Zamindar is a term derived from Persian that is typically translated as “landholder.” Zamin means “earth” or “land,” while dar means “holder” or “occupier.” The role of the zamindar varied by region. In pre-colonial and colonial India, particularly in areas with a Muslim influence, zamindar often referred to an aristocrat who owned land with control over peasants and the right to collect taxes.
It could also refer to just about anyone with a land grant, however small, or someone assigned to collect land taxes, particularly in Bengal. Under British colonial rule, these tax collectors were given land grants, creating a landed aristocracy.
Grihastha is a Sanskrit word meaning “householder.” In Hinduism, it is the second of four life stages that an individual completes in order to fully develop as a person. In this stage, the individual devotes his/her time to working, maintaining their home and raising a family.
Within a deep or advanced spiritual yoga practice, some may surrender this part of life in order to devote themselves to the practice and teaching of yoga.
Hiranyagarbha is a Sanskrit term that translates to “golden embryo,” “golden womb” or “golden egg.” It is derived from the root words hiranya, meaning “golden” or “wealth,” and garbha, meaning “womb,” “germ/seed” or “essence.” It is also the name of the founder of the yoga tradition — predating even Patanjali, who authored the Yoga Sutras. Whether Hiranyagarbha was human or a deity is not established, but the name first appears prominently as a form of the sun god.
The pre-Pantanjali yoga system is sometimes referred to as hiranyagarbha yoga darshana (yoga system of philosophy).
A symbol of wisdom, Ganesh is one of the most revered Gods in Hinduism. Known for his kindness, he is recognized by his elephant head and rotund belly. With his ability to remove obstacles and ensure success, Ganesh is often called upon at the beginning of new ventures.
Though Ganesh is a Hindu deity, he also appears in Buddhism and is the only Hindu God regarded as a Bodhisattva. He takes many different forms. Some Tibetan scriptures depict him as Vinayaka, a demon who must be propitiated in order to avoid destruction. Other times, he is Nrtta Ganapati, the dancing God and destroyer of obstacles who made his way into Tibet through Nepal.
A rangoli is a form of Indian folk art that uses intricate or simple patterns and geometric shapes, often symbolic, to create a sacred welcoming area for Hindu deities, or simply as decoration believed to bring good luck. A rangoli is usually positioned in front of a dwelling or meeting place, but may also be located on the floor of a living room or in a public space during religious festivals, like Diwali.