Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Purchase 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 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 is both an ancient historical tradition and a flourishing tradition today. The encyclopedia embraces the greatest possible diversity, plurality, and heterogeneity, thus emphasizing that Hinduism encompasses a variety of regional traditions as well as a global world religion. Presenting all essays and research from the heralded printed edition, Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism is now available in a fully searchable, dynamic digital format. The service will include all content from the six printed volumes..

Subscriptions: see

Old Age

(5,651 words)

Author(s): Sarah Lamb
A wide variety of images and understandings of old age exists in Hindu textual traditions and daily life. Two key themes are salient in many contexts. The first is the theme of transience; aging and the gradual decline of the body as death grows near, for better or worse, epitomizes the transience of human existence, the ephemeral nature of the cycle of births and deaths that makes up the worldly life of saṃsāra . The second key theme is that of care and respect, or respectful service ( sevā ), offered to elders within the family. Here, the notion is that proper moral-religious order or dharma dic…


(1,649 words)

Author(s): Vasudha Narayanan
Considered to be the most sacred and important of all sounds and mantras in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions, oṃ is recited at the beginning and end of almost all prayers and meditational exercises. The word is understood to have three sounds, a, u, and m, with the diphthong au producing an o sound. The sound oṃ, which begins deep in the body and ends at the lips, is thought to be auspicious, and articulating it is said to exercise the whole vocal apparatus. The sound itself is variously considered to be a full manifestation of:       1. brahman ; 2. the universe (it is, in fact, …


(2,990 words)

Author(s): Jürgen Neuß
Omkareshwar-Mandhata is an island in the river Narmadā, situated on the northern fringe of the present-day Khandwa (formerly East Nimar) district of Madhya Pradesh at approximately 22°15' north latitude and 76°9' east longitude (fig. 1). Together with the village of Godarpura, which lies immediately opposite the island on the south bank of the river Narmadā, it currently represents the most important Hindu pilgrimage center in the Narmadā Valley, as the place is famous for the Oṃkāreśvara liṅga , one of the celebrated 12 jyotirliṅgas, to which the place owes its modern name.  Local tra…
Date: 2016-04-06