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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.

Hinduism the dominant religion of the twenty-first century

Hinduism has proven much more open than any other religion to new ideas, scientific thought, and social experimentation. Many concepts like reincarnation, meditation, yoga and others have found worldwide acceptance. It would not be surprising to find Hinduism the dominant religion of the twenty-first century. It would be a religion that doctrinally is less clear-cut than mainstream Christianity, politically less determined than Islam, ethically less heroic than Buddhism, but it would offer something to everybody. It will appear idealistic to those who look for idealism, pragmatic to the pragmatists, spiritual to the seekers, sensual to the here-and-now generation. Hinduism, by virtue of its lack of an ideology and its reliance on intuition, will appear to be more plausible than those religions whose doctrinal positions petrified a thousand years ago.

— Klaus L. Klostermaier

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...

World's first university was established in Takshila

As early as 700 B.C., there existed a giant University at Takshashila, located in the northwest region of Bharat (India).

The world's oldest recognized university

Taxila also known as Takshashila, flourished from 600 BC to 500 AD, in the kingdom of Gandhar. 68 subjects were taught at this university and the minimum entry age, ancient texts show, was 16. At one stage, it had 10,500 students including those from Babylon, Greece, Syria, and China. Experienced masters taught the vedas, languages, grammar, philosophy, medicine, surgery, archery, politics, warfare, astronomy, accounts, commerce, documentation, music, dance and other performing arts, futurology, the occult and mystical sciences,complex mathematical calculations. The panel of masters at the university included legendary scholars like Kautilya, Panini, Jivak and Vishnu Sharma. Thus, the concept of a full-fledged university was developed in India.
Famous Nalanda University

The stupa of Sariputta at Nalanda University. "The first great university in recorded history."

Did you know that the University at Nalanda functioned from 500 to 1300 AD until destroyed by invaders?

During the 800 years that the university was operational, it attained great fame. Its campus was one mile in length and a half-mile in width. It also had 300 lecture halls with stone benches for sitting; laboratories and other facilities were also available. For example, the university had a towering observatory called the Ambudharaavlehi for astronomical research. It has boasted a massive library called Dharma Gunj or Mountain of Knowledge that was set up in three buildings named Ratna Sagar, Ratnodavi and Ratnayanjak. The entrance examination was very difficult and the pass rate was 3 out of every 10 students. Despite this hurdle, the Chinese traveler, Hien Tsang wrote in his diary that 10,000 students and 200 professors were at Nalanda University.

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.
anātmā (Sanskrit: "non-Self, not the real Self") — different from the atman (Self).
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.
Gâyatrî Mantra
The Gâyatrî Mantra is the most revered mantra in Hinduism. It consists of the prefix om bhur bhuvah svah, a formula frequently appearing in the Yajurveda, and the verse 3.62.10 of the Rig Veda. Gayatri is the name of the 24-syllable meter of this verse (excluding the prefix), and also the name of the goddess considered the personification of the mantra.
(Sanskrit: भूमि ) : Earth
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.
Ganita (Sanskrit: for mathematics; is derived from the root ‘gana’, which means to count or to enumerate.)
rajo guna
rajo guna quality of passion, activity restlessness, aggressiveness — the second of the three gunas of matter. Sometimes translated as passion, the phase of rajas is characterized by action, passion, creation, etc.
sanchita karma
sanchita karma (Sanskrit: "Accumulated action.") — the accumulated consequence of an individual's actions in this and past lives. See: karma.
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.
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.
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.
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.
shauca or shaucha (Sanskrit: "Purity.") — avoiding impurity in body, mind and speech.
atman (Sanskrit: आत्मन् — "the True Self") — one's True Self, "generally translated into English as Self", beyond identification with the phenomenal reality of worldly existence. Just as a man living in a house is called a householder, atman (meaning “Self within”) living in a human body is called an individual. When this “human house” becomes old and irreparable, atman leaves the house and we say that the individual has died.
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.
vaisya — a member of the traditional mercantile or business community. The vaisya was the third varna in the system of varnasrama dharma.
karma, kárma or kárman (Sanskrit: कर्म, "act, action, performance") — is a noun-form coming from the root kri meaning "to do," "to make." Literally karma means "doing," "making," action. Karma is pronounced as "karmuh," the "uh" being subtle. Karma can best be translated into English by the word consequence. It corresponds to the "action" or "deed" which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called saṃsāra). It applies to all levels of action, including thought, word, feeling and deed, and the effects of it.
Hindu Vaishnavas observe Ekadashi (alternatively called 'Gyaars') by fasting on that day.
tattva (Sanskrit: "Truth, Reality or True Essence") from tad, that which is strictly speaking, there is only One Reality. That Reality is Brahman (the Supreme Being and Highest Truth), the Para Tattva. This is the original teaching of all true Scriptures. Tattvas are the primary principles, elements, states or categories of existence, the building blocks of the universe. The entire Universe consists of various manifestations of Brahman (the Universal Consciousness) which together form the basis of all our experiences. As these are just forms of Brahman (the Ultimate Reality), they are themselves called Primary Realities, Principles or Categories of Existence. In short, Tattvas.
pranava — the cosmic sound AUM; from the roots pra, "pre", and nava, "new"; Lit. “that which existed before anything (that is new)”, or “that which existed before existence itself”. The sacred seed-sound and symbol of Brahman, considered to be the “Mantra of Mantras”. According to the Nada Bindu Upanishad, it consists of 3½ measures: one for each of the Bijas (Aa, Uu and Mm), with the additional half-measure as the ending “nasalized” echo sound of the “Mm”. It is the most exalted syllable in Vedas which is used in meditation on God and uttered first before a Vedic mantra is chanted.
tamas or thamas (Sanskrit: "dullness, ignorance, delusion, inactivity, passivity, inertia, sloth;"). tamasic — adjective form of tamas; dull, ignorant, passive. Associated with color black. See guna.
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.
agnikaraka (Sanskrit: "fire ritual") — the Agamic term for yagna.
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).
A term applied to a clan, a group of families, or a lineage - exogamous and patrilineal - whose members trace their descent to a common ancestor.
ācāra or achara (Sanskrit: "conduct, mode of action, behavior; good conduct") — also, custom, tradition; rule of conduct, precept.
Lakshmi Puja
Lakshmi Puja is performed to propitiate Goddess Lakshmi and to thank her for the bestowal of her blessings on the humans.
vasana (Sanskrit: "subconscious inclination; conditioning, tendencies, or self-limitations; predispositions and habits") from vas (living, remaining) — the subliminal inclinations and habit patterns which, as driving forces, color and motivate one's attitudes and future actions. Vasanas are the conglomerate results of samskaras (subconscious impressions) created through experience. Samskaras, experiential impressions, combine in the subconscious to form vasanas, which thereafter contribute to mental fluctuations, called vritti. The most complex and emotionally charged vasanas are found in the dimension of mind called vasana chitta (the subsubconscious).
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.
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