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)

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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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(5,320 words)

Author(s): Valpey, Kenneth
Caitanya, generally referred to by his followers as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu or Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu (1486–1533), holds a position of particular prominence in and well beyond Bengal as the founding inspiration, preceptor, and divinity of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, who are for this reason also referred to as Caitanya Vaiṣṇavas. It is to the person of Caitanya that divinity was attributed by followers from early on; and according to the accounts of his several early biographers, Caitanya’s ide…
Date: 2020-05-18


(2,674 words)

Author(s): Narayanan, Vasudha
The cakra, significant in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions, may refer to a weapon, a chariot wheel, the wheel of dharma, the wheel of time, or occasionally, the orb of the sun. In devotional Hindu traditions, the cakra is primarily a discus, a weapon of Viṣṇu, and in this capacity, is eventually personified as Sudarśana (“Beautiful to Behold”). Sometimes the goddesses Durgā and Vaiṣṇavī are also depicted with a cakra in hand. Sudarśana, initially portrayed as a devotee, eventually becomes a deity in his own right, and is venerated at homes and worshipped i…
Date: 2020-05-18


(5,322 words)

Author(s): Narayanan, Vasudha
Sectarian, philosophical, architectural, and performing dimensions of what we call the Hindu traditions today have been in Southeast Asia for about two millennia. “Cambodia” is the Western name given to the country known in Khmer as Kampuchea, which comes from the Sanskrit kambuja (born of [the sage] Kambu). The people of this country and the language they speak are both known as Khmer. The larger Khmer Empire, which included the modern countries of Cambodia, parts of Laos, and Thailand, as well as other territories, was home to hundred…
Date: 2020-05-18


(3,929 words)

Author(s): Coward, Harold
According to the 2011 census, Hindus make up the largest South Asian diaspora community, with a population of almost 700,000. The earliest Hindus came to Canada during the 1950s and were Punjabis. The next-largest group were Hindus from Uttar Pradesh, middle-class Hindi speakers, who came with a large group of South Asian professionals during the 1960s. Tamil and Bengali Hindus began to arrive during the same period, many of whom were teachers. Also during the 1960s and 1970s, many Hindus arrive…
Date: 2020-05-18


(10,336 words)

Author(s): Tambs-Lyche, Harald
The term “caste,” as well as “caste system,” is commonly used to describe the social organization peculiar to India and most of South Asia. Typically, society here is divided into a number of named groups or communities that are ranked and, to a considerable extent, occupationally specialized. Membership of a caste is hereditary, and the groups are largely endogamous. A number of attempts have been made to define caste or caste systems more closely. Since each definition presupposes a particular…
Date: 2020-05-18