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Sabbath (Judaism) - Originally the Jewish holy seventh day of the week but now any religious holy day or day of rest.
Sach Khand (Sikhism) - The realm of truth which is the final stage of spiritual ascent where the believer becomes one with God.
Sacrament (Christianity) - An outward visible sign in the rites of the church of a spiritual blessing.
sadhana (Hinduism) - A body of disciplines or way of life going to total self realisation.
Sadhu (Hinduism) - Holy man or sage.
Sadducees (Judaism) - Jewish priests who recognised only the written Torah and not the Oral Talmud. They were no more after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.
Sadh Sangat (Sikhism) - The Sikh congregation and indeed community. A sangat is a holy community.
Sahadeva (Hinduism) - A younger brother of the Pandavas.
Sahib (Sikhism) - Term of respect used for the Sikh Holy Book and also used for historical gurdwaras.
Sahibzadas (Sikhism) - The four sons of Guru Gobind Singh who all died as marytrs:
  • Ajit Singh
  • Jujhar Singh
  • Zorawar Singh
  • Fateh Singh
Sahaj (Sikhism) - The spiritual peace that comes from the attainment of union with God.
Sahaj Path (Sikhism) - When the whole Guru Granth Sahib is read but not continuously. This is contrasted with the Akhand path which is continuous.
Salah (Islam) - Ritual prayer and the second pillar of Islam.
Salvation Army (Christianity) - A Christian evangelical denomination founded by William Booth in the nineteenth century that was deliberately populist by using militarism and brass bands.
Sama - One of the four Vedas with songs and chants.
Samadhi (Hinduism) - Concentration bringing consciousness in line with God.
Samsara (Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikh) - Birth, decay, death and rebirth which forms the cycle of existence linking all creatures. A state of rebirth and going from one body to another as a cycle of suffering. Literally 'going through'.
Sangat (Sikhism) - The congregation assembled for worship.
Sangha (Buddhism) - The Buddhist community and one of the refuges. The term is narrowly used for monks and nun.
Sangrand (Sikhism) - On first day of the Indian lunar month the relevant portion of the composition Barhmaha by Guru Nanak or Guru Arjun Dev is read out.
Sanjaya (Hinduism) - From divine perception he told the Bhagavad Gita to Dhritarashtra.
Sankhya (Hinduism) - This Hindu philosophy (one of six) teaches the ultimate separation and thus liberation of the individual purusha (spirit) from prakriti (mind and matter).
sannyasa (Hinduism) - Renunciation.
Sanskrit (Hinduism) - The sacred language in which the most ancient Indian scriptures are written.
Sarbat Khalsa (Sikhism) - A representative meeting of all Sikhs to consider important matters related to the panth.
sat (Hinduism) - Truth, good, reality (to be).
Sat Guru (Sikhism) - The supreme Guru, God.
sattva (Hinduism) - One of the three qualities making up phenomena, this being law, harmony, purity and goodness.
Satya (Hinduism) - Truth and truthful, good and the Good, eg satyagraha
Satyug (Sikhism) - An era in which Truth prevails, unlike with Kalyug.
Savikalpa samddhi (Hinduism) - Meditation state where awareness of object and subject remain and where there is not total unity with God (having distinctions, admitting separateness).
Scroll (Judaism) - A roll of parchment or paper used before books. Still used in public worship.
Seder (Judaism) - The ritual followed at the Passover meal.
Sefer Yelzirah (Judaism) - Early mystical text attributed to Abraham which sees Hebrew letters as agents of creation.
Sefirah (plural: sefirot) (Judaism) - A complex amalgam of the principles of number and meaning and so the ten sefirot form the Kabbalah or the tree of life. It is understanding God.
Seli (Sikhism) - A woolen cord to symbolise being in the world but not of it that was worn by Guru Nanak and other gurus. Guru Hargobind who chose to wear the symbol of two swords of Meri and peri instead.
Septuagint (Christianity) - The Greek version of the Hebrew Bible as translated in the 200s BCE.
Sermon (Islam, Christianity, Buddhism) - A faithful monologue delivered as part of a religious service.
Seva Panthi (Sikhism) - A Sikh whose life is devoted to the service of the Sikh community.
Shabad (Sikhism) - The religious hymns contained in Sikh scriptures.
Shabbat (Judaism) - The Sabbath being the day of holiness and rest as a reminder of God's work of creation. It begins before sunset on the Friday and extends until three stars are visible on the Saturday night. This Jewish understanding of day does extend into Christianity where, for example, some people open presents on Christmas Eve, the start of Christmas.
Shahadah (Islam) - The first pillar of Islam that there is no god but the God and Muhammad (pbuh) is his messenger.
Shakti (Hinduism) - Feminine side of God or the divine mother, power.
Shama - Peace from deep meditation.
Shankara (Hinduism) - Shiva (giver of peace).
Shariah (Islam) - The (level of the principles of) the Divine Law of Islam and generally the religious law of any revealed religion.
Shavuol Festival (Judaism) - Recollects the revelation of Torah on Mt. Sinai.
Shekhinah (Judaism) - In Kabbalah, the Shekhinah is the feminine aspect of God (in the sefirah mulkhut) but more generally it is the indwelling presence of God.
Shema (Judaism) - A central prayer and affirmation of belief declaring the unity of God which focuses on the love of God and earthly dependence on divine providence and comes from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 & 11:13-21 and Numbers 15:37-41.
Shirk (Islam) - The only unforgivable sin in Islam which is a claim of divinity and so compromising God's unity.
Shiva - Destroys and conquers death coming after Brahma, the Creator, and Vishnu, the preserver.
Shofar (Judaism) - The ram's horn trumpet blown in the synagogue at New Year and the Day of Atonement.
shraddha (Hinduism) - Faith.
Shrove Tuesday (Christianity) - The last day before the beginning of the Christian season of Lent and time for a feed.
Shudra (Hinduism) - A worker or servant, being the fourth one born Hindu caste.
Sifra Rabbinic (Judaism) - Halakhic commentary on the book of Leviticus, Sifre Rabbinic, halakhic commentary on the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Sifre Rabbinic (Judaism) - Halakhic commentary on the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Simchat Torah (Judaism) - Means 'Rejoicing of the Torah' and is the festival marking the end and the beginning of the weekly Torah reading cycle.
Sin (Christianity, Judaism) - The continuing human condition since the fall of disobedience from God and moral failure.
Sinai, Mount (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) - The place where, according to the Bible and Jewish tradition, Moses received the Torah.
Singh (Sikhism) - The name given to all male members of the Sikh khalsa. Literally 'lion'.
Skanda (Hinduism) - A god and son of Shiva and being general of the divine forces against the demons.
Smrti (Hinduism) - Hindu writings like the bhagavad Gita different from the revealed scriptures. Literally 'that which is remembered'.
Society of Friends (Christian humanism) - It retains its form of worship and structure since the early days of George Fox refusing all creeds, oaths, sacraments and priestly structures. Though quite liberal now its resistance comes now in terms of being anti war.
Sodar (Sikhism) - A composition of Guru Nanak's read at sunset as part of Rahiras.
solar (Sikhism) - Months or calendars calculated by the movement of the earth round the sun.
Soma (Hinduism) - the drink of the gods used in Vedic ritual.
Sri (Hinduism) - Lord or holy and often placed before Krishna.
Sruti (Hinduism) - Revealed Hindu scriptures particuarly the Vedas. Literally 'what is heard'.
Stupa (Buddhism) - Mound or mound-shaped buildings, which contain relics forming distinctive monuments in Buddhist areas.
Subha (Islam) - The string of a hundred beads (also called called a tasbi or tasbir) used in private devotions.
Sufi (Islam) - A Muslim mystic and a major tradition of holiness in Islam.
Sukh Asan (Sikhism) - The ceremony at the end of the day when the Guru Granth Sahib is formally closed for the night.
Sukkot (Judaism) - Autumn festival of the journey through the wilderness, commemorated by dwelling in a temporary structure, the sukkah.
Sunnah (Islam) - The way of living and being carried out the Prophet of Islam, an idea for all Muslims.
Surah (Islam) - The hundred and fourteen divisions of the Qur'an.
Sutra (Buddhism) (Pali: sutta) - The teachings, sayings and discourses of the Buddha. One of the three sections of the Pali Canon, and in Mahayana writings (for example the Lotus Sutra). Literally a thread.
Svadharma (Hinduism) - Individual dharma and therefore the duty appropriate to a person.
Swayya (Sikhism) - A group of hymns composed by Guru Gobind Singh and found in the Dasam Granth.
Swastika (Hinduism) - An ancient Hindu symbol of love. This was perverted by the Nazis.
Synagogue (Judaism) - Jewish meeting place for worship and instruction.

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