Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen (Editor-in-Chief), University of Bergen, and Helene Basu, University of Münster, Angelika Malinar, University of Zürich, Vasudha Narayanan, University of Florida (Associate Editors)

Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism presents the latest research on all the main aspects of the Hindu traditions. Its 438 essays are original work written by the world’s foremost scholars on Hinduism. The encyclopedia presents a balanced and even-handed view of Hinduism, recognizing the divergent perspectives and methods in the academic study of a religion that has ancient historical roots with many flourishing traditions today. Including all essays from the heralded printed edition, Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism is now to be regularly updated with new articles and available in a fully searchable, dynamic digital format.


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Gaṇapati/Gaṇeśa

(9,357 words)

Author(s): Bailey, Greg
Gaṇeśa is the fat-bellied god, instantly recognizable because of his elephant head set upon a human body. He has enjoyed considerable popularity in western and southern India for many centuries and is also becoming increasingly popular in the north. Additionally, his popularity is on the rise in Western countries, judging from the relatively larger numbers of images of Gaṇeśa than of other gods available in shops selling Indian goods. In the 21st century, he has even become popular in North Am…
Date: 2019-01-30

Gandharvas and Apsarases

(4,400 words)

Author(s): Oberlies, Thomas
Gandharvas and apsarases, often mentioned as being closely associated as either lovers or married couples ( AVŚ. 2.2.5; 4.37.7, 12; AVP. 1.89.2), have been conceived of as a class of semidivine beings throughout the …
Date: 2019-01-30

Gaṅgā

(4,685 words)

Author(s): Alley, Kelly
For at least two and a half millennia, the Gaṅgā basin has served as the seat of human civilization. Early Buddhist records describe the river valley as a large jungle where agriculturalists worked to slowly colonize the resource base of hunter- gatherer populations (Gadgil & Guha, 1992, 78). By the 4th century BCE, Pāṭaliputra (now near Patna, the capital of the state of Bihar) was one of ten ancient capital cities of India. Supported by heavy t…
Date: 2019-01-30

Gārgī

(4,919 words)

Author(s): Findly, Ellison B.
Gārgī Vācaknavī is a woman philosopher from the early upanishadic era who participated in a tournament held at the court of King Janaka of Videha. Her story is known from an account in the Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad, which is one of very few to highlight the lives of gifted women thinkers in ancient India. These stories undermine a traditional vision of women as silent and invisible bystanders to male dominance of vedic intellectual life. Gārgī’s performance at the philosophical tournament raises serious questions about the social int…
Date: 2019-01-30

Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism

(10,881 words)

Author(s): Valpey, Kenneth
The constellation of persons, communities, texts, doctrines, and practices denoted by the term "Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism" constitutes a distinctive tradition of religious affiliation centered on the worship of Kṛṣṇa (regarded as the source of all Viṣṇu forms and avatāras) with geographical origination and locus in the region of greater Bengal. “Gauḍīya” is an adjectival derivative of Gauḍa, referring roughly to the areas of present-day West Bengal and Bangladesh. Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism is also referred to as Bengal Vaiṣṇavism or Caitanya Vaiṣṇavism – the latter indicating recognition of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya (1486–1533) as the principal founder and preceptor of the tradition.…
Date: 2019-01-30

Gayatri Pariwar

(2,964 words)

Author(s): Heifetz, Daniel
The All World Gayatri Pariwar is a modern Hindu-based movement that aims to repopularize and universalize vedic-style ritual practices, especially recitation of the gāyatrīmantra (a particularly important mantra from the Ṛgveda originally dedicated to the sun god Savitṛ: om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ, tat savitur vareṇyaṃ, bhargo devasya dhīmahi,
Date: 2019-01-30

Gemstones

(4,070 words)

Author(s): McHugh, James
Whether in the adornments of temples, in mythologies, as a part of poetic descriptions of gods and heavens, or in consecration rites, gemstones play a number of important roles in Hindu texts and traditions. Gemstones also continue to constitute an important bridge between the theories and practice of Indian astrology and luxurious adornment.The relation between India and gemstones is old and complex. For a long time, both in reality and in the Western and Indic imaginations, India was at the heart of the production of and trade in precious gemst…
Date: 2019-01-30

Gender

(12,866 words)

Author(s): Pechilis, Karen
Hindu tradition, like many others, has constituted itself as having a vested interest in defining gender and classifying every human being, deity, and animal, and even many plants in accordance with it. Gender is a key marker, predominantly imagined as a binary between female and male, with which society bar codes members of its expansive worldview. At the same time, Hinduism has also generated alternatives to the familiar binary, including ideas of more porous boundaries as well as challenges t…
Date: 2019-01-30

General Abbreviations

(287 words)

app. …
Date: 2019-01-30

Germany

(3,071 words)

Author(s): Hutter, Manfred
At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, approximately 67,000 people of Indian origin lived in Germany with a German passport, and about 43,000 Indian citizens. Such data can only be a general estimate, because people who originally came as Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka or as “Indians” from Afghanistan are sometimes also included in such numbers. Another inaccuracy appears as persons of the second and partly already the third generation of migrants from the Indian subcontinent are inc…
Date: 2019-01-30