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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.

Born from My Mind

The seven great sages and the four ancient ancestors were born from my mind and received my power. From them came all the creatures of the world. Whoever understands my power and the mystery of my manifestations comes without doubt to be united with me.

— Bhagavad Gita 10:6-7

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...

Mokshapat: Snake and Ladder had its origin in India

The game had its origin in India and was called Moksha Patam or Parama Padam or Mokshapat. It was used to teach Hindu Dharma and Hindu values to children. The British renamed it as Snakes and Ladders.

The game was created by the 13th century poet saint Gyandev. The ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes indicated vices. The game was played with cowrie shells and dices. Later through time, the game underwent several modifications but the meaning is the same i.e good deeds take us to heaven and evil to a cycle of re-births. There are certain references which take the game back to 2nd century BC.

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Indian Snakes and Ladders game (1700’s AD)

In the original game square 12 was faith, 51 was Reliability, 57 was Generosity, 76 was Knowledge, and 78 was Asceticism. These were the squares were the ladder was found. Square 41 was for Disobedience, 44 for Arrogance, 49 for Vulgarity, 52 for Theft, 58 for Lying, 62 for Drunkenness, 69 for Debt, 84 for Anger, 92 for Greed, 95 for Pride, 73 for Murder and 99 for Lust. These were the squares were the snake was found. The Square 100 represented Nirvana or Moksha.

Also known as ‘paramapadam’, there are a hundred squares on a board; the ladders take you up, the snakes bring you down. The difference here is that the squares are illustrated. The top of the ladder depicts a God, or one of the various heavens (kailasa, vaikuntha, brahmaloka) and so on, while the bottom describes a good quality. Conversely, each snake’s head is a negative quality or an asura (demon). As the game progresses, the various karma and samskara, good deeds and bad, take you up and down the board. Interspersed are plants, people and animals.

The game serves a dual purpose: entertainment, as well as dos and don’ts, divine reward and punishment, ethical values and morality. The final goal leads to Vaikuntha or heaven, depicted by Vishnu surrounded by his devotees, or Kailasa with Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha and Skanda, and their devotees. In this age of moral and ethical degeneration, this would be a good way of teaching values to children who think they already know more than their parents.

If paramapadam teaches moral values, pallankuli develops skill and quick thinking. Two players compete on a board consisting of between seven and twenty pits per player; each player has to collect the coins or shells or seeds with which the game is played, the player with the maximum number being the winner. There are nine variations of this game, each a ‘pandi’, with regional, caste and religious variations. It was very popular among women and required a good memory and alertness, as they had to count and remember the number of coins or seeds accumulated by the opponent.

The British took the game to England in 1892 and named it Snakes and Ladders and changed it according to Victorian values.

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.
jivanmukti
jivanmukti — the state of being liberated (enlightened) while alive.
ahimsã
ahimsã (Sanskrit: अहिंसा, "non-harming") is derived from the root hims, "to strike". Himsã is injury or harm. A-himsã is the opposite of this, non harming. ahimsã means abstaining from causing harm or injury. It is gentleness and non-injury, whether physical, mental or emotional. It is good to know that nonviolence speaks only to the most extreme forms of forceful wrongdoing, while ahimsã goes much deeper to prohibit even the subtle abuse and the simple hurt.
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.
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.
Devaloka
Devaloka (Sanskrit: "Plane of radiant beings.") — a synonym of maharloka, the higher astral plane, realm of anahata chakra. See: loka.
yuga
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)
Sanatana Dharma
Sanatana Dharma is is the original name of what is now popularly called Hinduism or Hindu Dharma. The terms Hindu and Hinduism are said to be a more recent development, while the more accurate term is Sanatana Dharma. It is a code of ethics, a way of living through which one may achieve moksha (enlightenment, liberation). It is the world's most ancient culture and the socio, spiritual, and religious tradition of almost one billion of the earth's inhabitants. Sanatana Dharma represents much more than just a religion; rather, it provides its followers with an entire worldview, way of life and with a coherent and rational view of reality.
Antarloka
Antarloka (Sanskrit, "Inner or in-between world."). The astral plane. 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.
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.
shauca
shauca or shaucha (Sanskrit: "Purity.") — avoiding impurity in body, mind and speech.
Karma Yoga
karma yoga (Sanskrit: "Union through action.") The path of selfless service. See: yoga.
moha
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).
purusa
purusa (Sanskrit: "man, male"). In sankhya philosophy purusa denotes the Supreme Male Principle in the universe. Its counterpart is prakrti.
satsanga
satsanga or satsang (Sanskrit: "association with the real;") from roots sat, "existence absolute, which is Brahman" and sanga, "company or union" — the practice of being in the presence of the wise, in whose company it is easier to learn and practice. Satsanga is association with the wise. Live in the company of sages, saints, sadhus, yogis and sannyasins; hear their valuable upadesa or instructions and follow them implicitly.
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.
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.
tandava
"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.
artha
artha (Sanskrit: अर्थ, "worldly wealth; material facility; the pursuit of wealth and social status") — refers to the idea of material prosperity, not to be understood solely as material assets, but all kinds of wealth including non-tangibles such as knowledge, friendship and love. artha is one of the four goals of life, known as purusharthas. It is considered to be a noble goal as long as it follows the dictates of dharma. The concept includes achieving widespread fame, garnering wealth and having an elevated social standing. It is the second lowest rung on the ladder of purusharthas, above kama (physical or emotional pleasure) but below dharma (righteousness) and moksha (liberation).
ācāra
ācāra or achara (Sanskrit: "conduct, mode of action, behavior; good conduct") — also, custom, tradition; rule of conduct, precept.
duḥkha
duḥkha or dukkha (Sanskrit: दुःख; literally means "bad-space"; "suffering"). A “bad” space is a closed and confined space which does not permit growth, learning, expansion of being and the unfolding of one’s potential. The opposite of duḥkha is sukha (good space) — is an open and free space, one in which there is growth, unfoldment, learning and freedom. Duhkha can also be defined as the deferential between our expectations and what we actually achieve. The greater the differential between expectation and outcome the greater the intensity of the suffering. Although duḥkha is often translated as "suffering", its root meaning is more analogous to "disquietude" as in the condition of being disturbed. As such, "suffering" is too narrow a translation with "negative emotional connotations".
kosha
kosha (Sanskrit: "Sheath; vessel, container; layer.") — five sheaths through which the Self functions simultaneously in the various planes or levels of existence. There are five or six classical koshas as presented in the Upanishads. Classically there are five traditional koshas called the annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya, and anandamaya koshas. These five sheaths cover the atman (the Self), which is the innermost reality or the jiva and is untouched by the characteristics of the sheaths. See: panchakosha.
mukti
mukti or mukhti (Sanskrit: "liberation") is deliverance from the samsara (cycle of birth and death). The condition of freedom from ignorance (avidyâ) and the binding effect of karma. Liberation from material existence. See: moksha.
advaita
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.
bhakta
bhakta (Sanskrit: "devotee;") — a disciple practicing bhakti yoga, Devotee of God.
karmaphala
karmaphala — the fruit (consequence) that a persons gets (either enjoys or bears) depending on his past-Karma.
saṃsāra
saṃsāra (Sanskrit: संसार; "flow") — refers to the phenomenal world. Transmigratory existence, fraught with impermanence, change and cycle of reincarnation or rebirth. The cycle of birth, death and rebirth; the total pattern of successive earthly lives experienced by atman (the Self). According to the Vedas the atman is bound in a "cycle", the cycle of life and death. Endlessly the atman transcends from possessing one form to the next, this is the concept of saṃsāra (reincarnation). So the logical inference is that the aim is to break free! Freedom. Freedom from every constraint, this is the aim of life, the aim of all the Hindu teachings.
prakṛti
prakṛti or prakriti (Sanskrit: प्रकृ्ति, ";") — material nature. According to the Bhagavad Gita, the basic nature of intelligence by which the Universe exists and functions. It is described in Bhagavad Gita as the "primal motive force". It is the essential consituent of the universe and is at the basis of all the activity of the creation. In sankhya philosophy prakrti is comprised of eight elements: earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect and ego. It is characterized by the three gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas. prakṛti is female while purusa is male.
aum
aum, also om (Devanagari: ॐ) is the most sacred syllable in Hindu Dharma, first coming to light in the Vedic Tradition. The character is a composite of three different letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. The syllable is sometimes referred to as the udgitha or pranava mantra (primordial mantra); not only because it is considered to be the primal sound, but also because most mantras begin with it. In Devanagari it is written ॐ, and in Tibetan script ༀ.
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