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GLOSSARY / VOCABULARY LIST
AGNI - Hindu god of fire.
ARYAN - (Sanskrit for noble) Asian people believed to have brought Hinduism into India about 1500 B.C.
ASCETICISM - Self-denial of all sensory pleasures, including food except for the minimum needed for survival. A way of life, usually for religious reasons.
ASOKA, 264?-226? B.C., and his son,
MAHENDRA - Enlightened Indian monarchs who spread Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka.
ATHARVA-VEDA - See VEDAS.
ATMAN - In Hindu belief, the Universal Soul or Self. The essence of the individual self and the universal self.
BO TREE - Old World tree under which Buddha experienced Enlightenment.
BRAHMA - In Hindu belief, the Supreme Being.
BRAHMAN, BRAHMIN - Member of the highest, priestly Hindu caste.
BUDDHA - The Enlightened One, founder of Buddhism.
EIGHTFOLD PATH AND FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS - Teachings of Buddha (see section on Religious Background).
GOTAMA (GAUTAMA) - Family name of the Buddha.
JETAVANA - Grove in which the Buddha preached.
KAMA - Hindu god of sensual love.
KARMA - In Hindu and Buddhist belief, the destiny of the individual determined by deeds in a previous incarnation.
KRISHNA - One of the incarnations (avatars) of the Hindu god Vishnu the Preserver.
LAKSHMI - Hindu goddess of beauty and luck.
MAYA - In Hindu belief, the illusory physical world.
NIRVANA - In Hinduism and Buddhism, a state of blissful nonexistence or release from the sensual world and suffering.
OM - Perfection, the word of meditation, which begins and ends Hindu prayers.
PALI - Sanskrit dialect of Buddhist scriptures, believed to be Buddha's language.
PRAJAPARTI - In Hindu belief, the Creator.
RIG-VEDA - See VEDAS.
SAKYA - The Buddha's clan. Sakyamuni, "wise man of the Sakyas," is one of the Buddha's names.
SALLOW - Old World willow.
SALVATION RELIGIONS - Late Hindu sects promising release from the cycle of rebirths. SAMANAS - Sect of ascetic, wandering beggars.
SAMSARA, SANSARA - In Hindu and Buddhist belief, the physical world, characterized by repeated cycles of birth (reincarnation).
SANSKRIT - India's ancient literary language and the language of the Hindu scriptures.
UPANISHADS - Poetic dialogues added to the Vedas as commentaries and philosophic discourses.
VEDAS - The original Hindu scriptures.
TERM PAPER IDEAS AND OTHER TOPICS FOR WRITING
• ON SIDDHARTHA
2. Compare Siddhartha with the classic Christian allegory, The Pilgrim's Progress.
3. Siddhartha leaves his father, and then Siddhartha's son leaves him. Discuss the novel's father-son relationships.
4. Kamala and Siddhartha agree that neither of them is capable of love. What is the quality that they lack, and how does Siddhartha overcome this deficiency?
• ON STEPPENWOLF AND SIDDHARTHA
2. Compare Hermine and Kamala, the similarities and differences in their characters, and their relationship with the hero in each novel.
3. Transformations from one sex to the other occur in both novels. Describe these episodes. What is their meaning?
4. Hesse uses different devices for dividing reality from fantasy and spirituality from materialism in the two novels. Explore his methods.
5. Harry Haller hears the laughter of the Immortals, and Siddhartha hears the laughter of the river. What is the meaning of laughter in each novel?