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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.

Hinduism the dominant religion of the twenty-first century

Hinduism has proven much more open than any other religion to new ideas, scientific thought, and social experimentation. Many concepts like reincarnation, meditation, yoga and others have found worldwide acceptance. It would not be surprising to find Hinduism the dominant religion of the twenty-first century. It would be a religion that doctrinally is less clear-cut than mainstream Christianity, politically less determined than Islam, ethically less heroic than Buddhism, but it would offer something to everybody. It will appear idealistic to those who look for idealism, pragmatic to the pragmatists, spiritual to the seekers, sensual to the here-and-now generation. Hinduism, by virtue of its lack of an ideology and its reliance on intuition, will appear to be more plausible than those religions whose doctrinal positions petrified a thousand years ago.

— Klaus L. Klostermaier

The Vedic Tradition

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).

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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...

World's first university was established in Takshila

As early as 700 B.C., there existed a giant University at Takshashila, located in the northwest region of Bharat (India).

The world's oldest recognized university

Taxila also known as Takshashila, flourished from 600 BC to 500 AD, in the kingdom of Gandhar. 68 subjects were taught at this university and the minimum entry age, ancient texts show, was 16. At one stage, it had 10,500 students including those from Babylon, Greece, Syria, and China. Experienced masters taught the vedas, languages, grammar, philosophy, medicine, surgery, archery, politics, warfare, astronomy, accounts, commerce, documentation, music, dance and other performing arts, futurology, the occult and mystical sciences,complex mathematical calculations. The panel of masters at the university included legendary scholars like Kautilya, Panini, Jivak and Vishnu Sharma. Thus, the concept of a full-fledged university was developed in India.
Famous Nalanda University

The stupa of Sariputta at Nalanda University. "The first great university in recorded history."

Did you know that the University at Nalanda functioned from 500 to 1300 AD until destroyed by invaders?

During the 800 years that the university was operational, it attained great fame. Its campus was one mile in length and a half-mile in width. It also had 300 lecture halls with stone benches for sitting; laboratories and other facilities were also available. For example, the university had a towering observatory called the Ambudharaavlehi for astronomical research. It has boasted a massive library called Dharma Gunj or Mountain of Knowledge that was set up in three buildings named Ratna Sagar, Ratnodavi and Ratnayanjak. The entrance examination was very difficult and the pass rate was 3 out of every 10 students. Despite this hurdle, the Chinese traveler, Hien Tsang wrote in his diary that 10,000 students and 200 professors were at Nalanda University.

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.
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 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 through the lens on Hindu thought, culture, contribution, events and its global presence.
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.
The overview of Hindu Scriptures.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Vedanga ("member of the Veda") are six auxiliary disciplines for the understanding and tradition of the Vedas.

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.
The vehicle of consciousness with which one passes from life to life.
Yoga Sutras
The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.
The various planes of existence.
Stages of Emanation of the Universe.
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.
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.
rajas (Sanskrit: "passion, activity, restlessness, aggressiveness;"). rajasic — adjective form of rajas, passionate, emotional. Associated with color red. See guna.
Sivaloka (Sanskrit: "Realm of Siva.") See: loka.
panchamahābhūtas (Sanskrit: ) from pancha (five) + maha (great) + bhuta (element), means "five great elements", which are prthivi (earth), apa (water), agni (fire), vayu (air or wind), and akasha (aether).
Naimittika Manvantara
Naimittika Manvantara or Naimittika Pralaya (Sanskrit: ";") from naimittika (occasional, unusual, due to external cause), from nimitti (occasional dissolution or manifestation). Refers to pralayas or manvantaras which are unusual or occasional because occurring at wide intervals, either of time or circumstance, especially those separated by Brahma's Days and Nights. A naimittika pralaya occurs when Brahma slumbers: it is the destruction of all that lives and has form, but not of the substance, which remains more or less in statu quo till the new dawn after that Night of Brahma. At the end of a Day of Brahma there occurs what is called in the Puranas a recoalescence of the universe, called Brahma's "contingent or naimittika recoalescence or pralaya," because Brahma is this universe itself.
rajo guna
rajo guna quality of passion, activity restlessness, aggressiveness — the second of the three gunas of matter. Sometimes translated as passion, the phase of rajas is characterized by action, passion, creation, etc.
sharira (body). There are three sharira, the sthula-sharira (gross body), sukshma-sharira (subtle body), and the karana-sharira (causal body). The karana sharira is called the body of the seed of all seeds.
buddhi manas
buddhi manas (Sanskrit: "Intuitional-Mind.";) — higher mind.
klesha (Sanskrit: "knot of the heart; impurities of the heart") hindrance, to spiritual evolution / progress — which hinder spiritual growth and higher realizations.
prarabdha karma
prarabdha karma (Sanskrit: "Actions begun; set in motion.") That portion of sanchita karma that is bearing fruit and shaping the events and conditions of the current life, including the nature of one's bodies, personal tendencies and associations. See: karma
daya (Sanskrit: "compassion") — is not mere display of kindness or sympathy to someone in distress. It calls for complete identification with the suffering experienced by another and relieving that suffering as a means of relieving the agony experienced by himself.
jñåna (Sanskrit: ) derived from the root jñå, "to know, to learn, to experience". In the context of Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, jñåna is generally used in the sense of spiritual knowledge or awareness.
Ganita (Sanskrit: for mathematics; is derived from the root ‘gana’, which means to count or to enumerate.)
chitta (Sanskrit: "memory";) — derived from the root chit, "to be conscious". Chitta is the Subconscious mind. It is the mind-stuff. It is the store-house of memory. Samskaras or impressions of actions are imbedded here. It is one of the four parts of antahkarana.
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.
sattva or sathwa (Sanskrit: "purity, calmness, serenity, joy, strength, goodness;"). sattvic — adjective form of sattva; serene, pure, good, balanced. Associated with color white. See guna.
The Vedāṅga (Sanskrit: ""Veda-limb; member of the Veda") are six auxiliary disciplines for the understanding and tradition of the Vedas. The four Vedas form the body of the Veda Purusha or the Vedic Being. The six Vedāṅgas are the limbs of the Veda Purusha. Four Vedangas govern correct chanting of the Vedas: 1) śikṣā (phonetics), 2) Çhandas (meter), 3) Nirukta, "etymology", 4) Vyākaraṇa, "grammar". The two other Vedāngas are 5) Jyotisha Vedanga, "astronomy-astrology" and 6) Kalpa Vedanga, "procedural canon" which includes the Shrauta and Shulba Shastras, "ritual codes", dharma-shastra, "social law" and Grihya Shastras, "domestic codes".
kāmadeva (Sanskrit: कामदेव) is the deity of love. His other names include Ragavrinta ("stalk of sassion"), Ananga ("incorporeal"), Kandarpa ("inflamer even of a God"). Kamadeva, is son of Goddess Sri and, additionally, is the incarnation of Pradyumna, Krishna’s son.
śraddhā or shraddha (Sanskrit: "faith") — anything or any act that is performed with all sincerity and faith.
Shri Vallabhacharya
Vallabhacharya (Sanskrit: ) "Beloved." Vaishnava saint (ca 1475-1530) whose panentheistic Shuddha Advaita (pure nondualism) philosophy became the essential teaching of the nonascetic Vaishnava sect that bears his name. He composed 17 works, most importantly commentaries on the Vedanta and Mimamsa Sutras and the Bhagavata Purana. The stories of his 84 disciples are often repeated on festive occasions by followers. The sect is strongest in Gujarat. See: Vedanta.
shauca or shaucha (Sanskrit: "Purity.") — avoiding impurity in body, mind and speech.
adhyatma (Sanskrit: "Spiritual; Self") — the inner, spiritual Self or Spirit. See: atman.
chakra (Sanskrit: “wheel”;) — the psycho-energetic centers of the subtle body known as the pranamaya kosha; in yoga there are considered to be twelve major chakras, six higher, and six lower. However, the six higher chakras are typically group as one. Thus seven chakras are commonly spoken of. They are Muladhara Chakra at the base of the spine, Svadhishstana Chakra at the genitals, Manipura Chakra at the navel, Anahata Chakra at the heart, Vishuddha Chakra at the throat, Ajna Chakra the forehead, and Sahasrara Chakra (comprised of the six higher chakras) at the top of the head.
akasha or akash, aakaashá, ākāśa, (Sanskrit: आकाश) — meaning space or sky and is the basis and essence of all things in the material world; the smallest material element created from the sukshmaloka (astral world). It is one of the panchamahābhūtas (five great elements), the others being prthivi (earth), apa (water), agni (fire) and vayu (air). Its main characteristic is shabda (sound).
jiva (Sanskrit: "the embodied atman") Individual Self.
Brahmavidya or Paravidya (metaphysics metaknowledge or higher knowledge) is the vehicle for attaining Moksha in the path known as Jnana Yoga and Yoga sastra (the means to attain the same) is the practical discipline needed to attain Brahmavidya.
ā́rya (Sanskrit: "noble") — the root of the word means "noble." . The ancient name of India found in many Hindu scriptures is 'Aryavarat', meaning the abode of noble people.
bhārata (Sanskrit: भारत ) : Ancient name of India.
kosha (Sanskrit: "Sheath; vessel, container; layer.") — five sheaths through which the Self functions simultaneously in the various planes or levels of existence. There are five or six classical koshas as presented in the Upanishads. Classically there are five traditional koshas called the annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya, and anandamaya koshas. These five sheaths cover the atman (the Self), which is the innermost reality or the jiva and is untouched by the characteristics of the sheaths. See: panchakosha.
Karana Sharira
Karana Sharira or Kaarana Sareeram (the vehicle of the consciousness). The intuitive superconscious mind of the atman (Inner Self). Causal body which carries the impressions and tendencies in seed state. It corresponds to the anandamaya-kosha, bliss sheath; the innermost of the five sheaths.
kali yuga
kali yuga (Sanskrit: कलियुग, "age of Kali"; "age of vice") — is one of the four stages of development that the world goes through as part of the cycle of Yugas, the others being satya-yuga, treta-yuga and dwapara-yuga. The human civilization degenerates spiritually throughout the Kali Yuga — it is mostly referred to as the Dark Age, mainly because people are the furthest possible from Divinity. During the Kali Yuga righteousness has diminished by three-quarters, and the age is one of devolution, culminating in the destruction of the world prior to a new creation and another Krita Yuga in an endless cycle of time.
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