Listing Glossary Terms 1 to 20 (out of 27)


Literally 'colour' or 'hue' in Sanskrit, rāga has come to mean 'beauty', 'harmony' and 'melody'. Consisting of five or more musical notes from which a melody is created, the rāga is one of the melodic modes of Indian classical music. Traditionally, rāgas express the moods of different times of day or seasons to help create an emotional response in the listeners.


The snake or dragon that causes eclipses by swallowing the moon or the sun in Hindu mythology. One of the nine celestial elements in Vedic astrology,  Rāhu is associated with deception, manipulation, cheating, lying and poisons. He is also strongly connected with material ambition and success. He works with the 'shadow planet', Ketu, to swallow the sun or moon. He is the head of the snake while Ketu forms the tail.

Rainy season

The annual four-month rainy period in India, lasting roughly from June / July to October / November. Heavy rain, strong storms and gale-force winds are very common during this period. Mendicants cannot travel around and must stay in one place to avoid breaking their vow of non-violence and because the monsoon makes travelling on foot difficult and dangerous. It is known as cāturmāsa in Sanskrit, comāsa in Hindi and comāsu in Gujarati.


The largest state in India, in the north-western part of the country.


The language spoken in Rajasthan, in north-western India, and surrounding states. It is also spoken in some parts of neighbouring Pakistan. Also the adjective describing people, things or places in or associated with the state of Rajasthan.


One of the 16 satīs, who are renowned as Jain heroines for remaining virtuous despite tribulations. Rājimatī was about to marry Prince Nemi but he left her at the last minute to become a monk. He later became the 22nd Jina. She remained faithful to him and became a nun.


The cotton-thread broom used by some groups of Śvetāmbara ascetics to sweep the ground before sitting, for example, so no insects or small creatures are harmed by mistake. It is also used by lay Jains when performing certain rites.


An ethnic group probably descended from warrior castes, who claim their ancestors were Hindu gods. Rajput clans dominated large parts of the northern, western and central areas of the Indian subcontinent from around the sixth century until the rise of the Mughal Empire. After the Mughals fell, Rajput princes ruled many of the 'princely states' of the British Raj.


An avatar of Viṣṇu, the preserver or protector who is one of the three major Hindu gods. Rāma is a prince of Ayodhyā and is often shown with blue skin, holding a bow and arrow. The epic poem Rāmāyaṇa recounts his adventures as he searches for his wife Sītā, who has been kidnapped by Rāvaṇa. Blending Jain values into the story, the Jain Rāmāyaṇas cast him and other figures in the tale as some of the 'great men' of Jain Universal History.


One of the fundamental works of Indian literature, the Rāmāyaṇa is an epic poem recounting the adventures of Prince Rāma as he searches for his wife Sītā, who has been kidnapped by Rāvaṇa. Blending Jain values into the story, the Jain Rāmāyaṇas present him and other figures in the tale as some of the 'great men' of Jain Universal History.


Intricate pattern of coloured powders or rice believed to bring good luck. Flowers, petals and other materials may also be used. Created to celebrate a festival, wedding or other event, rangolis are made on the ground or floor by a gate or door, usually by women.


A dance blending the women’s garbā dance and the men’s rās dance. Performed by both men and women, the rās-garbā is is a key part of the Navrātrī festival and is very popular all over India and among the diaspora. The dancers move in circles while bending, whirling and jumping around. They may hold sticks – dāndīyā or dandiya – and strike them against each other. Contemporary rās-garbā dances may be very fast and the music a mix of bhangra and Bollywood tunes.


'Taste’ or anything that gives taste, such as condiments or sauce.


Brother of the 22nd Jina, Nemi. A Jain monk, he asked the nun Rājimatī, who was his brother's jilted fiancée, to accept him as her lover. He was brought back to the right path by her response.


The ‘three jewels’ that form the fundamentals of Jainism, without which spiritual progress is impossible. They are:

  • right faith – samyak-darśana
  • right knowledge – samyak-jñāna
  • right conduct – samyak-cāritra.

'Eating at night'. No Jains should eat after dark because of the greater risk of unknowingly eating living beings. It is counted as a supplement to the five Greater Vows of the ascetics. Lay Jains should also observe it, but not all of them do so.


'Cruel meditation’, one of the two lower types of meditation, when the meditator focuses on forbidden activities, such as harming things or stealing.


Known as a folio, a single sheet of paper or other material has a front and a back side. The recto page is the top side of a sheet of paper and the verso is the underside.


An item from the past that has religious significance and is thus venerated as a sacred object. It is usually something that belonged to or was associated with a holy figure or event, for example a saint's clothing or body part, such as a bone.


Giving up something. A lay person who becomes an ascetic renounces the life of a householder within society, instead choosing the physical hardships of being a monk or nun. The formal renunciation ceremony in Jainism is dīkṣā.

Listing Glossary Terms 1 to 20 (out of 27) - All text is © JAINpedia / Institute of Jainology 2019 under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 licence The Jain universe online at

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