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This wiki site Veda is dedicated to understanding Sanatana Dharma (eternal way of life), prominently known as Hinduism, the oldest living religion on earth. It covers information related to Hindu (Vedic) concepts, teachings, philosophy, scriptures and everything that we can think of related to the Hindu Dharma.

All Is Brahman

This universe comes forth from Brahman and will return to Brahman. Verily, all is Brahman.

A person is what his deep desire is. It is our deepest desire in this life that shapes the life to come. So let us direct our deepest desires to realize the Self.

The Vedic Tradition
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The Vedic tradition of knowledge, based on the extensive Vedic literature, is the oldest tradition of knowledge in the world. Though it has been long preserved in India, this traditional wisdom has been almost lost in recent centuries—due in part to repeated foreign invasions. The Vedic tradition includes detailed information on a wide range of topics—from astronomy to music, architecture to health care, administration to economy. But it is all based on the knowledge of consciousness—including technologies of consciousness, and evolution to the highest state of consciousness (enlightenment).

Do you know?
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From the invention of the decimal system in mathematics to the noble philosophy of ahimsã, Hindus have contributed their share in all fields of knowledge and learning. Over five thousand years ago, when Europeans were only nomadic forest dwellers, ancient Hindus had established a civilization, known as the Harappan culture, in the Indus Valley, the northwestern region of India. When much of the world was still sunk in sleep, people of the Harappan culture were conducting trade workshops in weaving, bead-making, pottery, dying of fabrics, and metallurgy. read more...

The Game of Cards

The popular game of cards originated in ancient India and was known as Krida-patram. It was one of the favorite pastimes of Indians in ancient times. This game was patronized especially by the royalty and nobility. In medieval India, playing cards was known as Ganjifa cards which were played in practically all royal courts. This game is recorded to have been played in Rajputana, Kashyapa Meru (Kashmir), Utkala (Orissa) the Deccan and even in Nepal. The Mughals also patronized this game, but the Mughal card-sets differed from those of the ancient Indian royal courts.

According to Abul Fazal's (author of the Ain-e-Akbari) description of the game, the following cards were used. The first was Ashvapati which means 'lord of horses'. The Ashvapati which was the highest card in, the pack represented the picture of the king on horseback. The second highest card represented a General (Senapati) on horseback. After this card come ten other with pictures of horses from one to ten.

Another set of cards had the Gajapati (lord of elephants) which represented the king whose power lay in the number of elephants. The other eleven cards in this pack represented the Senapati and ten others with a soldier astride an elephant. Another pack has the Narpati, a king whose power lies in his infantry. We also had other cards known as the Dhanpati, the lord of treasures, Dalpati the lord of the squadron, Navapati, the lord of the navy, Surapati, the lord of divinities, Asrapati, lord of genii, Vanapati, the king of the forest and Ahipati, lord of snakes, etc.

On the authority of Abul Fazal we can say that the game of playing cards had been invented by sages in ancient times who took the number 12 as the basis and made a set of 12 cards. Every king had 11 followers, thus a pack had 144 cards. The Mughals retained 12 sets having 96 cards. These Mughal Ganjifa sets have representations of diverse trades like Nakkash painter, Mujallid book binder, Rangrez, dyer, etc., In addition there were also the Padishah-i-Qimash, king of the manufacturers and Padishah-izar-i-Safid, king of silver, etc.

Cards were known as Krida-patram in ancient India. These cards were made of cloth and depicted motifs from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. A tradition carried on today with floral motifs and natural scenery.

The pre-Mughal origin of the game of cards is evident if we examine the pattern of painting the cards. We also find that despite the observation of Abul Fazal that Akbar introduced the pack with 8 sets, we find that even earlier, in Indian (Hindu) courts we have packs with 8, 9 and 10 sets apart from the usual 12. The numbers were derived from the eight cardinal directions Ashtadikpala, for the pack with 8 set, from the nine planets Navagraha for the one with 9 sets and from ten incarnations Dashavatara of Vishnu for the pack with 10 sets.

Themes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata are painted on these cards. The largest number of such cards are to be found in Orrisa. The largest number of such cards are to be found in Orissa. The painters from Orissa have represented various illustrations like the Navagunjara, a mythical birdhuman animal which was the form assumed by Sri Krishna to test Arjuna's fidelity, illustrations from the Dashavatata of Vishnu are also portrayed.

All these cards were hand-made and were painted in the traditional style. This required considerable patience and hard meticulous work. The kings usually commissioned painters to make cards as per their preference. The commoners got their cards made by local artists who were to be ; found in urban and rural areas. In order to -obtain the required thickness a number of sheets of pieces of cloth were glued together. The outlines of the rim were painted in black and then the figures were filled with colors.

As cards were played by members all strata of society we find different types of cards. Some cards were also made of ivory, tortoise shell, mother of pearl, inlaid or enameled with precious metals. The cards were of different shapes; they were circular, oval rectangular, but the circular cards were more common. The cards were usually kept in a wooden box with a lid painted with mythological figures. This art of handmade, hand painted cards which had survived for hundreds of years. gradually feel into decay and became extinct with the introduction of printed paper cards by the Europeans in the 17-18th centuries. With the extinction of the art of making and painting cards also was erased the memory that Indians ever had played the game of cards with their own specific representations of the Narapati, Gajapati and Ashvapati.

Veda
The Vedic tradition of knowledge, based on the extensive Vedic literature, is the oldest tradition of knowledge in the world.
Hinduism at a Glance
If you're new to this faith, here's where to begin. In this simple introduction to a complex religion, get your basic questions on Hinduism answered and explained in brief.
Hinduism
Overview of Hindusim.
Sanatana Dharma
Sanatana Dharma is is the original name of what is now popularly called Hinduism. Sanatana Dharma is the world's most ancient culture and the socio, spiritual, and religious tradition of almost one billion of the earth's inhabitants.
FAQs - Hinduism
Covers the frequently asked questions on Hindu Dharma.
Sanskrit
Sanskrit is considered to be the oldest language in human history. Sanskrit is the progenitor and inspiration for virtually every language spoken in India. Sanskrit has a tradition going back at least 5,000 years and is the language in which every ancient Hindu text, devotional or otherwise, is written in.
Do you know?
Little bits of information on amazing facts related to Hindus and India.
Pearls of Wisdom
A selection of quotes relating to various aspects of Hinduism on Vedas, Dharma, Athma, Ayurveda and others.
Glimpses
Glimpses through the lens on Hindu thought, culture, contribution, events and its global presence.
sūtras
sūtras metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or large a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual — is a distinct type of literary composition, based on short aphoristic statements, generally using various technical terms. Sūtras form a school of Vedic study, related to and somewhat later than the Upanishads.
sastra
The overview of Hindu Scriptures.
Vedas
The Vedas are the oldest extant Hindu texts. The ideas expressed in the Vedas were traditionally handed down orally from father to son and from teacher to disciple.
Agama
The Ãgamas are theological treatises and practical manuals of divine worship. The Agamas include the Tantras, Mantras and Yantras. These are treatises explaining the external worship of God, in idols, temples, etc
Purāṇas
The aim of the Puranas is to impress on the minds of the masses the teachings of the Vedas and to generate in them devotion to God, through concrete examples, stories, legends, lives of saints, kings and great men, allegories and chronicles of great historical events.
Bhagavad Gītā
The Bhagavad Gita is known as the Song Celestial. It is the most important sacred text in the Hindu tradition. It is Brahma-vidya, the knowledge of existence, as well as Yoga-shastra, scripture on the science of the Self.
Ramayana
The Rãmãyana has been a perennial source of spiritual, cultural and artistic inspiration, not only to the people of India but also to the people all over the world. It has helped to mold the Hindu character and has inspired millions of people with the deepest of love and devotion.
Mahābhārata
It is an historical epic about the great kingdom of Bharatavarsa, or the region of India. It contains 110,000 couplets making it the longest poem and greatest epic in world literature.
Upanishads
The Upanishads are epic hymns of self-knowledge and world-knowledge and God-knowledge. There is no book in the whole world that is so thrilling, soul-stirring and inspiring as the Upanishad. The philosophy taught by the Upanishads has been the source of solace for many, both in the East and the West. The human intellect has not been able to conceive of anything more noble and sublime in the history of the world than the teachings of the Upanishads.
vedāṅga
The Vedanga ("member of the Veda") are six auxiliary disciplines for the understanding and tradition of the Vedas.

Avasthas
The most comprehensive study of the Science of Consciousness. It expounds the various levels of consciousness, states of consciousness, the nature of consciousness at each level, the nature of Truth at each level of consciousness and methods to attain those levels.
Shariras
The vehicle of consciousness with which one passes from life to life.
Yoga Sutras
The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.
Lokas
The various planes of existence.
Vyuhas
Stages of Emanation of the Universe.
Sankhya
The Principles of the Universe.
Vedic Time System
In the Vedic Time System, kala (Time) is not a linear, single-directional movement, like an arrow speeding from past to future. The idea of Time itself was quite advanced in Hindu Heritage.
Srishti and Pralaya
Creation of the Universe — the cosmos follows one cycle within a framework of cycles. It may have been created and reach an end, but it represents only one turn in the perpetual "wheel of time", which revolves infinitely through successive cycles of creation and destruction.
Hindu Cosmology
Hindu Cosmology upholds the idea that creation is timeless, having no beginning in time. Each creation is preceded by dissolution and each dissolution is followed by creation.
Panchanga
The Hindu Almanac provides vital information about astrological factors, planets and stars — aspects of our subtle environment which are unseen but strongly felt. It is far more complex than the simple Gregorian calendar normally used in the West and far more useful.
adharma
adharma (Sanskrit: ) — the opposite of dharma that denotes unrighteousness; disorder; evil; immorality; impiety, non-performance of duty; what is not right or natural; or not in accordance to śāstras. Thoughts, words or deeds that transgress divine law in any of the human expressions. It brings the accumulation of demerit, called papa, while dharma brings merit, called punya.
pratibhasika
pratibhasika (Sanskrit: ), from prati-bhas to look like from the verbal root bhas to appear — appearing as the similitude of something, hence illusory. In Vedanta philosophy, one of the three kinds of existence: the apparent or illusory life. See: paramarthika; vyavaharika
Jyotisha Vedanga
Jyotisha Vedanga (Sanskrit: "Veda-limb of celestial science or astronomy-astrology") — ancient texts giving knowledge of astronomy and astrology, for understanding the cosmos and determining proper timing for Vedic rites. (Jyoti means light "of the sun, fire, etc.") See: jyotisha, vedanga.
manu
manu is a title accorded to the progenitor of mankind, and also the very first king to rule this earth, who saved mankind from the universal flood. He was absolutely honest which was why he was initially known as "Satyavrata" (One with the oath of truth).
Shulba Shastra
Shulba Shastra — practical manuals giving the measurements and procedures for constructing the sites of Vedic yajna rites. A division of the Kalpa Vedanga (Veda limb on rituals), these sutras employ sophisticated geometry and are India's earliest extant mathematical texts. Shulba means "string or cord," denoting the use of string for measuring.
sloka
A hymn or verse of praise, a stanza or verse in general, a stanza in anustubh metre (the most common metre used in Sanskrit consisting for 4 lines of 8 syllables), fame.
Sivaloka
Sivaloka (Sanskrit: "Realm of Siva.") See: loka.
kāma
kāma or kām, (Sanskrit: काम, "self-indulgence; sensual gratification; pleasure; lust") — the passionate desire for all sensual and material pleasures such as for riches, property, honor, status, fame, children etc. and abnormal desire which includes drugs, alcoholic drinks, tobacco, or foods eaten only for taste. It is the principle of sickness and degradation in the Kali Yuga. kāma is regarded as one of the four purusharthas (goals of life), the others are artha (worldly status), dharma (duty) and moksha (liberation). It is also one of the arishadvarga (six passions of mind) or enemies of desire, the others being krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy).
Bhāgavata Purana
Bhāgavata Purana or also known as Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, or simply Bhāgavatam (Sanskrit: "Ancient Book of the Lord") — is the most celebrated text of a variety of Hindu sacred literature in Sanskrit that is known as the Purāṇas. The Bhāgavatam takes the form of a story being told by a great rishi known as Suta Goswami, to a host of assembled sages, who ask him questions in regard to the various avatars, or descents of Vishnu within the mortal world. Suta Goswami then relates the Bhāgavatam as he has heard it from another sage, called Sukadeva.
Madhvacharya
Madhvacharya (Kannada: ಶ್ರೀ ಮಧ್ವಾಚಾರ್ಯರು) — South Indian Vaishnava saint (11971278) who expounded a purely dualistic Vedanta in which there is an essential and eternal distinction between God, Self and world, and between all beings and things. The chief proponent of Tattvavāda (True Philosophy), popularly known as dvaita-advaita or dualistic school of Hindu thought. He wrote several commentaries on the Vedas, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.
treta yuga
treta yuga or trétha yuga (Sanskrit: त्रेता युग, ";") — is the second out of four yugas, or ages of man following the satya-yuga of perfect morality and preceding the dwapara-yuga. In the treta yuga changes in relationships start to occur. Duties are no longer the spontaneous laws of human behaviour, but have to be learned. Sacrifices are needed; people follow truth and devote themselves to righteousness through ceremonies, which are regarded as a means of obtaining specific objects.
Hanuman Jayanti
It is celebrated largely in North India to commemorate the birth of the monkey god, Hanuman, during Chaitra. It marks a symbolic acceptance of the human race's peaceful co-existence with nature and the worship of an animal.
Vyākaraṇa Vedanga
Vyākaraṇa Vedanga or Vyākaraṇa Shastra (Sanskrit: "grammar") — auxiliary Vedic texts on Sanskrit grammar. Vyakarana is among four linguistic skills taught for mastery of the Vedas and the rites of yagna. The term literally means "separation, or explanation." The most celebrated Vyakarana work is Panini's 4,000-sutra Ashtadhyayi, which set the linguistic standards for classical Sanskrit.
paramarthika
paramarthika (Sanskrit: ) from parama highest + arthika true substance of a thing, real — relating to a high or spiritual object or to supreme truth; real, essential verity; in Vedanta philosophy, one of the three kinds of existence: the only real or true existence. See: pratibhasika; vyavaharika
Truth
Truth — When capitalized, "ultimate knowing" which is "unchanging". Lower case (truth): "correctness", "according with fact", "honesty", "integrity"; "virtue". See: Satya.
ahańkāra
ahańkāra or ahamkara (Sanskrit: अहंकार) from aham (ego, I) + kara (maker, doer) from the verbal root kri (to do) — is the sense of “I-am-ness” the individual Ego, which feels itself to be a distinct, separate entity. It provides identity to our functioning, but ahańkāra also creates our feelings of separation, pain, and alienation as well. In its lower aspect, the egoistical and mayavi principle, born of avidya (ignorance), which produces the notion of the personal ego as being different from the universal self. ahańkāra is one of the four parts of the antahkarana ("inner conscience" or "the manifest mind") and the other three parts are buddhi (the intellect), chitta (the memory) and manas (the mind).
anātmā
anātmā (Sanskrit: "non-Self, not the real Self") — different from the atman (Self).
påpa
påpa (Sanskrit: "is what brings one down") — sometimes translated as sin or evil.
saptarshis
saptarshis (Sanskrit: सप्तर्षि; saptarṣi; "seven sages") from sapta, "seven" + rishi, "sage" — are the seven rishis or the 'prajapatis', the mind born sons of Brahma who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and Hindu literature. They are Atri, Gautama, Bharadwaja, Vasishta, Viswamitra, Jamadagni and Kashyap. The Mahabharata presents them as Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya andVasishta. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic Tradition. The seven rishis are also said to mark the time and the duration of events in our septenary life cycle.
sampradaya
sampradaya (Sanskrit: "Tradition," "transmission;") derives from the verb samprada, meaning "gift, grant, bestowing or conferring; handing down by tradition; bequeathing." Sampradaya is thus a system borne down through history by verbal transmission — is the lineage or living tradition of spiritual knowledge. A traditional school of religious teaching, transmitted from one teacher to another. Sampradaya is a living stream of tradition or theology within Hinduism, passed on by oral training and initiation. The term It is more inclusive than the related term parampara which names a living lineage of ordained gurus who embody and carry forth a sampradaya. A sampradaya may be represented by many paramparas. See: parampara.
Namaste
Namaste is made of two words, namas and te. Namas comes from the verbal root nam which means to bow and so namas is a bow or salutation. “Te” means, to you. And so namaste literally means, "bowing to you". There is a variation of this in the form “namaskara.” The Sanskrit word “kara” means, doing. So namaskara literally means, doing salutations.
satchidānanda
saccidānanda, satchidananda, or sat-cit-ānanda (Sanskrit: सच्चिदानंद, "existence, consciousness, and bliss") is a compound of three words, sat (सत्), "Ultimate Being", cit (चित्), "Pure Consciousness", and ānanda (आनंद), "Perfect Bliss" — reality, seen through the realization of Brahman.
Çhandas Vedanga
Çhandas Vedanga (Sanskrit: "meter") — auxiliary Vedic texts on the metrical rules of poetic writing. Çhanda is among four linguistic skills taught for mastery of the Vedas and the rites of yagna. Çhandas means "desire; will; metrical science." The most important text on Çhandas is the Çhanda Shastra, ascribed to Pingala. Its knowledge is most essential for the correct pronunciation of the Vedic mantras.
artha
artha (Sanskrit: अर्थ, "worldly wealth; material facility; the pursuit of wealth and social status") — refers to the idea of material prosperity, not to be understood solely as material assets, but all kinds of wealth including non-tangibles such as knowledge, friendship and love. artha is one of the four goals of life, known as purusharthas. It is considered to be a noble goal as long as it follows the dictates of dharma. The concept includes achieving widespread fame, garnering wealth and having an elevated social standing. It is the second lowest rung on the ladder of purusharthas, above kama (physical or emotional pleasure) but below dharma (righteousness) and moksha (liberation).
deva
deva (Sanskrit: "Lord; God") derived from the root div, "to shine or become bright". A deva is therefore a “shining one.” The word is used to refer to God, or any exalted personality. The female version is devî.
tala
"Timemeasure." In Indian music, the organization of time into meter andrhythmic pulse with sometimes complex subdivisions. Tala issimilar to "time signature" in Western notation except thattala includes the unique emotional or mystical mood.
purusottama
purusottama (Sanskrit: "Godly man") — comprised of two words: purusa + uttama literally meaning “highest man” — means God.
asat
Opposite of sat, non-being, impermanent, false, evil, unreal, sometimes used to refer to matter or to the body.
Yama Dharmaraja
Yama Dharmaraja (Sanskrit: यम) is the Lord of Justice and is sometimes referred to as Dharmaraja in reference to his unswerving dedication to maintaining order and adherence to harmony. Sometimes refered as the Lord of Death, it is said that he is also one of the wisest of the devas. Yama's name can be interpreted to mean "twin", and in some accounts he is paired with a twin sister Yamī. Yama is assisted by Chitragupta who is assigned with the task of keeping complete records of actions of human beings on the earth, and upon their death, deciding to have them reincarnated as a superior or inferior organism, depending on their Karma (actions on the earth).
vidya
vidya: (Sanskrit) "Knowledge, learning, science." The power of understanding gained through study and meditation. Contrasted with avidya, ignorance.
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