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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.

There follows immediate Peace

Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice (of religious ritual). Better than knowledge is meditation. But better still is surrender of attachment to results (of one's actions), because there follows immediate peace.

— Bhagavad Gita 12:12

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...

Life Cycles of the Universe

The Hindus view that the Universe has no beginning or end, but follows a cosmic creation and dissolution. Hindus are the only one who propounds the idea of life-cycles of the universe. It suggests that the universe undergoes an infinite number of deaths and rebirths. Hindus views the universe as without a beginning (anadi = beginning-less) or an end (ananta = end-less). Rather the universe is projected in cycles. Hindu scriptures refer to time scales that vary from ordinary earth day and night to the day and night of the Brahma that are a few billion earth years long.

According to Carl Sagan,

"A millennium before Europeans were wiling to divest themselves of the Biblical idea that the world was a few thousand years old, the Mayans were thinking of millions and the Hindus billions".

Continues Carl Sagan,

"… is the only religion in which the time scales correspond… to those of modern scientific cosmology."

Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of the Brahma, 8.64 billion years long, longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang". One day of Brahma is worth a thousand of the ages (yuga) known to humankind; as is each night." Thus each kalpa is worth one day in the life of Brahma, the God of creation. In other words, the four ages of the mahayuga must be repeated a thousand times to make a "day ot Brahma", a unit of time that is the equivalent of 4.32 billion human years, doubling which one gets 8.64 billion years for a Brahma day and night. This was later theorized (possibly independently) by Aryabhata in the 6th century. The cyclic nature of this analysis suggests a universe that is expanding to be followed by contraction… a cosmos without end. This, according to modern physicists is not an impossibility.

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.
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.
panchamahayajna — five great daily yagna (sacrifices) that are to be performed by every householder. They are: (1) Brahma Yajna, called also Veda Yajna, "homage to Brahman or the Vedas or the sages"; (2) Deva Yajna, "homage to Gods and elementals."; (3) Pitri Yajna, "homage to ancestors"; (4) Bhuta Yajna, "homage to beings"; and (5) Manushya Yajna, "homage to men".
Taparloka or Tapoloka (Sanskrit: "Plane of austerity.") The second highest of the seven upper worlds, realm of ajna chakra. See: loka.
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 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.
Self Realization
Self Realization — the understanding of one's basic Reality.
adhikara (Sanskrit: ) literally means "authority and ownership." — being spiritually competent for spiritual study; the ability or authorization to do; rule; jurisdiction; privilege, ownership; property.
ksatriya — a member of the traditional military or warrior class. The ksatriya was the second varna in the system of varnasrama dharma.
jivanmukti — the state of being liberated (enlightened) while alive.
moha (the delusion caused by false evaluation). The delusion that some people are nearer to one than others and the desire to please them more than others, leading to exertions for earning and accumulating for their sake. It makes a false thing appear as true. The world appears as real on account of moha. The body is mistaken for atman (or pure Self) owing to the delusive influence of moha. Regarded as one of the arishadvarga (six passions of mind) or enemies of desire, the others being kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy).
punya (Sanskrit: "is what elevates") is the opposite to papa — is virtue or moral merit. Papa and punya generally go together as negative and positive “credits.” One reaps the reward of these negative or positive credits in life. The more punya one cultivates the higher one rises in life, whereas papa will cause one to find a lower position on life. Punya leads to happiness, papa leads to suffering.
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.
mantra (Sanskrit; Devanāgarī: मन्त्र) or mantram, consists of the root man- "to think" (also in manas "mind") and the suffix -tra meaning, "tool or protection" — hence a literal translation would be "instrument of thought". They are primarily used as spiritual conduits, words or vibrations that instill one-pointed concentration in the devotee.
prana (Sanskrit: प्राण, "life force, or vital energy, particularly, the breath") from the root pran, "to breathe." — the vital breath, which sustains life in a physical body; the primal energy or force, of which other physical forces are manifestations. Prana in the human body moves in the pranamaya-kosha as five primary life currents known as vayus, "vital airs or winds." and described as having five modifications, according to its five different functions. These are prana (the vital energy that controls the breath), apana (the vital energy that carries downward unassimilated food and drink), samana (the vital energy that carries nutrition all over the body), vyama (the vital energy that pervades the entire body), and udana (the vital energy by which the contents of the stomach are ejected through the mouth). Each governs crucial bodily functions, and all bodily energies are modifications of these. Usually prana refers to the life principle, but sometimes denotes energy, power or the animating force of the cosmos. The word prana is also a name of the Cosmic Energy, endowed with activity.
avidya (Sanskrit) Spiritual "ignorance." Wrongful understanding of the nature of reality. Mistaking the impermanent for the everlasting. The state of ignorance which needs to be dispelled at the outset , before one can begin the journey in earnest towards self fulfillment and Moksha. 'Ignorance is bliss ' or so the satire goes. Ignorance most certainly is not bliss. Avidya (pAra or apAra) is an unpardonable excuse and as soon as a person determines he/she is in a state of Avidya, they should take steps to remedy the situation.
shauca or shaucha (Sanskrit: "Purity.") — avoiding impurity in body, mind and speech.
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.
buddhi (Sanskrit: "intellect; the faculty of discrimination") from the root budh (to be awake; to understand; to know) — the determinative faculty of the mind that makes decisions; sometimes translated as "intellect." Another translation is the higher mind, or wisdom. At a more gross level buddhi is the aspect of mind that knows, decides, judges, and discriminates. It can determine the wiser of two courses of action, if it functions clearly and if manas will accept its guidance. buddhi is one of the four parts of the antahkarana ("inner conscience" or "the manifest mind") and the other three parts are manas (the mind), chitta (the memory) and ahankara (the ego)..
Yama Dharmaraja
Yama Dharmaraja (Sanskrit: यम) is the Lord of Justice and is sometimes referred to as Dharmaraja in reference to his unswerving dedication to maintaining order and adherence to harmony. Sometimes refered as the Lord of Death, it is said that he is also one of the wisest of the devas. Yama's name can be interpreted to mean "twin", and in some accounts he is paired with a twin sister Yamī. Yama is assisted by Chitragupta who is assigned with the task of keeping complete records of actions of human beings on the earth, and upon their death, deciding to have them reincarnated as a superior or inferior organism, depending on their Karma (actions on the earth).
jyotisha (Sanskrit: "The science of the lights or stars") from jyoti, "light." — Hindu astrology, the knowledge and practice of analyzing events and circumstances, delineating character and determining auspicious moments, according to the positions and movements of heavenly bodies. In calculating horoscopes, jyotisha uses the sidereal (fixed-star) system, whereas Western astrology uses the tropical (fixed-date) method.
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.
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.
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
Grihya Shastras
Grihya Shastras or Grihya Sutras (Sanskrit: "Household maxims or codes") — an important division of classical smriti literature, designating rules and customs for domestic life, including rites of passage and other home ceremonies, which are widely followed to this day. The Grihya Sutras (or Shastras) are part of the Kalpa Vedanga, "procedural maxims" (or Kalpa Sutras), which also include the Shrauta and Shulba Shastras, on public Vedic rites, and the Dharma Shastras (or Sutras), on domestic-social law. Among the best known Grihya Sutras are Ashvalayana's Grihya Sutras attached to the Rig Veda, Gobhila's Sutras of the Sama Veda, and the Sutras of Paraskara and Baudhayana of the Yajur Veda.
(Sanskrit: मेरु ) : An ancient mountain and mythical centre of the universe on which was situated the city of Brahma. Becoming jealous of Meru, the Vindya began to grow very high obstructing the sun, the moon and the planets. Agastya whom the Vindhya mountain respected asked it to stop growing until he crossed it on his way to the south and returned to the north again. But he did not return at all, having settled in the south.
Supreme Brahman
The Supreme Infinite Brahman. See: Parabrahm.
ashram (Sanskrit: , "a place that removes the fatigue of worldliness") — a place of retreat where seekers engage in spiritual practices and study the philosophy of yoga. An ashram is a sanctuary where all things external are directed towards empowering and deepening the experience of inner exploration and transformation.. Some ashrams are graced with the physical presence of a spiritual Master.
A person who is liberated (enlightened) while living.
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.
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.
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