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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.

Stop all your Attachments to False Values

Stop all your attachments to false values. In an ever-changing world there is nothing worthwhile for us to desire or weep for. Joys and sorrows are bound to come in human life; they are just two sides of the same coin.

— Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1992), founder of the Chinmaya Mission

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...

Ayurveda - the Science of Longevity

Ayurveda is the indigenous system of medicine in India. Ayurveda literally means 'the science of living' (longevity). Ayu means "Life" and Veda means "Knowledge". The origins of this system of medicine are lost in the hoary past, and the body of knowledge that comes under the heading Ayurveda constitutes ideas about diseases, diagnosis and cure, which have been accumulated over the ages past.

The feature that distinguishes this system of medicines from other systems like Allopathy and Homeopathy is that it is solely based on herbs and herbal compounds. The medical system of Ayurveda draws heavily from the doctrines developed in the Charaka-Samahita. The main quality which Ayurveda has borrowed from Charaka is its aim of removing the cause for illness and not just curing the disease itself. In Ayurveda there are no such things as instant relievers, pain killers or antibiotics. The herbs used in Ayurvedic remedies do not operate against the body's metabolism, their effect is registered gradually and hence there are minimum side-effects. The constituents of Ayurvedic medicines are largely based on organic matter. The absence of fast registering inorganic compounds which are at times corrosive, contributes to the absence of side-effects from Ayurvedic medicines.

Unique quality of Ayurveda is that it uncovers and cures the root cause of illness, it is safe, gentle and inexpensive, it sees 6 stages of disease development (where modern medicine only sees the last two stages), it treats people in a personalized manner according to their dosha or constitution and not in any generic manner.

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.
bhāsa
(Sanskrit: भाषा ) : Language
mahayuga
mahayuga (Sanskrit: "great age;") from maha (great) + yuga (age, period of time) — the 1000th part of a kalpa or Day of Brahma. The scriptures divide the endless passage of time into a cycle of mahayugas or aeons. A mahayuga lasts 4.32 million years and is made up of a sequence of four different yugas, each with its own characteristics. These four yugas are the satya-yuga, treta-yuga, dwapara-yuga and kali-yuga. In the Satya Yuga, the age of Truth, righteousness is at its peak. As time passes by, there's a gradual decline in virtue which reaches its nadir in the Kali Yuga. At the end of the Kali Yuga, the Divine Will intervenes and restores the universe to its original state of virtue. This marks the beginning of the next mahayuga and the cycle thus continues.
seva
The word seva comes from the Sanskrit root, sev, meaning to "attend" or "to go towards." Seva is generally understood to be "service" and mostly is used in the context of religious service as in the case of a person doing Deity seva by bringing fruits and flower and bowing down before a form of God in a temple.
klesha
klesha (Sanskrit: "knot of the heart; impurities of the heart") hindrance, to spiritual evolution / progress — which hinder spiritual growth and higher realizations.
manvantara
manvantara or manuvantara (Sanskrit: "patriarchate of one Manu;") from manu (progenitor of mankind) + antara (within or between), hence the compound paraphrased means "within a manu," or "between manus" — literally meaning the duration of a Manu, or his life span. A manvantara is the period of activity between any two manus, on any plane, since in any such period there is a root-manu at the beginning of evolution, and a seed-manu at its close, preceding a pralaya (dissolution, or rest). Manvantara implying here simply a period of activity, as opposed to pralaya — without reference to the length of the cycle.
garbhadhana
garbhadhana or "samskaras of birth" (Sanskrit: "Womb-placing.") from the rite of conception to the blessings of the new-born child. Rite of conception, where physical union is consecrated with the intent of bringing into physical birth an advanced atman. — punsavana (Sanskrit: "Male rite; bringing forth a male.") A rite performed during the third month of pregnancy consisting of prayers for a son and for the well-being of mother and child. A custom, found in all societies, based on the need for men to defend the country, run the family business and support the parents in old age. The need for male children in such societies is also based on the fact that women outlive men and leave the family to join their husband's family. — simantonnayana, "Hairparting." A ceremony held between the fourth and seventh months in which the husband combs his wife's hair and expresses his love and support. — jatakarma, "Rite of birth." The father welcomes and blesses the new-born child and feeds it a taste of ghee and honey.
Bhuloka
Bhuloka (Sanskrit: "Earth world.") The physical plane. See: loka.
dharma
Dharma (Sanskrit: "way of righteousness." From dhri, "to sustain; carry, hold.") refers to the underlying order in nature and human life and behavior considered to be in accord with that order. The word Dharma is used to mean nyaya (Justice), what is right in a given circumstance, moral values of life, pious obligations of individuals, righteous conduct in every sphere of activity, being helpful to other living beings, giving charity to individuals in need of it or to a public cause or alms to the needy, natural qualities or characteristics or properties of living beings and things, duty and law as also constitutional law. Dharma is the law that maintains the cosmic order as well as the individual and social order. Dharma sustains human life in harmony with nature. When we follow dharma, we are in conformity with the law that sustains the universe.
sâdhana
sâdhana or sādhanam (Sanskrit: साधनम्, "the means of attainment") is a term for "a means of accomplishing something" or more specifically "spiritual effort or practice" leading to siddhi (“perfection” or “accomplishment”). Sincere spiritual endeavor or practices; Self-effort, spiritual discipline both physical and mental such as puja, yoga, meditation, japa, fasting and austerity. The effect of sadhana is the building of willpower, faith and confidence in oneself and in God and Guru. Sâdhana harnesses and transmutes the instinctive-intellectual nature, allowing progressive spiritual unfoldment into the superconscious realizations and innate abilities of the atman (True Self). A sadhaka is an aspirant devoted to the practice of sâdhana.
Advaita Siddhanta
Advaita Siddhanta (Sanskrit: "non-dual perfect conclusions") — Saivite philosophy codified in the agama which has at its core the advaita (non-dual) identity of God, soul and world. This monistic-theistic philosophy, unlike the Shankara, or Smarta view, holds that maya (the principle of manifestation) is not an obstacle to God Realization, but God's own power and presence guiding the Self's evolution to perfection. While Advaita Vedanta stresses Upanishadic philosophy, Advaita Siddhanta adds to this a strong emphasis on internal and external worship, yoga sadhanas and tapas. Advaita Siddhanta is a term used in South India to distinguish Tirumular's school from the pluralistic Siddhanta of Meykandar and Aghorasiva. This unified Vedic-Agamic doctrine is also known as Shuddha Saiva Siddhanta. It is the philosophy of this contemporary Hindu catechism. See: Advaita Ishvaravada, dvaita-advaita, Saiva Siddhanta.
bhakta
bhakta (Sanskrit: "devotee;") — a disciple practicing bhakti yoga, Devotee of God.
kriyamana karma
kriyamana karma (Sanskrit: "Being made.") The karma being created and added to sanchita in this life by one's thoughts, words and actions, or in the inner worlds between lives. What we are currently creating through our choices right now. It is our creativity that is unfolding, it is our "free will". See: karma
mahayuga
mahayuga (Sanskrit: "great age;") from maha (great) + yuga (age, period of time) — the 1000th part of a kalpa or Day of Brahma. The scriptures divide the endless passage of time into a cycle of mahayugas or aeons. A mahayuga lasts 4.32 million years and is made up of a sequence of four different yugas, each with its own characteristics. These four yugas are the satya-yuga, treta-yuga, dwapara-yuga and kali-yuga. In the Satya Yuga, the age of Truth, righteousness is at its peak. As time passes by, there's a gradual decline in virtue which reaches its nadir in the Kali Yuga. At the end of the Kali Yuga, the Divine Will intervenes and restores the universe to its original state of virtue. This marks the beginning of the next mahayuga and the cycle thus continues.
Self
Self with capital 'S' means the same as atman, jiva, or jivatman. The Self is characterized by consciousness. The Self is naturally immortal, having no beginning and no end to its being. It is atomic in size and undergoes ‘embodiment’ which means that it takes birth in the bodies of plants, animals, humans, or gods. In the embodied state the atman is technically referred to as “jiva”. In embodiment, the natural attributive consciousness has become obscured and veiled by ignorance and delusion. The jiva mistakenly identifies itself with the physical body /mind complex and this is the basis of all sorrow and delusion. All sentient beings are essentially non-different from each other in their Essence Nature. In the embodied state the difference between them is the degree of ignorance predominating.
darshan
darshan, darśan or darśana (Sanskrit: दर्शन, "a sight of; in the sense of an instance of seeing or beholding") from a root dṛś, "to see" — vision, apparition, or glimpse — is most commonly used for "visions of the divine," e.g., of a God or a very holy person or artifact.
vijñåna
vijñåna or viññāṇa (Sanskrit: विज्ञान, "transcendental knowledge"; "realized spiritual understanding"; "pure knowledge") the prefix vi added to a noun tends to diminish or invert the meaning of a word — if jñåna is spiritual knowledge, vijñåna is practical or profane knowledge. Sometimes vijñåna and jñåna are used together in the sense of knowledge and wisdom.
jiva
jiva (Sanskrit: "the embodied atman") Individual Self.
Anahata Chakra
Anahata Chakra, Lit. “the centre (lotus) of unstruck sound”; — the fourth of the seven primary Chakras; it is associated with Vayu, the “air” element; physically related to the heart region and associated with the cardiac plexus and the thymus glands.
tapas
tapas (Sanskrit: "Warmth, heat,") — hence psychic energy, spiritual fervor or ardor. 1) Purificatory spiritual disciplines, severe austerity, penance and sacrifice. The endurance of pain, suffering, through the performance of extreme penance, religious austerity and mortification. By comparison, sadhana is austerity of a simple, sustained kind, while tapas is austerity of a severe, psyche-transforming nature. Tapas is extreme bodily mortification, long term sadhanas, such as meditating under a tree in one place for 12 years, taking a lifetime vow of silence and never speaking or writing, or standing on one leg for a prescribed number of years. Scriptures warn against extreme asceticism that harm the body. 2) On a deeper level, tapas is the intense inner state of kundalini "fire" which stimulates mental anguish and separates the individual from society. Life does not go on as usual when this condition occurs. The association with a satguru, Sadasiva, brings the devotee into tapas; and it brings him out of it. The fire of tapas burns on the dross of sanchita karmas. This is the source of heat, dismay, depression and striving until final and total surrender, prapatti. The individual can mollify this heated condition by continuing his regular sadhana as outlined by the guru. The fires of self-transformation may be stimulated by the practice of tapas, or come unbidden. One can "do" tapas, but the true tapas is a condition of being and consciousness which is a state of grace, bringing positive change, transformation and purification of one's nature. Guru bhakti is the only force that can cool the fires of tapas. See: kundalini, sadhana.
pranamaya kosha
pranamaya kosha (air-apparent-sheath) — sheath of vital energy also known as the pranic body. It consists of five vital principles and five subtle organs of action. It is endowed with the power of action. It coexists within the physical body as its source of life, breath and vitality, and is its connection with the sukshma sharira (astral body). It interconnects the annamaya kosha (physical body) with the other more subtle sheaths (the manomaya, vijnanamaya, and anandamaya koshas). It is associated with the sukshma-sharira (subtle body). prana moves in the pranamaya kosha as five primary currents or vayus, "vital airs or winds." Pranamaya kosha disintegrates at death along with the sthula sharira (physical body).
Supreme Brahman
The Supreme Infinite Brahman. See: Parabrahm.
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.
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.
yajña
yajña, yagna, or yagya (Sanksrit: यज्ञ, "worship, prayer, praise; offering, oblation, sacrifice; fire ceremony") comes from the root yaj, "to worship" — is an outer form of worship in which offerings are made to different deities in a prescribed and systematic manner by qualified priests to supplicate them, so that they would assist the worshiper in achieving certain results in life. The outer aspect of yajna consists of building an altar, generally with bricks, kindling fire using specific types of grass and wood and then pouring into it oblations such as ghee or clarified butter, food grains, sesame seeds, and water to the accompaniment of chanting of sacred verses from the Vedas. The inner or hidden aspect of yajna is known to those who are familiar with the Vedic rituals. The yajna is the means of worshiping the Brahman or ones own Inner Self. In concept, yajna is any work or spiritual practice that is offered as worship to God. See: agnihotra, homa, agnihoma, havan, panchamahayajna.
Paurusha Manvantara
Paurusha Manvantara or Paurusha Pralaya (Sanskrit: ";") from paurusha (human), from purusha (man) — the manvantara, or period of activity, of man. The death, or the life, of a human being.
adhyatma
adhyatma (Sanskrit: "Spiritual; Self") — the inner, spiritual Self or Spirit. See: atman.
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
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.
samadhi
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”).
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).
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