Bada : lowest part of the temple tower (shikhara), in the northern style (=Nagara)

Bali : the demon-king Bali had conquered the three worlds : Earth, Underground Worlds and Heavens. Gods felt offended by his power, since he disregarded them. Agreing their request, Vishnu took the form of a dwarf brahmin (Vamana) and went to the royal court during a public audience. Seeing his wretchedness, the king asked Vamana what he wanted to get. Vamana replied he would be satisfied with only three feet of land. Bali said OK. Then, Vamana started to grow hugely; his first stride traversed the earth, the second the heavens. Then Bali became aware of the divine nature of Vishnu-Vamana. The god spareed the king but His third stride forwarded him to underground worlds where he lives from that time

Bhairava : one gives this name to the awful forms of Shiva, whose goal is to protect humanity from the malevolent forces. Sixty four different Bhairav are described. The Black Bhairava is also named Kâla (the Time similar to Death, i.e. Yama)

Bhakti : devotional movement who developed in India after the 12th century. The "bhâkta" or adept of bhakti, dedicates an unbounded love to his preferred god. His is always turned towards Him, singing His praises and worshipping Him continuously. This cult is mainly focused on Krishna and Rama, two of the major Vishnu avatâra. However, there also a lot of Shiva bhâkta devotees

Bhârata-Natyam : classical sacred dance from south India, which was practised in temples by specialized devadâsî female dancers; this is the most known kind of dance. Many others have developed in other areas : Kathâkali, Kathak, Manipuri, etc.

Bikshu : monk (bhikkhu in Pâli)

Bîja : germ. The bîja-mantra is the root-mantra of a deity. It represents the deity itself as a potential power and the sound vibration of this bîja-mantra is a manifestation of the divine principle. The bîja-mantra, according to the tantra tradition, contains very powerful forces and must be used only by qualified disciples who have received it from a qualified spiritual master. The pronunciation of these mantra is quite specific

Bhanga : curve, bending given by carvers to god and celestial beings statues. The double bend is "dvibhanga", the triple bend is "tribhanga"

Bhikshâtâna-Mûrti : after a dispute, Shiva had cut the Brahmâ's head. To expiate this crime, Shiva had to live as a wandering monk during a period of time. He was naked and must beg for His food. He is represented holding in His hand a begging bowl, which is in fact the Brahmâ skull

Brahmâ : With Vishnu and Shiva, Brahmâ forms the Trimûrti. God of Creation, Brahmâ was born, sitting on a lotus, from the Vishnu's navel, the latter lying asleep on the Primordial Waters. Brahmâ is represented four-headed on the north walls of the temples. Sometimes, he holds the Veda books. His animal-vehicle is a goose (hamsa) or a swan

Brahmachârin : a man who practises brahmachârya (from brahmâ : god, and acharya : control). The brahmachârya is the mastering over the sexual instinct but not its suppression. Nevertheless, sexual continence is prerequisite condition

Brahman : the Absolute, the Ultimate Reality, without any name, without any form, recognized as the only intrinsic (ontological) Reality by the Advaita Vedanta

Brahmânda : In hindu myths, the cosmic Golden Egg from which emerges the whole Manifestation is called Brahmânda. Another name is Hyranyagarbha (golden matrix)

Brahmins : people belonging to the varna (cast) of the highest rank in the society. According to the Tradition, the brahmins are born from Brahmâ's head. Their birth concedes to them the ability to manage temple administration, to teach religious questions and to perform public pûjâ. However, the modern society has extended the field of activity of the brahmins to non-religious professions too (civil services, liberal professions, etc.)

Buddha : "The Awake Lord". The historic of the Buddha is Siddharta Gautama. He was an Indian prince, belonging to the Sâkhya clan, who was born circa 550 B.C. in Kapilavastu, in northern India. People think usually that this location was in southern Nepal, in a place called nowadays Lumbini; but some specialists state that Kapilavastu was in reality near Pripawa (Uttar Pradesh). Buddha teached one of the most important religions of the world; but buddhism disappeared from India after year 1000, under the pressure of hinduism and muslim invasions

Buddhi : One of the Ganesh wives. Buddhi is the mental power of understanding

To Home Page, click below