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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.

Ever-revolving Wheel of Being

On this ever-revolving wheel of being, the individual self goes round and round, through life after life, believing itself to be a separate creature, until it sees its identity with the Lord of Love and attains immortality in the indivisible whole.

— Shvetashvatara Upanishad

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 Christian Chronology

From the days of British colonial rule we have developed a habit of following the Christian, or rather the Gregorian calendar. The main difficulty of this chronology is that, it originated only nearly 2000 years ago and hence incapable of accommodating events of long past as stated above. The geological time-frame invented by the scientists can take care of events which happened not earlier than 4 billion years ago. Most importantly, the origin and the process of counting months and years in Gregorian calendar are in no way linked to astronomical events. That is the reason why it was a matter of dispute whether the month February in 2000 A.D. would contain 29 days or 30 days.

Some texts try to establish a link between the birth of Jesus and the beginning of this Christian or Gregorian calendar and say that a bright star then appeared in the sky. According to the famous German astronomer Johannes Kepler, it was a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the zodiacal sign Pisces and the incident look place in 7 B.C. Most of the historians and researchers on Jesus believe that he was born somewhere in between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. Moreover, the people who are connected with the origin of this calendar, possess entirely childish and amusing ideas about the creation of this universe and its antiquity. The Irish prelate James Ussher in 17th century openly declared, without giving any thought to the possible repercussions of his statement that this universe originated on February 26, 4004 B.C. at 9 a.m. Even today most of them believe that God created this earth and heaven within six days from nothingness and finished His task on that day.

In fact, the present Christian chronology originated in 753 B.C., the year of foundation of the city of Rome. In its original form, 304 days divided into 10 months made a year and its present form bears the testimony of this fact. At that time the parting 4 months, namely September, October. November and December were the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th months of the year and their names were coined from septem, octo, novem and decem, the Latin words for 7.8.9 and 10. This shows the colossal lack of knowledge the Romans of that time had about the solar cycle and one can easily imagine the frightening disharmony it had with the solar cycle. Here one should also notice the striking similarity between the Latin words for 7, 8, 9 and 10 as mentioned above and the Sanskrit words saptam, astam, navam and dasam. This shows that the Romans learned the art of counting from India. However, in 46 B.C. emperor Julius Caesar introduced, quite arbitrarily, the month July after his name and then emperor Augustus Caesar introduced the month August after his name and made 12 months or 355 days a year. Then onwards it was called the Julian calendar.

In 1582, Pope Gregori XIII, in his endeavour to make it in harmony with the solar cycle, introduced some vital revisions. He introduced the practice of counting a year normally of 365 days and, a leap year of 366 days every fourth year. Furthermore, he made the rule that, a centesimal year will be treated as a leap year only when it is divisible by 400. Despite all such efforts it was seen that, a discrepancy of 11 days had crept in the year 1700 A.D. A compromise was made in that year by skipping those 11 days and in fact, 4th September was counted as 15th September in that year. In the Eastern Europe the said correction was done in 1917, when the discrepancy reached 13 days. According to the old calendar the Bolshevik revolution in Russia took place in October, but in November after correction. That is the reason why the Communists some times call it the Great October Revolution and some times the Great November Revolution. It is important to note here that, there is no scope of occurrence of such a discrepancy in Hindu calendar because months and years are counted here according to actual position of the sun in the sky. However, in 1752, only 5 years before the battle of Palāśī, this Gregorian calendar was adopted as the royal calendar of Britain and with the gradual expansion of the British Empire, it ultimately acquired the present status of an international calendar. So, one should notice that the Gregorian calendar has achieved the status of an international calendar not due to its superior scientific basis but due to military success of its followers.

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.
Yoga
Yoga (Sanskrit: योग, "union of atman (individual Self) with paramåtma (Universal Self)") derived from the root yuj, "to join, to unite, to attach" — spiritual practices performed primarily as a means to enlightenment (or bodhi). Traditionally, Karma Yoga (through action), Bhakti Yoga (through devotion), jñåna-yoga (through knowledge), and dhyåna-yoga (through meditation) are considered the four main yogas. In the West, yoga has become associated with the asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga, popular as fitness exercises. Yoga has many other meaning. For example, in astronomy and astrology it refers to a conjunction (union) of planets.
Nirakara
'without form', referring to Brahman as Unmanifest.
vasana
vasana (Sanskrit: "subconscious inclination; conditioning, tendencies, or self-limitations; predispositions and habits") from vas (living, remaining) — the subliminal inclinations and habit patterns which, as driving forces, color and motivate one's attitudes and future actions. Vasanas are the conglomerate results of samskaras (subconscious impressions) created through experience. Samskaras, experiential impressions, combine in the subconscious to form vasanas, which thereafter contribute to mental fluctuations, called vritti. The most complex and emotionally charged vasanas are found in the dimension of mind called vasana chitta (the subsubconscious).
annamaya kosha
annamaya kosha (food-apparent-sheath) is translated as food sheath, corresponds roughly to the sthula-sharira (coarse body, physical body). This is the sheath of the physical self, named from the fact that it is nourished by food. Living through this layer man identifies himself with a mass of skin, flesh, fat, bones, and filth, while the man of viveka (discrimination) knows his own Self, the only reality that there is, as distinct from the body. It has the most dense and slow vibrational frequency. This body cannot exist without contact with the other koshas (subtle sheaths) or bodies (the pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya, and anandamaya koshas), yet for the most part it remains barely activated in regards to its highest evolutionary potential. The physical or odic body, coarsest of sheaths in comparison to the faculties of the atma (the Self), yet indispensable for evolution and Self Realization, because only within it can all fourteen chakras fully function.
Pitriloka
Pitriloka (Sanskrit: "World of ancestors.") — the upper region of bhuvarloka. See: loka.
Sukshmaloka
The subtle world, or Antarloka, spanning the spectrum of consciousness from the vishuddha chakra in the throat to the patala chakra in the soles of the feet. The astral plane includes: 1) the higher astral plane, maharloka, "plane of balance;" 2) mid-astral plane, svarloka, "celestial plane;" 3) lower astral plane, bhuvarloka, "plane of atmosphere," a counterpart or subtle duplicate of the physical plane (consisting of the pitriloka and pretaloka); and 4) the sub-astral plane, naraka, consisting of seven hellish realms corresponding to the seven chakras below the base of the spine. In the astral plane, the soul is enshrouded in the astral body, called sukshma-sharira. See also: sukshma-sharira, loka, naraka, triloka.
siddha
siddha (Tamil: சித்தா, "one who is accomplished") — refers to perfected masters who according to Hindus have transcended the ahańkāra (ego or I-maker), have subdued their minds to be subservient to their Awareness, and have transformed their bodies composed mainly of dense Rajo-tama gunas into a different kind of bodies dominated by sattva. This is usually accomplished only by persistent meditation over many lifetimes.
svadhyaya
svadhyaya (Sanskrit: "Self-reflection; scriptural study"). See: yama-niyama.
sukshma sharira
sukshma sharira (Sanskrit: sukshma, "subtle, unmanifest, dormant") — is the energy body, the subtle body, the light body of form consists of manas (mind), buddhi (intelligence) and ahankara (ego). The atma (the Self) functions in the sukshmaloka (astral plane), the inner world also called antarloka. The suksmah sharira includes pranamaya-kosha (the pranic sheath), manomaya-kosha (the instinctive-intellectual sheath), and vijnanamaya-kosha (the cognitive sheath) kosha) — with the pranic sheath dropping off at the death of the sthula-sharira (physical body). The subtle body is the vehicle of consciousness with which one passes from life to life and to accompany us even after the death of the physical body. See: kosha, atma.
sastra
sastra (Sanskrit: "sacred text; teaching.") is used to denote education/knowledge in a general sense. The word is generally used as a suffix in the context of technical or specialized knowledge in a defined area of practice. For example, Astra Sastra means, knowledge about "Handling of weapons", Astra means weapons, and sastra is their knowledge. Sastra is also a by-word used when referring to a scripture. Extending this meaning, the sastra is commonly used to mean a treatise or text written in explanation of some idea, especially in matters involving religion.
annamaya kosha
annamaya kosha (food-apparent-sheath) is translated as food sheath, corresponds roughly to the sthula-sharira (coarse body, physical body). This is the sheath of the physical self, named from the fact that it is nourished by food. Living through this layer man identifies himself with a mass of skin, flesh, fat, bones, and filth, while the man of viveka (discrimination) knows his own Self, the only reality that there is, as distinct from the body. It has the most dense and slow vibrational frequency. This body cannot exist without contact with the other koshas (subtle sheaths) or bodies (the pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya, and anandamaya koshas), yet for the most part it remains barely activated in regards to its highest evolutionary potential. The physical or odic body, coarsest of sheaths in comparison to the faculties of the atma (the Self), yet indispensable for evolution and Self Realization, because only within it can all fourteen chakras fully function.
vedāṅga
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".
jivanmukti
jivanmukti — the state of being liberated (enlightened) while alive.
siddha
siddha (Tamil: சித்தா, "one who is accomplished") — refers to perfected masters who according to Hindus have transcended the ahańkāra (ego or I-maker), have subdued their minds to be subservient to their Awareness, and have transformed their bodies composed mainly of dense Rajo-tama gunas into a different kind of bodies dominated by sattva. This is usually accomplished only by persistent meditation over many lifetimes.
Prakritika Manvantara
Prakritika Manvantara or Prakritika Pralaya (Sanskrit: "from prakriti or nature;") — universal manvantara. The dissolution and manifestation of prakriti or nature; also called the elemental pralaya because the universe then returns to its original elements. Hence in one sense it is partial because the dissolution reaches as far as the elements and there stops. The inner portions or constitution of the universe remain as it were in statu quo, which does not signify that they are inactive — any more so than the reincarnating ego is inactive when the lower quaternary of the human constitution undergoes its prakritika pralaya or death.
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.
rajas
rajas (Sanskrit: "passion, activity, restlessness, aggressiveness;"). rajasic — adjective form of rajas, passionate, emotional. Associated with color red. See guna.
bhakti
bhakti (Sanskrit: भक्ति, "devotion"), from Sanskrit verb root bhaj, whose meanings include "to share in", "to belong to", and "to worship" — is an expression of devotional Love for God; single-minded devotion to one's Iswara, or personal deity. One who practices bhakti is called a bhakta, while bhakti as a spiritual path is referred to as bhakti marga, or the bhakti way.
sastra
sastra (Sanskrit: "sacred text; teaching.") is used to denote education/knowledge in a general sense. The word is generally used as a suffix in the context of technical or specialized knowledge in a defined area of practice. For example, Astra Sastra means, knowledge about "Handling of weapons", Astra means weapons, and sastra is their knowledge. Sastra is also a by-word used when referring to a scripture. Extending this meaning, the sastra is commonly used to mean a treatise or text written in explanation of some idea, especially in matters involving religion.
vaishnava
vaishnava or vaishnavam (Sanskrit: vaiṣṇava), which is the vriddhi form of Vishnu meaning "relating, belonging, or sacred to Vishnu" or "a worshiper or follower of Vishnu".
ācārya
ācārya, acariya, or acharya (Sanskrit: आचार्य, "going toward; approaching") from a, "towards" + the verbal root car, "to proceed, practice, conduct oneself" and thus literally connotes "one who teaches by conduct or example" or "one who knows or teaches the ācāra, the rules of right conduct" — is a guide or instructor in spiritual matters; founder, or leader of a sect; a title affixed to the names of learned men; a traditional teacher or head of sampradaya or school of religious thought.
kāma rupa
kāma rupa (Skr: , "desire-form") is a "form" or subtle body created of mental and physical desires and thoughts, a form that survives the death of the body.
Bhāratavarṣa
Bhāratavarṣa, Bharatavarsham or Akhanda Bharatam (Sanskrit: "Indian subcontinent") literally means the varsha (continent) that is rata (dedicated) to bha (light, wisdom) — is encompassed from north to south by sagarmatha (forehead of the ocean), and extending into the mahasagar (Indian Ocean). The region where Bharatiya (Hindu) Civilization developed and was in force which includes the country we call today as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Ladakh, Sri Langka and even parts of Tibet. Bharata is a legendary king in Hindu history. He was the first to conquer all of Greater India, uniting it into a single entity which was named after him as Bhāratavarṣa. According to some Puranas, the term Bhāratavarṣa applies to the whole Earth and not just to India. According to the Mahābhārata, Bharata's empire covered all of the Indian subcontinent, Bactria, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgistan, Turkmenistan, and Persia.
Pitriloka
Pitriloka (Sanskrit: "World of ancestors.") — the upper region of bhuvarloka. See: loka.
avatara
avatara (Sanskrit: avataranam means "the decent of Supreme Being on earth for the ascent of man"), means ‘descent’, and usually implies a deliberate descent of the Divine into the mortal realms to reveal the Absolute Truth to humanity and remind them of their true divine nature. This voluntary ‘descent’ into the world out of boundless compassion for all creatures is called avatara and has 4 basic purposes; 1. Protection of the righteous; 2. Elimination of the wicked; 3. Re-establishment of Dharma (righteousness) and 4. Bestowing of Grace.
shad darshana
shad darshana (Sanskrit: "Six views or insights; six philosophies.") Among the hundreds of Hindu darshanas known through history are six classical philosophical systems: Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta. Each was tersely formulated in sutra form by its "founder," and elaborated in extensive commentaries by other writers. They are understood as varied attempts at describing Truth and the path to it. Elements of each form part of the Hindu fabric today.
Ganita
Ganita (Sanskrit: for mathematics; is derived from the root ‘gana’, which means to count or to enumerate.)
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.
panchanga
The name for the Hindu calendar is a panchanga. In Sanskrit the word panchanga is made of two parts: pancha and anga. Pancha means five and anga means a part. The panchanga is, therefore, something made of five parts. As a calendar, these five parts are the lunar day (tithi), day of the week (vara), lunar mansion (naksatra), luni-solar day (yoga) and half lunar day (karana). Along with other information, a panchanga especially records the movements of the sun and the moon. Traditionally no religious festival, family event, or even a civic affair is performed without first consulting a panchanga to know the favorable movements of these celestial bodies.
Diwali
This is one of the oldest Hindu festivals occurring in the month of Kartik, which commemorates the return of Rama to Ayodhya after an exile of 14 years. It also marks the beginning of the New Year and is celebrated with the lighting of lamps.
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