Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

Get access Subject: Asian Studies

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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Liberation (Mokṣa)

(3,566 words)

Author(s): E. Nelson, Lance
In the Hindu tradition, the ultimate aim of religious striving – and indeed of human life in general – is most commonly termed mokṣa, meaning “freedom” or “liberation.” Although correspondences are of course far from exact, the idea occupies the place in Hindu thought that parallels concepts of perfection, salvation, redemption, freedom, and the like in other religious traditions. While it is the most widely accepted term for the final spiritual goal in Hinduism, it is not the only term so used. Others, which will be mentioned in passing, include apavarga (cessation), nirvāṇa (extinc…
Date: 2019-01-30


(3,600 words)

Author(s): Schweig, Graham
Līlā, as with many rich Hindu terms and concepts, defies any easy or direct translation into English. It is a Sanskrit noun often translated well as simply “play,” and it is also translated as “sport,” or “pastime.” The idea of līlā is a key concept engaged by the major religious traditions of Hinduism in order to identify the innate nature and playfulness of the divine in relation to the cosmos, or the divine movements or acts that are expressive of the most interior dimensions of ultimate reality. Additionally, the word can also ref…
Date: 2019-01-30


(7,401 words)

Author(s): Hohenberger, Angela
The Sanskrit word liṅga has a number of different meanings, ranging from characteristic feature, sign, marker, symbol, and emblem, to being the term for an element in standardized forms of logical inference and for the subtle, transmigrating body in philosophical texts. In religious traditions focusing on Śiva as the highest god, the word liṅga refers to an aniconic image often placed in the inner shrine room ( garbhagṛha) of a Śiva temple. Mostly, it is made out of stone in the form of a pillar in different sizes and shapes. This image can be interpreted as re…
Date: 2019-01-30


(10,119 words)

Author(s): Michael, R. Blake
The Liṅgāyats, or Vīraśaivas, are a group of ardent worshippers of Lord Śiva who are found primarily in modern Karnataka state and some contiguous districts in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and, to a lesser extent, Tamil Nadu (see Lalitamba, 1976; Rathinasabapathi, 1982). Some ten million strong, they constitute one of Karnataka’s most prominent religio-politico-social communities (Egnor, 1970, 161–164; Michael, 1979, 311–313). The importance of their Kannada language scriptural texts parallels …
Date: 2019-01-30

List of Contributors

(1,785 words)

Author and Affiliation (at the Time of Writing) Acevedo, Deepa Das, University of Chicago Law School, United States. Acharya, Diwakar, Kyoto University, Japan. Agrawal, Purushottam, Union Public Service Commission of India, India. Aktor, Mikael, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark. Alex, Gabriele, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen. Ali, Daud, University of Pennsylvania, United States. Alley, Kelly, Auburn University, United States. Alter, Andrew, University of New England in Armidale, Australia. Alter, Joseph S., University of Pittsburgh, United States. Arweck, E…
Date: 2019-01-30