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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.

The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history

The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex order and freedom can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without and multiplying from within. Almost all the Muslims of South Asia are descendants of weaker elements of the population who had succumbed to forcible Islamic conversion.

— William James Durant

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...

The oldest book in the library of humans is the Rigveda

The existence of the Vedas go beyond recorded history and are said to be passed down from the Gods to the great seers of Bharat. For many human generations the Vedas were passed on through word of mouth, until finally documented by the great Rishis and Swamis.

'The Vedas are written in Sanskrit, a complex language that Sir William Jones - in 1786 - demonstrated to be related to Greek, Latin, German and Celtic (giving rise to the expression 'Indo-European languages'). And if the Vedas speak of the Sarasvati River, then it would seem clear that they were written before about 2000 BC, and not later than 1500 BC, as scholars originally believed. And if - as seems likely - Sanskrit was the language of the Aryans, then it was also clear that they could not have invaded as late as 1500 BC.

There are four major collections of Vedic hymns - the Rig-Veda, the Samaveda, the Yajurveda and the Atharvaveda, of which the Rigveda is recognized as the oldest and most important.

In the 1980's, a Vedic scholar, David Frawley, observed that the hymns of the Rigveda are full of an oceanic symbolism that seems to argue that they sprang from the maritime culture - which certainly contradicted the assumption that the Aryans came from somewhere in central Europe. He also noted hymns that spoke of the 'ancestors' as coming from across the sea, having been saved from the great flood.

Studying the astronomical references in the Vedic hymns, Frawley concluded that one reference to a summer solstice in Virgo indicated a date of about 4000 BC, while a reference to a summer solstice in Libra pointed to about 6000 BC. He also concluded that the authors of the Vedas were familiar with the precession of the equinoxes. These revolutionary ideas were set out in a book called Gods, Sages and Kings (1991).

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.
samadhi (Sanskrit: "standing within one's Self; sameness; contemplation; union, wholeness; completion, accomplishment.") which represents "super consciousness"; "complete absorption into the absolute", "Universal Consciousness" — is the state of true yoga, in which the meditator and the object of meditation are one. The separation of manas (mind) from the body, and its union with the paramatma (Universal Consciousness, Godhead); the complete “forgetting” of the “small self” (Jivatman) and mergence with the unchanging “Higher Self” (paramatma). The eighth of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga (“eight limbs of Yoga”).
advaita (Sanskrit: "non dual; not twofold") — non-duality or monism. The philosophical doctrine that Ultimate Reality consists of a one principal substance. Opposite of dvaita, "dualism". Advaita is the primary philosophical stance of the Vedic Upanishads, and of Hinduism, interpreted differently by the many rishis, gurus, panditas and philosophers. See: dvaita-advaita,Vedanta.
Brahman (Sanskrit: ब्रह्म, "the Supreme Being; the Absolute Reality; Godhead"), from the verb brh, "to grow", and connotes "immensity" — is the impersonal and immanent, infinite cause and support of the universe that has no form or attributes. The uncaused cause of the Universe; satchidānanda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute), The Eternal Changeless Reality, not conditioned by time, space and causation. Brahman is the basis, source and support of everything — the transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this universe. Its nature consists of the three incommunicable attributes of (1) sat (Absolute Being), (2) chit (Consciousness), (3) ananda (Bliss). This Supreme Being assumes a dual nature — Male and Female. The male aspect is known as Purusha which means “that-which-fills” — and the Female aspect is known as Shakti which translates as “Energy” or “Dynamic Force” or Prakriti — material nature. Also called as Paramātman (Universal Self), Parasiva, Ultimate Reality, Supreme Being or the Absolute.
purusa (Sanskrit: "man, male"). In sankhya philosophy purusa denotes the Supreme Male Principle in the universe. Its counterpart is prakrti.
adhyatma vikasa
adhyatma vikasa (Sanskrit: "Spiritual unfoldment" — he blossoming of inner or higher (adhi), atma (the Self) qualities as a result of religious striving, sadhana. Vikasa means, "becoming visible, shining forth, manifestation opening," as a flower unfolds its petals, or the chakras unfold theirs as a result of kundalini awakening. See: spiritual unfoldment.
Taparloka or Tapoloka (Sanskrit: "Plane of austerity.") The second highest of the seven upper worlds, realm of ajna chakra. See: loka.
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).
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.
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".
maharloka: (Sanskrit: "Plane of greatness.") from mahas, "greatness, might, power, glory." Also called the Devaloka, this fourth highest of the seven upper worlds is the mental plane, realm of anahata chakra. See: loka.
adhyatma (Sanskrit: "Spiritual; Self") — the inner, spiritual Self or Spirit. See: atman.
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".
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
(Sanskrit: सूत्र ) Literally `thread`. Sutras as threads or aphorisms are concise statements and a technical format in which spiritual teachings have been laid out, for purposes of brevity and to allow teachers of various sampradayas throughout the ages to deliver their own commentaries on. Eg. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, The Bhakti Sutras of Narada.
Shrauta Shastra
Shrauta Shastra or śrauta sūtra (Sanskrit: "texts on the revelation") 1) Refers to scriptures or teachings that are in agreement with the Vedas. 2) A specific group of texts of the Kalpa Vedanga, and part of the essential study for Vedic priests. The Shrauta Shastras offer explanation of the yagna rituals.
adhyatma prasara
adhyatma prasara (Sanskrit: "evolution of the Self") — the Self's evolution is a progressive unfoldment, growth and maturing toward its inherent, divine destiny, which is complete merger with Brahman. In its essence, the Self is ever perfect. But as an individual soul body emanated by Brahman, it is like a small seed yet to develop. As an acorn needs to be planted in the dark underground to grow into a mighty oak tree, so must the Self unfold out of the darkness of the malas to full maturity and realization of its innate oneness with Brahman. The Self evolves by taking on denser and denser sheaths — cognitive, instinctive-intellectual and pranic — until finally it takes birth in physical form in the bhuloka. Then it experiences many lives, maturing through the samsara (reincarnation process). Thus, from birth to birth, the Self learn and mature. See: mala, moksha, samsara, vishvagrasa.
(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.
yuga (Sanskrit: युग, "age or cycle; aeon; world era;") — an age of the world, of which there are four — satya-yuga or krita yuga (Golden Age), treta-yuga (Silver age), dwapara-yuga (Bronze Age), and kali-yuga (Iron Age) — which proceed in succession during the manvantara cycle. Each Yuga is preceded by a period called in the Puranas Sandhya, "twilight, or transition period", and is followed by another period of like duration called Sandhyansa, "portion of twilight". Each is equal to one-tenth of the Yuga. The group of four Yugas is first computed by the divine years, or " years of the Gods" — each such year being equal to 360 years of mortal men. The cycles are said to repeat like the seasons, waxing and waning within a greater time — cycle of the creation and destruction of the universe. Like Summer, Spring, Winter and Autumn, each yuga involves stages or gradual changes which the earth and the consciousness of mankind goes through as a whole. (see: yuga dharma)
satya or satyam (Sanskrit: "unchangeable; that which has no distortion; that which is beyond distinctions of time, space, and person; that which pervades the universe in all its constancy") from the root sat (Truth) — is truthfulness in accordance with one's words, thoughts and deeds. Satya is also defined in Sanskrit as "sate hitam satyam" which translates to "The path to Ultimate Truth or sat is satya (i.e. the real truth)".
karmaphala — the fruit (consequence) that a persons gets (either enjoys or bears) depending on his past-Karma.
"Exuberant dance." Any vigorous dance sequence performed by a male dancer. There are many forms of tandava. Its prototype is Siva's dance of bliss, ananda tandava. The much softer feminine dance is called lasya, from lasa, "lively." Dance in general is nartana.
shauca or shaucha (Sanskrit: "Purity.") — avoiding impurity in body, mind and speech.
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).
Atma Tattva
Atma Tattva — Principle of the Self; the truth or the essential nature of the Self.
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.
The traditional social system of four varnas and four asramas. The word varna literally means, “color” and it refers to four basic natures of mankind: brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra. The asramas are the four stages of an individual’s life: brahmacarya (student), grhastha (householder), vanaprastha (retired) and sannyasa (renounced).
Devaloka (Sanskrit: "Plane of radiant beings.") — a synonym of maharloka, the higher astral plane, realm of anahata chakra. See: loka.
Sivaloka (Sanskrit: "Realm of Siva.") See: loka.
bhakta (Sanskrit: "devotee;") — a disciple practicing bhakti yoga, Devotee of God.
vidya: (Sanskrit) "Knowledge, learning, science." The power of understanding gained through study and meditation. Contrasted with avidya, ignorance.
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