about 1/3 inch in diameter. It is common on sand dunes along the eastern and southeastern coast of Great Britain and is widely distributed in the mountains of Europe and Asia. The wood is a good source of charcoal and tanbark. In India it grows in (sacred) groves along riverbanks and is used to produce many different craft products, due to its flexibility and beautiful color.
salvation: means rescue. It is the achievement of a transcendental or eternal state, the deliverance of humankind from sin or evil by religious means, also the liberation from ignorance and illusion by recognizing it. In Buddhism, it is thought to be the escape from the cycle of birth and rebirth, thus attaining nirvana by enlightenment. It is the leaving of material goods to save the spiritual being. It is related to moksa and mukti which both derive from the root meaning "to free".
Samanas were wandering ascetics (cf.sadhus = Hindi ascetics and holy men). The word samana means novice. Buddhist samanas, which the ones in the novel are, were seemingly in search of pureness and a cleansed soul and were highly respected by the kings and nobility and also commoners, all of whom gave them food, lodging and other necessities of life. In return, the samanas gave these people lessons from the dharma. The samanas practiced meditation and "unpitying self-denial."
Sama-Veda, or the (3rd) Veda of the chants, is a collection of verses taken mostly from the Rig-Veda and an anthology to Rig-Veda literature. Being one of the Samhitas, it is a collection of mantras and tunes used in connection with the Rig-Veda (cf. Rig-Veda), and arranged for chanting at the Soma ritual. Sama means music or "hearing" music so as to nourish oneself spiritually.
Samsara: or "flowing together" is the central conception of metempsychosis, transmigration of souls from body to body; in the Hinduist and Buddhist idea of rebirth, Samsara comes to mean the cycle of perpetual existences, that is birth, death, and rebirth in eternal repetition. It refers in Hinduism and Jainism to the career of the soul, which, once it has fallen from its original state of self-consciousness and bliss, is born as any creature and continues to be reborn until it has found release from the bonds of its past deeds. It is the manifestation of karma , for one’s meritorious or demeritorious deeds bear fruition in the timing, status, form, and nature of the phenomenal person in future lives. The deity can break the cycle, adjust it, or, by the god’s kindness or grace, save one from future births regardless of one’s actions. Buddhism, which does not assume the existence of a permanent soul, accepts a semipermanent personality core that goes through the process of Samsara. The range of Samsara stretches from the lowliest insect to Brahma, the highest of the gods, for they also are involved in transmigration. Samsara describes the universe which has eternally existed, it has no ultimate "creation" or final "destruction." In Sanskrit, Samsara means "going through" or "journeying" or "running around" where the soul travels through a series of earthly lives. Rebirth is an endless chain according to one’s "karmic" behavior. According to the Buddha, the nature of this continual cycle should not be dwelled upon or speculated about, which is futile, but instead an antidote found, an escape (Skr. moksha [release] -> salvation from the bondage of finite existence) from the suffering of endless returns (dukkha), primarily in terms of reaching Nirvana. Imprisonment in Samsara has three roots: (1) hatred, (2) desire (craving), and (3) delusion. Every human is subject to samsara as long as they live in ignorance.
satiation: being satisfied of one’s appetites or desires, to the point of boredom.
Satya is one of the five restraints, that from falsehood. It represents truth, truthfulness, righteousness, correctness, order in Indian philosophy. It is one of the five great vows of the Yatis. It asks: "How do you live truthfulness in your life?" When Siddhartha says that "the name of Brahma is Satya," he is saying that the Brahma is true. Satyakama and other Satya persons are Vedic teachers of unknown origin whose adherence to truth is found in the Chandogya-Upanishads.
Savathi (Savatthi, Sravasti, Shravasti): has been identified with Sahet-Mahet on the Rapti, the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Kosala. Its name has been traced to two traditions: one on account of the alleged existence of a sage, Savathha, who lived there. Its name has developed in course of time as one of the six great cities in northern India during the Buddha’s life-time. Its importance must have been mainly commercial, although its religious association from the Buddhist perspective cannot also be ignored, as it lay on the trade-route from Rajagirha to Pratisthana. The Buddha spent as a monk, the major part of his life in this city and went there first at the invitation of the liberal-minded philanthropist Anathapindaka. The Buddha was patronized in this city also by Visakha, Suppavasa and Pasenadi. Savathi became a very lavish religious center where the famous Buddhist monastery Bodhimandala (Jetavana Grove) was located.
sedan chair: a portable enclosed seat for one person, carried on poles by two or four bearers. It was popular in Europe in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries, having been used in the Far East for milennia.
Self: an idea of the workings of one’s body. In Buddhism the spirituality which exists in every person. This Self is connected to that which makes everyone part of a whole.
sickle: it is actually a curved blade mounted on a handle, for cutting grass etc. This image is beautiful because we imagine a sickle blade cutting through dark ocean waters (the sky). But also there is a sense of tranquility because of the word "floating."
Siddhartha was given the original name of Prince Siddhartha Gautama (Gotama), the later Buddha (564-483 B.C.) who was the prince of a small S(h)akya Kingdom located in the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal. He abandoned his home and family and wandered forth as a religious beggar, searching for the meaning of existence, becoming a spiritual leader in the "Buddhist" religion. He died at age 80 from eating spoiled food. Hesse’s character Siddhartha achieved salvation in much the same way as the Buddha, but following his own path and not leading a major religion. The name Siddhartha means in Sanskrit: he who has found the way (goal).
smarting: irritated, painful (cf. German "schmerzend")
sojourn: to stay or reside temporarily, for instance during a pilgrimage.
tepid: barely or moderately warm; lukewarm; lacking warmth of feeling or enthusiasm.
thwarted: blocked, checked, held back, prevented from …
transitory: shortlived, fleeting, ephemeral (=> lasting only a day); the river in "Siddhartha" is the symbol of both the transitory and the timeless.
Upanishads, is the general term ("esoteric doctrine") for the group of codified Sanskrit philosophical speculations of varying length. They are found both in prose and verse form, often composed orally and put to memory by anonymous South Asian sages in classical and medieval times. They were written down between 1000 and 500 B.C. and appear to be intended as a later addition to the Rig-Veda. The word Upanishad means "sitting at the foot of the teacher." It discusses gaining a mystical form of knowledge that allows the individual to escape the cycle of rebirth, to reach release. The Upanishad represented the beginning of philosophy in India by presenting insights and doctrines, developed the concept of a single supreme being, the Brahma, and investigated the nature of reality, the "hidden meaning" or "real message" in religious thought, the unity of Atman and Brahman. Siddhartha has studied the Upanishad and reflects upon it and the phrase, "The soul is the whole world." (cf. Chandogya-Upanishads, part of the supplementary treatise of the third Veda, poetic in writing for convenience of liturgical use).
Vasudeva: "universal God"in ancient legendary tales of India, in the Mahabharata (one of the two great Sanskrit epics) the word often is said to mean "dwelling in all things" . Vasudeva is the highest Self and possesses all six attributes, which are: knowledge, lordship, potency, strength, virility and splendor. He hypostatizes into Kesara, Narayana and Madhara. Vasudeva may have been the the name of a tribal god. The gods realized he would be the father of the divine Krishna from Devaki, and they sounded the drums of heaven at his birth. He married seven sisters, four of whom immolated themselves with his corpse upon his death. Having become identified with Krishna and the all-pervading Vishnu; in Hindu mythology, Vaseduva is the patronym of Krishna, who, according to one tradition, was a son of earthly Vasudeva. In some epic passages of Vasudeva appears to be a title, to which other princes challenge Krishna’s rights unsuccessfully. The worshippers of Vasudeva, or later Krishna, formed one of the eraliest theistic devotional movements or cults within Hinduism. When they merged with other groups, namely the Bhagavata, they represented the beginnings of modern Vaisnavism, or worship of Lord Vishnu. One of the few Vaishnavite temples in Bhubaneswar (Orissa) is referred to as Ananta Vasudeva.
Veda: Literally the Vedic Sanskrit word "veda" means "I know" (cf. Lat. "vidi", German "ich weiß"). The collective noun Veda means divine knowledge, sacred book, sacred lore. The plural Vedas can be used for one or all of the four canonical collections. The Vedas contain the basic Vedic Sanskrit scriptures of (Brahmanical) Hinduism, indeed the oldest texts of Indian sacred literature. They were passed down orally in a remarkably efficient mannner. To these collections were added expository works. Appended were the Brahmanas (prayers), and the Aranyakas and the classical Upanishads serving as works of exegesis, an epilogue or religio-philosophical conclusion. The oldest portions are believed to originated between 1300 and 1000 B.C., however, the Vedas in their present form are believed to date only from close of the 3rd Century B.C. Much advanced knowledge has been found in the later Vedas indicating an advanced indigenous civilization, although the beginnings may coincide with the Aryan invasion of India. The more than 100 extant books are six times the bulk of the Bible. Orthodox Hindus attribute superhuman origins and divine authority to them. They consist of four collections of hymns, detached poetical portions, and ceremonial formulas (mantras). They were revealed aurally to the sages whose names they bear. The original and most important Veda is Rig-Veda (life and health, a collection of more than 1000 hymns). Then follow Sama-Veda (ritual and worship, often with musical notation added), Yajur-Veda (sacrificial formulasin verse or prose), and the most modern Atharva-Veda (hymns, magical incantations, magical spells, curses, exorcistic chants, and in a cruder style than the preceding). The four basic texts are also known as the Vedic Samhita.
venerable: one who commands respect because of great age or dignity with historical and religious connotations.
veneration: the feeling of awe, respect, and reverence felt for someone held in high esteem. Govinda feels this regard for Siddhartha when he realizes he is the one and true Buddha, and he bows low and swallows his tears.
Vishnu: "he who acts or pervades," in Hinduism, is the pervading projector of the universe. Pervading in this sense means that he assumed many different forms. He appears first in the Rig-Veda, but not as major deity. A few Rig-vedic hymns associate him with the sun and relate the always popular legend of his three strides across the universe. He turned out to be one of the three great Gods of Hinduism, the second in the triad (Trimurti), manifesting the cosmic functions of the Supreme Being. The others are Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu alternates with, or appears in reincarnations (avitars) as Brahma and Shiva, and acts as the supreme deity and preserver of the balance among all three. He appears as a majestic figure, the Godhead at peace, propitious, and often anthropomorphic. A solar and cosmic deity, he is God of the ocean and of the luminous sky, the protector and sustainer of the world. He is known as the All-pervader, being the cohesive, centripetal constructive power of the universe. He is the embodiment of goodness and mercy and is believed to have assumed visible form in nine descents: three in non-human form, one in hybrid form, and five in human form. In temples he is often depicted as an elephant-faced multiarmed man, or in a 4-armed human form standing, reclining, or sitting. A right arm is holding a discus (Skr.chakra), a reminder of the wheel of time and to lead a good life, and a left arm holds a conch shell (Skr.sankha) indicating the spread of the divine sound "Om", symbolizing water, emancipation from time, and justice. One more hand holds a lotus (padma) which is an example of glorious existence, and the fourth hand a mace (matya) indicating the power and the punishing capacity of the Lord if discipline in life is ignored. In his syncretic human form, his most important appearances were those of Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, and Krishna, hero of the Bhagavad Gita. His followers, called Vaishnavites (cf. Vaishnavism), consider him the ultimate god, the others being only aspects of him, and repeat his 1000 names" as an act of devotion. Vaishnavism is one of the three great forms of theistic worship in Hinduism. Vishnu is usually depicted with dark skin, which represents the passive and formless ether, a great quality for a pervading god. He is either standing, holding weapons, riding on the swift-flying bird Garuda, which can spread the Vedic knowledge with great courage, or reclining on the powerful, coiled serpent Sheshanag who represents the sleeping universe. Vishnu and is sometimes worshipped by a small stone called salagrama. He is also known as Hari (the remover) and worshipped primarily in the Ganges area. His female consort is Lakshmi, goddess of well-being.
vocation: (past participle vocatus of Latin vocare -> to call; German, since Martin Luther: Berufung -> Beruf) an inclination, as if in response to a summons to undertake a certain kind of work, especially a religious career (priesthood, religious order); a calling. In the story, Siddhartha has a calling to leave his father and find his own path to enlightenment.
wheel of life: the pictorial representation of the cycle of samsara. In it all walks of life are represented in a continuous path. Three poisons lie at the center: ignorance, desire, and hatred. They are in the form of a pig, cockerel, and a snake. On the outer rim, going clockwise, there are symbolized the twelve causes of existence. The main body of the picture contains the six realms of existence showing all possibilities of birth: gods, semi-gods, animals, hell, hungry ghosts and humans. Siddhartha continually refers to this symbolic wheel, e.g. on pp. 76,94.
Yoga: (Skt. = union) general term for spiritual disciplines,
followed for centuries by devotees of both Hinduism and Buddhism, to attain
higher consciousness and liberation from ignorance, suffering, and rebirth.
It is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy resting on a
metaphysical dualism that exists between the ultimates of prakriti and
purusha whose contact produces the phenomenal world and whose disentangling
represents the process of individual salvation, but with the exception
that yoga assumes the existence of God who is the model for aspirants seeking
spiritual release. Yoga holds with Samhya that the achievement of spiritual
liberation occurs when the self is freed from the bondage of matter that
have resulted because of ignorance and illusion. The practical aspects
of yoga play a more important part than does its intellectual content which
is largely based on the philosophy of Samkhya (Skr. -> based on calculation,
philosophical method). It is the technique for transforming consciousness
and attaining liberation from rebirth. The mind is thought to be in continual
fluctuation, but through yoga may be focused and a higher state of consciousness
experienced. In the Upanishads yoga is described as comprising the six
stages of breath control, sense withdrawal, meditation, concentration,
contemplative inquiry, and absorption. The evidence of its Vedic influence
is the documentation of tapas, a means of releasing the self and
an inner sacrifice of breath, in the Rig-Veda. Raja yoga (royal yoga) was
expounded by Patanjali (2nd century B.C.), who divided
the practice into eight stages, the heighest of which is samadhi,
or identification of the individual consciousness with the Godhead. Hindu
tradition in general recognizes three main types of yoga: jnana yoga,
the path of wisdom and discernment; bhakti yoga, the path of love
and devotion to a personal god; and karma yoga, the path of selfless
action. Hatha yoga, widely practiced in the West, emphasizes physical
control and posture. Kundalini yoga, associated with tantra,
is based on the physiology of the "subtle body." It attempts to open centers
of psychic energy called chakras, said to be located along the spinal
column, and to activate the kundalini, a force located at the base
of the spine. Yoga is usually practiced under the guidance of a guru, or
spiritual teacher. Contemporary systems of yoga stress attaining spiritual
realization without withdrawing from the world, as the older tradition
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (Unabridged)
Page created: 3/3/98
Copyright © The Hermann Hesse Page HHP, 1998
Posted at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as a public service.
no entries under this letter