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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.

A Man Pure of Heart

The man who is pure of heart Is bound to fulfil himself In whatever way he is taught. A worldly man seeks all his life, But is still bewildered. Detached from the senses, You are free. Attached, you are bound. When this is understood, You may live as you please.

— Astavakra Gita 15:1-2

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.
manomaya kosha
manomaya kosha (mind-stuff-apparent-sheath) is the mental and emotional sheath which also is included in the sukshma sharira (subtle body). Manomaya means composed of manas or mind. The manas (thought, will, wish) along with the five subtle sensory organs is said to constitute the manomaya kosha. The instinctive-intellectual sheath of ordinary thought, desire and emotion. It is the seat of the indriyas, sensory and motor organs, respectively called jnanendriyas and karmendriyas. The manomaya kosha takes form as the physical body develops and is discarded in the inner worlds before rebirth. It is understood in two layers: 1) the buddhi (odiccausal sheath) and 2) the manas (odic-astral sheath). The manomaya kosha, is said more truly to approximate to personhood than annamaya kosha and pranamaya kosha. It is the cause of diversity, of I and mine.
kāmadeva
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.
Supreme Brahman
The Supreme Infinite Brahman. See: Parabrahm.
Nirakara
'without form', referring to Brahman as Unmanifest.
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.
yamas
yamas (Sanskrit: "") — the yogic `restraints` from the verb root yam to hold or check. Sage Patanjali presents five ethical observances for yogis — ahimsa (non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity), aparigraha (greedlessness). There are other important Yamas listed in traditional texts, such as patience, compassion, forgiveness, giving, steadfastness and moderation in diet. See: Yama and Niyama.
Maha Shivaratri
Literally, the “Great Night of Shiva” is celebrated every year on the new moon night in the month of Phalguna, this Hindu festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
tamo guna
tamo guna quality of dullness, ignorance, delusion, inactivity, inertia, sloth — the third of the three gunas of matter. Sometimes translated as darkness, the phase of tamas is characterized by darkness, ignorance, slowness, destruction, heaviness, disease, etc.
Truth
Truth — When capitalized, "ultimate knowing" which is "unchanging". Lower case (truth): "correctness", "according with fact", "honesty", "integrity"; "virtue". See: Satya.
viveka
viveka (Sanskrit: "discrimination") — act or ability to distinguish or perceive differences. The ability to distinguish between right and wrong, real and apparent, eternal and transient. The reasoning by which one realizes what is real and permanent and what is non-real and impermanent.
samsari
samsari (Sanskrit: "One in samsara; wanderer.") — the atman (Self) during transmigration, immersed in or attached to mundane existence, hence not striving for moksha (liberation). A samsari is someone who is not "on the path."
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.
Nārāyaṇa
(Sanskrit: नारायण ) : Nārāyaṇa is an important Sanskrit name for Vishnu. The name is also associated with Brahma and Krishna. He is also identified with, or as the son of, the original man, Purusha.
darśanas
darśanas or darshanas (Sanskrit: "views") from the term darshan, "sight" — is divided into six āstika ("orthodox") schools of thought in Hindu philosophy which based the Vedas such as Mimamsa, Vedanta, Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisheshika, and three nāstika ("heterodox") schools, which is not based on the Vedas.
Ishvarapranidhana
Ishvarapranidhana or Ishvara Pranidhana represents surrender to the divinity within the individual. Ishvarapranidhana is to live an ethical lifestyle of non-harming, honesty, charity, purity, contentment, and discipline. All we have to do is let God handle the details.
chatuh sashti kala
chatuh sashti kala or 64 kala (Sanskrit: "sixty-four arts.") — a classical curriculum of sacred sciences, studies, arts and skills of cultured living listed in various Hindu shastras.
panchakosha
panchakosa (Sanskrit: पञ्च कोश; "five sheaths") from root pancha, "five" + kosha, "body" — is the “five bodies,” or discernible “aspects” of man, arranged successively from the grosser to the increasingly more subtle. There is annamaya-kosha, the kosha of matter, the physical vehicle. There is the pranamaya-kosha, the kosha of prana, the "vital" vehicle. There is manomaya-kosha, the kosha of manas, the mental vehicle. There is the vijnanamaya-kosha, the kosha of vijnana, the vehicle of Higher Reason. There is the anandamaya-kosha, the kosha of anand (joy or Cosmic Consciousness). And when that vehicle is well developed there is that self-realization which involves ultimate experience of Unity with All.
Veda
Veda (Sanskrit: "Knowledge.") from the root vid, meaning to know without limit — the scriptures that are the basis of Hindu belief and practice. The Vedas were "heard" or "seen" by sages from a divine source and passed orally through the family line. The word Veda covers all Veda-sakhas known to humanity. The Veda is a repository of all knowledge, fathomless, ever revealing as it is delved deeper. It means knowledge. These and associated books contain knowledge on philosophy, mathematics, medicine, astronomy, navigation, music, dance, drama etc.
bhajana
bhajana (Sanskrit) Spiritual song. Individual or group singing of devotional songs, hymns and chants. See: kirtana.
kalpa
kalpa (Sanskrit: "period of time; or a cycle of time.") from a verb-root klrip (to be in order) — a sequence of one thousand mahayugas is called a kalpa which is one day in the life of Brahma. The universe exists during Brahma's day and is dissolved during Brahma's night.
jiva
jiva (Sanskrit: "the embodied atman") Individual Self.
ritukala
ritukala or "samskaras of adulthood" (Sanskrit: "Fit or proper season.") from coming-of-age to marriage. Time of menses. A home blessing marking the coming of age for girls. — keshanta: Marking a boy's first beard-shaving, at about 16 years. Both of the above are home ceremonies in which the young ones are reminded of their brahmacharya, given new clothes and jewelry and joyously admitted into the adult community as young adults. — nishchitartha "Settlement of aim." Also called vagdana, "word-giving." A formal engagement or betrothal ceremony in which a couple pledge themselves to one another, exchanging rings and other gifts. — vivaha: Marriage." An elaborate and joyous ceremony performed in presence of God and Gods, in which the homa fire is central.
raga
raga, craving; attraction and attachment to experiences and objects of the material world; exterior attachments; passion; desire, emotions/feelings; one of the panchakleshas (five “hindrances” to spiritual growth).
Shakta
Shakta (Sanskrit: "doctrine of power.") The spiritual tradition followed by those who worship the Supreme as the Divine MotherShakti or Devi — in Her many forms, both gentle and fierce. Shakta is one of the four primary sects of Hinduism. In philosophy and practice, Shaktism greatly resembles Saiva, both faiths promulgating, for example, the same ultimate goals of advaitic union with Shiva and moksha. But Shaktas worship Shakti as the Supreme Being exclusively, as the dynamic aspect of Divinity, while Shiva is considered solely transcendent and is not worshiped. There are many forms of Shaktism, with endless varieties of practices which seek to capture divine energy or power for spiritual transformation. See: Amman, Goddess, Ishta Devata, Kali, Shakti.
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.
agama karma
agama karma (Sanskrit: "coming, arriving," and vartamana, "living, set in motion.") Is the actions that we are planning for the future. Actions that will or will not be achieved depending on the choices (free will) that we are making now and those that we have made in the past. See: karma
sånkhya
sånkhya (Sanskrit: "calculating, enumeration, analysis, categorization). Modern science can be said to be a form of sånkhya because it attempts to analyze and categorize matter into its constituent elements. Sånkhya also refers to an ancient system of philosophy attributed to the sage Kapila. This philosophy is so called because it enumerates or analyzes reality into a set number of basic elements, similar to modern science. See: prakriti, purusha, shad darshana, tattva.
ā́rya
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.
Hindu
A Hindu is an adherent of Sanatana Dharma which is known today as Hinduism or Hindu Dharma, that represents a set of religious, spiritual, philosophical, scientific and cultural systems that originated in bharatavarsha (Greater India). Briefly a Hindu is basically any person who is born into the indigenous religion of Bharatvarsh.
Atma Tattva
Atma Tattva — Principle of the Self; the truth or the essential nature of the Self.
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