Glossary

Listing Glossary Terms 1 to 20 (out of 41)

Vāhana

The vehicle of a Hindu god or goddess. Usually an animal, the vāhana fulfils one or more roles and may:

  • be the deity's emblem
  • symbolise positive attributes associated with the deity
  • represent evil powers over which the god has triumphed
  • help the divinity to perform duties.

The vāhana may also have its own divine powers or be worshipped in its own right.

Vaimānika

Deities in the upper world of the Jain universe, who each have celestial vehicles or mounts. There are 26 in the Śvetāmbara tradition and 39 according to the Digambara sect. There are two types:

  • the kalpopapanna-devas in the lower heavens
  • the kalpātīta-devas in the higher heavens.
Vairāgya

Aversion to worldly life leading to renouncing it in favour of an ascetic life.

Vaiṣṇava

One of the four main Hindu traditions, which worships Viṣṇu – or his avatars Rāma and Kṛṣṇa – as the original and supreme deity.

Vaiśramaṇa

A deity in the lower world, which is composed of seven hells.

Vaiśya

A member of the merchant caste.

Valabhī

The wealthy city of Valabhī – now Vallabhi – in Gujarat was a major centre of Jain intellectual life in the early medieval period. The final version of the Śvetāmbara canon was written down there under the supervision of the religious teacher Devarddhi-gaṇi Kṣamāśramaṇa in the fifth century CE.

Vanaspatikāya

Plant beings.

Vandana

Reverent salutation.

Vaṇik

The Sanskrit term for a merchant or businessman.

Varṇa

Caste hierarchy.

Vāsudeva

One of the five types of 'great men' – śalākā-puruṣas or mahā-puruṣas – in Jain Universal HistoryVāsudevas are the younger half-brothers of the Baladevas, sharing the same fathers. They are both demi-Cakravartins or half Universal Rulers. In the part of the universe where humans live, nine Vāsudevas are born in each progressive and regressive half-cycle of time. Each one battles his mortal enemy, one of the Prati-vāsudevas. For breaking the principle of non-violence, the Vāsudevas are reborn as hell-beings – nārakis. Some may then become Jinas in their next lives. Vāsudevas are also known as Nārāyaṇa.

Vāsupūjya

The 12th Jina of the present age. His symbolic colour is red and his emblem the buffalo. There is no historical evidence of his existence.

Vayubhūti

A disciple of Mahāvīra and a member of his gaṇadhara, he came from a brahmin family.

Veda

Earliest scriptures of the Hindu faith, which are divided into four collections, all written in verse:

  • Ṛg-veda, often known as the Rigveda in the West
  • Yajur-veda
  • Sāma-veda
  • Atharva-veda.

In tradition, the sage Vyāsa compiled the Vedas. The works were probably composed from roughly 1500 to 1000 BCE, though they were probably first written down around the fifth century of the Common Era. The Vedas and the large body of associated literature capture the mainstream of Indian thought over many centuries.

The term veda – knowledge – is also used for sexual desire or sexual preference. In this sense it is one of the 14 Jain 'gateways' or categories of investigation of mārgaṇā or 'soul-quest'.

Vedanī-yakarman

A karman that is responsible for the amount and intensity of pain and pleasure in that life. It is one of the four neutral karmans that do not obstruct right faith, right knowledge and right conduct.

Vedanīya-karma

Fourth of the four 'non-destructive' or 'neutral' types of karma, which causes feelings of pleasure and displeasure.

Vegetarianism

In line with the key principle of ahiṃsā – non-violence – Jains are traditionally vegetarian. They do not eat meat, fish, eggs or anything that contains potential life, such as onions, potatoes and aubergines. They do generally eat dairy products.

Vernacular

The everyday or common language spoken by people in a particular country or region, often contrasting with the literary form or the national or official language. Similarly, vernacular architecture reflects local conditions and conventions more than other considerations, such as national or international design trends, and may be built by non-professional architects.

Verso

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.

Listing Glossary Terms 1 to 20 (out of 41)

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